Steward Well

(Honestly) part of the blessing in being a stay at home mom, for me, is that I am not a morning person (soooo it’s rare we go anywhere very early.) This morning, however, I filled in as the mops coordinator at our church. My husband got the boys ready and brought them to the church when he came to work and they went to their mops class. 
As I was backing out of the drive way, Drake stood in the front windows to wave and mimicked every kiss blow and wave I gave to him. He looked like an 18 month version of himself. Passionately saying bye to me and throwing out some sad faces bc this isn’t our norm. My memories on Facebook today showed me his first steps 5 years ago. 
How is the human heart capable of sadness over our children growing AND AT THE SAME TIME pride and joy over our children growing!?!? I totally know that’s only a mix of emotions God sets within our hearts in order to appreciate His complex way of loving us with grace and mercy. 
I’m so sick and really exhausted but we managed to grab lunch at Cracker Barrel bc dad usually has lunch meetings and didn’t today. I will say, my heart pounds equally big time as I watch my husband raise and lead our boys. It was hot and I was tired and they asked to play and I plopped down in a rocking chair and my husband squatted right there and taught them how to play. 
Feeling the weight of expectations I put myself is deceptive and unworthy of sharing space in my heart with the grace of Christ. Walking in freedom that He guides and provides what we need to parent these children brings a new measure of the gospel and love each day to lavish on them and one another. 
Let go of the confusion (He doesn’t author confusion) and the overwhelmed feelings (because He is sufficient), and do whatever comes next in the day to be a good steward of His blessings:: relationships, possessions, and responsibilities. 

How do I find my voice

  
In a single minute we have more access to technology than many of our ancestors would even know what to do with much less care to utilize. I could look up the statistics, but that would be in direct opposition to what I’m thinking on today. 

I’ve seen several posts regarding national women’s day which have mostly included pleas concerning their own daughters finding their strength, voice, wisdom, etc. I don’t have a daughter, but I am a woman. 

I love people and learned how to do that from my husband (after deep conviction from the Holy Spirit that this is a main crux of the gospel). I don’t love as well as I would like and find myself frantic to invest into my children, be active and helpful for our parents (however, they’re honestly STILL doing this in our season of life more than I would have chosen), and to come alongside my husband’s endeavors whatever that may be (him being out after or before work to serve/minister, giving him time alone to rest and Sabbath-though he’s stubborn there due to his lively & passionate desire to be with us, pushing him to take time away with friends, etc). 

I don’t feel neglected or lost in my identity. I know Who I belong to for eternity and for whom I’m living here on earth. My husband is steadfast in ministering to me in so many ways–sleeping in (my love language), encouraging me to have a day for the boys to go to grandparents and I spend time alone (again, my love language) and so many other ways. 

Because sleeping and being alone are my (jokingly) love languages, I am hampered in building friendships. My new diagnosis (Multiple Sclerosis) has given viability to those loved activities (sleeeeeeep please) and anything alone to refresh. There is a take on energy called “spoon theory” and it is referenced by most chronic autoimmune disease sufferers (MS has been thrust into that category, though, like all things MS, still mostly unknown). It basically means you have only so many spoons of energy a day and you have to choose wisely how they are used for the day. Let me just say, on a rare day filled with fatigue, a shower and getting ready is pretty much ALL of my spoons (and it makes me so angry because I’m learning how this does not equate laziness but goodness it so FEELS like it). But, I’ve learned how to maneuver that and make it work for our life because I cannot slow down and won’t. 

Finding my voice takes energy. Finding my voice takes thought and action. I have preferred the written word for much of my life. Want to know what I’m thinking? May I send you an email? Some of my best friends have said “can you just call me?” Because I can text with you into the depths of my heart and you will get more of my soul than anyone on earth standing face to face with me. It’s a flaw for me, I know. It speaks to my heart when you’ll take my test conversations. I have learned that if I want to be loved by a friend understanding that I would rather text, I have to live by understanding they’re a verbal processor and I need to call them. This will land on the hearts of some of my people and make them think I never want to talk in person or on the phone, ever. That’s not true, this is how we grow in finding our voice. It’s not about me being heard. 

Finding my voice is about me growing and taking baby steps to be stronger. These same friends now text and let me process via text and allow me, in my own time, to call them! And I do. I’m much faster to pick up the phone now. It’s not about being awkward or uncomfortable like some of my introvert friends. I’m the most outgoing introvert there ever was and continue to enjoy being around and with people. But, I have a “recover time”. Anyone else? 

