Scripture Pictures

The Motherly Warrior

“When God creates Eve, he calls her an ezer kenegdo.”

“The word ezer is used only twenty other places in the entire Old Testament. And in every other instance the person being described is God himself, when you need him to come through for you desperately.”

From “God is our Ezer,” by Ransomed Heart Ministries (accessed April 27, 2019)
https://www.ransomedheart.com/daily-reading/god-our-ezer

Image by Jeff Balbalosa from Pixabay

Inspired by Proverbs 31:10-31

The Motherly Warrior plays a pivotal role.  Her faithfulness to daily tasks strengthens those who dwell within her walls.  The enemy lies to her:  “Your job is empty and unfulfilling.  Embarrassing, even.  It makes no difference to anyone.  You should leave and do something worthwhile, something more worthy of your intelligence.”  But, the reason he attacks her, is that each day she spends serving her family, she is sharpening them like arrows.  They will leave the home equipped to wage war on the kingdom of darkness.  Without her, they would suffer injuries, remain wounded, and become weakened and vulnerable – no longer a threat.  If the enemy can take her down, he may soon take them all.

Image by Hebi B. from Pixabay

The Motherly Warrior girds her home with fervent prayers.  She calls on the One who commands the angels, and He hears her every word.  She observes the dark adversaries, that others may not see.  She calls them into the light and renders them disarmed.  She spreads wings around her loved ones, covering them in prayers – whispered over the washing of dishes, the folding of laundry, the chopping of carrots.  They will have want for nothing.  She sees to the things the Lord has placed in her hands, and pleads before the throne for what only He can accomplish.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Though she trembles at night, the fears of the Motherly Warrior will only draw her nearer to the Great Commander.  He will hold her burdens and reassure her of His strength, so that she may rest.  When she awakens, she is filled with energy, purpose, and creativity.  She will diversify her knowledge and abilities, turning profit as the Lord permits.  She does not seek glory or achievements for herself, but serves her family’s well-being, and the advancement of the Kingdom.

The Motherly Warrior is filled with joy, and beauty, and her family will rest when she is there.  They will increase in hope, as she shares with them the wine the Lord has entrusted to her.  She lends her ears, and He whispers to her jewels that she will amass in great storehouses, to be distributed to those who are in need.

Image by Sherilyn Hawley from Pixabay

The Motherly Warrior sees beyond the appeal of shallow and vain pursuits.  Because the Lord has given her His eyes, she will grasp and uproot from her life anything that endangers or distracts from her great assignment.

Where she steps, opponents will flee, because the Commander goes with her and strengthens her arms.  The Motherly Warrior is empowered by the Lord, because she dwells beside Him all her days.  The Motherly Warrior will not fall, because He has chosen her to arm His soldiers for war.  The Motherly Warrior is satisfied, because she is held securely by the hand of God, who loves her.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

Philippians 3:12


Need more Mommy encouragement? Check out some of my other posts:

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Scripture Pictures

Ones Such as Her

(Adapted from John 8:1-11)

I never really knew.  I guess I just never really knew.  (I probably still don’t.) 

What it would have been like to be her – her darkest, most secret sins laid bare for the world to see.  They may as well have stripped her clothes, or splayed her ribs open.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

“They made her stand before the group…”

John 8:3b

“ ‘In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.’ ”

John 8:5a

Whatever would happen, it couldn’t be worse than this heaviness.  As if her heart had turned to lead.  The nausea.  Unable to raise her head, she stares at the dirt.

“End it now.  Just end it.”

The hateful voices asserting their disgust swell to a roar, deafening her ears, until they meld to a muffle of noise.  As she stands there, she embraces a numbness that distances herself from them.  She continues to stare into the grains of dirt.  She will be one with the ground.  Soon.

Startling her daze, a finger crosses her line of vision.  Someone is before her, writing in the dirt.  She shifts her gaze up and sideways, just enough to view Him.  Her eyebrows twitch, and her head does a small shake, before dropping again.

“Come on.  Let’s get this over with al-”

Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.”  Interrupting her thought and cutting the din in her ears, His voice is suddenly booming.  He is standing now, in front of her.  Looking up quickly, she sees His straightened back.  His feet are planted, His arms set apart slightly from His sides.  He appears immovable.  The demands and taunts of the crowd grow quieter, like a fading wind.

