Obedience

Choosing to Love

Love is quite possibly one of the most misunderstood concepts and misused words in our society.  When asked what love is, many hesitate and struggle for a reply.  Most claim that love is some mystical feeling over which we have no control.  A few claim that love is really scientific chemistry. That we can choose love isn’t usually the first thing to come to mind.

choosing to love

When most Christians are asked about love, they refer to 1 Corinthians 13, which is commonly known as the “love chapter.”  We speak of love being patient and kind, and not boastful or proud.  However, the apostle Paul most clearly articulates his view of love in the last verse of that chapter where he places love in greater importance than hope, or even faith.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (ESV)

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Love is quite clearly commanded in the New Testament church.

Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Not only are we commanded to love, but we are to love as Christ loved.

John 13:34

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Jesus would not command us to do something impossible for us.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we are able to choose to love others.

love is a sacrifice

3 Ways to Choose to Love

Prayer

Every journey begins with prayer.  They journey toward truly loving others is no different.  We can pray for the ability and the desire to love others and to show them the love of Christ.

Kindness

Mark Twain said, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”  Kindness is love lived out and demonstrated.  We can look for ways to show kindness to others, especially those we may struggle to love.

Forgiveness

Most often we struggle to love because we harbor hurt and forgiveness.  Choosing to forgive those who may have wronged us will open the door that will allow us to choose to love them.

Love is not always the easiest choice to make.  In fact, many times it can be he most difficult.  However, the blessings of obedience to the command of love will far outweigh the price of sacrifice.

 

We hope this devotional series is blessing you in your motherhood and your walk with the Father. Please enjoy this printable coloring page, take a few minutes to slow down…breathe…remember the blessings of sacrificial love.
Be blessed! 

Praise God for the Desert Places

Praise God.

It’s never something we do on purpose. In fact, the proverbial desert place is a destination we try to steer very clear of. But sometimes, we find ourselves trudging along and suddenly realize, we’re not where we want to be. Everywhere we look, it’s dry and dusty. Desert sand whips at our backs and scorching heat leaves us thirsting for water. How on earth do we end up in places like this?

I’ve walked through places like this…a desert place, a kind of wilderness, untamed and wild. There’s confusion accompanied by tangled, messy feelings. It’s dry and empty…desolate. There’s a sense of panic and numbness that overrides the senses, causing one to wonder, “How did I get here?” Everything’s a blur, and yet, there has to be a reason for walking in this place.

praise God

While thinking about my own challenging seasons recently, I was struck by a passage of Scripture I had never read before…or at the very least, had never “known” before.

“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.”
Hosea 2:14

In this passage, God is speaking to Israel. The people had been unfaithful, sinful in their ways. So, God graciously led them out into the wilderness, a desert place. In His loving grace, He wooed them there, away from distractions, and all things “comfortable” in order to bring them to a place of dependence upon only one thing…GOD, Himself.

There are several times throughout the bible where God leads His children out into the wilderness, away from the world, their daily lives and all of it’s idols. But when I read this verse, it became clear to me that it’s in these seasons where we can hear God more clearly. His voice becomes discernible and He turns our deep struggles into something that grows us from the inside out. And that’s when those desert places we never would have chosen to walk through then become part of our beautiful, redemptive God stories to share with others who need an encouraging word.

My own walks with God in the wilderness have always come as a result of trying to depend upon myself for far too long. He knows us so well and loves us too much to let us continue living this way. When I lose sight of the people in front of me who matter most, when trying harder to do more and be better becomes the focus and one day blends into the next, it’s pretty certain that I’m in need of some serious alone time with God.

Desert places

Praise God that He leads us into places where His Word can be stirred up in our hearts and we can once again see our very real need for Him in ALL things.

Praise God that He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He loves us too much for that.

And praise God for turning the hard places He allows us to walk through, even those places He brings woos us to, into testimonies of true redemption!

The Obedience to Praise

“From the rising of the sun to the going down of it…
the name of the Lord is to be praised!”
Ps. 113:3 AMPC

Are we obedient to praise the Lord?

The writer of the book of Hebrews says we are to “offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name…the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15 NLT, NKJV)

First, do we know what praise means? The combined words in Hebrew mean to extend the hands to revere or worship, make confession, give thanks or glory, bless God in adoration, to celebrate in music, to sing forth praises, and so on. The combined Greek words mean thanks offering, to celebrate God by singing religious songs, to give glory, honor, or applaud, and so on.

the name of the Lord is to be praised

But sometimes, I don’t feel like praising, you say.

