My family continues to encounter various trials. Death of loved ones. Broken car doors. Sickness that stretches out into weeks. Joblessness. Not knowing where to live. Saying goodbye to my childhood home—and the list goes on. No matter what the trials—big or small—they can leave us weary and discouraged. But I see progress in my own soul. Last summer I handled the trials very differently.

When we encounter hard challenges, is it possible to consider it joy?

This week’s reflection comes from James 1:1-4. I hope it encourages you.

trals joy

Sometimes God feels far. He feels far for me right now. I feel like a ball in a ping ball machine, bounced around in a chaotic rattling, but not really going anywhere. Only to return from where I came from, the bottom.

When life feels dark and we are pinging off of anxiety, depression, grief, and other threatening emotions, how can we find balance, peace, and truth?

Listen to this week’s video reflection. I hope it helps you and those you love.

PRAY

God, I know Your Word says you never leave me, but you feel far away. Do you see me? The way ahead is clouded and I am overcome. Please help me. Please show me the way, even for just the next step. The noise and the chaos clouds me from clarity. Please, be my clarity. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

RESPOND

How about you? How do you experience God in the darkness? Please share. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

Breath for Times You Feel Breathless

A DEVOTION

Life crashes around me

I can’t breathe

 

No gust of strength

No whirl of joy

A breathless heart

 

The tears are starting to fall

I wondered when they would

Rush in like a river

They wash

 

Wash away my  strength

To persevere

On my own

And I cling

 

To the Lord

 

He reminds me

Of His finished work

I don’t have to strive

All He wants is me

 

So I lay myself down

Hands dropped

Soul Tired

Empty

 

And He says, “Come.

My yoke is easy

My burden is light.”

 

So I close my eyes

And surrender—

Fully—no part of my soul

Hanging on to my own

Ways of getting through

 

And for the first time since

I heard the news

I breathe—

Fully­­—no part of my soul

Left breathless.

 

Mom died three weeks ago. I have hurried, organized, and pushed through in mothering, but it crashed around me today in my fatigue. And I realize again how I can’t do this on my own. Even with amazing family and friends. Only God gives breath.

Are you in a challenging season? Do you know someone who is?

Breath for the Breathless

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One Place to Look So You Can Flourish

Flourish

 

1 Kings 17:14-15

But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to believe in the LORD their God.  They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and they despised all his warnings. They worshiped worthless idols, so they became worthless themselves. They followed the example of the nations around them, disobeying the LORD’s command not to imitate them.

My six-year-old son juggles to gain acceptance with the kids at school. He often asks, “Can I get an iPad like Charlie?” or “Can you get me Pokemon like Colten?” He also acts as a classroom clown, even if he disobeys the rules, so his friends laugh.

I think us moms fall into similar spiritual traps.

We sometimes follow other moms to figure out how to live, rather than follow Christ. We long to fit in with our neighbors rather than risk standing out—fitting in with the truths of God’s Word.

One place to look so you can flourish

It’s great looking to other moms who love Jesus for examples and creative inspiration, but let’s remember, we follow Jesus and not what others think makes a good mom.

My friend Martha inspires me to read more with my kids and has great suggestions on books that teach little ones about the Lord.  Amy’s creativity expresses itself in after-school tea parties to connect with her kids and pray for them. Yet if I don’t do either of those, I’m no less of a godly mom.

Godly motherhood is simply following Jesus in the moments of mothering.

PRAY

God, please help me desire to follow Jesus more than the culture around me, including other Christian moms. Thank you for their example, but help me be the mom You created me to be. I desire to live for you. In Jesus’ name, AMEN

RESPOND

How about you? What is one practical way you keep your focus on Jesus rather than on others? Please share! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

ONE Scripture To Energize Your Motherhood

a devotion

Weariness sometimes feels like it goes with the mommy job description. Weary from laundry piles, stinky trash bins, childish kids, empty fridge, and fractured sleep.

This week’s verse encourages me that there is a coming harvest, a harvest we will reap at the proper time if we do not give up in doing good.

