Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mothers - A Gift from Above

Mothers are very special's almost as if God designed them to be His special helpers because they take on so many tasks. When I think of a person being God's hands and feet on earth, Mothers come to mind. Even if you've never birthed a child, you may have mother-like qualities, and for that, the world is a better place.

Becoming a Mother has changed my life in several ways. I've learned that I was pretty selfish before, but there is no way you can be selfish with little humans depending on you. (Well, I guess you can. You can secretly eat snacks by sending the kids off on a wild goose chase. For example, you can say, "Go find my other house shoe." All the while, you have it. That's enough time for you to scarf down a couple of cookies before they return saying that they couldn't find them. haha. Not saying this is something I do, but just wanted to point out that you could possibly still be selfish, but not in a way that is harmful to the kids. Most of your time, money and energy goes to them and there is no room to be selfish there.) I've also learned that God speaks to me through many of my daily interactions with my children. And because of that, I penned my recently released devotional, "The Life Your Spirit Craves for Mommies." I hope you'll pick up a copy for yourself or for another special woman in your life. 

Below is an excerpt from my book. You may purchase a paperback copy here: E-books here:

Week 5 - Always There

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. (Psalm 139:7-8)

On several occasions, I have muddled through my purse to search for something, only to find a toy or half-eaten snack that belongs to one of my children. Or I have simply placed a hand in a jacket pocket for comfort, and felt something else that belonged to one of them. Purse, car, or any other place that they’ve been,  generally something in it reminds me that they’ve been around. These little reminders of them put a smile on my face, reminding me of the joy that comes with being their mommy.
God is everywhere and He often lets us know this in little ways as well. It could be a prayer that you’ve whispered to Him. He shows He is there and He listens by confirming that through a conversation or a sermon at church. An answered request of which you’ve mentioned to no one but Him. Maybe you’ve had a rough day and He sends someone along to encourage you. Or a song on the radio speaks to your heart at just the right moment.
It is such a joyful time when we experience God’s little reminders. No matter where we are or what we’re up to, He is always there. There is no place that we can go that He is not. There is no greater joy in knowing that God is omnipresent and that He is constantly proving that and His love for us.

Prayer: Father in Heaven, I feel an unexplainable joy in receiving reminders from You, knowing that You are forever with me and that You love me. Thank You for the ways in which You show that You care. Even in knowing everything about me, You still love me and have chosen me for Your purpose. I am eternally grateful and will forever praise Your Holy name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Further study: Psalm 139

Sunday, January 3, 2016

You Hear What You Want to Hear

I’m always amazed at how my toddler and kindergartener seem to have trouble hearing me call their names from time to time. Maybe it’s because they know I’m about to ask them to do something they don’t want to do. Turn off the television. Clean their rooms. Pick up their toys. Get ready for a bath. Get ready for naptime or bedtime.

However, I never have problems getting their attention when it comes to snacks. The same deaf ear that needed to hear their names twenty times just ten minutes before doesn’t even require a call to them when they hear the pantry door opening. The rattling of a bag of potato chips or the rumbling of a bag of goldfish always seems to grab their attention instantly, without me saying a word. Sometimes it’s almost as if they can sense that I’m near the pantry before they make a beeline to my side making snack requests.

I laugh at the thought of this but it reminds me of us as children of God. When it comes to the voice of God leading us to do things that we’re uncomfortable with, we’re hesitant. That hesitant spirit will often dissipate if the calling was for something we’ve been praying for or something we deem we need from God. My mom often had a saying, “You hear what you want to hear,” when I didn’t do what she asked of me.

I encourage you to join me in committing to moving with same haste to the voice of God regardless of what He is asking of us. Let’s choose to be obedient and willing to follow the Word and Ways of God.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I often fall short when it comes to being obedient to Your voice. I ask that You give me a willing heart to follow You in everything, whether I am uncomfortable or content. I want to be all that You desire of me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Your Neighbor's Stuff

Frozen. Most of us have watched that movie more times than we can count, at least I have. My kids both love that movie and they both have character toys. My son had a plush Olaf, the snowman. When his birthday came around, he received another one, but this one said phrases from the movie.

After purchasing the toy at Target and bringing it home, my daughter picked up the regular plush toy and commented, “He already has Olaf; he doesn’t need another one.” Mind you, she has two Elsa dolls, one talking and one not and I reminded her of that fact. However, she brings it up every time they play with the toys. Recently, I had to remind her not to count his toys and to worry about her own.

Aren’t some of us like that sometimes? When people around us are blessed with some tangible item or a better position at work or anything we deem they’re unworthy of, we wonder why they have to get more, as if what they have isn’t already enough.

Much like the lesson I’m trying to teach my daughter, we can learn from it as well: Do not covet your neighbor’s things. (Part of the problem with my daughter is that she didn’t get another toy for my son’s birthday.) Whether or not we believe someone deserves something or not, we shouldn’t be concerned or covet what they have. Everyone gets a turn, you just have to wait on yours.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your favor. I am reminded of Your goodness in my life. Help me to celebrate others when they receive tangible blessings, knowing that one day, I too will receive them. Thank You for Your kindness and for not being a respecter of persons. Because of this, I know and believe that I too can receive great things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Something Stinks

It’s potty training time! If you’ve gone through this with any child already, you know how much of a struggle it is! Some days are good and others are not. However, I think the cheers are encouragement for the little guy.

