We are more than conquerers through him who loved us. -Romans 8:37
Head: Self-care and self-improvement...we are all trying to improve ourselves in. some form or fashion. We may be working out to become more fit , eating clean to be healthier, reading to become wiser., or paying attention to others to be more loving. We want success in everything we do from business to personal relationships and we try so hard to be "good enough."
In the end, we sometimes find we are wearing ourselves thin, we are exhausted and we are still chasing that ever elusive "balance". There aren't many self help or motivational books these days that tell us the truth...we will never attain it on our own. The verse above reminds us that we are more than conquerers through Him. The One who saves and gained victory over sin and death, He is our strength were we are weak. It is Christ who allows us to do all the things we are capable of doing.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. - 2 Corinthians 12:9
Heart: The good news is, we can stop trying so hard to be "good enough". The reality is, we never will be "good enough." The world's expectations are every changing. Walking the Christian walk is not a self help or self improvement course. It's not the bestselling motivation book either, it's simply realizing that Jesus has done all the work for you. As moms, we have got to put down the idea that we need to look better and do better than anyone else. We need to always remember that our Jesus takes every dirty piece of our lives and puts it on Himself. He has already suffered what we deserved to suffer and gives us righteousness in return. The only thing that matters to us as Christian mothers is that when God looks at us, He sees perfection. He sees Himself. Your fears and failures were nailed to the cross. How could we ever deny Christ the opportunity to be our salvation when He has already done it.
Boast all the more gladly about (our) weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on (us)" - 2 Corinthians 12:9
Hands: Through Christ we can open our hands to receive the rest and freedom that he invites us to live. Once you receive His gift of righteousness you are free of guilt and shame that arises when we feel we are falling short. You don't have to keep beating yourself up over not being the idea of a perfect mom. We are hard enough on ourselves as moms, we don't need the world defining for us what we should striving to achieve. Jesus already paid it all, once and for all. Just turn away from all those that are asking you to become something you were never meant to be and turn to Jesus. We weren't all supposed to be " Perfect Pinterest Moms".
It is one thing to take care of our physical, mental and spiritual self. It is quite another to feel overwhelmed when we are faced with trials and temptations of achieving worldly perfection. When we feel overwhelmed we must remember that it is through Him that we can conquer what we are facing. Stop, take a breath, and say a little prayer for help. When we come to a place that feels difficult to move forward, remember you can continue this life's journey through Him. It is through Him that we are transformed into women of God.
Prayer: Lord, I try so very hard to avoiding be weak and giving up. I sometimes find that I want more than anything to appear like I've got it all together. I know that I need You when I'm at my weakest and I do not ever want to miss that You are sufficient in those places. What a beautiful gift that is and I thank You for it. Falling short in the worlds eyes looks nothing like what You see through Yours. Where others see my weakness, I want them to begin to see strength because that is where we find You waiting every single time. Help me to seek You over and over again. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work. - Exodus 20:9-10
Head: I want to take you on a little walk down my memory lane. Take a moment to imagine. I often remember when I was a little girl and there were miles and miles of fields and forest behind our house. In that forest were trees that were begging for me to climb them. The best trees for climbing were always the ones that had long, thick branches that hung low and stretched out over the world below. I would shimmy up the trunk a bit and pull myself up until I reached the branch that looked the best for resting, one with a view. I would carefully balance my way out on the branch with each careful step and then lower myself down to sit for a little while. I would rest and take a deep breath. The work to get to the place of rest was...work. The rest itself was so rewarding. The view was always worth it.
