Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ordinary Moments ~ Titus 2 Tips {on Thursdays} ~ A Guest Post

Damp April rains trickled down our window panes as my children pressed their faces against the cold glass. I gathered them around me on the couch to take an imaginary walk in the forest through the pages of a library book. We explored the cycle of new life within the forest, especially under dead tree trucks that have fallen throughout the years.


On drier days, when we venture down a forest path, too often I spend more time looking up at the lofty trees and the skies above and walk straight past the scurrying little insects on the forest floor. My children, on the other hand, are fascinated with this frequently ignored part of the forest. They push over the dead limbs and observe the millipedes and beetles dash away, as their little hands try to collect a few “pets”. I watch with knotted stomach, imagining creepy crawlies invading my skin.

These bugs work tirelessly in the small spaces on planet earth. Without a care to be noticed, they work beneath fallen trees, in the dark dirt and decomposing leaves and scurry away as soon as little, determined hands disturb their home. They seem pretty ordinary and their work doesn't seem amazing at all. But, without the beetles and bugs, we wouldn't have the moist, healthy soil for new trees to begin their growth. These bugs may be harder to see, but their quiet work greatly contributes to the health of our forests.

There’s another creature of the forest that I’ve always found more interesting than the ordinary bug. From my childhood days at our cottage, when a bear tromped through the area, everyone stopped what they were doing and watched with amazement. Bears cannot help but draw attention and people cannot help but notice them.


However, being noticed doesn't always mean what you're doing is of much value. In the same way, doing something of value doesn't always mean you'll be noticed. The world tries to equate attention with importance. But does leading a quiet life mean what you're doing lacks value?

Unfortunately, there are some days when I fight with this question. Especially when illness strikes our home and days are long and nights seem endless. The ordinary begins to lack purpose and I convince myself that I work under many little hands of oppression.

Last night, piled up dinner dishes made me feel even more exhausted. I lamented in my tired heart, "Why doesn't this work seem important?"

I realize I have subconsciously convinced myself that these "bug days of motherhood" are all too ordinary to be of any value.



My pride has brought forth discouragement as I look around and wonder if I measure up. Then, in order to measure up, I become all too busy with the externals and I push aside what is most important. I need to draw near to God. In James, we read that the people were quarrelling and fighting amongst themselves. Why? Because of their inner passions and covetous nature. But God yearns jealously for His own and He gives more grace.

In my discouragement and selfishness, I wanted to feel important. Instead God convicted me of my sin. James continues, "Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom."

We have a real problem. So many people are drowning in disillusionment and we hardly know how to recognize it anymore.
"But understand this, that in the last days... people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power." (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Sometimes it takes illness in my family in order for me to see the struggle in my heart. When all of my carefully laid out plans, consistent bed times, and meal menus are unravelled and I can’t hide behind the image I want so badly to create—an image I feel comfortable with—I become disheartened and anxious. Yet, God allows the unravelling of myself to illuminate the ugliness and root of the problem. I want to feel important. I want to feel like I am doing well and so I perform, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.

The Pharisees also had an appearance of godliness. In Matthew 16, Jesus warned His disciples of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He told them to "beware of the leaven". Jesus warned them of the teachings that work like leaven and spread ruin. He warned them of the overall attitude of, "God, I thank you I am not like that other men". The Pharisees knew the art of comparison.

Pharisees serve themselves. They break commandments for the sake of their traditions (Matt 15:6); they worship vainly - their heart is cold towards God (Matt 15:8-9); they are self-indulgent and greedy (Matt 23:25,27); they are lovers of money (Luke 16:14).

Jesus Christ warned His disciples of this false teaching.

The danger is the same for us today. We create busy lives of keeping up to others, not measuring up within ourselves and then covering up and failing to live humbly and authentically with others. It’s a horrible trap that is sweeping destruction within our families and churches. Instead of admitting our need for God and serving Him only, we long to be noticed and appreciated. We set up images of self-worship. Greed, envy, deceit, hypocrisy, discontentment are all fruits of disillusionment and they work together to poison our heart like leaven throughout a lump of dough. We walk around poisoned and not even recognizing how we hungrily gasp for breath, reaching out desperately for something to quench our desire. We grow discouraged in our lives and become a perfect target for the enemy to speak lies of unworthiness.

