A Mom’s Potential: What Will I Do With My Mind? – Part 3

I have shared with you how I receive e-mails from both discouraged and encouraged moms. Knowing what it is like to be a discouraged mom, I wanted to give you some ideas about how to become the encouraged mom. Not only in my own life have I evaluated the differences between feeling discouraged and feeling encouraged, but I have been considering what I read in those e-mails as well.

The encouraged moms are yielding their minds to obedience to Jesus Christ. That is what I wrote about in August and September. They are also yielding their time to righteousness.

Here is an example of how it works. This mom writes me and says:

“How many times do I have moms tell me that they CAN’T do what I do, usually because they are a ‘different personality’ . . . as if it is my ‘personality’ that is my strength. It is wearying, and often I don’t even want to share anymore the real answer to ‘how do you do it,’ or respond to the ‘I could never do it.’

I am just finishing up a very long week of making up the first six weeks of lesson plans for six children . . . from a brand-new kindergartener up to two in high school. I have not wanted to spend my whole week this way, but it was my choice, by the choices I made in the weeks leading up to this week, and God has still sprinkled in time to go pick beans and cucumbers in the garden in the cool of the evening, to visit with friends and their children, and tonight a church dinner at our home.

I have experienced too many times where God has enabled me to do what He has asked me to do . . . usually through being faithful to my schedule, and ‘doing the next thing,’ while still listening to His voice and being sensitive to changes that are brought my way through His plan. He enables me by His grace to do what He has called me to do, even to finishing up that last lesson plan.

I have been encouraged and taught to choose to do the right thing, even when other things might be calling me, and I might be tempted to label them something ‘spiritual’ to give myself permission to neglect what I am really supposed to do. It is tempting nearly every day, but God always blesses obedience.” A mom choosing obedience

Every day we have a choice set before us concerning what we will do with our time. We can do what we need to do, or we can use that time in other ways. I want to encourage you in the blessing of fulfilling your responsibilities. Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed by what needs to be done or discouraged by our children’s behavior that we retreat to the computer, a book or magazine, the TV, a hobby, or whatever it is that we use for comfort and escape rather than running to our Lord Jesus Christ. Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” These same words are repeated in 2 Thessalonians 3:13. We make that decision of what we will do with our minds—feel sorry for ourselves or think right thoughts and turn to Jesus. Rather than dwelling on the negative, we can to choose to be grateful for the Lord Jesus and His work in our lives and for our husbands, our children, our homes, our daily bread, our comforts, our churches, and so much more. We can choose to get busy and do what needs to be done.

Look at what happens when we use our time to fulfill our responsibilities. This is part of the first e-mail I received from a young mother.

“I am a very undisciplined person. I’m lost when it comes to keeping my toddler occupied. I find myself doing the very thing I hated as a child. I use the TV.” Mom to one two-year-old

Here is a portion of an e-mail from this same mom after she had made some changes in how she was using her time.

“My life has changed significantly since I’ve created and implemented a MOTH Schedule.

My daughter no longer watches an excessive amount of TV. We are having preschool everyday. She has learned to clean up her toys, put socks away when I fold laundry, and set the table for our evening meal. We spend an hour outside every day. I read to her every day. She has ‘play alone’ time, computer time, and she even helps with some of my chores. She loves to dust!! We also have a devotional time everyday. My daughter (25 1/2 months) knows the schedule and anticipates the next activity.” Mom to one two-year-old

All this mother did was begin to make different choices in how she was using her time. At first an undisciplined mom who was using the TV as a babysitter, she decided to put together a schedule to help her do what she wanted to do. As she began implementing that schedule, fulfilling the responsibilities that God had given to her, she was blessed with amazing results. Not only is this young mother experiencing the joy associated with yielding her time to righteousness, but her daughter is as well.

This summer on our blog, I shared a work project that I was doing with my girls. This motivated another mom to evaluate what needed to be done in her home and how to include her daughter, who is only four years old. Look at the results!

“After reading this post yesterday, I realized that there are a few deep cleaning chores I needed to do. Today I cleaned my living room furniture, polished my living room tables, deep cleaned my refrigerator, coffee pot, and a few other things in the kitchen—all with my four-year-old daughter by my side. She enjoyed helping me very much. She kept asking what she could do next. We had a great time.” Another mom

Can you relate to the excitement this mother is experiencing as she chooses what to do with her time? Rather than being discouraged and dejected, she is energized, happy, and satisfied. She has done some important cleaning, spent time with her daughter, and helped her daughter learn to rightly choose how to use her time. Isn’t that what we want for our lives in our roles as mothers?

