Peace With Our Dependence

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“Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” -Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

Wow. How often am I completely restless! I think sometimes it’s easy for me to forget who I’m made for; it’s easy for me to think I can manage my own peace. Maybe you do this too: I’ll get caught up by the idea that somehow I’ll find this perfect feng shui. I’ll make the time to exercise, and do yoga, and have my quiet time, and plan enough dates, and get the kids into the perfect bedtime routine, and the house cleaned up, and… and… and…

You get the idea. I somehow convince myself that if I plan my life out enough, I can achieve the perfect zen. The trouble with that is, of course, my plans never pan out the way I intend. Life gets busy and messy, and the commitments and needs around me pile up. Things can only stay calm for so long, and then life just happens.

I can’t dictate a perfect peace, a perfect rest. That’s a lot to admit. I don’t fully hold that power. Yes, I can work on self control and creating margin in my life for rest, but ultimately I can only do so much. If I’m always counting on myself to bring the calm and stability I crave, I will come to a flat-line sooner than I’d care to admit. A life lived fully for the Lord realizes that independence is not the answer, but rather dependence upon our Creator. Augustine of Hippo got this perfectly right… “our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” In reference to the Christian walk of faith, dependence is in fact what Christ is asking of us; He wants us to depend upon Him! God is wise enough to know that we will be utterly unsettled until we stop striving in and of ourselves, and instead ask Him to bring us His reassuring guidance and presence.

Our dependence upon the Lord doesn’t lead to only calm waters. You don’t have to live a lot of life as Christian to know that. But, when we choose to hinge our lives upon the Creator of all, He proves His presence consistently reliable. I need that. I need a God who always shows up. In the midst of my busyness, my anxiety, my sickness, my juggling twenty-different-things-at-the-same-time moments… I need Him in the midst of it all. In fact, I even need Him in my moments of calm. I want Him to be there, because that’s when I really, truly find rest.

When we stop searching for that “inner-strength” and instead set our minds on the things above, we will find a greater, more fulfilling strength than we could ever muster up on our own! Let’s pray for that:

Dear Lord,

We thank You that you meet us in every moment. We know You care about all the facets of our lives, and that nothing goes beyond Your notice. You are caring and attentive and strong. We need those attributes in our life; we need them from You. Help us to remember when we are searching for peace and rest, that what we’re really searching for are more moments with You. We pray we would invite You into every part of our lives, and that we wouldn’t try to do this life stuff of our own abilities. We want to be dependent on You and not ourselves.

We love you, Lord. Amen.

This time of year creates a lot of reasons for us to be restless, especially if God is kinda the last priority on our list (totally talking to myself here). I’ve got to make more time for God. I get crabby with myself, snappy with my kids and husband, and just plain unpleasant to be around when I don’t take time to find God. I’ll pull up social media, or talk to a friend, or read a book, but none of it offers me what I’m looking for: rest. In fact, all that usually does the opposite for me. For the rest we so desperately seek the answer is clear: In. Christ.

Let us find our rest there, friends.

Be Thou My Vision Hymn:

  1. Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
    Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
    Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
    Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
  2. Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
    I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
    Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
    Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
  3. Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
    Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
    Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
    Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.
  4. Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
    Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
    Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
    High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
  5. High King of Heaven, my victory won,
    May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
    Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
    Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.    

 

Merry Christmas, friends!

E

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Peace for Fathers

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“And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18 NLT

God is the original creator of fatherhood. He made us, to be His children! So, if anyone has the blueprint of what dads should look like today, it’s God!

Unfortunately, our culture today has gotten really far from, what I’m sure was, God’s original design. Just look at TV shows, commercials and social media. The majority of them depict dads as stupid, lazy and uninvolved. This annoys me to no end! In fact, it really upsets me. I know there’s a dad-issue in today’s world. I am very aware that a lot of families don’t have a present father, not having much of a relationship with my mine myself. So, thank goodness we have God to turn to. I know it doesn’t always take away the sting of the absentee Father, but God’s ultimate desire would be that He could heal that void.

