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Radical Humility: Thoughts on Biblical Submission

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A few weeks ago, my husband came to the end of chapter 3 in his sermon series on Colossians. As he prepared to preach on the gospel in our relationships, he asked me to say a few words to the ladies of our church about verse 18.

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

My initial reaction was not one of a submissive heart. I refused, feeling intimidated by speaking in front of a full auditorium on such a gigantic subject.

Eventually, I agreed to speak to our ladies because I believe it’s important for the women in the Church (both married and unmarried) to understand that submission is not a scary or bad thing – instead it is  a beautiful part of God’s plan for relationships.

radical-humility-thoughts-on-biblical-submissionA simple definition of submission can be found at any online dictionary. Most use terms similar to rank under or to obey.

Out of the context of marriage submission happens all the time….corporate settings, government settings, even fast food settings. It’s how relationships work best. If everyone is a leader, no work gets done and there is continual strife.

When we take that definition into the marriage realm, we can see that our role as “submitters” is just that – a role. It does not define us as individuals. It does not make us inferior or “less than.” It doesn’t mean we can’t offer an opinion because we are remaining quiet at all times. Practically, however, our role means that we give in at some point.

When Adam and I just can’t see eye to eye on a decision. When he has given me the time to give my reasons and make my arguments, but still strongly feels that God is leading us in a different direction, what do we do? It is in those times, that I step into my “role.” I submit to his decision (even if it goes terribly wrong).

Side note: if it does go terribly wrong, I should take it humbly. There’s no need to point out that I was right and he was wrong!

As wives we were created as helpers. Genesis 2:20-22 describes it like this:

” So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.”

The only reason Eve could be created to be a helper is because she was like Adam. This is a beautiful thing because she was created with her own personality and talents yet her role was to support Adam in his responsibilities.

In the same way, our role is to help our husband on his mission or calling using our own giftings. That’s why submission can look completely different in different homes. There are no traditional or “godly” submissive jobs. I can’t tell you what it should look like in your marriage. I can be submissive while working on the investments of our family’s money in the same way that I can be submissive while doing the dishes.

Finally, it’s so important to realize that submission is a requirement for all believers.

Scripture is packed with instructions to every Christ-follower, married and unmarried, men and women, adults and children, to live with a spirit of humility and submission to various authorities. In other words, submission is NOT a women’s issue.

That means that I can submit to my husband’s authority knowing that he has the calling to submit as well. In fact, my submission to him is only a tangible expression of my ultimate submission to Christ

That means that those women who are not married or have been widowed must still practice submission even if there is no human authority over them anymore in the form of a father or husband.

Because submission is a universal calling for all believers we are all on equal footing. When I realize this overarching truth, then I can more easily agree with and even thrive with this definition of submission in marriage from John Piper:

“Submission is the defined calling of a wife to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership, and so help to carry it through according to her gifts.”

I could sum up my thoughts on submission in one simple sentence:

My submission in the home is an act of worship and awe at the submission that Christ showed by obeying His Father to Rescue me. 

Why brokenness matters

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One of the sad parts of full time ministry is the regular bombardment of bad news. Although, I’m rarely the first to know, I often hear stories of failed marriages, battles with cancer, struggles with sin, or even wayward children.

Brokenness is all around us. One minute into the evening news shows us the affects of sin from every part of the globe.
Unfortunately, that bad news doesn’t contain itself to other countries or even other churches. It’s readily available in our own living rooms and church pews.

So, the question has to be asked. If brokenness is so rampant, what are we supposed to do with it? Do we ignore it and put on a plastic smile? Do we take pride in it, because it makes us like everyone else? Do we simply ignore it?

Let’s take a look together at why brokenness matters in the life of the believer. 

why-brokenness-matters

  1. All brokenness brings pain. 

From medical diagnoses to adultery, the fractured pieces of our lives bring pain to both ourselves and those around us. It’s inevitable.

If a husband is diagnosed with a rare, incurable disease, his wife and children are also greatly affected.

If a wife is unfaithful to her spouse, the infection of that sin spreads to her children, extended family, friendships, etc.

