Bible Study Tips for the Busy Mom

My children have been passing a nasty cough back and forth for about ten days now and, y’all, I’m about to lose my mind up in here. I begin the day with, “Oh, my poor baby,” and by noon I’m all, “For the love, could you please take that cough somewhere else?” We’re down to only one sick one but I’m sure the number will rise before I even have a chance to post this message.

For this reason, I am doing something I rarely do. I am reposting something I wrote some time ago. It is my most viewed and most shared post. Since I’ve done nothing but administer cough medicine and hold sweaty babies for ten days, now seemed as good a time as any to share it again.

Enjoy.

*****

keep calm

It’s Monday, again. Let’s all pause for a moment of silence.

For a weary mom, a “quiet time” with God often gets lost amid school schedules, doctor’s appointments, work and the sad realization that the toilet hasn’t been cleaned in a week. We are elbow deep in dirty dish water and we are just looking for a little peace in the midst of the chaos of motherhood. Our prayers end up being pleas for energy as a baby cries in the middle of the night. There is a desire to spend time with the Lord mixed with the shame of not knowing how to make the time. If this sounds like you, please know that you are not alone.

Here are 4 Bible study tips for the busy (and exhausted) mom.

~~~~

Embrace your current season.

I remember well the days when I could spend an hour, maybe two, at my kitchen table with my Bible and journal. I could spend uninterrupted moments lost in a Beth Moore Bible study. These days, the most time I have sitting in one place is in the bathroom and, let’s be honest, I’m usually not alone. (Is that TMI? So sorry.)

In-depth studies may not work for you right now. Choose a short devotional that can be read while the kids are eating breakfast. Or, don’t laugh, keep it in a basket in the bathroom. Find five minutes. Then, when you realize you do actually have five minutes, go for ten. You’ll find, if you make the effort, God will help reveal extra time in your day.

Take small bites.

scripture doodle PinEvery January, people begin the read-through-the-Bible in a year thing. There is nothing wrong with this endeavor. I have done it myself. (Okay, who am I kidding? I usually tap out somewhere around Numbers.) But, depending on the season you are currently in, you may not have time or energy to read two and a half chapters every day. And, if you do, you probably won’t get much out of it. Then, guilt sets in. The last thing in the world a tired mama needs is guilt.

Pick a book and read through it slowly. If you only have time to meditate on one verse – then just read one verse. Take that one verse with you throughout the day. You will be surprised at what God will reveal to you.

Doodle your thoughts.

What if you only have time for the scantest of notes before the toddler is finished with her pop tart and demands your attention? Doodle your thoughts. I’m serious. Key phrases, little pictures – you will be amazed at how much fun it is and how meaningful those doodles can be to you.

Learn the power of a Post-It note prayer.

 

Say it with me, “Post-It notes are our friends.” How many times have you told someone you would pray for them? Now, how many times have you actually prayed for that person? Let’s face it, the best of intentions get all tangled up in meal planning, errand running, church activities and life.

Keep a pack of Post-It notes somewhere convenient and use them. Put them on the window over your sink and pray when you wash the dishes. Put them on a mirror. Put them on the monitor of your computer. You will be surprised how often you find yourself praying.

~~~~

Mom Talk

There will come a day when you are back in a position to devote hours to Bible study. But, for now, do not let guilt convince you that the little you feel capable of right now is not even worth it.

Use short devotions instead of long Bible studies. Take small, yet meaningful, bites of Scripture instead of large amounts that leave you overwhelmed. Use the power of the Post-It note prayer.

I promise you – God will meet you where you are right now.

How to be a Party Crasher

photo-1434077471918-4ea96e6e45d5.jpgWhen a Pharisee throws a party, it is an A lister. Only the elite are invited and, conversely, everyone invited considers themselves the elite. One such event takes place in Luke 7:36-50.

During this particular dinner party, Jesus was the guest of honor. There is great irony in that all of the guests felt completely worthy to be there. I imagine them sitting in various places around the room. There was probably some eating and some drinking and some small talking. I can tell you what did not take place because Jesus is quick to point it out.

No one gave him any water to clean his feet (Luke 7:44.)

No one kissed him in greeting (Luke 7:45.)

No one anointed his head with oil (Luke 7:46.)

They all treated him quite casually. They were oblivious to the fact that they stood in the presence of the Messiah. They were standing on holy ground and didn’t even know it because, when a Pharisee throws a party, it’s all about the Pharisee. This becomes obvious when Simon, the Pharisee, opens his mouth.

If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner. – Luke 7:39

All of the invited guests are enjoying themselves when, suddenly, she walks into the room. She was known in that city. One of the gutsiest moves in all of Scripture – right up there with David standing toe to toe with Goliath – was when this woman crossed the threshold of that house. What was she looking for that night?

