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Meditations

God Sees You

July 8, 2020
God sees you, mama

We recently got back from a staycation with my family. When we got home, Tyler and I took the kids to his parent’s house (AKA our next door neighbors) and I came back home to set up the kids’ rooms for bedtime. I ended up unloading the whole car and putting everything away from our week-long trip.

When Tyler came back with the kids, I told him: “I unloaded the whole car and put everything away.” 

“Cool,” he said, scrolling through his phone. 

I paused. His response wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, so I said, “I’m going to repeat myself in case you missed it. I unloaded the ENTIRE CAR and put EVERYTHING away.” 

He put down his phone and smiled at me, “Wow, babe, that’s awesome. Thank you so much for doing that.” Then he kissed me and offered me a massage.

See, sometimes it does help to repeat yourself! Ha!

But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:6

This morning, I noticed this verse of the day on the YouVersion Bible app. It made me think about whose praise I’m prioritizing. 

I don’t think it’s unscriptural or unholy for me to seek my husband’s recognition or praise – however, I do think that I can oftentimes feel under-appreciated or like all that I do somehow doesn’t matter if no one sees it or recognizes it. 

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.

Hebrews 4:13

However, there is one being who sees every single thing: God. 

He sees the middle of the night feedings and the early morning risings when no one else is awake. 

God sees us serving our families in all of the daily, humdrum ways that no one else ever notices. 

He sees us cleaning up poop and vomit and who knows what else! 

And it’s HIS praise that we should be seeking above all. 

Jesus’ Example

Jesus didn’t pursue the things that the men around Him deemed important (John 6:15). The gospel of John says that He didn’t entrust Himself to men (John 2:24). He knew how fickle and fleeting men’s praises were. He experienced that firsthand. One week before He was crucified by the crowds, they praised Him as a victorious king as He entered into Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-11). Jesus focused on His Father and really only cared what God thought of Him (John 5:41). 

Jesus is the epitome of all of the things we want to be as moms: gentle, compassionate, hard-working, wise, insightful. And yet, His disciples took Him for granted, people around Him didn’t appreciate Him for what He really was, and He was often frustrated by people’s lack of faith in Him.

But, He was ultimately victorious. And we can be, too (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Here’s the bottom line, mama: God sees you.

He will reward you for your hidden work. The best is yet to come!

Maybe there’s someone in your life who takes you for granted. 

Perhaps you’re feeling weighed down by someone who is constantly critical of you. 

Maybe there’s someone you’re trying to please who will never truly be satisfied. 

If that’s the case, take heart that God sees you, mama.

Choose to pursue praise from God – our eternal, unchanging Father – rather than the fickle and fleeting praise from other people. 

If you’re struggling to feel at peace today, read more here and here.

In Him,

Meditations

Letting Go of the ‘Perfect Day’

June 29, 2020
Letting go of the perfect day

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:1-4

Envision your perfect day.

For me, I wake up before the kids, have my prayer time and Bible study while watching the sunrise. I exercise and make a healthy breakfast for everyone. The kids happily eat what’s prepared for them. We go for a walk and Justus goes down for his nap without a peep. Finn and I do a science experiment and read books together. He doesn’t whine or complain. The kids play independently while I make lunch and they both eat all their food without grumbling. We read a book together and get ready for nap. Finn doesn’t drag his feet, whine or procrastinate. He obeys the first time. Justus is happy and the two of them play well together. During nap time, I accomplish every single task I set out to do plus have time to relax and read a book before the kids wake up. I cook a delicious and healthy dinner that’s ready right when Tyler gets home from work. The house is spotless when he walks in and the kids greet him with smiles and big hugs. We have a joyous dinner together discussing our days. The kids go down for bed without protest and lots of hugs and kisses are exchanged. Tyler and I talk and laugh on the porch while I drink tea and he rubs my feet. We go to sleep early so we’re well-rested for the next day – the house is clean, dishes done and put away, laundry completed, and all of our clothes are laid out and prepared for the next day. It goes without saying that the kids sleep through the night and wake up the next day with big smiles on their faces. 

Ah. What a dream, right?

I’m going to be really honest with you guys:  I expect every day to look like this. I’m constantly striving for this sort of fantastical perfection and am disappointed when it’s not achieved. 

Which means I’m disappointed a lot. By myself, by my husband, by my kids and, if I’m honest, by God. 

I mean, why wouldn’t God want my days to look like this? Wouldn’t that be most pleasing to Him? 

