A Better Way

 

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We trust our cars to start when we turn the key, that our loved ones will come home safely and that our friends will remain faithful. We trust that our children will be protected out in the world or at school, that our health will be “good,” or that we’ll get better if we are ill. We trust our doctors, children’s teachers, favorite magazines, radio programs and blogs to help us figure out how to be better moms,  better stewards of our money, better problem solvers. We may even trust the Food Network to provide dinner suggestions, and home decorating publications to direct us with style tips and organization ideas. We trust that a class will educate us, a movie will entertain us. All great resources.

Are we first trusting in the Lord? Trusting Him to:

Redeem us?

Restore us?

Change us?

Renew us?

Build us?

Re-develop us? 

Sound too hokey? Sound too weird to put that much trust into God when we can do it ourselves or seek what the world has to offer in terms of its solutions to fulfill and gratify? We are capable and self-reliant, right?

Do we trust that God might be bigger than our attempts? Do we trust that He is in control, unchanging, stable, reliable, all-powerful and dependable in ALL circumstances, ALL the time?

Maybe we should just cross our fingers and hope for the best. That takes faith too. 

I’d rather put my hands together and cry out to a God who hears. A God who cares. Who has my best interest at heart. Who will never leave me nor forsake me. That’s His promise to me and that’s His promise to you.

You don’t have to have hope in hope.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” (Jeremiah 17:7)

There’s really no down side in putting your trust in the Lord, is there? Think of all the places where you have put your confidence.

Do you have anything to lose?

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

But you sure stand a lot to gain.

So Long Dry Bones

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The BIG deals we make about little things can stay with our kids forever….let’s be dead to the small things that rattle us, including fatigue, the temptation to yell, the moment that we already yelled, where we blew it, where we are feeling frustrated and be alive to giving grace to our children just as we have received grace from the Lord. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a mama who dries up her kids’ bones.

And it’s so easy to do.

Our tone of voice. Our words. Our demeanor can be deflating to those around us.

Drying.

Hit the pause button before reacting and pray. Pray for self control. Pray that if firmness is needed, you’ll be firm not angry. Pray that if you need to sit down, that you can steal a moment to regroup. Pray that if there is an opportunity to smile, that you will soften your cheeks and communicate joy with the motion of your lips.

Let eye contact and sweet tone of voice prevail in your demeanor so your children can be filled with the love and warmth you feel for them that may not always surface among the day’s running around and to-dos. We live by the list, don’t we? We are always on to the next thing. Rushing. Running.  I know you are tired. I know you are stretched. Early days of mothering (and the ones that come later) can be fatiguing.

You are pushed.

Pulled.

You just want a break.

Let’s take our days and the power of God available to us and receive His mercy, strength and love so that we can pour those very same attributes into our children and give them good, moist, strong bones. Regardless of our moods, they are going to grow and have memories of their home. Memories of you. A relationship with you.

Let’s make their bones strong with what we can deposit. 

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Phillipians 4:13

Let the truth of God nourish your bones today, mom.

 

 

Your Choice

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Weary–Not!!

 

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For anyone who is feeling tired (ok, so you didn’t work out today), in need of grace (because even as moms, we blow it), longing to respond to circumstances in truth and with integrity (as we are often led by our emotions, feel pulled in the direction of what the world says we should be or swayed by the opinions of others), fighting for focus (we are sometimes scattered or distracted) and needing strength (we are at times, simply put, weak), God guarantees our success in all areas.  “My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law. I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.” Psalm 119:29-30

Oh mom, mothering is hard work. Where are you needing rest today? God really does want to partner with you and guide you in the journey. Look to Him and He will give you what you need to take the right steps.  Steps taken in His might, not your own. He is right beside you.

Where are you needing to depend on God today? One area at a time, one step at a time.

Who Were You Before?

I had the pleasure of speaking with many wonderful moms last week who shared the things they missed doing before they had children….not that they regret having children, but just miss the pieces of themselves that were there before becoming a mom–the passions and interests that made them who they are. Some shared their personal hobbies, surfing, horseback riding, even curling up with a good book. One mom shared how she misses being a good listener to her friends, another shared that she missed working while another said she missed personal, active dialogue with friends which has now been reduced to texting. What about you? Are there pieces of yourself that you long to have or miss?

New on the 1st, the 20th in January or June

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We don’t need January 1st for a new beginning nor to begin again.  Every day is an opportunity to be renewed and re-directed as God sees fit. He is always at work in you–on the 1st, the 5th or the 16th, be it January, August or October. Aside from making you a new creation (which is a huge “aside”), He is also creating new things that make you YOU.

A different you.

An even more purposeful you.

A Godly you.

When we feel frustrated with what might be happening and perhaps worried about what isn’t happening, the LORD is creating new things.  He is at work. Trimming. Cutting. Shaping. What exactly is He refining and working through?

Your pain.

Your questions.

Your doubts.

Your fears.

Your desires.

Your old ways.

Your goals.

Your knowledge.

Your direction.

Your heart.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:1-4) 

Praise God for His power to help us bear the right fruit and the personal need to abide in Him to do so. 

New happens TODAY. Each day.

