Inspirational Readings to Encourage Moms
Thanks for stopping by. I want you to know I understand how tough your job is. I've juggled the schedules, worked outside the home to help make ends meet when I'd rather have been with my children and felt like walking out on the whole shebang more than once. I've felt the spectrum of emotions from unappreciated to unimaginably blessed, and I know that the greatest gift I ever got as a mom was the gift of the Holy Spirit.
These readings are designed to help you through the tough days of your life as well as the blessed ones. They're written to draw you closer to Christ so you can stay close to the Holy Spirit and walk in the abundance Jesus promised.
DEVOTIONS YOU'LL FIND BELOW
- Delight Yourself in the Lord
- You are Somebody
- More Influence than You Might Imagine
- And the Forecast Calls for More Snow
- Snow Days are Driving Me Crazy
Delight Yourself in the Lord
As moms we understand what it means to delight ourselves in another person. We may have begun to experience this phenomenon when we met our child's father, but most likely the concept of delighting ourselves in someone other than ourselves became evident when our first child was born.
As we wake up we begin thinking about our children. What will we feed them? What will they wear? Do we have enough laundry done? And more than that, we find ourselves telling people about them constantly. They make us smile. Their antics cause us to laugh out loud!!! They drive us crazy, but when we don't see them for a couple of days because they'd rather stay at Grandma's or a friend's, we start to miss them. Even those of us who aren't as "dedicated" as some of our friends who are "super-moms," find ourselves making sure our schedules and itineraries will fit in their little lives.
We definitely understand the "delight yourself" concept. However, when was the last time we delighted ourselves in the Lord? Perhaps it's because of our children that we neglect this verse of scripture. They take up a lot of our time. And the older they get, the more we enjoy the time that we spend with them (yes, it can happen, I promise!). We'll drop everything for them.
How would our lives change if our first thought every morning was Christ and His needs for the day? What difference would it make if we dropped everything for our Creator? Can you imagine how it would mold our children for them to see us carving out time for God and talking about him as if we were excited about our relationship with Him?
By now most of you are thinking, "I wish I could do that, but I can't see it happening in my busy life." But wait! Look at the second half of the verse. This is a directive with a promise. God wants to give us the desires of our heart. When we truly delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the time we need to spend with our families. When Christ is our heart's delight, we start to see the things we love and desire come to pass.
Delight yourself in the Lord
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
And I believe we can take this verse in two ways. As we delight ourselves in the Lord, He puts into our hearts desires that will honor and glorify Him. He will give us direction in regard to those things we've been unsure of. You know, you're wondering if you should spend the money on that new pair of shoes. You start to delight yourself in the Lord, and all of a sudden you don't even want the shoes anymore. That's because your Heavenly Father has given you, placed within you, the desires that are in your heart. He's helped you see you didn't really want that pair of shoes.
I know the shoe analogy seems a bit trite, but I really think this verse can work for us in bigger ways. When we struggle with God's will for our lives, delighting in the Lord can help clear up our confusion. Truly making Christ our heart's delight will not only make us better Christians, it will make us better parents.
It will take some time, but with practice this spiritual discipline can become as natural as breathing. So, go ahead, take some time and concentrate on Jesus Christ. Make Him your heart's delight . . . He wants to give you the desires of that very heart!
You Are Somebody
2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Romans 5:1-8 - Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
On Monday I heard an old Dean Martin song I'm sure most of us are familiar with, "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You." It made me think about how many folks feel unloved. Those same people either have low self-esteem or have become bitter over the years. In the way of the world, Dean Martin's words ring somewhat true.
The Good News is God Loves You!
Maybe it is true that we're nobody until somebody loves us. The good news is God loves you. Even when we feel like the whole world is against us, Jesus loves us. In God's economy each of us is "somebody." You are precious to your heavenly Father. In addition to those verses above, Luke Jesus reminds us that God never forgets us. Isaiah says He knows your name. Over and over again God tells us of His great love for us. When you're having a bad day, take a deep breath and remember that Jesus loves you. Just tell yourself that you are important to the Almighty God. The Creator of the entire Universe thinks you are special! You are somebody!
I wonder, too, how might the world be different if people began to understand 2 Peter 3:8 and Romans 5:1-8? If we can somehow share with the world that they are somebody because they are loved, how might lives be changed? Would the crime rate go down? Would abuse happen less?
But let's face it. Sharing this concept with the world is a difficult task. It's nearly impossible. However, what IS possible is making sure our children understand the endless love that God has for them. In Deuteronomy God tells parents to teach their children when they are home, on the road, when they lie down and when they get up. If we really spent that much time helping our children learn how much God really does love them, if they could begin to grasp at a young age that they are "somebody," and learn what serving this loving God means, imagine the possibilities. We may not change the world, but consider how we will change our children.
More Influence than You Might Think
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
I can't help but wonder how many of us take these words of Christ personally. When Jesus says "you," He means YOU! So often we underestimate our value as well as our range of influence.
"You are the salt of the earth." You have the power and responsibility to add flavor and goodness to every situation you are in. Not only that, but if you choose to take on the challenge that Christ has given, you have the potential to be the enhancer that keeps things fresh! Salt was used as a preservative for thousands of years before Christ walked on the earth. As the "salt of the earth," you are privileged to be able to be the one who preserves life, love and Christ's message.
"You are the Light of the World." You, yes you, have the capacity to bring light into dark times. You can be a bright force in a world that seems dismal and hopeless. The light shines, brings hope and creates a positive mood. Just like a bright sunny day somehow gives a better outlook, our light can be a transforming force to everyone around us.
Maybe you're wondering how it is that we keep our saltiness. After all, we don't want to be "thrown out." And how exactly do we manage to let our light shine with everything that comes into our lives everyday to snuff out the flame?
