Recently I celebrated my 30th birthday
Each year on my birthday, my husband takes the kids, and I get to go off to a lovely coffee shop, buy a $5 large coffee ice cream drink (with whipped cream) and spend some much needed time evaluating the last year and planning for the next.
This year I was a little disappointed because we had planned to have some time to reevaluate together BEFORE I had my alone time.
I wanted him to change some things –
I wanted him to change some our schedule
I wanted him to change some priorities
But I’m glad that the Lord worked it out that way because as I sat there, in one of the rare grown-up, sophisticated, (quiet!!) environments I get to be in in the whole year, feeling a little miffed that we hadn’t had that conversation in which he was going to make all those great changes I had planned for him, I realized one important thing that I hope to carry through the coming year -
The only thing I can control is ME.
I can’t control if my husband throws off my evening or morning routines, but I’m in control of 8:30am-4:30 each day.
I can’t control if the kids are whiney (though it is my job to train them), but I can control if I blow up at them.
I can’t control if the house is old and frustrating, but I can make the best of it and keep it as picked up as possible
I can’t control the economy, but I can control if I give in to fear.
Circumstances can stink. Plans get ruined. Dreams die.
But I CAN still stand strong.
This morning the kids and I were working on Psalm 1 in our devotions.
1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
I drew two trees for them.
The one was a strong and firmly rooted tree beside a river, and the other was a sickly tree barely hanging on.
It was a helpful picture. No matter what our circumstances are, no matter if the kids are whiney, jobs are lost, the economy does a nose dive, we can stand strong – firmly rooted in Him, His promises and His commands.
This last year, I watched Lydia and Matthew go through the hardest year of their marriage as Matthew finished his last difficult year of seminary. Finances were tight. Classes were heavy. Obligations were insane. Jobs were demanding.
Yet Lydia always responded rightly. Again and again I saw her remain calm when I would have been convulsing on the floor.
Late in the year she mentioned to me that at the top of her TO-DO list every day she would write “Live Independently of My Circumstances.”
No matter what happened (and plenty happened this year for them), she tried to respond rightly.
Circumstances were hard, but she stayed focused on Him.
I saw my sister be a strong tree.
She faithfully trained her children, faithfully encouraged Matthew, and faithfully responded rightly again and again.
So as I stand, looking out at (hopefully) another 30 years, I hope that I can learn from my little sister.
Live Independently of My Circumstances and Live Dependently on Him.