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Devotional Readings for Moms
This first picture is of the youngest mother in our church right now. She's also the youngest mother in our family, kissing her first child twelve days after birth. Fortunately, not all infants require as much care as this tiny baby, but even when you have a healthy, happy full size baby, motherhood can take its toll. That tiny baby is three years old now, but her mother still seeks Christ and His word for inspiration.
God's Word is the most important tool a mom can use as she struggles to raise children. And hopefully the words you'll read below will help inspire you as you strive to be the best mom you can be!
DEVOTIONAL READINGS YOU'LL FIND ON THIS PAGE
- It's OK to Ask for Help
- It's Humpday
- Who Am I?
- Faith and Thankfulness
- Obedience Comes Through Faith
It's OK to Ask For Help
So, how many days a week do you feel overwhelmed? As a mom, it seems like we get most of the dirty work. For some reason most of the family just assumes the laundry will be done, the dishes will be clean and there will always be cereal on the shelves. I'm not sure whether everyone thinks that stuff just magically appears or what. Only another mom understands that those groceries require a minimum of one hour a week, and that doesn't include drive time. How often are you still working when the rest of the family has settled into bed for the night?
And it's not like you're the last one up most mornings. Even if you have a morning that you might sleep in, if you have children under the age of 10, it's very difficult for them to let you sleep late. They just want to be with you, but it still makes relaxing a little tough sometimes.
That's where Moses' story can help! Moses was overwhelmed. The people of Israel thought he was the only one who could make a wise decision. Every person in the entire nation who had a problem came to Moses. From sunup to sundown Moses was kept busy defusing arguments and playing mediator. (Do you ever feel like that?) But Moses' father-in-law gave him some great advice. "Get some help! You can't do it all by yourself. You deserve to have some downtime."
We want to be the best moms possible, but despite our best efforts, we only get 24 hours each day, 168 in a week. And the Bible tells us that the first 24 are supposed to be a day of rest. So, if you give yourself another 40-50 for sleeping, that leaves about 90 to get done everything we have to do. If you work 40 and spend 5-7 driving, another 5-10 cooking and shopping and 5 or 6 hours each week doing laundry, you might have 4 hours a day left to spend some time with your kids. But that doesn't leave any time for quiet time with Jesus or for you to spend with your husband or just by yourself.
Yep, I bet you know just how Moses felt. And I have a feeling if Jethro watched you fielding your kids' demands and sorting through the disputes, he'd tell you exactly what he told Moses. It's OK to get some help. You don't have to do it alone. There are some things that you'll still need to do yourself. The big things, just like Moses. But there are other things that you can delegate to others. Your kids can probably fold and put away socks and towels. They might not be quite as neat and tidy as you'd do it yourself, but they'd be done! And it's good for your kids to have the responsibility. It's actually good for their self-esteem to be given some jobs. Older kids can cook one or two days a week, and while it would be nice if our husbands would just take it upon themselves to take some of our burden, the fact is most men need to be plainly asked to help. There's a good chance they won't mind picking up an extra chore or two, they just need specifics. Don't expect them to read your mind. And on a side note, never forget, it's OK if it gets done a little different than you might have done it. If you pay a babysitter occasionally, ask him or her to do the dishes or straighten the kids' rooms. If she does a great job, throw a few extra dollars her way. And if you can afford it, don't be afraid to pay someone to clean a couple of times a month. That doesn't make you a bad mom.
Moses is one of the most remembered heroes of the Old Testament, and he achieved this with help. You are a super-mom. Just the fact that you spent these few minutes trying to become a better person by reading something that I hope will inspire you is proof. And if you ask for help, you are still a super-mom. You are a super-mom because you love your children and you want the best for them. You are a super-mom because you believe that Jesus loves you and you want your children to learn about that love. So go ahead! Ask for some help in your day to day. And take time to enjoy your kids, your husband and yourself. You deserve it!
A devotion written especially for Wednesday
It's Wednesday, the middle of the week. Two days down. Two days to go. In the busy-ness of your life, how often do you feel like this is your weekly mantra? Life is a drudgery. It's not much fun at all.
But is that how God intended our lives to be? When Jesus said, "I came to give life and make it full" in John 10:10, is our Monday to Monday life what He really had in mind? Or did He plan for us more a life of Psalm 34? Did God really mean for us to be "saved, blessed and delivered?" Is Psalm 34 correct? Does God really intend for us to have everything we need and see many good days? And if He does, what's keeping our lives from living in that blessed, saved, goodness?
I think our problem lies in the first three verses. They begin,
"I will extol [glorify, celebrate, exalt] the Lord at all times, His praise will always be on my lips."
