Seeds of Devotion
By Julia Attaway

Feelings Pass Away

No matter what our emotions now, some day we will not struggle with problems here on earth, but rejoice in heaven.

On Sunday a friend texted, "He is risen!" and then added, "May he be as real to you as your problems!"

I laughed; there certainly are days when my woes seem to be more real than the resurrection. There are times when difficulties overwhelm me and I don't feel comforted. There are occasions of grief and sadness when comfort seems impossible.

And yet feelings pass away, while "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). 

Growing in Faith This Easter

One thing the resurrection teaches us is that our faith experience isn’t about having just the right hymns, décor and sermon...

This morning I went over to church to learn how to set up the flowers for Easter Sunday. The woman who normally takes care of that has a granddaughter in the national volleyball championship this weekend, and it seemed like a little thing I could do to help out.

“I usually set them up here and here,” Sharon said, pointing. Then she lowered her voice and added, “Then someone doesn’t like it, so I move things around.”

Pray for Those Who Persecute You

"First you need to ask God to forgive you for your role in what happened," I told my son. "And then you need to pray..."

My youngest came in from playing in the park, and I could tell something was wrong. He didn’t say anything until 10 minutes later, when he commented rather bitterly, “Mark was being a real jerk today.”

“You seem pretty upset,” I commented sympathetically. I was immediately rewarded with an earful about what Mark had said and done. 

When Problems Feel Too Big to Handle

I set about doing what I need to do, and then when unexpected trouble hits I pray a bit, think a bit, pray a bit more.

I’m in the process of getting our coop apartment ready to put on the market, as I've mentioned before. I love our home: The building went up in 1933 and has lovely Art Deco details.

Focus on What Matters

As my mind wandered back to what task to do next, I wondered if I’d prayed the wrong prayer...

We’ve had a busy couple of weeks, because we’ve decided to sell our apartment.

I’ve been plastering and painting like mad. We’ve purged closets, grouted tile, scrubbed kitchen shelves. This morning the number of things still on my to-do list felt astronomical.

Few Words Are Often Better than Many

When I say this prayer, more often than not there's nothing I need to confess later. 

I got angry at someone today. It was a justifiable anger; the person hadn’t considered the needs of others and was only thinking of himself.

Getting My Heart Ready for Easter

Suddenly there is time to do things I thought couldn’t be done. Once I get more accustomed to using my time wisely, I will be praying more...

Last year during Lent I got rid of a bag of stuff a day. It was a terrific and simple discipline: I had to think through what I didn’t need, figure out who did need it, pack it up, and get it out of the house.

By the end of a few weeks I’d cleared out a huge amount. More to the point, I was amazed at how much space opened up in my mind and spirit with a bit of physical de-cluttering.

Hunger for the Lord

My mind turned to what I was hungry for. Food wasn’t the half of it. OK, Lord, I prayed, I will accept this hunger for what it is...

“Ummm... Mom?” John asked quizzically, “Why are you cooking at 6:45 in the morning?”

The smell of garlic, onions and green pepper wafted out of the kitchen; the black beans for arroz con habichuelas simmered on the stove.

“Because I’ve learned that on Ash Wednesday it’s easier to cook before I get hungry,” I replied. John looked a bit startled–thinking that far ahead isn’t the norm for 17-year old boys–and nodded.

“Can I eat lunch today at school?” he asked.

Keeping Problems in Perspective

Lord, I prayed, I’ve got enough on my mind right now. Could we just make this one thing easy? 

I’ve been grappling with a big problem lately, one that doesn’t seem solvable. Then this week, after a series of annoying and expensive household crises, the toilet lid broke. I bought a new one, and when I went to install it discovered that the plastic screws were designed for newer toilets; the ceramic on our 1933-era model was too thick.

A Lesson in Faith

We are made in the likeness and image of God and are called to be creative.

This week my kids are on winter break. It’s good for them to have unstructured time, but by Wednesday, boredom and irritability have set in.

I subscribe to the philosophy that boredom is like bad breath–it comes from within. You can hide the problem by entertaining it away, or you can learn to ride out the discomfort and discover that you actually do have ideas of your own.

Julia Attaway is a freelance writer, homeschooler and mother of five. She is the editor of Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood, a book of devotions for first-time moms. She lives in New York.

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