Yeah. I get it. When your heart is aching, when the world comes crashing down on your shoulders, when storms hit and there isn’t much you can do, it’s difficult to still praise the Lord.

There are some trials and sufferings for which we question giving thanks, but we trust God in those circumstances, relying on Him to remedy them and thanking Him for His working. And that’s when we need to praise Him the most!

So, what usually happens to our thanksgiving and praise when peace disintegrates into chaos, when a husband loses his job and finances are cut off, when a child is in a car wreck, when the repo man stands knocking at the door, when buying Christmas presents is a vague recollection, when pain strikes the chest and there is no insurance, when the roof overhead is in jeopardy of being taken away, or when the cupboard holds no more than the cup?

How lavish, then, is our praise of the Creator?

Our grateful praise and thanks to God is to be fruitful continually, offering “thanks at all times for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:20 Received Greek Text) David said, “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.” (Ps. 113:3 NIV)

David says those “who seek Jehovah shall praise Him.” (Ps. 22:26 Masoretic Text) If we seek the Lord, are we praising Him? And Paul instructs us, “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18 TLB) God’s will!

If it is the will of God for us to be thankful in all circumstances, then how disobedient are we?

Paul said he was “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” (2 Cor. 6:10 NKJV) That is called a sacrifice of praise, for it costs us the sacrifice of our feelings in difficult situations, praising even when we do not feel like it.

I have learned to praise God no matter what. When my eyes spill over with the tears of heartache, when chaos invades my world, when I feel pulled apart by schedules, do I still claim His peace and praise Him? Yes, indeedy! For “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Ps. 34:1 TLB) Amen!

If we constantly boo-hoo our circumstances more than praising God, we magnify our circumstances above God’s character and power. We are to “magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Ps. 69:30b NKJV)

obedience to praise

Therefore, do we still raise our hands in praise and worship when in painful despair?

The disciple John said it most succinctly, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 NKJV)

Are you being obedient to praise the Lord and increase Him in your life?

lynnmosher.com

Proverbs 31 Ministries – How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You?

Proverbs 31 Ministries - How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You?

How Many Times Do I Have To Tell You?

A Guest Post at Proverbs 31 Ministries

I have a dare for you. It’s simple. But it’s definitely not easy. I believe it can be the turning point of your relationship with your children and with your heavenly Father.

Look at the list of things you say most often to your children. Do you hear your heavenly Father whispering the same things to you?

Be honest. Let the words sink in. What is God saying to you?

I’m over at Proverbs 31 Ministries today with thoughts on our words – what we hear and what we say. Hop on over and tell me what God might be whispering to you.

In His Grace,

rc-sig

 

 

Your Name Here

Your Name Here

Your Name Here

Remembering names is not my gifting. I want to remember—really I do—but I’m not very good at it. I’m better with faces. Although I don’t like name tags, I need them. If we’ve met, and we see each other again, I’m hoping that grace will prevail. I will reintroduce myself and maybe we can share a laugh!

But God knows each of us intimately. Scripture talks about Him knowing the number of hairs on our heads. Perhaps more profoundly, He knows our thoughts, even our days. Those are things that I don’t even know about me.

My hair isn’t as thick as it once was, but I don’t know the exact number of lost locks. My thoughts often seem scattered and unfocused. And my days? Those are crazy (most of them)—not necessarily in a bad way, but full. And while I’m a planner, I rarely remember what I had for dinner yesterday. I’m glad God knows those things, but they seem impossible for me to know.

It’s the fact that He knows my name. This blows me away. And I think it is so wonderful. My name. Mine. The name my parents gave to me. The one my husband whispers, the one my friends call, the one my kids repeat. I’m not a number to God. You’re not a number. He doesn’t ever forget my name or yours. You are you, by name. I am me, by name.

It must have been startling for little Samuel to realize that God was calling his name, not Eli. God was saying, “Samuel, Samuel!” God’s voice, not just the priest’s. While Samuel listened to and obeyed Eli, while he wanted to be attentive, the sound of his name spoken by the Almighty had to be a powerful moment.

And what about Saul on the road to Damascus? Talk about a crossroads. Saul, passionate about upholding the Law and the traditions, led the charge in persecuting the Christians. He went door to door. He was actively imprisoning men and women. He stood in direct opposition to Jesus.

