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Meditations

Jesus: Interrupted

August 31, 2020
interruptions

One of the hardest things for me to deal with on a regular basis is interruption. As in: I have a plan for the day, and it’s going to look a certain way, but then something (or someone) comes along and interrupts that plan. And I have to either let go of my plans and pivot or I have to fight hard against the interruption in order to return to my original plans (and usually fail). I typically end up frustrated and flustered. 

What would Jesus do?

This made me think about how Jesus would handle interruptions. I love how God works because literally the day after I was wondering about this, I happened to read this story in Matthew 14. It’s right after John the Baptist (Jesus’ cousin) gets beheaded, and Jesus is attempting to go away to a solitary place (presumably) to mourn. And, He gets interrupted…

Read along with me to see how Jesus handled his plans of solitude going up in smoke. 

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

“Bring them here to me,” he said.  And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.  They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.  The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 14:13-21

Can you think of a more frustrating interruption? Jesus is in the midst of mourning His cousin, attempting to get away to a private place, and the crowds are following Him, clambering at Him. 

Inconvenient doesn’t even begin to cover it. 

But how does He react? Verse 14 says that when He saw them, He had compassion on them. 

I don’t know about you, but that’s not my first reaction when someone interrupts my plans for the day. 

When I wake up early to read my Bible, and the moment I sit down with my tea I hear Finn scream from his room: “MAMA! MAMA!” My first reaction is not compassion. It’s annoyance. 

When I have plans to get a lot of writing done during nap time and one (or both) of the boys decide they’re not going to nap, it’s frustrating. 

If I’m trying to work through some deeper issues in my heart and mind, and my kids are clambering all over me, it’s overwhelming. 

But I don’t see any of these reactions from Jesus in this story. So, why did Jesus have compassion on them?

Jesus considered the people more important than Himself

First of all, we know that Jesus is completely selfless. He was so filled up by God’s love that it overflowed to the people around Him. This is what God calls us to do as well. 

Photo courtesy of YouVersion

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Philippians 2:1-4 

Jesus truly values us as more important than Himself – that’s why He laid down His life for us. And He calls us to do the same for each other. 

In many ways I value my time, my comfort and my own self too highly because if someone impedes any of these things I react with frustration and annoyance. If this is the case, it’s probably because I’m not overflowing with God’s love – perhaps because I’m not connecting deeply enough with my Father or because I’m so distracted with my own self! 

In order to value others above myself, I need to value my time with God above all else.   

We know that this was already a habit of Jesus’ – to get away early in the morning to connect with His Father and get filled up for the journey ahead (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16). 

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words.

Psalm 119:147
Photo courtesy of YouVersion

In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.

Psalm 5:3

If you’re feeling easily angered, overwhelmed by others’ needs or annoyed at the prospect of doing anything outside of your comfort zone, it’s time to evaluate your time with God. Are you filling yourself up deeply with the Lord? Are you overwhelmed by your circumstances or are you overflowing with His love? 

With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation!  

Isaiah 12:3

If you want to read more deeply about God’s love, head to this study on Ephesians 1

Another reason Jesus had compassion on the crowd:

He saw their true spiritual state. 

He saw they were harassed and helpless. 

Another verse earlier in Matthew shows us what He saw when He looked at the crowds: 

When He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:36

Jesus had compassion because He saw the people for what they were: distressed, weary, troubled, wandering. 

They were like sheep without a shepherd. They needed guidance, sustenance, protection and comfort. 

Does this sound like anyone in your life who’s prone to interrupting you? 

Sometimes, we look at the shallow aspects of people’s needs and fail to see the deeper ones. 

The disciples saw clingy, hungry crowds whereas Jesus saw people desperate for spiritual sustenance. 

What do you see when your children interrupt you? Or when your husband  messes up your schedule? If we just see a clingy, fussy child or a hungry, grumpy husband, let’s look a little deeper. Perhaps there’s a spiritual need that God is calling us to meet. 

We know that Jesus always looks at the heart – He knows what we’re thinking, what we’re feeling, and what we’re going through. I think this is why He so often treats people with compassion, because He knows their struggles. And He knows our struggles.    

Whether you’re aware of it or not, we are all being harassed by Satan – and we should be cognizant of that as we interact with others around us. 

Jesus saw the crowds and knew that Satan was after them. And they were coming to Him. They needed Him. 

So He allowed His plans to be interrupted so He could guide them, feed them, and love them. 

As we move forward with a day that will inevitably be filled with distractions and interruptions, let’s pray to overflow with God’s love and to have the eyes of Jesus so that we can meet the needs of those around us. 

Meditations

2 Compelling Reasons to Read Your Bible Daily

August 17, 2020
Reasons to Read the Bible

Today’s devotional is about why you should read your Bible – and, more specifically, why you should read the Bible more often than not. I know that we are all busy mamas, but I hope you’ll grant me a few minutes to convince you why reading our Bibles is so critical. If you’re already reading your Bible daily, I pray that this will encourage you to keep going and to help others to do the same!

