A Mother’s Christ-like Love

Family at Browns Church

Galatians 6:10

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.   

Thought for the Day:  Show Christ’s love to others

I am a mother!  I am a mother of two!  I am a mother of two precious boys who have created something in me that is so very special.  But, I have sometimes fallen short of being the mother I should be.  Today, I read a devotional about a caregiver that reminded me of my own mother and how she worked with my two brothers, stricken with Muscular Dystrophy.  And, how I as a sister sometimes fell short in helping my brothers with their needs.

My mother was amazing!  I have written about her before, but she was so amazing she deserves more words of praise. My sweet mama, Mary Jane Henderson, grew up in a small town in West Tennessee to two parents who adored her.  They were an older couple and she was “the apple of their eyes.”  Spoiled a bit, I am sure, but grew up with a kind and gentle spirit.

That spirit, I believe, is why God made her the mama of my brothers.  God knew that she was perfect.  She was the perfect person to take care of two boys who would be handicapped in wheelchairs from the time they turned 7-8 years old.  As I remember the story, I understand that the doctor shared with my parents that the boys would probably need to be placed in a home at some point because it would be impossible for my parents to take care of them.  With that statement, my mama made the promise to take care of my brothers in a way that only Mary Jane could do.  And she did!  For twenty-five years she did just that.  She took care of their needs of feeding them, turning them in their beds at night, lifting them into their wheelchairs to take them to the bathroom, managing to put them in the bathtub for their baths, feeding them when they couldn’t feed themselves, driving them to public school where friends took care of them through the day, taking them to college when each son majored in different areas and met in different buildings, taking notes for them in class when they couldn’t do it themselves, and crying for them when they were hurting.  The biggest thing she did was to make sure life was fulfilling for them including taking them on trips each summer and letting them participate in interests in school.  She was amazing.

I remember doing a lot for my brothers as well, but I know I didn’t do as well as I probably should have.  I did a lot, as a sister would do, but looking back I realize that I did not always do it with the spirit I should have.  I remember feeling at times tired of the “Donna, could you get this for me?” Why was I not like my mother, who was always ready to jump up and help?  I don’t know why, but I do know that I had a perfect example of someone living the Christ-life in my mother.

Now I look at myself and realize that God gave me children with needs just like my brothers, but without the wheelchairs.  I know I have not been that extraordinary mother as my mama was to my brothers and to me.  Where have I fallen short?  I have fallen short in always showing Christ’s love through my actions.  I have fallen short in giving the children what they need when they needed it.  And, I have fallen short in living the life with my children in the way my mother exampled life to me.  Last night, my youngest said, “Mama, you are always so nice and loving to me”.  That was a feel good moment and one that made me feel that maybe I, without knowing it, had become a tiny bit like my mother.  Today, and everyday, I promise (as my mother promised) to be the mother my children need.

Prayer:  Father God, thank you for memories and thank you for placing examples of You in front of us each day. Thank you for loving parents who showed us how to show love to others. God, you see us, you know us, and you love us.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Parents of Special Needs Children

Insignificant to Intricate Beauty

DSC_3822 (2)DSC_3822 (3)

Psalms 119:18

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. 

Thought for the Day:  God’s beauty can be found in the Insignificant

After I awoke this morning and as I drank my coffee, my husband came in and we began talking.  During our talk, he found himself on my facebook page where I had shared many pictures of my walk in our park.  As we talked about each picture, and the beauty that each on showed, he asked me if these were planted flowers or weeds.  I replied that I thought they were weeds as they just appear in places in the park.  As I looked at one particular picture, I stated that the colors in that one picture were glorious.  That little plant, enlarged in the photo to show the details, was just a little, insignificant plant until we looked more closely.  My husband replied, “That could be one of your writings”, and he was right. He stated that there are times when we look at what might seem insignificant, and miss the intricate details that God placed in His creation.  That child who is “just another child” was created by God.  That person who has found himself/herself in dire straits was created by God.  That weed that grows on the side of a path was created by God.  Looking at the picture of the plant again, remembering that this is God’s creation, brought my eyes to the intricate colors and blooms that I might have been missed if  I only looked from the outside.

