Sometimes I wonder if I should “get real.” You know, the real kind of real. The hard day, life is messy in the trenches kind of real. But doesn’t God want us to move past that and get beyond hardships and struggles? Doesn’t He want more and better? And shouldnt we snap out of it already?
I’m the girl who likes to encourage, so shouldn’t I avoid real?
But then I wonder, maybe God does want us doing real life. Maybe we are supposed to be in the trenches, and not on the mountain tops twirling and singing, The hills are alive…
Maybe butterflies and strolling through fields of wildflowers with our skirts flowing behind us are just fairy tales and the Bible warns against fairy tales. Does twirling on a mountain side mean our heads are in the clouds? Or… does it mean we have it all together?
I’m not the one to write, “When I majorly blew it” posts. No, I’m the one who writes, “Be encouraged!” But do people wonder if there is a real person behind the words of one who never says “I blew it?”
Do they think my days are perfect?
So here we are today with what I believe is my very first this is real life post. It’s 6:03 in the morning because I’ve been awake since 4:00am. Working. From bed. Honest. Real.
The sun is up, but the family is still in bed. It is quiet except for the humming fan in the bedroom while my husband sleeps. It’s foggy outside but warm, even at 6:00 am. 135 roosters wander through the yard and I can see a few as I type, but they don’t crow, they are still too young.
Shouldn’t I be reading the Bible right now? Having my quiet time? Real again… I write to you instead.
More real… I wonder how these words will be received. Will my loyal readers turn away forever? Real thoughts, real concerns. This is real life.
But is it? Blogging, is it real life?
Only when she shares what is from her heart. Today you have my heart. I don’t even look at the screen as I type, the errors I can go back and fix, there is no format to this post, only raw thoughts and sincere reality. Is it the real life that encourages others? I still don’t know. I do know a connection encourages. The knowing that there is a real life behind the screen, behind the video camera. And there is. A real life, that is.
On the floor near where I sit are 2 dirty socks. They are pink, with flowers, size 5T. They are both inside out. It rained yesterday and she went outside to catch the raindrops. Wet socks didn’t agree with her.
There is a crumpled paper too, something I wrote and was editing. The changes were made so the notes aren’t needed now. There is no wastepaper basket by the computer, so it ended up on the floor.
Downstairs our Bible sits on the living room table. The cover is falling off. The dining room table is clean with flowers neatly placed in the center. Carefully folded bath towels are on the kitchen counter waiting to be carried upstairs.
I worked hard yesterday. It shows. We had a family stay with us over the weekend, there was a lot to catch up on as far as cleaning.
There are some dishes in the sink and a few more on the counter. Dirty, waiting for their turn in the dishwasher. There actually was time to do a second load last night, but I instead chose to spend that time with my husband, our older kids and my mom.
All of that, that is my reality today. Life can be messy and in the trenches, but it can also be glorious and on the mountain top. It can be “I don’t have time for you” busy. Or it can be “Let’s do the work we need to do, then let’s spend time together.” It’s our choice.
We go through seasons and we live through and work through circumstances. It’s the circumstances that put us in the trenches but it’s the right mindset that lets us sing on the mountain tops. Even Paul said he learned how to be content in all situations. (Phil 4:12) Can’t we do the same?
Can we choose contentment? God says that we not only are able to choose it, but we need to. We need to choose to be joyful, it doesn’t just happen. (Psalm 40:16)
We are to seek joy and be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18).
This is God’s will for us.
Even in the real life hard days, choose to work in your home. Choose to do the dishes, then choose to sit with your husband. Smile at the socks on the floor, then pick them up, or train your children to. They also will need to learn how to choose contentment and joy. They also will face real and messy.
Now at nearly 800 words, this a post with seemingly no rhyme or reason has taken on a life of it’s own so-to-speak. It shares the real, yet as it winds down, it aims to encourage. Always. The desire to encourage and guide takes over.
It’s my heart.
It doesn’t always come out right, the goal to encourage, but it is there. Oh that the LORD would take these words and use them for His glory. That He would bless the gifts He gives us for others.
They say that, “Teaching says, ‘This is the way you should go’; encouragement says, ‘I will help you go that way.’”
And so it is. A resolution and a confirmation. My heart is to remind you of the right way, God’s way, and then to say, “Let me help you go that way, you can do it!”
And you can. You can live a real life and praise Him too. You can have hard days yet still sing with joy.
I pray you do.
Cheryl Stahlman says
My real life, I have found lately, is always messy. It can be discouraging and depressing and leaves me feeling buried, stressed, and exhausted all the time. I love my Lord…but my actions lately have not shown that. I love my family…but my actions lately do not make them feel that. I am falling short of what my husband needs from his help meet…and I desperately want to change that, but doing know where to start! When you are behind in everything…where can you begin? This post of yours spoke to my heart. I feel like these real posts is what women need. When young women can hear from others about the mistakes, weaknesses, scars, reality, etc; they can prevent themselves from ending up making the same mistakes.
The LORD always makes a way, Cheryl. And even on the days you feel hopeless, you’re not alone. These are struggles that are common to each of us who daily want to provide a peaceful haven for our family.
When you are behind in everything…where can you begin? At the beginning. Start with the basics, work on the essentials. What does that look like? Depending on where you are starting, it begins with taking one day at a time, getting up and making breakfast, dressing your children, brushing their hair and teeth, doing a load of laundry, cleaning up a child’s room, making lunch, doing some dishes, playing outside, giving the children a nap, taking a nap yourself, doing a load of laundry, reading a book with your children, cleaning off the table or cleaning up the front room, making dinner, serving dinner, letting your husband play with the kids, doing the dinner dishes, enjoying your family, enforcing bedtime. It’s the here a little there a little all throughout the day.
When you begin to feel a sense of routine and have attitudes under control it looks like larger cleaning and decluttering projects. It involves saying “no” a lot to things that are distractions. It is doing the good you know to do, today, right now, right where you are.
Praying for you sister <3
Cheryl Stahlman says
Thank you, sweet sister, for the godly encouragement, wisdom, and a places to start. 🙂
Trying now to weary not.
You’re welcome. Yes… weary not in well doing 🙂
Thank you for this post. I love how you remind us to choose joy and give thanks in all circumstances. How true! Messes use to discourage me, but fortunately for me our daughter has always loved to help me around the home from the time she was a young toddler. We sing, listen to the Bible on an app I have or just talk and laugh. Even with the chores she doesn’t like, I try and set a good example while keeping my expectations realistic. We surprise ourselves by timing how long it takes to do a chore becaus it’s always far less than we expect. She just turned six and showing her how to take care of things is really paying off and I am constantly amazed at how much she can do and how willing she is to try new things! Even so, messes and interruptions still happen, and I am reminded that she not only hears my response by whatever words I choose to speak, but sees my actions which speak much louder. Having a good attitude and praising God for all of His blessings makes all the difference on those tough days. I love spending time with my family so that motivates me to get things done so I can do just that. Blessings to you!
Thank you for writing, Katie. Your daughter will be very well prepared when she one day makes a home of her own. Keep up the good work!
I enjoyed this post so much. It was encouraging. You had a regular day with good and not so good things. You handled it and moved on.
Thanks for being “real “.
I love reading Jennifer’s posts. They are always encouraging even if it is something I don’t want to hear! 🙂
I appreciate, though, getting to see and hear a little “real life” in this post. Thanks!