Category Archives: Devotions

Precept upon precept!

The Way

I was studying this verse and thinking about Jesus, when He said, “I AM the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

One of my favorite Bible study tools is the www.BlueLetterBible.org. Wonderful way to research! So I discovered that the word Jesus used in this verse was the Greek word “hodos”.

Strong’s G3598 – hodos

“You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I AM the Way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:4

The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. Hebrews 9:8
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised us is faithful.” Hebrews 10:20-23

 

Looking in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for the way is “derek”… check out the interesting thing I discovered in the NIV text note!

Strong’s H1870 – derek

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.   Isaiah 35:8

NIV text note: Isaiah 35:8 “the Way of Holiness: the way set apart for those who are holy; only the redeemed (v9) could use it. In ancient times, certain roads between temples were open only to those who were ceremonially pure.”

So by his instruction to Thomas, Jesus was not only showing that He was the Way into the presence of God – formerly the Holy of Holies, the Most Holy Place – but He was fulfilling Old Testament scripture again, by referring to Isaiah 35:8-10. He is the prepared Way, the “highway” to God’s temple in Zion, which the unclean/unredeemed may not walk upon. Only the ransomed, those walking His Way, will enter Zion with singing, everlasting gladness and joy, with no more sorrow. Sound familiar? Sounds like Revelation…

A River of Self

I have always considered myself fairly good at multi-tasking. That confidence has continued despite somewhat alarming indicators that perhaps my abilities were either overrated (by myself) at one time, or the joking concept of “Mommy Brain” has combined with my advanced age of 44 to render me somewhat Less than Before. I used to consider myself a pretty sharp cookie, one of the sharper knives in the drawer. Now I’m doing good if I can get the peanut butter and jelly spread.

All of us have a bunch of Big Things to do in our lives… for me that is being a Christ-follower, a wife, a mom, a homeschool teacher, a homemaker and family chef.

Then we’ve got our medium-sized responsibilities. Those include serving at my church as the Grounds Committee chairperson (currently I am also the entire Grounds committee), working at our local community garden as both a gardener and a helper on common ground areas, working as a nonprofit corporation president of the board (it’s a small nonprofit, but it’s fairly active), and working with a larger group trying to get an ordinance changed in our city of 100,000 – which has been going on for about 18 months now.

Finally we have our details. All the things that we like to do that may or may not be necessary. Hobbies, crafts, interests, pets,

Hmm. Where should friendship fit in these 3 categories? Jesus always put people first. Even to meeting the Samaritan woman at the well to talk to her and meet her spiritual and emotional needs, when He and His disciples were hungry and the others had gone in search of food. So maybe as a medium-sized responsibility? Although with the prevalence of things like email and Facebook, the term “friendship” can have blurry edges as well. I find it so easy to get caught up enough in my friend’s lives and activities that sometimes I’m neglecting my own responsibilities.

Lately I’ve been hearing messages and reading daily devotions based on Matthew 6:19-21, where Jesus tells us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” He continues in verse 33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards,” (Song of Solomon 2:15). It’s rarely the big things but so often the little things that ruin our vineyards, steal our time, and derail our best intentions. It strikes me that the little foxes are running rampant in my own vineyard… little foxes of interesting blogs and websites and books to read, cookbooks, intriguing new projects, entire craft/hobby stores, ideas to explore, stores to check out, Facebook pages to peruse, and on and on and on. The world is really full of an incredible amount of interesting, thought-provoking, fascinating ideas, concepts, and points of view. There are many causes to become involved in, including those that are extremely worthy. The richness of the world is not only monetary, but also artistic, creative, emotional, physical.

Life can so easily become a river of self. Of things that involve, provoke, excite, encourage, inflame, intrigue, and require our attention. As a people we are proud of our ability to multi-task. Our computers can carry on multiple processes at one time and our computers are rarely the only digital device available to us at any given time. We share life in 140 characters or less, thumbs flashing as we drive through the fast-food restaurant on our way to other activities. Americans are busy. Our attention is at best divided, at worse parsed into dozens of different directions at any given time.

I am finding that this is too much for me, or perhaps better looked at as not enough. Like Martha, I’m busy scurrying about taking care of all the details, when I am actually missing out. Jesus told Martha that Mary was concerning herself with the better thing, and that was the relationship He Himself was building with her… the same relationship we can build with Him. I cannot sit at His feet and listen enraptured to His explanations, analogies, and love for me. But I can immerse myself in His Word and spend true time in prayer, His Spirit in my heart bearing witness to the truth and changing me from the inside out.

