What Did I Learn Through My Husband’s Stroke? – a devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest submission from Sheila Lloyd. Sheila’s husband had a stroke in 2014, and this is part of their story of recovery. Thanks so much, Sheila!

WHAT DID I LEARN THROUGH THE STROKE?  How I am more like Jesus because of this experience?

I WILL ADMIT, WHEN ONE OF MY EDITORS POSED THESE QUESTIONS TO me, I was at a loss.

So…as I am flying in a plane at 20,000+ feet, I will endeavor to dive into that question and see what happens.  Couldn’t pay me to strap on a parachute and jump, but then again, this kind of feels just as precarious.

Do I wish the stroke had never happened?  Yes!  And No!  What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.  And in the timeless words of Winnie the Pooh to his best little pink friend Piglet, “You are stronger than you think.”  Now, please understand that I am not trying to glorify myself or my own strength!  Sheila, in the flesh, had no bucket from which to draw water from the deep well of the life-altering trauma the stroke had brought into our lives. 

However, as 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me…when I am weak THEN I am strong.  God’s power is made perfect in weakness.”

At this writing, we are 3 years, 2 months since the stroke.  We have traveled many miles–physically, emotionally and spiritually to the moon and back.  I have railed screaming, fists raised, at the heavens with the gut-wrenching wail, “WHY?!”  I have soaked my old carpet with tears wrought from an internal void I didn’t think would ever be filled.  I have looked out at the desert climate with eyes glazed over wanting desperately to go back to LBS (an acronym a friend lovingly tagged for “Life Before Stroke.”)  I have often wondered how we could continue living in this new reality.  Why did things have to change so drastically? 

And then, one day I realized that I was no longer just surviving.  We were no longer just recovering, or even the next phase, recuperating.  We were starting to live again, to dream, to laugh truly without the empty horror lurking behind the edges.  There is Life After Stroke.

There are still times when I wish Brian could be physically the big, bold, strong as an ox, football-player build of a man as he was before the stroke.  He still experiences deficiencies and weaknesses due to that blasted brain bleed.  The Lord has not YET fully restored his ability to play guitar or have the lightning quick reflexes normally contained in a functioning human hand.  Does that mean that I didn’t hear God about “full, complete restoration, better than new” in those first hours and days?  No!  One thing I have learned loudly and clearly: God’s timing is not my timing.  His ways are not my ways.  His thoughts are higher than my thoughts.  (Isaiah 55:10)  I believe now, as I have from the beginning, that the Lord could completely restore Brian in the fraction of a blink.  And He is. 

But it is a process to which Brian surrendered.   Numerous times I have had to surrender to the process as well. I have learned that the vows one says at a wedding ceremony can truly be put to the test through a traumatic health event.   Marriage is more than passion, financial agreement, success or even friendship.  It is a commitment.  And I’ve learned that when those stormy seas are navigated (only by the grace of God) the ensuing relationship is sweeter, deeper and stronger for having survived the battle. 

I’ve learned some things about myself, about God, and about others.

About God: He truly will never leave me or forsake me.  He is utterly and completely faithful and dependable.

About others:  We don’t really comprehend how people watch our lives, I think particularly those who claim to follow Jesus draw attention and inspection especially during crisis.  People in this world are desperate for hope. Desperate for truth.  Our stories can be used to encourage others in ways we will never know. 

About myself:  oftentimes in my life I think I’ve been characterized as a princess (and not the flattering meaning of the word.). Too often I have escaped hard work and have perhaps appeared as though I had more than my share of blessings.  But through this process I learned that when the rubber hits the road, true character comes out.  What my parents and God poured into me over the years came out.  I’m stronger than I think. 

For many years, my worst fear in life was losing Brian to death.  Now I know that regardless of what happens in this lifetime, my Jesus truly does hold me firm.  He will never let go.  Therefore, despite the moments when I don’t think I can continue to draw breath, I will breathe.  Because He is the very breath of life. He, not Brian, is my life, my sustainer, my Provider, my Hope.

HOW AM I MORE LIKE JESUS FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?

Wow.  I’d have to say the main character trait I see He’s developed in me is in the area of being a servant.  Not a doormat.  Not a slave.  But in considering others’ needs above my own.  Servanthood was not a badge I was desiring.  Except that Jesus desires it for me.  Commands it actually.

