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Abiding Monday: Pressing On Even When It Hurts

by Dawn on October 19, 2009
category: Abiding Monday,Healthy Mom,Inspiration

momcrowd_abidingmonday2_300x215[1]My husband was out of town this weekend for work.  I like to stay busy (sometimes to a fault) to help pass the time.  Saturday started out nicely with a 5k.  It was a great race and I beat my best time!  Since it was cold and rainy, I gave the kids a bath to warm them up afterward, and even baked cookies.  By 4:30, we were packed and ready to go to a cookout that has long been on our calendar.

And it was then I realized I was done.  I should have seen it coming, but the second we arrived, I knew I was only going to be chasing my kids around – and I was in no mood to do so.  Suffice it to say, I was a tense, exhausted, tantrumy-kid-toting mommy who had zero ability to enjoy the company of her friends.  Excellent.

On my way home, in between bouts of my daughter’s screaming, I realized I had just shown my friends a lot of what I like to keep hidden about myself: my snappy responses when people asked me questions, my increased levels of sarcasm, my patented stressouts that I can’t hide to save my life.  Have you ever wished you could be as cool as a cucumber in front of others only to fail miserably?

Are you still with me?  Hang in there – I do have a point.  This morning I was scheduled to lead Sunday school with the same group of people.  I was dreading it.  I wanted to just hide under my covers and come out only when six months or so had passed.  To top it off, my daughter (the same charmer from last night), decided to pitch another fit as soon as it was time to leave for church.  I crashed to my knees and started bawling – I just couldn’t handle anything else.  I wanted to stay home.  I wanted to avoid my responsibilities.  I wanted to be left alone.  I didn’t want to fail again.

My husband (who was home by this point), gently reminded me that I needed to go, and I would be fine – that God would give me the strength I was so lacking.  Before I could roll my eyes, he said, “I know it’s a cliche, but it’s the truth!”  So even though I didn’t want to, I climbed in the car and cried my way to church (accompanied by my daughter’s continued tantrumy nonsense).

Coffee in hand, I faced my Sunday school class – and quietly told them some of the stress, embarrassment, and humbling I was going through.  They didn’t give me pat answers – they just supported me.  I started with a confessional prayer and pressed on into the lesson, even though I didn’t want to in the slightest.  And God was there – taking my control-freak consequences and turning my anguish into joy.  The lesson went fine, the discussion great.  Afterward, I said, “Church did its job today – I came here feeling like crap, and I’m leaving feeling spiritually renewed!”  I honestly had much lower expectations for God, my friends, and myself.  Hopefully I won’t make that mistake again.

It seems all too fitting to share the following verses with you:

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection!  But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” 

Philippians 3: 12-14 (NLT, emphasis mine)

Lord, thank you for wanting us to be more than what we are right now.  Thank you for your presence that gently pushes us forward when we dig our heels in our own acts of stubbornness and pride.  Thank you for running the race before us and with us.  Please help us persevere when we feel like giving up.  Amen.

What is stressing you out today?  Can you use a push from Jesus to keep going?

Abiding Monday: Verses Dedicated To Our Children

by Dawn on October 12, 2009
category: Abiding Monday,Inspiration


Before each of my children’s births, I wrote them a letter, telling them how excited I was to meet them and different things I felt while I was pregnant.  At the end of each one, I listed Bible verses that I chose for them.  I thought I would share them with you.


Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is with you, he is  mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

Psalm 121: 5-8 – The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore.


Psalm 22: 9-10 – You brought me safely from my mother’s womb and led me to trust you when I was a nursing infant.  I was thrust upon you at my birth.  You have been my God from the moment I was born.

Psalm 33: 18-19 – But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.  He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine.

Isaiah 11:2 – And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Ephesians 1: 16-17 – I have never stopped thanking God for you.  I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.

Lord, thank you for our wonderful children.  You have entrusted them to us for a time.  Help us to use it wisely and instill in them a love for your Word.  Amen.

