Monday, August 1, 2011

Reality & Soli Deo Gloria

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria.  Really, welcome.

I pray as you enter here, you feel overwhelmingly invited.  Soli Deo Gloria is a community of women that seek to encourage, support, love each other with our words.  There is laughter.  There are tears.  There is everything in between.  No matter where you are, who you are, where you have been, I want you to know that you are in the fold.  For more information about this community, please click here.  

This is a growing community (Thank you, Jesus!), so please don't feel that you have to visit every single person that links up.  We are all on a time budget.  That being said, I do invite you to pray and ask God which blogs to visit simply because there may be words for you left in that place or words that God has given you to share to those specific people.  Also, if you would like to be on the email list for reminders and the occasional prayer request, please let me know in the comments.  There have been so amazing ways that God has been working through prayer through these precious ladies.  Blessings to you.

Photo source here
This was my reality today:

  • Seemingly incessant fighting between my 2 darling daughters
  • Fatigue, fatigue, fatigue
  • Bill paying
  • "No!"
  • "You don't love me anymore because you won't let me..."
  • Laundry that didn't get finished over the weekend
  • Blah, blah, blah
Can you tell that I'm overflowing with joy?  Can you tell that it's a great day to write a Soli Deo Gloria post?  But such is life, yes?  Sometimes our deadlines come due, unexpected company arrives, children decide that they are going to have a bad day, on a day that we feel unable to cope.

That's what today was about for me: coping.  I've been thinking a lot about how to have joy in the midst of the hard times (and sometimes hard times can just be trivial getting-though-the-day stuff).  So I looked at the reality of the space that I occupied this day -- How can I choose joy?  How can I maintain my connection to my family and my God in a way that is positive even when I am drowning in all these negative feelings?
  • I realized my own limitations.  After a full morning of arguments and power struggles, I let my kids watch an extra movie in the afternoon.  Even though I try to maintain my 2 hour television limit, today was a day that I felt the kids might do more damage to each other than the TV might do to them.
  • I made my prayers simple:  "Help me, God."  I prayed it often.  I prayed it out loud.
  • I repeated the mantra of the day:  "My hard work will pay off someday.  My hard work will pay off someday."  The kids lost going to the pool with their aunt and cousins because they choose to continue to walk in disobedience.  It probably would have been a great break for me to get out and go to the pool, but I felt it was more important to show them that our actions do have consequences and that their choices can affect more than the present moments.
  • I looked for Him.  I started counting the positives so to negate the pile of negatives that mounted in my brain and in my heart.  I listened.  I tried really hard to obey (because, honestly, I did lose my temper a few times).
And I think that last one just might be the key.  Often times in the midst of trial or extreme struggle, I look for Him continually and fervently because I am so desperate for hope.  But in these run-of-the-mill days that are just fraught with frustration, I forget to seek Him out for help in the mundane.  I forget to see how He might be working.  I forget to see what He might be building.  I forget to see how He might be helping.  I forget that He is in the big and the small, the extraordinary and the routine.  Perhaps finding joy in the hard is simply about finding Jesus.

Love,
Jen


(Link is open early due to my silly tech issues!)

35 comments :

  1. Jen, Great post! That's where I am today too, and I'm praying the same prayer over and over. At least you took the time to post on your blog....(LOL):)

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  2. Am I getting techy savy or what, Jen? I learned to link last week and this week I was the first linkererer! Ha! I kind of like this linky love stuff. Your readers were so sweet to welcome me into this little linking deal. Can't wait to get to know this community even better. I prayed for the one who's daughter is having some health issues and in the hospital. I like the warmth of this place. Keep it up my friend.

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  3. Hi Jen :-)
    There is an old song (which in my mind is always sung twangy country, due to my hertiage) which states, o/~ "One step at a time, sweet Jesus, that's all I'm asking of you..." o/~

    From the sounds of your posting, you need to find the words to that song and have it be your song for the day.