This is still my happy place. Writing. Conveying my thoughts, ideas, convictions (risky, given the absurd speed at which “opinion” travels and the backlash that can ensue before you can ask “I can’t have an opinion?!) and hopes, dreams, and fears. 

Scripture tells us the heart is deceitful above all things. I have a love/fear relationship with one of my giftings (prophecy). It prompts me to think beyond the heart and feelings (which is healthy) but sometimes keeps me in my head (my momma always said I had common sense 😂) and out of my heart. It has proven to me that I must seek to be like Christ because a prophet sees the hard and real and sometimes misses the mercy and grace. 

Today, on national women’s day, I’m finding my voice by admitting that I have some serious steps to take in building deeper friendships. Our culture of women keep talking about “my people” and “my tribe” and though it sounds wonderful, I want to make sure mine knows I’m just as much a part of being honest and vulnerable in having a voice to share as much as I ask and wish from them. 

It seems ironic to say I’m going to talk and not just listen, but to reciprocate friendship I have to be known, too. It seems arrogant. I have wisdom that tells me many of my closest friends who know me and value me will be elated to know I’m ready to be known, too. I won’t just be asking the questions anymore. I won’t just be saying “I’m okay…how was that….the other day that we prayed about?” 

Finding my voice will be a work in process. When most of us process, we start where we’re comfortable.  I’ve started where I’m comfortable but it’s vulnerable and I’m trusting the Lord to move mountains in my heart and flesh. 
  

my blind spot is multiplied

There are so many reasons why it is hard for the human heart to be vulnerable. But the “let’s just be real” reason for me most of the time is my great want for authority, respect, & admiration. I told you I was getting real. I could put that blanket reason out there-pride. That generic description doesn’t get to the root of my sin though, that word just give my root sin a label.

When it comes to conviction & sanctification, wouldn’t it be soooo much less excruciating if the Spirit just pierced out hearts? I mean, I would rather the Spirit deal with me right down to the heart….just me & all alone. I’m a coward at heart.

But He knows far deeper ways to permeate my soul & flesh. It’s far more sifting, sanctifying, & lasting for Him to go about dealing with my heart by actually utilizing the very depths of what make my church.

Let me just try to face it, I’m like my 3 year old when it comes to obedience to the Lord in becoming more like Christ. I’m going to grunt, growl, stomp, run away, cross my arms, and scream when it’s hard for some hard obedience. Especially the kind that requires a change in me & from me.

Here’s how He reveals my blind spots. He uses my husband & children. CRINGE.

Not fair, says the immature 32 year old wife and mom.

I was looking in my rear view mirror to change lanes & I thought, I rarely even use my rear view mirrors. It was busy traffic & I desperately needed to change lanes. I want to make sure those blind spots were clear.

Instant parallel. I wanted to make sure my family was safe, so I checked my blind spots. Same principal in life. When He’s leading & speaking, check my blind spots. Where am I missing Him and where I am trying to just “make things work” by just weaving in and out of traffic? Jumping around in life and not really being intentional (buzz word I know, so TRY to think about the reality of that in relation to what I’m sharing).

We love people. We love serving. This is what God uses to purge the sin from our flesh. This side of Heaven, He will not ever finish sifting us. I’m thankful that He pursues me hard and constant to purge the sin. It may take so very long in some places, but He never gives us. I must learn to not give up checking my blind spots. My blind spots are usually revealed by my relationships with my husband and children. As much as I would love for them to not have to learn of my sin or be a part of the purging thereof, I’m grateful for the great testimony they are of God’s grace.

They love me just the same.

Psalm 103

Of David.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

motherhood & the mundane.

mother’s day is this weekend. my 1 & 3 year old aren’t old enough to really be held accountable for a thoughtfully planned day. and mother’s day and father’s day are always on sunday. i wish someone in ministry had the final say on holidays sometime….because sundays are all out days of serving for ministers, pastors, clergy, volunteers, parents, anyone and everyone who plays a role in ministering and serving the Body.

as i scroll through facebook, there are oodles of posts, blogs, & pictures being shared. all very lovely and encouraging. i’ve seen a picture about treasuring the right now, i’ve read blogs about how it feels to not have a reason or mom to celebrate, or posts about wishing you were a mom to be celebrated (i’ve had those days after my miscarriage), or …………. for me…………it’s a first mother’s day for my mom to not have her mom here to take flowers and cards and candy to or for me to call. everyone has a very personal experience with mother’s day.

