Encouragement for Mothers

Waiting on Joy

There is no time lost in waiting… if you are waiting on the Lord. Sarah, the woman God had called “a mother of nations,” waited on the Lord for 25 years! Clutching God’s remarkable promise for a son, she had waited—right on past her childbearing years. The future looked hopeless, and although she had her moments of doubt, yet she hoped—hoped on the words the Lord Himself had spoken: “At the appointed time… Sarah shall have a son.” (See Genesis 17:16; 18:14.)

The English Bible doesn’t say it—but, oh, does the Hebrew language ever say it! Sarah and Abraham’s desert tent rang with sounds of joy! Sarah could not contain her gladness as she held her promised son. Once again Sarah was laughing. Oh, she had laughed before when the angels and the Lord had again promised the child. But then her laughter had been rooted in disbelief (Genesis 18:12). Now she exulted, singing in her own words, “God has made me laugh” (Genesis 21:6). Now hers was the hearty laughter of joy upon joy! “Who would have dreamed?” Sarah probably marveled. Certainly not she! But God, who is always fully able, had accomplished the miracle. Others would no longer laugh at her—now they would laugh with her in joy. (See Genesis 18:12; 21:6.)

Dear woman of God, join with Sarah in her chorus of praise! Even when life is difficult here, you can know joy because of the hope you have in Christ. Here you have cause to sing even when you don’t feel like singing, even when God’s promises aren’t yet fulfilled. At the appointed time—here or in heaven—God will give you reason to sing as He demonstrates His faithfulness to you. But sing now, as you look forward to the fulfillment of all His promises to you and to your season of joy!

The Privilege of Partnering with God

As a parent, you already want to sow seeds of God’s love and His truth into your kids’ hearts. Well, be encouraged. It’s never too early and it’s never too late to start. That’s because God’s Word does not return void, no matter when it’s sown. It always works on the heart of the hearer, and it always accomplishes God’s will.

At first pointing your children to God may be a little hard. It may feel awkward or forced to quote a Scripture, or share a proverb, or refer to a biblical principle. Whenever this happens, just determine to do what God is asking of you—speak up, no matter what. Remind yourself to be on your toes for everyday opportunities that come along as you and your children sit, walk, lie down, and rise up at home and throughout the day. And if the opportunities don’t appear to be there, create them. Even nature and the heavens declare His glory!

Please don’t underestimate the urgency of planting God’s truth in your children’s hearts and minds. No matter what the age, they need to constantly hear about God. His Word stimulates, promotes, and can bring about a love for God and a saving relationship with Him (2 Timothy 2:15).

God’s wisdom and truth provide a path for your child’s walk through life. And you, Mom and Dad, have the privilege of partnering with God to grow them into men and women after God’s own heart.

Help Your Tween Make Really Good Choices

Dear Mom and Dad,

You know how important making right choices is for your life… but what about your children? What are you doing to train them in how to make right choices for themselves? Well, we’ve got three suggestions for showing your preteen boys and girls how to make really good choices.

  1. Try to involve your tween in the decision-making process. If possible, sit down together with a snack. Approach your time as a heart-to-heart talk. In the end, the final say on the decisions will be yours, but you can at least help your tween understand the “why” of the decision.
  2. Walk your tween through the process you use in making choices, like prayer, seeking counsel, finding out what God’s Word says about the choice. Openly pray with your child, and encourage them to pray too. Then open the Bible and look together at what God says about the choice.
  3. Help your tween understand that choices always have consequences. With each option, show them what would happen with each decision: A good choice will lead in this direction, and a bad choice in another direction. Then ask your child, based on what God says about this choice, which choice do you think you should make?

One day your children will be out on their own, making their right or wrong choices. How relieved and thankful you will be when you see them making godly choices because you took the time to show them exactly how right choices—God’s choices—are made.

Home Sweet Home

Home. “The house of the Lord.” The concept of a specific place to dwell has a deeply emotional effect on the heart of every person. Imagine what it meant to David, a shepherd who knew all about the nomadic life. Shepherds were on the move their whole lives, regularly pitching and moving their tents as they rotated through the fields to keep their sheep happy and the land healthy.

David’s life was a pilgrimage, a journey home. He traveled through many fair meadows and dark valleys. He had his share of storms and adversaries. But God, the Good Shepherd, never failed to care for him. In Psalm 23:6 David reveals he’s ready for his troubled trek to end. He’s ready to go home!

“I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

What did David mean by “the house of the Lord”? We know he’s not referring to the Jewish temple in Jerusalem because it wasn’t built yet. And it wasn’t the house David wished to build for the Lord because he uses the word “forever,” and no man-made house lasts that long.

No, David must be referring to something far greater than a building. A forever fellowship with Jehovah beyond the grave. David was a king—and a wealthy one at that. And he possessed worldly riches and had access to any pleasure. But these worldly pursuits didn’t—and couldn’t!—compare with the eternal pleasure of being at home in the house of the lord… living with the Lord of the house forever!

I well remember wrestling with my emotions when our daughter Katherine graduated from college and wanted to live in an apartment with a group of her college friends. Why would she want to live with a group of young women when her own home, the place where she belongs, is only eight minutes away? What’s wrong with living here?

