A Psalm 23 Prayer and Declaration for the Tired and Overwhelmed Parent

Psalm 23 tends to be one of those passages of Scripture we pull out to comfort those who have recently lost someone they love. A balm for the heart grieving in the midst of death.

But what if we remember it is good for all of life? What if we purposefully choose to use it for the other end of the spectrum, as well – encouraging moms and dads in the oftentimes wild and exhausting days of babies and small children? We can let it become a declaration for the birth parents, the adoptive parents, the foster parents, and even the grandparents who are tired and in need of hope.

Isaiah 40:11 says, “He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.”

That last line tells me Psalm 23, a psalm all about the Lord being our Shepherd, is perfect not just for comfort during a season of death, but also hope in those seasons brimming with life. Tiny, squirmy, “won’t you PLEASE just take a nap” life.

So this is my small offering to you, my sweet, tired friend. Whether your people are tiny or even teens. A prayer you can pray…

Jesus, I’m so thankful You are my Shepherd. The One who laid down His life for me and longs to lovingly lead me. The One who is more than able to meet my every need in this beautiful but demanding season. When I feel like there isn’t enough of me, You tell me there is no lack in You. You have all that I need. All of the wisdom, all of the strength, all of the peace and hope and so much more. Oh, Jesus … will You pour all of these things out on me today?

Because I didn’t realize how wrung out and tired I would feel.

That’s why I’m so grateful that You say You will lead me to moments of deep and needed rest. Lush pasture moments. Refreshing, quiet water moments. Times when I not only get to feed my body, but also nourish my soul. To these offerings my heart cries “yes” and “please.” Restore, refresh and renew me, Lord. By Your presence. Through Your Word. In powerful and tender ways.

And I wasn’t prepared for how heavy this weight of responsibility for leading my children well would feel.

Help me to remember that best thing I can do for them is to faithfully follow You myself, knowing that Your ways are always the best ways. You will always lead me toward what is right and holy and good – for my sake, for the sake of my children, for the glory of Your name.

I was clueless about how worried I would be. How scared I would sometimes stay.

But You say that even when I walk through valleys that feel deep and dark, even though I may not know what awaits around the next corner, I do not have to live in fear… for You are with me. You protect and guide me as I guide my children. Your presence that makes my enemies tremble leaves me feeling loved and secure.

And I didn’t know how long and lonely some of these days would feel. Or how much I would get wrong and end up feeling ashamed.

But You invite me to Your table. Telling me I’m always welcome. Anointing my head with fresh oil. Feeding me from Your abundance, even when the Enemy stands nearby declaring I don’t deserve a thing. You fill my cup to overflowing. Oh, Lord, how can I ever thank You? Teach me what it means to feast on Your goodness. To receive Your forgiveness. To live my days focused on the fullness of Your love.

Because I just didn’t expect to feel quite so overwhelmed by it all.

But You remind me that Your goodness and Your unfailing love are chasing after me, even while I’m chasing after my kids. Oh, Lord … let these things catch up with me. Interrupt me. Flow over me. Overwhelm me with Your kindness and Your great love. And keep reminding me that with the promise of dwelling with You forever in Heaven comes the gift of You dwelling within me right now.

I am not alone. I am not abandoned. My children and I are well-shepherded… all because we’re Yours.

I love you, friends. And I’m praying for you. Maybe sit down with Psalm 23 for yourself this week? Take the Lord at His Word. Let it be personal. Let Him be Your Shepherd.

Kimberly

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You’re Not Too Much for Jesus

One of my biggest sources of anxiety tends to be… well… me.

I frustrate the heck out of myself.

Why am I still so selfish? What is the deal with all of this pride? Why did I mess up… AGAIN? When am I ever going to get it together, love and act more like Jesus, change in the slightest for the love of Pete?!?!

Can anyone relate?

But as I spent a little time facedown today, grieving and repenting over all of this mess still residing inside of me, the Lord redirected my heart to hope. Because that’s what repentance is really all about. Hope.

The hope found in the fact that Jesus forgives us.
The hope found in His willingness to wash us clean.
The hope that deep and lasting heart change isn’t all up to us.
The hope that He is more than able to do this sanctifying work within us.

