Everyone has a Mother, but some just need a Mom.

Mothers, we all have one right?  Mother, Mom, Mama, she birthed us, sacrificed for us, nursed us when we were sick, has gotten us out of jams, fed our bellies, clothed us, our personal taxi driver, comforted us, listened to us, guided us and so on.   Psalms 127:3 says “children are a gift.”   Proverbs 31 has a lot to say about the role of a Mother.  When Jesus came, He changed the perspective on mothering and family teaching us that we are family to the church, those in the Kingdom with us…. and caring for others is part of His commandment.  For some children, Mother is just a name for the woman who birthed you.  She is someone you don’t really have a relationship with because she abandoned you, maybe she was taken from you because of drug abuse or incarceration. Maybe she had no Mama and was never really shown how to take care of her own children, and due to neglect you were removed from her home.  Maybe you weren’t protected by her and were abused.  She made choices, choices you didn’t have any say in and you were taken out of that situation, often traumatically.    Sadly, that is the exact circumstances of 14,000 children in the state of Georgia, 500 of them here in our county.   May is the month for Mother’s day, and also Foster Care Awareness.  It is understood, not everyone can foster, but everyone can do something.  We get to choose the something.

Recently, someone mentioned  to me a portion of the Great Divorce written by C. S. Lewis, written about heaven and hell and he describes a scene in heaven of celebrating mothering.  

“First came bright Spirits, not the Spirits of men, who danced and scattered flowers. Then, on the left and right, at each side of the forest avenue, came youthful shapes, boys upon one hand, and girls upon the other. If I could remember their singing and write down the notes, no man who read that score would ever grow sick or old. Between them went musicians: and after these a lady in whose honour all this was being done.

I cannot now remember whether she was naked or clothed. If she were naked, then it must have been the almost visible penumbra of her courtesy and joy which produces in my memory the illusion of a great and shining train that followed her across the happy grass. If she were clothed, then the illusion of nakedness is doubtless due to the clarity with which her inmost spirit shone through the clothes. For clothes in that country are not a disguise: the spiritual body lives along each thread and turns them into living organs. A robe or a crown is there as much one of the wearer’s features as a lip or an eye.

But I have forgotten. And only partly do I remember the unbearable beauty of her face.

“Is it?…is it?” I whispered to my guide.

“Not at all,” said he. “It’s someone ye’ll never have heard of. Her name on earth was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green.”

“She seems to be…well, a person of particular importance?”

“Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things.”

“And who are these gigantic people…look! They’re like emeralds…who are dancing and throwing flowers before here?

“Haven’t ye read your Milton? A thousand liveried angels lackey her.”

“And who are all these young men and women on each side?”

“They are her sons and daughters.”

“She must have had a very large family, Sir.”

“Every young man or boy that met her became her son – even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.”

“Aye, she was one of the great ones”.  I LOVE that.  See, living with a Kingdom mindset, living with eternity in mind just might change our perspective on what may seem hard, or undoable but yet you may be just the perfect Mom for a foster child who needs to be shown a bit of love and concern, to let them know they do matter.  Being a Mom, a Mother or a Mama doesn’t have to just be to children that we birthed, that is what is so sweet about the picture C. S. Lewis writes about.  The truth is that being a foster family is hard work.  Maybe the reward will be here on earth or maybe it will be in eternity.   Be brave Mamas.  There are some children that need a Mom.  If you are interested in foster care, or other ways to serve foster children or foster families you can send an email to mkwright4@bellsouth.net for more info.     

 God sets the lonely in families… Psalms 68:6

Spring Has Sprung

“That in the winter, seeing a tree stripped of its leaves, and considering that within a little time, the leaves would be renewed, and after that the flowers and fruit appear, he received a high view of the Providence and Power of GOD, which has never since been effaced from his soul. That this view had perfectly set him loose from the world, and kindled in him such a love for GOD.”
Brother  Lawrence 1666, Practicing the Presence of God.

