New Every Morning


Walk through any grocery or department store and you know right away that it’s New Year’s Resolution time, isn’t it? The front displays all relate to weight loss and home organization.  Everyone seems to be exercising more, eating less and cutting the clutter.  Admittedly, I usually jump on the resolution bandwagon, and take the opportunity to renew some healthy habits left off a few months back when life’s busy days got the best of me. And admittedly, the commitment usually trails off a few months in and we’re back to where we started.

My husband has a different perspective this time of year, and it got me thinking this week. He adamantly refuses to make any New Year’s resolutions and resists the concept entirely.  Here’s why: he says if a change is that important, then it should be that important any day of the year. It shouldn’t take a change of the calendar year to get you to do it if it’s really worth doing.

I see great value in taking the turn of the year to reflect on God’s blessings in the year gone past. And I see value in renewing a personal vision and commitment with expectation for the coming year. But I think the key may be in Chris’ thinking that this level of commitment should sustain itself throughout the year.

Maybe the opportunity to reflect and renew should be taken every morning, rather than just at year’s end.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:21-23

So maybe our New Year’s Resolution should be to make a “New Day’s Resolution” everyday.

And that new day’s resolution should start with a reflection on the LORD’s great love and compassion in the day before. Reflecting on God’s faithfulness for yesterday strengthens our trust to know He will be faithful for today. Then our response to His love, compassion and faithfulness becomes our vision and commitment for the day. We then go out to serve out of the overflow of our hearts, seeking His glory and not our own.

Our new day’s resolution may include a healthy eating and exercise plan, not to achieve body perfection, but to be better fit to serve God and others.

Our new day’s resolution may include a home organization project, not to achieve earthly praise, but to better serve our family and create order and peace in our home.

And our new day’s resolution should always include a time of prayer and Bible Study, not to check off a to-do list, but to better conform our hearts and minds to God’s will.

If you’re like me, the end of the day finds you pretty much beat. We’ve taken care of ourselves, our families (should we list all the laundry, carpools, and meals?), and our work and church responsibilities.  I love putting on cozy pajamas and climbing in my soft bed- and resting. Then, assuming no middle of the night dog or kid crisis, I awake in the morning ready to start a fresh day.

How about we try and make the refreshed start of the day a refreshed vision and commitment for serving Christ? Could we take our shower time and use it for drinking of the Living Water and letting Christ’s healing and forgiveness pour over us? Could we take our getting dressed and be reminded to put on our new self- clothed in His righteousness?

Be made new in the attitude of your minds and put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:23-24

Experts agree on the value of both short- and long-term goals. Maybe there is a combination of a New Year’s Resolution that sets a bigger direction for our lives and a shorter-term daily commitment renewal that keeps us moving towards that vision in realistic achievable steps.

I pray we would begin each day renewed- with a new song in our hearts and on our lips- ready to serve the Lord with fresh commitment.  I pray we would seek a fresh vision as this new year begins- watching on high for His guiding hand. And I pray we would rest at each day’s end to praise the One who is “making everything new.” (Revelation 21:5)

It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night. Psalm 92:1-2

Because They’re His, Not Mine


I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of Him.  For his whole life, He will be given over to the LORD.  I Samuel 1:27-28

Because my children belong to God, and not to me, I can find freedom, peace and rest as I trust them to His strong hands and perfect love. If I live in this faith and keep this perspective, my parenting journey is changed for His glory and for my good.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I know He loves them even more than I do. The great love and endless grace of their Heavenly Father are poured over each child as He protects and provides for their every need.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I can trust them to His care. Whether they are sitting close at my side, or travelling far across the world, our omnipresent God is with them. His eyes are always on them, even when my own are not.

Because they’re His, and not mine, my own worth is not based on their choices. Whether they are shining in righteousness or struggling with sin, I resist taking the credit or the blame. I choose rather to set my own worth on who I am in Christ, which has not changed since my children were born.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I’m free to serve them with unconditional love. Each one is a gift placed in my care by their Creator. May I love them as He would have me. May I serve them with His patience, His grace, His discipline and His wisdom.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I can be their parent and not their best friend. Seeking to please God, and not to please my child, I can keep my place as parent in their lives. I can parent with purpose training their hearts and minds for Christ.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I can see past who they are today to who He is shaping them to be. He has begun a good work in each one of them, and I can rest knowing He will be faithful to complete it. I see His hand working even in the hard. Each glimpse of His presence gives me more patience and grace.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I can live with healthy boundaries, respecting their emerging independence. As they grow, may they take on more responsibility for their own decisions. May I model that responsibility as I live my life before them.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I can keep myself healthy to best serve Him in this role. I can seek to be healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually. In doing so, I am best fit to honor God in this role. I can live with balance and an eternal perspective.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I can parent for His glory rather than for my own accolade. I can resist the temptation to compare and compete with others. I can seek the contentment that comes in living for the Lord, and not for myself.

