Life’s Detours

detour-clipart-KTje5n4acThis morning, a series of events at home caused me to leave for work later than I normally would.  As I traveled my usual route to work, I was met by a detour put in place by the Sheriff’s Office.  I was required to take an alternate, lengthier route – along with many other cars.  As I traveled this other route, I was grumbling because I knew after seeing the numerous cars detouring with me, I was probably going to arrive late to work.  This would be the first day I have ever clocked in late to my current job, without having a scheduled appointment as the reason.  I was not happy about this at all.

A few days earlier, someone had asked me to sign a copy of my book, Seasons of a Mom’s Life.  I asked God what would He have me write in the books when I signed them.  I heard the words, “Seek Him.”  This is what I decided to write, along with the following Scripture reference:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)

As I waited in the long line of traffic, I told myself to be calm because there was nothing I could do about this situation.  As I sat there, I heard those same two words, “Seek Him.”  I decided to do just that…seek Him.  At least my wait wouldn’t be wasted time if I spent it with God.

After arriving at work, I received a text from my friend, who was checking on me.  She had seen a report about a crash involving multiple cars at one of the intersections on my commute.  It occurred around the time I normally go through that area and in the news photos there was a car like mine.  At first, I wasn’t aware of exactly what had happened until I searched for it on the news site.  I then understood this was the reason for my detour earlier.  Once I read the details of the incident, I realized if I had left home on time this morning I would have been in the exact spot around the same time this major accident took place.  Had I left at my normal time, would I have been caught up in this crash?  Only God knows the answer to that.  What I do know is He directs my steps, even the steps of inconvenience.

I decided this morning to make every effort not only to seek Him but thank Him, even in the delays, setbacks, and detours.  I know it won’t be an easy feat because my flesh will instead want to grumble and complain.  I will attempt to remind myself He directs my steps, and thankfully His vision is clear and far more reaching than I can ever imagine.  Join me as I condition myself to seek Him and thank Him, even in life’s detours.

 

Seek Him First

SeekFirstI woke up early this morning, and at first thought I would turn on the TV and watch the news or something.  Then I thought – no, I’m going to spend time with God, which should have been my first thought to begin with.  I find that I sometimes struggle with giving my free time to God and instead want to do something mindless.  Even when I am spending time with God, I often battle to keep my mind focused on Him and turn off my “mom mind”, which wants to create a grocery list and plan our meals for the week.  Do you struggle with this also?  I suspect that a lot of us do.

Once I began to focus on God this morning, I heard Him say, “Seek Me first,” and the following verses came to mind:

Therefore, do not worry or be anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted), saying, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ For the [pagan] Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; [but do not worry,] for your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.   Matthew 6:31-33 (AMP)

I was then reminded of one of my favorite songs, “Give Me Jesus”.  If you know this song, you are probably most familiar with Fernando Ortega’s version of this traditional old hymn.  The song begins with “In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus,” and concludes with “When I come to die, give me Jesus.”  This song is a great reminder of how we should begin and end, not just our lives but each day.  We should begin and end each day seeking Him, while continuing to do so throughout the day.  He has promised that if we seek Him with our whole heart, we will find Him. 

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

I am challenging myself to seek Him first in everything, every day.  I know this won’t be an easy task, but I’m confident it will be a rewarding one.  I would love for you to join me in this challenge, and I would be thrilled if you would share your stories with me.

Keep Swimming

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with to-do lists, appointments, responsibilities, and other obligations?  I know there are days and even weeks I experience this.  I sometimes feel as if I can’t get my head above water, and I struggle to prioritize everything that is calling my name.  There are times I continue for several days on this path before I finally settle myself down and seek God.  Not only seek Him for answers and direction but for rest. 

According to Merriam-Webster.com, one of the definitions of “rest” is peace of mind or spirit.  Additionally, one of the definitions of “at rest” means free from anxieties.  This is the type of rest that I’m referring to.  There is a true rest only God can provide to us.  As mothers, rest is often scarce; however, we should remember that this is a gift God desires to give us.

In Psalm 46:10, God tells us to “Be still and know that I am God,” and Psalm 62:1 tells us that our soul finds rest in God alone.  In Matthew 11:28, Jesus tells us to “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”  In Mark 6:31, Jesus tells His disciples, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 

downloadWhen you feel like you are drowning, I want to encourage you to reach out and take the hand of the One who can walk on water.  He is our quiet place, and He is our rest.  He is our strength to keep swimming.  The storm may not pass swiftly over at that moment, but God’s peace will fill your soul and provide you with the strength to rise above what is pushing you down.

Who Loves You More?

ChildOne day, my Mom shared with me that God had spoken to her when she was praying for me during my wayward years.  She described how God told her as much as she loved me, He loved me so much more.  I am sure God’s purpose for sharing that with my mother was to give her peace about the circumstances she could not control at that time. 

I am very thankful my mom shared that story with me because it has been a great help to me after I became a mother.  Especially in the beginning, when we first brought the boys home from their long stay in the hospital’s NICU, there were many times I was overwhelmed with anxiety and fear.  They seemed so fragile and helpless.  I did not have the nurses and monitors to alert me if something was wrong.  The only choice I had was to trust God with it all.

I began to meditate on what my mom had shared with me.  I thought to myself, if I love them anymore, my heart will burst!  And, God loves them more than that.  I could not even fathom how great His love for them must be. 