Spring in Georgia usually brings about rough weather, rain, and lots of pollen.  Maybe it gets you “spring cleaning”… I’ve always wondered why don’t we have “winter” cleaning, but maybe it’s the sense of new and fresh that makes us want to spring clean.  But the best part of spring is it gives a glimpse of creator God, and we should take a moment to be in awe of it.  How can a seed, a root, a bulb go thru a season where it “dies”, it’s in the ground, would seem dead but yet really at the core is alive?   Because spring is the perfect picture of a God whose pretty awe-inspiring,  He is Creator God, and we should celebrate Him, when we view His creation.   Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world,  His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature,  have been clearly seen”.  In creation, new life, that new flower, that new leaf on a tree that seems dead, is proof  of God.  Max Lucado says  “if a person has nothing but nature, then nature is enough to reveal something about God.”

Spring time also brings about the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, Easter…  new, something dead that comes to life. Only God has the power to raise a man from the dead, defeat death, bring back life.  Revelation 21:5, “I am making all things new” is His promise.  More to celebrate.

So, when you see all the new leaves on the winter trees, the new flowers out of the dead ground, the beautiful  new blooms on the bare trees,  maybe stop and consider giving God a bit of a “Yay God Moment”, clap for Him, celebrate His beautiful creation, be inspired by it and in awe of Him.  Then yes, pass around the tissue box for all of us with spring allergies.  Gotta take the good with the bad.  Achoo, and  God bless you!

Fear Is…

Fear is a tool of the devil, he uses it in all kinds of ways. Fear of failure, fear of death, fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of awkwardness just to name a few.

We make choices from fear that keep us from doing kingdom work. Fearful of talking to our neighbor, we guard our families and children from “the world” because of fear, we let fear keep us out of sketch places, we let fear keep us from speaking love to someone, doing love for someone. Words of a wise teacher remind us, “ The world isn’t to be feared, it’s the prize. I think I’ll say that again… the world is the prize! Our high schools are the prize, our middle schools are the prize, our elementary schools are the prize, our colleges are the prize, LGBT is the prize, our co-workers and the prize, our neighbors are the prize, the Poor are the prize, Muslims are the prize, and on and on. Those that we fear, are the prize. If satan can use fear to keep us from doing the work of Jesus, well then he wins. Wouldn’t it better to not let him win?

The word fear appears in the bible about 299 times. There are two definitions of the word listed.

Fear, “awe, dread and reverence”. This is the fear that Zacharias had when he saw the angel, this is the fear that the guards had who saw the stone rolled away from the tomb of Jesus, the fear of those present who saw Ananias struck dead, the same fear that was there in prison with Paul when God opened the jail doors and the fear Moses had when God called to him from a burning bush. It’s the fear, the reverence for God we should have during worship, a respect for our God, not because He will harm us, because He is Powerful and worthy of awe, dread and reverence.

The other fear word means “to be afraid”. This is the one in the devils toolbox. It is the fear that keeps us from doing Kingdom work. In Matthew 10, Jesus talks about it A LOT. In vs. 28, “do not fear those who kill the body for they are unable to kill the soul”. vs. 31, ” do not fear, you are more valuable than sparrows”.

Just recently I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I still find it strange to say those words in my head or out loud because of no family history, it comes as quite a shock. The day we found out and were leaving the doctor’s office, as we walked out thru the waiting room I wondered how many women that day, would get cancer news and be so afraid. I have none of that because of my understanding who God is, I’m His daughter, I belong to Him. Romans 8:15… for you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons and daughters by which we cry out, “Abba!” Father!” See, I know the end of the story. Our end is all the same: death… we are all terminal, none of us are getting out of here alive and I know The King and what He promises if I believe and trust in Him. The opposite of fear is PEACE. Peace means we can trust Him, He has our best interest and we can do Kingdom work absent of fear. What we should fear, is not fear of death, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of etc…. I recently heard a quote, “Should we fear failure, or being successful at things that really don’t matter? ” Buddy Hoffman. This is a good reminder.

Let us not let Fear keep us from doing what’s important, what will matter at the end of this life is what we did for The King, that is all! “I fear no evil, for YOU are with me” Ps. 23

Love is……

February brings about Valentine’s day. It’s all about love… love…. love.  Jewelry, Hearts, Flowers, Dinner, Chocolate; the list goes on and on.  These are the things we associate with that day.   All women want to matter, we want to know we are valued… that’s what makes Valentine’s day fun; our Valentine showing us we matter and we are loved. Of course for me, I’ll just take a simple dish put in the dishwasher instead of the sink. It’s the little things y’all!  We know what culture teaches up about love… but what does Jesus tell us?  

