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Abiding Monday: Are You in a Funk?

by Dawn on November 9, 2009
category: Abiding Monday,Inspiration

Not long ago, I was in a hefty spiritual funk.  I hadn’t spent any personal time momcrowd_abidingmonday2_300x215[1] with God in probably a month or more.  My life was “fine” on the surface, but I found myself growing increasingly annoyed about everything and everyone.  My husband and children were receiving the brunt of it, which was so unfair to them.  And my husband confessed that he was also feeling spiritually down & out.  Basically, we were a family running on empty.

This has happened to me before, and I know it will happen again.  Maybe you’ve been there, too.  Just in a funk.  I knew I had to snap out of it.  And there’s really only one way to do that: make the choice to snap out of it.

For me, spending time with Jesus on a consistent basis is the cure.  Once a week isn’t gonna cut it.  Not even two or three times (though that is certainly better than nothing).  I know I am at my best – my most patient, my most humble, my most pleasant, and the most joyful – when I keep my nose in scripture and my prayers consistent.

I clawed my way out of the funk using a passage that leapt out at me from Galatians:

7 Don’t be misled.  Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it.  You will always reap what you sow!  8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death.  But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.  9 So don’t get tired of doing what is good.  Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.  Galatians 6: 7-9 (NLT)

Wow.  That’s pretty straightforward.  Here are some thoughts directly from my journal after meditating on this passage:

  • After verse 7:  “My choice to ignore You has reaped only a shallow shell of what life can be.  I crave vibrancy, a life of memorable moments and gusto.  And when I set out to please myself, I am only experiencing that at a minimum.”
  • After verse 8:  “Thankfully, I am not seeing literal death or decay, but the metaphorical kind is pretty serious, too.  I see the death of my personal optimism, peace, and day-to-day strength.  I definitely need those things throughout the tasks and callings of my life – and I lose them when I forfeit time with You, Jesus.”
  • After verse 9:  “Of course, TIRED is exactly how I feel – tired of my responsibilities as a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, a churchgoer.  And discouragement comes so easily.  Giving up is always a temptation – as well as doing the bare minimum.”
  • “It’s like I’ve been ‘phoning it in’.  I don’t want to be a ‘phoner-inner’.  I want to please the Spirit and reap a harvest of blessing.  And I think the first step – first choice – is to spend time with You, Jesus.  Help me do that daily, even just for 10 minutes at a time.”

Jesus, I pray for any mom out there this week who is trying to claw herself out of a spiritual funk.  Please bless her with the gentle reminder that you are there, ready to breathe new life into her days.  May we all choose to spend consistent time with you.  Amen.

Abiding Monday: Unchanging

by Dawn on November 2, 2009
category: Abiding Monday,Inspiration

momcrowd_abidingmonday2_300x215[1] “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8

Are you in the mood for a creative writing exercise?  Indulge the English teacher in me for a moment and get a pen & paper.  Spend 5 minutes making a list of words or phrases that come to your mind when you hear the word “change”.  Do it!  I’ll be back in 5 minutes…

Okay, here’s my list.  (I have to share; I was totally one of those kids in English class who couldn’t wait to read what they wrote.)

  • loose coins
  • fall, trees, colors, leaves
  • moving yet again
  • growing up
  • growing better
  • growing older
  • growing wiser
  • hair dye
  • bright red hair as seen on the metro in Budapest, Hungary (you had to be there)
  • changing my mind
  • changing seasons
  • changing tastes
  • change of address
  • rhymes with range, strange
  • is it the opposite of boredom?
  • change it up a little!
  • fickle
  • unreliable

I generally love change.  I like rearranging furniture, the transition from one season to the next (hallelujah for fall!), and moving somewhere different after awhile.  I also struggle with change.  Whenever something new happens, something old fades away.   Patterns that were once vital give way to new routines and responsibilities.  It’s the cycle of life, really.  I both like it and am totally overwhelmed by it.

This simple yet powerful verse from Hebrews really keeps me grounded in times of great change.  New jobs.  New babies.  New addresses.  When everything around me is changing, and when relationships are put to the test, it is an incredible encouragement to reflect on the One who does not change:  Jesus.  He is utterly dependable, wholly reliable, and fantastically there.  All the time. 

In my times of struggle and uncertainty, I find myself worshipping God with one song over all others:  “Unchanging” by Chris Tomlin.  All of the lyrics celebrate the consistency and wonder of God, and they build up to this simple bridge:  “You were, You are, You will always be…”  What a comfort! 

Lord, we are grateful for how you remain consistent in our lives – you are ever faithful, and you never fail!  As we are tossed by the ebb and flow of our own doubts and uncertainties, our struggles and fears, please whisper your promises to us and help us see your goodness this week.  Amen.

Did you do the writing prompt?  Share your list in the comments!  What about God’s unchanging nature captures you?  And as a bonus, here’s a video of Tomlin leading a church in worship to this song.   May it encourage you this week as it has so often encouraged me.

Abiding Monday – Sweet Sleep

by Amanda on October 26, 2009
category: Abiding Monday

momcrowd_abidingmonday2_300x215[1] Proverbs 3: 21-24 

My son (daughter), let them not vanish from your sight;
         Keep sound wisdom and discretion, 
    So they will be life to your soul
         And adornment to your neck. 
    Then you will walk in your way securely
         And your foot will not stumble. 
    When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
         When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Oh sweet sleep, don’t we mothers wish for sweet sleep? The kind of sleep that is uninterrupted and makes you wake up in a good mood and feeling refreshed.  Proverbs 3:21 says that if we keep sound wisdom and discretion, then we can sleep well.  Merriam-Webster defines wisdom as “the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships, insight, & good sense.”  Discretion is defined as the “ability to make responsible decisions.”  I don’t know about you, but I sometimes have a hard time using good sense when things get a little crazy and I can’t think straight. It makes sense though, if we strive to make good decisions for our family and feel like we are doing the best we can, then we can sleep well.  We will have peace in our hearts knowing that we are doing the best we can to teach our children to learn good sense and make good choices for themselves.

All of us are doing the best we can to raise our children.  Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel like you are doing a good job, because you are!  Sleep in peace and don’t be afraid.  Let’s be adorned with wisdom and discretion so we can have life in our soul and sleep peacefully when we lie down!

Lord, please help me to be adorned with wisdom and discretion.  Help me make wise decisions with my family.  Please give me sound judgment when I need it.  Help me to be a good example of wisdom for my children to follow.  I pray that when I sleep that it will be sweet sleep.  I pray that my children & family have sweet sleep and rest.  Thank you for your gift of wisdom.  Amen.

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

momcrowd_abidingmonday2_300x215[1]

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.

Lucy

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.

Eli

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?

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