What verses have you (or others) selected as blessings for your beautiful children? Do you have a favorite scripture to give your friends when they have a baby?

Abiding Monday: Encouraging Others

by Dawn on October 5, 2009
category: Abiding Monday,Inspiration


Last night, I received an e-mail from a friend who is serving Jesus in Asia.  Here is the message in its entirety:  “Hello beautiful!  I spent some time lifting you and your lovely family up today.  Have a wonderful week.  I love you guys!”

Does it get any better than that?  Who doesn’t love being encouraged by their friends?  I love that there is no motive in her message other than to bless me.  I treasure her prayers and her words – and it reminds me of Philippians 2: 1-4 (NLT):

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.

Paul starts by asking a series of questions based around the concept of why we follow Jesus: to live in fellowship with Him and others, and to be encouraged and comforted by those relationships.  Paul then answers his own questions with a list of practical reminders.  Now, I’m all about lists, so here we go:

Practical Reminders for Encouraging Others (in my own words):

  • be agreeable, and not in a fake way
  • love one another
  • think like a team in your purpose/service – don’t fly solo
  • don’t be selfish
  • don’t obsess over what others think about you
  • choose humility over personal pride
  • stop making it all about yourself, and show a genuine interest in others’ lives

To sum up: less about me, more about others.

In any one of my fast-paced, highly scheduled weeks, I take care of my family and do what needs to be done.  And the second I have a free moment, I’m all about myself: what can I do with this time, how can I best relax, can I get away with sitting here and playing Scramble till midnight?, etc.  My first instinct is to serve myself.  Maybe you’re the same way.  It’s not that personal time is bad – we have discussed many times here at The Mom Crowd how to take care of ourselves and prize “me time“.  It’s that I all-too-easily forget to encourage my friends when I have the chance.

We all know encouraging people.  Maybe we have even praised them for their way with kind words, or their ability to send a nice note in the mail (with an actual stamp) on a frequent basis.  Perhaps you’re one of those people.  But the truth is, Paul is not letting encouragement remain merely a personality trait held only by some.  He is instructing us – all of us – to be compassionate, tender, and interested in what others think, feel, and do.

I challenge you today to take five minutes of your “me time” and give it to someone else in the form of encouragement.  Send them an e-mail or write them a note on a piece of that pretty stationery you bought months ago.  Call a friend and refrain from talking about yourself as long as you can.  Do one or more things from Amanda’s post on encouraging your mom friends.  According to the verses above, we can all find encouragement and comfort as a result of giving it.

Lord, thank you for demonstrating your profound humility in dying for us.  You are gentle and compassionate; help us to embody those traits and practice selflessness with those we care about.  Amen.

I leave you this week with a quote I keep by the door (so I will hopefully remember it each time I leave):

With every encounter, make it your aim that people are better off for having been in your presence.  Try to give something to the other person.

~ Jim George

Abiding Monday: Fraught With Worry

momcrowd_abidingmonday2_300x215[1]Worry has been following me around lately.  I know how to combat it – I posted about praying for peace mere weeks ago – yet I am still being pestered with a fear about this or a worry about that.  It is so annoying!  And it’s a domino effect this time around; when one thing is resolved, another issue arises, giving my weary soul minimal rest in between.

At the moment, my worry is for my son.  He’s kinda accident-prone.  He’s a toddler, so saying he trips up on his own feet doesn’t mean that much.  But he does.  Trip up on his own two feet, that is.  Regularly.  This has resulted in some pretty nasty bumps on his head.  (People actually look surprised when they see he is bump-free.)  Last week, he fell on his face again, and the bump is an ugly combo of red, purple, blue and yellow.  I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed over his little head, yet I cannot shake the worry that comes with being his mom.  I seriously break down in sobs whenever he hurts himself.

Max Lucado’s latest book, Fearless, has a chapter about worrying for our kids’ safety.  He says,

We tend to forget this fact, regarding our children as “our” children, as though we have the final say in their health and welfare.  We don’t.  All people are God’s people, including the small people who sit at our tables.  Wise are the parents who regularly give their children back to God (58).

