The Best Way To Work Through

What are you trying to work through?  If you’re like me, often it’s not just one thing. Whatever it is, it can consume our thoughts, drain our energy, and sink us low.

. . . heartbreak . . .a frustrating job . . . an unfair outcome . . . financial issues . . . a stressful relationship . . . an ongoing health matter . . . overcoming a fear . . . completing something  . . .a devastating loss.

I have been studying the book of Haggai, a two-page history near the end of the Old Testament. It’s been several years since I read it, and I thought I’d zip through in a couple of days. I was wrong. God is holding me in His words here, helping me learn more deeply Who He is and how He loves us. God speaks through the prophet Haggai and tells His people to first consider their past way of living and now to consider Who He is and how He wants them to live forward, how they are to work now.

And when God knew He held their attention, He assured them of His love: “I am with you, declares the LORD.” (Haggai 1.13)

Their obvious work is to rebuild God’s temple, a daunting and monumental job. Yet, I imagine among all these workers, they are working through personal struggles with any number of the themes listed above–not to mention the fear of attack from enemies. God knows this. He sees their heart and assures them of HIs commitment to them.

God sees how you and I sometimes work through things—by self-determination, by denial or avoidance, by complaining, judging, or jealousy. He sees our fear, grief, anger, or waning hope. I have wasted much time working through circumstances and relationships leaning on my emotions, on what I think, on whatever evidence is tangibly in front of me—rather than leaning in to God who is right here with me.

God loves us in our weakness, even when we lean away from Him. He doesn’t scold or shame us. He doesn’t ridicule or react as though He’s surprised by our behavior. He doesn’t leave or step back to give us space to figure out that we need Him. God remains near. He keeps His word:

“I am with you, declares the LORD.”

Back to Haggai…  God speaks again to His people, as they work.  “Be strong . . . Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts . . . My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.” (Haggai 2.4-5)

This. God is making us strong warriors.
He assures us that we can be strong as we work through anything because He is with us, because His Spirit is in our midst.

God knows the strength you and I need when circumstances wear us down or cause us to worry, to fear. He wants us to rest secure in His strength. How do we get there? We practice every day by getting to know Him through His Word, talking to Him, and learning to listen to Him.

This strength He calls us to is poured in to us and grown as we walk with Him. His pour is not like an energy drink that lasts for a few hours. When you and I lean in to Almighty God, He provides a sustaining stamina that compels awe in us.

When we depend on God’s strength, trusting HIs presence with us, His peace transcends the circumstance and He grows our faith to trust, He’s got this. We partner with Him and work through—and continue to become who He created us to be, all to His glory.

Dear God,
I don’t want to work through any thing on my own anymore. I am sorry for all the times that I have leaned away from you, rather than toward you. Thank you for your patient love. Thank you that you are always with me, in my midst. Help me believe this and trust you more. Amen.

Surrender Is A Strength

Becoming A Peaceful Mom is available on Amazon!  I’ll save you a minute ~ Just tap here to purchase. 

Today I’m sharing a little piece from the book—and a day in my life—with you . . .

dsc02539One afternoon I was overwhelmed by my inadequacies, discouraged by my seeming failures as a mom, and exhausted physically and emotionally. I collapsed to the sofa crying and vented: God, I am so frustrated! Nothing seems to be working. I don’t feel like I’m doing anything right. I keep messing up as a mom, and I feel like a disappointment to you.

After I emptied my heart and had a good cry, I sat subdued in silence—and clarity came. It dawned on me how I contribute to my exhaustion and experience of discouragement: Most days I try to be and do what I think a mom should be and do—without asking God to teach me, much less help me. I try to mold my children according to my goals, employing every ounce of my mental, emotional, and physical energy.

Humbled, I saw my pride. God, I repent of my pride. I’m sorry for not inviting you to lead and help me. I need you. What a relief to unload these thoughts and emotions to him, to know he forgives me immediately, and to be able to start over—following God.

