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.”
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
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
(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!!!
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.
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
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.
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Lois Robinson. This is a great testimony of faith and following God’s lead!]
I got married at a young age – 18 to be exact. My husband, who was the pastor’s son, and I had been dating for a couple of years and we knew that we were following God’s plan for our lives. We were planning to get married one year later but felt God pushing us to bring the date one year closer. My parents were not happy about this change, but we agreed to go forward with the plans.
Our wedding day turned out to be perfect and we were so thrilled to be joined together. We visited Paris, France for our honeymoon and when we returned to Long Island, NY, we moved into our little one bedroom rental house.
We visited my parents a few days later to give them gifts that we had brought back from our trip and left. If I had known what was about to unfold perhaps I might have done things a bit differently.
A couple days after, I received a call from my sister telling me that our dad had passed away. He had collapsed and had a heart attack. I was in total shock as my father had no known sickness or disease other than the fact that he was overweight.
When I was finally able to get the pictures from my wedding, I cherished them more than ever because they are the last pictures I have of my father. If my husband and I had waited the extra year like we had originally planned, I wouldn’t have had him to walk me down the aisle. A year later I got pregnant and my husband’s mother became very sick with cancer. We were frequently visiting the hospital and praying for her healing but God called her home and she didn’t get to see her expected grandchild.
It was at this point that my husband became really burdened about his calling in life. He wanted God’s direction and wanted to be totally sure before stepping forward. Everyone expected him to be a pastor but he wanted God to direct him in this. He went to work one day and a stranger began to speak to my husband about things he could not have known. This brought a change and my husband took this as God’s way of speaking to him.
My husband began to assist his father in the ministry by preaching when his father was ill. There were days when his father could not get out of bed.
We had two young children at this time. Our first child was a boy and our second was a girl. We were happy and had been married for 5 years now. The state of Pennsylvania had become our home as the cost of living on Long Island had become very high.
It was only a couple of months later that my husband’s father passed away and we were to bury another parent. Our lives had seemed to turn upside down and filled with grief with the passing of our parents.
Yet, God was working to prepare my husband and I for the calling He had placed on our lives. In 2010 our lives changed yet again as my husband became the pastor of the church and it is here that we serve His people. No one could have known what the future held but God was preparing us and holding us for “such a time as this.”As my 30th birthday approaches, I look back and see that God had called us long before we realized it. He gave us the strength to withstand it all: the trials, the grief while raising our young family. God will also give you the strength to bring you through whatever you have to face in this life.
As a pastors wife, mom of 3 young kids, student, and blogger, I certainly have a busy schedule! I am passionate about helping other Christian women improve their marriage and family relationships which is why I started my blog called Loftforum: Living Our Faith Together.
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Heather Ream. I really resonated with this devotional because my mother also had to care for my grandmother before she was put in a nursing home. It is hard work. Thanks for sharing your story, Heather!]
I’m big on boundaries. Growing up in poverty with a single parent in a dysfunctional household demanded it. My home is neat to the point of severity. I have a highly edited contacts list – few people reside there. I follow a strict diet to maintain my weight and health. My social calendar is sparsely populated so that I may rest after work, and it is scheduled months in advance. And nothing – nothing – makes me stamp my (somewhat) dainty Southern foot harder than an uninvited guest. Unless, of course, it’s an uninvited guest I fear will never leave.
Sweet sisters, I’m sure it’s obvious that my routine rigidity is borne from the lack of control I felt as a child. It haunts me to this day, and I continually struggle with trying to out-equip the Lord. It’s not that I don’t trust the Lord – I do! (Well, some of the time. I just want to make sure that in case He forgets about me, I’m prepared.)
I am painfully aware that one of our most cherished duties as Christians is to show love, patience, and largesse in our homes, even when it’s inconvenient or comes at a difficult time. After all, Peter exhorts us to
“offer hospitality without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9, NIV).”
Without. Grumbling. Impossible for me!
However, all things are possible with God, even the things we wish weren’t possible.
