September 11th – a short devotional

I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:20-23, NIV)

It’s September 11th. Currently, the Devotional Diva posting schedule is Tuesdays and Thursdays. On significant days like this, I never quite know what to publish, to be perfectly honest. It’s not like this is a happy holiday or a gift-giving occasion.

But it deserves some recognition.

Should I post a normal guest story, business as usual? Should I write something really relevant for the day? (What pressure!) Or should I publish nothing?

Isn’t that kind of a dilemma in everyday life as well? I mean, how does the average person recognize the attacks on September 11th?

I know some people do a moment of silence and refrain from social media, which I think is pretty cool. Maybe you’re reading this after the fact because you partook in that tradition!

This year, I decided to not just let a solemn day of remembrance pass by without a word.

Let us pray upon the scripture above. Let us pray for this earth.

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Devotional Diva Turns 10!

On July 15, 2008, founder Renee Johnson (now Renee Fisher) wrote on Facebook that her work was cut out for her thanks to her coach. That was the day DevotionalDiva.com was born!

Editor’s Note: I asked Renee to share a note on the anniversary of Devotional Diva turning ten! Here is her letter:

It was my (Renee’s) dream to become a published author, and my coach, Marcia Ramsland, suggested I use DevotionalDiva.com as my website and brand because I had already blogged hundreds of devotionals.

I worked hard to launch the website in September and bought the trademark. Within a few short months, I had a literary agent and a publisher for my first book, a 365-daily devotional for 20-somethings entitled Faithbook of Jesus.

My first book sold so well that I was offered a second contract from NavPress. Then the economy tanked and my contract was canceled. I had no idea what God was up to or what might come next.

Another dream of mine came true, In 2011, I married a wonderful man and God gave me a new identity, and not just because of my new last name. He called me “Peaceful” despite my health issues of anxiety and severe eczema. 

What started out as one woman bravely sharing her story of overcoming incredible odds became a mantra to spur others forward to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).

I had no idea that God would use my voice to empower hundreds of women to share their story so they too could be set free. 

It was such a comfort for me to create an online platform that encouraged women to share their joys as well as their sufferings. I loved inviting women, as well as being asked by many women for the opportunity to share their story. 

When Devotional Diva® took on a life of its own, I knew it was time to pass the baton to the next generation. It was never mine, to begin with. I was just the steward!

I met Maggie Winterton at the San Diego Christian Writers Guild in 2013 when she asked if she could share her story. Her courage to talk openly about her trials and tribulations inspired me.

The next year, I felt called to step down as Editor-in-Chief.

After Maggie saw my original decision to end Devotional Diva, she felt God compelling her to email me and offer to help keep DD up. 

If it wasn’t for Maggie’s courage once more, Devotional Diva® would have ended.

It felt like an Abraham moment when God asked me to sacrifice my baby. Not only was Maggie the only person to ask me, she now owns the website and the trademark. This is a relief to me because I am no longer a devotional writer. I help women self-publish their stories with the world on my website here. I don’t have enough words to say thank you to the many women, including Maggie herself who bravely shared and will continue to share their story. 

The bravest thing we can do is to use the voice God gave us to speak up and share from the heart. To be open about all the things. 


renee fisher

Renee Fisher is an author, coach and consultant who recently launched a full-service creative agency for authors. She is passionate about defending dreams and spurring others forward to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). #DreamDefender. Renee is a BIG fan of glitter, a graduate of Biola University and lives in Austin, Texas with her handsome husband and their fur child named “Starfish.”

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Grace for the Least of Us (Especially Me)

grace

Grace For the Least of Us – Especially Me

Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Heather Ream. This is SUCH a powerful message about grace. Thanks, Heather!

When I was 10 years old, our church hosted their first Halloween event.  Unsuspecting patrons, thinking they were touring a run-of-the-mill haunted house, were shown the horrors of hell and what awaited us in eternity unless we accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation.  As people finished the tour, they were given the opportunity to learn more about the Lord.  Some found it so moving, they became saved that very night.

One of those people was my cousin, a popular, charismatic kid who was already getting into trouble in and away from school, despite the fact that he was well-loved and had ample opportunities for success.  I adored him, but I didn’t understand how he could act so bad yet still supposedly feel remorse for his sin.  I also didn’t understand why my mom was breathless with joy about him.  “He’s part of the Lord’s family now, Heather!  And he always will be!” she had exclaimed.  My cousin was already a favorite in our family and in our school.  And now he could act the way he did and still be loved by Jesus, too?  I was pea-green with envy.

