Morning Glory: Not

And then there are the mornings…..unbelievable how some of them go….how we go. Okay, how I go. I shouldn’t throw you into my mix.

We can plan how we are going to handle a situation (determined, fierce, go into whatever it is we are facing like gangbusters) or equally, be impulsively reactive. Guilty! I admit it, I am a huge reactor. I need a human, built-in “pause” button app. Come on Apple, can’t  you craft one of those?

“Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:12-14)

I think when we pray for God to change our hearts and attitudes, the words we speak, the tones we use and the responses we have are calmer, purer, firm yet still loving, patient, steady and just plain old pleasing…to everyone and to the One who has HIS hand over our lives. Our emotions. Our fears. Our anxieties.  And isn’t everyone happier all around? Don’t we spend less time apologizing and more time conveying truth yet without the harshness, hurt and defensiveness that causes others to have pain? The pattern can create a vicious cycle.

Yes, things are going to aggravate us. People are going to hurt us and treat us and/or our kids unfairly. Should we pray for people to change and for their hearts to be softened? Sure. But more important, we need to pray for our hearts to be changed because the world is full of pain, unfairness and problems and we need to live with some of that muck and live with it well and righteously. Our right, Godly response is a far greater tool to have in our arsenals than the elimination of the problem in some explosive way. Let’s pray that God would shape our hearts since everything we are about comes from its condition. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:22)

We do have power, we do have control and we do have the ability to take the high road when life presents the low ones. Why? Because God can take our hearts and molds them to be pretty awesome, and that’s because we are pretty redeemed.

And then afternoon will come with a fresh, new start….

Lost & Found

“But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.” 2Chronicles 15:4

We look for so many things each day, don’t we? When we can’t find something, we stress and worry yet when our children lose something, stress and worry, we do our very best to help them through their anxiety, comforting them by letting them know that it’s okay, they’ll find what they are looking for, what’s missing will turn up.  As moms, we travel around the house searching for the toy that appears to have hidden on its own, for the other flip flop that looks as if it hopped away or for the homework that is by your child’s every recollection, complete and thought to have been placed in the backpack.  Lost things….sigh. Usually found, sometimes not.

We don’t have to scramble when looking for God.  He is always there, always waiting for us and always available. He may not be visible, He may not always speak to us in an audible voice, but He is present. We find Him in prayer, in the scriptures and within our hearts and spirit.  He is near and can always be found–for the big things and the small, and for everything in between. We just need to look.

So look for Him today in all that you are doing, Mom.

He may even know where that flip flop is hiding.

 

Finding Rest in Unrest

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” Psalm 62:5 Even in the carefreeness of summer, there can still be an unfreeing feeling of unrest and at times, hopelessness as we continue through the different seasons of our days.  There are still struggles, there are still challenges we battle as moms, as women. Some of you battle with a habit that seems to plague you over and over again and you are tired of it–wanting it to change or to just stop. Perhaps it’s the battle of not yelling, or the battle of waiting something through until it ends.  You may be experiencing unrest in feeling just plain old worn out. Today, if any of this describes where you are at, perhaps you can find rest not in your circumstances changing the way you need them to, but in God–for in Him, we can find true restoration, correction and hope for that something new needed in our circumstances. See what He has for you today as you put your trust in Him for the hope and newness you are needing in your life. He will meet you where you are at and surprise you in new and in unexpected ways!

Related Scripture References:

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2

“To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.”  Psalm 25:1

“You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:5

Patience Perseveres

Patience and perseverance go hand-in-hand like peanut butter and jelly, cream in coffee, cheese atop French bread.  You really need one in order to effectively (or in the case of food, enjoyably!) have the other. This could never be more true than in our roles as moms.

There is so much we wait for as moms, huh? We wait to get through difficult stages, phases and seasons but those times are as necessary as the wonderful times we relish in because we’re parents, and in our job, lays a mixed bag of challenges and joys that we experience, face, teach, handle, and yes, even put up with. Our bags may look very much the same in some ways yet contain things that are uniquely characteristic of our own lives. Sometimes the contents can feel like weights though they ought not to weigh us down. Ahhhh, big distinction, right?

