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Life Through Another's Eyes

Updated: Oct 7, 2023

I appreciate testimonies of past victories. They’re powerful and encourage us to endure. What I’ve come to find just as valuable is the vulnerability when someone shares in the middle of a mess. Sometimes it’s just the thing we need to take the blanket from over our head and get real with our self. To realize we’re not alone and there’s others facing harder times than us.

Perspective is important. I don’t mean your personal viewpoint on politics or religion… oh dear, let’s not go there! I simply mean looking at things in a different perspective.

You might say your house is a disaster, but then you visit mine at about 6:00 in the evening when everything is in full operation and then yours doesn’t seem as disastrous. You get it!

Self is something we do very well. Everywhere we turn, there we are; our responsibilities, our schedule, our children, our spouse, our problems, our joys, our perspective. By default, we are all wrapped up in us. I wouldn’t call that selfish, it’s just a reality. If we aren’t intentionally getting out of ourselves we’ll spend all our time there.

Before I continue, let me clarify to you what I’m not saying. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take care of ourselves. If we were to spend every day giving and serving while denying ourselves of our own needs, we’d run dry without anything left to give. I enjoy my quiet time with a hot cup of tea and time in scripture, a good book in my hammock, a hot bubble bath, a good Netflix series to turn my brain off… I need these times. My family’s lives depend on it!

What fills you up? What rejuvenates you? Do that! Be kind to yourself and take care of you.

With that said…

This value of taking care of self, coupled with looking outside of myself is what’s keeping me together in my current season.

At this present moment I’m imprisoned in my living room with my feet up on my husband’s recliner, safe and off the floor. Why? Because our fixer upper home we recently moved in to has a rat infestation. You heard me, RATS! We’re not talking about mice, not that I’m fond of them either, but really… rats?!!!

When the exterminator comes and tells you there’s not much he can do to help, you have a problem. The entry for these rats is my laundry room. As my children search deep and wide for a clean pair of socks, they are learning not to take mommy’s laundry service for granted. They’re on their own because the last time I was in my laundry room a rat deceived me in its death. I shall not be reentering until all is sealed. And disinfected. And… well, then maybe we’ll see!

Now I realize this will not be my reality forever. Our dominion will prevail. But, in whole, this early season of “fixing up” has challenged me, and my desire for control laughs in my face.

I like order, I like clean, and I like fresh smells… none of which I have right now.

Currently my older boys’ “bedroom” is our living room. Their mattresses and blankets consume our living room daily. Surprisingly enough, that is not my idea of order. And the “master bedroom” is too small to fit our queen size bed frame making the rat situation even more troubling. I’d like to be as far from the floor as possible, thank you very much. Although I have learned through this experience that rats jump… how lovely.

Poor me, right?

Well, as I’d prefer to stay in my bed (or someone else’s for that matter) with the blanket over my head, I won’t. It’s in the seasons I’d prefer to skip over that God uses to teach me and make me wiser. I’m always praying for wisdom, maybe that’s my problem! In this season I’m learning just how valuable it is to keep things in perspective.

I have an example for you from a book I’ve been reading called Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere. She shared a story that painfully grieved me. While ministering to women in a brothel, a young mom begged her to take her eight-year-old daughter with her when she left because the young girl had been hiding under the bed as she serviced clients.

I have a six-year-old daughter. I cannot imagine the desperation to get my daughter out of such a horrific environment, and at the cost of possibly never seeing her again. I just can’t.

How can I hear something like this and feel sorry for myself or complain? This woman would give anything to be in my position, rats and all.

Perspective… yeah, it’s important.

How about I get off Facebook plagued with pictures of friends’ brand new, orderly, beautiful houses and put my attention to how I can help those walking through harder times than myself.

Perspective has created such a conviction in me that I don’t have permission to lose it. I don’t have permission to complain about my inconveniences when I’ve watched a friend lose a child, or a family member lose their battle to cancer leaving behind her husband and two teenage daughters. And my honorable refusal to my own pity party comes as I look into the eyes of a grieving mother whose child is addicted to heroin.

It doesn’t mean my struggles aren’t important. They are. God cares, and he hears my prayers just as loudly as the cries of this young mom. He is faithful to us both. And when we ache, He aches.

Do you have a child? Or a niece or nephew? Let’s say they come off the bus from a day of Kindergarten and there are tears running down their face as they tell you that someone at school told them they were ugly or stupid or fill in the blank. A person never thinks they will feel the need to punch a five-year-old until that short punk messes with their baby.

As you watch the tears run down their cheeks, are you hurting with them? Feeling their pain? Of course! With God it’s the same way. He’s our Father, we are his children. Now I’m not suggesting God is going to go sock someone in the face for you! However, he is also your vindicator, but that’s his business!

God also wants us to feel each other’s pains and joys. “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15) Let us not be afraid to allow our hearts to ache.

“My heart will ache, but I will always have joy.” (2 Cor. 6:10) There is joy in the ache because we know God is good and there is hope in Him. Let’s allow the ache from injustices, sadness, and loss motivate us to do something about it. It could be as simple as writing a hand-written note to your neighbor or as big as fostering a child and showing them what love looks like or hopping on a plane and ministering the love of Jesus to orphans on the other side of the planet. When we look into the eyes of the desperate our hearts can be overwhelmed with ache and joy because we know the hope Jesus offers, now and for eternity.

Maybe that someone in your life that needs the tangible love of God is a student in your class, your grandchild, your teenage son’s friend, or that five-year-old punk that was asking for a bloody nose!

Yesterday, when the exterminators left, I cried. Doubting. Doubting our move. Doubting our ability. Doubting my personal level to deal.

I pulled out a book I call my big guns. It’s a book loaded with scriptural prayer for anything you can imagine. I opened it up and began to read a chapter before praying.

“…Remember, it is only when you are placed in the middle of a battle or an impossible situation, and when there is no one or nothing that can save or deliver you but God, that a true warrior is born. Instead of giving up, giving in, or falling prey to the strategies of the enemy, consider your times of struggle, testing, and temptation as divine opportunities to be trained in the art of strategic prayer and spiritual warfare. Be assured that these times are authentic training grounds that God has selected to bring you into true dominion. As it was for David, they just might be the very grounds that God uses to train you for the ultimate event; the maximization of your potential and the fulfillment of purpose. “ (Rules of Engagement by Cindy Trimm)

It’s so like God to be timely in his encouraging words. I love that about Him.

Are you in a “Pull your covers over your head season”?

Maybe my current season sounds glorious compared to what you’re walking through yourself. If so, I pray you hear the Lord whispering to you that he’s got you and he’s got a plan. This season is just that, a season. It will not last, and you will come through it stronger and more refined. There is hope.

Maybe you’ve been praying for me ever since you read the word rat and can’t imagine being in my position. Maybe you’re on a mountain top in life right now. I rejoice with you, and I pray that you need and seek the Lord’s face just as much now as you would in the valley.

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