Walking through Ephesians, 5

“So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.” ~Ephesians 3:10-12

That we as Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body and partakers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (verse 6) is a HUGE shift in philosophy and reality since creation until Jesus! There are instances of Gentiles in relationship with God in the Old Testament but the pursuit was of the Jews as His people through whom to display His glory.

God had a plan. A plan He had hidden for ages it says in verse 9. The plan was to display His great, unsurpassed wisdom to all rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Your life and my life display the wisdom of God. Not in what we do, what we achieve in our weak worldly wisdom, don’t get lost in that.

We display His great pre-eminent wisdom, planned from the beginning of creation to ransom His people from the darkness of sin and death. And satan and his horde and all the heavenly beings know it. The redeemed church is the vehicle through which God glorifies Himself and declares with a shout His wisdom and His eternal purpose in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. We have talked about who we are in Christ, what we’ve been given with our salvation and now we are the display of His wisdom. There are times when I need that reminder, my life, my family is the church. We are God’s declaration of His wisdom to the heavenly places. Anger defuses, selfishness fades, deceit diminishes, pride deflates in light of the Gospel. When I remind myself of what Christ has done for me or when I sit with my wayward child and speak of His sacrifice, His blood shed and all that was offered at the cross, flesh is given the opportunity to die. And in the spiritual world, angels rejoice and the enemy cringes.

But now with Jesus, the Gospel swings wide the door to God – not just for entry but for deep, close intimacy that allows us to have boldness and access with confidence to God. Jesus was a complete game changer.

Up until Jesus, no one had access to God except the high priest who only had access once a year into the presence of God. He would step behind a curtain within the temple (or Tent of Meeting as the Jews often called it) into the Holy of Holies where he would offer the blood of a bull and goat for the sins of himself and the people. God’s presence would be evident that day within the Holy of Holies. The sins of the people and the uncleanliness of the temple would be atoned for one more year, a temporary cleansing.

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption…Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins…But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. ~Hebrews 9:11-12, 22, 26b.

Look at what Jesus did! He as the great High Priest became the sacrifice that we may be forgiven eternally. And His great wise plan doesn’t end there – we have full access, not once a year through someone else. We are invited and welcomed into the presence of God, before His throne. No need to clean up or fix anything, Jesus has cleansed us with His blood; no need to achieve something first or get rid of a weakness, all that needed to be done was accomplished by Jesus.

Paul says in Ephesians we have boldness and access with confidence. Boldness in this passage is a free and fearless confidence, a cheerful courage in my relationship with God because of the gospel. Hebrews 4:16 and Hebrews 10:19-22 are parallel scriptures that also declare that we are welcome in God’s presence. The absolute assurance that I am welcome in God’s presence should be the underpinning of how I walk out my day. There is no need for pretense or trepidation. So on the days I have wrecked relationships in my home, I am welcomed by Him. He brings conviction and healing and restoration that far surpass my weak attempts. On the days I have walked triumphantly, I am welcomed by Him. He alone receives the glory for changing me that I could walk in a manner pleasing to Him.

How many times have I experienced my own children being fearlessly confident before me, standing assured of my acceptance and love and laying out needs, desires, or even their pain or failure? Do I spend my day with my Father in the same bold way? We are welcomed into His presence, our requests are listened to and gathered Scripture says into bowls of incense, and our tears treasured in bottles. His ear is inclined to us and His face turned to us. This unearned, undeserved, grace given position in your presence, God, declares your wisdom that You may be glorified.

Walking through Ephesians, 4

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them… In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit ~Ephesians 2:10, 22

I am his workmanship, His dwelling place, a part of His household, part of his temple in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2 details all the changes that occur with God’s grace, both personally and corporately between Jews and Gentiles.

What is workmanship? What does it mean to finely craft something, with detail work and refinement, to create something valuable? We live in a time when things are created quickly, and they’re not meant to last forever. But we are God’s workmanship. The only other time this Greek root word is used in scripture is in Romans 1:20 when God’s creation is referenced. And once again here we are talking about a creation, but this time the creating has happened in Christ Jesus, in His death and resurrection that gave me a position change. Ephesians 2:6 shows that my position changed – God seated me at the right hand in Jesus so now all that grows, happens comes from the position of being in Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 declares it this way, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” The investment in me began at the cross, carried forward at my salvation and continues daily as He works in me to make me more like Him.