Discouraged or encouraged? The answer is pretty simple: what will I do with my mind and my time? However, the carrying out of that answer can be quite difficult. It starts with a yielding of our minds to obedience and then a yielding of our time to obedience. While we may think that yielding our time will keep us from doing what we want to do, in reality it frees us to be the Christian women we want to be. May we be women who yield to righteousness with our minds and with our time.

Do Your Children Have Beautiful Feet? – Part 4

I had intended to finish the series of articles on evangelism last month. However, while we were on our trip, Christopher and I were discussing those to whom we had witnessed. I appreciated what he shared with me and asked him to write a Corner about evangelism. The following article is what the Lord put on his heart.

It is a joy when our children embrace the Lord Jesus and want to tell others about Him. When a man has something with which he truly is thrilled, he wants others to know. It is a wonderful confirmation that the Lord Jesus is at work in our children’s lives when they will actively witness about Jesus, the only true Savior of a man’s soul.


Approaching Flames

A few weeks ago, we drove on the interstate through New York City, a massive urban center with miles and miles of apartments. If you had watched me staring out the window, you could have easily guessed I was from Kansas as I watched the towering expanse of concrete, brick, and humanity pass by. We even pulled out the camera and took some photos of the city through the van window. At one point, we saw smoke drifting across the interstate ahead of us. We assumed it was a factory smokestack, but we were wrong—an apartment building was on fire. Flames were shooting almost fifteen feet high out of a fourth-story window. A fire truck had just arrived in the street below and was beginning to raise its massive ladder. I snapped a few quick photos as we passed, and we prayed for those whose lives were being impacted by the fire.

fire-overviewIt wasn’t until later, as I reviewed the photos in detail, that the significance of what we had seen really hit me. The magnified images revealed two details. The first was amazing, but the second was heart-wrenchingly incredible. As I stared at those photos, the parallels between the fire and evangelism were almost impossible to overlook.

The first detail we noticed as we zoomed in: two firefighters heading up toward the flames on the metal fire-escape stairs. These men had lost no time upon arriving at the building and were demonstrating a willingness to risk their lives as they climbed closer to the fire. Their goal was not to put out the fire, for they carried no water hoses with them. Instead, the oxygen tanks they wore showed they were intending to save lives, even if it meant entering flame-filled rooms.

Those firefighters had a duty and a job to perform, and they were doing it no matter what it cost them (although I suspect they were also motivated by a heartfelt compassion for those facing danger). What would have happened if none of the firefighters had responded to the call? What if they had responded to the call but then sat in their comfortable fire truck and simply watched the building burn? If either one of those situations had occurred, wouldn’t there would be many people, perhaps including you and me, who would have condemned them for their actions (or lack of actions)?

For us, as Christians, not to speak up and seek opportunities to share the gospel with the lost would be a similar, unconscionable, shirking of (God-given) responsibility. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations . . .” (Matthew 28:19). We have a duty toward those headed for a horrendous future: “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44). “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 1:23).

Jesus never said that sharing the gospel with others would always be easy and comfortable. I believe Peter is a perfect example of that. He wasn’t willing to stand up and identify with Jesus when he was asked, three times, if he were a disciple. Granted, Peter was in the midst of a difficult situation, but he was nonetheless given an opportunity to speak out and share, and he didn’t. But isn’t Jesus merciful? Peter confessed his failure and repented. Grace was given. And from that point on, we no longer see a fearful man, but one who was willing to speak out, no matter what the cost.

Whether a firefighter or a soul-winner, is the man who experiences fear called a coward? No! It is the one who gives into his feelings of fear and fails to do what he should. Even brave men will at times feel fear, but they choose to do what is right despite their fear!

Some don’t want to be spiritual firefighters – despite what the Lord has called us to do. For those who don’t want to be a firefighter, I ask you to consider what we saw as we zoomed even closer into the photo of the fire!

On the fifth floor, only a few feet over from the flames that were roaring out of the fourth-floor window below, was a woman with a child in her arms, standing on a small fire-escape platform perhaps fifty feet in the air. She was well aware of the danger her life was in if she stayed in the building. She could have chosen the way of escape for herself alone, and it would have been much easier for her to do so, because then both of her hands would have been free. However, she was taking the time and effort to see that the infant child was also safe.

Have we repented of our sin and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ? Has He saved us from the flames of hell? If so, how could we be so selfish as to escape the flames ourselves (by His grace) and yet leave others to such a terrible fate?

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

Will you one day stand alone before the Lord Jesus Christ with no one else standing beside you whom you helped rescue by pointing them to Jesus? Might the work we are so busy filling our days with burn up on the judgment day? “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).

Whether you see yourself as a firefighter or simply someone who has been rescued from the fires of hell, won’t you reach out and help rescue others? Don’t be paralyzed by fear! Let us each be bold as we gently help those who are lost and dying!

Written by our son Christopher