Tag Archives: child

God is Enough ~ How Hannah Found True Happiness

A photo I took of some wild grasses

A photo I took of some wild grasses

Some friends of ours have eight children, each home-schooled and phenomenal.  Their mother is the kind of person that always looks gorgeous and has an immaculate home.  She is so together that you just want to slap her and ask, ‘Would you stop being so perfect, already?’

I would never really slap my good friend, but instead am very proud of her.  I think she and her husband should teach Parenting 101 classes all across the nation!  I just cannot fathom the responsibility of raising so many kids.  God knew who could handle eight, so He wisely bypassed me!

For some, such as those unable to have children, you probably would not mind having eight.  You would love to have even one.

Am I not enough

Hannah understood the pain of wanting a child.  She had tried for years, but was unable.  Her husband tried to ease her emotional suffering by showing her extra love.  As a constant companion should, he went out of his way to show her that even though she could not bear a child, he still loved her.  Out of exasperation of doing everything in his power to show her unconditional love, he asked, am I not better to you than ten sons?

Sadness had so consumed Hannah, she could not respond.  She probably wondered how her husband could even understand her pain, since he already had children by the other wife.  Hannah was barren and that was all she could process.  Her husband’s love, though genuine, was not enough to overcome her sorrow.  It was not enough to soothe the festering wound of an empty womb. 

God understands our pain.  He wants us to accept His love and grace as enough.  Just as Hannah’s husband wanted her to know that he was there for her, God wants us to know that He is constantly working behind the scenes to reward us with good.  As our constant companion, who is fully able to understand our struggles, God asks of us, Am I not better to you than ten sonsThan ten of what the enemy has stolen or brokenThan ten times what you want or need.

Is God’s grace enough for us?  Or does our happiness depend on something more?

Is a son enough

Every year, Hannah went with her husband to Shiloh for their required sacrifices, but she went in anguish of soul.  Her pain seemed incurable and her sorrow unbearable, until something changed.  Like all the other trips, she entered the temple with a sorrowful heart; however, this time, she did not leave the same.  She entered broken, but this time left overjoyed.

Most agree that the likely source of Hannah’s new found joy was from her faith that God answered her prayers for a son.  At the altar, Hannah had laid bare her anguish and let completely go of her burden.  Eli, upon hearing of her heartfelt cry, confirmed to her that God would favor her with a child.  Completely confident in her promised son, Hannah left overjoyed.

However, the real reason for her joy had to go deeper; it must have been from something more.  What lasting joy could come in knowing that the very thing desired, she must soon afterwards return?  Part of her promise for a son was contingent upon Hannah’s vow to commit him back to the Lord.  A son, no doubt, but she would in essence live apart from her blessing.  If her source of joy came only in knowing she would give birth to a son, it could not possibly have sustained her against the inevitable sadness resulting from having to give back the child for which she yearned.

God is enough

More than being simply glad over the promise of a son, Hannah’s joy was a direct result of her realization that God was enough.  She reached the bottom of herself, by surrendering her sorrows completely to the Lord, and in the process found that her sufficiency was in God alone.  She cast her burden on the Lord, and He did sustain her.

How does Scripture bear record of this?  In 1 Samuel, we learn that God did open Hannah’s womb, and she gave birth to a son.  Faithful to her word, after weaning Samuel she lent him back to God for lifelong service.  She did so, not knowing if she would ever have children again.  What’s more, upon relinquishing her only child into the care of Eli, Hannah then prays a very telling prayer.  A prayer that revealed Hannah had discovered the true source of joy.

My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.
1Samuel 2: 1

Hannah had found the true source of happiness.  Having her husband’s love was not enough.  Having a son was not enough.  God alone was enough.  She got her promised child, but ultimately found that God was her truest reward.  He is the promised salvation of her soul.  God now meant more to her than even 10 sons.  Since the same God who is our reward, also loves to reward, Hannah could now believe that He might just bless her back by giving her those same 10 sons!

I love my son, but I know that I could never have handled eight.  My hat’s off to my friends!  Like for Hannah, though, my joy and sufficiency cannot be dependent on others, not even my son.  Only God can give true contentment.  Only He can sustain every burden I cast at His feet.  He is the source of true happiness.

God continues to ask each of us, Am I not better to you than 10 sons?  We may believe that He is, and even say so.  Like Hannah, though, we must show Him by surrendering our all at His feet.  The joy of God’s salvation we receive in return is better than 10 of anything!

