All posts in Faith

Working Moms: Is Yes A Dirty Word?

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Every month in 2015, I am focusing on a different word.

The word for February 2015 is simple:  YES.

Wait a minute, what happened to NO?  After all, if you’re a working mom, the word no probably isn’t in your vocabulary. Most of us need to draw some serious boundaries.  Yes has become a dirty word.  A word that we dread.  A word that we regret saying once it leaves our lips.  A word that has become negative despite its positive meaning.

So why on earth am I writing about YES for an entire month?

It’s simple.  We need to start saying yes first.  We need to start saying yes to the things that are really important.  

Ok, maybe it’s a bit more complicated than it sounds.  I’ll admit, I really don’t have this whole yes/no thing figured out.  But I do know that I’ve probably had it backwards.  And I don’t think I’m alone.

Most weeks, I let my schedule fill up with lots of “stuff.”  Most of this stuff is good — ranging from work, school, activities, exercise – but at the end of the week I find myself asking, What did I really accomplish?

I’m not suggesting that my daily routine isn’t productive or worthy of my time.  I am suggesting it’s not always intentional.

And this year – when my schedule like yours frequently blazes out of control – I want to be intentional.  So, how does this translate into saying yes?

Stick with me in the weeks to come.

This week, I want to focus on our foundation:  God is a God of YES.

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.  (2 Corinthians 1:20) (NLT)

This is an amazing promise indeed.  Every time we pray – every time we say “amen” — we are saying YES to God.

If we start with this foundation, yes becomes the good word it was intended to be.

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Have you allowed yes to become a dreaded word – even a dirty word – in your vocabulary?  

 

 

I Want More Mom!

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The lemonade stand did not start well.  Abby started it with a friend, but then her sister joined.  And another friend.  Pretty soon, four girls were arguing over how to make the lemonade, how to approach the customers, and how to split the money!

“It was my idea.  I did all the work!  And I shouldn’t have to share the money with anyone!” Abby cried.

Yes, money talks.  Why does it always have to be about the money?

I know I should be doing more to cultivate a spirit of gratitude and service, but right now, I have too many excuses. I simply don’t have the time. It’s too dangerous to take my kids to that side of town. My own family has enough needs right now. I would just be a Band-Aid to problems that are bigger than I can tackle. It’s not like I can make a real commitment. I don’t want to be one of those people who says she is going to effect change and then do nothing. Isn’t it better not to get involved at all? Maybe when I retire and the kids move out, then I can really focus on helping all those needy families. I’m feeling pretty needy myself these days.

In today’s culture, it’s hard to teach our kids that our lives are about more than our material possessions. After all, having more stuff is cool, isn’t it?  So we read the story of the rich fool who had such a good crop that he tore down his barns, built bigger barns, and thought he was set for life. The only problem? God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”

Back to the lemonade stand.  I probably should have intervened when I saw them fighting over the money, but like too many working mothers, I’m pretty overwhelmed, so I don’t get involved.  I don’t lecture the kids about the rich young ruler.  It’s Memorial Day Weekend and I just want a moment of peace.  I am too busy reading a new book on my Kindle.

But just when I feel like a complete failure as a mother, my children surprise me.

“We are giving all the proceeds to charity,” Abby announces.  She asks me how to spell “mission.”   Then she puts all the money in an envelope, seals it, and labels it “Mission Fund”.

This materialism thing is hard.  Sometimes I think it’s harder for the adults than it is for the kids.   In my case, my kids have given me a good nudge.   I welcome the nudge.

Dear God, I want to pay it forward.  Please help me to store up treasures in heaven.

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Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.   (Matthew 6:19–21)

The Blessing of a Forgotten Cell Phone

I was driving to Abby’s soccer game when I began to panic.  I yelled out a twisted moan.

“What’s wrong Mom,” Abby asked.

“It’s nothing.  It’s just that I forgot my iPhone.  And I don’t have time to go back home to get it.”

No, I wasn’t upset about not having the camera. (I’m not one of those moms that constantly takes video of my 8-year-old playing soccer.)   My panic stemmed from the fact that I would be disconnected from the world for an entire hour.  Maybe longer.

The problem is much deeper than I care to admit.  I utterly felt naked without my iPhone.  Like a part of my body was missing.  Like I was missing.

Don’t ask me why I’m so addicted.  But I am.  If five minutes passes and I haven’t checked my texts and emails, I start to fidget.   Plus, the soccer game is a perfect time to catch up all of those personal messages I’ve neglected all week.