But, today I want to talk about the dads that are there. That are attentive, involved and proactive! They show up: packing lunches, waking with the baby, potty training, sports events, cuddle sessions and talking about God with their kids, just to name a few. These godly dads exist. I know, because I’m blessed enough to be married to one. And yes, I very much recognize what a blessing it is! I also feel, though, that a lot of times we do men a disservice by not expecting much out of them. My husband so often feels offended that people would assume I do all the “kid work.” It honestly hurts his feelings, because he’s a super involved dad. He gets frustrated that people think so little of men.

Therefore, if you’re a rock star dad, and do all in your power to be there for your kids and love on your kids and help with your kids, then let me say “Thank you! Seriously, thank you! The world needs more dads like you!” They also need prayer! They need prayer to keep fighting against the stereotypical mindset about dads. They need strength to keep showing up and being the men God has called them to be; to emulate God’s heart: a father’s heart.

And I do want to pray for the distant dads too. The ones who aren’t around or don’t engage. The dads who have been gone for years or have passed away. I want to pray for you and your family. I want you to know God is near. He knows the absence of a father injures you, because He knows he designed you to live with that love. And so I pray that you will feel the Father’s love, God’s love near to you today!

Dear Jesus,

We lift up dads to You. This world doesn’t treat them with much admiration, and we pray that would begin to change. We ask that You would work in each father’s heart to have a deep love and dedication to their children, to their families. Your design is that children would be loved by an earthly father to that much more grasp what Your love is like for them. And so we pray for those that do not experience this to fill that void with You.

We pray for the dads that are true examples of Your love. We pray you would fill them with your knowledge and power, that they may lead their families well. We pray that You would give them energy and motivation for their day, and excitement to come home to their kids even after, oftentimes, a long days work. Help the dads in our life to find time to spend with You and to hear Your voice, to feel Your peace and Your presence. Help them to get moments of quiet to recharge and feel equipped to continue to be the best dad they know how to be.

Amen

Dads are seriously amazing, and such a wonderful depiction of God’s love for us! May God’s fatherly presence fill our hearts this season and breathe life into the earthly fathers around us!

“The True God who inhabits sacred space
is a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows.
He makes a home for those who are alone.” Psalm 68:5-6a The Voice

“You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we would address a loving daddy.” Romans 8:15 The Voice

 

 

Gifts of a Mother

At the very beginning of the book of 1 Samuel in the Bible, we find the story of Hannah. Here’s how it goes:

There was a man named Elkanah who lived in Ramah in the region of Zuph[a] in the hill country of Ephraim. He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, of Ephraim. Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not.

Each year Elkanah would travel to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies at the Tabernacle. The priests of the Lord at that time were the two sons of Eli—Hophni and Phinehas. On the days Elkanah presented his sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to Peninnah and each of her children. And though he loved Hannah, he would give her only one choice portion[b] because the Lord had given her no children. So Peninnah would taunt Hannah and make fun of her because the Lord had kept her from having children. Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle.[c] Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat.

“Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?”

Once after a sacrificial meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the Tabernacle. Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the LordAnd she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.

As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!”

“Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.”

“In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.”

“Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.

The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her plea, and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.”

The next year Elkanah and his family went on their annual trip to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and to keep his vow. But Hannah did not go. She told her husband, “Wait until the boy is weaned. Then I will take him to the Tabernacle and leave him there with the Lord permanently.”

“Whatever you think is best,” Elkanah agreed. “Stay here for now, and may the Lord help you keep your promise.” So she stayed home and nursed the boy until he was weaned.

When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine. After sacrificing the bull, they brought the boy to Eli. “Sir, do you remember me?” Hannah asked. “I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there. (1 Samuel 1:1 NLT)

Growing up, I really didn’t like this story. I didn’t like the fact that just when Hannah got a son, she had to give him away. I, of course, had no understanding of their culture at the time and how sacrificial and loving it was that Hannah gave her son to the Lord. Taking him to live at the temple would have meant that Samuel would have been well housed and cared for, perhaps even better than Hannah could have done herself. It also meant that he would have been raised in the greatest knowledge of the word of God and of God himself. Hannah truly gave Samuel the greatest gift… a life committed to the Lord.

