By: Max Lucado

Motherhood is a Special Task

QUESTION: More than anything in the world I want to be a good mom to my kids. How can I be the mom God wants me to be?

ANSWER FROM MAX: The virgin birth is more, much more, than a Christmas story. It is a picture of how close Christ will come to you, a mom, as you also bring a child into the world.

Imagine yourself in that story found in Luke 1.

God comes to you and says, “I have a special task for you. A child. A special child that I want to entrust to you. Are you willing to raise this one?”

You stammer, take a breath. “This sounds scary.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll be there with you. This child is special to me. He will be a great child.”

You shake your head. “Such an awesome responsibility. I don’t know if I can do it.”

“Nothing is impossible with me.”

You smile. “I am your servant. I’ll do it.”

Do we think only one child received God’s special attention? Sure, only one was his Son, and an angel sent out those special birth announcements, accompanied by an angelic choir singing “Happy Birthday.” Of course God pulled out all the stops for Jesus’ birth.

But children aren’t randomly born to parents. God orchestrates the right children to be born to the right parents.

Being the mom God wants you to be starts with the understanding of how important your job is in God’s eyes. He entrusts you with one of his own children. He chose you out of all the moms in the world for this one child.

Remember, you, too, are highly favored by God himself to receive such a special gift.

By Bill Crowder

In the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, England, the devastation of generations of enslaved men, women, and children is remembered. The price innocent people have paid for the greed of others is horrific—but theirs is not the only cost. Engraved in a wall of the museum is a profound observation made by Frederick Douglass, former slave and crusader for human rights, which reads, “No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.” In the act of dehumanizing others, we dehumanize ourselves.

The apostle Paul put it another way when he wrote, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Paul’s words form a stark reminder to us that our choices have consequences—and that includes how we choose to treat others. When we choose to hate, that hate can return to us in the form of consequences that we can never fully prepare for. We can find ourselves alienated from others, angry with ourselves, and hamstrung in our ability to serve Christ effectively.

Instead, let’s choose “not [to] grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap . . . . As we have opportunity, let us do good to all” (vv.9-10).

Sowing seeds of greed and hatred Reaps corruption, loss, and pain; But if we sow love and kindness, We will reap eternal gain. —Sper

The seeds we sow today determine the kind of fruit we’ll reap tomorrow.

Sunset in the rearview mirror

By Sheryl A. Simons

It was almost dusk as I drove home from work one night, the setting sun on my left. With a slight headache, my thoughts drifted through my day at work at the domestic violence shelter, where we never know from one moment to the next what to expect.

As I drove I thought of my life and all the changes that had come about. I, too, had once been the victim of domestic violence. I was never beaten. I was threatened, yelled at, and had things thrown at me, but I never identified this as abuse. I’d always thought abuse was hitting and physical pain.

The sky was slowly darkening, and the feathery wisps of clouds turned to pretty pastels as I drove along. I continued to keep one eye on the clouds as I watched the road and let my mind wander. I had often tried to reason with my husband. I would say he didn’t need to yell – I could hear what he was trying to say. I just didn’t always agree with him. Did we have to think the same way about everything? Was that what it meant to be submissive? I usually acquiesced. My husband was the head of the household; I was the wife. That was my role. Often I felt put down and betrayed – the butt of my husband’s jokes. But my own husband wouldn’t want to do that, would he? He loved me! I must be the cause of our problems. Soon, it became easier to just agree with my husband, rather than fight. I wanted peace at any cost. I didn’t know the cost was giving up myself. And no one else seemed to notice – no one but me.

My life had begun with so much promise. I’d been a good student. I hadn’t made many of the mistakes my classmates did. I thought I was steady, reliable and a commonsense thinker. So why couldn’t I do anything right in my marriage?

Thankfully, our three children were not the victims of my husband’s violent temper – I was. And as long as that temper was directed at me, it didn’t hurt my children, did it?

My car left the freeway, and I headed in the opposite direction of the beautiful sunset. I hated to leave the florescent sky behind, but my trip must continue. I was headed home.