Now, I am going to waste all that down time!  What will I possibly do for one hour? 

Believe it or not, I survived.  I’ll tell you what I did.

Instead of sitting in my self-absorbed la la land, I actually talked to the other parents.  I introduced myself to a few familiar faces and made several friends.  I connected with my son’s former teacher who was thrilled to learn about Nick’s middle school experience.  And I actually watched the game!  It was no coincidence that Abby scored three goals – and I even saw them because I wasn’t staring at my phone!

Am I going to leave my iPhone behind on purpose next time?

Of course not.  God knows I still have a long way to go – and I’m sure my obsession borders an unholy form of idolatry.  But at least I know I can do it!  With God’s grace, I can do it, and so can you!

God, I so much want your peace to fill my soul.  Forgive me for letting technology get in the way of real relationships.  Help me to unplug – even for an hour. 

Have you ever forgotten your phone and panicked?  If so, how did you fill the void?   

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16.33

Not Ready For Easter? You’re In Good Company

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I woke up in the middle of the night last night in a panic.  I dreamed it was Easter morning, and I had forgotten to fill the Easter baskets and hide the eggs.  I almost got out of bed until I realized I had another day.  So I took a deep breath and went back to sleep.

When I woke up this morning, it dawned on me.

I’m not ready for Easter.

Yet in the midst of my panic attack, I heard another voice.  A voice that is much calmer.  A voice that assures me that Easter is not about me, it’s about something much bigger.  Something miraculous that doesn’t depend on my efforts to fill Easter baskets or hide eggs.

Here’s what the voice said:

Keep it simple this year.

I know, this isn’t very profound.  But it hit me hard.  Probably because life is more complicated than it needs to be right now.  Granted, I no longer need to deal with Easter Bunny Drama (I never really liked that sneaky Easter Bunny anyway).  Yet I still feel the pressure to make Easter a big production – to get distracted from the real meaning of the death and resurrection of my Lord.

Truth be told, I wasn’t even ready for Lent this year.  The season has passed so quickly.  In an effort to “keep it simple” this week, I’ve been reading about the last week of Jesus’ life.  Every evening, we sit in the living room and read about the events of the day.  One thing I’m struck by (with some comfort) is this:  the disciples weren’t ready either.  They didn’t get it.  They didn’t prepare for Easter let alone fathom the events to come.  But this didn’t stop Jesus.

I may not be ready for Easter, but maybe that’s a good thing.  It forces me to “keep it simple” – to leave room for Jesus to surprise me instead of getting distracted by my own efforts and plans.  To even embrace an Easter miracle.

How will you keep Easter simple this year?   Are you ready for the unexpected?

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.  (Luke 18: 31-34)

 

 

Working Mom’s Devotional: How Do You Find Time For Church?

Last Sunday, I got chills during worship as my church celebrated the packing of 500,000 meals.  As exciting, my 7th-grade son actually got engaged – I mean really engaged – about a service project for the needy.

It’s one thing to take our children to church.  It’s another thing to really get involved.  With the demanding schedule of a modern-day family, getting invested in a local church can be a challenge.  I know all too well.

When my kids were young, I almost gave up.

Who has time to be involved in a church?  I already have enough on my plate.

Which is why I believe many working moms just give up. Besides, the church doesn’t always know what to do with us.  Think about it.

  • We don’t have much time to volunteer.
  • Our kids are often exposed to too much media and technology.
  • MOPS happens during our work day (along with a host of other Bible Studies and play groups).

Plus, there’s no good time.

Early morning?  I have to get the kids to school.

After work? I’ve barely seen my kids all day.

After my kids go to bed?  I’m exhausted.

And what about time with my husband?

Excuses, excuses. I am full of them.  But thankfully, God cares about us more than he cares about our excuses.

But I also believe that God is patient with us during each season of life.  Just this week, I was talking to a new mom at church, and she can barely make it through a worship service — with a 20-month daughter who keeps getting sick in the nursery.  Yes, I remember those days like yesterday.  So I encouraged her to hang in there.  Just think, today I have a 7th grader who is packing meals for the hungry!

How do you make time for your local church?  What are your excuses?

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:25)

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God, thank you so much for my church.  I don’t know how I could do it on my own. Raising kids is hard enough these days.  I pray for all the working moms who are isolated from the local church.  Bring us together in community, and please help us to be patient with each stage of life — and to get past our excuses.  

 [Note to self:  Remove above picture of Nick in the hair net before he sees it! I couldn’t resist!]