Eternity changes everything. I've written in the past about why I don't want our children to feel at home here. Because-- I want their true home to be in Heaven.
But... I've also come to realize that when I lose my temper and the anger rises, And especially when I start to see a pattern of quick-to-annoyance-why-can't-they-all-just-do-what-they're-told-and-quit-dropping-full-cups-of-yogurt-on-clean-tables-- It is usually because of two things:
1) I've allowed idols to creep in. If you missed my friend Ruth's post at The Better Mom from a couple of weeks ago, please take time to read it.
2) I'm suffering from eternity amnesia. Whether I say it or not, I'm living like Heaven isn't real. As if my current state of laundry piles, runny noses, bills, and stringy gum stuck in hair is-- All there is. I have forgotten eternity and the promises of forever that I have in Christ.
"I often lived as an eternity amnesiac. I, too, often lived with the unrealistic expectations and functional hopelessness that always results when you tell yourself that this life you have right here, right now,is all there is … This present life is not all there is. There is a forever on the other side of this life. Eternity is not a mystical creation of overly spiritual people. Forever is a reality … Living in this present world is designed by God to produce three things in me– longing, readiness, and hope."~ Paul Tripp, Forever (pages 12, 13, 14, & 35)
So how does remembering Heaven change things?
How does it help a mama who is about to lose it because-- There is a popsicle stick stuck to the corner of the couch, he forgot to mention signing "us" up to bring cupcakes for the class party, there wasn't a trash bag in the garbage can when they scraped the breakfast plates, and someone used a stamp pad to wallpaper her sister's room?
Focusing on eternity reminds me that:
1) Life is not all about (me). "(I) am not in the center of my world now, and (I) won't be then. What makes eternity wonderful is that God is restored to His rightful place at the center of all things."
2) (My) heart will onlybe satisfied when it finds its satisfaction in God. "In eternity (I) will no longer search horizontally for what (I) will only find vertically." ~Paul Tripp, Forever (pg. 76)
I lived a whole chunk of my life not really thinking much about Heaven. But then our daughter Selah died. And I needed to focus on eternity. And while it brought comfort as I thought about the future joy of seeing her again, learning about and thinking about Heaven did so much more than that because:
Heaven changes everything. It shifts our dreams, our goals, our direction. It affects our pain, our sorrow, our fears. Heaven gives us hope.
Heaven moves us to invest in what will endure– Forever. Heaven gives us courage to sacrifice for what will last– Forever.
Heaven reminds us of what is truly important. Especially, when I'm tempted, as a mama, to unleash the flood gates of anger. Heaven calls me to patience, as I remember the patient grace that God offers me daily.
"When circumstances rise to levels of importance way beyond their actual importance, they exercise more control over us than they should ... The resurrection of Jesus and the hope of forever give us a sense of priority and proportion." ~PaulTripp, Forever (pg. 87)
“Peace is found only in knowing that this world is meant to prepare us for the next and that the temporary pleasures and pains of this world are not our final address. When we live knowing that the God of grace will lift us out of this broken world and is now readying us for the world to come, we can face difficult without wanting to give up and experience pleasure without becoming addicted to it. We live with hope in our heart, eyes to the future, and hands holding this present world loosely.” ~ Paul Tripp, Forever (pg. 37)
Heaven reminds me that this world is broken. That I should not be surprised when I face frustrations and failures in myself or even in those I love best. But that there is hope because--
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be.” ~John 14:3
And I want to live– To really live in such a way that when I reach Heaven I will say:
“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here.” ~C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
“Our citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” ~Philippians 3:20
Practical Ideas for Renewing an Eternal Perspective:
--Do a Bible search on verses that relate to Heaven and find creative ways to display them around the house.
--Ask God to remind you of Heaven throughout the day, especially when you feel tempted to lash out in anger.
--Read any/all of Randy Alcorn's books about Heaven. Heaven for Kids is probably our favorite.
--Begin every morning thanking God that “we are looking forward to a new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” ~2 Peter 3:13
Overcoming anger with eternity perspective makes it all worth it!
His for eternity,
Kara @The Chuppies
*photo source-- my dear friend Anne-Marie
For more encouragement, check out From Grouchy to Great: Finding Joy in the Journey of Motherhood. It's a daily devotional with discussion questions to encourage you as a mom. Grab a journal and study through it by yourself, or gather some girlfriends and study together!
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