Faith is the Purpose

 

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For the last 21 years, my life has been devoted to being a Mom and homeschooling our daughters. I have spent countless hours devoted to these three beautiful young ladies.  Last week, though, I began to get a feeling of purposelessness. What would I do without them here to care for? All three are attending Cedarville University this year.

I have lots of things that I like to do.  I have lots of things that I need to do.  I could probably fill a 24 hour day with 36 hours of work, but I don’t want to just be busy.  I don’t want to just get through my days until my girls come home for a break or sit by the phone waiting for them to call.

We moved 2 years ago and I began trying to prepare myself for this moment in time then. I started thinking about the things that I love and trying to discern what I could do as a career that would also allow me flexibility.

I want to have time for people.  I like discipleship.  I love teaching God’s Word.  I love studying God’s Word.  I love walking beside others through the challenges of life. I love ministry.  I want to use my nursing skills and education to go on mission/service trips. I love being a Mom, and I would love the opportunity to help others be better Moms and learn from my experiences.

So how do I roll this all up into a neat little package and make it my purpose and also figure out a way to generate an income?  That is the challenge for me that I have not figured out. I got my real estate license last year, since my dad is a builder I have a love of houses. I love meeting new people and helping them find a house they can make memories with their family.  This offers me the flexibility that I long for.

But I still feel purposeless.

Being a nurse and a Mom have helped me to realize how much I value caring for others.

I don’t have any answers just searching and praying and leaning into God for the direction He desires for me.  He created me with a purpose and He wants me to find it. He also wants me to trust Him for this purpose.  It is not called faith because we can see; it is called faith because all we can see is a loving God who wants us to trust Him.

The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.  They were fed every day for 40 years with bread and quail from the hand of God.  They could do nothing but have faith.  Faith that the manna would be there in the morning.  Faith that the quail would be there in the evening.

I must have faith.  I know that my life is not purposeless, and God does have a plan for my days.

Through the process of writing these words God has washed over me His love, His peace, and His comfort.  There is nothing like the flood of God’s presence in my heart.

Rather now than feeling purposeless, I sit in eager anticipation of what God has for me.  If you are reading these words you have also witnessed what God can do when we verbalize our faith in Him and know that He will direct.

God wants me “to walk by faith and not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). Remembering that as much as I want control, God is ultimately in control.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

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Mom, Look well to the ways of your household

girls in Grand Haven

I have been thinking about motherhood quite a bit lately.  Mostly, because my role as Mom is changing and will change drastically in August as they all head off to college.  I have loved having all of our girls home for the summer.  It is so nice to have the house full.  The messy kitchen means they are in it eating.  The messy living room means they are relaxing after a hard day of work.  The extra food I am making and all the desserts that get made and eaten means they are here eating what I make.  The shouts from the other room, “Mom,” fill my heart because I know that I am needed for a wise word or a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on or cry on.  I love these days, but I know they are fleeting.

I try to be home when they are home.

I was challenged last week as I listened to a pod cast to be intentional.  Not one to step away from a challenge, I realized that I could be more intentional than I had already been.  The speaker talked about spending time with his adult children doing a study with them.  I realized the material was important, but the time spent being intentional and growing together was actually more important. It shows my girls how important growth is.  It shows them that I don’t want to be stagnant but want to keep growing in my walk with the Lord.  It also shows them that I would rather do it with no one else but them.

I found a book that was a quick read with a good message. Short chapters that could be quickly read when we happened to all be together for a few minutes.  Easy chapters to digest with a challenging message.  I have read books to my kids since they were little.  It was always something we looked forward to and often they would want me to read more.  Mostly, because we were sharing an experience, picturing a story in our minds together, enjoying the power of the written word TOGHETHER.

We read our first few chapters on the beach in Grand Haven as we ate strawberry pie and watched the sunset.  We didn’t share too much tantalizing conversation.  We did share an experience.  We shared a memory.  We shared many laughs that we rehearse together and laugh again.

So as these days of summer are way too short and all of my sweet girls are set to leave to go to college in a few short weeks, I want to be all here.  I want to be intentional.  I want them to look at home as a place they can’t wait to get to that fills them with love and laughter and lots of good food.  I want them to remember all the little things I taught them, because they build into big lessons that build their character.

A house is a place, but home is the people and the love that fills that place.

I challenge you, Moms, fill your home with lots of good food.  Be there when your kids are there. Be ready to listen.  Look for ways to be intentional and fill their hearts with love. Today builds on the past.  If yesterday wasn’t great, make today better.  Be intentional about tomorrow.  You will have no regrets.

Proverbs 31:27 “She looks well to the ways of her household…”

Happy 21st Birthday, Danielle

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Twenty-one years ago today, I became a Mom.  As with all of us, we have a story that leads up to being a Mom.  My story starts when I was in high school.  As I was considering options for college, I seriously considered being a medical doctor.  I enjoyed medicine and helping people, so I thought this would be a good career choice for myself.  Then I thought about the day I would eventually be a Mom.  I thought about the long hours a Dr. puts in and did not see how I could be a good Mom and a good Dr.  I am not saying it cannot be done, but I did not think I could manage to do those 2 things well. So I chose to go to nursing school. It seemed to be a more flexible and not as much of a time commitment.