Lucado says we have two choices when faced with our childrens’ struggles (health or otherwise): to despair over what can happen, or to believe in Jesus’ power to love and care for them.  Now, I realize that a bump on my son’s head is small potatoes compared to what else can happen to him – maybe compared to what has happened in your child’s life.  Yet the despair I have felt is very real, and dealing with it is not easy.

As one might expect, prayer is the key remedy.

Prayer is the saucer into which parental fears are poured to cool.  Jesus says so little about parenting, makes no comments about spanking, breast-feeding, sibling rivalry, or schooling.  Yet his actions speak volumes about prayer.  Each time a parent prays, Christ responds.  His big message to moms and dads?  Bring your children to me.  Raise them in a greenhouse of prayer (60).

I believe in this advice, and I have been stubbornly giving my fears about my son’s injuries to Jesus, again and again, each time I feel them.  Even though I wish I could put the boy in a plastic bubble and roll him everywhere in a cocoon of safety, I turn to God to increase my trust in Him.  I involve my kids in this praying, too, saying prayers aloud while Eli plays and inviting both of my children to pray aloud for his head during bedtime prayers.

If my worries are going to persist, my prayers must persist as well.

Jesus, thank you for keeping watch over our children as they come and go.  Thank you for standing beside us as a protective shade.  Thank you for being our help.  We depend on you.  Amen.

What Psalms comfort you during your time of worry (mine was paraphrased above, Psalm 121)?  Is your prayer time proportionate to the time you spend worrying?  How do you work through your fears?

Abiding Monday: The Give and Take of Relationships

by Dawn on September 21, 2009
category: Abiding Monday,Inspiration


So how did everyone do with the mouths closed, ears open challenge from last week?  I was constantly being given the opportunity to practice what I wrote, and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty!  I’m a work in progress, what else can I say?

This week I thought I’d share a few verses from Psalm 86, a beautiful prayer.

“Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help.”

~ Psalm 86: 1

I love the idea of the Lord “bending down” to hear our prayers.  I think of my daughter or son when they ask me for something, or if they are upset and need comforting.  I get on my knees, down to their eye level, and hold them.  It is difficult for me to show my love for my kids if I am towering over them in those moments.

That’s a nice picture of God’s care for us.  We go through different struggles and pain throughout our lives, and He might seem far off.  But He’s really right there, ready to listen and console us.  Asking God to bend down and hear our prayers conveys to me the idea that God treats us with gentleness.  We are His children.

“Be merciful, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly.”

~ Psalm 86: 3

I’m still thinking of the mom/child parallel here, and the adverb “constantly” couldn’t be more appropriate!  I feel like a very under-tipped waitress atflair times.  “Mommy, may I have a snack?”  Sure.  Here you go.  Five minutes later:  “Mommy, I need more water.”  Okay.  Will there be anything else?   (Check out one of my favorite pieces of “flair” on Facebook!)  Though I am joking, this is not unlike how we approach God.  We take our many requests to Him, and He wants us to.  He wants to care for us the way we care for our children, showing them mercy and providing for their needs.

“I will call to you whenever trouble strikes, and you will answer me.”

~ Psalm 86: 7

My kids ask me for a lot of things.  Sometimes I give them the answers they want, and other times, I have to say, “I’m sorry.  The answer is ‘no’.”  When they’re inconsolable and won’t listen to reason, I hear myself saying, “I know it’s hard.  But it will not always be this bad.”  In verse 7, we know God will answer us – it’s a promise.  It just might not be the answer we are expecting – or the one we want.

With whatever you’re facing this week, I encourage you to read through all of Psalm 86.  There is so much of God’s goodness described, and the psalmist just wants to praise Him for it.  Make it a part of your prayer time.  No concern you might have is too small (or too big) for God to bend down and hear.

Lord, your love for us is very great, stronger than the love we have for our children.  Help us remember to approach you frequently, humbly, and gratefully.  And thank you for bending down to hear us.  Amen.

Blessings to you this week, readers!

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