Home, now, was not with that man. After sixteen years, I left him. Despite much counseling, I could find no way to reconcile our miserable marriage. When we sought the help of pastors and counselors, my husband always made it clear that I was the “bad guy.” But by this time I was convinced that he didn’t love me, and I realized how evil he had been.

My family was devastated by the divorce. No one in our family had ever divorced. It just wasn’t done. My family’s shame was almost worse than the bad marriage. There were secrets about my marriage that even they didn’t know. I tried to explain, but I couldn’t bring myself to relive the details. They didn’t trust me, so I was on my own. I learned to live with that pain as well, but I had never felt so lonely.

Seven years after the divorce, home was now an eighty-year-old farmhouse on a beautiful country road. I was remarried to a peaceful soul like myself, whom I learned I could trust. We worked together on our home – remodeling, landscaping, building. We were constructing more than a house – we were building a new life. My family was more understanding now, and my kids had weathered the rough years after the divorce, much as our farmhouse had weathered the winds of time. They were doing very well. “Staying together for the sake of the children,” simply doesn’t work – it’s a lie. My children now know that everyone deserves respect, even mom.

I’d learned what marriage was really all about. As head of the household, a man was meant to lead, but not bully, push, manipulate, threaten and criticize. My current husband was a gentle shepherd, not a drill sergeant. He was someone who could be respected and honored – a man of character and commitment. Power and control meant nothing to this man. He was committed to “love as Christ loved the Church.”

Not far from home, I climbed a hill and suddenly was stirred out of my reverie. A brilliant sunset, more brilliant than any I’d ever seen, radiated in the rearview mirror. The vibrant oranges and vivid pinks held me spellbound. I rounded a turn at the top of the hill and pulled to the side of the road. With tears streaming down my face, I witnessed God’s awesome creativity at work. I also knew exactly what he was trying to tell me at that very moment. While I was going through those hard times, God knew what I didn’t. He knew that one day I would look back and see his brilliant master plan. God didn’t put me through the abuse, but he used it to create a masterpiece – one I couldn’t see at the time, but only when I looked back on it. I’d weathered the storm, and God was right there with me all the time. I was never alone.

I sat for several moments, drinking in the beauty of the incredible sunset. I eased back on the road and rounded another bend. That sunset was with me all the way home in the rearview mirror – just as God had been.

Source: Chicken Soup for the Soul

The time is coming….

Psalm 7:8-17

The LORD judges the nations.
Declare me righteous, O LORD,
for I am innocent, O Most High! End the evil of those who are wicked,
and defend the righteous.
For you look deep within the mind and heart,
O righteous God. God is my shield,
saving those whose hearts are true and right. God is an honest judge.
He is angry with the wicked every day. If a person does not repent,
God will sharpen his sword;
he will bend and string his bow. He will prepare his deadly weapons
and shoot his flaming arrows. The wicked conceive evil;
they are pregnant with trouble
and give birth to lies. They dig a deep pit to trap others,
then fall into it themselves. The trouble they make for others backfires on them.
The violence they plan falls on their own heads. I will thank the LORD because he is just;
I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

Source of joy and peace

“Open my eyes to the wonderful truths in your law.

I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your laws.

Lord, give me your unfailing love, the salvation that you promised me. Then I will have an answer for those who taunt me,for I trust in your word. Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for my only hope is in your laws. I will keep on obeying your lay forever and forever.

May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word. I know, O Lord, that your decisions are fair; you disciplined me because I needed it. Now let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised me, your servant. Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live, for your law is my delight.

Those who love your law have great peace and do not stumble.”

Psalm 119:18, 30, 41-44, 74-77, 165 NLT

So much more than meets the eye…

The other day I heard that it had been said that the things happening in my life are punishment for bad choices. I have found it interesting over the past couple of years the number of people in my life who are much like the friends that Job had to deal with.  Always looking at the glass half empty.  Their thinking is that if you are experiencing a storm with mountains of hurt, you must be living wrong. 

Sometimes I wonder what Bible those type of thinkers are reading.  I wonder what they are being taught in their churches.  I wonder what dark roads they have experienced.
I was rereading things that have occurred in my life over the past year and am encouraged.  You see, I was scared of 2011 because 2010 had been horrible.  I could not see the “silver lining.”  There just did not seem like there would ever be an end to the heartache and pain.  This past year has not been pain free.  What it has been is an incredible journey where I have experienced God, seen Him provide, watched Him work miracles and been given some amazing friendships.

Last year the song That’s what faith can do was a popular song on the Christian radio stations.  It was a song that each time it played; I prayed that God would allow me to experience Him in such miraculous ways.  Guess what?  He answered my prayer.

For those who say that “my hell” was my own doing, so be it.  To you I say, you are missing the AMAZINGNESS of God. My personal hell has been hard.  Much of it caused by the evil of others but yes, I have fallen along the way too but been picked up by God each time. He has held me close in His arms and healed the broken places. I would not trade a moment of the past few years of my life.  I asked God for the chance to know Him better, to see Him move in my life and allow me the chance to experience miracles and He answered my prayer.  I would NOT change a thing.

For those skeptics, you need to know that before I took my first breath, my story was written.  God has not been surprised by a moment of my life.  He knew how every day of my life would unfold.  It was however, up to me as to how I would respond to each event.  There were times I got lost and could not find Him but He would then reveal Himself in my life in ways that you might now understand.  Those who believe that others who suffer do so at their own doing are missing just what faith can do.  Job was tested.  God allowed Satan to test the faith of Job.  He experienced his own hell but in the end, God blessed Him beyond measure for His faithfulness.

I am learning that people like to talk.  People like to judge.  People like to pick apart the lives of other people missing the flaws in their own life but those people are missing the most important thing in life.  They are missing the opportunity to glorify God through their lives and missing divine opportunities for a huge growth in their faith. 

So here is where I am left standing.  It has been over two months since I have received any form of financial help.  I have been left to provide for every need of five children and myself on my own. I make a little more than minimum wage but do you know what?  We have yet to go hungry.  We have yet to go without water, hot or cold.  We have yet to go without heat and electricity.  I have yet to run out of gas on the side of the rode. I wake every morning with a new outlook on life.  Instead of stressing over the bill that is due in a week, I focus on the day ahead.  I think about the previous days and the ways in which God has provided and am reminded of His faithfulness. We have yet to go without anything. The food, the money, the need is always provided.

I was not sure how Christmas would turn out this year but I knew in my heart there was no need to be anxious.  Up to this point God has provided all we have needed and I knew He would not stop now. Yesterday we experienced one of those miraculous days.  A local church Sunday school class provided bags and bags of groceries.  There were groceries for baking, there was a ham for Christmas day and so so so much more.  Today I came home to find two huge boxes filled with presents at the front door.  Everything is coming together and I am quite certain that this will in fact be the best Christmas my kids and I have ever experienced. 

God is truly with us.  He provides and blesses when we seek and love Him with all of our heart, soul and strength.  God is good!

That’s What Faith Can Do- Kutless

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes
And make a new beginning

Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you’re stronger
Stronger than you know

Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining
I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason
For someone not to try

Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright

Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

He's in Charge

by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Esther 8:9–14

The law of the Medes and Persians couldn’t be changed. The law Haman had written had to stay on the books. But because the heart of the king had been softened by the pleas of Esther, he provided a way by which that law might never come into effect—or would at least be neutralized.

The Jews could protect themselves. In fact, they could do more than that. They could take the lives of anyone who might attack them, including women and children, and they had a right to plunder and take ownership of their possessions. So at least it was an even playing field. The Jews now had their own defense, established of all things, by the Persian law. “The couriers, hastened and impelled by the king’s command, went out, riding on the royal steeds; and the decree was given out at the citadel in Susa” (Esther 8:14).