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A Glad Dad

Proverbs PostA wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
Proverbs 10:1

Years ago, when my son was little, I did something very foolish.  A friend and I decided to go camping on the beach, with just our children.  Neither of our husbands could get the time off work, but since some of her other friends could meet us there with their motor homes, we ventured out on our impromptu trip.  The problem was that neither of us owned a motor home; instead, we traipsed off, towing a horrendously overloaded pop-up all the way to our beach side oasis.

Amazingly, we made it there without a hitch (no pun at all intended).  Seriously, for me hitches are not a laughing matter!  Here is why.  No sooner had we unloaded kids and bikes, than the two female camping pros proceeded to set up camp.  One of my jobs was to pop-up our temporary dwelling.  My husband had spent hours training his not-at-all mechanical wife how to do so.  His instructions on unhitching the trailer and lowering the stabilizing wheel worked flawlessly – on pavement.  Those same guidelines did not work so well in sand.  As I attempted to unhitch the trailer, because of the sand and my ineptness, the entire weight of it came crushing down onto my exposed, flip-flopped foot.  Just in time, I managed to pull my foot free.  I ended up hobbling my way around camp most of the week but avoided a fracture, which was inevitable had the full heaviness of the pop-up landed squarely on me.  These beach-combing gals learned a valuable lesson: never go trailer camping without capable help and never set up shop in sand!

The potential for foolishness is inherent in all of us, but is particularly predominate in very young children and teens.  My husband and I have experienced our fair share of both with our children, especially with what some call teenage angst.  In the verse above, it is evident that God understands such foolishness and the tough job of parenting.  What I find so interesting are the contrasts described; a son who is wise brings joy to a father, whereas a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother. In another verse:

“A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.”
Proverbs 15:20

Implied is that wise children are those who demonstrate honor and respect to both parents; by doing so, they bring a blessed peace to the home.  When things get out of kilter with respectfulness, such as during angst, things go haywire at home for everyone.

I derive much comfort from this verse above because it validates what I already knew, that moms seem to bear the brunt when a child strays into foolishness.  Any mother going through the trauma of dealing with disrespect, rebellion or defiance from a child knows that she just bears the burden differently from her spouse.  Overall, dads can encounter a late night outburst from a child then go right to sleep, but moms lie awake and cry.  The burden brought about by the foolishness hurts both parents, but for the mother it really does feel like a crushing weight.

The Lord understands this heavy burden carried by hurting mothers, but knows that fathers are suffering, as well.  Using the contrast above, He thoughtfully ties the two together.  Dads may not feel as crushed by the rebellious child, but they are nonetheless affected.  I am reminded of the saying, ‘When momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!’  The heavy emotional toll of a mother not coping with a parent-child conflict usually spills right over onto the dad.  The Lord knows that a father cannot be joyful when his wife is falling apart.

The flip side to this is that when things go differently, and a child quits being foolish to walk wisely instead, it brings joy all around.  The mother’s overbearing burden is removed, and she feels as light as a feather.  The heaviness leaves, the tension dissipates and a once sad situation becomes suddenly delightful.  With peace restored, momma is once again happy.  Dad enjoys the change in the child’s behavior, too, and seeing his wife happy makes him happy.  Everyone is happy!

We have all acted foolishly before and are all in need of God’s grace.  Some of my past harebrained decisions and periods of rebellion, I would like to forget.  Thankfully, Jesus has always shown that He will forgive and mend our foolishness.  I must do the same.  Along the way in our parenting journey, He keeps teaching my husband me how to love unconditionally, to forgive and to keep moving on.

Though the burdens of parenting can be massively weighty, God is able to lift them and to restore joy back into our lives-for both moms and dads!  During those times, when it seems as though the heaviness brought about by a foolish child is simply beyond bearing, God has a way of letting us know just how fully He understands.  He too knows firsthand the hurt rebelliousness brings.  He experiences it daily from His children.  On the other hand, whenever this child (me or you) acts wisely, it makes for a very glad Father!

My Child

Snippets of Rain

My Child,
Don’t rush away from Me.
I want you right by My side.

 My Love,
Don’t fret your day away.
There’s room by Me to hide.

 My Friend,
Don’t cast away My help.
Why not give My ways a try?

“But as for me, how good it is to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do.”
Psalm 73:28
NLT