Mother’s Day Reflections

“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:2

The more I reflect on Mother’s Day, the more I see its beauty reach far beyond the myriad of flowers and gifts, hugs and cards. I see a beauty that outshines them all, even within the sometimes empty vases and unsent cards. I find that being a mother has been the greatest privilege. Of course, if I am completely honest, I’ll have to admit that motherhood has not always struck me as being great or even a privilege, but looking back through different eyes and a renewed heart, I can now see the immense treasures that have emerged from it.

I can’t even begin to tell you how often I must remind myself that all my failings are not lost in God’s great grace, providence, and sovereign will, and that His mercy has prevailed despite my imperfect past. God is the author and perfecter. If I succeed in motherhood, all praise is due Him. If I fail miserably in motherhood, all praise is still due Him, not so much for my failings or their consequences, but for His immeasurable grace and redemptive work through Christ in spite of them all!

If God can raise the dead (and we were all once dead in sin), He can certainly redeem my wrongs and raise all my children from death to life in Christ. Is anything too hard for Him? Why then do I still pray and wait, wait and pray? I still pray because God is patient! Look, herein lies the beauty of it all, while I’ve been praying and waiting, waiting and praying, God has been changing and shaping me. Yes. Me! God has diverted my eyes from them to my own selfishness, my own self-righteousness, and my own idols.

Most patiently, God has been teaching me to walk, rather than just talk—to actually live out my words according to His Word. He has been showing me the difference between saying and doing, between giving and hoarding.  I could not fool God by merely praying, “This child is Your child” and not let go of it. I could not tell God, “This child is Your child” and thereby shun my responsibility to do right by it. Whom was I fooling? Not God!

Did God not know me when He entrusted me with children? Of course He did! He also knew just how miserably I would fail, how much I’d come to rely on Him, and how much He would love and shape me in the process. I’ve learned much, but no matter what I have accomplished or failed to accomplish through my life’s work, nothing will ever compare to the treasures of motherhood that spring from the redemptive heart of God and not my skewed measuring rod.

Although I am an empty nester with recurring bouts of regrets and doubts, God has repeatedly blessed me with greater faith, trust, love, perseverance, forgiveness, grace, and peace, not because all is well (all is not well) but because God is good and knows well His plans and how they will work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

All the cobwebs of my yesteryears seem to be made of pure silver and gold in light of God’s mercy and grace, new every morning. There is no darkness found in Him, or variation, or shifting shadows. These are all results of my own vacillating or doubting, and not of His divine and steadfast guidance. I am a mother, a praying, trusting and believing mother because God is good!

May all the mothers who read this be encouraged. It is never too late. God doesn’t make mistakes, but gives beauty for ashes. God makes alive what was dead! God turn’s a mother’s failures into her precious prayers and is pleased to have her, as His own beloved child, to come to Him with all her children and all her hopes for their redemption. Her love, hope, growing faith, and gratitude bring Him much glory and delight. And, will He now give her stones or a scorpion?

But You sent “thine hand from above” (Ps. 144:7) and drew my soul out of that profound darkness because my mother, Your faithful one, wept over me to You, more than mothers weep when their children die. She, by that faith and spirit which she had from You, discerned the death in which I Lay, and You heard her, Lord. You heard her and did not despise her tears when, streaming down, they watered the ground under her eyes in every place where she prayed.”

~ Excerpt from Saint Augustine’s
The Confessions of St. Augustine

May all new mothers and mothers to be who are blessed to be called by His name, read on and be encouraged to persevere, to do right in spite of all trials or opposition. Great is your reward!

I cannot tell how much I owe to the solemn words of my good mother. It was the custom, on Sunday evenings, while we were yet little children, for her to stay at home with us, and then we sat round the table, and read verse by verse, and she explained the Scripture to us. After that was done, then came the time of pleading; there was a little piece of Alleine’s Alarm, or of Baxter’s Call to the Unconverted, and this was read with pointed observations made to each of us as we sat round the table; and the question was asked, how long it would be before we would think about our state, how long before we would seek the Lord.

Then came a mother’s prayer, and some of the words of that prayer we shall never forget, even when our hair is gray. I remember, on one occasion, her praying thus: “Now, Lord, if my children go on in their sins, it will not be from ignorance that they perish, and my soul must bear a swift witness against them at the day of judgment if they lay not hold of Christ.” That thought of a mother’s bearing swift witness against me, pierced my conscience, and stirred my heart.

I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother; neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the young heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring.

Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me. How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape from the wrath to come? I thought her lips right eloquent; others might not think so, but they certainly were eloquent to me. How can I ever forget when she bowed her knee, and with her arms about my neck, prayed, “Oh, that my son might live before Thee!” Nor can her frown be effaced from my memory, — that solemn, loving frown, when she rebuked my budding iniquities; and her smiles have never faded from my recollection, — the beaming of her countenance when she rejoiced to see some good thing in me towards the Lord God of Israel.

Excerpts from Charles H. Spurgeon’s
AUTOBIOGRAPHY (Volume 1)

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Scripture References:

Colossians 2:13
Luke 15:24
Ephesians 1:11; 2:1-10
Jeremiah 32:17, 32:27
Matthew 19:26
Romans 8:28-30; 9:23
James 1:17
1 Timothy 2:15
Isaiah 61:3
Luke 11:12-13

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Thank you for giving me your time and feedback!

Photo by by jontintinjordan Flickr

The Sower

“Then he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A farmer went out to sow his seed…’” Matthew 13:3


Ye sons of earth prepare the plough,
Break up your fallow ground!
The Sower is gone forth to sow,
And scatter blessings round.

The seed that finds a stony soil
Shoots forth a hasty blade;
But ill repays the sower’s toil,
Soon withered, scorched, and dead.

The thorny ground is sure to balk
All hopes of harvest there;
We find a tall and sickly stalk,
But not the fruitful ear.

The beaten path and highway side
Receive the trust in vain;
The watchful birds the spoil divide,
And pick up all the grain.

But where the Lord of grace and power
Has blessed the happy field,
How plenteous is the golden store
The deep wrought furrows yield!

Father of mercies, we have need
Of Thy preparing grace;
Let the same hand that gives me seed
Provide a fruitful place!

Will­iam Cow­per 1731-1800, Ol­ney Hymns

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:7

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Thank you for reading!

 

Photo by diggerdanno

All Mixed Up and Ready to Share

“Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true).” Ephesians 5:8-9

  • What if there’s no fruit, bad fruit, or not enough fruit? Could it ever be too bad or too late for us? Could Esau Repent?
  • What do you mean, forgiveness is not a good fruit? Go repent!!

But wait… there’s more!


  • Should I ever have lots of extra time on my hands and/or an extra serving of patience, I’ll try this….

 

Speaking of patience, I had to kill that funky song! :-)

Grace & Peace

“Wow!” said the acorn to the great oak tree, “You were once a nut like me!”

 

Thanks for reading!

All Mixed Up And Ready To Pour

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8

  • I don’t really know Tricia, and she doesn’t know me. I don’t even remember how I happened across her blog, but it’s not left my heart since I’ve found it. Enlarged is a powerful poem that she quotes, one that might help us all.
  • The Old Adam Lives and calls for More Forde. I can see why. Can you?
  • Here’s a question I must answer honestly again and again, how important is My So-Called Online Life? I actually stepped away from it once to see what would happen. I got a lot done and I’ve learned quite a bit. You can read about it here.
  • Other than that, I love my boring life, how about you? I think The Church Usher is starting a “stick in the mud club”, and I’m tempted to join.

But wait… there’s more!

  • The beautiful photo at the top is from my friend Becky’s photo journey. Not only are her photos beautiful, they also capture her God-honoring heart and its edifying reflections.

And, last but not least…

“God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself
because there is no such thing.” — C.S. Lewis

Thanks for reading!

Our Love: He Would Only Pick This Flower

I made you grow like a plant of the field. Ezekiel 16:7


It is not so easy to love God as most imagine. The affection of love is natural, but the grace is not. All the strength in men or angels cannot make the heart love God. Ordinances will not do it of themselves, nor judgments; it is only the almighty and invincible power of the Spirit of God can infuse love into the soul.

Love is the most noble and excellent grace. It is a pure flame kindled from heaven; by it we resemble God, who is love. Believing and obeying do not make us like God, but by love we grow like Him. Love is a grace which most delights in God, and is most delightful to Him. Faith is not true, unless it works by love. The waters of repentance are not pure, unless they flow from the spring of love. Love is the incense which makes all our services fragrant and acceptable to God.

Is that unreasonable which God requires? It is but our love. If He should ask our estate, or the fruit of our bodies, could we deny Him? But He asks only our love: He would only pick this flower. Is this a hard request? Was there ever any debt so easily paid as this? We do not at all impoverish ourselves by paying it. Love is no burden.

