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When you’re just plain tired of the sacrifice…

madewithOver

“I’m sorry, this momma is done for the night.”

I had had it.

I was done with a capital D.  So much so that I even let the words slip out of my mouth in frustration to one of my kids.

It had been one of those weeks. One very sick little girl had spent three full nights awake with a high fever.  She was kept company by a brother who kept waking up claiming that he “just couldn’t sleep” (which I’m sure was legit, but oh.my.goodness).  Another was seriously trying my patience in the obedience department, and the fourth sweet child just wanted me to listen for hours on end to the long list of inventions (mostly involving jet propulsion and duct tape) that had been forming in that brain of his that never stops.

Jesus help me.

I signed up for this, I know full well.  And I am blessed beyond measure to be sure.  And truly, all these years later, I expect the unexpected and the sacrifice that comes with kids.  I really do.  Oh, I know it in my head, but when my flesh and my heart are weak, Jesus help me.  In my flesh, I’m not naturally built to handle this kind of sleep deprivation on a regular basis and still practice any resemblance of patience at the end of a long day.

At our weakest moments, if we’re completely honest, I’m guessing that we’ve all been here about something at some point in our lives. Deep down in our core, we’re just plain tired of the sacrifice.

Maybe you’re the honest, loyal employee who fails to get recognized while others cheat their way to the top.

Maybe you’re the church worker who has faithfully, quietly served behind the scenes without an accolade in years.

Maybe you’re the caregiver who provides selflessly, or the patient who fights endlessly.

Or maybe you’re the friend, daughter, sister, wife, mom… who always seems to be on the giving end, but rarely on the receiving one.

Maybe, you’re just really, really trying to live for Jesus, and the giving up of the things of this world seems like an overwhelming price to pay.

The world and a thousand self-help books will tell you to quit. That the sacrifice is too much. That you should look out for you.

But Jesus came with a counter-cultural message that would change the world.  And He didn’t just preach it.  He actually lived it.

He served in the suffering…

When Jesus gathered with His disciples at the Last Supper, He had every right to demand to be treated like their King. His body was surely tired from some of his last grueling days of ministry on earth. He had selflessly served – over and over feeding the poor and healing the sick - yet the Jews continued in their unbelief that Jesus really was the Messiah, even after witnessing miracle after miracle.  This man of sacrifice served even with the knowledge that some of his closest followers would soon betray and deny Him.

No other King in history has given more and received less. But then again, He wasn’t just any other King…

And if that all wasn’t enough, in the midst of His serving, He carried the heavy weight of His imminent death. And He could have cried out, “Father, I’m done. The sacrifice is too great.”

But instead, he put Himself aside, and He humbly stooped down to wash the feet of sinners. Oh, friend, don’t let the repetition of this story or the simplicity of this act distract you from the profound mystery that is Christ. Instead of wallowing in the dark days which were upon Him or demanding recognition for saving the world, Jesus demonstrated that he came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28).  He would even kneel down and serve the very one who was about to hand Him over to be killed. That is unthinkable in human terms. It was far from a job fit for the King of Kings, but it was a profound example of how those of us who are in Christ should live our lives.

You see, in Christ, everything looks different. 

Those sleepless nights, and those hard days when I’m just plain tired of the sacrifice?  It all looks different because of Jesus. And with His strength, I can serve instead of seeking to be served.  I can sacrifice even in the midst of suffering, and I don’t have to wait until I’m appreciated or in a good season to initiate love, encouragement, and generosity to others. I can humble myself and not expect earthly recognition, knowing that it is far better to treasure Christ.

Why does the Last Supper matter?  Because it begs us to take our eyes off of ourselves, and to NEVER FORGET the willing sacrifice that Jesus made for you and for me.  And when we really remember deep down to our core, then we can say…

No sacrifice is too great.

Father, not my will, but Yours be done…

 

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

~ John 13:14-15

At His feet,

Why Easter Matters {Week 1} ~ Nothing But the Blood…

Banner week 1

Good Morning Girls… it’s finally HERE!!!!