now that i’m a mother, i get it more. my nephew once asked my mom why they’re isn’t a “kid’s day”. i’m sure there was a prompt conversation about how EVERY day is kid’s day!

now that i’m a mother, i get the tension in our hearts between feeling so mundane and monotonous and feeling so in love and sacrificial.

just today, i’ve changed 5 diapers (3 of which were terribly disgusting), cleaned up and intentional potty accident, i’ve been on the receiving end of SEVERAL tantrums (in a few i was assaulted), have received demands all day which required calm, extensive teaching as to how we ask for things (because we haven’t taught them already?!?!), refresher courses for all on how the daily schedule runs (because we’re so surprised DAILY that it’s nap time again—see tantrum), i mean i could go on and on and all the mommas of littles in the trenches are speaking an amen.

and for glimmers of a second throughout the day, i hear my selfish heart say “what do you get recognized for?” i’m still in yoga pants and a huge tshirt. i haven’t done the dishes. i’ve made the tiniest dent in the laundry. i’ve put away tons of laundry. i’ve purged and organized. but really, the whole house is still a disaster. i’m trying.

but really, in the grand scheme of it all. i have to be responsible with what God’s given me. my marriage. our children. our home. our belongings. just be a good steward. More on that here.

there is a wide spread movement where i live for women staying home. more and more of my friends are staying home and it’s a sweet season to walk this journey with them. i love my friends who work and i love hearing their testimonies of how they work AND do all of the stuff i do during my days at home. if i could just manage to get my kids to not destroy the house while we’re home all day, i would have it made.

now that i’m a mother, i pay attention to other mommas. i take notes. what works for them? how do they discipline? how do they teach? how do they organize? how do they schedule? i ask for wisdom. i seek counsel. i ignore the haters (am i in the right generation to use that term?)

and every mom has the same battle. we know the Truth of the value of what we do….but we don’t feel it. there’s the foolish part of emotions, they don’t always speak Truth to us. but they are real. and they are meaningful to us when we’re in the trenches.

and it’s not how God works for us to say “pull yourself up by the boot straps” or to whisper to our hearts “get over it”.

for the rest of our lives, as mothers, we will battle “i feel like a failure” and “i know what i’m doing matters, it just doesn’t always feel like it.”

this is what i think on to draw me back to Truth when my flesh and heart fail me in the midst of emotions.

Colossians 3:23-24

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

23 Whatever you do, do your work [a]heartily, as for the Lord [b]rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward [c]of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

 

i take myself back to the point. sometimes i literally start talking to my littles about Jesus because i absolutely know that matters and will help me FEEL like what i’m doing matters. we read a book about Jesus, we pray, we talk about Him, we sing songs about Him…whatever encourages my heart that we’re working their hearts towards salvation.

this also takes me to the point that i’m working heartily for the Lord, not the praises of men (which are hard, see my struggle here). my flesh may want to hear something extraordinary about myself, but ultimately the most extraordinary thing about me is my Lord. so washing dishes like i’m washing them for Him is going to make that task FEEL a little more important.

for my mental health, it always boils down to perspective. so that’s what i always ask Him for. perspective of my life through the filter of Truth. He always provides. and sometimes it comes in unusual forms–a 1 1/2 year old precious son who walks up behind me while i’m sitting on the floor and hugs me from behind.

i’m back on track for the day. joy supersedes circumstances.

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our mother’s day pic from last year…i may be more prepared this year with matching outfits, fixed hair, and a better hair do for myself. we’ll see….it IS on a sunday. our busiest day of the week 🙂 this was also the day we dedicated our family to raising Holt in a godly home 🙂 what a sweet mother’s day!

the one word that sums up all i’ve learned about myself when i became a mommy

 

it’s so painful to my flesh to say it.

selfish.

it’s painful to my flesh for 2 reasons.

1. because i’m embarrassed i didn’t learn how selfish i was when i got married…it took having a child for me to realize that i’m selfish.

2. because i have a root sin of pride and to realize, confess, & grow beyond this selfishness means i’m not perfect.