The phrase “no man is an island” is particularly applicable here. Brokenness cannot stay contained to one person. Psalm 37:39 says,

“But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked”

The first failure in the Garden of  Eden had gigantic repercussions. Included in the deception of the snake was a forgetfulness of the long stretching effects of sin. Eve was only thinking about her own opportunity for greatness and Adam was only intrigued by what God might be withholding from them through His “don’t eat” rule. Neither comprehended the pain that would be brought upon thousands of generations to come after a simple bite of fruit.

          2. All brokenness brings shame 

I can still smell the musty carpet in the church nursery turned 6th grade classroom. Mrs. Cook had just left the room with a warning to keep our mouths closed and our bodies in our chairs. Usually, the teacher’s pet, I didn’t initially plan on disobeying, but my best friend really needed to know the plans for our afternoon recess. I spoke a few words as quickly and quietly as possible before our teacher appeared in the doorway.

“Who talked while I was gone?” she asked as soon as she returned. About a dozen hands sheepishly lifted into the air which earned them the current classroom consequence. My hand was not one of them.

Immediately, my heart was filled with the heaviness of shame.

I had talked. I had disobeyed. I had sinned. And I deserved the full punishment for it!

The story has several other elements including a tearful admission and apology to Mrs. Cook three days later and the most beautiful illustration of forgiveness I had experienced in my short 11 years, but I will never forget the agony of guilt that followed me after my lie.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the last time I would experience shame after sin. It attacks us immediately after any failure big or small. It comes after eating one too many brownies to losing your cool with your four year old again. It can even rear its ugly head at unintentional brokenness. We experience guilt at our failure to solve world hunger and our lack of time to bring that new mom a meal.

Our shame causes us to hide just like Adam and Eve after their disobedience. Shame feels terrible so we sew together parts of our personality and lifestyle to cover the true state of our hearts. We act strong and unaffected by our brokenness, hoping that others won’t notice. We laugh at our failures while all the time cringing inside at our lack of perfection. We shift the blame to others to minimize our own faults.

Shame leaves us feeling hopeless which is why the next point is so important.

          3. All brokenness brings hope

The effects of sin in the world and in our own hearts, bring us to the end of ourselves. Our search to find strength and resilience inside consistently comes up short leading us to look to something bigger outside of ourselves.

It won’t be found in “Inspirational Books” section of Barnes & Noble and it might not be the verse your friends quote to you when you share your shortcomings and needs at small group, but it is the answer and hope to the brokenness surrounding each one of us.

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”

Genesis 3:15

In the middle of verses depicting the desperation of human nature, we find a glorious hope in these few words. Adam and Eve had messed up and were hiding in their shame (as we can so easily relate). The Serpent seemed to have gotten his way and the beautiful life of the Garden was quickly wilting. God gives a glimpse of the future when a Rescuer, a Messiah, would come to bruise Satan’s head conquering Him and ending his dominion.

The Gospel Transformation Bible sums up the hope offered in the middle of this fresh brokenness:

Though the corruptions of sin quickly infect humanity, grace is displayed for Adam’s and Eve’s descendants (“offspring” or “seed”): there is a seed despite Adam’s and Eve’s sin ; there is a means to relate to God despite sin; there is protection for a murdered despite sin; there is warning of the corruption of sin and at the same time indication of the faithfulness of God to provide the “seed” for sinners. 

In other words, there is salvation in the shattered world we experience each day through sickness, sin, and corruption. The Second Adam restores the life that was lost to Satan and offers victory and peace. While we still battle the flesh and its evil effects, we will one day reign with Him as rulers over a once again perfect Earth.

Because of this hope, don’t downplay your brokenness. Don’t hide behind the facade of independence. Don’t wallow in your shame.

Instead rest in Jesus’ perfection. Hide in His work on your behalf. Rejoice in His victory.

Wait expectantly for the day when all brokenness will be replaced with unblemished wholeness forever.