Then as he was on the road with his companions, set on finding more believers and punishing them. Jesus spoke to him from a bright light, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul was literally blinded by the light. Jesus called him out and gave him a new name, Paul.

The calling of the disciples is a part of the story that we often read as if it isn’t significant or substantial. Wait just a minute. Jesus called these men by name, and they followed Him without question or discussion leaving their work behind them.

Might there have been something different about the authority with which He said their names? Did He exude the qualities of a leader that drew them to His side: confidence, direction, charisma? If we could ask them, I would bet they would say they couldn’t quite put their finger on it, but there was something in the way He looked them in the eye when He offered the invitation by name with the words, “Follow Me.”

Jesus called Mary and Martha by name. This happened on two very different occasions, and in both instances He did so with gentleness and compassion. Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, “ when she had become frustrated with her sister about helping her in the kitchen. Mary seems blind to all that needed to be done and was just sitting and listening to Jesus.

Jesus wasn’t calling Martha out. He didn’t seek to embarrass her. He wasn’t intent on making her feel bad. No. Jesus softly spoke her name. He wanted her full attention. I’m sure He looked her in the eye. “Martha, Martha.” Jesus wanted Martha to listen to Him, not be distracted by what wasn’t being done around the house.

God knows your name. And He whispers in a thousand different ways. It’s in the wind of a storm, the quiet breeze at the beach. You can hear it when the birds sing or the soft rain falls. Sometimes your name is clear in your heart. And every time you hear it, lean in and listen. He knows your name.

#HMTimes Book Club Chapter 43 - There's nothing like the sound of my Heavenly Father calling my name.

 

rc-sig

 

Answered Prayers in Kenya

Answered Prayers in Kenya

Answered Prayers in Kenya

Many have said that God was going to show me something personally while I was in Kenya since Molly wasn’t able to go. I cannot report anything specific. Believe me, I wish I could. But I do believe it was an opportunity for both Molly and me to choose to trust God even when the situation didn’t make sense, even when we didn’t like it, even when He didn’t change it.

At the first meeting we attended for the Kenya team the leader said something that I didn’t remember until I was in Kenya without Molly. He said that he wanted us to not have any expectations. Okay, I thought, no problem. I think I was able to keep expectations at bay about Tenwek, about the service we would do, about the children’s rally. But there was a foundational expectation that I had from the beginning—that Molly and I would go together, have time together, bond together.

As many of you know we re-launched my blog this last March. In January I resolved to live like God is actually on the throne. When it came time to adopt a byline for the blog, I chose ‘Living Before the Throne.’ I believe that we are given opportunities each day to think, speak, and act like we really believe He is the King of kings. It’s not enough for it to merely be a Sunday conviction or a judgment we place on others. Each of us is called to live out our faith.

Throughout this year I have had countless opportunities to choose if I was going to panic or blame or despair or scream. When my parents retired, when one of the kids became seriously ill, when scholarships for college were falling short, when workshops weren’t well attended. In just these few examples, I’m tempted to doubt that He knows or cares or both. I wonder, if only for a second, if He’s able or worthy.

Our enemy wants me to think that I don’t matter, that I’m not making a difference, that I’m a failure. He wants to convince me that I cannot count on God when things don’t go as I hoped or planned or anticipated. When things don’t go as promised, that’s when the enemy swoops in to plant seeds of doubt, when he tries to dethrone God.

Over and over I have been faced with circumstances that God could change: relationships broken, problems unsolved, overwhelming challenges. But He didn’t. He could, but He didn’t. The God who parted the Red Sea, who put the stars in the sky, who spoke light into existence, who walked on water, and calmed the sea. This one true God didn’t intervene, didn’t swoop in, didn’t. Could have, but didn’t.

In every circumstance I’ve had a choice. Every time I’ve had a decision to make. How am I going to respond? In resentment or worship? In lots of relentless questions or quiet rest? In rebellion or rejoicing? I choose to worship Him who alone is Worthy. I choose to rest in Him who is Able. I choose to rejoice in my Salvation. Through tears and confusion, through frustration and disappointment, through thick fog and hard rain, when I cannot see my hand in front of my face, when nothing makes sense, when tempted to blame, I choose to believe.

I choose to believe that He knows. I choose to believe that He cares. I choose to believe that He has a plan. I choose to believe that He doesn’t waste anything, that though I feel broadsided, He’s not surprised. I choose to believe in the Great Redeemer.

