Most mornings, I wake up with a start. I look around my room and remember where I am. And then I tell myself, “everything’s okay.” I know this isn’t normal. And I am undergoing treatment for my anxiety and nightmares. But it’s my reality after …
Editor’s Note: She’s back again, our veteran writer with my favorite name! Maggie Meadows Cooper!
While home on quarantine, I have had the privilege (and let’s be real…sometimes headache) of homeschooling my sweet babies. One is in preschool, preparing for the start of Kindergarten in the Fall. We have been working on addition and subtraction with numbers 1-10, and she had been doing great…when the problems were written down on paper. But after practicing a bit, I decided to ask her some problems out loud and see how she did. So I asked expectantly, “Ok baby, what is one plus one!?” And she answered, “Eleven!”
Hmmm…a conversation ensued explaining that I could see how she got that answer, but it wasn’t correct because we had to add quantities, blah, blah blah, teacher talk, blah, blah, blah. So I tried again… “Ok baby, what is one plus two!?” Her immediate answer? “Twelve!”
So we didn’t quite get it. But the Lord did open my eyes to a sweet lesson.
Proverbs 21:2 says, “People may be right in their own eyes,
but the Lord examines their heart.”
Y’all, my preschooler thought her answer made perfect sense. She could explain it and stood by it boldly. In her eyes, she was so very right, but in truth, she was still so very wrong. How can that be?
Because she took two pieces of information and stuck them together, without thought to the heart of the problem.
And y’all, we can believe we are right with a wrong heart, all day long.
We can appear to be Godly, when the truth is that our hearts are not pure in our intentions.
We can serve others, simply to receive the world’s applause and get a good photo op for Instagram.
We can give of our money and time, simply to get a pat on the back.
We can quote or post scripture without having any idea what it really means.
We can react with a comment or give advice on social media based on feelings, rather than waiting and responding with Truth.
Hard to hear, right? But the beauty lies in the fact that God does know our hearts. The whole of our hearts. He knows the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
And even though our flesh wins sometimes, even though our selfishness can try to take over, if we know and love Jesus, He will draw us back to Him and His purposes if we let Him.
Here are three ways we can get back on the right track when these times come:
- Invite the Lord to check our motives.
- Check our words and actions with scripture.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,…” 2 Timothy 3:16
- Don’t forget that the Lord’s ways are better than our own…even if they don’t make sense.
“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
My sweet friends, this world gives us so many opportunities to put our actions and opinions on display. But we must use discernment in these times. Many prayers for all of us to live a life pleasing to the Lord and shine His light in all we do, in word and deed.
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a real-life wife and mom who messes up every day and needs Jesus to save her. She loves Auburn football (War Eagle!), real Coca-cola, and all things chocolate! She is the author of the children’s book Bumper, writes for Blogs by Christian Women, serves as a Parent Coordinator in the Opelika City Schools, and leads the FBCO Teen Moms group. She lives in Opelika, AL with her husband and three children. You can follow her at beautifulinyourheart.blogspot.com.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Sheila Lloyd! Welcome back Sheila. I hope that this devotional can be an encouragement to you all today.
Shadows lengthen on a mid-October lawn reminding me of Autumn afternoons of my childhood and adolescence in a veritable garden of love, where kindness and tenderness cast long shadows on walls of growing maturity. The gift, not only of being loved but actually enjoyed, of not just feeling protected but also supported and celebrated, engendered confidence to fly high pursuing dreams. And when the wild blue yonder conjured up storms that tore the parachute, my parents were soft piles of hay ensuring a safe landing. Chastisement was given at times, but not in a way to squelch the dream or the spirit, just as a constructive tweak to the rigging in preparation for the next flight.
The older I get, the more I am acutely aware of the lavishness of such endearment and security. And now that my parents have joined the ranks of what the Bible calls, “the great cloud of witnesses,” I have keenly wrestled with the loss. Heaven’s gain has left and earthly void, and I long to hear their voices of reassurance once again especially on those days when the parachute has become mangled.
However, the Lord–who was always their number one Source of Strength for flight–has been teaching me of His Presence. He reminds this eaglet that He will never leave me nor forsake me. His voice will never fade away–unless I have run purposely out of earshot.
