For Moms: Live Forward!

How is this going to affect our relationship?
Have I hurt him so deeply that . . .
Ohh, I regret my tone of voice!
I wish I could undo . . .

I wrestled through thoughts like these countless times over the years of raising our children, beginning when they were toddlers and through the teen years. I wish I could say that I never wrestled again after that, but I have. Why? I’ve let words or behavior that I regret hold me captive. Worry seeps in, as do thoughts of negative possibilities.

Honestly, I don’t think that these types of experiences blanket our days. Rather, if we take time to remember, simple precious moments over countless hours will flood our memory—precious smiles and giggles, watching a child play or experience something for the first time, bedtimes, their excitement as they share a story or accomplishment, hugging our child or being hugged by them, that look that lets us see their love or gratitude, our phone calls . . .

So, why is it that painful memories haunt us or flare up whenever something goes sideways regarding a child? And why do those questions and worries seem to crowd out the greater evidences of sweet times?

God yearns for you and me to grasp His view—of us, of how He wants us to live in relationship with Him, of our role as moms.

He appointed us to be moms, when he wrote our days in His book before we were born. (Psalm 139) Nothing we say or do is a surprise to Him. He knows our history, our current life, and the state of our heart. His view of our effort is tender, loving, and abounding in grace—not critical, disappointed, and questioning why He made us mothers. Do you wrestle with believing this? The strategy to end the wrestling is a growing intimacy with Jesus Christ. Learn, for yourself, the truth about His view of you. God sees you and me as the person He knows we will become, as we partner with Him to love and raise our children.

We are disciples of Christ, which means we are lifelong learners of how to follow Him. One way we learn is through being a mom, and some of our practice will be hard.

Leave the past.  Only, leave it in the hands of our Almighty God.

Invite God to help you learn all that He wants you to learn from it. If a memory concerns or burdens you, unload it to God. Jesus died for all our brokenness. Lay it at the foot of his cross. Seek, receive, and embrace His forgiveness. Invite Him to restore your heart, your child’s heart, and your relationship. He will.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavishes on us.” (Ephesians 1.7–8a)

Live forward.  Only, live forward in the path lovingly prepared for you by our Sovereign Father.

Mark the many beautiful moments of being a mom. Mark your growth, your child’s growth, your relationship’s growth. Mark change. Mark redemption. And thank God.

On the larger canvas of life, each season blends into the next. Each brush stroke has purpose, for the child and for us. Memories of hard experiences slowly fade, even heal, as God’s love covers all. The image that God has been painting all along reveals breathtaking beauty.

When Disappointment Holds Us Down

img_0037Today I welcome my friend Linda Grabeman as our guest writer. Linda radiates the love of Jesus and shares her trust and awe for Him through her writing and as a speaker. Check out her website lindagrabeman.com to learn more!  This post is an extended version of a devotion in her second book, Praise on Purpose.

praise-on-purpose-new-front-cover-photoIt’s always in the back of our mind, if we’re not careful. It robs our joy, dilutes our peace, and clouds our understanding of who we are. It’s the lie we swallow whole, unaware of the deep ache it will cause in the belly of our souls. Like me, I’m sure you’ve thought, “Yeah, God loves me, but He is disappointed in me. I don’t always act the way He wishes I would. I’m not the mother He hoped I would be. For that matter, I’m not the wife, sister, daughter, or friend He envisioned either.” Ugh!

Well, I have the very best news for you: It’s not true! I’ll prove it, and then you’ll have a rock-solid response for Satan when he tries to bog you down the next time. What refutes a lie? Truth, right? Well, ladies, here it is:  To be disappointed in someone, you must have thought they would act in a certain way. Then, when they don’t, you feel sad, angry, disillusioned. That’s how it works for humans. Not so with God. He isn’t disappointed because He can’t be surprised. Psalm 139 says, “I’m an open book to You . . . You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.” God sees our entire life in one glance. Start to finish. No thought, word, or action is a surprise to Him. We act in the way He has always known we would…and He loves us still. A love unlike any other love we have ever received. Constant, unchanging, and relentless.

Even better, His grace is just waiting to cover those actions or words which He knows are coming. Are the chains of guilt falling off your shoulders? Lying on the ground, unable to hold you in bondage any longer? Isn’t that a huge hallelujah? It’s the freedom Jesus died to buy for us! Freedom to walk in the unexplainable, outrageous, life-changing love from our Father. Forgiving ourselves because we know we’re forgiven. No more despair. Just love, mercy, and grace…and the power to walk out God’s good plans for us! Can I get an Amen on that?

Living FREE

DSC01961I regret not spending more time….
I’ve been handling her disrespect the wrong way.
I wish I could undo the damage I’ve done.
The things I said… still play over and over in my mind.

Regret.

A familiar fork-in-the-road of everyday life.

One road leads to captivity. Holding on to our regret… it begins to have a hold on us.

The other road leads to freedom. Inviting God to affect our regret. That His purposes for everyone involved are powerfully realized.

581795_10202295751545629_1813402917_nTalking to God opens doors in our soul.
His light exposes dark corners where regret hangs out.
When regret hovers over wrong we’ve done, let HIs light lead us to forgiveness.
Where it hovers over mere mistakes, let His light lead us to freedom.

It’s time to live FORGIVEN.  FREE.

Empty every bottled-up detail and emotion. To God.
Whatever it is, He was there.
Loving us in our weakness.

DSC01572Amazing Grace.
Receive the fullness of the power of the Cross.

Dear God,
Thank you for your steadfast love and mercy. Thank you for Jesus. Strengthen us to walk toward You. To receive your grace. Help us to extend Your grace to our children. To love them in their weaknesses as You love us in ours. In Jesus’ name. Amen.