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The Wheelbarrow

So we are pretty much wrapping up our homeschooling this year.....and keeping it real, I am probably just as excited about it as the kids are. The weather has been gorgeous for the most part and I really love being outside, working around the yard/barn....taking advantage of the few short months we are blessed with this kind of weather here in New England.

So Ez and are wrapping up History with The Great Depression. History is the one subject that I really do enjoy, but only now as an adult. Again, keeping it real.....I will admit that it feels like I am learning this all for the first time. I am sure I learned this all way back in the Stone Age when I was in school, but certainly focusing on who was taking who to the dance, having the most popular Earth Shoes and getting my Farrah Fawcett hairdo perfect was way more important. I am also guessing that due to the brain cell loss I have incurred over the past 20+ years is the reason I feel this is "new" to me.

Anyway, we were covering the Roaring Twenties that led up to The Great Depression when we read about Billy Sunday. Billy Sunday was a baseball player with the Chicago White Stockings (I am guessing they changed that to Sox??.......see? No clue about this stuff). Long story short, after hearing the love of Christ during a gospel on Sunday, he gave up his successful career as a professional baseball player. He felt the calling in his life to teach others about God and later became a preacher.

He was a huge source of encouragement during the 20's where many people were finding the unhappy/empty side of seeking material possessions rather than investing in their spiritual lives. His concern for reaching out to "the Lost" (the many souls that were searching for happiness with sinful lifestyles and alcohol addictions) brought about many powerful revivals. He encouraged these people to put their trust in the Lord instead.

He made this one statement and it really struck me;

"Going to church don't make anybody a Christian, any more than taking a wheelbarrow into a garage makes it an automobile"

After I read that statement.....I continued to read the rest of the chapter to Ezra, but to be honest.....the words were coming out of my mouth, but in my head it was like the Charlie Brown teacher voice.

These past few weeks......I am that wheelbarrow.

For example......sure, I am going to church, but what good is it that I am rejoicing and praising God during those couple of hours, when only an hour before, I am storming around the house and snapping at everyone to hurry up. Then I find myself walking out of church with a renewed sense of peace, only to be grumbling about what my duties are for the day, pointing out my childrens' shortcomings and/or starting an argument with my husband before we even get home.

So yeah, lately I have not been the nicest person to be around. I have been wound up like a top, barking orders and demanding respect when I am not showing any respect to others. I've had the "because I say so" attitude with my kids, rather than taking the time to explain why they can or cannot do something. I have my pity party "table-for-one-please" meltdowns, then wonder why nobody wants to be within 30 feet of me. It's exhausting me as well as exhausting the peace in our home.

So, I am searching and praying to have the heart of Jesus, all while I am struggling with an ugly hostile one. It's like I have a wrestling match within and the ugly side is winning. I know this is what is making me feel uneasy and edgy because generally......I am a happy person. It's so conflicting because I know God gave me a loving caring heart and these feelings are so foreign to it. And as I type.....the word conflict keeps ringing in my head, because this truly is a conflict....it is spiritual warfare.

The negativity that starts to consume me then starts attracting unforgiveness, resentment and then an overwhelming guilt for it all. I don't want to be one of those people who, like referenced in a Casting Crown's song......hide behind a stain glass masquerade. Trying to keep it all together and convince *myself* and others as well that I am a shiny happy person.....only to be bitter and angry inside. Trying to make sure they don't see that I am falling apart at the seams when no-one is around.

Thankfully, there is no "masquerade" with Jesus. He knows my heart......He knows my struggles and it is only by Him that this turmoil can be conquered. So I continue to seek His heart, His peace and His way of loving people. I pray that once this turbulence is gone, I will be prepared to guard my heart and mind with His Armor.

Do you ever struggle with emotions that you know are the total opposite of what God desires for us? If so......how do you stop it in its tracks? Do you have any specific Scripture or prayer to help me overcome these bouts of distress?

Thanks so much.....



JC Dude said...

A father of seven "never" has those days...yeah, right. I am overwhelmed when grace appears and changes the direction of my heart.

Thanks for the honest pouring out moment!


amanda said...

i'm not going to be much help for you, because i'm feeling the same way a lot lately. we have some stuff going on within our own church family that's really been irritating me, and then causes me to let the enemy get in the way. which is not good. i'm so the same way as you about snapping around the house before church. i guess we need to remember...we win. the enemy doesn't. so we have to quit letting him. praying for you!!

Bill (cycleguy) said...

Michelle: thanks for your honesty here-both in history and in your spiritual life. I too love history. There is a great story about the "chain" that happened in bringing Billy Sunday to Jesus. It started before and ends up at Billy Graham. Cool "chain" if you can find it. On the other hand, I think we all go through the same garbage that you and amanda talk about. We all have those moments when things just don't seem real and Jesus just doesn't seem to be real either. Without trying to sound too spiritual that is when "waiting on the Lord" comes in handy. He will be there and will eventually reveal Himself to you when you least expect it. Keep seeking Him and who knows? The wheelbarrow will become a vessel filled to the brim.

Kim said...

I am no authority, but I believe that even in times such as these, you are STILL a "shiny happy person". A HUMAN shiny, happy person.

Although I know that with all of God's gifts, and God's grace, we should be joyous at all times...we aren't. It is a fact. I know it, you know it and GOD knows it.

He expects it. We are imperfect.

I envision him in Heaven, looking down at us, a slight smile on His face as he watches our fits, and our attempt at controling the uncontrolable-similiar to my smile that I try to keep hidden from my youngest child when he becomes irritated and grumpy over something that I, as and adult, already have figured out. God wants us all to figure this out so that WE are continuously shiny happy, people.

I think He wants that for us...not for Him. Don't beat yourself up....you are a wonderful wife, mother and Christian. What you are NOT is superhuman.