Maybe you’re feeling done with you. Maybe there are days you feel sure Jesus must be about done with you, too.

I get it. Oh, how I get it.

But even if by some chance you and I turn out to be some of His toughest cases, I believe Jesus wants us to know we’re still not too much for Him.55865237_2402666193090596_8974573360310648832_o

He says His Father has had a plan all along to shape our hearts and our lives to be more like His. (Romans 8:9) He promises God will complete this good work He began in us. (Philippians 1:6) He tells us to be anxious for nothing – not even over these places where we’re so desperate to be different – but to instead keep thanking Him for what He has done, letting His peace settle in deep as we prayerfully choose to believe He still loves us and He’s still working. (Philippians 4:6-8) He tells us to stay connected to Him, to abide in Him, to obey and trust Him, and these lives of ours will absolutely be fruitful. (John 15:1-17)

Jesus isn’t done, sweet friend. He’s not done with me, and He’s not done with you. And if we take an honest look back at how far He’s brought us, I think we’ll be able to give thanks for all He has already accomplished.

We don’t have to be fearful today about whether or not we’re going to be different tomorrow.

We can simply be present and grateful for the slow, steady, beautiful work He is doing within us. And we can ask Him to help us fully participate and cooperate with that work today.

Love you, friends,
Kimberly

Why It’s Good to Ask God About How He Designed You

It’s not sinful or prideful to want to know how God designed you.

Honestly, it’s helpful.

It clues you in on what’s yours to put your hands to and what might not be. It reminds you that your design is purposeful and that there’s no need to look around and long to do what someone else is doing. It helps prevent those places of deep soul frustration that can come with trying to walk in assignments God never gave to you.

And, most importantly, it helps the body of Christ function in a more whole and healthy way.

Think about it this way…

What if your eyes up and decided they actually wanted to be your heart? What if your lungs tried to do the job of your brain? What if your spleen climbed right out of you and tried to be a hand or a foot?

Ummmm…. I’m not thinking any of those situations are going to go well.

Of course you only want an organ designed to pump blood pumping your blood. You want your lungs helping you breathe in and out. You want your spleen to do all of those inside-of-your-body spleeny things it does. (And yes… I did pause to let Google remind me that the spleen acts as a filter for your blood. Thank you, spleen.)

I realize all of this may sound a bit silly. But WE are the body of Christ. And Ephesians 4:16 tells us that when each part is working together and working properly, it makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

You doing what God designed you to do? Me doing what God designed me to do? Us working together? It’s a good, beautiful, and needed thing.

I love Alicia Britt Chole’s question in the Sacred Slow – “Do you know what was in His heart when He crafted you? … You are saturated with His fingerprints. Therefore, boldly ask God what was on His mind when He designed you.”

If you’ve never asked Him before, I want to encourage you to spend some time sitting before Him this week with that question. It’s something I have been doing, and I can’t tell you how clarifying and helpful it has been to sit prayerfully with my journal in hand. To write out the words He brings to mind and even portions Scripture that have long resonated with my heart and point to how He has woven me.

I am a worshiper. A listener. A noticer. A vivid painter of pictures using words and a mouthpiece of God’s love. I am called to be a warrior – both with my words and my prayers. All things I am called to do as a part of the body… not as a means to an end for myself.

How about you? Do you know any part of your design? I would love to hear from you if you do. And if you feel unsure? Prayerfully ask the Father to speak to you. I truly believe He wants you to fully walk in who He designed you to be.

Much love from here,
Kimberly

Don’t Despise Your Design

54362925_2381268895230326_7764053419391713280_oI get it.

The looking around and the longing to look like others. The wishing we had lives shaped more like theirs. Bodies shaped more like theirs. Personalities and gifts and callings shaped more like theirs.

But here’s the thing…

We were shaped on purpose.

There’s a shape to me and a shape to you. A God-given, well-planned, thoroughly thought-through shape. One that has nothing to do with our own glory and everything to do with His.

We were made on purpose and with purpose. We were made by Him and for Him. And we are called to this glorious work of working together to help the world see the bigger picture of Christ.

