Whoa that was close! — How close calls can fill us with peace instead of anxiety.

I remember that day so clearly. I was working outside in the greenhouse while my two year old napped inside. It was hot, the birds were chirping and the wind hummed a peaceful tune.

I have a special place in my heart for summer days like this one. There’s just something about being outside with your hands in the dirt that makes you feel fully alive. Top it off with a toddler sleeping safely in the house and a new baby nestled inside my belly and all felt right in the world.

Whoa that was close. How close calls can fill us with peace instead of fear.

We lived on a half acre lot on a busy highway right next to a bean field. My daughter loves being outside as much as I do but we always felt a certain amount of anxiety in our yard because of the traffic constantly zooming past our house. We had a porch swing and a fire pit along the West border of our yard right beside the bean field. Though I never let our daughter out of my sight, I had grown comfortable with letting her play around the swing while I worked in the greenhouse. Occasionally however, she’d let curiosity get the best of her and wander over to check out the beans. We had firm rules against this but she simply couldn’t stay away.

I don’t remember exactly what I was working on in the greenhouse that day, I just remember that I was very focused and blissfully unaware of the world around me. The air felt quiet, safe and peaceful when all of a sudden my attention was turned to a huge crop sprayer tractor tearing through the field right past our swing and exactly to where my toddler often snuck off to.

Whoa that was close. How close calls can fill us with peace instead of anxiety.

Instantly, I was filled with anxiety. Visions of what could have happened consumed me. What if my daughter had been awake? What if she had been playing over there? Would the farmer have seen her? Would I have been more aware of our surroundings and seen the danger coming? Would I have been able to react and save her soon enough?

Along with those questions, a stubborn resolve quickly set in. I would no longer let her play far away from me. I would keep her close and safe and I would not let my guard down. The world is a scary place so I would need to be more careful.

But almost as quickly as those fears consumed me, a still small voice breathed peace down in my soul. The Holy Spirit whispered,

“I perfectly orchestrated these events this afternoon. I planned for the farmer to work in the field while your daughter was asleep inside. I am in control and I am watching out for you.”

With that, anxiety dripped out of me and comfort settled in. In the past, close calls such as this one had always been perceived as a WARNING sign flashing neon red lights.

Whoa that was close! How close calls can fill us with peace instead of anxiety.

But things completely changed for me that day. Now, whenever I’m frightened by the “what ifs” of parenting, I am immediately comforted by God’s protection. Every time there is a close call it is simply a reminder of His grace and His perfectly orchestrated plan. When something bad almost happens, it no longer has the power to fill me with anxiety if I don’t let it. Instead, I can let it build my faith in the God who has complete control. He knows. He’s watching. We don’t have to be afraid.

In John 14 verse 27 Jesus tells us,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

In Isaiah 40:11 we learn that

“God tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart.”

Just like the Psalmist in chapter 23 verse 4, we can proclaim that

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.”

And finally, let Psalm 91:4-5 speak to you.

“You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.”

Everywhere we look in Scripture we are reminded that we do not have to be afraid. Like little lambs, God holds our children close to His heart. Even though they will walk on scary paths and inevitably face danger, God will be with them everywhere they go. He is ready to protect them with His rod and His staff at any moment. Consequently, we do not have to fear any of the things our culture tells us to fear.

Whoa that was close! How close calls can fill us with peace instead of fear.

Practically Speaking…

I told my husband what happened during nap time and we did decide together that we needed to be more careful about where our daughter goes in our yard. We learned a practical lesson that day in addition to the spiritual lesson.

I will always be a believer in keeping a close, watchful eye on my kids. That is my mothering style at my core. But the difference is this: I know now that God is the only one who can fully protect my children and He makes it part of His full time job.

I could be the most protective helicopter mom on the planet and still my humanity could fail them. Scary things can and probably will happen to my kids. We will have close calls and I will be attacked by “what ifs”. But each and every time they happen now I will choose to let that event remind me that God coordinated it perfectly. Because of that, anxiety has no place and peace can settle in. What a huge weight taken off of me!

So if you’re reading this, I pray that those words the Holy Spirit spoke to me will permeate your heart as well. I pray that His peace will consume you. I pray against any anxiety that might try to imprison you. I thank God that He is coordinating every step you and your loved ones take. His kingdom come and His will be done, on Earth, just as it is in Heaven.

Amen.

Click the image to learn more about how perfectly God loves our little ones.
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Myths Moms Believe About Daily Devotions That Keep Them From Doing It

All Christians know that spending time in the Word of God is a must but many of us have a hard time actually doing it. As a mom of young children, this task can feel even harder.

Truthfully, it took me a long time to find my groove when I became a mom a couple years ago and devotions were really not part of my life. But then I listened to Risen Motherhood’s Episode “She Reads Truth: God’s Word Everyday, in Every Season” with the founders of She Reads Truth, Raechel and Amanda. They talked about some of the common hangups that moms face when trying to get in a “quiet time” with the Lord each day and the episode really opened my eyes to a new way of approaching devotions.

