On Dark Days Remember the Ram

This day is hard. Correction. This life is hard. Life is hard enough that it is tempting to doubt the goodness of God and fall into despair. But the Lord is our refuge and strength. He is our help in times of trouble. I don’t understand, but I don’t need to understand. I need to believe that his ways and thoughts are higher than mine and that He loves his children.

On the hard days we pray: Lord, give me eyes that see beyond now. Give me feet that walk the hard road of obedience. Give me a heart in beat with Yours. Give me the faith to believe that my ram is coming.

“It had to have been the darkest day of Abraham’s life as he trudged up the mountain, with firewood strapped to his son’s back. Every step took Abraham closer to what he believed to be the sad ending of a hopeless situation – the death of his son. Yet in spite of his sorrow, Abraham trusted God. His heart wasn’t soaring with joy. He wasn’t dancing up the mountain. But he put one foot in front of the other. Walking through the darkness of the situation; obeying His God’s commands.
Unbeknownst to Abraham, something else was walking up that mountain. Quietly. Out of sight. On the other side of the mountain. Something else was putting one foot in front of the other. Only Abraham couldn’t see it.
For every step Abraham took, a ram on the other side of the mountain took a step.”
– See more at: Proverbs 31 Ministries Devotions

Much like Abraham, we cannot see the other side of our mountains. All we see is the difficult path the Lord has put before us, and all we feel is the impossibility of the task. If you are walking through your own darkness, putting one foot in front of the other in faithful obedience, take heart. Your ram is coming.

We cannot see God’s future provision, but with every heartbeat, we must believe that God’s response to our need is climbing up the other side of the mountain. We will meet God’s perfect provision at the peak where we will fall to our knees worshipping with Abraham at the place named, The Lord Will Provide.

 

*From the archives

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I remember always having to answer that age-old question. The implication was that if I found the right career, life’s “calling” would follow. It resounded deeply in my generation. A career, a job, an occupation should be—will be—your passion. I transitioned from a psychologist to an economist to an engineer, but they all lacked that “passion.” I pursued and excelled in each, waiting patiently for the promised feeling to blossom.

Then Bella, my eldest daughter, was born. No one warned me that maybe, just maybe, my passion would not be a college major, wouldn’t have a syllabus, and wouldn’t require a degree. No one warned me that changing the world might mean neglecting my home and trying to find balance would be a daily struggle because excelling in one comes at the expense of the other.

Clarification Needed

No one clarified that my career might be the bread on the table, but it wouldn’t be my life calling. No one told me to expect to find joy in the simple things and in the people I get to share them with; the gentle breeze, a home cooked meal, and cuddles under the sheets. It was never hinted at that not owning a luxury car and not traveling around the world would be OK.

“Dream Big,” they said, failing to acknowledge the mesmerizing beauty of the small things, the small people that would tug on my clothes and give butterfly kisses. No one warned me that on most days I could be depleted but blessed, or that I could live weeks without 5 minutes to myself and still love every minute of it.

A Different Choice

I never imagined a life like this because it was rarely modeled and poorly advertised. Yet, an age-old book held this passion in high esteem and revealed to me the beauty that my previous worldview hid. It gave me the strength to pursue it with all my might and the will to make changes to my lifestyle and my wants. Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new season, new challenges, and new opportunities. Not everyone shares my journey, but oh, so many do. Many women, like me, were sold a life-calling very far from divine. Biblical motherhood is not a distraction to changing the world; it is the very catalyst that will bring forth the peace our society craves. It is my passion and my calling.

 

Marby Iglesias is a pastor’s wife in South Florida. You will find her on most days trying to keep up with her energetic toddler and baby. Her favourite pastime is sitting down for a good theology book with a cup of coffee.

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Challenging Children

Parenting challenging children grows my compassion toward others parenting challenging children

If you parent a challenging child, you’ve likely smiled through unrequested advice, bit your tongue when publicly corrected, and pinched back tears against feelings of failure. You know what it means to give endlessly, sacrificially, and entirely to a child and STILL know your best efforts are inadequate.

