The Many Ways Sin is Like a Deadly Weed, Part Four

Order out of Chaos

by Heather Bock

I’m in the middle of a writers contest. I would love if you’d be willing to vote for me by clicking “like” under my picture at thejenweaver.com/writers-contest. I can’t make it without you! The contest is for my book review for Jen Weaver’s book A Wife’s Secret to Happiness, which is here, if you’d like to read it!

Also don’t miss a chance to win a book I’m giving away at the end of this post!

The last three weeks (here’s Part One, Part Two, and Part Three), I’ve been comparing weeds to sin, thinking about how we could learn from them, and now we’re heading into Part Four.

If weeds with their thorns aren’t causing problems, keeping bare feet off the lawn, they are at least likely causing problems by crowding out the good plants or grass you want to grow. The density of my lawn is pretty strong against weeds by the end of fall (by the way, my friend, Tiffany Elder, wrote a GREAT post about this way of getting rid of the weeds of sin in your life–I hope you go read it here). Unfortunately, my grass goes dormant in the winter, and come spring, Continue reading

Live ABOVE the Chaos Book Review

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Greg and I found out we were moving to Texas three weeks before he had to be there for his new job. I didn’t want to stay in Tennessee without him, and I wanted to get the kids signed up for zoo classes and soccer teams about to start, so we all needed to move together. Here’s the story if you want to read about it. When one of my sweet mentors from my church found out I was leaving so quickly, she decided an apt present for my situation was a book written by a friend of hers: Live ABOVE the Chaos: Display God’s Strength and Beauty No Matter What by Laurie O’Connor.

Because of our quick move, I didn’t get a chance to start reading it until after we moved into our house in October, but I was still knee deep in chaos by that point, so it was still relevant. As I read it, I was surprised to find that it was more about living well through tragedy than through actual chaos, although chaos often surrounds tragedy.

The book starts with the author’s own story of when tragedy struck her own family and how she dealt with it. She learned a lot from the process and wanted to help others to stay off the path she followed; hence, the book. Part Two of the book is filled with good, biblical answers to questions many could have after going through tragedy. Honestly, although this was all good, I have already dealt with plenty of tragedy in my life and have learned, through Christ’s help and His body of believers, how to answer many of the common questions and how to stay close to God through times of pain. In fact, I have felt closer to God during these more difficult times than when life is going well. Both Part Four (about living with a clean heart) and Part Five (about loving others) also held very familiar information to me.

However, Part Three: Perspective: How Should We View Our Lives was very helpful to me. She gives five different ways of looking at our lives, but the one that particularly struck me was the perspective of a firework. O’Connor writes, “God is using Christians to make a light show that displays His splendor against the backdrop of a dark world” (pg. 83). She goes on to say that each firework is beautiful in relation to the others as a part in a whole fireworks show. Wherever each person has been placed in this world, whenever each was born, and whatever personality God gave each one, this is part of the beautiful display of His glory He has planned. We shouldn’t be wishing we were one of the other fireworks–a louder or brighter one, for example–because each unique firework has its place and is needed for the beauty of the whole.

Really, it’s the same idea as in I Corinthians 12:14-18: “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.”

O’Connor admits that she once wanted to be like Beth Moore or a self-sacrificing missionary, but once she saw through this new perspective, she realized when she comes to serve God with a pure heart, she is just as important as any saintly Christian in the spotlight.

I also, as a Bible study writer, have had thoughts of wanting to be like Beth Moore and yet knowing I never can be since I don’t have her vibrant personality. However, that doesn’t mean that I should stop writing or that I should stop studying the Bible. I may not reach a large audience, but God will use me if I faithfully follow His steps. I may not be a huge, red, shimmering firework, but God made my small explosion to add to the whole beauty He has created in His people. You are part of it, too! So “let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

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Resting in Porch Swings

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Our front street is extremely quiet since houses on both sides of the street have garages in the back and there are several empty lots. I’m really thankful for this front porch swing where I can go to get away from it all.

Anybody with young children who has moved all possessions from a full three bedroom house to another will tell the same story: it’s a lot of work, there are a lot of interruptions, and therefore, it takes a long time. I find it hard enough to keep a house clean with three children under regular circumstances–add a few hundred boxes the contents of which need unpacking, organizing, and “re-homing,” and someone who likes her house under basic control can lose her mind.

On top of all this, Greg had to go out of town for three days and four nights this past week, just four days after we moved in. This past week, I have let the chaos around me control my time and energy, and I have dropped all else to try to tame it. I’ve dropped complicated meals, homeschooling, vacuuming, my blog post last Wednesday, exercise, and even my quiet times with God.

Most of it was necessary to drop, but I was crazy to drop that last one. It wasn’t long before I and the rest of my family started noticing the change in my attitude. Instead of looking to Christ to help me with my stressful surroundings, I looked at the surroundings and stressed out more. Instead of taking time to rest in Him from all the work around me, I just worked until I was about to break. And the work still wasn’t finished by the time I needed to start homeschooling again this past Monday. I am well aware of the barely contained chaos that comes with homeschooling on a normal basis, so even the thought of starting that again on top of the mess brought on panic.

On one particularly bad day, I Voxered a group of my close friends to ask for prayer. I was irritable and at my limit. If you don’t have a group of people you can quickly contact and ask for prayer and support, please develop one! I immediately felt their prayers–I felt encouraged and strengthened. One of my friends put it well: “I am glad we have such a sisterhood. Because when it is hard to pray for ourselves we have each other to lift us up to the Lord.”

Probably in answer to my friends’ and my own prayers, I feel like God gave me a verse on Sunday that I needed very much. It’s Hebrews 10:22: “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” After a week of stress and not drawing near to God, I can attest that my conscience needed some serious sprinkling. Not only that, but I also needed the rest Christ offers when we come to Him. He says in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

So I forced myself to drop all that was spinning in my mind and go outside to my front porch swing where I wouldn’t see the projects in front of me. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” I felt that is exactly what He did and will continue to do if I just keep drawing near to Him in the middle of my mess.

I hope you do the same and take time to rest in Christ in the middle of the craziness that is your life!