Her breath catches.  Her heart beats heavily upon her chest.  Her eyes are still on His back, and the sounds of her accusers have dissipated.

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Matthew 6:14-15

Releasing them from His piercing gaze, He stoops to the earth again.  It doesn’t look like He plans to leave.

The crowd, however, shifts uneasily on their feet.  They glance around at each other.  A few of them walk off, slowly.  Some shake their heads, or frown.  One looks at her and remembers something.  His eyes become windows, for a moment.  Exhaling, he turns and slumps away, looking down.

As she watches in shock, the weakened crowd retreats, one by one.  With the exit of each person, her incredulity grows.  The Man is still writing with His finger in the dirt that she had expected to, by now, be soaked with her blood.  She pants heavily, and notices a smile playing quietly upon the corners of His mouth.  Without moving His head, He eyes the bystanders who are left.  Disarmed, they slink reluctantly away, glancing back over their shoulders, as if searching for a way to regain their footing.

It is silent for a moment as Jesus stops writing and leans back on His heels, watching them depart.  When He stands and turns to face her, His smile is fully grown.  Softly, now, He speaks to her:

“Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?”  Liquid gathers in his lower eyelids.

Her heart still pounding, she glances beyond His shoulder.  Seeing only a smattering of dents in the ground where they had once stood, she stutters hurriedly,

“N-n-no-one, sir.”  Her voice is hoarse, but within her, the exhilaration of hope rises.  Like a point of light, expanding, and overtaking.

Unexpectedly and gruffly, a laugh bursts from her mouth.  When she draws her breath in again, it becomes a sob.

“Then neither do I condemn you.”  Still smiling, He drops His eyes to her feet and lays a hand on the back of her arm.  Stepping to her closely, she feels His breath on her ear.

“Go now.  And leave your life of sin.”

About my blog

Back in the Saddle – My (Super Slow) Blogging Plan

Image by cmmckeehen from Pixabay

Hello to anyone who has not given up on viewing my blog! It has been a long break (5 months to be exact). I’m happy to say that I am ready to begin again; however, it will be slow. I plan to publish a post once per month and would like to keep that going for about a year.

Most of my upcoming posts are already written. Many are in a similar style as my previous ones – reflections on my life (in particular, the things that wrench my gut) from a biblical/spiritual perspective. A couple of them will be what I will call ‘Scripture Pictures’ – my words, inspired by a passage from the Bible. The first of these will be published next week, in time for Easter.

I’ve struggled a lot with whether or not to continue blogging, and have arrived at the following conclusions:

  • My blogging schedule needs to be slower so I do not rob time away from my family.
  • I will not always get it right, and that is to be expected, because if God only allowed people to do things perfectly NOTHING WOULD EVER GET DONE.
  • I find blogging very satisfying and healing for myself, and others may be blessed by it as well if God decides to use my blog in that way. This is all ok, so long as I don’t get caught up in the numbers or become overly concerned with what others think of me.

With all of that said, I look forward to posting next week, as I mentioned, in time for Easter. And the month after that, in time for Mother’s Day. And so on. There are many things heavy on my heart that I have been longing to share (imperfectly, of course) with those people who may want to hear them.

And in the meantime, I am also a reader. My list of favorite blogs continues to grow, so I’ll see many of you on your blogs as well. I look forward to connecting in this way.

Blessings…and see you next week!

About my blog

It’s Been Quiet Around my Blog Lately…

Yes, it’s been quiet.  I know.  To go from faithfully posting once per week, to not writing in almost an entire month, may seem strange.

I’m under no illusions about the size of my following, but if I have left anyone hanging, I want to offer my humblest apologies.

I’ve been taking some time to sort things out in my own heart, and I’m not sure how long it will take.  I am still writing, but am not publishing anything right now and have left Facebook.

I’m still here, checking WordPress intermittently, if anyone wants or needs to chat.

Otherwise, I’ll continue my quiet season for as long as it takes, and do my best to enjoy it.

Drop me a line, if you like, and tell me how you’re doing!

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1a

About my blog

5 Reasons Why I Blog

write

It has been four months now, since I published my first posts on this blog.  However, I have never taken the time to explain the reasons for its existence.  In doing so today, I hope to help my readers understand what they will find here, and why.

Here are 5 clear reasons that immediately come to my mind when I ask myself, “Why do I blog?”

