Saturday, May 11, 2013

When hopelessness and discouragement are loud

I went to the home school book fair yesterday.  It's an annual event for me - 2 days with encouraging speakers and tons of vendors with amazing products.  I've been going for 10+ years, or so my name tag says.  All this means is that I am a veteran book fair go-er.

This year is different in that I didn't attend any of the speakers and only walked the vendor floor for the afternoon.  I bought very little (in comparison with previous years), and I have little-to-no clear plan for our upcoming school year.  Heck, I'm just trying to finish this current one up well and graduate my first student.


Except yesterday as I perused books and manipulatives (subconsciously looking for that magical item that will make next year amazing, thrill my kids, and entice them to love, love, love learning), I was feeling anything BUT success and a sense of accomplishment.

I felt like a failure.

All of my mistakes and mishaps and insecurities loomed larger than life, and discouragement and hopelessness walked close behind.  I know better than to partner with them, but I will say that the battle was fierce.

It only increased when I got home.  Children left in the care of my oldest had been sent to their rooms twice because of fighting in my absence, and that intensified into a major meltdown by one of them as I imperfectly addressed the situation.  Escalating with each passing minute, it was everything I could do to not pull out the old tools of anger and intimidation to manage the chaos in my heart and mind and circumstances.

I went to bed exhausted and discouraged and woke up feeling the weight of past mistakes, the most recent ones of the night before stretching way back into the past.

As I was processing all of this with the Lord this morning, He spoke this to my heart:

You are imagining an outcome void of My Presence and My redeeming power.  You are seeing your perceived mistakes and failures as being bigger than Me at work in and through you. That "weight of past mistakes" is a false burden.  Did I not die to take your place? Does that weight ever rest on your shoulders? Do these cares and worries not belong to Me?
And as these words are washing over my heart and soul and  mind, His peace enters in.  Those vain imaginations [1] were taken captive and the truth of His Presence ever present with me throughout, of His power at work within me [2], of His promise to never leave me [3] and to be my children's Teacher [4] settled back into place and set my heart at rest in His Presence once again.

Hope was restored to its rightful place.

My hope does not rest in an outcome or temporary event (although, obviously, sometimes it does get misplaced there).  It rests in God who is the Author and Perfector of my faith...and of my children's lives.

He's got this.  He takes it all and makes it for my good and His glory.

I can rest secure in His unfailing love.  It never gives up.

1) 2  Corinthians 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;"
2) Ephesians 3:20 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us"
3) Joshua 1:5 "I will never leave you nor forsake you"
4) Isaiah 54:13 "All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace."

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