This War

I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
 Romans 7:19 NLT

I’ve always kind of gotten this verse. I cannot count the number of times I did the opposite of what I should have, or didn’t do something when I should have, and I get it. It’s hard to do the right thing all of the time, and it’s hard to NOT do the wrong thing so often.

Hence the reason I fired off a hurtful text to my husband when we were in the middle of a disagreement. I didn’t take captive my thoughts, and I didn’t guard my heart, and the enemy whispered his lies and his doubt, and I became the very weapon he could use against my husband. I don’t want to be a weapon against the people in my life. I want to surrender my words and actions to God, so that I can bring healing and life into my relationships.

God has very tenderly drawn me in close to Him and started unfolding the story line that is my life. As He’s walked me through events that have deeply affected me – both good and bad – He’s begun showing me where the enemy used human error to weave a web of lies. Lies about who I am. About what I was made for (or not made for), lies about whether or not I was cut out for the work before me.

Satan is a deceiver, through and through. In fact, that may be the best way he drives wedges, and separates us from our God who loves us. Lies and more lies.

I struggle with worthlessness. Not in the I’m a sinner and fall short of the glory kind of way that makes me cry out all the more for Jesus. I struggle with worthlessness that breeds despair that makes it hard to connect and build real relationships. For so much of my life I woke up almost dreading the day, anticipating my failures, and walking on eggshells, desperately hoping I didn’t let anyone down in the span of time from the sun rising to the sun setting. Just let me do okay.

The depth of these feelings increased last summer when I faced some challenges with my husband. There are hardly words to explain how consuming my sense of failure was, and how many reminders came to mind of the times I’ve failed in the past. I felt like I was sinking. I was desperate for real, unadulterated love, acceptance, and connection. But suddenly I felt very self protective. I’m usually fairly open, I absolutely hate secrets, and I think hiding breeds shame even where there shouldn’t be any. I will tell anyone I meet the good, bad, and ugly about me. But this hurt changed that for a bit. I found myself ignoring phone calls I usually welcomed, and hiding.

I didn’t want to talk about our struggle because it made it more real, more painful, and revealed my worthlessness. While there is value in not blabbing to everyone and burying us in the opinions of others, absolute silence allows Satan to whisper lies unhindered. My husband isn’t a man of many words, so in the absence of him speaking and without talking to anyone else, Satan is free to continue telling me just how awful I am. I was so beat down by it all that I couldn’t even pray.

And I’m not here to say that in the blink of an eye, the war was won. But God faithfully showed up in the middle of my pain. He drew me in close to Him and He is winning battles for me. And I am realizing that He is super focused on my heart and motivation and thoughts. He is teaching me how to live in victory. He is showing me that I am valuable to Him.

Victory has to be practiced, especially if you’re used to living in defeat, especially if we’re talking internal victory. So God is walking me through the process of learning to take each thought captive, of learning to turn my thoughts to Him, confess the ugly thoughts (even if they are just ugly toward myself) and to hear Him speak. I don’t feel like I’m starving anymore. I don’t feel like no one really sees me anymore. I don’t feel so worthless anymore. I am learning to repeat my Words to Live By more often. I’m replacing the negative self talk with reminders of who God created me to be.

But God hasn’t stopped there. He continues to do a healing work on wounds that are from long ago. As He is helping me face so many yucky things from my past, He is showing me where human error was a door for Satan to waltz in and tell me awful things. In fact, Satan has been working hard at this since I was a young girl. I can’t help but think that he should look at all the stories of redemption and healing and recognize that wreckage may not be his best weapon in his war against God.

I would have never picked painful events as a catalyst for change or growth in my life. However, I can’t help but see how faithful my God has been through this season. He showed up time and time again and carried me when I needed Him most. He has renewed my hope, He has helped me see a vision for my marriage that honors Him, and He has revealed His love to me.

Is there a time when God carried you through a painful time in life? Tell me in the comments about that time.

Calling

I saw this beautiful photo about the highest calling a man can have is the calling to be a father. It really got me to thinking about our perspective on the world. If we think of our day in and day out as being a calling God placed on our life, how much more will we value each moment?

