1 Peter 4:10-11
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Dear Lysa,

I write today to thank you.  I thank you for being a faithful steward of God’s gifts to you.

I am a mother to three young boys ranging in age from ten months to five years old.  They are truly a blessing to me, but as most mothers know, raising young children is an exhausting job, both physically and mentally.  I would often go to bed frustrated, wondering what I was doing wrong that my children were so difficult. They argued with me, did not listen to what I asked them to do, and these boys were just out of control sometimes.  I have come unglued more times than I even feel comfortable admitting to myself.  I would yell and scream to get them to stop.  Sometimes it worked, mostly it didn’t, and I always felt guilt afterwards.

Then, I read Unglued.  I began to realize that God had brought these words together for me.  I saw many lessons God had been showing me come together in a cohesive way.  I have been working on listening to God’s will for me so that I could reach the world.  Slowly, as I read the book, I realized my ministry is to my family, and I was missing a key part, joy.  Joy has made all the difference.  I began to see that God does not want me to simply get through this “season of life”, he wants me to find joy in service to Him.  Yes, my job as a mother and a wife, as difficult as it may be, should be in joyful service to Christ our King! I have begun to see what James was talking about in James 1:2 when he says: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” I expected that I would be able to whip my children into shape and that motherhood would become easier at that point.

What I have learned, is that my love and gentle admonition, as God has demonstrated to me, is what helps my children come unglued less often, which means I come unglued less often.  Sometimes it is as simple as pulling my child into my lap and hugging them, reminding them how much I love them and how special they are to me. God demonstrates this to us as it says in Zephaniah 3:17 (I love that this gives me an opportunity to quote Zephaniah): “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”  God demonstrates his love not only by saving us from our sin, but he quiets us with his love and exults over us with loud singing.  There is nothing more beautiful.  This is what I aim to do with my children.  I want my love, and as a consequence God’s love, to be evident at all times.  I want them to feel confident in that.

I want to close this letter with the 1 Peter passage listed above.  As we struggle with coming unglued as we face trials of every kind, I want us to shift our thinking to God’s thinking.  God gave us each a unique gift, which he wants us to use for His glory.  What a thought!  God expects me to use the gifts he gave me in raising my children so that they might see Christ.  You, Lysa, have demonstrated this through your transparency.  You have shared your gift of writing as a dear friend.  You share your shortcomings so that we might know that God did not put us here alone.  I have not only you sympathizing with my hardships, but the thousands of other women who are reading this book and making imperfect progress with me.

I hope that God looks down on us in joy as we work to become closer to the masterpiece he intended for us to be.  I am truly thankful for the book Unglued and all of the amazing resources I have through Proverbs 31 ministries.

In fact, since I have begun to be a more faithful servant with my family, God has entrusted me with more responsibility.  I am reaching people through my blog and I am working to help others serve those around them.  Over the next couple of months, I will be helping others find ways to serve others through their money, time, and even through small acts of love and kindness.  Thanks be to God!

Rebecca Portteus