The Past

Jeremiah 31:3

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”


In the section before that scripture, God promised rest to His people. He let them know He was bringing them out of captivity and into a time of restoration. Jeremiah reminded them of what God had told them already.

If you’re seeking God, then you’re expecting Him to answer when you call. You’re listening for his voice, and you’re watching for His direction.

When God gives you encouragement, don’t think it’s just for that day. Keep it in a journal or tape it to your bathroom mirror, but have it handy so you can remind yourself that God has spoken.

Remind yourself that “the Lord has appeared to us in the past” whenever you lose your focus. He will help you correct your aim.

We used to play a kids’ game in the pool. One would shout “Marco,” and the other would swim by him shouting “Polo.” The one shouting “Marco” had his eyes closed and tried to tag the other. You knew the other one was there. You could hear him shout and feel him swim by. But you were limited. He had more freedom and could see things you couldn’t see. You knew what he was like, and yet you didn’t know exactly where he was or what he was doing.

We know what God is like and can feel Him when He’s near. We call to Him, but we don’t know what He’s doing. Sometimes we reach out for Him and miss Him completely.

I think God wants us to keep calling out for Him so He can keep reminding us that He’s there with us. He wants us to remember what He’s said to us in the past. He wants us to remember that He’s already told us He loves us.

How are you going to remind yourself of His love for you this week?

The Refining Fire

Zechariah 13:9

This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, “They are my people” and they will say, “The Lord is our God.”

When I worked as an adult leader in my church’s youth group, I had confidence in myself as a Christian teacher. But that was before I had kids of my own. Now, as a mother, I know that there was a lot I didn’t know about raising kids. I didn't know that God would teach me through my kids.

God gives children to couples as a blessing. Before you smile and give a happy sigh, let me first explain “blessing”.

My kids are both obedient and challenging. They’re affectionate and frustrating. No matter how adorable they are in the morning, by bedtime they will have had ample opportunity to make me pull out my hair.

Many mothers will agree that having kids changes your life. What nobody told us when we were pregnant was that God will use these children to test your mettle.

God loves to bring us closer to Him, and closer to who He intended us to be. If we look in the mirror and see ourselves as a shiny gold rock, but we were intended to be a beautiful solid gold sculpture which was crafted with intricate details as delicate as a butterfly’s wing, then God’s got some work to do in us.

He has to throw us into the fire and refine us.

We were already valuable to him when we were cut from the mountain, but we’re even more valuable when we allow ourselves to be refined in His fire and sculpted by His hands.

God gives some people children to bless them with a refining process. He doesn’t tell us this is what motherhood is about, but if we’re smart, we’ll allow Him to use our children to help us grow up.

When you can look back on your life and see the changes God has made in you through your difficult mothering moments, you can give the glory to God and honor Him. His fingerprints are on you.

For example, if your child wouldn’t go to bed when you directed him to, you could resort to reading, storytelling, or less fun ways to get the child to stay in bed. When I’m faced with a “kid challenge”, I often see God’s finger pointing at me. I can see reminders of times when I’ve not been where I should’ve been. He shows me that He dealt with me gently, but firmly.

God doesn’t give in to us when we throw a fit, and parents shouldn’t lower their standards because a child wants them to. But we should see the lesson He wants to show us in our struggle. We should take notice that we’re being purified and tested and sculpted into something beautiful.

When God’s refining is more complete in me than it is right now, I want others to see that God claims me as His own. I want them to see that I claim the Lord as my God. His refining fire will make His presence in me more obvious.

If it takes raising kids for me to be blessed with that purifying fire, then I say, “Thanks, God, for the privilege of being in Your hands as I work through these mothering challenges.”

Perspective

Acts 17: 26-27
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

If you stand on the earth and look at the moon, the moon looks small and the earth looks really big. But if you stand on the moon and look at the earth, the earth looks pretty small.

I like looking at problems from a different perspective. It helps me see the problem as it really is. Sometimes we forget that the problem might not be what it originally seems. I can take a walk around a cardboard enemy and see how impotent it is, even though it’s horrendously scary on its face.

You can pray about any problem you have. It might be a problem so big that it weighs you down with stress and worry. You might think you have to handle it all on your own. But it’s too big for you to fix. You might think it can’t be fixed.

What you really need is a change of perspective.

The problem isn’t really so big in God’s hands. If we look at it from God’s view, we’ll see that He can handle it. He’s not sweating.

However, if we see ourselves, our problems, and our God through a worldly (ungodly) perspective, God doesn’t seem big enough to handle what He says He’ll handle. It’s hard to relax and trust God when we see Him as being far away.

According to Acts 17, God is not far from us. Sure, there are problems to face, but I challenge you to sit at the feet of God and notice that the world isn’t such a problem when it’s in His hands.

Get Up

Genesis 3:8-11
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

And he said, “Who told you that you were naked?”


Haven’t we all taken the wrong advice, made the wrong choice, or listened to the wrong voices? If you’ve heard from God and you didn’t obey, understand this: God gives second chances.

Adam and Eve heard from God regularly. They had a regular appointment with Him in the garden. When He came for his expected appointment, Adam hid. That simple act let God know that something was wrong.

Instead of hiding when we mess up, we can communicate our failures to God. He understands and forgives.

Seeking God and finding Him isn’t hard. The fact that we’re so imperfect is what is hard to deal with. A lot of people try to do what is right. They figure out how to obey God, and then that sneaky snake whispers something to entice them away from what God has told them to do. They stumble. They feel so bad about stumbling that they stay down too long.

God says, “Get up.”

God will provide for you everything that you need. Everything. But you have to get up and walk with Him. He will lead you through doorways and lead you out of danger, but you have to do the walking.

You were created to do something that nobody else can do. Your life has purpose. God designed you with specific gifts and abilities so you can accomplish that purpose. Communicate with God and find out what that is. You have a job to do, but you can’t do it lying down. Give God your guilt, shame, bad memories, and pain. Let Him help you back up.

In your journey to a better relationship with God, you’re probably going to stumble. The key to the journey is to get back up and keep walking.