Life Questions with Elizabeth and Jim
How do I balance all the demands of marriage, parenting, work, church, and friends? I feel stretched in so many directions!
Stretched…you can say that again! The number one heart — cry I hear from women around the world is, “How can I get it all done? We’re busy extremely busy. We have people in our lives. Responsibilities to family, home, even work and church.” When you’re up against the wall muttering a question like this, the answer usually comes when you ask and answer another question, “What does God want me to do? Or, you can put it in a prayer, ‘God, what do You want me to do?’”
Start with your marriage. If you’ve got a husband, he is your Number One Priority. In God’s eyes, you are one flesh with your husband (Genesis 2:24). No other person has such an intimate, close relationship with you. And that makes your husband tops on the special list. God also says wives are to love their husbands (Titus 2:4), pointing out that you honor Him when others see that you love your husband.
And if you have children, they’re next. Wow, to think that God has entrusted you with a child to love and train for Him is staggering. Your little and big ones may not get all your time, but they should get all your heart…and a humongous portion of your time. That is time to spend in laughter, fun, catching up, snacking, working on cool projects, and talking over daily life.
Plus, God directs us to something moms simply cannot neglect, which is teaching children about Him, His Son, His Word, and eternal life. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 is His assignment to all moms: His Word is to be first of all, in your heart. Then, you are to teach His Word to your children and talk of it day and night. So pray, open your heart to God, and speak boldly to your kids.
When it comes to housework, I always pray about what I need to do and how my family and others will be blessed. And most of all, I affirm that my tasks are ultimately done unto the Lord. So, whatever you do, even pushing that vacuum cleaner around between loads of wash, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men (Colossians 3:23). Now, that puts a divine spin on homemaking, doesn’t it?
Since your question also mentioned balancing work and church responsibilities, let’s talk about church first. That’s because you are a Christian first, and then an employee of a company. Sure, your job may require 40-plus hours of your week, while church requires only a handful of hours each week. But God is the priority and His people, and the coming together of the body of Christ in corporate worship. I like how the wording in Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2 puts it. Both of these verses refer to Sunday as the first day of the week. It’s too bad our culture considers Sunday to be the last day of the week. You work all week, then there’s the weekend, and when Sunday rolls around, you know your fun is almost finished. Give this mentality a healthy twist and begin treating Sunday and the people at your church and ministry as vitally important.
And if you worship on a day other than Sunday, consider it precious. When you go to church, go to give something to every person you see. Go to pray. Go to sing. Go to receive the teaching of God’s Word and to have your heart changed by it…then you go to work on Monday.
Imagine now what you have to give to those at work! Joy, love, wisdom, the energy God gives you. You are a full vessel filled up to the brim and overflowing. And, when it comes to the work you do and the attitude you take to your workplace, key in on this principle: You serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:24). And there, my friend, is your divine spin on your job. Here’s a few final thoughts on juggling a busy life:
Lord, thank You for a meaningful day, for a day well spent, for I have offered my life and this day to You as a living sacrifice.
Should I tell my children about the mistakes I’ve made in the past that I don’t want them to repeat?
We all make mistakes, probably more than we care to admit. But praise God, Jesus Christ has covered those mistakes. In fact, our blessed Savior has removed those mistakes and sins as far from us as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12). So, when it comes to recounting those mistakes, the apostle Paul exhorts forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead (Philippians 3:13). Therefore, since Jesus has forgotten your mistakes, so should you. And, there’s no urgent need to share them with your children.
That being said, you can count on your children someday asking about your past conduct. That’s natural. They’ll ask something like, “Mom, Dad, did you do such and such? Did you make mistakes?”
Your first response should always be a prayer straight up to God, “Oh Lord, please help me. Give me a super dose of Your wisdom…quick!” Then, say something like, “Yeah, sure, I made mistakes. We’ve all made mistakes. In fact, that’s what the Bible says, ‘All have sinned’ (Romans 3:23). And, that’s why Jesus came to die. To pay for our mistakes — for my mistakes, and for yours too.”
Without details, you can then let your curious child know that you are a sinner, but that Jesus has saved you from your sin. He paid for your sin. And He’s been changing and transforming you ever since. Take this God-sent opportunity to turn the conversation around to your child and ask him or her if they’ve ever made a mistake. Wow, this gives you yet another great open opportunity to verbally witness to your child, to share the “good news” of Jesus Christ, and that He died for their “mistakes” and sins. Best of all, they can have their sins forgiven by accepting Jesus as their Savior.
Your past is in the past. You have been saved by God’s grace. You are to live in the present for Jesus and be a shining example of God’s grace to your children. Your example and you willingness to talk about God’s saving grace with your children will help them make better choices than you made, starting with the choice to receive Jesus as their Savior so His Spirit will guide them into all truth (John 16:13).
Why is prayer so important if God already knows my thoughts and struggles?