  1. As a creative outlet

Before I began blogging, I was experiencing a great deal of frustration.  I felt as though I would quite possibly crawl out of my skin, if I did not find a creative outlet to punctuate my days.  In the past, I had played piano, crocheted, or done macramé.  However, all of these pursuits had ceased to satisfy.

It occurred to me, one day, to take my problem to the Lord in prayer.  If He cared, after all, about every detail of my life, wouldn’t he care about this (even though I thought it to be trivial)?  And if we are made in His image, and He is Creator, would He not understand my deep desire to also be creative?

Immediately, as I began to pray, the idea of writing popped into my head.  And not just writing, but also a direction: to take the raw material in my old journals – scriptures, and things the Lord had impressed upon me – and explain them in a way that would engage and encourage other people.  At once, my feelings of dissatisfaction were replaced with joy and excitement.  Blogging has been the endeavour that finally scratched my creative itch.

  1. For self-care

The second reason I am listing flows out of my first.  It is not for lack of work to do, that I pursue a hobby.  It is to fill a need that I have to be creative.  In doing so, I feel more content, and am better equipped to complete the other tasks that beg for my attention.  I’ve heard some women say about a day spent at the spa: “This makes me a better mom.”  Writing, for me, serves the same purpose.  It relieves and energizes me, thereby increasing my ability to be patient and kind in the rest of life.  At its best, self-care is not about being selfish.  It is about helping yourself, so that you can help others.

These days, it seems rare for anyone to have ‘spare time’ on their hands for things like hobbies.  We are very skilled at filling our schedules.  However, if self-care is never a priority, a person will eventually run out of steam.  This may result in emotional outbursts, depression, or exhaustion.  I know this from experience!  (You probably do too.)

self care

  1. To minister to others

A big motivator for me in creating a blog, is the possibility that others may benefit from reading it.  Having a positive impact on another person makes life worth living.  There are many things I cannot do for others, but writing is one thing I can do.

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35b

My experiences and the things I write about may be unremarkable.  However, I believe that someone, out there, needs to read them.  There have been times of struggle in my life, when I would have loved to hear the stories of people in similar situations.   Much can be learned from those who have walked a path before you.  Knowing that others have experienced similar feelings as you can help to defeat loneliness and hopelessness.  Although in my past I had searched for this kind of resource, it was very difficult to find.  If my blog can be that for even one person, it will be worth my effort.

Any experience or hardship in my life can become a story to engage and encourage another person.  A source of common ground – though our paths may otherwise be different.

holding hands

  1. As a form of worship

God has done amazing things in my life.  His fingerprints are everywhere, and my blog is a witness to that fact.  It is not uncommon for me to cry tears of thankfulness as I put the finishing touches on a post.  As I write, I am reminded of God’s powerful ministry in my life, and the impact of His thoughts towards me becomes more deeply settled upon my spirit.  In taking the time to record these experiences, I am filled with greater love for Him.

“How precious to me are your thoughts, God!  How vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you.”  Psalm 139:17-18

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.”  Psalm 66:16

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

  1. To work towards a dream

As crazy as it may seem, one of my girlhood dreams – ever since devouring all those L.M. Montgomery books – has been to one day write and publish a book.  Blogging provides a great experimental arena in which to toss out material and see how readers respond.  What do they like?  What are they looking for?

Another great thing about blogging (and online writing groups) is that I don’t have to write alone.  As a teen, I was the only one I knew with this weird hobby.  Now, however, I can engage in discussions with other writers, read their work, and have them read mine.  I can give and receive feedback, and hopefully improve my writing.

Although the Lord has taught me to hang on to dreams such as this one loosely (you can read about that here), He hasn’t told me to stop dreaming altogether.  Dreams give your life a sense of momentum.  They inspire growth.  They always lead you somewhere!  Even if it isn’t where you thought you’d end up.

"Follow Your Dreams"

These 5 reasons guide my writing and shape the content that you will find on my blog.  It will not be of interest to everyone, but if it is of interest to you, I invite you to come along, drop me a line, and connect with me in one way or another.

Why do you blog?

How do you do self-care?

Where is God leading you?

What is your dream?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Life Reflections

God Loves Moms (Even Scary Ones)

chocolate bar

Recently I had what I would call a “scary mom” day.  Those of you who are moms may identify.  My family was in the process of moving from one house to another, and both were basically in shambles.  Nothing was where it should be, the dishes were stacked high, and the clothes were either dirty, piled in laundry baskets, or abandoned in displaced drawers stacked loosely on the floor.

