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Things We Used To Do
pamela spurling

Have you noticed that there are times or seasons of your life where you’re just clipping along and things seem to come together fairly easily?  Have there been seasons where you just seemed to have a good pace and sensible order to your days and in your home?  Are there things you *used* to do but have, for various reasons, left off doing?  Well, these are the things I’ve been considering these last few weeks: Things we used to do.

"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls...
 Jeremiah 6.16

Things We Used To Do

Probably what’s most prompted my thinking and has influenced this writing is the mulling over the passing of time, sorrows of friends, changes in life, etc., and once again, I recall a question I’ve often pondered as I think on what might be a question at the end of my life: “Lord, how would You have used me had my whole life been yielded to You?”   I pray the LORD is using me now and that my heart is fully yielded to Him.   As we seek to obey and to serve Him, many times others will question our actions and our motives.  Something I’ve desired more and more, in the last several months especially, is that my life will not be misunderstood or an irritation to others, but a blessing.   Truly a blessing to others.  Though my decisions may cause some discomfort or puzzlement, I trust that as they’re fully yielding to Him that they’ll focus less on me and more on Jesus.  Likewise, when my decisions bring joy to someone, I pray: they’ll all the more focus on Him.  This is so true and important here in our home.  I seek that we have a joy-filled home with joyful family members---but if I’m not doing my “reasonable” service, then perhaps some things suffer or are neglected.

I’ve been asking the LORD: what good things (that I used to do well) have I neglected or have left off doing?  What habits or practices have I allowed to slip or be ended altogether?  I recognize there are several things and it didn’t take me but a moment to list them---they’re random---but they came quickly to mind!!

The first is in-depth Bible Study---on my own---apart from the family Bible study.  I tend to read sections, mull them over and then move on to another passage, often writing out what I want to remember.  But The LORD is showing me that I need to spend more *quality* study time in the Word.  Passages I had committed to memory are not as clear to me now, nor can I quickly repeat them---so I’m resolving to get back into meaningful in depth study instead of topical studying.  O, the journey just begins with a step of faith!


Another thing that quickly popped in my mind was early rising which hasn’t been so early lately!  While this hasn’t been a “bad thing” per se, it hasn’t appeared to have helped us much, either!  My very-early-riser friends would possibly disagree with the following rationale, but in the past few months I’ve not been well, and additionally, there have been “holidays” and other schedule changes.  Our older children have really been needing those late night chats and “one on one” times---it seems a couple of them just liven up at night––late at night!  (ahhhh then I remember: eyes on Jesus!)  These generally occur when the little ones are tucked into bed and the home is more quiet.  I’m attempting a bit more of a balance to this by rising a bit earlier some days and not so on days after late nights.  Maybe *your* schedule is varied and you’ve wondered how to adjust it to meet the demands of your family.  Could I encourage you to “go with the season” and adjust to what works best for your family---not to what works well for other women in different circumstances.  Also---and this is always preeminent: seek your husband’s thought on this matter.  If you’ll talk “schedules” over, then you’ll more easily come to a peaceful, workable arrangement.

 Then, here’s another…  Instead of *taking* little ones to bed, I’ve too often *sent* little ones on their way to bed.  O, this is one that grieves me much!  I realize that many nights I’ll spend time with some but not all the littles ones individually at their bedsides.  This is something I have determined *not* to do and yet, I’ve allowed busyness to rush the face washing, brushing of teeth, saying prayers and one last story and then it’s: hurry, hurry, off to bed!  So… as each evening progresses, my resolve is strengthened to *take* and not *send* to bed!  O, the blessing of many, many years of bedside prayers, kisses and hugs goodnight.  I don’t want to hurry this season away!  I have boys I can no longer hug goodnight and tuck into bed… and it’s been so long since they’ve been home.  I try to keep this in mind as I look at the little boys and girls I can still kiss goodnight.  I must remember to be sweet to my family---my children need mama to be sweet… they need to remember back on a sweet mama who adored them and loved them like Jesus would.

 And another…   I’ve allowed myself to entertain “negative” thoughts!  Ouch!  This is a terrible habit for many and I hadn’t realized how negative thoughts have been seeping into circumstances each day.  Now… I’m thinking that “negative thinking” is as dangerous as “positive thinking” when those “positive thoughts” are not based on God’s Word.  A phrase I try to repeat each time I recognize “negative”  or unkind thoughts or words is, is this pure, lovely, of good report… and when I stop and do this, my sour words have to be replaced by sweet words.  Several times I’ve thought: Omygoodness, I never used to be sour---where have sour voices come from!?!  I’ve sought to be optimistic---I’ve sought to be cheerful---I know I need and want to be a sweet offering, a sweet savour that ministers grace to my “hearers.”  When we don’t continually think on things that are pure and lovely and of good report, our words betray our intention and what comes out is sometimes nothing resembling pure sweet words or thoughts.  So I consider that I wish to be a peacemaker, not a “murmurer.”  Nothing good comes from murmuring.   If you’re like me, just the time you really attempt to refrain from thoughtless speech, you’ll catch yourself saying something you never intended… and you might be tempted to give up---but don’t!  Seek forgiveness and move on… it’s not worth self depreciation---it will paralyze you.  I’ve so often allowed my mistakes to control my thoughts and there is no value in hopelessness.  The wonderful grace of the LORD Jesus covers thee and me.

 And finally, my *one a day* ---a total “once-over” cleaning, sweeping, wiping and then cleaning one drawer or one cabinet a day---every day---keeps our home tidy.  I’ve been distracted and have forgotten to keep up with the maintenance that keeps the little foxes from spoiling the vines.   I could be defensive and justify my actions and I could say that things aren’t this way *everyday* (and that *would* be true) but then perhaps I might not take seriously my serious need to change my behaviour and get back to doing “the things we used to do.” 

Perhaps there are things you used to do that you’ve left off doing… perhaps there are hurt feelings or bitter words you’ve spoken and you need to allow the healing balm of the LORD to soothe your soul and work in you once again to be a sweet fragrance.  Perhaps there is someone you need to forgive or an offence you need to overlook.  Perhaps you, too, have neglected the gentle spirit of a loving mother to be the guiding influence of your behaviour in your home.  Perhaps you, like me, have left off doing some things you need to go back and pick up again.

Blessings to you, sweet-heart sisters, as you seek to love and serve the Saviour and do the things you used to do.

 
pamela spurling,  The Welcome Home


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