Regarding Mary...

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son…” Luke 2:6, 7

I am a birth story junkie. I love hearing all about deliveries. I don’t know if it’s the nurse in me or the mother in me, but I love newborns and birthing and all things related. And every year about this time my thoughts turn to Mary. What a special young woman she must have been to have been chosen to be the vessel to birth the Christ. I cannot even fathom that kind of assignment.

Mary was likely a teenager when she became a mother for the first time. She wasn’t even married to Joseph yet. Can you imagine how scared and anxious she must have been? Fortunately in those times it was common for her to have been around babies and birthing women and breastfeeding so she at least had a clue what to do with the newborn. But there she was, without her own mother or sisters or aunts to guide her and teach her…

I wonder how long her labor was. Did she push for a long time? Did he cry right away? Did he nurse well, or did they struggle in the beginning? Those are the questions I’m dying to ask Mary about the human Jesus. The squishy, good smelling newborn that makes all those precious noises.

But he was also God. When Mary looked into his face, did the weight fall on her that she was staring into the very face of God? As she changed him and nursed him and cared for him, did she understand what would happen 33 years into the future? That he would save her from her very own sins? That he would save us from ours?

What a wonderful time of year to have a baby! And we have so many in our midst. I urge you, as you take a meal or visit with some of our new moms during this season, to take an extra moment to pray with, and for, these new babies….that they would know one day soon that Jesus came as they did --- as a precious newborn babe – to save them from their sins.

Merry Christmas. J

life gets in the way

I realize it's been a while since I've updated. Things have been hectic. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving over in Pensacola with my cousins and aunt. We have so much to be thankful for this year....but that is another post altogether!
Anne Claire and Griffin just got over the chicken pox. I did manage to snap a few pictures of Annie's foxy-poxy face. Neither of them had them too, too bad, but bad enough to itch and run low grade temps.
Now those same two are battling colds. And Tucker has an abcessed tooth. We went to the dentist today and he needs several fillings. He hates the dentist, which is hard to believe because he's never really had a bad experience w/ them.....I suppose it's the fear of the unknown.
Paul managed to make it through another semester w/ excellent grades and good health. He amazes me!

make a difference

“Go and make disciples of all nations…teach them to obey everything I have commanded you…” Matthew 28:18-20

As a mother, I know how hectic life is, especially on Sundays and Wednesdays. Rushing to get the family to church and church events sometimes proves to be more frustrating than uplifting. And as busy mothers, I’m sure we all say the same thing on the way home from church…”what did you learn today?”

I was convicted this week when I realized that some moms actually take this a step further. They actually hear what their children say and then follow up with something like, “Well, what are you going to do about it?” They encourage their children to put feet to their faith.

Discipleship. It’s our job – our mission. We are told in the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations, but that begins in our own home and then our community before we branch out to the world. How can we disciple our children if we don’t’ encourage them to use the gifts and the knowledge that God is instilling in them – through us as well as through Sunday school teachers, RA and GA leaders, and others?

The Bible says that unless we become like little children we cannot enter the kingdom of God. Children get excited about what God is doing. Their hearts are stirred by stories of needy and hungry people all over the world. And right here in our city. And they want to do something.

How often do we get bogged down by the daily drudgeries of life and school and housework and don’t take time to do what David pleaded with God to do – “restore to me the joy of my salvation.” If we look to our kids we will see that joy. They see a hungry person and they want to feed him. They see a child with no shoes and they want to give them their own. They hear of a friend that is sick and they immediately stop to pray for them. Isn’t that what Jesus meant when he said we need to become like them? To act on what we see and hear. To, as the GA Pledge urges, “live a missions lifestyle.”

Consider this: every 3.5 seconds a person somewhere in the world dies from hunger. Every 8 seconds, a child dies from drinking dirty water. When I shared this information with my group of GA’s, they wanted to do something. We held a walk-a-thon to raise money to feed the hungry in our own city. One of the girls in our group was moved to act. Encouraged and supported by her parents, she single handedly raised over $150. It is apparent that her parents are actively discipling her. Encouraging her. Living out the great commission in their very home. We are told to train our children in the way that they should go. It is mothers and fathers like this that are making a difference in not only the next generation, but in the very kingdom of God.

