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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Strength For Today

Can you believe it's almost December? I love the holidays, but I always struggle this time of year. My heart aches for the Thomas Kinkade paintings, for smiles and laughter and goodwill toward man (especially between siblings in the house!), for snuggling by the fire, kisses under the mistletoe, all that good stuff.

Real life is not a painting. Or an old black-and-white movie. (That's often why we love escaping into our novels.)

Nope. Real life finds too many dust bunnies when it's time to move furniture to make room for the tree. Real life has pouting kids who don't want to help lug in the decoration box or be pulled away from their video games in order to just sit by the fire with mom. Husbands who tolerate, but don't enjoy, watching White Christmas, and who grimace and sweat--and possibly even swear--while wrestling with the Christmas lights.

Add to that the fact that I never got around to shedding that extra five pounds--and now feel it's too late to try--the constant pain in my neck, the myriad bills we aren't sure how to pay, a toddler in the throes of the "terrible two's" (to be fair, he's the sweetest boy in the world, just extremely rambunctious), and homeschool pressures...and each day starts to feel overwhelming. Beyond my ability. Sucking me under. Life does not meet my expectations. I'm failing.

And sometimes "failing" at something as simple and earthly as creating the "right" home atmosphere can lead to a depression that slips into spiritual darkness. Lies. All lies. But too often, I believe them.

Maybe you can relate. Or maybe your set of challenges lies elsewhere. Regardless, we all have seasons, or areas of our life, where we don't feel up to the task. And we grieve that ineptitude.

A dear friend recently gave me a gift--a daily devotional--and the first day's reading hit its mark in my heart. In essence, it reminded me that the measure of God's strength given to me on a daily basis is determined by two things:

The difficulty of my circumstances, and my willingness to depend on Him for help.


This concept completely changed my thinking when it came to facing challenges. Demons. I don't need to assess the situation and measure it against my usual ability and strength. I need to depend on Him and believe that He can and will empower me that much more in order to handle the task. And tomorrow, when the challenge is not so great, He will give me just the strength I need for that day.

Today it might be preparing the house, encouraging generousity in my kids, and finding ways to trim the grocery budget so that we can get that tail light replaced.  Tomorrow it could be the death of a loved one, a falling away of a brother or sister, or the loss of a job. But the degree of His power available to me will match whatever circumstance comes my way.

And the same goes for you, too. So if there's any chance that one of you share this struggle of mine at this time of year, I pray this truth shines like a beacon in your heart and gives you hope. It did for me.

If you're interested in the devotional I mentioned, it's called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. The entry I referenced was November 11th. :-) And if you want some great Christian novels to dive into or pick up as gifts, you always know where to find some winners. (There's always a contest going on at COTT, so I hope you'll join us this week for a look at a couple great cover images.)

Have a blessed week!


Jennifer Slattery said...

Wow, great post! Need to tuck this somewhere I can read again. And again. And again. Thanks!

Michelle Massaro said...

Thanks, Jen. I know it was a God-incidence that I began my reading on this particular day. I so needed to hear this message and since then I'm fighting to keep it in the center of my thoughts. Like you said, I need to read it again and again and again. I forget so easily. But I guess we all do. That's why His mercies are new every morning.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope you are having a blessed day!

Jen said...

Thank you for your post. I just got out my Thomas Kinkade Advent devotional this morning!

I love your concept of "grieving the ineptitude". Oh, how that describes me over the past months. Doesn't feel like I can do anything right and my attitude about it is even worse. And your decorating woes sound very much like our weekend!

Thanks for sharing your heart.

Terri Tiffany said...

Timely post. Funny how often we have to remind ourselves to ask God for that help we need:) I am So guilty! But honestly,when I do,I am amazed at the calmness that overcomes me.

Susan said...

Love this, Michelle. All too true this time of year especially. And, BTW, I LOVE White Christmas but usually watch it alone:) Hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving.

Jessica R. Patch said...

I giggle at the hubby possibly swearing over the Christmas tree.

White Christmas is as tradition at our house, instituted by DH. Our little secret, it's not my favorite but I like it!

I love this post. So honest and true. I need mercy every morning! Love you!

Michelle Massaro said...

Jen, I grieve the ineptitude almost daily. Oh, and I love Thomas Kincaid! We start our advent tomorrow night. Always a special time. :)

Terry, it amazes me how many times we need to relearn the simple truths of God's Word!

Susan, I'd love to hang out and watch White Christmas with you!

Jess, I love you too! My mom and aunt used to sing the sisters song whenever we watched it as I was growing up. White Christmas brings back many happy memories for me and embodies Christmas.

Here's hoping none of your hubbies swear at the decorations this year, lol. Thanks ladies!