Good Grief – Part 1

“Have started hospice for Malorie,” a text from her husband flashed across my screen as I clicked on the new message tab.  It was February 27, 2016 at 9:49 a.m. I was in my bedroom and I stayed in there for a long time, in disbelief. I was afraid to respond to the text and denial quickly set in. Thankfully, my sweet husband took the liberty of booking a flight so I could spend time with her the next weekend.

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Malorie flew to Georgia in 2006 to be with me for the birth of my daughter Kaira. This photo was taken before Malorie went home when Kaira, who was born on her birthday, was just four days old.

Malorie was my dearest and closest friend for almost twenty years. In a recent letter to her I wrote, “I am the mom (woman) I am largely due to your love, prayers and support. When I met you I was a mess, but you loved me, befriended me and taught me and never treated me like the mess I was.” She was the single, most influential person in my life. How do you say good-bye? Well, I still do not know, but I am learning.

When I arrived at the hospice facility on Friday and Malorie heard I was there her eyes popped open and she looked around for me until her beautiful eyes settled on my familiar face.  I will never forget that.

Sunday morning I got time alone with her and I used that time to remind her of all she had taught me, to use her very words to bring comfort. I reminded her of all she taught me about our Father and how it had changed my life. It was a precious time. She was reciting scripture, finishing my sentences and still believing in her good, good Father. Grief did not set in because her faith was still contagious.

A month and a half after that text came my children and I sat in a church for Malorie’s memorial service.  I had to be there, they had to be there, to hear about this woman who had affected my life and in turn affected theirs, forever!  Everyone said the same things:

  • You did not meet Malorie you “encountered” her
  • We had lively discussions about scripture
  • She treated others the way she wanted to be treated
  • She made you feel like her best friend
  • She was a pioneer
  • We got lost while driving to (fill in the blank)

We flew home on Mother’s Day, which was usually a day I talked with Malorie and she always honored me as a mom although a mom much longer herself.  We did not talk this Mother’s Day.  Monday the grief set in. I would not see or speak to my friend again in this life.  

I was given a book Recovering from the Losses of Life by H. Norman Wright and as I began to read a lifetime of grief stored up in me began to surface. Losing my friend was going to be a catalyst for a journey I needed to take. The Lord nudging and encouraging me to embark on this journey of grieving. The journey of releasing all to Him to receive all He has for me.  The journey of believing in my good, good Father just as Malorie had modeled.  Believing that although sorrow may last for a night, joy comes in the morning. Believing that grieving is good and necessary for growth. Believing that through grief, although sad and painful I will more fully see and experience the good. Believing that the seeds Malorie planted are being watered by the Father to bear good fruit.

What losses are you grieving or denying? Ask your Father to show you areas where you need to grieve and areas where you have grieved and can now receive the blessing and joy from the completed process. Invite Him into your grief, for He alone can bring the peace that surpasses understanding.

Father, your Son taught us that, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” We thank you for the comfort and assurance. You are our God and Father of mercies who comforts us in our afflictions so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any afflictions, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. Thank you for your promise that sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Amen.

Join me here for Good Grief–Part 2 on June 9, 2016

 

Modern Day Idols

The Bible is not short on stories of worshipping false idols and gods, but it seems so foreign to us. We do not erect golden calves in our yards or worship little “g” gods, so it is seemingly easy for us to escape disobeying the first of commandments, “You shall have no other gods before me.” We proclaim, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” It appears to be a piece of cake to uphold commandment number one, well, until you look up the word god with a lowercase “g” and it means idol.

Idol [ahyd-l] noun:

  1. an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed.
  2. Bible. an image of a deity other than God or the deity itself.
  3. any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion:
  4. a mere image or semblance of something, visible but without substance, as a phantom.
  5. a figment of the mind; fantasy.
  6. a false conception or notion; fallacy.

If we read the first two definitions, we would usually still be innocent of idolatry, but there are four more definitions. This is where I get tripped up.

Recently a friend shared a testimony of the healing and restoration God has done in her family. Her testimony started with her earliest childhood memories of abuse and her desire for a family. It reminded me of my own lifelong desire for family. I had not thought about that in a long time since I now have a husband and five children. It helped me hear that someone else from an abusive family had the same desire, it made it seem more normal. I am sure we are not the only ones either.  Have you realized how the enemy always wants us to think “we are the only one who (fill in the blank)?”

I did not think much more about it until the next day after I dropped off the last of the five kids for school on Monday morning.  I was driving home and as I thought about always wanting a family, the Lord, as only He can do, gently spoke to my heart, “You have made it an idol.”  Ouch!  He was right since childhood I had an idea of the family I wanted and it was the opposite of the family I had, which is not a good basis to define family. I was not wholeheartedly seeking Him and His desire for my family I was building my own, thank you very much!  You know what I was not doing such a good job.  Anytime we try to do it our way instead of His, well, it just does not go well.

Do not misunderstand, I was a believer, I went to church and took my kids to church. They went to Christian school, we prayed at home and listened to Christian radio. I did not totally turn my back on Him, I just did not seek Him fully for His vision or ideal of family. I inserted some bible verses in “my” plan, but that still did not make it His. Even the Christian parenting books I read did not dethrone my idolatry. It was so subtle I missed it until He gently convicted me.