And in the beauty that is only God – He has planned good works for me that I may walk in them. Things that one day I will get to lay at His feet in worship. His planning and my opportunity entwine in only a way that He orchestrates and understands. God has a path or course set just for me and for you – our God is a planning, intimate God. Look in Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Now I’m not Jeremiah, so I cannot claim his specific consecration as a prophet but God is constant and unchanging. What He has done, He will do. He has planned for you and for me kingdom work, and a lot of that work will occur within our homes. Psalm 139 breaks down every way we have been created, personally and intimately, with even our days formed for us.

He made clear to me in 2015 that his path for my life to the world may look like folly, full of brambles, holes, blocked passages, but I could trust Him on it. No one would probably recommend walking it, but my job isn’t to listen to others or look for others walking on it before I set out on it. There have been and will continue to be times in this mothering walk that I don’t enjoy the scenery on this path. What Jeremiah had to walk out was awful for God’s glory and His kingdom work. But God prepared them for Jeremiah, and He prepared my works beforehand – NOT that I would necessarily enjoy them or have a “great life.” He prepared my works for His glory. I have to have a paradigm shift away from this current age of self pleasing, ease seeking perspective. I may not enjoy in the flesh sense the work laid out for me, but eternally with God’s perspective I will rejoice for my work is kingdom work for His glory.

The walk will not be easy – Matthew 7:14 “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” But He makes clear my posture while walking – and I confess that my posture is really my problem. I easily shift my position from eyes on Him (Hebrews 12:1-2) and heart set on His kingdom (Col. 3:1) to eyes on me, my glory, my goals, my initiatives. Because I am so couched in spiritual language, I can make even my own self believe whatever I desire or want to veer off and do is from Him. But the truth of those times is that what I desire is for my comfort, my self delight.

My willingness to walk and obey grows in proportion to my understanding and remembering the Gospel – what God has done for me and in me through Christ Jesus. When I wander off from the Gospel into the land of performance or apathy, I will be unwilling to walk out His good works.

So my prayer becomes, “Clear the table of everything I have placed there. Set my table as You desire. Let me lead my children to You more and more, teaching them more about Your grace, love, truth, and Your calling on their lives because I recognize and submit to the calling You have placed on my life. These children are Your letters (Letters) to so many to come. Help me to be faithful in the writing.”

“Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” ~2 Cor. 3:4-6

Walking through Ephesians, 3

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  ~Ephesians 2:4-7

Never do I see God’s unmerited grace and deep love more clearly than when I am knee deep in disciplining what often becomes multiple children all at the same time. There have been SO many times in the Kimsey household where I have had children in every bathroom in our house and some more on their beds, thinking about what they did that contributed to the great conflagration that just occurred!

Some of my children are still dead, trapped and lost in the sin and trespass that destroys for eternity. Right now we are blessed with a 3 year old and almost 2 year old who both live full on in the flesh. I marvel at the sheer forcefulness of selfishness, the rage of being offended, the pride and deceit that can cover actions for self protection. It only takes a little spark to begin to fuel an explosion between multiple factions and next thing I know, everyone is mad, taking sides, screeching and screaming! In those moments I am often struck by the fact that this raw reaction that is so appalling is mine as well. That apart from the reconciling work of Jesus Christ bringing me into growing intimacy with Him, I too resort to self preservation/protection and pursue what I desire. Now I may make it appear more socially acceptable in most instances, but that is simply because I have learned people don’t like it when you scream in their face or snatch something away from them.

The old versus the new – Paul lays out great contrast between the two in this chapter. This is who I was, and who my little lost ones are:

  • dead in trespass and sin
  • following the course of the world
  • following the prince of air
  • once lived as son of disobedience
  • carried out desires of body and mind
  • children of wrath
  • separated from Christ as a Gentile
  • alienated and strangers to the covenants of promise between Jews and God
  • no hope, without God

So it suddenly becomes clear, doesn’t it, why my little ones have such a hard time obeying or loving one another! They are furiously, fiercely following all that is this world, all that is of the enemy, and all that is of their own flesh, their own body and mind. And they have not developed a filter. But as their mother, my job is not to merely teach them to filter well and act socially correct. I don’t want externally acceptable kids who have no idea they desperately need a Savior to save them from the law of sin and death that rules in their body!

I want to understand what the Gospel is and what God’s grace has done so that I can daily reflect that to my children. Because of His atoning death and redemption through His grace, I am:

  • alive together with Christ
  • saved by grace through faith
  • raised up with Him
  • seated with Him in heavenly places in Christ
  • not my own doing, not works
  • His workmanship
  • created for good works
  • now brought near
  • one with Jews, dividing wall has been destroyed
  • reconciled to God
  • have access in one Spirit to Father
  • member of the household of God

Everything has changed.