As adults, my cousin and I took wildly different paths.  I was blessed with a wonderful husband and found deep spiritual satisfaction serving my community – a “decent” woman by most accounts, with a reputation for helping others without being asked.  My cousin, however, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for drug manufacturing – after he had already served 7 years for aggravated robbery. 

Throughout my life, my mother continually defended my cousin’s adolescent spiritual epiphany.  Several years ago, he wrote a touching poem about needing God’s protection in jail and mailed it to her.  She framed his poem and displayed it proudly.  “Give me a break,” I told her, “Don’t you realize that he only seems to love God when he’s up for parole?”  I wasn’t having it. 

“I can’t prove what’s in his heart, Heather,” she said, “but I believe him when he says he is saved.”

Late last year, things began to change with Mom.  She became more impulsive, argumentative, and just plain rude.  I had always enjoyed debating her on the finer points of theology, but suddenly her counterpoints completely deviated from Scripture.  Eventually, she withdrew from discussion altogether.  This baffled and irritated me, as she was cornerstone in my own Christian walk.  When we received the diagnosis of vascular dementia, however, I was relieved.  I now understood she had a broken brain, not a change of heart.  But I still wasn’t prepared for the emotional upheaval the diagnosis unleashed.

“God hates me,” she began telling me over and over. “He did this to punish me.”  Sometimes her tone was self-pitying, sometimes it had a streak of nastiness.  No matter how many ways I calmly explained that this wasn’t the case, she would not or could believe me.  No matter how many times I prayed with her or reminded her of her favorite Bible stories or examples of God’s provision in her life, she would not or could not believe me.

She has developed a reputation of being a difficult patient in her nursing home.  While the staff understands her diagnosis, there is also evidence that her some of her behavior is intentional.  Yet, I often spend time with her nurses, pleading her case.  I guess what I’m saying is, I can’t prove what’s in her heart, but I believe her when she says she was saved. 

I believe her because I still have the memories of every time she sacrificed her own well-being for her children.  I remember the feeling of being loved by her, often deficiently but no doubt constantly.  I remember her prayers on my behalf, her encouragement of me to use my God-given talents boundlessly.  I believe it because I know it. 

No doubt she believes the same thing about my cousin. 

That’s not to say that I definitely know what’s in anyone’s heart.  Those thoughts are visible only to the Author of All.  But if I truly believe that God’s grace applies to those who call on His name with repentance, even imperfectly, then I have to believe that she may be right about him. 

Limitless grace is not a license to sin, nor is it a blanket eternal pardon for those who do not know Jesus. 

It is instead a priceless, undeserved gift of a patient Creator.  After all, when does grace expire?  Is it after my mother’s purposeful refusal of medication for the 3rd time, or the 4th?  Does it perhaps expire on a thin mattress when an inmate lies in the dark, planning for his survival?  Is it reinstated after a beautiful poem?  Did grace exist for me when I jealously dismissed my cousin’s conversion?  Was it retroactively applied when I walked the long Baptist aisle at age 11 and told my pastor I wanted to be saved?

The truth is, grace either works for every Christian or for no Christian. 

Otherwise, we may spend our days only doling out love and forgiveness for the kind of repentance that looks “right.”  If I believe what the Bible teaches, then I must change my petty, myopic view of grace.  If I don’t, I’m merely a pardoned offender, serving a self-imposed sentence in a prison cell that was unlocked long ago.


Heather Ream is an emerging writer from Knoxville, Tennessee.  The Lord blessed her with an incredible husband, Ben, and a joyful desire to serve others in her community.  You can follow her East Tennessee adventures at www.runningtowardthefire.blogspot.com.  

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Life is Chaos

Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Monica Braun. Love this mom life devotional! Thanks, Monica!

Life is chaos.

I am a working mother to a 15-month-old, my son named Danny.  I am pregnant, and expecting in July. Let’s just say that our lives are a little, um, messy.

The kitchen is usually disheveled. Dishes and sippy cups are consistently piled in the sink. The dishwasher is full on most days from making dinner and cleaning it up and doing it all over again the next evening. 

The leftovers from my grandma’s pasta recipe that I made are dripping all over the oven and the delicious red sauce is oozing all over little Danny’s face.

