What To Do With Our Hopes

“Can we talk to God about our pets?”  His soft-spoken question and curious eyes exposed that his understanding of prayer was broadening in the moment, as our little group learned about talking to God. The other 1st and 2nd graders listened, as he added, “My fish is sick.”

“Yes, you can! And we’ll also pray together for your fish in a minute.”

HOPE.

This precious little boy hopes his fish will get well. Even better, now he knows he can talk to God, about what he hopes for. Before, his hope was only a thought.

Do you have any hopes that are only thoughts—or maybe, only wishful-thinking conversations with friends?

We hope . . . it doesn’t rain during our event that’s going to be outdoors . . . she believes we’ve forgiven her . . . he realizes the consequence if he disobeys . . . she knows how much God loves her . . . we handle a situation the right way.

“…we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4.10)

Throughout a day and many a night, I have wrestled, stressed, cried, feared about a hope I have. Hope is hardest when the focus of our hope is a person, a relationship, ourself, or a circumstance. We watch—the person, the relationship, the circumstance. We watch for what we want. Possible outcomes—founded on evidences we collect by sight and experiences—flood our mind, and our thoughts often swirl into a torrent of negative feelings and outcomes.

When I take these ‘hope-thoughts’ to God, my soul rests. In the handoff, my focus shifts to God and He fills those places in me with His peace.

At the same time, hope can be hard even when God is our focus, because we have to learn to trust Him. You and I have lived a lot of life relying on people, circumstances, and our self. We have to practice trusting God to learn to trust God. . . just like we practice reading to learn to read.

As we practice placing our ‘hope-thoughts’ in God’s hands over and over again, we open our heart to try on trust. The focus of our hope becomes God.

Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.  (Ps 146.5)

God sees and attends our heart according to his view of our genuine need. He pours grace so that His love, healing, and strength inspire us look to Him, listen to Him, and loosen our grip on the object of our hope—that He becomes our HOPE, our TRUST.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
    for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
    for it does not cease to bear fruit.”  (Jeremiah 17.7–8)

. . . Whether my new little friend’s fish gets better or not (let’s pray it does), he engaged with God and God heard him. Their relationship grew because this is what God does. He gives growth–to our knowledge and understanding, our faith, our relationship, as we engage with Him.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15.13)

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Also, I want you to know…

Becoming A Peaceful Mom is only $9.00 on Amazon!   Here’s the link:  https://amzn.to/2Kxmi8Y.

The price returns to $15 on July 1.

I’ve had so much fun over the last year speaking and sharing the book, and it’s fun to hear the many ways you all have shared it!  (Thank you!)  Want to hear a few of them? … Birthdays … Welcoming moms to your church … Moms of teens … New moms … Moms having another baby… Moms of moms 🙂  Older moms mentoring younger moms … Small group studies!

Sooo… maybe grab a few copies and have FUN blessing some women around you.

When We Encourage Our Child

img_0042My children never said, “Mom, I need you to encourage me.” In fact, there were times when I did encourage a child, and he would say, “You’re just saying that because you’re my mom.” Well, I was saying it because I’m his mom. And I meant every word.

“I have sent him to you for this very purpose . . .  that he may encourage your hearts.” (Colossians 4.8) The apostle Paul sent messengers to believers in various towns to encourage them to press on in their walk with Jesus.

Encouragement during a challenging circumstance—or an ordinary day—builds a hope-filled perspective. Encouragement sticks. We remember encouragement, even when we struggle to receive it when it’s given.

When someone speaks or even writes encouragement to me, it’s as though fresh air rushes into my lungs. Some days I yearn for encouragement. Other days it’s not until I receive it that I realize how deeply I needed it. This is true for our children—Some days they yearn for encouragement, concerning the many things we are teaching them. When   such words meet their ears, God’s love touches a place in their needy heart. What a sweet privilege God gives us.

img_0043God intends for us to be a significant vessel of encouragement to our child—to speak words of life and hope. When we encourage a child, we help her. We give her courage and inspiration to consider, to try, to persevere.

God, show me / teach me how to encourage my child. God knows our strengths and weaknesses. When we humbly depend on him, he meets our weakness with his strength. His love is our source of encouragement. When we seek his love and lived loved by him, authentic words of encouragement will flow from our heart.

Your picture is so cool! .
I love the way you came inside the first time I called you!
You studied so hard. I’m proud of your effort.
I’m so glad you decided not to go, just because everyone was going.
I admire you for . . .

dsc01369The hardest time to encourage our child is when tension exists between us. Too often in times like these, our words reflect our heart’s struggle—hurt, fear, disappointment, discouragement, or anger. It’s especially in these seasons that words of encouragement are so important. A child knows when he disappoints us. He needs to know he is loved, just as we know that no matter what God loves us.

Dear God,
Thank you for the privilege to be your vessel of encouragement to my child. Help me speak words of life, hope, courage, and inspiration every day. Amen.

God Sees Beautiful In You

dsc01044 Momma Friend, There is only one YOU.
You and your child are a match made in heaven.

God gave your child YOU. God sees beautiful in you.

He knows the mom we can be today and continue to become—as we depend on him. We can be his vessels to reflect his love and character. The more we invite God into our life and follow him, we become more like him.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3.18)

dsc00447Every day he works in our heart and in our child’s heart. Every day. We decide to turn toward him or not.

He pours love to you. Receive it.
He showers grace. Embrace it.
He supplies wisdom, discernment, and guidance. Seek it, listen for it, watch for it.
He dwells with you. Abide.
He comforts and restores. Rest with him.
God is with you every day. Talk to him–and listen.

We’ll have good days and not-so-good days. We mess up and our child messes up. We hurt and disappoint each other—and we disappoint our self. We are being built by a God who knows our weaknesses, loves unconditionally, and desires that we walk with him.

“For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” 
(1 Corinthians 3.9)

dsc00890Know that you are very significant. That’s a value statement, not a pressure statement. You matter greatly to your child, in the life of your child, and to God. God sees beautiful in you.

For through him (Jesus) we both have access in one Spirit to the Father . . . you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2.18-22)