Our strengths have purpose. Our weaknesses have purpose. Every detail of our design matters. And if we keep trying change who we are instead of leaning into Him and who He shaped us to be?

Well, it would be a bit like taking a pair of scissors to this puzzle piece to reshape it or painting over it so it could be a “prettier” color or even adding to it to beef it up and make it look bigger and more important. That piece would no longer fit where it was designed to fit. It would no longer reveal the portion of the picture it was designed to reveal. And in trying to be different, not only would this piece miss out on fully fulfilling its original intent… all the world would be cheated out of truly seeing the bigger picture.

And while we would call someone crazy for trying to reshape a simple cardboard puzzle piece, we think nothing of hacking away at our own intricately designed, fearfully and wonderfully made souls.

All of this to say today, sweet friend, don’t spend your days wishing you were more like her, like him, like them.

Don’t despise your design. Yes to growth. Yes to learning from others. Yes to being the healthiest, holiest, humblest version of you He can help you to be.

But don’t despise your design.

Let the Lord fill every corner of it. Let Him show you His glory hidden in the shape of it. And let Him reveal to you how you were designed to work with those around you to reveal more of Him to this world.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” Psalm 139:13-14 (NLT)

So much love from here to there,
Kimberly

 

For the One Who Feels Small & Ready to Quit Writing

To this day, it’s still one of the most soul-piercing and telling questions the Lord has ever asked me – “Do you want to make a difference, or do you want to be famous?”

And it’s not that those two things are mutually exclusive. It’s not that it has to be one or the other. No. His question was more a matter of my own heart. A question of focus and motives. A question that easily cascades into other questions…

Are you sincerely sowing into My Kingdom, Kimberly, or feverishly trying to build your own?

Are you wanting to do good for My glory, or do you just want to look good for your own glory?

Questions that can still make me feel a bit queasy. And I’ll be honest. This work has been quite messy over the years as I have allowed God to peel back the layers of my motives and purify my heart.

And the reason I’m sharing here today is because I think there are more people out there like me. Others who are prone to judging both their worth and their impact by their apparent reach. By their “numbers.” People who sometimes wonder if they should just give up writing and sharing because their words must not be very good or truly important since they never seem to go very far.

This is what I want you to hear today, friend…

Just because your words didn’t appear to go FAR, that doesn’t mean they didn’t go DEEP. Just because the whole world isn’t praising you, that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone thanking God that He spoke through you.

Do we want to be famous, or do we want to make a difference? Are we fixated on going viral, or are we focused on sowing into things that are eternal? Do we want words that go far purely for the sake of going far, or do we want words that sink in deep and shift individual lives in Jesus’ name?

Our focus matters. Our motives matter. And our answers to these questions will make all the difference in whether or not we keep obeying the Lord when the results don’t look very impressive on the surface.

We can release every outcome to Him. He owes us no explanation. No proof of reach or impact. We can simply write when He asks us to write. Giving Him our best purely because we love Him. Trusting that if He asks us to do something, it matters.

And if this post resonated with you and you want to read more about the day God first asked me if I wanted to be famous or make a difference, you can find that here.

Much love from my small corner of the internet,
Kimberly

I’m Not a Big Deal {And That’s Such a Big Deal}

After all of the study and preparation time he put into teaching from John 10, I have to be honest that the words from my pastor that have stuck with me most this week were words he tucked in as he was closing. Words that have been both a pride-killing kindness and freedom to my soul.

This reminder that, in light of the Gospel, we’re really not a big deal.

And I know it might sound like an odd statement to get excited about. Being told, “Hey, you’re just not a big deal.” But in a day and age that tells us we need to be a big deal… that we need to hustle and spend our lives to be a “somebody”… it is FREEDOM.

Freedom not to wear ourselves out trying to get somewhere that will never satisfy.

Freedom not to compare and compete with anyone and everyone around us.

Freedom not to carry the weight of the whole world on our shoulders.

Freedom to not even carry the full weight of anyone else’s salvation on our shoulders.

Freedom to simply do the things the Lord calls us to do with great faithfulness and love, no matter how small it may seem to us.

