Terrible things happen in our lives. How do we know if God is punishing us?
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:24
After years of struggle, I finally found my way out of my depression and reconciled my brokenness before the Lord. I was freed from thinking I needed to be the perfect Christian to be happy and drew closer to the Lord.
I had the skewed idea that since I was a Christian, my sins washed clean by the blood of Christ, I should always appear completely whole. I believed my insides should always be overflowing with praise to God for His Goodness, my outsides should continually exude Christ’s joy.
We sat in his basically empty house at a fold out table. Penne pasta with sauce from the jar and salad from a bag. A baguette from the grocery store. We talked about many things. Our hopes and dreams. Our faith. Our families. Then he said something that made my heart fall to the floor.
My life has had so many moving parts lately, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going, awake or asleep. Between my marriage, motherhood, our family business, housekeeping, and many other responsibilities, it’s so easy to feel vanquished. “I’m not enough!” is a phrase I often cry out in defeat at the end of the day. After being overwhelmed by this feeling time and again, I was lead to study Proverbs 31 and found that the thematic difference between the Virtuous Woman (whom I’ve named Aretha) and myself is that she knows she’s enough. Everyone in her life having their place gives her the ability to have everything in a productive order.
I have succumbed to the classic lie that nearly every woman believes at least once in her existence. I am not enough. Lately I’ve been fighting this lie standing up, laying down, and often with a flailing 1 ½ year old in my arms, for months. Life has been really hard for a while. I’m trying to hold up the physical, emotional, and financial strain of my present life with one hand and trying to care for my son, my husband, and my many other responsibilities. I’m more likely to feel like a failure than a success.
That’s when I started questioning if I’m really putting what energy I have into the right things.
I remember my baby’s first smile like it was yesterday. He was not quite a month old and I had just come in from walking him in his stroller and as I bent down to pick him up he gave me a bright eyed, ear to ear grin that said, “Thank you for being my mom. I’m so happy to see you!” and it brought tears streaming down my cheeks. “Thank you!” I cried, “I needed that!” You see, these tears did not just come from a postpartum hormonal new mom…
I don’t think I ever fully understood the depth of John 14:1-4 until just recently. I grew up with this unrealistic view that heaven was for everyone and everyone will eventually end up there. Maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t end up in heaven if they were really bad; I mean really really bad. But, for the most part, the gate was wide open.
Constant life transitions, depression, and apathy have stolen my consistency in my time spent before Jesus’ feet over a few years. I just couldn’t seem to get it together. Then, a series of events and the influence of three women finally helped me get back on that path in a way that only God could have ordained.