A humbling realization struck me last week at my piano. Singing of the charity of God, I realized my parents’ adoration for me had only been a mere shadow of my Heavenly Father’s…their encouragement, gentleness, and faithfulness a drop in the bucket compared to the waterfall from the Almighty.
I am also aware that for my fellow humans, my testimony of parental support has most likely not been the common experience. For far too many, the sentiments of acceptance, security, encouragement and even love were completely absent, and for that I am deeply sorrowful. And yet, the reality of God’s unconditional affection for every single human being is infinitely greater than what my mere words might convey!
A glance in the mirror reminds that I am certainly no eaglet any longer! The baton is passed. I cannot travel back in time to that yard under the huge oak trees and the welcomed safety of my parents’ embrace. Nor can I bring them back to walk several more years–or even one more moment–on this terrestrial ball with me, much as I might think I need them. Who I truly need is Jesus, and his enduring love looms larger than any evening shadow.
As I grasp the baton and run toward the next bend in the race, I acknowledge that I have been granted the gift as well as the responsibility of parenthood–and so hope to have instilled in my children the same adoration, security, encouragement, celebration and delight that were bestowed upon me. These human qualities are just shadows, boys. Look up and beyond them to the Source of Light–Your Creator, Your Redeemer, Your unfailing and unfading Lord.
Sheila Lloyd is learning to live in freedom through Jesus Christ! Her vocational life has included teaching private piano lessons, writing, acting in and producing musical dramas, spearheading women’s retreats and other ministry outreach events, composing music, leading worship across the country, teaching Bible studies and mentoring. Shelia has two grown sons, one of whom has special needs. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Brian, since 1990. The couple experienced growth on the cutting edge of faith as Brian suffered a massive rehabilitating stroke in 2014. They published a book sharing God‘s powerful hand in the situation titled, It’s OK! I Had a Stroke. It was released on Amazon and Barnes and Noble May 2019. Website here. The couple currently shepherds a storefront church in Woodstock, VA.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Agnes Amos-Coleman. Thanks so much again, Agnes! My friends, as Christ followers, we are sometimes discouraged, disheartened, demoralized, downcast and intimidated by the situations, circumstances and events of our lives. All these emotions we experience fall under …
First off, I hope that you were able to enjoy Easter! This is the first devotional I’m posting in 2020, for our spring session of devo’s.
I felt like I should write something on here about coronavirus, just because it’s something so huge and impactful. I mean, everyone on the planet is affected. But I kind of struggled with what to even say.
We live in Washington state, so we have been in a hot spot for the coronavirus for awhile. We’ve been healthy so far. I’m not that impacted, relatively speaking. I’m a stay at home mom anyways, and yeah, I have to try to educate my 4 year old more, but it’s not a burden on me. My husband works on a Navy ship, and he is deemed essential.
But we are financially secure, and I never ran out of supplies due to some planning ahead by me and also an accidental amazon order on toilet paper in January. Largely, we have been okay. Of course I worry about my husband working in such close quarters with others but mostly I’m just grateful. I know we are really really lucky.
Others are not so lucky. I say lucky because in this situation I think that’s really what it comes down to.
I know so many of our readers must be suffering, and if you’re lucky too, you know someone really suffering. This virus has done so much.
I didn’t even know what to write here – but I realized, none of us really know what we’re doing. This is totally unprecedented. SO many of us are out of work and money, sick, have lost a loved one, or are just worried about this whole thing. It’s crazy. And new to all of us.
I want to support all of our readers – I’m not really sure what I can do. And maybe you’re struggling with how to support a friend. I don’t know the right answers here.
But I think that’s okay? I think it’s okay that we are all just kind of trying our best here.
Let’s just love each other in ways that feel right. That will be unique for everyone. We are all new at this together.
Can we just be together? Does just being help?
I hope it does. I am with you, dear readers
Hey Divas! Long time no chat. I hope you’ve had a great winter and holiday season. I’ve been enjoying time at home with my family and taking time to rest. I’m finally officially opening up submissions for this spring round of devotionals and inspiring stories! …