The beginning of love goes all the way back to the garden of Eden, in Genesis 1:31, God creates all things and says they are good… and in Genesis 3:21 when Adam and Eve choose to sin, He sacrifices an animal to give them clothes to cover their sin because of His love for them. God takes the death of an animal, (and by the way it would have been the first time Adam and Eve saw an animal die, giving up its blood for them ) which He sees as good, and kills it for them.  Love is… sacrificial.

Jump ahead to God sacrificing His son, to cover our sins, and now Jesus has a TON to say about Love.  The Old testament taught us to love our neighbor, after the death of Jesus God adds love your enemies, love those that persecute you.  Love God, love your neighbor, love others.  It seems so simple, but then “we” get in the way.  Sacrificial love is hard because it means we have to give up what matters to us, ourselves. Because we love Jesus, sometimes we have to put ourselves to the side, be humble and show humility.  The root word of humbleness and humility comes from the word dirt, the picture of being low, you  just can’t get any lower than the ground. We  have to choose whether we are going to be obedient to what He’s told us to do , He didn’t ask us to love,  He commanded it. The best part is He promises He will help us do it!

Love is a noun, that love is compassion and devotion.  And Love is a verb, that love does things, it’s love in action.  It’s how people will know who Jesus is, by how we love. John 13:34-35  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another, by this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 15:13 Jesus says, greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

I Corinthians 13 spells out love for us, “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it does not dishonor others, it is not self- seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres and LOVE Never fails.  Love doesn’t mean we always feel lovey dovey about someone, but it does always mean we want the best for that someone.

So whether you have a Valentine or not, we still all have the same mission… to LOVE just like Jesus did. Best part is, He is cheering us on! And don’t be scared to Love, for you are valued. Matthew 10:29-31.

 

New Year’s Resolutions

Raise your hand if you have ever made a New Year’s Resolution and have then broken it.

Resolution – a firm decision to do or not to do something.

 47%  of us will make a resolution about Self Improvement, 38%  Weight, 34% about Money and 31% about Relationships. 24% of those who make a New Year’s Resolution, are going to fail.  Accomplishing any goal,  starts in our head, which translates to our heart and we only need to look to God’s word for some encouragement on these topics. Psalms 121:2 “our help comes from the Lord”. Galatians 5:16 “walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh”.  Here is a short list God gives us on some of these topics.

Self-Improvement – Colossians 3:12-13 “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another”.  Our goal as children of the King, is to strive to look like Jesus.   Philippians 4:8 “whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute..dwell on these things”.

Weight – For women, it’s a sensitive topic and really something you have to set your mind to if you need to lose weight. ( I speak from experience finally putting my head to it and losing 35 lbs- yes it’s hard!!) We just need to remember, our bodies are the temple God resides in,  1 Corinthians 3:16 …”you are a temple of God and the Spirit of God resides in you”.  It’s His house so to speak so let’s make it fantastic on the inside and the outside.

Money – Truly, it’s not our money… it belongs to God. “1 Timothy 6:7 we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out.” Money is a tool to care for the poor, the needy, to do good works, care for widows and orphans. Galatians 6:9 “don’t lose heart in doing good”.  2 Corinthians 9:7… “God loves a cheerful giver.”

Relationships – Philippians 2:4 …”do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interest of others.”  God wants us to just get along, love others even to the point of humbling ourselves.  Colossians 3:14… put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”  So many of our relationships would be easy-peezy if we just put others before ourselves.

 It may be helpful to memorize some of these verses, write them on Post it notes and leave in places you’ll spot them… as reminders that we just have to ask for help and God will provide it.  We are not alone!  

Proverbs 16:9   The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

The Birth of Grace to Give Away

 “Greetings favored one! The Lord is with you” These are the words that the Angel Gabriel said to Mary when he came to bring her the news that she would be the mother of Jesus, and the Bible says she was perplexed at this greeting. I imagine so, it’s not every day an Angel shows up to say hello and tells you you’re going to have a baby and oh wait, you’re a virgin! (most of us would probably want to go in hiding or have our heads examined) And a few verses later the angel follows with “do not be afraid Mary, for you have found FAVOR with God”.

