Happy Thriving Friday
Hey ! We made it to another Friday, and I'm celebrating today. After a week with 2 sick kids and standing on the edge of getting sick myself, it's nice to know that we endured and survived.
It's kind of perfect, though, that this week turned out the way it did, because it gave me a chance to really live my words in this week's blog post. This week I discussed a lesson that I learned through my study in the book of Ecclesiastes, specifically as it relates to my mothering ideals. In my real life this week I had to wrestle with decisions to let my daughter watch more TV than usual to help her sit still and rest, decisions about mealtimes since she was being rather picky, and decisions about my own behaviors even (I may or may not have listened to an entire audiobook on my AirPods this week).
I'm excited to share with you in these emails a deeper dive into the book of Ecclesiastes so that you can get a closer look at the source of that "Hold it Loosely" lesson. Inside this email today we're going to chat a bit about the Hebrew word "hevel," as well as a bit of background on the book. You'll also find an audio recording of this week's blog post in case you, like me, have a hard time finding time to sit down to read amidst your everyday chaos. Then, as usual, I'll tack on some extra goodies at the end: links to my favorite resources, a link to a giveaway that ends today, and a prayer to carry you into your weekend.
Insights from the Word
The Book of Ecclesiastes lives in the category of "wisdom literature" in the Old Testament of our Bibles. Joined with the books of Proverbs and Job, these books would have been looked at by the ancient Jews as tools and wisdom for living well in the waiting. It's interesting to me that these books are joined together in genre, because they all have such a different voice. The best way I've heard it taught is to think of them like three people coming together and offering their perspective on life. That's from the Bible project, which I'll link to at the bottom of this email.
In the thought experiment of these books being three voices, or people, sitting around a table and chatting about life, Ecclesiastes would serve as sort of the "sharp middle-aged critic," asking the question whether life and God are really as good as we say. Depending on your place in life, and your view of the Bible, the book of Ecclesiastes may come off as harsh and pessimistic. But instead the voice of this book highlights the truth of things like time and chance coming against our optimism and attempts to rationalize and systematize life. His conclusion: Life is Vapor.
The Hebrew word "hevel" is often translated as "meaningless" or "vanity" in the English translations of this book. This is unfortunate and drives our perception of it being pessimistic. Instead of meaningless, the word conveys something like "smoke" or "vapor."
Smoke does have substance. It is something. However, it is difficult to grasp, organize, corral, or pin down. Smoke exists, does its own thing, and then is gone. The Teacher in Ecclesiastes serves to challenge the things we've "grasped" onto, and asks us to consider if those things really are the "stuff" of life. He forces us to come face to face with the ways in which we've "done right" in order to obtain an easier or happier life. The concept of life being vapor pushes us to deeper trust in God and all of the unpredictable twists, turns, mountains, and valleys that will come our way as we live to serve His kingdom.
So, this week, let's ask ourselves why we are grasping so tightly to our mothering ideals, our frustrations, worries, efforts to organize life to make it predictable. What does it feel like to consider that full trust in God may mean that we may not ever "have it all figured out," and that despite our efforts to get it all right, life may turn out really happy or really sad. I invite us to consider, are we following God to get a pleasant life, or because we've accepted his invitation into his larger and grander story to be a co-worker for the advancement of his good Kingdom?
Listen to This Week's Blog Post!
If the player doesn't show above, you can listen by clicking this link
Last Day of the Giveaway!
Did you see that I'm running a giveaway? It ends today, but if you take the time to fill out this quick, 2-minute survey you're automatically entered to win a free set of Breath Prayer Cards or a Motherhood Keychain Devotional! I really appreciate your feedback and will be so grateful if you have the time to let me know what your experience with Mothering by Faith has been like!
A Weekend Prayer
You are so good. So loving. So kind.
We are grateful in the midst of this weary life to know those things about you. To meditate on your gentle guidance of those who have young.
Lord, we thought we knew what life was going to be like when we became mamas. We thought we could do the parenting thing "right" and avoid the hardships so many parents endure. Lord, we see now that it is not in "getting it all right" that our mothering life is refreshed and redeemed, but only by knowing and serving you with open hearts full of trust.
Please revive your Spirit within us. Help us to awaken to the ways we are grasping and please gently guide our hearts and hands to a place of open surrender. Guard and protect our children, our marriages, and our own internal spirit. Help us to trust you fully instead of desperately trying to secure our own security.
We love you so much, Lord.
Thanks so much for joining my virtual living room this week for a deep dive into Ecclesiastes and its meaning for mothers! Next week, we're going to dive into chapters 1-4 and you'll also be receiving a guided meditation for letting go. If you find yourself in that frustrated, graspy place ever in your days, this might be a refreshing pause to help you find your way back to surrendered trust.
In the meantime, I hope you'll come follow me on Instagram, which is where I try to share a small window into my real life, and share some fun resources along the way. I've got fun things on the horizon, and I can't wait to share them all with you!
In the thick of it with you,