 I fail miserably. Often.  Repeatedly.  I serve at times looking gracious on the outside but seething on the inside.  Or I serve seething on the outside and whining on the inside.  Or at times I actually find that I am serving in joy.  Must be His joy.  Wow.  Ok.  Thank you Jesus. 

How could I actually even consider saying that I don’t regret the stroke? Because my husband has become an even more amazing man.  And who he is spiritually today would not have existed without that sub arachnoid hematoma which occurred July 10, 2014.   The journey we have walked has shaped us and allowed us to minister to others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) There are SO many experiences, people, insights, impressions, miracles, blessings, friendships, revelations we would have missed if this pathway had not been presented to us.

There have been hours of emotional pain, free-falling somersaults during which I felt like my heart was on fire ready to explode…or implode.  However, because I was able to face the grief, feel the pain and navigate the pain with the Lord, I’ve been able to enter into others’ grieving to offer an ear, a hug, or a prayer. This I see as an amazing gift gained.  Life isn’t fair, and it’s not easy.  Even as Christians, we are not promised a life without pain. (John 16:33). But we are promised an abundant life because Jesus overcame the world.  That means he overcame weakness.  And death.  And pain.  And grief.  And strokes. 

Sheila Lloyd, excerpt from her book, It’s OK! I Had a Stroke, released May 2019 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Contact info: sheilalloydlive2@yahoo.com, Facebook discussion page titled, “It’s OK! I Had a Stroke.” Website: http://sheilalloydlive.com/
Continue Reading

Can You Be Happy and Single? – a devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest submission from Jennifer, the Sunflower Mom! Thanks for sending this in, Jen!

“Are you happy?” she asked me.

A friend I hadn’t seen in a few months asked me this question early one Saturday morning over coffee. She knew some of the depression I’ve been wading through the last few years.

“Yes,” I replied, closing the conversation so the discussion could move on to more comfortable topics.

Later that evening I thought about that question.

Happy is a fleeting emotion. When I look back at my life, I’d only describe one season as truly happy: those first few months of awestruck wonder when my daughter was born.

Otherwise, happiness comes and goes. It seems like an impossible goal, especially for someone who is crawling out of depression.

An accurate response would have been, “I’m content.”

Webster’s definition of content is “feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation.”

If that sounds the same to you as “happy,” then you’re right, happy is a synonym of the word content.

This dictionary definition leads me to believe a promotion, a change in my singleness, or a new car will bring me contentment. Which I’ve all tried, by the way, and none of these brought me out of my depression.

To truly understand the meaning of contentment, I dug further.

After all, if in Ephesians, Paul can call himself content writing from a jail cell, surely it has nothing to do with singleness or possessions.

Philippians 4:11-13 NIV: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, the biblical definition of contentment is an “internal satisfaction which does not demand changes in external circumstances.”

This definition demands I find satisfaction where God has me today. Not how I wished my life looked.

No mention of possessions or status or situation. Quite the opposite.

Giving up on the dreams I have for myself isn’t fun work. I never imagined I’d be 40 and a single mother. Those aren’t the goals young girls dream for themselves.

But it’s where God has me.

After years of striving for happiness outside of my life, I came to the end of myself.

Prideful, I was determined to do things my way and only give God what I wanted to give Him. I held onto relationships, hurts, and pride for years.

I begged God all the time to change my circumstances. Certain I knew the way to my happiness.

It wasn’t until one completely broken night that I gave Him all of me, and He fully met the broken me and restored me.

I now put my focus on what God has blessed with me with each day.

For me, that looks like pouring myself into my children in ways I never did before.

I no longer dread being their chauffeur. I look for ways to serve them, teach and prepare them to become human beings that make a difference in this world.

After years of putting my life on hold, I finally went all in: I went back to church. I took a vacation solo, I put myself in new situations. I’ve found blessings that have been waiting for me all this time.

Most of all, I asked for help.

I shelved my pride and starting with my doctor I asked for help. Then I asked a friend at church, then another one, and another.

Shockingly, I was met with grace and love.

God didn’t change my circumstances. I’m still a single mother. But now I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m content.

Jennifer lives in Kansas with her two teenagers and German Shepard. She writes at Sunflower Mom to encourage single moms to live fully in the season they’re in through God’s grace and love. At any given day you can find her eating chips & salsa and binge watching Modern Family with her kids.