After Dave and I had been married for a few years, we were coming home from vacation (I can still remember where we were) and he said, “I think it is time to start our family.”  I had just finished my first semester of grad school.  There was no way I wanted to start a family then.  So we waited till I finished school.  Except, life never goes exactly like we plan it.  Of course, I had the perfect time table.  God had different plans.  So we waited until it was God’s perfect timing not my timing.  As I waited, I struggled with different things, but the biggest thing I struggled with was how my friend who did become a Dr. could also be pregnant.  I was jealous and struggled with having to wait when I had given up a career choice for this baby.  God in His goodness and kindness did not make me wait for long.

Sitting in the nursery holding Danielle in the rocking chair looking outside at the beautiful snow with tears in my eyes I told God and Danielle, “I am so glad I gave up those things for you.”  How I have loved being a Mom.  The joys have been more than I could ever imagine, because I did not give up anything, I gained everything.

Danielle, I love being your mom.  I love when you call to ask my advice, or tell me a story, or just need a sounding board.  I love when you need medical advice or plant advice. I love our conversations about what God is teaching you and how you are growing in Him.  I am so happy you had the opportunity to be a camp counselor last summer and chose to get involved in the lives of those girls.  They will never forget the fun times they had at camp or how much you impacted them and taught them about our Lord.

You have an infectious smile.  You share the joy of the Lord.  You watch for people that need love and love them.  You look out for people that need help and help them.  You enjoy teaching and helping others learn.  You are a bit quirky like me and break out into song spontaneously, only yours is usually on key.

I could not be more proud of the young lady you have become and the godly character you exhibit in your life.  So today on your 21st birthday, I pray that God will continue to be your source of joy and His Word will be a light to your path.  You know that throughout this journey of life I am always here for you. Happy Birthday!

I love you,

Mom

Grandma and Mom – Two Women who Fear the Lord

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“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

Proverbs 31:30

If we take a minute or two and watch commercials on TV, we see how enamored our society is with charm and beauty.  The men and women portrayed in commercials and on most regular TV programs have been touched up and wear the perfect clothes, have perfect hair, and wear the perfect make-up.  Yet who decided what was perfect?  Where did we get this ideal?

Men and women looking for spouses have fallen for the same trap of looking for charm and beauty.  Too often we set ourselves up for defeat, looking for Prince Charming or waiting for a prince to invite us to the ball.  We sit at home pining for a prince, hoping for the magical invitation, and the magical dance only to be filled with disappointment when none of this occurs.

Rather than looking, we should focus on being.  If a man looks for a woman that is only charming and beautiful, but does not take the time to really evaluate her character, the charm and beauty becomes an illusion when the reality of life hits the newlyweds square in the face.   When the woman has won her man, she no longer has to be charming and her true character is revealed.  Instead of a charming woman with an attitude of graciousness, the mask of deceit is removed and the true woman is revealed.  Her charm was a facade that was only used to win the heart of her husband.  Her true character is revealed when the laundry needs done, meals need to be made, or children need to be cared for.  When old age hits and that beautiful and voluptuous body the man was drawn to becomes saggy and wrinkly, will he beat a hasty retreat because that is not what he signed up for?  Or will they spend thousands on cosmetic surgery so she can keep her girlish figure and looks even at the age of sixty?

So if a man is not to be wooed by a woman’s charm and beauty, what should he be looking for? A woman who fears the Lord.  This woman may be attractive, gracious, and charming; but at the root of her character is the fear of the Lord.”  What does this look like?

  1. What does she talk about? Superficial things that have no value tomorrow.  Or the things of the Lord-what she learned in her devotions or what God is teaching her?
  2. What does she do? Is she looking to be entertained or does she look for opportunities of service?  Is she lazing about or serving her family and “reaching her hands to the poor?” Proverbs 31:20).
  3. Who or what does she care about? This is seen by her actions.  Is she a drama queen looking for attention for herself or is she “opening her hands to the poor?” (Proverbs 31:20).  Is she known for her compassion for others or is she looking for ways to take advantage of someone or of a situation?  What are her true motives?

Solomon in his musings in the twelve chapters of Ecclesiastes finally came to the conclusion that “The end of the matter; all has been heard.  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14).  Where is our search in becoming the virtuous woman?  Are we seeking to “fear God and keep His commandments” or are we seeking to fulfill our own selfish desires through our charm and beauty?  In the end “every secret thing God will judge.”  (Ecclesiastes 12:14).  “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30).

Questions:

  1. There is a lot of discussion about our outward appearances. God made women beautiful and appealing to men.  However, He wants us to remember that our true character does not fade.  How does I Timothy 2:9, 10 relate to this concept?
  1. Read Psalm 115:13. What is the promise?
  1. Read Proverbs 2:5. What will you gain?
  1. Read Ecclesiastes 12:13. What is our duty?
  1. Are there any other verses you can think of that relate to the “fear of the Lord?”
  1. What does “the fear of the Lord” mean to you?
  1. How do we acquire “the fear of the Lord?”
  1. Read Daniel 6. What was the most important thing to Daniel?  Can the same be said about you?