Amazing! And to think these rights provided for all the Jews were granted by the same man who earlier had virtually sealed their doom.

You may have some person after you. You may have some document, something that’s been written that seems irrevocable—some magazine article, some newspaper article, some transcript, some occupational report, some lawsuit, whatever. Because it’s in writing, it looks so intimidating, so unerasable, so legal. And you’re reading these words, thinking, Yeah, but if you only knew who’s behind that. That’s my whole point here! Who is anybodycompared to the living Lord? I don’t care who’s behind that document. We serve a sovereign God who has yet to go “Ahh!” when He finds anything on this earth. Nothing frightens Him. Nothing causes Him to do a neck jerk. He’s in charge! We live “in the shelter of the Most High.” We “abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). Nothing is too hard for Him! Nothing!

His ways are better

Weeks ago, I posted Target of the Enemy written in reference to a story from the Old Testament.  Over the past seven weeks, I have made my way through the book of Esther.  I have gathered strength and encouragement from the story of a queen who waited in expectation for God’s faithfulness and His timing. 

This is my story now.  I wait with great expectation as to what move God will make next in my life.  He has had me on the most incredible ride over the past two years.  There have been deep valleys and amazing mountaintops.  My faith in Him has grown in insurmountable ways as I have seen Him work through my life and my situation.

There are great things that I have learned throughout my journey.  Things I wish that I could make others in my life understand but this is however, my journey.  

  • I have learned that trusting God to do what I think is best is NOT really trusting God. If I choose to focus my trust on a specific outcome then I am only trying to manipulate God. When I choose not to trust God’s plan, then I in turn interpret each circumstance from my own self centered view point.  That kind of trust only undermines my relationship with God and eventually leads to my doubting of God’s work in my life.  Without that trust I feel threatened and afraid.  Choosing to trust and growing in that trust allows me to walk with Him and know that though something does not turn out my way, that He has something else, something better in mind for me. 
  • Often times there are things, in the moment, that I think I should do or say.  I should not always act immediately upon those things especially when something within my heart is stirring, telling me to wait. When I feel the call to move ahead but feel a sense of hesitation,  I should wait for an “all clear” sign from God before jumping in with both feet. 
  • I have learned that following God, as He makes Himself clear to me is my responsibility not the responsibility of others.  No matter how much others may push or over analyze, God holds me accountable for my choices.  Providing for me is His responsibility. He asks me to do certain things and it is my responsibility to act on those things.  He then in turn provides for my every need even though it may not make sense to the eyes of the world. As I understand those things, I am learning that His words and His ways confirm to me that His ways, are in fact, better. 

As I woke this morning, I was greeted with an excellent reminder from Charles Swindoll.  His morning devotional  ended with the following and for me, this says it all….
Never try to convince me that some situations in this life are absolutely permanent. God can move in the heart of a king. He can move an entire nation. He can bring down the once-impenetrable Iron Curtain. He can change the mind of your stubborn mate. He can move in the affairs of your community. He can alter decisions of presidents, prime ministers, present-day kings, and national dictators. No barrier is too high, no chasm is too wide for Him, because He’s not limited by space or time, by the visible or the invisible. Remember, He lives in a realm that transcends all that. He is all-powerful. When God is ready to move, He moves. And when He does, hang on. You’re in for the ride of your life!

Charles Swindoll

For such a time is this…

Pray with expectation. God is up to something big!!

The Ride of Your Life

by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Esther 7:3–5

Talk about the power of a woman! Can you believe Esther’s diplomacy and sensitivity, even in the midst of pleading for her life and the lives of her people? “If we were only being sold into slavery, I wouldn’t have troubled you with this matter. You have so many important matters to worry about, I wouldn’t have bothered you. But he wants to annihilate us!” Esther beautifully portrays in this moment the character qualities of greatness. Her husband is all ears!

Then King Ahasuerus asked Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who would presume to do thus?” (Esther 7:5).

