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Author Archives: Lisa-Jo Baker

  • Words Matter: Especially the Ones We Say to Ourselves

    LISA-JO BAKER

    LISA-JO

    "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

    There are so many things I’m not good at.

    And apparently I have an inner monologue determined to record each and every one of them from the past year.

     

    There’s a voice in my head that tells me I am not enough. Some days it’s quiet and other days it’s super shouty.

    It’s the strangest thing to discover the back of your brain muttering mean things to yourself.

    The voice is so ordinary, so routine by now that I rarely stop to investigate. I just let the words run through my veins until they seem like a normal part of my DNA.

    This house will never be clean.

    You’ll never get caught up on the laundry.

    Your words won’t match up to hers.

    You’ve never lived up to your New Year’s resolutions.

    You’re never going to get caught up.

    You’re going to start another year already behind the curve.

    You’re just not good at this.

    I heard that voice in the car today. I was sitting in a coffee shop parking lot in our minivan. Alone. Maybe that’s why I listened without just letting it wash over me. Maybe that’s why I tuned in to the nefarious whispering I’d been ignoring until then.

    I listened and almost couldn’t believe what I heard. I was surprised, actually. Kind of amazed that I was capable of such petty meanness to myself. Because the thing about that voice is it’s a nitpicker. It delights in destroying the DNA of a day, a dream, a moment … bit-by-petulant-bit.

    But when I tuned in, the voice sounded more and more like static. Fuzzy, harsh, unforgiving and small. My friend Holley Gerth calls it "devil static" – the noise that tries to drown out the truth God is speaking into our lives and through our lives. The noise that crackles and cackles and tries to poke fun at who we are growing up to become. The noise that tries to derail us out of sheer embarrassment.

    I told that voice off today.

    Yes, I talked back to myself in an empty car.

    I spoke out loud the words that have been spoken over me by The Word — by the Voice who speaks the only words that matter.

    As our key verse reminds us, "… we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand," (Ephesians 2:10a, ESV).

    I called out that small voice in my head with all its mean and miserable words. And in doing so I could almost hear it deflate. I addressed that no-voice with my whole attention, reciting my inheritance in Christ, my royal claim as a child of God, my significance because of Him. Because He is enough I am chosen, cherished and beloved. And I could hear the static fizzling.

    I am not nothing.

    You are not nothing.

    We are daughters of the King. We are bought at a price. We are loved.

    And there is a much greater Voice, a voice with all the rich, resonant tones of Truth so filled with love for us that unlike that devil static, He will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

    With singing. Not hissing or criticizing or comparing or mocking, but with singing.

    Hold onto that as we head into this New Year. That the words we say to ourselves matter because the God who is The Word says we matter. And it’s time we start believing Him.

    Dear Jesus, help me see myself through Your eyes and Your words this year. Teach me kindness to myself and compassion to others. Make me a word sister to my friends and a word model to my children. Give me the gift of Your Word in my life and make them a lamp to light my way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (NIV)

    Zephaniah 3:17, "The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing." (NIV)

    Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: What lie have you been saying and believing about yourself this past year?

    What Truth from God’s Word can you use to replace the lies in the coming New Year?

    © 2014 by Lisa-Jo Baker. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org

  • Everyday, Ordinary Glory

    Lisa-Jo

    "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Colossians 1:17 (NIV)

    It's late. Only 9 p.m. But so late. The night shift will soon begin, and the day shift with bath times and teeth brushing battles is just winding down. With my husband Peter finally home, I slink away to steal some quiet and maybe a few moments of sleep between shifts.

    But they find me.

    They pad down the hallway, long shadows stretching around the corner and into my room before deep breaths whisper, "Mama, can we stay by you?" Then they sandwich beside me and we begin the losing battle against not speaking.

    One may as well try and hold back the tide. The day, their highs, lows and secret wishes come trickling out. First in whispers and then in bold declarations! When they grow up they will be trash truck drivers, builders, policemen, game rangers, fathers and heroes.

    Their profiles against the hall light are brave and delicate at the same time. I can feel the sand, gritty against my foot where it's escaped socks and sandboxes, now taking up residence at the foot of my bed. Someone farts, someone else burps and my retreat is now a mini-locker room experience with my growing up boys-will-be-boys boys.

    I relive snapshots of the day from their perspective and discover how someone's minuscule boo-boo looms large in their memory and how someone else likes to be the leader during walks around the block.

    Who would have thought boys giggled this much?

    And in the dark and the tired and the small, everydayness of these moments I can feel it. The weight of glory. The glorious ordinary that is God's gift to us.

    Colossians 1:15-17 speaks of the glory of God in everything: "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

    And sandwiched between two talkative boys, I know there is no part of our everyday, wash-rinse-repeat routine of kids and laundry and life and fights and worries and play dates and kindergarten orientation and work and marriage and love and new life and bedtime snuggles, that Jesus doesn't look into it deeply and say, "That is Mine."

    In Him all things hold together. All things. This messy house and my fears and chaos and incomplete to-do lists.

    Turns out, I'm not defined by my mothering skills or my name on a business card. I'm not defined by what I accomplished today, or whether or not I lost my temper. I'm not defined by my jeans that I wish were a different size, or by my kids when they won't obey. I'm not defined by my wrinkles or tired eyes.

    I am, however, defined by the God who knows me by name ... by the God who promises that nothing I do or don't do can separate me from His love that is in Christ Jesus.

    Right where we are at the end of long days, long lists and long sleepless nights, Jesus meets us and in Him we are tenderly, patiently, lovingly held together. So we can be ready for tomorrow.

    Dear Jesus, thank You for not seeing anything boring or routine when You look at us. You don't see failure, insignificance or ordinary. But instead, You see one-of-a-kind daughters of the King. Thank You for entering into every part of our days, for delighting in all we cycle through, and for how You celebrate, grieve, counsel and comfort every step of the way. We love how You see wonder in even our most ordinary routines and how You hold us together even when we feel like we're falling apart. We love You, Jesus. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: Think about your routine today and identify something glorious that is buried in your everyday ordinary.

    What is one way you can start to remind yourself to be looking for wonder in your routine? For example, keeping a gratitude journal, setting an alarm throughout the day to stop and reflect, sharing something that each family member found special at dinnertime?

    Power Verses: Romans 8:38-39, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NIV)

    Acts 17:28a, "For in him we live and move and have our being." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lisa-Jo Baker. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org

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