Monday Love

A cup of weekly encouragement

A Few of My Favorite Things–Scripture Prayer

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

“It’s not working!” my friend sobbed into the phone. “I prayed in my Moms in Prayer group that my son’s team would win the tournament—and they lost. What am I doing wrong?”

I stood listening to her with a hurting heart. Oh, dear. Somehow, in my zeal to share the joys of answered prayer with this dear one, I must have communicated that whatever she asked would be exactly what God would do, exactly as she asked. Obviously, this is not the case. Too often, we moms are convinced that we know what is best for our children, and, of course, we pray for that very thing. God, in His infinite wisdom, often gives us something better.

Over the years, I’ve come to greatly value that Moms in Prayer involves praying scripture for our children. You see, if my friend’s end goal was for her son to succeed in life, God might have known that true success for this precious son of hers meant learning early on from failures. The joy of praying scripture for our children is that we move away from our own agenda and attach ourselves instead to His agenda—His eternal agenda that our children know Him and draw closer to Him and glorify Him in all they do.

Should we ask God for help in winning tournaments? Yes! It’s more than okay to ask God for specific things—for all our heart’s desires for our children. When we do, though, we have to trust Him that He knows the best way to answer for our child, even when He doesn’t answer the way we’d hoped.

I love the wonderful way that praying scripture means we can be assured that we are praying God’s will, because we are praying God’s own words.

Using scripture when I pray in a Moms in Prayer group …

• helps me praise God by reminding me who He is, attribute by marvelous attribute!

• enables me to pray for the character of my children and grandchildren. I am focused on the most important ways to pray—that their hearts will be right with the living God and that they will fulfill His purposes in their lives.

• reminds me, often, of my own need for character development … ahem. As I pray that my child will “trust in the Lord with all [his] heart” … I realize my own great need to trust Him.

• gives me God’s words to pray for teachers and staff at schools—for salvation, for changed hearts and lives for all eternity as I pray that God will turn them “from darkness to light.”

How easily we can be caught up in the everyday desires of life in an over-abundant culture. Praying scripture keeps me tuned in to what really matters for eternity. Scripture praying has changed the whole direction of my prayers, and my gratitude to Moms in Prayer is boundless for introducing me to this wondrous way to pray.

You are loved,
Sharon

A Few of My Favorite Things—Confidentiality

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

I was on the phone with my college-age daughter, who was sharing something private and hard. Right before we hung up, she said, “Mom. Don’t tell ANYONE.” Then she paused. “Well, except Moms in Prayer. You can tell them.” That moment crystallized in my mind the absolute blessing of my Moms in Prayer friends who truly, year after year, had kept our confidentiality rule perfectly. It’s at the bottom of every prayer sheet: Remember, what is prayed in the group, stays in the group! We all knew that when a mom’s prayers were private … they would STAY that way.

One year our group received a note from a teacher at our Christian school: “Would you please pray that God would give me a husband this year?” Now that was fun! We rolled up our sleeves and asked repeatedly that this hopeful, 30-something, single teacher would find a godly husband. We never breathed a word about her request. Within the next year, she was engaged and then married the year after that. We high-fived each other and felt secretly responsible for the whole thing after bringing it to God’s attention so often. Ha! Seriously, we knew He did the work. But, oh, it was fun to be in on the secret longings of this dear woman’s heart and then to see God’s good plan unfold!

Our ministry stresses confidentiality. It’s taught to every leader when she is trained. It’s a huge part of who we are and why our prayer groups are safe places. Here are a few reasons why Moms in Prayer confidentiality is one of my favorite things.

• Confidentiality means I don’t have to stay at a surface level in my prayers. If I’ve been a rotten mother, yelling more than listening, I can pray that my child will be able to forgive me and know how much I truly love her—and pray with confidence that no one is going to gossip later about my lack of self-control.

• Confidentiality means we are safe to weep and cry out for the hearts and lives of our children, regardless of what they have done or how far they have strayed.

