Even More Devotions for Busy Moms
Devotions You'll find Below
Take a Vacation
A Nice Long Drive
Spending Time with Your Father
They Grow Up So Fast
The Stuff that Drives Me Crazy
Because Every Mom Needs a Break Once in a while
Every Mom needs a break now and again. A Mom who wants to bring her children up knowing Christ personally needs a daily quiet time with her Creator. With the world bombarding us constantly, it's vital that a Christian parent keep herself fueled with God's Word.
Here you'll find some short devotional readings to give moms a break from their day to day. So take just a moment, focus on Christ and breathe.
Take a Vacation
It's a Very Scriptural Thing to Do
I've been reading the Old Testament of late, and as I read Leviticus and Numbers I reflected on all of the festivals God expected the Israelites to participate in. The year started with the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was celebrated for a full week along with the feast of the First-fruits. For seven days the people of Israel would do no work and bring their best to God.
Fifty days following this festival came the Feast of Weeks. Today we call that feast "Pentecost." It was a single day feast to praise God for the harvest. At the beginning of the seventh month (about 4 months later), a trumpet blast marked the beginning of another one day feast for Israel, and then just 10 days later the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) gave them another day of mandatory rest. Finally at the end of the harvest season and five days after the last feast, the Israelites were commanded to set aside seven more days to celebrate the Feast of Booths, a time to remember that their ancestors lived in tents for 40 years as they wandered around the desert.
Just those five feasts offered the people of Israel seventeen days of celebration and no work. When you add to that a New Moon Festival in each of the nation's ten months and three more festivals added after the Jewish people returned from their exile, you'll discover the people in ancient Israel enjoyed at least 27 days off every year. That count doesn't include the Sabbaths the nation was supposed to observe weekly or any kind of special vows or days they may have had.
As I read over and over again the details of these festivals as well as the regulations placed upon the children of God, I began to understand that God wants His People to withdraw from work and come aside to learn more about His love and grace. It caused me to consider how many days I actually set aside to just be with my Heavenly Father.
In the 21st Century, we often feel very guilty when we take time for ourselves; and no one more so than moms. If we do have a day off, we'll often spend the entire time cleaning, weeding or getting "caught up." For moms who have a job outside the home, even our Sundays have become laundry or cleaning day. But how would your life change if you scheduled at least one day every week and another 25 days throughout the year when you did nothing but spend time with your heavenly Father and your family? 77 days a year with no cleaning, shopping or worrying about how much work there is to do. Could you do it?
God knows His children. He understands that our bodies are completely human and must have rest. In His great love for us, He set aside the necessary time for our bodies to recuperate from the daily grind we know as life.
During the Summer we focus a bit on vacations. This Summer I hope you'll remember that God created you for vacations. He may have called them festivals in scripture, but our modern day vacations can serve the same purpose. As you plan your Summer with your children remember to include activities that will help you worship your heavenly Father. You don't have to spend a lot of money or go away for days at a time. Take a hike and help your children understand that all the beauty they see is God's handiwork. Visit your local Science Center and explain that God set in motion the law of gravity and the law of conservation of mass. Spend an entire day at a State Park swimming and remind your children that Christ began his ministry being baptized in a muddy river. The possibilities are endless and the memories you will create are priceless.
And in the midst of your busy life, take some time for you. Give your children a grand gift by spoiling yourself for at least a few days of your "Summer vacation." You were created to rest in Christ and without that rest, you can't be all that Christ created you to be. So go ahead, plan your festivals, give yourself permission to leave dust on your television all Summer and praise your heavenly Father for the example He set by calling the Israelites to spend some time just "Being Still and knowing that God is God.
A Nice Long Drive
Yesterday I had a two and a half hour drive to speak at a church and a two and a half hour drive home. I originally thought I would have someone with me for the drive, but by noon the last of my possible companions had cancelled. I don't really like to drive, and I generally find myself falling asleep when I do. So, I wasn't looking forward to trip.
Once again, though, my Father knew what He was doing. The ride was wonderful. I was able to spend two and a half hours with Jesus, praying, singing and meditating on my journey with Him. Something I wouldn't have been able to do had one of my passengers been able to ride with me.
It made me think about the days when my girls were in school. I often found opportunities to get them in the van with me one at a time. Each had her own special school shopping day, and I'd often talk just one into going grocery shopping. I loved those trips home from the school or doctor or dentist appointments. We sometimes had the radio on softly in the background, but the majority of the trip was spent talking about whatever was important to that particular daughter at the moment.
I believe those trips were a key part of the relationship I now share with the girls. Of course we spent a lot of other time with the girls, but those one on one times were very special to me (and to them, I hope!) I'm blessed that now as adults we can have a great time together, but I wonder if I would be able to say that if we hadn't spent time nurturing those relationships.
My truck ride yesterday with my heavenly Father reminded me of those trips with my daughters. I had a wonderful chat with Him about all of the things that were on my mind, the blessings as well as the things that were troubling me. And although I didn't hear His voice in an audible way, somehow I knew that He cared and loved that I was just spending time with Him.