This week marks the beginning of our {Why Easter Matters} study, and we honestly couldn’t be more thrilled that you’re sharing this space with us!  Welcome back to those of you who have been part of the Good Morning Girls community for a long time, and a special warm welcome to you new faces out there… oooohhh, God is so good to unite our hearts in His Word for this time!

The Easter season falls on a beautiful time of year here in the Midwest.  Springtime is upon us, and the earth is transitioning from death to life.  The hard, frozen ground is finally thawing from Winter’s sleep, and the first buds of new life are beginning to break through. Days are getting longer, I’m waking up to birds singing instead of snow shovels scraping, and soon soft colors will replace dull, dead branches. And as crazy as it sounds, this little change in the weather brings renewed hope after death had overtaken for so long.

As I sit here with my Bible open and my coffee close by, I know full well that you didn’t come here to talk about the weather.

But I hope you did come here to talk about new life.

Because as unpredictable as the weather - and this world- can be, the new life that is available through Jesus is quite the other extreme:

Complete.

Consistent.

Unfailing.

Abundant.

Sure.

Like many of you, I’ve watched the news and I’ve read the headlines this week. And yes, like you, I’ve fought worldly battles and temptations, and I’ve longingly searched for small signs of hope in stagnant places.

And as I’ve gone to God’s Word for help and hope, He has refreshed my heart again with this truth: apart from Jesus we are deader than the longest winter: incomplete, inconsistent, and longing for a hope that neither all of our valiant efforts nor this world can provide.

This… is why Easter matters.

What, then, can make us alive?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus…

{If you’re unable to see this video, you can view it here.}

 

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow.

No other fount I know; nothing but the blood of Jesus.

~ Robert Lowry

 

At His Feet,

 

{Week 1} Challenge: Make a list of things in your life that you’re tempted to rely on other than Jesus. Every day this week take time to pray over your list, asking God to help you place your full dependence and trust in Christ alone.

{Week 1} Memory Verse: 

MemoryVerse-01

 

{Week 1} Reading Plan:
  
Week 1 Reading Plan

 

How to S.O.A.P. Your Quiet Time…

SOAP-Quiet-Time

I’m proud of you….I really am….I want YOU to know that.

I’m proud of you for making the commitment this session to be in God’s Word…..to be reading it each day and applying it to YOUR life……the beautiful life our Lord has given YOU.

Each session we create a study guide that goes along with the verses we are reading.  This study guide is to help you interact with God’s Word and learn to dig deeper…. slowing down to really read what God is saying to you that day.

Today I want to take the time and explain what the S.O.A.P. method is and WHY you should use it during your quiet time.

Why S.O.A.P. it?

It’s one thing to simply read scripture, but when you interact with it, when you learn to slow down to REALLY read it,  suddenly words start popping off the page. By SOAPing your verses you are able to dig deeper into scripture and “see” more than if you simply read the verses and then went on your merry way. Let me encourage you to take the time to S.O.A.P. the daily verses and see for yourself how much more you get out of your daily reading……you’ll be amazed.

What does S.O.A.P. mean?

S- The S stands for Scripture- you physically write out the scripture……you’ll be amazed that what God will reveal to you just by taking the time to slow down and actually write out what you are reading!

O- The O stands for observation- what do you see in the verses that you’re reading? Who is the audience? Is there a repetition of words? What words stand out to you?

A- The A stands for Application- this is when God’s Word becomes personal. What is God saying to me today? How can I apply what I just read to my own personal life? What changes do I need to make? Is there an action that I need to take?

P- And finally P stands for Prayer. Pray God’s Word back to Him. If He has revealed something to you during this time in His Word, pray about it. Confess if He has revealed some sin that is in your life.

Studying God’s Word like this can take as little or as long as you have time to give. Some days it can take just 10 or 15 minutes, other days longer.

How do I S.O.A.P.?

Here is a personal example….

Colossians 1:5-8

S- The faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

O- (Many times I just bullet my observations……what I’m seeing at first glance when looking at the verses)

  • When you combine faith and love, you get hope.
  • We have to remember that our hope is in heaven…….it is yet to come.
  • The gospel is the word of truth.
  • The gospel is continually bearing fruit and growing from the 1st day to the last.
  • It just takes one person to change a whole community…..Epaphras.