There are permanent crumbs on the floor, which resemble dried pasta. They seem to be painted on the carpet under the highchair where Danny eats.

When he is not in his high chair, he is crawling on the floor trying to eat his leftover dinner.

He must have really liked that pasta.

As such, sweeping and vacuuming have been added to the never-ending to-do list.

And the pacifier. As soon as I give it to him to appease him, he swiftly throws it on the floor, forcing me to make several trips to the sink every day to sanitize it. It seems as though what is ‘pacifying’ him is making a game out of his ‘pacifier.’

I remind myself that he is not trying to make me run laps around my house on purpose.  

Not to mention the new baby gear scattered all around the house

as we prepare and welcome home another little bundle of joy. The new baby bottles, pacifiers, and breast pump parts are scattered on the counter, waiting to be washed and used for baby number two. 

And then there is the laundry that needs to be washed. All. The. Time.

The list of chores makes me want to throw in my dishtowel, crawl upstairs in bed, and forget the chaos that ensues around me.

I feel helpless, overwhelmed, frustrated.

And that friend who texted me last week? I forgot to call her back because I was so busy.

How I miss the long conversations over wine that we used to have.

It seems like no matter how much we clean the house or try to check off our never-ending to-do lists, we just cannot catch up. Ever.

Is this a cruel cycle of events? Like a video game determined for us to fail at the end?

And are we supposed to win this game?

Life is messy. Relationships are messy. We are inherently flawed.

Before I throw in my dishtowel, I consider that we are not supposed to do it all or have it all together. If that were the case, would we need God?

Jesus said, “Come to me all ye that are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28.

Jesus is our refuge and our rock. He wants to take all of the burdens from us, big and small. So, instead of trying to control our messy lives, we should try to surrender it to Him.

Now, this doesn’t mean that we should sit lazily on the couch as the leftover pasta dinner dries on the floor, but it does take the pressure off of having to be perfect.

Jesus doesn’t want us to be perfect. He doesn’t want our lives to be wrapped up in a tidy little box with a bow on top. He wants us to embrace the chaos of life: the joys, the sorrows, the unpredictable turn of events. He wants us to be present in these moments as we trust in Him. Because this is life, and life is messy. Along with our house. 

As we embrace the chaos, joy abounds.

So when I have an urge to clean sporadically or feel guilty about an unanswered text from a friend, I try to shrug it off, embrace the chaos, and hold on during this wild ride called life.

No matter where the ride leads us next, Jesus will be there to help us land safely. We cannot lose the game with Him by our side. Victory has already been won for us.



Monica Braun has a bachelor’s degree in English from Michigan State University and a master’s in education from Aquinas College. She teaches High School English in Racine, Wisconsin, and is an aspiring writer. She has one son and is expecting another! She is a follower of Jesus Christ. (picture is attached below).Facebook: @embracingjesus Twitter: @monicambraun 

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Vital and Green

vital and green june titus

Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor June Titus (formerly Windle Bare). Congrats on your “sunset marriage,” June! See June’s last post on Devotional Diva here.

Vital and Green

But the godly will flourish like palm trees . . . Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The LORD is just!  He is my Rock! There is no evil in Him!” Psalms 92:12-15

Don’t we love to hear stories about oldsters getting married in their sunset years? One of my aunts married at age 90, enjoying the happiest years of her life. Perhaps long-married couples, set in their ways and too used to one another, lose that newly-wed adventure. Late blooming love presents a refreshing look at a new intimacy reflected in their world. 

Now, my sweetheart and I, both in our 80s, have joined the ranks of the newly-weds. We are learning that love takes on a different character in old age. Life once more becomes exiting—it is “vital and green.” 

How can we, as an older newly-married couple, facilitate our marriage to “flourish like palm trees?” Here are a few interesting facts about palm trees: 

  • A palm tree can live up to 100-some years, depending on the species (there are 2600 species of palms). 
  • As tropical plants, they withstand high temperatures and forceful winds, providing an oasis in the desert. 
  • Many varieties of palm are important sources of food such as coconut and date, fiber for making rope, weaving, and basketry, and resins for dyes, varnishes, and incense. 
  • The spongy wood of the tree can withstand crushing blows. (For instance: Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, built of palm logs during the American Revolution, withstood the bombardment of British cannons) 
  • Palms have a long history as being symbolic for victory, peace, and fertility. 

To remain green and vital in our sunset marriage—like a palm tree—we have our work cut out for us. God led us together; therefore, He has work for us to do. 

