Extraordinary Beauty in Your Ordinary Life

Five Minute Friday: BEAUTY

God can use the ordinary moments in your life to glorify himself by conforming you into the image of his Son. That is precisely what he intends to do.

Gloria Furman

A mother weeping over a wayward child, love spilling onto a soaked pillow.
A wife overcoming exhaustion to minister to her husband when he returns home downtrodden after a long day.
A missionary drinking tea with the locals, struggling in her second language.

 

There’s beauty in the ordinary though it may not always be obvious outside of your Instagram feed. God does miracles on ordinary days and uses ordinary people to accomplish His will in the world. He transforms brokenness into bellowing declarations of His majesty — it’s the kind of business He’s best at. He brings glory to Himself and beauty in our lives as He shows off who He is by making us more like Him.

beauty

Beauty is dying to self and humbling ourselves before a holy God even if it is manifested in wiping noses and matching socks. The most glorious moments of our lives are often the hardest to live out because the most beautiful story ever told required blood, death, and sacrifice, and we are called to retell that story each day in both the miraculous and the mundane.

When we look around, we may only see the mess, but we trust that the God that makes all things new, brings life out of death and shines light into the darkness is at work to redeem it all. We keep our eyes on Him — a miraculous display of transformative power. Little by little, we being to resemble Him in the smallest of ways as this transformative power touches each part of our lives. Is there anything more beautiful than that?

Tell me something beautiful God has done in your life this week.

Talk to me in the comment section below!

Linking up with: Five Minute Friday

Peace in my Inability to do #Allthethings

Five Minute Friday: WHY

I glance at my to-do list and see #allthethings that went undone this past week. I moan as the thoughts begin to flood my mind, “WHY can’t I keep up with it all? WHY am I such a bad mom? WHY can’t I be a better help to my husband?” I aspired to do #allthethings. I planned to do #allthethings. So, what happened? Certainly the answer lies in my inefficiency, my inadequacy.

Somewhere in the middle of this self-deprecating sesh, Scriptural truth drowned out the noise of negative emotions:

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
2 Corinthians 9:7-8

I don’t have to do #allthethings — no one asked me to. But the things I choose to do and the ways I choose to serve others should be done with a cheerful heart. Not because it needs to be done but because I have intentioned to do it and to do it with a proper attitude of service. But how can I do this when I’m knee-deep in monotonous tasks and overwhelmed by my own inability?

Photo by Michael Carnevale on Unsplash

I rely on the grace of God which abounds to me. It is more than enough and is greater than #allthethings in the world put together! That changes everything. His grace is never out-matched by my lengthy to-do list or naively ambitious aspirations. He gives the measure of grace I need each day to do the things that really matter — to love my children and my husband, to serve others around me and proclaim the name of Christ as I go.

In his abundance, I find –though I may not be able to do #allthethings– I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. And I’m so grateful for #allthethings He has allowed me to do for Him today.

 

I Agreed to this Life but Sometimes Can’t Remember Why

Five Minute Friday: AGREE

I agreed to this life — living overseas, church planting, and raising my kids in a foreign land. It has certainly come with a few surprises and plenty of challenges. While sometimes it may not be all I expected or dreamed it would be, it is what I wanted. When the reality of what this all really means hits me in the most disheartening ways, I have to remember that. I have to remember why I started if I want to keep moving forward.

Photo credit: Florencia Potter on Unsplash

I agreed to serve Jesus because He gave His all for me, and I am compelled to do all I can to magnify His great love. 

I agreed to work alongside my husband as we cross-cultures to share Christ because I trust him completely and believe in him wholeheartedly.

I agreed to learn a language and culture because there are millions of people that haven’t heard the Gospel in their heart language, and I may have the opportunity to change that — even if only for a few.

I agreed to raise my children away from the comforts of our home and our family because Jesus is worthy, and I want them to know that more than any other lesson I could teach them.

Jesus is worthy. Because of that I will agree to keep serving Him every day He gives me, trusting one day that the impact of that decision will far exceed my expectations.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday

A Fruit-Bearing Formula for Moms [day 15: remain]

Motherhood is soul-wrenching and energy-draining, but it is simultaneously joy-inspiring and life-giving. We moms dream big dreams for our children, and we want them to have all the best things of the world and none of the hurt. We want them to invite Christ into their life the moment they reach any semblance of maturity. We feel so much pressure to be perfect. At the heart of it all is one thing — for me anyways. We want our work to matter. Not because we want to be appreciated or respected — though that might be nice! — but that we want the seeds we sow to take deep root in our children’s lives. We want all our mistakes to fall away, covered by the blood of Jesus. But we want those stinking seeds we put everything we had into planting to do something!

Sleepless nights, stomachs tied up in knots, and tears shed behind locked bathroom doors. Dealing with developing children is heart work and heart work is hard work. We want to train our children “in the way they should go” so when they grow up they will continue in that way (Proverbs 22:6). We till the ground and we plant seeds. God gives the increase, bearing fruit in our children’s lives. We want to see it remain.

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16-17).

The formula for achieving this desirable result is presented in the rest of the chapter, and it is surprisingly simple. 

1. Abide in the love of Christ
2. Love others
3. Ask for fruit according to His will

 

Abide

We delight ourselves in Christ, and He gives us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4) The desires of our heart are not the fruit, however. The desires of our heart are the big dreams He changes to match His own. We begin to dream according to His will. We begin to beg that the Lord would do the heart work and relieve us from the pressure of perfect performance. Dependent on Him, we draw closer to Him. Sure of our standing with Him, we are free to love our children with mama bear abandon.

Love

I love this article which points out that our children are our neighbors. We are to be kind and loving even when our children fall short of our expectations of them. Even when their dreams are small and short-sighted in comparison to what we believe the Lord would want for them. We are to love them like Jesus loves them — sin, snot and all.

Ask

Abiding in Christ, desires aligned with His, we beg for the fruit only He can bring forth in our children’s lives. He wants to accomplish good work in their hearts. He wishes that our heart work would remain. He desires to grant us the desires of our hearts. Ultimately, He will work His will for our good and His glory though it may not match our picturesque plan or fantastical fantasy. We can be sure His ways are true though this may be beyond our comprehension this side of heaven.

Remain

In this heart work, we can remember that we moms are truly never alone. Our Father is there on the sleepless nights, when our stomachs are tied up, and when we lock ourselves in the bathroom. He has promised to never leave or forsake us even in these soul-wrenching, life-draining days. So, we celebrate small. We hang on to those joy-inspiring, life-giving moments, and we cling to Jesus. Because, not only will He give us fruit that remains, but He will also sustain us for the heart work of raising children so we also may remain. These precious children need us.

What do you think of this formula?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

 

Tales of A Trying Mom [day 14: try]

“I’m trying my best, you guys! Give mommy a break!” I’m not so proud to say I’ve uttered these words in sheer exasperation at my kids who were more than likely begging for their third snack before 8 a.m. at the time. I think I get more exercise running around the house in the morning than I do in my 20-minute cardio bursts!

At my best, I’m just trying to be a good mom — my definition of which changes daily, setting a standard I can never catch up with. At my worst, I am just trying to make it to bedtime when I can catch my breath and turn something on the TV I can actually wrap my head around. It is exhausting evaluating my efforts. What would be “good enough?”

I feel the pressure of big dreams for my kids. It is compounded by news articles stating preferable bedtimes and screentime limits lest my children’s brains melt — or worse! On top of just keeping them clothed and attitudes in check, I have to worry about whether they snatched something out of the cupboard containing high-fructose corn syrup. At every perceived failure I think, “I’m a bad mom.”

Is that true? Is it lovely and good? Is it something profitable for me to dwell upon (Philippians 4:8)? Or does it just make me hold up on the couch behind a pillow barrier and throw Cheetos across the room to my kids while I wallow in my inadequacy? Thinking I’m a bad mom does not make me a better mom. Shame is a lousy agent of change.

When I celebrate small, I see myself for what I am — a trying mom. I’m flawed and imperfect, but I am endued with power from on High. I have the Holy Spirit living and working inside of me, and I am wholly loved and accepted just as I am. When I celebrate small, I praise God for His mercy when I try and fail, and I praise Him for His grace to allow me to see any fruit from my labor. I am grateful for the desire He puts within me to glorify God in motherhood and to train my children to love and live for Him.

When I truly drop the ball, I first go to my heavenly Father for forgiveness and then to my children. I’ll tell them how I love them and dream the biggest dreams for them. I’ll point out God’s kindness to me in allowing me to be their mother despite all my imperfections. And I’ll assure them we can confidently put our trust in Jesus because He never will fail us. I’ll look into their wet eyes which are probably royally confused at this point and tell them I will never be a perfect mom, but I will always be a trying mom. As long as I’m trying to point them to Jesus and magnify Him in my life, that will be good enough.

Does your evaluation of your role as a mother need to change?

Talk to me in the comment section below!