Forgiveness?

Compassion?

Peace?

Love?

Healing?

vessel

All I know is that, whatever it was, she had come to the right place. Clearly, she had hit rock bottom. She didn’t care about the knowing eyes that watched her walk across the room. She didn’t care about the I know what you’ve done whispers. She didn’t care about the way everyone inched away lest her dress brush against them and defile their garments.

When a Pharisee throws a party, appearances are everything. But when a woman is desperate for something more, the last thing that matters is whether or not she has an appropriate party dress.

For all of their Pharisaical knowledge, she knew what none of those men knew. Something about the way Jesus looked at her – something in the way He didn’t pull away when she came near – she knew who Jesus was and it was more than she could bear. Her tears fell unchecked and no one else in that room mattered.

She bathed Him with her tears.

She covered Him with kisses.

She anointed Him with oil.

She honored Him the way no one else at the party had done. She loved him with everything she had and, whatever she had come looking for, she received it and more.

And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50 (emphasis mine)

When we come to Jesus in humility and faith, we are able to leave in peace. We bring our baggage but we leave with freedom. We come in shame but we leave forgiven. We enter His presence as that woman but we leave as His beloved.

You are loved.❤

*******

Optional Study Notes:

Luke 7:37-38   How desperate are you to be where Jesus is? How lavish is your love for Him?

Luke 7:39    What did Simon see? (a sinner)

Luke 7:44   What did Jesus want him to see? (the woman)

 

 

5 Parenting Tips Parenting Blogs Have Forgotten

motherdaughter

The Internet is full of educated and intelligent people with lots of experience and knowledge related to parenting. There are countless books and blogs offering advice on everything from potty training to SAT taking. It’s wonderful. I can’t even tell you how many times one of my girls will ask me something and I’ll respond with, “Let me google that.” There’s no shame in my parenting game.

There are some things, however, that I feel are overlooked. Important things that my children need to know in order to function as productive citizens in the world. There are people who don’t know these things walking amongst us and, frankly, it’s terrifying.

Here are five things I am insisting that my children learn and implement before leaving my home.

  1. For crying out loud, learn how to merge! I don’t care if it’s on the interstate or in a drive-thru, learning this early in life will serve you well. If you are the one merging then you should, well, merge. You do not stop and hope somebody will allow you the honor of driving on the same road as them. At some point, you will be in a position where someone else needs to merge. Pay close attention because this is where it gets tricky. You let them merge! You don’t speed up, give them the stink eye, or blow your horn.
  2. What can I do to help? Whether it’s helping a sibling with a chore, a grandparent with a project, or me in the kitchen, my children are taught to always ask one question. Seriously, they probably say it in their sleep. What can I do to help? Is someone working on something and your hands are idle? What can I do to help? Does someone look overwhelmed? What can I do to help?  Is company coming and mama is running around like a crazy woman? What can I do to help? I could, of course, give them specific tasks to perform. But I want them to recognize a need and have a desire to be a part of the solution.
  3. Don’t be that person. This is another one that my children hear pretty much all of the time. Apart from love Jesus and always sleep in a bra during a nighttime storm in case the roof comes off your house and you have to run for your life, the instruction they hear most is: don’t be that person. When the light turns green and, before I can even blink, the guy behind me blows his horn – don’t be that person. When I’m standing in the crosswalk with five children and a buggy full of groceries and a car refuses to stop and let me cross – don’t be that person. When someone is unkind, ungracious or impatient – don’t be that person. When someone is selfish, greedy or unforgiving – don’t be that person. Trust me, if you implement this one, you’ll find PLENTY of opportunities to use it.
  4. Never miss an opportunity to use the restroom.  There really isn’t much need to expound on this one. Stopping somewhere for coffee? Use the restroom. Leaving work and heading home? Use the restroom. In a waiting room somewhere? Use the restroom. Of all the potential regrets in life, one of the worst is: I wish I had used the restroom back there. Teach them while they’re young my friends. Don’t let it be your kid peeing on the side of the road during a traffic jam.
  5. Hang out with senior adults every chance you get. Seniors have been there, done that, and already forgot about it. They’re a wealth of wisdom and encouragement. They are proof that this too really shall pass and that there is life after whatever trial you are currently facing. Whatever you are struggling with, there is an older person who has been through it already. They have more patience with your children than you do and they lack all of the drama you find on Facebook. They are comfortable in their own skin. They are one of God’s most unrecognized blessings. They are a safe place. If you don’t, at every stage of life, have a friend significantly older than you – you are just missing out.

