Most mornings, I wake up with a start. I look around my room and remember where I am. And then I tell myself, “everything’s okay.” I know this isn’t normal. And I am undergoing treatment for my anxiety and nightmares. But it’s my reality after …
Editor’s Note: She’s back again, our veteran writer with my favorite name! Maggie Meadows Cooper!
While home on quarantine, I have had the privilege (and let’s be real…sometimes headache) of homeschooling my sweet babies. One is in preschool, preparing for the start of Kindergarten in the Fall. We have been working on addition and subtraction with numbers 1-10, and she had been doing great…when the problems were written down on paper. But after practicing a bit, I decided to ask her some problems out loud and see how she did. So I asked expectantly, “Ok baby, what is one plus one!?” And she answered, “Eleven!”
Hmmm…a conversation ensued explaining that I could see how she got that answer, but it wasn’t correct because we had to add quantities, blah, blah blah, teacher talk, blah, blah, blah. So I tried again… “Ok baby, what is one plus two!?” Her immediate answer? “Twelve!”
So we didn’t quite get it. But the Lord did open my eyes to a sweet lesson.
Proverbs 21:2 says, “People may be right in their own eyes,
but the Lord examines their heart.”
Y’all, my preschooler thought her answer made perfect sense. She could explain it and stood by it boldly. In her eyes, she was so very right, but in truth, she was still so very wrong. How can that be?
Because she took two pieces of information and stuck them together, without thought to the heart of the problem.
And y’all, we can believe we are right with a wrong heart, all day long.
We can appear to be Godly, when the truth is that our hearts are not pure in our intentions.
We can serve others, simply to receive the world’s applause and get a good photo op for Instagram.
We can give of our money and time, simply to get a pat on the back.
We can quote or post scripture without having any idea what it really means.
We can react with a comment or give advice on social media based on feelings, rather than waiting and responding with Truth.
Hard to hear, right? But the beauty lies in the fact that God does know our hearts. The whole of our hearts. He knows the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
And even though our flesh wins sometimes, even though our selfishness can try to take over, if we know and love Jesus, He will draw us back to Him and His purposes if we let Him.
Here are three ways we can get back on the right track when these times come:
- Invite the Lord to check our motives.
- Check our words and actions with scripture.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,…” 2 Timothy 3:16
- Don’t forget that the Lord’s ways are better than our own…even if they don’t make sense.
“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
My sweet friends, this world gives us so many opportunities to put our actions and opinions on display. But we must use discernment in these times. Many prayers for all of us to live a life pleasing to the Lord and shine His light in all we do, in word and deed.
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a real-life wife and mom who messes up every day and needs Jesus to save her. She loves Auburn football (War Eagle!), real Coca-cola, and all things chocolate! She is the author of the children’s book Bumper, writes for Blogs by Christian Women, serves as a Parent Coordinator in the Opelika City Schools, and leads the FBCO Teen Moms group. She lives in Opelika, AL with her husband and three children. You can follow her at beautifulinyourheart.blogspot.com.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Sheila Lloyd! Welcome back Sheila. I hope that this devotional can be an encouragement to you all today.
Shadows lengthen on a mid-October lawn reminding me of Autumn afternoons of my childhood and adolescence in a veritable garden of love, where kindness and tenderness cast long shadows on walls of growing maturity. The gift, not only of being loved but actually enjoyed, of not just feeling protected but also supported and celebrated, engendered confidence to fly high pursuing dreams. And when the wild blue yonder conjured up storms that tore the parachute, my parents were soft piles of hay ensuring a safe landing. Chastisement was given at times, but not in a way to squelch the dream or the spirit, just as a constructive tweak to the rigging in preparation for the next flight.
The older I get, the more I am acutely aware of the lavishness of such endearment and security. And now that my parents have joined the ranks of what the Bible calls, “the great cloud of witnesses,” I have keenly wrestled with the loss. Heaven’s gain has left and earthly void, and I long to hear their voices of reassurance once again especially on those days when the parachute has become mangled.
However, the Lord–who was always their number one Source of Strength for flight–has been teaching me of His Presence. He reminds this eaglet that He will never leave me nor forsake me. His voice will never fade away–unless I have run purposely out of earshot.
A humbling realization struck me last week at my piano. Singing of the charity of God, I realized my parents’ adoration for me had only been a mere shadow of my Heavenly Father’s…their encouragement, gentleness, and faithfulness a drop in the bucket compared to the waterfall from the Almighty.