  • The palm endured. We may not have many years ahead, but we are responsible to live them to the fullest for God’s purposes 
  • The palm tree withstands the elements and provides an oasis. As seniors, we have been around the block and know what it means to endure hardship, sorrow, and difficult times. We can empathize with others and provide an “oasis” for them in the name of our LORD. 
  • Palm trees, as sources of food, fiber, and resins, go beyond the outward appearances. There are deep places to be mined. As elders, we have the opportunity to share experiences and wisdom with those God places in our way. 
  • Palms have unique wood that withstands blows. Rather than a hard exterior to fend off the inevitable slights and hurts resulting from human nature, we can take the blows and still remain strong if we depend on God’s strength. 
  • Then there is the symbolic significance of the palm: victory, peace, and fertility. As believers in Christ, we partake of His victory over sin and death, gaining peace with God and peace of soul. With such peace, although we are long past physical fertility, we can pass His peace to the world around us—our families; our neighbors; our world. The message is God is just; God is a refuge; God is good. 

But what about younger married couples? They have the same opportunities to build their marriage into a green and vital reflection of Christ and the Church (Read Ephesians 5: 22-32).

My husband and I are looking forward to flourishing however many years God gives us together. 


June Windle Bare
June W. Titus is a retired nurse and poet and mother and grandmother, living with her husband in southern Georgia. Now in her eighties, she remains active in her local church. Among other church responsibilities, she teaches a Sunday school class of her peers. She writes a weekly blog on Facebook, entitled “Monday Musings.” Prior to moving to Georgia, she was a regular contributor to “The Watauga Democrat” newspaper, and “all About Women,’ a monthly magazine, both in Boone, North Carolina.
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Say No to Crises

Say No to Crises

(Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Agnes Amos-Coleman. I have to say this is probably the most relevant to my life devotional I’ve ever read. “Midnight crises,” as my husband calls them, are my specialty. Don’t forget to check out Agnes’ last post, Experiencing God’s Love.)

 

Crises! Crises! Crises! One crises seem to follow another, doesn’t it?  I recall a season in my life when I was in one crises, getting ready to come out of it whilst another one was waiting right around the corner.  It was physically, emotionally and spiritually draining.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, I started to recall a time in my life when all hope was lost but God supernaturally intervened – this was the beginning of my victory over my crises situations.

My friends, how do we respond to crises situations in our lives.  The word of God assures us of His unfailing love and promises to us. However, we are required to act and be intentional with our faith and never fail to:

  • Remember God loves us and he is on our side no matter what the situation looks and feels like. (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • Praise Him during our crises (Psalm 92:1-2)
  • Decide to be positive with our words and thoughts by meditating and speaking the word of God into our life (Joshua 1:8)
  • Affirm our expectation as if it has already come to pass (Romans 4:18-21)
  • Replace negative with positive thoughts (1 Samuel 17:33-37)
  • Take captive of every thoughts that is not of God (Philippians 4:8)

Christ follower, realign your thinking with God’s words and say No to crises. If you are currently not a Christ follower, Jesus loves you – come and experience Him today.

All glory to God!

Agnes Amos-ColemanAgnes is a leader with proven business acumen in a variety of industries. She holds an executive MBA from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and is also a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP). She is the author of Transforming Business with Godly Governance: Nine Characteristics for Workplace Success; God Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage and Divorce; The Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and  Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals

 


Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.

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Daddys Home

daddys home

Daddy’s Home

(Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Holly McConnell. I can’t say I didn’t relate to Holly’s mom life devotional, Daddy’s Home. It is such a sigh of relief when my husband is actually home from work!)

 

It’s that sigh of relief when you hear the garage door open and the kids start jumping up and down or when he texts and says, “be home soon”. It’s a moment like no other. Your partner, your love, your friend, your help…he’s home.

 

To me, it’s a wonderful feeling, not only because he’s off work,  but he’s home!!!

 

Vaughn’s job has always been challenging for me. When we didn’t have children it wasn’t as bad. He would work 8:00-5:00 most days and it was a normal schedule. After Wade, his work changed. It’s a great thing! He has moved up in the company and deserves every promotion he has worked for. He is a hard worker and dedicated to his job. However, this requires more hours and more stress.
He works hard! He travels out of town most weeks and is gone two, sometimes three days a week.  I know I’m not the only one out there….right? I know there are men and women who work shift work, are on call, who work straight days, who sacrifice holidays, and time with their children. I wish I could wave my magic wand and all the mommy’s and daddy’s could be home together all the time. I wish it was that simple…However, it’s not reality.

