- Religion and Philosophy»
- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
More Quiet Times for Busy Moms
Because You Deserve It
You were created by God as something special. He has called you the "apple of His eye," His daughter and more! He loves you and wants you to have a blessed life. One of the ways we can find the life Christ has created us for is to spend time in His word and meditating on it.
Below you'll find five short devotions to inspire you as you focus on Christ and His Word. Each one was written with a busy mom in mind with the hope it would help one of them grow closer to Christ. So take a moment and spend some time alone with Jesus. You deserve it!
Sometimes I feel like a Multi-purpose Cleaner
Today as I was scrubbing my bathroom, I thought about my life. I'm a mom and a grandma, a wife and a pastor's wife (bet you thought they were the same thing), a daughter, a daughter-in-law and a friend to many, and that list doesn't encompass any of the titles that have some sort of income attached. As you know, with each title comes responsibility. Someone is counting on me for something, and I don't want to let anyone down. I often feel like I have to be everything to everyone.
But today my cleaning cupboard gave me some insight into my life. I have several different cleaners under my bathroom sink. I have the toilet bowl cleaner, the soap scum remover, the dirt and grime cutter, the mold and mildew remover and the stuff that makes everything shine. One at a time I brought out each cleaner and allowed it to do its job. By the time I got around to cleaning the mirrors and chrome, I realized those bottles are each like you and I.
Each of us has a job that we were created to do. Every one of us was uniquely made with a mixture of ingredients put together specifically by our Father in heaven in to accomplish His purpose here on earth.
Let's face it, we've all tried to use the dirt and grime cleaner to get rid of the mildew. And while with some extra elbow grease, the mold will fade, we still buy the mildew remover the next time so we can wipe it out completely and easily.
You and I are like that dirt and grime cleaner. We can accomplish almost anything we set our minds to. We can be everything for everyone. We are women, and we can do it all. We can balance the checkbook in one moment and mow the grass in the next. We can keep our house spotless, go out in the yard and catch a ball for fifteen minutes and still make it in time to serve the poor at the shelter. We can, and some of you do, and those who don't spend a good bit of time beating themselves up over it.
Let me be perfectly honest with you. I fall in the "those who don't" category. I'm not a good housekeeper. I tell the girls at my church my goal is to make sure my house doesn't smell. If I've accomplished that, the clutter and dishes in the sink will get taken care of when I get time. But there are those days I beat myself up because I didn't get stuff done. I don't spend as much time with my grandkids as I like, and I haven't been to sit and visit at my mom's house in quite some time. I am not a super woman. I'm not even a multi-purpose cleaner.
I am, however, exactly what Christ created me to be. I refuse to let my humanness be an excuse for not reaching the potential His placed within me, but I also need to keep in mind that He did not create me to do everything.
Some of you may have been created to have the perfect home. You are well organized and can come in and make sense out of chaos quicker than anyone I know. But those who have the perfectly organized home might not have been created to earn six figures (or even five). Some of us have been created to create. With words, music, pencils, paint or clay, we've been fashioned to make beauty out of the ordinary. Others among us have gifts that bring healing or comfort. Perhaps you are tremendous with children, animals or the elderly, or perhaps you are among the ones who've been created to rake in the profits.
Our world often requires that we be pushed beyond what we've been designed to do. Single moms and those hit by the economy may be working a job that's not part of the master plan. Sometimes we've learned to live beyond our means before we learned that Christ is all we need, and we spend years working to pay for our bad judgment.
A terrible culprit in the war to make us feel like we just can't keep up is the amount of guilt we feel when we have to tell someone no. It doesn't matter if is the kids, a teacher, our parents, the pastor or the old lady next door. Too many times we volunteer for "service" outside of our gifts and graces because we can't say no.
Whether you're kept from fulfilling your purpose because of finances or your need to please, if you're feeling like a multi-purpose cleaner that can't live up to the advertisements, I want to give you permission to use that little two letter word. If you feel like a rubber band about to break because you're holding together a bundle bigger than your specifications call for, re-evaluate all that you do and limit yourself to those things that you do best and make you feel as though you are truly pleasing God.
On the other hand, you may be the person that doesn't get asked to do much. Perhaps you're kind of quiet, and like the cleaner in the back of the cupboard, you feel like people don't even know you're there. You, too, have a purpose, and without you, the job won't get done. OK, it might get done, but it won't be the same without you. Don't wait any longer to be asked, get out there and show your stuff! Because you aren't being used to your full potential someone else is getting that rubber band feeling right now. And regardless of the emphasis that the world puts on a paycheck, it's OK to give away the gifts that you've been given. Remember, they are from God, there's more where those came from!
When each of us do what we've been fashioned to do, the church becomes a beautiful place physically and spiritually. More than once the Bible tells us that when we work within God's guidelines "he who had much did not have too much and who had little did not have too little." Don't be too hard on yourself when you can't be everything for everyone. That's not what you were created to be. He who "created your inmost being" and "knit you together," the One who "knows your thoughts" and "holds you fast", the master designer himself, made you and loves you. His "thoughts about you are amazing" and He has a perfect plan for your life, and when you follow it you will be truly blessed.