• Confidentiality brings an amazing closeness to the women in my group—we have felt each other’s heart cries as our own. I’m actually closer to women that I’ve prayed with for a year or two than I am to some I’ve known for twenty years because of the open and honest sharing that occurs as we pray for our beloveds.

• Confidentiality can actually make your child feel safe enough to share hard things, knowing there is a group of mama’s out there who truly, truly love her enough to pray for her very best without judging.

• Confidentiality means we will be a loving support for our child’s school and never a source of gossip.

Oh, heavenly Father, help each one of us who prays in a Moms in Prayer group to safely guard every private voiced need. Help us to love each other’s children and grandchildren without condemnation, longing for each of them simply to know You better and love You more! In Jesus’ Mighty Name, Amen.

You are loved,
Sharon

A Few of My Favorite Things – One Accord Prayer

All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers. Acts 1:14 (ESV)

I stood beside a dear friend of mine at a conference recently with hands lifted high in worship to the King of kings and wept with joy. Our hearts were one as we praised God with the hundreds of women around us. It took my breath away, standing there. To be united in a common purpose and a common love is definitely one of my favorite things!

Strong’s Concordance gives us the Greek root word and definition for “one accord”—Homothumadon: “with one mind, unanimously, at the same time.” There is something so unifying and powerful about doing a task in “one accord.” This is especially true in prayer. Praying in one accord with Moms in Prayer women has been priceless to me.

I’ve learned that praying with another means sharing the prayer. I am quite extroverted and verbal and could easily take all the air space praying on and on and on. One accord prayer has taught me to pray with others as a team, each participant an integral part of the praying. Short prayers mean more prayer because more people are involved together. One accord prayer is not selfish, taking all the allotted time to just say what’s on my heart. It’s inclusive, wanting and needing others to come alongside and pray with me. Sharing is good.

I’ve found that when we stick to one subject at a time, as a group, that subject is thoroughly covered in prayer. Each participant contributes as the Holy Spirit leads. When we skip around, praying for many diverse topics one after the other, we lose the ability to go deep with a prayer request, covering every aspect of it in detail. How much more powerful it is to unite in prayer for one request at a time until that one request has been brought to the Lord in every facet and detail.

I’ve discovered that praying with others enriches the whole prayer time, because each woman brings to the prayer her listening heart verbalized. God speaks uniquely and personally to each one of us and the literal concert of prayer that results from sharing the conversation with God is breathtaking in its harmonies and nuances. I can’t do that alone.

I’ve experienced God’s power through one accord prayer that is undeniable. I’ve felt the awe of crying out in a group for a lost one … a hurt one … a far-away one … and God’s power is manifested in the intensity of praying together for that precious sheep of His. There is nothing like it.

We were meant to walk together in the Christian life. Most references to prayer in the Bible are about corporate prayer. Praying with others keeps me more focused than praying alone. I am strengthened when I hear the faith of another manifested through prayer. God gives us a sense of belonging and teamwork and “family” when we humble ourselves and share the prayer. How thankful I am to have learned this powerful way of praying through Moms in Prayer. It’s one of my very favorite things.

You are loved,
Sharon

The “Looks Good” Trap

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6 (NIV)

At first I actually liked the vine that found its way into our backyard. I looked out one spring morning
and our wooded area had been transformed into a white bower of flowers and loveliness. I was amazed and impressed by the display this vine put on for me. Foolishly … I left that vine alone. By fall, I realized it had insidiously wrapped itself tightly around tree after tree. Young saplings looked weak and some branches had no leaves at all thanks to this
vine. It was everywhere. It poked itself up out of the ground yards away from where it had burrowed in. I was overwhelmed.

Isn’t that just like so many evil temptations around us? No one would willingly walk into a death trap, but how many are lured by promises of “good feelings” from drugs? At first, the “looks good” trap attracts them, but later they are overwhelmed and overrun by the very thing that initially looked so good. Countless children and young adults fall for traps in our culture that will ultimately harm them and take over their lives. Trust me. It’s easier to clip back one vine than it is to eradicate a forest of vines!

