Tag Archives: Motherhood

2 Kings 20; Isaiah 38-40; Psalm 68; 1 Corinthians 11

29The Lord gives strength to those who are tired.

He gives more power to those who are weak…

31But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again.

They will be able to rise up as an eagle in the sky.

They will run without needing rest.

They will walk without becoming tired.

Isaiah 40:29-31

I. AM. EXHAUSTED.

My roles as solo mama to three under the age of six, house cleaner for my own home (well, I’m trying) and for three others, sole breadwinner, daughter, friend, leader, studier of the Word…and on top of that never sleeping for more than 3-4 hours straight due to kids having nightmares or the insomnia brought on by thinking about my ever-growing to do list, has made me truly understand what it means to be sleep deprived.

And yet, I can’t stop. I can barely slow down; though there are days that I force myself, because I can’t afford to get benched by illness, and the cleanliness of my house suffers or we have cereal for dinner for the third night in a row. As much as I’ve pared down and said “No” to as much as possible, just the basics of life completely take it out of me…and unfortunately, there are way too many things left that if I don’t do them, they don’t get done.

I am desperate for strength and power. I am desperate to walk and run and rise up like the eagle. I am desperate to thrive and not just (barely) survive. I am desperate to live. I am desperate for God.

2Hezekiah turned toward the wall and prayed to the Lord. He said, 3“Lord, please remember that I have always obeyed you. I have given myself completely to you. I have done what you said was right.” And Hezekiah cried loudly. 2 Kings 20:2-3

Hezekiah’s situation was different; he was literally on his death bed. He was desperate. And so, he cried out to Jesus, he cried loudly, unashamed. God heard his cry, honored his faithfulness, and restored his health.

To survive this season, all seasons of my life, it is so important to call on Jesus. Every day. Every moment. It is necessary to seek His presence, His, strength, His grace, His mercy. I can’t do it on my own.

3But those who do right should be glad.

They should rejoice before God.

They should be happy and glad.

4Sing to God. Sing praises to his name.

Prepare the way for him

who rides through the desert.

His name is the Lord.

Rejoice before him. Psalm 68: 3-4

When I take the focus off myself, my struggles and difficulties, my needs, and put the focus back on God’s goodness, I am immediately refreshed. When I praise Him through song, lifting His name to the heavens, I am strengthened, because I am reminded that He never leaver nor forsakes me. When I rejoice, I am encouraged in the ways He provides for my needs in the midst of my struggles, my fatigue, my overwhelm, and He meets me where ever I am.

Yesappa, Thank You for hearing me and being bigger that my circumstances. Thank You for meeting me where I am, despite my fatigue and my overstretched to do list. Thank You for Your strength and Your rest. Thank You for healing my body, my mind, my heart when I cry out to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 2 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Hosea 14; 2 Chronicles 26-27; Psalm 61; Matthew 20

“O Israel, stay away from idols!
    I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you.
I am like a tree that is always green;
    all your fruit comes from me.”

Let those who are wise understand these things.
    Let those with discernment listen carefully.
The paths of the Lord are true and right,
    and righteous people live by walking in them.
    But in those paths sinners stumble and fall. Hosea 14:8-9, NLT

***

O God, listen to my cry!
    Hear my prayer!
From the ends of the earth,
    I cry to you for help
    when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
    for you are my safe refuge,
    a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
Let me live forever in your sanctuary,
    safe beneath the shelter of your wings! Psalm 61:1-4

 

***

25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28, NLT

***

Leadership matters. I look for examples of leaders in history pages. I look for examples of leaders all around me. I think long on the role I play as a leader and influencer–wife, mother, friend, neighbor, teacher–there are opportunities for influence everywhere. Where I set my gaze sets my course–and not just mine; the effects ripple around me.

Who is influencing me? And how does their influence affect my heart, my home and my other friendships?

Lord, please be at the heart of my heart. Please be at the heart of my home. Please be at the heart of my friendships.

Courtney (66books365)

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Proverbs 24-25; Psalm 41; 1 Thessalonians 2

3It takes wisdom to have a good family.

It takes understanding to make it strong.

4It takes knowledge to fill a home

with rare and beautiful treasures. Proverbs 24:3-4 (ICB)

As a mother my desire is to have a great relationship with my kids. I want my home to be a place of safety, full of wonderful things and even better memories. I want my kids to be connected at the heart with me, their Daddo, each other. And, most importantly I want them to love Jesus with all their being.

There are many days I feel like a failure in all this; days when my bad mommy moments vastly outweigh the good ones. I am probably my own worst critic. It’s probably better than I sometimes think it is. I choose to hold on to the hope that my kids remember more of the positive moments, the fun times, and forget the times I’ve lost my patience and my self-control went the way of the dodo.

28A person who does not control himself

is like a city whose walls have been broken down. Proverbs 25:28 (ICB)

When I lose self-control, yell, scream, lecture, spank…I immediately witness the tiniest thread of connection my daughters and I have in that moment disintegrate like a hiker walking through a spider web stretched across the trail. Even if my calm, steady voice paired with “the look” isn’t working to get their attention, the tension-filled, impatient, MOM voice and ugly face, turns them away from me even faster.