More Devotions for Busy Moms
- Devotional Readings for Moms
One of eleven pages with at least five devotions each, all written with moms in mind. Something to encourage and inspire!
- Inspiration for Busy Moms
Moms need encouragement and inspiration every day. They can get pretty tapped out running after kids! Below you'll find at least 5 inspirational readings to help you be the best mom you can be!
What's Up With That Tree
Just one rule. That's it. God gave Adam just one little bit of responsibility, then He gave the man a wife to help him with it. And together they blew it, forcing all humans for the rest of time to deal with the curse of original sin.
I've been asked on more than one occasion why God put the tree there in the first place. After all, if there were no "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil," there'd have been no opportunity to ruin the perfect world God had created. But giving Adam and Even no opportunity to disobey, also meant giving them no chance to follow their Creator's will. It's much like us with our own children. Sometimes we'd like to be able to keep them in a totally sterile environment with nothing around to hurt them, nothing for them to break, no way for them to ever learn the "Knowledge of Evil."
The problem with this utopia is that it also creates an environment that stunts growth. Without a few germs to build up their immune system and a temptation or two on the coffee table to help them learn boundaries, our children can never mature or learn to make wise decisions.
When God created man and woman, He wanted more than dolls or toys or even infants. God wanted friendship with the only thing on the earth with the potential to be like Him, the one thing He had created in His image, humans.
My children are all adults now with families of their own, and one thing I praise God for everyday is their friendship. I'm obviously still their mother, they ask my advice and I help them out from time to time, but most of the time I am their friend, someone they spend time with, laugh with, confide in and rely on. Although as they grew we always gave them opportunities to learn, either from their obedience or their mistakes, my girls learned their lessons well and don't need my boundaries anymore. And even though they received from me the consequences of their actions when they were young, and those consequences have brought them to a place of maturity and integrity, they aren't in need of my discipline anymore.
I think that when God put that tree in the garden, He knew that children who have no boundaries and face no consequences never really grow up. They never mature, in fact, they often become greedy and reckless, the kind of adult it's difficult to be friends with.God desired, and still desires, friendship with us, His ultimate creation. He knew that a true, deep relationship would require a mature humankind, the kind of maturity that comes through temptation and testing. It may have been a more attractive option to shield us from the "Knowledge of Evil," after all, that's what we try to do for our own children. But that alternative doesn't make room for maturity, integrity and most of all . . . friendship!
Sunday Mornings at My House
I've read the 100th Psalm more times than I can count. For those who didn't take the time to read it before you started with my thoughts, let me share the most remembered verse from Psalm 100. It's verse 4:
"I will enter His gates with Thanksgiving in my heart.
I will enter His courts with Praise."
I'm betting you've heard those words more than a few times in your life. Perhaps it was from the pulpit, maybe it was in a cute little song you learned as a kid, but even those who haven't been in church much have probably heard David's pledge to be cheery as He went into the temple.
As I read it this morning, I thought back to when my girls were still at home, when they were very small, and I wondered, "When the girls were young, did I live that verse?" I didn't really have to ponder that very long before I answered, "Not usually." Even today without the stress of getting three kids out the door and to Sunday School on time, I have to admit, I don't always "enter His gates with Thanksgiving."
I'm not a morning person. So, while I love to go to church and worship with other Christians, I'm not always entering with praise. And when the girls were young, I was lucky if I wasn't grumbling about something on my way in the door.
As the girls got older, it got a bit easier, and even if I wasn't singing songs of praise as I opened the church doors, at least I had a sense of peace. The change came in part because as the girls aged, they became more self-sufficient and had learned to get ready quickly out of respect for me even if they didn't want to go, but I believe it was also due to a change in my attitude.
Church became very difficult when my youngest was about 2. She was what Dr. Dobson calls "the strong-willed child." She never wanted to wear what I chose for her and everything was a battle. When we did get to church she would NOT sit still. Up and down, from my lap to her dad's, she was constantly on the move. There were Sunday mornings I got up and dreaded getting everyone ready and getting to church. I think the enemy wanted me to feel defeated. That ancient snake's greatest desire was to discourage me from taking my girls to a place where they might hear about the love of Jesus Christ.
Fortunately, I recognized that. I became determined to not let him win. My prayer was "Lord, let me teach my children the practice of worshiping you with other believers and not worry about anything else on Sunday mornings."
It's so easy to get distracted by the hair that needs combed and the shoes that don't match that often we miss our true purpose as mothers, to train our child up in the way he or she should go. And for a Christian mom that training is more about teaching our children how much Jesus loves them rather than fashion, hair design or proper etiquette in church. As we readjust our attitudes, lay aside our high expectations for our child's behavior and just rest in the Love of Jesus Christ, we'll begin to be able to enjoy our Sunday morning routine. Our children might even see that church is fun, that worshiping with the family and other people who care about them is a great way to spend a Sunday morning. And eventually we might even begin to open the doors of the church building with Praise and Thanksgiving in our hearts. I'm willing to give it a try this Sunday morning, how about you?