Next time you hear something that shakes you, do something. Involve your children. Talk to them about it. Make a difference.


Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands….” 1 Peter 3:3-5

For years I have read that Scripture with awe. It is truly my goal to be that kind of a woman. Gentle. Quiet. Beautiful. It has nothing to do with outward appearance….my hairstyle, my clothing, or whether or not I wear makeup. It is all about inward grace and beauty. When I read those verses, I actually sigh out loud. Ahhh….to have a gentle and quiet spirit….

Why is it so hard for me – for so many of us -- to live that way? I think we live in a world that is so busy that we constantly feel rushed. We hurry our kids through breakfast so we can start school. We rush through school so we can get lunch in before PE starts. We run from PE so we can get home in time to start dinner. We live in such a hurry. It’s a shame, really.

I have a friend who stays home with her three children. I always admired her dedication to stay at home. She would call and arrange someone to take her two older children to co-op or parties if her youngest was napping. Now it would be like me to just snatch Anne Claire right out of her bed and drag her along. Not Sandra. She epitomizes a gentle, quiet spirit. She places great value in quiet times at home. She never seems to be in a rush. She is well put together, as are her children. And they also never seem to run late. How does she do it?

If you ask her, it begins in the wee hours of the morning, when she rises with her husband to have coffee and prayer together. Then they go their separate ways and have their individual quiet time. It never changes. She is not swayed by popular culture or by well meaning friends trying to get her to sign up for one more Bible study or one more extracurricular activity for her children.

In today’s world, women are not encouraged to be gentle, quiet, or submissive. I heard a song on the radio the other day called “In My Daughter’s Eyes” --- and I realized that now that I have a daughter, it is up to me to teach her what being a woman is all about. That it isn’t about looking like Barbie, or being the first woman president….it’s about teaching her what is really beautiful in God’s eyes. It is nurturing in her a gentle, quiet spirit. It’s about knowing who God is and what He has done for her. It’s about living a life that is truly beautiful by pointing others toward Heaven.

This week I am going to spend less time doing and more time just being. Being with my kids and my husband. Gently, quietly….and beautifully.

the wondrous cross...

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

For some reason, I woke up today with this hymn on my mind. I lay in bed at 5:00am going over the words again and again. It humbles me. It makes me ashamed of my pride and "all the vain things that charm me most."

God is really working on me this week.

Anne Claire's FIRST birthday!!

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beaming the light...

Our family loves college football. A few weeks ago, we received an email from a friend about Kodi Burns, a young Auburn freshman. It read, “Anybody notice what was on Kodi’s eye strips at the Florida game? It was Proverbs 3: 5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

What a powerful statement this young man made to his teammates, his opponents, and the media. He showed a watching world that his allegiance was to God. He ensured that other’s first impression of him was not of him, but of His Father. He pointed others to God.

It reminds me of Moses coming down from Mount Sinai in Exodus 34. The Bible records that his face was radiant “because he had spoken with the Lord.” The people actually could not even look at him – he had to put on a veil. His face reflected the glory of the presence of God. Which leads me to wonder….when others look at me, what do they see? Is God’s glory evident on my face and in my life? By looking at me, do they see Scripture? There is a hymn whose name escapes me – but the words are “May I prove I’ve been with Jesus…” and I wonder… by my actions, my character, and my conversations…..what the watching world sees when they look at me.

I am afraid more often than not, they see a tired, oftentimes overwhelmed wife and mother trying to keep her children in line, or attempting to check off another thing on her growing “to do” list. Instead of showing my family, my friends, and my community my allegiance to God by living out His will for me to join Him in His work, I can see that instead I am showing the world where my true allegiance lays….in being a wife and mother, in housekeeping and homeschooling. While these things aren’t inherently evil in themselves, they are not what should define my life as a Christian.

Matthew 5:16 says that I am to let my light so shine before men, that they may see my good works and glorify my Father in Heaven. Our church in Biloxi used to call that “beaming the light of the gospel.”

Kodi Burns beamed the light. Moses definitely did.

Are you?

Heavenly Father, Show us how to slow down and spend sweet, uninterrupted time with You so that we can go away from our encounter renewed, refreshed, and glowing. Help us to live out our lives in such a way that we may as well have Scripture written on our faces. Help us to beam the light of Your gospel to a dark and dying world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


So we decided to skip school today and go to the zoo. We are lucky enough to have passes, so we can go whenever we like, and going during the school year on a weekday is always a treat because it's not crowded. I love this picture of the boys walking ahead of me. They are growing up so quickly...sigh....