This grows your compassion. You have less judgment and more patience than your pre-child self. You have less advice and more empathy. You offer less correction and more grace because you know how desperately you need to hear that grace spoken to you. You do not deceive yourself. You know you need the Lord to parent every day, and you shamelessly share this with other moms, praying they will also turn to Him for their strength.

You learn to celebrate the small victories and know they belong to the Lord

I am not up to the task of parenting a challenging child. Perhaps, that is exactly why God gifted me with one. Every milestone is a victory because that milestone once felt impossible. I’ve learned the important lesson that prayer doesn’t always change my circumstances or change my child, but it will always change me. I’ve accepted this struggle is just as much about my sanctification as it is about rearing my child in the ways of the Lord. I know God desires to do a work in me as I pray for His work in my child.

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There is a blessing inside the struggle.

There is a great blessing in the stripping off of independence and the putting on of dependence. Parenting a challenging child is a humbling reminder that all my talents and capabilities are nothing without God. Struggles turn my eyes toward Him, recognizing my complete dependence upon Him to do what only He can replace stubborn hearts with obedient ones—in my children and in me.

  • from the archives, May 12, 2016

You Were Not a Mistake

In utero, your heartbeat sang a song of praise to God, joining the orchestra resounding his name.

This was all before I felt your first note flutter.

The Creator, Composer, and Redeemer of souls tuned your purpose and composed your score into a song only you can sing. Your days—notes on life’s concerto—are part of a larger symphony playing a song for His pleasure.

With great precision, he shaped you into a delicate image bearer of the mighty God, destined to reflect his glory in a masterpiece of great worship. No matter the instrument or length of the score, the resounding harmony rises to the ears of the Lord and fills the heavens.

He made you to praise him. Whether you play an instrument great or small, play boldly in the opus of the Creator, the maker of all things.

*from Unexpected Love, published 2016, Vine Images.

 

Unexpected Love

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The Slow Burn

His pinched lips and jerky movements caught her eye. Her brother struggled. With forced restraint, he bemoaned the impossibility of his task.

She gently opened his clenched fist and removed the pieces of his project. Then, she slowly and methodically began the job of piecing it back together.

He left the project in her more capable hands and skipped away with an upturned face. He hummed a happy a tune.

She worked away. Her face reddened. She avoided my gaze, looking intently at the object of her frustration.

I frowned. She appeared to be successful in her task. Why the excessive throat clearing and narrowed eyes? I slipped down beside her. What’s wrong?

“It’s like I’m invisible. I’m working hard at doing something nice and he doesn’t appreciate it. Why doesn’t he appreciate me?”

Every person longs for appreciation. We long to be noticed. We want our good deeds recognized and praised. I nod as she speaks because I’ve felt that same slow burn. I want my family to notice and admire the small sacrifices that I make for them. I want to hear more thank yous, more compliments, more acknowledgments.

But like motherhood, life is full of opportunities to selflessly give yourself to others, and many of those actions will not be recognized or praised. Certain circumstances burn that reality deeper into our souls. My toddlers never thanked me for a diaper change. Our youngster never thanked the doctor for the needle that will make him feel better. Perhaps we need to rephrase the question. Instead of, “Why am I not appreciated?” ask, “Can I do this for the Lord knowing His pleasure is thanks enough?”

I lean in closer to her. “If God asked you to do this for your brother, would you?”

Of course! Her head nods emphatically.

“If God is the only one who ever notices this kind act, is his pleasure enough?”

Yes!

“Then do it for the Lord. He sees. He knows. And he is pleased.”

A tiny smile tugs the corner of her lips upward. She bends over the project and begins again in earnest.

What we need to remember when our foundation is shaken

 

With words, God created the world. Then the Living Word became flesh.

Through inspired words, God promised protection. Not protection from all hurt or heartbreak, but protection from His justifiable wrath through Jesus for all who believe.

He promises to work out all things for the good of His children. Not always the way that I want, but He will take what the enemy meant to destroy me and redeem it for my good. He’ll finish what he started.

He provides comfort in our trials when we seek Him, which is not a promise to remove the trial, but a promise of His presence through it.

He will supply all our needs, and we need saving faith in Christ most of all.

He will return for us. It is the hope that we cling to. He is coming back. His Word is true.