I was blown away by some of the myths we believe and since busting them, I’ve slowly started to be able to make reading the Word a routine part of my day again. So here’s a rundown of the myths moms believe about daily devotions that keep us from doing them.

1. Devotions must be in the morning…

I get it. It makes sense that we should start our day off in the Word of God. It sets our focus for the day and helps us to wake up filled with joy and grace.

But for moms of young kids, mornings can be truly crazy. Toddlers often hit the ground running and everyone needs breakfast and clothes right away. To top it off, many moms are up half the night with a baby which means they need to sleep as much as they can to face the day.

For these reasons, daily devotions first thing in the morning felt impossible for me.

But because I believed the lie that I must do them in the morning, I ended up skipping them all together rather than doing them later in the day.

Once I gave myself permission to do my devotions at different times of the day, so many more opportunities suddenly popped up and it felt so much easier to make time in the Word a priority in my day.

2. We must do devotions when we’re all alone…

The second myth we believe is that we must do our devotions in solitude. I think this probably comes from Matthew 6:6 which says,

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

This instruction was meant to keep us from trying to impress others with our prayers and fellowship with God so we’ve come to believe that it’s good practice to do our devotions in private.

Unfortunately, most moms do not have much alone time so we often feel like we don’t have a chance to read the Word.

I would argue however, that it is vitally important that our kids see us reading the Bible and praying to God. Simply telling our kids that devotions are important is not enough. They have to see it to believe it.

So don’t worry if your kids are watching you or even sitting on your lap while you read and pray. It’s good for them to see and so much better for you than to not do any devotions at all.

5 myths moms believe about daily devotions that keep them from doing it

3. Our daily quiet time must be an uninterrupted 30 minute chunk…

We often feel like our time in the Word is supposed to be a certain length and we must be able to do it all in one setting. I’m not sure exactly where we get this idea from other than it helps us to know we’re “doing enough.”

But for many moms, finding a time of day where they can sit uninterrupted is difficult which stops them from trying at all.

Since busting this myth, I’ve resolved to simply start my devotions each day. I leave my books and my Bible out on the couch and even though I have to stop to grab my toddler a snack or nurse my baby, I try to just keep coming back to my reading until I’m done.

I’ve found that not only do I spend time in the Word this way, but I think about what I’m studying for longer because I’m reading little by little all day long.

4. Daily devotions must be a quiet time…

Another synonym we use for time spent reading the Bible is “quiet time” with God. So in our minds we often picture sitting on the back porch with a coffee cup in hand and peaceful nature sounds all around.

But when this luxurious quiet time is hard to find, we end up skipping out on devotions all together.

I completely understand that we can focus a little better and dig a little deeper into scripture when we’re in a quiet room but we can’t focus on the Word at all if we aren’t taking the time to open up the Bible in the first place.

Full disclosure, I often read my Bible while my toddler is watching TV. I truly think it’s worth the screen time and I’ve learned to just tune out the background noise.

5 myths moms believe about daily devotions that keep them from doing it.

5. This season is just too hard…

And finally, the last myth we believe about our time in the Word of God is that it would be easier to do in a different season of life.

We remember the pleasant old days when we were free to do whatever we want whenever we wanted or we daydream about the day when we can drop all the kids off at school and come home to a quiet house.

We tell ourselves that we would be so much better at reading our Bibles in those seasons than the one we’re currently in.

But the truth is, making our daily devotions a priority is always hard. Life is busy and there will constantly be other things that try to take up our time. Furthermore, it takes discipline to read the Word because the sin inside us is constantly telling us we don’t need to abide in Him.

So truthfully, it won’t be any easier in the next season of life. In fact, the only way to make it easier is to simply start now. The more we read His Word, the more of a habit it becomes and the more delight we find in Him.

Even though there may be plenty of reasons why doing daily devotions is difficult, there are even more reasons why it’s actually a great idea, especially in this tough season of motherhood. So mama, go ahead and pick out a new devotional, grab a fresh notebook, and get in the Bible. Your “quiet time” may not be uninterrupted, private, or quiet at all but His Word is still living, active, powerful, and perfect for today ♥️

My love for you is limited but the love of our Father God is limitlessIf you liked this post, click the image to read more about how a mother’s love compares to God’s love.

The Epic, Beautiful, and Unexpected Birth Story of Jesus Christ Told as If I Were Mary’s Doula

Note: This is a piece of historical fiction. The Bible only gives us a couple key facts about the birth of Jesus which leaves the rest to the imagination. As I reflected on the coming Christmas Season, I started thinking about what it would be like if I attended Jesus’ birth as Mary’s doula. This is simply the story of what I presume I would think and feel and see as I witnessed the virgin birth, and is not supposed to be regarded as fact.

If I were Mary’s doula, the story might have gone like this…

There’s a young, unmarried girl named Mary who has been causing quite an uproar. Recently, she disappeared for three full months and no one had any idea where she went. Later, rumor went around that she fled to the hills to visit her elderly aunt who is supposedly pregnant. Now that she’s returned, her secret is out: She’s clearly pregnant too. But what’s really bizarre is that she claims she’s still a virgin! Of course, no one is really buying it and she continues to be slandered everywhere she goes.

