Hard things, God's will + the perfect and complete Bible verse coloring page

James 1:4 Bible verse coloring page "let patience have her perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing"
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do." James 1:2-8 [ESV]
It's been one of those mini-seasons when everything feels hard--marriage, parenting, getting out of bed. Nothing bad is happening really, just our normal sin-bent selves playing bumper cars with other sin-bent selves. Collisions happen, especially in close quarters. 

I don't always feel like this. So much depends on . . . hormones, chemicals in the brain, the weather, children's energy levels, napping or non-napping, and the state of my heart that's so easily affected by everything around me--from a news story to a social media post that makes me sad or reminiscent or insecure. 

If you're a new reader, I'm a stay-at-home mom, a homeschooler, and a pretty solid introvert. I love people, my people, my church family, my friends. But that's only because Jesus has been working on my heart for a long time. Being around people a lot used to really grate on me and although much of that is gone, even now, Sunday mornings usually leave me drained. Social events call for a follow-up nap, and my normal days--well, they require a couple of hours of quiet in the evenings. 

My choice to homeschool did not spring from my endless supply of patience for my children. To make our days work for us, we usually have mandatory rest time for at least an hour and a half in the middle of the day. The girls either nap or play in their rooms, usually while listening to a book on CD.

But right now the baby is taking a late second nap because he still takes a good morning nap, which allows us to get our read-alouds done. So we are all up until about three in the afternoon to ensure that everyone is down for rest time at the same time . . . and going that long without a break is draining me. We will probably need to make some kind of transition at some point, but this is where we are right now. 

God has given me beautiful, creative children. One sings and talks her way through life with a vocabulary beyond her years. Another bounces constantly and knows how to make the other crazy. Another is just too sweet for words and has a love for dirt. I'm so blessed, but they drain me. I adore them, but they annoy me. I hold these contrasting truths in constant struggle. 

Today, my mom, bless her, is spending the afternoon with my kids while I sit in this quiet office I have carved out in our laundry room. Mama bear in her cave, I say. And I'm typing out my heart.

In some ways I feel so unsuited for full-time motherhood, and especially homeschooling. Why would God call me to something SO HARD. While most of the time I feel confident that I heard God call me to this and that it's what He's prepared me to do, sometimes I wonder if we'd all be happier if I was doing something else.

But I think at the heart of my question is maybe a false assumption--if something is TOO HARD then it must not be God's will for me. 

What is God's will for me anyway?

My pastor keeps repeating this verse as God's will for us: "Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24).

But that doesn't make a great motivational poster, does it? I'd prefer "Choose happy" or "Dream big, work hard" or "Darling, let's be adventurers." So much cuter than "take up your cross and follow me," right?

But we forgot Who is saying "come follow me." We forget that God is a Father, a loving Creator, a walk-alongside, Helper kind of God at the very same time that He is all-powerful and all-knowing. He is not oppressive. His plans are perfect, a banquet compared to our measly rice-and-beans dreams.
"And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:9-13
Do you notice that the "good gift" given in this verse is the Holy Spirit? Interesting. These verses seem to say that is what we should be asking for and seeking. That is, after all, Who I ultimately need, isn't it?
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do." James 1:2-8 
Did you catch God's will for you in the verses James wrote? My God's goal for me right now may not be my comfort. God's will for me is to persevere through situations that require my faith to grow and thus produce perseverance. He works towards my maturity and completion, so that I don't lack anything. 

In my experience, the maturity that God has built in me has made my life so much easier on the other side of it. It's astounding to think that God knows my future and is preparing me for it right now, right here in my messy struggles.

It's also His will that I ask Him for wisdom in those situations, and it's His will to give it to me freely. He also offers me His Spirit, like He does for all who come to Him in repentance and faith in His Son. I'm not special in that way. 

But I may be missing an important part of these verses--I have to ask. I have to seek out my God. It's not magic; it's just how a relationship works.
"My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,  if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."  Proverbs 2:1-5
In my struggling, I have choices. In my pride, I can feel silly for struggling so much. I can condemn myself for not being stronger and bear a burden that Jesus already bore for me. A friend recently counseled us that we needn't stand as judge and jury over our feelings because they are just that--feelings that are a natural reaction to our world. Condemning myself doesn't change my feelings anyway; it just piles up more negative ones.

I could also attempt some kind of escape from my struggles. Quit, give up. This isn't really an option.

Or, I can call out for understanding and insight and wisdom from God. I can stand in full assurance of faith (not "double-minded and unstable") that God will give me what I need for today (James 1:8). 

I have started to simplify my praying a bit lately and pray whatever Scripture I'm reading over the people in my life. So today's prayer is like this:

  • That in our struggles, we'd call out for the Holy Spirit.
  • That we would let God work in us so we can be mature and complete.
  • That we would call our for wisdom from God alone and that He would give it.

I know this has been a bit rambling today, but such is my heart. Thanks for sharing in it.

I'm sharing this Bible verse coloring page today as a reminder of God's work in you. You can download is HERE or by clicking the image below (usage below).*


James 1:4 Bible verse coloring page "let patience have her perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing"
Questions to ask about this verse (and James 1:2-8):
What is God's will for you from this verse?
How does He accomplish this plan for you?
What does God promise to give you when you ask Him?


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!




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4 comments

  1. Yes. Yes. We are going to make it. I am thankful for that God often seems to be teaching us similar things at a similar time. And that you have an opportunity to reflect and write. What a Grace.

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    Replies
    1. We ARE going to make it, aren't we? I'm thankful for you!

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  2. Thank you, Mary! I needed this today!

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