Do you ever wonder if you are prepared enough to tackle a certain task? Or perhaps, your life is about to change and you’re uncertain about your abilities to take on new challenges. Is your heart ready for the road ahead…what ever that may be? These are questions I ask myself often.
We are a homeschooling family of six living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I’ve always dreamed of and prayed for the life I have now. I am so thankful God gave me the desires of my heart when He allowed me to marry my best friend seventeen years ago, have four beautiful boys to raise and the ability to educate them all at home. In my heart, I know God has been preparing me for this life since I was a little girl. Each and every circumstance and path has shaped me and brought me to where I am today.
Even though God has given me the desires of my heart, this life still looks very different in some ways from the one that little girl envisioned way back when. As a wife and mother living out these desires, I can say…this life is much harder than I ever thought it would be. Some days I feel like even though God has ordered my steps, the moments that make up each day seem all out of order. Sometimes, nothing makes sense and when this happens, I can feel defeat knocking at my door.
God knows that. He knows how hard it is, how painful it can sometimes be. He knows every twist and turn. The dark valleys in life are no surprise to Him. But He also lifts us up to walk by streams of still waters and leads us to lie down in green pastures of rest and comfort for our weary souls. He can even provide that rest while trudging through those deep dark valleys.
I am no stranger to weariness or defeat. I’m sure you’re not either. It comes in all forms.
Bringing four little boys into this world in the span of six years was amazing and exhausting all at the same time. Our second blessing was born with a rare genetic condition resulting in premature fusion of certain bones in his skull along with a narrow upper and lower airway and a severe hearing loss. We certainly did not “feel” prepared for this. Life as we knew it changed dramatically with each sweet son God blessed us with…but this time, we were so uncertain of his future, how to move forward and care for this tiny baby with a rare health condition. But, as with all of our boys, we loved him deeply from the moment we found out we were pregnant. And that was enough.
I’m learning that God never allows us to walk where He has not already equipped us. Even still, on a daily basis, as I parent these rowdy boys that I love so much, try to take care of my home, prepare meals, plan school lessons and try to be the loving wife I want to be for my husband, I fall short. And I wonder…how can I be better prepared? Is my heart in the right place? Have I prepared my heart enough?
I realize now, I’m asking the wrong questions. The better question is, am I seeking God and abiding in Him?
In and of myself, I cannot be better or do things more right. I can’t be faithful with what He has given me if I am abiding in myself. And He certainly has not called me to abide in myself! When Jesus is Lord over our lives, our hearts are literally brand new. Any time we love or offer grace, act on faith or show kindness, help another in need or control our tongue and hold our thoughts captive…it’s the Holy Spirit within us. Those are not acts purely of our own.
So when the question arises…Am I prepared for _________? My answer now, is no, but I’m trusting in a God that is completely prepared and will order my steps accordingly. Instead of seeking things that will prepare us for the road ahead, we need to seek the One who prepares our hearts. And once we begin to do this, the desires of our hearts will start to change.
When I’m not trusting God, I’m the perfect example of the version of me I don’t want to be…the one I’d be all the time if it weren’t for Jesus. I’m thankful for the ugly reminders, but sorry to see them with such frequency when I choose to give things a go my own way.
Each day, I have some idea of what I think our day will look like, what I hope it will look like. I prepare the best I can in tangible ways. But we don’t ever really know for sure what to expect. So, then, if God is the One who prepares hearts for the unexpected, how can we get out of the way and let Him prepare us?
Seek Him first. Each morning, no matter what kind of day I wake up to, I have a choice. I can seek Him first, or not. So often, the day begins and I can tell it’s going to be “one of those days”. Either, no one slept well, the kids are fighting, chores are stacked up or we all just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. It doesn’t matter. We need to seek Him first or our hearts will suffer and struggle all day long.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
Choose to be thankful. Jesus knows this life is scary and He knows every single fear we hold on to deep within our hearts. We need to believe that if suffering is allowed in to our lives, that it will be used for good to those who love God. It’s not easy and sometimes feels nearly impossible to be thankful in all circumstances…but when we courageously surrender and stop giving in to the temptation to feel defeated, Jesus will meet us in the depth of our mess and show us a way through, every time. Our faith-filled response to God is an act of worshipful rejoicing that will serve to deepen our walk and prepare our hearts for the life we’re blessed with.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1
“The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” Proverbs 19:23
Pour out to Him. What it all comes down to is this: our great need for His blessing, for heart change and a life lived devotionally. We need to pour our hearts and souls out to God and invite Him into every single area of our lives so He can fill us to overflowing with His Peace and Joy.
As I pour out my pleas to God for help, let go of all my own flawed expectations and ask for wisdom and understanding, He prepares my heart with the strength and confidence I need for the road ahead. His answer is always Scripture. He lovingly fills us up with His living Word when we seek Him with all of our heart, our mind and our soul. That is Holy Spirit love language spoken right to our hearts.
“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
We need not fear what lies ahead because Jesus is already there preparing the way for us. Sweet Blessings to you friends!