So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I love experiencing God at work in our lives….you know, when you are in the midst of your everyday life and you sense His presence and influence?!? My husband and I begin our day with prayer and bible readings and conclude our day with a couple’s devotional and more prayer. Very often when we are working through some sort of chaos or obstacle that life has brought our way, the instructions for handling this issue come to us through our readings. It is remarkable to us how simply tuning our ears to God has sharpened our awareness of His voice.

We begin our mornings reading scripture and then praying over different areas of our lives to help us really concentrate and focus on letting God steer our hearts, minds and souls. Beginning our days with scripture and prayer has us more focused on our faith and on letting the little choices we make all day long be influenced by God. We have found that this simple shift in our focus has had a tremendous effect on our lives in an extremely positive way.

Not only has the readings and prayer helped us to rely on our faith to keep us on the right path, but it has also made us so much more aware of our shortcomings and the influences in our lives that are NOT so positive! This is a fantastic way to start our day off on the right foot and send us off into the world armed with God’s Word and Grace.

A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel. Proverbs 1:5

Our nightly readings and prayer are a great time for discussion and analysis and redirection if necessary. Each night after our bible verse and devotional, there is a discussion topic or activity that we can do to apply what we learned. Some nights we find that the lesson is really something we have already implemented in our lives or don’t necessarily struggle with, but other times, the lesson is quite helpful. One reading in particular struck us as something we would likely hold onto and utilize through the years over and over. I also had the opportunity to pass it along to someone else that was seeking wisdom, I love when God teaches us something and we can then share the lesson with another person, that’s a win-win! This advice comes from the book, The Uncommon Marriage Adventure by Tony & Lauren Dungy. Tony & Lauren credit Jerry Clower for this advice. When faced with a big decision, ask yourself these four questions:

          1. Will God be pleased if I decide to do this thing?

          2. Is it okay with me for others to see me doing it?

          3. Will it hurt anyone?

          4. How many people have I sought approval from to do it?

Let’s take a closer look at these questions; How often do we stop and think as we go along our daily walk, “Are we pleasing God by our choices?” This one question alone could have a tremendously positive effect on the world as we know it if we would just stop and think! Are we doing the things we do to please others, to please ourselves, or to please God? Are we being driven by greed, popularity, media, or faith?

Now, very often I feel as though society as a whole has become so desensitized to yuck and filth that question number two is practically a moot point. I mean some of the behaviors and activities others flaunt for all the world to see, quite frankly surprise me but, let me say this. If there are behaviors or choices we have made in our lives that we feel others will find fault with or that we feel we must conceal from the world, then why are we participating in them? If we wouldn’t want others to know what we say, do, watch, read or ingest behind closed doors, maybe we should rethink these choices!

I was having a conversation the other day with someone very close to me and I said that I would rather someone knew my flaws and the bad choices I make and judge me or choose to not have me in their lives than to like me based on false pretenses. If someone feels that I make choices in my life to participate in activities they may find offensive then I am fine with them not “liking” me, but if I hide my mistakes and bad choices and portray myself as someone righteous, yet choose to not follow God’s teachings then I am NOT deserving of their love and admiration. If I attend Mass each week and tell my children to follow God’s word, yet I turn around and fill my soul, mind and body with filth, I am a hypocrite. If I tell my teenagers and young adult children not to drink alcohol or text and drive or watch inappropriate movies or TV shows, but I participate in these activities, how am I serving God and my children?

Question number three is a little more difficult to wrap our heads around. We don’t often see the results of our actions directly effecting those around us. Believe me when I say that things as simple as the people you choose to allow in your life and the music, movies and TV shows you watch are effecting your family. How you spend your free time and the things you spend your money on speak loudly to our children. What do we place as important in our lives? Are we teaching our children that the little things we spend our time and money on matter? Or are we teaching them that materialism and fashion and popularity are more important than what is right and just. Are we doing the “popular” thing instead of the “right” thing and do we fully understand the consequences of these choices?

Now, this last one is a bit of a “trick” question. Look at it this way; if you feel the need to “justify” your bad choices or seek approval from people for the actions you take maybe this should send up a “red flag”. Quite frankly, if I make a bad choice, I MADE IT. No one forced me to do it, and if the people surrounding me influenced my decision, then maybe I should surround myself with better examples. There comes a point in our lives when we have to discern between the “popular” choice and the “right” choice. There was a time in this nation when the “popular” choice was racism and bigotry. That didn’t make it right then and choosing to “follow the crowd” doesn’t make it right now.

Basically, what I am saying is this; if we truly want to lead extraordinary lives and see our world achieve peace and justice, if we want our children to be the generation that makes a positive difference in our world, then we must be willing to forge a new direction, challenge the status quo and allow God into our hearts to help guide us along our journey. It will NOT be easy, you WILL make wrong turns and back track and stumble. People will criticize you, lash out at you and turn their backs, but I assure you the reward is worth it. As Toby Mac says, “I don’t want to gain the whole world and lose my soul!”

We conclude our night with prayers of Gratitude and Praise for our God. There is so very much to be thankful for and there are even days when we can thank him for the trials and tribulations that come our way and the grace that He gives us to triumph. I pray that you will make your faith a priority today and that you will help your spouse and children focus on God and allow His influence in your life.

BLESSINGS! 