    May He grant you the wisdom, in-sight, and fortitude both to keep going and to shine for Him!

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  4. Oh--days like that! My mantra on days like that is: "I can do hard things," and I even tell my (18 month old twin) daughters: "We can do hard things," as if they understand completely :) Part of the "hard things" is finding the joy.

    Yesterday in church (we've been going through the book of Proverbs, and I've realized just how much I'm lacking in wisdom sometimes, oiy!) our pastor was talking about expectations. We set our bar up high, and often they fall short--we are disappointed by people. So, then, how do we fill that gap? Do we fill it with grace, or do we fill it with ugliness (resentment, bitterness, etc.). This struck such a chord with me.

    Often, it seems like on days when I have glorious plans, the girls are squabbling, or not napping well, or whatever it is, and my expectations, my plans are thwarted. How the rest of my day goes depends on how I fill that gap. It's SO very hard to fill the gap with grace sometimes. Because I'm selfish. You're right, "...finding the joy in the hard is simply about finding Jesus." And he's right there, in the everyday

    I hope it doesn't sound like I'm preaching to you. I think I'm preaching to myself. I'm actually in the middle of writing a post about this, because it's spoken to me so much! Love it when that happens!

    Praying that tomorrow is an easier day for you!

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  5. Right there with ya Jen! Sometimes the daily frustrations, while not serious, can just feel so heavy. Choosing joy anyway is faith in action! Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone in these daily days!

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  6. Jen...love this post. Thank you for sharing you heart. Your day seems to parallel many of my own. :) It IS about finding Him even in these times...and breathing deeply the gift of His grace (Grace, Grace, Grace!).

    xoxo
    Shelly

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  7. All the little moments add up to big. Or maybe what seems little IS big. Good for you for fighting to stay positive. I hope tomorrow will be an easier day!

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  8. Don't you think it is always extra hard . . . after you have come off the wonderful experiences of She Speaks . . . it is even harder.

    Praying for you. Thanks for being such a darling sweet hostess.

    There is a little sweet Soli Sister surprise on my post tonight . . . enjoy.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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  9. It will pay off, because you've got your steps in the right order--recognizing your limitations and then crying out for help. "Apart from me, you can do nothing," Jesus said. It's true!

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  10. I think a little "help me God," is sometimes all we need, He KNOWS better than we do....

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  11. I have definitely had days like this! And, yes, I am not sure why it so hard to remember to seek Him first through all the chaos. So glad He is gracious to us. We need to be gracious to ourselves too. So glad his mercies are new EVERY DAY!

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  12. Sounds all too familiar. God played Matthew West's new song Strong Enough at just the right time yesterday. He showed me that I don't have to be strong, He is. All I have to do is lean on Him. Great post.

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  13. We've all had days like that! Thank you for being so open with your feelings - it is a blessing. I appreciated the points you made, but most especially I like what you said about quick prayers. I'm so thankful God doesn't require the profound or dissertations about our problems. All we have to do is call His name and He is there. What a Friend!

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  14. Jen,
    I am so blessed to have found your blog! (and this new community!) I love the positive spin at the end of your post. Through it all....the good, the bad, and the down right ugly....God IS at work. Nothing is ever for vain. Lord, give us eyes to see you in it and to learn of your ways as we journey through it.
    Beautiful! Thank you!
    ~Stacy

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  15. Your hard work is going to pay off one day.

    This was wonderful as usual. It's funny. Another post that I just read spoke of understand that God is at work and in process in the BIG things that we don't see results for right away. Then, I opened yours and read the timely reminder to see Him at work and in process in the mundane, every day things.

    What they both had in common was knowing and seeing God at work in the process.

    It was something I desperately needed to be reminded of right now.

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  16. Jen - I had planned to link up this week, but I've spent the day preparing for some minor surgery tomorrow and I'm not thinking too clearly. (Believe me this wasn't joyful.) Anyway, I had planned to write about joy!

