From Our Hearts to Yours
Do you have a favorite place that ministers peace to your soul? Jim and I have a place we love to retreat. It’s a pleasant 45-minute drive from our home. What draws us there? Well, there’s an expanse of the Pacific Ocean and it’s never-ceasing surf. We never fail to walk along its sandy shore.
After our walk on the beach, there’s a charming sidewalk café beside a large pool that’s fed by a soothing waterfall where we share a snack. There’s also a cascading fountain in the center veranda where we enjoy our sandwich and coffee.
One day while I was thinking about our place, it struck me that water is the common denominator in all we love there. It calms us, inspires us, and moves us to focus on God’s larger plans for us.
As we look at God’s Word and His many provisions for us as His dear sheep, we discover an image of water in Psalm 23:2, “He leads [us] beside the still waters.”
He—the Shepherd—knows all about our need for peace and provides it. He made us, He planned our path, He knows our every challenge, and He provides the peace we need for fulfilling His will for our lives.
Leads—Our Shepherd leads us to the places where peace is plentiful, and He makes sure we attain it.
Still waters—He leads us beside still, restful waters of comfort.
We know that we become dry on a steady diet of stress. We quickly become depleted and weary. We stagger, we stumble, we crumble … all because we need time beside still waters. Today, let’s follow God’s lead there. Find a quiet spot, alone, for 5-10 minutes and pray to God, asking Him for His peace. As you move your focus off of the hectic busyness and demands of life, and onto our Good Shepherd, you’ll find you are resting in His presence and peace.
Dear Lord, You offer me Your peace. My job is to receive. Thank You. Amen.
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“He leads me beside the still waters.” (Psalm 23:2)
What is the first thing I turn to when I’m stressed and need calm and peace?
I carry in my Bible a tattered copy of a newspaper article from the Honolulu Advertiser dated Thursday, January 27, 2000, titled “Tiny Kauai snail wins protection—Agency to develop plan for survival.” It seems that the creature known as Newcomb’s snail—only a quarter-inch in size, a little larger than the head of a nail—is now listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. As a result, a team of biologist will develop a recovery plan to help the species survive.
Now, are you wondering why I would clip and save such an article? Why, it’s because of the children. If the government is willing to go to such drastic measures to preserve a tiny brown creature like a snail on the remotest island of Hawaii, shouldn’t we do even more for our children?
Sheltering Your Family
Your job as mom and homemaker is to make sure that your children’s lives are precious to you, that they have a shelter from the world. You see, the home is God’s recovery plan for our family.
Relationships are severed. Friends turn away. Abilities are overlooked. Dreams are dashed.
But how blessed is the husband and child who can simply come home after the rigors of the day and know that all is well there … and will remain well. How blessed they are to have one place—a place you are in charge of—that is a safe space, a harbor, a shelter for their bodies and souls.
Home must be the one place our loved ones can count on to hold them up and build them up again. Let’s commit this week to do the work that makes our home a haven.
Lord, I want to make our home the happy hub of life for my family. Please guide me in creating a warm and bright place that refreshes and encourages my family. Amen.
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“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 NIV)
Do I intentionally make the effort to create a home where my family longs to be?
Do you miss the laughter and conversations of a full house? Have your kids moved on to college, marriage, or their own homes? I understand how hard having an empty nest can be. It seems like our children fly the coop all too soon! Rather than giving into sadness, I found a wonderful way to deal with the loneliness when my girls left home.
Filling Our Days When Our Nest Is Empty
Now is the perfect time to minister to and encourage those outside of your family. Take some time to pray about these questions:
- How effectively am I using my free time for God’s Kingdom?
- What doors of ministry are open to me now?
It might be discipling another woman in the faith. Writing emails to a lonely missionary. Taking a meal to a cancer patient. Time is yours to manage. Make it count.
Encouraging others requires a heart filled with sensitivity to their needs. If your heart is filled with concern for God’s people, you’ll be privileged to refresh and encourage many. Proverbs 12:25 says a kind word cheers you up. What a sweet gift to give others!
Where do we glean this kindness from? By sitting at Jesus’ feet and studying the Word. Time with God will fill you with His Spirit, which will naturally overflow to others.
And remember to include your family in this ministry of encouragement. Even though our kids aren’t under our watchful eye, they can still be covered by our prayers. Elisabeth Elliot’s mother prayed and wrote letters to her six children twice a week. For 45 years. Before computers and email!
What can you do today to minister to people near and far? As a loving, praying woman after God’s own heart, reach out to someone today—and every day—with your prayers and your love. It’ll fill their hearts … and yours!
God, help me take advantage of every opportunity to share Your love with others. I want to use my free time to serve You and encourage friends and family. Amen.
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“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” (Proverbs 12:25)
Take a few minutes today. Who could use a word of encouragement? A call?
What mom hasn’t denied their toddler a cookie and then had their normally-sweet child throw themselves on the floor and scream? Sometimes the easiest thing to calm a temper tantrum is to give in and give our child what they want. Especially when we’re running late for carpool, they’re hungry, and we’re tired!
From One Mom to Another
So how is a mom to deal patiently and wisely with a temper tantrum? Take a deep breath and choose to give your children what they need, not always what they want. After all, we know what groundwork needs to be done for the future of our children. Teaching our children self-discipline now gives them a foundation so they can live God’s way in the future.
Is it always easy to not allow a 7-year-old to stay up hours past their bedtime? Or to enforce limited screen time with our teens? I’m afraid not, but take heart. And that’s exactly what it’ll take: a heart of dedication. Scripture says that we’re to teach our children …. No matter the obstacles, the arguments, or the “Yes, but, Moms.”
For When the Days are Long
When we fail to instill discipline in our children, we aren’t equipping them to know how to control their emotions and to make wise decisions. God says to us loud and clear: teach your children and start early in their lives. Teach them faithfully and consistently. And most of all, do so from a heart of love.
Also, remember that little ones are watching and learning from you. Your personal self-discipline and self-control is important. Spending time each day with God and reading His Word sets the path of your life—thinking those things that are true, spending money wisely, reacting with calmness, eating balanced portions—and gives a wonderful example to your kids.
A Final Thought
Some days it will feel like a mountain of obstacles stand in the way of helping your kids choose self-discipline. They’ll protest—that’s normal! But a wise mom doesn’t let whining rock her decisions. God offers you His grace and strength to push through those moments. He is with you as you dedicate your time, energy, and life to Him and your family and take full advantage of the opportunity to train your children.
Dear Lord, thank You for guiding and encouraging me with Your Holy Spirit … especially when I’m tired and my kids are tearful. Help me raise my children to follow after Your own heart. Amen.
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“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
In what areas am I personally lacking self-discipline?