Yesterday…Today…Tomorrow…

Yesterday…
Was tough.

Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. (4:30) This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. (6:12)

Some days, I just give in to the fatal god of self. These are days when me, myself, and I consume my thoughts, guide my actions, and in the end bring about the “fall” of my day. I wake up numb, walk around existing, and go to bed ashamed! This, is not the Life Christ died to give! (Didn’t I just spend 40 something days preparing myself – spirit, body, soul, heart – for the coming of Easter? Didn’t I just proclaim, “He is Risen!”?)

Today…
Is new.

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. (1:11-12)…we’ll get everything God has planned for us (1:14)…Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that(5:1-2)…Say only what helps, each word a gift (4:29)…Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. (5:18-20)

The gift of this new day with new mercies unlimited gives me new hope! I do not have to bow to me (my emotions, my thoughts, my selfishness, my sinfulness); I can be just like the Philistine god (1 Samuel 5) and bring myself low and bow before the One True God! I can surrender and in the surrender find His rich gifts awaiting my empty palms. Today is new. In Him, I am new.

And for today, as for many days, I stood long and reread these. (A gift from Ann…found here.)
10+ Real Helps for Really Busy Mom 1. Life is not an emergency. Life’s a gift. Just Slow.
2. Now is not a forever grace but amazing grace. Do whatever it takes to wake to wonder right here.
3. Sometimes the slowest way is the fastest way to joy. Make time today, even a moment, to read Scripture and memorize it. Without the lens of His Word, the world warps. {Slowest=fastest to joy}
4. Laughter is the cheapest, holiest medicine. Preschoolers laugh 300 times a day. Aim for double that. Tickle someone, (yourself!), if necessary. This is good!
5. Motherhood is a hallowed place because children aren’t commonplace. Co-laboring over the sculpting of souls is a sacred vocation, a humbling privilege. Never forget.
6. Homemaking is about making a home, not about making perfection. A perfect home is an authentic, creative, animated space where Peace and Christ and Beauty are embraced. {Perfect does not equate to immaculate.}
7. Believe it: I have all I need for today. The needs of our day are great, but God is greater and we call Him Providence because we believe: He always provides. {And when God provides, He should be praised, and if God always provides, shouldn’t praise always be on the lips?}
8. Slow. Children at play. Hurry hurts kids. Time’s this priceless currency and only the slow spend it wise enough to be rich. If we actually bought our time, would we spend it more wisely — spend it more slowly? {God’s Word never says Hurry Up. God words only whisper: Wake Up.}
9. Love is patient. Parenting’s this gentle way of bending over in humility to help the scraped child up because we intimately know it takes a lifetime to learn how to walk with Him. Patience. Love always begins with patience.
10. The art of really celebrating life isn’t about getting it right – but about receiving Grace. The sinners and the sick, the broken, the discouraged, the wounded and burdened — we are the ones who get to celebrate grace! Regardless of the mess of your life, if Christ is Lord of your life, than we are the celebrants out dancing in a wild rain of grace — because when it’s all done and finished, all is well and Christ already said it was finished.
10 Grace Prayers for Joyful Parenting
1. Just for today, I will ask for His grace to
make our home a house of prayer. I will pray at set times. And I will invite our children to come move into an interior space that lives with God.
2. Just for today, I will ask for His grace to transfigure all things into beauty. He’s working to redeem all things, in His time, into the image of His Son.
3. Just for today, I will ask for His grace to see that life is not an emergency. Emergencies are sudden, unexpected events— and is anything under the sun unexpected to God? I can slow and I can trust.
4. Just for today, I will ask for His grace, that when stress mounts, I’ll dismount it with
gratitude. My stress coping mechanism will be verbal intervention with verbal thanks. It’s impossible to simultaneously feel stress and gratitude at the same time and I choose to give thanks at all times. Fight feeling with feeling!
5. Just for today, I will ask for His grace to speak words that are only strong words, words that make these children feel strong. Grace words. Grace is the only non-toxic air.
6. Just for today, I will ask for His grace to be consistently consistent. I will create safe rhythms that our children can find security in. I will create daily ceremonies because everyday we are CELEBRATING the gift of now!
7. Just for today, I will ask for His grace, the moment when I am most repelled by a child’s behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child.
8. Just for today, I will ask for His grace to hug each of my children as many times as I
serve them meals — because children’s hearts feed on touch. I’ll look for as many opportunities to touch my children today as possible — the taller they are, the more so.
9. Just for today, I will ask for His grace to make my priorities all Things Unseen.
10. Just for today, I will ask for His grace to laugh! And I will let the little children laugh! I will create a culture of JOY!

Tomorrow…
Is a gift.

…the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory…make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength! (1:15-19) Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus…He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing (2:7-10)…This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details (3:7)

Whatever tomorrow holds, if an earthly tomorrow comes, it will all be a gift. It will all have a purpose – be it full of beauty or only the postponed beauty that comes from ashes. Whatever tomorrow does hold, though, He will “hold” a place for me. He will have a reason for me to be in it…serving in it…loving in it…praising and thanking and glorifying Him through it. It will be all about Him, not about me, and friends, that is the safest of places to be – in Him! When He is in me and I am in Him and a life of abiding is happening, there are more blessings than the heavens can contain! He has made His life about loving me; now, I give it all back to Him and make mine all about loving Him! I will learn to choose joy over pride. I will take Him at His Word and simply obey rather than try to argue myself into a less uncomfortable way. I will pray – fight – to my Captain Who is able to do more and beyond anything that I can! I will love as He enables me to do so – letting it cost me all so that I may gain all He has for me!

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My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. (3:14-20)
And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way…Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out (6:10-18)

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! (3:21)

*All passages taken from Ephesians, The Message