Days Like Today

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Therefore, having been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand,
and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

And not only that,
but we also glory in tribulations,
knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
and perseverance, character;
and character, hope.

Now hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts
by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
For when we were still without strength,
in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Romans 5: 1- 6

I have been feeling very downtrodden the last few days.

The children try me at every opportunity, my husband's taken to working extra jobs in the evening to ease the financial burdens we had unexpectedly placed on us, I am 'officially' out of kindergarten curriculum for Harmony and am having to "make-up" some to keep her occupied until our unexpected bills are paid and we can afford to buy the next levels (not that she minds, and she is still learning things, but it takes a lot of extra time on my part), the wedding is looming ever closer and my duties for it are getting more time-consuming, Harmony's graduation is coming up, and my plants are starting to droop in their now too-small containers (thanks to the gloomy, cold weather).

Then, although I am already busy, other things keep coming. My step-father is going to have to have both a vascular bypass and a gastro bypass in the next several months, the school needs someone to design a set and background for Harmony's graduation. The neighbor's dogs get into my trash-cans and it starts pouring rain so the trash is not only stinky, but wet, moldy, and stinky. An over-whelmed friend stops by for a hug and another friend to help relieve their stress over their baby, and another for some fresh coffee and encouraging words.

The boys get sick and I'm up with them all night until i have to get up before the crack of dawn with other children with nightmares, I start showing signs of sleep deprivation and my outlook suddenly darkens. Then the cats all forget where the litter box is and decide to go on the new carpet right before your in-laws show up! Or the phone rings with a call I really need to take right as the baby runs head first into the table.

Do you ever feel like that? Like there's a million and five things for you to do and all you want is an afternoon where all the children fall asleep without an argument, a great show on the History channel, a fresh pot of coffee, a gooey chocolate cookie and sunshine?


I used to think that being a Christian meant either one of two things: either you were a 'real' Christian and cheerful and giving all the time, or a 'fake' Christian and grumpy like the regular people. There was no in between.

However, the farther I get along my walk, the more I realize that a good attitude when things are annoying, over-whelming, or at their worst is not some magic thing that happens suddenly when you become a Christian; it's very hard work!

"These things I have spoken to you,
that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation;
but be of good cheer,
I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Oh, if only there was a big red button that said "Perkiness" or "Cheerfulness" and all we had to do was press it to improve our mood! The world would be full of people in good moods, who always smiled understandingly and volunteered themselves to help you with even trivial things!

If only the children always behaved, and the bank account was always full!

If only I didn't have so much to do, or if only the day was 36 hours long and there were 10 of them in a week!

"If only," as my mom says, "a frog had wings, it's butt wouldn't hit the ground so hard."

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
Romans 12:1-3, 11-13 (The Message)

Fortunately, I don't think God intends for our lives to be easy. I don't think things are going to go the way you want them to, regardless of how much you plan, or how hard you pray.

You ever see a child trying to take a portrait, you know the one I mean. The one who is over-tired, over-stressed, and although the rest of his family is going about their business happy as clams because of Mom's thorough planning, this one child has just had more than he can take. Somethings not going right for him, and he's too immature and doesn't know how to express his frustrations so he does the one thing he does know: Cry. (He's just a baby, after all!)

That's how I feel sometimes. I want to sit in a little corner and cry, maybe throw a few things and kick the wall a couple of times. But I can't because I know that I am a Wife and a Mom, a Friend and a Sister, a Daughter and a Grand-Daughter. I know that I don't have the luxury of exhibiting that level of immaturity, regardless of the moments that the feeling hits me.

Nevertheless we, according to His promise,
look for new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things,
be diligent to be found by Him in peace,
without spot and blameless;
and consider that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation
but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:13-18

Our day-to-day trivial matters are not to be seen as a frustration, or something to crack our wills like a rock on a windshield. No, they are gifts from God. The gift, if we choose to be steadfast in our belief and love, of perseverance.

And when we persevere, we develop character, and with character comes hope: our hope in our salvation and the omnipotence of God.

We must look at our tribulations as an assurance of the presence of hope. And when we hope, we can make it through the hardest days with a smile on our faces, because "we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

Even annoying things.

Even painful things.

Even troublesome things.

Even awesome things.

And that's where a Christian's smile comes from in the midst of trouble. That's where I'll look for my smile on days like today.

Save us, O LORD our God,
and gather us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.

Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Let all the people say, "Amen!"
Praise the LORD.

Psalm 106:47-48




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