Tuesday, December 04, 2007

When Satan Tempts me to Despair...

When Satan tempts me to despair,
and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin.

I am a Patriarch's Wife, and proud of it. I am glad to be a stay-at-home mom, caring for my husband, my family, my home. I feel privileged to be in this position, and I aspire to greatness. My desire is to do well before the Lord, and to teach my children to do well, too.

The trouble is, I live in an old farmhouse that is constantly and continually under construction. Our basement is unusable -- dirt floor, river running through, very damp. We have very little storage in the house, and only a few closets. We have tried very hard to weed out unnecessary possessions, but many of us are pack-rats and we still have 9 people living here. Five of those are six feet or taller, so we're all big. The logistics of caring for off-season clothes, for instance, with no closet space and an unusable basement are overwhelming. Then to add to it, some of us (especially ME) are bookaholics, and we treasure our books. It is hard to weed out the books, because we LOVE them.

Recent renovations began last year, when Rick and I were on a two-day getaway. My sweet Linda decided to do a "while you were out" and took everything out of the family room. Books, hundreds of them, got stuck in a hallway, stacked in the upstairs hallway, etc.

Then we decided to change our "school at home" classroom into a family oriented learning and living space. We got rid of desks, made shelves for the books, got rid of piles and piles of computer paraphernalia (Rick is no longer a computer guy...he's now a trucker) and everything was beginning to look great.

That's when Rick decided to take out the 42-foot wall of windows (harvested from an old school building, single pane, and not conducive to keeping out the cold) and rebuild it, installing good windows and insulation and vapour barrier, etc. Great plan, but the timing was exactly backwards. We had to pull the newly built shelves away from that long wall. Books got stacked, again.. Chaos ensued.

So, what am I living in? An old farmhouse, with boxes and Rubbermaid containers stacked all over the place. I am trying to find all the necessary receipts for my husband's upcoming audit. Files and papers are stacked all over the computer area. Boxes of books are still piled high, but now there is insulation on top of that. Pieces of drywall await installation. There is a sink/counter on my kitchen table, awaiting installation in the newly built bathroom. (I forgot to mention that. The bathroom floor was spongey and dangerous, so in January my son Matthew ripped it out. that led to the rebuilding of the entire bathroom. Almost there, 11 months later...)

This is NOT the picture I have of a Patriarch's Wife. I want to be hospitable. I want order. I want my husband to be proud of me. I want to be a good example to my daughters. I want to open my mouth with kindness and wisdom, not with irritation due to the stress of living in this environment.

Satan, the Accuser, doesn't have to look very far to see weakness here. It's obvious when you walk through the door. Everything is in disarray. The living room is the only room in the house that is presentable...and it's not perfect, either. Satan sits on my shoulders, saying, "You really aren't a good wife. Look at this house! You can't even keep socks in Rick's drawer. And why don't you have all of the filing done? You should have been able to just walk to the drawer and pull out a file with all of the necessary information. You're a failure." (I hang my head in shame. I have to agree.)

He goes on, "You really aren't a very good mother, either. You are so busy getting the filing done, you haven't even started Christmas shopping. What about baking cookies with your children? And you haven't even purchased a snowsuit for your son. How's he supposed to enjoy the snow? You were short-tempered with the children yesterday when they were just laughing and playing. What a bad mom you are." (I hang my head in shame... I have to agree, again.)

This morning I woke up thinking about all of this reality, and I was sorely tempted to despair. Tears were near the surface. The weight of the world was on my shoulders. I thought of Stacy, and Debbie, and Jennie, and all of those ladies who seem to have it all together, and compared myself to them. Woe is me. "I will never measure up", I thought.

Frustration and anger were near the surface of my mind, about to spill out into my behaviour with my husband and my children bearing the brunt, then the Holy Spirit brought to my mind one of the songs we sing in church:

When Satan tempts me to despair,
and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin.

