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 !

 


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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Is it Horror or Humor?

horror or humor

IS IT HORROR OR HUMOR?

(Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor June Windle Bare. Check out her last post, Rescue, right here. Enjoy today’s devotional!)


“He does everything just right and on time, but people can never completely understand what He is doing.” Ecclesiastes 3: 11 (NCV)

Get this visual in your mind: two octogenarians are racing to make their plane’s connection after arriving 40 minutes late from their previous flight. Rain had delayed the flight of origin, and the lag-time was scrunched into a mere 20 minutes. She opts to use the moving walkway; he runs alongside. They arrive, breathless, at the expected boarding site only to find out that it is the wrong concourse. Alright, turn around and run the other way. The correct one is two concourses over–actually next to where they had deplaned in the first place. this time they take the “plane train.” Stuffed like the proverbial sardines in a can, they lean into the other passengers as they are jet-propelled forward, holding onto the slippery stainless-steel poles to keep from climbing their neighbor’s torso. Then as the train screeches to a stop, they fall the opposite direction. Someone yells at him, “Hold the strap!” But she is too short to reach it. This sequence is repeated again until arriving at the correct concourse.

But these two “octos” arrive at the right place just in the nick of time, the last two breathless passengers to stumble onto the plane, and try to wedge their knees behind the seat in front of them. Whew! They had missed their anticipated lunch, and to complicate matters, she is suffering from a bad episode of sciatica. Was this a horror story, or was this something from a slap-stick comedy from the 1950’s? The octos chose to see the humor and enjoy their trip.

No need to ask why such things happen. God knows. Life happens. No need to question God on any of His doings, but it seems we all do. When life happens, it is better to lean into the happening and learn contentment. Whether it is pain or gain–you name it–we have two options: complain, developing anxieties and anger; or, look at it through the lens of Christ’s strength. Philippians 4: 11-13 gives us a clue:

 
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation whatever it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (NLT)

I don’t envision St. Paul as getting a big case of the horrors when he is being pelted with stones, when he is in stocks in a dungeon, or shipwrecked, or any of the myriad traumatic events in his life. Neither was he laughing. Not then. But he had a secret: he had learned Christ-contentment. With that kind of satisfaction, it would be no surprise if he was able to look back and visualize a bit of humor in the horror. Even better, his traumatic events have stood as an example to Christians and even the rest of the world for learning his secret.

What about your events? Merely viewing the thousands of faces in those concourses at the airport, horrors are written in many ways: vacant expressions; testy interactions; wheel-chairs and canes; tired mothers with restless children; rudeness; pushing and shoving. But on the other hand, there are smiles, civility, and people who tell you when your cell phone is still in the chair you had just occupied.

There is good. There is evil. There is life happening all around us. Can we face the whatever’s of St. Paul without horror and embrace the secret of Christ-contentment, and maybe even see a glimpse of humor along the way?

June Windle BareJune is a retired nurse, poet, and widow, living 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.

 

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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July Editor’s Note

I enjoyed connecting with you in my June Editor’s Note, so I’m going to try to make this a regular monthly thing.

How are you? I keep comments closed on Devotional Diva now to reduce rude comments and in-fighting, but I love hearing from you guys. I’m always monitoring the Devotional Diva Facebook page and Instagram, and enjoy reading emails from you! Please feel welcome to connect with me on social media.

I never really announced comments closing, but I got real tired of comments like “too bad God isn’t real” and confusing arguments between commenters. I don’t like to feed into that. I feel like it’s less of a temptation for those people if they can’t directly comment on the post. I hope that you understand, and you don’t feel like the closed comment section means I don’t want to hear from you, or don’t appreciate your opinions. I do. Please feel free to reach out.

As for me, I’m just about done with my time back in the states. It went really quick this time. But I’m ready to go home and soon reunite with my husband, whenever he is done with this deployment!

We had a nice summer here and it’s wonderful to spend time with family and friends. I’m blessed to have a hometown to come back to when I need.

 

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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.


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Appointed Turning Points

transitions

Appointed Turning Points

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Ann Grace. Ann sent this to me after she read my June editor’s note, and it was such a blessing to me in my time of transitions! Thank you!]

These days, transitions surround me. Currently, I look at my eldest daughter as she travels through this passage into women-hood. She’s 12 and a half and is getting a hunch that Aunt Flow is about to visit her. She’s a bit nervous about the unknown and continues to earnestly ask the Lord to keep it away for another 3 more years. lol. I totally understand her desire to postpone the dreaded bleeding fest, but at the same time, I want her to be proud of becoming a young woman. But then again, is this really something to look forward to? Is it ok to be scared and ask the Lord to withhold this growth in life?

I personally dread unwanted transitions in life.
But without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I read this scripture the other day and was quickly reminded to not look at my past as a place I want to stay in no matter how easy it was or looked. Yes, transitions are hard and sometimes scary, but the Lord can use our failures and fortunes in life to grow us.

“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the heart of fools.
Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
an advantage to those who see the sun.”
Ecclesiastes 7:8-11 ESV

A few years ago, I was forced to figure out how to function joyfully without a husband, father and spiritual leader of our home. I was thrown into multiple roles I never even planned for! I had to decide whether the Lord was true in His promises. Would He truly be a Father to the fatherless and a husband to this young widow like He said? Many sleepless nights drenched in tears brought me to a place of surrounding my wish to live the way it “use to be.” I had to accept this unwanted change no matter how much I wanted to rewind to my mediocre past. After finally getting the hang of being a widow and raising five young kids, the Lord changed everything on me again.

The Lord would bring me a handsome, God-fearing Air Force officer who would swoop me off my feet and become my second husband. What a whirlwind of change awaited us. New military orders were given and the purging began. This included selling two houses, one car, buying another, moving to a new state, getting pregnant, having an unexpected stillbirth and now expecting a new bundle of joy in a few short months! We are exhausted from the sudden changes in life and desperately want to be left alone.
But the Lord, in His mercy, was and continues to break us. Breaking me from my selfishness and pride. He wants my heart to change. To grow. To rely on Him once more. And that means Him showing me my character. My failures. Me. I need to be reduced in my pain in order to continue to be blessed. I need His strength to shine through my weakness.

“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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV

I am slowly learning these days that I can’t just sit back and expect my heart to change overnight. I must work at it. For me, this takes actions that include going to Godly couple’s discipleship and seeking the Lord daily with prayer and reading His Word. It’s been tough to see my fault and failures in life, but it is forcing me to surrender my pride. I am constantly being humbled as I realize the need to apologize daily for the ugliness my heart still has.

I know my heart will never truly be completed and pure until I reach Glory, but in that changeover from this earth to heaven, I take heart knowing that the Lord will walk these hard roads of transitions in life with me making everything beautiful in His time.

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.

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