I strongly suspect that our relationship with Him is a worthy part of those treasures that we can store up in heaven, along with the subject that really has His heart: His people, and more specifically our bringing other people with us to heaven.

I’m tired of swimming in the river of myself, all my energies pointed toward survival, my brain going seven different directions at once while I “multi-task” fit to beat the band. I want the living water. I want to rest in Him and find His peace, to wait upon Him until I find He has given me wings to soar like an eagle. And like the manna in the desert that was given to the Israelites daily, I need that daily dependence on Him.

God gives the best to those who wait on Him

I’ve heard people say so many times, “Oh if only I’d waited on the Lord. What would my life have been like if I’d waited to receive what HE had to give me, rather than taking for myself what I wanted?” I wonder what it is they… okay, we… think that the Lord would have given us? The presidency of a company? Wealth and fame? A husband with the soul and wisdom of King Solomon and the looks of a movie star, completely devoted to us and ignoring all our own faults? Perfect children who never give us a minute’s worry?

I wonder why we think that.

Jesus painted quite a different picture about the Christian life. It wasn’t all waving palm trees and “Hosanna!” was it? More like a lot of very hard work.

“The Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”… not a mansion or even a mini-manse.

Jesus walked, and walked, and walked… when He finally caught a ride, it was on an unbroken donkey colt… not in a leather-interior, ultimate-sound system Yukon, Hummer, or Mercedes.

Jesus shared a little boy’s lunch… with over 5,000 people. Loaves and fishes that had been sitting around in some little boy’s lunch box in the hot Mediterranean sun all day… not exactly the finest epicurean delights.

He washed His disciples’ dirty feet. He preached an unwelcome message to the powers that existed in their time. He had to elude capture until it was His time. He was never able to marry or have children, although by His choice we are His chosen children… not exactly perfect kids who never give him a minute’s worry, are we? He had to escape His friends for precious few moments to have time to pray to His Father.

And then for all of that… He was beaten, mocked, spit upon, forced to carry the cross He would be nailed to, and ultimately crucified.

And yet, we wonder… what would God have given me, if I had only waited on Him?

Now I’m not saying that God doesn’t give His best to those who wait on Him… I’m just pondering the difference between what we imagine His best to be, and what He knows it to be. Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve… isn’t that to be true of us, as well? Why do we think we are outside of God’s will for us, if we love Him and obey Him right now… because things aren’t easy? Are they meant to be?

I truly believe that God isn’t nearly as concerned about our specific situation as He is about the specific state of our hearts. What job we take, where we live, which house we buy, which spouse we marry, the choices we make with our days and nights… those are all important in their own respects. God knows about every sparrow, and clothes every flower. He certainly cares about every detail of our lives, and wants us to discuss it with Him. But don’t you see, it’s the discussion with Him that’s the important part? The relationship with Him that means we have enough trust and faith in Him to ask His opinion, to ask Him to choose for us. He wants us walking close to Him, He tells us in His Word to pray about everything.

I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but a case for a generality certainly exists that most people tend to take off and not look back when they feel that their lives are under control, that things are going well, that they are blessed and special. Something in us feels that we are certainly due that, for whatever reason. We quickly become complacent and relaxed in our good ‘fortune’. We put God in the back seat, if He makes it into our vehicle at all.

However, when things aren’t going so well, when the stress levels are hovering in the red zone and problems abound, we are more prone to approach Him. We seek Him out; we go to the Source of power, don’t we? And we should! He created the universe and everything and everyone in it, He is aware of everything at all times, He wants us to come to Him, and it makes absolute sense that we do so. But if your son or daughter only came to you when they needed money, time, or other resources, would you feel that you had a good relationship? Would you feel loved? God wants our love. He created us for our love. He wants it enough to die for it.

Our reward in heaven is based on our actions, thoughts, intentions and relationships on this earth. Consider this… when you are blessed with all that the world says are the best things, fame and fortune, beauty and security, are you more likely to dig in and become a true disciple, someone who KNOWS what they believe, and LIVES what they believe, no matter what storms rage in their lives… or are you more likely to coast?

So the next time you are wondering what God might have given you if you had only waited on Him, look around your life. What is God doing with what you have now, and do you really think that you yourself provided all of that? God does want us to live our lives, and not live them in the past, or dreaming of an alternative life that could have, should have, would have happened if only. He wants to show us how He can, how He is working in our lives, jobs, homes, finances, and relationships this very minute. This is it. It’s one time around. Are you getting closer to Him?