This deceptive culture of ours … that promises “good” from evil … is one of many reasons moms gather to pray. We fight this battle together—one evil vine at a time—united in our desire for our children to know true Good and not be deceived by what only looks good.

We pray for them to turn to God for guidance, not trusting in their own wisdom: Lord, may our children trust in You with all their hearts and not lean on their own understanding! (from Proverbs 3:5)

We pray that they will be aware of a very real enemy who tries to deceive them: Father, help our children stay alert and watch out for their great enemy the devil who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (from 1 Peter 5:8)

We ask God to help them delight in what is good and wholesome: Lord, help our children think about whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—may they think about these things. (from Philippians 4:8)

When they succumb to evil that looks good, we ask God to bring them back: Lord, you say in your Word that You, Yourself, will search for Your sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so seek out our lost children and rescue them from all the places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. (from Ezekiel 34:11-12)

No matter how dark it seems, when we pray together, we gain strength and faith to keep going—like Abraham who, against all hope … in hope believed. (from Romans 4:18) I thank God for the army of praying moms around the world who will not give up, will not quit, will not lose hope, will pray for the next generation to know the living God who loves them, and who will stand firm in that faith until Jesus returns.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV 1984)

You are loved,
Sharon

Noticing the Little Miracles

Answer me, LORD, out of the goodness of your love;
in your great mercy turn to me. Psalm 69:16 (NIV)

Sometimes you just have to record a “little miracle” from God—so you don’t forget the “goodness of [His] love” as the verse above declares. This past weekend, I had the great joy of speaking at a retreat. The conference and camp center was located on a lake in a fairly remote patch of woods in western New Hampshire. Armed with directions and worship CDs for the journey, I set off quite happily. All went well until I arrived in the little town where I knew the camp was located … except I couldn’t find a lake or a camp anywhere. In vain, I searched for the street I was to take, tried my GPS and discovered … no signal. As I wandered about, zigged and zagged a bit, I found myself on a narrow little street and to my right was a covered bridge. The sight of it was so pretty and New England-ish and old-fashioned that I decided to drive across. And then I prayed, “What now, Lord?”

Before I had a chance to even start to think about worrying, I looked to my right and … there it was—out of nowhere—a fire station. Right there. I pulled in, hoping in such a small town someone would be there. Yes! An actual fireman there and available to show me on his big map exactly where to find the lake and conference center. He also explained that the names of the roads had been changed about five months before … thus making it well nigh impossible for me to find the street I needed because it had been renamed!

Off I went, praising my God, who popped a fire station in my path complete with fireman exactly when I needed it! King David, the writer of many psalms, also knew to ask God when he was in need: “Answer me, LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me.” He knew God is good. He knew God shows mercy. He dared to ask, and His God answered him time and time again.

In our Moms in Prayer groups, we have learned to ask. We have learned that our God is indeed full of love and mercy and goodness and delights in hearing the requests of His children! Each week we gather and we ask.

At the end of each school year in my Grandmas in Prayer group, we rehearse His goodness. I type up all the beautiful answers to prayer He has blessed us with during the year. We read them out loud and then thank Him all over again for all the times He, in His mercy, has said YES when we asked. It’s a glorious way to end the year.

Let’s not forget the big and little miracles God sends when we ask! I don’t want to forget the happy amazement I felt as I wandered about lost and then was led by my good God to that fire station complete with fireman on duty! And now … because I wrote it down … I won’t.