 

Before having Wade, I read the book Power of a Praying Wife and did the study (Editor’s Note: Devotional Diva affiliate link). If you haven’t read it and you are married or soon will be…go get yourself a copy. It put things into perspective for my prayer life for Vaughn. I knew I needed to pray for him, but this laid it out so beautifully and took you through how to pray for your husband fully and completely. It opened my eyes! Two kids later, I struggle. I focus more on them sometimes. But, I pray for my husband. I pray for him to have wisdom and strength to get through his work day. I pray for him to be kind and respectful. I pray for him to give advice and be a mentor for younger and older employees. I pray he is an example of Christ while he is at work. I pray for him to strive in his job daily,to make wise decisions, and to be a light for those who might not know Jesus. I pray! I pray! I pray! I pray for my husband.

 

Something I have been doing lately is praying with scripture. God gave us a guide book, a life book…use it!!!

 

Psalms 90:17
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yet establish the work of our hands.
Prayer–Jesus, may the favor of our God be upon my husband. Please bless and establish the work of his hands and heart each day.
Ephesians 4:1-2
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one in love.

Prayer–God, Please help my husband to live in accordance to you will. Please allow him to be humble, gentle, allow him to have patience in stressful times, allow him to love people as you have asked us to.

I grumble a lot..ummm I do, about his work schedule.

 

It can be hard some days when he doesn’t get home till 7:00 and he left at 6:00 a.m. or earlier. But, I need to remember that God has blessed us and allows Vaughn to work. This job has allowed me to be a part time stay at home mom.. and truthfully I’m mostly just a stay at home mom. It’s the biggest blessing God and Vaughn could have gave me as a mom and wife.

 

So, I’m going to try to grumble less and pray more and remember that God hears my prayers. He hears my heart and my desires. He knows how much I love Vaughn and how much I want him home so we can be complete again. But, I’m also going to pray for myself that God would take this grumbling and negativity that I have sometimes towards his work schedule. I pray that I would speak kindness, have understanding, and love. And I pray that Satan would flee because you know…he’s the one placing those thoughts in my head. So, NOT TODAY SATAN!!! And not tomorrow either…pray for those husbands…and tell them to pray for you too!!

 

Holly McConnell is from Northeast Tennessee where she resides with her husband and two kids. She serves in her church as the women’s ministry leader and assistant youth director. She writes weekly on her blog at www.honestmom87.com about connecting scripture and words from God to mom life, adventures, and battles that she personally faces. Instagram @hollymcconnell87

Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.
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Why I am saying ‘Just Because’ a lot more these days

Why I am saying ‘Just Because’ a lot more these days…

(Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by veteran Diva Rachel Myers. Love Rachel’s ‘just because’ outlook in this season of her life! Be encouraged by this devotional.)

My husband and I recently took the kiddos up to NYC for the day. We did not have any grand Broadway tickets, fancy dinner, nor high-end shopping spree in mind (well… it might have been in my mind, but that’s the only place it was). We simply gathered the kiddos into the car on any empty Saturday morning and headed from the Philly Suburbs up to NYC… ‘Just Because.’

My family is doing a lot more ‘Just Becauses’ lately. I used to be very good about taking the kiddos places when they were younger. As my kiddos have gotten older, school, church, sports, dance, and electronics have crept into our daily lives and we tend to have less family outings.

Yet, last year my world stopped in May as my 100% healthy, bursting with life 73-year-old dad turned gravely ill within 24 hours, suffered dearly and took his last breath 3 months later due to a rare version of the Shingles Virus. Dad was my pillar of support, beloved best friend, moral compass and best babysitter ever. Since my mom has Alzheimer’s, I was honored to be the one by dad’s side every single day of his battle. Dad and I had a bond like no other, and I truly believe that God blessed us both with the gift of those 3 months to help us each endure the impending loss.

Prior to becoming ill, dad would jump at any opportunity to go on an adventure no matter how great or small. After he worked tirelessly to provide for his family, he had just a moment to relish retirement. Dad was willing to book any next vacation just as quickly as he would throw on his brown loafers when asked to grab a quick ice cream with the grandkiddos. Once dad fell ill, he never could use his body nor mind, again. He never left a hospital nor rehab facility, and he most certainly had no more outings.

