Contentment and idols of the heart

At the moment I am enjoying a serene moment with my children sitting in the sandbox playing and me sitting in a lawn chair. This lovely moment really feels like a gracious gift from the Giver of all good things. The gentle breeze, the sound of geese in the distance, my children’s imaginations, the freshness of the air, the serenity of the woods. These are extravagant gifts from God that I am so unworthy of and yet I often fail to even notice them. To be honest when I stepped outside with the children I was feeling pretty grumpy because I was looking at all the yard work that’s not done and thinking what a mess the yard is. If I’m perfectly honest what came into my mind was a friends recently purchased home with a beautiful yard in a cooler area of the country and what came into my heart was covetousness or as the Bible also calls it, idolatry. (Col. 3:5)

What pricked my conscience so badly and grabbed a hold of my idolatrous heart and yanked it back into repentance and thanksgiving was this poem I’ve never read before by 8 year old Fanny Crosby who was accidentally blinded by a physician as an infant; (I read it in Randy Alcorn’s book Happiness)

Oh, what a happy child I am,
Although I cannot see!
I am resolved that in this world,
Contented I will be.

I’m ashamed that a blind 8 year old would choose to be happy in spite of her disability when I so often fail to even have that same resolve.

As a child Fanny told her mother that even given a choice she would choose to remain blind so that the first face she would see would be the face of God.

Oh to have faith like a child!

Try inserting your own trials into this poem. For me it would look something like this;

Oh, what a happy child I am (child of God in this case since I’m an adult!)
Although I bear the grief of child loss and the daily struggle of a chronic disease
I am resolved that in this world,
Contented I will be

Then use your God given imagination to replace these trials with the glory of endless bliss and healing in eternity with Christ.

Fanny looked forward to the primary joy of seeing God and the secondary joy of restored sight. Just think, in the presence of God surrounded by the family of God I’m going to get to see my child alive, find out what color his eyes are and taste food with out injecting insulin. What a cause for celebration! What gifts the Father has lavished upon me! What hope and joy and happiness I experience today because I’ve been promised that coming day!

2 Cor. 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

1 Thess. 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Dear Heavenly Father, The Creator and Giver of all good things,
Forgive me for covetous thoughts and discontentment. May things I desire never become idols, distracting me from seeing all the good things You’ve given me. Thank you for my life, for my family, for my home, for food and clothing and all the endless provisions in my life. Most of all, thank You for the provision of Your Son Jesus who was crucified on my behalf and rose again, forever making intercession on behalf. Make me to be content with my life and circumstances. I believe Your word when it says that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and that I can be content in whatever state or circumstance I am in. Work the power of the Holy Spirit in me. In the name of Jesus my Saviour I pray, A-men

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stay tuned! ….

I have some big big news but I can’t share it on here quite yet! I know, that totally leaves you hanging but stay tuned, there are major changes happening in the Snow household!! I’m actually in the process of writing the post about our news but I have to wait a couple more weeks until I can share..

In the mean time.. Have you ever read this poem? The very first time I ever posted on this blog I posted this poem.

Do The Next Thing

Quoted by Elizabeth Elliot

“At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
there came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, ‘Do the next thing.’

Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
working or suffering be thy demeanor,
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
Do the next thing.”

Author Unknown

I have in the past turned to this poem in times of grief as a “motto” or a guide of what it looks like to keep going when life gets hard. Just “do the next thing.” Just place one foot in front of the other, not looking behind and not looking ahead, just take a another step.

Right now in life we have been presented with a wonderful opportunity and it is not a time of grief although it is a very big change. With a change this big it could be easy for me to get overwhelmed and the small griefs that come with change (even a happy change!) could easily be too much for me. I have recently been thinking about this poem again and Jesus’ words in Matthew 6: 34 “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Whatever you are going through in life right now whether it is a time of sorrow or you have joyous plans laid out in front of you remember that this moment is all we have. When I fixate on the past I become full of regret and get depressed. I can do nothing to change the past and I end up missing what’s right in front of my face. If I look towards the future and I fixate on all the unknowns and everything I don’t have control over and everything I think I have to do then I can get easily overwhelmed and stressed and miss today as well.