Teaching Your Children to be Wise
'Whoever is wise
will remember these things
and will think about the love of the Lord."
Psalm 107 is a tremendous Psalm of praise. I've used it more than once during the harvest season as a reminder to always be thankful. The Psalmist writes four different scenarios, not necessarily anything recorded in history, but events that were like to have occurred in more than one of the lives of his readers. And then, immediately before this verse, he shared what happens to those who forget the goodness and the love of God.
As mothers, one of our greatest desires is to see our children avoid the mistakes we made. We want them to learn lessons from watching others rather than repeating history. This Psalm reminds us that the truly wise remembers all that God has done and focuses on her Creator's love.
We spend a lot of time helping our children with homework, reviewing spelling words and math facts. We try to make sure they learn how to be responsible by giving them chores and making them pick up after themselves. And while those are excellent things to teach our children, the Bible tells us if we want to make them truly wise we'll help them remember "these things" and the love that Jesus Christ pours out upon us.
In the midst of the lessons about protons, neutrons and electrons, we need to make sure our children know that God created all things, that even in that science lesson, the Almighty gave us evidence of the Trinity. When our children see the good or bad things that happen in life, it's vital they understand more than just the circumstances, but that God is in the midst of the events, even the ones that cause us pain.
As we instill a picture of the Holy God into every moment of their lives, we weave wisdom into the fabric of their future. Each time we help them see how much Jesus Christ loves them, we ensure wisdom will be a guiding factor as they grow and mature.
Never hesitate to share with your children the way you are seeing Christ work. Let them hear you praising Jesus right in the middle of your stormiest days. When they see you remembering "these things," the goodness of God even when life is not good, as they watch you living in your Father's love, even on the days you don't feel His love, your children are learning. They are learning to live a life of wisdom.
I am Exasperated
Parents, do not exasperate your children;instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Don't you just love that word, "exasperated"!? When I think of that word, I picture frustration and having reached the end of my rope. Although I still find myself feeling this from time to time, when my children were all at home, as much as I hate to admit it, I reached exasperation more often than you might think.
As parents it's easy for us to recall those moments when our children have pushed us to the edge of exasperation and beyond. However, Paul challenges us to consider the times we exasperate our children instead of the other way around.
As my girls grew, this was one of their favorite Bible verses. My husband is a teaser. He loves to have fun and would sometimes push the fun a bit past what the girls found amusing. Plus, we both had exceedingly high expectations for our children. We knew what they were capable of and seldom settled for less. Between the two of us, all three girls had plenty of opportunity to bring Paul's words to our attention.
As I was considering this verse this week, I thought perhaps I could share some lessons I've learned about not exasperating children. For instance, often my girls would complete a task I'd given them in a bit different way than I expected it to be done. I started my parenting years asking them to repeat the task my way. Through the years, to avoid exasperation, I began to ask myself, "Is there really anything wrong with the way they accomplished it?" Most often, their method was adequate. It didn't really need corrected. Sometimes it needed refining, but by praising the child for their method and perhaps demonstrating just a bit of refinement, rather than asking them to repeat the entire project in a different way, exasperation was avoided.
If you are blessed enough to have a Godly spouse, another way to avoid exasperation is to set a goal to never "gang up" on your child. If he or she needs correction, always have one parent accentuate the positive while the other provides direction. Take turns being the "bad guy," and if you are part of a blended family, be sure the step-parent is the advocate more often than the disciplinarian.
I think one of the things that probably exasperated my children the most was my expectations of them. I am a perfectionist, so I expected no less from my girls. Unfortunately, as one of my girl's teachers explained to her class when she was in second grade, if you have a belly button, you will make mistakes. To expect perfection from any descendant of Adam and Eve is unrealistic and exasperating. Learning to appreciate God's patience with my imperfections taught me to allow my girls to make their own mistakes. Just that simple revelation gave me the courage to keep my hands off of their projects and accept their best as the most wonderful option possible.
The knowledge that my Creator accepts me just as I am was probably one of the most awesome parenting lessons I ever learned. Understanding that a Holy and Perfect God loved me in spite of my flaws and failures gave me permission to encourage my children to always do their best without expecting more of them than God expected of me.
We have the perfect example of parenting possible in our loving Heavenly Father. He never exasperates and always loves. If we listen, He'll guide us as we raise up these beautiful little gifts He's given us. And if we concentrate our energy on "bringing them up in the instruction and training of the Lord," teaching them to love Jesus, instead of meeting our expectations and the expectations of the world, we'll find everyone, you, me and our children, a lot less exasperated.
© 2015 Lynne Modranski