God created me, God created us, and God created so much beauty around us.  In what seems insignificant, is God.   In what seems simple, is God.  Today, and every day, take in God.  Take in the beauty that God has placed in front of us and in the people we meet.  He is there, although sometimes we need to enlarge the picture to see the intricate parts.

Prayer:  God, thank you for placing intricate beauty in the things, plants, and people around us.  Help us open our eyes a little wider and help us look inwardly at Your creation to see You.  Amen. 

Prayer Focus:  God’s Intricate Beauty


God’s Message Through a Squirrel


And why are you anxious about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the filed, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith

Matthew 6:27-30

Thought for the Day:  God will provide

After several weeks of missing what once was my daily routine of walking and taking pictures, I made sure I planned time yesterday to walk before deciding to do anything else.  As I walked, I saw so many familiar things and noticed a few more.   I noticed first that I didn’t see a lot of turtles out on the logs nor did I see any geese that are normally seen around the lake.  What I also notice was the abundance of scampering squirrels through the wooded areas.  I walked the equestrian walk that took me way up into a beautiful area through very serene and peaceful hills.  As I walked I noticed that the scampering squirrels were not chasing each other as I observed a month or so ago, now they are searching for food and hiding their nuts below logs and piles of leaves.  They are preparing for winter.

After getting back on the normal paved path, I came to a familiar place where I have stopped many times to sit on a picnic table to pray.  As I sat, I asked God to tell me what I need to do next.  It was then that yet another squirrel scampered by searching here and there for food.  I watched as the squirrel got a nut in its mouth and scampered off to hide its find.  As I sat and pondered the moment, I could almost hear God telling me to start saving more in preparation for the “Winter”.  I was also able to observe through watching the squirrels running through the branches making the acorns fall from the tree that God was telling me that He will provide our needs…we just need to do our part.  That was my God, my Father, giving me advice for the day.  I love my Father.

Prayer:  Father God, thank you for giving us what we need.  Thank you for the thoughts through the animals around us that You will take care of our needs.  You are our awesome God.  Amen.  

Prayer Focus:  Preparation

What is Hiding God’s Calling from Us Today?

Romans 12:1-3

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him. 

Thought for the Day:  Slow the earthly thoughts to be able to hear God’s calling

Substituting in a school nearby has become something I love doing.  So far, I have subbed in kindergarten and first grade.  As I substituted in one classroom for the third time, I heard “Hi, Mrs. Locke” and received hugs from several of the students as they walked in the door.  How warming that has been and how my heart has felt uplifted.  After a long time of not teaching, it has been so rewarding to pick up a book to read or to teach a lesson on sequencing or action verbs.  Memories have flooded back of students I have taught in the past and some of those fun lessons I have had the privilege to teach.  God called me those thirty or so years ago to begin teaching and through that time I felt blessed to have been called to the teaching profession.  But as time has passed of not having a teaching position that strong thought of calling has seemingly faded.  Doubt, fear, and inadequate feelings have slowly eased into my mind that I am not good enough.  But then God has reminded me of that calling once again and through enjoyment of teaching in these different classes, the warm feelings have returned.

It is amazing how our thoughts let the earthly things around us affect how we hear God’s calling for our lives.  Times of struggle, feelings of inadequacies, moments of grief, and so many more emotional elements in life block God’s calling if we let them.  Thinking back over the last year of my life, personally, I can see where God has called me and where I have felt His blessings for me.  But, I can also see where those earthly struggles have blocked me from God and have blocked my eyes from seeing His calling in my life.  In Romans 12, we read, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Renewal of the mind….that’s what my “calling” is today where I can hear God’s calling for me today.

Prayer:  Father God, You are Awesome and You are our Lord and Savior.  Help us today to slow our earthly thoughts down enough to hear Your voice calling us.  Help us adjust our thoughts to feel the renewal of the mind that You desire for us.  You are calling us Lord and we want to hear You.  Let us hear You today.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  God’s Calling

Get It Right

Thessalonians 4:1-2

“Finally, brethren, we beseech and exhort you in the Lord, Jesus, that as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, you do so more and more.  For you know the instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.”

