I think it’s pretty fair to say that life has its major ups and major downs no matter who you are or where you live. Some of us, living in a first world country, live at a higher level of ups, so our downs are not really downs compared to those who live in third world countries. But in our day to day reality, we still have our own roller coaster ride in life. This past month or so has definitely had some downers. Yet I’ve chosen to not dwell on them; I’d rather just keep swimming . . . just keep hoping, just stay up . . . just keep going.

And I will not bore anyone with all the details. I will just skip ahead to the good parts. I will say though that life with a 4.75 year old, a 2.90 year old, and an 8 month old has been quite busy. All my kids seem to be in some sort of not fun phase. With the oldest, it’s just major attitude all the time. With the middle, it’s the typical 2 year old stuff, and with the smallest, it’s teething, growing, and wanting to get up at all hours of the night to socialize. It’s a lot sometimes; I’m physically exhausted. My head and my emotions are tired. Yet when we are able to get out, laugh, play together, and have fun, it makes us forget all the hard moments. So I’ve been diligently looking for those good moments. Earlier this week, my sister was watching the middle child, and she had worship music playing. E is definitely our most musical of the bunch (so far), so he started singing along. He is also the child with the tender heart towards God, and he loves songs that are about the Lord, even if he doesn’t quite get the pronunciation of the words right. So when the two of them picked me up from work, they were still singing this song. It then got stuck in all of our heads, and at the boys’ request, I’ve played it over and over when we’re home and in the kitchen. Let me just say that it’s quite sweet to hear your kids singing these words –

In Your presence, all fear is gone,
in Your presence.
In Your presence, is where I belong,
in Your presence.
(In Your Presence by Jason Upton)

I don’t know what it is lately, but man, I feel like I’m battling fear right and left. After the birth of every child, I go through a long period of weird aches and pains; most are related to the after effects of a c-section and of a retained placenta (sorry, TMI, I know). But every time, it messes with my head, and honestly, it just stinks to have regular pain in your body. So as I’ve been fighting it off, these lyrics just keep playing, keep reminding me to get in and stay in His presence. During the bad parenting moments, I feel my stress level escalating, and I hear “in His presence.” I’m reminded to get out of worrying, being up tight, and instead, jump into His presence. When the car situation, bath situation, pressures from finances and everything else, press in, I hear “in His presence.” And it’s a decision to get back into the reality of Him.

No matter how many ups or down we have, we all have the choice to dwell in Him or out of Him and in our circumstances. It’s taken me a long time to learn this, but I’ve been on a good path of really getting it. And now that I am walking in it, I just want to walk more in Him. More of Him always and so much less of Me. It’s a win-win situation. I want to be as far from stress, fear, and worrying as I can possibly get. I want to be joyful, content, and peaceful no matter what happens in this life. Nothing beats His presence. The good, happy moments of life are great and fun, but the true joy is where it’s at. And all joy is in Him.


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