You are loved,
Sharon

To Moms of Children Who Have Walked Away

Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the LORD and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back … Jeremiah 31:16-17 (ESV)

Dear Mom of a Wanderer,

I know what you are thinking, because I once thought this at a different season in my life, “I tried so hard to raise them right.” “I have failed as a mother, and it’s all my fault.” Your enemy, the accuser, loves to condemn and blame and lie to you when you have a child who wanders from the faith. If you listen to him and buy into his lies, you will cease to serve God actively, cease to pray with hope, and become his victim along with your child. During a time of intense grief as a parent, God brought me to the book of Jeremiah. He reminded me that His children caused Him problems, too. Read these words and feel assured that God gets what you are going through. He knows all about the grief you feel when your child walks away:

“I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?” Jeremiah 2:21 (NIV)

“But I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.” Jeremiah 7:23-24 (NIV)

“Yet my people have forgotten me; they burn incense to worthless idols, which made them stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths. They made them walk in byways and on roads not built up.” Jeremiah 18:15 (NIV)

Do you hear God’s anguish? He labored long and hard over his people out of his deep love for them and yet … they walked away. This was not God’s fault. He is perfect, without failing or blemish or error. And yet … they still walked away. You can be a perfect parent and have kids who walk away. Stop and ponder that for a moment.

Are you and I perfect? No. What should we do about that? Confess what is genuinely sin: pride, selfishness, anger, rage … and then believe that we are forgiven and move on. Dear grieving mom, do not stay in that quagmire of condemnation. You don’t belong there. Jesus died and paid the penalty for that sin so you would be free. Be free. Your self-condemnation will not bring your child back. In fact, it might push your loved one further away. Be free.

Please know that you are still useful to the King of kings. Do not become a second victim of the enemy. Fulfill God’s plans for you anyway. Please Him while you wait for your prodigal’s return. Pray with hope. Serve God with joy. Love that wanderer as God has loved you in the past when you wandered. Stay in your Moms in Prayer group, where others can pray on your behalf when you are weary with grief for your own dear lost one. As you pray and battle together in your group, you will find new strength to hope and love and wait and serve. Remember you have a God who knows all about the pain you are feeling, and it is His desire to rescue the lost and bring them back from the land of the enemy. Rest in that today.

You are loved,
Sharon

Sharing the Hurts

And if one member suffers, all the parts share the suffering; if one member is honored, all rejoice with it. 1 Corinthians 12:26 (AMP)

It was early April last year. My father-in-law, an amputee confined to a wheelchair, had just moved in with us. He had been feeling poorly for a few days, but on this particular Monday evening, he was clearly Not Okay. He was shaking violently and complained that his head felt “fuzzy.” My Grandmas in Prayer group was due to arrive in about twenty minutes. I called 911 and the ambulance arrived. My focus, of course, was on Dad Gamble, who (it turned out) had an infection that had spread and become septic.

Meanwhile, my precious Moms in Prayer grandmothers were arriving. One of them came back to Dad’s room to see what was wrong. I let her know we were taking Dad to the hospital and asked her to stay long enough to let the others know there would be no group meeting that night. She hugged me and hurried back outside so the EMTs could continue assessing Dad.

True to her word, my friend let every arriving grandma know what was happening and why the ambulance was there. However … no one left. Instead, my precious group formed a circle at the side of our road, holding hands and praying for us. As more grandmothers arrived, they simply joined the prayer circle. Early April in New Hampshire is not warm. Actually, it was drizzling rain. And still they stood and prayed, heads bowed, hearts hurting for us.

This is Christian love at its best. Sisters in Christ choosing to serve through prayer in an uncomfortable environment because of their deep love for another. They prayed until the ambulance left, then hugged me as Ray and I hopped in our car to follow. Anyone in a Moms in Prayer group knows this: when you pray with another, you love them. It’s that simple. I was mightily loved by my group that night.

There was another outcome from that impromptu prayer meeting in the street that night. My neighbor witnessed this act of kindness. Her little granddaughter brought it to her attention, “Grandma, those women … what are they doing? I want to put my head down and fold my hands for Mr. Gamble, too.” So … not only did my Moms in Prayer sisters pray for me and mine, they were a beautiful witness to the love of Christ that those of us who know Him share.

As Dad Gamble is again weak from another hospital stay … I was remembering a year ago, when my group prayed. And here he is today, still gifted with that year of hearing the gospel and living well in our home. How I thank God for the praying sisterhood in Moms in Prayer!

You are loved,
Sharon

P.S. Just a friendly reminder that our Moms in Prayer hour is devoted to prayer for children and schools. Normally, my father-in-law is not prayed for on Monday nights! Yet, on this special night, as they prayed for him, God enabled them to touch a little child who learned how to “put my head down and fold my hands.”

Definitely Not in Charge Here …

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

With eager step and perky wag of tail, our puppy Bella raced directly into the vet’s office, nonchalantly passing the sitting area. Oh dear, little doggie, I thought. If you only knew you were about to have an operation and stay in a crate overnight all by yourself in this strange place, your eagerness might just swiftly disappear! But she didn’t know, and by the time she realized it, she was too sleepy to be anxious. Bella has very little control over her life. If we decide she needs an operation so as not to reproduce, she has to go along with us. If we decide she needs to go outside or eat a certain dog food … well … we win. It’s that simple. Does Bella fight us on all this? Not really. She seems to understand and accept that she is, after all, our dog. We are in charge and we take good care of her, so she happily munches our choice of dog food and waits for us to take her outside, regardless of her own preferences. She knows we love her—and she loves us.

Right now, I feel a bit like Bella—no control over my life. Earlier this year, I came down with a nasty bug and it cost me a long-planned trip to California that I dearly wanted to make. Now, my elderly father-in-law is seriously ill. In the hospital. We don’t know when he will be released or if he will be. He lives with us, so that makes it difficult to plan our lives at the moment. Unlike Bella, I wrestle to accept what I can’t control. I wanted to go on that trip and complete cancellation was hard to accept. I want to know if my dear father-in-law will get better … or not … exactly when will he need our at-home care again… how much home care? Will we be able to leave him alone? Trying to predict the future, trying to control the uncontrollable … it’s exhausting and most unprofitable.

We serve a Sovereign God. He is good. Kind. Just. Merciful. And He is definitely in charge. I have to remind myself often that, after all, I am His. I willingly gave myself over to Him and His will and His wishes for my life. Like Bella receives from us, I must receive what comes from His hand—and trust Him that He knows what is best. We chose surgery for Bella because we believe, in the long run, that is best for her. How much more should I trust my heavenly Father that the hard things He allows will work together for good in the long run?

Father, help me to trust You in the hard places. I know that You are in charge, and You truly do know best! Give me a happy heart simply because I belong to You who love me, regardless of whether things go my way or not. I yield, Lord, to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

You are loved,
Sharon

No Need to Hide

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:16-18 (NIV)

“That’s it,” I growled. I stood up from my desk and marched toward the living room where my ten-pound puppy was barking out the window, probably standing on the back of the couch where she clearly did not belong. “NO barking!” I barked. When I arrived in the living room … there was no puppy in sight. Where on earth had she gone? After a brief search, I found her hiding under the dining room table, making not one sound. Oh, little puppy, how like you we humans are!

The very first humans hid once they realized they’d committed the very first sin: “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8, NIV) But of course, they could not hide from God. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13. NIV) God sees it all. We can’t hide from Him, much as we think we would like to at times. Instinctively, we cringe and hide when we have done wrong. Just like my puppy.

Yet, the good news is that there is no need to hide! We can “rely on the love God has for us” as John says. He forgives. He paid the price so that the wrath we fear fell on Him and not on us. Confession time in Moms in Prayer enables us to come out of hiding and trust the Lord to uncover what needs to be uncovered so that we can confess sin and be forgiven, freed from condemnation and shame—and freed to pray with power and righteousness for the lives of our children. What a blessing it is to pray in a Moms in Prayer group! Each of our four steps enables us to intercede with power, and each step teaches us more about our God. Confession teaches me to come to Him, step out of hiding, and trust His love and forgiveness. … And, by the way, my puppy was forgiven as well. I can’t stay mad at that little cutie.

