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Seeds of Devotion
By Julia Attaway

If You See Something, Pray Something

If something–or someone–is worth commenting on, isn't it worthy of prayer?

 

I’ve spent the past several Sundays in a church in another part of the country.

The first Sunday I noticed there were several families with developmentally disabled children, and it made me smile. I have to tell my sister Beth about this, I thought.

My niece Hannah has Down Syndrome, and I am always happy when I see people with disabilities of any sort included in society. But in the flurry of that week, I forgot to say anything.

Red Sea-Size Problems

How to re-frame big, scary situations–one small step at a time.

A while back my friend Liz and I were talking about the crossing of the Red Sea.

She commented, “We tend to think, ‘Oh wow! That must have been amazing!’ when probably the only thing most people saw as they hurried through the waters was the back of the head of the guy in front of them.”

I strongly suspect this is true. I know that when I have a Red Sea-size problem I tend to get overwhelmed. I make the mistake of thinking I need a Red Sea-size solution, when really all I have to do is keep moving.

How a Crisis Can Make You Wise

Experience with a son's difficulties fills a mother with gratitude, not fear.

For many years I thought the one great good that came out of my decade of struggling with my older son’s anxiety and mood issues was that I could help others through similar problems. A couple of weeks ago I discovered another silver lining.

One of my other children was recently diagnosed with a serious health issue. As I sat in a support group for parents whose children share this diagnosis, I recognized the barely-holding-it-together look of moms and dads desperately hoping their children will make it.

Advent Thoughts

In the darkest season, notice the bits of light that Christ has put in your path

One of my favorite Bible passages pops up at the beginning of every Advent: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5) 

I like this verse because it reminds me of several things:

Respond, Don't React

To love others as Christ loved me, I need to respond instead of react to their behavior. 

My 18-year-old–who has never been an easy child–was exceptionally irrational and argumentative the other day. After a bit of back-and-forth, it was clear that my powers of persuasion were no match for his ability to aggravate.

On the brink of saying something I knew I’d regret I took a deep breath, mentally stepped back, and said my go-to prayer in these situations: Holy Spirit, guide my words.

5 Tips to Make Advent More Meaningful Through Devotion

Contrary to what you hear and see, it’s a season of devotion, not decoration.

’Tis the season: Advent. Contrary to what you hear and see, it’s a season of devotion, not decoration. Herewith, my personal five-point guide on how to use this month to prepare for a frenzy-free Christmas.

1. Make Your List
Brainstorm gift ideas for Jesus, considering what he wants most. Best bet: the time-tested trio of golden forgiveness, sweet-smelling humility and the balm of a contrite heart.

12 Things I’ve Learned About Faith the Hard Way

Here's one example: When I get upset, pride is usually present.

1.   God calls me to respond to others, not react to them.

2.   When I get upset, pride is usually present.

3.   Righteous anger is almost always tainted by some measure of unrighteous indignation.

4.   No matter how tempting it is to say something in righteous anger, it’s better to keep quiet until I have dealt with the unrighteous indignation.

Nose Above Water

When life's waves are high and choppy, it’s the prayers of others that keep us afloat.

I’ve been in another part of the country for nearly three weeks, dealing with a family emergency. Andrew’s back home with the kids, several of whom are struggling mightily with my absence. He’s doing a great job, but it’s hard work.

“I feel like my nose is just barely above water,” he texted.

Looking for the Light

It’s in the tough times that faith, hope and charity are most visible.

I’ve been helping someone with a serious problem lately, one that involves a mix of mental and physical health. It’s scary. It’s intense. It’s confusing. I’m in territory I’ve never travelled before, in a place I don’t want to visit.

A Good Measure

A kindness in the laundry room brings scripture to life.

I went down to the laundry room today with two huge IKEA bags full of dirty darks. As I stepped off of the elevator into the basement, a young mother emerged looking harried, with a crying toddler and a preschooler in tow.

An older man–I guessed her father–was picking up goldfish crackers that had scattered all over the floor.

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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