Molly and I had the same choice. We grew in our relationship with God and each other through this. We didn’t talk on the phone until the Monday night of the trip. Neither of us could speak at first and even still tears drip off my chin as I remember it. We cried and cried as we both stated our trust in God, our determination to trust Him though we didn’t understand.

Here’s the deal, although my expectations went unmet, my prayer didn’t. I had prayed that Molly would come to see God’s hand and trust Him more. I had prayed that we would grow closer together as a mother and daughter and even though we were thousands of miles away He did that too. So my prayers were answered, but in a completely different way than I had expected.

God is on the throne, and I praise Him. I’m grateful that I know He is always in the business of glorifying Himself and growing me. I’m grateful that He has a plan that cannot be foiled.

What about you? You have the same choice moment my moment, day by day. What choice will you make? Will you choose to believe in His love and grace for you? Will you choose to believe that He knows what He’s doing, that He has a plan, that He is Able and Worthy? Lay out before Him those things you are tempted to hold on to because you don’t trust Him. Worship Him acknowledging His goodness, faithfulness, patience, mercy, sovereignty, and love. Rejoice in the joy of our salvation. Remember He’s coming back to take us all home! Then stand firm and allow the ‘Joy of the Lord’ to be your strength. Choose well. Choose Him.

Rachael Carman

What About Mary And Elizabeth – Part 1

What about Mary and Elizabeth?

What about Mary and Elizabeth? I believe that we take these two women’s stories for granted. Many of us grew up hearing about the virgin birth, but never stopped to think about the virgin Mary. Likewise we have heard the story of Elizabeth, the woman who had struggled with barrenness her whole life and longed for a child and now in her old age was finally expecting.

Let’s start with Elizabeth. From scripture we gather that she and Zechariah were thrilled with the news. I would like to think that her relatives and friends celebrated the news with her, but knowing human nature there were probably the usual thoughtless and even hurtful comments made. Things like, “Good grief, I thought you were over that.” Or “How are you possibly going to chase around a toddler at your age?” or “Do you realize how old you will be when he’s twenty?” There were probably also the whispers, the ‘looks’ , and maybe even the rumors. In short, as often occurs in our lives, upon submitting to the will and very different plan of a sovereign God in her life, Elizabeth would never be the same.

One of my favorite parts of caring a child is feeling the life move within me. It is something that I miss postpartum and look forward to every time the pregnancy test comes back positive. I like to imagine that the God of the universe is literally knitting together my little one inside of me. It is a time like no other when I feel a partnership in the workings of God. Can you imagine how much Elizabeth enjoyed each little movement of her little boy, little John, inside of her. I would bet she laid awake at night in the darkness tears of joy running down her face as she felt him roll and kick. And how it must have thrilled Zechariah when he felt his son move for the first time too. What a time of blessing they must have experienced together.

And then there was Mary. She was probably barely a teenager, but had already and amazingly “found favor with God”. Wow. Her situation was dramatically different from Elizabeth’s. Mary was only engaged to Joseph, they were not even married yet. And yet now she was to become pregnant by the Holy Spirit, with the Son of God. I am overwhelmed at her response to the angel, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be as you have said.” She did not pause to consider the personal price that she would have to pay. She did not ask for time to consult with her mother or her best friend. She did not pause, but answered calmly and confidently. She gave her whole self to the will of God.

When she went to see Elizabeth, they understood each other as no other two women ever had. God had compassionately provided them with each other. In each other they had someone tangible to hug, to talk to, to cry with, confide in, to laugh with, to share with, and even to endure the ridicule that I believe they both faced. One of the most beautiful things recorded in scripture is their shared praise of God in Luke 2:46-55. And in this scripture we get a glimpse of the reasons why Mary, though in her youth, received favor with God. Her heart was filled with praise and gratitude to God who was obviously personal to her. How encouraging their time together must have been and how timely.

Join me Wednesday for Part 2 of What About Mary and Elizabeth?

 

In His Grace,

Rachael Carman

 

Look What God Did

Look What God Did

Look What God Did

About thirteen years ago when my oldest child was only ten years old, I sat through my first homeschooling graduation. I was nursing little Elizabeth—my fifth child who was a dear baby. It was May and our last year had been a rough one. In fact, doubt and discouragement were working hard to take me under.

