I was asked to give the devotion at our Mother's Day brunch this past weekend... I wanted to share what I feel like the Lord lead me to speak on, as it has been a theme in my life recently. I hope it blesses you as much as it blessed me!
First off, I would like to say (for those of you who might be speculating)… that I am FULLY aware that I was not asked to do this because I am the best mother in the room. I’m not even up here because I’m one of the best moms in this room. So you can relax, I’m not going to feed you lots of parenting advice. But if any of you have any-see me after, I could most definitely use some!
No, it is most definitely not because I have mastered the art of motherhood- far from it. In fact, I think the reason I am up here is because I am so bad at it. I’m bad at everything really- just ask God. I am so awful (in and of myself) that someone had to die for me to be looked up on as having anything good in me at all. His name was Jesus. And I love that man with every fiber of my being. And I fail him often. And I admit those failures; in my mother hood and in my life. And where I am weak I am finding that God is made stronger; a little stronger every day. And he is so awesome in my life that I can’t help but testify about it. That is why I am up here.
Mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts… I want to share with you something that God has shown me over and over and over again in the past few weeks: we gotta fight like a girl, like Jesus girls. God’s word tells you that He has a plan for your life; He has a peace, and a joy and a hope that goes beyond anything we can imagine. But if you believe in a very REAL God then you also must believe in a very real devil. And ladies; he is real. He is persistent and sneaky and always near. He desires to keep us under his thumb- paralyzed in our defeat and unable to do anything of value for the Kingdom of God. We must fight like Jesus Girls against the devil. Ephesians 6 tells us to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age.
You see, we aren’t fighting against people (did you hear me on that? We are not fighting against people- so you can stop your arguing and your emotional battles and attacks against others) we are fighting against sin in and around our life. More often than not we are fighting the way those things around use have the ability to make us feel different from the way God intended us to feel . Fearful, anxious, angry, stressed, defeated… without Joy.
When I agreed to speak I did so having an old post from my blog in mind, but praying that God would give me a new word. What he did was give me a day- a very bad day. Not that my circumstances were bad, but whether our bad attitudes are caused by environmental or hormonal factors ( and I have been breastfeeding and pregnant for the past 3.5 years, I KNOW what hormones are ladies!) …the remedy is the same, and his name is Jesus! I was fighting for my joy that day. Literally, I ended up fighting with the devil for my joy, because I felt overwhelmed and stressed and mad, and sorry for myself- and I knew from God’s word that is NOT how a Jesus girl is supposed to feel. The devil was feeding me a bunch of lies, and lies can only be fought with Truth (God’s Truth), so I fought back.
My home is set up so you can walk a full circle from entry way, living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, and back to the entry way again. And walk circles I did… yelling at the devil the entire time (yes, I am aware that makes me sound crazy- but after 5 kids I am already past that!). While that sounds odd to some of you, but we just finished a Bible study by Beth Moore where we acknowledged and practiced that there is power and authority in our SPOKEN words, more so than your silent ones (because, among many other reasons, the devil can hear what you say- but he can’t read your mind). And you know what? It worked. I hashed it out with the devil and won! He was lying to me. I spoke with authority boldly declaring that You, devil had NO PLACE HERE. God’s Word told me that as his precious daughter I was to be filled with his joy… and whether or not I ‘felt’ it at the moment, it was in me and has been since the day I gave my heart to Jesus. That is His truth for my life, and no lie of defeat and weakness could change that. It didn’t take long before my mind came to terms with the spirit within me, and I was able to walk in my Joy.
Besides acting like a crazy woman and literally speaking ‘fighting words’ to the devil, how else do you fight for your joy? There is a more ‘proper’ way to fight…but you still gotta fight. Ephesians 6 goes on to tell us that some of the weapons we fight with are the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit (which is the Word of God) and that we are to be praying always...I’m going to submit to you that the more time you spend in God’s Word and in fellowship (prayer) with God, the more joyful you will be. But trust me, as a working mother of 5 little ones with a busy, busy schedule- you also gotta fight for your prayer time.