You are loved,
Sharon

Meeting God in the Morning

In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3 (NIV)

I remember a time when I was a young mom with two little girls under the age of two. My husband Ray was in graduate school completing a Master’s degree while taking classwork for his PhD at the same time. I frequently felt like a single parent. We were part of a church plant—starting a brand new church in a new community where I knew very few people. The pastor’s wife encouraged me to begin each day with a quiet time. I’d never been as consistent at this as I wanted to be, but seriously? I had an infant and a 15-month-old and my husband was mostly gone. We had two big dogs that needed to be cared for and, and, and …. From a human standpoint, it seemed like an impossibility to carve out more time in my day. Yet … what better time to start a daily quiet time than when I felt so alone and isolated?

The pastor’s wife had challenged me to spend just ten minutes in the Word … every day … for 21 days. She promised me a lunch out as my reward. (I love lunch out!) It wasn’t easy. I had to put dirty dishes and thoughts of “but I need to at least take a shower and get dressed” out of my mind. Instead, I promised God the first available minutes of my day … before anything else. I made it all the way to Day 19 and skipped a day. That was discouraging because it meant I had to start over! Slowly, day by day, I made time for that ten minutes with God—and a wonderful thing happened along that way: I grew to love those quiet moments. I started to wake up in the morning with “meeting God” first on my mind. The habit became ingrained. I made it to Day 21 and realized that lunch out was not the real reward. Consistent, daily time with HIM had become my reward, my joy. Oh, how grateful I am for my pastor’s wife’s wisdom!

Several years later, I was again alone, in Germany, with two little girls, now ages 5 and 3. My husband was in the Persian Gulf War. Everything was changed and new and unknown. But one thing was firmly established, and it was my solid anchor for every day: my quiet time with God. How He steadied me each morning! Oh, how I grew to love Him more and more!

We encourage our Moms in Prayer leaders to make daily quiet time with God a priority. We can’t lead out of grace and truth, filled with His Spirit, if we don’t spend sweet time with Him. We spend time with those we love. Let’s not neglect the One we love most of all, but meet with Him each day.

You are loved,
Sharon

Bold

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

Come boldly to the throne? Me? Just walk on in to the throne room of the Most High God who spoke galaxies into being? Who fashioned suns and planets, whales and goldfinches? Come boldly into the Presence of the One who literally holds the world together and enables me to breathe?

Yes. Oh, yes. I can come to Him because I am His. Because He saved me from my wretchedness and made me clean. Because He loved me while I still was far from Him, and He’s the kind who runs to prodigals upon their return and hugs them and throws a party. I can come boldly because He calls me His child … and heir. I can come because He is faithful. When I confess, He forgives. I can trust that. I can trust Him to always be Him—the God and King who is Love. *

You know how I learned to be bold? I learned through Moms in Prayer’s four steps. Through Praise, I discovered the riches of His mercy and the depths of His love. Through Confession, I discovered freedom from shame and condemnation. Through Thanksgiving, I remembered all He had done and marveled at His kindness to my group members and to me. Through Intercession with Scripture, I saw Him develop character in my children, so I claimed the same verses for my life, asking Him to work that same character in me.

The Moms in Prayer method of weaving Scripture and prayer together helped me gain confidence that I am a beloved child of the Living God. He wants me to come to Him. And yes, because of His love and His sacrifice, I can come boldly to “obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Thank You, Abba-Father, for the great privilege of coming boldly to Your throne of grace, knowing Your love and mercy will meet me there! In the Name of Jesus who Saves, Amen.

You are loved,
Sharon

* Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4-5; Luke 15:11-32; 1 John 3:1; John 1:12; Galatians 4:7; 1 Corinthians 1:8-9; 1 John 1:9; Hebrews 13:8; 1 John 4:8

Spring Always Follows Winter

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 8:22 (NIV)

“I’ve never really been happy,” she said. I looked at my friend, normally a very happy person full of love and light, and replied, “That’s your depression talking, dear one. You have been happy and you will be again.” It’s amazing and sad the way depression robs you of today’s joys … and robs you of yesterday’s joys as well. The past is somehow colored by the dismal gray of your present state of mind. Depression also steals your hope of future joy. It’s insidious like that.

