Working Mom’s Devotional: Are You Present in Your Relationship With God

Working Mom's Devotional

This January, we’ve focused on one word:  PRESENT

For most of us, being present doesn’t come naturally.  It’s takes hard work, discipline, and putting others before ourselves.

While I’m working on being present at home at work and with people, I still struggle being present in my most important relationship.  My relationship with God.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that God is always with me.  But even though I know this to be true, I go through moments, hours, and even days where I barely acknowledge him.  And I don’t think I’m alone.

For years, Christians have been trying to figure out how to connect their daily work with their faith.  From Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God to Jesus Calling (check out the January 28 entry this week), we long to connect the spiritual with the ordinary.  We long to feel God’s presence, even though we know he is there.

Most evenings, I tuck my daughters in bed (ages 8 and 11).  After we read and say prayers, they beg me to lay down with them.  Even when it’s too late and I’m too tired, I usually give in.  So we all pile in the same bed, and I lie between them for about 5 minutes.  It’s 5 minutes of pure bliss.  Even though we’ve been together most of the evening, we need this time to really connect.  Last night, I said to them “You know, this is the best 5 minutes of my day.”  And I really meant it.

I’m trying to approach my relationship with God — being truly present — the same way.  Even though we’ve been together all day, I haven’t really given him my undivided attention.  Sarah Young describes it like this:

When My Presence is the focal point of your consciousness, all the pieces of your life fall into place. As you gaze at Me through the eyes of your heart, you can see the world around you from My perspective. The fact that I am with you makes every moment of your life meaningful.  (Jesus Calling, January 28.)

Do you struggle feeling God’s presence throughout your day?  How are you working to be present in your most important relationship? 

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And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:20

Working Moms: Do You Blow Off People You Don’t Know?

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For the month of January 2015, we’re focused on a single word:  PRESENT.

So far, we talked about being present at home and being present at work.  But what about being present with people we don’t even know?  Does it really matter if we are attentive and engaged with strangers?

The short answer is yes.  People matter to God, and they should matter to us – whether we know them or not.  But this is tough to do. Really tough. If you’re like me, you’re already overextended and maxed out with home, work, and everything in between.  It’s so much easier to “zone out” with people we don’t know,

Case in point? The check-out line.

More often than not, I don’t make eye contact in the check-out line.  Instead, I am talking to my kids, talking on my phone, or disengaging for a rare, unplugged moment.  This past Christmas, I was completely and totally ignoring a sales clerk in the check-out line at T.J. Maxx.  He had been trying to have a conversation with me, but I was stonewalling him.  So he called me out.

“Ma’m,” he said.  “Can you at least say goodbye?”

I was ashamed and embarrassed.  Especially when my 8-year-old daughter asked, “Mom, why did he say that to you?”

So this week, I’m focusing on making eye contact  — being present — with strangers.   I can think of at least two good reasons:  1)  I want to show my kids that people matter; 2) I might be talking to an angel without knowing it.

Do you zone out in the check-out line?  What can you do to be PRESENT with someone you don’t know this week? 

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Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Hebrews 13:2 (NLT)

Working Mom’s Devotional: Are You Present At Work?

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Christian. Working. Mom. | Susan DiMickele

Here’s the word for January 2015:  PRESENT

I’m going to focus on this single word for the entire month of January.   Last week, I asked myself if I am really present at home.  This week, I’m asking a different but related question:  Am I really present at work?

Am I engaged in what I am doing, or am I constantly preoccupied with my next meeting, next project, or next client?

This week, I attended a meeting with the National Association of Women Business Owners.  The topic at my table was Executive Presence.  We had a vigorous discussion as to what Executive Presence is and isn’t, whether it can be taught, and whether some people are just born with it.  But one thing’s for sure:  we know it when we see it.   And a woman with Executive Presence makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room.

Here’s the example we discussed.  When a woman is constantly checking her phone to see what time it is, what impression does she give?  Does she give us the impression that she is engaged and interested in the meeting?  That she is diligent because she obviously doesn’t want to miss her next meeting.  That she has command over her time and her schedule. That she is prepared.

Probably not.  Instead, she is projecting that she is more concerned about her next meeting. That she is worried about something or someone else. Or worse, that she is disinterested, bored, and that we are wasting her time.

Before we throw stones, let’s think about how many times we are that woman.  It’s not intentional, and it may not even be conscious.  But by projecting that we are not PRESENT, we are diminishing our Executive Presence.  Never mind that it’s rude and self-centered.  It’s actually bad for business.

Do you recognize this behavior in yourself or someone you know?  How can you take steps to be present at work in 2015?

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The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things.  But only one thing is needed.”  Luke 10:41-42a

[Note to self:  it is somewhat ironic that I am drafting this post about being “present” while sitting at a volleyball tournament, but here is my rationale:  1) My daughter is not playing in this match; and 2)  I am still under grace. Can anyone relate?]

