When Struggles Increase

When Struggles Increase

Some mornings doing family worship with the children can be such hard work.

Simply gathering the energy to even get started can feel like an internal battle.

There are times I’ll sit in the lounge and have to call for the children to come more than once. When I finally start reading our Bible story, or devotion for the day, one child might get up and walk out the room for no known reason.

I have to stop what I’m reading and call them back. With the flow interrupted, I try to find where I was and carry on, but everyone’s a little less engaged.

Another child suddenly lets out a scream as their sibling randomly decides to jump on them. The toddler starts whining because someone is sat next to me, where they want to sit, and suddenly the baby starts crying.

It felt like it took all I had simply to get started and now everything’s going wrong, and I’m thinking to myself, why is this so hard?

Shouldn’t teaching my children about God be blissful and easy?!

There is a belief knocking around in popular culture that when something’s right it is easy. When we’re following our calling everything is enjoyable and effortlessly falls into place.

I am sure I’ve picked it up somewhere along the way because often I find myself surprised when the Christian walk seems so difficult.

But 1 Peter 4:12 reminds us;

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”

While reading the Bible I came across a slightly obscure story that encouraged me to keep going, even when it seems what God wants us to do is hard and even exhausting at times.

In Genesis 15 God asked Abraham (still Abram at this point) to get a three year old heifer, a three year old female goat, a three year old ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon.

Abram had to sacrifice all the animals and cut in half the heifer, goat and ram laying each half over against the other.

Can you imagine the work involved?

First he would have had to source the required animals, ensuring each one was the right age.

Three of the animals had to be cut in half. At three years old, the goat and ram would be full sized adults. A heifer doesn’t usually reach its full size of about 1,300 lbs until it is seven – but at three years heifers can still weigh over 1,150 lbs!

Think how hard sawing the animals in half must have been – bearing in mind there were no electric saws at this point in history. And then moving their pieces into place. Imagine how dirty and bloody the job was. Then, once Abram had finished all this, and was probably exhausted, birds of prey swooped down and started eating his arrangement, forcing him to chase them away.

God is unlikely to call us to saw large animals in half, (although as an aside, I can highly recommend spatchcocking your chicken if you want it to cook in half the time and save on the electricity bill! But more seriously,) as we live in such a different time and culture, what God calls us to will look quite different to Abraham’s calling. However, it is likely it will still throw up its own unique challenges and difficulties.

Sometimes it can feel like we put in a lot of effort and things keep going wrong, or somehow become more difficult. It can feel like birds of prey are swooping down robbing us of our efforts to do good.

If it ever feels as though this is happening, think of how Abram chased away those birds in the dusty, blood soaked desert and be encouraged not to give up.

After Abram had chased away the birds (right up until sunset) he was rewarded by an incredible prophecy, promise AND vision of God.

“…let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9.

Owl craft

Technically owls are birds of prey. However, as they are nocturnal I doubt they were the culprits in the story above.

I recently came across this wonderfully simple owl craft made with air drying clay.

You will need:

  • Air drying clay (you can also use salt dough for a cheaper alternative)
  • Thick felt tip pen lid
  • Lollipop stick

Instructions:

  1. Roll a small piece of clay into a ball
  2. Flatten it into a circle
  3. Use the pen lid to make semi circle patterns on the middle of the circle of clay to look like feathers
  4. Fold over a small piece either side to look like wings
  5. Fold down the top to make a face and shape the ears
  6. Press the top of the pen lid down in the clay to make eyes
  7. Use the lollipop stick to make a nose.
  8. Make a hole in the top with a skewer so you can hang your creations (optional).
  9. Allow to harden and paint if desired.

 

2 Replies to “When Struggles Increase”

  1. Furthermore…
    liked your description of the children’s behaviour as I could just really visualise the whole scene ( and the culprits!) and easily imagine frustration of it all. This was an encouraging and applicable message to reflect on, Thankyou X

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