Continue Reading

Joyfully Abandoned – a devotional

Editor’s note: This is a guest submission by Ann Grace. She has shared her story before – most recently here. Today’s devotional may be hard to get through as it’s very emotional, but powerful. Thank you, Ann.

Is it even possible to be joyful in the midst of feeling abandoned? My life has been filled with my share of feeling abandoned and lonely but these days, I’m once again experiencing it again. My husband of 1 year has left us. No contact. No “I love you”.

Nothing. It’s been almost two weeks of pure grief not knowing whether he will come back or file for divorce. I’m angry. I’m confused and just plain heartbroken. You know, I look back and can say that being widowed at 31 was easier than this! During these hard days, I’m finding rest in my Savior’s arms. I never thought in a million years that I’d have to experience such grief again. The sad part is watching our 5 children relive their “Dad” leaving them. Oh, how my heart aches for their lack of understanding in this fragile situation. Is there joy to experience in this valley of the shadow of death?

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6–9

After reading this scripture, I’m comforted to know that joy and grief go hand in and. A great example that came to my mind is of my own experiences of child birth. Right now, I am 7 months pregnant and am dreading in some way the day I have to actually go through labor but am joyful knowing that it will all be worth it once I see the beautiful boy the Lord has blessed me with. I can’t see the it now, but I rest knowing it’s coming!

Whatever situation you are in, I know its tough. It’s hard to stay focused on the Lord and trust Him with all your heart… It’s hard to feel comforted by what feels like an “invisible God” when you just need desperately a strong embrace… I know its easier to be upset and fall into a pity party for ourselves but God doesn’t want us to stay there. Of course, He’s not shocked by our emotions and reactions in our trials but we must remember that dwelling on them no longer produces joy. Joy doesn’t have to be smiles and laughter though…It’s ok to have tears, righteous anger and passionate conversations with our Savior. In fact, our Lord wants us to come boldly to His throne and tell Him how we feel and what we are struggling with. But, then He wants us to surrender them ALL, not some, not most, but ALL at His feet. Geez, that’s the hard part. I should know, but I’m telling you, fear and worry will only grow if we choose to hold on to them. They will destroy us! As believers in Christ, we must remember that the Lord is in control of our lives and He promises to carry our burdens on His shoulders while giving us rest. And boy do I need
rest!

“ Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

I pray that we surrender our lives to our Heavenly Father today and let him be our Savior. You may not know how to let go of your fears and pain but simply praying and asking the Lord’s help is the first step. It may take some time to actually change our habits of wanting to worry but don’t give up! The Lord is faithful and He will not abandon us. Hevwill be our husband, lover and father if we let Him.

He will hold us close and carry us when all we hear is silence.

Psalm 68:5 ESV
“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.”
So when you feel beat down and abandoned, trust Christ with your heart and life and He will, in His perfect timing, make everything new.

“And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new’ And He said, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true.’” Revelation 21:5 ESV

 I am not a blogger, professional writer, photographer or foodie. I’m simply a mother of five (soon to be six) who has walked a road of grief after losing a husband and baby. I continue to encounter a Lord who is faithful. My desire is for others to know Him like I do and let Him be glorified in all I do say and do.
Continue Reading

After the Storm – devotional

Editor’s Note: I thought I would just jump back right into posting devo’s! I have closed submissions for the time being – and you’ll be getting a fresh devotional to read every Monday morning for this fall!

This is a guest submission by Heather Ream. This is somewhat of a follow-up to Heather’s previous post about her mom here. Thank you for sharing, Heather!


My mom has been living in a nursing home now for a little over a year. Most of the time, she’s stable. I’m blessed to be able to write that. Praise you, Lord. Most of the time, she’s stable.


Sometimes, she has a short series of days that culminate with a episode of psychosis. First, she’ll refuse all medication. The staff cannot force her to take her pills, and only some of her medicine is available in an injectible form. Next, she might suffer with insomnia that night and may or may not sleep. By the next morning, she will refuse food or a change of clothes. She will adamantly proclaim that she is dying along with a list of other delusional thoughts.

Eventually, when the staff has done all they can, the doctor will be called and Mom will be given an injection of a strong, calming drug. It’s only then that she will be able to sleep, and the cycle will be broken…this time.

I usually receive a phone call from a nurse early on the second day informing me of what’s happened. Each one of them is compassionate, and they carefully explain to me everything they did to try to help or cajole my mother. Often, they are embarrassed and frustrated they couldn’t do more. However, this is our reality. My mom has a serious mental illness compounded by dementia.

