Children

Trusting God When Hopes Are Deferred

Trusting God When Hopes Are Deferred

Well, it finally happened. My oldest daughter started first grade this year, and I feel like the entire world has opened up. The first day of school, as the hours stretched out before me, I wondered what in the world I was going to do with all the time that had suddenly fallen in my lap. I could write. I could design. I could read a book. I could do all the things that I’ve been putting off for all the years that I’ve been a mom of little ones.

For so long now, my life has felt small. Don’t get me wrong. I love my girls, and I love this life that God has given our family, but as a mom of tiny people, there was really only so much I could do between wiping noses and picking up toys and nursing booboos. It was a sweet time, but it was also a hard time, and now that I feel it drawing to a close, I can’t help but be excited for what the Lord has in store for us next.

Several years ago, when I was a mom to just one baby, I read a blog post by literary agent Rachelle Gardner about all the messages she gets from new moms—moms who have something to say but don’t have the time to say it. Her response has stuck with me and encouraged me over the years, and I want to share it with you now.

If you’re a mom of littles, and your world feels so much smaller than you imagined, remember that this is just a season. It can be frustrating and discouraging to look around and see other women who seem to be doing it all. They have babies and thriving businesses. They’re rocking newborns and a writing career. They have everything you desire. Everything you’re striving for.

You want. You dream. You ache. God has given you a burning desire for more, and yet, most of the time, you’re doing good to make it to the grocery store and keep everyone in your home alive for another week.

I want to tell you that it’s OK.

You don’t have to do all the things right now. You just need to be faithful with the tasks that God has given you today. Take care of your babies. Feed your family. Maintain your home. And while you’re doing all of those things, let God shape you. Let him mold you into a better version of yourself. Let him use the waiting years for your benefit and his glory.

Because here’s the thing. Hope deferred will only make your heart sick if you let it. These years of waiting? They’re not pointless. God is doing something in you. Treat this time as a profound gift. A time to learn. A time to grow. A time to become the person that God is pushing you to be.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11. Scripture Art by Leslie Ann Jones

And someday, maybe sooner than you realize, your days will open up. You’ll be standing on the edge of a new season of life wondering what you’re going to do with all the time on your hands. And you’ll know with certainty that God has been preparing you for this moment all along.

Be encouraged, sweet friends. What they say is true. The days are long, but the years are short. This time will come to a bittersweet end before you know it. Don’t lose heart. Trust God. Maintain faithfulness. This waiting? It’s worth it.

Until next time, grace and peace.

What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-12

Review: Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

We've long been fans of Sally Lloyd-Jones' The Jesus Storybook Bible, so when I saw Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, a children's devotional book by the same author, at TGC's Women's Conference, I snagged a copy for our oldest daughter.

Since she recently became a Christian, I wanted to give her something to help foster her growing relationship with the Lord. In the week and a half since her baptism, we've read an entry in this book every single day, and it has sparked lots of conversations about what God is like, who we are in relationship to him, how to pray, and what it means to be His person.

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing is a beautifully written and illustrated book, and I love that it's simple enough for my almost-first-grader to understand without watering down profound spiritual truths. Lloyd-Jones is a master wordsmith. In a recent interview for Christianity Today, she said that she writes with her niece and nephew in mind, seeking the best way to describe spiritual truths honestly yet simply.

Here are just a few examples of her beautiful prose in action:

Describing Sin: "God made his children's hearts to join together in the wonderful Dance of Joy—orbiting and circling around him. But we put ourselves in the center instead of God. We put ourselves in God's place—which is what sin is."

On Praise: "God didn't create us so he could get joy—he already had it. He created us so he could share it. He knows it's the thing your heart most needs to be happy. When God says, 'Glorify me!', he's really saying, 'Be filled with Joy!' He's inviting us into his Forever Happiness."

God's Timing: "Does it seem like God has forgotten about you? If God is delaying, it's not to make things worse. It is always only so he can make things better."

I may or may not be finishing off my own quiet times with a page or two from the book. It's a keeper. I mean, just look at some of these pages.

Gorgeous, right? It's been a great tool for us to help teach our daughter some spiritual disciplines in this early stage of her walk with Christ. If you're looking for a child's devotional book, I can't recommend Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing highly enough. You won't be disappointed.

Until next time, grace and peace.

Rufus the Immovable Turtle

I grew up eating watermelon and shooting fireworks on the Fourth of July, but when I married Dennis, I was introduced to another brand of Independence Day festivities. What could be more exciting than watermelon and fireworks, you ask? Catfish and turtle races. Every year, the fine people at the church Dennis grew up in host a catfish fry and turtle race to celebrate the Fourth of July. It's always an event to remember. Not only is the catfish amazing {so I hear, I'm not a catfish connoisseur}, the turtle race is also a source of delight for both kids and adults.

The hunt for turtles begins weeks before the race. In years past, my father-in-law has been known to drag the pond to catch a slew of turtles. For a couple of years, the Jones family supplied many a kid in Cato with a turtle to enter in the race. We always had a winner, since we held a couple of practice rounds in the yard before we headed off to the race.

That's not cheating, is it??

But this year, there was no pond dragging. Micah and her cousins had one turtle to share between them. Lauren (my niece) dubbed him Rufus. We painted his name on his back, loaded him in a bucket, and headed off to church, sure that he would give the other turtles a run for their money.

Not so. Rufus didn't move. At all. The race began, and other turtles scurried to the edge of the circle. But not Rufus. He stayed put. Never moved a muscle.

turtle-race-2010

So much for our winning streak.

There's always next year, right??

Until next time, grace and peace.