Devotion – God’s Gift of Joy

Devotion – God’s Gift of JOY
-TJ Wierenga

This Christmas season, while we work to decorate our homes, fill the closets with brightly-wrapped gifts, and remember to keep Jesus “the reason for the season”, I’ve been thinking a lot about God’s gifts to us.

James 1:17 tells us that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” Specifically, the fruit of the Spirit of “Joy”, second only to Love itself, keeps coming to my mind. Looking in my bible’s concordance, I was startled to see literally hundreds of references to Joy, let alone joyfulness, rejoicing, gladness, et cetera.

So I started with the beginning – that is, Jesus’ birth! In the gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel pays Mary a visit to inform her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and that the power of the Most High would overshadow her. She would then bear a son whose name was Jesus, and He would be called the Son of the Most High. Mary told her cousin Elizabeth, prior to Jesus’ birth, “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior!” Elizabeth verified the joyfulness of the event to come when she said “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb (who would grow up to be John the Baptist) leaped for joy!”

When the glory of the Lord shone round about the shepherds in the field on the night Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared with these words: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people! Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: He is Christ the Lord!”

In Philippians, writer Paul exhorts us to “Rejoice in the Lord always!” and gives us some hints on how to keep that spirit of Joy when he continues by telling us to bring our requests and petitions to the God, “and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

Psalms and Proverbs are jam-packed with joy, praise, exultation, and merriness of heart. In 1 Thessalonians, we are instructed, flat-out, to “Be joyful always.” Obviously, our being filled with God’s joy matters to God. And He has given us His Son on that Christmas morning so that we may have an example of how we are to live our own lives.

In Bruce Marchiano’s book In The Footsteps of Jesus, he writes: “Yes, Jesus smiled; yes, Jesus laughed. Jesus smiled wider and laughed heartier than any human being who has ever walked the planet. He radiated good cheer. The real Jesus was a man of such merriment, such gladness of heart, such freedom and openness, that He proved irresistible. He became known through Galilee for His genuine strength, the sparkle in His eyes, the spring in His gait, the heartiness of His laugh, the genuineness of His touch; His passion, playfulness, excitement, and vitality: His JOY! He made a dazzling display of love. He set hearts afire. He was an elated, triumphant man with an incredible quality of life.”

Sherwood Wirt writes: “The fact is that joy is an attribute of God Himself. It brings with it pleasure, gladness, and delight. Joy radiates animation, sparkle, and buoyancy. It is more than fun, yet it has fun. Joy has a clean tang and bite to it, the exhilaration of mountain air. It blows away the dustiness of our days with a fresh breeze, and makes life more carefree.

I think that there must be a quality of forgetting ourselves in God’s Joy. It must be focusing on, instead of our own frailties, failings, and frustrations, God’s triumphant love that He sent us in the form of His Own Son. It is in knowing that He is in control, no matter what the circumstances of our lives entail. Sometimes it is easier to tone things down, to use humor and sarcasm and a more serious demeanor as some sort of armor against the world… maybe we should be more willing to let His Joy shine forth from us? There will always be problems in life… crises, frustrations, worries and fears and even very real pain. But every Christmas morning, we remember the gift – He came that our Joy may be full! And He said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He came, He said, that our joy may be complete.

What would our own lives be like if we opened God’s gift of Joy? How would the power of Joy affect our every day, our relationships, and our attitudes? The world forgets about Joy, and focuses on temporary states like happiness and satisfaction. But maybe, this Christmas, our gift to our selves, to our children and families, to our friends, and even to the world itself might be our own Joy… our secret strength of spirit, a never-ending source of Love’s very real power in our lives.

Lord, thank You for this coming Christmas season, when we can be reminded of Your gift of Your Son, and also of Your gift of Joy. Help us to find our strength in Your Joy and Your presence.

Devotion – Autumn Fever

Autumn Fever?
TJ Wierenga

I’m waiting for the Autumn version of Spring Fever… that energetic, creative surge of ability to get things done. The kids clothes need sorting, with outgrown items being, you know, handled somehow… my own clothes need sorting, as I’ve actually lost a lot of mommy-weight since last year’s winter clothes were on active rotation. The house itself needs a good solid under-the-stove-type cleaning, my writing projects desperately need attention, and my preschool-homeschool ideas and curriculum plans need some organization. My recipe books are out of order and overflowing (especially with all the jelly/jam/preserves/pickle/etc canning recipes I used this summer!), and at some point I’d really like to plan out meals a few weeks in advance rather than just keep the basic ingredient necessities on hand and scurry to get supper together based on an ephemeral “what do I feel like cooking” feeling each day. Sigh.