After Mom’s had a tough run of days, my next visit usually consists of straightening her room and putting everything back in order. Her room is cleaned regularly, but it is impossible to keep up with the chaos when Mom’s having a crisis.

Last week, after her most recent difficult day, my husband and I brought her a burger and fries to enjoy while I started the cleanup. Socks and clothes were strewn around her bed and underneath it. Her shoes lay in a jumbled mess. A patriotic sign had fallen off the wall and landed in the corner.

But the medicine had finally done its job. She finished her meal without complaint and let me change her into pajamas. The nurse and I helped her into bed, and she fell asleep almost immediately. After I tidied her room, I wet a washcloth with warm water and wiped the sleepies out of her eyes – another task she had refused the nurses.

Another storm, another mess that needed to be cleaned up. The tears came as I thought of us, our roles reversed. How many times had my mother wiped my face or hands as I slept soundly, after a meal? How many mismatched socks did she gather from my bedroom floor, careful not to wake me during her early morning chore time before work?

Am I really helping her, Lord? Is this all that’s left? My heart is breaking, I prayed. I thought of our Jesus, chiding the disciples in the boat as the storm raged around them.

“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” he asked. (Mark 4:40, NIV)

My heart swelled as I remembered all the Lord had done for my family the past year. True, this was a hard day. But tomorrow would be easier.

As I stroked my mother’s hair back into place with my hand, I contemplated the countless Godly mothers all over the world, all throughout history. They were the dear ones who had cleaned up innumerable storms the same way my mother had done for her children. I thought of us, the daughters, once their students and now the experts. What a beautiful gift, to be numbered among those multitudes.


Storms will always come, my friends, but have faith! Sometimes, what seems like a deluge is merely a torrential downpour of love, from our Heavenly parent.

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

Continue Reading

It’s Time to Be Kind to Ourselves

its time to be kind

Editor’s Note: This is a guest VIDEO devotional by Betsy Pendergrass. I’m so excited to share it with you today! 

The scripture Betsy is talking about today is right below. I always like to see the scripture in writing, too 🙂

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12: 30-31 (ESV)
Continue Reading

Balancing Motherhood

devotional diva

Balancing Motherhood

Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Tiah Lewis. Devotional Diva Moms, do you ever relate to that feeling of not getting enough done in a day? I certainly do! Be encouraged today. 

“It’s Bigger Than Your Accomplishments”-Balancing Motherhood

Many of times I would find myself asking, what have I accomplished today? Sound familiar? Have you ever felt that way? Often we are moving so fast in our lives with daily schedules, kid drop offs, meetings, kids sports, the list goes on, only to feel at the end of the day that we have not accomplished anything and are still holding the same list of To Do Items we started with at the beginning of the week!

For me, this was a frustrating and daunting feeling, until I experienced a shift in my mindset. I want to share how my perspective changed on how I now define accomplishments in my day to day life.

I too myself had an exhausting list of to do’s when I would start my week. It included my normal school/daycare drop offs, laundry, cleaning house, preparing meals, running errands, practice drop offs, doctor visits, you name it. Many days felt like a blur and included the same mundane activities day in day out.
Then I began asking myself to define accomplishments. Well of course the standard definition is: something that has been achieved successfully and that’s when it hit me! I was accomplishing great things every day! I was spending quality time with my daughters, making memories, and listening to their gibberish unclear chatter, realizing I was there in the moment watching their vocabulary increase by the minute. I accomplished talking with my oldest daughter about how she felt about going into middle school, and any fears or worries she may have, and we know how it can be difficult to pull information out of a middle schooler. I was there to pray with her, ease her worries and anxieties and to provide comfort. And I managed to sneak in lunch dates with my husband when forcing him to break away from his work computer so that we could just catch up and chat about our ever-changing lives, just he and I.
Now ask yourself whose measure of accomplishments are we attempting to live up to? Could it be the false expectations of others of a mother, especially one blessed to stay at home with her children? Yes the expectations are false! One’s work day isn’t an 8-hour shift and all our tasks will not get completed during this time. We work countless “overtime” hours late into the evenings and even early morning hours. Now go ahead, give yourself credit, I’ll wait! You are accomplishing many great things every day. I am very thankful that in these moments I was able to stop and smell the roses. I realized that I was living in my accomplishments right where I was supposed to be without worry about the day or weeks to come. Here are some encouraging words about worrying.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34) NIV.”

