Simplify

My situation was controlling me, it was true. A little while back I wasn’t happy. As a social worker we are taught that the first question you ask an individual who comes to you seeking help is, ‘What do you think the problem is?’ The rationality behind this is that most people know what their problems are, they just can’t identify the source of them. Talking it out helps put a label on the problem. We then attempt to identify what will fix the problem, and make a plan for change.

So I asked myself what I felt the problem was that was keeping me from being happy. Easy enough. I felt overwhelmed most of the time because I was in a constant hurry. I woke up and rushed to get myself and the girls ready…looked for matching clothes…matching shoes..then I rushed to drop the kids off, then I rushed to work to continue rushing to each new and different project. Much of my frustration centered around the way I started and ended my day. I will never be one to tell you that I’m an organized person….I’m just not. I’m also not going to tell you that I am easily focused on a task. The result of these two things usually ends up in a scattered mess. My mind isn’t wired to know how to put order to chaos out of paper work and a load of laundry. But, place me in front of a room full of people and I can council the group with 3 points and a prayer with only knowing the topic getting started. Add to this the house that I lived in. It was too big for me and my girls. I had a lot of extra space that was used for piles of more unorganized stuff.

So, what was the solution? Simplify. Get rid of all that was un-needed, find smaller living arrangements, and organize my home. At the best I could do two of those three things, but I couldn’t see how I could find anywhere else to live. That was a huge undertaking with too many obstacles. I remember praying about it, but as I’ve admitted before, I’m guilty of praying it and then being shocked when the prayer is answered. And though God has taken me on a few different and definitely unplanned roads to take me places, I never saw this coming.

About 12am, a few months ago, I heard my car being broken in to. Someone had taken what we would later find out to be a huge rock, and they busted my window out. I was terrified. My 2 little girls were asleep in the bed with me. I called the police; 20 minutes and 5 phone calls later they finally showed up. In the meantime I had nothing to protect my children with. I didn’t know if whoever broke in to my vehicle was going to try and break in to my home when they found I didn’t have anything in there.

Needless to say I didn’t feel safe staying there any longer. An awesome friend offered me her home for my family while we found somewhere else to live. God blessed me, and He opened a door that seemed impossibly shut by my means of opening it, and I was able to find an apartment. In less than a week, God turned my situation around, worked it for my good, and answered my prayer. Because of the move I was able to sort through my home and get rid of all of the un-needed mess I had collected. I moved into a cute and cozy apartment that is, honestly, perfect for my little family. And the best part is, I feel safe. And, because God allowed my given Mom to be the most awesome decorator and organizer in the history of ever, my home is set up just right. No clutter and no mess. I am aware of my weaknesses, so I stay on top of them now.

My life is simplified. Getting to this place was scary. I didn’t see it working out the way it did. My plans would still have me living in an unorganized, too big house, where I was terrified. But tonight, I’m safe and I feel so much lighter. I no longer rush in the mornings, and when I come home, I am able to enjoy my family.

Are you happy? What keeps you unsatisfied in this life? Are there situations that control you? My old house controlled me…until my situation changed. Ask yourself this question… ‘What can I do to change my circumstances?’…Do what you can, and then trust God with the rest. And, even if you can’t see how anything good can come of your situation, trust Him. Be the best version of yourself. Make the decision about who you want to be and make it happen. Don’t accept what this world offers you as a final call. The Word teaches us that Christ overcame the world, and as a child of God I am offered life more abundantly. Because I’m His I can make the best out of every day and every circumstance… because ultimately, my Father is taking care of me and everything will work out for my good. Trust Him.

Change what you’re capable of changing…and then trust God with all that seems impossible. We simplify so that God can multiply His ability to provide all that we need.

Less of me. More of Him.

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2012 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on November 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Circumstances Change

It had been a week. One of those where nothing goes the exact way you had planned it. My life seems to carry this theme actually…“circumstances change”. My mom, who has passed away, used to say those two words often. I can remember her saying them when I was 16 and thinking, ‘Yeah, I understand.” I look back now and shake my head. The half had yet to be told of the circumstances that wouldn’t fall according to plan. But this week…this week was special.

I’ll begin with last Wednesday; I woke up with a sore throat. Nothing horrible, just an aggravating little scratchy feeling that actually went away as I got up and started moving. The sore throat wasn’t the only thing that went away. By the end of the day my voice was gone. I was lucky to even get a good whisper out, then add a fever with all its aches and pains, a horrible headache and two of the most beautiful little girls around, and you do not have a good time. Fortunately, my best friend is a saint and delivered medicine and picked up my girls for the evening so I could rest.

The week went on, but my voice did not feel the need to return. I felt OK, just frustrated. Talking is what I do. I’m a social worker and we talk it out and we fix it, but with no voice, I didn’t fix much. Mothering a 4 and a 2 year old with no voice with stairs in your house turned out swell. By Saturday I was sick, frustrated with no voice, sore from climbing stairs to talk to my children, who were now at this point also sick. So, I take them to the doctor, pick up their medicine, and rock babies for the rest of the day. The rest of the weekend I rested with the girls at their Dad’s. But Monday brought work around, and my voice isn’t right, and my throat feels weird, and I’m a social worker…somewhat stressed.