A-Something that stood out to me today was how God used one man, Epaphras to change a whole town!!! I was reminded that we are simply called to tell others about Christ……it’s God’s job to spread the gospel….to grow it and have it bear fruit. I felt today’s verses were almost directly spoken to GMG…..“all over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.” Isn’t it fun when God’s Word becomes so alive and speaks directly were we are at?!!!! My prayer today is that all the women involved in this Bible study will understand God’s grace and have a thirst for His Word.

God's Word SOAP

P- Dear Lord, please help me to be a “Epapras”…..to tell others about you and then leave the results in your loving hands. Please help me to understand and apply what I have read today to my life personally, thereby becoming more and more like you each and every day. Help me to live a life that bears the “fruit” of faith and love……anchoring my hope in heaven, not here on earth. Help me to remember that the BEST is yet to come!

_____________________________________________________

I’ll be honest with you and say there are many days I write on the front and back side of my study guide…..but you don’t have to. Just take it one day at a time, and write as you respond to what God has shown you through His Word.

The most important ingredients in the S.O.A.P. method is YOUR interaction with God’s Word and your APPLICATION of His Word for YOUR life.

I hope this explanation helps you today as you learn to dig deeper into God’s Word.

“I have a feeling that we would have revival in our churches if all true believers dared to live what the Bible teaches.”

 

Love God Greatly!

Angela

 

Subscribe to the blog. All the materials you will need (reading plan & study guide) will be attached to EVERY GMG email you receive from us after you subscribe and confirm your email. Once this new session begins, you will receive a GMG email on Monday, Wednesday & Fridays. http://feeds.feedburner.com/GoodMorningGirls

Don’t forget to invite some friends and join us on January 20th as we begin our new 4 week Why Easter Matters study! It just wouldn’t be the same without you!:)

Easter blog graphic

 

 

Love God Greatly!

Angela- Good Morning Girls

{Our Children}… Will we tell them?

He tip-toed down the stairs a little too early a few mornings ago, with sleep still in his eyes as he stumbled and squinted his way into my bathroom.

No “Good Morning” greeting. No drama. No frills.

He just walked up to me and matter-of-factly whispered into my ear, “I think I want to be a missionary when I grow up.”  I believe that boy meant it, and I just knew it was going to be a great day.

And then he promptly put his little sister into a headlock.  Haha.

This is how my days go in the midst of this parenting gig.  One step forward and two steps back.  I’m constantly celebrating, and then taking my pride and humility to the foot of the cross. Let’s just be honest, I’d do better if I just permanently set up camp there.

They’re humans.  Real, live humans that somehow God figured it would be okay to entrust into my care for this short time on earth.  And most days that makes me break out into a hot sweat.  Literally.  They’re energetic and live life louder than most of my friends’ kids, and I just know they’ll channel their hard-core passion into great leadership qualities one day (please, Jesus, let it be so).  But until then, these four have me on my knees.

It’s times like these that make me appreciate my own mother the way that I should have a long, long time ago.  She raised four herself -a few years as a struggling single mom – and I don’t remember her being sweaty even once. Heh.

1984

{My sweet momma and the four of us ~ feathered 80′s hair and all…}

I don’t remember a lot of things, actually.

I don’t remember a big house or trendy clothes.

I don’t remember gourmet foods or fancy cars.

I don’t remember over-the-top family vacations or frequent trips to the mall for the latest gadget.

I don’t remember extravagant birthday parties or permission to do all kinds of irresponsible things fun stuff that I wanted to do.

Because those things didn’t always happen. And I’m thankful. 

Because the way to impact our children for Jesus doesn’t include the long list of things we can acquire, our social statuses, or our constant obsession with self-gratification.

What do I remember?