#1: Reading the Bible changes our lives.

Listen to this incredible 2-minute video from Messenger International about what happens to us when we read our Bibles four or more times per week:

Reading the Bible 4X per week from Messenger International on Vimeo.

When we are reading our Bibles more often than not, it changes us. When we open our hearts and minds to God’s powerful words, we are allowing God to transform us.

This is called repentance. And, no, I’m not talking about beating yourself up after you sin. Repentance comes from the Greek term “metanoia.” Meta = change. Noia = mind. Metanoia means a changed mind. A new mind. When we are engaging our minds in God’s Word, it transforms our mindset, our way of thinking. And when our minds are changed, our lives change, too.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2

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Meditations

Lay Down Our Lives: A Devotional for When You Give More Than You Receive

August 3, 2020
lay down our lives devotional

For today’s meditation, we’ll be discussing the call to lay down our lives. This is for mamas who feel like they give more than they receive. Have you felt that way lately? If so, read on.

Do you ever find yourself “keeping score” with how much parenting you’ve done versus how much your spouse has done?

I put them to bed three nights in a row… When is he going to do it?

When was the last time HE gave the “discipline talk”?

I cooked dinner AND did the dishes, so he needs to put them both to bed. 

We spent all day doing what he wanted to do, so it’s my turn tomorrow.

Can any of you relate to this?

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Chronic Pain Meditations

When You Need God’s Strength

July 27, 2020
when you need God's strength

We’ve all had those days: the ones that seem to drag on endlessly, where we wonder what else could go wrong. You’re exhausted, the house is a mess, your children are whining, your husband still isn’t home from work and dinner burned. Or maybe you’re dealing with a deeper trial where you really need God to carry you through. It’s on these days when we need God’s strength the most. 

God put these verses on my heart to share with you, and it seems like the more I searched for scriptures on God’s strength, the more there were! There are so many precious Bible verses about God’s strength at work within us. Download these printable memory verse cards that you can post around the house for those weary days.

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    Paul gives us a great example of someone who went through hardships and trials (2 Corinthians 11:24-29) yet was strengthened again and again. Here’s a powerful verse displaying God’s strength:

    At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    2 Timothy 4:16-18

    In this passage, Paul was going through one of the most challenging times: he was imprisoned, on trial, facing the end of his life, and he was alone. It seems that when he went to court to defend himself, none of his friends showed up. Despite all of this, he kept his faith. He believed that God would carry him through – and He did. None of his earthly friends may have stood beside Paul, but the Lord did. He was not truly alone, because he had Jesus beside him. The same is true for us. 

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    Meditations

    5 Questions to Ask About Your Postpartum Body Image

    July 20, 2020
    postpartum body image

    Have you ever felt disappointed with your postpartum body? Today we’ll be discussing how God wants us to view our postpartum bodies.

    Recently, my mom and Finn were reading a book called “My Amazing Body,” and they were  on the page where it shows how mothers carry their children before they’re born. It had an image of a pregnant woman with a flap to lift so that you could see the growing child inside.

    My mom told Finn, “God made our bellies to stretch and grow so that we could fit a baby inside! Isn’t that amazing?!” 

    From across the room, I commented, “Yeah, and those bellies never go back to normal.” 

    We laughed, but the interaction made me pause: I realized that my comment was actually detracting from God’s glory in the childbearing process. It is amazing that our bodies can expand to hold another living being! And by grumbling about the flaws in my own body, I was diminishing God’s incredible design. 

    This realization, as well as the chapter on postpartum body image in Risen Motherhood, encouraged me to dig deeper in the scriptures and in prayer to figure out how God wants me to view my postpartum body. 

    This is the fruit of that investigation. Here are 5 questions for us to ask ourselves about our postpartum body image: 

    #1: Why do I want a better-than-before-baby body?

    Before we have kids, we think, “I’ll be the bounce-back mom! No one will ever know I had a kid!” But once we actually have a child, life doesn’t look the way we thought it would. Our bodies don’t cooperate the way they used to. Our schedules aren’t as neat as we thought they’d be. We find ourselves disappointed in ourselves and the bodies that just carried us through the miracle of life-giving.

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    Chronic Pain Meditations

    When You Need Comfort…

    July 13, 2020
    when you need comfort

    Are you in need of some comfort today, mama? I don’t know about you, but I woke up this morning in need of encouragement. And God sent it to me, by way of a beautiful sunrise, a pack of wild pigs, and this Bible verse…

    Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

    2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

    In case you needed the reminder: God loves you 

    How has God shown you His love? For me, I see His love in my family and in nature. I get little “I love you’s” from God through Tyler every day. And I constantly am in awe of God’s love for me when I think about how much I love my kids. If I love my kids this much, and I’m a sinful human being, how much more does God love me?! (Matthew 7:11)

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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. 

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    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. 

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    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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