Thursday, October 13, 2011


Admittedly I haven't wanted to write lately.  I have felt discouraged about something in my life.  Just yesterday I thought, more than once, I really wish that I had never started writing a blog in the first place.  You see, I feel a responsibility to this blog for several reasons, but whenever I am experiencing feelings of discouragement, I'd just as soon not write about much of anything.  I truly love to write, but I seldom feel that any words of wisdom should come from me.  In fact, I've never wanted to approach this blog as someone who has any advantage over anyone else; I simply want to share what I am learning.  But, herein lies my quandary:  when I am struggling to figure things out--really struggling--I don't believe my words can encourage anyone else.  Having said that, I am writing yet another blog out of a personal commitment to write that I made some time ago. 

You see, life may have a way of chewing you up and spitting you out, but nothing and no one can cause you to totally forsake your commitments.  You have control over that!  And sometimes, in the middle of keeping our commitments, we are personally impacted or touched in a way that really means something to us. 

I can identify a few areas where this has happened in my own life.  In March, I made a commitment to become physically healthy.  I began exercising regularly and I began changing some of my eating habits.  After two and a half months I saw no results.  I struggled with feelings of discouragement.  I was running 2-4 miles, five to six times a week.  I was really trying!  Yet, I had not lost one pound or one pant size.  I could have given up!  However, nothing more than my personal commitment to myself pushed me to keep trying.  Not long after this, I received some wonderful words of advice from a close friend (who also happens to be a personal trainer) and things began to change.  I approached exercise with some variety and began to see results.  Since June I have lost almost 30 pounds and I am feeling stronger and more healthy than ever before!  I remain personally committed to my physical health!

I am home schooling my sons this year for several reasons.  I home schooled my older son for his first grade year, last year.  Reading is a struggle for him.  The evaluation he had at the end of the year proved that he was behind where he should be.  Once again I felt discouraged.  I truly believed while entering this new school year that home school was the best decision for our family.  However, I couldn't shake the feeling that maybe I didn't have the ability to help Jaden improve his reading.  Some days nothing more than a commitment to do this has kept me going.  I can't say that I thoroughly love every moment of home schooling my boys; it's very busy and I also have to occupy my daughters and maintain my home.  But, little changes are taking place.  Jaden voluntarily picked a much more difficult chapter book to read recently (while I was ready to re-read an easier one).  I have to help him still quite a bit, but he's enjoying the book.  We read several pages today and he was more than okay with it; he wasn't begging to stop.  He has also taken the initiative to type stories on the computer, as well as deciding to type out all of his memory scriptures for church.  I'm not entirely sure that his reading has improved, but I do believe he is enjoying it more and is much more willing to approach it.  Might just be my opinion, but I think that enjoying to read is the start of becoming a great reader!

Today, while keeping my commitment to home school, I was personally touched by what I was reading.  I was reading a book to my sons about the life story of Hudson Taylor, an English man who became a Christian missionary to China.  We're not too far into the book but it has been interesting and an enlightening look at life in 19th century England.

Now, to understand why today's chapter meant so much to me, I'll need to confide some of my personal struggle.  I've been feeling discouraged about our finances.  We are a single income family by design, but it means a great deal of sacrifice, and often....frustration.  One thing my husband and I have always been committed to is our decision to give.  We have tithed faithfully to our local church throughout our entire marriage, even during the few occasions when my husband experienced lay-offs with his job.  In addition, we've regularly given charitably above and beyond our tithe and we bless others financially whenever we can.  We have committed to this and we will never stop.  However, sometimes our financial situation is a struggle--a frustration--and seems unlikely to improve.  Yet, we remain committed to bless as we have been blessed!

So today, as I struggled with some feelings of discouragement about this, we read a chapter that I think may have been written just for me!  In this chapter, Hudson Taylor's experience was in learning to trust God to be his provider despite contrary circumstances.  He worked for a Dr. Hardey, who was a good employer, but who often forgot to pay Hudson his wages on time.  Hudson felt that God was trying to teach him to trust in Him to be his source, therefore he decided not to remind his employer that his wages were due...or overdue.  Instead, he trusted God.  During this time, he had an opportunity to visit a poor family and pray for a dying mother of 6.  While he was praying for this woman, he felt impressed to give the family his very last coin, meaning he would surely have nothing to pay his rent.  He struggled with this, but he gave the family his money.  (I felt that I could relate as there have been several times when Ron and I have blessed others who were struggling while we ourselves were struggling to make ends meet.)  As Hudson walked this out in faith, he began to see God provide in miraculous and unexpected ways! 

I choked up as I read this chapter aloud to my boys, realizing that it was God's encouragement to me.  You see, Ron and I are steadfast in our commitment to prioritize our finances.  I wish I could write how everything has begun to turn around and head in a new direction for us.  I cannot write that at this time.  However, one thing I know is that God has always taken care of us and He always will!  I feel better remaining committed to this and trusting God to provide for us than in trying to trust sheerly in our own ability to provide.  We're not God and we don't know His ways!  But, just as God encouraged a young man in the 19th century to trust Him to provide all he needed, we will continue to trust that our God can supply all of our needs in the 21st century! 

What I can sum up from all of this is how important I feel it is to stay committed to our vows.  Whether it is our physical health, our children's education, our marriage, our finances, or developing a hobby or skill, there is something valuable that happens when we keep our commitments.  I wish I could say that I've always been committed and that I've never given up.  This is not so!  In fact, the desire to give up is sometimes present even when I want to be a faithful person.  But, I'm getting stronger every day.  So, I'm publishing this blog without any confirmation that it will encourage or help a single person who reads it.  Regardless, it is my personal commitment and I'm keeping it.