Those who pay regard to vain idols
    forsake their hope of steadfast love. Jonah 2:8

I went home and began bible journaling while listening to worship music. I was quickly drawn away by a song and knew what I needed to do.  Repent!  So, on my knees, I repented for erecting “family” as an idol, for putting my desire for family above my desire for Him. I gave Him permission to build and keep my family as He saw fit. I would love to tell you that the angels were singing and I felt differently, but I did not.  Although, I did feel a weight lifted. This is going to be a process. Watching God transform what is now His to do what He saw from the beginning. My ways, plans, ideas and dreams will have to die and I will have to seek His heart for His. It is like giving God permission to release the wrecking ball.

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Image courtesy of Surachai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I made my castle tall
I built up every wall
This is my kingdom and it needs to fall
Colton Dixon, More of You

There was no value in idolizing family, my version of family actually became my own worst enemy.  It is not enough or even biblical to do the opposite of what was done in our childhood.  It sets us up for judgement, idolatry, disappointment and lots of spinning our wheels.  

“If a daughter swings to the other end of the continuum and acts the opposite of her mother, she stands a good chance of creating the same dynamics that she’s trying so hard to avoid.  The key lies in finding a middle ground on which you can stand as a loving parent with your own values.”
Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Karyl McBride, Ph.D. page 125

We must seek Him for our family. He has things to say about abusive families, but He does not say do the opposite. He always gives it a more positive spin.  

He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress,and for his children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. Isaiah 32:18

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Image courtesy of Stoonn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Psalm 127:1

Is there something in your life or heart that is held just a little higher than the place the Father holds? Would you be willing to give it to Him and let Him be your only God?  Would you be willing to trust Him with the results? He already knows if there is, but still wants us to humbly come and confess.

Father, thank You that You are a jealous God and You will not share us with our carefully erected and protected idols. You gently and lovingly guide us back to Your will and plan for us.  We can take You at Your word and trust You to perform it.  Amen.

Prayers For Mothers

prayer-1308663_1280PRAYERS FOR MOTHERS

by Chris Ann Waters

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:14

Lord Jesus, we pray for mothers who chase curious toddlers around backyards, grocery stores, and hide-in-seek spots.

Lord Jesus, we pray for mothers who sit at the side of sons and daughters in hospitals, chemotherapy treatments, dentist chairs, and psychiatry sessions.

Lord Jesus, we pray for mothers who juggle peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, soccer schedules, laptop computers, and laptop bedtime stories.

Lord Jesus, we pray for the mothers who pray for their prodigal sons and daughters.

Lord Jesus, we pray for mothers with children who cannot find their homework.

Lord Jesus, we pray for mothers who cannot find their children.

Lord Jesus, we pray for mothers in the military who skype their children to bed.

Lord Jesus, we pray for mothers with sons and daughters in the military who do not have a bed.

Lord Jesus, we pray for the mothers who raise children to pray, read, laugh, and walk the dog.

Lord Jesus, we pray for the mothers-to-be who want to raise children.

Lord Jesus, we pray for mothers who hide their children in dark places for fear of capture.

Lord Jesus, we pray for mothers who run on the beach with their children in freedom.

Lord Jesus, we pray for mothers who have aborted children for reasons You know and ask You to be close to them.

Lord Jesus, we pray for mothers who grieve the loss of a child to death, disagreement or disillusionment.

Lord Jesus, we pray for mothers in their December season with bodies stiller now.

Lord Jesus, we pray for mothers who are ill in body, mind or spirit.

Lord Jesus, we pray for mothers who have mothered and have returned Home to You.

Lord Jesus, we pray for children of every age who have no mother.

Lord Jesus, we pray for children of every age who have a mother.

Lord Jesus, Thank You for answering prayers as only You can.  By faith, we anticipate Your loving answers.  In Thy Name, Lord Jesus, Amen.

Out of Hiding

What a blessing to be sharing on Mothers with a Mission.  I am daughter of the Most High God, wife to Michael and mom to five awesome kids.  I am passionate about my faith.  I am also a writer, artist and transformation specialist.  When I am not here you can find the more eclectic side of me at www.thesalvagedpeach.com.

Image courtesy of stockimages at freedigitalphotos.net

“Come out of hiding
You’re safe here with Me
There’s no need to cover
What I already see

You’ve got your reasons
But I hold your peace
You’ve been on lockdown
And I hold the key”Steffany Gretzinger, Out of Hiding

Hide and seek is a popular children’s game where players hide while one or two people seek to find them.  As a child I do not remember playing the game much, but I became an expert at hiding.  In my earliest relationships I was often criticized for my feelings, put down and even dismissed.  That taught me that being found or noticed was not safe, but hiding was.

Two years ago at a women’s meeting someone led a devotional on doubt.  I remember the question, “What do you do when you doubt?”  I began sobbing quietly to myself because the answer for me came so quick and so clear, “I HIDE!”  I would like to say that I was already aware of that, but it was truly a startling revelation.  Since then other ways that I hide have been exposed leaving me feeling vulnerable and unsafe, nowhere to run nowhere to hide, so to speak.