So, what does that look like for us as moms today? I don’t think we’re going to drop our daughter off at a nunnery and I don’t know that there’s many monasteries nearby. For most of us, it isn’t going to look at all like it did for Hannah; we won’t be sending our kids away. At least until they’re eighteen and want to leave and venture out in the world and we’re surrounded by a puddle of our own tears. There will be serious grieving, mixed with pride, but mainly grieving at my house on that day!

Ok, but back to Hannah. She prayed to God: “…if you… answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime.” Herein lies our answer: God has blessed us with our children; He has given them to us, and we are to give them back to Him for the rest of their lives! We do this by the same way we have committed ourselves to the Lord. When I was younger and asked God to “come into my heart,” that represented me telling Jesus that I would live my life for Him… always. That means above all my desires, decisions and feelings, I pursue God’s will and desire for my life. That is how we give our children to the Lord. We raise them in such a way that we point them to Jesus, in hopes that they someday will commit their life to Jesus themselves. We give our children to the Lord by teaching them God’s word, so they know His promises and His heart for them and others. We give our children to the Lord by showing them our love for Jesus, so that they may emulate that same love.

Hannah didn’t have to pray that prayer. She didn’t have to add that she would give her son back to God. She could have just prayed that God would give her a son, but I think she knew what I hope we can remember: mom’s are great. In fact, we’re pretty freaking awesome! We nurture and love our kids in enormous ways, in explosive ways! But, we will never love our kids even close to as much as God does. Did you read that? We will never love our kids as much as God does! If that’s true, than I would be doing my children a disservice by not committing them to the Lord. On my own, I can only do so much for them, but with God involved, I’ll be setting them up for the most fulfilled life: a life led by, known by and loved by the God of all creation. That’s a gift worth giving my children. May they always know God, love God and be led by God. And may I be used in any way possible to make that bond stronger. There lives will be all the more rich because of it!

Blessings,

E

More to think about:

Like Hannah, did you have a hard journey to motherhood? 

 

Do you deal with individuals who “taunt” you as a mom?

 

Is there an area of your parenting that you feel God is asking you to let Him be more involved in? How do you think you can work to trust Him more?

 

What are some practical ways you can help your kid(s) learn more about Jesus?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace with our Possessions

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I want to talk about the stuff we own. It’s an interesting topic to tackle this time of year. Christmastime, more than any other time of year causes us to feel the need for more in our life, and usually not to our benefit. Now, don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a writing against American Christmas. In fact, I love it. Our family enjoys putting up our tree, cutting paper snowflakes, reading the nativity story and cuddling up together to drink hot cocoa while watching a Hallmark movie. I have zero issues with the holiday season. But, I do feel it gives the perfect opportunity to talk about a big thing in our lives that God wants control over: our stuff.

I know this isn’t always the easiest thing to talk about. It can get a little awkward, as we all have different levels of blessing. When my husband and I were first married, we were like most couples just starting out. We didn’t have loads of stuff and certainly weren’t living an ostentatious lifestyle. We actually struggled at times, but were never without the essentials we needed. We’ve also both traveled outside of the US and seen people who are truly in need. It changes you! And honestly, as the years have passed and we have found ourselves in a place of having truly more than we need, a lot of times it’s hard to not feel guilty. But in the book “The Lessons of St. Francis: How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality into Your Daily Life,” by John Michael Talbot (check it out), he discusses this very idea:

“When the professional pruners came to do battle with our family’s mulberry trees, they didn’t remove all the limbs, cut through the trunks, or damage the roots. Instead of harming the parts of the trees that were essential for health and growth, they focused their efforts on out-of-control limbs and branches. Likewise, we don’t need to plunge into abject poverty when we hear the call to simplify our lives. But there is one important step we can take that helps us begin the process of living more simply. That step involves distinguishing between our wants and our needs” he goes on to say…