Headache-free Bible Study for Children

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Most Christ-focused families realize that Bible study is an vital step in spiritual growth. After all, how else can our children know and love the God of the Bible if we don’t take time to read His words?

headache-freebible-study-forchildren

There are many helpful books and articles on developing a family worship time – a few minutes a day set aside for Bible-reading, prayer, and singing as a family.  I wouldn’t begin to act like our family has arrived in this area. Unfortunately this special time gets lost in the mix of busy weeks, sick kids, and Netflix binges. So, if you need help in this area, you may want to read, Family Worship, by Donald Whitney. His ideas are simple yet effective in setting up a regular time of corporate (or combined) worship time in your home.

Recently, however, our family has had success in individual Bible study times for our boys. As parents, we want them to grow to desire the corporate aspects of church worship and the sweet fellowship of private study equally. Because things have been going so well for the last month or so, I thought I would share our ideas with you!

*Ages 0-3

These are formative years. Don’t discount reading to them before bed from a children’s Bible such as the Jesus Storybook Bible. While the illustrations initially catch our two year old daughter’s attention, she is starting to learn words such as Jesus and sin. This is so important in her understanding of her sin problem and her Rescuer in the next few years.

*Ages 4-7

When our middle son saw that his older brother was spending time studying the Bible each day, he wanted to follow suit. There is only one problem – he can’t quite read.

Enter: The Bible App for Kids

I hope you already have this app on your phone or tablet. We have had it for a few years, but have only used it while waiting in the doctor’s office or similar situations. Using it strategically as a Bible study tool has been a wonderful help for our pre-reader. This app traces Scripture from Genesis to Revelation highlighting some of the most well-known stories along the way. Each is a separate interactive chapter with animated characters and music to keep the child engaged. At the end of each story, are several questions for comprehension. It has been exciting to see our son’s excitement to get to his “Bible time” each morning after breakfast.

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As he gets older and advances in his reading ability, we will incorporate actual Bible reading and he hears Scripture read aloud in family worship times and during homeschool. Until then, I’m so thankful for this technology that helps bridge the reading gap!

*Older Child (8-12)

Our oldest can read fluently and is starting to grasp more and more theological concepts, and we knew we wanted him to have a strategic plan for Bible study. My husband created a little reading plan for him based on the book of John.

Each morning, armed with his Bible, a notebook, and a pen, he reads the assigned passage (some are meant to be read 2x). Then writes down the meaning of the verses as he understands them and one take-away thought to remember. Because he is still young, however, he needs some guidance in his study. So each evening after his siblings are in bed, he discusses what he studied with either my husband or me. This gives us the chance to check his comprehension and discuss any important theological themes in the reading.

It has been so precious to see him grow in his desire to know God through his Word and his assigned passages are often challenging or convicting to me as we work through them together.

***

All of these Bible study methods are free and simple, and none of them are particularly time-consuming which is important in this season. I have honestly been shocked to see how quickly these ideas have become a habitual part of our morning routine.

What about you? Do you have ideas for Bible-study for young children? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. We’re always game to try something new!

 

Quiet

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My busy superheroes have finally fallen asleep for their afternoon naps and my husband is studying for this week’s sermon. Besides the monotonous drone of traffic outside, our house is completely silent. It most likely won’t last long, but I’m savoring every moment.

It’s strange to enjoy silence this much. I tend to be a little bit of a chatterbox. I love people, and I find myself energized after a great conversation. Most of the time, I have the radio or my favorite CD playing as I drive. I can walk for miles if someone is with me to help pass the time!

Lately, though, I’ve been craving quiet. It’s not because of a migraine or frazzled nerves. It’s not because I’m struggling with depression or deep burdens. Instead, my soul desires the quiet rest that leads to more of God.

Our world is so loud! Every day our hearts and minds are bombarded with a million different voices. We are told that we need more and more to be happy, content, and fulfilled. Even good voices shout that we’re not spending enough time in educational activities with our kids. We’re not writing consistently enough on our social media sites to build a solid following. We really should be switching all of our food and cleaning supplies to more natural items. We need to buy this or get rid of that.
We hear this noise on top of the already busy lives we lead as spouses and parents. We fall into bed exhausted hoping we wake up with enough energy to make it through just one more of these crazy days.