7But we were very gentle with you. We were like a mother caring for her little children. 8Because we loved you, we were happy to share God’s Good News with you. But not only that, we were also happy to share even our own lives with you. 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 (ICB)

I don’t want to go through life feeling like I had a good day simply because I didn’t make front page news. I want to know that my family had a good day because I was gentle, caring, I was patient and full of self-control, even if my kids weren’t. I want them to experience my love first hand, not just hear the words come from my mouth. I want to show them who Christ is through my example. I want my family to be happy that we share our lives together. I want my house to be filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

On Sunday, I actually had it together. I had some alone time, with God (an important key), and then miraculously got everyone dressed, fed and out the door on the way to church 10 minutes early. Once I got us all belted in and we were on the road, I looked in the rear view mirror at my oldest and asked her how the morning was. She thought for a moment and told me it was a good morning. I asked her why. She said, “Because, we didn’t fight.”

The treasure chest filled up a little bit more…

Yesappa, Thank You for showing me how it can be when I rely on Your wisdom and understanding to build my family up and fill my home. Help me in those moments that I struggle to see what You see. Help me love my kids more like You love them. Help me discipline like You discipline Your children. Give me strength to choose self-control and patience, and make me into a gentle mother. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

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Filed under 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Psalms

Proverbs 14-15; Romans 14

I’d had the book on motherhood on a shelf for years, unread. A one-word focus on community, a look at my first community–my family– and the steady awareness of the fleeting years of my kids’ childhood became a perfect catalyst to read it.

Chapter 3–an undivided heart.

  A wise woman builds her home,
    but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1, NLT

I made a list of words, the difference between the wise woman and the foolish one. 

To build, the words: intentional, nurturing, gentle, joyful, wholehearted, obedient, prayerful, unhurried, patient, God-focused, available, attentive.

To tear down, the words: careless, disorganized, abrasive, selfish, hurried, divided, worldly, checked out, worried. 

And the difference between the two? The heart. 

I considered my own. A season of competing priorities, stress and preoccupation, the dailies of running a household, a growing overwhelm. Were these the things that were dividing my heart? Certainly, they all needed attention–workload, problems, obligations. But were these things becoming bigger than my God?

I needed new perspective, because the one I had left me hurried, worried, irritable and exhausted. It was souring my attitude. I was slowly dismantling my home with my own hands. And the crazy thing? I was hardly aware of it.

With the same demands, one woman can build upon them and another will use them to tear apart her life. Who did I want to be? What would my example sow into generations? What did my perspective say not only of my heart but of my God?

The stresses and demands, the pull of priorities, the problems–they didn’t go away because of chapter 3. But my perspective changed because of God’s word.

Courtney (66books365)

(Chapter 3 reference to The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. No compensation for mentioning this book.)

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1 Samuel 23-24; 1 Chronicles 6; Psalm 54; Acts 16

15David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph. He was afraid because Saul was coming to kill him. 16But Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh. He helped David have stronger faith in God. 17Jonathan told him, “Don’t be afraid. My father won’t touch you. You will become king of Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” 18The two of them made an agreement before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home. But David stayed at Horesh. 1 Samuel 23:15-18 (ICB)

Godly friendships help me have stronger faith in God.

Humans were created for relationship, companionship. We were created to interact, connect. We were designed to offer strength and encouragement in moments of others’ weaknesses and receive the same when weakened.

When David was struggling, pursued by a king who wanted him dead, his friend Jonathon stepped in to bolster David’s faith – faith that he’d been called, that he’d become the king as anointed, that he wouldn’t be slain by Saul. He encouraged him with the truth to continue on in the journey that had been set before him with courage and strength and without doubts to sway him.

When I am feeling beat down by life, doubting my worth, wondering if anyone, even God, cares about my struggles, I am blessed to have people in my life who pour into me, who find the gold buried deep within my self. I am blessed to have people who encourage me and lift me up when I can barely stand on my own two feet. I am blessed to have people who can see the truth when I am blinded by the lies. I am blessed with kind words, gentle hugs, meaningful gifts, servant hearts, a meal, a conversation over a cup of coffee, and so on.

I’m not sure how I could survive this journey without the amazing people who have been put in my life by the God who created me. I am not sure how I’d make it through motherhood without the Titus 2 women who are walking this journey alongside of me. I am grateful for the friends I’ve had for a few short days and the friends I’ve know for 30 years or more. I am grateful for the friends I have who are like Jonathon and strengthen my faith in God.

Yesappa, Thank You for being my friend forever and thank You for placing godly people in my life to walk alongside me in my journey whether fora  season or for a lifetime. Help me also be like Jonathon to the people around me. Help me be an encouragement to those who are struggling, that I may in turn help their faith in you to grow stronger. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

 

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Numbers 19-21; Colossians 4

1In the first month all the people of Israel arrived at the Desert of Zin. They stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. 2There was no water for the people. So they came together against Moses and Aaron. 3They argued with Moses. They said, “We should have died in front of the Lord as our brothers did. 4Why did you bring the Lord’s people into this desert? Are we and our animals to die here? 5Why did you bring us from Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain, figs or pomegranates. And there’s no water to drink!”