With Autumn’s first frosts looming ever closer, however, I find myself out sniffing the gloriously blooming rosebushes, petting my herbs to release their fragrances, encouraging still more production from squash and cucumber and green bean and eggplant and tomato plants… I’m not ready for summer’s bounty to end! I’ve still got boxes of apples to peel, core and process into applesauce, apple butter, apple pie filling, apple pound cake and apple fritters – all healthy versions of course. I’m turning in articles by the deadlines by the skin of my teeth and running two or three loads of laundry folding behind as my food processor runs almost daily processing food into freezer-sized portions ready for winter’s consumption, and jewel-toned jars of fruit preserves cool on the counter.

OK I realize that not everyone out there is a farmgirl throwback and enjoys gardening and preserving foods the way I do – that’s ok, we all have our favorite reasons to enjoy each season. I actually adore Autumn with it’s crisp days and cool nights (sometimes cold – shut that window!), trees turning glorious shades of color and jackets being hauled out of the closet. So with a pumpkin-scented candle burning and a cup of hot tea at hand, I pulled out my concordance to check out God’s ideas about seasons, Autumn itself, and the harvest.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.” Genesis 1:14-15 Obviously, God knew about our “planet Mom” theme in MOPS this year long before 2009 clocked in, and this Autumn season… and He meets us here in it.

“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.” Exodus 34:21 This is despite the boxes of apples and foot-long zucchinis languishing in the produce bin of our refrigerators… God knows that we need to take a day of rest (such as it is, being Mom) and gives us not only the OK, but the command. We need rest to refresh, to rejuvenate, to allow Him to restore us.

“So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today–to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul–then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil.” Deuteronomy 11:13-14

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 Our lives aren’t supposed to be a treadmill – we are taught and shown how to enjoy the seasons, to appreciate the differences between autumn’s vibrant colors and winter’s sleepy white comforter, spring’s green-so-green-it-hurts-the-eyes and summer’s growth and strength.

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 8:22 He promises us that the world won’t stop turning, that we can depend on the seasons and embrace them.

“Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us.” Psalm 67:6 Is there anything on earth or above the earth or under the earth that is better than God’s blessing?

“The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.” Psalm 85:12
Then God takes the harvest principle to another level – the harvest of souls. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:37-38As mothers, this is right up our alley, down our street, and on our job description!

“I will utter hidden things, things from of old—what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. Psalm 78:2-7As a mother, I find this particularly appropriate to motherhood – “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galations 6:9, as well as “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 These Words tell me that I have a God-assigned job – the education, discipline and guidance of my children, and that these responsibilities have an eternal result.

So, this Autumn, as flames seem to engulf our Yellowstone valley as trees turn shades of red, orange, yellow and gold, as nights turn cold and days get shorter, I’m going to put up my canning supplies and gardening tools, and focus more on the harvest of righteousness and peace that God is leading us toward.

Devotion – For as Much as You Have Done…

Devotion – For The Least of These…
TJ Wierenga

We’re potty training. An on-going process in our household – unlike the ones you hear or read about when kids just “decided” to potty train and never have an accident. My 2 year old daughter Casey suddenly began wailing in the back room… I was cleaning up the kitchen (again) and heard it… her crying didn’t sound “injured”, just “upset”. After a few dozen seconds, I realized that the sound was only escalating, and would therefore require Motherly Intervention.

So when I went back to the back bedroom, and she was standing with pants and pull-up stripped off, pee all down her legs and puddling on the hardwood floor, wet toddler foot tracks all over the room, sobbing. She had gone in the master bedroom half bath – the one with the original heavy toilet seat, not her lightweight soft seat in the main bathroom – and she couldn’t get the heavy seat up and climb up on the tall commode in time.

My 3 year old Colton immediately got in the middle of things , as did the dog and cat. WHY oh why must everyone in the family join in when I’m trying to handle a situation? My son started requesting a graham cracker while the dog sniffed longingly at the puddle I was trying to mop up (gross!) and my daughter sat on the commode, too late of course, but still crying. I ended up flubbing it and roared at the dog to GET BACK! which scared my kids and sent the cat skidding to hide under the bed.

My epiphany came when I was down on my hands and knees, having started to scrub up the bathroom floor with Lysol wipes and discovering that the whole floor had a tacky hairspray buildup which was just gunky and rather gray from dust. So I’m scrubbing everything and grousing to myself and complaining mentally how it “just never ends” and suddenly heard that still, quiet voice in my head… the one that isn’t quite MINE, but isn’t audible, either.

‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’ (Matthew 25:40)

Whoa. Whoa! Does this count? I mean sure, cleaning up after a little child who was making a legitimate effort to accomplish a goal, that would seem like “doing so for Him”. He gave me this child, after all, complete with her developing bladder control. But wiping up the floor? Scrubbing up dirt? Putting the dog out?

Proverbs 31 came to mind immediately. What were the jobs that this perfect gal did, that were so admirable that she got most of her own chapter in the Old Testament to forever be held up as a standard of Godly womanhood?

Verse 17 – She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
Verse 27 – She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Verse 28 – Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

So not only are we to work hard (scrubbing that floor vigorously, I’m sad to say), we’re to do it in a way that our children will call us blessed, and our husbands also. Wow. So I guess roaring at the dog is out.

But just when I find that all those expectations might be too much, here comes Jesus with help.
“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11
I think it’s fair that we can give ourselves a break. God doesn’t expect us to be Superwoman/Supermommy. He knows that these years with little ones place extra demands on us, not just on our time and energy but on our patience and hearts. That’s why He said that He gently leads those who have young. Our little ones are precious to Him and He carries them close to His heart. Likewise, WE are precious to Him and He is gentle with us, too. He’s not letting us off the hook, but He is giving us special consideration. Can we pray?

Lord, these early childhood mothering years sometimes feel just way too much. Thank You for Your promise to feed us like a shepherd, giving us everything we need for the journey. Thank You for gathering our lambs with Your arms, and carrying them against You, and for being gentle when You lead us as moms. We ask for Your strength and guidance, Your mighty arm for us to lean against when we get to the end of ourselves. And Lord we thank You for Your sense of humor, to meet us in the middle of our awkward humanness with Your love and grace. In Your Son’s name we pray, Amen.

Devotion – Loving As He Loves

Devotion – Loving as He Loves
– TJ Wierenga

A few months ago, I had more-than-one of THOSE days after not-JUST-one of those nights. You moms know the story, or one similar. My 2 ½ year old son and barely 1-year-old daughter were teething simultaneously, but they were tag-teaming ol’ Mom when it came to waking up at midnight, the late hours of the night, the wee hours, and finally beating the sun itself out of bed. The combined effects of having woken up at least six times apiece in the night, getting up even earlier than their normal 6:30AM, and teething pain were setting us all on edge.

After what felt like endless patience and what felt like Mother Theresa-like grace, I was finally getting pretty worn down. Around 3 in the morning I was scrunched up beside my son in his toddler bed trying to soothe him yet again, with one arm stuck through the slats into my daughter’s crib trying to soothe her yet again… and my son woke from the light sleep he’d fallen into by suddenly kicking the devil out of my back. This was less than 12 hours after I’d had painful deep-tissue massage and chiropractic work done on my back, so I was sore to begin with.

And to my surprise, I heard myself respond to his whiny mutterings with a sound I never thought I’d use on my little darlings – my mean voice. The one I used for rapidly approaching, strange large dogs… or a horse who was trying to bluff me during training. A growly, frustrated, not nice voice. A big mad, scary voice that my son had never heard come from my mouth, and was now issuing forth in the middle of the night when he was, let’s face it, just being a two year old.

Immediately his whining turned to a sound of fear, and he started crying. And in that split second, I remembered the sermon I’d just enjoyed so much at church that Sunday. The pastor reminded us that Jesus came to us while we were still sinners. Not after we had cleaned up our act and came even a little bit closer to ‘deserving’ Him. We didn’t have to earn His love. We didn’t deserve it. But He sacrificed Himself for someone – a world of someone’s- who at the very least behave on occasion like brats, and who can’t understand our own pain and handle very little with either grace or gentleness.

John 13:34-35 tells us, “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

With a lump in my throat and tears in my own eyes, I held my little boy against my heart and told him that I was sorry for speaking to him like that, and that I loved him very much. I asked him to forgive me for not being a nice mommy. Relaxing into my hold, he whispered “I love you Mommy.” I hugged him tighter and softly sang his favorite lullaby until he went back to sleep.

I immediately turned in my heart and mind to my Heavenly Father, and told Him I loved Him, and asked Him to forgive me for having not loved my son the way He loves us. And I asked Him for comfort, and peace, and gentleness. And the same way that my “Mommy kisses” help my children, God immediately helped me.

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17