Tag Archives: Motherhood

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

1 Samuel 6-8; Acts 7

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”

Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.

As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died. Acts 7:55-60

Having children instantly inducted me into the huge group of women who have motherhood in common. In theory, that would mean that everyone gets along and walks the journey together, side-by-side, the more experienced giving encouragement to the newer ‘members’. But more often than not, as a mom, I am inevitably drawn into the ‘mommy wars’ – to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, breast milk or formula, crib or co-sleep, no cry or cry it out, conventional parenting or attachment parenting, control or free range, traditional school or homeschool, stay-at-home or work, and the list goes on.

As I have parented, I have had to make choices about what I feel is best for me and my family. Sometimes my decisions are met with acceptance and support from the other people around me, and sometimes my ideas differ and I am criticized for my philosophies.

Like most people, I tend to align myself with other mothers who are like-minded, allowing for harmony and a safety net for being real with each other. However, without intending to be impolite or provoking, sometimes the truth of my own experience is offensive to others. There have been quite a few times that I have been ridiculed, condemned by the ‘judge and jury’ because my parenting methods were different from ‘theirs’, because of dissimilar attitudes, diverse cultures, or generation gaps.

One particular instance, when I was figuratively stoned for a parenting choice, I did a lot of soul searching afterward. My heart was broken because I was already questioning my value and worth as a mother; I had been struggling a lot with typical 2-3’s disciplinary issues and I was feeling low and defeated. Over time I have realized that there are moments that I have to choose my battles with my kids to be an effective parent, but the issue I chose to ignore on that day brought an onslaught of verbal ‘rocks’. I was so caught off guard that I didn’t have time to get defensive, and I believe that was a God-send.

The Lord showed me facets to the barrage that enabled me to have better grasp of the situation and of the person behind it. He showed me the importance of forgiveness and helped me release the insult, no longer holding the ‘sin’ of misunderstanding against someone I care for. He filled my spirit with peace and I was able to let go of the offense.

I’ll admit that in the past, I’ve gotten caught up in a skirmish or two, a volley of metaphorical stones. But, I know now that I cannot forget that we are all really on the same team –a force of people who love our children. I will stand strong in my beliefs, my own history of parenting. But, it is important to resist the temptation to battle, and instead do everything I am able to forgive and offer grace to those who disagree, with my primary goal being connection – to God, other parents, and to my children respectively.

Yesappa, Thank You for giving me the opportunity to be a mother. Thank You for leading me through this journey of motherhood; and thank You for giving me opportunities to learn how to stay connected and forgiving, even when people don’t agree with my decisions in parenting. Help me continue to see each situation through the eyes of Your compassionate heart and give me wisdom in my interactions. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Acts, New Testament, Old Testament

Deuteronomy 23-26; Luke 11

Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:

“Father, may your name be kept holy.

May your Kingdom come soon.

Give us each day the food we need,

and forgive us our sins,

as we forgive those who sin against us.

And don’t let us yield to temptation.” Luke 11:2-4

I frequently joke around that right now my standard, catch-all prayer is “Help me, Jesus!” It’s short, sweet, and to the point, which is what I need as the mom of three children 4 years old and under, single parenting while my husband is overseas. Sometimes, in the midst of dealing with the shenanigans of my two very high spirited daughters, I also tack on prayers for more patience and self-control.

Today, I needed a quadruple dose of prayer, after coming into my girls room this morning to find a broken window (shattered from the blow of a thrown Princess Tiana dress-up shoe), poop smeared all over the floor, the wall, the area rug, the bed, the girls…, drops of blood in random places in the room from a cut finger, glass in the mouth of my 2 year old (fortunately she didn’t swallow any and didn’t shred her tongue). We continued the day with an over-turned table, a tipped over chair, food flung all over the floor (because my daughters were mad at me for only giving them water to drink at lunch), a broken ceramic bowl, a nearly smothered baby, a ripped library book, and tons and tons of crying (I’m not sure who cried the most today – me or my kids – come on Moms {and Dads}, we’ve all been there right).

In spite of my frustration throughout the day, for the most part, I kept my wits about me, and handled things with strength and mercy. But, it was in no way by my own power. As I walked through the day, pressing down the urges of violence I kept mulling over how Jesus told me to pray.

I grew up hearing ‘The Lord’s Prayer’; I memorized it in the Christian School I attended as a young girl. I’ve said it many times over my lifetime. But, today it took on some new meaning, especially as I read it in The Message:

“Father,

Reveal who you are.

Set the world right.

Keep us alive with three square meals.

Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.

Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.”

A friend of mine once shared with me that this simple prayer can be prayed just as it is written and be very effective and it can also be made into the back bone of a more personal prayer…

Oh Lord, I need You more than anything today! I need Your strength, because I’m feeling pretty weak and ineffective. I need Your kindness, because I am not feeling very nice right now. I need Your love, because I am having a hard time liking my kids today. Show me who You are. Remind me what You did for me, for my children. Remind me of Your goodness. Remind me of Your grace. Help me get our ‘world’ put back together; give me peace and reconnection after such a hard day. Keep me alive with what You’ve provided, the food I eat with my mouth, and everything else that I need to survive the day – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Keep forgiving me for the bad choices that I’ve made today in the midst of my trials; and help me forgive my children for theirs. Keep me safe from myself – the self-judgement, the self-doubt. And, help me have more self-control, especially when my children are testing my patience. Keep me safe from the assignments of the enemy against me, my peace, and my family’s harmony. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Deuteronomy, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament

Numbers 8-11; Colossians 1

Numbers 8 is titled “Preparing the Lamps” so that the light shines out.

Earlier this week I was commenting to my husband about the End Times remarks I’ve seen popping up online, and from there we discussed the women waiting for the bridegroom–some who had enough oil for the lamps and some who didn’t. For about ten minutes I may have thought about preparedness before I was distracted with a flu-y child, vomit laundry, and end-of-day stuff.

In a history class discussion yesterday, we talked about Cyril and Methodius who brought written language to Christian converts during the Middle Ages. I smiled at how man’s political agendas succeed and fail and all the while, God’s Word spreads out, that light shining. I think about that light when I read Paul’s words:

This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace. Colossians 1:6, NLT.

He goes on.

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. Colossians 1:9-14, NLT. (emphasis mine)

Father, sometimes I feel like my own agenda (keeping up a house, keeping after kids, homework, groceries, etc.) keeps me earthly focused instead of kingdom minded. Your light pours out across this world, and I’m thankful to find it shining through the pages of history and literature, through the service and sacrifice of others, gently and frequently reminding me …

27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

28 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. Colossians 1:27-28, NLT.

This light shines too … lately it just happens to shine out from vomit laundry.

Lord, help me to honor and please you with the way I live.

With love and gratitude,

Courtney (66books365)

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