If I’m not just sitting at a desk to earn a paycheck, but rather because I’ve been called to this moment, this place, this space because God sees something in me that can be used here, does it make the “daily grind” easier to endure?

If, when my kids wake me up a bit too early, I consider the rearing of them a calling, will I be more inclined to deal with them gently? Will recognizing that God called me to mother cause me do so more passionately?

If we recognize and accept that we aren’t in this time or place by accident or mistake, how can we use each moment to live a life that honors God? Take some time this week to seek God and ask Him to show you His calling and His purpose for the places He has carried you.

How would viewing your current station in life as a calling change the way you face your days?

Choosing Purpose

When I was pregnant with my firstborn, more than 11 years ago, I developed the notion that we should live on purpose– that we should step out and make things happen instead of always waiting for things to happen to us.

Dave Ramsey says effective people make a dent in things, things don’t make a dent in them.

Living on purpose, I believe, often leads to living for our purpose. God created you and me with a plan in mind. He has things He desires for us to achieve with our lives. I know with free will, however, that we can stray from the path of purpose and flounder about. But when we choose to live on purpose, for His purpose, His power flows through us, enabling us to do the work He has called us to.

From time to time, I lose sight of the purposes God intends for me to fulfill. When I do, I find that I feel overwhelmed by everything in my life. But when I focus on Him, and on His ability to give me what I need to fulfill His purposes, I have peace.

A few of the purposes God placed on me:

  • Being Mr. W’s Wife
  • Parenting/Homeschooling/Raising a big family
  • Writing
  • The Towing Industry

Sometimes I lose sight of these purposes, or more often, I put them in the wrong order.

Writing drops off the list every time I get a little too busy. It’s hard to force myself to take the time to write because it feels a little bit selfish or indulgent. (Especially since my brain can’t seem to send words to my fingers in a noisy, chaotic environment.) Sometimes I let parenting take a lead role over marriage, which distorts how our days go. Sometimes I let my work in our tow business take the top seat, and then it seems to drag everything else along on a very bumpy ride.

I’ve been tempted to give up homeschooling more and more recently. As much as I feel like it’s the right choice for us, I don’t always know how to keep all of the plates spinning. I’m also learning that God is calling me to a deeper reliance on Him – one that requires me to ask Him for strength, for guidance, and for help to make the most of every moment.

I believe families would be stronger if the marriage came first and presented a unified stance on most/all issues with the kids. That is harder than I ever imagined with a blended family. There are so many moving parts, and so many factors to consider. As Mr. W and I get better at discussing how to handle parenting events before they even occur, and as we find the places we agree and the places we can compromise to come to agreement, we are learning to present ourselves as a team to our family. I heard once that it can take up to 7 years for a blended family to really work all of that out. I thought that seemed like a long estimation, but it seems to be an accurate one.

Towing… I don’t even know where to begin. There are so many blessings to being in business for ourselves and being part of such a connected community. I thank God often for this opportunity in our lives. I also find myself greatly overwhelmed by all of the things I constantly have to take care of. It weighs heavy on my shoulders thinking of the families that rely on our business being run correctly, paychecks being ready on time, calls continuing to come in, trucks running properly, and more. Our business isn’t just our bread and butter, but it is the bread and butter for other families, as well. It is this reality that keeps me up at night, hoping that my best was enough for that day. Again, I believe God is calling me to depend fully on Him, to remember that He called us to provide this service to our community, and to remember that He is the one who makes His plans succeed.

Our pastor, Craig Groeschel, has said a few times, “If you don’t know the purpose of a thing, you will misuse it. Don’t ask the thing it’s purpose, though. Ask the Creator of the thing.”

His words ring true every time I hear him teach on purpose. I think about it with my spouse, our marriage, our precious kids, and our business. As I am writing this post, I am realizing that I need to submit the purpose of my writing to God, and ask Him to speak through me. I’ve prayed since I was pregnant the very first time for God to reveal my kids’ purpose(s) to them at a young age, and for Him to help me help them on their paths. I suppose it’s time I pray a similar prayer over my writing.

What purpose has God placed on your life? How are you fulfilling your purpose(s)?