Where is your Hope?

In the midst of wars, rumors of wars, plagues and pandemics, dangerous weather patterns, earthquakes, and increasing persecution of believers, it’s time to do a foundation check. Be gut-wrenchingly honest with yourself and use scripture as a mirror.

  • Do I feel like I’m sinking, or standing strong?
  • Is my foundation built on what I can do, or what God has already done?
  • Am I shrinking with fear, or rising to the challenge?
  • Do I spend more time consuming media than devouring the Word of God?
  • Am I sewing and growing the Fruits of the Spirit, or weeds and tares?

If your heart is fearful, body riddled with anxiety, and your mind consumed with overwhelm, it’s time to make a change. Regardless of our present circumstances, we are called to stand firm in Christ. While chaos reigns around us on all sides, we are called to root ourselves in Scripture. We are called to be vigilant against a very real and very active enemy whose greatest desire is to infect us with fear and worry.

Our children will follow our example when it comes to dealing with crises and chaos. Don’t be woeful–be a warrior! Use Scripture to speak into the lives of your family, and teach them to hide it in their hearts. Choose a family verse for this season, and memorize it together!

Psalm 121 is an excellent place to begin. Read it aloud together when you wake up, at every meal, then read it again at bedtime. Feel God’s peace that passes all understanding permeate your entire being! Watch your anxiety recede and rest easy in the arms of Jesus. These words of scripture won’t make our present circumstances change, but they will change our hearts. Allow the Holy Spirit into your home, your heart, your mind, and your family. Banish fear through purposeful prayer and worship.

Rather than leaving the TV on throughout the day (or staring at the smart phone), play worship music. Let it waft through your entire house and echo in the corners of your mind. These two things–reciting Psalm 121 and playing worship music–aren’t magic tricks, they are simple and powerful actions you can take to shift the atmosphere in your home. If not you, then who? If not now, then when?

The Simple Sweet Sound of Silence

My mind, my mouth, and mobile devices were rarely silent, until very recently. After reading Southern In-Law’s latest Sisters in Christ blogvotional, my heart is stirred for silence.

There are times throughout Scripture when believers were instructed not to be silent. Esther’s silence would have meant the destruction of her family. In Luke 19, Jesus said the stones would cry out in praise if his disciples kept quiet. Christians are called to loudly stand up for injustices and praise His name, yet in other instances closed lips are the key to godly wisdom.

Psalm 4:4 (NIV) speaks of silence. “Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your heart and be silent.” The New Living Translation puts it this way: “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.” I have my father to thank for my quick wit and gift of sarcasm; it’s in my DNA. For the most part, these characteristics serve me well and I truly love to make people laugh. However, sarcasm, quick wit, and anger are a recipe for disaster. I have an unfortunate ability to wound with my words. My husband, Mark, knows this all too well.

Rather than fighting back with a sharp tongue and wounding my husband’s spirit, I need to meditate in silence. When my words aren’t exactly dripping with honey, they need to stay in my mouth. If I’m not prepared to encourage or edify, I need to keep quiet. Or unload the dishwasher. Or take a walk. Or bake a cake. Then I could fill my mouth with delicious gluten-free cake instead of venomous words.

Psalm 12:3 (NIV) reminds me that silence squashes selfishness. “May the Lord silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue…” The Contemporary English Version is a bit more graphic, “Won’t you chop off all flattering tongues that brag so loudly?” Turns out that my tongue needed a bit of chopping. Social media became an avenue for me to brag and engage in unproductive flattery. It’s difficult to hold our tongues about how wonderful our children are; we need to be proud of them and brag on them! But for me, the issue isn’t just about taking pride in my children, it’s about the condition of my heart. What am I really saying with every see-how-awesome-my-kid-is status update?

Sometimes it takes great restraint to close my mouth in the midst of anger and hurt feelings. It’s so much easier to tell my husband exactly how I think he has wronged me, how his words and actions make me feel, and what I want him to do about it. In these instances, the hard thing is the right thing. My anger is mine, no one else’s. When I begin to feel frustrated or overwhelmed, I need to quietly reflect until I’m able to have a peaceful, productive conversation.
When I feel the stinging loneliness of motherhood, I don’t need to post a litany of mommy-accomplishments or veiled attempts to fish for compliments. I can meditate on scripture, pick up the phone and call my mother, have an impromptu dance party with Asher, or write a blog. The words of my mouth and meditations of my heart are often far from where they should be, but resting in silence allows me to regroup and recover instead of doing damage control.