Lilly needed a diaper change and Davis volunteered to take care of her. I didn’t argue with him. He left just in time for the graduates to be announced. I was unprepared for the wave of emotion that hit me as the graduates and their parents walked on stage. Even now tears run down my cheeks.

Our year hadn’t gone so well. My oldest son, Charles, was still not reading well and he seemed to be getting more strong-willed by the day. Anderson and Savannah Anne were doing okay, but I wasn’t able to give them much time as Charles demanded so much of me.

Molly was about to be two years old and was clearly a female version of her oldest brother. She challenged me daily, especially at nap time. Then there was little Elizabeth, or Lilly as we call her. She was quiet and happy. She didn’t make a fuss—just happily cooed and smiled.

I felt like I was a complete failure. We had not finished any of the curricula we had purchased the previous year. In fact, some of it we hadn’t even started. There were deficiencies screaming on every front. I remembered just crying out to God. I didn’t know what to ask for, but I knew I needed something.

Going to the conference that year represented a break for me. I just needed a get away. I didn’t need to buy any more books! I needed some encouragement. No, I needed a bunch of encouragement. We attended several workshops, but I still felt like I hadn’t found what I needed, that is, not until the last session.

The graduates lined up on stage and I lost it. Davis was gone with Lilly and there I sat, crying like a baby. A woman sitting next to me (who I didn’t even know) put her arm around me and asked, “So which one is yours?” Through tears I answered, “I don’t know any of them. I just hope to have one someday.” She smiled and handed me a tissue. I’d found my encouragement.

Looking back I see that I had become distracted by what I wasn’t doing instead of what He was doing. I needed to trust that He was at work behind the scenes. The mundane of every day, the laundry, the meals, the sticky floors, the conflicts, the school, the errands, the everyday stuff beat down on me.

Seeing those graduates on stage renewed my vision. And the Spirit of God whispered to my heart, “Look what I can do.”

This last weekend Anderson graduated from Animation Mentor, an online animation school. That may sound like nothing to you, so let me fill in some blanks. Anderson had always wanted to be a zoologist. He was going to be a vet and had actually shadowed a practicing professional a couple of times. In his junior year he changed course and decided he no longer wanted to study medicine to become a veterinarian. Great. Fine.

He took his first art class as a senior—his first. And he blossomed. A couple of years earlier he had interned at an animation studio in Dallas, but we thought it was more of a hobby, not an actual career. While taking the art class, he started thinking that maybe this was the direction he wanted to go.

Now, two years since high school graduation, he has completed animation school and all I can say is, “Look what God did!” I can’t take any credit. All we did was stay the course and stand in anticipation and support of what we saw God doing. God did it all.

Now I can see that Anderson’s artistic talent was there all along. God had placed it in him. It is a gift from God. And it is God’s will that Anderson use the gift that God has so generously given him to reflect glory back to the Giver.

Fellow adventurer, may I humbly suggest that you not look at what you are doing or not doing. Instead I suggest you live in anticipation of what God will do. Then go seek Him and follow Him with all your heart. May our Father grant us opportunities to testify with the words, “Look what God did!”

In His Grace,

Rachael Carman

Character Quality: Obedience

Character Quality: Obedience

Character Quality: Obedience

When we first started homeschooling the push for teaching character was in full swing. It was huge in the public school system. It also permeated the homeschooling curriculum offerings. Character lists and lessons forced themselves into center stage.

I was a young mom then with two young sons. One strong willed and one not, struggling to figure out how to do this motherhood thing. I figured out quickly that I needed a way to communicate my expectations to my boys effectively and efficiently. When we were in public I needed to be able to say a word that we had already defined in discussions, which they would understand and could cooperate with.

I found several lists of character qualities, but they did not have definitions that my boys could understand. They needed simple, clear explanations. Further, I wanted to have Scripture as the anchor for each quality as well as a Bible character who demonstrated that particular quality in their lives.

Today I am rolling out the list that I have developed over the course of seventeen  years. I do not claim that the list is exhaustive or perfect. I have added some over the years and many times I have changed the descriptions to be more clear.

I have started the rollout with ‘obedience’. The Old Testament gave us the Law and in the New Testament Jesus summed it all up by saying, “love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.” Obedience is at the heart of our relationship with God. “If you love me your will keep My commandments.”