Read more at For the Church, my writing home this week.

Rage Room {what to do with all that anger}

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I won’t deny that there are many days that leave me wanting to scream. Hearing my name spoken 4,000 times in an hour causes my temper to flare in the most unflattering ways, and I often find myself crying over spilled milk (literally).

I was so intrigued, though, to watch a news segment recently about a new fad in Texas called a Rage Room. Customers pay $50 for 15 minutes of tantrum time. They enter a room filled with junk (TV’s, furniture, tires, etc…) and are allowed to beat, break, and smash anything and everything in sight. Those interviewed mentioned that they were able to relieve built-up stress and bitterness by physically destroying the items in the room. Critics believe that this kind of behavior will not help anger issues, but rather create new habits of violence which are instigated when stress levels rise.

I watched the two minute clip with my mouth hanging open. Do people really do that? Does the owner really make money off of those who want to release the tensions of a hard, frustrating day? Could I imagine myself in one of those rooms?

rage room{what to do with all that anger} (1)

Most of us struggle with anger more often than we would like to admit, but is the answer letting out our rage on old glassware, or is there a deeper solution?

*Admit and Identify It.

Oftentimes, actually owning up to the bubbling anger inside of me is one of the hardest steps. Among the spills, broken furniture, and sibling rivalry, I can find many good reasons to excuse away my temper. It’s so much easier to blame the ones around me than to identify my behavior (and thoughts) as sinful. Once I admit and identify my tendency to lean on my fallen nature rather than Christ, I am able move forward.

*Find a Rage Room.

Anger like all sin is extremely damaging not only to the one “blowing up” but to those who happen to be around at the time. Words said in a moment of frustration can linger in the mind of the attacked for a very long time.  I don’t think that the destruction of as many items as possible in a quarter-hour is the answer to our anger issues, but I do think that heading somewhere apart from others (ie. a bedroom, office, etc…) when the temper flares is a great practical way to minimize the harm to others. Taking a step back from the situation when possible also allows for confession and reflection with the Father which brings us to the third anger tip.

*Remember the Wrath Meant for You.

Anger is just a sliver of the brokenness and depravity of our human hearts, yet we continue to try in countless ways to combat that sin on our own. We apologize and promise to do better next time. We experience feelings of desperation when our impatience with others never seems to fade. We forget that Jesus hung in agony on a cross for that very blow-up and for that exact harsh word, and in doing so bore an incomprehensible and ultimate holy wrath from His Father. The punishment that we so obviously deserve for our constant tantrums has been taken by our Savior. You are not enslaved to your anger problem anymore.

Christ shattered the chains of sin freeing us to speak and act with love and grace to those around us. The Holy Spirit offers the only power that will conquer the anger problem in your life and He doesn’t even need a hammer!

Training wheels {and why a believer doesn’t need them}

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Our family has officially fallen in love with bike riding.

From bumpy neighborhood sidewalks to secluded trails, we have been busy exploring our town on wheels this summer.

Our oldest son is quickly becoming a master cyclist and our toddler enjoys the view over my shoulders from her carrier seat. Our middle son, however, is still very dependent on his training wheels. This is not necessarily a problem for a four year old, however one of these small wheels gave us significant issues on many of our rides. The screw would loosen causing the wheel to tilt and turn resulting in his inability to balance. The poor guy wanted to ride like his older brother but was restricted by his dependence on the inconsistent third wheel. True freedom will come for him in another summer or two when he can throw away the “help” of the training wheels and balance on the two tires created for riding.

Training Wheels

I find myself often leaning on alternative “wheels” on this ride of life. Finding balance and freedom in the gospel alone seems scary. Certainly, I need something more than Christ’s work to effectively complete the trail in front of me.

So I strap on the training wheels of affirmation. If others approve of my work and support my endeavors, I will be successful. My work is only meaningful after all if others appreciate it.

I tighten the screws on the training wheels of perfection. Sure I will never be perfect enough to gain eternal favor with a holy God, but I need to get as close to flawless as possible in my everyday work. When I fail, it’s just a sign that I need to try harder next time.

