“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…”
~ Luke 16:10a
This week has been tough. Our family of five has had a virus that has caused us to feel miserable at times, and grumpy at others. It has been a week where pretty much everything has been surrendered except basic care. I almost feel as if the sickness will never go away. In the end, I know it will, but it made me think of other times in my life where suffering seemed to never end: the endless monotony of the ordinary, or the seemingly endless trudge of sleepless nights or unending pain. There are times in each of our lives where the darkness, or at the very least the grayness, of life seems to overcome us. We look ahead to the “other side”, making promises of what we might do if our situation changes. The truth is, change doesn’t happen in the future, it happens now. Luke 16:10a tells us, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” God tells us in order to be entrusted with more, we must first take care of what we are already have.
Let me give you an example from my life. For the past 3 years, I have been searching for my calling from God. I had this feeling that there was supposed to be something more to my life. I kept hearing stories of people who encountered God in magnificent ways and I felt like I had never really encountered Him at all. I am a stay at home mother to my boys, and three years ago I had just given birth to my second son. My oldest, who was closing in on three years old was no longer the sweet little baby I remember, and my sweet new baby was colicky and I did not know how to console him. It was a tiring time of my life. Nevertheless, I was searching for how God wanted to use me outside my home. I tried running Bible Studies at my church, searched for leadership positions within my church and Bible Study, and looked for opportunities to get involved with local non-profit organizations. Each search left me feeling stressed and empty, a failure.
As time wore on, I gradually began to focus more on quiet time and rest. This became more and more difficult as my boys grew older and with the addition of our third son just over a year ago. While this may seem like a small step to take, it was one which had mighty results. Even though the day to day got more difficult, I began to feel more at peace. God was merciful in giving me wise counsel in the form of friends, family and even blogs! As I immersed myself into His Word, one thing was becoming apparent: God wanted me to focus on my ministry to my family and those around me. I am encountering God as I never have before. As I have slowly worked on my relationship with God, I have been more intentional about teaching my children about God and showing them how to live a godly life. I have tried to be an example to family and friends when I interact with them and others. As I dug into the Word, it gradually made it easier for me to be an example of God’s love to others. It is the beginning of an amazing transformation.
Let me be clear, I am a work in progress. You may look at me and see a hypocrite. I fail, sometimes often. However, I improve. With each trial and slip-up, I learn something about myself. I see a situation that needs to be dealt with. I see an area where frustration still lives and I look for the area that needs improved.
Frustration is never more apparent than when I am exhausted due to lack of sleep and an abundance of responsibilities. There are times when I grow frustrated, especially with my children, and my reactions to them are not the example I would like to give. When I find myself doing this, I know my life is out of balance. I may not be able to control how much sleep I get or the necessities of raising my children, but I can control other things. This may mean that I may have to change my cleaning schedule, how often or when I get my “mommy” time, or what things get delegated or rescheduled. It may mean I need to pay more attention to my health, such as exercise and diet, or even my quiet time focusing on God. Whatever it is, I need to deal with it.
The amazing thing is, I have seen some of the results of being faithful to my small responsibilities. One, I have begun to see the joy in the everyday. While I still may not look forward to changing a dozen diapers in a day, I do look forward to their silly games and the big smiles and hugs I get. The other amazing thing that has happened is that opportunities to do greater things have presented themselves to me. Instead of feeling stressed and frustrated, I feel peace and joy. There are setbacks, but even these do not throw me off like they used to.
You may read this post and think you have nothing in common with me. However, even if you have no children or your children are grown, we all face trials. Do you find yourself looking beyond today to the what if? If so, we have much in common. I invite you to look beyond your situation to what you are learning. What have you learned about yourself and what have you learned about God?
To close, I am going to leave you with a passage from Ecclesiastes which highlights God’s acknowledgement that in everything there is a season.
For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.
– Ecclesiastes 3:1-8