Because there is only ONE name that saves and needs to be made famous – the name of Jesus. He is the big deal. Not us.

An idea even Paul confirms in 1 Corinthians 3:5-7, “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”

And it might sting at first, hearing the truth that we’re really just not all that. But it has been the sweetest sigh of relief for this oftentimes striving and fearful soul. One I have kept on repeat this week…

I’m not a big deal. 
I don’t have to be a big deal. 
And the best thing I can do today is lean into the One who is a big deal.

I can simply and daily love Him. Learn from Him. Follow Him. Serve Him. Obey Him. Love and serve others in His name. I can trust Him and rest in Him. Releasing the results of every act of love and obedience into His hands. Believing all of these seemingly small seeds can point other hearts to Him. Rejoicing in the knowledge that I don’t need to get anywhere because my soul has already found its true home and worth in Him.

Praying your soul is able to rest in Him today, too, friend.
Kimberly

{For the mom who feels frustrated, confused, maybe even sidelined while you watch all of those other women living out their God-sized dreams…}

I had been praying for a burning bush moment. Not literally. Not as in shrubbery aflame with the voice of God speaking out of it like He did for Moses.

I just felt off track. Like maybe I had missed something. Taken a wrong turn. Ended up in some wilderness I wasn’t supposed to be in. And I was simply asking God to meet me in my day-to-day life. To catch my eye, catch my ear, catch my heart and give me some much-needed perspective and direction.

And if I can be completely honest with you … I think part of me was hoping it would have to do with writing and speaking. That He would confirm my calling and send me on my merry way. But on the day He actually grabbed my attention several years ago, that wasn’t the calling He spoke into.

I had just dropped all of my people off at school when I felt His nudge to drive to the lake. It was something I did often. There’s just something about sitting by the water that helps my heart connect to His. And as soon as I sat on my favorite bench, I saw them – three baby ducks swimming in a neat little row behind their mama.

And while I have never heard the audible voice of God, there’s a whisper, a knowing I can’t quite explain that I’ve learned is Him speaking. And His words to me that day? “Kimberly, I haven’t clipped your wings. I’m not saying you’ll never fly again. But for right now, you have three girls following close behind you.”

And as I have watched close friends write their books and stand on stages … places of obedience for them and good, rightly-timed things for them … I have walked out my own places of obedience in laying those things down for now. Of trusting that God’s “not now” doesn’t definitively mean “not ever.”

Obedience that I confess has left me wrestling DEEPLY over the years with feeling like God’s “no” to me might be some sort of punishment… or that maybe I’m an embarrassment… or that I’m just plain old not as good, capable, talented or needed as those other gals. Lies He has been graciously unraveling.

And I know there are people who are on both sides of this. People who say, “You can do it all, be it all, and you just go after it all, mama! Don’t you let motherhood slow you down!” And then there are those who might be shocked anyone would even wrestle with any of this. Because, “Of course you need to lay down your dreams! Are you kidding me?? Your children are THE most important human beings on the planet and you should sacrifice it all for them.” I’m sincerely not trying to start some sort of debate about either side. What I’m really talking about is trust and hope and personal obedience.

I’m saying that if God has asked you to lay some dreams down for a season, sweet mama… if He has asked you to redefine the when and the where and the how of it all … if He keeps putting up blockades and asking you to slow down … it’s not punishment. It’s not because you’re an embarrassment. And it’s certainly not because you are somehow “less than” everyone else. His “not now” doesn’t have to mean “not ever.” He’s simply giving you and I the gift of being a bit more present for years we’ll never get back. He’s giving us the gift of sowing a little more deeply into people we won’t always have in our home. He’s leading us and preparing us and sowing into us in ways we have yet to fully see, right where we are.

And I just felt like some other mom out there needed to hear this today. A mom who LOVES her people deeply but keeps wondering what to do with all of those dreams you sincerely believe are from God. I get it, friend. Oh, how I get it.

But I’m believing for you and with you that you can trust Him with your dreams. You can trust Him with your heart. You can trust that if He’s asking you to slow down or even lay it ALL the way down for now, it’s a beautiful and needed part of His plan.

I love you, friends. And I’m praying for you today. ❤️