God desires our love. We have lost our beauty, and stained our blood, yet the King of heaven is a suitor to us. What is there in our love, that God should seek it? What is God the better for our love? He does not need it, He is infinitely blessed in Himself. If we deny Him our love, He has more sublime creatures who pay the cheerful tribute of love to Him. God does not need our love, yet He seeks it.

God has deserved our love; how has He loved us! Our affections should be kindled at the fire of God’s love. What a miracle of love is it, that God should love us, when there was nothing lovely in us. We had something in us to provoke fury, but nothing to excite love. What love, passing understanding, was it, to give Christ to us! That Christ should die for sinners! God has set all the angels in heaven wondering at this love.

If you do not love God, you will love something else, either the world or sin; and are those worthy of your love? Is it not better to love God than these? If you set your love on worldly things, they will not satisfy. You may as well satisfy your body with air, as your soul with earth. If you love worldly things, they cannot remove trouble of mind. If there be a thorn in the conscience, all the world cannot pluck it out.

When you love the world, you love that which is worse than yourselves. But if you love God, you place your love on the most noble and sublime object: you love that which is better than yourselves. God is better than the soul, better than angels, better than heaven.

You may over-love the creature. You may love wine too much, and silver too much; but you cannot love God too much. If we could love God far more than we do, yet it were not proportionate to His worth; so that there is no danger of excess in our love to God. You may love worldly things, and they die and leave you. But if you love God, He is “ a portion for ever” (Psalm 73:26).

If it is better to love God than the world, surely also it is better to love God than sin. What is there in sin, that any should love it? Sin is a debt. Sin is a disease. “The whole head is sick” (Isa. 1: 5). Sin is a misshapen monster. Sin is an enemy. God will save you, sin will damn you; is he not become foolish who loves damnation?

Love is the most abiding grace. This will stay with us when other graces take their farewell. In heaven we shall need no repentance, because we shall have no sin. In heaven we shall not need patience, because there will be no affliction. In heaven we shall need no faith because faith looks at things unseen (Heb.  11:1). But then we shall see God face to face; and where there is vision, there is no need of faith. But when the other graces are out of date, love continues…

Excerpts (arranged and condensed) from
A Divine Cordial by Thomas Watson

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Thank you for reading!

So Blind, So Deaf, So Dumb, So Lame, So Dead

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing;
it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8


So blind, so deaf, so dumb, so lame, so dead

The holy Christian is the greatest miracle.

He can tell you that he was so blind—but now God
has given him eyes to see sin to be the greatest evil;
and Christ to be the choicest good.

He can tell you that once he was so deaf—that though
God called very often and very loudly to him—by His
word and by His works, by His rods at home and by
His judgments abroad, and by his Spirit and conscience,
which were still a-preaching in his bosom—sometimes life,
sometimes death, sometimes heaven, and sometimes hell
—yet he could not hear! But now God has given him a
hearing ear, so that now he can with delight hear the
sweet music of the promises on the one hand; and
with a holy trembling listen to the voice of divine
threatenings on the other hand.

He can tell you that once he was so dumb—that if he
might have had the whole world, he could not have
spoken a good word for God, nor for His ways, nor for
His people, nor for any of His concernments. Oh! but
now his tongue is as the pen of a ready writer—and
he is never better, than when he is a-speaking either
of God, or for God and His concerns. Now he can
contend for the faith, and speak for saints. And though
in some cases he may lack power to act for God—yet he
never lacks a tongue to speak for God. The spouse’s lips
drop honeycombs in Canticles 4:11. Yes, his tongue now
becomes a tree of life, whose leaves are medicinal.

He can tell you that once he was so lame—that he was
not able to move one foot heaven-wards, nor Christ-wards,
nor holiness-wards, etc. But now his feet delight, not only
to go—but to run in all the ways of God’s commands!

Yes, he can tell you that once he was so dead—as to all
his soul-concerns. But now he is alive, and the life that
he leads in the flesh, is by faith in the Son of God, who
has loved him and given Himself for him, Gal. 2:20.

It was by a miracle that the Red Sea was driven back;
and it is no less a miracle—to see a sinner who was
accustomed to do evil—now habituated to do good.

That the tide of sin, which before did run so strong
—should be so easily turned; that the sinner who, a
little before was sailing hellward, and lacked neither
wind nor tide to carry him there—should now suddenly
alter his course, and tack about for heaven—what a
miracle is this! To see . . .
an earthly man become heavenly,
a carnal man become spiritual,
a loose man become precise,
a proud man become humble,
a covetous man become liberal, and
a harsh man become meek, etc.,
is to behold the greatest of miracles!

from The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or,
HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness
by Thomas Brooks, 1662

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Thank you for reading!