Friday, May 24, 2019

Ramblings of a Tired Working Mom

God is good all the time, especially when I am tired.

This has been an exhausting week.  The pressure to meet deadlines, attend work-related meetings, and deal with family matters has left me drained.  Before I can enjoy the weekend I must face yard work I would rather not do.  But I'm not complaining.  God is good.  He has shown his grace and mercy time and time again, and given me the strength and mental fortitude to get through a really challenging week.

I know there are a lot of folks out there who wonder how they'll get through another hard day or sleepless night. They worry about their kids, finances, and what to do when all bets are off.  I've been there, done that.  But I have learned that no matter how tired I am or how difficult life feels, God is good all the time.

Let me offer you some sound advice I saw on Facebook recently.  "When you are hanging on by a thread, make sure it's the hem of his garment."  What does that mean, and how do you do it?  For me, it means spending some time each day reading scripture or a devotional and talking to God. That's all prayer is -- you talking to God and listening for his response through his Word. 

Part of the reason we get so weary is that we insist on carrying burdens all by ourselves.  God never meant for us to do that.  Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”…(Matthews 11:28-30, Berean Study Bible).  Now that sounds like an offer too good to pass up!

Next time you feel beaten down, look up!  Speak the name of Jesus, the Name above all names, and invite Him to be your burden bearer.  "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you" (1 Peter 5:7, New Living Translation).

Copyright © 2019 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Gratitude is a Gamechanger

Are you at the end of your rope, hanging on for dear life?  Do you often feel that life is unfair, that nothing good ever happens to you, and that you have had more than your share of grief and pain?  I think we all feel that way at times.  When we do, we have a tendency to indulge in a pity party for one -- to seclude ourselves, lick our wounds, and wallow in our misery.  I know, because I have done my share of it.

Our family has gone through its share of tough times the past few years.  I have tried to teach my children to handle their personal stresses and negative situations by finding reasons to rejoice.  Let's just say, there have been many teachable moments!  And while I have done my best to set the example, I will be the first to admit that I sometimes forget the power of a grateful heart.

I'm not really sure when the light went on for me and I became a thankful person, but as I sat down to journal my prayers this morning I found myself starting nearly every prayer with the words "Thank You."  Gosh, my friends, there are so many reasons to give thanks! 

Do you have a roof over your head?  A car (or maybe three or four) in your driveway?  A job?  Good health?  Are the lights on and the water running?  Is there food in the pantry?  Did you survive yesterday and all its troubles?  Instead of complaining that it's raining, give thanks for the roof!  Rather than whining about yard work, thank God for the health and strength to push a lawnmower and the blessing of a shower to wash off all the dirt when you're finished.

I know there are people who are in the fight of their lives right now, facing health, relationship, and financial challenges that I can't even fathom.  I've had a few of those myself.  I have suffered the painful consequences of very foolish decisions and survived, only by the grace of God.  I have experienced His grace and favor when I didn't deserve them.

Depression is real.  I have suffered that, too.  But I have learned that the dark night of the soul doesn't last forever and that even in the darkest hours, I am never alone.  God is with me.  He always has been, even when I have ignored or denied His presence.

God gave EVERYTHING for me!  His own Son died on the cross to save me from my sins -- past, present, and future.  How can I not be thankful?!  God has promised to work all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  Do you love God?  Do you have any idea just how much He loves you?

Copyright © 2019 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Convenient Christianity

The Church in America is in crisis.  Christianity is declining, particularly in the Western world.  As a people, Christians are losing influence in politics and society, in our families, and even in our own churches.  Why is this happening now, when God knows the world needs Jesus more than ever?

In the second book of Timothy, chapter three, the apostle Paul writes:
But mark this:  There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God -- having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them" (verses 1-5).
While this passage of scripture, perhaps more than any other, speaks of the current state of the Church and Christianity in general, I believe a big reason churches are hurting and diminishing in effectiveness and influence is that many believers have forsaken their first love (Revelation 2:4) and no longer find church "convenient."  Weekend sports and recreational activities have become the norm for many Christian families. Financial obligations and a love for material things have diminished our ability to be faithful givers.  And I'll be the first to admit, I will skip choir practice on occasion if I can find a convenient excuse not to go, even though I know my participation matters.

Was going to the cross for our sins convenient for Christ? Was it fair that He should die in our place for the sins that we have committed?  No, but "for the joy set before Him Jesus endured the cross, scorning its shame" (Hebrews 12:2) in order that we might enjoy a personal relationship with Him here and now, and eternal life when our days on Earth have ended.

Thank God that He doesn't listen to and answer our prayers only when it is convenient for Him!  Thank God that He doesn't heal the sick only when it is convenient for Him!
Thank God that He loves us, even when we fail to love Him in return!

How can we become the solution in our churches instead of the problem?  By making worship and giving priorities, and by stepping outside of our comfort zones and sacrificing a little personal time to serve.  Get off the bench and back into the ballgame!  Team Jesus needs every single one of us, especially you!

Copyright © 2019 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.