When we are filled with fear or anxiety about our children, we must stop and remember the limitless love our Heavenly Father has for them.  As much as we want to protect them and care for them, how much more does He?  I know it is almost impossible to never worry or have concern when our babies are involved – no matter how old they are, but let this knowledge bring you peace.  He has His arms around our children, just like He has his arms around us.  As much as we love them, He loves them an unfathomable amount more.

Dear Lord,

 Thank You for loving us so much that You gave Your only Son to die on the cross.  It is amazing how great Your love for us is!

 Help us to realize the depth of Your love, not only for us but for our precious children.  Remind us of this when we experience fear or anxiety over those we care for.  Give us the wisdom to leave our uncertainties and concerns in Your hands and not be overtaken by fear of the unknown.

 Thank you, Lord, for Your never-ending, unfailing, unmatchable love!

 In Jesus’ name ~ Amen

 

What If?

The other day, I didn’t feel well, and I developed several symptoms that prompted me to visit the walk-in clinic.  After talking with the doctor, she decided to do some blood work.  She told me to get some rest and not to worry.  So, of course, using my “Google doctor degree”, I began researching my symptoms.  Several of the possible diagnoses were quite scary, which prompted me to do the exact thing she had advised me not to do…worry.

Later that evening, I began running several of these possible scenarios through my mind.  At some point, after I had diagnosed myself with a near death sentence, I finally came back to reality.  I had to remind myself I didn’t know what was wrong and all this unnecessary “what if” nonsense was only causing me harm.

 Why do many of us spend time contemplating all the “what ifs” in life?  I know I allow this to happen in my own life, way too often.  Instead of things made up in our minds and planted by the enemy, wouldn’t our time be much better spent pondering the things God has instructed us to think on?

Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

 And, when we have concerns, whether they be about our children or our own selves, God wants us to take them to Him.  Talk it out and pray it out with Him.  Acting out scary scenarios in our minds is not healthy for us and can cause us unnecessary worry, fear, and anxiety.   When faced with these things, you can never go wrong by giving it to the Lord and leaving it there.  There is an old hymn, composed in 1916 by Charles Tindley, titled Leave it There.  I love the chorus of this hymn:

butterfly with rock

Leave it there, leave it there,

Just take your burden to the Lord, oh and leave it there.

If you trust Him through your doubt, He will surely bring you out.

Take your burden to the Lord, leave it there.

I never want my children to develop unhealthy fears or waste their time worrying over things they have no control over.  Since they learn so much from watching and imitating me, it is so important that I be a good example for them and remove these things from my life.  I hope they instead learn how to take their concerns to the Lord and leave them there.  I pray they always let God handle it and wait for His instruction.

By the way, I am okay.  My health issue is something that can be worked through. 

His Grace is Sufficient

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Well, today is the last day of kindergarten for my boys.  I cried on the first day, and I have cried on the last day.  Such a mixed bag of emotions come with being a mom!  On one hand, I am so stinking proud of them I can hardly stand it.  Then, I feel so overwhelmed with emotion because my tiny three pound babies are not babies anymore.  I am excited to see what wonderful little gentlemen they are becoming, but then I miss rocking those tiny babies snuggled on my chest.

I wish I could slow this down for you are growing way too fast!

So, I will try with all my might to create sweet memories that will last.

Watching you experience “firsts” and learning so many new things,

Is at times for me bittersweet ~ for I know you are growing your wings.

I am thankful God chose me to nurture two shining stars.

I will treasure every moment, as I watch you be the miracles you are.

©2017 Christy Moss

 God has given us such a magnificent job to do, but there are times I feel ill equipped and overwhelmed on this roller coaster ride.  During those times, it is imperative I stop and sit at Jesus’ feet, if only for a moment.  It is then, I must remind myself to be a Mary and not a Martha. 

 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)

This helps me concentrate on Jesus first, and remember I am never alone or without help on this journey.  In everything we face as mothers, God’s grace is sufficient for us.  It is in Him we find our peace.  It is in Him we find our strength.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

II Corinthians 12:9

Memory Box

My babies are graduating from kindergarten in a few days, and I can hardly believe it!  Where has the time gone?  I wanted to create something for each of them to keep and hopefully treasure when they get older (or at least maybe their wives will).  After a fun shopping trip to Hobby Lobby, these are my creations.

It was very easy and inexpensive.  I purchased storage boxes and fun school related stickers.  After decorating the boxes, I sifted through numerous school papers, art projects, certificates, awards, and other items I felt should be “keepers” and added them to the boxes.  I also reviewed the pictures we’ve taken for different milestones and events during this school year and created a small photo album for each of them.  I added a little book with a special note inside for each of them too.

In their graduation invitations to family, I asked everyone to hand write a letter to each of the boys.  I explained to everyone these letters would not be opened now, but instead put away in a “time capsule” for the boys to open when they graduate from high school.  I certainly hope everyone who joins us at this current graduation will be present at the next, but if they aren’t, the boys will each have a wonderful treasure from those who are missing.

Each of the boys already have a little heart shaped box containing a few of their birth items (footprints, hospital bracelets, preemie hats, etc.), and they love to get those out and go through them.  I have always kept a box of memories I enjoy reminiscing over from time to time, especially letters and cards from those I love.  The ones from my grandparents are especially dear to me, because I no longer have them here to talk to.

I hope when the boys are grown, they will treasure their memory boxes and letters from their family, while reliving fond memories of fun times and those they love.