 That word FAVOR is very important , it comes from the word “chairo” which means to rejoice, be glad, be well, rejoice exceedingly. Favor used by the angel Gabriel is “charis” and means filled with Grace, that which brings joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, grace of speech, and loveliness.

 Mary being filled with Grace, chosen by God to bring His son to this earth, sets a good example for us, to be joyful, be a delight, be sweet, be charming and lovely, from the inside out. As women, in the culture we live in today we don’t have very good examples of what favor, or being filled with Grace would look like. We are pounded from every direction with the things we are told in ads or commercials of what things will bring us joy, or pleasures, clothes, makeup, hair that would make us look lovely… temporary things that we can delight in.. and when was the last time you saw a leading lady in a movie, or TV show that was the example of sweetness, charm or loveliness? (only on the Hallmark channel) it will not happen because culture teaches us “it’s all about me”, “things” make me happy, I want what I want any way I can get it. But being filled with Grace, Grace from the inside out, is the opposite of that and will make people question why you are different. And it should be noted, that in Luke 1 : 46-55 in Mary’s great poem, sometimes called The Magnificat it is obvious that Mary knew who God was, her King and Father, and knew His scriptures. This is our tool for living like grace, living with bestowed favor.

 Can you imagine being greeted “oh favored one”? Guess what, if you have trusted Jesus for your salvation, as daughters of the King… you are His favored ones. But the thing is, being favored… having been shown Grace, the unmerited favor of God, we just can’t keep it for ourselves. Jesus was born for it, Grace was costly, Jesus gave His life for it, God gave His Son for it and we must Give Grace Away, extend it to others.

 Now, don’t go greeting anyone with “greetings favored one”, yes… they will think you have lost your mind! But live with Grace on your face, Give Grace Away… live joyfully, be a delight, have your speech full of grace. 1 Peter 3:3-4, teaches “let your adornment be.. a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”

 And finally, practice these things, In Philippians 4:8 Paul wrote ..”whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, what is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. “

 So go share Grace, bestow unmerited favor on your children, your hubby, your coworkers, your family, your neighbors, and so on and when you do, you put skin on Jesus. Give the gift of Grace away, move people, give it away freely, because you understand the cost baby Jesus paid, because it’s been bestowed on you with love unimaginable at the greatest price … you are not alone, “the Lord is with you” and You Are Loved.

                                                               Giving is the beginning of Grace.

You know you need a Parenting class when…

  1. Preschool teacher calls home on several occasions concerned about your child’s behavior
  2. Extended family members tell you that you have a lot of patience with your kids
  3. A new church you visited calls you and tells you that they don’t have any room for your 2 year old
  4. A friend tells you

Well, I wish I could say I got the message above when it happened to me but to be honest, I really didn’t see it.  We were brand new Christians when we moved to Georgia and finally found MHCC (formerly called The Church @ West Cobb) it was definitely a “God directed appointment.”  After another church that we were visiting handed me my two year old and said they didn’t have any room left, (she was quite a handful!) I knew we needed to find a different church.  And this church was offering a parenting class which was suggested that we look into it!  It may have been offered just because of us, I’ll never know, but I’m eternally grateful for it.

A little history before I get started.  When MHCC was launching a bunch of small groups they were encouraging everyone to plug into one of them and get connected.  I really wanted to do a marriage bible study but my husband wanted to do a parenting bible study.  We had a very “child focused” home and I thought our marriage could use some attention.  However, I let my husband decide since I was so grateful we were doing something together!  One of the first lessons we learned in good parenting was…..put your marriage first ☺  Isn’t God good!  If you’re looking for more on marriage, check out the marriage blog!

Our parenting Bible Study was based on the book called, Love Them, Discipline Them by Betty N. Chase and of course, the Bible.  In the very first week my husband and I had learned so much and realized that we had not been doing or known to do any of the suggested parenting tools that were based on biblical principles in the 10 years since we had become parents.  I was devastated and with that, and I started to cry in front of everyone because I thought it was too late.  I was quickly comforted by all the members of the small group and I distinctly remember one Dad telling me it’s never too late with God and that God will meet us where we are and He will help us.  And that, He did indeed!  

Consistent discipline is biblical, necessary and a gift to you and your children!  The form of discipline may vary from child to child and age of the child, however don’t neglect God’s wisdom in the Proverbs.  Proverbs 13:24 he who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.  Proverbs 22:6 train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Here are some simple guidelines to help you stay in control and have the upper hand.