Our "saltiness," the ability to keep things fresh and be a seasoning to our family and friends, as well as the gleam within us comes from our relationship with Jesus Christ. After all, Jesus did say that He was "the light of the world." Every time we spend quiet time with Christ, read and meditate on His word and take the time to really pray, our saltiness and light grows. And it's this saltiness and light that makes us the best moms possible.
As moms in the 21st century, the hectic pace of every day life can often keep us from truly growing in Christ. We want to do everything we can for our children. So much so, that we sacrifice some of ourselves for their sake. We give of our energy, our resources and our time. And that nearly always robs the time we spend investing in ourselves, the time needed to become the very best we can be.
Your children deserve to have a parent who is the "salt of the earth," a mom who brings flavor and seasoning to their lives and keeps them safe from being spoiled by the evil in the world. If we seriously want the best for our kids, then taking the time to be sure our light is able to shine is not only for our benefit, it's for theirs as well.
Salt and light, they make things better. When you are the salt and light, you, too, will be able to make things better, your children, your homes, your jobs and more. So spend time this week with Jesus. Focus on your relationship with Him above all else and ask Him to make you the salt and the light.
And the Forecast Calls for More Snow
Exodus 20:8-11 & 31:14-17 and Mark 2:23-28
I remember a time more than 20 years ago. All three girls were in school and I was working full time. I had taken on starting a children's church in our home congregation and "Crossroads to Glory" was in her 2nd or 3rd year (which meant I was rehearsing at least 4 hours a week and performing at least 2 weekends each month). Looking back, I'm thinking to myself, "were you CRAZY or what?!?"
One Friday or Saturday evening, the band had made arrangements to go to a Christian concert in Pittsburgh. We were all really looking forward to going, except I was exhausted and really didn't see much end to my hectic life anywhere in site. Part of me just wanted to say, "go on without me, I'm just going to hang out here tonight." But I didn't want to miss the fellowship and didn't want Steve and the girls to miss just because of me.
I remember on the day of the concert I woke up not feeling too well and by mid-afternoon I knew for sure that I had a serious case of the stomach flu. I wasn't going anywhere. Everyone left and at one point I found myself sitting on the floor in the bathroom with my head over the toilet. That's when it hit me (I have these crazy revelations at the strangest times). There was a purpose in the Sabbath.
Now, don't get me wrong, I NEVER missed church, almost to the point I was terribly prideful of the fact. But as I sat there on the floor getting nothing done, (because as you can imagine, when I'd originally thought about staying home, it was so that I could catch up on all the things that weren't getting done) I realized it had been a long time since I'd had a Sabbath.
When we read about the Sabbath in the Old Testament, it sounds like God is being pretty demanding and even a bit unrealistic. However, after spending a good bit of time pondering this Sabbath thing (much of it while I was hanging my head over the toilet), I realize that God's severe threats in Exodus were only to emphasize how important it is for us to have some time for rest and relaxation. My musing also causes me to wonder if "put to death" isn't more a warning of what we are doing to ourselves when we ignore our need for a Sabbath.
And now, the snow is falling again as I write this. There's a good chance that meetings will be postponed, lessons will be cancelled and you may even have be able to call off work with little to no repercussions. By now, I realize we're all pretty tired of the snow, but perhaps, much like my flu, this snow is really a beautiful gift from God so that we may experience Sabbath.
Jesus reminded the legalistic Pharisees that God created Sabbath for us. God obviously didn't need Sabbath, but He knew we would. He knew, He knows, that we work hard, love big and serve others. Our Savior understands that there are many who depend on us, and much won't get done if we don't do it. But even more, our Brother wants us to be healthy, blessed, relaxed in a low stress life. God created us for His pleasure, and if we don't take some Sabbath time to enjoy life and praise Him, our Creator can't really enjoy us. So, be thankful for the snow. Enjoy the quiet. Make your snow day your Sabbath.
Snow Days Are Driving Me Crazy
The kids are home everyday. Currently it's snow, but sooner or later it will be Summer vacation. Either way, these days offer a tremendous opportunity.
When school is in session, it's so difficult to spend much time helping our children grow closer to Christ. By the time they go to school, come home, do homework, spend any time at all at some sort of practice and then have a bit of free time to wind down, there's little time left for anything.
But even if you have to work all day, the lack of homework and other extra-curricula activities offer some time to spend implementing this piece of scripture.
18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
Of course in order to truly carry these words out to the end, you'll need to be sure to work on verse 18. "Fix God's Word in your heart and mind." How do you do that? God suggests you tie them on your hands and foreheads. Do you have a piece of jewelry that reminds you to fix yourself on Jesus Christ? Perhaps post-its on your refrigerator or cubicle would help. I have a friend who used to (and may still) hang scripture all around her house (and our work place). The mirror in the restroom at the work would have random verses that changed every couple of weeks.
After you find a way to fix God's words in your heart, then you can teach them to your children. God's recommendation is to talk to your children about His word every time you sit down, when you're walking along the road (or driving), just before they go to bed and as soon as they get up in the morning. In other words find ways to work a message of Jesus Christ into every moment of your life.
They key to really make this work is to not make it a chore, but an enjoyable part of your day. When your child does something that makes you laugh ask him, "Do you think you made God laugh?" Talk about the fact that we are precious to God. He calls us His children. So obviously what makes our parents laugh must make God laugh! When your child won't go to bed ask her what God must think about it. Remind her that the Bible says to honor our parents, so it must make God very sad and disappointed when we don't do what Mom and Dad asks.
God gave us an awesome responsibility when He gave us children. The greatest gift we can ever give to them is to help them find true love and freedom in Jesus Christ. Use these slower paced days to build that foundation.