Overwhelmed by God’s Grace

Moving provinces has its excitement and its tough transitions. It can be tough navigating a new routine in a new city whilst making new friends. That alone can be overwhelming. For me, the most challenging part was navigating it all alongside the needs of my newly turned 3 year old daughter. In midst of a big change I became overwhelmed in motherhood and I needed to be overwhelmed by God’s grace.

Overwhelmed in Motherhood

I started to focus more on the needs of my daughter and less on my own. The pressure of making sure she was OKAY definitely made me NOT okay. Repeating the phrase, “I am not okay” to my husband. Like any big move, it affects everyone involved and he too had his own set of transitions to work through.

Attending to the every need of my daughter left me exhausted to find time for myself. Mentally, spiritually and emotionally I needed a change – a shift, a refreshment – something! How? Through vulnerability and the grace of God.

Overwhelmed by God’s Grace

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

First, I attended a church event solo and had a pastor pray over me. As the pastor asked what I needed prayer for, I couldn’t get the words out, I just started to cry uncontrollably. All I managed to say was, “motherhood”. Clearly there had been feelings I hadn’t yet processed – overwhelming feelings. There I was, new to the church, vulnerably balling my eyes out, asking for prayer. Asking for help through her prayer to receive God’s grace.

Next, I got involved in a mom’s group at church. At the end of each session there is time of prayer. Again, tears rolling down (into my mask (“the tear catcher”, I called it) I opened up with my struggles and received prayer.

Slowly by slowly, I stayed open to God’s grace, making time to receive prayer. I continued to seek God through the love and support of fellow believers.

The Final Shift of Faith

Third example of staying vulnerable and open to God, I asked a friend over the phone to pray for me. Just like the church event, and the mom’s group, I could not speak without tears. I shared my stresses and I shared my struggles. She prayed over me. Over the phone, the Spirit of the Lord used her to bless me. Her prayer was authentic, heartfelt and filled with the presence of God as she began to tear up herself, talking about God’s grace and faithfulness. Something spiritually in me shifted. I kid you not – it was the final shift of faith I needed to focus my heart back unto the Lord.

Be open to receive God’s Grace

Jesus is the hope we look for in all circumstances – in every pain and in every praise there He remains. I encourage you to align yourselves with fellow Godly friends. People in your life you can go to in times of need or refreshment. It is truly life giving. We all have our moments, seasons and times where we cannot grasp the hope ourselves, we need a friend to grasp it for us.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus

Philippians 2:4-5

Poem and a prayer

Lord, turn my pain into praise,
sorrow into smiles,
united to friends who care.

Fill us up, to pour us out,
To love like you love,
United in Christ Jesus.

Amen.

Body Image in Motherhood

Oh the ever changing moves and grooves of our bodies. While child bearing, post bearing, and years later eating-toddler-snacks-to-get-through-the-day bearing. Body image in motherhood is hard to accept at times. The problem is when we focus on our image apart from God.

Where it all started

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…

Genesis 3:1-6

Satan wants you to desire anything more than God and His Word.

Let’s unpack this. First, the serpent (Satan) lies to Eve, falsely repeating what God said. So eve corrects Him with what God actually said (v3). But Satan persisted to lie more. He convincingly tells her she won’t die and basically God’s withholding “his best fruit” from her. Thus, manipulating her focus away from God and unto herself. Eve knew God and knew what He said. However, the ideal of “what could be” became more desirable than what God said is.

Your image or God’s?

While we are negatively viewing our bodies, we are leaving God out of the equation. Desiring “what could be” rather than looking to God for “what is”. What is: Godly body image?

God created us unique and different on purpose with purpose. So He knows what’s best for us. Especially when it comes to taking care of our image. Our bodies were meant to change. To give birth, to give nourishment, to offer support and to love with great capacity. Our bodies not only take care of ourselves, but it creates energy and strength to take care of others too. God made us, so he holds the manual for what is good for us. How we view our body must reflect our love for our creator.

Our bodies are living sacrifices

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2

We offer our bodies as living sacrifices because Jesus did first. Thank goodness he stepped in our place of receiving God’s wrath for our sin. Praise God for His knowing of what is good and evil for us. Praise God that He is more interested in the state of our hearts than how we look! Finally, praise God for loving us despite our failures and imperfections.

Our bodies – whatever stage they are in, have great value and purpose because as Christians we bare the image of God. Focus on that and leave the bathroom selifie, #summerabs to someone else.

Prayer

Dear God, please forgive me for assuming I know what’s best for my body image. Help me to take care of body from your perspective. This way I can learn to better love myself and the people around me. Amen.

Unexpected

Some time ago (before the virus)

It was middle of the week and I’m strolling my daughter, Lyla, to the grocery store, which was part of our weekly routine. At the time all I was thinking about was what to make for dinner and it was only 9am.

A typical day for a mom.

After checking out with my groceries, the Starbucks inside the store caught my attention. It was one of those, I deserve an obnoxiously-priced-latte, type moments and I caved. As I was waiting for my latte I noticed an employee from the store crying at one of the tables nearby. Drawn with compassion, I knew I wanted to pray for her.

My squawking toddler and the tearful woman locked eyes and both exchanged a smile. Okay, I thought, this was my moment and I approached her and asked, “are you okay?” She sighed, “no”, and explained to me that her dog had to be put down that day and she couldn’t be there. It was happening in Maple Ridge and we live in Victoria. This struck me because I am originally from Maple Ridge so I made that to be a weird connection or coincidence. Regardless, my compassion for her grew.

Coincidence?

After she told me about her dog, I asked if I could pray for her, she replied, “yes”. I prayed that God would bring her comfort and peace in this hard time and thanked Him for what a great companion her dog was to her. After I prayed, I asked about her dog’s name.

She said, “my dog’s name is Lyla”.

“Wait... what? that’s my daughter’s name,” I replied.

Both Lyla the dog and Lyla my daughter shared the exact same name – spelling too! Crazy! Talk about coincidence? No, this was God at work.

Maybe if the names didn’t match or her dog wasn’t in Maple Ridge I would have left thinking it was all me that encouraged her. But the fact that the names matched confirmed that it had to be all God – purposefully planned to show her His love.

Unexpected love

God is always on the move to love. Having a relationship with God means we get to experience His love for others as well. It was such a joy and rush of excitement to feel God’s love for this woman whom I did not know. I felt encouraged that even in unexpected places God can be expected to show up.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:7-16