My attempt at a group shot. It rarely works anymore.

My favorite grumpy gorilla was napping. Tucker kept yelling "Hey wake up!" but he wouldn't budge.

I missed getting some pictures at Monkey Hill. Audubon Zoo has a fantastic area for kids where they can swim, run through waterfalls, climb's really lovely. I couldn't get pictures because I was chasing the little miss, who was insistent on getting in on the fun with her brothers. Needless to say, she was soaking wet and I had to buy her a tee shirt at the gift shop just to get her home.

(By the way, her American Girl Itty Bitty Baby came earlier this week. It is *precious*!!! The boys and I were so excited you'd have thought it was for us.

priestly garments

Now Samuel was ministering before the LORD, {as} a boy wearing a linen ephod. And his mother would make him a little robe and bring it to him from year to year when she would come up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, "May the LORD give you children from this woman in place of the one she dedicated to the LORD." And they went to their own home. The LORD visited Hannah; and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before the LORD. ~1 Samuel 2:18-21

When I worked in NICU’s, we always had volunteers from churches that would knit baby hats, booties, and blankets for the premies. It was a wonderful ministry; one that fulfilled the volunteers by knowing that their gifts were being put to good use, and one that blessed the parents when they would see their sick little baby in a cute and colorful cap. Sewing as a ministry. It has been used throughout generations to bless others. I think Hannah’s is the most personal and intimate example; she was, after all, making priestly garments for her own son.

When I think of Hannah I can’t help but grieve for her and the pain she must have felt when she took her first baby, Samuel, to Eli and left him there. I’m sure had it been me, I’d have tried to bargain with God. She so desperately wanted this child, and now here he was, a newly weaned three or four year old, and she’s leaving him at the temple. My heart actually aches when I consider having to do that.
Fortunately Hannah was not like me, and she was obedient to her promise.

But can you imagine her emotions each year as she sewed him a new robe – I love how the NASB calls it “a little robe” – wondering how much her boy had grown in the past year, wondering if this robe will fit well. I suspect when she got to the temple and was able to present it to Samuel, she had a few alterations to make.
I wonder what she said to him as she presented him with his new clothes? Did she remind him of the high calling on his life? Did she just hold him close and remind him of how much she loved him and missed him?

I think about Hannah and realize that I am so privileged to be a mother. God controls the womb; He opens it and closes it as He desires. Psalm 139 reminds us that “in Your book were all written The days that were ordained {for me,} When as yet there was not one of them.” It was not my timing, or my planning, that brought me my children; it was God’s will that they came to me when they did.

I would think that when I stood up in front of 3 different congregations and presented my children to be “dedicated to the Lord” it is drastically different than what Hannah did. Or is it? Although I didn’t have to say goodbye to my children and leave them in the care of others, I am to acknowledge that they are not my children….they are God’s children and I am simply a steward of them. After all, isn’t the purpose of bringing children into the world to further God’s plan that the world come to know Him? Part of my job description as a mother is to nurture and encourage the gifts that God has given my children so that they may be used for His glory and His kingdom.

So next time I am buying clothing for my children, I will remember Hannah. I will remember that although I am not clothing my children in a linen ephod, I am clothing them in “priestly garments” of sorts. After all, we do not need a priest to bring about forgiveness of sins or to offer sacrifices on our behalf. What we need is to raise a generation of young men and women who are not ashamed of the gospel; children who desire that every tribe, tongue, and nation would come to know the saving power of Jesus Christ.