We often get so busy that we neglect these first verses. Even when our lips are busy doing other things, our soul should be lifting up feelings of praise. We should tell our friends, "You should hear what God did for me this morning . . ." Perhaps it will be merely a beautiful sunrise or a song that came on the radio just when you needed to hear it. The gratitude towards God you share may simply be a safe ride to work or an uneventful morning getting the kids ready for school. Did the car start? Was there milk in your refrigerator? Did your child smile at you?
Psalm 34 doesn't say this praise will keep us from trouble, but it does say that the Lord will deliver us when the trouble does come our way. It might be interesting to note that David wrote these words just after he nearly was captured by a foreign King. David was trapped and alone with no way out. So, he acted like a mad man. He frothed at the mouth and tried to climb the walls. He would have been put to death had the king not thought he was a lunatic. (And you thought you were having a bad day). God gave him wisdom to act and rescued him from his enemy.So this week, spend some time just concentrating on the goodness of God. King David put it this way,
"Taste and see that the Lord is good."
See if it helps your week to become seven days of delight instead of "two down, two to go." Experiment and find out if it's true that "blessed is the one who takes refuge in the Lord."
More Devotions to Inspire You
Who Am I?
Tommy's Mom, Joe's wife, Nancy's daughter, someone's cousin . . . Do you ever feel like you don't know who you are? Are you so busy taking care of everyone else at home AND at work that you feel like you've lost your identity? Or perhaps it's not lost, maybe you never had it in the first place!
As moms, it's easy for us to feel that way. Someone always needs us to do something. We know we're indispensable, but we certainly don't feel important. And perhaps it's only a mother who knows those two terms are not necessarily interchangeable. But there is one other who knows. God knows. He sees what you do, knows what you think and understands how you feel. Best of all, He created you, so He knows the REAL you. He sees your potential, and in His eyes that's what you look like.
As I read about Gideon recently, I thought, "I often feel like this Old Testament judge," the least of the least. (if you don't believe me, check out verse 14) Sometimes I feel as though no one sees me, and if it wasn't for all that people need me to do, I might not exist. (Fortunately, as I get older and see myself more in the light of Christ, these times get fewer and farther between). God, however, saw a different Gideon. The angel of the Lord, messenger of the Most High, sent by God Himself, called Gideon "Mighty Warrior." Gideon probably looked around to make sure he really was the only other one there. Like us, Gideon didn't feel mighty. He didn't feel like a warrior. He felt insignificant and under appreciated.
If you have a moment, go ahead and read all of Gideon's story. It's just a few chapters. You'll see that Gideon, living in the truth of God's Word, became a mighty warrior just as the angel said. Gideon could have chosen to go back to his comfortable, yet mediocre, life and ignore the truth. He could have blown the angel off and kept right on hiding in the wine press. But instead, he chose to believe that God knew what He was talking about. He chose to live as God saw him rather than live in the shadow his friends and family had created.
One of my favorite Veggie Tales videos is "The Snoodle's Tale." Its message is the message of Gideon. God sees us the way He created us, not the way our friends and family have convinced us we look. And when we live in the truth of God's Word, we can soar!
So, I encourage you this week to discover what you look like to God. Listen for "The Voice of Truth" (that's a good song by "Casting Crowns") and live in the beauty and knowledge that you are a precious creation of the Almighty with more potential than you can possibly unleash in this lifetime! Oh, but let's try!
Faith and Thankfulness
A Lesson from Those 10 Lepers
The lepers' story is a familiar one. Most of us heard it when we were young in Bible School or on a Sunday Morning in church. We learned the importance of being thankful to Jesus, and we discovered that it was shameful to be like those other nine lepers who didn't return to show their gratitude to the Great Healer. As I read this story one more time today, I began to consider verses 13 & 14.
Ten men are living outside a village. They aren't permitted to enter the town because their disease has made them unclean. They probably haven't seen their family in some time, in fact except for those who are traveling along the road toward the city, there's a chance they've had no contact with any other humans since their disease developed. Yet somehow, these ten men know who Jesus is. They didn't read it in the newspaper, nor did they hear it on the radio. They couldn't "Google" Him or even talk to the townspeople about Him, yet they knew Him, and they knew His power. They trusted the stories they'd heard about Him enough to call out to Him from a distance (they couldn't get close, they were after all, unclean lepers), and because of the stories they'd heard, these men had faith.