In those few minutes, my circumstance with the children did not change, but I felt like God was glad that I stopped and cried out to him. Focus on my failure shifted to hope in God. My perspective changed: I’m a mother for God. Therefore, I want to do this his way, with him. I recognized that I can’t do this on my own; I need him.

All of this took only a few minutes. God knows how little time a mom has to be still, much less alone! From time to time, I pray this prayer when I recognize that my attitude is out of whack and I need to recommit my heart’s path to God.

Practice: Prayer of Surrender and Dedication
1. Surrender each child by name to God: “God, I give you _______. She is your child whom you have given me for a season.”

2. Claim and dedicate your relationship with each child to the God: “God, I claim my relationship with _______ for you. I dedicate this relationship to you. I want our relationship and how I parent ______ to glorify you. Amen.”

DSC01780Life circumstances will challenge our family. God hopes we will look to him for the way through. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12–13). You are God’s Beloved. Yield to his love and leadership.

In our culture, self-sufficiency is an ideal. If we make our own decisions, take care of our self, and don’t need anyone for anything, then we feel strong. God’s kingdom on earth has an opposite ideal: All our needs are met in God. He wants us to seek his guidance for all decisions, to depend on him to take care of us, and to know we need him. In order to live this way, we need to surrender or release to God what we want to do—and then trust and obey him.

Surrender is really hard. Like all hard things, the more we practice, the better we get at it. Opportunity to practice occurs all day long. We lay down our preferred way for his:  God, I surrender ________ to you. Please help me discern and follow your way.

Once we recognize surrender as a strength, desire to practice relying on God increases. It’s humbling how quickly we can put our self in the driver’s seat with themes like training and correction methods, making plans, and relational issues. Sometimes our independent strategy works, but often we leave a trail of circumstances that needs to be rectified. Pray for grace and believe that God responds to your effort to yield. Gradually, our self-centered life is transformed to a Christ-centered life.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them (Psalm 139:13–16).

When we rely on God throughout the day, we trust that he knows us best and holds the plan for our life—including how to parent our child. God desires to parent us as he shows us how to parent our child.

To surrender is to trust God.

#BecomingAPeacefulMom

Will you help me share #BecomingAPeacefulMom with your friends?  Thank you!

A Mother’s Perspective and Prayer for May

DSC00004Happy (belated) Mother’s Day!

Don’t you like the way that Mother’s Day is in May? I like to think it gives us a second wind to finish this month strong. (just kidding)

When our children lived at home, I loved the month of May and I braced myself for May. I loved that the school year was soon to end – which meant homework reminders, last-minute projects, making lunches, hurried mornings, jam-packed afternoons, and rushed suppers would end for a season. I braced myself for everything that would happen before that. During May every final project, paper, test, exam, field trip, award ceremony, athletic game or play-off, art or music or drama program, or other special day happens. It’s just the way it is.

Every year I tried to “handle” May better than the year before. I tried not to live to get through it, but to savor it. Plenty of hours I failed, but plenty were delicious.

Through the hurried meal preps and even-more-hurried meals, the endless car time, the homework, after-school activities, and learning how to get along under our own roof – our family grows. Our children are learning – all kinds of things. Activities reveal interests, accomplishment, or a new friend. Moments around the table, in the car, or hurrying out the door provide snapshots of relationship growth, even friendship. We are learning.

DSC00975I hope you find this prayer helpful to savor more days of May ~

Dear God,
Thank you for giving me today and for each of my children. I commit this day to you. Help me seek and follow your plan – and not mine. Prepare me for what you already know will be a part of this day. I give you my weariness, my hurts, and my worries. Please refresh, heal, and comfort me. Fill me with your love and help me love with your love this day. Help me see each child the way you do. Alert me to be present to you – so my thoughts, words, and behavior reflect you more. Help me learn to seize moments to be still and enjoy each child. Thank you that you love me so much. I love you. Amen.