This is my 6th post in a series on 1 Thessalonians 5:11-25. This week we are looking at what I’ve numbered as 12,13 and 14 (out of 22) commandments/guidelines Paul lists on how to live our lives worthy of the gospel.
Therefore (1) encourage one another and (2) build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to (3) respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and (4) to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. (5) Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, (6) admonish the idle, (7) encourage the fainthearted, (8) help the weak, (9) be patient with them all. (10) See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but (11) always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. (12) Rejoice always, (13) pray without ceasing, (14) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (15) Do not quench the Spirit. (16) Do not despise prophecies, (17) but test everything; (18) hold fast what is good. (19) Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Brothers, (20) pray for us. (21) Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I put you under oath before the Lord to (22) have this letter read to all the brothers. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-25
A few things you should know before you read this story.
1. We homeschooled for the first time last year (my daughter 5th grade & son 2nd grade). No we didn’t hate our school, we loved it. God had just been tugging at my heart for over a year to do this for my children.
2. Our plan was to at least homeschool Emma through middle school and Culli through Elementary.
3. Our daughter has struggled with anxiety since she was in the first grade and we have prayed since then God would release her from it.
4. I had a TERRIBLE middle school experience, being exposed to everything from cussing to drugs and alcohol – on top of all the puberty – Yikes!!!
Now that those things are out of the way, walk with me (in your mind) through the Dollar Store as I was about a month ago when my daughter professes out of the blue, “Mom, what would you say if I said I wanted to go to middle school with all of my friends?” We had already had this conversation about 20 times up until this point and she was in NO WAY interested in going to middle school.
So, when the child you have prayed God would release from her anxiety (5 years, I’ve prayed) stands before you and says, “Mom, I am now 100% sure I want to go to middle school. I want to know I can do it and if someone teases me, I want to know I can stand up for myself.” What’s a mom to do? After the shock and upset stomach wore off – I PrAiSeD God. He had answered a huge prayer about my sweet daughter. Not the way I thought he would, but answered!!!
As God would have it, a group of dear friends was coming over for fellowship that evening. They had no idea what was going on with Emma, but a little fun, distraction and good conversation was just what I needed. However, when the time for dessert arrived we ran into a pie problem. When my friend, who had been craving blueberry pie, bought what looked like and was labeled a blueberry pie saw as we cut into it that it was in fact cherry pie – she was devastated. As women we can get like this over dessert! It’s true. Not wanting any disappointment that evening, I conspired with another friend who ran out to get her a blueberry pie. After that, we all got a good laugh about it as we enjoyed a little taste of both cherry and blueberry pie that evening. All the while, she was saying, “I know God will teach me something from the pie situation. I’ll keep you posted.” Oh, she a women after my own heart! As promised, the next day she sent an e-mail with this as her lesson.
“sometimes we are looking forward to and planning on the blueberry pie (what we want for our children) but God is busy at work making them cherry pie (what He plans for His children). Rest in knowing either outcome is very sweet, but how pleasing it must be to Him to relish that cherry pie!”
Oh, how sweet is our God?! I don’t know if there was another person in the group that needed to hear those words more than I did, but I was so grateful and reminded we should:
(12) Rejoice always, (13) pray without ceasing, (14) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
So what about my daughter? Long story short, we discussed it, had her journal it, prayed about it, talked about it with other adults we trust and took tours of the school she would attend to help her with the decision and she is going.
Answered prayers and life circumstances don’t always look like what we thought they would, should or want them to be, but God is in the details. Keep praying, keep trusting, keep rejoicing and keep thanking Him in every circumstance. I’m clinging to that as the school year (the middle school year!) approaches and trusting that God is in every detail of this cherry pie that I really wanted to be blueberry. In what situation could you do a little more praying, rejoicing and thanking?