My boys squabbled all morning, and my oldest refused to board the bus.  This is an issue we’ve been dealing with for a couple of years now.  As I yelled at him from the garage like some kind of crazy woman, and later attempted to wrestle him onto the bus while holding my toddler out of traffic, I wondered why I couldn’t think of a better way to handle the situation.  I also imagined the thoughts of my new neighbours.  Oh well.  May as well let them see the real thing, sooner rather than later!

I drove my seven year old to school and came back home.  Emotionally drained, I put my two year old in his bed for an early nap, and hit the bath tub (my remedy for anything that goes wrong, ever).  It relaxed me somewhat, but I needed more.  I hauled out the yoga pants, and stretched them comfortably around my mummy tummy.  Almost there.  But if I was to survive the day, I needed one more thing.  I knew exactly what it was.  It nagged at me from the back of my brain in a visceral kind of way.

Cadbury Dairy Milk.

Normally, coffee was my fuel, but today I needed an extra little zap.  So I could drive back to the other house, and fill another carload.

The thought of the chocolate energized me.  I fed my two year old his lunch, tossed a few empty boxes into the car, and we made our way to Superstore.  I worried that, in this smallish community, I’d bump into someone I knew.  They’d see me – frazzled, frizzy hair, yoga pants, and all, canvassing the candy aisle for the largest Dairy Milk bar I could find.  Maybe I should just sneak into a little gas station.  (Ah, but Superstore’s so much cheaper!)

“Oh well,” I thought.  Just let them ask me what’s up, and I’d gladly explain that my survival, and that of my family, hinged desperately upon the chocolate bar I was about to purchase. Maybe I was finally old enough to stop caring about what other people think.  Or maybe, I had just been a mom long enough.

I purchased the chocolate, carried my son to the car, and strapped him into his seat.  As I sat down and put the car in reverse, I glanced in my rear view mirror.  There was a well-groomed man walking toward the store entrance.  His hair looked like it had been cut days ago.  He was dressed in a fine-looking, well-tailored, and stylish suit.  Probably on his lunch break from work.

“Must be nice,” I thought sourly.  Here I was, jealous even of the men who spent more time and expense on their appearance than I did.  I thought about my sad, ugly, (and downright scary) state as I drove away, chewing on giant chunks of chocolate.  I thought about how, years ago, I would get up in the morning and get ready for work.  I would put on some decent clothes, and makeup.  I had a nice haircut.  I’d put mousse in my hair and blow-dry it so it would look curly.  Why did I only give myself a right to those things if I worked at a job with a paycheque?

I gulped coffee from my travel mug, drowning out the wave of sugar.  The Dairy Milk was hitting a little hard.  But I liked it.

Settling deeper into my seat, I wondered if I should turn my thoughts to something more positive.  Immediately, three words sprang to my mind, as if they had been waiting in the wings and finally been given permission to come out.

“God loves moms.”  I had written it in my journal, a couple of years ago.

Hmmph.  I snorted.  Did He even love scary moms?  Like the one I had become?

Thinking back, I recalled the verses that had prompted me to journal this little revelation:

“How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!” Matthew 24:19

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11

In the first verse I quoted, Jesus is describing people fleeing from their homes during the upcoming (A.D. 70) destruction of Jerusalem.  This may seem a strange place to go for encouragement.  However, what had struck me about the verse, is that the first people Jesus worried about were the moms.  The moms of young children.

In the second verse I quoted, the prophet Isaiah describes God as a shepherd, and His people as sheep.  Special mention is made of the young lambs, and their mothers.  They have a unique place in the Shepherd’s heart.  He carries the babies, and gently leads their moms.

For me, discovering these verses had been like mining gold.  Because, it can be hard to find relatable stuff in the Bible when you’re neck deep in the grime of daily life, trying to figure out how to handle your child’s tantrums in a godly way.

I arrived at our old home and filled the car to its roof.  By the time we were ready to leave, my toddler had colored his nose and cheeks all over with those scented markers that were strewn all over the floors.  I smiled.  How could he resist?  They smelled SO good!  His hands were covered in something black and oily from outside, so I washed them up at the sink.

