Devotion of the Week | Pearls of Promise | Page 4

I Almost Gave Up by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

The day is finally here.

About six months ago we took a leap of faith and planned a conference in my hometown, San Antonio, a city I don’t live in anymore. One-by-one, the speakers came to me so I asked the Lord, “Is this something you want me to do?” I felt like God gave me a green light.

So our Pearls of Promise team started planning the Level-Up San Antonio Conference, open to both men and women, not knowing where it would go or how many it would attract. 

It wasn’t always easy. I often felt out-out-of-control because I did not live near the event city, and couldn’t knock on doors myself to tell people about the conference. I almost cancelled it several times. I’d never called off a conference before—there’s shame in that— but I give my husband, Jeff, credit for steering me back to the path. He’d ask, “Do you feel called to do this event?” I’d tell him yes. Then he’d say, “What are you worried about?”

So if he wasn’t concerned about the red in the ledger, then I would try to keep my eye on the goal, not the obstacles. Have you ever had to do that?

There are so many benefits of taking a leap of faith. Here are a few:

It draws you closer to God. It makes you depend even more on God because you know you cannot do it on your own. We did everything in our own strength to get people there. Our Social Media expert, Aurora Ortega Geis, created compelling posts to catch people’s attention. We also sent emails, landed some radio interviews, and visited leaders of San Antonio-based ministries, but ultimately, it’s God who draws the hearts of men and women.

It brings you closer to people. I’ve made some new friends through this process, like speakers Bella Cruz and Ruben Torres, both from San Antonio. This week, our Pearls of Promise team got together and put the conference folders together. There is nothing quite like serving together in this way. We were chatting about life, the conference, and laughing, I love our Pearls girls! I also reconnected with San Antonio ministry friends like Duke Jonietz, who I used to work with in marketplace ministry. He’s now the co-owner of a San Antonio-based Christian magazine called The Beacon. Duke was so kind to us, placing our event on the back cover of The Beacon, and running an article I wrote on fatherlessness.

It is an opportunity to be used by God in other lives. Ultimately, this is why we go through all the hoops of putting a conference on like this. We want to see God heal people from past wounds. We want to be used as conduits to give attendees some tools to be stronger in their daily journey. We desire to facilitate a closer relationship between them and our heavenly Father.

We don’t have hundreds attending like we envisioned, but we do have the amount of people God foresaw when He planted the idea in my brain. He knows that this type of conference must be intimate in order for Him to work powerfully in the lives of those who attend.

I am glad I didn’t give up.  The enemy of our souls will do everything to discourage us when we move forward in a calling of God. Stand firm in the call. Don’t waver despite how it looks on the outside. These calls sometimes require walking on the water as we move forward in faith.

Today, I am expectant that we will experience the glory of the Lord at Oak Hills Church-Alamo Ranch. I know this conference will exceed expectations because it’s been prayed over for months. More of you, Lord. Less of me. I hand the reins of the Level-Up San Antonio Conference over to you—and thanks for asking me to serve you in this way. It has been an honor and a privilege.

Mothers Mothering Moms by Dr. Lynnette Simm

When my mother couldn’t help me heal from abuse, she sought help. She looked for a woman who could see my pain and reach into my heart and help me heal. For the love of her child, my mother humbled herself and let another mother, mother me. This woman became my Godmother. That’s the name I gave her because I knew God sent her to help save me. She poured out her patience, her talents, and her love and continues to this day. 

God sends us women to love on us in remarkable ways. Sometimes these women are our own mothers, aunts, or grandmothers; yet, other times these women are sisters, friends, mentors, or women of wisdom. Whatever their title is in your life, they are God-sent. “What was your mother? A lioness! Among lions she couched, among young lions she reared her cubs.” Ezekiel 19:2 

True motherhood requires strength beyond what we think possible, patience beyond what we have, and love beyond measure. Sometimes this mothering comes from our own moms, and other times from those the Lord sends; regardless, know that loving on one another is what Jesus calls us to do. I have had the honor of having many moms. Each one bringing knowledge, wisdom, and love so unique that my life couldn’t be as blessed as it is without each and every one of them. As I reflect on this past Mother’s Day I want to thank all those women who mothered this mother until I became the mom I am today. 

Finally, I want to thank the two amazing women, my daughters, who have loved me each and every day. All the blue days, exhausted days, and overwhelmed days were made bearable because of your smiles and hugs. Thank you for loving on me. 
MacKenzie and Alexandra you two are my heart, my blessing, and my greatest gifts from God. I LOVE being YOUR mom!

Have you had “other mothers?” Have you been the “other mother” to someone who needed your help and love?

Three Things I Learned as a Mother

  1. God’s hand created our children inside our bodies.

When I look at my two 6’5” boys, now adults, I think It’s hard to believe God formed them in my womb. At one time their home was inside of my belly and during their nine-month lease, God was crafting their DNA, features and appearance—so miraculous when you think about it. We often speak about ourselves being made in the image of God, but do we ever meditate on the thought that we mothers were used as the potter’s wheel while the Almighty shaped our children inside of us?

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13).

2. Being a mom is a God-Given responsibility.

My role as a mother has been one of the greatest honors and responsibility that I have ever experienced. I was not the perfect mother and didn’t give up my career to be a stay-at-home mom. I worked full-time through most of my oldest son’s childhood and continued working a full schedule until my youngest son was in third grade. I didn’t do well with plopping on the floor to play games because no one ever did that with me.

