Devotionals

A few of my favorite things…

“Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes, silver white winters that melt into springs, these are a few of my favorite things….” 

Although it’s been years since I’ve seen The Sound of Music, I think of this song and it makes me want to add this musical to my holiday movie list.

My sister and I started a tradition years ago that Christmas music was officially allowed on November 1st. In fact, it was practically mandated. 

Now before some of you start hating on me for jumping to Christmas before Thanksgiving Day, let me explain. Thanksgiving is still a huge deal in our family. For us, Christmas music is an ushering in of the holiday season. It’s like opening the door to sweaters, boots and peppermint hot chocolate. And that in itself is something to be thankful for. 

I love holidays (do you see the italics here?)! I guess I’m still a kid at heart. I love family time. I love holiday shopping. I love traditional turkey dinners and my mom’s homemade caramel squares. I love walking into the house and smelling festive candles. I love Christmas parties and trees and lights. I love getting together with friends and reflecting on what Christ has done. I love baking cookies, cold weather and traditions. I love this season. 

And that’s it. There are no confessions or deep thoughts in this post, just a little glimpse into a few of my favorite things. 

So with that said, I’m off to introduce our boys to our tradition that must be carried on.

What are you enjoying this season?  

Devotionals

Wonder

This morning I watched huge smiles emerge between giggles as one by one our three kids woke up, peeked through the blinds and saw the first snowfall of the year. Little fingers pressed against the windows and dancing eyes begged to go out and play. 

I poured cereal and divided out pumpkin bread (It’s still October and suppose to be fall, y’all – who’s with me?) but of course excitement trumped hunger and it wasn’t long before they were back on the couch peering outside. So I sat down with a fuzzy blanket and a cup of tea and simply watched them, savoring the moment. 

Oh to see the world with childlike wonder. 

I’m determined to pause the mundane more often to marvel at God’s intricate handiwork. Nature. Personalities. Relationships. Love. The changing seasons. The mysteries of God. Beauty. 

I know being attentive will take discipline and practice but it’s something worth striving for. Each new day lies before us like an adventure ready to be explored. So much can be learned, enjoyed and experienced if we will embrace the day as such and step away from becoming emotionally stagnant in the daily routine. 

Regardless of how age has labeled us, let’s be children of wonder! 

PS…In case you were curious, the day turned out to be a “school is canceled” snow day which included snowball fights, multiple cups of hot chocolate, cartoons and family dinner. I’m going to bed one exhausted but happy momma.

Devotionals

Faithfulness, Perspective & Changing Seasons

Our relationship with God cannot be based on emotions because emotions come and go like the tide. A real relationship requires commitment and faithfulness regardless of feelings. But there are seasons when God gifts us with the nearness of His presence. These times are like oases giving us strength to keep moving through our deserts. 

Lately I’ve found myself in such a place. And on the contrast of times when I simply trust His silence, I am hearing His voice like a shout. I’m keenly aware of the absolute passion of our Savior, Jesus, and lover of our souls. His friendship, His love, His peace, His words are life. I think of David when he wrote, “As the deer pants for water, so my soul pants for you.” The more I’m in His presence, the more I want to be there. I’m desperate for Him. 

In the midst of this awesome place, I’m getting a fresh view of God’s heart for His people. I see sadness in eyes and hear hopelessness in voices. And I can’t keep silent. I know the answer. 

My challenge to you and me is to be faithful in every season, trust the season that He is taking us through and share Him with everyone we can along the way. We have a voice and a testimony – let’s use it. 

Devotionals

Survival

Survival mode is like a gear. Sometimes we shift through it but we can’t stay there or we won’t move forward. Simply surviving can lead to apathy. Discontentment. Anger. It can lead to numbness of heart and mind and rob us of moments, relationships and opportunities. It may not be a natural instinct but there comes a time when we must choose joy. We must choose life. We must choose to praise Jesus through the pain. If we are going to reach our full potential and live the abundant life that He offers us, we must choose to trust His sovereignty in the unknown when we don’t feel the peace of the known.

Each of us has been, or will be, at a crossroad of emotions. Things happen that were not in our plans of perfection. There are speed bumps, road blocks, dead ends and construction on this crazy ride with the potential to make us or break us, as the saying goes. 

I beg you – don’t let it break you. Get up, stand strong, don’t quit. Your decision will affect you, your future and future generations. I think we often underestimate the power of our choices. Or maybe, rather, we simply don’t consider them. 

I don’t write this to speak at you but to talk with you and to share thoughts that God showed me when I found myself complaining to Him, “I’m in survival mode.”

We are not alone. With God’s help, we have the power to overcome. 

Be encouraged today with the words of Isaiah. He writes in chapter 40 verses 29-31, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” 

Devotionals

Monday Prayer

Tonight I found a prayer I had written back in 2016. I thought I’d share as it’s relevant to 2020 as well.

“God, may we be a generation who purposefully pursues You. May the importance and absolute necessity of dwelling in Your presence be deeply rooted in our hearts. Help us not to be distracted by fears, entertainment or our busy lives.

We are desperate for You.

Teach us to use our words wisely, speaking when we need to speak and staying silent when we don’t. Let our conversation uplift others and honor You. 

Help us love others deeply. 

Give us courage to face whatever comes our way. Give us passion to declare Your Name. 

Keep us in tune to Your voice and sensitive to Your leading. Give us a willing spirit to follow. 

Prepare a way for us like you did for the Israelites in the desert, whether we are walking in the day or the night.

When discouragement and frustrations comes, give us fortitude to stand strong. Keep us faithful in an unfaithful world. Keep us grounded in truth while surrounded by deception. May we never set aside the armor of God.

May we never succumb to complacency but live our lives for the good of others and the building of God’s Kingdom.

Teach us to love, serve, care for, protect and honor those around us. May we be women of God who walk humbly, yet confidently, in who You have created us to be, knowing that You have a plan and purpose for us in this generation.”

Psalm 5:3 “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”

Devotionals

Be Still

Noise. It’s so hard for me to silence it and extremely difficult for me to be still. I’m constantly striving, talking or wrestling with my emotions. I want rest but I feel stuck in chaos. In this season, my time is limited for creativity and the logistics of life feel like a labyrinth of dead ends. There is uncertainty and unknown around every corner. 

I’m easily frustrated and I’m totally dependent on the Holy Spirit to produce the fruits of His Spirit within me when my flesh fights to be center stage. And yet, when I think of things that really matter in life, I feel guilty that I’m so quick to complain. I’m surrounded by everyday blessings if I will just stop to recognize them. I must ask myself what I ask my boys each night, “What am I thankful for today?”

Can anyone relate?

In the midst of all of this, God’s word rings out to us all, “Be still and know that I am God.” We live in an unstable and changing world but we serve a stable and unchanging God. We must trust Him. Be still. Enjoy the moment. And remember that every day is a gift.