Remember the sabbath by keeping it holy. - Exodus 20:8
Heart: Remembering to honor God with a day of rest is one of the most challenging feats there is as a mom, our work never stops. There is always someone needing something from us, always. Trying to keep God's commandment seems impossible and can feel a lot like climbing to the best branch and getting there only to find that someone needed us below before we even had a chance to sit. We often try to work through our days and weeks without losing our balance, but when we carry so much on us, it is very hard to keep balanced. Still, resting is one fo the Ten Commandments. Among the other Ten are "Do not murder" and "Do not steal", right? Resting and having a day of rest was so important that it was put right up there within the top 5, coming it at number 4. Obviously, we don't consider it okay to murder or steal, so why do we make excuses for not resting. Why do we insist on skipping this Command? Do we feel guilty? Do we feel lazy and unproductive? Maybe there is more to it that we should consider.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. - Matthew 11:28-30
Hands: When God commanded His people to rest and honor the sabbath by keeping it holy, it wasn't just to take a breather. It has a greater purpose. That greater purpose is to show the world that we are set apart. It is a distinguishing mark that sets us apart from others. This was true for God's people then and it is true for us now. we are meant to live at a different pace from the world. The world in all its restlessness will see that we belong to God. He knows that we are human and we try to skip rest. He knows that we are mothers and we can barely imagine rest. Without rest though, we can fall into a trap of living for ourselves or our families. All the while knowing that we would not have a single thing if it weren't for HIm. We have to find a way to rest and rebalance. We need a day that is at a slower pace and one that looks different than the rest of the world. It's not only for our sake but for the world's sake; so that the world sees that we are living for the One who cares enough to command us to rest.
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all the tis in them, but HE rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:11
Prayer: Lord Father, I get so very busy with my every day responsibilities and I get focused on so many other things that I tend to skip dedicating time to spend with You. Please help me to put all my priorities in order they way the should be. Bring me help when needed and help me give myself permission to rest. You promised rest for the weary and I am trusting that You will provide. A mothers work is truly never done, but Lord I need you to help me find a way. Help me to seek the kind of rest that you need me to take and help my rest be an honor to You. Give me a new perspective and a clear vision of what my day of rest should be. In Jesus holy name I pray, Amen.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Gard of Eden to work it and take care of it.
Head: Just as soon as God created the first human being, Adam, He gave him a job. He had life breathed into him, was taken to a perfect paradise, the Garden of Eden, and put to work as a care taker. He was entrusted with the responsibility and was also given authority. God handed him a precious gift, a treasure, into Adam's hands to watch over and protect as he saw fit. As Adam saw the fruit of his labor, he also found delight and enjoyment in the task of attending well to what he was given.
Heart: Isn't this true of motherhood? We are given God's greatest treasure to care for and nurture. When we had our children we were handed a great responsibility and our God trusted us with each sweet soul to raise up. God gives us work to do. Like a garden that we are to tend, our children are the fruit that we produce. Our work as mothers might feel some days like a job, the responsibility for caring for our home, raising our family, and serving the church can definitely all feel like work. It's a good work. Our Heavenly Father wants us to find enjoyment and sastisfaction as mothers. He gave each of us unique gifts and skills to raise our children up. Not one of us will raise our children the same, but we all have the same God who is our ever constant guide. He wants us to view our work and effort as a service to Him.
I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil - this is the gift of God. -Ecclesiastes 3:12-13
Hands: Our motherhood is a gift to us. It is a work that uses our intellect, love, resources, strengths, and creativity to produce productive and useful adults who will one day continue the work that you have started in them. Your influence in their daily lives today, will shape them into the men and women God will use for more good work. We must also be careful not to fall into the trap of working for work's sake, to idolize our children in such a way that we love them more than the Father who gave them life. We must give our children back to Him daily. They were His first and He loves them more than we can ever imagine. Giving them back daily helps to remove worry and stress as we are trusting God to be sufficient in all the places we can not be. Our work might feel tedious and never ending, but only if we don't see God's bigger vision, His eternal perspective. Once we understand that we aren't living for today, but living for eternity, we care rest in that God is always sovereign.
Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God. - 1 John 3:1
Prayer: Lord Father, thank you for the gift of work that you have given me in raising my child(ren). Help me to always remember that I am serving You when I work to be the mother my child(ren) needs me to be. Give me wisdom and strength to do a good work. Lord, I will do my very best for You, but where I fall short I trust that You are sufficient to meet our needs. Help me keep a perspective that You loved us first and so my work will always be honored by You and I will see the fruit of my labor. Thank You Lord, In Jesus precious name I pray, Amen.
... "Cheer up!
On your feet!
He's (Jesus) is calling you.
