Enjoy your day, mommas!
Enjoy your day, mommas!
by Jennifer Duncan
From the time I was very small, one of my greatest hopes was to be a mother some day. I loved playing “house” with my dolls, and when my baby sister was born, I delighted in helping care for her. I volunteered happily to rock her in our front porch swing or push her in the stroller. Years later, I assumed that the typical pattern would unfold for me, when I met and married my husband.
But early in our marriage, we realized that we would not become parents in the usual way. Along with this realization came a deep assurance that this was God’s plan for our family, and that it would be a source of great joy, not disappointment.
My husband and I felt strongly that adoption was the alternative we should pursue, so we began applying to adoption agencies. To say the least, this is a tedious and discouraging process. “There are few, if any, newborns available,” was the usual word given to us. So we adjusted our expectations, agreed to take a child of any age or background, and proceeded with determined focus.
We were presented with several possible answers to our dreams for a child. At one point, we even set up a little-boy bedroom for a four-year-old we expected to be placed with us. But he was never allowed to come. Another time, the court considered placing two toddlers in our home, but again, the decision was made to place them elsewhere. Even though we were so willing, so ready…we were disappointed over and over.
After several months of effort and optimism, I began to have my doubts. We had felt assured as we prayed about this process, that this was God’s plan. But now, I wondered if we had rightly discerned the will of God. Had I misunderstood? Was my confidence only a product of my own misplaced hopes?
“Lord, You know we want to follow Your plan for our family,” I prayed one morning, “And You don’t owe me any explanations. But I’d just like to know…are we ever going to have a child?”
From this prayer, I turned to the next reading in my daily devotional plan. It was Psalm 113. There, nestled in this sweet psalm of praise, was this verse:
“He shall make of the childless wife, a happy mother.” (Psalm 113:9)
At that moment, this verse seemed to be placed there just for me. It was just the reassurance I needed…to keep wading through the paperwork, to cheerfully endure the scrutiny, to keep trusting even in the face of disappointments, and to wait…and wait…and wait. I knew the promise was coming.
Less than a year later, we received the call, “We have twin baby boys we’d like for you to come to see. They are seven weeks old, and ready for adoption.” This time, there was no disappointment, no delay, no detours.
I learned a lot about trusting God through that experience. I learned that His faithfulness is based squarely on the promises and principles of His Word. I learned to wait with hopeful expectation for what He has promised. And I learned that His gifts, like our precious baby boys, are always a delight.
God does not always give us exactly what we think we need, and sometimes His answer doesn’t look exactly like we thought it would. But always…always…He is faithful to give what is right and best for us. And even if He never gives us any more than He already has, we can say with confidence:
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3
Jennifer is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is mom to two grown (twin) sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law and four granddaughters. Her late husband, John, pastored two churches in Barry County, Missouri, and one in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Jennifer serves in teaching, music and lay counseling through her church, Arnhart Baptist Church, Purdy, Missouri. She also enjoys leading retreats and Bible studies for women.
By Debbie Lindell – James River Church
I wanted to share a message I had received this week from Debbie Lindell, pastor at James River Church. I felt it was a great reminder of our Father’s love and grace. I pray this message helps you today with whatever it is that is bothering you.
Jesus is the answer to everything you have been searching for. And, you need to know that there is nothing about your past that would or could ever exempt or disqualify you from receiving what He has to offer you.
No matter what sins you have every committed or are involved in right now, no matter what you have walked through in life, experienced, battled against, or been chained to in your past, it doesn’t change His mind about you. He loves you, and He wants to set you free from the bondage of your past, your sin, and your shame and give you a brand new life!
And, no matter where you are, reading these words in your car, at work, at school, at the park, alone or surrounded by activity–if you listen, you will hear these words being whispered to your soul. “Precious Daughter, I am the answer for all you have been longing for… I am absolutely everything you need!”
The truth is, we all need Jesus and He is all we need. We are all sinners. Not one of us is without sin. “For every one of us has sinned— and we all fall short (on our own) of God’s glorious saving presence” (Romans 3:23 PARA).
Without knowing and believing in Jesus and his forgiveness, you will forever be seeking to find a way to set yourself free from the bondage, guilt, and shame of your sin.
Sinfulness and the circumstances of our sin separate us from God, and keep us from experiencing the life God designed and intended us to live—a fulfilled, all-together abundant life, connected and in a relationship with Him.