I’ve been walking a lot this week. My husband and I are on a beautiful vacation/retreat and have no responsibilities at all. It’s wonderful! So … I sleep and read, talk and ponder, and walk. It’s winter here in upper state New York, and the trees look dead … lifeless … still … cold. There’s a barrenness about them that would be sad if you didn’t know with certainty that they are only dormant. Life still moves in those trees waiting for warmth and spring to quicken the sap and awaken roots to drink deeply. The trees will bring forth fresh, bright, vibrant leaves and grow toward heaven once again.

Spring follows winter as surely as day follows night. God has established those patterns with certainty. In the same way, we need to remember during times of “winter” that spring always comes. We may be barren at the moment, feeling lifeless and still, but this will not last. Oh, how I wish we could assure young people of this when they contemplate suicide, thinking their present agony is their future lot!

God gave us seasons for many reasons, but one of them is to show us that winter does not last. We may be dormant and leafless for a season. Perhaps we need to be. Trees that are meant to be dormant do not fare well if forced into a climate without cold conditions. Maybe at times we just need to stand still and “be.” Maybe it’s okay to not always be the full-leaved, rapidly growing gorgeous tree of spring. Maybe standing steady, roots still sunk deep in the promises of God in the midst of harsh times will produce the sweetest fruit in the end. If you happen to be in a time of winter, dear one, remember that spring always follows winter. You can count on it.

Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. Psalm 126:6 (NIV)

You are loved,
Sharon

Sing a Song Today!

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20 (NIV 1984)

When our daughter Kathryn was in kindergarten, many years ago, her younger sister Mary and I walked her to school through a pretty, little path in the woods. Inevitably, three-year-old Mary would tire on the way home, and I would end up carrying her.

As I walked along with Mary in my arms, she would “sing” to me. I still remember her little tiny voice making up songs about birds and butterflies and trees and flowers and about the good God who made them. The songs didn’t rhyme and had no recognizable tune, but they welled up out of a happy child’s heart, and this mother’s heart overflowed with joy!

Mary didn’t need to sound profound or even “beautiful” the way the world defines it. She just had to be Mary, expressing her child heart with joy to her mom—and I loved it!

Just like my child-to-parent relationship with God, I don’t have to make my prayers sound impressive to please Him. I can warble a simple prayer song of thanks to Him and, because I am His child, it brings Him joy! He doesn’t care about the rhyme or the tune, but how He loves the songs of my heart. As you go about your daily duties today, join me in singing a little song of thanks to the One who loves us so! We truly have much to be thankful for.

Thinking of you and your faithful prayers for your children fills me with gratitude. May God be pleased to raise up a whole generation of sons and daughters who love Him and sing His praises! I wish you “music in your heart” today.

Your are loved,
Sharon

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  1. Tears were streaming from my eyes as I read “Just hold my hand”. In a few days I’ll take my Mom for the test results to find out if the growing lump on her lung is cancer. We are holding God’s hands as we face this together and we’ll be singing him praises no matter what the outcome.

  2. Marion,

    So thankful this little blog came along at just the right time. May His big hand hold yours and your mom’s oh-so-tightly in the days ahead. Much love to you, today!!

  3. Dear Sharon – i am so blessed with your teachings on the word of God and the encouragements. Please prayer for me that i may have a group of Mons in Prayer in my beautiful country the republic of vanuatu. surely the best thing about our family is to be thankful and prayer for their souls to be transformed by the power of God. I am so blessed

    1. Dear Veantzala,

      I will indeed pray for you and also pass on this note to our international ladies. I agree that being thankful for family and praying for them to be transformed by our wonderful and loving God is the BEST thing of all. God bless you sister!! Love, Sharon

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