One thing I’ve noticed throughout this process with him is that he tends to get really close to me when his pull-up is dirty. Sometimes he tells me and other times not, but he makes sure that I smell him. He can be off playing around with his sister for a long period but when that pull-up is dirty, he gets close to me. My guess is that he knows that I can clean up his mess. He knows where to turn when that pull-up situation gets messy and uncomfortable.

Much like my toddler, as God’s children, we are the same way. Sometimes we put our relationship with God on the back burner, not spending as much time praying, studying our Bibles or even practicing what the Word says, until we get into some mess. Once that happens, we find ourselves cuddling up next to God in prayer, spending more time reading our Bibles, going to church, etc. We do whatever it is we think we need to do to get cleansed.

We have the right idea –God is the only one who can free us from sin and clean up our mess. However, I’d like to encourage you to make time with God a priority, regardless of what’s going on in your life. Don’t just spend time with Him when you’re stinky, spend time with Him when you’re fresh too and perhaps you won’t get stinky as much.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your forgiveness, grace and mercy. Thank You for Your son Jesus who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can be restored unto You. Today, I ask that You continue to guide my heart towards You regardless of what state I’m in. I want my life to honor You at all times. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

You Better Stop That!

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether I’m the mother to my toddler or my daughter is. She fusses at him more than I do when he’s up to no good. I suppose she’s mirroring me? She does it often, but one day in particular, she was fussing at him for pouring water from his cup onto the highchair table. She screamed, “You better stop that!” Even though she acts like she’s his parent, I chose to think positively about it and just deem her his accountability partner. If nothing else, she holds him accountable for everything he does and reminds him of the consequences of his actions at every chance she gets.

Although I don’t always approve of how she tries to get her point across, I believe her intentions are good. She’s trying to keep him out of trouble and she doesn’t have a problem with telling him he’s doing wrong. I wonder if we as Christians would be better off if we had an accountability partner in our face who didn’t mind telling us when we were wrong. What if we had someone there to remind us of the consequences of our actions before we carry them out?

If you don’t have an accountability partner, it is a great idea to get one to help you in your walk with being more like God. I encourage you to be bold and confident in the power of God and to encourage your brothers and sisters in their walk with God as well. We are here to love and lift one another up.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, thank you for Your Word and for those that You have placed in my life to help me and for me to help them. Let us be encouraged to know that You love us and that You desire for us to be more like You. Help us to remain faithful to Your Word and Your Ways, In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Moment Too Soon

We took our first family vacation to Disney World, where my mother, nephew and youngest sister joined us. The first day we visited Animal Kingdom. If you’re familiar with that park, you know that there aren’t many roller coasters at that particular park. And of the few that were there, Expedition Everest was the largest. My sister, who was 17, walked hand in hand with my daughter right up to the entry gate for the ride. Now, I knew from reading the ride restrictions on the guide that my daughter wasn’t tall enough to ride. So lagging behind the two of them, not really knowing where we were headed because my face was semi-glued to the map, I made it in enough time to see her walking away with tears in her eyes. “Mommy, he said I wasn’t big enough to ride,” she cried.

My heart was breaking for her because the trip was supposed to be fun and my plan was to keep her away from the rides I knew she wouldn’t be able to ride. But because she went ahead of me, I wasn’t able to protect her that one time. All I could do was promise that she would ride something the next day at Magic Kingdom because I had already mapped out the things we would do at that particular park. Knowing that she would still be able to enjoy a roller coaster later made her feel better, gratefully.

That one incident reminded me of how we are with God sometimes. We often move ahead of His plan for us, seeking our own gratification, only to later find out that we aren’t ready for it. Or that one particular thing wasn’t meant for us. We’d like to think that God will block things that aren’t meant for us but it doesn’t always happen that way. So today, I encourage you to choose God’s will over your own. Join me in petitioning the throne of God before making decisions. When we seek His Word, we learn more of Him and His Will. Seeking God first will protect us from a lot of unnecessary hurts.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your grace and mercy that are new each morning. I ask that You speak to my heart and lead me in my decision-making as I seek You first in all things. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Your Words Matter

Standing ten feet away from the microwave, my five year old would giggle and say that she couldn’t see the time and needed to get closer to read it. Turns out that it wasn’t a joke; she really did have trouble reading the time and anything else that wasn’t up close. Her pediatrician confirmed this at her well child check-up. We received a referral to see an ophthalmologist and at that appointment, I was reminded of just how easily my words could have an affect on my child.

A few seconds after the doctor began testing her, and she had already called a few wrong letters, we began discussing some of the things I may have noticed at home. At that time, I brought up the microwave example. Those little ears were picking up everything because immediately, she began to repeat what I just said, although she selected what she wanted to repeat. Maybe she has selective hearing?

She stopped trying to see what was in front of her; she only wanted to voice that she couldn’t see. At that moment, I immediately realized how powerful and impactful my words are on her. I simply stated that she’d recently had trouble reading times on the microwave but she took that to mean that she couldn’t see and started to believe and act as if she couldn’t. Wow.

Have you spoken something to or around your child that has had an effect on them? Was it positive or negative? As parents, we have to realize that those little ears are always around listening and ready to soak up any information that they can receive, whether they should be listening or not and whether or not we think they are paying attention.

Today, let’s choose to speak life, encouragement and love into the soul and spirit of our children.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the reminder of the impact that I have on my children. Help me to be mindful of what I say and do so that my ways my affect them positively and point them towards you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.