Whatever is in front of you or behind you my friend I encourage you to take one step at a time, looking to Jesus and do just the next thing. Don’t miss the beauty of today. Don’t rush through this precious gift you’ll never get back.

Here’s my challenge to you- what is one way you can cherish what is in front of you today?

For me, even though the changes we are going through are happy ones (don’t worry I’m not going to come back with bad news!) I feel like so much information is coming at me so fast that I have to slow it down or my mind will explode! (figuratively of course lol!) That means for the next week I’m going to put down my phone and step away from the internet to try and calm the amount of information that is coming at me so fast! Except for this blog because sharing with you helps organize my thoughts and definitely makes me calmer!

Stay tuned… 🙂

I’m editing to add my next steps for today. Here’s a little peak inside my day and my mind..

  1. spend 45 minutes cleaning the house so it will be ready incase someone wants to look at it today (we had an open house Tuesday so I’m hoping this will be the case!)
  2. get every one dressed and ready, finish making my grocery list and go grocery shopping
  3. make the 2 phone calls I need to make.
  4. take the kids outside to play

See, that’s easy! When I think in terms of what’s the next step right in front of me it’s not that much and it’s totally doable!

Hypocrisy

Hiding

You. That’s what this is about. You want to look good.

Pretense

Open the Bible and see how much hypocrisy is condemned

Covers up the truth

Religious pretending

In all of us this sin has resided at one time or another.

Sincerity is what we need

Young children tend to spot hypocrisy the quickest

1 Peter 2:1-2 King James Version

Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

I read this verse this morning which was what lead me to spending some time thinking about hypocrisy.

God, as a follower of You, make me to walk in sincerity and truth

Finished Reading “If God is Good” by Randy Alcorn

I don’t want to spend the time writing a book review but I do want to throw a few comments out there about this book. “If God Is Good, Faith In the Midst of Suffering and Evil” is easily the best book I read all year and for sure one of the best books I’ve read in a while. It has built my faith a lot to read scripture after scripture about this topic and to read many stories of saints and their sufferings and the victories their sufferings brought about. Near the end of the book there was a poem that I have been thinking about since reading it and I hunted it down on the internet so I could share it here. (I already returned the book to the library)

 

It’s written by Joseph Baylee in a book titled Psalms Of My Life (1969). The poem titled “A Psalm While Packing Books” was written after the author and his wife lost three children through varies tragedies.

 

This cardboard box

Lord

see it says

Bursting limit

100 lbs. Per square inch.

The box maker knew

how much strain

the box would take

what weight

would crush it.

You are wiser

than the box maker

maker of my spirit

my mind

my body.

Does the box know

when pressure increases close to

the limit?

No

It knows nothing.

But I know

when my breaking point

Is near.

And so I pray

Maker of my soul

Determiner of the pressure

within

upon

me

Stop it

lest I be broken

Or else

change the pressure rating

of this fragile container

of your grace

so that I may bear more

Last Wednesday at the library I saw the book Heaven by Joni Earkeckson Tada. She never disappoints so I’m sure it will be an edifying read! I’ve already started it and so far it’s as good as I expected.

I asked the library to get for me from another one of the library branches Heaven by Randy Alcorn and also one of his children’s books, Tell Me About Heaven to preview and then possibly read to E.

 

Thanksgiving Day, 1890 by Olin Winfield Page

I’m reading through a book published by my great- great Grandfather titled LIFE PICTURES AND OTHER POEMS.

Here’s a poem he wrote on Thanksgiving 126 years ago.

Thanksgiving Day 1890

By: Olin Winfield Pge

There’s a voice of praise in our home to-day

The silence is broken, clouds rolled away;

The voice of a wife in pleading of prayer,

As sweetest of music now floats on the air;

And the daughter’s voice, too, clear and low toned,

Acknowledges Him whom her heart has enthroned.