Do not grow weary in doing good

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Fighting Against Satan For The Hearts Of Your Kids

Real Mom Guest Post by Gayle Westover

Gayle Westover is a homeschooling, hubby loving mama of 7 and expecting #8 in 2017. She’s grown in her relationship with Jesus for 20 years and married for 23. She finds daily satisfaction, and lots of messes, in the joys of raising her kids—and encourages mamas to soak up the moments because they flash by too quickly.

As I look at our nation today I think about the many battles our children will face that we can’t yet see. Wars. Changes in politics. Social injustices. Spiritual challenges beyond our imaginations. How can our hearts prepare their hearts for the future?

Fighting Satan For The Hearts Of Your Kids

 

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How Can I Fail Well As A Mom?

A Devotion

I failed today. I scheduled an hour buffer to arrive to church on time. Time for tantrums, forgotten items, or dirty diapers. Surely an hour would be enough.

Not so much.

After several rounds of tantrums and disobedience we arrived 15 minutes late after the start of the worship service.

Sound familiar? We all have motherhood days where kids attitudes and misbehavior threaten us to fail at every good thing a mama should be.


Patient.

Kind.

Firm.

… and on time?


How do we fail well when it feels like we are failing at everything?

 

How to Fail Well

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I Just Want My Life to Have Significance

A Devotion for Moms

The moment I wake-up, my children need me. The alarm of a crying toddler seeps through the bedroom door as he fights with brother over a lego guy, when dozens more lay on the floor next to him.

Then the baby cries. I look at the digital clock. She’s a half hour early. I guess breakfast will wait.

I pick her up and walk by the piled laundry on the on dresser—clean—half-folded. My goal is to put away laundry today. That’s been my goal all week.

Motherhood these days seems like running on a treadmill.

I work hard, running as fast as possible, yet remain in the same place, so it seems. The floors still stick, the fun craft project sits in the drawer, and the lighted Christmas tree glistens in the living room—half-way through January.


Where is the significance in all of this running? Am I just surviving or making a difference?


Life of Significance

This morning, instead of the tears that often wash my discouragement, the Holy Spirit popped an image in my mind:

Jesus taking off his outer garment and girding himself to wash the disciples feet. (John 13)

How is motherhood like washing feet? I inwardly ask the Spirit.

Answer: Leading by example in humility and service.


Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, teaches us three ways to follow Him:

To serve, to wash, and to lead through example.

To Serve: (John 13:4-5)

When he washed the disciples feet, he humbled himself from master to servant. How could this teacher, a master, wash the feet of His followers? Humility. Like Jesus’ example, most of us mamas live serving in obscure humility, even though we are teachers and one in authority over our children.

Significance in the Kingdom happens when we serve in what seems insignificant. In the Kingdom of God, we find significance through service. Significance is service.

To Wash: (John 13:10)

When Jesus said, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean,” he was teaching a spiritual lesson through physical imagery. The Spirit washed us clean when we first believed. Now we only need to continue confess our sins to be completely clean spiritually.

As moms, when we teach our children about the Lord and His grace, or model confession and forgiveness, we participate in washing them spiritually. It is still the Spirit’s work, but we enter into that work.

Significance in the Kingdom happens when we wash one another with truth.

To Lead Through Example: (John 10:14)

Jesus said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” Motherhood is like Jesus washing feet when we lead by example in physical service and spiritual nourishment.

So, mamas, whether we wake to the alarm of a crying baby or the smart phone tune, let’s stop grumbling and humble ourselves to serve, wash, and lead through example.

Our significance rests in our willingness to follow Jesus.

I hope to get to the laundry pile, but either way, I will set aside irritation and embrace the irrigation of the Spirit. When I follow Him I am at peace, even when the house is full of “zoom!”, giggles, and tears—and silence evades for the next 18 years.

PRAY

God, thank you for leading by example when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. I desire to live a life that’s significant for the Kingdom and not washed away with the dirty dishes. Please, help me, oh Lord, to see the vision of service as significance. Lead my hands to Your work today. Help me be faithful to whatever that is, whether in obscurity or in the spotlight. And in eternity, take my service and multiply it for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

RESPOND

How about you? What is one thing you can do today to serve, wash, or lead by example with your family? You can leave a comment by clicking here.