1 John 2:16

King James Version (KJV)

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

when i have on the filter of Truth, i can see my selfishness for what it is (sin) & press into Christ’s redeeming forgiveness. when my heart is bent towards asking God to produce based on the good intentions, motivations, & desires He has put within me to steward the lives of my children, i am outside of my flesh & directed towards the idea of redemption.

yes we are all selfish. but praise the Lord of all Heaven and Earth that He is in the great and glorious business of Redeeming.

Ephesians 5 Amplified Version

13 But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light.

14 Therefore He says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light.

15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),

16 Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.

so there is no condemnation for the temptation to be selfish towards my husband or children. but an ever present reminder of what success really is in the realm of home. success in the Spirit is waking up each morning and asking of the Lord

Psalm 139 New Living Translation

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

so that when our children will not give us a break, they spill milk, have a potty accident, pull their clothes out of their drawers, wake up 3 times each in the middle of the night, scream and run away when discipline is knocking on the door of their hearts……….or when our spouse forgot to do something important for us, forgets something special, makes a decision we don’t agree with, or is having a rough day and their attitude effects us–we can confess we have selfish hearts that want to scream or pout, but then repent and remember Lord’s ability to lead us in the way everlasting.

He puts His Spirit within us to walk and guide us in the trenches. yes, even the trenches of our selfishness. our hearts are deceitful (Joshua 1:9), but He is grace. He forgives. He gives. He extends mercy and grace.

He knows our hearts. our very fragile, worn out, over-extended, but very very very full hearts. the heart that beats harder and faster during the hard days. the heart that explodes at night when our littles snuggle up on our chest while we read. the heart that grows more full as our children begin to speak Truth themselves and model all that we’ve spoken about Jesus. and as we hear and watch our sweet babes talk about Christ, He is sweetly beckoning us as we watch the little seeds we’ve planted begin to be harvested by Him.

it’s so hard during the drag of day and sometimes night to remember that we are living out a calling. a calling to love our husband and children well. it is weary sometimes when we don’t know what “well” is and we’ve lost track of our purpose. but He says we can call on Him. so my prayer for myself and other mommas is that we reevaluate what it means for us (as individuals, not as compared to other mommies) to love our husband and our children well. we are all gifted, interested, and experienced in different ways. press into Him with your deepest and grandest expectation that He will speak directly to your heart about how you can rest in who He has made you and love your family well with how He has equipped you. no more trying harder. no more being better. no more rules and regulations. just asking, exploring, and living out who you already are and loving with the tools and resources He has already provided.

just ask Him. and then abandon your own idea of what the pressure tells you it should look like for you to be a mom and wife and, instead, be the mom and wife He’s already equipped you to be with a whole heart full of expectation. sometimes your greatest equipping and resources come from your children and your spouse. be sensitive to the Spirit.

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lightning fast

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Everyone tells you “it goes by fast” as if fear will motivate moms of littles to cherish every moment. We do cherish it. Those of us who work outside of the home and those of us who stay home. We cherish it just like everyone cherishes their own lives. You know? You know how we have all have to be reminded to “live each day like the last”? Or how every time something tragic happens it jolts us back into the reality of how precious and short life is? Those are humbling moments that bring perspective. If a mom of littles is feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, frustrated, etc. I can guarantee we already feel guilty that we aren’t “just loving every moment”. I know everyone means well by trying to encourage moms of littles with “cherish it now” “it goes by fast” “tomorrow they’ll be driving”. I definitely get it. When someone says this and I feel guilty for having a hard time, I remind myself they’re trying to encourage me. They’re trying to love on me. No matter how much those comments push me to condemn myself and cause me to resolve myself to “never complain again” (however, sometimes I receive these encouragements just because my boys are acting in a way that requires some extra love). I’ve even tried to find my own slant to encourage myself. My husband helps me remember everyday that this is only a season. My oldest was just where my youngest is….yesterday. And before I know it, they’ll both be self-sufficient and momma kisses will be scarce. I would never trade my time at home with my boys. Whether I stayed home or worked and my time was different with them. Just because I know something is my calling and the best for my family doesn’t always make it easy.

My husband and I have gone through some hard stuff recently. That’s where we have no choice but to lean on the Lord and trust Him. We can’t change some of these circumstances. So we roll with it and talk to the Lord and each other about it and how it can penetrate and change our hearts.  I take the same approach with hard days at home with my boys. I can’t change them and I don’t want to but I am here to train and mold them. That takes a lot of discipline and consistency for parents. Sometimes the most encouraging thing someone says to me is “you’re doing a great job.” I know it’s not hardest thing in the world to parent my children and that I’m very blessed to have them and to stay home with them. Just because something is the greatest thing in the world doesn’t mean it isn’t hard sometimes. I’ve had my dream job before (before staying home became my dream job) and it was still really hard! I needed help and I needed admonishment.