  1. Daddy & Mommy are always united (at least in front of the children) If one parent says “yes” and the other says “no” then you will have chaos.  Always be united in front of the kids and discuss the differences later in private.
  2. Maintain a schedule/routine and stick with it!  Children thrive with structure and a daily routine i.e. dinner, bath, bed (bedtime is very important, it requires a lot of follow through and hard work on the parents end, but it is necessary for good health and good behavior.  Once a routine is established, it won’t be so difficult to follow and eventually they will automatically comply.
  3. There are 3 basic areas that require discipline –if the child’s behavior falls under this umbrella of behavior it must be addressed every time.
    1. Lying
    2. Disobedience
    3. Disrespect

umbrella

Don’t let any of these behaviors go undisciplined.  The earlier you start with your children the easier it is for you as they get older.  The more consistent you are with following through, the easier your life will be.  It’s tiring and you will be tested, but persevere and don’t give up, because the prize awaits you and is worth it!

A love affair: It can Happen to you

A love affair: It can Happen to you.  This is the name of the first chapter of a book by Ed Wheat, M.D. and Gloria Okes Perkins called Love Life For Every Married Couple.  Does that idea seem foreign or impossible to you at this time?  Don’t worry.  You are not alone.  Many couples, even mutually devoted Christian couples, struggle with marital issues at one time or another.  If you are currently struggling or feeling unfulfilled in your marriage, I recommend that you read this book along with the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas.  These books give different but united and definitive instruction on how to have a satisfying and strong marriage.  Note that I did not say happy.  As you probably know, marriage was not designed to make us happy.  Our spouses can never make us happy, because this is not their design. God, our designer, is the only One who can bring true fulfillment.  God is the only One who can satisfy our souls.  Still, our Designer designed marriage.  Gary Thomas suggests, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”  This is a concept worth exploring in his book, Sacred Marriage.  He goes on to say, “If the purpose of marriage was simply to enjoy an infatuation and make me happy, then I’d have to get a new marriage every two or three years.”  He believes that much of the dissatisfaction we experience in marriage comes from expecting too much from it.  So, what do we do?  Lower our expectations?  Well, let’s not think of it in that way, but what about if we do expect less of our husbands and more of God?  Expect God to meet our needs. Expect God to fulfill that emptiness.  Expect God to be sufficient.  Expect God to love us the way we need to be loved.  He is ready to do this for us.  He is able to do this for us.  We just need to spend time with Him daily and spend time in prayer and He will provide for us!  I have seen this play out with my own two eyes.  If you begin to rely more on God, you can begin to take the pressure off of your spouse to meet your needs.  As the Holy Spirit begins to work in and through you, you will begin to see a difference in your marriage.  Please take time to read these books if you struggle in any way or if your spouse seems to be struggling.

I know that some marriages are truly troubled and the challenges seem insurmountable.  That is where we let God teach us this concept of allowing our marriage to make us holy (more like God) rather than happy.  We must stop embracing the current thought of our culture, ‘do what makes you happy.”   Gary Thomas gives an example of this with the 23 year marriage of Abraham Lincoln to Mary Todd.    Apparently, it was no picnic.  She was known for her extreme mood swings, fierce temper and public outbursts.  It is documented that Lincoln’s faith allowed him to see her through God’s eyes, as a child of God.  This enabled him to treat her with love and kindness. He chose to serve God and trust God in this area of his life.  It is believed that the difficult lessons he learned in dealing with his wife helped him then deal with a country that was divided and full of conflict and controversy.  His marriage taught him patience and endurance.  He certainly needed this as he led our country through one of the most difficult times in our country’s history.  Our 16th president is an example of Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

With God’s help, Lincoln remained a loving husband as he worked to unite a hurting and torn nation.  His marital struggles helped mold him into a humble man who relied on God for his strength and peace.  

“What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”  What if you can indeed have a love affair with your spouse that will change the current direction of your life and/or your current mindset?  It can happen to you…with God’s help! Begin praying today for your spouse and for your marriage.  Pick up one or both of these books as a starting point.  Seek Godly counsel.  I will be in prayer for those who might be reading this and with whom this struggle resounds. 

