1 Way to Draw Near to God this Fall

Psalm 139

This weekend I walked in the damp Pennsylvania woods while the wind rustled the branches and the leaves surrendered drops of captive rainwater. Tink, shh, woo, tink. Maple, dogwood, oak, and beach, all letting go of their holdings, adding to the colorful canvas on the floor of the woods. I drew near to God who created these trees as I stared in silence.

More than 25 years ago I wandered these woods—lost and searching, not knowing what my heart ached and grasped for. The golden hues of the Maple tree whispered something of majesty and I wondered, “Does God exist? And if He does, I want to know Him.”

Looking back over more than two decades of following Jesus, I see times when I simply just lived. Rushing from one “important” thing to the next—barely breathing, let alone wondering at the hue of the golden maple—or leaning in to recognize God’s whisper through the rustling of the leaves.

Are you rushing this Fall? Here is one simple thing we can do to draw closer to God.

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One Source for Powerful Parenting

Get This 1 Thing Right and Everything Changes

My Instagram feed splashes images of quick quotes and inspirational verses intended to remind me of living for Jesus. But this week they seemed to skim my soul rather than refresh it. There is something deeper needed for powerful living than quick tips— the same thing is needed for powerful parenting.

What do we need for powerful parenting?

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How to Find Strength When You’re Weary

Reflection from Isaiah 40

We all grow weary in life—when the days seem blended together in a stale soup. We read our Bibles but the words taste bland and watered down.

Where’s the power?

We are just tired. Very tired. Sometimes even depressed.

When we feel like we are wandering the wilderness with an unknown end, fighting against laundry piles of bitterness, fear, anger, or depression how can we find strength?

Isaiah 40 reminds us of a simple way to find strength when we are weary.

Strength When You're Weary

Photo by Meiying Ng on Unsplash

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This week I really messed up and starting sinking in my sin. I acted selfishly and allowed fear to control my thoughts and how I treated my family. When the conviction came, I drowned in shame and guilt.

I wanted to swim away from the Lord—how to face the God I love with my sin-stained failures? Yet as I twisted through the waves of accusation, He pulled the current toward Himself.

Do you ever feel a conviction about your less-than-lovely thoughts or actions? 

God’s love is ready to help you up when your sinking in sin.


To READ this week’s post, click here.

2 Truths About God’s Love When You’re Sinking in Sin

A Sinners Loving Reminder

This week I really messed up in my sin. I acted selfishly and allowed fear to control my thoughts and how I treated my family. When the conviction came, I drowned in shame and guilt.

I wanted to swim away from the Lord—how to face the God I love with my sin-stained failures? Yet as I twisted through the waves of accusation, He pulled the current toward Himself.

Do you ever feel a conviction about your less-than-lovely thoughts or actions? (more…)

Helping The World’s Needs When There Are a World of Needs at Your Feet

How can we help when we can't go or give the way we want?

I open my news scroll to grab highlights as I sip my morning coffee. Flooding. Fires. Earthquakes. Wars. Political shambles. So, is Jesus coming back yet, or what?

My heart stirs with the desire to help—to jump in our mini van and go! Sort donated diapers, serve hot soup, pray with people, share the gospel with the hopeless—something.

Yet here I am—placed by Jesus to be present where I am—training hearts of my two boys and tending to the needs of my baby girl. Sometimes life just seems off kilter. When there is urgent need for serious help, here I am teaching boys how to negotiate with one another over sharing a hot wheel.

When we want to help, but are out of reach, what can we do?

Helping the World

photo thanks to cnn.com

1) Pray.

Prayer is the go-to, the first-response, the on-the-scene help. The supernatural power of prayer is more than we even comprehend. And the amazing thing? We can pray thousands of miles away and the outcome of our prayers physically touch people where our hands can never reach.

And if you don’t know what to pray, just start with honesty. “God, I want to pray for all those hurting right now, but I don’t even know what to pray. Spirit, please help me have ideas of how to pray.”

Then wait. Listen. Then pray what comes to mind. There is no wrong way to pray as long as we are sharing our hearts with the Father.

2) Research.

Who is helping in hands-on ways? What churches or organizations are meeting needs you wish you could meet yourself? Is there any way they can use your help? As you research, pray for each person or organization you learn about. Remember, prayer is powerful and effective.

3) Ask God,

“Is there something you want me to do?” The needs in the world are more than any one of us can tend to, but God is the Great Shepherd. He is at work in the world in more ways than we can ever comprehend and he has something we can all do to serve beyond ourselves. We may not be able to help everyone, but we can do our part.