“Not all wants are bad or destructive. For example, I’m a musician. I have a nice guitar and a better-than-average stereo. And I devote much of my time and energy to composing and performing music, even though I realize that music is a want, not a need. But I still consider music and other creative arts as essential ingredients of a full and well-rounded life. Unlike trees, which can survive on a steady diet of sun and rain, people need intangibles like beauty and joy to thrive…”

“Not all wants are bad. But a life consumed by fulfilling all our wants is a recipe for frustration and unhappiness.”

Ok, so now that I’ve had you read half the book, I hope you get the idea. I don’t believe God calls us to never have any joy from the things we own or pursue. If you’re a photographer, you have to have equipment to do your job and share your art. If you sold all you had, you wouldn’t have a job, and then eventually no roof over your head.

My husband and I have seriously at times wanted to toss it all away and live adventurously, trusting God to “work it all out,” but it didn’t take us long to realize that was not what He was asking of us. We don’t live without responsibility. We’re parents and have an obligation to care for our girls and provide a safe environment for them! 1 Timothy 5:8 says:

“And listen, if someone is not providing for his own relatives and especially his own household, then he is denying the faith and is worse off than an unbeliever.” The Voice

See, God loves to see His people being responsible and taking care of the people He has entrusted them with. This means we’re going to own stuff. Our possessions really can’t be in the wrong, they’re just mere objects. It’s our heart response to the things we own.

When we’re bombarded this time of year with all the thoughts and ideas that we just need a little bit more to be happy, what is our response to that? Do we really believe that more stuff is going to fulfill us? Isn’t that God’s job. Sure, it’s great to have nice things and to be able to bless others with gifts, but at the end of the day, that isn’t where our treasure is! Matthew 6:21 says:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I hope you can see what I’m getting at is that God doesn’t want us to be dependent upon our things. He most definitely uses our possessions for our benefit and for the benefit of those around us, but He wants us to fully rely upon Him. The status of our wealth could easily change tomorrow! Would that change our hearts? Would that change how we respond to God? God wants us to live with open hands. Hands ready to receive, but also ready to give or let go of what we already have.

Do I 100% trust God with all that I own? Am I fully aware that He is the greatest manger of my wealth and blessing? I want to live in a way that shows I am grateful for all He has given me, but I am also just as confident in letting Him use anything I have as he sees fit. Even if that means giving something away or having something taken away. This time of year, especially, I want to live with those open hands. Admitting that while stuff is great, God is greater, and that I can be at peace with however He chooses to use what I have. Would you pray with me?

Dear Lord, 

We like our stuff. It’s nice and comforting and helps us feel safe. We appreciate all that we have and are thankful that You have provided for us in this life. We do ask, that in the midst of blessing, we would be willing to be a blessing. Help us to allow You to use the things we own for Your purposes. I pray we would not always seek and desire more, but would readily respond with thanksgiving as we look around at all we already have. Things of this world are temporary, but You are everlasting. Let our hearts desire be to put more of our hope in You and less in the physical things we feel we can depend upon. What we have is great, but You are greater. Help us to learn how to live with an attitude that if all we had was gone tomorrow, our feelings and faithfulness toward You would not be changed.

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

May you be blessed this Christmas! Truly, I pray that! And may you find ways to be a blessing to those around you. A lot of times, we use stuff to do that! The things we own and give can truly be used in a great way, but our possessions are used in the greatest way when we realize it’s all God’s. Nothing we own is truly ours. God gives it and we thank Him, responding with open hands, at peace with however He chooses to use it.

Blessings!

