By Grace Alone

The real life struggles of a Christian mom

Climbing Rainbows March 13, 2009

Our sermon last Sunday was on Genesis 9, in which God makes a covenant with Noah after the flood.  Our pastor pointed out that the rainbow was not a sign for Noah to remember God’s promise.  Rather, it was a sign for God to remember His promise:  “When I bring the clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh.  And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh” (Genesis 9:14-15).  It would do us no good to remember God’s promise if God Himself was not faithful to His promise.  The rainbow reminds us that God will always remember His promise, and His remembering is powerful.  Although we deserve another flood–our sin as individuals and as a human race is certainly deserving of God’s wrath–God has promised to not give us what we deserve, but rather to show us mercy by not destroying us with a flood.

Our pastor talked about one of my favorite hymns, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.”  In the third verse (my favorite), it says:

O joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee;

I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain,

that morn shall tearless be.

He said that George Matheson, who wrote the words, originally wrote “I climb the rainbow through the rain,” but the words had been changed.  He talked about how when we are in stormy waters in our life, we don’t need to simply glance up at the sky, see God’s rainbow and have happy feelings.  (I’m paraphrasing here, hoping I’m accurately depicting his point.)  When the waves rage around us, we need to climb out, grasping onto the sure promises of God.  We can trust God’s mercy.  He is faithful to keep all His promises.  We can climb the rainbow in the rain and know the promise is not vain–tearless days are ahead in Heaven, if not in this life.  We may still be in the rain, but His joy will not leave us when we are holding tight to Him.

Here is a link to “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go” sung by one of my favorite groups, Indelible Grace, as well as the full lyrics  by George Matheson:

1. O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe, That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

2. O light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray, That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

3. O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

4. O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead, And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.


My Complaining Heart March 2, 2009

The Israelites are at it again.  Grumbling, that is.  A recurring theme in our BSF study of the Life of Moses this year is how the Israelites continue to grumble and complain in spite of all the wonderful things God has done for them.  Last week, we studied Numbers 11, in which the Israelites once again complain about the manna God is miraculously providing for food each day.  In our lecture, our teaching leader said that we often think we have the right to tell everyone how we are feeling at all times, especially if we are unhappy about something.

She might as well have been talking directly to me.  Even with the sinfulness of complaining being pointed out to me again and again in this study, I still struggle with a complaining heart.  I definitely think everyone around me needs the full story whenever something is bothering me, and there are plenty of things that bother me.  I have to admit, one of the things I look forward to when my husband gets home from work is being able to unload on him all the hardships of my day.  The complaining heart rears its head over and over again.  And Numbers 11 reminds me that each time I complain, I am sinning and even rejecting the Lord and His provision for me (verse 20).

And then there’s the fact that I’m 31 weeks pregnant with my third child.  Those of you who have walked in my shoes know exactly how this could lead to some complaining–complaining that even seems justified until you look at it through God’s holy eyes.  When I first heard the BSF lecture on complaining last week, I thought, “People ask me how I’m feeling all the time.  How am I supposed to answer honestly without complaining?”  Our teaching leader pointed out that God desires our gratitude, regardless of our circumstances.  I need to ask God to take away my complaining heart and replace it with a grateful one.

At first, I just aimed for outward change with regard to complaining.  My husband may not have noticed much change yet–sorry, honey, I’m working on it–but I have tried to answer the “how are you feeling?” questions with less complaining and more thankfulness.   Instead of cataloging every ache and pain for everyone who asks, I try to say I am mostly feeling good and thankful to be having a healthy pregnancy.

As I’ve made this outward change, I’ve noticed that there has been an inward change going on as well.  The aches and pains don’t bother me as much anymore.  They are simply reminders that God has given me the privilege of carrying this baby girl for 31 weeks, and that she is active and growing.

I still have work to do in this area . . . it is hardest to not complain to those I am closest to and other favorite topics of complaining that I need to deal with.  There is a fine line between being honest about my struggles and complaining.  While I want to be open and honest, I also want to glorify God with my speech and not grumble about any of the gifts He has given me–including my kids, my husband, his job, our home, and our finances.

The REAL test will come in 2 months when the baby comes and people ask, “How are you doing?  Are you getting any sleep yet?”  I better start asking God now to show me how to be thankful for sleep that comes in 2 hour increments!