Daily Devotions

A Season Worth Living

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For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

This is more than just a Biblical moment where the author waxes poetic. There is a philosophical truth in this passage worthy of contemplation. The older we become, the more we recognize the profound changes at each stage of our development. Embracing those changes brings some level of peace and contentment. Struggling with these “seasons” can bring discontent.

When I became a father of a newborn, I was not ready for the challenge of disturbed sleep. I was working full-time in my first church and was working on my doctorate. When the baby came into the picture, it was nearly overwhelming. It took me some time to accept that my work, study, and family decisions had serious implications for my life. I was in a season of sacrifice. I needed to remind myself that overwork and sleepless nights would not be forever.

Now, with a grown daughter, my responsibilities are very different. I have more time for myself. I can get eight hours of sleep most nights. I have more control over my personal time then I had when she was little. My wife and I can drop everything and spend an evening out whenever we like (if I do not have a church meeting). Yet, I miss lying in my lazy boy, with that little one sleeping across my chest.

The key to a contented life is recognizing the season we are in and embracing the good in each season and being willing to give up what a particular season does not offer. Today, determine what season you are living in. Name the sacrifices you are forced to accept. That list will be easy, because we are usually focused on what we miss. The second list will take a little more time but is even more important. Name the blessings you have in the season you are in right now. Embrace the joy in what this season offers. Then ask God to give you the wisdom to embrace the place where you are and those who are in this season with you.

Single Parents are a Blessing

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But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31) 

I was raised by a single mother. Her life wasn’t what she had planned. While my brother and I were relatively good kids, we were still teenagers. When we were older, my brother was in the Air Force and was stationed in the Middle East a number of times in his career, which scared my mother. After High School I moved away for college, and then never again lived in the same state. My mother was always frustrated because neither of her boys lived near her. Thankfully, the last few years of her life, my brother and his wife retired and lived close to her.

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for single parents because they choose to keep on living their lives, even though it was not the life they chose. They struggle with being constantly tired by responding to everyone else’s needs, rather than their own. When you are raising children alone, it isn’t about work/life balance, it is about work/life/survival! You do it all, with all the responsibility and accountability.

God bless all of you who are single parents. Your life is probably not as you planned, but you are living a Christlike life. You are carrying your cross, recognizing that your children’s lives are worthy of your sacrifice. You trust God to be the support, rather than a spouse. You are to be honored for your sacrifice and commitment. If your children do not see it now, at this time of life, they will recognize your sacrifice and love you all the more for it in the future. Even if they never get it, God recognizes your sacrifice and is grateful. Remember, your children aren’t just yours, but also God’s. God appreciates the sacrifices you make for God’s children.

Today, if you are a single parent, affirm yourself. You are worthy and blessed, not because you are perfect, but because you do not give up. You keep getting up tired, pushing yourself with a job, parental responsibilities, and everything else that keeps you from focusing on yourself. In your weakest moments, remember that the Holy Spirit will give you the strength and hope necessary to keep moving forward.

For those of us who are not single parents, this is a good day to pray for these special people. If you know a single parent, take a moment and affirm them for their integrity, hard work, and good parenting. If you know a single parent well, perhaps you could find a way to give them some help. Perhaps you could give them a gift card for a massage and a promise to watch their kids while he/she uses your gift card. I am sure you can think of some way to offer support. Your small support can make a big difference in the life of a single parent

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