CWAHM Devotional

Do Life DifferentDo Life Different
Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Author Archive

Nov
05

Someone to Hold Me

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hugMy special-needs son sometimes has obstacles in communicating his thoughts to us, and that occasionally leads to frustration for him. Today was such a day. His discouraged cries reached my ears, and I hurried to his side.

It wasn’t a time to try to “fix it” or figure it out. He just needed to be held. So I gathered up all 65 pounds of him in my lap, wrapped my arms around him, and let his tears soak my shirt. For those few, sweet minutes, I held him. Close, safe, loved. He relaxed (more like melted) into me and was soon ready to hop up and return to playing. Frustration forgotten, heart restored, love-tank full.

Are we so different?

Sometimes we’re misunderstood. Sometimes we’re hurt. Sometimes we don’t need someone to “fix it” or figure it out. We just need to be held.

As I held my son, I realized a longing in my heart to be held. Strong arms wrapped around me while I allowed my frustrations to melt out onto his shoulder. A place to feel close, safe, and cherished. Where I could get up with a refreshed heart and a full dose of love. But before I could feel sorry for myself, a faithful voice whispered to me:

I have held you before.
I hold you today.
I will hold you always.

I have someone to hold me. Correction: I have Someone to hold me. I can sit on His lap as long as I want, whenever I want. And He holds me so close. I am so safe in His arms. And I am so, so, so very loved. Read More→

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Oct
20

Forgetting Mr. Right

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mrrightSingle moms, single ladies, single friends … and even to those with significant others…heed this warning:

A strange little pest has burrowed its way into society and wreaked havoc on our relationships. We must IDENTIFY it, ELIMINATE it, and GUARD AGAINST it.

IDENTIFY. We’ve developed an obsession with “finding Mr. Right”. The perfect man, your perfect match, Prince Charming, your knight in shining armor. Call him what you like, but the truth is we’ve allowed fictional images to become our reality. A guy has to have looks that make you swoon and words that make you melt. He has to be army-strong and cotton-candy-sweet every moment. He should drop everything for you, put you on a pedestal, and give you anything you want or need.

A tall order indeed, especially for the real Joes! The reality is that sometimes our guys mess up. They come in all shapes and sizes. They have good days and bad days and sometimes they let us down.

They’re not accountable to those fairytale criterion or Hollywood expectations. Their standard is much loftier…

ELIMINATE. Conquering this infestation begins with the right manual: God’s Word – filled with HIS standards, HIS expectations, HIS truth. Sisters, whether you’re single, looking, taken, or married, you have to stop searching for the idealized (and nonexistent) “Mr. Right”. It’s not about him being perfect in every fantasized way. It’s about him being godly, perfect in Christ. It’s about finding Mr. Righteous.

And if you already have your guy, here’s your expectation: to encourage him in righteousness, to see him through God’s lens and not the world’s. Read More→

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Sep
30

When You Cry

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cryAs women, we have lots of opportunities to shed a few tears. Truthfully, any emotion could be grounds for our eyes to moisten, and those salty droplets to draw trails down our cheeks. We have happy tears, sad tears, tired tears, mad tears, overwhelmed tears, grateful tears, joyful tears, scared tears and tears for no reason at all. (And lest I fall into stereotyping, I will confirm that women aren’t the only ones who weep.)

But what happens to them, all those tears we’ve cried?

First, we should understand that our tears are recognized. God does not ignore or condemn our tears. He is not annoyed by them or offended by them. As Hezekiah was pleading with the Lord to deliver him from a terminal illness and give him fifteen more years of life, the prophet Isaiah received this message for him from the Lord (Isaiah 38:5; 2 Kings 20:5):

Go and tell Hezekiah, “This is what the Lord, the God of your father David says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.”

God Almighty does not look the other way when we cry. He takes note, He listens, He responds. We can also be assured that our tears are recorded. Psalm 56:8 says, “You have recorded my troubles.