E

Peace in the Pain

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As I was struggling to put words down this week for what I felt led to pray for, a memory popped into my brain and brought some inspiration. There was a season of time when I was a kid that I can remember my mom always tuning into Elisabeth Elliot on the radio. We lived in the Minnesota at the time, and I can picture our kitchen and dining room and watching my mom reach up to tune the knobs until that rich, unmistakable voice of Mrs. Elliot could be heard. Being only eight years old, not much of what she said penetrated me very deeply, but as I have grown and heard her stories, I now understand why my mom was so encouraged by her testimony and encouragement. One thing that has stuck out to me in particular is how much pain Elisabeth endured throughout her lifetime, and yet she always concluded to see God at work through it all. Of pain she says:

“I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God.”

Wow. I really just want to rest here a minute. *deep breath* …

How do we come to a place where we can say that? How do we enter such confidence in our Jesus that we know pain will bring us closer to Him?

My husband and I have had our fair share of pain as we’ve walked our eleven years of marriage. It has not been rooted in each other, but rather in losses and unanswered prayers. I know we are not alone. Every person we meet and encounter has, is or will be walking through a painful season in their life. The more you get to know people, the more you realize “everyone has a story,” as my husband and I always say. On this side of eternity, before we enter into that beautiful painless kingdom, pain will be apart of our lives.

So, how do we find this understanding; this peace of knowing God is nearer and dearer to us through it all? As I view all things in life, I know where the answers can be found: in God’s word. It’s amazing to see how many verses in the Bible talk about how God is with us, in all the pain, no matter what! Here’s just a few:

“Even in the unending shadows of death’s darkness,
    I am not overcome by fear.
Because You are with me in those dark moments,
    near with Your protection and guidance,
    I am comforted.” Psalm 23:4 The Voice

“All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. For even as His suffering continues to flood over us, through the Anointed we experience the wealth of His comfort just the same.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 The Voice

The last passage is written by Paul to the church at Corinth, and he knew they had sound faith in Jesus, but he also knew they were facing hardships and wanted to encourage them to remain true to Christ. He was able to be that encouragement having walked through so much suffering himself. Paul is a perfect example of how Christianity was never meant to be a bed of roses. We are not saved to live a pain free. In fact, many would argue that to be a Christian is to share in the sufferings of Christ.

No matter your theological stance though, I do believe we can all settle on one truth: Christ loves us too much to allow us to walk through pain alone. That is where the peace is found. It is found in our knowledge that when we walk through pain, we will come out on the other side knowing God in a greater more intimate way, because we will have drawn nearer to Him out of our need for Him!

No one wants to have pain. No one wishes to experience it or watch someone we love experience it. That’s why God promises an eternal life with no more tears or pain. He knows that’s our hearts longing! But, while we remain here in this earth, we can ask God to help us find Him in our pain. Would you pray that with me?

Dear Jesus,

Pain hurts. Pain brings us to our knees. We’ve watched too many suffer and we’ve endured things ourselves that we would never wish on our worst enemy. Could You, in Your great mercy, meet us in the midst of it? Lord, would You show us that You can use the things that hurt us the most to bring us into a greater dependence upon You? We ask that when we walk through the “valley of the shadow of death” that Your presence would seem greater than ever before. We pray that no matter what we face in this lifetime, that we would not allow anything to push us away from You, even when we want to react in anger and contempt. Help us when we hurt so much, that we want to blame You and yell at You; help us to fall to our knees instead and let Your strong arms wrap us in Your comfort. We know when we invite You into the midst of our pain that You can begin the healing of our hurts. We also know that You are also able to use our pain to help us to see others who are hurting and in need of comfort. Lord, may Your peace be present even when our hearts ache with the hurt; may the peace be in the knowledge that Your love for us is greater than anyone else’s! We thank You that in the end, all pain will be gone. There will be no more suffering, no more tears. Thank You for that promise, and please be near to us as we wait for that glorious day!