It is so hard to not take things for granted. It’s human nature. I preach to my own kiddos that they take so much for granted as I look around their rooms, backyard, lunch boxes, schools, churches and more! Yet, I too, take so, so, so much for granted. I get annoyed when my K-cup machine water vessel is blinking, and I must walk all the way over to the facet to refill before my freshly brewed coffee can arrive in my cup within 60 seconds. Yet, I watched dad lose his ability of mind to make coffee, hands to refill water, legs to walk, and mouth to swallow. Dad was just one of the hundreds of patients that I came across during his battle in the hospitals and continue to encounter as I walk the halls of mom’s long-term care living facility. Both dad and mom are not the only ones enduring a state of without.

I continually refer to the experience of dad’s illness as ‘game-changing’. It has made an imprint on me and I am forever changed. I WISH I could walk a life where I continually feel so blessed and grateful for every breath, moment and thought that I take. I WISH I could be that perfect mom that so thankful that she has 2 darling, healthy kiddos even though they are in a moment of bickering and driving me crazy.

Yet, I can say for sure that I look at life oh so differently now. I know that dad is in Heaven and wants me to live this life to the absolute fullest and embrace all of God’s great gifts. So, the ‘Just Because’ outings are happening a lot more in this household these days. Every time I take my kiddos somewhere ‘Just Because,’ I know that I am honoring my dad and feel so very grateful that I have the mental, physical, financial, and spiritual ability to do so.

So, NYC baby… Here we come!!!! We snapped a quick family selfie in front the Hudson, let my youngest run in the water fountain, grabbed embarrassingly, huge, street vendor pretzels, headed to Central Park, purchased pounds of candy from Dylan’s Candy Store, and wrapped up with a delicious dinner at the famous Angelo’s Pizza. All of this… ‘Just Because.’

I bet that this special NYC memory would not have been made prior to the death of my dad. I would have let that Saturday go, and got a few extra loads of laundry finished. I now thank God every day for the ‘just Becauses’. I make an intentional effort to fill our lives with special blessings and more importantly have fun in the simplest of moments, as it is the ultimate way to honor my beloved dad and praise God for His great glory.

I transitioned from Corporate America to stay home with my kiddos, and recently received my Masters in Education to teach at my church PreK. I suffered the horrific loss of my beloved dad this past year, and continue to walk the journey of caring for my mom with Alzheimer’s. Despite my difficult times, I feel more connected to the Lord than ever. I feel called to find my purpose, make a difference, and foster a sense of community in God’s love that will lead, inspire and nurture myself as well as others. Dealing with the loss of a parent, caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, navigating through long-term care living facilities, raising a Christ based family within the everyday community, and deciding if I want to go to Barre or Yoga are just a few of the pieces of the puzzle in my life right now.

 

Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.

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Introducing the Secret Story Series

secret stories

Introducing the Secret Story Series

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. 

Galatians 5:13-14 (MSG)

I’m the editor of a blog that prides itself on helping women share their stories. I truly believe that sharing your story is not only one of the most brave things you can do to help heal others from similar wounds, but it is healing for yourself.

I’ve experienced it myself. I started as a guest writer here.

So why did I slowly stop feeling confident enough to share?

I listened to people around me in real-life (despite literally making a video 4 years ago about how listening to God over people is the way to go). I took in the criticism deeply. I thought I was whining and complaining too much in my writing, because my life is “great” in comparison to so many others.

And, as a Christian, other Christians would tell me I wasn’t being Christian enough, that I was using the Word of God wrong, send me emails with a scripture and a question mark and say, “what about this, Maggie? Huh?”

I knew those people were just being incorrect holier-than-thou jerks, but I couldn’t help feeling like I failed God.

So I wouldn’t write. Or sometimes I would, but I couldn’t hit publish.

Because again, a little voice would creep in and say, “What if someone says something hurtful? What if they don’t understand? What if publishing this only makes me feel worse?”

In 2016, I wrote about the fear of vulnerability. It was almost like I was a lightning rod for negative energy after I wrote it. I couldn’t stay true to my words. I still cannot write about 2016. It was a painful year.

I slowly stopped sharing as much, to protect myself and my family.

But I wondered, how can I be an encourager if I am just sitting back, clapping everyone else on, and not also sharing? I can’t. I can’t. It feels wrong after a while.

