Where Has All the Thankfulness Gone?

 

I was talking with my husband last night about how many moms that I know, that want to quit homeschooling. It broke my heart to look into their eyes and see their pain as they discussed the idea of giving up and sending their kids back to public school, (or to some sort of institution for the first time). Each time I hear their stories, I pray that God will give me the wisdom to talk them out of their decision, but more times than not I do not know what to say. But last night as I was talking to my husband, God helped me to realize that sometimes our calamities are from a perspective of unthankfulness. Now I do not mean that in an unrespectful way to any mom who is struggling in their lives, but when God spoke to me about our lack of thankfulness, he was even talking to me.

 

Our Perspective Needs to Change


“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in

Christ Jesus.”  ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

“And whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  ~ Colossians 3:17

 

The word thank, in various forms, is in the Bible over 130 times. Asking us to be thankful, to give thanks, to have thanksgiving and more. Even Jesus himself prayed to God 5 times in the Bible, thanking God his Father. How much more thankful should we be then!?

I know as a homeschooling mom it is so easy to complain about having to do the dishes for the 100th time that week. Or you look at the laundry that is a mountain on your couch and wonder when you are going to have time to get that done. Maybe it’s Monday and you dread doing school work with the kids for the whole week. Whatever your circumstances are they could always be worse.

Most of us live in a house that has running water. A house that keeps us warm and dry when the weather is horrible. We have a bed to sleep in at night. We have food in our bellies. And many other amenities that people around the world would love to have. Since we have had these priveleges in our life since we were born, we tend to take them for granted. I know when I go to brush my teeth, I am not in awe that I can just turn a handle and water comes out. I have become desensitized to the wonderful blessings that God has given me.

 

How to Change Your Perspective


1. Spend Time in God’s Word

So how do we change our perspective, it all starts with spending time in God’s Word. God reminds us that He sent His one and only Son to die for us. He died a horrible death for us sinners. Sinners that are still sinners today. How God’s grace has covered us, through our whole lives. Yet we tend to take that for granted too.

Being able to read my Bible, has felt like a chore some days or a  something to check off for the day, instead of something that I need, like air. I live in a country, where for now, I can freely read my Bible. I can write this blog post without worrying someone will come in my home and arrest me. I get to read God’s Word and the delight that wells up in my heart reminds me of the awesome powers of our God.

Reading the Bible also helps to me to renew my mind.

 

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing

you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

 

It is harder than it seems to not want to live like the rest of the world does. To want, to demand, to be selfish and have things done the way that you want them done. However, this is not how God wants us to live. Trust me, if you wake up everyday and spend time in the Bible, it will help you to reset your mommy meter for the day, which is what God wants us to do. Rely on Him to help us to be the parents that we cannot be on our own.

 

2. Living Your Life For Others

I do not know how many days that I wake up with a check list in my head. I need to get out of bed, work on my website, take a shower, get the kids out of bed, eat breakfast, feed the animals and all before 8:30. My day starts with the mentality that everything is about ME. All I think about is what I need to do for the day. Then, there are days that I get out of bed and spend time in God’s Word allowing my heart and eyes to open up to what He wants from me for the day.

It is so easy to live a life of checklists, not even paying attention to the world around us, including our kids. Those days when I do not pay attention to my kids and wonder why they are upset easily and stressed out. It’s because mom is too busy completing her checklist to take time out for them, leaving them feeling less than loved. I know that if my husband treated me like that, when I needed to really talk to him about something that was bothering me, I would feel angry and unloved. All of this could be avoided if we woke up each day, spent time with God and then asked Him what He needed us to do that day.

But what about all the things that I need to do? How am I suppose to get all the things done that I need to get done, if I am spending time with God or asking Him what He wants me to do for the day?? Easily, with patience, love and grace. God covers our whole day for us with grace if we allow Him. Grace that allows us to rely on Him for our strength. Grace that loves us even when we do not deserve it. Grace that opens our eyes to see the world through God’s eyes. A world that is in need of being loved.

