For better or worse

Post from my blog sharpexpressions that was written September 6, 2011. Drake would have been 10 months (almost 🙂

I posted a status on Facebook this weekend that said “I wish I could record Drake all day. His facial expressions are priceless & his mumblings in an effort to talk are going to be sweet memories once he’s talking all the time! He’s so much fun. So thankful we get to be stewards of him for now. What a perfect gift.”

I soon realized how far my understanding of this concept of stewardship has come. It has developed by way of difficult circumstances, joyous blessings, and moments of struggle.  I have come to a place of understanding this life is temporal and we are preparing for the eternal. Jesus healed many while He was on earth, but His healings were the the precursor to the ultimate, eternal Healing He was to bring.

I was 26 when I married by husband, who was 28 at the time.

We were by no means old, but we hadn’t just graduated college either. My singleness was a season. For better or for worse. The enjoyable times were the better and the lonely times were the worse. Let it be known that loneliness doesn’t disappear on the wedding day. The enjoyable times were filled with sporadic meetings with college girls, encouraging them, discipling them, challenging them, and all the while growing in my knowledge leaps and bounds. I was able to go where I wanted when I wanted. I was free to make decisions on a whim, change my budget (or not have one), I only had myself to contend with (with household tangibles…I’m not referring to huge matters of influence such as irresponsible, unstable, untrustworthy behavior, etc.) My schedule was my own. The lonely times were complete with silence in my bedroom. Moments of weeping to the Lord of my great desire to have someone in this life to care for and help (I had no real understanding of the magnitude of responsibility and accountability that desire held). There were days filled with question after question for God. **If you’re in this season, how are you treasuring, coveting, and utilizing this time? Are you a good steward of this season, for better and for worse? In the enjoyable times are pouring your time into whatever the Lord has for you now? (School, family, friendships, discipling, serving?) Are you using the lonely times to be sifted and refined for the Eternal purpose you are here to serve? The Lord quickly broke me with the reality that He doesn’t promise us marriage, children, friends, home, etc. He has a lot for us and we are to walk in this lot with grand thankfulness and resourcefulness.  He walks with you through these seasons to sanctify and purify you. Are you letting Him? He uses the seasons to make you look more like His Son..are you drawing nearer to Him?

These seasons are a grand picture that tie together little hills and valleys in our lives. He calls us to walk gracefully through EACH season and within that time frame we are to be good stewards of all that is in our sphere of existence. Wherever you are now, there are other people  in your life who benefit by watching (or should benefit) how you rest in Him and pursue Him.

Are you a good steward of your friendships? Some friends stay and some friends go. Is your time spent with them in such a way, that whether they stay or leave, you have no regrets?

  • Be graciously honest with them.
  • Meet conflict directly and concisely.
  • Apologize immediately where you must.
  • Forgive immediately where you must.
  • Go out of your way to meet their needs. It will return to you. (Don’t meet their needs with expectations or pay back in mind…Jesus doesn’t handle us in that regard.)

Are you a good steward of your relationship with your family?

  • Forgive them.
  • Honor your father and mother. It might cost so be prepared, but remember it is commanded for a reason and He will bless you and keep you in this area if you are obedient.
  • Get Christian counseling if your past necessitates it.
  • Make time for them.
  • Find ways to encourage them.
  • Bless them.
  • I am not naive to the fact there are some families where these actions are not possible. If you know the Lord and are surrounded by godly counselors, you know how to walk in this area. If you need help, ask a seasoned believer who is walking faithfully with the Lord. They will help you be accountable where you can be with your family and discern where you are not responsible.

Are you a good steward of your marriage?

  • Pray for your spouse.
  • Discuss Truth and theology
  • Be tender. Be aware.
  • Be affectionate.
  • Ask for forgiveness. Be forgiving.
  • Tell them good things about themselves first and then do it in public. Build your spouse up–it’s you and your spouse against the world at all times. If you’re in a battle with one another, you’ve lost your ally.

Are you a good steward of your children’s affections and their hearts? You only get a very short time with them.

  • Pray for them.
  • Pray with them.
  • Teach them Scripture.
  • Teach them obedience and faith.
  • Spend time with them above everyone else (except your spouse).
  • Model a healthy, godly marriage for them.
  • Be affectionate towards them and value their affection for you.
  • Tell them good things about themselves and then tell everyone else.

Are you a good steward of your time? Not a selfish time keeper.

  • Spend time first with your spouse, children, & family (quality time)
  • If you are single and without children, first spend time with your family, then your closest circles of friends.
  • Let your time be spend in prayer, reading the Word, Scripture memory, music, etc. Whatever stirs your affections for Christ and causes you to look more like Him.
  • Plan your time well. A calendar of your regular days’ commitments, monthly commitments, regular meetings & events, and other planned/scheduled happenings. Then fit other things into that frame. Be prepared for interruptions. The Lord will interrupt you and it’s an opportunity to be a good steward in another area (helping a friend, having faith when He allows inconvenience of a car break down, etc) of your life if you’re already a good steward of your time.

Are you a good steward of your finances? All that you’ve been given…is just that…GIVEN.

  • Recognize your WHOLE lot as being given.
  • Decide how to use what you’ve been given to honor Him.
  • Tithe.
  • Save.
  • Don’t overspend.
  • Pay off what you’ve already overspent, if you have.
  • Don’t make rationalizations for your wants. If you can afford it, be wise, if you can’t, be wise.

Are you a good steward of your possessions? Again, you’ve been given all that you have.

Take inventory of your possession.

  • Evaluate how it can be used to bless others. (A house can be a safe place for children from families who don’t know Christ, it can be a home away from home for a college student, etc. A car can be used to carpool for someone without a vehicle, to help families save money, or to give a child a ride with your family for a few minutes and be exposed to Christians if he/she is from an unchurched home.)
  • Don’t waste your possessions.
  • Take care of what you’ve got. It’s been given to you, cherish it.

The Lord blesses us with such enjoyable moments. However, there are seasons of hurting and struggling, too. How you respond to each is a reflection of your faith.

33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things (see Matthew 6:33 to know what “these things” are) will be added to you.

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