Last year I heard an eight year old girl sing the song quoted above and as I type this now that was appropriate for what God was whispering to my heart.  He was beckoning me to come out of a lifetime of hiding.  He saw all the fear, doubt, regret, guilt, shame, contempt and pain, but gently reminded me that I do not have to hide it from Him.  He knew all the reasons I hid, but wanted to offer me peace. He wanted to give me the key to break me out of the prison I had lived in most of my life.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
Psalm 139:7

I do not know about you, but once God illuminates something unhealthy in my life it becomes very uncomfortable to live with it.  I believe that is by His design.  He does not want us miserable, but He does want us free.  We were created to be FREE.  I could tell you that I have completely overcome this, but I have not.  I am still working on it and God is still working with me.  It is still terrifying at times. Even this morning I prayed, “Lord, I am afraid to trust you in this area, but I am going to anyway.”  I believe He honors that.

One thing about overcoming anything, we cannot do it alone.  God has put people in my life in this season in the most unexpected ways.  Their words, their hopes and dreams, their struggles cause my spirit to come alive to HOPE and DREAM and OVERCOME.  I feel these relationships give my spirit the wings it needs to fly right now.

“I am one who would rather hide my brokenness, hide the lamp that is less than sufficient.  But just like with my house, I feel God pushing me a little bit to embrace my broken places and appreciate my weaknesses as much as I appreciate my strengths.”
– Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely

Do you hide?  What do you hide from?  Are you hiding from God, relationships or dreams? Have you had a victory in this area of hiding?  Please share your stories. Testimonies are the fuel we need as busy moms who sometimes feel alone, hopeless or discouraged.

Father, when we hide You pursue, thank you for not leaving us hidden, but bringing us into your marvelous light.  Give us the courage to take that first step.  Amen.

Steffany Gretzinger sang Out of Hiding over people she loved that were in a hard place,but this is the heart of the Father singing over you.

Please take a moment to watch this video:

Burning Red-Hot Anger

I am so grateful to have Jessica Lederer share on here today. Jessica is a gem. She is a beautiful and sincere woman, wife, mother, and friend. So I was thrilled when she accepted my invitation to post for Mothers With a Mission. She shares openly what most are afraid to speak of, and I know you’ll appreciate her candidness and transparency.

12363267_10153687550415734_377748452145311748_oI consider myself a blessed mother of 5 amazing children. My oldest will be 8 in a couple short weeks and my youngest celebrated a year of life on the outside on Christmas Eve. Life is chaotic, messy, unpredictable, and a hoot everyday.

BUT there are some days when burning, red-hot anger explodes from inside like a volcano and all I can do is holler at the bystanders to take cover. The kind that makes my kids call me “Hulk Momma”! Can you imagine! THIS has been one of those weeks!

Coincidentally (NOT) I am doing a Beth Moore Bible study called The Patriarchs. Wanna know what we are talking about–BURNING RED-HOT ANGER. Day 1 was Judah and David’s burning anger. It may surprise you to know they were burning with anger at their own sin; they just didn’t know it yet. Conviction? You bet!

The Bible talks of God’s refining fire and how He uses it to purify us and test us. Praise GOD my faith has proved steadfast, but unfortunately sometimes so does what He is trying to purify me of! That leads to the flame burning hotter. Unlike the LORD’s refining fire, my burning is the farthest thing from purifying as possible, no matter what I tell myself in the heat of the moment!

My burning is a rage I didn’t even know was possible! Any others out there know what I mean? It is what only those closest to me get to witness. It is shameful and NEEDS Jesus! Most of the time it comes from a place of a loss of control. It is never necessary but somehow I can’t get myself to CLOSE MY MOUTH.

In sharing my battle with other moms, I’ve found that despite the enemy convincing us we’re the “only ones”, many moms routinely fight their anger.

So what do we do when those situations occur? Well I can tell you what I do.

PRAY. PRAY. PRAY. HUMBLE. HUMBLE. HUG. KISS. LOVE. APOLOGIZE. PRAY. PRAY. PRAY.

  • Pray for the Lord to forgive me. Confess what I’ve done.
  • Pray for the words to speak and that The Father would stand in the gap and cover my loved ones from the repercussions of my sin.
  • Pray for the Lord to convict my spirit and allow correction.
  • Humble myself and go to those I’ve hurt and without rationalizing or explaining, just ask for their forgiveness.
  • HUGS and KISSES and I’m sorrys. LOTS of hugs and kisses.
  • PRAY some more. Ask for a Word, a promise, something to hold onto when life gets me red-hot.
  • Believe the LORD for the forgiveness He has given me, accept His Grace, and His Help.

Sometimes the circumstances may seem like they justify the outburst but believe me there is a better way. One day I will find my way there every time, but for now I’m still on the journey. Oh how I pray to be more tender and gentle! Especially with my little ones. I hope it encourages you in your journey to know that you are not alone if you have ever had “that moment”.

Let’s pray for each other whether this is you or not. Let’s ask the LORD to help us. You may not know the name of the momma you are praying for but the LORD does!

James 1:19-20 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.