I lean on the training wheels of worry. Someone needs to think through every scenario and outcome. There are so many details that could go wrong. If I can circumvent just a few of them, my ride will be smoother.

Unfortunately these wheels (along with dozens more) are just like my son’s tilting bike. They are broken and offer no true or lasting support.

Affirmation leaves me craving more and more attention from others. I act hypocritically because my actions are based on another’s opinion of me. I waste precious time in a conflicted state between slavery to others and slavery to Christ.

Perfection leaves me weary. My attempts to hide my shortcomings and to reach an unattainable ideal are exhausting and endless. My day begins with mistakes and ends with failures. I have convinced myself that if I work hard enough I will muster up my own version of holiness.

Worry wears me out too. My mind dwells on the cares of this life leading to discouragement and dismay. The beautiful goals and plans that seem to answer the worry crumble all too easily.

The truth is that as a believer, as a redeemed daughter of God, I don’t need spiritual training wheels. Anything less than the truth, love, forgiveness, and unfathomable grace found in the gospel of Jesus will not give me the support I need to finish the race.

Here’s even better news.  My son needs help learning to balance until he is physically strong enough to ride like his older brother. This is not so for the believer. At salvation we receive the glorious benefits of Christ’s work on our behalf and from that moment forward, we have the complete enabling of the Spirit. Our growth depends not on our own strength and fortitude, but on our increased dependence on the unchanging truths of the gospel.

I can receive disapproving comments from others because I stand approved eternally before my Father.

I can fail on a daily basis because the ultimate work has been completed perfectly for me in Christ’s death and resurrection.

I can cast all my cares on Him because He cared enough to rescue my dead soul for His glory.

Friends, take off your spiritual training wheels (they will never stand up to the task anyway), and lean on the everlasting, all-powerful work of the Savior. You will enjoy the ride so much more if you do!

Spiritual Sticky Notes

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When I was in Jr. High my Sunday School teacher helped us make little prayer journals to use in our quiet time with God. It had sections for new requests, ongoing requests, and then one for answered prayer.

stickynotes

I didn’t think about it much at the time (I was a 13 year old girl after all), but that “answered prayer” section and what it represents could be vital to my relationship with the Lord.

Why? Because I’m ridiculously forgetful. I’m not just talking about the “Where are my keys?” and “Why did I walk into this room?” kind of forgetfulness. This is a mindset that plagues my walk with Christ by feeding insecurities and doubts of His faithfulness.
I’ve had conversation after conversation with my much wiser husband about my frustrations with answered prayer. I complain that my prayers feel like they’re hitting the so-called ceiling. These are the kind of talks that you wouldn’t expect to hear from your pastor’s wife.

“God just NEVER clearly answers me.”
“I just wish God would write His plans in the sky for me to follow!” 
“I feel like God is so far away!”

Those ideas can spin out of control quickly leading to some pretty depressing and self-focused thoughts. That’s why it’s so important to document even the smallest answers from my Father.

One day, I was in the middle of cooking dinner when I decided to thank God for a small leading in my life and to ask for His continued blessing in a couple specific areas. It was a prayer lasting maybe two minutes before my thoughts went back to the food before me.
Later in the evening, I hopped on Twitter and found a direct message from an old blogging friend confirming EXACTLY what I had asked God for at EXACTLY the time I was praying in the kitchen! I couldn’t believe it!

My smallest and most insignificant requests are heard and answered specifically by a sovereign God!

I love what Colossians 4:2 says,
 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Paul reminds us to be watchful for God’s smallest answers with a spirit of thankfulness. I know I can’t be completely alone in my spiritual forgetfulness. Why else would we find verses like I Corinthians 15:1?
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand…….

stickynotesquote

It’s critical to leave ourselves spiritual sticky notes as a reminder of the deep riches we have in Christ and the answers our Heavenly Father readily gives to our prayers. Without them we will forget the goodness of our God and step quickly into a realm of amnesia-induced distrust. 

Do you keep a journal, blog, or other source to keep track of even the smallest answers to prayer? I’m attempting to be more consistent in “remembering” the small things and I’d love to hear your experiences with praying and receiving answers! Share in the comments section below!