6So Moses and Aaron left the people. Then they went to the entrance of the Meeting Tent. They bowed facedown. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7The Lord said to Moses, 8“You and your brother Aaron should gather the people. Also take your walking stick. Speak to that rock in front of them. Then water will flow from it. Give that water to the people and their animals.”

9So Moses took the stick from in front of the Lord. He did as the Lord had said. 10He and Aaron gathered the people in front of the rock. Then Moses said, “Now listen to me, you complainers! Do you want us to bring water out of this rock?” 11Then Moses lifted his hand and hit the rock twice with his stick. Water began pouring out. And the people and their animals drank it.

12But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “You did not believe me. You did not honor me as holy before the people. So you will not lead them into the land I will give them.”

13These are the waters of Meribah. Here the Israelites argued with the Lord. And the Lord showed them he was holy. Numbers 20:1-13

As I read, once again hearing the dissatisfaction of the Israelites, I hear my own kids voices complaining, never happy with how I am providing for them – I’m not giving them juice…I’m not giving it to them fast enough…I didn’t give them the ‘right’ cup…I’m a ‘mean’ mommy…

Just writing those statements, I can feel my blood beginning to boil. Often in these situations, especially when all three are pitted against me (yes, even my sweet little 15 month old has begun the temper tantrums), I quickly lose patience. It doesn’t matter how good of a day I’ve been having up to that point, it doesn’t matter how much self-control I’ve exerted or that I haven’t yelled so far that day. My frustration gets the better of me, and I lose it.

It was the same for Moses. He lost it; sick and tired of the Israelites discontent, overwhelmed by their bad attitudes and ungratefulness. And in that moment, his anger got the better of him and he disobeyed God.

Hitting the rock twice instead of speaking to it doesn’t seem like a big deal, especially since God had instructed him to do that in the past. But, this time God told him to speak to the rock, to command the water to flow. In his anger he lashed out, and failed to honor God with his actions, with his obedience.

Too many times I do this. I forget the things that God has instructed me to do…love, serve, teach…and I get caught up in my anger at little people defying me. I fall short. I disobey. I sin. And, I fail to honor God.

Fortunately, these interactions still serve as teachable moments. Facing my own bad choices gives me the chance to teach my kids about repentance, forgiveness, and the redemptive power of Jesus.

No matter what I do when my kids are on a complaining spree, whether I respond in a good way or mess up and respond in anger, God will always pour out in our family like the water from a rock. Despite my rebellion, my kids rebellion, He will always show us His holiness.

Yesappa, Thank You for being the perfect parent. Thank You for providing, even though I’m not always deserving of Your goodness. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for being Holy. Help me look to Your guidance as a mom. Help me to obey You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Colossians, Numbers, Old Testament

Exodus 25-27; Psalm 90; Philippians 1

9This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; 10that you will see the difference between good and bad and choose the good; that you will be pure and without wrong for the coming of Christ; 11that you will be filled with the good things produced in your life by Christ to bring glory and praise to God. Philippians 1:9-11

I love Paul’s prayers in his letters. They were written to be encouragement for the early believers in the areas he had visited during his time as an itinerant missionary – inspiration to reform certain behaviors unbecoming to the newly burgeoning church or reassurance that the people he introduced to the gospel were holding firm and standing true.

For me, this prayer is a mother’s prayer, one that I have prayed over my children as they sleep at night and as they play during the day.

As a mom, I desperately want my children to experience love…love from me and their dad, love from extended family, friends, and teachers, and most importantly I want them to fully experience God’s love.

I desire my children to be able to view every aspect of life through the lenses of that love they experience. And as they see through eyes of love they will know more and understand more, and the wisdom that they gain will enable and empower them to make good choices with their lives, which will in turn bring glory to God for His goodness and faithfulness.

The truth is that I also pray these same things over myself – an over-tired, over-worked, over whelmed mom, who doesn’t always feel loving and definitely doesn’t always act in a loving way. I struggle with making choices, a battle between what is best for my family and my own selfishness, failing to remember that one of the goals of motherhood is to demonstrate the glory of God to my children and the people around me – to be the Bible they may not have read yet, the fruit of the gospel they may not have tasted yet.

14Fill us with your love every morning.

Then we will sing and rejoice all our lives.

15We have seen years of trouble.

Now give us joy as you gave us sorrow.

16Show your servants the wonderful things you do.

Show your greatness to their children.

17Lord our God, be pleased with us.

Give us success in what we do.

Yes, give us success in what we do. Psalm 90:14-17

Yesappa, I need more of Your love, every morning, all day. I need Your joy and Your encouragements of success in this journey of motherhood. I know You do great things, that You are full of glory and goodness. Help my journey, despite the circumstances that surround me, be a reflection of You and of Your hand in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, New Testament, Old Testament, Philippians, Psalms