Amen

This short blog doesn’t solve pain. I know there’s so much to each story and so many of us are still healing and feel hurt and vulnerable. I know that healing from our pain is such a long process and not something that we just say “poof” and feel better. God meets us in our hurt, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have to walk a long road pain. If you need a counselor or doctor, please seek out that help. God uses the resources here on earth to help us. Do not be afraid to ask someone to pray for you or the counsel you. Pain brings a difficult road to walk and we often need someone to join us on the journey.

God is near. He loves you! Let Him meet you in your pain. He wants to. He doesn’t want you to face it alone!

Blessings,

E

 

 

 

 

 

Peace for Thanksgiving

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I’m a little late with this week’s post. We spent this past Sunday celebrating an early Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. It was so nice and delicious! And, as I was reflecting back on it this morning, I realized that’s what I wanted to pray for: a peaceful Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving: it’s a really beautiful time, and I love the reminder to take moments to express gratitude and thanks, and at the same time it can be a bit overwhelming and stressful. Some of us don’t have the best relationships with our extended family. Some of us don’t have any family (shout out to those of you who do Friendsgiving!) to spend the holiday with. You’ve got dishes to prepare and make sure will be liked by all. You’ve got traveling to do or houses to clean in preparation for all your guests. There’s family and kiddos to entertain and that one relative to keep from creating an argument. It’s the stuff we don’t talk about much, because we like the beautiful picture that usually comes to mind when you hear Thanksgiving. But, we don’t have to be the “Hallmark family,” as a friend of mine said the other day. For some of us, that just won’t be reality. Sometimes family doesn’t get along, and that doesn’t change for one day, which can be really really hard!

I’m fortunate enough to have a rather peaceful Thanksgiving. A few years ago, we made the decision that we would stay home until the evening. We’re vegetarian and it just made sense to make a meal at home that we enjoy. Plus, I love waking up with our girls, watching the parade, eating food and relaxing. Please, don’t hate me! It wasn’t always with this way! We’ve had plenty of years of running to three different places in the same day, until we decided that was just too much for us and our kids. And, we do still get together with family, just earlier in the week, or the evening of Thanksgiving. I know that creating this margin isn’t feasible for a lot of you. I know that you’ve got the commitments piling up and it’s probably feeling like a lot. So, would you join with me as we pray, no matter what our Thanksgiving celebrations look like, that we would all be able to find some peace and time to show thanks? After all, that is what this whole holiday is about, right?

Dear Jesus,

Here we go, entering the holiday season. We pray that even in the midst of the busyness and lists and commitments that we would find time to meet with You. We know that all our peace, joy and contentment comes from spending time with You! Your presence in our lives is what we need to find thanks in the midst of the chaos! We pray for all the families coming together. You know every story and relationship and we pray that You would help those interactions to go as smoothly as possible. For those that feel alone on Thanksgiving, may you bring friends to welcome them in. For the poor and destitute, we pray they would find a warm place with a hot meal! Sometimes it’s hard to not feel as though there’s so much to pray for and forget that there still is so much to be thankful for. We know even if we are walking through a difficult season that You are still good! Our thanks is not rooted in things, but in the joy that comes from knowing You and seeing You work in and through all things. Give us a peace that is unquenchable, a peace that is not dependent upon circumstances. Help us to be a light this Thanksgiving; a light that shines with Your love! We love you, Jesus!

Amen

God sees all that you’re doing, friend. He sees all the time and effort you’re putting in to bless family, regardless of your relationship with them. He sees all the time you take to make memories and crafts with your kids. He sees the cleaning, the preparing, the check-list. May you rest in the knowledge that He is right beside you this entire time. He never leaves, He’s always around! He cares! Let that knowledge permeate your heart and bring forth the joy of Thanks-giving!

Love to you all. Happy Thanksgiving!