Each one of those points is huge, worthy of being dug into for days all throughout the Scriptures. And I’m sure many scholars would say there are ways to break that listing down further or that I missed some. And I know there are many more passages where more layers of His Gospel are uncovered. But in the moments where everyone is in a bathroom (and I want to be put into my own bathroom so as not to go off on someone!) I need to regain the truths of the Gospel. Because as Christ’s ambassador to my children (2 Cor. 5:20) I cannot represent my own interests, but only His.

So my bathroom conversations with my lost children as well as my saved children run on parallel tracks, both pointing to Christ. To my saved child, the goal of the conversation is to help them honestly look at their part, to guide them through what was motivating them and what lie they chased, and re-establish with them the truths of who they are because of Jesus Christ and what God is at work doing within them.

For my lost little ones, the conversation even at 3 years old is to point out the sin, the ugly actions that have placed them in the bathroom and to point to the only One who will ever change them. I want them to understand that I know they cannot act nice or self controlled or whatever. They can’t. So there is really no point in us telling our little ones to be kind or be patient. I think this perpetuates the lie within the Christian church that we can somehow behave well or muster up the right response. God doesn’t want me to behave well; he wants me submitted to Him and seeking Him. So it is far better for me to lead my child in that moment to realize they need only Jesus.

Because He is rich in mercy and loves with a great love and graciously saves – to the one who is saved and walking in new life, this is encouraging; to the one who is dead, this is life giving. He wants to show the immeasurable riches of His grace toward us.

Walking through Ephesians, part 2

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe according to the working of his great might…” ~Eph 1:16-19

So Paul has rejoiced over the blessings in Jesus Christ and then begins to pray for the Ephesian church. The prayer is that the eyes of your heart are enlightened – my heart can deceive, it can be led astray. My affections source in my heart. G. Archer calls it the “desire producer that makes us tick.” Scripture is clear that my heart can deceive, it can grow hardened, it can be proud. But I am commanded to love the Lord with all of my heart, to be consumed with Him, to obey and serve whole heartedly.

I need constant recalibration, a re-setting of my heart on the truths of what has been given to me with salvation so that I don’t shift to a works mentality (Galatians speaks to this) or to a worldly  (as seen in Colossians) thinking and then forget. We were just at the beach, and I was reminded of the pull and shifting of the unseen currents. We all know how to mark our position in the water by constantly looking back to shore where our chairs or towels are. We do this because we know that little by little, moment by moment, the currents in the ocean are pushing us in a direction that will shift us away. I can distinctly remember times when I have looked back to shore only to realize that I am far away from where I began.

The same is true spiritually – if I’m not looking at the truth of God’s Word and making adjustments to keep in line with His truth, I will drift.

So I listen and allow the Spirit to preach the Gospel to me: I have a hope I have been called to – an eternity that will not change, an eternity in the presence of God. I have wonderful riches as His child – my position has changed from that of a lost in sin law follower who will fail to his perfected new creation living in grace. And I have his great power that defeated sin and death is at work in me, changing me, making me more like Him.

The Holy Spirit is at work in me, revealing His wisdom, His truth as He grows me in knowing Him. We were sealed with the Holy Spirit – Paul has just told us that blessing and now he lists out 3 areas or truths that we know in ever increasing measure as the Spirit leads us and we surrender to His teaching: the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and the immeasurable greatness of his power. To know these 3 sets everything else in place regardless of what the day brings.

Hope: we all desire to know what will come – peace is sought after (often frantically) whether we are wanting to know tomorrow or forever – the human mind longs for peace in its future. Our redemption is the only hope that doesn’t disappoint.

Riches: we long for comfort made possible by riches; we will seek money to give us present comfort, hoping it will numb our need for peace as well; no matter what we say about money- if everything were stripped, we would panic. For our heart’s natural affections are for present day comfort, but His riches are far greater. Riches of the Gospel, wisdom and knowledge of God, understanding of His grace, the riches of His love which secures.

Power: we all desire to be safe, protected, assured of victory. Jesus was victorious at the cross. All eternity is assured, my position is secure – I am safe from sin and death. But I am also a recipient of that power here as I struggle in this daily walk with Him. He is the one working in me, changing me, His power in me. Paul wants us to see how great this power is – the same power that raised Christ from the dead and glorifies him forever – that power has and will continue to fill me with the fullness of Him. He fills all my empty places, all the areas I cannot “do” He will complete, all the places my faith stumbles, He perseveres, all the moments I fear, He is my strength.

So many times in the day my mind wants to run down the lanes of fear and doubt, wondering what my future holds – How did the day get so off track? why do I respond the way I do? what will this child do in life, especially with me as his mother messing him up? am I helping this one enough? can I do everything I’ve put on my plate? do I take stuff off? How do I ensure _____? all the what ifs? And before I know it, I am down the current of worry, doubt or fear, swept up in my wonderings. My affections, my desires shift to tangible outcomes today that I think may be achievable through performance.