You have kept a list of my tears. Aren’t they in Your records?” This isn’t some sadistic list written by an angry God who wants to keep track of our pain. Rather, it is a testimony of His watch-care, a reminder of His intimate involvement in our lives. As the psalmist wrote this, he was testifying of God’s nearness, God’s goodness, and God’s perfect plan. Popular Christian group Casting Crowns said it this way: “Every tear I cry You hold in Your hand.” That’s the God who sees and takes note of your heartache. That’s the God who cares. Read More→

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Jul
23

Of Waffle Irons and Relationships

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waffleShe passes it down with nostalgia and a sad smile of bygone days remembered. It’s vintage, but well-maintained. “Does it still work?” I wonder aloud. “So far as I know,” she counters, although none of us are quite sure when it was last tested.

It’s a waffle iron, and a dated one at that. A wedding gift given to my grandparents on their day of union, over sixty years ago. The metal still shines, and the plates are clean. I readily accept the hand-me-down from my Nana and am eager to see if it can still turn out a tasty waffle or two.

And so I heft it onto the counter (“lightweight” wasn’t a consideration in early appliance marketing!), connect it to the power source, and am immediately rewarded with the smell of its warming. The batter is mixed, and the first cupful sizzles as it’s poured out onto the hot surface. Quickly and efficiently the aged machine cranks out beautiful waffles.

They don’t make ‘em like they used to.

The waffle iron I purchased less than a year ago already needs to be replaced. Modern appliances aren’t really made to last. And why should they be? Because soon, we’ll be ready for something newer or better or different. And we’ll buy another and throw out the old one (or sell it in next year’s yard sale).

As I contemplate the geriatric griddle (and its incredible longevity), it begins to symbolize something much more important than breakfast fare. I recall its beginnings, a gift in the hands of young love, a couple committing to one another for a lifetime. I know the age of the waffle iron because I know the age of the marriage.

They don’t make ‘em like they used to. Read More→

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Jun
25

Windows and Hallways and Doors – OH MY!

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When God closes a door, He opens a window.

God never shuts one door without opening another.

Until God opens a door, praise Him in the hallway.

Adoorwayh, the ubiquitous Christianese quotes for those waiting on God or looking for their “next move” or struggling with the unknown. We spout them off faster than John 3:16 and feel a measure of goodness about the smooth caress of the comforting words.

But do we stop and consider what’s being said? Can these popular platitudes – though “tried and true” – really be tried and found true?

When one of the aforementioned quotes appeared on our church sign, I read it several times without giving it a second thought. I’ve been “praising God in the hallway” for almost ten years, so I gave my quick “amen” and away I went.

And then I began to consider my own “hallway” and how God might view it and whether or not the quote really depicted what was occurring. Maybe God put me here, in what I perceive to be a hallway.

Maybe there are no open doors on this pathway because I’m not supposed to be going anywhere else. Maybe I’m precisely where He wants me to be, and I need to stop looking for my next opportunity and start serving and obeying Him right here, right now. I may only think I’m in the hallway, when He’s really led me to the exact place I need to be. The problem here is not placement; it’s my perspective. Read More→

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May
14

Summer in the Son

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sunDaylight lingers, sun shines longer, buds bloom brighter and grass grows greener. Summer is right around the corner! “No more homework, no more books …” and (at least at my house) no more daily grind! For the most part, we shuck the bulky cloaks of winter scheduling and embrace the easy, breezy, carefree smock of summertime.

And we are outside … a lot. Break out the sunscreen and short sleeves, because it is time to soak up some vitamin D! I slather my kids and out we go (and typically, I forget to give myself a good coating).

In all of the fun and frivolity of a relaxed routine, I must exercise caution. Not only with skincare and exposure, but also in the realm of my heart.

You see, when the schedule gets slack, so do my habits. We stay up late and sleep in, so my quiet time gets pushed aside. We plan fun trips and special outings, and I shear my prayers to short quips about safety and blessing. Just because the routine has changed doesn’t mean my priorities can.

And I know I’m not the only one. Church attendance wanes in the summer time. Bible studies go on leave until September. Accountability goes slack.

So here’s the question: Can I have the “summer of my dreams” without blocking the Son? Read More→

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Apr
30

Why I Stopped Guarding My Heart

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Above all else, guard your heart,
For from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23

For heartyears, I’ve been guarding my heart. Carefully shielding it from hurt and harm, barricading it in with stones of self-imposed security, sheltering it with interlocked hands … and posting a bold “Do Not Enter” sign at its door.