As moms it's easy to get so busy being a parent that we neglect the most important relationship in our lives. So many people demand our time, our children, our spouse, our boss or teacher, even our pets. And because Jesus is much less demanding, the time we spend with Him is often short changed. It's good for us to read verses like this one from Luke to remind us that even our Savior Himself needed to spend quiet time with His heavenly Father in order to make healthy decisions and be the leader He needed to be.
Motherhood is a very taxing profession, but not more strenuous than leading a group of uneducated men to become the foundation for a New Covenant with the Father. Jesus needed time with God, and we need to follow His example. I know it seems as though you don't have a moment to spare, but I encourage you, the next time you're driving to work or on your way to pick up your children, spend some time with your Father, tell Him everything, laugh with Him and cry with Him. He's waiting because He loves spending time with you.
Spending Time with Your Father
Yesterday morning my 23 year old called me to tell me she had just finished a Marathon and had shaved 2 seconds off her time. I am pretty sure I was about the second person she called, perhaps the first. It makes me feel extremely good to know that even as adults my girls still like to share their victories with me. I love it that they want me to know what's going on in their lives, and they think of me when they have good news.
Shortly after we hung up, I thought that must be how God feels when we pray. Yes, God obviously knows what's going on in our lives, but I think it must bring Him great joy when He knows we WANT to share our victories and successes with Him. It's not WHAT we tell Him that is important, He already knows all of that. But I believe that God smiles when He sees in us the desire to tell Him everything that's happening in our lives. I feel loved and proud when my daughters want me to know about their day. Why wouldn't God feel the same?
It's so easy for us to get busy taking care of our children, homes, jobs, educations and spouses, we are apt to forget that even in our grown-up, very responsible state, we are still children, God's children. Perhaps you've already begun to realize that your children will never "outgrow" you. You will always worry about them and love them more than a normal human can understand. It's much the same with our heavenly Father. He sees us through the blood of Jesus with eyes that see deeper and a heart that loves greater than even a mother's mind can fathom.
Your heavenly Father is waiting for your call today. He's sitting by the phone loving you, patiently counting the moments until you speak just the smallest word in His direction. He's always listening, always loving and always anxious to hear from you.
They Grow Up So Fast
This Saturday I danced with my grandson at my nephew's wedding. I call him "My Little Man." When he was three I would ask him to promise to stay little forever and he would always agree. But at age 7 it's not so easy. He's seen the fun in being older and there's no looking back now. However, I still tell him that he'll always be "My Little Man."
On Saturday I said, "You know you'll always be My Little Man." He smiled shook his head and I said, "Even when you're 35, you'll still be My Little Man."
He grinned big and said, "What about when I'm 23, will I be your Little Man?"
I said, "Yes, when you are 23, you will still be My Little Man."
He replied, "When I'm 70, will I be your Little Man?"
"Yes, even when you're 70, you will still be My Little Man."
And the conversation continued, "When I'm 3000 will I still be your Little Man."
"Yes, even when you are 3000, you will still be My Little Man."
I don't want him to grow up too fast. He's already started to worry about tests. It amazes me how many very young children think about things that I didn't even know existed when I was their age. I'm guessing the information age has given them knowledge that wasn't available when I was young. And not all knowledge is necessary helpful. Adam and Even proved that when they ate from the tree of the "Knowledge of Good and Evil."
Or if it's not the information age teaching them this "wisdom" that seems beyond their years, perhaps it's watching us, the adults in their lives. These impressionable, precious gifts want to be like us! Isn't that amazing? But what are they learning from us? What priorities are we teaching them, what behaviors are we instilling in their young minds?
When I read this passage from Mark today, it made me think about us grownups. I wondered what I DON'T do because I'm "too grownup" or it's "too foolish." Jesus said that the "Kingdom belongs to such as these." "These" meaning the children.
Have you ever noticed that kids don't need an explanation for every fact you tell them? As they get older they will, but young children just take your word for it when they ask you a question. (And on a side note: Always tell them the truth when they ask - the more they see you always tell the truth, the longer they'll trust your answers) Young children have faith in you.
Young children see things in a whole new light! I love watching kids see things for the first few times. I enjoy taking them to a farm or a zoo, a musical or a nature walk. Things that I dismiss as every day, they see with wonder and amazement. Children remind me that God's creation is full of mystery and beauty. They see through eyes untainted by the hurt and pain of the world. So they see clearly the majesty of all our Father has made.
Young children aren't embarrassed to have fun! My brother-in-law and I just grinned at each other watching the 12 and under crowd on the dance floor Saturday. They looked like they were having a blast. They didn't get even ONE of the dance moves right, but they were out there having a great time! When was the last time you danced like no one was watching? Or better yet . . . When was the last time you CARED if someone was watching?
Young children smile, dance, run and laugh. They create, trust, hug, and love. They see, feel, care and cry . . . all without shame, all without inhibition. We can tell when our children start to mature, because one by one they begin to be self-conscience about these things. And if we're honest, we'll admit that there are times we wish we could be just a little more childlike. We like to play in the rain and get soaked from time to time. We enjoy laughing until we need to change our clothes on occasion. We love to dance with friends and not worry if every step is correct. And we'd love to just have some time to crawl up on Jesus' knee and let Him hold us.