Thought for the Day:  Strive to “Get it right” but when you don’t, know that God loves you and He lets us start anew each day. 

“Get it right the first time” are words that we do not see written in the Bible about people growing in their faith.  God is perfect and we are not.  So many times, we falter.  So many times, we fail.  But the wonderful thing about God is that He doesn’t expect us to be perfect in our faith.  He only expects that we admit our mistakes to Him and then we get back on the track to faithfulness.  As I watch my children, as well as when I watch myself, I easily realize that we do not always succeed even when we have set goals and have tried our hardest.  But, as we admit our mistakes to each other we give permission to try again.  Each day, God gives us a new day and that new day lets us “try again”.  Each day, He gives us an opportunity to “get it right” knowing we are not going to get it perfect.  Each day, He only asks that we keep going and keep trying.  Each day, He wants us to strive to be faithful.  Each day, God loves us and lets us know we are His children.

“Get it right the first time!”  Thank goodness we have a loving Father who does not say that.  Thank goodness our Parent understands that growing in the faith is like growing in our knowledge of life. As parents, we see our children try and we see our children fail but we understand that each time they try they are getting closer to “getting it right.”  God sees us try to be faithful and He sees us fail but He understands that each time we try we are getting closer to “getting it right.”  “Brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more.”

Prayer:  Father God, You are a loving father!  You are our Almighty Lord!  Please forgive us when we have not “gotten it right”.  Be with us as we go through our day to strive to be faithful, and help us understand that when we falter that You love us.  Help us know that when we fail that we need to keep going.  We love You, God.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Those Trying


Isaiah 43:18-19

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old, Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Thought for the Day:  God brings us a newness each morning

Waking up each morning, even when I haven’t slept well, is a moment when a new day is in front of me.  New possibilities, new dreams, and new thoughts.  I do have to start the same way each day, however.  Waking with the alarm clock chiming for the third or fourth or maybe even the fifth time, my thoughts are on two things.  My first thought is of that morning cup of coffee that awaits being poured in our kitchen and my second thought is of opening my computer to read devotions to start my day.  Each day begins differently as the devotions seem to take a life of their own bringing new thoughts and emotions.  It is only after these two things happen that I can begin writing.  In those early morning moments, I am sharing time with God and I am sharing time with myself.  As I write, my heart is on words I have read that morning or on emotions that come in my waking.  My writing does not have a constant theme as so many writers seem to have.  My writing fluctuates in different directions as I awake with different thoughts each morning.

Reading two devotions began my thoughts this morning.  The first devotion was The Upper Room devotion where I read the scripture from John 16, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.  Ask and you will receive so that your joy may be complete.”  The second devotion was from Jena Forehand’s blog where I read the scripture from 2 Corinthians 4, “The inward man is being RENEWED day by day.”  As I read and as I thought of life experiences in the past few years, I pondered deeply the meaning for me.  My first thought was, “Have I been praying wrong? – Have I not prayed in “His” name?”.  My second thought was, “Have I let the enemy wear me down through fear and insecurity so much that I am not feeling the newness God wants me to feel each morning.”  Jena’s devotion read, “When you lay hold of the grace God has given you to start each day NEW and FRESH, you actually are beating the enemy, because he can no longer pile on lie upon lie and trial upon trial.”  She said begin the day with a smile on our face because God renews us each day.

So, what do I take from reading today?  Today, I hear the words from God to me, “Go out with a smile on your face – show the enemy that he has no control over you – remember that today is a new day!  Then, think about what you truly need and ask….ask in MY name for what will truly bring you joy in Me.”

Prayer:  Thank you, Father God, for writers who bring Your words to us through their devotions.  Through them, we can look into ourselves more where we can know you better.  Be with us today, Lord, as we begin a NEW day in You.  Bring us joy, today, Lord.  Bring us that special joy in You.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Those who are needing to feel closer to God.