Where to turn when you’re out of strength…

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“Just keep moving, Rachel….”

My sister had dragged me into exercising with her once again. While she still energetically ran in place, I begged her to let me sit down. My legs felt like jelly and I was sure I must be ready to pass out! I thought I might die!

“It’s okay if you don’t do the jumping jacks. Just walk in place instead. Whatever you do, don’t stop moving.”

Obviously, I survived that tortuous workout and several others over the years. I have followed the advice of many fitness gurus to “find my why” in working out. I know that my health is important to my family, so I never exercise because I really want to, but because I know it’s good for me.

Other than shaking quads and burning biceps, one of the biggest deterrents to regular exercise is the inevitable loss of energy. I usually start off determined and strong, but it never lasts. Shortly into the workout, my jumps are lower and my squats are higher. I want to be toned and healthy, but I convince myself, that I’m not strong enough to finish. I don’t have the power to push through the pain.

I know I’m not be alone in this stamina issue. Fitness companies offer pre-workout drinks and Pinterest is packed with links to pre-workout snacks. We all want to be able to push through and finish our workouts so we can experience the post-sweat high of accomplishment.

WhenYou'reOutofStrength

In the Bible, our call as believers to live both holy and loving lives is equated with physical strain too. The author of Hebrews penned these famous words, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”

Perseverance.

Stamina.

Resolution.

We are told in Scripture to run lives committed to Christ and free from unnecessary burdens or wrongdoing, but where do we find the energy to complete such a task? Any effort dependent on our own fortitude will never last. Our spiritual legs weaken and we struggle to catch a breath in between all the serving, giving, reading,and praying. We simply lack the energy to even jog on our own. We need nourishment for our exhausted spiritual muscles.

Now, this is only a short blog post and many have written entire commentaries on the book of Hebrews, but it is interesting to note that this well-known and much quoted verse in Hebrews comes after eleven chapters outlining the beauty and sufficiency of our Savior. The author takes his readers on a journey through Hebrew history, pointing to the innumerable ways that Jesus is better that the traditions and commandments they held so dear. Each chapter is full of doctrinal truths such as redemption, substitution, and sacrifice. In other words, it is the endurance of Christ that offers us sustaining hope as we run.

This is why the study of theology is so vitally important. Truly grasping the truths of the gospel and God’s story of redemption throughout time never stops with head knowledge. It always translates into the motivation to press on in our walk.

Consider these passages written by Paul.

“For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God,who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” I Timothy 4:10

“For this I toil, struggling with all HIS energy that he powerfully works within me.” Colossians 1:28

TheologyFuel

Christ is both the motivation and the strength for the work we are called to do. When I am enamored with Christ and His work, I am empowered to live a life that reflects Him to those around me.

In other words, Scriptural knowledge is of no help when we simply become spiritually obese. When we allow theological truth to do its work in our hearts (even when it’s painful), it becomes the fuel we need to continue steadfastly in the faith.

 

 

To the weary mom….

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A man, he works from sun till sun, but a woman’s work is never done.

I can hear my mom sighing at the end of another long day. She quotes this little saying while putting away one more load of laundry or packing one more lunch. As a mom now myself, these words have so much more meaning to me. The work is never done. There always one more dish in the sink or one more toy to put away.

As our family has grown, my homemaking standards have lowered. I can leave those clothes in the dryer and fold them tomorrow. I guess the floor could be swept after breakfast in the morning. It’s not that I wouldn’t love to live in a perfectly clean, model home, but with three small children, that dream is far from reality. At the end of the day, my body and mind just want to rest. I long to sit down with the work completely done.

That feeling of incompleteness doesn’t just stop with dust bunnies and piles of superhero figures though. I find myself longing for rest in many areas of my life. When will I stop wrestling with the sin of discontentment? Will I ever stop struggling with my identity? Why do I find myself clinging to the same idols over and over again? When will Jesus come back so my soul can finally rest?