I have a painting of Jesus and the children. It's more modern than you may have seen before, but it's wonderful. The children are a multitude of races and economic states. There are kids who are smiling, kids who look frightened and at least one who looks lost and afraid. When I look at it, I see a picture of me with Jesus.
Jesus wants us to come to Him as a child, honest and open, with all of our fears and failures showing. He doesn't need the cleaned up, grownup version of me. That part of me won't sit on His lap or fall at His feet. That part won't ask a "silly" question or sing His praises at the top of my lungs with the radio. No, that part of me will smile and be very proper, it won't let the tear of hurt be seen, it won't be too loud or yell because it's mad. That part of me doesn't know how to be real and transparent before my Savior.
That's why Jesus said, "Anyone who won't receive the Kingdom like a child will never enter into it." It's not that we aren't allowed; it's that as our "adult selves" we may come to the door of the Kingdom, we may even go in and stand against the wall, but unless we enter as a child, we'll never experience the beauty, the fun, the abundance of life that Christ has for us. We'll always be reserved and miss out on all the Kingdom has to offer.
So this week I challenge you to remind yourself daily that you are God's child. I pray you will take a step toward allowing yourself to have more fun and laugh louder and bigger. I encourage you to eat hot dogs on paper plates for dinner one night so you'll have time to play a game (that's what a kid would do). And don't do it just for you, do it for your kids. As you teach them to be responsible adults (because we do still have to be that, too), teach them with your actions to never stop being children . . . children of a living and gracious God . . . children who will be ready to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Stuff that Drives me Crazy
Today I was listening to KLOVE (Christian Radio) and heard the beginning of Francesca Battistelli's new song, "This is the Stuff." It starts out
I lost my keys in the great unknown
and call me please 'cuz I can't find my phone
This is the stuff that drives me crazy,
this is the stuff that's getting to me lately . . .
It's such a real song for us moms. Every day there is "stuff." Something is always lost, if it's not our keys or phone, then it's the kids' DS or shoes or perhaps our spouse's wallet or favorite jacket. And if we happen to have a day when we can find everything, then the car won't run or the washer overflows. It's always something. Can you relate?
I remember when I first asked Christ to be my Savior and committed to live for Him. I was still a teen, but for some strange reason, I thought life would change. I had somehow got it into my head that salvation would make things easier. I didn't read the Bible much back then. If I had, I'd have probably been a little more aware of the fact that Christ never promised "easy," He only promised "worth it."
It's kind of funny that song would have been playing first thing this morning because I'd just been thinking about one of the last discussions Christ had with His disciples here on this earth. In John 14 Jesus promised the disciples peace, but "not as the world gives." He promised to send a "paraclete." That's a Greek word that's used in the original translation of the Bible. We obviously don't use it much. OK, we don't use it EVER, but it's a great word! (and fun to say!) It's translated half a dozen ways in different versions of the Bible and every single variation is correct. That's why it's such a great word!
Jesus told His disciples He was going to go to heaven so He could send us a Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. Read your version of John 14:16. It may say advocate or counselor, comforter or friend. The New Century Version says Helper and the Amplified expands the word to mean Intercessor and Strengthener. The good news is The Holy Spirit is all of that and more. The word paraclete includes "the one who consoles," "the one who calls you" and "the one who sets you free."
I was thinking about all of that this morning when "This is the
Stuff" began to play on the radio. It made me smile. If Christ saw the need to send me a paraclete, why would I have ever assumed life as a Christian would be the easy road? Obviously Jesus knew it would be anything but, so He made arrangements to give us some help, He sent us a paraclete.
And I think that of all people, moms probably need a paraclete the most. After all, it's not very often dad who has to find the lost sock or get up in the middle of the night with the nightmares. Mom is usually the one expected to have all the answers and the great advice, and Mom is supposed to read minds when teenagers don't talk. It's mom who folds the clothes while she watches TV, and mom who sees one more thing someone forgot to do on her way to bed. Mom is responsible for stretching the budget and for some reason most of the household responsibility falls on her whether she's blessed to be able to make a career of the calling of motherhood or not. Yep, mom, you need a paraclete.
Most often, though, we try to do it on our own. We learn quickly, perhaps from watching our own mother, that what we don't do probably won't get done. And that's why we so quickly burn out. Our Father didn't create us to do it on our own. He's sent a Helper, a Counselor, a Guide. The Holy Spirit wants to lead us and help us and most of all give us peace. But like His two counterparts, the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He will not force His way someplace He is not invited.
I'm guessing if you're reading this, there's a good chance you've already asked Christ to be your personal Savior. You probably already know that being good isn't enough, we have to humble ourselves to accept Jesus' death on the cross as payment for our sins and commit our lives to Him. And when we do that, Ephesians says we're "sealed with the Holy Spirit." But there is more than just that "sealing." I have discovered that when I ask the Holy Spirit to help me and lead me (and then let Him do it), there is a peace and a joy in the midst of the "stuff." And somewhere deep inside I know that as good as it is today, there is more, an even better life, love and joy that I will receive every day I let my Paraclete lead.