Teaching our children to obey us is how we begin to teach them to obey their heavenly Father. There are numerous examples of obedience and disobedience throughout the Bible. I have chosen one of my favorite Bible personalities to exemplify this quality: Noah. Make sure you take the time to review the Genesis account of Noah and his obedience to God when asked to do a huge job.

Every week there will be a new character quality on Friday with a corresponding coloring page for your kids to enjoy and use as a learning tool. Use these to train your kids in ‘the way they should go’ so that they can ‘live a life worthy of that to which they have been called.”

Share it with your friends. Let’s resolve to raise a generation of kids whose character is based on the solid foundation of God’s Word for God’s glory.

{Just click on the image below to download your free coloring page for your personal use.}

Character Quality: Obedience

In His Grace,

Rachael Carman

 

Redeeming Chores

Redeeming Chores

What is on your list of chores this week? What is your favorite chore? Which one do you dread?

Washing dishes
Doing laundry
Sweeping floors
Scrubbing tubs
Cleaning toilets

Redeeming Chores

Pop Quiz: Which one is my least favorite responsibility? I’ll give you a hint: I have four sons. That is more than a hint. That is a give away. Cleaning toilets is by far and away my least favorite household chore. In fact you could call it my most dreaded — but not anymore.

Many of us have fallen into despising our homemaking responsibilities because it is so normative. Everyone hates them right? Probably most of us have never thought about it much even though we spend a huge amount of our time doing these tasks.

Choosing our attitude is always within our control. No matter what we face, whether we chose to face it, wanted to face it, or were forced to face it, we all can choose how we face it. It does not matter if the circumstance or situation is positive or negative, we can choose to face it with a smile.

I would humbly suggest that choosing a positive attitude to our life’s circumstances is more difficult than most of the junk that life here throws at us. Why? Simply because no matter how challenging the problem is, no matter how lousy, no matter how unfair, or hurtful, we can and often do make it worse with a negative attitude.

I really wish merely knowing this meant that it was easier to choose better, but it doesn’t. Choosing well and wisely is not easy. It is easy to choose a negative attitude. It is easy to get mad. It is easy to allow a root of bitterness to spring up, to allow resentment to fester, to feed selfishness. But that is not what we are called to do.

We are called to live a life free of the bondage of these negative attitudes. We are admonished to serve one another in love. We are encouraged to live lives of selflessness. This means you and I have to do battle in our minds — ‘to take every thought captive’. We must actively choose against negativity.

How? First, think about chores differently. Let’s try and think of chores as opportunities to serve our family. The word chore is probably getting in our way. The word itself implies monotonous and mundane. It is as though chores are activities that no one notices, and if someone does notice, they will take them for granted. But it is just not so. Chores are necessary responsibilities, which keep our homes and our families organized and running smoothly. They are invaluable services performed, which truly do make all the difference. They set the tone, they preserve harmony.

What if we renamed chores, opportunities? That more accurately describes what they are. They are opportunities for family members to serve one another with a common goal: to create a haven called a home where all the members are cared for and encouraged.

Next, what if we used our time doing these various ‘opportunities’ to thank God for all His blessings? We could spend the time each opportunity takes thinking over all God has done and thanking Him for His faithfulness and provision. When we take the time to thank God for all He has done, our minds are filled with gratitude to Him who alone is Worthy. We are then able to focus on our blessings and less likely to resent the task at hand.

Finally, when we do our ‘opportunities’ we could use that time to worship Him. As the mother of seven, I have a lot of laundry to do each week. Sometimes I think it multiplies in the laundry room while it waits for me to get started. It seems to be never-ending some weeks.

Many years ago a dear mentor friend of mine suggested that I worship through my household tasks. It seemed silly to me in the beginning, but it has made all of the difference. I am confident that is why doing laundry, specifically folding it, has become my favorite job. I keep a hymnal on top of my dryer and I work through it with each load, singing the old songs of my childhood as I fold the mound of clothes. It encouraged my soul and focuses my mind. The time flies and the pile is gone.

So, what is your least favorite ‘chore’? Are you willing to consider the possibility of calling it an opportunity to serve or an OTS? Are you willing to thank God for it? Do you think that you might be able to sing and worship your way through it and claim it for His glory? Are you willing to choose to redeem your time? If so, let me know how it goes. It might be difficult or seem strange when you start, but give it some time. I bet you will see a change in your attitude and in your whole outlook on your other OTS’s.

In His Grace,

Rachael Carman