All the while I float away from my anchor of truth – that all I need is wrapped up in the Person of Jesus Christ and that all hope, power, and riches are mine, fully supplied. But in your grace, Holy Spirit shift my eyes back to You and move me back in line with your sustaining truths that don’t depend on me.

 

 

walking through Ephesians part 1

Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…~Ephesians 1:3

So I’ve been studying Ephesians again this month. It’s one of my favorite books, and it is often where I will go when I’m not sure what to read. So I thought I would walk through the book within this blog, not as some definitive study on all that is in Ephesians, but simply some of the verses and passages that pop out and teach me this month. Just as if we were sitting at the coffee shop going through it together and we would reflect on the truths as they apply in our lives as believers. It seems like this is going to be a several part blog posting that I’ll just send out for a few days, so it’s a little bit different from what I’ve written before but it’s where God has me today.

Ephesians chapter 1 is such an amazing, wordy, mildly confusing because it’s one long sentence listing of all the blessings that come with salvation. I cannot tell you how many times I have broken down the first 14 verses just to see them laid out, pulled out of all the clauses and phrases. I encourage you to grab a piece of paper and begin to just write one blessing on each line. It’s so important to understand what salvation really is – what are the blessings given to us when we are saved, redeemed and how the Gospel changes the filter through which we see our world.

You see I can see the world through the lens of performance and perfectionism, through the lens of self gratification, or through the lens of practicality or realism. Or I can wear the most accurate glasses – the glasses of faith. If you read through Paul’s writings, there are SO many times where he basically says “I write this that you may know” This concept of knowing, not in your head so you can give a great rote answer, but truly knowing deep in the core of who you are that you are a changed, changing redeemed child of God, deeply loved, filled with His Spirit and moving in and through your world from that vantage point — that is knowing.

So what do we know? In Eph 1: 1-14 we are chosen in Him, holy and blameless, adopted as sons. We are given his glorious grace, redemption through his blood, forgiveness of trespass, lavished with grace, making His will for salvation and unity known to us. We have obtained an inheritance and been sealed with the Holy Spirit.

And please note all the “according to” statements – none of them say according to how you receive it or how you respond or how you answer. None of the blessings are dependent on anything I do, they are all dependent on His will, His grace, and His purpose!

So I encourage you to sit and dwell with the truth of what He has done for you, according to His will replete with His grace for His purpose and His glory. You need to know.

 

 

 

Amen

“For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” ~2 Corinthians 1:20-22

Yesterday was hard. There is no way around that fact – it was a grind. I found myself battling the desire inside me to retreat, withdraw, decide I didn’t care about some issue/fight/attitude simply because I was weary of all the conversations with all the people. I found my patience decreasing as I moved from interaction to interaction, as I carried just a little of my emotion from one child’s discipline into the next. So every little sin I have been called to face becomes a place where I too must battle the flesh that rises up within me.

Do you ever consider what you are doing? I mean the experience of looking in on yourself and wonder, “how in the world did I get here?” What road did I mistakenly get off on that has placed me here in the midst of all this junk, with me being the chief proponent of the junk? Have you ever just been so tired of slogging through tantrums, rivalry, disobedience, lying, selfishness and begin to wonder whether this is worth anything? does it really make a difference? Does the distant heart of a pre-teenager or the rebellious teen make you feel discouraged like it does me at times? Does anyone else hide in their closet and pretend like they cannot hear their name being called? no? just me?

I confess I do.

Many of my friends look in on me and admire or praise me. They can’t imagine parenting so many, so they assume this fantasy that I have it all wrapped up. I don’t.

But I know the One who does. And I have to keep coming back to that fact. Sometimes multiple times in the same hour, I have to preach the Gospel to myself, reminding myself that He has completed all I need. He is sovereign over all I experience. He is engaged with every interaction. It is vital that I apply the Gospel to the working out of my faith in my interactions with my kids. Because that is what mothering is – it is the working out of my faith today.

So I need to remember my position first. God has established me in Christ, anointed me and put his seal upon me and given me His Spirit as a guarantee. My establishment is apart from my actions, “by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

So as a mom I am established, rooted and firmly adhered to the love of Jesus Christ. This steadfast love that He has offered me compels me in the interactions with my children, both to love them that way and to instruct them in how to love with His unending love. And I have been given His Spirit as a guarantee. A down payment of all the power, wisdom, counsel, and relationship fully offered and alive in me. He is my guarantee that all the promises of God are true. 1 Peter 1:3-4 declares that His power has given me all I need for life and godliness, and He has given me his precious and great promises so that through all his promises I am a partaker in the divine nature. I am invited and welcomed to participate in His way of parenting my children, having been given all I need to be a godly parent through His Spirit within me.