In that sense, I guess I’m not so different from Hannah after all.

my plans vs His purpose

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. ~Proverbs 19:21

I am a planner. I like to know what is going to happen next week, next month....even next year. I don't know why I'm wired that way, but I am. I like to have a "Plan B" just in case. So I plan and I plan and I plan, and invariably the plans that I've worked so hard to make concrete come caving in around me and I am presented with a totally different, but always better alternative. The truth is, I can have plans in my heart and on my calendar, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. You'd think I'd remember that, especially after God's purpose was made clear to us while we lived in Biloxi.
Seminary is something that Paul and I talked about even before we were married. He had always felt a call, and I had had my own calling to missions years before that. So we knew that eventually we would surrender to full time ministry. Someday. When the time was better. You know, since it was up to us and all.
Paul had visited New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and had an application packet on our kitchen counter for months on end. It was our plan that he commute to New Orleans (about an 80 mile trip) to take part time classes.
Our home sustained a moderate amount of damage in Hurricane Katrina. We were fortunate that our insurance company paid for all of our damages and we were able, with the help of friends and church groups, to get all of our repairs taken care of in a little less than a year. We were very blessed, and by February of 2006 we were sitting in our newly painted home with new hardwood floors, reveling in the news that we were expecting our third child. was good.
Fast forward to July. The months had flown by, with Paul working long hours at the newspaper, longer than before the storm. Tension in the newsroom between the publisher and the editors was palpable, and it made for one unhappy husband. One Sunday night, Paul was working, I was napping on the sofa, and it was raining outside. The boys were whining about going to church. After all, Tucker said, it starts at 5:00 and it's now 5:20. So I realize I'm being a heathen mother by keeping my boys from church. I get up and we go.....
Our church at the time was doing a group study "On Mission with God" by Henry Blackaby. They had already divided into small groups but my friend Sandra caught my attention and motioned me over to her table. Whew. It was a good table -- Sandra and her husband Chip (our pastor), Ashley (associate pastor) and Jim (our Sunday school teacher). I knew I could sit and relax at this table. After all, I wasn't in the mood to even be there.
I hadn't even positioned my pregnant belly at the table when Ashley looks me square in the eye and says, "So Jenny, how is Paul?" I burst into tears, telling them how miserable he was at work, and how his hours were unbearable and we never saw him, and on and on I blathered. My multi talented writer/editor/columnist husband who had won multiple awards and was even nominated for a Pulitzer was unable to even get an interview, no matter where he sent his resume. We felt defeated. Ashley then looks at me and says, "So where does he stand on getting over to New Orleans?" I told him that the application packet was sitting in the same place it had for months, but I had no control over that --- if he wanted to go he would have to fill it out and send it in. Then he said, in all seriousness, "Your house is all repaired. The market is good. You could sell it for a profit and move on campus." HA! No way was I moving my babies to New Orleans. The city was not a place for families pre-Katrina, now he wanted me to actually consider going post-Katrina? And hadn't he been to my house since we had all our repairs? It was beautiful! I wasn't about to leave it to live in student housing, for goodness sake. Oh, and what about the baby to come? Did he overlook my round belly and forget I was pregnant? What was he thinking?!
And then the Holy Spirit struck. Like a knife to my heart, Ashley said, never taking his eyes off of me, "Oh, so this is all about you..."
Did I mention that our Bible study was Blackaby's "On Mission with God"? About how we are called to join God on His mission. About how it is *so* not about us......but it's all about HIM?
I don't even think I cried. I just knew that I knew that I knew that I knew what we were to do. I went home and phoned Paul at work. I told him we needed to talk. Turns out he was just waiting for confirmation from me that this was indeed what the Lord had planned for our family.
Within the end of the week, we had hand delivered Paul's application to seminary and he had gotten a job at a local Christian school.
We listed our house on Monday morning. The sign went in the yard at 11:00 am. It was shown that evening at 6:00 pm and the family made an offer that very night.
God has a way of working things out His way. His ways are definitely not our ways, I can assure you. I really thought the commuting idea was a winner. Turns out I'd have not only been disobedient, but I'd have robbed my family of a tremendous blessing if we'd have done things my way. God has shown us over and over in the past 14 months that He is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides...that He is Jehovah Shammah, the God who is right here with us, and that He is the omniscient, almighty, sovereign God.
Fortunately for us, the Lord's purpose prevailed. I am so thankful to have a husband that leads his family obediently and who doesn't listen to his sometimes nagging wife, but prayerfully considers what the Lord's plans and purposes are.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, that no matter what plans I attempt to make on my own, Your purpose prevails. Thank you for Your patience, Your forgiveness, and Your unconditional love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


