I woke up feeling utterly exhausted. I had barely slept. My almost 4-year old daughter was up multiple times in the night, crying out from the darkness, pleading for someone to come and rescue her. Her little body was urging her to get up to go to the bathroom, but her slumber weary mind seemed powerless to actually help her complete the task.
Experience had taught me that if I waited too long to respond, I’d be changing sheets in the dark, and doing extra loads of soil-stained laundry in the morning. So I groggily willed myself out of bed and answered her persistent calls of distress.
To cope, I would have normally made myself a pot of extra strong coffee and pushed myself through the inevitable morning fatigue. But on this particular day, I was fighting a cold. My body ached and my throat was sore. With each painful swallow, I could feel the irritation rising up inside of me.
I was irritated that last night was the third night in a row that my daughter needed help getting to the bathroom. I was annoyed that I was sick on a beautiful July day. Everyone knows that you’re not supposed to be sick in the summer!
My exasperation grew as I looked at the piles of unfolded laundry in the living room, and the sloppy stacks of unsorted mail on my kitchen counter. There was so much stuff that needed to get done and I had absolutely no energy to do any of it.
To make matters worse, my boys were being particularly rowdy and rude. It wasn’t even eight-o-clock in the morning and I was breaking up the second wrestling match of the day. After which, I had to put both sons on time-outs for their disrespectful behavior towards each other and towards me.
They were angry. And so was I!
My heart was thumping and my mind was swirling with a flood of complaints from the chaotic morning. As if on cue, my oldest son took the opportunity to call out one last sarcastic jab, as he sat sullenly on the foot of the stairs.
I could feel a self-righteous retort on the tip of my tongue, but before I foolishly spit out careless words into the increasingly hostile atmosphere, I was compelled to close my lips tight.
I had just started a 6-week bible study on prayer. Our homework for this particular week was to focus on praising God. Each day we were asked to look up and meditate on attributes of the Almighty. We were warned that as we did so, we might face some push back. “You’ll probably be tested this week,” the author had stated.
Was I ever feeling taxed!
It was in that moment that I realized that there was more going on than what met the eye. I was in the midst of a spiritual battle. And it was a battle, that in my current state, I was not going to win. I was tired, and weak, and caught up in my emotions. I needed some back-up.
Better yet, I needed a Conqueror by my side.
So I knelt down, right in the middle of my kitchen, and I started praising Jesus. I lifted up the name that is above all names. I exalted the King that is above all Kings. I worshipped the God that is above all Gods. The Righteous Redeemer! The Rock of ages!
I invited the All-knowing, All-powerful, Ever-present, Unchanging God of mercy and love to be present and active in my heart and mind and to be the LORD over my home and my family that day.
As I praised God, the frustrations of the morning paled in comparison to the majesty of my Maker. Being in the presence of God always seems to put things into the proper perspective.
I wish I could say, that in an instant everything resolved. The heavens opened. Chubby harp playing cherubs appeared. And there was instant peace and harmony in my home… But that’s not reality folks.
When I finished praying, I was still sick and tired. My house was still a mess. And my kids were still crabby. But I wasn’t anymore.
My attitude had shifted and so had the battle. There is power in praise!
Armed with a fresh understanding and appreciation of who God is and who I am in relationship to Him, I was able to march into the rest of my day with peace and confidence. And I’m happy to report that my kids eventually came around too. The great thing about peace and confidence is that it’s generally contagious! Kind of like JOY!
I don’t know what you are going through today, but I do know this. God is good, even when things don’t seem good in the moment. God is faithful, even when it feels hard to believe. God is just, even when life isn’t fair. God is love, and HIS love knows NO bounds!
What if you chose to claim those truths today?! What if you exalted the name of Jesus, regardless of your circumstances? I think you might be pleasantly surprised…. I know I was.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” Hebrews 13:15
“ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37