“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him’.”

Lamentations 3:22-24

Today I am using the hope God has given me to break free from the stress and frustration given me each day trying to raise my children.  Let me explain a bit.  I am the mother of three boys, age 6, 3, and 1, with a new baby due to appear towards the end of February.  The boys have been home this summer and we have had enough moments of fun and joy to last a lifetime!  It has truly been a wonderful summer and I treasure each moment I have gotten to see my young men grow into more independent beings.  I cannot stress this part enough.  I am endlessly thankful for the blessings these three young people have brought into my life.  I may have learned more about being human from them than they have learned from me.  I will praise God each day for their health, their humor, their love and their presence in my life.

So, why the stress and frustration? Blessings also come with challenges, some small and some seemingly insurmountable ones.  Young children are irrational at times.  They do not always want to follow rules.  They challenge everything some days.  Some days they are grumpy, as we all are, but they have not learned how to reign it in.  Rest is a four letter word for my children most days.  I could go on, but suffice it to say that there are times during my day when I just want to run screaming out my door to the nearest beach to sit with a book for a couple of days.  It is hard.  Are you there too?  Perhaps your hard is not children, but I can imagine many of you can understand my frustration.

The prophet Jeremiah understood frustration.  Jeremiah accepted God’s call and faced hardship that makes me cringe to even think of.  Jeremiah faced attempts on his life, beatings, mockery and much more.  However, Jeremiah continued to speak the words God had placed in him.  In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah writes: “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him’.” (Lamentations 3:22-24) Jeremiah recognizes that there will be difficulties in life.  However, due to God’s love for us, we are not consumed by them.  His compassions are new every morning.  Jeremiah praises God’s faithfulness to him and says that God is his portion.  What an amazing testament to finding freedom from the frustrations that come along in life!

I am going to follow Jeremiah’s example.  I am going to look for the Lord’s compassions each morning.  I am going to look for the strength to guide these young men towards independent men of God.  I am going to more fully accept that there will be setbacks, and I am going to be more prepared to face these gracefully.  I am not going to let the attitudes of others determine my attitude for the day.  I am going to show those around me that we do not have to be a slave to our emotions.  I am going to model how to deal with frustrations and be firm and calm in disciplining my children.  This will not be easy, and I am sure there will still be many days where I will feel like I am under attack from all sides.  I do not want to live with frustration and chaos ruling my days.  I do not want to look back on this joyful time with my children and remember so much frustration.  I am going to use the strength of the Lord to help me overcome.

I am going to make a larger attempt to teach my children about God and His expectations for us.  I want God’s Word on their hearts, so their moments of frustration can begin to be tempered with the Truth.  I want to “strike” when the tempers are cold, so that my children might internalize these lessons and pull on them in a moment of anger or frustration.  Am I naive enough to think this will be a perfect process?  No.  In fact, quite the opposite.  I know how long it has taken me to begin to allow God to shape me.  Not too long from now, these young men will begin to face some daunting challenges as they face the influence of the world and attempt to weigh it against what we have taught them.  I want them to be prepared.  I want them to feel strong in the face of temptation.  I want them to show love and mercy to those around them. These young men belong to God, and I would be doing them a huge disservice if I did not take more time to teach them what that means.

As we prepare for a new school year, please pray with me for our children and those who influence our children.  Pray that they will feel God’s love for them.  Pray they will remember what it means to be a child of the one true God.  Pray for patience.  Pray for kindness.  Pray for understanding and pray for grace.  Most of all, pray that each of us could hear God’s prompting in our hearts in the face of anger, frustration and hurt feelings.

I leave you with one of my favorite hymns that speaks to the faithfulness of God that is renewed each day.