Honestly, I've always thought I had a pretty decent prayer life. For over 15 years, I've nearly always had a designated "quiet time". But a few things have come up in the past few months that have me reconsidering what I've been doing.
For one thing, I started to lead a "Moms In Touch" prayer group for our homeschool support group. Moms In Touch ( is an international group of mothers with one goal: to spend one hour a week devoting themselves to prayer for our children. When we lived in Biloxi one of my friends started a MIT group for her school; I recall thinking what a fantastic idea! So when the opportunity arose here, I took it, knowing that it was God's call for me to begin to honestly pray for my children. It has been eye opening and humbling. I realize that while I feel like I have been praying for my children all along, it has oftentimes become rote prayers, me saying the same thing over and over. Now I am praying specific scripture for the kids, as well as praying for their character development and for godly virtues. It has been life changing.
The other thing that has changed my prayer life is the study by Kay Arthur, "Lord, Teach Me to Pray: practicing a powerful pattern of prayer. In this study, Arthur reminds us that when we come to the Father, we are coming into the presence of a holy God. She reminds us of Nahab and Abihu in the very first lesson, the sons of Aaron who go into the tabernacle to offer sacrifices -- but they do it in a way that God had *not* commanded them to do it, and they were immediately struck dead. God reminds Moses that "I am Holy, and I must be regarded as Holy."
I think of so many times that I approach prayer with the mindset that I am just pulling up a chair with Jesus and chatting about things. While Jesus *is* my friend, and I can tell Him anything, I needed to be reminded that my God is a holy God and MUST be regarded as such. I need to view my quiet times as times of coming into the presence of God, not just me having a cup of coffee and reading/journaling/praying because it's something I enjoy doing for me. It is *so* not about me!

once a month shopping

Since Paul gets paid monthly, we have had some huge budgetary adjustments to make. Namely, we need to figure out a method for not running out of money at the end of the month!
So I thought I'd give once a month shopping a try.
I spent just a hair under $500 but that included 30 dinner meals, breakfast, lunch, and snack staples, and non food items such as disposable diapers & wipes, shampoo, razors, toilet tissue, paper towels, laundry detergent, etc.

On a side note, we have all been sick for 2 weeks now. Griffin and I have both done 10 days of abx but are still sick. Now Tucker and Paul are sick as well. We've all been back to the doctor adn are all on another course of abx. The ped cultured Griffin's nose & ear; she also cx'd Tucker's throat. The office called today and everything grew, we're all on self imposed bedrest. Try telling that to 2 boys, of course.

They are driving me so batty that I'm ready to send them out to the playground to infect every child on campus, but I suppose I'd be peeved if I were another parent.

Sis is the only one that has escaped any illness thus far. Her one year birthday is coming up in another week, so I've been doing a lot of doll research. She owns one Corolle doll that she got when she was born (the boys picked it out for her then) and she adores that thing. I looked at all the Corolle dolls as well as dolls from Manhattan Toy Co. and a few other places. But in the end, I ordered her an Itty Bitty doll from American Girl. They are just too dang cute. It should be here next week. I'm probably more excited than her!


Do you ever feel inadequate as a wife, a mother, a teacher or a housekeeper? I know I do. Sometimes I'm teaching math and feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants. Who am I kidding?! The six year old probably realizes I'm a phony.
Moses felt inadequate. In Exodus 4 he reminds God that he isn't a great speaker. God reminds him that He is, after all, the One that created man's mouth.
Gideon felt inadequate. In Judges 6, an angel comes to him and addresses him as "mighty warrior". Gideon reminds the angel that he is the youngest, from a lowly family. The Lord reminds him that He would be with Gideon, and that Midian would be defeated.
In Isaiah 6, the prophet cries out in a vision that he is inadequate -- that he was a man of "unclean lips". After a burning coal was placed to his lips, God asks, ""Whom shall I send?" and Isaiah promptly cries out, "Here am I. Send me!"
I love the story from Mark 5 about a woman who not only felt inadequate, but society told her she was inadequate. The woman had been bleeding for 12 years. Mosaic law said she was 'unclean', as was anything she sat on...and by extension, anyone who touched her or anything she'd sat on was also considered unclean. Needless to say, this poor girl was an outcast. Yet she has the courage and the faith to step into a crowd and reach out to touch the hem of Jesus' robe. She thinks to herself if she could just touch His garment, she would be healed. Jesus, knowing her thoughts, turns around, calls her out, and, in a gentle, loving, and intimate way, says "Daughter, your faith has healed you."
When I read the stories of these men and women of old, I am so encouraged. I tend to feel the need to remind God that I'm not very good at math, or that I really don't like to put laundry away. I have to admit that sometimes I wonder if He forgot that we are here at seminary and living on one income.
But then I come to God and He reminds me that He does not call the equipped... He equips the called. He is unconcerned with what we lack. He lacks nothing! If we have the abiding power of the Holy Spirit in us, we can do all things through Him. Imagine for a minute. The power that made blind men see, that made barren women give birth, and that raised the dead to life again...that same power enables me to teach one more math lesson, wipe one more runny nose, read one more book, and make one more peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Amazing, awesome God...Thank You for loving me despite my many inadequacies. Thank You for your precious Holy Spirit that empowers and equips me to do what You have called me to do. In Jesus' name, Amen.