A soft, soft voice that was rarely raised. Hope spoken in uncertain times.  Her Bible marked up and visited often. Desperate prayers in the quiet corners. Encouraging notes, picnics on the driveway, hymns sung off-key, fingers worked to the bone until the late-night hours, and a countenance that revealed such peace in her heart.  Consistent, faithful, selfless love, often unsung and unrecognized until years much later.

And I remember the name of Jesus on her lips.  We had that, and we knew that we were the richest children in the world. 

And I wonder… will I tell them?

Will my children hear the truth of who Jesus is, day in and day out, even when the girl is in a headlock and dinner is burning on the stove?

Will they hear me gently whisper His name when I’m tempted to whine and criticize and lose it for the 100th time in the same day?

Will they hear me speak Life and Light in the safe haven of our home, or will I give in to this crowded, loud world that’s making me just plain sweaty and tired?

I haven’t been called to a village in Africa, but I have been called to be a missionary in my own home for this critical, fleeting season.  And by the grace of God, this missionary will raise another missionary, and then he’ll raise another, and this – THIS, tired momma – is the Kingdom of God, and is worth every single sweaty sacrifice.

There’s so much to tell them, and so little time.  The greatest gift we can give our children?

Tell them.  And then tell them again.

 ”We will not hide them from their descendants;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done.”

“…so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God.”

~ Psalm 78:4, 6-7

At His feet,

Week 6 ~ Our Children {Filled up in order to be spilled out}…

Basic week 6

{Week 6} is here!  This week we’ll be talking about what the Bible says about children.  And you need to know this…

I’ve been praying for you girls tonight.  Every.single.one. of you.

In God’s divine providence, I found myself stuck on an airplane runway for two whole hours this evening, waiting for maintenance to fix a stripped screw before my flight could take off.  No kidding.  One messed up screw (and clearly, an important one – heh.).  Many seemed to be enjoying the delay as much as they could: some visiting with the neighbor beside them, while others worked on their laptops or read books.

But this one sweet momma… oh, she had my heart.

Her young infant had clearly had enough of waits and crowds and confined spaces, and this momma paced the aisle over and over, bouncing and whispering and wrestling and blushing while her baby girl screamed from the top of her lungs.

Raising children is a glorious – and hard – task, amen?! :)

So I prayed for her.  And I prayed for you.

I prayed for the momma in the early years, who longs for sleep and to wear a shirt without spit-up.

And I prayed for the one who would take a spit-up stained shirt in a heartbeat, if only God would answer her prayers.

I prayed for the momma in the hidden years; the one who keeps trudging on, faithfully packing lunches, teaching handwriting and matching socks… and doing it all with excellence, even when nobody sees.

And I prayed for the one who wishes that she could hide behind the pain and loneliness of raising a child who has more needs than she’ll ever be able to meet.

I prayed for the momma with older children who are finding their independence and way farther and farther away from her side, and for the momma who has little ones attached to her side all.day.long. (yes, even in the bathroom).

I prayed for you who are hurting over unimaginable loss, and I prayed for you, sweet momma, who just feels lost every day in this glorious, hard mothering journey.

I prayed for the mommas celebrating incredible victories, and for those mommas who are living with regret.

And yes, I prayed for those of you who are reaching out to and encouraging other mommas and their children, even though you have no children of your own.

You are welcome here, and you have my heart.

God has much to say about children in His Word.  So wherever you are in this journey, thank you for joining us this week, and for seeing God in the glorious and hard places.

God asks us to be intentional with our children.  But before we can ever pass the story of His goodness and grace on to the next generation, we need to know it full well in our own hearts.  We have to be filled up in order to be spilled out…

{If you’re unable to see this video, you can view it here.}

**Let’s talk: Which prayer do you fit in above?  How can we specifically pray for you this week?

{Week 6} Challenge:  As you “walk along the road” with your children this week (at the dinner table, driving to activities, during the bedtime routine, etc.), intentionally make a point to talk about “the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done (Psalm 78).  If you don’t have children of your own, find time this week to spend time with a child in your life (nieces, nephews, neighbors, children in your church, etc.) with the same intention.

{Week 6} Reading Plan:

Week 6

{Week 6} Memory Verse:

MemoryVerse-06

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