Sunday, May 1, 2011

Encouragement through Discouraging Times

I have so much to be thankful for.  So much that is going well: my physical and emotional health are better since going gluten free.  I completed revisions of my novel and am getting great feedback from beta readers.  I have a beautiful daughter, terrific husband.  My garden is thriving, and the caring for the baby chicks I bought this week and planning for their housing has become a very fun family project. 

And yet, there are a few areas where I can tend to get discouraged.

Trying to conceive our second child, for instance.  Woke up this morning to the evidence that we will have to keep trying.

Another is my husband's efforts to build an insurance business.  He's working hard, talking to lots of people, but his efforts are slow to bear fruit. 

And, last but not least, the daily grind of the small tasks of household management and mothering provide plenty of fodder for discouragement.  The bed needs to be made ... again.  The toddler made a mess ... again.  My firm and kind response to a typical toddler behavior wasn't a miracle cure ... she's still a toddler and I need to provide that same kind and firm response the next time it happens, even if it's minutes later.

It's easy to lose focus and get tired and discouraged!

I love how God speaks through others to deliver a word to us right when we need to hear it. 

This morning's sermon drew from 1 Kings 19.  Elijah just finished the battle on Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal.  God won, and for a brief moment it looked like the people's hearts and even Ahab's heart might be turning back toward God.  Then, Jezebel puts out a death warrant for Elijah and he runs for his life. 

From the highest high he goes to the lowest low, a fugitive alone out in the wilderness, praying to God that his life would end now. 

As James says, I'm of like nature or like passion with Elijah.  How many times have I been in the same place, sitting under my figurative broom tree, having a pity party because things didn't turn out like I planned, feeling alone in my efforts.   My lament is similar to his:  "I've had it!" "I give up!"  "I'm the only one doing XYZ!  Doesn't anyone help out around here?" "Is this really what you want Lord if there's no fruit?"
That kind of discouragement comes when I focus on my own efforts and my own expectations of what results those efforts should yield.  It comes when I despise the small things and think I'm ready to move on to bigger things. 

God's response is to Elijah is so tender, so gentle.  He sends the angel of the Lord to touch, feed, and minister to Elijah.  He graciously shows Elijah that indeed he is not alone in serving Him. 

God has called me to be faithful with the small things he's given me.  To love my husband body and soul and accept whatever children He blesses us with in His time.  To pray for, encourage and support my husband as he builds his business and make it possible for him to focus on that by how I manage my share of the household work.  To do my part and trust God to do His part.

That truly encouraged me this morning, and I share it here to solidify it in my own heart and in the hope it may encourage someone else.


  1. Many, many hugs to you! My life is richer because you are in it, and I know that is true for everyone who knows you. <3

    And you perfectly summed up why I loathe housework. It is so repetitive and futile. Sigh.

  2. What words of blessing! Thank you. :)

  3. I remember the pain of desperately trying to conceive our first and second children and crying out to God. I was comforted by the story of Hannah who prays so desperately for a child that the priest fears that she is drunk. It was almost 10 years ago but I can feel that pain when I close my eyes and remember.

    Obviously, we walked through the valley of infertility and all the while the Lord heard our prayers and had a bigger plan then what we could have guessed.

    There were so many people that said so many well meaning things that brought me pain. I will simply say that I feel your hurt and I will stand in prayer for you.

    and remember "trying to keep a house clean with small children is like trying to shovel the drive way in the middle of a snowstorm"

    Prayers for you my friend!


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