I began to think about my life and the reality of my marriage and family. Yes, I am a failure, compared to what I want to be or what others are...but I am a child of God. I am striving to please my Master, Jesus, and to bless and honour my head, Rick. When I think of Jesus, I see Him smiling down on me, pleased with my efforts, knowing my heart. He is able to deliver me from all of this chaos. He alone knows how long it will take to achieve our goal of an orderly home. He, Who stands before the Father, pleading for me, is on MY side. He will never leave me, nor forsake me. He is walking with me, helping me, as I sort through papers and direct my children and help my husband with his work.

The Christian life is one of repentance. Daily, moment my moment repentance. We need to acknowledge our weaknesses, and depend on Jesus to make our work count for His glory. In my many weaknesses I see how very needy I am, and how great the grace of God is toward me. He LOVES me. He knows my sin, my failures, my anxious moments. And He promised to meet all of my needs. ALL of them. Even this.

So, Satan...begone! I know I am a mess, but I serve a glorious Saviour. I know our home is not a showcase, but we love God here. We may not have our files in order, but we all sat together today and read the Bible, and prayed.

Thank YOU, Lord, for encouraging me through this little chorus. Thank You that You know my weaknesses, but you love me anyway. Thank You for never leaving me. Give me strength and courage to keep on keeping on this day. May I do it with a song of joy in my heart.

In Christ, I pray.

Before The Throne Of God Above
Charitie Lees Bancroft, Vikki Cook

Verse 1:

Before the throne of God above,
I have a strong, a perfect plea,
A great High Priest whose name is "Love,"
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

Chorus 1:

My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heav'n He stands
no tongue can bid me thence depart.
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

Verse 2:
When Satan tempts me to despair,
and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin.

Chorus 2:
Because the sinless Saviour died,
my sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
to look on him and pardon me.
to look on him and pardon me.

Verse 3:
Behold him there! the risen Lamb,
my perfect, spotless Righteousness,
the great unchangeable I AM,
the King of glory and of grace!

Chorus 3:
One with Himself I cannot die,
My soul is purchased by His blood;
My life is hid with Christ on high,
with Christ, my Saviour and my God
with Christ, my Saviour and my God

©1997 PDI Worship (Admin. by The Copyright Company)
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
CCLI song #2306412


Linda said...

I don't know if it's going to show up as you, Mom, since I'm writing this from your computer. But, it's me. Your Linda.

I, for one, know you very well. You KNOW the word of God. Yes, you despair - but you teach your children to lean upon God. It's never easy. Nothing is. You know it, I know it - everybody knows it. At least you and Dad have shown us that we have someone to turn to in times of trouble and distress.

And you may sometimes wonder if you are doing anything, but I see you every day. Trust me, Mom: you are doing things. Spiritual and physical things. Being an example (a good one, because even when you make mistakes you repent - and that's as good a lesson as being righteous and godly the whole time) to your children. God bless you, Mom.

There. Now I've commented. :D

I love that song.

Janet said...

And I love you, Linda. You put a song in my heart every day, just be being "my" Linda.

It's good that SOMEONE finally commented. :)

Love, Mom

Stacy McDonald said...

Hi Janet,

I can so relate to having a hard time not stressing in the midst of clutter. That is probably my biggest weakness! When I clean out a pantry or a closet, I enjoy just standing and staring at it for a while! LOL!

And when the house seems cluttered and out of order, I find it difficult to think straight and am even tempted to anger. Thank you for your timely reminder. I especially liked your words here:

"So, Satan...begone! I know I am a mess, but I serve a glorious Saviour. I know our home is not a showcase, but we love God here. We may not have our files in order, but we all sat together today and read the Bible, and prayed."

Amen! You are such an encouragement to me!

Debbie said...

Oh Janet,

This was just so encouraging. And I surely hope you are referring to a different "Debbie" when you speak of ladies having it all together. Oh my...if only you knew!

I hope this goes through. I signed up for an account just so I could post here!


Stacy McDonald said...


I know I already told you we don't have it all together over here. It's so funny how we picture everyone else doing things right - while we struggle. Truth is, that's probably one of Satan's most successful tactics in the life of mothers and wives.

Also, I thought you might want to link to the hymn you posted above: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/b/e/beforetg.htm

Rena said...


When i'm down and depressed i go listen to Jake Hess...
Thank you Janet for your inspiration.