Need a Crossing Guard?

Going somewhere, mom? Need some assistance crossing a dangerous intersection or slippery slope?  “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8)

What encouraging words to hear from Moses as he addresses the Jewish nation prior to his death and just before they are going to head to the Promised Land God has prepared for them. But Moses knows the people are fearful, anxious and worried.

Sound familiar?

As moms, we know these feelings fully.

Moses tells the Jewish nation that they will not cross the Jordan but that God himself will cross “over ahead of you.” (Deut 31:3)  In other words, God will do the crossing for them. Then Moses told Joshua to be strong and courageous as he takes the people into the new land. He is the one for the job and he is the one God will accompany.

Joshua just has to be obedient, trust and show up for the call.

What job is God calling you to do today? Can you trust that He will accompany you as well?

The same promise holds true for us when we have to venture out into the unknown, into that seemingly “scary” place or take an action that makes our knees buckle. The unfamiliar. The unwanted. The “really, do I have to do that?” situation or place. We do have to do it.

But not alone.

Are you able to take these words in from the same God today, Mom? Wherever you are stepping, wherever you have to go, know that God goes before you and you can trust Him through the entire journey to see you through to the other side.  With God, you have no reason to fear and plenty of reason to cross.

Once you get to the other side, you have no idea what He has waiting for you.

But first, you have to cross.

Your Steps Today

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One step at a time, moms. Much awaits our children but we don’t accomplish teaching them everything they need to know in a day nor even a week but over time. Lots of time.

Through do-overs.

Repetition.

Mistakes and mishaps.

Lots of repeats in this business, huh?

And….through joys and fun times, laugh-outloud comments and silliness….let’s not forget those. God works the same way in us. There are hundreds of steps we are climbing in the course of a lifetime….we don’t climb the whole staircase ourselves. If we were to, we’d be overwhelmed and probably run back down…to the basement! There are days I am sure we all feel like doing that, just like there are days when it’s hard for a kid to be a kid (even in Australia, right?!) but we hold our children’s hands through those days just like God holds ours. And He doesn’t ask us to endure those days alone. He is with us and provides support.

Through His presence.

Through His Word.

Through the Company of others.

He brings back-up. Support. Faithful friends and family. He is God and can do all things. And wants to do those things for you.

Where is God bringing you as you parent in this season of mothering? What small step is He asking you to make?

A step of trusting in Him?

Waiting on Him?

Changing?

Getting rid of something undesirable?

Stepping out of your comfort zone?

A step of change?

A step of attitude or adjustment (or an attitude adjustment?!)

Whatever staircase you are climbing and stepping on (and even if you are stopping for a bit before having to take the next step), God can be trusted on the way up, the way down (if need be), and even on the landing if you are between steps. He is our faithful guide and protector who won’t let us fall. He has has a plan, remember?

Of all the steps you are taking, be sure not to lose sight of that one, mom.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Keep climbing, mom. You are doing great!

 

 

 

Brownie or Not, God’s Got the Plate

 

Image credit: bhofack2 / 123RF Stock Photo

 My how quickly can our good intentions and goals get overshadowed by the reality of old ways.   Where we have vowed to give up sugar, we  have nibbled with delight on something brown. With fierce determination where we have committed to have more self control, that impatient tone of voice returns.

Don’t despair, Mom. God is in control even 48 hours into the New Year.

Keep praying. Keep your goals ahead of you. Keep God in front and He will lead you to the places He wants you to be. To the habits He wants you to have. To the tasks He wants you to take on.

He can give you discipline.

He can give you self control.

He can give you patience.

All your wants and good intentions are still real and He will equip you to accomplish them. Or, He’ll turn you around and show you what He wants to accomplish through you.

He will strengthen you.

And He will carry you when you fall.

There is still a next time. New Year or Not.

His grace is sufficient in your failings and mistakes because of His love for you.

So if you eat the brownie or lose patience with your children, stop and pray for what you need in that moment and in the ones to come. By turning to Him, you can approach your goals, intentions and future opportunities with a fresh start and the right perspective.

His.

No matter how many hours into 2014 you are, turning to Him for strength and for your plans is the right direction to move. He’s got the plate–crumbs and all, and He’s got you.

 

Scripture References

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

“Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:13)

“I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Need New?

Do you ever wish you could be different? Maybe you long for a part of yourself to be different or changed…especially as moms, where we often find ourselves repeating patterns, behaviors or approaches that we may not like so much.

This season can perhaps consider hunkering down into the truth that God is a creator of new things….lots of things. He is super creative and always on the go doing new things with us and in us.

New perspectives

New attitudes

New Ideas

New habits

New realizations

New growth

New approaches

New healing

New ways

What can you go to God with today and ask Him to renew? Is there just one thing?

Perhaps He will renew a life that becomes new, rooted in the act of taking our mistakes and mishaps and dying for them so you don’t have to live with their painful consequences.  A life that will be rooted in eternity, peace, comfort, hope, joy…a life with our Maker who walks with us now and forever.

“See the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” Is 42:8

Try something new today,  Mom. And if you already have, continue to have the hope that God is always creating something new in you.

Now and forever.

 

The Song You Aren’t Singing

We are all singing different songs today, aren’t we? Perhaps you are far from feeling like you want to sing or your song isn’t very cheery. Some songs are more like cries or pleas that come from a scared, desperate or concerned place, either for our children, loved ones, or ourselves.  There are songs we can barely sing because we are just plain old tired or we maybe we have lost our desire, our passion, our light. We don’t want to sing. Maybe we are too busy to sing. Too worried to sing. Too weak. Maybe even sick. On the other hand, we have songs of joy and gratitude or blends and combinations of high notes and low. Maybe we are just bursting with songs of praise and thanksgiving.