    Great post, and I plan to be back at the party next week.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  17. And, bang! You certainly nailed it in your last sentence, huh?

    Praying for you.

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  18. Agreeing with Nancy as she reminded us of JESUS' words.

    Every mama knows days like this...and you are such an encourager to show others a way through the chaos...so they know that other Christian mama's kiddos also bicker and fight.

    One thing that helped me as a young mom was rising before my children...otherwise I felt like they were ahead of me all day.

    Another thing was getting down in front of them and firmly whispering rather than standing over them and raising my voice...I think they listened better cuz they were a bit scared :)

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  19. Hey Jen, as I was reading this my 13 year old was being choked by the 16 year old wanting the TV button. Then the 13 year old running to my room to complain about being choked in to submission. I totally GET it beautiful lady! Some days we just have to keep saying. "Lord, just let me get through it!" Love ya!

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  20. I wish I'd read this post yesterday, Jen. I had a super bad day, and instead of doing what you did in the steps listed above, I fell into self-pitying, complaining negativity. Yikes. I'm glad to have read your strategies, though -- I will try to remember them next time I have one of those days.

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  21. Oh, yes. This is so beautiful and honest. We all do have days like this and just to get a glimpse of Jesus in it can be just the reassurance we need. Because in the grand scheme of things, it does pay off!

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  22. I was on a roll today with some projects. I had a goal. The end was in sight. Until my daughter called and said she and the girls were bored, and there was a woodchuck caught in the unbaited trap on her porch so they couldn't play out there, and so they were coming over to hang out with me. Grrr. But I went with the flow, and we had some good bonding time, and it was so much playing with the littlest grandgirl. She's so funny. What a joy.

    It helps me to look at little disappointments as God's appointments.

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  23. Jen, I love your transparency. I have definitely had days like this. And I agree that you last point is the key; learning to find the blessings in the midst of the chaos. Thanks for sharing. Many blessings!

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  24. Jen, I feel for you: i rebooked my son's ticket for college and he was upset, my daughter's mission trip leader had to back out due to medical reasons. They leave next weekend and her dad has to lead the trip now. She is crying. I have a million things to do plus some medical problems to take care of. I put out fires, dry tears, apologize, apologize, try to make everyone happy...and then go to him. I think I need a solitude retreat!

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  25. Wonderful post. I can relate to dealing with the sibling issues. It seems like that was my entire day today. What a great reminder to look to Him for our joy even in the midst of the hard.

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  26. Thank you for a very REAL post... I hope to link up here sometime soon!

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  27. I love it when writers pull the curtains back to see what life really looks like. Fighting kids. Bills to be paid. Feelings hurt. Your realness is a blessing to many (myself included). Praying your tomorrow is joy filled :)

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  28. Oh, Amen to the looking for Him in the midst of it all. We've had a bit of the same stuff going on here. I think it's called the end of summer blues. Hugs, Jen.

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  29. Wise, wise, wise...No need to try to be SuperMom on days such as these. Good words, sister.

    Natalie at Mommy on Fire
    http://www.mommyonfire.com

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  30. Since I come from good parents like you, I will assure you, some day this WILL pay off. And they will thank you too.

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  31. You are walking the walk. Blessings on the day by day part of life for you.

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  32. I almost linked to my post from last Thursday,because it is about finding joy in the hard, and gratitude in the midst of the mess...and I am still processing it...
    Blessings!

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  33. Thanks for this sweet place to share together. And thanks for your post ... I liked this: "Perhaps finding joy in the hard is simply about finding Jesus."

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  34. Good for you, in making a hard choice in teaching instead of taking the easy way out and going to the pool. Finding joy is finding Jesus in the midst of hard-- I love that, too! Thanks for being you and hosting this sweet place.

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  35. "Turning to God in the middle of the mundane." I need to do more of it. Even when we feel defeated, God is loading up more grace and in the midst of our "help me, Lord" He gives us enough to go on.

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