“So let us not grow tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9  

Gratitude is an Attitude

We are coming up on the season of Thanksgiving…. so it seems appropriate to start this month with a thought about words like Thankfulness, Gratitude, and Thanksgiving.   Being thankful isn’t something that comes natural to us, since our nature is tweaked to be selfish – “It’s all about me!”  Being thankful takes a little work.  Looking at Gratitude might be a good place for us to start… Gratitude is  defined as the quality of being thankful.   All of us can think of things for which we are thankful.  Students were asked to write a composition entitled “What I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving”.  One wrote, “I am thankful I’m not that turkey!”  Another child writes a thank you note to God, “Dear God, thank you for the baby brother, but what I really prayed for was a puppy!”  Oh golly, kids little minds are fantastic! As adults, we would probably say we are thankful for our jobs, homes, spouse, children and so on, but what about having Gratitude when life is hard?

Paul shares a lot about thankfulness and gratitude. In Philippians 4:6-7 he writes, “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus.”  The little part, (which is pretty big news) we sometimes miss here is what happens when we use thanksgiving,  it brings PEACE.  Colossians 3:15… “let the PEACE of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful”. In many other places Paul writes about gratitude and thankfulness, it appears he thought it was pretty important.

When life is hard, that’s when it is the most difficult to have Gratitude, to be thankful, you have to dig deep… BUT… if we can work to have an Attitude of Gratitude, God promises Peace.  What a comforting promise to know if we can put our mind to being thankful, that He will make us peaceful.  Sometimes it means looking at the challenges our world, friends, family or neighbors face and maybe our situation doesn’t look so difficult. Or maybe we look at our own hard situation and ask God to show us what is the thing I should be thankful for… someone said, “I cried because I had no shoes, until I saw a man with no feet”.   And maybe, just maybe, if we can have an Attitude of Gratitude then we can turn it into a giving attitude, and share a little thankfulness with others, and then when our hearts are so full with peace, we can turn it into worship toward God as David wrote in Psalms 26:7, “that I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving and declare all Your wonders”, or Psalms 9:1 “I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart”.  

So as a practice of Gratitude, maybe to do with your children, your spouse, your girlfriends etc… every day in the month of November write down something you are thankful for, and see if you can grow that Attitude of Gratitude.  As Hebrews 12:28  encourages us, “therefore since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe”. And then turn that Gratitude into some Love, and share it with someone who desperately needs a little Peace in their world.

Be Mary So That You Can Be Martha

Jesus tells us a story that is found in Luke 10: 38-41.  It is about two sisters named Martha and Mary.  Martha was so busy getting the preparations done because Jesus and his disciples were staying at their house.  Mary, Martha’s sister, was not helping her but rather sitting and listening to Jesus.  Martha was upset with Mary for not helping and asked Jesus to please say something to Mary.  But Jesus defended Mary and said “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Years ago, as a new believer and a mother of four young children 9, 7, 5, & 2, I was knee deep and overwhelmed in “mommy” stuff.  I was flooded with laundry, dishes, housework, toys, homework, soccer, dance, basketball, doctors, dentists and orthodontist appointments.  There seemed to be no extra time to spend with God and I felt guilty if I did because there was so much work to be done.   

But then I received the absolute best parenting advice from a dear friend of mine MHCC and that was to “Put God First!”  Matthew 6:33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Mary put God first, and Jesus said that is the best way.

So, on that first morning, not setting an alarm clock, somehow my eyes opened at 6:33 and I immediately was reminded by the Holy Spirit to seek first the kingdom of God!  I very quietly, got up, before the kids and made some coffee and spent 10-15 minutes with God.  The morning was so calm and quiet.  I could really focus on reading His Word and praying to Him and what an amazing gift that was!  My day went so well that I knew it was God.  He was revealing to me that He is faithful to His word!  I was in utter amazement of the amount of work I was able to accomplish and the smoothness of the day.  He ordered my steps, He made a way!  By me being like Mary and making God my priority, I could then be Martha and get the work done!  That was proof enough for me to continue this day after day.  In fact, I so enjoyed my quiet time with God that I would awaken earlier so I could spend more time with Him.

Try it for yourself!  Awaken before the kids and the chaos to spend 10-15 minutes with God and read His word and pray to Him.  Share your worries and concerns with Him.  Pray for you and your kiddos.  Ask for help.  Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him for God is our refuge.

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