Devotionals

Living Hope.

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The ocean is one of my favorite pieces of God's creation. I love going to the beach during the summer and sitting in awe and wonder at the vast space full of water. I love standing at the edge feeling the waves and sand swirl at my feet. To sometimes spot little fish swim or catch a glimpse of a really unique seashell as the water whirls around. It's truly a time of peace and comfort for me. 

However lately I've felt like the bits of sand swirling. I have felt like that little grain of sand, being picked up, and crashed down upon...again...and again and again. Isn't it always true when trials come they rarely come one at a time? Because if the dishwasher breaks, its no surprise that all the kids got the stomach bug? 

For the past 4 weeks I've been going through a valley. I've had relationships around me go through terrible suffering, I've watched people I love hurt, I've found myself anxious and physically sick to where some days I can only sit on my couch. My allergies this year have caused me to go to the doctor numerous times in hopes of helping my world to stop from spinning. The fluid buildup in my ears is horrible. The pain in my head sometimes feels like I may pop. If you looked up my recent searches in Google, you'd find every different type of wording for "relief from severe sinus pressure, how to drain your ears,  help with vertigo..." My birthday and favorite holiday this year were spent with tears in my eyes just crying out for relief of some sort. 

Life is hard. It is easy to get caught in the waves. Seeing trials come and keep coming. To feel like there is no hope. To be picked up by the wave and crashed down upon again and again. To bury yourself in the pain and focus on your hurt. It is easy. 

Hope. Where is the hope in trials? Is there an end? 

As believers in Jesus we have hope, but not just any hope. We hope every day for different things "I hope I get a great review at work" "I hope I find a great deal at J.Crew" "I hope my kids listen to me today" "I hope I get a raise" etc... However that kind of hope can be easily crushed. In Jesus we have something different. We have a living hope. 

“In 1 Peter we see Peter write, ‘…he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…’ The tomb could not hold the living, breathing, scarred, but victorious body of our Jesus. The man who claimed to be God, who committed no sin, and who died before hostile crowds, appeared again, just days later, before crowds bearing the wounds of the cross, but demonstrating a power and victory over it. He is alive." (Desiring God)

Because of His death and resurrection we have Jesus as our living hope! God established and secured our hope when He raised his Son. Therefore, our hope is as alive as Jesus!

Jesus is our anchor. We don't have to take life's blows alone. We don't have to keep our eyes on the waves, on the trials, we have Christ who promises peace and comfort. During those trials He does not leave us. He offers love, comfort, peace and understanding. He is not a God who wants us to suffer. He longs for us to draw near to Him so we can know Him better. He wants us to share His truth with the world. He is for us. He is the arms around us when we can't stop crying. He is the peace, speaking words of encouragement and strength to get through each day. All we have to do is call out to Him. In faith we know that He hears us. Don't doubt His goodness. It can be so hard during trials. You think, “God, why?” We may never know, but rest in what we do know. He is our living God. Trust in His promises! 

Take heart, my friends, in the fact that “the God who raises the dead is your God and he’s with you. God has given you a new, true, full life through his Son, Jesus. And the life he gives is filled with an unconquerable, unquenchable hope.” (Desiring God)

 

Love, Sarah

 

How a Mom Fights for Joy- A personal reflection part two

This week is part two of my reflection to a recent podcast I had the opportunity to listen to. You can find my first post here and the podcast here! I'm hoping this will continue to be encouraging to all moms so that they can continue to fight and find joy in Christ, His word and help love others more.


 I reflected on these 3 points in the first blog post:

1. Who you are as a Christian is more important than who you are as a mom.

2If you're putting in here [your heart] worry, fatigue, resentment, fears, that's what's going to come out, But if every morning you're meeting with the grace-giver, you'll have more grace to pass on to your kids.

3. It will cost you something to be in the Word: It will cost you sleep, it will cost you time, it will cost you energy, but it will cost you so much more not to be in the Word.


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This week we continue on with my next two reflections...

4.I would encourage us as mothers to not let fears rule in our hearts. They will drain us; they will sap us. We'll be exhausted from those.

How many times in a day do I think about the things I fear?....way too often to count. It's exhausting worrying about sometimes unrealistic and silly things. I don't want to look back on these years and find that all my energy was taken up by worrying. As it says in Colossians 3:2 we need to focus on the things above, not earthly things. When I'm focused on serving others, encouraging others and most important of all Jesus, I find I have more energy. I'm not bogged down by fear because I don't have the time. I'm spending that energy helping others and investing in the most important relationship, my relationship with Christ.

 

5. your children in seeing how you relate to your husband get a beautiful up-close picture of Christ loving the Church and how the Church loves Christ...If a child grows up seeing her mom totally, passionately, helplessly in love with their daddy, it gives them a security and a picture of what kind of home to build in the future.

