The Hard Choices that Build a Home

This fall has been a series of hard decisions. Choices for good things and others, not so great. Some have been parenting decisions, others personal. They follow on the heels of one another, like a conveyor belt of choice.

I hate making decisions. I have a tendency to put them off. My brain feels muddled and I can’t think straight. I doubt myself. Anyone else do that?

Some decisions and situations can’t be put off. They involve other people and answers have to be given. What to do?

There wasn’t a clear cut path for any of our decisions. Unfortunately, for a couple, it involved saying no to something that was greatly desired. It physically hurt to utter the word no and then follow through.

It’s so tempting to do the easy thing. At the moment, saying yes is the easy way out for me even though the consequences of the yes are anything but easy. But in this moment, yes is enticing. No is a prickly thorn.

I feel like a juggler, trying to keep all the balls flying around me, up in the air. If one more thing is thrown at me, I’ll drop them all. I don’t want to follow the narrow path of doing what is right for us as a family. It takes too much effort and I just don’t have it in me to fight yet another fight. I think. I wrote in an email to a friend, something to the effect; Parenting is sometimes really brutal. So is following God.

The angst and the sleeplessness won’t go away and that tells me that I don’t have a choice. We have to step up and do the hard thing. The very lessons I’m trying to teach our boys are being brought home to my own heart. We are not supposed to be like everyone else. It might get uncomfortable. Doing the hard thing is exactly that; hard. It’s part of the landscape of being parents, and Christ followers.

I’m learning that it’s not my job to please others, even at times my own loved ones. Paul writes in 1 Cor 10:23, Looking at it one way, you could say, “Anything goes. Because of God’s immense generosity and grace, we don’t have to dissect and scrutinize every action to see if it will pass muster.” But the point is not to just get by. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well. The Message.

It’s my job to teach and model for my family what a healthy life looks like. What a Follower of Jesus looks like. That is my purpose as a mom and as a Christian to fight for those I love. I am grateful I don’t have to wage war alone. I am blessed to have warriors by my side and a God who has said He will never leave me.

I stumbled on this verse yesterday. It’s not one I’m familiar with but I really liked it.

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; though knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. Proverbs 24:3-4

That’s the kind of house and home, I want to build. Not everyone is going to like it or agree with me. That’s okay, I’m still going to build it. This house will have a foundation of hard decisions, explanations, love and grit. I’m trusting it’s going to stand the test of time.

TURN to Thankfulness

It takes courage to be thankful. I think I read that somewhere recently.

It’s the week leading up to Thanksgiving here in Canada. I’m noticing we get caught up in the preparations for the holiday. Getting the right turkey. Grass-fed or the one on sale? Pumpkin pie or apple? Or better yet both! House cleaned. Family visiting. Or maybe a cozy dinner for just a few friends. All important things. In the scramble to get ready for Thanksgiving, we tend to forget the thanks part. At least I do. It’s just one more day to conquer, in the long list of fall’s To Do.

If I’m totally honest it’s not just Thanksgiving. It’s easy to forget to be grateful every day, all year. I used to be better at it. I spent two years capturing photos of what I was grateful for. That discipline fell by the wayside as life happened. Discontent settled in it’s place. It was easier to complain than say thank you.

For some of us, right now finds us in a hard place. Sickness, prodigal sons and daughters, busyness, divorce, finances, loss are leaving us feeling worried, heartbroken and anything but grateful.

The challenge is there for us. To be brave in the midst of the trouble, the mess, the grief. To say thank you or I’m grateful for…rather than curse the ground, that hard spot, we stand on.

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I understand your fear.
If we say thanks for that hard spot, does it mean it will go on forever? Does it negate the bad? The evil? Does it mean the bad guy gets away with it? Does it wipe out our true feelings?

I understand your grief.
Saying thanks feels like we’re denying what’s really going on. It feels like we’re pouring icing over a mouldy cake. It’s like denying the hurt.

Giving thanks when it’s the last thing we want to do and the last thing people expect, feels like a big vicious lie. It feels like betrayal to ourselves. It’s feels like it’s the most exhausting thing ever.

It’s not.

I’m not telling you to not acknowledge what’s going on and gloss it over like it’s not happening. No that’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying is in acknowledging the truth of the situation and working it through, don’t let the negatives bury you. Don’t let the enemy drown you in despair. Be brave.

It takes courage to turn to thankfulness when all we want to do is run away and hide, because it makes us vulnerable. It opens up a place in our hearts and souls, that we’ve hidden because it hurts so much. It’s painful to bring it into the light. But in the light, the wounds can be seen. In the light, the healing begins.

Going against what we feel, can be good for us. The heart is deceptive, Scripture tells us. Saying thank you reveals the lies. It ushers in a new perspective. I have found practicing the art of saying thank you can bring great peace. It brings the positive to the forefront.
It’s not the big things either. Don’t you find that when you open your eyes, God brings out little gifts that let us know we are seen by Him, and He loves us?

For others, today may find us blessed. Let’s not forget to say thank you for those great joys. We can get caught up in the celebration and forget.  Jesus healed ten lepers.  Nine got caught up in their celebration, they left without a backward glance. Only one remembered to go back and thank Him.

In TURNING to thankfulness, we brave a whole new world. Like kindness, thankfulness can lead us back to love. Thankfulness shows us the best in a person, or a situation. Instead of critiquing everyone and everything, we see the good. It softens our hearts and opens our attitudes, our minds and our hearts to love.

It might be just a baby step this Thanksgiving holiday, but let’s not forget to say thanks:

to someone for the joy they bring us.
for the sunshine and the fall beauty.
for our health. We take it for granted.
for the tough spot we are in. Maybe we need another perspective.
for those who stick by us, through thick and thin.
for food and shelter that most of us rarely have to worry about.
…..

The list goes one. What or who are you thankful for today?

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; his love endures forever.  1 Chronicles 16:34

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.  Cor 1:4