By Grace Alone

The real life struggles of a Christian mom

A New Life Verse July 30, 2009

I think I have found my “Life Verse.”  I’ve never had a life verse before, but I know people who do.  The verses are usually very inspirational, something along the lines of reaching the nations or future generations for God.  Good stuff, really.  My favorite verse thus far is Romans 8:1, but it didn’t seem to fall into the Life Verse category.

But a couple of weeks ago when I was doing my Bible study (an awesome study of God’s attributes which deserves many, many blog posts that I don’t currently have time to write), I came across a verse I’ve never noticed before:

2 Chronicles 20:12:  We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

Some context for those of you who don’t have 2 Chronicles memorized:  King Jehoshaphat and the Israelites are watching multiple nations of enemies coming against them in battle.  They know there is no way they can defeat this multitude.  Jehoshaphat calls the people together, and they cry out to the Lord, asking what they should do.  It specifically mentions that they are all standing before the Lord, along with their wives and children.   Can you imagine this picture?  Standing there, clutching your children to you, watching the enemy come, knowing you are powerless against them and crying out to the Lord for help.  (To see how it ends, see 2 Chronicles 20.)

This has definitely become my Summer Verse, if not my Life Verse.  For one thing, this verse is very easy to memorize.  It rhymes and has lots of 2’s in the reference.  And if there is one theme in my life right now, it is that I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how to encourage my 5-year-old to not become a prideful Pharisee who craves approval and does all the right things only when someone is watching.  (It takes one to know one, and that kid is just like me.)  I don’t know how to encourage my 3-year-old to put his poop in the potty rather than in his pants.  And I certainly don’t know how to encourage my sister-in-law as she battles the most formidable enemy we’ve faced in a long time:  breast cancer.

I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on the One who is my refuge and strength, an very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).  He promises His perfect wisdom is ours for the asking. (James 1:5).  He hems me in, behind and before, and lays His hand upon me (Psalm 139:5).  When my eyes are on Him, I can choose to be overwhelmed by His love and goodness toward me, rather than being overwhelmed by my circumstances.  (With thanks to my summer Bible study leader for this last thought.)

I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You.


Splinters June 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Marissa Henley @ 8:34 pm
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Last night as we were enjoying a gorgeous evening in our backyard, Christopher started complaining that his finger hurt. “Well, how convenient,” I replied, gesturing toward my hubby, “your dad is a finger doctor!” Christopher had two splinters in his finger, and after 10 minutes with the finger doctor, Christopher re-emerged from the house screaming hysterically. The splinters were too deep for tweezers, and Daddy would need to use a needle to scrape away the skin and get to the splinters.

For close to an hour, Christopher was hysterical, and we were miserable. He settled into an annoying wimper, and anytime we mentioned taking the splinter out, it erupted into terrified screaming. I tried begging, distracting, admonishing, and yelling (why is it that yelling at them to stop yelling NEVER works??). Will joined in, pointing his finger at Christopher and saying, “Stop that, right now!” exactly the way I do when they throw a tantrum or fight with each other. (Yep, that one hurt. Will be trying to remove that from my repertoire.) We even tried holding him down, with Little Einsteins playing for good measure, but he went ballistic and there was no way to keep his finger from moving.

So I stuck him in his room for several minutes while I calmed down. He was still crying when I went in, and he didn’t even want me in the room for fear that I would try to take the splinter out. It was insane. But this time I had come armed with new ammunition: Scripture and the promise of chocolate ice cream. I finally got him calmed down enough for us to talk about the situation. I asked if he remembered our memory verse for the week, which conveniently enough, is: Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9). We talked about how it might hurt a little, but that God would be with Him. Plus, if he was good and brave, he would get chocolate ice cream.

Finally, he agreed to the procedure, and Daddy worked on his finger for a few minutes while we repeated our Bible verse and talked about the ice cream.

Daddy was only able to get 1 1/2 of the 2 splinters out, so we gave up, put a band-aid on and went to get ice cream. Christopher commented, “God always gets the splinters out.” **Insert teaching moment here** I explained that God doesn’t always get the splinters out. Sometimes bad, scary, or hurtful things happen, but He promises He will be with us while we are hurting and scared.

It wasn’t until the next morning that I got the lesson God had hidden in the splinter incident for me. I have been feeling very anxious about losing a baby or having pregnancy complications–and I’m not even pregnant yet! The idea of becoming pregnant with preschoolers at home who would be traumatized if something sad happened is scary to me. I realized from my words to Christopher last night that I’m not going to get any promises from God that I will have a healthy, complication-free pregnancy. But I do have His promises that He will be with us. He will never leave us or forsake us! And, obviously, I need to pull out Calm My Anxious Heart again.