There are words of life for the hungry soul:
"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you." (James 4:8,10)
In the past, I would walk through a forest and be saddened by the sight of a once beautiful tree lying broken on the forest floor. But in the brokenness, life continues. The bugs work tirelessly throughout the tree limbs doing what they were designed for and allowing the Creator to bring about new life through their tiny efforts.

There is brokenness all around us, even as in the ancient days of the Psalmist. David ached over the wickedness and evil in the world. He was treated unjustly. He was hunted like a dog by blood-thirsty men. He knew exhaustion as he waited day after day in a cave. Did he wonder what God could possibly be doing? He might have asked, "Is this really important?" Yet, David had a heart of humility. Whether he was shepherding a flock of sheep or leading battle as king, his heart was for God alone. He had a proper view of God and a proper view of himself.
"The king shall have strength in your salvation, O Lord; and in your salvation how greatly shall we rejoice! You have given Him his heart's desire . . . for the king trusts in the Lord, and through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved." (Psalm 21:1,2,7)
When we trust that God is restoring life even when all seems broken around us, we proclaim, "We are small but do you see what God is doing? It is amazing how He continues to renew this selfish and proud heart through the cleansing blood of His Perfect Son!" This is rejoicing in salvation!
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us" (2 Corinthians 4:7)
When we are weak, He is strong.

When we are sick, He is Healer.

When we are poor, He is rich.

When we are frail, He is Hope.

When we are unravelled, He is holding all things together.
"In Him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
It is important to view oneself as richly blessed because of Christ alone.

We are not to strive for perfection but rest in the perfect work of the cross.

We are not to gain man's approval or applause but to please the heart of the Father.

We are not to live each day waiting to be noticed and appreciated but live a quiet life, doing all things as on to the Lord.

We are not to measure ourselves by well-behaved children, clean socks and award ceremonies. These kinds of measurements will go up and down. Instead may we rest in the mercy of the Most High.

As we rest in His mercy, we will not be moved.


Nothing we are going through right now is an empty moment, lacking value. Our breathing in and out is filled with His glory and covered in His love. Even in the "bug days of motherhood" we are called to "Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only!"

This is of most value and we can worship the Lord when up rocking a child in the middle of the night or putting away the last of the dinner dishes. We can worship the Lord in our weariness as we surrender our intentions and quietly wait on the Lord.
"For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." (Hosea 6:6)
Let our moments be filled with the acknowledgment of God in all that we do.
"Therefore, instead of praising ourselves, we should strive to approve ourselves to God. In a word, let us glory in the Lord our salvation, and in all other things only as evidences of his love, or means of promoting his glory. Instead of praising ourselves, or seeking the praise of men, let us desire that honour which cometh from God only. (Matthew Henry)



Rachel is redeemed by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross, and blessed by His unfailing love and mercy. She sees the evidences of His faithfulness in her life as she walks hand in hand with her husband, loving, praying, and growing together in the joys and sorrows of life. 
She teaches her children from home. Her coffee cup assists her in this pursuit.  
Their days are filled with chaos and laughter. 
She loves motherhood.
She has a love/hate relationship with laundry. She can't seem to keep socks from disappearing. 
 
She has three boys in mismatched socks and one 
girl who loves to sing, a 3 year old version of herself.
 
She loves looking up at the sky or sitting by a river. 
It gives her time to reflect with joy that she knows her Redeemer lives and in the end He will stand on the earth and she will stand with Him on that day.

A Soft Gentle voice
I am honoured to host these guest posts in this series on women mentoring women 
Some weeks you may find tips from the kitchen or healthy recipes, tools other women have used to grow spiritually, hints to help us build up and love our husbands, and lessons they have learned as they have walked along with their children to teach them to love God wholeheartedly, habits they have developed in keeping their home, ways they have worked on to keep their behaviour respectful, or rhythms that allow peace and rest in the home and hearts that dwell there within.
You will find all the posts in the series here.


"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behaviour,
not slanderers or slaves to much wine.
They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands,
that the word of God may not be reviled."

{Titus 2:3-5}

2 comments:

  1. This is the biggest struggle and also the lie of the world that the work of motherhood is not important. Aiming to please Him and Him alone every day is a constant battle but one worth fighting!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful post...True words every Mother needs to hear...Thank you for sharing your heart.

    ReplyDelete

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