Traci Runge

Traci was born and raised in San Diego and has called Kearney, Nebraska home for the past 18 years. She is married to Darby Runge and together they have 6 children. They own and operate Pro-Tint, a window tinting business. Along with being a full-time mom, Traci is also a Manager and Certified Trainer with SendOutCards, she works with businesses and individuals to build relationships and grow their income through Relationship Marketing. Traci works hard to balance her roles of mother, wife and business owner. She strives to help make the world a better place through kindness and love and leading by example. Traci is committed to her family, church and community and can often be found volunteering in some capacity. www.sendoutcards.com/tracirunge

Jesus Meets Me in Motherhood With His No Matter What Love

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother embracing daughter in sunlit room

My toddler was that kid on the playground—the one who would push and bite, erupting into a tantrum and needing to be carried home screaming. As I would carry my child to the car, the other moms looked at me with sympathy, confusion, fear, and . . . judgment.  Parents of challenging kids know this look well. We see judgment everywhere we go. I knew others were judging me, and I knew our challenges were beyond the normal bell curve, but as an overwhelmed young mom, I did all I knew to do: I blamed myself.  At my lowest, I...

Keep Reading

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Dear Girl, Give Jesus Your Mess

In: Faith, Living
Woman holding Bible, color photo

Oh, dear girl, Give Jesus the mess. Your mess. The mess you think is too much or too big or too unbearable. The depths of the mess. The very worst of the mess. Lay it at His feet. He knew you long before the mess existed. Nobody knows your mess like Jesus. I assure you—this will not catch Him by surprise. Even when you do not understand, even when it is most difficult, even when you have your head buried in your hands. Praise Him, for God wastes nothing.  Even when it feels like opposition is coming at you from...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love Is an Endless Pursuit

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child on bike, color photo

I look at him and my heart breaks into a million little pieces. It simply hurts too much to know he hurts. He is my heart, and it squeezes and revolts when he struggles. I want to close my eyes and hold him close, and when I resurface, I want the world to be different for him. Look different, smell different, taste different. But, it remains the same, this pain.   In the beginning, when he was in my womb, I held my hands on my stomach and his tiny feet kicked me back. His bodily imprint on my skin. He...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Brings Me to the Floor and Jesus Meets Me There

In: Faith, Motherhood

I recently came across a short memoir writing competition with the theme, “Places that have made me, changed me, or inspired me.” I could write something for that, I thought. I’m by no means a jet-setter, but I do have a passport. I spent my 16th birthday in Russia on a three-week mission trip. During college, I lived in Thessaloniki, Greece for a four-month study abroad program. After my British husband and I got married, we settled in the UK, where we’ve spent the last 10 years. And now, I’m back in my sunny Florida hometown. These experiences and places...

Keep Reading

I Will Be a Friend Who Prays

In: Faith, Friendship, Living

You mentioned it casually. They had found a lump in your breast again. You’ve been here before, and maybe that means you better know how to navigate it. Except how can we possibly know how to handle such things? What emotions lie hidden behind your words? You tossed out words like lumpectomy and biopsy as if you were sharing a grocery list. I don’t know you well yet, but as you spoke the words, I had a deep desire to let you know I’m sorry. Seated around the table that night, you asked us to pray for you. I committed...

Keep Reading

I Wish I Could Tell You There Will Be No More Mean Girls

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and two daughters, color photo

Tonight before bed while I was tucking you in, you seemed really down. You are normally bubbly, talkative, full of laughter and life, but tonight you seemed sullen and sad. I asked what was wrong, and at first, you didn’t want to tell me. But then you shared with me what was breaking your heart. You told me about a mean girl. You told me the hurtful things she said and the unkind way she acted and the sneaky way mean girls bully by making you feel left out and less than.  It made me sad and angry. I didn’t...

Keep Reading

In the Hardest Moments of Motherhood, I’m Reminded to Look Up

In: Faith, Motherhood

It’s 3:00 in the afternoon, and you know the scene—I step on a tiny Barbie shoe as I’m walking to the sink. I shove it to the side with my foot and release a heavy sigh. I momentarily think about picking it up, but my back is aching from bending down to gather up treasures all morning. I place my half-filled coffee cup into the microwave to re-heat it for a second time. I need just an ounce of energy to get through the afternoon. My daughter heaves another basket of toys up from the basement, step by step. I can...

Keep Reading

Sometimes God’s Glory Shines Brightest in the Hardest Parts of Life

In: Faith, Living
Woman's hand with chipped nail polish

Half of the fingernails on my hands still show remnants of nail polish. It looks pretty awful. People might notice it and think, Really? You can’t take just five minutes to wipe off the chunks of color that haven’t flaked off already?  And I could. It probably wouldn’t even take five minutes. It’s not that I don’t have the time or that I’m being lazy. I just don’t want to.  You see, my daughter painted my nails almost a month ago. She’s five—they were never pretty to start with. They were sloppy with small strips at the edges left unpainted....

Keep Reading

God Tasked Us With Raising Beautiful People in a Fallen World

In: Faith, Motherhood

Today, I watched my little boy put an oven mitt over his hand and mix up an imaginary meal. Like any mother would be, I was touched to see my son enjoying himself—playing fearlessly in the Children’s Museum and exploring with many fun and creative toys. He would open the wooden fridge and purposely put a spatula in a specific compartment. Though his reasoning was not known to me—or anyone else for that matter—you could tell he had a plan for that metal spatula, and it was to be in that freezer. RELATED: The Secret No One Told Me About...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections