Grow in Faith

The Bible isn’t a shelf decoration. It’s your life’s dedication. To grow in faith requires reading God’s word and putting it into action.

Children’s Song

If you grew up in a Christian home you might remember singing this song as a kid. It goes like this…
1 Chorus:
“Read your Bible, pray every day, Pray every day, pray every day;
Read your Bible, pray every day, And you will grow, grow, grow.”
2nd chorus:
“Don’t read your Bible and forget to pray, And forget to pray, and forget to pray;
don’t read your Bible and forget to pray, And you will shrink, shrink, shrink.”

Lean into the growing process

As my fear becomes larger than my faith I tend to shrink; burying myself in worry and distrust in God. I realize my earthly priorities aren’t in line with God’s eternal vision. A sure sign I haven’t been reading my bible and praying everyday. A sure sign that I need to get that Bible off the shelf and into my hands. Then I’ll… “grow, grow, grow”. Grow in faith, grow in peace and grow in vision of God’s will for my life.

1 Verse in 3 Different Translations

But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

Luke 8:15 NIV

And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.

Luke 8:15 NLT

But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, produce fruit.

Luke 8:15 CSB

In these three different translations you have 3 different verbs: “persevering, patiently and enduring.” This verse encourages us to not only hear God’s word but to actively hold on to it. How do we do that? Through consistency of reading and praying everyday so his words are secured in our heart. Even in face of trials and suffering we can stand firm on the word of God and grow… grow… grow!

Obey Christ to Follow Christ to Grow in Christ

It takes obedience to follow Jesus, the original trailblazer, who blazed a trail for us to connect to God. To navigate this route we have our “map” – the Bible. A navigational tool that leads and equips us to take the steps it requires to stay on trail so we can grow in likeness of Jesus.

The Lord Fulfills my Purpose

Recently a woman asked me, what fills up your days? Sitting next to my 4 year old daughter, I looked down at her, then back at the woman. I replied, “parks, play dates, preschool and… play dough” (priceless). In giving her an accurate answer those 4 P’s just came out so naturally. It’s truly what fills up my days. But not everyday truly feels fulfilling…

I caught myself daydreaming of the “other work” I could be doing rather than watching my daughter. Assuming “other work” might be “more important” than staying at home. I knew these weren’t Godly thoughts because its He who fulfills my purpose in motherhood. So I quickly googled: “Christian mom quotes” (internet perks), I needed a perspective change and stat!

Here are some quotes I found encouraging:

Motherhood is a million little moments that God weaves together with grace, redemption, laughter, tears, and most of all, love.
– Lysa TerKeurst

Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God might not be something you do, but someone you raise.
-Andy Stanley

You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God’s fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts.
-Charles Spurgeon

The Christian mom doesn’t love Jesus instead of loving her children; she loves Jesus by loving her children.
-Jen Wilkin

“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”
– C. S. Lewis

Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children.
-Billy Graham

Christ-Centered Mama – Motherhood for the Glory of God

My Daughter’s schedule fills up my days, but its the Lord who fulfills my purpose.

These quotes changed my perspective on how God sees me as a mother rather than how I see me. His grace pulls me out of the self-pity and into a willingness to be a self-less servant. For scripture says, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you….” Isaiah 66:13. God does not leave us alone when we comfort our children, he’s here for our comfort too. I feel that every time I turn to him.

Prayer

Dear God, thank you for reminding me that motherhood is important work. To help me realize that truth you call me to spend time with you to refuel my motherhood energy. You help me to re-centre, re-focus and remember WHO I am is found in you. Especially, who I am as a mother and the purposeful work that it is. Lord, open up windows of “me-time” that refuel my energy so I can remain thankful and present with my child. Amen.

What About You?

How can God uplift you today and remind you that your role as a mother is important and fulfilling? How might he show you ways to give you energy to live that out? I learned that the Lord fulfills my days by seeking him in all I do. Regardless if its 5 sick days stuck at home or 5 vacation days exploring new experiences. God is in the center of all my days. He is what fulfills my purpose because he fulfills his promise. He promises to never leave us or forsake us, (Deuteronomy 31:8). SO, I come to him with all my needs, desires, wants and complains. He refreshes my soul with his never ending grace.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

Blessings.

Prayers for the Women I Know

Dear Heavenly Father, the most high God, the creator of the world and everything in it. You made, know and see the largest of creation – the mountains, the seas, and you know each animal that rest and live among them. You are vast, great and powerful and everywhere at one time. Yet, you delight for us to know you personally because you know us personally. You seek the 1 out of the 99, desiring a personal relationship with care, comfort, counsel and connection. I praise you for your mightiness and your gentleness. You can stop a storm and comfort a heart in one second. I come to you, oh mighty God, in prayer for the women I know and pray for them today.

For the Women I Know

I pray for the women I know that you would connect to them on a deeper more intimate level where there isn’t a doubt you aren’t in their midst. I present to you God these particular women in my life that long to know you more… seeking to find your peace. May you present to them your miraculous love and affection. Change the course of their life for the better. Help them to see you as alive and in pursuit of them. Make them know and feel your peace as it rests within their soul.

Specific Prayers for Women in Need…

God, I present these women to you in need of your divine power, grace and love. I pray that you would mark in them a stamp of your care today and forevermore.

I pray for the women that doubt you in disbelief, I pray that you would break down those strongholds of lies, deception and power of the enemy and open their eyes to see you.

I pray for the hurting women, Lord, comfort their heart in care, help them to see your working love in their midst.

I pray for the women in stress, God, in decision making mode and chaos – protect and guard their minds from negative self-talk and guilt, free them from the pressure to perform or to be perfect and offer up your grace. May your grace be enough for them today, so they can walk in contentment.

God, I pray for the women that are sad, please grieve alongside them – help them to see that their pain is your pain too and you are more than available to hear their cries. Rescue their souls from darkness and remove the lie that says, “I am alone”, as they never are when they have you.

God, I pray for the inspired women with big dreams, give them direction, hope and reassurance of their next steps. Offer up your confirmation of what to do next. Build up their faith to wait upon instruction.

Finally, Lord, in Prayer I Ask

Finally, Lord, give us all patience to parent, energy to use and joy to sustain us. Thank you for the women who seek your face and long to know you more. Present yourself to these women and offer up your holy power to renew, refresh and refrain their minds to know you more. Amen.

Psalm 93 – The Lord Reigns

The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the Lord on high is mighty!
Your decrees are very trustworthy;
holiness befits your house,
O Lord, forevermore.

PSALM 93 ESV

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