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TruthNotes

Timeless truth in a changing world

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Encouragement

I’m Just a Mom

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Being a mother can be a thankless job. Much of what you do goes unnoticed unless it doesn’t get done. Your kids will rarely, if ever, thank you. Quite the opposite, actually. From a toddler throwing a tantrum to a teenager slamming a door in your face, your kids may well give you the distinct impression that you’re ruining their lives. A mother’s daily tasks are repetitive and mundane. Oh, we try to glamorize motherhood. We’ve invented clever terms like “domestic engineer” and “household manager” to describe the mother’s role in the home. But at the end of the day, the truth is that every domestic engineer is just a mom.

(Click here to continue reading the original 5-13-18 post on the website Raising Godly Children.)

 

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Where is God, Anyhow?

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It was a confounding problem. It was dinnertime, there were over 5000 hungry people, and they were in a desolate location with little to no food immediately available. So the disciples naturally urged Jesus to send everyone away to fend for themselves. They looked to Him to make things right, and He did. But not at all in the way they were expecting. He told them calmly, “You give them something to eat.” Um, Jesus? All we have here is five loaves and two fish. That won’t even feed the 13 of us. Still, Jesus meant what He said. He directed everyone to sit down on the grass, blessed the food, and had the disciples distribute it to everyone there. Incredibly, everyone was fed, and there were 12 baskets of leftovers. Way to go, Jesus! And clearly, yes, He deserves all the glory for the miracle. But there’s something we’re missing if we stop there—the role the disciples played.

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Everything that Hinders

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I’m going through something of a mid-life crisis right now. Oh, don’t worry—I’m not running off to buy a cherry-red convertible. I wouldn’t be able to fit all my kids in it anyhow. Nor am I scheduling a facelift quite yet. It’s more of what you might call a time of reflection. Not long ago I attended the funeral of a woman who was twice my age. That was sobering. What if half of my life is already over? Am I living to my fullest potential? Then I thought about my kids. One of them only has four years left at home. Am I teaching him the skills he needs to be a responsible adult? Have I instilled strong morals? a strong work ethic? Have I equipped him to be a faithful witness to a world hostile to the Christian faith? Have I been a faithful witness? Has my life been fruitful and productive? Or have I been selfish with my time?

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When Doubts Assail

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What were the disciples thinking? After all they’d seen Jesus do, after all His miracles, after all His teaching, did they still not get it? He’d spoken openly to them about His death and resurrection, so why were they surprised when His body wasn’t in the tomb? They should have been waiting in anticipation at the tomb on Sunday morning, not locked away in hiding. In fact, the ones who remembered Jesus’ promise of resurrection were His enemies—the chief priests and Pharisees. They went to Pilate and told him that Jesus had foretold His resurrection. Their motives were completely wrong, mind you. They pleaded with Pilate to post a guard so no one could come steal the body. But the fact remains that they, rather than the disciples, were the ones who remembered Jesus’ promise. In that sense, the unbelievers put the believers to shame. Yet now Jesus had risen, and that changed everything.

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Wrestling with God

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Have you ever wrestled with God? Jacob did. Literally. He wrestled with God all night long the night before he met Esau again after years away. In the morning, the man (God) touched Jacob’s hip socket and put it out of joint, showing how powerful He really was. He could easily have disabled Jacob from the beginning, yet He chose to engage the patriarch in a familiar and personal way. We see that God’s ultimate purpose of struggling with Jacob was not to defeat him, but to bless him. Now, I doubt you’ve wrestled with God quite like that, but perhaps you’ve wrestled with Him in a different way—in prayer.

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Growing Out of Faith

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This morning I dropped my daughters off at school and they both walked in without looking back. This is quite a change from the beginning of the year, when my kindergartner would cling to me for dear life before I left. I had to walk her down to her classroom, help her put her backpack in her cubby, and give her a dozen hugs before leaving. After a few days of that routine, we shortened it so that her big sister walked her to the classroom, so long as I stood in the entryway where she could see me until she got to her classroom. Then when she got more comfortable with school and more self-reliant, I was able to wave at her from the doorway when she turned the corner to go to her classroom. And now she doesn’t even bother to look back. She’s on her own.

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What Does This Mean? (Beyond Confirmation Class)

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I can practically sing “Phantom of the Opera” in my sleep. My son is in the marching band, and their program was “Phantom” this year. Besides the fact that he practiced it at home, we also have the advantage of living but two blocks from the school, and therefore we can hear the band when they practice outside. We heard “Phantom” every school morning, every Monday night when they had three-hour clinics, every halftime show for home games, and every weekend in October for competition.

But here’s the thing–the harder the competitions got, the more they practiced. You’d think by the time they’d done it a few times, they had the thing pretty well under their belts, but no. They worked on fine tuning the performance, sometimes quite literally. They held chords to figure out which instrument was out of tune. They played the same sixteen measures over and over to make sure everyone was stepping exactly where they ought. They needed to know every single detail about their part, and know it well. It was inspiring to observe their focus and dedication. And it’s a good lesson on what it means to live as Christians in the world.

Continue reading “What Does This Mean? (Beyond Confirmation Class)”

Exposed by the Light

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It is a beautiful sunny morning today; a welcome relief from the gray days we’ve had recently. So I opened the blinds to let in the light. That was a mistake. We have tile floors through much of the house, and the natural light that brightened the day also illuminated the dirt and crumbs on the floor. Every. Single. Particle. It looked awful. Without the natural light, I could almost fool myself into believing that the floor was clean enough, but once the light was shining on it, that illusion was gone. There was no other way around it. My floor was dirty.

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How do You Smell?

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Every house has a unique smell, and ours is no different. Most of the time you don’t notice the particular scent of your own house, but the past few days that hasn’t been the case here. I noticed a distinctly awful smell that wasn’t going away. At first I tried my usual tricks. I pulled out my air purifier, I sprayed air freshener, I washed towels and washcloths, all to no avail. The smell was still there, underneath it all. So I decided to sniff out the source. Shockingly, it wasn’t the bathroom this time. It was definitely emanating from the kitchen. My journey took me to many exotic places until I came to a remote one I’d never before visited—under the oven. I tugged the thing slowly out of its place and was shocked at the abject squalor I found there. Months (or years…) of neglect had taken its toll. Who knows what had long since spilled and been forgotten? Even the sides of the oven were dirty from food drippings and crumbs brushed aside. It was disgusting and humbling, but once it was scrubbed squeaky clean and everything put back into its place, I realized the smell was gone. I’d gotten to the source.

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