This whole story is all very strange to me and yet I can’t help but feel for her. I don’t believe a virgin could conceive and yet my mind can’t stop thinking of her. She must be scared, she must be confused, and she must feel overwhelmed as she navigates this new world of pregnancy and motherhood without anyone who believes in her. As much as I don’t want to associate myself with the drama, I just want her to know she’s not alone.

I couldn’t believe it when I saw her in town that day. We happened to cross paths and I instantly felt conflicted. Should I talk to her?

“No,” I thought, “just keep walking.”

But then, as if I didn’t have control of my body, I approached her.

She’s hesitant at first. Clearly she is used to being ridiculed, shamed, and disregarded. But I introduce myself and ask her to tell me her story. She slowly starts to open up. She explains that an angel came to her and said she would conceive the Son of God through the Holy Spirit. I desperately try to hide the whirlwind of emotions I feel as she tells me this: the fear, the doubt, and the teeny tiny bit of illogical hope that it’s true. Mary knows she sounds crazy, she knows it’s hard to believe, and yet I sense a quiet confidence in her. She does not doubt what has happened inside of her and with wonder in her eyes, she repeats the angel’s words, “nothing will be impossible with God.”

I’m stunned.

“How God?” I think to myself. “How could this happen and why would you do something that’s so hard to believe?”

Several months had passed and though I hadn’t heard from Mary, there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t think of her. I constantly wondered what she might be feeling. What would it be like to carry a baby who she believed was the Lord? What goes through her mind as she feels Him kick? Would she be full of more anxiety than usual knowing the Son Of God is in her womb or would she be completely at peace, knowing that God’s plans do not fail? I couldn’t stop playing through every possible scenario in my mind. Like I often do, I dreamt about the birth. If this truly was the Lord, surely the labor would be wonderful and smooth and the delivery would be perfect. A King should have the most glorious entrance into the world after all. I hoped so badly that I could be there.

I was shocked when she came to me that day, her belly fully round.

“Joseph and I are headed to Bethlehem for the census,” she told me.

I couldn’t believe she was willing to make the journey at this point in her pregnancy but I knew she didn’t really have a choice. When she asked me to go with her I very nearly fainted. She knew her time to deliver was coming. Of course, I packed a bag and was ready within minutes. I wouldn’t pass up this opportunity for anything.

I did what I could to make the trip easier for Mary but at this point in her pregnancy, there wasn’t a lot of hope for comfort. While traveling, Joseph told me the story of an angel visiting him as well and confirming that what Mary said was true. I still wasn’t sure what I really thought about the situation and yet I wanted more than anything to believe them. The hope, the peace, and the confidence they had was so beautiful and I longed to feel that way too.

When we arrived in Bethlehem there were swarms of people everywhere. There were no rooms available anywhere and I knew Mary needed to rest. Finally, we found a measly stable to stay in and settled in for the night.

Of course, as fate would have it, Mary’s contractions began. In a burst of nervous energy, Joseph quickly left to seek out a local Hebrew midwife. I could tell that despite the increasing pain, Mary was excited about what was to come. All that the angel told her would soon be accomplished.

Joseph returned with the midwife and then he waited outside because we knew the time was near. I cleaned up the place as best as I could but this was nothing like the glorious entrance I was planning in my mind.

Why would God allow His Son to be born into such humble conditions? It didn’t make any sense to me and yet there were no other options at the time.

Mary’s pains began to get harder. She went from breathing deeply through them, to moaning, to full out roaring as she got closer to delivery. Labor was as tough as any other birth I had been to. It certainly wasn’t the smooth, easy delivery I had pictured.

I supported her as she leaned and swayed and then finally, we reached that moment of relief and excitement as she naturally began to push. A bit later, those little pushes turned into strenuous burst of power. With all her might she fought to birth this little baby, the one she believed to be the Son of God. As her strength increased so did her fear, those all familiar moments of panic, the worry that she might not be able to accomplish her mission. She said it felt impossible, but had no choice except to press on, pushing harder and harder, stronger and stronger.

With the next contraction, she didn’t know what else to do but yell in anguish,

“COME JESUS IMMANUEL!”

She called Him by His name, as many mothers do at this stage. And with that, He was born.

It was the Holiest moment, the Earth was quiet in reverence and we all knew that phrase she yelled would be uttered countless times by millions of people throughout the rest of humanity. Men and women everywhere would find themselves in low and humble places, dealing with the pain and agony of this world and their solution will be nothing less than calling on the Savior Jesus Christ. Asking Him, begging Him to come and live with them. To completely change their life like He changed Mary’s that day. It was a chilling, profound moment, and it was then that I believed. God has sent his Son to deliver us all.

After Mary nursed her new sweet babe, she swaddled Him, and placed Him in a manger because that’s all we had. I always sleep well the night after a birth but on that night, because of what I had witnessed, my Soul could finally rest in a way it never has before. The Son of God has come to Earth the way all humans do. But because of Him, the way we live and leave this Earth will be forever changed.