At this point, I confess that my response might have been something like, “What do you mean, ‘Who is he?’ You were there when Haman proposed this heinous thing. You gave him your seal to sign the edict. What do you mean, ‘Who is he?’ Open your eyes!” Thankfully, I wasn’t there to blow it.

We live in a world of preoccupied people. They, too, live in a fog—the fog of busyness, stress, and obligations. Who knows how many edicts Ahasuerus signed that day? Who knows how many pressing matters of government were on his mind? The king had countless decisions to make. And Haman, a trusted official, had proposed it in such a way that he seemed to be solving a problem that directly affected the good of the kingdom. So the king probably signed it without giving it a great deal of attention, believing that Haman, a man he trusted, knew what he was doing.

Suddenly, however, things changed. Never try to convince me that some situations in this life are absolutely permanent. God can move in the heart of a king. He can move an entire nation. He can bring down the once-impenetrable Iron Curtain. He can change the mind of your stubborn mate. He can move in the affairs of your community. He can alter decisions of presidents, prime ministers, present-day kings, and national dictators. No barrier is too high, no chasm is too wide for Him, because He’s not limited by space or time, by the visible or the invisible. Remember, He lives in a realm that transcends all that. He is all-powerful. When God is ready to move, He moves. And when He does, hang on. You’re in for the ride of your life!


I have a friend who is dealing with great hurt.  I’ve been there.  I know the emptiness, the pain, the disappointment and the sorrow.  I know the questions we throw at God in hopes of some form of relief or answer.  I know the doubts that form in regards to our worth.  I know.

This is for you….


I was regretting the past
And fearing the future…
Suddenly the Lord was speaking:
“MY NAME IS I AM.” He paused.
I waited.  He continued.

“When you live in the past,
with its mistakes and regrets,
 it is hard.
I am not there.
My name is not I was.”

When you live in the future,
its problems and fears,
it is hard.  I am not there.
My name is not I will be.”

When you live in this moment,
it is not hard.
I am here.

Helen Mallicoat

It is so hard to stay in this moment.  When we are hurting we search our past in hopes of an answer.  We look to the future in hopes of a resolution.  Christ said that we cannot do that. He told us not to worry about tomorrow.  He told us not to worry about things that are out of our control. He is our provider.  He supplies our every need out of His unconditional love for us.  There is nothing that we lack.  We may not always see it that way but once our eyes are opened and we walk in faith, we recognize that we have all that we truly need and so much more.

Our hearts deceive.  Our hearts long for things that we may not necessarily need at this moment in time.  When we allow our hearts to long for “things” (whatever that may be for you at the moment) we become “sick”. (Proverbs 13:12)

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Proverbs 13:12

Every woman is familiar with unfulfilled longings that can come in the form of material possessions, attention, another child, etc. We wait and  hope for something that will fill that desire or empitness. No matter how long we wait, we will end up being disappointed, heart sick and in deep despair. When we hit rock bottom, we can even reach a place where we  limit God or settle for less than what He has planned for our life. Either way, we lose. 

How much better off would we be if we chose to trust in God alone to fulfill our every dream? What if we learned to wait patiently on Him and trust His timing instead of demanding our way or giving up? Only God can see the big picture, and only He has the power to fulfill what the heart desires. He is so gracious and longs to show us compassion. His Word says that we are blessed when we wait on Him.

“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!”
Isaiah 30:18

No matter how bleak the situation may feel or truly be, God knows the path. He knows the outcome. He does not always answer our prayers immediately. Sometimes He answers by making us wait so that His plan will spring forth in His perfect time.  We makes us wait in order to grow our faith and allow us to see with our eyes how awesome He truly is.  When we have hope in the Lord, we can trust in His promises and His timing and soar above the feelings of emptiness. This hope can renew our strength, we will be able to run and not grow weary, walk and not feel faint, and we can soar on wings like eagles.

I am praying for you my friend.  God has you on a great journey.  Though it may not feel like it right now, seek Him and one day you will look back and see how His hand moved your life in miraculous ways!  Love you!

“but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint
Isaiah 40:31