Busy mamas! Busy humans beings! I speak from my own experience as a stay-at-home mom, but I hear that working mamas, daddies, and men and women who aren’t parents, are busy, overwhelmed, and exhausted, too. If you are living in survival mode, for whatever reason, read on; I have good news!
The two babies I have had have both been relatively high maintenance. They were healthy enough to not need any major medical intervention, but unwell enough to wreak havoc with their sleeping and eating. Long-term sleep deprivation along with anxiety and post-partum depression sent me into survival mode for about a year after each of my children were born. I am just beginning to come out of that first year with my second child and have felt guilty for not having longer and more consistent quiet times for prayer and reading my Bible. Some days, the only time I spent in the Word was reading the verse of the day from my Bible app, and there were plenty of days when I skipped Bible reading completely.
I realized that the underlying issue was not just feeling guilty for being in a busy, difficult season. My real fear, deep down, was simply that my offering to God was not enough. I felt ashamed. I had a picture in my head of what I should be offering to Him, but it included things I did not possess at the time. This issue has not been a struggle exclusively in this season. When I was a teacher, I worked so hard and gave so much of myself, but I saw others who seemed to be doing more than I was, and I felt guilty.
Looking back on the past year, I am amazed at how God has used my seemingly insignificant offerings of time and scripture reading. If you read my previous post, you know that I recently had a life-changing encounter with the Lord. While it is a work He has been doing in me over time, I can point to one verse* that completely turned my world upside down. Memorizing it, meditating on it, and praying it have changed everything for me. I’m certainly not saying that I don’t think it’s important to spend time in prayer and Bible study, but I do think that the Lord knows our hearts and is compassionate when our offerings seem pitifully insignificant to our own eyes. He can take our tithe (which I believe can include our time and attention) and multiply it, as communicated in Malachi 3:10:
“Bring all the tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”
When you are in survival mode, it’s especially easy to feel like you are giving all you have but that it’s not enough.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, “…For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
He knows how much we have to begin with, and He knows when we are giving all we possess. He knows our desire to honor Him with what we have, however little it may be, and I believe that He has great compassion for us when we give “out of our poverty,” like the widow in Luke 21:1-4:
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
Our job is not to give Him as much as the person next to us, or even to give the amount that we picture in our minds as being “enough.” Our job is to be faithful with what He has entrusted to us personally, which changes as we move in and out of different seasons of life. May we not be so ashamed and self-conscious about our offerings to the Lord that we decide to forego giving anything at all. Give out of what you have, this day, and know that He takes delight in your offering. The widow who only had 2 mites could have decided to skip going to church that day rather than give such a small amount in front of all the rich people who gave so much more, but she chose to give out of her poverty, which the Lord counted as “more than all.” Perhaps the two best words in the whole story are in verse 2, “He saw.” When we are giving all we have and are painfully aware of how little it is, He sees and counts it “more than all.”
*John 14:27 Peace I leave you; my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives; do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.