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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Archive for Spiritual Growth Articles

mom and daughterMothers are the greatest dispensers of advice since God said, “Let there be light.” Some, not me, refer to it as maternal instinct.

My own mother gave me some splendid advice when I was growing up. Unfortunately, much of Mom’s advice shed light on nothing. Absolutely nothing at all.

Let me outline some advice my mother gave me that, to this day, I have no idea what she was talking about.

I distinctly remember my mother standing before me, with hands on her hips, scolding me for something and then saying, “Who do you think you are?”

This always disturbed me and caused me to wonder about my nativity. As a young person, I often pondered this question myself.

As with most teens, I had long moments of identity crisis. (When you are young most of your energy goes into producing hormones, and so the brain functions on low voltage.) It greatly confused me that the person who should know who I was, asked me the question I had been asking myself. If she does not know who I am, what hope do I have?

Then there was the time I asked my mother for money. She whirled around and replied, “Do you think money grows on trees?”

Up to that point, I have never given the matter much thought. I simply assumed money came from my father going to work and being paid. However, here was something new to ponder. Where does money come from, really? What added to my confusion was the name of our bank ‑ The Elm Tree Branch of First National Bank of Harrisburg. Now I was totally confused.

When I was quite young, I remember asking my mother for something in the store. I think it was some small toy that I took a fancy to and asked my mother to buy it for me. She flatly refused. I complained and demanded to know why. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Because I am the mother, that’s why.”

To this day, I still do not know what in the world that statement meant. What did her being a mother have to do with buying me that toy?

When she saw my confusion, she told me, “When you have children of your own, you will understand.” I have children of my own as well as grandchildren, and I still do not know what she meant. It must be a mother thing, which is all I know.

Then there was the time I wanted to do something with some friends and my mother would not let me. “But everyone else is going,” I protested in vain. That’s when my mother gave me her spin on the situation at hand.

“What if EVERYONE jumped off a cliff? Would you do it, too?”

The thing that confused me was, nobody was going to jump off any cliff. In fact, nobody in his or her right mind would ever think of such a stupid thing. Nobody, that is, but my mother. I figured she must have gotten her sadistic side from her mother. It must be something mothers pass on to their daughters, because as a man, I don’t get it.

Most memorable of her nuggets of wisdom to me is that piece of advice I still abide by. Before I would leave the house, my mother would say, “Make sure you have clean underwear on in case you get in a car accident and have to go to the hospital.”

I have never figured out what clean underwear has to do with going to the hospital, but that piece of advice made for the worst day of my high school years. Just as I drove into the school parking lot one day it dawned on me that I had forgotten to put on clean underwear. Panic raced through my teenage heart like never before. I was certain some disaster awaited me around the next corridor. Read More→

May
04

Black Eye Causes Quandary of the First Order

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bedroomQuandaries come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. As someone who is somewhat of a connoisseur in this area, I can readily attest to this. However, many do not realize quandaries come in two categories.

First are those quandaries that come about through no fault of the person in said quandary. For all practical purposes (and those in a quandary are usually not practical), it is impossible to adequately prepare for such an event in life.

Second are self-imposed quandaries. This, unfortunately, is the area where I flounder the most. To be perfectly honest, and I’m not suggesting that I’m perfect; I have created most of the havoc in my life.

Believe me, I would like to put the blame on someone other than myself in many of these situations but, alas, I am to blame. What I am about to relate belongs to the first category.

I found myself in a quandary recently through no fault of mine. And yet, I’m not able to prove it. This is the most discouraging thing. I know it was not my fault, but nobody will believe me.

Through the years, I have adopted a certain nocturnal procedure. When I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom I keep my eyes closed. There are two very simple reasons for this:

One, I know exactly where I am going, so I don’t need to open my eyes.

Two, I do not want my body to know that I’m awake. I want to fool my body into believing I’m asleep. Read More→

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Apr
27

Life Does Have Its Compensations – Occasionally

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sun through the cloudsAt times, it seems as if there is absolutely no justice in this world, and then something wonderful happens making up for almost everything. This past week I was fortunate enough to experience one of those rare jewels of life.

I must say not all weeks are like this. My weeks usually range from bad to worse to when will this ever stop?

A normal week for me is when I take two steps forward and get run over by a car. Or, just when I think I’m caught up, I discover I’ve been working on last week’s to-do list.

Not that I’m complaining because complaining never gets anywhere in life. At least, no place I want to go.

