Dear New Mom,
Breathe in and breathe out. Don't worry about trying to make life perfect, that's an impossible job better left in the Hands of a Perfect God.
Instead, cherish the small moments, the snuggles and the smells of your soft newborn baby. Those small moments turn to big memories you will forever carry as a your first badge of motherhood.
Honor your body too. It's easy to critique your figure and the changes that may have taken place during pregnancy, but your body just participated in the miracle of life. Day by day, it will keep changing and returning to the way you remembered it. Don't forget, it took 9 months for those changes to take place and it'll take time and healthy practices to feel normal again.
When 3 am rolls around and your still holding a baby, longing for sleep. Let God wrap his arms around you and cherish you just the way you're loving your baby. God loves us through our lows and highs with a love that's multiplied beyond our human understanding. He's with you when your patience is gone, he's with you when your joy explodes, and he's always willing to provide the perfect amount of comfort and advice to his children as we care for our own.
The most important piece of advice I can give you is if you're ever feeling lost, lonely or unloved. Sit down in a quiet spot and don't get up until you feel God's presence. Sometimes it takes a simple prayer, asking God to let you feel his love, sometimes it takes surrendering your worries or fear, but it's a request that never comes back void and might carry you through the longest shortest years.
this post originally appeared at rebirththebook.com,
Are New Year’s Resolutions 'Christian'?
Short answer: no
Long answer: kinda
See, "kinda" has three more letters than "no."
Ok, but for real, New Year’s Resolutions have seemed to be popular since the beginning of time; it must have started with Adam and Eve or maybe Abraham?
Close, the ancient Babylonians were thought to be the forerunners for New Year’s Resolutions some 4,000 years ago. They'd celebrate the New Year in March after planting the year’s crops and rededicate themselves to their gods and promise to do the right things. You know the drill… Later, John Wesley would establish the idea of a Covenant Renewal Service to start the New Year by refocusing and rededicating oneself to God.
After a service, Wesley remarked,
“I do not know that ever we had a greater blessing. Afterwards many desired to return thanks, either for a sense of pardon, for full salvation, or for a fresh manifestation of His graces, healing all their backslidings" (January 1, 1775)”
But, covenant renewal is different than a New Year’s Resolution. Our modern resolutions focus on ourselves, our goals, our weight, our success. Wesley and even the Babylonians used the New Year to focus on pleasing God/gods over themselves and their desires. Instead of setting a resolution to lose ten pounds, use this time to set your heart on the Creator and tighten your walk with Him. When the vast majority of people have tossed their resolution list in the trash or just totally forgot about it, you’ll still be growing into the person God sees you as. His ways are much higher than ours anyway.
And if you still really want to write down some special resolutions, grab a pen, paper, and Bible. I'll help get you started:
“Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, and strength,” Deut. 6:5
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isa. 41:10
“You are not your own; you were bought with a price, therefore glorify God with your bodies” 1 Cor. 6:20
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Col. 3:2
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psa. 37:4
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matt. 6:33
"Love your neighbor as yourself" Matt. 22:39
Let your 'resolutions' guide your heart and life closer to God each day of this New Year.
Wesley had a special prayer which was recorded during his Covenant Renewal Service, take a moment to read and reflect on his words:
 Sarah Pruitt, “The History of New Year's Resolutions,” History.com, December 30, 2015, accessed December 29, 2017, http://www.history.com/news/the-history-of-new-years-resolutions.
John Wesley, “Wesley's Covenant Renewal Service," accessed December 29, 2017, https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/wesleys-covenant-renewal-service-greg-buchner-sermon-on-christian-disciplines-64795?page=2.
The sun seemed to set early, to broken to keep shining on December 14th, 2012. While I quietly began my morning routine, a kid I had only ever noticed in passing, massacred blameless lives behind my home. If ever there’s a moment to question whether or not your front door is locked, it’s not when State Troopers are parked in your driveway and swarming the area in search of a suspected second shooter.
The sirens and flashing lights of the emergency responders echoed throughout our sleepy town, acting as the brutal soundtrack to chaos while parents walked to the fire station to be reunited with their children. I naively hoped everyone was safe and the onslaught of police was merely overcautious.