Because they’re His, and not mine, I can stand in awe of who He has made them to be- today. When I set aside pressures to perform and pretend and be perfect, I see each child as an amazing creation shaped not by my will, but by the will of God. Each heart, mind, body and soul is a treasure who is worthy of great care.

Lord, forgive me for where my parenting has been centered on me, or centered on my child, and not centered on You. Make me a faithful servant of the children you have placed in my care. Give me your heart to love them as you would. Renew in me the wonder of who you have made them to be. I want to be faithful to you.


Running on Empty


“Don’t let your gas tank get below a quarter of a tank!”

My dad still gives this life wisdom each time I leave for a long road trip. And he has for the last 25 years or so that I’ve been driving. I am reminded of it each time the indicator light comes back on in my minivan indicating that my gas level has once again gone below a quarter of a tank. The stress level in me quickly rises as I hope I can make it in to a nearby gas station, distraught because I don’t have the time to stop and fill up right then, and frustrated because it seems like I just filled up three days ago! Why don’t I listen to my dad on this?

Mothers of children with special needs do a lot of running. From school to doctors to activities to church and family functions, we are on the go. And with all the kids and carseats and cargo we tote around, most of us drive vehicles that don’t get very good gas mileage. So by necessity, we have to return to the nearest gas station frequently, often pushing our luck with a gas level far below a quarter of a tank.

As we need frequent fill ups in our vehicles, even more so do we need frequent fill ups in our lives. As we need our cars to keep going strong for us, our families need us to keep our hearts, souls, minds and strength going strong for them.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  Mark 12:30

Here Jesus tells us the most important command is to love God, and to love Him in four ways. I see these as four ways we need to be filled in order to faithfully serve Him. Emotions, spirit, thoughts and physical health. If we don’t stop and refuel in each of these areas, we run on empty in a constant state of stress and frustration.

1. When we are filled emotionally, our emotions are in check, balanced by self-control and a healthy perspective on the people and situations in our lives. When we are running on empty emotionally, every fleeting feeling we have comes pouring out of our mouths and we are left to pick up the pieces of all that we have damaged along the way.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  Proverbs 5:23

 Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34

2. When we are filled spiritually, we run on the wisdom and peace and power of the Holy Spirit. We are filled with a lasting joy that goes beyond our circumstances. We live by God’s Word. But when we are running on empty spiritually, we are running in our own sinful flesh and old self-centered ways, which leaves us, as an empty gas tank, broken down.

The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Galatians 5:22-23

3. When we are filled mentally, our thoughts become like Christ’s. We think on things that are honoring to God (Philippian 4:8), and we take control of thoughts that would dishonor him if left to become words and actions (2 Corinthians 10:5). But when we are running on empty mentally, we lose creativity and the ability to rationally solve the problems that life brings.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Romans 12:2

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 2:3

4. Finally, we need to be filled physically. We need to fill up with those habits which allow our physical bodies to best serve where God has placed us. We need balanced nutrition, regular exercise and, perhaps most important to exhausted moms, adequate rest. When we run on empty physically, we are exhausted in all areas- heart, soul, mind and strength.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price, therefore honor God with your body.  I Corinthians 6:19-20

 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.  Psalm 4:8

There is some mechanical difference between newer cars and older cars related to gas tanks. I’m sure my mechanical father has told me before- some kind of converter something-or-other that one had or has and the other doesn’t. What I do remember is that it was less damaging to older cars to run out of gas, and that with today’s newer cars, running the gas tank all the way empty can be catastrophic to the engine.

So with today’s moms, running our tanks all the way to empty can be catastrophic. Irreparable damage to our families, our jobs, our bank account and our bodies can leave us completely stranded, broken down, alone on the side of the road of life.

Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there right now. I know I’ve been there several times.

Thankfully, our Redeemer is already on the way. He seeks us out and brings the filling of His Spirit. He fills up our hearts, souls, minds and bodies, restores us to wholeness, and get us back running safely again.

Will we learn from the breakdowns to fill up sooner? Will we watch and not go below a quarter of a tank? Will we come in for a “fill up” from the One who promises “He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35)?

He is waiting. Will we listen to our Father on this?

Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.  Mark 6:31

Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.  Psalm 81:10