But Katherine was 22 years old, and the move was an obvious next step on her way to independence and maturity. So off she went to an environment that turned out to be a blessing. She learned how to cook for others on a regular basis, to keep her part of the apartment clean, to enhance her side of the bedroom with her things, and to get along with others on a day-in day-out basis.

But I’ll never forget Katherine’s words the day she moved back home as she prepared for her wedding. She sank into the sofa with a sigh and exhaled, “Mom, it’s ok out there, but it’s just not home!”

I think Katherine’s sentiment is what David is telling us: “It’s OK out here (in the world, in the marketplace, in our friendships, in our experiences, in managing our challenges), but it’s just not home!” We yearn to be in a permanent, loving family, not just guests or people passing through momentary situations and relation­ships. And that’s what our forever home means to us!

May our hearts ever reflect this truth as we contemplate the hope we have of an eternal home where we dwell with the Lord forever.

A Prayer to Pray:

Lord, help me to relish in the “home” that you have for me made up for me —  built of Your unconditional love, Your eternal life, and Your joy everlasting.

For more encouragement your daily life, check out my book, Quiet Confidence for a Woman’s Heart.

“Who’s your Mama?”

Are you a mom after God’s own heart, ready and desirous to be used by God in your children’s lives? Then ask God to help you faithfully pass on your faith and trust in God from generation to generation so your little ones might be boys and girls and young men and women after God’s own heart. Make it the regular prayer of your heart.

Everyone also loves the incredible tales of Daniel and his three friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (see Daniel 1–3). These young men—the best of the best—were carried away as captives to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. There they were selected for careful training for the king’s service. I say “the best of the best” because to be prepared for royal governmental service these youths had to be handsome, physically perfect, mentally sharp, and socially poised and polished (Daniel 1:4). But did you know that many scholars believe that when the book of Daniel opens, these four friends are teenagers, likely between the ages of 14 and 17?

And who were the parents of Daniel and his friends? No one knows for sure. But here’s what we do know. This band of four captives was “of the children of Israel” (verse 3): They were descendants of the patriarch Jacob (also known as Israel). They were also “of the king’s descendants” (verse 3). In other words, they were of the family of David. And they were “children of Judah” (verse 6), the most noble tribe of Israel.

But whoever their parents were, the actions and choices these young men made shout out a loud testimony and build a strong case that their parental training was extremely strong and godly. In their teen years, when so many youths are tempted to question or turn away from their upbringing, these adolescents did the opposite. In fact, they were willing to make ­God-honoring decisions and stand up for their faith… even if it meant death.

Now, imagine your child at age 14 to 17, being separated from you and having to make such hard choices. What do you think your teen would choose? Or if your child is younger, what do you hope and pray he or she would choose?

Are you getting it, dear mom? (I know I am!) As moms after God’s own heart, we must teach, train, and counsel our children every chance we get. God’s truth must be imparted. And we need to pray, pray, pray for God to write our faithful teaching of His Word on the tablet of our children’s hearts (Proverbs 3:3). For who knows—like Daniel and Company— great choices will arise for our beloved children.

A Question to Consider:
Have you genuinely considered and thanked your parents (and especially your mom this weekend) for the sacrifices and love poured into your life? If you childhood was not ideal, who can you thank this weekend for encouraging your spiritual walk?

No matter what your stage of parenting our books for children of all ages will help you guide them into becoming young men and women after God’s own heart:

At the Heart of Being a Mom

No matter what you do each day… or in life… doing things God’s way is a matter of the heart. Whether it’s deciding how to spend your money or your time, how you treat people, how you dress, or how you do your work, your choices reveal your heart. And the same is true when it comes to how you raise your children—no matter what their ages.

The heart is the chief organ of physical life. It’s obvious to everyone that the heart occupies the most important place in the human system. But the heart, as used in the Bible, also stands for our entire mental and moral activity, including the emotions, the ability to reason, and the will. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament the heart is also used figuratively for “the hidden springs of the personal life.”

That’s why God warns and instructs us to “keep [our] heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). So what does this have to do with being a mom? First, we need to know how important our child’s heart is. As moms, our job assignment from God is to raise children after God’s own heart—children who seek to follow God and hopefully experience salvation through Jesus Christ.

But where does all of this mothering, committing, praying, dedicating, dealing with, and disciplining begin? It starts in your heart, dear mom! We need to also recognize how important our heart is for we cannot give what we do not possess.

Following-through on God’s plan for us is all about our hearts. It’s all about fulfilling God’s instructions to us. He wants us to focus on giving our heart, soul, mind, strength, and time to influencing and shaping the hearts of our children toward God and His purposes.

Doing things God’s way is always a matter of the heart. That includes choosing to focus your heart on raising your children God’s way and praying with each breath that they will develop hearts after God. Dear mom, no matter what your situation at home is—whether your children believe in Jesus Christ or not, whether they are young or older, whether their dad is a Christian or not (whether there is a dad or not!), whether you are new in the faith or know a lot, whether years of ignorance or neglect of God’s Word have gone by up to this point—do your best. From this second on, give your best efforts.