Recently, my mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia following a series of mini-strokes. We knew something was wrong, yet it was still a shock to hear this from her doctors. She has rapidly declined, and my husband and I began the long process of enrolling her in a program that would help pay for a nursing home.
She was unable to continue living independently, and we could not afford 24-hour home care for her, so that left only one choice – she had to move in with us while we awaited approval, a process that could take months.
She had to move into our small house filled with delicate figurines and hospital corners, every item carefully chosen and crafted to be efficient and lovely. Mom has never been one who radiates the delicate side of femininity, so I dreaded the inevitable destruction of my home and the complete upheaval of my household, further compounded by her illness.
I am not a gardener. I find no pleasure in it. The family who lived in our home previously must have been master horticulturists, however. Despite my deliberate attempts to remove the bounty they planted, once the warm Tennessee spring begins, a bumper crop of sunny daffodils and vibrant gladioli appear. A stubborn magenta rose vine grows up the latticework no matter how many times I lop off the plant. Each time I do, I’m fascinated (and irritated) by the healthy green stalk that re-appears.
I am reminded that I have been treating my spiritual life the same way – ignoring the beauty and growth that exists in a situation that our Lord gives to me, and instead choosing to recklessly shear in a manner that I think is best for me. It would be so much easier (and much more obedient!) to learn to co-exist in a new way. Isn’t that the heart of hospitality?
Becoming Mom’s caretaker has indeed cut me to my proverbial quick, and my house now stays messy and cluttered. The paperwork, doctors’ appointments, bathroom emergencies, constant reassurances, and food management seem never-ending. However, I am still standing – both physically on my feet and spiritually on His Word. I pray our Lord will use this time with my mom to prune my impatience and self-isolation, so that I can focus on the joy of serving Him through serving others in my home. I must remember that the process of sanctification is not easy, but He is the cultivator, and I am the seedling. It’s true that I will never be a prize-winning specimen, but perhaps I will not become choked with weeds.
Precious Lord, may I snip my brightest buds to send away with others, as a parting gift.
Heather Ream is an emerging writer from Knoxville, Tennessee. She is happily married to Ben and enjoys serving her church and community. You are welcome to drop by anytime.
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Ann Grace. Boy, this devotional hit me hard. Ann is a remarried widow and military wife and mom of five with just an amazing story. Her heart inspires me. Look out for more devotionals from her because she’s got a lot more to her story, and a lot more to say. This devotional in particular is about “longing for loneliness.”]
I thought I knew what loneliness was, and I avoided it at all costs.Before my husband died, there were many times I felt lonely and ran from it. I filled my schedule with errands, my days with household chores, and it seemed to help.
Life of this wife and mother of five was endless hours of cleaning and chauffeuring children to and from their schools. Don’t even get me started with helping with homework while holding a newborn and trying to cook a healthy dinner to be warm when my husband came home from work. Life was busy. It was chaotic. There was always something needing to be done. The laundry seemed like it had a vendetta against me, and orphaned socks were constantly screaming at me to find their pair!
I grew used to filling my lonely heart with the busyness of this life. I read my daily 5 minute devotionals, said my prayers before meals and went to countless Bible studies. My husband loved the Lord as much as I did, and we did our weekly ritual of attending church. We both strived to live for Christ as best as we knew how.
For years, the presence of my husband and kids seemed to be all I needed in life. Or at least that’s what I thought should be enough. I never admitted feeling lonely to anyone, myself included, unless I was ready to be judged. And I wasn’t ready. Where I grew up, being lonely was almost shameful, like you were ungrateful for your life, family, etc… It was kind of like there was something wrong with the person, you know?
The night my husband died, I asked him if he was in any pain, and he whispered ever so softly that he wasn’t. He closed his eyes and fell asleep. That would be the last time I spoke with him as he had a heart attack in his sleep. I remember thinking as I was by his side in all this, “Lord, how am I going to face being alone? Why won’t you heal him?”
I desperately feared being alone.