So lets start living our lives each day for God.

 

3. JOY

This is a word that we use all the time in our house. “What does JOY mean?” “It stands for Jesus, others then yourself.” Even as my kids tell me what the word means, it reminds me of my own selfish nature. The ME, ME, ME merry-go-round that I can live on, if I am not careful.

 

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first greatest 

commandment. And the second is like it: ‘ Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets

hang on these two commandments.” ~ Matthew 22:37-40

 

Living your life for Jesus (God), then others and yourself last can change your whole perspective on life.

 

Carrying This into our Homeschooling Life


So our first move needs to be that God is put first into our lives, so that we can be the best mom that we can be. The mom that has patience when her kids have been fighting all day. The mom that takes time to listen to her kids, when all she wants to do is hide. The mom that has those beautiful words of wisdom in times of need. The mom that holds it all together at home and still makes time to help others. I don’t know about you but I need God to do all of this.

And when those thoughts about quitting homeschooling arise, we will face them with the certainty of prayer.

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition

with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” ~ Philippians 4:6

 

When we come to those crossroads, not knowing which way to go, just give it to God. He sees the bigger picture when we cannot. And knowing what form of education our children should have is a plan only God knows.

 

How do you cope with homeschooling when things get rough??

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The Temptation of the Double Line

The Temptation

How many times have we thought, what could this little temptation do to hurt me? Just a small fracture of not following the rules. Knowing that what I am about to do is not good for me, but it isn’t really that bad, right? We have all been there. The feeling of temptation and wanting to fill up our tank with an emotion that feels so good. Not realizing that we are filling our tanks with a gas that leads to engine failure.

Driving Between the Lines

As you drive your car down the road, you have a pretty white line on the right side of you and then there are those double yellow lines. Staring you in the face, telling you not to cross over. For the most part we do a good job at staying on our side of the lines, until those temptations come in that cause us to cross over.

One of the biggest temptations in a car is your cell phone. If people are constantly texting you, calling you, maybe you even receive Facebook or email pop-ups to let you know that you are wanted. The need sometimes to just look at the phone. See who is contacting you. To make sure that it is not an emergency, weighs out over the common sense rule that we are driving. That looking at our phone is not the best idea and that it could hurt you or possibly even kill you, might cross your mind. But, oh, that need to just look at the phone takes over and before you know it, you have your phone in your hand, not paying attention to the road and cross those dreaded double yellow lines.

What about kids arguing in the back. Yelling at each other, or yelling for you to help them. Mom!! Dad!! Talking really loudly. You keep trying to make sure that everyone is okay. Or, the time when they spill something and it keeps leaking as your driving. All those distractions that they don’t mean to cause, but usually do, can lead to disaster on the road.

The need to turn the radio station. The want to have another sip of coffee. The have to’s that make us turn our eyes away from the road, even if just for a second, causing our car to drift into an area on the road where we are not wanted. It can be so complicated to drive safely, yet, we have to drive to get where we need to go.

Temptation in Life

The same thing happens in life. You are going through life and everything seems to being going fine, then one day, a certain small temptation arises and you take it. What could it hurt? It’s only a small problem. How far can it go?

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, prowls around

like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

That small temptation, always leads to bigger problems. I have never read a story about someone that gave into a small temptation, that led to them wanting that sinful item less. Usually it leads to wanting that enticement more and more till it takes you over.

It starts with a whisper in your ear, “Take it. It won’t hurt you.” And that voice keeps whispering, till your flesh gives in. How weak is our flesh? Every time that I have ever tried to quite doing something or start a better habit in my life, my own will power fizzles out within a week or two. But, if I let God be in control of my life and I follow where he wants me to go, then life is much easier. I am able to fight off the temptation without too much of a fight. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still have temptation in my life, I do, but at least I have a secret weapon that allows me to turn away and say “no.”