A man who complains aloud is a man who is not married. Wives have a way of turning their husband’s complaining into “Well, its your own fault.” It’s amazing how this one phrase can cover a multitude of sins.

So, I’m not complaining, I’m just musing on my life and celebrating a great event this week.

I got home on Tuesday and the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was not there. I made myself a cup of coffee and got comfortable in my easy chair to rest from the labors of the day.

A good cup of Joe goes a long way to smooth the rough edges of any day. No sooner was I settled than the telephone rang. It was my wife.

“Are you home yet?” she said in a very meek and quiet voice. From the tone of her voice, I knew something wasn’t exactly right.

For a moment, I was tempted to answer her question in the negative. But then I do value my life. I knew the question was rhetorical and was not the reason for her calling. Something was up.

“Could you come over to the church right now?” she asked.

I had just settled in my easy chair and was a little reluctant to extricate myself from my comfort zone. I could, but I wondered why she wanted me to come over.

It wasn’t my birthday so I knew it was not a surprise party. It wasn’t our anniversary. And as far as I knew I was not in any trouble, which in itself does not rule out my being in trouble.

“Why,” I queried.

“I just need you to come over here right now, pleeease.”

When my wife says “pleeease,” I know there’s a very good reason for it. Namely, she is in trouble and needs my assistance. Granted, this is a rare occurrence.

“Is there something wrong? Are you all right?” I asked.

“Well,” she hesitated, “I think I locked my keys in the car.”

Life does not get any better than this. Read More→

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Apr
25

Take Control of Your Thoughts

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PrayerFrom the time, we wake up in the morning till we go to bed at night, thoughts are coursing through our minds. Not just one thought but many. In fact, according to Dr. Leaf we can think 4 to 7 things are the same time.

One day last year I remember feeling gloomy all day. I didn’t want to talk to the kids, I was feeling a lot of anxiety and discouragement over business and finances. I didn’t know why. Life wasn’t that bad but I couldn’t seem to get my feelings out of the gutter. I stopped myself and looked back at the week asking, “What has happened that is leading to me feeling this way?”

It took a while for me to sort through my thoughts to recognize the underlying problem. I realized that earlier in the week I had gotten a phone call about a job I had done that needed to be corrected. It was a minor thing, but from that little incident my thinking had been spiraling downward for several days. I was negative about my abilities in work, which snowballed into worrying about finances (since work is a livelihood in my mind a bad job mean less money).

Things like this happen to all of us. The problem is that we can’t let our thinking spiral because of it. Rather than just knowing that we are grouchy, we must get to the root of the issue.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5 we are told how to take every thought captive. It says, “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

The verse says to demolish arguments and pretensions which are not in alignment with the knowledge of God. Here is why it is so important to know who we are in Christ and to know His promises.

An example in this situation would be that my thoughts were saying I’m never going to make it as a business woman because I made a mistake. However, that is not what God says. God says, “My ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) He also says that He knows the plans He has for me to give me a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) And He says that He loves me and calls me His child, reminding me that I will be like Him if I continue to hope in Him. (1 John 3:1-3)

God has given us the ability to separate from our thoughts and take authority over them. In His Word He has given Read More→

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Apr
20

The High Cost Of Speaking Your Mind

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What is your marriage modelingOne thing I have learned throughout my life is sometimes speaking your mind only gets a piece of somebody else’s mind – and not the good piece.

The old saying goes that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. However, I’m surprised the old dog doesn’t know the old tricks. What good is a new trick if you have not really mastered and learned from the old tricks?

My experience in this area stood me in good stead for many years. An incident happened recently bringing to light how valuable this “old trick” really is. I may not be good in the new tricks, but I think I have mastered a few of the old tricks.

I really do not know when this incident started, but somewhere along the line I said something resembling a guttural “uh huh,” and forgot about it. What you say in these odd moments may determine your quality of life for many years to come. This points out the difference between husbands and wives.

The only way a husband can remember what he had for lunch is to look at his shirt. A wife’s memory, on the other hand, is so keen she can remember things that never happened.

In the midst of a mild domestic discussion, any wife worth her salt can bring her husband to his knees by simply stating, “But, Honey, you promised me.”

At that point, no husband has the equipment to counter that argument. He may well have promised, but there is no way to prove one way or the other.

About a month ago, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage got it into her mind to remodel the kitchen. During this time, I did a pretty good job of staying out of her way. When the rare opportunity came soliciting my personal advice on a matter associated with this remodeling project, I quickly and enthusiastically supported her decisions.

