The Power of Comfort

When someone we care about hurts or struggles, we want to be a source of comfort. We offer words, hugs, our presence. And we pray. Our thoughtful gestures matter and certainly impact, yet when we pray, we rehearse our trust that God is with this person. We express the depths of how we desire Him to help them, and as we do we believe that He can do far more than what we ask or imagine.

Dear God, I lift my friend/ my child/ my co-worker to you. Please comfort them. Cover and fill those places that only you can fully comfort. Amen.

God hears our simple words and sees the truest version of the yearning in our heart—our inmost thoughts that we have not yet whispered. He delights that we trust Him to provide perfect comfort. He comforts them—and He comforts our concerned heart.

So, what about when you are the one who aches?

Do you ever forget that you are a child, God’s beloved daughter, his little girl? Sometimes I live like I’ve forgotten. When hard stuff happens, I ask for God’s help to persevere or to be strong. It usually takes me a while to remember, I need the comfort of my Abba’s loving arms right now. I need to be still and be held.

“For the LORD comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.” (Isaiah 51.3)

Fun, encouragement, rest, inspiration fill some of our days. Then another day, week, or season ushers in sadness, discouragement, exhaustion, overwhelm. Relationship tension or heartache, illness, financial crisis, work stress, and decision anxiety stir angst. Hard experiences can strip the part of us that was content.

God is with us—Immanuel. He is Comfort and covers our waste places and wilderness—those spaces of hurt, loss, confusion, and fear. Even though our hard circumstances may remain, God’s comfort soaks our soul that we may rest, secure and peaceful in Him.

“I, I am he who comforts you.”  (Isaiah 51.12a)

Thank you, O God, that you comfort us, even when we don’t ask. Help us come to you and learn to be still with you for soaking comfort. Thank you that though challenging times come, you will make our wilderness like Eden and our desert like the garden of the LORD. Amen.

Smile the Extra Mile

get-attachment-112.aspxThere it is. That smile of his. That smile of hers. The genuine one that says  Right now, I’m good.  We’re good.  My heart is full. Waving from the car, playing in the backyard, goofing off with friends, glancing up from a book or at the supper table. Receiving a smile from one of our kids rewards my soul. Why? Because they gave that moment to me. Fleeting in deed. Lasting in effect. DSC01785Our children need our smile even more.  Much, much more. A genuine smile communicates value. According to our relationship, the value only intensifies. Have you ever noticed how your smile thaws your child’s heart? They love you. They need you. Looking at our face, they search for message. In our home, this has been a humbling learning curve for me. Too often I’ve let the impact of circumstance dominate my disposition. Plenty of times the circumstance has nothing to do with the children. My expression gets stuck in a holding pattern, presenting the brunt of my struggle. DSC01775When we’re in a hard place, personally or with a child, a smile rides on the strength of our focus to God. It’s easy to smile when we’re happy. When good or encouraging things happen. The thing is…  hard things happen in the ordinary day – disappointment. disobedience. discouragement… Not necessarily big things. Lots of little things can produce the same impact. Drain. Weariness. DSC01926The strength and consistency of our smile depends on its source. Founded on good happenings, our smiles will be conditional.  Rooted in God’s love, our smiles are fueled by Him.

Go look in the mirror.  See what your child receives when you share your love in a smile.  The impact to our child is powerful.  The force behind it is God’s love to us and through us.
Not because the day was good or our child was good, but because God is good…  SMILE.
More. Much, much more.
“God bless you and keep you, God smile on you and gift you…” 
(Numbers 6.24-25, The Message)

Living Out the Ordinary with Faith

Last Sunday at church, the gospel reading was John 2.1-11, the wedding at Cana. At the wedding feast, Jesus’s mother Mary tells Him that the wine is finished. Turning to the servants nearby, she says, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2.5b) Mary knew well from her youth the blessing of submitting to God.

“Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them to the brim.” (John 2.7)

An ordinary task. They submitted. Which is the way of a good servant….

“And he said to them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.’ So they took it.” (John 2.8)

Another ordinary task. Drawing water.
But the next step was more challenging – to take the drawn water-poured-into-the-jar to the master of the feast.
I wonder. Did the servants hesitate? Did their hearts race? Imagining how the master might react when they hand him the water.

Submitting to Jesus, they went and offered the water.

“When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew)…” (John 2.9a)

The servants knew where it came from. They didn’t know Jesus had turned the water to wine – until the master of the feast put the cup first filled with water to his lips and announced it as the best of wine.

THE POWER OF GOD.

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I’ve been pondering this in light of our role as moms.
Sometimes we feel like we’re trying to submit to God. Seeking His guidance for teaching and training our child, for conversations, discipline strategies, etc.

Yet we don’t have the water to wine experience.
We get discouraged.
“Why didn’t something happen?” “I’m not seeing any change.”

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… “Do whatever he tells you.” 
Believing WHO GOD IS, live the day.

Through the ordinary of every day, God ordains opportunities for us to practice submitting to Him. To faithfully serve up water to our children.

He will turn it into wine.
He will open their eyes. He will turn their hearts to Him.

Thank You, God!
Open our eyes and our hearts to the simple ways that you want us to love and lead our children. Help us to learn to listen to You and then submit. Grow our hearts to trust You. Amen.