However, I spent long hours with the boys and was good at taking the kids to activities like playdates, the zoo, to movies or to places like “Chuck-E-Cheese.” I have a friend who said she always had a Chuck-E-Cheese headache after spending over an hour chasing kids and listening to all the dings and pings of the games!

As moms we also have a responsibility to teach our children about God.

Because of my schedule, it was difficult to be a room mother or volunteer for class parties. I did more of that with my second child. However, I thought it was important to teach the boys about the ways of God, and because I was off most Sunday mornings, I faithfully volunteered to lead and provide lessons for both of their Sunday school classes for many years. I remember another mom complaining that so few mothers volunteer to help at school. I was wondering if that was directed at me so I said, “Before you judge them, make sure they’re not the ones who tirelessly volunteer and prepare lessons on Sunday’s to teach your children about the Bible and faith.”

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

3. Mothers are a conduit for God’s unconditional love.

The most important thing I learned from mothering was about unconditional love. From the moment both Kyle and Bret entered this world, my heart poured out to them. I didn’t realize I could love like that. That’s why we mothers make the sacrifices we make, out of our love for our children.

God uses mothers to provide a glimpse of how much He loves us. We forgive our children for disobeying our rules, we love them even when they don’t return our love as we’d like, and we still deeply care for them even when talk back to us on occasion. Does this sound a bit like our relationship with God? We probably can’t imagine a greater love than a love of a mother for her children, and the Bible actually says that God loves His people like this.

“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13).

But God’s love for us goes beyond even that. Take a mother’s love and multiply it by infinity. That’s how much God loves us. In fact, Ephesians 3:17, the apostle Paul said we need power to understand how “wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

So as you reflect on your own motherhood this Mother’s Day, ponder the fact that we are being used by God in our roles as mothers. Mothers are important to God because He desires a relationship with our children, just as He pursued a relationship with us. God calls on us as mothers to make Him known to our sons and daughters.

Happy Mother’s Day!

What Do You Do When You are Forced to Change? By Dr. Lynnette Simm

Many years ago, a dear friend of mine was working on his doctorate degree in Theology. Unexpectedly, he was let go of his job and wasn’t able to finish his dissertation. He got a job to support his family at Walmart and struggled emotionally with what happened. He had such great plans—plans to build the church he worked for, to reach out into the community more, and to bring a new energy into a small town church.

At the time, he was angry. Why would they just let him go? Why didn’t they see his plans were for good? Why did they want to remain stagnant? So much happened to that little church in the next two years. There were so many changes that people left the church and new faces came. My friend and I talked about why they let him go, because they were afraid of change, and then they were forced to change anyway.

God loves to force change.

He loves to direct us into His lighted path for us. A divine interruption, I have heard it called. An interruption to our plans allows for His plans for us to become clear. He lights our path toward Him and toward our divine destiny. 

At times we are baffled, angry, or sad about the change but as time passes and our focus is cleared, we see His divine work in our lives. What a blessing it was for my friend! He was taken to a new state and new church to guide a small, college community. He works with those who have been coming to the church for decades and then welcomes the college community each fall. I just talked to him the other week and he was laughing at me—telling me now it was my turn to feel the divine interruption of seminary school. When God has a plan for you, He opens every door and lights your path. 

As Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light on my path.” God knows where we are going and He promises to be with us and light the way. Always.

Overloading Your Plate by Dr. Lynnette Simm

My husband just told me: “You’re an expert in being a mile wide with busyness.”

This was my weekend…

Friday morning I went to the gym, worked on homework, met with a printing company for work, drove my daughter to a doctor appointment for a college physical, then I was finally home for dinner so I could pack. Saturday I ran a 5k race, waited on the AC repair guys to fix our system, and then drove five hours to a conference with my husband. What was supposed to be a weekend away turned into a visit with my college-attending daughter, scouring to find a new apartment for her, and meeting with speakers for an upcoming conference. At the same time I was working out the loan paperwork for a new house, organizing movers, cleaners, painters, and running to the bank for the closing. And last but not least, having to ask the Lord to speak through me as I write this blog. Phew!

This seems to be my life right now—there are so many people needing so many things. I’m in the season of having one college daughter and one high school senior daughter. Add on a move and work and you have a recipe for an overwhelmed lady. It’s important for people, both men and women, to realize that life come at us in seasons that have a natural cycle. For me, the cycle is filled with change.

But what is a blessing during this season is to center myself every day with moments where I stop to talk with my heavenly Father. I ask Him to give us clarity for my college daughter and to reassure her that we are here to come alongside her as she struggles with what is next. I ask for the Lord to watch over my high school daughter as she navigates her first solo drive. I thank Jesus for my sister who is staying with my daughter while I’m away and for also managing a walk-through of the new home. I thanks God for my husband and his patience with me as I try to juggle everything on my plate.

When we take time to give thanks to the Lord and ask Him to reassure us, for patience, for clarity and to watch over us, He creates a calm that allows us to get done what needs to be done that day. One disclaimer. It’s not always what I want to get done, but I know what is done in the day is His plan and not mine. I am also encouraged that this overloaded schedule shall pass. Nothing in this temporary world lasts, so kids will finish school, moves will be done, each task for work or home will be completed. This allows me to take a deep breath and know that God has all my days planned. His plans are for my good.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

In the days, weeks, or years when life is near or beyond chaos, look to the Lord and breathe. He will give you peace in the midst of the busyness.

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