And since you want your children to love God and follow Him, set the focus of your heart on God and let them see you love Him and follow Him. Just be a mom after God’s own heart. He’ll help you take care of everything else that goes with parenting.

A Prayer to Pray:
Lord, give me a sense of purpose and priority as I teach my children what matters most. Help me show what it means to build a life of faith and love for Jesus.

Find more encouragement for your heart in my book, A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus.

A Mother’s Day Focus

Spring is bursting with full force! And the busy birds building their nests and tending their young remind me of my busy days as a young mom. We are now the proud grandparents of eight. And from my two grown daughters I get a bird’s-eye view of the day-in, day-out issues, accidents, and squabbles that occur in every modern family… right along with the tender, oh-isn’t-that-sweet moments. But, the days of raising our two girls to love and follow God are near and dear to my heart.

So, these two weeks before Mother’s Day, I want to put a special focus on encourage and equipping all mom’s – both young and old –  to carry on the good work of raising children after God’s own heart.

As a mom, God has graced you with an incredible calling. Opportunities abound to love, encourage and serve your family and others in ways that no one else can. You spend every waking hour of your day encourag­ing others. And at the top of your list is encouraging your children, helping them grow up (and of course driving them here and there)!

Do you desire that your children love God with all their heart? If there is one thing that I could shout from mountain top to every frazzled mom it would be, “Pray! Pray! And Pray some more!” Put your desire for your children right at the top of your prayer list.

Secondly, be diligent to live a life that reveals your love for God. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men [before your children], that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” A woman—a mother—who loves God is a light in dark­ness. Pray for the Lord to help you be that light for your children and family. And, pray diligently that the Lord will work in their little lives to grow them into a light that shines before all men!

A Prayer to Pray:
Dear Father, let my lips sing praises, speak requests, and make frequent mention of Your mercy. Give my children ears to hear of Your goodness so that they turn to You, their heavenly Father, with ease and delight.

Do you have a busy mother in mind, who needs encouragement or direction? Both of my books, A Mom After God’s Own Heart and the companion devotional would make great gifts to accompany any mom on her journey.

Mary, Did You Know?

“Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also” (Luke 2:22-35).

Mary’s path as the mother of Jesus had many precious moments and held many sacred memories. But that path had its pain, too, as she witnessed people’s violent reactions to Jesus and His message. And in the fullness of time – God’s preordained, appointed time – Mary found herself standing at the foot of Jesus’ cross watching her firstborn son die a criminal’s torturous death (John 19:25). A sword was indeed piercing her soul.

Then, in the horrible quiet, Mary heard the clear voice of Jesus speaking to His disciple John. And He was speaking about her: “Behold your mother” (verse 27). No. She wasn’t being forgotten or overlooked. God was taking care of her! Having loved His own, Jesus loved them to the end (John 13:1), and “His own” included His mother Mary!

She isn’t mentioned again in the Bible after this Scripture passage in Acts 1:14: “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” Let’s ponder the significance of her final appearance.

Mary is in the upper room. Perhaps the very spot where Jesus shared His last meal with His disciples, this room became the meeting place for His followers after His glorious resurrection.

Mary is among Jesus’ faithful followers. No single believer in Christ is ever more important than another. Here we see Mary and others who followed Jesus standing on equal ground.

Mary is praying. Kneeling shoulder-to-shoulder with the other saints, Mary joins with the group, persisting in prayer for the much needed strength and grace to carry on without Jesus’ physical presence.

Mary is with other women. Jesus’ followers included a small band of women who supported His ministry, as well as the wives of some of the disciples.

Mary’s other sons are present. We can imagine Mary’s joy. Her other sons had never believed in Jesus before His death (John 5:7), but they were brought to faith by His resurrection. Finally all her sons were united in faith!

What a beautiful – and remarkable! – portrait of godly devotion we find in the life of Jesus’ beloved mother. Mary worshiped and fellowshipped with other believers, persevered in prayer, spent time with sisters in the faith, and valued her family’s faith.

Never forget that Mary’s was a soul drawn upward! She loved God’s Word, faithfully hid it away in her heart as a precious treasure, verbalized it as she magnified the Lord, and exuberantly worshipped the God of her salvation.

Questions to Consider:

Do these phrases describe your life too? If not, which areas to you need to develop so that your life reflects your devotion to God just as precious Mary’s did?

Please read my book A Woman After God’s Own Heart for more insight and encouragement in choosing to be, like Mary, a wonderful woman of God.

Courage for the Moment

Someday — maybe even today — you will need cour­age for the trials Jesus said will come your way. He encourages you in such times to be brave and trust in His strength through you. For, “You are from God…and have overcome them, for greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). This means He is there with you, and He will provide all the courage you need for the moment.

A Prayer to Pray

Lord Jesus, I thank You that You are beside me right now and at all times. Help me to recall Your power­ful presence when I need to be courageous and live boldly as a Christian, to speak up when it’s the right thing to do, and stand up in the midst of difficult sit­uations. Amen.

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George

Made with ♥ by Guild & MCP