In our world today we often see husbands take the backseat to children and honestly it can be easy to put our husbands after our children. The kids are the ones screaming for more food, they are the ones crying "mommy", the ones spilling the milk on the table, the ones needing to be nursed, the ones needing diapers changed...all which require your attention. However, as said in the podcast for a child to be in the top place of mom's life is too much pressure. Thats not the position they were made to be in. Our husbands are our partners, they are the ones we need to continue to put first in our lives (after Jesus of course!) I love how Jandi made it a point to say that marriage is a close up picture of Christ loving the Church and how the Church loves Christ. I want my daughter to see her Daddy is the kind of man you want to marry. I want her to see how I love him, how he loves me. When children grow up seeing these healthy kinds of relationships they will desire that for their lives. They will see the type of home that is stable and focused not on themselves but focused on loving Jesus and serving others.

 

We as mom's need to continue to fight to keep our identity in Christ, to seek Jesus for grace for every moment, to focus on things above and to continue to strive to keep our relationships with our husbands a priority. Gosh, it is hard but it is so worth it. Find a community of other Christians moms, help them keep you accountable. Have them check in on you, see how you are doing. We aren't alone and don't need to be! 

 

Come to Jesus, He gives you the strength we need, He has the grace, He has the power to sustain. Come to Him. 

Have a great week everyone!

-Sarah

How a Mom Fights for Joy- A personal reflection: part one.

This past week I sat down to spend some time relaxing while Ellie took a nap. I tuned into one of my favorite podcasts Revive Our Hearts. I needed a break and just wanted to rest.  I was feeling tired, overwhelmed and just exhausted as a mom and wife. As I searched for a podcast to listen to, I came upon this one. I sat on my bed and listened; suddenly the tears began to flow.

My heart had been so heavy with guilt about not spending time with Christ, I was struggling to find five minutes of my day to spend in His word. I was so weary. I also struggled with my identity…I often thought, “Gosh, am I just a mom? A wife? Who am I?” I felt like I was in a never ending cycle of these thoughts and this continual feeling of guilt.

However, the Lord really spoke to my heart through this message. He showed me my need for change and gave me peace and joy while listening to Jani Ortlund, the guest speaker on the series. So today I want to present part 1 of my reflection to this message. Maybe you too have felt the same way and the Lord can speak truth and love into your heart today. 

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(Please if you get the time listen to this podcast series. It is entitled Missional Mothering. It is a five part series that speaks to young mothers and grandmothers alike.)

 

1. Who you are as a Christian is more important than who you are as a mom.

This has been something the Lord has revealed to me in the last couple of weeks and rang true again when I heard Jani (the guest speaker) talk about it on the podcast. I am a mom and a wife, but that is not who I find my identity in.  Motherhood is my ministry, not my identity. Being a wife to my husband is my ministry, not my identity. It's so freeing to know that's not all I am.

When my relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in my life, everything else falls into place. He has blessed me with a husband and daughter, but nothing takes the place of being a follower of Christ. The reason I am here on this earth is to bring glory to His name, to show other's the love and salvation He offers and to continue to seek after Him. 

(I love this list that describes who we are in Christ, it's so encouraging to see who I am in Him.)

 

2. If you're putting in here [your heart] worry, fatigue, resentment, fears, that's what's going to come out, But if every morning you're meeting with the grace-giver, you'll have more grace to pass on to your kids.

In Matthew 15:18 it says that the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart. I know in my own life I spend countless hours worrying and giving into fears which causes me to be exhausted and overwhelmed. These are the things I dwell upon. I am putting them in my heart and am constantly seeking and thinking about them whether it's conscious or not. That's why it is so important to go to the grace-giver each day. I need that grace in my own life. I need His grace to be what I focus on. Jesus needs to be the focus. I need Christ's compassion, gentleness, patience, humbleness and humility to flow from my life to my husband, daughter, family and friends. Through my life others can see the beauty of the gospel.

3. It will cost you something to be in the Word: It will cost you sleep, it will cost you time, it will cost you energy, but it will cost you so much more not to be in the Word."

It's gonna cost ya. I never thought about it that way. For me to have time with Christ it is going to cost me something. Something has to be given up. My first instinct is to hoard my own time; the free moments that I rarely get. When I get time alone I want to go to Target, read a book, take a shower, sleep! However, to spend time with Jesus means I may have to give up some of that alone time doing the things I find relaxing. But just as Jani said, it will cost me so much more not to have that time sitting with Jesus, meditating and learning from Him and about Him, allowing Him to work in my life and change me for the better. Those anxious thoughts, the worrisome spirit, the weakness it will all come barreling down on me if I don't take the time to be strengthened by Christ and His word. My need for Him is too great. 

I love this quote by Nancy Leigh Demoss:

“As we walk through each day, responding to the needs of those around us, we can become physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted. God has a never-ending supply of grace, strength, and wisdom available that He wants to flow through us to others. And we need to keep coming back into His presence to get our supply replenished.” 

Remember as you go throughout this week, moms, that you are more than just a mom, you are loved so much by our Jesus and He wants to spend time with you. He wants to give you strength, grace, love and help you focus on things above. Seek Him. :) 

Have a great week. Part two is next week!

-Sarah