This post was brought on by a “lightning fast” milestone for Holt. He stayed up past 6:30 last night because we were at church and did surprisingly well! It caused him to sleep until 8:30 this morning (we’re going to have a GREAT DAY 🙂 I’m not a morning person. The biggest milestone, though, …… no bottle this morning. He ate breakfast and had a cup of milk. Drake pretty well weaned himself off the bottle and I didn’t have to think twice about it. He never held his own bottle so transitioning to cup made sense and worked. Holt can hold his own bottle and when he sees it, he says “nigh nigh” because it’s so comforting to him. He didn’t flinch with no bottle and I know we’ll be fine. My momma heart can’t believe my youngest is almost done with all things that resemble infancy (except those expensive diapers!).

It does go by so fast. As hard as I try to cherish every moment, some of them go by all too quickly. We can’t hold onto these moments. They just vanish. I posted once with Drake that I wish I could have one of him at every stage. It’s so true. The heart strings rip as we want to hold onto the now but also long to see them grow and flourish. Baby gear and items are flying out of his room and getting packed up and all I see are little boy clothes and toddler toys. This year I have a preschooler and a toddler. This year we continue to teach and guide and mold and train.

It’s a sweet honor that He called us to be stewards. Forgive me Lord, when it seems too much. Thank you for the grace to take it day by day and thank you for the grace to know the magnitude of this honor.

Defintions Matter

I have seen so many posts lately on Facebook that give the details to life, or so they seem. It is words of “wisdom” or “how to do it right”.

I became convicted after seeing a post because I thought to myself, I wonder if I post in a way that seems arrogant? So, I took a look back at my posts. It was a neat time of reflecting, because what I saw what a definition of my self. I saw what is most important to me (or who is most important to me), where my focus is, and what motivates my spirit. I saw some things I didn’t like or that I thought weren’t pertinent to sharing socially. So I was able to sift through and decide on a purpose for my social media connections.

I was confident in my social media self because it is a real reflection of who I am and the Lord has done a unique work in me during the past 5 years to give me freedom and security in myself. All people need and want that. I’m a work progress, everyone is, and it’s ok. It’s ok to be a work in progress as long as we’re working and progressing.

As I was reading these posts, my concern came from whether our hearts seek to admonish and encourage…or condemn. Sometimes when I read someone’s “wisdom” it comes across as condemnation. Mainly because it appears as a command and order, rather than a personal conviction of their work in progress. The world and the enemy do their best, and sometimes rather successfully, to condemn us. I doubt we need an acquaintance on facebook to do much more. But when we share, out of our own walk, experience, and working in progress, others are encouraged and admonished. They see our love that is Truth spoken through our work in progress.

Encourage::to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence

Admonish::to caution, advise, or counsel against something.

Condemn::to express an unfavorable or adverse judgment on; indicate strong disapproval of; censure.

This does not go without saying, we cannot effect how someone reacts or responds to our words. But we can be diligent to share the truth in love without condemning. And when we have something to say, we say it to the individual (Matthew 18) and they know we are seeking to love them and hold them accountable (while we, ourselves, are vulnerable to be held accountable, also).

On the contrary to these thoughts, I have been so edified by watching others via social media. Other moms, who have more kiddos than I, walking faithfully through motherhood and boldly walking into new seasons with their children that I have yet to trod. Other marriages as they navigate what it is to walk in biblical healthy marriages. Our college students as they maneuver a much more difficult society than when I was in college and working and seeking the Lord. It’s motivating to watch, via social media, others who are close and far away, as they show their work in progress and do difficult things and make hard decisions, all the while sharing with all of their “friends” on facebook what life looks like for them. Being a good steward involves all of our lives. Even social media. Are we stewarding our opportunity to be real, yet graceful, on social media?

We have more today than ever to be responsible for, and this more includes social media. I’m convicted of the ways I let it steal life from me, yet motivated to use it as a tool to connect and share using my gifts. Everything is a conduit for sharing the gospel, will I press into that opportunity even with social media?

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.