I can often forget that this life isn’t about being happy or most fulfilled. This life isn’t about me.

I love this verse in Colossians, how it says, “Christ, who is your life.” Does this describe me? Is my life defined by and filled by Christ?

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

Luke 9:24

Mamas, this life is a spiritual battle, one where our hearts and souls are on the line. It’s about God fighting for us and us fighting for God.

Satan wants us to become consumed with our own weird sort of perfection so that we lose sight of what God is calling us to. 

This life is a test to see what we will choose. Will we choose God? Will we choose Jesus and eternity and Love? Or we will pursue our own desires above everything else? (Including searching for a quasi-Christian ideal of perfection which is just stressful and disappointing.) 

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

In Jesus we already have the sort of perfection that God desires for us. We don’t need to waste our time attempting to recreate something that falls woefully short. 

The crazy thing about pursuing our own “perfection” is that in the process we lose sight of Jesus and instead focus on what Satan wants us to focus on: ourselves.

Today, let’s choose to fix our eyes on Jesus. To let go of the ‘perfect day’ and instead embrace whatever God has in store for us, knowing that He is working for the good (Romans 8:28).

So, mamas, what will we choose? What kind of days will really fulfill us? Is it when the dishes are done and our kids are obedient and happy? Or is it the days that we remember we are cleansed from our sins and have the hope of a resurrected life? Because only one of those options can happen every single day. 

Let’s not lose sight that there’s a battle waging around us for our hearts and souls, and for the souls of our children and spouses. Let’s throw off whatever is hindering us from choosing God (Hebrews 12:1-3).  And let’s spend each and every day remembering just what Jesus has done for us so that we can have true, eternal fulfillment in Him. 

Marriage Meditations

Combating Critical Thoughts About Your Husband

June 22, 2020
combating critical thoughts

It’s Monday morning, and perhaps the magic of Father’s Day is beginning to wane. Yesterday, we honored and praised the dads in our lives. We could name a laundry list of wonderful attributes about them. But today, all of those critical thoughts we held back yesterday are sneaking their way to the forefront of our minds, turning us slightly sour. 

Why does he have to do it like that? 

How many times do I have to remind him?

Is he ever going to be better at this?

When will he ever stop doing that? 

I don’t do that, why does he? 

These critical examinations of our husband’s shortcomings run like an ongoing commentary in the background as we go through our days. 

Perfection. It’s what I so often expect from my husband. 

(I mean, to be fair, I often expect perfection out of myself, too.) 

But, as I poke and prod at my husband – whether silently or aloud – I’m forgetting one important thing: in the same way that God is working on me, molding me to become more and more like His Son, He’s doing the same work on my husband. 

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:18

By continually pointing out the ways that my husband is not perfect – perhaps in an attempt to make him grow or maybe because I’m just annoyed – I’m not entrusting my husband to the One who is actually helping him to grow. 

I don’t need to be my husband’s growth police. 

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Meditations Parenting

How to Pray the Scriptures for Your Child

June 10, 2020
pray the scriptures for your child

As moms, we want so many things for our children: to love God, to be healthy and happy, to have great friends, excel academically, and so much more. So we take them to doctor’s appointments and tutoring, organize special activities and events, enroll them in sports, arrange play dates, budget for college.

All of these things are fantastic, however, the most important thing we can be doing for our children is praying for them. There is no greater being in all the Universe to impact our child’s future, so we should be petitioning Him at every turn (Luke 18:1-8).

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    By praying the Scriptures for our kids, we are allowing God’s Word to shape our requests to the Almighty. 

    This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

    1 John 5:14

    Sure, we can pray all we want for our kids to be billionaire tech geniuses – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s within God’s will – or that it’s all that good for our kids! But by praying the Scriptures we’re not just petitioning God on behalf of our children, we’re utilizing the power of His Word to mold our appeals. 

    Also, I know we all want to pray for our kids – but sometimes, we don’t know exactly what to say. Praying the Scriptures guides us with what to say and how to pray. 

    So, here’s a few examples of Scriptures to pray for our kids as well as how to pray through them:

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    Chronic Pain Meditations

    Cast All Your Anxiety: When Your Emotions are Too Much

    June 8, 2020
    cast your anxieties

    For today’s meditation, we’re going to discuss what to do when our anxiety is threatening to overwhelm us. God calls us to cast all our anxiety onto Him – because He cares.

    There’s been a lot going on these days. It seems like the moment we turn around, 2020 is like, “But wait, there’s more!” 

