After twenty years of marriage, our life had not become any easier – as we had supposed it would. On the contrary, it had become more and more difficult. Labor costs had increased, so my husband had tried to work our large farm with very little or even no help. The demands of the children increased as they got older. My aging, sickly mother, who lived with us, required more and more care.
During this time, my only satisfaction came from blaming everyone else for the stress in my life. I pitied myself because my husband Hans was so busy with his work that he could not help me at all.
“If Hans would lease out one section of land, he could help me with my work,” I would often grumble. “He just does not care to help me.”
During this time, I was also disquieted by the fact that my children did not confide in me. But I blamed them for it entirely. “One can just not live with them,” I complained. “They are completely spoiled. They only think of themselves.”
When my mother’s bell rang more often than I wished and tore me away from an important task, my complaining knew no bounds. I told myself: “If she would be more understanding, she would tell me everything that she wants at one time. But she has nothing better to do than to lay there and dream up what she would like next.” –
When I look back now, I am amazed that I believed myself to be living according to the Word of God during that time. Was I not regularly attending church services? Did I not tithe? The answers were “yes.” So I thought I was a good Christian.
One or more years of this dizzying, exhausting, and troublesome life passed. Then came an especially exhausting day, which I remember well. My demanding family finally went to bed and I too wanted to retire, but my strained nerves did not allow sleep to come. I wandered aimlessly through the darkened house, longing for peace. I could not properly relax and did not even attempt to lie down. In the living room, a lone light shone on the Bible which was lying on the table. This light beckoned me.
I flipped through the Bible aimlessly. Suddenly I came to the Psalms. I had always enjoyed the melodic sounds of those Bible passages. So, I began to read. My eyes fell on the prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
When the meaning of these words became clear to me, a light went on. There, in my own living room, I understood that God, when He knew my heart, found wickedness in me. He found that I didn’t get along with others, because I was not getting along with myself. I knew what I had to do. I had to bring my thoughts in order.
That is when I started to learn to live with myself. As I first began to truly search myself to discover the kind of person I was inside, what I found was not pretty. It was not easy to examine my inner thoughts. It would have been easier and more pleasant to flee them. For what I saw were habits that made others flee from me. I saw that I was unreasonable. I often spoke out of ignorance. Often, I was self-absorbed. Many times, I had been guilty of speaking without hearing others out and I ordered my loved ones around with no regard to their wishes.
As I was able to see my flaws, I could do something about them. I confessed and surrendered them to the Lord. This made room for new thoughts, Christlike thoughts. I let Jesus come into my heart. With Him came joy, hope, and love for those around me.
Over time, Hans and I began to talk about our work and we discovered that we could help each other by doing certain jobs together. The children began to respond to my love. They no longer did things behind my back and began pulling me into their confidence. Mother’s attitude toward her illness also changed when she noticed that we were truly concerned about her well-being. It became much easier to take care of her!
Are you in a difficult season of life? Let God search you and give you peace!