And in that moment of heartbreak and disbelief, loneliness once again showed up to greet me. Within minutes of his passing, friends and family arrived to comfort me. But no one knew just what to say or could understand how lonely I was feeling. And honestly, all I wanted was to be left alone.
Then the Lord allowed me into a season of loneliness.
He allowed a season of loneliness in my life to create a deeper longing for Him. Husband or no husband, my heart was crying out all these years to go deeper with my Savior. To be alone with Him. To hear His voice. I needed now more than ever to know who I was in Christ.
What was my calling? To be a wife? Mother? Widow?
My life was now being redefined in the midst of this loneliness.
My identity was so wrapped up in preventing a void of loneliness that I forgot to know my King. I let the fear of loneliness drive my life into a pit of even more loneliness. In the end, the Lord allowed heartbreak to reveal a need for Him alone. He saved me. He called me deeper. He called me to love harder. He called me to a season of widowhood so that He could save me from the pit of loneliness I’d crawled into.
In the years following his passing, the Lord has shown me many things, but maybe none more profound than the gift of loneliness. And you know what was most comforting, knowing that Jesus needed to be alone too. If Jesus needed to be alone many times in order to spend quality time with God, then why would I think a busy life, husband or quick devotion would be enough?
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 NIV
Dear Lord, help our lonely hearts long for a deeper need of You. Comfort us in our times of pain and heartache. Let us bask in our season of loneliness knowing You are with us. Take our broken hearts and fill them once more with your unconditional love. Amen.
Ann Grace married her first husband, a Marine and Firefighter in 2002 and they were blessed with five beautiful children. She was widowed in 2015 and re-married in 2017. She had a stillbirth in 2017 and now seeks to share her passion of how Christ rescued her with other grieving women and children.
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Maria Drayton. I’m still planning on doing one post a week for now, but when Maria sent me this Easter post (and I realized, Oh man, I really don’t have an Easter post this year…) I decided to post it this week too! P.S. Have you ever wanted to know what Easter was called in Italy? Pasqua! So this Sunday, happy Resurrection, Easter, and Pasqua!]
Easter on Resurrection Sunday
1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
It’s almost that time again. The time that all the stores fill up with Easter baskets, eggs and candy. The time that the shopping begins for the perfect Easter outfit. The time that the people you haven’t seen all year show up to church. It’s funny what things become about when it comes to Easter. A national holiday that encourages everything EXCEPT what it really is.
I fell for it. I saw a sale and jumped on it. I had everything and was prepared. I had a 20% off coupon, plus a $70 gift card to use. I was ready. I chose my son to focus on this year. He has grown a lot in the year, needed a new dress shirt, pants and shoes. I saw the sale and moved in for the kill. There I stood in the middle of the boys section going back and forth.
First, it was the green shirt with the blue tie and the blue pants. But then I couldn’t find the right size pants in the navy blue. Then I switched to the blue shirt with mixed blue and gray tie with gray pants instead. But the shirt was too small. When the lady came to ask me if I needed help to find anything, I immediately said, “yes!” She went to the back to look for the right sizes of either and could not find any that would fit. I switched again to the tan pants instead.
Then I found the right size pants but the shirt didn’t look quite right. Eventually I left the store settling on the green shirt with the blue tie and the navy blue slacks (just got a bigger size). I figured he could “grow into them.” All of this over Easter Sunday. Not only did I go and make the Easter outfit purchase an event but the pants definitely didn’t fit and I had to go back again for round two.
Then it happened, a church that we often visit, proclaimed “we will not be dressing up this Easter we want everyone that comes to feel comfortable”. I thought to myself, “After all I went through for the perfect outfit for my son?!” Instead I made the decision to go to another church where “tradition” still rules.
It really didn’t hit me until after the postcard came from the church (in which I decided on) to advise that there would only be two services on Easter Sunday. One at 6am and the other at 10am. My family often went to the early service since we lived so far away- traffic generally wasn’t as bad in the early morning hours.
