Seeds of Devotion
By Julia Attaway

Stuck in a Prayer? On Your Feet!

I was astonished at how physically "going to Jesus" made a difference in my prayer. Literally going out of my way to seek him made a difference.

I’ve been weighed down by a problem lately, a complex and serious one. I’ve tried thinking my way through it, seeking advice, offering it up in confused prayer. It sticks to my heart tenaciously, where I’m aware of it all day long.

Responding to Anger in a Christian Manner

If you get a nasty email, how do you respond in faith instead of reacting from emotion? It's all God asks.

I received an email this week from an acquaintance who was angry at me. His missive contained a lot of snark; if the writer meant to hurt, he did. It didn’t help that his nastiness was fueled by a number of false assumptions, since my heart immediately latched on to the need to set him straight.

Lord, Could I Catch a Break?!

Whenever I want to give up, it’s never the Spirit whispering, “This is way too hard! Better stop.”

 

I was up early this morning, thinking about everything that needs to be fixed before we can sell our apartment. As I was pouring my second cup of coffee, I was hit with an “I don’t wanna!” moan of weariness. Sometimes I get plain tired of plugging ahead.

Lord, I sighed, Can’t I have a break here?

It occurred to me that I’d just had a break.

I’m so tired of this! Really, it shouldn’t have to be this hard.

Thanking God When Taking Out the Garbage

The Christian in me knows that that the way out of any emotional rut is to refocus my thoughts on what I can be thankful for.

I arrived home yesterday from a week-long visit to my parents’ house and was met at the door by a tail-wagging pup and a hangdog husband. Nothing had happened in my absence: no grocery shopping, no housecleaning, no laundry, no plant-watering, no picking-up-after-yourself.

One teenager was asleep in the middle of the afternoon, I could smell rotting fruit from the hallway, and not a flat surface was uncovered. Instead of giving the big hugs I’d anticipated, I skulked to my bedroom to sulk.

Uncovering the Seeds of Sin

When experiencing one of those everything-you-do-will-annoy-me mornings, self-reflection and prayer go a long way toward calming the waters.

I’m having one of those everything-you-do-will-annoy-me mornings, so watch out.

Okay, so in reality I’m the one who needs to watch out. There are days when there's sin on the horizon, and days like today when it's right in my face, taunting.

Already, at 8:00 a.m., I’ve had to take a deep breath a dozen times and bite back words of irritation. The noise level of my kids, the way my husband chews his toast, the drool of the dog on the carpet–it's all getting massively on my nerves.

The Things Only God Can See

You can't see inner struggles in a picture. You can't see faith or doubt or temptations.

Before Elizabeth moved away, she had one request: a family portrait for her new home. The proofs came in yesterday.

It is a curious thing to look at the pictures. I know each face by heart yet rarely look at everyone all together. Things pop out: Elizabeth and John look alike, Maggie and Andrew have the same mouth, Mary and Maggie share hair color.

Focus on the Needs of Others

If life ever gets so comfortable that you don't encounter people in need regularly, it's time to go looking for them.

One of the things I love about living in New York is that it’s virtually impossible to imagine that everyone is more or less just like me.

I get on the subway and the variety of ages, backgrounds, nationalities and personalities immediately pops whatever bubble I am living in.

A Different Perspective

It helps immensely to remember that God sees my troubles differently...

Our Internet service has been down since Sunday, and my 17-year-old son, deprived of his favorite computer game, is at loose ends. You would not want to meet him right now.

Still, I suspect the computer deprivation is good for him. It’s probably good for me, too, though I find it a royal bother to trek to the local coffee shop to send off work via Wi-Fi. Fortunately, I came of age in the pre-email era, when one couldn’t click “send” and have projects delivered in a moment. This gives me a perspective my teenager doesn’t have.

Blessed Be God, Even in Times of Stress

I have to stop myself when I feel frenzy starting to creep into my soul, forcibly turning my heart in a better direction.

My brain is officially on overload this morning.

There is too much–way too much–that has to happen before I leave tomorrow morning to help Elizabeth pack her dorm room for the last time. She graduates on Friday.

As I write to-do lists for each child (and my spouse), and check off item after item on my own endless list, I have to stop myself when I feel frenzy starting to creep into my soul.

“Blessed be God,” I say, reminding myself that my lists are neither the Alpha nor the Omega.

We Have to Live Our Faith

If people don’t know something about Jesus simply by knowing me, I have no business writing a single word about faith.

Yesterday I received an invitation to a small luncheon in honor of a friend. I very much want to go, but the invite says the event is “for bloggers and writers, to discuss what we can do to further the Kingdom.” That makes my stomach sink: it sounds like a party where I don’t belong.

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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