When the death toll was released that afternoon, my heart sank to the floor with the rest of my body. I made a mental list of all of the neighbors I needed to call, but my fingers didn’t want to dial. I was too afraid of the news I might hear. The names and beautiful pictures were released to the public a short time after and the country released a unified cry of grief.
The days after the Sandy Hook shooting still remain a blurry mess in my mind. The president came. Getting in and out of our house became a trial in itself. And everyone wanted to help in whatever ways they could. We opened up our downstairs, which also served as an ice cream shop for prayer.
Before we opened one evening, I sat in our downstairs with a dim candle lit and tried to force the tears out. I knew a tsunami of grief was storming within me, but the shock and chaos and fear was hindering making it too difficult to feel. That's when a pickup truck pulled into the driveway. A man from Chicago got out and asked to set some crosses and a Star of David in our yard, he had even brought an extra star in case two of the victims happened to be Jewish. We were shocked and moved by his compassion and agreed to let him use our yard. He quickly assembled the memorials he had built and transported with his own hands as cold rain drizzled down on that confusing night.
In the days that followed, I’d periodically watch from the window as mourners from near and far came and added flowers and toys to the display. A few months later, my dad sent me a photo from Boston. The same man had made crosses and brought them to that community as they grieved in the wake of the Boston massacre.
Five years later, the same man has made his largest delivery to Las Vegas. I saw the picture and the headline, and I'm ashamed to say I moved right past it. I didn't want to be reminded of the hurt and the pain, but Truth woke me up in the middle of the night with the expression,
"Good keeps going."
Even as I tried to protect the scars on my heart, what's good will keep persevering and shining in the midst of darkness. Genesis teaches that when God first formed the world, there was chaos and a darkness that could be felt (Gen. 1:2) and into this very darkness, God added light.
Light is an amazing substance that will continue to travel into eternity. Nothing can truly halt a wave of light, instead, it’s absorbed by anything that obstructs it, leaving a lasting impact (think hot sand heated by sunlight at the beach).
Scripture adds power to that truth, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
The light will always pierce the darkness. Good will always surpass evil. It happened in Sandy Hook, and it's magnified in the courageous mothers and brave fathers that carry on their children's legacy while making an impact world-wide. From monumental acts like the display of crosses, to the smallest hug, Sandy Hook will always be the personification of the message, "Love Wins."
Because Love already won.
John records, "In him [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of all mankind..." (Jhn 1:4)
The true light that gives light to everyone (Jhn 1:9a), came into the world, to take on darkness and defeat it forever.
Though we still experience tragedy and grief, there's always hope, light, and the choice to forgive and overcome... just watch this video of Scarlett Lewis,
And always carry God's love, hope, and light in your heart... you never know who might need it today! Everyday we have the privileged to be an example of the Love that Won.
Shine bright, friends!
חֹשֶׁךְ chôshek, kho-shek'; from H2821; the dark; hence (literally) darkness; figuratively, misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness:—dark(-ness), night, obscurity.
Christmas is around the corner. For my kids, this means counting down the days and soaking in the lights and celebrations. For me... we'll let's just say I'm writing this from my parked car, while hiding out in the garage to get a break from the hustle, bustle, and demands.
As I take time to focus on what's important, I'm reminded of my very favorite part of the season. Each year, I take one child to a thrift store and have them pick out toys that their siblings would like. The budget is less than meager, but I love to watch each child spend time thinking of others. At first, this was a really hard task for my five year old. He found an awful lot of things that he would like. Finally, he found a pink pair of Minnie Mouse sunglasses that his sister would like.
I was thrilled, and she was more than thrilled when she opened her gift Christmas morning. It was truly the thought that counted and made a special impression.
This year, on Thanksgiving, my daughter asked me to write down her Christmas list. I was frustrated and felt too busy, but I sat down to write out her requests.
That precious little girl, who got sunglasses from her big brother last year, only asked for two things for herself. All of the other items were things that she wanted to give to others.
I'm tucking this lesson tightly into my heart.
Cherish the real Reason for the Season and each that you're spending it with... it's there that the riches of our blessings unfold.
What is your favorite part of the advent season?
is a writer & tired homeschooling mom of five.