Temptation Arises

I have never suffered with drug or alcohol addiction, thank God, literally. I have never suffered from a sexually addiction. But I have suffered from a heart addiction. During my last marriage, I would find myself attracted to other men quite frequently. This happened when my ex-husband and I would be struggling in our relationship. I was going to college at the time and there were times when other men in my class would take the time to talk to me. Show me that they cared about me. Listened to my problems. This led me to think about leaving my ex-husband for something that seemed better.

This happened at least two times. The second time, I would find myself waking up in the middle of the night, after having a sexual dream with me and the other man. I would be so scared of my own thoughts. I couldn’t leave. We were married and had a daughter together. What kind of person would do that? But the thoughts kept coming. The feelings got stronger. I would long to see that other person when I went to college. And I couldn’t stop myself from wanting that other person. It was horrible. I would talk to my friends about leaving my ex-husband or cry about the guilt that I had from these feelings. No matter what I did though, the feelings never went away.

I never physically did anything with any of these men, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t want to. I had an emotional affair on my ex-husband and he never knew. I hated myself for these feelings and thoughts. I lived with guilt for so long that it would eat me alive some-days. That is how I lived for the longest time.

How to Stop Temptation 

I am currently remarried, and vowed to never feel the way that I did in my previous marriage about another man. This would take time and effort and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own.

I started going to church regularly, right after I left my ex-husband, and before I met my current husband. I even started going to ladies’ Bible study and reading the Bible more. I felt this urge and need to fill my life with God. It was the only way that I felt whole. If I didn’t fill my life with Him, then there was this want to go out and drink away the pain. Instead, I ended up finding myself praying to God quite a bit throughout the day. I didn’t want to fall in love with someone else who would potentially hurt me in more ways than one, again. I wanted to have a life that was filled with God and whatever else came from that, so be it.

Well, I met my first husband and we fell in love pretty quickly. I still remember the first month that we were dating. We talked every night on the phone, after my two girls went to bed, and I would ask him every question under the sun. The ones that I asked the most were about his faith. I wanted someone to stand beside me, not behind me when it came to God.

We went to premarital counseling, because I thought that would fool proof our marriage, allowing us to never get a divorce. He talked a little bit about his pornography addiction, during the counseling sessions. I halfheartedly listened. I just thought that it wasn’t a big deal. He would figure it out on his own. That with prayer it would all go away. And for awhile it did. He threw away all of his old XXX movies, without me asking and I thought that was the end of it all. Boy, was I wrong.

After we got married, the pornography issue came back with a vengeance. I wanted nothing to do with it. For one, I had been cheated on by my ex-husband. Two, I was afraid of the feelings that might arise again. I was afraid that I would start to desire other men around me again, and I didn’t want that. I wanted to stay married this time. So I tried to watch the movies to make him happy, but all it did was make me mad, and start to tear away at our marriage.

When I said, “NO more,” to watching pornography, things got even worse. He pulled away and I became insecure and the thoughts of him cheating on me erupted. As I look back now, I know that God was testing us and the devil was tempting us. It was so hard. I wanted to make my husband happy, more than anything, but not at the cost of my faith. So I dove even more into the Bible. I started praying a lot. I was mad, confused, hurt and didn’t know what else to do.

There were times that divorce crossed my mind. I was so convinced that God had made a mistake. That my husband would be much better off with someone else. But, ever time that I prayed, God would tell me to, “Love your husband, the way that I love you.” Yeah right, I would often think. Then one day, the Holy Spirit convicted me to live that way. To love my husband, even when I don’t want to. Even when I a feel hurt. Even when he doesn’t deserve it. All of this because of listening to God.

You can pray all you want. You can read the Bible everyday. You can go to church and push yourself to help others. You can even force yourself to be selfless, but until you start to listen to God and obey Him, nothing will change. You will still be the person who tries to be Holy, by doing all the right things, yet still falls short and gives into temptation.

How has God helped you with your temptations in life?

 

 

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