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I went for a walk today. I was beginning to feel stifled and troubled and doubting myself. I figured that if I could clear my head and get away from my thoughts for a while, I could come back around to finding the peace that the Lord has granted me in my life. I'm not writing any of this to judge anyone else because it is my belief that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones and you can see straight through my house!

I am currently out of work and having trouble finding a job that fits with the rest of my life. About 6 months ago, I quit a job that I had been at for 6 years to stay home with my 3 year old and my new baby because I felt, in my heart, that this was where the Lord intended for mother's to be. So, needless to say, finances have been tight. I can't always pay all my bills and I have medical bills that are haunting me daily. These worries were starting to wear away at my happiness that I had originally felt when I decided to stay home with my children. I am married and my husband is still on the fence as to whether or not he likes the idea of me staying home. He does not share my spiritual beliefs and sometimes he lets me know, but he also knows how important this is to me and has agreed to make it work. So, on top of our financial problems, there has been a strain on our marriage in some ways. In the beginning of this process, my conviction that I was doing what was right was enough to keep me from feeling depressed or worried, but as time has gone by, so has some of my conviction.

In the process of looking for a job, I have allowed myself to become discouraged and have even found myself questioning God's methods and being upset with Him when I didn't get the job I thought I should. Then, this morning, I became annoyed when my 6 month old daughter cried for what seemed like the 100th time that day. As soon as the sound of disgust issued from me, I was struck with a sense of guilt for reacting in such a way. I mean, this was what I wanted, right? Intellectually, I knew that I should be happy that I have been blessed enough in my life to be able to stay home and watch my children grow through all the smiles and tears, but in my heart I wasn't quite making it. So…I went for a walk.

As I was walking I started thinking about the job hunt and remembered my mom telling me that God always answers prayers, but sometimes the answer is no. That got me to thinking, "if I had gotten one of those jobs and it had gotten in the way of being a stay-at-home mom, would I have blamed God for that?" Just because I didn't get the job didn't mean that God was ignoring me, He just wasn't giving me the answer I wanted. I also got to thinking about the feelings of discouragement that I had been having. I knew, in my heart, that this was not how the Lord wanted me to feel and I also knew that He had blessed me with unimaginable gifts in my life, one of those being peace in my heart, mind and soul and I just needed to find that peace. I found a quiet place and began to pray about everything that was weighing on my heart and mind. I prayed for the strength to continue on the path I had started, faith to trust that He was taking care of me, and for my heart and mind to be opened to the doors and paths that would be opened to me. I then prayed for forgiveness for doubting His will, resenting the neediness of my beautiful children and for feeling anger when things didn't go as I thought they should. I finally gave thanks for the many blessings in my life and I was blown away by the sheer amount of good things that I had to be thankful for. I could have continued on for hours listing my blessings one by one, but I finished my prayer and opened my eyes. For the first time in weeks, I felt at peace. There was a calmness in my soul that only comes from a renewed spirit that has been close to the Lord. I had been holding in so much negativity that I had forgotten what a quiet spirit felt like.

I then began my walk home and I found a smile on my face that I couldn't wipe off for the life of me. My steps felt light and I was filled with pure joy. I started to think again about my children and tears came to my eyes at the thought of how incredibly perfect and amazing they are. I can't imagine a moment without them and even if I had to go without cable or internet because I couldn't afford it, it would be absolutely nothing compared to the incredible gift that I have been given by being able to watch them grow day after day, to see their sweet, innocent spirits find joy in the simple things they discover each day. I can't imagine not being their for them when they want someone to hold them, no matter what paltry thing I had to sacrifice to be here. The next time I am up at 2 AM with my baby I will remember that I will never again get this moment with my child and soon enough, I will wish for them back so I need to live in the moment and be present, with my eyes open to the blessings that surround me.

I know my Lord wants me to have a heart of peace and I also know that it only comes when I focus on what is good in my life. So, instead of dwelling on the one thing in my life that I feel isn't going right, I need to focus on one of the many, many wonderful things that I am blessed with. I will finish by quoting one of my favorite sections of the Bible that pretty much sums up the lesson I learned today. It comes from Philippians Chapter 4, verses 4-9: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

So if you find yourself feeling discouraged and your heart is sick with worry, take it to your Lord and allow Him into your heart so that you may find that peace that passes all understanding. God bless!