Press in and press on
"Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth." —Hosea 6:3
I was combing through posts on my blog today and realized that I had not written a single post in the month of February. I tried to think of a good reason why I had not had any motivation to get a post out, but it really just came down to one thing.
So many distractions.
It seemed like I was running a never-ending race and constantly trying to catch my breath. We were still in the thick of Hockey, basketball, we had a music graduation for Jude and on top of everything else, it was the month where we really had to start making decisions on appliances, lighting, paint, cabinet hardware, countertops and so on for the new house. Did I mention we showed our home and it is under contract?!
Praise the Lord! (Insert all excited and noise maker emojis)
My mind was (and honestly still is) in a million places. I am constantly thinking about the house and how terrifying it is to make these decisions and hope that everything comes together. If you have built or are currently in the building process, leave me some love in the comments because wow. As much as I try to be in the moment and make sure my kids are getting a stellar education and the house is well maintained I want to balance everything well (life, love, raising kids and most importantly my spiritual health) and it is so very hard.
I don't have the best solution and honestly, I sat down at my computer and did not even have a direction for this post. But I have a few simple words that just continue to resonate in my heart.
Press in, and press on.
These first few months have been filled to the brim and we have seen so much adversity in our life just in the beginning of 2018 that I know God is pressing into our hearts to press into Him.
Maybe that is the answer in all the distractions of life when it feels heavy and hard.
I can remember looking at my husband in January and we both knew we needed to press in. We were not always consistent on going to church on Wednesday nights because it became one of the only nights we had some "downtime". However, we knew that God was drawing us in so He could sustain us for the months ahead and we decided then and there that we would make church on Wednesday nights a priority no matter how busy or tired we were.
Not only was I in the middle of Priscilla Shirer's Armor of God study (which I highly recommend) but our church had also started a series on Spiritual Warfare and the tactics of the enemy.
I don't believe it was a coincidence.
I believe it was God speaking power and peace into our lives to show us how to arm ourselves from the fiery arrows the enemy was sending our way.
I talked in my last post about how we are in need of so much grace, especially as a Mom. I am incredibly thankful that grace abounds to cover us in homeschooling because I am not capable of being a perfect mom and teacher, however, I can be the Mom and teacher God has called me to be through His strength and power.
And when I think about how all these struggles play out, not only in our day to day, but also in our year to year and the life and legacy we leave; it reminds me that we can not focus on present struggles, because our hope is in Jesus, our hope lies in eternity. When we press in to our hope in Christ, those present struggles seem so small. Truly.
Can you imagine the legacy we would leave for our children if they saw us reaching for Jesus and grasping the peace of God in our struggles and trials instead of relying on our own fallible wisdom and resources?!
I have been on the side of focusing on the struggles and the only thing I gained from focusing on the negative was more negative thoughts, the struggle for joy and missed opportunities of blessings. If you keep focused on the way God is working in your life instead of the problems, the problems will fade into the background.
It reminds me of the journey Jude and I recently endured for the last 3 and a half years with his music class. Josh started taking him to class the first year and a half, and then we decided it was a bit of a disconnect because I was practicing with him at home so he got his practice in (not having a clue as to what I was helping him with because I have zero musical capabilites) and so the last 2 years I took him to class and practiced at home with him. Needless to say, music was not his favorite. There were so many tears, so many fights and I will never forget calling Josh a year and a half ago before Jude's big program and telling him that we were done with music. Quitting seemed like the best answer in the moment.
After taking a step back, we realized that we could do it. We put our heads together and came up with a game plan to lighten the load and try to enjoy the process so we could finish the program strong through graduation.
I am so glad we did.
Quitting when it got hard may have seemed like the easier choice at the time, but pressing in and asking God for guidance, endurance and JOY gave us the chance to build character and the opportunity for my son to see the importance of perseverance.
I am confident that God, as our Heavenly Father, has a plan and a purpose for our lives when trials and hard times come. When the pressure is on, press into Him and watch him lift your burdens and give you joy in the midst of them! (James 1:2 tells us to "Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.") Not only is he building our character, but He wants to show you (and me) that He not only gives us what we need, but he gives us abundant joy and blessings when our hearts and our eyes are open to them.
You see, when we got hit with a larger tax burden than expected, or we got into a car accident, or the handful of other "stresses" that came about, it would have been easy to focus on the hardships and wallow is the frustrations. But in the meantime, I watched my son grow in His relationship with Christ and draw near to Him without our prompting and our Lila Blue asked Jesus into her heart.
In the midst of our trials God was faithful and steadfast to pour out blessings and work infinitely beyond all we could hope and imagine.
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
When the trials came, we pressed into Jesus and I believe with all my heart that he wanted to show us his power through our faithfulness.
I almost wonder, how many times I have been been given the opportunity to press in and I failed to do so. Again, thank you Jesus for grace.
So Mama, when the days are long but the years are short. when your homeschool day seems like a complete loss and you wonder if you are capable of the job, when the demands of life feel heavy on your shoulders. Press in to Jesus and believe that His love and grace for you is greater than all you could ask or imagine and that he is doing more in your life that only time will reveal.
Keep your heart and your eyes open.
Spring is right around the corner and hopefully, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and your homeschool year will be winding down in the next few months. You've got this!
In the meantime, enjoy this silly little video my husband put together on Music Graduation day with our "ensemble". ;)