The spell of stillness thro’ years that are past

Has been broken by prayer, God’s power at last,

Unsealed lips that were dumb. Beaming eyes

And accents of love speak the soul’s Paradise,

Resting in Jesus and owning His sway;

Together we praise Him this glorious day.

The smile of the sun rests down on the earth,

The rivers blue waves are dancing with mirth;

And o’er its waters in circles of light

Are bright, glancing wings of seagull in flight;

Lewis’ Woods, too, in its brightest array

Meets with the river to welcome the day.

Gold flecks the shadows ‘neath each arching tree;

Light crest each wave flowing down from the sea;

In each sheltered nook the deepest of green

Of the hardy grass-blade still may be seen;

Softly it nods in a sweet, loving way,

Glad that it’s Maker has saved till this day.

While the sun shines down on the thankful earth,

And the light shines in at each soul’s new birth,

With thankful hearts, in song, blessing and prayer,

We are praising the Lord for tender care;

Thankful for bounty that before us is spread,

Thankful for ways in which His hand led.

Thankful for life and the blessing of health;

Very thankful for love, hearts’ precious wealth;

Thankful for Jesus, who comes to abide;

O thankful to Him what’re may betide!

Thankful to Father and thankful to Son,

Revealed by His Spirit to hearts that are one.

What Makes Life Complete By Valeeta Snow

My sweet mother in law wrote this poem the other morning and text it out to all her children and their families.

I wanted to be able to share the wisdom, eternal perspective and love she put in it with every one.

 

She sent it out with this message attached: For my children and grandchildren from Grandma Valeeta. Because I love you all so much and wanted you to know just how I feel. (Isn’t she the best!?)

What Makes Life Complete?

Do you know what makes life complete?

It’s not the things we possess,

Nor even food we eat.

It’s not in money, fortune, or fame,

Or even in a person’s name.

God told us in His Word what makes life complete.

He’s the Saviour, Jesus, so gracious and sweet.

He died in our place so with Him we could be,

Living above for Eternity

But, in this world He blessed us still

With children and grandchildren doing His will.

They’re what makes life complete

While living here on earth.

From the moment of their earthly birth.

So no matter what the world may say.

You all are the blessings that came our way.

wedding etc 151

 

Delivered

My heart is pregnant and heavy with you, as I was the night I labored with you, for you.

My soul in the travail of labor

Until I get to hold you, finally,  on the other side

Each day a more intense contraction

The ticking clock a crescendo of anticipation

Under me I feel the damp rocky clay as I stand bare foot at your grave.

Holy ground.

It’s cool and the soft rain makes it even colder.

Startled, my bowed head jerks upward. I hold my breath.

I shake violently as adrenaline begins to course through my body.

Transition.

That was unmistakable. I fall to my knees and hands raised shout, “Hallelujah!”

The notes I have been waiting for tear through the atmosphere, filling the sky, louder, purer, higher than any earthly noise

The earth under me begins to shake and with the terrifying strength of Jehovah splits open wide.

Crowning.

And in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, there you are being raised whole before me,

I weep tears of thanksgiving and rejoice as I meet you in the air with the Overcomer of the grave.

I can finally rest from my labour. You are finally delivered.

And so am I.

 

I finished this poem near midnight, 5 years to the hour that my water broke with my first born child Titus Bristow.

Today on his birthday I remember that our great God is not the God of the dead but of the living. I used to not know what that phrase meant. When Titus was laid to rest during a severe thunderstorm, Tanner’s grandpa keep shouting to make himself heard over the sound of the thunder and the rain, “God is the God of the living!” “God is the God of the living!” I understood then that it means we never die. Today, Titus is living a full exciting life in the presence of the Lord and one day all things will be restored and his body will be resurrected. I don’t know if I will sleep in Christ or meet him at his second coming but either way, I’m full of hope, looking forward to that blessed day.

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began”

Titus 1:2