The man who carefully measures his words will add happy years to his life. I sure don’t know how long I’m going to live, but I want that time to be happy.

Following the kitchen remodeling my wife proceeded to remodel her bathroom. At this point I should have had some suspicions, but I didn’t. As a husband, I am not equipped with a “suspicion detector.” Experience should have taught me that if one project is done successfully it only inspires another project.

When a wife gets it in her mind to remodel part of the house that thought gets stuck and there is no stopping her. After each remodeling project is completed, my wife always asks my opinion of the job she has just done. Read More→

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Apr
13

All My Friends Are Getting Old

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Getting old seems to be a long and slow process. The longer it goes the older you get.

I didn’t really think I was getting old until a few weeks ago I was visiting with some friends from high school. You know those old high school friends that you had fun with when you were young enough to have fun? And oh boy, what fun we had.

A sharp difference exists between being young and being old. You have to get old to really understand the difference because when you are young you do not have enough time to think. That’s the problem with young people today. So many things to do and so much technology they do not have any time left over to think.

Those young whippersnappers.

There is a huge difference between being young and being old.

When you are young, you enjoy having lots of fun.

When you are old, you enjoy remembering all the fun you had when you were young.

The best thing about being old and remembering those good old days is that you can exaggerate about how good they really were. Even when you are exaggerating with friends that shared the same fun, they go along with you.

Whether it is the absence of memory or just wanting to enjoy fun to its fullest extent, I do not really know.

As my friends and I were talking about the good old days, I happened to notice wrinkles on their faces. I did not say anything at the time, but they sure looked old to me. Also, I did not quite remember how grey their hair was when we were young.

When I was young and having all that fun, I never gave a thought about how young I was or that I was getting older. My whole focus was on the fun element of life and I thought that would carry me through the rest of my life.

I remember my 20th birthday very well. I was celebrating getting out of those teenage years and becoming an adult. For some reason I thought you became an adult at 20. Little did I know that it takes many years to become an adult and some do not really make it. I simply assume that the older you get, the more fun you can have. Boy, was I ever surprised!

Celebrating the good old days is quite remarkable. Because in it all, I noticed my friends were getting older. One of my friends repeated a story three times and not to embarrass him, I laughed all three times.

After the meeting and driving home, I began to think about myself. Am I as old as they look? Read More→

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Apr
12

One More Step: Famous Christian Pilgrimages

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country churchSometimes, life can be pretty unfair whether you’ve been passed over for a promotion for work, the kids just aren’t behaving themselves and even though you’ve run every other day this week somehow you’ve still gained three pounds! You know what, it’s ok if you need to take some time out for yourself, have ten minutes where you don’t need to do anything else except breathe and make yourself a soothing cup of tea. We often think that the first line of defense against stress, worry and frustration is to eat better, get lots of sleep and try to exercise more frequently and while these are all fantastic ideas might there be a more adventurous solution?

While we’re not saying that you should embark on a three month Eat, Pray, Love style quest for enlightenment travel does tend to broaden our minds and open our hearts. So if you’re struggling with a big decision or emotional issue, take a trip even if it’s just to a different city for a couple of days. Having said that you could always save up for a few months, take on a couple more shifts at work or travel with friends to help split up the cost. Then visit some of the most inspiring, enlightening Christian pilgrimage sites on earth! Not only have thousands of people achieved real inner peace, come to life changing decisions and felt a renewed sense of faith here but have also been transfixed by the sheer beauty and quiet dignity of sacred spaces.

If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, have been sad and melancholy for a while or are struggling with feeling fulfilled at work it may be better to take some annual leave, pack your passport and non-judgmental attitude and visit some of the most spiritual places on earth. Don’t worry, though, wherever you choose to go God will be with you as you find your renewed faith.

Lourdes, France

Believe it or not, the Roman Catholic church has recorded sixty-six separate miracles at Lourdes, where shrines were built in homage to the mysterious figure that appeared over 150 years ago. It was a day just like any other, when 14-year-old servant girl Bernadette Soubirous stopped on her way to the market and saw a woman standing over her. On it’s own this wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary, but what made this moment unique was the fact the woman was floating above her, surround by a halo of radiant light and would appear to the young girl over seventeen times, changing the course of Bernadette’s young life forever. Today, millions of people flock to this small French town to pay homage to the rocks where the Lady Of Lourdes first appeared while Bernadette is now one of France’s most beloved saints.

