"Serve the Lord with gladness"
If you are a mom, you may feel as though you never get a break! You spend everyday taking care of your family. Although you love them with all your heart, you wonder will this ever get easier? Will I ever get a full night’s sleep? Will my girls ever stop fighting and be friends? Will I ever have a minute alone in a bathroom? Will my boys ever learn how to pee in the toilet and not all over the bathroom wall? Will I ever stop feeling like a taxi driver? Will I ever get to enjoy a piece of “good” chocolate without having to hide it on the top shelf of the pantry behind the flour, so every time I want a piece I have to make sure no one is awake, find my step stool with all the lights off in the kitchen, just in case they are not really asleep and discover my hidden stash? (I have some experience with this, one can you tell?)
Several years ago, while my boys were still in high school, one played hockey and the other played football. Keeping everyone’s schedule straight was extremely challenging. One particularly crazy night, I came home from work to quickly cook dinner before rushing out to practice. The kitchen was loud, everyone was talking and asking me questions at the same time and looking for things they needed. It felt like a tornado was going through my house. I just wanted some peace and quiet for a little bit.
I was getting very annoyed and the tone of my voice was becoming rude. Just when I was about to snap, I heard the Lord whisper to my heart, “Thank me for your full life.” Tears swelled in my eyes as I realized the Lord had given me an incredible husband and two terrific boys and I was treating them like a burden.
In Mark 10:36-42, the disciples were arguing about who would be the greatest in His Kingdom. In verse 43-44 Jesus said, “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be a slave to all.”
The night before Jesus died, he demonstrated His most loving act of service. John 13:3-5 tells us, “Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” Jesus’ position and authority did not keep him from serving, rather it caused Him to do whatever he needed to demonstrate how He wanted his disciples to love and serve each other. As moms, we have been given an opportunity to demonstrate to our children how to serve like Jesus.
Psalm 100:2a says. “Serve the Lord with gladness….” This Psalm is part of a larger Psalm that carries the title “A Psalm for Giving Thanks.” How do we serve the Lord with gladness? By serving those He has placed in our lives with thanksgiving; this leads to gladness instead of seeing our blessings as burdens.
I know being a mom can be a thankless job, and oftentimes it seems like no one notices the ways you serve. But you have a Heavenly Father who sees you. When you serve your family you look like Jesus and He loves to see His Son in you. I challenge you, next time things get crazy and you don’t want to serve one more person, stop and thank Him for your full life. When I choose to do this it always changes my outlook and helps me to “Serve the Lord with gladness.”
“‘But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead.’”
A couple months ago, my boys and I were on a walk. I was pushing my 10 month old in the stroller while my 5 year old was riding his tricycle. As we were going down the sidewalk, there was a lady cutting the grass. My 5 year old was very enthralled by this and after he pedaled past her, he continued to look back and watch her while still pedaling forward. Each time he would look back, his tricycle would veer off the sidewalk, either into the grass or into the stroller that I was pushing. As I watched my son comically bumble around on the sidewalk, the words found in Isaiah 43:18 came flooding to my mind: “Do not call to mind the former things, or consider things of the past.” In that moment, my son on his tricycle was a perfect visual for me of what can happen to us when we get captivated by what is behind us: we veer off the path God has placed us on.
In a devotional book called, Thou Givest, They Gather, author Amy Carmichael writes this about how the enemy uses our desire to look back against us: “So he is continually trying to persuade us to look back. He delights to engage our thoughts with ourselves, our sins, our worthlessness, our failures, for when we are so engaged, we are looking back and...go crooked at once.”
As we look back, sometimes we get fixated on our past regrets, whether big or small. When we’re filled with regret, we carry around a burden that the cross of Christ already lifted. My mom once told me that when we let regret weigh us down and don’t accept Christ’s grace and forgiveness for a particular sin, it’s like we’re believing that His death on the cross wasn’t enough to cover it. John 8:36 rebuts that lie with this truth: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Christ’s death covers all sins, and Philippians 3:13 emphasizes our need to let go of regret: “‘But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead.’”
Not only do we sometimes look back with regret, but sometimes we also look back with a longing for days gone by. Specifically, days that seemed easier or filled with more happiness. When we get stuck there, it prevents us from enjoying the days God has given us and hinders us from being thankful for or making the most of the new season that we’re in, even if it’s more difficult. In both cases, when we are looking back, it affects where we are going. As humans we are not capable of looking backwards, and seamlessly moving forward at the same time. Instead of looking backwards at past regrets or longings of past days, we will find freedom and joy if we choose to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, make their home in central Arkansas. They have five grown children and are grandparents to wonderful grandchildren. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.