Daily Devotion. For many of us toting tiny tots, daily devotion is simply waking up, drinking that first cup of coffee, reading that sweet verse that sits upon our intrusive phone and going about our day. Possibly praying in route, but not so much stimulated by the spirit as by the whiny kiddos in the back seat that can’t seem to figure out how to coexist. The prayers uttered out sound more like, “Lord, please give me patience so I don’t strangle these kids” vs. “Lord, here I am, surrendering to your will, your way, forgive me for my short temper and please give me a gentle spirit.” And girl, I get it! I have come up with many 3 word mantras to get me through the toughest of seasons. In my 20’s it was, “Faith over Fear”, a very common quote now but at that time it was my life saver. It reminded me that faith and fear can not coexist, so when my fear was high, it meant my faith was low. It pointed me back to God, thus lowering my fear and can I just say, I never did die or wind up homeless…so the fear was most definitely unwarranted. In my early to mid 30’s, my mantra expanded past 3 words (much because with 3 babies, 3 words was just not gonna cut) to “Lord give me patience, Lord give me peace”. In fact, this became such a recurrent phrase in my home that my kids knew it and knew it very well. So much so that when momma started to close her eyes and say it on repeat, they knew they better back on up and just be quiet. Did I look crazy? Heck yeah! Did I care? Heck no!!! And I’m proud to say in my mid-late 30’s, I’ve packed away that mantra (still to be referenced on rough days) and am sitting with a new one…back to 3 words!! Praise Jesus! “Reflect over React”. This one addresses my genetically predisposed (we’ll just go with that) anger. But because God made me a “fixer”, I just can’t accept or deal with that, so I must find a better way to address those that straight up piss me off. I tried it my way for the 1st 36 years of life and I can say, the end result was not fun. It became hurt feelings, distrust, constant reconciliation and shame. So as I seek to not just find but experience the very presence of God in my daily life, I have chosen the path of reflecting (which means keeping my mouth shut) before reacting (and speaking only words that breath life, not hurt).
So back to this whole daily devotional thing. It is not only essential but critical to the very make-up of our souls. But sweet sister of mine, drowning in kids and responsibilities, I can promise you, it’s going to take so much more than just a quick verse once a day. The more I study, read and reflect on God’s presence I realize that it is as close as the breath in our lungs and warm sun hitting our skin. Our lack of devotion does not drive Him away but can become very dormant in the reality of our life. I’m realizing I must turn to Him at all times and duties of my day, not just when I wake up or before I close my eyes at night. That as I wash the dishes, I can be praying over those I know are hurting, even myself when it’s been that kind of season. That when I’m driving I can turn off the radio, roll down the windows and just be present. Yes, that’s hard with little’s in the back but in those few short rides without kids, this is magnificent. I sit in the silence and just listen to what He is speaking into my heart. When the kids are in the car, I turn on my “Jesus” music…I belt out my worship as if it’s savin’ my life and lift my kids up subconsciously with life breathing words. This new practice has recently transformed into daily journaling, which can I just say, is keeping me sane! I’m writing out my prayers in whatever form I may be able to do that day…a list, a letter, a word. I’m starting with everything I am grateful for and then pouring out my heart in prayer. It’s only been a couple weeks but looking back at prayers been answered in such a short period of time, I have a new excitement and hope to see what my year will reflect. Pick up lines have become the perfect place for this particular act. I can give my toddler my phone (to keep her quiet and me from being distracted by ding’s and notifications) and read, write or again reflect. What’s awesome is an act I truly loathed (the dreaded 30-45 minute pick up line for school, camp, whatever) has now become my “quiet time”….Eureka!!!!!
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
Try to disconnect from the amount of times you have read this verse on a cute T-shirt or piece of lovely wall art and truly unpack it.
Whatever is true, this being God’s word. Not the world’s word, not your mom’s word, not your boss’s or husbands word but His. This is the only truth you need. And His truth says that you are loved, forgiven, His. His truth is kind, gentle and laced with grace. His word holds you up and never leaves you or forsakes you. His word is your strength, your armor against a world that will throw you into a daily war.
Whatever is honorable, this being what is right with God. What brings Him more joy than talking to His beloved child. He wants to hear all your worries, concerns, excitements and dreams. He loves you as you love your very own flesh and blood. As you desire to protect your babies from all harm and hurt, this is how He desires to protect and strengthen you.
Whatever is just, this is being fair. This means forgiving those who have wronged you and most importantly forgiving yourself. Not because you condone their or your behavior but because past anger and hurt will only inflict more anger and hurt into your present state and unfortunately, your future. We know what the “just” response is, but our emotions like to hijack it and create a path of destruction that offers immediate gratification and future shame, believe me…I know.
Whatever is pure, lovely, commendable….this is found in the beauty of our daily blessings. This may be our health, our babies, our relationships, our jobs. This can look like the birds, the sunsets, the mountains and the oceans. The truth is, when you begin to see God’s blessings, their view becomes more abundant. It isn’t until you stop and stare at the sky, that the stars illuminate and the colors become more vivid. In all this, it entails our time, our presence, ourselves.
This life will pass us by. Facebook loves to fill us with flashbacks that prove it quite frequently. Seeing my babies faces transform over night has been proof enough that this life is happening whether I choose to show up or not. So finally, at 36, I have decided to not just witness my life but live it. Live it to the full potential of my presence and peace in God and with God. He is the ultimate source of all things lovely, pure, just and right. All of ‘this’ is His. My babies, His. My husband, His. My home, His. Nothing has been promised to me for eternity, except His love. So that I will take to the bank, that I will put my faith in and hold onto.
So momma bears, lets turn our daily devotion from a daily reading to a daily practice, of turning to Him in ALL moments, ALL experiences, ALL emotions.
He’s got you sister, seek and you shall find. He can be trusted. He will be faithful.