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Neglecting to keep guard of my heart, it becomes effortless to indulge the life of a joyless martyr.

I sat hunched over in the plush, yet worn, faded blue recliner in the corner of our room with my feet tucked into the crevices of my bent knees, soaking in some spiritual truths from the day’s devotional entitled “God calls us to faith.”

I hadn’t felt like myself physically or mentally for the last few days. Physically, I was uncharacteristically lethargic and spiritually, though I was consistently engaged in times of morning solitude with the Lord, I couldn’t seem to shake grumpiness or negativity. Mundane life had me juggling everyday responsibilities, but doing nothing well. My kids were spending more time in front of some variation of a screen a bulk of the days. Laundry was overflowing in the mud room, in laundry baskets, on the bed. The grout in my shower was screaming for a bleach scrubbing. Projects lay half done. The research phase of my writing was lacking. The list continues…

Cutting vegetables for dinner, I was sawing away at the onion making little progress. Where’s the knife sharpener? If I don’t sharpen this knife, we are likely to eat a raw, whole onion with our chicken.

Where’s your faith, Amber? If you don’t sharpen your sword of truth and strengthen your shield of faith, you’re likely to continue to slog through the days I have gifted to you with deteriorating spiritual muscles instead of intentionally gaining strength through scripture memory, praise and thanks.

Ruth Myers, states in her book 31 Days of Praise, “Praise is a basic way both to express our faith and to strengthen it; and strengthened faith is no small benefit. From cover to cover the Bible shows us that faith-or trust-is the basic response God is looking for…faith brings victory that changes our circumstances-or victory in the midst of circumstances that don’t change.” She further states, “Praise is a catalyst that speeds up God’s maturing process in your life.”

Amber, to extinguish the constant flaming darts of the evil one, you must preach My word to your doubt, your fear, your failure, your insecurities, your anxieties. To preach My truth, it must be hidden in your heart that it might be ready to escape from the tip of your tongue when needed.

Myers defines praise and thanksgiving to be centered around three things: who He is, what He does and what He gives. She points out that in Psalm 22:3 God is enthroned by our praises. “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.”

I walk out to our covered concrete patio extending off the back of our house, lounge in our green and blue striped hammock chair, prop my legs up on the black, four legged side table, tuck my earbuds inside my ear, relax my head on the pillow behind me and begin listening to a song of praise… “I’ve come to this place in my life, I’m full, but I’m not satisfied, this longing to have more of you…I feel you coming and I hear your voice on the wind…” I close my eyes and feel the Oklahoma breeze set in. Strands of my blonde hair wisp into my face and I begin thanking Him.

Thank you Lord for the opportunity to love my little ones by providing a safe, clean, home that provides their basic needs. Thank you for a husband to love not just in word, but also with deed, with clean clothes, warm meals and tidy living places. Thank you for the gift of words and the inspiration you provide that enables me to share them with others. When I am lured to focus on me and the undoing of the mundane, teach my heart to give thanks and my words to speak the life of Your word. My lot isn’t changing, so I beg you to keep changing me.

It will under gird my resolve to contemplate this statement by Mark Buchanan, “All the wickedness in the world begins with an act of forgetting.”

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