Be easier on yourself. I think you will find that no one judges you as much as you judge yourself.

(Hope this made some sort of sense...)

~*Michelle*~ said...

Thanks everyone. It's nice to know that I am not alone in these struggles.

Kim, I think you are right about God watching us our Loving Father and knowing that we are not perfect and will "screw up" from time to time. So thankful for the Grace that Jay (JC Dude) mentions as well.

And thanks for the gentle reminder to stop being so hard on myself....

alicia said...

If anyone out there doesn't experience these moments on occassion, they just aren't being honest. Have spent a large chunk of time recently in this kind of funk. And it makes me so crabby, when usually I am happy. Personally I feel that its because I am searching in the wrong places for my happiness and waiting for the world to make me happy.
We are works in progress- perfection doesn't come until the end.
Much love, blessings, and prayers your way!

jasonS said...

I think for me, it's all about remembering I don't have strength or willpower enough to fight what I'm fighting. I have to rely on grace. If I start believing I'm strong, I start faltering and failing (big time). How do I keep this central? Well, I'm working on it- good days and bad days- you know how that goes... :)

Kristina P. said...

I feel like that all the time, unfortunately. My spirituality really needs a boost.

Heart2Heart said...


Just knowing that those feelings and thoughts that pop up just before church, um, you caught it, "spiritual warfare". I stop right then, and pray. I ask God for a calm and peaceful spirit and imagine trying to walk in that way and know that I am trying to show my family the love of Christ not just in what I do but what I say.

Proverbs 3:5-7 "Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don't depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success. Don't depend on your own wisdom. Respect the Lord and refuse to do wrong."

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Pennie said...

I have had those days before, but I have had a new challenge in my life. I have been diagnosed with MS. I've asked God "Why?" Not "Why Me?", but "Have I sinned? Have I angered you? Are you judging me? Punishing me?" It's hard not to be bitter or crabby when you're sick and concerned about finances and failing health while running a ministry (I'm a ministry leader - all volunteer work - I write Bible Studies and run a nonprofit) and a family (stay at home mom).
I Peter 4:12-19 is a Scripture I believe God gave me to explain how I'm supposed to behave during this time. It's powerful. I have the ESV Bible. I don't have it in front of me - but, I've memorized verses 12 & 19. Verse 12 says "Beloved, do not be surprised when fiery trials come upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you." And then it goes on to say that we are to suffer like Christ suffered, and His glory will be manifested in us. We aren't to suffer like non-Christians. We are to rise above our circumstances. Verse 19 says, "Therefore, let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful God while doing good." So, when we're having a tough time, I think we just need to concentrate on doing good - no matter what...and trust whatever happens to us (our comfort, our circumstances, whatever) to God. We need to focus on doing good. Period. Not manipulating others to focus on us and our needs. Leave that to God. Just do good and make that our focus. No matter what.

Alicia said...

Wow, Michelle...this was my prayer this morning for myself!!!!!!!! All I know is that I need to be refreshed with the Holy Spirit daily in order for me to be walking in the Spirit. I hate that feeling when I know I'm in my flesh!! Then, everyone else suffers just because of my attitude. And yes, I agree...it's all spiritual warfare!

photogr said...

This sounds so familiar to me. In my younger years I was the one always in a tither rushing here and there, demanding this and that from my employees and my family. I was driven by the greed for more money and higher positions at the expense of love and compassion for others.

All that changed in 1978 when I was shot in the neck by an irate shoplifter my security staff stopped from stealing merchandise.

As I was laying there bleeding profusely, I prayed to God to spare my life and I would change.

He spared my life and I changed from that day forward. I mellowed out and became more compassionate to others feelings. I became a better more caring person to others and showed more love to my family never letting a day go by with out telling them how much I loved them.

Oh I still have those days where I revert back some times but now I just let God lead me in the response He wants me to have.

When we let our anger and stress take over our emotions, that is when we shut out God in our hearts and fail to be led by Him in a crisis.

On health issus, I just let God handle them. Of course I worry but it is up to Him to heal or let an illness take my life. Either way it is up to Him. I hope I have led a faithful life so that I will enjoy the rewards in heaven saved for me.

I once knew a man that was diagnosed with Lung Cancer that was a ham operator. You would think he was going to be devastated. He was not.There was so much joy expounding on the fact he was going home to be with the Lord much sooner than he thought. That man won many to Christ before he passed away by just preaching over the ham radio waves to his gathered friends over the air expounding his faith in God.

Life here on earth is short but the rewards in heaven are much more valuable and longer lasting if we would only believe and have faith.

It is not an easy road to follow but it is the most rewarding

Beth E. said...

Oh, yeah...I've had plenty of days where I acted horribly. There was one point when I really thought I was going crazy...seriously. I went to my doctor, who told me I was going through pre-menopausal syndrome. Never had heard of that before, didn't know it even existed.

I began keeping a journal of when my terrible moods happened, and by jove my doc was right!

Unfortunately, I went through a few years of these moods, but it helped me (and my family) just knowing what caused it. It was God who helped me to get through it!

wife.mom.nurse said...

Oh, it is so nice to be back to your blog...it's a breath of fresh air...

It is a bit of a story, but God so often uses your words to speak to me...today He used the word "wheelbarrow" to draw me into reading your post very very carefully.

Wow, do I have some self examination to do. I know where He is going with this...some of the same places He is showing you.

Thank you God for your Grace!

Wonderful post my friend. I do pray that you will begin to feel more peaceful...

Take care of you my friend,


prashant said...

He will be there and will eventually reveal Himself to you when you least expect it. Keep seeking Him and who knows? The wheelbarrow will become a vessel filled to the brim.
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