For those of you who are not, you can sing a sad song.

That is okay.

If you can’t sing at all, that works, too. You are just not there. Many of us have days where we aren’t.

Where can you go for a song? For words and notes that are uplifting, that have meaning? Hhmm…I have a place. Yes, but I mean after Disneyland. And oh yes, after the chocolate cupcake with white icing and sprinkles. Actually, before.

Scripture. Prayer. One Another.

Will you let God put a new song in your heart, today through Him and through His vessels?

But you don’t know what I am dealing with. True. But God does.

But this is bad, things are SO bad.  God knows how bad. He has walked the bad. The ugly. The unthinkable.

But I just can’t get a grip…and I am worried, and scared and I am out of answers. God is powerful. Your Creator. He is involved. He already knows the outcome. He has the answers.

If you are awaiting results of something and are fraught with fear,  if you are worried about something with your child or are so doggone weary you don’t know how you are going to make it till 4:00 let alone 9:00 p.m., know this:

God can carry the tune when you can’t.

God hears the melody of your heart, the words to your desires, the inflection of your voice when you have a question that is circling about. You may not be able to give yourself a new song, but He can. He is pretty amazing that way. When you can’t lift your voice to sing, He can give you the ability and the means.  Your new song might not be void of pain but can be filled with direction, strength, focus, confidence, wisdom or trust.  Will you let Him give you that song to rest in the benefits? If you do, the tune you are humming might just take you through the day on a new, meaningful note.

And you can sing that truth all the way to Disneyland or to your favorite cupcake.

Scripture References

“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love, for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 59:16

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:3

“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.” Psalm 96

 

 

How is God Potty Training You?

Potty Training is messy, isn’t it, moms? Remember when you were teaching your child how to master this? Sometimes aspects of life are yucky and uncomfortable…we want clean, comfortable, familiar and quick. When our toddlers want the comfort of their diaper, we know we need to encourage them through this necessary process so they can successfully reach their next stage of development despite the discomfort.

How might God be growing you through something messy or uncomfortable? Is there something in your life that He is using to help shape you for your next stage of development or necessary place? “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

Bread Trucks, Pursuit and Rest

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 As seen on themomcafe

In the movie, My Best Friend’s Wedding, starring Julia Roberts, a conversation between Robert’s platonic pal, George (Rupert Everett) and Julianne (Roberts) suggests that it’s a man’s job to pursue the woman in a dating relationship. The fact that this lecture takes place as Julianne is desperately driving a bread truck she has stolen down Michigan Avenue in pursuit of her best friend while talking on her cell phone to George, makes the conversation that more entertaining:

“Michael’s chasing Kimmy?” (George)

“Yes!” (Julianne)

“You’re Chasing Michael?”(George)

“Yes!” (Julianne)

“Who is chasing you? Nobody. There’s your answer. Jules, you are not the one.”  (George)

Ahh, an honest friend.

But this post isn’t about a man pursing a woman in a dating relationship.

It’s about God’s pursuit of you.

As moms, we do a lot of chasing, pursuing, carrying, lifting and supporting.  I am sure you have flopped down on the couch many times and sighed, “I wish someone would carry me!” (to the spa for a massage, right?!) And for single moms, oh just to have someone to help with the load.  If you are dating or not dating, maybe your desire is for someone to pursue you.  I hope that if you are in a dating season, that God will deliver His very best to you…your own Dermot Mulroney!

Know moms, that today, whatever or whomever you are chasing, there is someone who DOES carry your burdens and who carries you as well.  As you chase, as you run, as you sustain your little ones and your responsibilities (at times like a crazy woman driving a bread truck down a busy, city street, believe that God sustains you.) Let God pursue you.

He wants to give you rest.

He wants to give you freedom from your burdens. Hurts. Past mistakes. He wants to give you freely His salvation.  He wants to give you joy. Peace. Comfort.  He is the true sustainer and lifter of our heads. He is available and doesn’t need chasing, tracking down or pursing. He is at your side, pursuing you and you don’t have to do anything crazy to get His attention, nor prove yourself. There’s no panic or reason to react frantically.

He is the bread.

Your foundation.

Your sustenance.

“I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4 

Sharp Edges that Don’t Have to Pierce

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“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9 Do you have those times where as a mom you think, “I handled that so well,” or, I am so on top of my game here, I am doing great. I know my kid, I know how to handle things, I know their needs and wow, I am doing pretty good here.”

And then…..crash!

We can hear the sound of brokenness, the clatter of destruction echoing throughout our being. Their sharp edges pierce our hearts and dent the flow of what we know is right and true in our minds.  We slip. We fall. We BLOW it. We think, “I am the worst possible mom there is! How could I have responded that way, said ______,  made that decision to____, or….?”

If you are sweeping up  broken pieces today, take comfort in knowing that we are made strong through our weaknesses as the Apostle Paul said. God gives us the strength and correction we need in those difficulties we come back from and when we disappoint our children and ourselves because of our weaknesses. In those times when we are weak, as Paul said, “then I am strong.”

Paul  delighted in his “hardships, in persecutions and in difficulties” (2Cor 12:10) for it was in those trials that he was able to endure because of God’s power, not his own.  We are no different. We have our weaknesses, we have our own personal persecutions, hardships and difficulties but we have the power of Christ. “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2Cor 12:9.

Today, if you crash,  you can rest in the healing strength and power of God.  If you didn’t have struggles, you wouldn’t need nor possess the strength God gives you. And it’s in the crashes and broken pieces of our lives where we can discover wholeness, rest and true healing that comes only from His power and love.

Let that truth dull the sharp edges that cut to give you the soothing strength you need today.

Where do you need God’s strength today, mom?