This is finals week for Kentucky schools. However, more than any other year, the 2020 tests are far from “standardized.” Nope. This year the exams are being completed at kitchen counters in pajamas OR on family room floors with laptops. From first grade spelling tests to AP College Credit Exams, this season of testing hit HOME! Teachers have become ZOOM pros and moms have become teachers. And we all have had a crash course in perseverance!

James 1:2-4 challenges us “when you face TESTS of many kinds, to count it all joy, for you know that the TESTING of your faith develops perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, failing in nothing.”

Like a math solution, James 1 includes formulas needed for passing this epic test.  These are tried and true testing tips from The Ultimate Tutor!

“WHEN you face tests…”
Notice that James 1 doesn’t say “IF” but “WHEN” you face tests. Testing is mandatory in the school of life. In the classroom there are many tests that are scheduled. You know when to expect them. You know what material will be covered. But then there are the other kind of tests. THE POP QUIZZES!

Do you remember the way your heart dropped when your teacher walked to the front of the classroom instructing all her students to clear the desks because it was time for a pop quiz? Ladies, we are living in a “pop quiz” moment in history! We are living history. We are making history. This season of testing has popped on history’s timeline full of heart-dropping, out of the blue surprises. The government instructions have cleared our schedules, our comforts, our expectations, our entertainment, and our routines.

The phrase “tests of many kinds” in James 1 comes from the Greek word “poikilois” (where we get our word polka dotted)! No question about it, this Pandemic has Polka-Dotted our lives. The Message version paraphrases this verse “You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.”

I don’t know about you, but for me (and my family) these weeks of quarantine have drawn out true colors that I never knew existed. Palettes of impatience. Hues of hopelessness. But tests are administered to reveal areas where students have mastered a subject and where more instruction is needed. Grades are not given to download guilt but as incentive to grow the student in wisdom.

Covid-19 has certainly provided a steep learning curve for us all, right? As moms, how are we responding to flatten the learning curve in our own lives? Are we being teachable? Are we doing all we can for one another’s good and God’s glory? The fact is, our response to this time of testing is our main responsibility. When our true colors are revealed, the Holy Spirit promises us the power to pass these tests with His flying colors.

“Count (math term) it all JOY…”

With so much out of our control, mommas can only control our response to this test! James 1 sums up our response this way: be JOY-FULL! Spend your brain power counting your blessings rather than losses. Face the facts, mommas, we set the tone for our home!  Based on our attitude, this season of history will either be remembered by the next generation as pitiful or powerful!

As a young momma, when I would begin to host a personal pity party, my mentor would remind me “Darlin, remember that we deserve hell. And anything short of hell is a blessing!” (Note to self: Compared to hell, Covid-19 limitations are a picnic to be enjoyed!) Yes, the strongest moms can find THE Joy in our polka dotted circumstances “…for the joy of the Lord is our strength.”  

So, let’s keep a running list and literally count ALL the little “happies” God gives us in this unique season. Let’s make time capsules and invest this historical time at home! Let’s collect memories and face this test (ACE this test) with the powerful weapon of JOY! A powerful definition of perseverance is cheerful endurance! Let’s be moms who our families can count on to persevere with God’s JOY!

“For you know that the testing of your faith develops PERSEVERANCE…”

What’s the key to not stressing when unexpected pop quizzes are announced? Simply put— study and stay ready. 

 2 Timothy 2:15 wisely tutors us to “study…to present yourself to God approved, a worker [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.” If you keep your head in His book you will stay ready for any pop quizzes that come your way. He will “renew your mind so you can test and discern Gods will and ways” (Rom 12:2) during these unexpected days.

THE Teacher has given us the answer key. Our assignment? Study it every day. That’s the heart behind Heart of Womanhood Bible Studies  for moms and daughters. With more time at home, there couldn’t be a better time to study Gods Word together so you will be prepared for whatever tests the future holds. Plus, the next generation of young women will remain Christ-confident through any crisis!

“And let perseverance FINISH ITS WORK so that you may be perfect and complete, FAILING IN NOTHING.”
Unlike the fixed ending point for the academic 2020 school year, the finish line for the pandemic remains shrouded in fog. But for those of us who are Jesus lovers, God promises that as His students we will FINISH and not FAIL!

James 1:12 crowns us with that promise.  “Blessed is the one who perseveres under testing because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

In a time when we are surrounded by fear of the Corona (which means CROWN) virus that leads to death, God offers those who love Him a crown of life! Because Jesus stood the ultimate test on the cross bearing the crown of our sin, He offers us the power to STAND THIS TEST crowned with His grace. Unlike the world’s sliding grade scale, however, our crowning goal is not to reclaim our comforts or conveniences. Our goal is to be conformed more into the likeness of Christ. The student becomes more and more like the Teacher.

When that is the “final” we are preparing for, then every test becomes His testimony. Our story becomes HIS-tory!  

Yes, it’s finals week. But soon the final bell will ring. The Teacher will stand. All projects will be completed. Tests will be over. Papers submitted. Computers powered down. And an endless summer face to face with our Savior will begin.

Until then, let’s count it all JOY!