Happy parenting, folks. You are loved.❤

 

When You Feel Like a Tychicus in a World full of Pauls

We live in a world where everyone wants to make it big. There are singers who sign up for a talent show, get the most votes and are hurled into stardom. Let’s just say they didn’t live out the songs that they wrote (shout out to Hank, jr.) Folks can become “internet famous” simply by being outspoken or opinionated. Everyone wants to be the star.

Please don’t read bitterness into these words. I have enjoyed some of the singers and I read some of the bloggers and it’s all good. But do you know what else is also good? The person who serves faithfully behind the scenes. The ones who get the job done day after day. For every one person in the spotlight, there are a dozen working in the shadows and they probably feel anonymous.

dishes.jpg

As I sit here with the dishwasher humming, the clothes dryer turning and an endless list of mundane things that still need to be done, I’m thinking of one person in Scripture that you’ve probably never heard of before. Let’s just say that, if someone asked for your favorite Bible character, you probably aren’t going to say Tychicus.

I was reading in 2 Timothy and one tiny verse stood out to me.

“Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.” 2 Timothy 4:12

Just a simple statement but it made me wonder. For all the times that I have read Paul’s letters, knowing full well he was in prison when he wrote them, I’ve never really given a thought to the person who delivered them. Tychicus didn’t do what he did for the glory. Do you know how I know? Paul’s name is mentioned over 190 times. Tychicus? Well, depending on what translation you use, his name shows up about 5 times. The only thing ever mentioned about Tychicus is that he was delivering a message for Paul to other believers.

If we listen to the world, we may begin to feel discouraged. It’s easy to think that, just maybe, the letter writer is more important than the letter carrier. Perhaps, that mom out there with her latte and her own Youtube channel is doing more for the world than you are with your Folgers and the Disney Jr. channel.

laundry.jpg

What you do matters. Just like Paul knew that he could trust Tychicus to get the job done, God gave you a job and He trusts you to get it done. He trusts you to rock the new baby in the wee hours of the morning, to go to the therapy appointments, to fight tirelessly for what your child needs, to be the boo boo kisser, the breadwinner or the grilled cheese maker. It all matters!

Paul sent Tychicus because he knew he would go and that he could be trusted with Paul’s precious messages. You and I have been called to be mothers because God knew that we would go to the ends of the earth if needed and that we could be trusted with God’s precious gifts.

You don’t need to be famous; just be faithful. Don’t try to be a star; just be a servant. At the end of the day, if the only person who knows your name is the God who breathed the stars into place, that’s more than alright.

But now, God’s Message,

   the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,

   the One who got you started, Israel:

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.

   I’ve called your name. You’re mine.” Isaiah 43:1 The Message

You are loved.❤

Stacy

When You’re Waiting on God to Breathe

graves.jpg

Is there anything in your life that you would say is dead? A dream, perhaps? Hope, a relationship, a secret desire? Maybe, it’s not dead yet but you feel it slipping away and it terrifies you. Have you found yourself pleading with God for a different outcome than the one you see coming?

And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, for he had an only daghter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. Luke 8:41-42

I’ve read Jairus’ story countless times. Honestly, I usually skimmed over him as he seemed to just be an extra in one of my favorite stories – the woman with the issue of blood. This time, however, something stood out to be that I had never noticed before and it got me to thinking.

Immediately following this heart-wrenching scene with Jairus, Jesus encounters the woman with the issue of blood. She receives her healing and has this tender moment with Jesus and, all the while, Jairus is there in the crowd.

crowd.jpg

What was he thinking? He had begged Jesus for help and Jesus is stopping to speak to a woman who had only wanted to disappear into the crowd. Did he want to scream, “What about me?! What about my daughter?!”

Have you ever wondered, “Lord, what about me?” Have you ever felt like a desperate soul just lost in the crowd?

Then, while Jesus is still speaking to the woman, someone whispers in Jairus’ ear.

“Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” Luke 8:49

And this, my friends, is the part that jumped off of the page. How many times has the enemy tried to tell you that something is dead, hopeless, beyond repair or not worth the fight? Have you been tempted to think that, perhaps, you just shouldn’t trouble God with that thing anymore? I don’t know what that thing might be for you but there is something I do know. Whatever it is that the enemy is declaring dead – don’t believe it.

church

You have a God who breathes on dead things and causes them to live again.

And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. Ezekiel 37:13

You have a God who calls dead men from their graves with just a word.

Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” John 11:43

You have a God who walked out of the tomb Himself!

Nothing is so dead that God’s breath can’t resurrect it. No hope or dream is so buried that it can’t be called forth with just a word. What I’m saying to you is that the enemy is a liar.

When Satan says that it’s dead, you just wait for your God to breathe. When Satan says to walk away, you just listen for your God to call.

Our God is still in the resurrection business, dear friend. Don’t give up.

You are loved.❤