It’s time to STOP.

It’s time to throw out my malformed perception of a “guarded heart” and replace it with the purer form.

In my attempts to guard my heart (as I understood the practice), I had formed a hard, nearly impenetrable shell around it. A voice whispered, “If nothing gets in, nothing can hurt you.” And I hid my heart away, afraid to expose it to anything or anyone (bad or good) who could ever harm it again.

Healing is a process, and in recent weeks God has taken me through another phase of that journey – cracking the stone barrier so that my heart can grow. So that I can learn to reach out again. So that I can develop good relationships without fear. So that His love can flow in and through me.

Guarding your heart is not about WALLS. For so long (too long), I thought I had to construct a fortress around my heart to “guard” and protect it. But walls don’t just protect. They also prevent. And that’s what the walls had been doing for my own heart: preventing quality, in-depth relationships or hindering the ones I already had. In addition, I can’t be my own refuge. God alone has the ability and the power to be our One Refuge and Fortress (Psalm 91:2).

Guarding your heart is not about preventing every future or potential hurt. Any relationship, any investment, any venture comes with risks. And along the line, you will experience disappointments and hurts. While those experiences aren’t “pleasant”, they can be purposeful and productive (2 Corinthians 4:17; James 1:2-4). Read More→

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Apr
16

When God Says “No”

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I nohad it all figured out – my 5-year plan. Like a perfect puzzle, every piece seemed to fit. And I just knew it was God-stamped, God-sealed, and God-approved.

But then …
a key piece (that I had lined up) didn’t match, and the puzzle I’d so carefully crafted fragmented into a thousand parts.

Alongside my shattered plan sat my pitiful broken heart. When God said, “No,” I was surprised … and my pride was wounded.

So I gathered up the salvageable pieces and began to reflect and to listen to the Spirit. I asked myself: “Why are you downcast, O my soul?” I began to understand that my disappointment was a result of my assumption that my plans were God’s plans. I was moving forward as though I had free reign, as though I knew best, as though I had an inside track on God’s ways.

Proverbs 16:9
A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.

The more I considered the error of my ways and the perfection of His ways, the gentle whisper of my loving Lord began speaking:

When I say, “No,” I’m also saying…

TRUST ME.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in Me with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Me, and I will direct and make straight and plain your paths. (from Proverbs 3:5-6) Read More→

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Dec
26

Home Harvest

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Joy Jochems - Single Moms BloggerDHarvest by Joy Jochemso you ever get tired of New Year’s resolutions? Bored by the tedious ritual of making commitments we’d like to keep, all the while skirting the reality of our fleeting determination.  “Eat better, exercise more, quit a bad habit.” They’re good ambitions, don’t get me wrong. And I think it’s healthful and beneficial for us to set goals, to have vision, to seek to improve.  It’s just that sometimes all these “resolutions” begin to blend together in a mixed up, monotone narration of blasé pledges.

But how about resolving to make a difference for eternity this year? And what if I told you that you won’t even have to leave your own home to fulfill the commitment?  Mamas, we have a ready mission field every time our feet hit the floor. Check out this exhortation from God’s Word: Read More→

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Dec
12

The Gift List

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Joy Jochems - Single Moms BloggerThe Gift List by Joy JochemsSometimes, in spite of our best efforts, the sanctity of the holidays gets spoiled by frantic scrambling and cluttered hubbub and packaged materialism. We want to impress upon our kids “what Christmas is really about”, yet it seems that the focus inevitably and eventually settles on the festooned tree and the cloaked treasures it shelters (or for some families, the lack thereof).

Whether we have little or lots (and whether we’re adults or tots), we need a reminder, a “refocuser”, a gentle nudge (or a swift kick!) to get our hearts and eyes fixed in the right direction. It’s not an easy undertaking, and I definitely don’t want to do this alone. So will you join my family & me in making a new gift list?

Read More→

Categories : CWAHM Blogs, Single Moms
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