While I don’t have a chapter and verse to support my theory, I imagine that an Israelite high priest may identify with some of those same feelings. He worked every day in the temple offering sacrifices for the sins of the people. With a nation so large, there was a never-ending stream of brokenness for which to atone. In the rooms where he worked, there were altars, candles, and holy artifacts, but no chairs. No place to sit. No place to rest. The work of salvation was never finished.

That is until Jesus arrived on the scene.

Finally, the endless cycle of sin, confession, and sacrifice could be broken. He did the work His Father asked Him to do. There was no need for God to lower His standard of holiness. Christ accomplished the task perfectly and completely. The necessity of continual sacrifices in the temple was done. It was finished.

And our High Priest sat down.

  • He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high….Hebrews 1:3
  • Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven…Hebrews 8:1
  • But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God….Hebrews 10:12
  • looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

If Christ has sealed our salvation, why do we find ourselves often unsettled? Why does rest seem so elusive? Why do we attempt to continue to offer sacrifices in hopes of God’s favor?

Sitdown

He isn’t striving. He isn’t stressing. He isn’t struggling.

He is sitting down.

He invites us to rest in His accomplishments – to sit down in His finished work.

Is your kitchen far from magazine worthy? Have your children found your last nerve? Is that besetting sin rearing its ugly head today?

Sit down (physically if you need to) and rejoice. The ultimate undertaking has been completed for you. Because of Jesus, the weight of perfection is no longer on your shoulders. Instead, you carry a burden made light by His atonement and a yoke made easy by His redemption.

It is only in Jesus’ settled location at his Father’s side that our souls can find ultimate peace.

 

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Constant

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Recently, I asked some of my Facebook friends this question.

The 1st word that pops into my head when I think of motherhood is:_______________________.

Some of the answers I received didn’t surprise me at all….

Chaos

Adventure

Crazy

Love

There was one answer that made me stop to ponder.

Constant

The Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines this short word as “happening all the time or very often over a period of time”.

Any woman who has been mothering for any length of time (even 24 hours) can identify with this word.

A new baby needs frequent and regular feedings. A toddler needs continual supervision for his safety. A school-aged child needs answers to life’s pressing questions at any given moment. A teen needs stable and firm guidance as she heads into adulthood.

DDpostgraphic (14)

A mom is always “on” and always available. Sometimes this even occurs when the mom is physically unavailable.

A couple of weeks ago, I had knee surgery. While it was a fairly simple procedure, it put me in bed for several days. Even when I finally ventured around the house on my crutches, I was often physically unable to help my kids in the normal ways. I was afraid to carry my toddler down the stairs while my knee was so weak. I couldn’t kneel by the bathtub to rinse the soap out of my son’s hair. I was dependent on meals prepared by others each evening.

This bodily break did not cause a hiatus in the constancy of motherhood, though. I still worried about the sibling squabbles I heard and awoke to the cries of my little one in the middle of the night. Even from the couch, I was mothering mentally.

If you are a mother, you are not disagreeing with me at this point. I’m sure you are nodding your head in agreement.

 

It was the alternate definition of this word that struck me, however.

“staying the same : not changing”

I wish I could say that I stay the same each day. I wish I could claim that my kids know exactly which version of Mommy they’ll greet each morning. I wish I was unchanging in the face of daily stress and lack of sleep.

Motherhood is constant, but I am not constant in my mothering.

There is only one Person who truly and faithfully embodies this word, constant.

I, the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.

Malachi 3:6

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

God is not human,that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?

Numbers 23:19

My God isn’t affected by emotion or exhaustion. He never wavers and never changes. It is His very immutable nature that brought about our desperately needed redemption. He didn’t change His standard of required perfection and He didn’t go back on His word to provide a Lamb to meet those demands.

JesusChristthesame

This is such good news when I lose my temper over something insignificant once again or when my living room resembles a disaster zone. In my weakest, most inconsistent moments, I’m still qualified to receive the inheritance of the saints not through my own stability, but Christ’s!

Because of the constant demands of motherhood, I desperately need a constant God. My only hope for consistency is found in Him!

Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

P.S. Thank you to those who entered in our Steadfast Love Giveaway! I announced the winner HERE.