I worry about my children. A lot more than I should. I think that just comes with the territory of motherhood. Moms of adults... does this ever go away? But there was a season last year when I was not ok. My prayers came from a place of worry and fear, and even though I talked to the Lord about those fears frequently, I never handed them over to Him. I just talked. And I never listened.
I worried about every little detail. Health, safety, school districts, friends, mental/physical/emotional development, relationships… you get the picture. I prayed about all of this, too. I prayed for specifics. I prayed that God would open this door or that door. I essentially gave God my five-minute PowerPoint presentation and told Him which options I thought would be acceptable.
After listening to a convicting sermon, I walked away with a lump in my throat, but also a little relief. Because I realized there was something that I hadn’t been praying…the most important prayer, really. I hadn’t been praying that my kids would love the Lord more and more every day. I wasn’t praying that they would find a deep passion for the Lord and for His church at a young age. I wasn’t praying that their lives would honor Him and that they would live to do Kingdom work. I realized that if all of those things happen, we don’t have to worry about anything else.
Because if they are truly seeking the Lord’s will for their lives, they’ll be right where He wants them to be. They’ll see the open doors and seek the things that are true and pure.
I’m not saying they won’t make mistakes, we all know they will. But I am saying if they are seeking the Lord, they will accept the grace and forgiveness that Jesus offers, and they’ll keep moving forward.
So, we started praying. And we will continue to pray. The worry hasn’t fully gone away, and honestly I’m not sure it ever will. We don’t have it all figured out. We don’t know what our children’s futures hold. We don’t know how their stories will read. But we do know this. We know that the Lord is the author of their stories. He holds their futures.
We know that He loves them beyond measure. We know He loves them more than we can comprehend.
There are certainly seasons of life that we pray over specific decisions or situations. We still pray for wisdom. We still pray for guidance as we strive to raise our children to love Jesus. But we try not to worry. Because in God’s will is the safest place to be.
So, we do our best. We teach the truth. And we know that He is good. No matter what, He is good.
It’s really easy for me to get caught up in coordinating the everyday chaos that is our life. I have two young children and my days seem full of things like making meals, vacuuming cheerios out of the carpet, cleaning up dishes, sitting in the preschool drop-off line, paying bills, mopping the floor, trying to run a small business, and the other one-thousand things that come with being a mom and a wife.
Every now and then, I find myself between chores thinking “What am I even doing? Who am I impacting? What difference am I making in the world?” If I sit long enough and am able to move past my pity-party, I hear that still, quiet whisper say it’s up to me. It’s up to me to make a difference. Making a difference doesn’t always have to mean writing a book that saves thousands. It doesn’t always mean doing something so noble that your story is told all around the country. Sometimes, most of the time really, making a difference is done in the shadows. It’s done where few see.
Making a difference often starts in our homes. It’s raising kind toddlers that become kind men and women. It’s reaching out to a friend who has just lost a family member. Sometimes it means taking a neighbor a meal or ordering them a pizza just because the Lord put them on your heart. Offer a service for free… just because. Bless other people. Raise your children to have confidence in themselves and trust in the Lord.
You can and you should make a difference right where you are. Impact the people around you. Show them love and kindness and compassion. A lot of times showing people love results in a "softball," or an easy opportunity to tell your story.
Everything we do can be kingdom work if we let it. Pray for children as you fold their clothes. Make double when you are preparing dinner and drop it off at someone’s house. Honor the Lord with your finances as you pay your bills. Play worship music and have intentional conversations with your children as you wash the dishes… maybe even let them help. Go out of your way to do a chore for your spouse without expecting anything in return. Add an encouraging note to your children or spouse’s lunch -- let them know you will be praying for them today. Encourage a coworker with a coffee and a listening ear. Be kind to someone who isn’t kind to you -- whether they want to or not they will see the Lord. Let others see the Lord through you.
Kingdom work comes in all shapes and sizes. The most important thing is to let God use you. You may never write a book that saves thousands or have your noble deeds on national television, but I promise you can make an eternal difference from right where you are. Be open to the Lord's promptings and when He throws you an easy one, make sure you swing.
I’ve never been a very good swimmer. Sure, I can tread water. I can get from point A to point B. But my form is tragic and there is a lot more flailing than effortless breaststokes.
Lately, I feel like I’m drowning. Mom-life doesn’t allow for drowning, so I’ve had to keep my chin up and keep pushing forward. But most days I just want to sit down and quit. I am just tired. Life really isn’t bad. I have two wonderful healthy children and an ever-so-patient husband. As a family we are just in a season of uncertainty. I told someone that recently and walking away I realized life is just several seasons of uncertainty smashed together. Sure, we may go through seasons of good health, financial stability, healthy relationships, and confidence in our paths or careers. But at the heart of things, we never can be sure of what comes next. Because we just don’t know.
As tough as it is, I am trying to be ok with that. I want to be ok with whatever God has planned for my family and myself. I want to accept it now so that when He calls us, we’re ready. I want to be where He wants us to be when He wants us to be there… even if following those promptings don’t make sense to the people in our lives. I want to be so in tune with the Lord that when the Holy Spirit speaks, I hear Him and am confident in the direction we are called to go.
I’m not really talking about moving to Africa or living on the streets in downtown Chicago. I’m talking about the seemingly small promptings. The promptings to reach out to a friend online who just had a baby – hello, post partum depression.I’m talking about the promptings to take the neighbor a pie and just say welcome to the neighborhood. The promptings might be to take the homeless man a hot meal, even if you have your doubts about the severity of his situation. Sometimes the promptings might be more difficult, like selling your house or car, switching school districts or telling your child “no” when they ask to participate in a sport that practices on Sunday.
Sometimes the promptings may not make sense to us. They may go against what the world says, how we feel politically, or simply what we want to do. Sometimes even in the midst of following the Lord you may find yourself saying "Whatever you're doing Lord, I don't see it. I don't get it. But I trust you." Because if these whispers are truly from the Lord, they are good and they are right.
In this season of uncertainty, I know a few things for certain. The Lord is good. His plan is good. Where He calls us is good. And I know that if I fix my eyes on Jesus, He won’t let me drown.
" I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I won't be shaken."