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s felt overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, heartbroken, and all sorts of other unidentifiable emotions. 

    I have to be honest: it’s tempting for me to just stick my head in the sand and pretend it’s all not happening. To not watch the news or social media, to detach and shut down. 

    Of course, there’s a place for boundaries and taking care of your mental/emotional/spiritual wellbeing, but that’s not what I’m talking about. 

    I believe Jesus wants us to deal with the emotions – the deep, roiling, burdening emotions. He wants us to be honest about them with Him, and then He wants us to cast them onto Him. 

    Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

    Psalm 55:22

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    Fruit of the Spirit Meditations

    Self Control: Choosing the Important Over the Urgent

    June 1, 2020
    Self-Control

    For today’s final meditation on our Fruit of the Spirit series, my husband, Tyler, is going to share with us what he’s learned about self-control. I’ve transcribed a portion of his sermon below, or if you prefer, you can listen to his sermon here.

    We are going to define self-control as: the ability to recognize and choose the important thing over the urgent thing.

    What would your life look like if you had that mastered?

    Self-control is a virtue that I value, that I have been studying and striving for on a personal level. It is something that I regularly feel deficient in and it is something that I ask God to grant me every day. So hopefully I can share with you a few things that He has taught me recently.

    So as it turns out, I am not the only one who feels self-control is a weakness. In fact, among the two dozen “character strengths” surveyed by researchers to over 1 million people around the world, self-control was ranked dead last as the one people were least likely to recognize in themselves. Conversely, when people were asked about their failings, a lack of self-control was at the top of the list. 

    Okay, so we know that self-control is a problem, but WHY is such an acute problem?

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    Meditations

    God’s Glorious Grace

    May 25, 2020
    God's glorious grace

    I have a hard time believing God loves me. Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe He loves YOU. But it’s much harder for me to trust and accept that He loves me. If you’re like me and have a hard time coming to terms with how much God loves you, Ephesians 1 is a good place to start.

    This incredible chapter is basically an outpouring of God’s compelling love. It’s so jam-packed with beautiful phrasings about God’s love that it can be a little overwhelming. It’s like walking into a Bath & Body Works – you’re completely surrounded by a zillion scents that your nose goes on sensory overload and stops working. So that’s why I thought we could stop and take each verse one at a time and enjoy the aroma of God’s intense love.

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    Fruit of the Spirit Meditations

    The Holy Spirit: A Q&A with Jeff Chacon

    May 18, 2020
    The Holy Spirit

    As we conclude our Fruit of the Spirit series, I thought it would be helpful to go over some of these questions about the Holy Spirit. Instead of trying to tackle this difficult topic by myself, I decided to reach out to Jeff Chacon, who ministers at Anchor Point Church in Tampa (he also happens to be my father-in-law and next-door neighbor!). His answers to these questions were deep, Bible-filled and clarifying. I hope they are helpful as you search for a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit.

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    Meditations

    What if Every Day Were Mother’s Day?

    May 11, 2020
    what if every day were mother's day

    Yesterday, we all (hopefully) felt loved and appreciated. Our roles as moms and caregivers were honored and glorified. It made motherhood seem more enjoyable, more majestic. More important. It made me wonder: what if every day were Mother’s Day?

    Today, we’re back to the same ole grind. Changing diapers without any praise. Feeding whining children, with no one around to pay us on the back. We wash clothes, clean dirty floors, wipe away tears, tend to our kids’ souls. With no one watching or cheering us on.

    …right?

    Except, what if I told you that you’re not alone…There is someone watching. There is someone cheering you on. Someone’s patting you on the back, giving you the credit you deserve and filling in the gaps when you need it.

    Your Heavenly Father sees you, mama.

    He sees you every day. All throughout the daily grind He’s cheering you on, applauding you when you succeed and mourning with you in moments of frustration. You are not alone.

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    Chronic Pain COVID-19 Meditations

    When God Has Other Plans

    May 4, 2020
    When God has other plans
    For the busy mom: listen to an audio recording of this post!

    Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

    Proverbs 19:21

    I’m a planner. Literally. My undergraduate degree was in Recreation, Parks & Tourism with a concentration in Event Planning. I enjoy planning things. In fact, one of my “hobbies” is planning vacations that I’ll (probably) never go on. 

    The older I get, the more I bump up against this problem with planning: oftentimes, my plans don’t coincide with God’s plan. And it’s frustrating, and, at times, painful. 

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