Looking to connect work and faith in your local community with other like-minded women?  Check out 4word Women.  And if you live in Columbus, Ohio please join us this Wednesday as we launch a local 4word Chapter!

Working Mom’s Devotional: Are You Present At Home?

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Some of my friends are picking one word this year.  A single word to sum up a goal or intention for 2015.  A simple way to stay engaged after New Year’s resolutions are long forgotten.

What’s the first word that comes to mind for 2015?

Here’s mine:  PRESENT

No, I’m not going to focus on this word for an entire year.  I’m way too impatient (and I have too many words I’m excited about) so I’ll focus on one word a month.  Want to join me?

This January, I’m asking myself if I’m really present – at home, at work, with others, and in my relationship with God.  Am I engaged in the moment, or am I constantly preoccupied with everything else?  More often than not, I can tell you what’s happening on my email, what’s going on on the other side of the world, or what’s on my calendar next week.  But can I tell you what the person sitting beside me is thinking or feeling?  Am I connected in real time?

This is something I’ve been thinking about for months.  So much that I haven’t been blogging.  I haven’t been writing.  And I’ve backed off considerably from social media.

But this is about more than unplugging.  Unplugging is a knee jerk reaction to something bigger.  Unplugging is about pushing the pause button so I can stop and think.  And listen.  Fortunately, I have plenty of people who are willing to give me advice.

Starting with my third grade daughter.

“Mom, yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift.  That’s why we call it the present.” (Author Unknown)

Pretty timely, huh?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had some serious down time.  I’ve had the luxury of connecting with my family in real time.  And I’ve learned an important aspect of living in the present.  Being present means putting other people before yourself.

Several times over Christmas break, I have spent time jumping on the trampoline in our back yard.  Not by choice.  It’s freezing outside.  I get dizzy jumping up and down.  And I twisted my neck and broke my fingernails playing this crazy game on the trampoline called “Ga-ga.”  It’s much easier to be selfish with my time.  Being present requires me to engage.  It requires me to consider the thoughts and give in to the preferences of others.  It even requires me to play Ga-ga.

But my daughters love it.  They light up whenever I jump, and they say things like, “Mom, this is so cool.  I can’t believe you are actually good at Ga-ga.”    You see, when I’m jumping on the trampoline, I have a singular focus.  I can’t multi-task, I can’t take a phone call or text, and I can’t even carry a conversation.  I just jump, laugh, and try not to get hit by the ball.

Do you make similar sacrifices to be actively present at home?  How can you best engage in real time with your family in 2015?

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

Working Mom’s Devotional: Not Ready For Christmas?

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Not ready for Christmas?  Me neither.  If I could just stop time this week.  There are just too many gifts to buy, presents to wrap, and cookies to bake.  The teacher gifts alone can drive me mad.  And then there’s my travel schedule.  Four cities in five days.  Who has time to get ready for Christmas?

Not me.

Sometimes, I think if I was a “really good mother” I might finally feel prepared.

But then I look at Mary.

She wasn’t prepared either.

When I look at the birth of Christ I am comforted by Mary’s lack of planning. It doesn’t appear she attended birthing classes or decorated a nursery. She didn’t have a birthing coach, and she was far away from family and friends, traveling to Bethlehem. (She also didn’t bake cookies or run around buying teacher gifts at the last minute!)  The amazing thing is that God had prepared her.

I had read the story of Mary and Elizabeth since I was a child but only recently was struck by God’s complete brilliance in using the birth of John the Baptist to prepare Mary for her own labor and delivery. When the angel Gabriel visited Mary and foretold the birth of Christ, Elizabeth—John the Baptist’s mother-to-be—was already six-months pregnant. (Luke 1:56) Mary went to visit Elizabeth and stayed with her three months. Six plus three is nine, so Mary must have stayed for John’s birth. Assuming she did, she would have watched and learned about labor and delivery firsthand from her older cousin Elizabeth. So Mary didn’t have to attend birthing classes or rent a video. How else would a young virgin in the middle of Bethlehem know how to give birth with an inexperienced husband in a stable?

In other words, God is in charge of preparing the way for Christmas, not us.

So, how does Mary teach us to respond?

She says“yes” and trusts God with the details.  When the angel Gabriel first appeared to Mary to announce the immaculate birth, listen to her response:

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”  (Luke 1:38) 

Can getting ready for Christmas really be this simple?  Like me, are you struggling to get it all done this year?

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[Dear Readers, As many of you have noticed, I’ve taken a break from blogging during this season.  Thank you deeply for the kind notes and encouragement.  Life is complicated, but God is good and I hope to ramp up writing again in 2015.  I miss you dearly!  Have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.   Warmly, Susan]


 

***Excerpts above from Chasing Superwoman.