I am also aware that for my fellow humans, my testimony of parental support has most likely not been the common experience. For far too many, the sentiments of acceptance, security, encouragement and even love were completely absent, and for that I am deeply sorrowful. And yet, the reality of God’s unconditional affection for every single human being is infinitely greater than what my mere words might convey!
A glance in the mirror reminds that I am certainly no eaglet any longer! The baton is passed. I cannot travel back in time to that yard under the huge oak trees and the welcomed safety of my parents’ embrace. Nor can I bring them back to walk several more years–or even one more moment–on this terrestrial ball with me, much as I might think I need them. Who I truly need is Jesus, and his enduring love looms larger than any evening shadow.
As I grasp the baton and run toward the next bend in the race, I acknowledge that I have been granted the gift as well as the responsibility of parenthood–and so hope to have instilled in my children the same adoration, security, encouragement, celebration and delight that were bestowed upon me. These human qualities are just shadows, boys. Look up and beyond them to the Source of Light–Your Creator, Your Redeemer, Your unfailing and unfading Lord.
Sheila Lloyd is learning to live in freedom through Jesus Christ! Her vocational life has included teaching private piano lessons, writing, acting in and producing musical dramas, spearheading women’s retreats and other ministry outreach events, composing music, leading worship across the country, teaching Bible studies and mentoring. Shelia has two grown sons, one of whom has special needs. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Brian, since 1990. The couple experienced growth on the cutting edge of faith as Brian suffered a massive rehabilitating stroke in 2014. They published a book sharing God‘s powerful hand in the situation titled, It’s OK! I Had a Stroke. It was released on Amazon and Barnes and Noble May 2019. Website here. The couple currently shepherds a storefront church in Woodstock, VA.
First off, I hope that you were able to enjoy Easter! This is the first devotional I’m posting in 2020, for our spring session of devo’s. I felt like I should write something on here about coronavirus, just because it’s something so huge and impactful. …
Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Ann Grace (please see her last Diva post for more on her journey). This is the finale of Diva Christmas 2019 – the reason for the season! Merry Christmas.
I woke up this morning excited to start this new day only to find myself struggling to
complete each tasks with a merry heart. You see, as I prepared to change my flannel sheets, I
looked at the various patterns to chose from only to be struck with tears as I saw the sheets with
vintage truck carrying a Christmas tree. Why was this such a trigger of emotions, you may ask?
Because those same sheets reminded me of Christmas with my little one. And this year, I have no
idea as to whether or not I will be reunited with him this holiday season due to this horrible
Have you ever been asked to wait patiently? Suffer joyfully? Or better yet, to trust the
Lord in the midst of so much uncertainty? In life’s messy moments that seem to only flourish
with the holidays, sometimes I am tempted to complain about all the trials and heartache I am
facing. I mean, lets face it. We say we “trust” God with our impossible Aunt Kay or something as
serious as a terminal illness, but, then find another reason to worry that just keeps us from being
merry! I can’t help but think about Jesus being ask to wait patiently for his big “reveal” only to
know that he would have to die for a bunch of sinners who will laugh at him and eventually kill
him unjustly. Jesus was a man acquainted with grief.
“He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3-5 ESV
Can you imagine grief as your constant companion? The truth remains that we live in a
fallen world and one thing we can count on as believers in Christ are trials and persecution.
James 1:2-4 ESV
Are you merrily trusting this day in God’s perfect timing for a situation in your life?
Maybe it’s waiting for a tear filled prayer to be answered? Or a supernatural healing that only
God can do? And then there’s the constant pleading with God to bring repentance and salvation
to your spouse or loved one… 2 Peter 3:9 ESV
I still can’t guarantee that the Lord will ever bring me back my baby taken away from me
unjustly or give me a front row seat when swift justice and redemption occurs, but, I can say
beyond a shadow of a doubt that we serve a mighty God who loves us and our little ones more
than we could ever! And He will be our comfort, strength and hope this holiday season. He is
faithful and knows what is best for us even when it doesn’t make any sense! He can see what we
can’t. And if that means we are destined for a future of trials and tribulations in order to refine us
into someone more like Him, then, it is worth it!
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being
renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal
weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the
things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are
unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV
As we prepare to celebrate our Savior’s birth this year, be solemnly reminded that unjust
suffering was apart of God’s plan for JESUS. And if we are called of Jesus Christ, we will also
face suffering like never before in these last days. But, take heart as Christ will keep us in His
hands! If we remain faithful and endure til the end, one day very soon, we will rule with Him!
Wishing you and your family a MERRY holiday season!
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.