By Wednesday night, church time, I’m exhausted. I wanted to sit down and roll a ball with my children, but I didn’t have a good reason to not go to church. I wanted to be a good example for my children and it’s what us Christians do, we go to church. So, I fed the children, found the shoes of my 2 year old, put them on her feet to only lose them in the 5 seconds it takes to get to church from my house. She winds up wearing shoes that absolutely don’t match her clothes or the time of the year, and we walk in to church. I’m determined to receive something out of this service. My children leave me to sit with someone else, because that someone else is way cooler than me.

But, I take a deep breath….it’s church time…it’ll all going to be OK. I didn’t feel like being there, I actually felt like pulling a blanket over my head and hiding until….next year. But I had made the right decision; certainly God had a divine word for all of my effort. Song service began and I felt odd. I’m on the Praise Team, but as I mentioned, my throat is weird right now and I can’t sing. So I’m out of my setting and kinda feeling useless, but I pray..’God you know my heart’ and I wait for the Word. A guest speaker takes the pulpit, and that’s fine. Not preferable for the divine Word of God I’m wanting to receive, but I’ve heard him before and I’m needing something, so I wait. And as any young Pentecostal preacher, he’s excited, and he has such a sincere heart. He had no idea what my circumstances were, but he addresses the congregation and says… “If you aren’t happy and excited to be in the house of the Lord tonight, then you shouldn’t even be here.”

What? Really?

I sat there and shook my head….this is what I pushed so hard for. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t excited. I was there because I was supposed to be there. There wasn’t a great sin in my life, there wasn’t a great specific burden that held me captive. I just wasn’t excited. I was tired of the day to day trials that sometime seem to overwhelm me. I was there. Not because I was happy that night, but because I made a commitment to myself and my church to be there when I could. Because the Word of God says ‘Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together.’ So I didn’t. I was in church, and now that I’m here, you’re going to tell me that I shouldn’t be if I’m not excited about it. Really?

So I sat there and attempted to listen, but honestly couldn’t move passed my lack of excitement. The only reason I had stayed at that point was because my children were in class with the lady who was much cooler than me. At the end of the service my pastor stood and said that he felt the need to share a word with the church. I thought…maybe this is it…and his great word was…’You’re blessed. I feel that God would have me tell this church that you are blessed.”

Well that wasn’t it. That wasn’t the word I was looking for.

I gathered my children, took a call from a best friend, who I cried to about my wonderful day, got back in the house…spotted the shoes that disappeared off my child’s feet…and started my daily chores. I was thinking about church, and my weird feeling throat, and I felt frustrated all over again. So I took a deep breath and stood there. My 2 year old came up to me and wrapped her little arms around my legs and asked… ‘Mama, what’s wrong?’ I couldn’t help the tears that came to my eyes and I told her, ‘Mama just doesn’t feel too good baby.’ And right there my little girl stopped and prayed for me. ‘Jesus, please touch my mama and help her to feel better…in Jesus name..Amen.’ And the tears fell then, I picked her up and I hugged that baby, and the only words that came to my mind were…I am so blessed.

It’s amazing how Jesus chooses to talk to us. I had planned on receiving a great word from the message at church, but I didn’t get it. Instead God planted the seed while I was there and brought it into fruition, through my baby.

No doubt you should be excited when you go to church. We are serving a great God, who deserves all our praise and honor. There are times when I am excited to be in His house, and happy and grateful to have the opportunity to freely worship Him. But the reality is that some days…..some days, I don’t feel like it. Does that mean that I stay home and cry about it? No. For me, on those days, I push myself to go anyway, because whether I feel like it or not…God still deserves my faithfulness. And whether I feel like it or not, I am still blessed.

Feelings are fickle, they’re tricky. It wasn’t too long ago that I felt absolutely broken, damaged. I felt useless and discarded, but that wasn’t true at all. The God of all creation formed me and molded me in His image. He adores me and I am the apple of His eye, but my circumstances had changed, and life became mean for a little while. My feelings became hurt. I’ve learned to not listen to my feelings. It’s hard, and I pray a lot. But my feelings are subject to change. I’m learning to lean on the truth of God’s Word. Today I’m not upset a bit about the preacher. He meant well, and I even agree with him to a degree. But, when circumstances change, and they will, when I’m not happy….when I’m ill even…I’m going to go to church. And when the preacher doesn’t say something to fix me, and he doesn’t make me feel happy that I came, I’ll go back to church again…and I’ll keep going…until my feelings line up with my actions…and it causes my circumstances to change.

 

 

Author: Britney Wilkes

Copyright © 2010-2012 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on November 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm  Comments (2)