I am afraid I won’t be inspiring enough. I am afraid that I’ve got it all wrong – that everyone else’s point of view is more right, and my story doesn’t matter.

I think the whole problem is this: I don’t want to be misunderstood. And isn’t that what we all truly want? To be understood? Accepted?

And if I’ve done my job as an effective writer, I shouldn’t be misunderstood. Everyone should get it.

But, they don’t. That’s just the truth I’ve slowly had to accept. I’m not writing a technical paper medical paper here. I’m writing devotionals. My journey. I’m writing about my family.

And people will have their own projections and judgements…like I am not guilty of the same thing as a reader?

So how do I deal with this reality?

I have to remember that the people I’m potentially helping are more important than anyone who doesn’t understand.

While working through this stuff, I thought…maybe I’m not alone in my fear.

My #1 priority here is that everyone feels safe.

If you’re given the gift of writing, if you feel called to share, to bravely spill your guts on the page (because it is an act of bravery, to ignore the inner voice, to ignore the voice of critics, to be truly vulnerable) you no longer have to be afraid of anything. If you’re not ready to post a bio or picture with your story, as part of the 2018 10th anniversary of Devotional Diva, I’m opening up anonymous submissions.

This series will be called the Secret Stories Series.

All of the submission processes will the same except for the bio and photo and I will state in the editor’s note that the submission is a part of the series. See the Become a Diva page for more information.

I hope that this new series will be a blessing to anyone feeling timid like me.

 

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His Grace is Sufficient

Grace

(Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Maria Drayton. Maria’s devotionals are always so personal and build such a connection with the reader. Check out her last devotional, “When it Rains,” here.P.S. Devotional Diva is going on a two-week break after this post!)

 

I had a complaint-no I had many complaints.  These complaints I reviewed, meditated on, and professed every morning as I sat in my time with the Lord.  I complained about people, situations, people, things, events, people etc.  After I finished my complaining then I would begin my time thanking God.  I had always heard,

“cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you,” 1 Peter 5:7.

But the whole scripture says,

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 

So, I believed I was doing the right thing, telling Him all about my problems.  I felt like David in Psalms 143:1

Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.”

After I got it all out the only response I received, if any at all was, “My grace is sufficient.”  I hadn’t learned to sit quietly in my suffering yet.  In fact, I am really not quiet about anything let alone suffering.  Suffering always increased my complaints. The truth is I’m a whiner, a complainer, and I get frustrated when I don’t see the move of the Lord in what I see as a “dire” situation.  I remember days of standing in the bathroom looking at myself in the mirror crying.   I always found it was more effective when I could look at how pathetic I was.  I wanted to see what God saw.  Looking back, I was just pitiful.

Paul tells us in Philippians 2:14-16,

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.  And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”

I realize that I need to grow up and stop complaining.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me,” 1 Corinthians 13:11.

I am learning to be thankful and simply praise Him for who He is.  I awoke this morning thanking God for those things that are “good, lovely, pure and praiseworthy.”  Philippians 4:8,

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

His grace alone is sufficient for me just because of who He is.

2 Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Not only is His grace sufficient but I am undeserving of even that.  But because of who He is, I have access to it.  Not because of who I am but who He is.  Thank you Lord for your grace.  By definition, grace is defined as, “unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.” Also as “a virtue coming from God”, “approval or favor” or a “temporary exemption.”  I marvel at all these definitions of “grace” and know even further that I am not deserving of it, so why do I complain?

I am not worthy of Him or His grace but He willingly, undeservingly gives it to me daily.  And His grace alone gets me through each day.  Not only is He “grace”, but love and He is indeed concerned about my life details and the things that bother me.  Although I don’t see any quick change in my “situations”, I know He is faithful and is moving despite my “seeing” it.  I will not complain.

So this day I am thankful, thankful for this day that He allowed me to see, thankful for his mercy, thankful for my blessings, thankful for everything He brings me today, and most of all for His grace to continue on in my faith walk without complaint.  His grace is indeed sufficient.

 

Maria DraytonMaria Drayton, originally from Seattle, Washington is a graduate of Washington State University and has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism through the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications. Maria currently resides in Deptford, New Jersey with her husband and son. With a passion for the Lord, she desires to bring a young, fresh, new look into intimacy with the Lord. Purchase Maria’s newly released book, “The King and I: Steps for Living in Today’s World Through Intimacy with the Lord” on her website: www.mariadrayton.com !

 


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