Focus High

Have-tos. Unresolved matters. The to-do list. Our children’s cares. Unfinished work. Interruptions. Lots going on that can feel like a brick has been put upon our spirits.

When your heart is heavy, keep plugging away at your prayer lives, moms. Keep talking to God, keep focused on Him, all the way.

When disappointment and frustration come on the scene, it is so easy for our eyes to stare at what’s before us and remain fixated on the problem…and as moms, we have a lot of concerns, questions, decisions, pulls and tugs—fix your eyes up above, pray and know that God will see you through the situation even better when your eyes are set on Him. For it is in that focus, dependence and trust where you will receive the strength, wisdom and encouragement you need instead of the discouragement and worry that comes from focusing on the parts of our problems.

Get on your knees.

Pray.

Talk to God.

He has a plan.

And it doesn’t include worry, fear or anxiety but peace, dependence and trust in Him.

If our circumstances create that greater dependence and submission, let’s thank Him. That’s a good thing because it is in those empty places of our soul where He fills us and where we experience His hand at work.

Real work.

True work.

Perfect work.

When you seek Him, the things above, you’ll experience His mighty power that will put those doubts and fears into a smaller place—where they belong, Mom.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Col 3:2

focus

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Speech of My Soul

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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.

 

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