This morning, I read a great devotional titled, *"Investments for Life."  It is based on Matthew 25:14-15:

It will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them.  To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability.

She writes, "God gives all of us moms different abilities to use for him.  Like the parable in Matthew 25, the steward entrusts his golden gifts to his servants: to one he gives five bags of gold, another two, and still another only one bag.  Aren't we to do our work with excellence, "with all our might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10)?  To set the bar any less than one hundred percent is not...spiritual, is it?  While I agree with the first statement, I've always had difficulty with the latter one.  First of all, who sets the bar: God or us?  Who does the work? God or us?  And tell me, how can you give one hundred percent to every activity and every priority in your life - when you only have one hundred to start with?

We look around at other women who seem to pull it off.  We're still trying to weigh and identify our bags of gold, but they're the speed-readers and the high achievers.  Everything they touch turns to gold.

...the principle in this passage is not about impossible standards; it's about faithfulness and stewardship.  It's not about the percentage rate of interest return as much as it is the willingness to invest, period.  It's about faith, not fear.  It's about your entire life.  God doesn't view your worth as a mom and a woman in dollars and cents.

Did I invest my "gold" wisely?  I hope so.  As a mom, my grown children are some of the best "returns" I have.  They are worth their weight in gold.  But the 100 percent comes not in my equal development or investments of gifts.  It's giving them all to God and saying, "These 'bags' are all yours, God.  Teach me where, how, and when to invest them.  I trust you to work in me and bring the return you want.  Your paycheck is enough for me!  Your 'well done' is all I need." "

Sisters, can you relate to that as much as I did?  I mean, she hit the nail on the head for me.  Being in my twenties, I struggle daily with the investments I make in my life.  Since I stopped working outside the home, I've been re-evaluating my life's purpose.  Trying to figure out what exactly God wants me to do and trying my best to follow His will and not my selfish desires.  So often, I put myself in the category of the mom that has to do it all.  I have a hard time deciding which abilities are best to pursue because God has given me a joy in multiple tasks: writing, home-making, entertaining, and hands-on crafts to just name a few.  But what does he really want me to do with my time?  As I try to see the daylight out of the fog, one thing always comes into focus: God wants me to love my husband and my children to my fullest ability.

Adeline enjoying a popsicle

Maralee was more interested in my ice cream sandwich!

That might mean playing with the girls instead of writing a blog post.  Or, it could be snuggling on the couch with my husband instead of sewing upstairs.  Sometimes, I feel guilty when I do these things because I'm not doing my "work."  But, friends, sometimes we have to stop working and just start loving.  Loving our families, loving this season of not-knowing the future, and loving God even when we don't feel like doing His will.  This past weekend, we had a last-minute schedule change and had the choice of going to the beach or staying in town to help with a youth project at our church.  As guilty as I felt for going out-of-town, I knew that was the best choice for my family.  My husband needed that time with us desperately.  Sometimes, we have to choose love over work - even work for the Lord.  I believe that when we invest in our family life, we will have more energy and better attitudes to do our work.  It takes that time off to have energy to keep going.

Spending quality time with our girls

I love it when she says "How can you give one hundred percent to every activity and every priority in your life - when you only have one hundred to start with?"  This statement helps me realize that I can't be everything to everyone.  I'm such a people-pleaser. Instead, I need to start being a God-pleaser.  Give Him my all.  That doesn't mean to stop pursuing those gifts He has given me; it is more about using those gifts to please Him and figuring out which ones should carve out the bigger portion of my 100 percent.  It is almost like putting my gifts in a pie chart; each one part of that 100 percent but with different worths.

Friends, if you struggle with your daily works, I'd like for you to ask yourself "What is God's will for my life?"  Once you answer that question, ask yourself, "Am I doing His will?  If not, how can I start?"  These aren't easy questions to answer.  Sometimes, it means changing everything.  Or, it could be a slight adjustment to the track you are currently on.  God created each of us for a specific purpose and gave us individual gifts to achieve that purpose.  Are we doing what He created us to do?  Are we investing our "gold" wisely?

From personal experience, the answer to these questions takes time. I encourage you to pray and use careful thought before answering. Like the writer says, you have to get past the fear and start recognizing that it is your life.  Life is a journey and we aren't supposed to know our futures.  In the Bible, we read stories about these people who God called to do a specific purpose.  We read their stories from start to finish.  It can be intimidating and we think, "He can never use me like that."  Friends, these people we read about in the Bible didn't know their futures either.  They dealt with fear and uncertainty.  I'm sure many of them struggled with investing their "gold" too; just like you and me.  But, at the end of the day, they were obedient to God's call on their lives and they stepped out in faith.

I dare you to do the same.  Remember, it's an investment for life.

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

*Day-votions for Mothers. Jordan, Rebecca Barlow.

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