Christian pilgrims stand quietly in line, waiting for their chance to touch the rocks, leaving candles, flowers and other offerings as well as drinking the water from a nearby spring that’s said to be infused with healing properties. Pilgrimages to Lourdes usually began at Easter, going all the way through to October as Christians come to sing hymns to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Torchlight processions, extended services and group prayer circles are common as are songs dedicated to Massabielle rocks. In the niche where the vision first appeared stands a statue of the Virgin Mary, dressed in white as she was said to have been clothed originally. Her hands clasped in eternal prayer she looks towards heaven.

Camino de Santiago, Spain

Another famous Christian pilgrimage site is the tomb of the apostle St James in Spain’s Santiago de Compostela. It’s a beautiful city, so much so that it appears on Unesco’s World Heritage register as well as being one of the major Christian pilgrimages that are still accessible. Having said that it starts near the French border and ends at the Atlantic coast so it’s certainly not an activity you can accomplish in an afternoon. Most people tend to either drive, walk or cycle the 783 kilometers turning the pilgrimage into the focal point of a vacation in Spain. The full journey, if you choose to walk it, will take around a month but there are plenty of inns, hotels, and albergues, or pilgrim hostels that you can stay in. Be aware, that many of these pilgrim hostels will be Spanish speaking, you may need help getting a prayer card, and you’ll require special credentials, or a pilgrim passport to prove you’re undertaking the great walk to the Camino.

Jerusalem, Israel

Even the smallest child knows the story of the nativity and how Mary, Joseph and their unborn baby had to travel from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to be counted for the upcoming census. However, on the way Mary went into labor, and so Jesus, the first Christian and Son Of God was born in a lowly stable instead of an inn. Despite a turbulent history, and the constant threat of low-level violence between Palestinians and Israelis many Christians still feel the need to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to see the biblical birthplace of the man they revere. One of the most popular sites is Bethlehem’s Church Of The Nativity, where in a small underground grotto, a silver shining star marks the site near where Jesus was said to have been born. Close by also lies the Manger Square, surrounded by several other churches of great significance.

For Christians, a visit to Jerusalem is not complete without paying a visit to the Church of The Holy Sepulchre, the site where Jesus is buried after supposedly ‘dying’ on the cross only to roll the stone away from his own tomb three days later. Those looking to God for strength, love and support often like to make the trek to the Mount Of Olives where it’s believed Jesus prayed on the night that Judas betrayed him. However, perhaps the most sacred site are the cracked, stone steps of the Via Dolorosa, the route Jesus walked to the cross and one that countless people have taken to better understand what it means to sacrifice everything for love.

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Apr
10

Listening To The Right Voice

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listeningFor me, every day is filled with voices. There are the sweet voices of my children, the warm voice of my husband and even the near-silent voice of or gecko.

And then there are the voices in my head. Do you know the ones I’m talking about? The voices that urge you to quit; that ask you why you bother trying … you’ll just fail anyway. The voices that say things like, “No one cares about what you have to say or what you’re working on. You’ll never succeed at this.” Some of these voices are echoes of things that people have said to me. Some of them are echoes of things I believe about myself deep down. And some are lies from the enemy wh is bent on our destruction.

When I spend time in God’s Word I find another voice – one that encourages. “I can do anything through Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 4:13).

It’s not something we think about or talk about often, but one of the major hurdles that must be overcome to be successful in working at home (or in anything really) is learning which voice to listen to.

There will always be naysayers telling you that something cannot possibly be done. There will always be the creeping doubts in the back of your mind, where you secretly wonder if you really CAN do any of these things you dream of. And there will always be the lies of the enemy, trying to throw you off track and get you to do ANYTHING other than what God has for you.

There will always be these things.

But there is also a forever truth that stands above all these. A redeeming truth that we can hear whispering to us if we choose to shut out the din around us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  – Jeremiah 29:11
Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. – 1 Chronicles 28:20
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  – Philippians 4:13

Which voice will you listen to today? Will you sit in defeat, listening to the naysayers and the mocking voices? Or will you stand firm in God’s truth and walk forward in faith?

If you feel a pull toward a business or a ministry, chances are the negative voices will get louder. You will have to make the daily, sometimes hourly, choice to stand firm in what His Words tells us to be true.

God loves you. You are forgiven. You are redeemed.  You are chosen.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jill Hart founded Christian Work at Home Ministries (CWAHM) in 2000 to assist other Christians who desire to work from home. She is the author of the devotional book, Do Life Different and co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom. Jill is working to complete her master’s degree in Professional Counseling.