We got into the car and pulled away.  My thoughts wandered back to the stuff in my old journal, and I tried to think of other moms in the Bible.  There were Rebekah, and Hannah, who had been barren, but the Lord had compassion on them and gave them children.  There was Ishmael’s mom Hagar, who wandered in the desert alone with her son, after being given the heave-ho by Abraham and Sarah.  (What a blotch in biblical history this mom got to be a part of!)  But there, near death, she encountered a divine visitor who saved their lives and guaranteed a future for Ishmael.  Then I thought about the widow, whose son was raised from the dead by the prophet Elijah.  And if I were to search more in those ancient pages, I would find other examples of all kinds of moms, all of whom God loved and provided for.

“Yes,” I concluded, “God loves moms.”  All kinds of moms.  Good moms, bad moms, barren moms, single moms, married moms, widowed moms, divorced moms.  Even scary moms, like me.

“Momming” can be hard.  But if I’m really honest, I do like it.  Even with the frizzy hair.  And I know that the Lord sees me struggle.  He worries about me; He carries my babies; He leads me gently.  He can open a barren womb.  He can give a good future to people who feel hopeless.  He can even raise the dead.

I unloaded the car, and picked up my seven year old at his bus stop.  He’d had a decent day, after all.  And so had I.

“She (Hagar) gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.'” Genesis 16:13

Life Reflections

Have You Been Hurt by God?

woman_staring_into_distance_thinking_pondering_theorizing_miniRecently, I took my boys on our last walk through the forest trails that used to form our backyard.  As they thoughtfully explored their surroundings, I fought a lump in my throat.  A few tears may have even dropped.

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Since that day, we have moved to a different home in a small city.  Although we now see God’s timely provision in our circumstances, and things have turned out well, it was very difficult for me to leave our other home.  It was more than just a house.  It was the fulfillment of our dreams – a gift, we felt, from God.

But in the five and a half years that we lived there, things changed.  We grew in our walks with God and even became happier.  The funny thing is, however, that although our spiritual riches increased, there was a downturn in our earthly riches.  We came to realize that financial concerns would push us out the door.

We asked the Lord, “Why did you give us this wonderful home in the first place, if you knew we wouldn’t be able to afford to stay?”  To be quite honest, I felt hurt.  Wounded, even, by God Himself.  And it wasn’t the first time in my life that I felt this way.

I don’t think I am the only one who has felt hurt by God.  In fact, I know that many, many people – to whom a simple change of address will seem trivial and benign – have experienced far greater pains and disillusionment than I.  What’s worse: God has allowed this pain.  He doesn’t seem to be doing a thing about it.

We could find several examples in the Bible of people who could identify.  Job is an obvious one.  However, another that springs to my mind is John the Baptist.  Of him, the Lord required imprisonment, and a brutal and pointless death.  This, after he had spent his life preparing others to receive Jesus’ ministry.  In the end, he barely got to see a glimpse of it.  I can hear his disappointment in the following message sent to Jesus from prison:

“Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Matthew 11:2b

In response, Jesus sends a report of what He has been doing among the people: giving physical healings, raising the dead, and encouraging the poor.  And then He says:

“Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” Matthew 11:6

Basically, his response to John is – “Everyone else is benefitting right now, but you are not.  I hope that you will stay true even though I’m not giving you what you expected.”  It’s not that Jesus didn’t value all that John had done, or that He didn’t care about him.  In the verses that follow, He commends the man for his prophetic ministry (Matthew 11:7-19).  And after He hears about John’s death, His first inclination is to withdraw “by boat privately to a solitary place” (Matthew 14:13).  I believe that He would have felt immense grief over the murder of John, His cousin.

Sometimes, the Lord requires us to make a sacrifice.  While it is happening, the reason may not seem clear.  All we know, is that God requires it.  And as Abraham, climbing Mount Moriah with his son Isaac, “reasoned that God could raise the dead” (Hebrews 11:19a), we remember that God is larger than our finances, our houses, our health, our very lives.  We rely on our history with God, our knowledge of His goodness, and our experiences of His love, when He requires things of us that we do not understand.

In my life, I feel God’s presence most keenly during times of sorrow.  He is close to the brokenhearted.  As I walked those trails with my boys, I was sad, but I also felt deeply comforted.  The Holy Spirit was so near, I could almost feel His arm around me.  It was as though, if I turned quickly enough, I might see Him there, walking beside me.  He is good, and He loves me.  If it is for His sake that I give up a dream, my answer is yes – 1,000 times yes.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

Have you been hurt by God?

Has He asked you to give up a dream?