And, the truth is that without knowing and believing in Jesus and his forgiveness, you will forever be seeking to find a way to set yourself free from the bondage, guilt, and shame of your sin.
Think about this for a second. Why do you feel the way you do? Why do you search for things to settle and distract your mind from your reality? Why does your heart and soul feel so empty and alone? The reason is this simple: you are longing to know and follow Jesus. He is the only answer that will set you free and put the pieces of your life in place.
If you would like to read the full message click here.
For more information about James River Church click here.
Many of you have probably been following the news coverage about the passing of First Lady Barbara Bush. Regardless of your political beliefs, I think we can all agree Mrs. Bush left her mark on this country in a truly unique way.
While we have laughed at video clips and took to heart many of her quotes that have been shared on social media, I ran across this photo today and it nearly stopped me in my tracks. A kind stranger had created this photo for the Bush family and I believe it speaks loud. During this sad time, we are also reminded it is a time to rejoice!
Some of you may know that President and Mrs. Bush had a daughter, Robin, that passed away at the age of 3 after a short battle with leukemia. I can not begin to imagine the heartache she felt after losing a child. But oh what JOY she felt this week when they were reunited!
I am so thankful that, although I have not felt the pain of losing a child, I will experience the joy of being reunited with my family after this life. Thank you, Jesus, for this truth! This photo was the perfect reminder that, for those of us that believe, there is joy when this life is over!
by Jennifer Duncan
When my sons were four years old, they were wrestling one evening in the family room. Things hadn’t gotten ugly yet, so I was letting this go on, while I finished getting supper ready. The tussle abruptly ended, though, when Jay landed against the sharp edge of the fireplace hearth, with the brick corner hitting him squarely between the eyes! Like any head wound…it bled like crazy, and when I first saw his injury, I was just hopeful that he still had both of his eyes. He did…but after some sopping and pressure, I knew this was going to require stitches…and our first trip to the emergency room.
I learned a lot about wounds and stitches during the long night that followed. I learned that facial injuries are best treated by a plastic surgeon, and that involves a trip to Springfield. I also learned that, after the initial bleeding is stopped, it’s possible to wait several hours for the actual stitches….which was good, since that’s what making necessary arrangements and a trip to Springfield would require.
The plastic surgeon’s manner with Jay was excellent. When he got ready to administer the necessary shot of local anesthetic, he said this, “Now, Jay, I’m going to tell you the truth about every part of this, and so I need to tell you that this next part is going to hurt. It will feel like a bee sting.” And it did. It hurt!
Next, though, came the actual stitching, and the doctor said, “I told you that last part would hurt, and it did. But now I’m telling you that, because of the ‘bee sting,’ this next part will not hurt. You won’t feel this at all, but it will make the healing happen.” And it did. Jay’s head healed nicely and barely shows a scar today.
Much later, I was reading in the Gospel of John, chapter 15-16, and I thought about Jay and his experience with that “healing sting.” In that chapter, Jesus is warning His disciples that He is going away from the earthly relationship they have enjoyed. Jesus tells them the unvarnished truth…that He will suffer and die a terrible death. He tells them that they will feel that “sting” of losing Him in death, and it will hurt. And it did.
But Jesus also told them this truth: “Righteousness is available because I go to the Father…” (John 16:10). The sting of death was the very thing that would bring healing to this sin-wounded world. His death would pay the price for our sin, and reconnect us to sweet fellowship with the Father, if we have faith. His resurrection, reported by eyewitnesses in the Bible, validated all of His claims and brought joy to those who believed. Healing victory was won!
That’s what we celebrate during this Easter season. Jesus endured the sting of death, to bring the joy of salvation…so that ultimately, the hurting can stop, as we look forward to a heavenly home with Him. Because Jesus told us the truth about the worst thing that could possibly happen, we can believe His other promises. We can know that because we trust Him, He will work all things for our good and His glory.
“He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace, was upon Him. And by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:6
Jennifer is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is mom to two grown (twin) sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law and four granddaughters. Her late husband, John, pastored two churches in Barry County, Missouri, and one in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Jennifer serves in teaching, music and lay counseling through her church, Arnhart Baptist Church, Purdy, Missouri. She also enjoys leading retreats and Bible studies for women.