• Laura Alvarado-Newson

The biggest challenge

If I were to start out a sentence with "the biggest challenge for me is..." many of you might fill in the blank with: "mothering a special needs son." No, as exhausting as this can be, it is not my biggest challenge; in fact, it is an honor to raise such a unique young man. Maybe my biggest challenge is juggling a family of 5, a youth ministry, and a house; no, not my biggest challenge. Although this too is tiring, I enjoy this part of my life inmensely. So what is my biggest challenge? My biggest challenge is finding and maintaining 3 key ingredients to enjoying my unique, busy life; as well as, creating an enjoyable loving atmosphere for my family:

1) A good attitude: when I feel pressed on all sides, when I feel like I am being pulled at from every direction; my first response is frustration which quickly leads to grumpiness. My responses become short and harsh, there isn't a smile for any one or anything and patience isn't an option for me at this moment. I know this all lies in the initial attitude a have when first being confronted by the problem, the implication that I am not doing enough, I have to do more, give more money, give more time, give more attention. I am realizing that the key to maintaining a good attitude amidst all of this requires:

2) Peace: maintaining a sure, stable inner peace when everything on the outside is anything but peaceful. Oh, this is so hard. Peace seems so far away during these times of conflict, lack of sleep, heavy demands. I am encouraged by the fact that the more peace I lack the stronger the desire to pursuit peace and keep it, no matter what is going on around me, that beautiful peace that "surpasses all understanding" (Phil 4;7). As I type this I realize in order to have and maintain this peace I have to seek and pursuit a maturity of faith, faith in the Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6), by meeting with Him through His Word. This is the only way to have true peace, without needing my outward circumstances to change.

3) Joy: that joy that can only come from Jesus. To be joyful in the midst of problems, disappointments and conflict. The joy that I seek is more than an emotion; stronger than happiness, it stands firm while circumstances unpredictably change. Nehemiah 8:10 says "the joy of the Lord is your strength". This causes me to realize how needy I am of the Lord's joy, not only for joy itself but also for the strength I need to face, confront, stand firm in the midst of this storm I call life.

So without peace, I can't have a good attitude and without a good attitude I am certainly not joyful. I am really done trying to change and alter outer circumstances that I truly am powerless to change. My life is in God's hands and I trust Him. If He is using these circumstances to mold me than I will stay put. However, I humbly demand with my whole heart that as I stay put, I will stay put with a good attitude, a peace that surpasses all understanding and the joy of the Lord that will result in that strength to stand firm.

What is your biggest challenge?

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