Jill has articles published in In Touch Magazine, P31 Woman magazine and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family, as well as across the web on sites like DrLaura.com. She speaks to audiences around the country about faith and business topics. Learn more about Jill at www.CWAHM.com and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Apr
06

A Suspicious Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

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I have discovered over the years several types of minds. The “open mind” which catches everything except the truth. The “analytical mind” which organizes everything to the point of sterility. The “closed mind” which you can bounce ideas and they never stick.

For every man, there is the “woman’s mind.” Every husband knows if he wants to change his wife’s mind, all he has to do is agree with her. Finally, the “political mind,” which for all practical purposes is an oxymoron. Politicians obviously do not have a mind of their own. They change their mind so often you hardly know who they are.

I find most people’s minds are like beds – all made up and tucked neatly away. Many of these people have sound minds – sound asleep, that is.

The most valuable mind is the suspicious mind. It is in this frame of mind that the real picture has developed for me. An incident several years ago illustrated this to me.

We received one of those calls every American gets at least once a month. An invitation to come to Daytona Beach and spend two nights at a motel on the beach. The sponsor even offered to throw in breakfast, which we promptly threw out (or was it “up?”).

It all sounded wonderful. My wife and I had never stayed on the beach and thought it would be an excellent opportunity. Eagerly we said “yes” thrilled with the prospect.

“Oh, by the way,” the young woman on the telephone said, “you will be required to listen to a 90-minute presentation.”

It was then my suspicious mind kicked in. To be more honest, the kick came from my wife, who had the suspicious mind.

“Is there anything we have to buy?” my wife made me ask the delightful woman on the telephone.

“Absolutely nothing,” she said so cheerily, I believed her. My wife, “Miss Suspicion,” did not buy it for a second.

Finally, I convinced her to go and I arranged with the woman on the telephone for the two nights on the beach.

Looking back on this incident, I realize a suspicious mind does come in handy.

I must confess (which is hard for me to do) my wife’s suspicious mind has saved us from a few potentially disastrous situations. (But you didn’t hear it from me.)

When we arrived at the Daytona Beach office, they greeted us most graciously. I was smiling a smile that said, “See, I told you this was going to be great.” Read More→

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Mar
30

Would You Like A Burp With That Hiccup?

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Looking at the alarm clock by my bedside, it clearly read 2:37 a.m. The loud buzzing sound was not in my head after all. Who in the world could be calling me at this hour of the night?

I grumbled to myself, sat straight up in bed and gasped. An emergency! Someone’s in the hospital! Someone has died!

All kinds of such thoughts danced through my sluggish brain as I reached for the telephone.

Pastors are on call 24/7 and never know when an emergency will summon to duty. It may be in the middle of the day, or in this case, in the middle of the night.

Many telephone calls I’m not so anxious to get.

Mr. Alexander Graham Bell has a lot of answering to do for this contraption of his.

Among telephone calls I’m not too thrilled about are those infernal automatic political calls advising me to vote for some candidate – them in particular. Like most politicians, these calls never give me an opportunity to answer them.

They unleash their spiel and then hang up, probably to go to the next phone number.
What I want to know is, why don’t these aspiring politicians ever call me when they’re not running for some office? Why don’t they call me on my birthday and sing happy birthday to me?

Why don’t they give me their home phone number so I can call them and give them a piece of my mind?

I would like to get my hands on the person who taught these politicians how to dial phone numbers.

Another category of phone calls I am not too enthralled with are telemarketers. I have a difficult time hanging up on people. As long as they want to talk I can’t, or I don’t have the heart to hang up on them.

I know they are just people doing their job. I know much of what is sold via the telephone is excellent and useful, but I do not like anyone telling me what I should be buying, especially when I have just put on the feedbag.

The only thing I have been able to do is take the conversation in hand from the very beginning. As soon as the person on the other end of the phone begins talking, I start engaging them in chitchat.

I ask about their family, about the kind of day they are having and what they plan to do on the weekend. I ask for their home phone number so I can call them back.

It has become a sport for me and I am anxious for the next phone call to come so I can tell them about my day and my plans for the weekend. After all, they called me, it is my turf.

This telephone call at 2:37 a.m. was not from a politician or a telemarketer.

When I answered the telephone, I heard a raspy voice on the other end say, “Is the reverend home? I need to ask him a question ‘bout the Bible.”

By this time, every fiber of my being stood at attention, ready to serve. Someone needed me, which was all I had to know to fly full-speed into action. Read More→

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