Wednesday, April 22, 2009


So, I know that worry is not of God. We are not supposed to worry, but to trust everything to Him. I worked on this a lot when I first found out I was pregnant. It was easy to worry over every little thing, but I practiced giving it all over to God, trusting Him, meditating on verses that spoke to this. And it helped! Tremendously. I haven’t gotten caught up in every little thing, I have been at peace, and it has been great. Then, lately, I started to worry about worrying. Does that make any sense? There are a lot of people in my life right now who are pregnant, and just speaking with them, hearing things they are thinking, doing, etc, had me feeling down on my myself. I worried about the fact that I am not worrying! Does that make me a bad mother? Am I slacking in some of the things I should be doing? Why are all of these other women worried about so many things that I am not considering. I started to get down on myself, to feel like I am not doing the right things for my baby. Then I realized this is a different kind of worry.

I have given this baby and this pregnancy to God. He is watching over us and will protect and guide and develop us. I don’t have to worry about every little thing I eat or drink or do. I don’t have to religiously read every website and book out there, or pour over the ingredients of every product I may eat or use or touch. Those things don’t make me a Godly mother. Praying over my child, his/her future, our parenting skills, our family relationship, those things are important. Spending time reading the Word instead of labels – that will ground us. So, not only do I not have to worry, but I don’t have to worry about worrying. I am so grateful to serve a God that provides and takes care of me. I am so thankful that He doesn’t want me to worry, and doesn’t grade me on those things. He loves me, and wants me to have life to the full and find joy in Him. How awesome is He?!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Whether we recognize it as such or not, we all have communities we are a part of. Family, various groups of friends, colleagues at work, sports teams or volunteer groups, neighborhoods…the list goes on and on. One thing I have really been convicted of lately is the value of our spiritual community. This isn’t the church we go to, or denomination we belong to, but rather a smaller, intimate community, a small group if you will, of people with whom you can be totally open and vulnerable. Too often in life, with the other communities we know, we have to worry about appearances, or perceptions, or what others will think. If you don’t have a small group, imagine this: a group of friends that is there for you no matter what, at the drop of a hat. People who will allow you to cry on their should or will celebrate with you. People you can share everything with, and I mean everything. All the insecurities, the fears, the struggles. Things that you may worry people will judge you about, or think less of you if they knew. This isn’t a ‘book club’ that studies a topic together; this is a group that really ‘does life together.’
I am blessed to be part of such a group. If one of us is having a personal issue they can call anyone else to talk about it and get prayer and support. If a large concern comes up everyone will drop their plans for the evening to get together and help. If someone needs help painting a bedroom or moving to a new house, someone is on board to help out. If someone is struggling with a ‘biggie:’ considering a job change, a serious illness in the family, a move, a major temptation to sin, marital problems, financial problems, lack of faith, intimacy issues….you get the point…it is all fair game. There is no judgment, no secrets, just love and acceptance and grace and help. It’s not the easiest thing to find, and like any relationship it has to be nurtured and grown, but it is such a beautiful thing. You will be amazed at how God will use these people in your community to grow you! How one of them will speak something that perfectly confirms what you have been thinking or feeling. How someone will have been through exactly what you are going through and has advice on how to help. How someone will commit to pray for you and follow up with you as you work through something. How God uses you to build each other, develop each other, and speak His words to each other. I am so blessed by these people in my life, my community. I am so excited for the growth we will experience together, and for the community they will provide for our child as he/she grows!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I Choose Joy

Lately I have been realizing how much exists out there to pull us down. This world has a lot of unhappy aspects. Some I think are just unfortunate circumstances or the decisions of people around us, while others I firmly believe are examples of evil and the devil trying to attack us. Regardless, it is so easy to let the things of this world get us down. Stress at work, or maybe tension with a co-worker or an unfair situation. The economy and all the negative publicity and talk surrounding that. Illnesses or struggles those close to us are going through. Dreary gloomy rainy days. Too much on the to-do list and not enough time in the day to get it done. That constant struggle to keep up. And this is just naming a few!

Wow, that was kind of depressing to write, but necessary because it gets me to my point. God wants to give us joy!!! He does. He is our father and He loves us. Who of you would not want your children to have joy? Here are several verses that speak to this point:

Deuteronomy 16:15For seven days celebrate the Feast to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.
John 15:11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
John 16:24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

God wants us to have joy, but He needs to be the source of that joy. It is easy to find moments of joy: A fun night out with friends. A weekend to sleep in and relax. An upcoming trip. The anticipated arrival of a new baby. A day of shopping (or golfing or whatever it is you like to do.) But that joy is fleeting. It is fun for the moment, but does not last. God offers us lasting joy. His joy can fill us during those fun times, but also during the tough ones I mentioned first. His joy can sustain me and make me smile even when I am having the most miserable day at work. His joy can pick me up even when I am not feeling well. His joy can bring a smile to my lips and a song to my heart as I am just walking down the street.

His word tells me I need to ask for this joy, and I need to trust Him for it, and He will make it complete. I have found that, in order to have this joy, I need to keep my focus on Him all day. From the moment I first wake up in the morning I need to be praying. As I am getting my day started I need to praise Him for all the wonderful things He is and does. I need to repent for the areas of sin in my life. I need to ask Him for what I need, instead of trying to figure it out on my own. I need to slow down to hear Him in my life. And when I do that, consistently throughout the day, He gives me joy!

Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means an expert on this! The reason I am learning all of this is because right now I am struggling with not having that inner joy in my life. Sure, there are many things in my life to be joyful about. Case in point, this little baby I can’t wait to meet. But, I also realize it is so unfair of me to pin my joy on this child. Or my husband, or a friend. They cannot bring me lasting joy. That is not their job; it is not in their make up. And if I focus all my joy on the excitement of this coming child that puts a really unfair expectation on him or her. Not that I can’t be joyful about the baby, and find joy in his/her development and the time we will spend together, but that needs to be outside of the deep inner joy that only God can give me. Otherwise I am expecting way too much from this child, and setting him/her up to fail those expectations. And the same can be said for my spouse, my parents, my friends. I can have joy with all of them, but they cannot be the source of my joy.

This is a learning process for me. I am trying to learn more about how I access God’s joy, how to internalize it and make it part of my daily life. What about you? Does anyone out there have more insight into God’s joy and integrating it into your daily life? I would love to learn!