Yesterday I went over to a friend’s place to visit. What I’ve always appreciated about this friend is her authenticity when it comes to her struggles in raising three children.
Her husband walked in the door as I was attempting to round up my kids. The three of us got into a good, unexpected conversation about hearing vs. actually doing God’s Word.
“We were inspired by our pastor’s sermon on Sunday. We were encouraged to do God’s will. We were convicted in areas that need change…” my friend said.
“Then we got home,” she sighed.
“The kids were horrible. Things felt chaotic. We exploded a lot and were so discouraged because just a few minutes ago we were so on fire to live for the Lord. It’s as if we forgot everything we’d just heard…”
I continued to listen to her story and couldn’t help but think how she was articulating exactly how I’d felt so many times. Especially on Sundays!
Just the other morning I got up early to read my Bible and journal while my husband did his quiet time. It had been well over a week or more since I had been in the Word. The kids weren’t up and I was savoring the alone time. I thought for sure it would be a good day but within the hour it was as if the house erupted. Or shall I say, Momma erupted.
If you took a peep into my window you wouldn’t have found a gentle, godly woman who had just been with Jesus. Anger exploded out of me toward my kids and I felt overwhelmed by all the change that’s happening with our move, graduation, and new baby. Sadly, I’d forgotten all that I had read.
Shortly after, I was reminded of the verses in James:
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it- not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it- they will be blessed in what they do. – James 1:23-25
That evening before bed, I prayed and begged God to help me in the areas of my life where I not only fail but fail big time. In that time of soul searching, He showed me how much I need His grace and that this Christian life is a process- a process of sanctification that doesn’t come over night.
And that “doing” the Christian life is pretty much impossible apart from His truth and guidance. Doing good-outward-acts can’t be mistaken for a heart that’s truly been changed by Christ.
His Word has been given to me as a gift so that I would know how to live, but I can’t be changed if I’m not “looking intently into the perfect law that gives freedom.”
I’m thankful that regardless of my imperfections and weaknesses, God is still at work in me. He’s always pursuing me to come back to Him for the healing I need so badly. He knows I’m a work in progress.
And I think more times than not, I need to celebrate and remember the times where He has allowed me to be victorious in the struggles against sin, rather than focusing so much on failures and falling short.
His divine power has given us all that we need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3)- even in the challenging times of raising little ones. So as for today, it’s time to shake the dust off, confess & repent of sin, accept His forgiveness & love, and continue living by faith in his son.