Then I showed it to my husband and said, “We will probably have to wake up at around 4am on Easter- I just wanted you to know.” He answered, “Maybe we don’t have to go to this church but the one we visit instead.” “What?!” I thought to myself. Maybe it was me that needed to change. After all, tradition doesn’t have to “stay” tradition.
As a child, I knew I could always count on this time of year for a new outfit from my mom. We would all walk in church with our crisp new dresses, stockings and shoes. That was the tradition, Easter Sunday meant dressing to the tee. Now here I was, being challenged in my thought of this tradition. Realizing, “Why do we need to get extra fancy?” Even as my son grew, it was filled with Easter baskets and egg hunts in addition to the church attire. I’m not even sure if my son even really knows what it’s really about at this age. I have to admit; I’ve dropped the ball. After all, Easter is about Jesus’ resurrection not about outward appearance. It’s about the offer of salvation from our very own sins through His resurrection.
Romans 3: 21-26 (NIV), “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
I’ve decided it’s not too late. This Easter Sunday, we will be visiting the other church. This “Easter” we will be dressing casually instead, giving “Easter” its proper focus. What an awesome God he truly is! Happy Resurrection Sunday!
Romans 4: 23-25 (NIV), “The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
Maria 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 !
Each of us goes through at least one of the seasons discussed in this book – singleness may be our total path, or perhaps we go through all three seasons into divorce. In today’s modern world, these seasons are indeed normal and like Agnes discusses, trials of faith. I receive emails from women all around the world in the same positions and I know these chapters of encouragement are much-needed. Singleness and divorce especially are not discussed enough in the church, which is why I think this book is so unique. The situations are not unique, but the conversation is. There has been so much shame and guilt around both singleness and divorce, but Agnes reminds us in this book that God never leaves us – not then, not ever. Singleness is not a curse. Marriage may not be perfect (I know mine is not! Marriage is work!) and divorce may be inevitable. But you are always loved, Child of God.]
God Cares for Me in Every Season
I am an avid walker—this is a hobby I inherited from my earthly father, Papa Amos.
Walking is a time when I seek God’s face for my life and for others, and it is during these times that the Holy Spirit gets my attention. So that I don’t forget what He says, I often record it on my cell phone.
For those of you who are wondering, “Does God speak to humans like us?” The answer is Yes, He does in many natural ways. Here are the most common: Impulse, Ideas, Inspirations. The Bible is filled with many examples of how God speaks to His children.
Personally, I am learning to listen when God speaks, and my life continues to be transformed by this experience.
It was during one of these experiences that the Lord laid on my heart to write this book to encourage global Christians (and non-Christians) on His never wavering care during every season of their lives, especially the seasons of singleness, marriage, and divorce. I have to admit that when the idea came, I was reluctant to respond, and asked the Lord, “Why me?” The reason for this question is because the season of marriage is one where I have failed woefully in the past.
I do not consider myself to be an expert in these three seasons—at least that is what I thought. But the Holy Spirit reminded me of a truism I have heard in church many times: “A faith that is not tested cannot be trusted,”
My friends, I have been tested, and have failed and been redeemed in each of the three seasons I share in this book—single, married, and divorced. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I am here to share with you the truth that the Lord is in every one of these seasons. I want you to know beyond a doubt that He is indeed interested in and present with you in every season of your life.
For many years, I found myself struggling in each of these seasons. I was walking through each season with one leg in the world and one leg in Christ. After years of failing to succeed in any season, I finally discovered that living God’s way in every season of life is the best decision I could ever make. I have now begun a journey into a new and fulfilling lifestyle in marriage by focusing on Christ rather than my marital situation. I praise God for the truth of His Word in 2 Corinthians 5: 17 that says:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
My prayer for you as you read this book is that you will be encouraged as you discover that our God is the God of the impossible. Nothing that happens in your life is impossible for Him to handle (Luke 1: 37). He will do the impossible for you in each of these seasons. He is the God that can convert your pain to gain and cause all things to work together for your good (Romans 8: 28). I had to learn that lesson, and you may need to learn it too. Perhaps, you will discover—like I did—the God who waits to help you in your seasons of singleness, marriage, or divorce.