So I stand (in the closet) and take a moment to speak the Truth to myself. The God of this universe deeply loves me and my child. He is far more invested in my child than I can ever claim to be, and in this moment He wants to display His great promises of steadfast love, mercy, forgiveness, presence, guidance, protection through me. I have been anointed by God to be the conduit in this moment, to display Him. Sometimes that looks like firm truth with discipline, sometimes that looks like redirection to the Word, sometimes it’s a quiet hug and tender kiss. Our children need a constant reminder of who they are and Who they need.

My response to my children in these moments is really a response to Him. You see my Amen response comes from a place of faith, certain of all Christ has done in me and will do through me because He has established me. And my response is for His glory.

 

All about perspective

“As a Father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” ~Psalm 103:13-14

Working with my three year old the other day, I was struck by how often I do exactly the same things she was doing. Having declared the day pajama day, she was in the bathroom trying to redress herself in her sleeper from the night before. I asked if I could help as she was struggling. Her refusal was emphatic as she was determined to do it alone, certain she could unwind, reconfigure and get all four limbs into something that had turned inside out and then around again somehow. I cleaned the kitchen and honestly rolled my eyes at what I could hear growing in crescendo in the bathroom. Increasingly frustrated, she worked more feverishly, then sobbing and stopping, then again attacking the sleeper. All the while I offered help that she didn’t want. Finally I walked into the bathroom and sat down on the floor with her. I got her to look in my eyes and take a deep breath. My compassion for her overwhelmed me and totally replaced my aggravation that this child was throwing such a complete fit as I saw her fierce desire for independence at war with her ineptitude, confusion and childlike despair.

I knew that she was me with the Lord.

Her heaving chest and desperate expression – desiring to do it yet unable to figure it out – her writhing on the floor in full out exasperation – unable to get out or get in – That’s me with the Lord.

In that bathroom, I saw my child’s little frame, her childish mind and immature skills and was filled with compassion for her. All I desired in that moment was to help her be successful in her heart’s desire – to be in that sleeper once more. There was joy that filled me to be able to come alongside her, unwind the sleeper, turn the leg right side out, help her balance as she stepped into the leg, and make sure she didn’t zip her belly into the zipper. And then she asked me to button the top. And we laughed and loved.

But all this could only happen once she was ready to accept help. It took me getting on the floor, stroking her angry back, getting her to look me in the eye and listen to my voice. She needed to calm and let go in order to get the help she needed. She was never going to get into that sleeper! It was too wound up and wrong in every which way! I also wasn’t interested in hijacking the process and just throwing her into the sleeper.

God’s great compassion is for me in my times of fierce independence, striking out to accomplish things I even think will be for his kingdom, good things. But I will be frustrated. I won’t be able to see clearly in the confusion, I won’t be able to see around the bend to what will come, I will be unable to make things right, fix what has gotten twisted. I don’t have the right perspective, but my first reaction is often to be angry, frustrated, despairing on the floor. And Jesus Christ sits down on the floor with me and tells me to look in His eyes.

He never forgets my frame, He never gets aggravated with my tantrums, His heart is continually filled with compassion for me. And the amazing thing about our perfect God is that He never loses that perspective. He never has to be reminded of my frailties. Often I have to remind myself of my children’s weaknesses or immaturities. Many days I don’t want to sit on the floor, seek out the heart of my child, or patiently wait for their return. I want them to get their stuff together and either let me help or move on. Luke 15 tells the story of the prodigal son who left home to have independence, taking with him all his inheritance. He squanders everything and, while living in a pig farm, realizes he at least could be fed if he lived as a servant on his father’s land. And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20) Our Heavenly Father meets us right in our dirt, our pig smell, our hunger, our fatigue, our failure. And kisses us. He doesn’t wait for us to get cleaned up or get it together. He isn’t interested in the way we look, what we’ve accomplished or what we can give back. Jesus in Matthew 9:36 saw the crowds and  had compassion for them for they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.

So as a mother, Lord, don’t let me lose your perspective with my children. Let me see their frailties, sin, fears, regrets, stressors, and worries the way you do and let me run to them with arms open wide. Not because I am anything but your forgiven, dearly loved child. As your child let me never forget your Gospel, that while I was a sinner, you died for me. While I was deep in the muck of sin, you were rich in mercy and loved me and love me still. And teach me to lead my wayward little ones to You.