Thank you God, that you care that much about us to not let us wither nor die on the vine but to prosper and become the best we can be for your glory. Thank you for the new life that you breathe into our lives and circumstances because of the old that you bore and took away through your Son.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Speech of My Soul

Image credit: ivaleksa / 123RF Stock Photo

Regret those words you just snapped? Frustrated over how you delivered what needed to be said? The tone in our voices can be as hurtful as harsh words. In the moments of impatience, we can easily blow it and we’ve then arrived at sorrow, shame and guilt. Despair can set into our beings but it needn’t stay there nor define us as moms. You are still a wonderful, well-intentioned mom!

Pray these intentional and beautiful pleas and truths at the start of your day and in the moments you desire the right response…we all need a little help with self control at times! God knows that.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you O God.” (Psalm 19:4)

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Psalm 16:24

New Happens Now As Well As On The 1st

Isn’t it nice that new beginnings aren’t limited to the flip of a calendar nor the stroke of a hand as it clicks to 12a? Thank God we don’t have to wait for a whole new year to pass before a new start arrives. We have the opportunity to become new DAILY.  “And I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will removed the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”  (Ezekiel 36:26)

What new work are you needing from God? Will you pray and ask Him for that something new and trust Him to be working? Perhaps pray and ask Him to reveal what He thinks that “something new” should be.

 

A Plan for You

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

If you feel disheartened, discouraged or anything in that “what’s the point or why bother?” category, cling to this promise above. God STILL has a plan, even when events seem completely upside down, confusing or lack order or purpose.

Trust in God.

Pencil, Don’t Pen,Your To-Do List

The end of your year will be history in a matter of days; the newness of a future year lights up the December corner.

If it were one year ago, and someone had told you exactly what was going to happen this past year, how would you have responded? Had someone told me what my past year was going to look like, I would have checked myself into the Four Seasons…in Hawaii!

What was ahead would be agony over a decision to switch schools for one of my daughters. Was I really going to uproot her from a place we both loved? Yes.  Personally having to undergo significant surgeries in response to a pathology report that came back with results one doesn’t want to hear….I have to walk that road? Yes. Miraculously getting hired back at my old job after 10 years only to have it fall through at the last minute. Sorry, did that really just happen? Yes. The shocking news of a friend who would be diagnosed with a tumor….please repeat that. I am sure I misheard those words. You didn’t. Nor would I mishear the news of other friends who would be burdened with health-related issues.  Them too? Yes.

I had PLANS for this last year. Hopes. Goals. I had my “to-do” list.

What happened?

I was re-directed.

So was my time.

My energies.

I had no say. No input.

Different priorities, people and needs took their rightful place at the top of my “to-do” list.

Items got re-shuffled.

But for the better.

Twelve new months are before you, Mom.  A year from now, you will know what took place in the year to come. Of course, you have no way of seeing what each month will bring in your life, the lives of your children and in the lives of those close to you.  What’s going to come up? We don’t know, but we can know the One who holds whatever does come up. There’s a bigger picture in what’s happening.

What are you hopeful for, mom? Are there goals you want to pursue? Things you haven’t gotten to that will get transferred over to the 2014 calendar? Are your intentions specific? They might be crystal clear or murky. That’s okay. Very often, we are not clear on a lot of things.

But God is.

He doesn’t need us to be clear about our goals in order to work.

He IS always clear on what is best.

Even when we have a different opinion. I know, because I have often disagreed and had my own say as to how I think things should go. But He is patient and merciful, and allows me to have my pity parties until I am ready to come out from my crybaby corner.

Once again, perhaps like you, I will start the year with a list of goals that are meaningful and that I want to attain for myself and for my family but I know that I have little control over how far I’ll get. I think I have control, but as I live out each day and days turn into weeks and weeks turn to months, I look back and see that I am SO not in control. Just as I set-out in one direction, God often takes me in another.

Has this been true for you?

The desires of my heart can only be met by a God who has created me and who has specific plans and purpose(s) for my life, including work, ministry, my health, friendships, my husband and children. God has a to-do list for them as well as for me and I may very well be a vessel He uses in their lives to help accomplish His purposes. If I don’t pray about direction and priorities and submit my goals and hopes to Him, I don’t think I can receive the best He has for my life, nor can the people in it receive their best, and “my plans” will take shape very differently. There is His best and my best, but I’d rather have His best, or at least pray for the desire to want His best during those discouraging times when all I want to do is retreat back to my list.

Yes, my list.

But it’s not about me. It’s about bringing glory to God and to His to-do list.

I have learned that God is patient and not nearly as much in a hurry as I am in moving on to the next agenda item. He’s more concerned about our process through something than our reaching the end of something.  I have also learned that the parts of  life that I thought defined me, really don’t.

So the bottom line?

Write your to-do list in pencil and set it aside (the list, not the pencil).

Pray. 

Wait.

Trust and watch…

…how God directs you through your list. No matter what the next year brings, you can have hope that He IS your hope in all new things to come, including leftover things or things that are pending; the unexpected news, the beautiful joys and the surprises.

He is the One “to do” you can count on and you’ll be amazed as to how your list looks when He heads the top.