The Mom (#jammed daily devo, day 354)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 354: Aim for average.

Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. Luke 2:29 NLT

Motherhood is ridiculous. It completely changes us from the inside out. The outside DECJAM20starts falling a part, and the inside grows more rapidly than our emotions can keep up with. Every concern about what society wants to squeeze the outside of us into disappears when the inside catches a glance of the reason(s) we’re able to claim motherhood to begin with.

Imagine the lessons Mary learned as the mother of the Son of God. She was still just a mom! A very special person, but just a mom. A faithful servant, chosen by God. She just said, “OK” to her God. Few of us know exactly how much children will change us until they get here. I can’t imagine Mary knew the grand scope of the way her heart would be moved by heaven from the manger to the cross.

The most important part of motherhood is being there, and she was. From His birth to His death on the cross …from one pendulum of pain to another, she was there. How was she there for Jesus? Just like we are there for our children. God purposely places our children in our care.

Do we, as mothers, know how much like Mary we are?

By simply saying, “OK” to God, each day of motherhood, we are honoring Him and guiding them to His feet.

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Father, Praise You for Mary, and the wonderful example of Motherhood she gives us. Thank You for motherhood. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to drown in the sheer hardship of if, and embrace the purpose that You laid in us. Bless us to guide our children to Your feet, and to teach them to listen to Your voice over all others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Stepping,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

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The Ice Circles (#jammed daily devo, day 350)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 350: Let it Go.

“I will never again remember…” Hebrews 10:17

“I can’t believe we’re having this conversation again …” I droned, and my daughter’s DECJAM16eyeball conquered. We spend a lot of time discussing the same issues.

“What should I do, mom?” she asked.

“Be kind, and include,” I repeated, after deleting all of the other thoughts and sentiments I swirling around in my head.

“Remember, it’s not about what we want to do,” I told her, “but what we’re here on this earth to do.”

Later that morning, I had noticed some ice circles on my walk. Strange, how the ice just froze in circles like that. “That’s what all these never-ending lessons remind me of …” I thought to myself, “frozen circles.”

 

When our patience comes under rapid-fire, as Christians we are called to keep our cool.

Today’s verse quotes a prophecy about a day when the Lord would no longer require sacrifice for sin.

“The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant” (Jeremiah 31:31) …And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”(Jeremiah 31:34)

It’s repeated in the New Testament, as are a lot of OT prophesies. There’s a lot to be said, and a lot that’s been studied, about repetitive behavior. These conversations that we repeat with our children are opportunities disguised as annoyance. As Christians, we live our lives in repetitive format. Each day, spending time in prayer and the Word, and then applying it to our lives the best we humanly can.

The very fact that Scripture is repetitive should tip us off to the fact that God has us wired to be creatures of habit and routine.

The next time we can’t believe we’re having “that” conversation again, let’s try to remember that it’s simply a parental process of repetition. The seeds we’re planting need time to grow and mistakes to be applied to.

Our children are listening. Our God is speaking. He remembers us, but forgets our sin.

He’s cleared off the mess of sacrifice so that we can fill that space with what He’s repeating to us, now. “I will never again remember….” so that we can accept forgiveness, and focus on the good fight of faith.

Jesus’ birth changed everything. It’s a story to be repeated for all time. He took the weight of sacrifice off of us, and bore that burden until He squashed it on the cross. Christmas is a time to repeat the magnitude of His birth. Freeze that circle. Repeat that story. Let it keep moving and growing and revealing more and more with each rotation.

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Father, Praise You for ice circles, and what the simple elements of nature lay waiting to teach us each day. Thank You for placing us in such a beautiful atmosphere, and forgive us for mistreating or walking by Your wonders. Bless us to notice and repeat Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Circling,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

 

 

The Picture Pages (#jammed daily devo, day 346)

December #jammed: Grace, given.

Day 346: Picture this…

“Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits.” Colossians 3:21 (Message)

Pages and pages of pictures flipped over as the newly arrived books were broken in on DECJAM12the sinking sofa cushions. Hours and hours of memories came alive off of those pages. Smiles and laughs and salty sea air. Sandy shoes and climbed dunes. Campfires and rollercoaster rides …their lives printed out.

The hours it takes to put those books together bleeds into day and weeks. Yet, all of the time and photos that are included in the final cut are a mere fraction of the fun we’ve had over that year of their lives. It’s getting harder now, as they get older, to find the time to maintain the tradition. Some of the others are fading into the background now, and time is speeding up so fast I can barely maintain the minimum requirements.

Is this how it is supposed to be? Does the feeling of being a first-time mom ever go away?

Today’s verse instructs parents not to crush their child’s spirit.  I can’t imagine a crushing moment being included in any of those volumes. Yet, they’re there. They’ve been just as much a part of our days as the smiles we fight for. And it is a fight.

Parenting is a pendulum that swings from compassion to discipline. In the middle there is the perfect mix. If anyone ever finds it, let me know. Until then, the strategy is to cope the best we can in knowing we are not going to parent perfectly. There will be crushing moments. Moments that today’s verse reminds not to let happen on our watch.

What happens when we’ve crushed a spirit? Where do we go from there?

We remember.

Remember the babe in the manger prophesied to come when He came. Remember the child raised by a mother and father, and a man who stepped into His calling at just the right time. Even Jesus had to wait on God’s will. He lived a human life for a long time before He began performing miracles and drafting apostles.

