By Grace Alone

The real life struggles of a Christian mom

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!


Grumbling November 20, 2008

Filed under: spiritual growth — Marissa Henley @ 4:36 pm
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I am so thankful to be studying the Life of Moses with Bible Study Fellowship this year.  Now that I’ve reached the glorious second trimester, I hope to do more writing about what I’ve learned.  I had been determined not to complain about not feeling well or being tired during this pregnancy, and I have to admit, I’ve done a terrible job.

I felt especially convicted about this and all the other complaining I do when reading about the grumbling the Israelites did after being brought out of slavery in Egypt.  God had just rescued them from horrible oppression and slavery.  He had done mighty works and miracles on their behalf, such as parting an entire sea so they could escape on dry land.  Then they find themselves in the wilderness, their food begins to run out, and they start to grumble.  In the chapters of Exodus that follow the crossing of the Red Sea, the Israelites complain to Moses over and over again.

In Exodus 16:8, Moses answers their grumbling:  And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him—what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.”

Ouch.  All my grumbling isn’t against the weather, my kids, my hubby’s job, my circumstances, money, etc., but against the God who made me and redeemed me??  Of course!  For God has given me each and every circumstance:  each evening my husband is delayed at work to teach me reliance on Him, each tantrum of my 2-year-old sent to teach me patience, restrictions on my spending to teach me contentment, cold weather . . . well, I haven’t figured out what that is about, but God is most definitely in control of the weather!

I know contentment is important to God, but this verse shed new light on all the “small” complaining I do each day.  It showed me how much I am like the Israelites–God has done amazing things for me, and I still grumble against Him.  He has given me a beautiful home, and I grumble about cleaning it.  He has given my husband a secure, profitable job, and I grumble that he’s not home at 5:00 each day.  He has given me two beautiful, sweet, healthy kids, and I grumble that they just won’t give me a minute to myself.  My grumbling is a sin against God, and I’m thankful for this verse pointing that out in a fresh way.