I remember when I first entered Christianity as a mother and my sister and I were certain, just certain that there was a clause somewhere in the Bible strictly for mothers, something that waived us of needing to spend time studying, praying, and serving God. There is, after all, unending dishes, laundry, messes, meals to cook, sleepless nights, work and commitments… we are needed and stretched and demanded in every different direction as mothers- surely God would understand if he would take a back seat to ‘life’. And while God longs for you to spend time with him, to some extend he does understand when we have nothing left to give him but the crumbs of our time… he does. Let me explain: I am reminded of the story of the widow in Mark 12: 41-44 Jesus watched as wealthy people tossed lots of money into the offering plate. A long came a poor widow, with nothing but two cents to give, and Jesus called to his disciples and said: “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
My point is, that Jesus longs for a deep, intimate relationship with you- and this ONLY comes by stopping and giving God the time he deserves. You aren’t going to grow in your walk with God if you aren’t giving him this time either, and you should be in the habit of regularly giving time to God. But sometimes life gets in the way; kids get sick, sleep gets lost, plans get ruined, and you find yourself with nothing to give God but the crumbs of a day gone all wrong. But just like the widow who had so little to give, it blesses God when you; tired weary worn out momma, sacrifice what little time (or sleep) you have to spend a little with him, even more so than someone who can gives Jesus their time out of an abundance. My heart aches when I come to the lord in that way begging him to“bless these measly crumbs of my time- but oh, how I long to give you more!” And I’m so thankful he will take and use whatever we are able to give Him!
Now please hear me on this; this is NOT a cop-out for mothers to spend less time in prayer… God sees your heart and if it longs to fellowship with him or not. He knows why and how often you are shuffling him aside out of pure laziness or being spread too thin. Can I just say that if we are to lay our life down for Christ…sometimes as a mother, sometimes laying your life down for Christ means letting the laundry go, the dishes go, the messes go, the Pinterest projects go, so you can STOP and pray, and read God’s Word and serve others. Sometimes you have to honor God by stopping the chaos and running to Him. Let go of what the world expects of you (or of what you expect of yourself) to give God of your time, for without it all else will fail anyways. Now that, is how you fight like a Jesus girl for your prayer time.
Fight for your joy, fight for your prayer time, and last but not least, I want to encourage you to fight for your family. You must fight for your marriage. Fight for your children. Fight for your brothers and sisters in Christ and those lost loved ones. How do you do this?
Mainly, you spend time in prayer (again, you gotta fight for that time to fight for your family!). If we truly believed how powerful our prayer is, we would spend more time in prayer begging God to protect our family, to save souls of loved ones, and to meet the needs of those we love. When we see others around us living in defeat who have lost the ‘fight’ in them, the most powerful thing we can do is to put on our boxing gloves and fight for them with our prayers. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. We are either in a season to desperately need prayer from others, or we are in a season to be praying someone OUT of that season of desperation. You cannot claim to in neither.
You must also fight for your family by guarding your family. Guard your marriage; don’t think you are immune to worldy influences and sin in your marriage just because you married a Christian…if you married a human- you are not. Don’t ignore or neglect your spouse simply because he doesn’t ‘need’ you in the same way everyone else around you needs you. Take the time and energy to invest in your marriage (I’m not going to go into ways that you can ‘invest’ in your marriage, but as a business major I can assure you that ‘investing’ in your marriage is the most fun kind of investing you can do!) And pray for each other, pray that God will keep your hearts soft for one another, pray that he will guard your eyes and hearts and keep them pure for one another. Fighting for your marriage may mean that you keep your mouth shut at times, or it may mean that you fill your man with encouraging words rather than criticism. Fighting for your marriage means keeping Christ in the center of your marriage; and this does not necessarily mean that it is a mutual agreement between both husband and wife. Keeping Christ in the center of your marriage is a personal decision to act Godly in your marriage, even if your spouse does not. Use your shield of faith to believe that God can and will deliver on that obedience 1 Corinthians 7:16 from the NLT says : Don't you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? Be a testimony of God’s love to your spouse.
And lastly, fight for your children. When they are little this may mean that you guard them from the world. I have tried to instill in my children at their young age that they simply aren’t going to get to do all the things their friends get to do. I tell them that you, my children, are different; you have a calling from Jesus to be holy and set-apart and that means you might feel different from your friends or feel left out. The sooner they learn this, the better. I honestly can’t tell you what it might look like to fight for your teens… because I’m not there yet. But I imagine it means guarding them and shielding them from the rest of the world too. It’s hard as the mother to follow your convictions on this. It makes you look crazy and over bearing to other parents, and it’s not always fun to deal with disappointed kids, but battles aren’t mean to be fun, they are meant to be won.
I also know that fighting for our children means you set a Godly example of fighting for your own faith, and openly and constantly talking and expressing God’s love and work in your life. Lead by example, showing them your heart and letting them be active in your walk with God until they are mature enough to have their own. And don’t give up. As Christians we have things in the Bible that we can claim as truth; God longs that non should perish… so we know that he desires to see our children and our families healed and saved. So persevere, keep praying and fighting- you may not see the fruit of your fight in your life time but what God has started he has promised to finish!
I would like to close with a verse I saw just as I finished writing this devotion. It reads: Praise be to the Lord my rock who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1. Sisters, he has given us the tools for victory, but sometimes we don’t’ have the victory because we aren’t willing to fight the battle. Be willing to FIGHT, like a JESUS GIRL!