“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
My darling mom died several years ago. I miss her every day, but It’s even easier to miss her even more than usual on Mothers Day. I don’t think anything quite prepares you for saying goodbye to your mom.
After her funeral in Scotland, I stayed several days to help my sister, Frances, go through Mom’s things. One treasure I brought home was the little Bible that always sat by her bed. She’d received it in December 1942 when she was 13 years old. She wrote on one of the blank pages, “Grace is undeserved favor. It is love stooping.”
We spent several hours going through Mom’s big red box of family photographs. “Did you really mean to have purple hair?” my sister asked with a smile, holding up a photo that showed one of my more creative choices. “Yes,” I said, grinning back. “Sadly, that was intentional.”
I paused on a photograph from the day I graduated from seminary. I remember that day so well. I was 21 years old. I looked at my smiling face, confident I would now go out and change the world for Jesus. I remember my mom saying to me that day: “God began this good work in you, Sheila, and He will continue His work until you see Him face-to-face.”
I wish I’d listened to those words more carefully. I wish I’d understood the liberating truth that God is the one who begins His work in us, and He will complete it. I thought it was up to me. I believed God’s love was based on my performance, and I didn’t ever want to let God down.
Have you ever been there? Studying that photograph, there was so much more I would have loved to tell myself on that day.
I’d tell her this will not always be the life she imagined. I’d tell her she will fall down over and over, but rather than understand the love of God less, she’ll get it more.
I’d tell her it really is okay not to be okay, because Jesus has already made her right.
These words may sound like a bumper sticker, but for me they were hard-fought truths.
For years, whether it was in my marriage, my ministry or in motherhood, I tried to be the perfect Christian. The perfect Christian mom, the perfect Christian wife, etc. But it would take many broken roads and heartaches to begin to grasp this truth: We’re not called to pursue perfection; we’re called to pursue Christ, who is perfect.
I don’t know what situation you’re facing right now, dear sister. I don’t know how many loads of laundry still need to be done, or how messy the kids left the living room after a day of play, but know that as you are, as your home is, as your circumstances are, you are loved by God. It’s never been up to us to get everything right. Christ did that on the cross. As Philippians 1:6b tells us, and as my mother reminded all those years ago, “God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Thank you to every mother, sister, friend, aunt out there. Thank you for your love, thank you for what you do for your families. We celebrate you this week, as Christ does everyday!
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me today. So often I feel as if I’m not good enough, but I thank You for loving me as much on the days when I think I got everything wrong as on the days when I think I got everything right. Thank You I get to come to You just the way I am, imperfections and all. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Romans 8:38, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (NLT)
Lamentations 3:22-23, “The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (NLT)
It’s Okay Not to be Okay is a great gift for Mother’s Day for those who may be struggling.
2) Amazon has the hardcover for only $10.99 – click here to purchase
Here’s how to get the Bible Study for FREE…
1) Order from Amazon, ChristianBook.com or your favorite retailer
2) Claim your FREE online Bible Study downloads atItsOkayBibleStudy.com, use code SHEILA
It’s never too late to start again, and there’s no better way than side by side with Jesus.