Wednesday, September 17, 2008

...whatsoever ye do...

My precious little girl this summer doing one of her favorite things, playing with our bunny "Angel Kisses"
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
I Corinthians 10:31

Question: What is the chief end of man?
Answer: To glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.


I've been inspired down into the deepest part of my soul to glorify God in ALL I do. "Whether I eat, or drink, or whatsoever [I] do..." Even as a Christian, God is easily removed from my day, except I purpose that He be intricately weaved into absolutely everything.

I want to glorify God in the simple things, but also in the not-so-simple.

I want to glorify God as I go about my day by
serving my family,
doing laundry,
preparing a meal, or
being nice to the person who calls the wrong number, for the umpteenth time,
or who calls the right number, but is trying to market anything to me {sigh}.

I want to make my life one where I focus on all the blessings.
Sometimes these blessings, are what I think of blessings....
Sometimes these blessings, are not what I think of blessings....
hard, painful, difficult, trying....

It is a blessing to be so needed by my husband, my children.
Even if it is in the middle of the night. Even when I'm physically exhausted.
It is a blessing when the money is tight, when a loved one is sick,
when my patience is really, really tried,
and I can't take it any more, because

"...the trial of [my] faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. Whom having not seen, [I] love; in Whom, though now [I] see Him not, yet believing, [I] rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." I Peter 1:7-8

I've been richly inspired by my favorite blog Eyes of Wonder. Apart from God's Word, never before have I read such beauty through words. Its not her, but its her life fully devoted to God, and glorifying Him that inspires me so. But its not this alone, more specifically, its her last few posts that have connected some dots in my soul. Even more specifically, it is the amazing teaching at our church that I've sat under for the last year and a half. It is all this but more, that has, although times are in a sense harder today, made my perspective different. It is a focus that is on Christ and in "....learn[ing] of [Him]" (this is the KEY). I am learning that He is "meek and lowly in heart: and [I] shall find rest unto [my] soul. For [His] yoke is easy, and [His] burden is light." (Matthew 11:30). It is a sacrifice, that is true, but I'm learning that more than water and food, more than even sleep, I need to be immersed in Christ. This is done through daily Bible reading and prayer, and not by showing up at church once a week. It is simply that. Yes, it is being in Christ, moment by moment,, that is important.

This has been a shift in thinking for me. As an American, even a Christian American, I often think that if we were financially stable, if we were in perfect health, if we were witty and popular and had many friends, than we would be happy. But as I read God's Word, over and over and over again, I am reminded that it is in fact the opposite of all these things where the righteous most often are, and are content and find joy. I'm doing nothing wrong (necessarily) if we struggle financially, if we or our loved ones are sick, if we are quiet and awkward, even if we are just struggling with being happy.

Christ was not popular and did not have many friends. Paul struggled his whole life with a "thorn in his flesh" (some have suggested it could have been migraines. After experiencing major headaches for the first half of this pregnancy, I have a new understanding of people who struggle with this). Job lost everything - his possessions (which I can cling so hard to), his loved ones (oh, I can't even imagine), everything. The list of Biblical examples goes on.

Next week in Sunday school, we will begin to learn from the book of I Samuel. Our teacher asked us to begin reading it. Can you imagine longing for a child so much, yet the Lord did not open your womb. Yes, there are many who know this pain today. Can you imagine how hard it would be that your husband's other wife kept getting pregnant, over and over again? Yet the Lord was faithful, and blessed Hannah with the birth of her son Samuel. Hannah promised to give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and she kept her promise. After Samuel was weaned, Hannah literally gave him to the Lord, by sending him to live with the priest Eli. What? I wouldn't be surprised if Hannah was hoping the Lord wouldn't take her literally and choose a different way. Yet through this journey, Hannah and Elkanah eventually had 5 more children! Referring back to Eyes of Wonder, Jewels reminded me in her recent post, that often the journey the Lord brings me on, is nothing I would ever chose to travel, yet once I am there, I can see His hand in it the whole time. Once I am there, I wouldn't change where I am, from where I was.

It is with all this mind, that I will be changing the "tone" of my blog. In it, I will still update on my family. But, as Jewels does, I hope to bring glory to God with a focus on the simple things, but also in everything.

So, I begin by sharing with you one of our favorite days from this summer. It was simple. The place wasn't too crowded because of that very reason. Nothing hugely entertaining when compared to today's standard of entertainment, but it was beautiful. This was one of the day trips we took during our most delightful vacation in August. The place was a fairy-tale themed children's park, one that hasn't been updated, ever :) Fun was had by us all!

One of my favorite pictures from this summer. Oh to capture the giggles of these boys (hubby included ;) ) Really look at the picture, and I bet you can hear their belly laughs! Can you hear it? I agree with our Pastor who said, "I don't think the gates of hell have ever heard the laugh of a child."
And after such a tiring day, some couldn't help but to fall into a slumber. What a full day for which we are thankful to God.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.

May we be as little children today. Innocent, and not overladen with the cares of this world. As our children do not worry about the next thing, knowing Mommy and Daddy will just take care of it, may we too not worry about tomorrow, knowing our Lord and our Father, will take that much more care of us, His children.

Finding His blessings in it all,



Jewels said...

Dearest ((Jen))
What a *beautiful* post. It was so thoughtful and kind of you to share it with me. Thank-you. What a blessing your words of *life* were. I loved what you shared in this post, and I'm going to read it aloud to the children, tonight. Also, thank the Lord that He's welled up and washed over in me, to love and encourage you--and likewise--welled up and washed over in you, to love and encourage me. What a joy and privilege to be sisters and friends, and to love, care for, and enjoy each other--in Him. Thank-you precious little sister for sharing your sweet, tender heart, for Him, with me. **You have such a beautiful family**
Most sincerely, Jewels xo

Liz said...

Wow Jen - what a post! I did enjoy reading it! The encouragement you give...thank you for sharing how we are to thank the Lord for every little thing, even, like you said, being waken up at night. How tired I am at nights when Davey still needs me at age 4!!! But I'm grateful to my Lord (like Hannah) for blessing me with 2 children, after being so downhearted when hearing I couldn't have children! Yes, we are to be so happy no matter what, happy and joyful in our Lord no matter what comes our way. My days are full, and I do get very stressed out especially with my kids and hubby over little stuff...your post will be an encouagement to me, keep them coming, for I need this! I miss you, and wish we knew each other better before you moved away. But I'm grateful for getting the chance to know, and have a friend like you now! Love, Liz

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O'er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow