Posted on October 26, 2020
The windshield wipers squeaked and scraped across the windshield. Misting gray skies muted brilliant colors of the changing season. Wet blacktop swished in traffic, and dreariness attempted frame the day before it had barely begun. Slumped over, choppy breaths evidence of watery eyes, my passenger clutched a cuddly elephant. School picture day meant we would eventually frame 2020 and place it on the fireplace mantel.
“What’s the matter?” I asked her. She simply shrugged and could not say. The cumulative effect of this year’s anxieties have worn her to the core. She feels beyond my reach, at times, a helpless feeling for a mom. This has been a year full of infinitely more things I cannot explain to her, definitively. Her eyes waver back and forth to me and we both wonder what tomorrow will bring and how we can possibly brace for what it will be like. I want so badly to tell her when this will all be over, that tomorrow won’t be worse, and we’ll all get through it …together.
Under normal circumstances, parenthood illustrates our daily need for God. The author of Hebrews wrote, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he said down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”(Hebrews 1:3 NIV) The Greek Word for exact defines the instrument used for engraving or carving.
Numbers, facts, and circumstances change daily in our lives. The author of Hebrews assures us exactly where Jesus is. Our Savior sits at the right hand of the Father.
Unchanging truth comes from God alone. He knows the number of our days. Nothing changes it. God is the only One who can peer beyond what we see and experience in the present moment. His Truth, alone, is trustworthy and dependable. He is good, and makes good of all things.
God is personal. Reframe the truth as such. His greatest expression of love for me was Jesus, who came to earth and died on the cross to save me from my sins …and through salvation in the Him the Holy Spirit lives in me and my soul lives eternally with Him. When our lives are built upon this Rock of truth and our faith is rooted in God’s love, we wade through the really hard things with Him.
Why, then, is it still so hard for God’s Truth to make it past the lump in my throat today? I know Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, fighting for me. Why do I feel so powerless, my prayers seemingly ignored? Because the truth about the world we live in can be pretty grim.
The world’s unfairness isn’t just a fleeting feeling, it’s a magnified fact of life on this sin-soaked earth. There is real evil in the world, intended upon stealing, killing, and destroying us. Our enemy lies. When we feel we are surrounded by unfairness and evil, lies and manipulation …it’s because we are! It’s really hard, and it can make us feel hopeless and helpless to stop it or make things right. Especially when our kids are hurting and there’s nothing we can do to fix or ease the pain.
Perspective is our rescue. Knowing what is true allows us to see through a different perspective. One of wisdom, peace, hope and love. Jesus is the way we keep moving …because when we can stand anymore …He carries us.
Letting go is the hardest task in parenting. We ache to see our kids go through pain we wish we could prevent and steer them around. Imagine how God feels about us, when we are in pain, mistreated, hurt, manipulated, and taken advantage of? We have limited power on this earth to set things right, but He is limitless. God, though we don’t understand His purposes or His timing, is in control. We may be manipulated by media, but God is in control. We may be taken advantage of by corrupt leaders, but God is in control. We may not get answers to our prayers in the way and timing we want …but He does hear us …and He will answer.
The reality of my 2020 is- I don’t know what time I’ll pick my daughter up from school today. But, no matter if it’s normal pick up time and I have her favorite snack and cuddly source of comfort waiting for her in the passenger seat, or a hug and spirit that will share in her heartache and tears, we will turn on the wipers …drive through the cold misty rain …and go home together. And I’m thankful for that …for together.
Category: Encouragement, HOME PAGE SLIDE SHOW Tagged: 2020, Encouragment, Faith, hope, Jesus, masks at school, unfairness
Posted on May 22, 2019
“Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns.’ The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.” Psalm 96:10
God is unmoved. He reigns. He is omnipotent and sovereign. I know the truth of this verse in my head, but my world has been in complete earthquake mode. All of the wheels typically fall off in May, but this Spring’s combination of heartache and stress have left deep purple circles under my eyes.
“I don’t care …fine!”
The door slammed. Round two, day four. The tween years are rapidly rushing in the gray hair. Life isn’t stopping or slowing down so I can devise a plan of attack. It’s exhausting my emotions and frying my nerves. It’s messing with the amount of sleep I depend on, and interrupting hours when the house used to be quiet enough to unwind. Some nights both kids fall asleep on either side of me- one afraid of something and the other sad about something and we are all too tired to have heartfelt talks about it before we fall asleep.
“Butthole …butthead …” The “butt” themed names continued to trail off as one of my darling children walked away to read her book as physically far away from me as she could get …to roll her eyes and make faces. How dare I tell her she couldn’t have my phone. It’s so great when that happens in front of other people in a public place …it’s my favorite. There’s no willpower, role model or Bible verse that can stop hard seasons and stages. I remember slamming my door off the frame when I was their age, but somehow I thought I had done just enough good parenting to skirt the door slamming issue. The respectful children I have raised are no where to found some days.
On top of parenting two tween girls, life has piled on injury, conflict, difficult decisions, and air thick with drama in unexpected places. Life is going to be life, and if I don’t find a healthy way to handle the curve balls, I will start slamming doors myself. Or end up with stomach ulcers. When all of the hard, sad, trying, annoying, hurtful and overwhelming stuff reaches a certain capacity, I come unglued in prayer. The floodgates of composure open and the tears stream down my face, relying on the power of Jesus’ name (sometimes at very high volume) to pick me up off of the floor. In those moments, He is faithful to remind me I already have Peace.
Remembering is an important part of our faith. Psalm 105:5 says, “Remember the wonders He has done, his miracles …” (NIV) Our memories, answered prayers, and miracles are powerful. “Remember. As a motivation for and focus of worship and the basis for trust- remember how the Lord has remembered.” (NIVSB, emphasis mine.) Compassionate and merciful, He sees us, hears us, and is with us. In the suffering hidden behind our highlight reels, He is palpably present. Psalm 105:39 says, “He spread out a cloud as a covering…” (NIV) to protect His people (NIVSB). His peace shields our hearts. He is constant.
Constant means unchanging, uniform, regular or invariable. It’s continuing without pause or letup. Who, or what, is unceasing? Can we rely on anything to be regularly recurrent, continual, or persistent? Only God is faithful, unswerving in love and devotion. As we ride the waves of this world, He remains steady.
The dark circles under my eyes can be a badge of honor or a burden of despair. In every situation, I have a choice. And I don’t always make it well. I complain, but Christ is constant. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (NIV) The steadiness of Christ is in me. But I sometimes approach life like a roller coaster, strapping in and screaming when I’m scared and laughing when I’m happy. That’s no way to live.
Through all of the chaos, Jesus remains constant. Unmoved. He sees me. He hears me. But I need to pause and remember the peace He died to give me. It’s not an easy world to live in. We will undoubtedly feel like aliens on our own planet many days. We’re placed purposefully by an all-knowing God who promises we’re never alone. Believe Him. Matthew 28:20b says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Happy Purple Circles,
Category: Life App Tagged: consistensy, constant, eye circles, Faith, hope, memories, memory, Parenting, remember, tweens
Posted on April 2, 2019
“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14 (NLT)
Direction, “a purpose or orientation toward a goal that serves to guide or motivate,” has an inevitable flow in our lives. In consideration of our daily direction, the above verse from Romans aligns our internal compass with the One who breathes strength and purpose into the very muscles that compel us.
The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible states that,“conclusions sometimes summarized key points in a work; love is once such point.” When we seek direction, does Love have the final say on our propelled steps? In Matthew Henry’s Commentary, he states many reasons the Corinthians were instructed by Paul to “be on guard.” There were people looking to deceive and corrupt their faith, to manipulate their direction. “A Christian is always in danger, and therefore should ever be on the watch,” Henry stated. Even today, we must stay alert to the current status of our life’s direction.
Our direction stems from faith. Paul encouraged the Corinthians to “stand firm in the faith.” Scripture tells us to take captive every thought, and to align all we hear with the truth of the Gospel. Reading Scripture daily builds godly confidence, preventing the propulsion down a path that doesn’t align with His unique purpose for our lives.
Click here to continue reading …
Category: Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer, Prayer Tagged: direction, Encouragement, Faith, Prayer
Posted on March 21, 2019
Every friendship begins with a hint of selfishness that we all innately possess. But if we learn to flip our vision outward in obedience to God and service to others, His purpose for friendship is revealed.
Jesus set the bar. He came to serve, not to be served. What did that look like in His earthly friendships? He was open to conversation with anyone, friendly with everyone, but held 12 people closer than others. And Jesus knew the best way to befriend someone was occasionally to confront them with the truth, even if it wasn’t what they wanted to hear. He had to allocate His time and manage relationships just as we do on this earth.
What else can we learn from Him and apply to our lives? Here are 10 revelations that have the power to transform friendships.
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Category: Friendship, iBelieve.com Contributing Writer Tagged: Faith, Friendship
Posted on December 18, 2018
“She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth, and laid Him in a manger…” Luke 2:7
“Reach,” I encouraged as my two-year old stretched up onto her toes and reached her arms up to the hospital basinet where her new baby sister slept, “you’re almost there!”
Through tears in my eyes, I watched my daughters bond for the very first time as she reached over and placed the blankie that she had picked out for her sissy in that basinet. From that day on, those two were blankie buddies. Fuzzy Wuzzy and Blankie Bear. The sweet softness of those new babies wrapped up in those fresh new blankies is forever etched in my memory.
They have drug their blankets through life with them. Leaned on them for comfort and security. Depended on them to chase midnight scaries away and mend sick bellies. Those blankets have dried a lot of tears and had a lot of nose crusties stuck to them. As they get older, we see them a little less, and I hope their hearts are learning to transfer those blankie securities into Jesus’ loving arms.
Today’s verse is so touching because it’s so leveling. Snuggled in a blanket, just like every other human being that has ever been born. Nothing special about it, except for who He was. The word-age is repeated when Luke quotes the angels:
“And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12
Anytime the Bible repeats anything, it’s important. Those strips of cloth communicated so much to the Shepherds. “Just like it was told to us,” they said upon arrival. It says so much to us. Christ came down to our level. He was never of the world, but He existed on our level. Why? God could have freed us from sin without Jesus living out over three decades of life on earth and dying a horrendous death …but it would not have been enough.
The weight of our sin had to be carried by someone worthy enough to sacrifice enough so that we could stand in the presence of our holy God …who requires “enough” for that to happen. He can’t be in the presence of sin.
That baby, cuddled by His momma and loved by His family. I remember those first moments in the hospital with my babies. Everytime they wander around with their blankies I remember those first sweet cuddles. The fullness of Mary’s heart is the model for every mother to come after her. Hold onto those baby cuddles while they can be held. Blankets don’t last forever, and babies grow up. Our kiddos eventually let go of their blankies, and we let go of them as they grow …but we never have to let go of Jesus. The longer we know Him, the closer He feels.
Father, Praise you for Jesus’ birth. Thank You for allowing Him to come down to earth and take on our sin so that we can feel His closeness and stand in Your presence for all time. Like the comfort of a blanket worn in with memories, You have trod every second with us lovingly and patiently. Forgive us for failing to remember how much You love us back. Bless us to dedicate our lives to sharing Your love. 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!
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Category: jammed daily devo Tagged: #greatgrace17, baby cuddles, blankets, christmas, Faith, Jesus' blankie