4) Obey.

What is it that you think God wants you to do to help? Is there anyone you need to talk to before you act (like a spouse or other family members)?

Then do your part. It may be small or large, but it is whatever part God has for you.

Sometimes obeying God makes us look responsible more than heroic. But it is glorifying to God just the same.

Instead of me abandoning my responsibilities, I’m praying. And our family is giving our best where we believe God is leading us.

Recap

So, we may not be able to scrap going to work and the kids’ school to help strip homes muddied from flooding, but we can:

1) Pray.

2) Research.

3) Ask God.

4) Obey.

May the Father be glorified by our willingness to serve Him in the way He leads.

PRAY

God, there is so much going on right now in our world. The needs seem to topple us over even before we reach out to help. Please, oh God, be merciful and protect people in the fires and storms. Please, oh God, settle my heart and lead me in how to pray and how to help. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

RESPOND

Question:Do you know of anyone we can pray for affected by the fires and storms and floods? Please share their names. To leave a comment, just click here.

One Main Ingredient For Soul Nourishment

When your emotional pantry needs stocked

Mom was not known for her domestic prowess, but with all the Martha Stewart she could mimic, she mixed the ingredients according to the handwritten note—slid the bread pan into the oven—and we played cards.

She checked the bread. Hmm… the bread’s not puffing up. Well, maybe it needs just a little more time to cookmaybe more…or more?

She finally pulled out the bread pan to reveal a burnt unidentifiable mass.

We threw out the bread—and the pan.

Turns out, Grandma’s list was missing flour—’cause she knew how much she started with when baking a loaf.

Sometimes one simple ingredient can change the whole loaf.

Same is true in life. But what ingredient are we missing?

Ingredient of praise

Photo courtesy of unsplash.

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How to Follow Jesus When Critics Are Loud and the Way Ahead Is Unsure

Sometimes Jesus-Following Isn't So Simple

Sometimes Jesus-following looks crazy—like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute kind of crazy. Our loved ones shout, “Don’t do it!” or “Come this way for safety,” but you think Jesus is telling you to jump in obedience towards a new job, ministry, location or relationship—or is He?

When following Jesus looks crazy, but the road seems unsure, who do we listen to? How can we know for sure which way to go? Jump off? Climb down? Or not leave the comfort of the solid-footing at all?

This week’s video encouragement from Mark Chapter 3 explores making cumbersome decisions in following Jesus when we have competing voices telling us what to do—sometimes competing voices even within ourselves.

God bless you mamas. I pray you have a non-cumbersome week following Jesus in motherhood and beyond.

-Seana

 

 

 

How to Have Strength for the Clamor of Needs in Our World

When it seems too much to process or handle

Mamas, this week is a heart-burdened week. I am burdened for our nation, for our children who are growing up in a time of hatred and violence—with wars and rumors of wars—with moral decay being celebrated. Just with it all. My heart is burdened with all the news filling my feed and the needs of those at my feet.

How about you?

Do you have more than you feel you can process or handle? A heart and mind filled with random thoughts of packing school lunches and senseless deaths of people in Charlottesville and Spain—and ISIS and…? — All before you have had time to finish your first cup of coffee?

This week’s video encouragement is for us. Jesus teaches us something necessary for our souls in this crazy time of life from Mark Chapter 1.

Listen closely and drink in some spiritual espresso for your week.

Praying for you, Mama.

Seana

 

How to Embrace God’s Grace When You Feel Burnt

Burned Dinner and Forgiven Sinner

My Costco marinated salmon with beef flavored Rice-A-Roni seemed simple enough (I know, healthiest meal ever). But as I pulled the salmon out of the oven—with a crying baby grasping my ankle, another kid in time-out and the third screaming from the bathroom for help—I realized the fish had a crispy outside and a raw center. I started seeping tears.

Dinner time was 30 minutes ago and our stomachs and attitudes needed food.

This is motherhood for me. Everyone needing me at once and trying to accomplish a simple task sometimes feels like 10th grade algebra all over again. Why do they put letters and numbers together? So confusing.

I called in hubby for back-up, took care of urgent parenting matters, and then marched back into the kitchen and stood staring at the half burned—half raw salmon, and my pot of rice. “What should we do?” I asked the hubs, who usually cooks because he is amazing like that. “I’ll make something,” he consoles.

Then, I saw it—

feeling burnt

photo: pexels.com

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