happy birthday boys!

Saturday was the social event of the season at NOBTS. the boys had their combined birthday parties -- Tucker celebrated #6 and Griffin #4. 22 kids came and partied, played, ate cake, and played some more. It was a good day. Sissy enjoyed the swing and she *really* enjoyed eating birthday cake and drinking hi-c.
The boys are already planning their next birthday. Praise God I have another year to recover from this one! ha!


That pretty well sums up how I feel today. I have a messy house that I have GOT to clean, and it's a busy Wednesday --- the boys have homeschool PE and homeschool Bible club....then we have church tonight. (And I haven't even looked at what we're doing in GA's). Oh, and did I mention we still have to do school and it's already 9:30? Add to that the financial stress of knowing we have a birthday party to throw this weekend and very little money in which to throw it....well, overwhelmed may be an understatement.
I love Psalm 61:2 and find myself repeating it when I feel like this. My paraphrase - "when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I." I can picture Jesus leading me up a rocky mountain to a beautiful, smooth, enormous rock, and when I sit down, the view is breathtaking. And I feel peace....and Jesus and I just sit there, breathing in the beauty and the calm that envelops us. Ahh.....
So I will go lay down Sissy for her nap and get the boys started on school, and in my heart, I will know that Jesus is right there, waiting for me, to lead me to that Rock that is higher than I; the Rock that never gets overwhelmed but is a steady, strong fortress.

6 years ago today...

Six years ago today, my first baby was born in Elizabeth City, NC. Looking back, I could never have imagined the incredible child he would become. He is such a wonderful young boy --- full of life, funny, incredibly intelligent and sensitive...Happy Birthday Tucker!

I cannot come down...

I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.” Nehemiah 6:3

I love reading the story of Nehemiah as he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, despite much opposition from the enemy. His goal parallels my goal as a mother… I want to raise strong, healthy children that serve a purpose in the kingdom of God. John MacArthur states: “Nehemiah pursued his goals with commitment, careful planning, strategic delegation, creative problem solving, focus on the task at hand, and a continual reliance on God, particularly regarding areas beyond his control.” Doesn’t that sound like what we desire to do as mothers?

In Nehemiah’s story, it was Sanballat and his pals who plot to deceive Nehemiah by inviting him to come meet with them. Wise Nehemiah replies with “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.” (emphasis mine)

So many times when I am really making progress – be it in character training, Scripture memorization, or even spelling or math – the enemy tempts me to leave the work at hand. Some times it’s a phone call; others it’s the internet or a television show, a book or a magazine. Some days it’s simply frustration or fatigue. Distraction. It is Satan’s finest tool. The enemy is desperate to hinder, slow down, or stop any work that brings honor to Jesus. And isn’t raising godly children one of the best ways we honor Christ?

In these times I need to do what Nehemiah did --- focus on the task at hand, rely on God, and refuse to come down.

Nehemiah succeeded in his plan because he never lost sight of the reason for the work and the source of power with which to accomplish the task. His motive was to please God by building the wall. Our motive should be to please God by building up strong children for His kingdom.

It is my prayer that we would recognize the enemy’s attempts to distract us and stand firm. We really *are* doing a great work, moms. Refuse to come down!

Dear Father God, help us as mothers to focus on the task You have given us. Help us to recognize when we are being distracted and to rely on Your mighty power to refuse to come down from our wall. In Jesus’ name, Amen.