When we look at the bigger picture of what our role is and what’s involved, we know that piece by piece, if we were to break down our jobs, that there are many facets to our parenting. Yes, there are days and phases we can’t wait to get through nor wait to witness change in.  First steps, sleeping through the night, temper tantrums, waiting for life’s lessons to kick in, understanding to resonate, responsibility to take shape. We wait for so much in our own lives and even more in the lives of our children. Not that we can control our lives, but dealing with ourselves seems so much easier since we are in control of our own selves but not so much in control of our children…especially as they grow older and form their own ideas, habits and practices. As a result, our jobs can sometimes feel tougher.

So where do we go with all this? Is this just good jargon for a journal entry or can we take something away to anchor into a little more deeply? How do we wait or endure through the various seasons that come with our roles? Some of us are dealing with some pretty tough stuff.  How do we wait with hope and expectation and not  anxiety, worry and fear?

We know that God has appointed us in our roles and like any boss, chief or commander, will equip us with what we need in order to do our jobs well. Part of doing our jobs well is believing and knowing that God’s plans for us and for our children are good ones, by His authorship. That doesn’t mean everything good will happen to them, but I think it means that everything necessary for His good within them will, and He has appointed YOU to guide them on their journey. And that, dear moms, is a perspective I think we have to have so that we can have the patience to endure through the challenging parts.

Your job is to deliver your child to the finish line of his lifelong race with discipline, love and instruction. If you keep you eyes on that “unseen” faith that the author of Hebrews writes about (faith being something that we believe and trust to be true though unseen), I believe whole-heartedly, that God will develop patience and perseverance in you so you can run the race well with your child. You are on the path that God has marked out for you and you have the child(ren) that He has given you. If you focus on Him, I can promise that He will develop patience and perseverance in you, and the chaos on the sidelines, all the things in those mixed bags, will become secondary. They will take their rightful place on the sidelines and remain there and won’t define your child’s path (nor yours). What will be defining is your faith, patience and perseverance in your child’s life as he/she runs the course. So keep running. Keep cheering. Keep patiently persevering. It will be the best gift you give your child and yourself.

Then celebrate with some milk and cookies.

Scripture References

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews, 11:1)

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

“Love is patient, love is kind.” 1Cor 13:4

Endurance: Do You or Your Child Need a Dose?

When I was a teenager, I had a bunch of  sappy posters with inspirational sayings taped up like, “Sail on to the end of your dreams,”  “Take your passion and make it happen,” from Flashdance, my all time favorite movie in high school, and many more sayings that I won’t bore you with. (Thank you Hallmark store for having provided the wall decor during that oh-so important time.)  But there was one poster hanging with a saying that we all know is true that I find myself thinking about, not only in my own life but in the lives of my children:  “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”  In layman’s terms: don’t give up.

Endurance: withstanding lasting difficulty.

There is a tough decision between the act of forging ahead or throwing in the towel, and again, each circumstance has its own factors that support either argument–only you as the parent can be discerning enough to know what a situation calls for through prayer, wisdom and personal insight and perspective from your own life experiences.  Wanting to bail out can present itself as an option in many situations that are challenging; there is no shortage of them.  There’s the not-wanting-to-participate on a particular sports team with a screaming, strict coach, challenging relationships, working for a poorly run organization, a disparaging boss, the list goes on in our lives and in the lives of our children.

We have all had those times when we are called to endure yet when it comes to our children, we want to protect them from hardship. I know I need to be careful of that line, for protecting might mean they don’t develop a character trait tied to the lesson of seeing something through with the realization that there are difficult and challenging people and situations in life, throughout life. The world is not perfect. Man is not perfect. The ability to endure has to be taught by pressing on and through. (And please know I am not advocating remaining in situations that are just plain inappropriate, hurtful, unjust or go against your values, ideals and morals. Again, you know what’s what.)

Where in your or your child’s life is God asking you to endure a difficult situation? If there is a place, let Galatians 6:9 encourage you: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will recap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Father, I pray that you would gently build endurance into ___________’s life. Give ________a heart that helps her to keep on pressing on even when she/he faces discouragement and is tempted to give up. (Adapted from While They Are Sleeping, by Anne Arkins and Gary Harrell, published by Family Life, 2010)

Recommended Scripture:

Endure hardship as discipline: God is treating you as sons. For what sons is not disciplined by his Father?” (Hebrews 12:8)

“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…” (Col 1:10)

“Truthful lips endure forever.” (Proverbs 12:19)

And finally, as we endure, “Let us encourage one another.” (Heb 10:25)