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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: 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?

Safeguarding Your Marriage from Infidelity

by Amanda on October 16, 2009
category: Husbands and Dads,Inspiration,Marriage

couple This post isn’t the usual light Friday faire, but it is something that it is on my heart to share with you all. I truly believe that both spouses will be tempted to cheat as long as they are married. The temptation may not be there every day, but comes and goes over time. Cheating isn’t necessarily sleeping with someone else, but sharing your life that you should be sharing with your spouse with someone else.

No one wakes up and says, “I’m going to have an affair today!” It happens gradually over time. It begins with a thought in your own heart, an innocent flirtation, or checking someone out. You may not think anything of it at the time, but it can build up in your heart. I think it is so important for couples to talk about this subject and hold each other accountable. No one is above temptation.

Here are some ways that we can safeguard our marriages from infidelity.

1. Confess to your spouse when you check someone out. Before we are married we are programmed to check out every potential guy. Then you get married and have to turn that “checking out” switch off. After a while you don’t even think about doing that, then one day you just do it. It happens. I tell my spouse what I did or he tells me and we move on. I do think it is harder for guys, because some women like to showcase their boobs.

2. Don’t put yourself in situations that have the appearance of infidelity. As a common rule, don’t be alone in a house with a friend of the opposite gender, ride in the car, or go out to lunch. This may be extreme, but if you never get in those situations you will never give the impression of any wrong doing.

3. Carbon Copy or CC your spouse when sending an email to a friend that is of the opposite gender. My husband and I seriously do this and I think it helps a lot. We had one friend that wouldn’t reply-all so we told them about our rule and then that friend gladly obliged. It holds each spouse accountable.

4. No magazines or movies that are highly sexual in nature. There is no exception to this rule. I don’t know one woman that feels great when their husbands view other women. It makes wives feel like poop even though that is not their intention when they are engaging in that behavior. Women we need to be careful too!

5. No rules about Hollywood actor exceptions. There are couples that will allow their spouse to be with one actor or actress if they ever meet them. Maybe I am being extreme here, but I don’t think joking about it is funny. I think it opens the door to thinking that maybe this behavior might be permitted. I would rather my husband to always want me no matter who they met. That’s just me.

All these actions build trust in a marriage. I like knowing that we can hold each other accountable and not be jealous. Women love feeling secure and there is something to feeling secure when you know you can trust your husband. It is also great when they can trust their wife. A marriage is stronger when trust is built.

Do you have any safeguards in place? Do you feel like you can trust your spouse?

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

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