Remember Him.

There is a reason He came to earth as a baby, grew up as a child …as a teenager! We won’t walk the earth in the perfect way He did, but we can trust that He’s been here.

When a crushed spirt is looking back at us, remember Him …and that we are not Him. Apologizing to our children takes the victory out of our enemy’s hands, and back into the hands of Jesus.

Even if we have to give ourselves the same pep-talk hundreds of times daily, keep enduring the apology. Keep going back. Keep trying. In due time, if we follow Christ with all of our hearts, the harvest will follow.

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Father, Praise You for our children, and for the patience to have survived this much of parenthood so far. Thank You for the lessons that You teach us through the children we were meant to lead back to You. Forgive us for losing it -our patience, our composure, and our sanity -and crushing our childrens’ sprits. Repair what we cannot, Father, and may they always hear Your voice above all others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Un-crushing,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

 

The Drop-off (#jammed daily devo, day 345)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 345: Graceful conversations.

“Do not drive your children mad, but nurture them in the discipline and teaching that come from the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 (VOICE)

“Do you understand me?” I repeated as we rounded the elementary school drop-off curve. DECJAM 11

In a rush to get to the part where she smiled and hugged me and didn’t want to let go as I told her I’d miss her while she was at school, I wrapped up that morning’s conversation…

“I just don’t want you to make the same mistakes that I did,” I choke back, “do you understand?”

But I knew she didn’t …and wouldn’t. That’s the hardest part of motherhood besides slowly letting go …not wanting them to repeat painful mistakes. We want so badly to prevent our children prevent from going through any shred of the same pain born of the consequences of our imperfections. The unfortunate risk we run in scrambling to run defense is completely shutting down their offense.

How do we raise our children to compassionately walk in the love of Jesus when we ourselves struggle to maintain focus? From close-up, we all feel our lives are a mess. At the same time, someone is envious of our situation.

“Do not drive your children mad …”

Yet, we drive our children mad. In an effort to love the mistakes right out of their path, we drive them mad. Doors slam, words burst, feet stomp, and we’re all mad. Looking back through the highlight reel of holiday memories, it’s the joy that stands out. The memories that stick over time are the ones laced in love. If that’s what we choose to remember, why is it so hard to focus on as it’s happening?

Ephesians 6:4 begins with “Fathers.” The verse in it’s entirety is “Fathers, do not drive your children mad …” However, in a society striving to even all scores, mothers need to wary of this advice, too.

“Fathers must surrender any right they may feel they have to act unreasonably toward their children.” -NIV Notes.

We grasp for control of our kids, abut lose our grip on the lid to our mouths. Our hearts mean well, but our flesh truly fails us. If we don’t learn to surrender our children to the feet of Jesus, we will drive them mad. Just as we are the people He drafted us to be …so are they.

Instead of picking our children a part for their faults, let’s aim to focus on their triumphs and talents, their strong points and highlights. The world is negative enough in it’s attempt to squeeze our children into a mold labeled “most successful.” What even is that?  Society’s view of “success” isn’t the point of life at all. Jesus is.

If we’re going to drive them anywhere, let’s drive them there.

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Father, Praise You for our children. That we get to witness human life grow and fly in front of our eyes is a gift. Forgive us for aiming to control the paths of our children, and for driving them mad. Bless us with the patience we need to be godly parents. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Driving,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

 

The Milestone Ornaments (#jammed daily devo, day 338)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 338: The Real Meaning, Reeled in.

“My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates my God, my Liberator!” Luke 1:46-47 (VOICE)

Moms start celebrating their babies as soon as they know a little seed has sprouted life DECJAM4inside of their womb. Sometimes, it happens even sooner than that! Nurseries are decorated and baby bump sizes are recorded. Plans are made and books are read, especially in anticipation of that first child. Every Christmas, another ornament is added to the tree in honor of that child.

The blessing of life is overwhelming for any mother …but can we imagine for a moment how Mary felt? Today’s verse is the beginning of a song that is sometimes referred to as the “Magnificat,” because the opening word, in Latin, means “glorified.” (NIV Notes) Mary’s heart overflowed in praise. I wonder how she marked the milestones of Jesus’ childhood!

Purposefully remembering the moments leading up to the manger lends new meaning to His life’s affect on ours. 

The history of my little girls is evident everywhere I gaze. Tiny baby footprints and photos of little faces. Each Christmas, we choose to mark the memories of baby Jesus’ arrival, on our Advent tree. Each day leading up to Christmas, we traditionally read a verse and attach an ornament that represents a Biblical memory of the days leading up to Jesus’ birth.

His life surrounds us. Do we know it? Can we read this passage from Mary and feel her excitement? Not just as a mother, but as a child of God? A child who knew her Father was coming to set she and her people free …through a Son she would give birth to.

Being the mother of humans is an emotional ride …but Mary …oh, how her heart must have burst in humility and grace to feel the Son of God doing somersaults in her belly, and see His sweet face lying in the manger. The young boy who would grow to perform miracles and sacrifice to save us all.

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Father, Praise You for Mary! The story You accomplished through her life, and the lessons that we are still gleaning from her humble obedience guide us and comfort us. Thank You for the special way that You minister to mothers’ hearts, and forgive us for failing to remember Your mark on every life. Bless us to guide all little feet to Yours, Jesus. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Tree-trimming!

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80.