I have been reading the story of Bartimaeus for a few weeks now, his story just keeps coming up. Recently, I found myself sitting cross legged on the couch, Bible open, reading this man's story with an eye patch over my right eye.
A day earlier I had purchased a beautiful new quilt for my bed at a steal of deal and was so excited to throw it out over my bed. As I was unpacking the quilt I found that there was a piece of cardboard that it was wrapped around to make it hold it's shape in the packaging. I pulled hard because I wasn't being patient enough to unfold the quilt first. After a second, the quilt gave up that cardboard piece and it me in the eye. I didn't blink it happened so fast. It hurt so bad but after a bit I went back to spreading the quilt out on my bed. The next day was not so fantastic. I developed an infection and my eye was bruised. So with antibiotic ointment and a patch to keep my eye closed, here I find myself reading the story of Bartimaeus, a blind beggar.
I've been very protective of my "good eye" since my right eye took a turn for the worse My fear was that if something happened to it, I'd be blind. I have thought a great deal about the time my oldest son, Cooper, almost lost an eye. It was one of my most frantic moments as a mom. We'd been invited to a fall festival at a friends house. There were always games and good food. One of the games was one you see at carnivals regularly, dart throwing...at bouncy balloons. As I stood watching Cooper step up and take hold of dart and carefully aim it at the board stapled with balloons I had a split second thought, "that dart is going to bounce off a balloon and hit someone in the eye". No sooner did the thought cross my mind did I see the dart leave his little hand, flip in the air, bounce off a balloon and project right into his eye.
The next image that will remained burned in my brain forever is of my son shaking his head, and a dart swinging back and forth from his eye socket. He was screaming, the girl helping with the game calmly pulled the dart out, and blood poured out. Not once did I feel afraid, a strange calm came over me and all I could do was keep telling my son that everything would be okay. We rushed him to the emergency room, to find out that the dart had completely missed his eye and had actually just hit bone near the socket of his eye. A fraction over and he could have been blinded for life.
All these thoughts about vision and our physical eyes running through my head and the Lord gives me Mark 10:46-52 to read and study on. I keep coming back to this story. Today, I found that the words "Cheer up!" jumped off the page.
As Mom's we get hyper focused on the things that are going on or wrong with our kids. I know I do, my kids may have a super positive day at school with lots of WINS! Then, I open the folder and find a bad grade from last week. I don't shrug it off, I address it, we talk about it, I focus on it, and worry about the consequence. We live in a world where society expects parents to be held accountable for their children, our children reflect our parenting and we want to be perfect parents. Don't believe me, check out Instagram or the highlight reel on Facebook. We want the world to think we are perfect Moms. The reality is, in order to achieve that, in private we get bogged down on righting the wrongs and in public we appear to be celebrating the WINS when in fact we have been blinded by the mistakes and losses!
Bartimaeus may have been blind but he also was not a cheery beggar. He was a beggar because he believed the one part of him that crippled him morning, noon, and night was what defined him. He couldn't see. He had no vision. So, he sat outside the gates of Jericho begging. The Word of God even goes as far as to tell us that he was the Son of Timaeus. He was someone's son! He had a family that, to God, was worthy to be mentioned. As a parent, I imagine he always had a home, a place to rest, food to eat, and so much more. However, he chose to do nothing but sit at the gates and beg. He was hyper focused on his disability... until he encountered Christ.
It all started when he had a shift in his belief. One second, he believed he would be blind and useless, a beggar forever. The next second, he heard that Jesus was coming and his belief shifted to healing, if he could just be healed of this one affliction he would be right as rain. The people told him to sit down and be quite and accept his fate as a blind beggar but no, Bartimaeus no longer had ears to hear either. All he wanted was the Son of David to have mercy on him.
Jesus is calling you!
With faith, ask.
Receive & Follow.
Changed & Able.
Serve, along side Christ.
This simple story had such an impact on me in prayer, as a mom. The world will cripple our children's faith. The world will tell them to sit down and be quite. The world will tell them to continue to be hyper focused on what makes us unique and different. The world will tell them that it's okay to remain unchanged. The world will tell them that they should accept their earthly position. The world will tell them that they aren't worthy to be more or do more. The world will whisper lies into our children. Don't believe me? Have you read the headlines lately?