We don't often talk about the faith of these men. We seem to focus on their ungrateful nature; however, they did have faith. They called out to Jesus, a man they didn't know, a Miracle Worker they'd only heard stories about, but when this Man of God told them to go show themselves to the priest, they headed for town. Jesus didn't say they were healed; He didn't offer them any words of spiritual wisdom. He simply said, "Go show yourselves to the priest." The men understood that the priests would have to give them permission to reenter society, so they left, and "on the way they were cleansed." They weren't healed before they headed for town; they were healed on their way. Their faith was evident by their trust in Jesus' command.
I wondered today, "Do I have that much faith?" Do I believe that what Jesus said in His Word is absolutely true? Before the miracle takes place, if Jesus told me to head in the direction I planned to go AFTER I saw the miracle, would I do it? Would you? I understand that I am not going to get everything I ask for in life. Not every prayer I pray will be answered the way that I hope; however, what if some prayers are not answered because I wait for the miracle instead of walking in faith? What if I'm spending so much time thanking Jesus for what He's about to do, I never take off in the direction He needs me to go?
Yes, we always want to make sure that we don't take for granted Jesus' gifts to us. We should always remember to be thankful for all He does, but let's not lose sight of the value of faith in our teaching of Thanksgiving.
Obedience Comes Through Faith
Through Him and for His name's sake, we received grace . . . to call people . . . to the obedience that comes from faith.
As moms, one of the things on our top ten list for our kids is obedience. We want them to learn to listen to us, their teachers and other adults in authority. As Christian moms we pray we can teach them to also obey Jesus Christ and learn to follow God's Word. We teach them lessons from the Bible and help them understand the differences between living for Christ and living for the world, but as I read this short introduction to Romans, I wonder if our instruction is a bit misguided.
In these first five verses, Paul shares a truth that has been proven time and time again. Throughout history it has been shown that humans armed only with the rules and the guidelines needed to follow them will fail every single time. Adam walked with God, and a short eight generations later, the One who had created mankind felt the need to start over again. David was a man after God's own heart, yet several of his sons who were good at offering the proper sacrifices "fell short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) What if the problem in every instance of failure is the motivation to follow the rules instead of live by faith?
It's important that our children learn to follow the rules, but no amount of legalism will help your child to have life abundant. Even if they manage to grow up to be "good people," without faith in Jesus Christ, their lives will be hollow and empty, and eventually following the rules will get too hard. I think that's why so many politicians and lucrative businessmen end up in scandalous affairs and resort to alcohol or drugs.
On the other hand, our children's futures will be completely different if they are taught to live by faith instead of the rules. Paul tells us that obedience comes from faith. When we have true faith in Jesus Christ, we naturally obey. We WANT to do the righteous thing. The Spirit within us leads us to be the kind of person Christ would be honored to call His friend. Unfortunately, while it's much easier to live by faith than by the rules, rules are much more easily taught. It's easy to put a list of "do's and don'ts" out there to follow. With that list we can even tell them, "Do as I say, not as I do." But teaching faith requires our living it out.
Teaching our kids to have faith in Jesus will mean allowing them to see us vulnerable from time to time so they can witness the way we lean on Him. During those times when we feel like we can't go on anymore, we often shield our children from the heartache. We don't want them to grow up too fast, and when they are very young, some of our pain may need to be kept to ourselves. However, as they mature, it will be good for them to watch us lean on Christ during times of crisis. It's healthy for our kids to see us cry, read scripture, call our godly friends and use worship and study to get us through the hard times.
Faith will be learned as we allow them to see nothing has priority over worship. As we walk into the 21st Century, we see how easy it is to allow our calendars to fill up with things that take away our time with our Father. From birth your children will learn your true priorities by what you do. If you say going to church is important, but only attend once or twice a month, they'll understand that God is only important when we have time for Him. On the other hand, if they witness you rising 15 minutes early to read your Bible and understand when you're in your prayer time they shouldn't disturb you, they'll begin at a tender age to see how vital faith is to a life worth living. More than that, when they experience the peace and love you receive from living out your own faith and being refreshed by His presence every day, they will think it only natural to incorporate worship, study and prayer into their own lives.
Faith will continue after they move out when faith is part of their daily life. Little things like real prayer before dinner, the entire family attending Sunday School and talking about the Bible as part of everyday conversation will go a long way in helping them develop that faith that produces obedience. Obedience, not only to their heavenly Father, but to their earthly parents, too.
While there is no guarantee that living your faith in front of your kids will keep them from rebelling in their teens, I'd say the odds of having a responsible sixteen year old in your home skyrocket when he or she has learned to love Jesus rather than follow the rules.
So, this week worry less about the rules and more about your faith, learn to live with a couple of dust bunnies if it means you have 10 minutes more to pray, give up all the things you "have to do" for the sake of what Christ calls you to do. The peace you will find and the lessons you'll teach your children will be worth it.
© 2015 Lynne Modranski