E

“But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength.” 2 Timothy 4:17a NLT

“I am not saying this because I am in need. I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances.  I know how to survive in tight situations, and I know how to enjoy having plenty. In fact, I have learned how to face any circumstances: fed or hungry, with or without.  I can be content in any and every situation through the Anointed One who is my power and strength.” Philippians 4:11-13 the Voice

(And here is an excerpt from the Voice version about this verse:

“True contentment is the result of a heart committed to the risen Lord. Think of all the sins, pain, and brokenness that come from coveting. Adultery, murder, stealing, and lying can all be traced directly to a prior condition when hearts and minds are frustrated and discontent. Notice what Paul says doesn’t come naturally; it is learned. The normal, natural state of humanity is discontent and quiet desperation. It takes a powerful, spiritual presence to transform anxiety into joyous satisfaction. Ironically, it may be the shackles more than his freedom that schools Paul in the art of contentment. Despite the chains, Paul discovers this beautiful state of inner peace through the power of Jesus residing in him.”)

Peace for Moms

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So, this week. This week is tough. I mean, when you decide that you’re gonna cover moms in prayer, and then especially in a prayer for peace, it almost feels impossible. How in the world do you pray for every need, challenge, concern, pain, self-doubt, confusion, exhaustion and fear that moms face? The truth is, you don’t. At least, I can’t. I don’t know each and every one of you, so there’s no feasible way for me to lift up every specific prayer. But, the great part is that each of you knows your needs and the needs of other mothers around you. You’ve shared your joys, pains, victories and failures with your friends and families. Or, you’ve cried out to God in solitude when it seemed there was no one to stand with you.

God hears it all. In fact, He doesn’t just hear your prayers, He sees you, knows you, loves you and cares for you! He hears when your tired eyes cry out for just a moment of peace, or better yet a moment of sleep! He sees when you cry alone in your car wondering if you’re doing any of this mothering stuff right. He knows that you compare yourself to every other mom around you, thinking they do a better job than you. He knows you have way more on your plate than anyone sees and that you’re about to break. He loves every part of you… every part, because He made you. He knows you’re not perfect, and yet He still chooses to love you and call you as part of His family. And, when it seems you care for everyone around but yourself, allow God to care for you. Come to Him with all your weariness, and He will refill your soul.

I may not be able to lift up each specific prayer or need, but I can pray for you as a mom! I can pray for myself as a mom, cause man I need it! I know we’re all in different seasons. Some us just had a newborn, while others just welcomed their first grandchild, but no matter your season of parenting, we’re all moms! Would you pray with me?

Dear Jesus,

Today, we lift up moms to you. In fact, we lift up every type of mom: Spiritual mamas, birth mamas, adoptive mamas, lost mamas, estranged mamas. This one word “Mom” brings so much meaning to each person, and so we ask for You to work in each individual situation. There’s so much we could pray for and we know we’re only scratching the surface, but we ask that You would meet each mom where they’re at. We ask that when we cry out to You that we would feel Your peace and presence strongly with us. We pray we would start each day with You and ask You to lead us as we love on and parent our kids. As You extend Your grace to us with every mistake, we pray we would be gracious in turn to our kids and teach them what Your love looks like. We know we won’t be perfect, but we know You can help us to do it well. We ask that You would help us to fight away doubts and feelings of comparison. We pray we could focus on our own kids and our own homes with happiness and gratefulness. And Lord, would you be near to those that have suffered loss. We know so many have had to bear the pain of losing their mother or their child. The pain is unquenchable and we know they need You in a powerful way! God, be with mothers. We need You!

Amen

Do you feel me now? It’s a lot to pray for! There’s great need, but there’s also great blessing! Who else gets to witness the beauty of our children in the way we do. As we mother, we’ve got the front row seat to our kids’ lives, and what a beautiful, messy, crazy, wondrous ride it is!

“Clothed in strength and dignity, with nothing to fear,
she smiles when she thinks about the future.
She conducts her conversations with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is ever her concern.                                                                    She directs the activities of her household,
and never does she indulge in laziness.
Her children rise up and bless her…

Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last,
but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others.
Celebrate all she has achieved.
Let all her accomplishments publicly praise her.” Proverbs 31:25-28a, 30-31 The Voice