With a joyful heart, get ready, because Jesus is calling us as moms to have faith and ask. He is calling us to rise up and approach Him concerning our children. He is calling us to believe. He is offering us the answers, the help, the guidance, the healing, the miracles, the strength, the ability, to follow Him. All we have to do is ask in faith, receive, and follow. We can not encounter Jesus and not be changed. We can not stand before the throne of our Lord Father and ask the things we need to ask in His Son's name and not expect to receive. Sister, ask and receive! Be changed, be able.
Serve along side Christ in raising up His sons and daughters. Follow Him because you've seen Him that is worthy to be followed.
My two oldest boys and I had eye doctor appointments today after school was over. When I walked in I started filling out paperwork on each of us and asked that they just sit still. Of course, Evan my 12 year old is holding a paper airplane. It's his new obsession. I told him that he had better not fly his paper airplane in the doctors office and even gave him the side eye that I meant business. I stressed that if I saw it fly then he would be grounded from making paper airplanes for life (the extreme consequence offered was to counter the extreme desire to fly that piece of folded paper). Within a few minutes, he said "Look, Mom! It landed in Gunner's hair." My response... "It landed?" He quickly pulled it from his little brothers hair and stood very still. I went back to filling out forms.
I never actually saw the plane fly so I just gave him the side eye again for a second to check to make sure he wasn't throwing it. After we all had our exams, I was standing and waiting to check out when out of the corner of my eye I saw the arm motion that could only mean he was projecting his plane forward. As I turned with my mouth open to scold him and say "you're grounded" the plane exited his hand, swooped, and landed in his other hand. So, my mouth said nothing and instead I picked my jaw up off the floor. He had somehow folded this piece of paper so perfectly that it was more like a yoyo than an airplane.
Was I upset he disobeyed me? Yes. Did I get onto him? Yes. What my first reaction one of awe and wonder? Absolutely. So the words that eventually came out were, "That's so cool! Sit down." We later had a talk about obedience but I also thanked him for showing me what he could do. He amazes me. I sometimes don't know what to do with his uniquely, perfectly creative mind and I need help at times understanding him.
See, my boy, with all his talent and creativity, struggles. Between having two different types of auditory processing disorders, concept imagery disfunction, and being legally blind in one eye; he often feels like... less. The world makes him feel that way and there are probably many times that I do as well. The gifts God gave each of my children amaze me and certainly being mother to 5 children with such differences between them all, shows me exactly how individually special we are to this world and there is great purpose in that. Difference is important and unity is important. Being all the same, that is not what we are created to be.
...to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as you love yourself is more important than all burnt offering and sacrifices. - 2 Peter 1:5-8
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this cones from the Lord who is the Spirit. - 2 Corinthians 3:18
I had read the scriptures about going from glory to glory as abovd above just before reading the 2 Peter scripture.
If we are to become more and more like Christ each and every single day, being changed from moment to moment, then not only am I to love my God, my Savior, with all my heart, mind, and strength but I am also to love my children in such a way. The part of the 2 Peter scripture that truly touched my soul was "with all your understanding". Where my children are concerned, I have a deep, deep desire to know more about them, the way God sees them. My dreams and aspirations for my children do not compare to those our Father has for them.
My prayer as a mother has changed over the years, covering them as the needs arise. As they grow older and approach the age that I begin to see the transition into adulthood, I begin to pray more and more for their future selves. God is very revealing in prayer and is ready to speak to us about our children. In the moments I have asked for guidance and understanding with all my mother heart, He has never failed to give me what I need through His gentle whisper and His Word.
If you too have a desire to spend more time in prayer for your children, gaining strength as a mother, to develop understanding, and to learn how to love their uniqueness while nurturing their spirits, join me here. Join me in prayer, as we pray for our children and pray to become the best mothers we can be to the souls God has trusted us to raise up.
Here! Hold My Crown! Is a forthcoming devotional for mothers. Written by Aimee Larsen, a mother of 5 children. She walked through having a premie, infertility, miracles, foster care, and adoption.