Be blessed and go out and accomplish great things today! 


Tiah Lewis is a stay at home mom and author. She enjoys being a wife and mom to her four beautiful girls. The recommitment of her life to Jesus Christ began four years ago and she hasn’t stopped being in awe by the power of the living word and her desire to share it with the world. Follow Tiah: @Tiahlewisauthor

Continue Reading

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 

Continue Reading

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.
Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Treasuring the Mom Life

Treasuring the Mom Life

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Sarah Dethier. Wooh, as a mama, I totally relate to this mom life devotional today! I hope it encourages you as well.]

Cheers to Whoever Declared: ‘The Days are Long but the Years are Short’

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

I’m sitting at the dining room table, basking in a few precious moments of silence before the “storm” ensues. In the middle of my blissful solitude, I hear it: footsteps that sound as though they belong to someone much larger than a 34-pound four-year-old.

Subsequently, I hear those footsteps inch closer and closer to the stairwell and look up to see my sleepy-eyed eldest descend the stairs, in anticipation of what the day will bring. As soon as his eyes meet mine, he picks up speed and runs to me, grin a mile wide, and sinks into my lap. Any thoughts I had of my morning being “interrupted” melt away and are replaced with the realization that I am blissfully and undeservedly blessed. “Morning, baby,” I say. “Let’s go make your breakfast.”

As he sits and eats his breakfast, I return to my now lukewarm cup of coffee and sit for what I know will be just a few, short moments of quasi-solitude. Sure enough, within seconds of my eldest’s descent of the stairs, his younger brother starts to announce his readiness to face the day, in the form of made-up songs that only a two-year-old could concoct: “The duck on the farm goes quack, quack, quack, all through the bus…”.

I giggle to myself and think, I like your version better, kiddo.

I know, in that moment, that the day will include the craziness that defines toddlerhood, peppered with moments of sweet and downright hilarious antics. They will drive me crazy, only to punctuate that craziness with such sweet notions as, “You’re such a pretty princess, mama.” Boys! There will be bumps and bruises, despite warnings from mama against “climbing on the table”, as well as tears and whines when mama says “no” to “just one more pack of (sugar-laden) gummies”. But…there will also be love and laughter and moments of wondering what I could have possibly done to deserve these two incredible boys. The answer, of course, is nothing. The Lord chose me to be their mama and has offered them to my husband and I as undeserved gifts. They belong to Him first.

However crazy, I know my days as a SAHM (i.e., Stay-at-Home Mom) are to be treasured, for they will quickly morph into farewells at the front door as our boys venture off to “parts unknown”, for conquests that no longer include Mom and Dad.

My prayer, first and foremost, is that my husband and I will have done all we could to impart the truth of the Gospel to them in a way that will prepare them to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and to “love others as Christ loves us” (John 15:21).

While I do not believe that motherhood should be lived within these moments of imagining our babies as grown and gone, they are, nonetheless, thoughts I occasionally allow myself to have. Why? Because they serve as sobering reminders of the sanctity of motherhood. It is such a gift, and I am humbled to know that I do in fact require fairly regular reminders of the truth of that statement. Like nothing else, motherhood will bring you to your knees in surrender to the only One who can pull you up from under the weight of it all.

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with this “mom gig”, take another sip of that lukewarm coffee, followed by another deep breath, and know that you’re not alone. Seek like-minded mamas with a knack for “keepin’ it real” and for encouraging and praying for you throughout this journey. I promise that those women will become some of the best friends for whom you could ever ask or imagine. Happy “momming” to you. Be blessed!


My name is Sarah Dethier. I have been married to my wonderful husband for eight years, and together we have two precious little boys, ages two and four. I graduated from the University of Florida in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and then with a Master of Arts in Behavior Analysis from the University of South Florida in 2008. I am a Behavior Analyst by trade, working mainly with children with disabilities and their families. Though I enjoy what I do and absolutely love my clients, I have always had a passion for writing and all things literary. I enjoy researching and learning more in the areas of nutrition and fitness, as well as in the areas of parenting and child development. No matter my career status or pastime pursuits, however, my position as “wife” and “mother” take priority over all else.


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.

Continue Reading
1 2 3 5