I Want to Turn Back to You

Romans 12:1-2

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Thought for the Day:  Feel Closer to God today

Reading a devotional blog by a female evangelist this morning, I reflected on how her words could enter my heart to bring me closer to God.  As I read her words, her words about what happens to us when we get complacent in our relationships with those around us, I was touched.  Not only does it affect our human relationships, it also affects our relationship with God.  The last week has brought several trials for our family which have caused a few tears.  As I read the words in the devotion this morning, I realized how easily I personally can let these trials create a bitterness inside me that can affect my relationship with those around me and my relationship with God. She gave three very important instructions for getting those relationships back where they need to be and she has given me personally what I need to do right now in my life. 1) Remember – Remember how wonderful it was to walk with God and feeling the Spirit so deeply that you want it back.  2) Repent – Change our mindset that has taken our thoughts away from God and turn our thoughts back toward God. 3) Repeat – Start doing the things you did when you were closest to God and talk to Him about everything.  As I read her blog this morning and saw these three words, I began thinking about what I could do.  Today, I will strive to remember my closeness with God and talk with Him throughout the day in praise and thanksgiving.  Today, I will work to change my mindset from a “woe is me” mindset to “God, what would you have me do” mindset.  Today, I will go back and do those things that I once did that brought me close to him.  I haven’t walked and taken my pictures lately – today, that will come back.

I am thankful today for Jena, the writer of the blog I read this morning.  God brought her into my life as a conference speaker in March of last year.  I remember crying as she spoke as I was in the midst of strong questions about where God was calling me.  Now, I find that my questions about God’s calling for me are still emotionally driven as I still try to foresee His plan for me.  Her words today, written from her heart, touch my heart and bring me to a renewed mindset that God loves me and that He has a plan for me.  God is in control and God is Who brings me peace and joy.

Prayer:  Lord, God!  We praise You today and want desperately to feel Your presence.  Be with us as we remember how wonderful it feels to be present fully with You.  Be with us as we turn our mindset to run toward You instead of away.  Be with us as we repeat the things over and over that brought us closer to You.  Mostly, Lord, help us know You are walking with us and that You are the most important thought we should have at all times throughout our day.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Coming Back to God



Genesis 32:28

“Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

Thought for the Day: It’s okay to wrestle with God occasionally

Waking after a night of restless sleep, I read The Upper Room Devotional where Jacob wrestled with God.  As I read, I thought of my hours during the night of praying once again that God make His plan clear to me.  As I spent time last evening writing a late letter to friends about our precious time in our new home and town, I wrestled with how to word my personal job situation.  As I laid in bed, and literally moved to another location during the night, I thought about where God could use me where I could help my family out financially in some way.  I am a teacher, a good teacher, but that teaching position has eluded me.  As a dear friend asked me last week, “Why aren’t they giving you a job?”, I replied that I truly believe it is God, as my interviews have gone great and I have left each one thinking I probably had the position.  I know, looking back, that God had other plans for me through this time as He has led me to write, take pictures, direct a children’s choir, and to be a good mother to my boys.  But still no financial help.  So, I still wrestle with God.

The writer of The Upper Room devotion for today seemed to be in the same situation I find myself in.  He had training in a certain area yet couldn’t get a position.  He had the thought, “Had I so completely misunderstood God’s direction, or had God simply given up on me?”  When I read the author’s words this morning, I quickly knew this devotional was written for me.  Now I ask myself, ”What has happened to me in my relationship with God during these months of struggle?”  My answer is simply that I truly feel my relationship with God is stronger than it has ever been and that I know, in time, His way for me will become clear.  In the meantime, I will continue wrestling with God and I will do the things He has placed in front of me that bring peace to me as well as peace to others.  Could the writer’s thought for the day be God’s answer for me today, “Sometimes our failures provide the greatest opportunities to grow in faith.”  Could my wrestling with God actually be what God knows I need to grow in my faith?”

Prayer:  God, thank you for giving us words of wisdom from others as we read devotionals you put in front of us each day.  It is amazing that You seem to give us exactly what we need in the words of others.  In doing that, You let us know we are not alone.  Be with us as we seek to determine your plan for us today.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Those in job transition



Be Thankful, God is Walking Beside You

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

Thought for the Day: Be thankful in all circumstances that God is walking with you.

Waking on the day after New Year’s Day, we tend to begin looking at the year ahead and think about what we need to do to create a better year than the year before.  I found my mind doing this as I awoke and even as my mind is more awake, I find I am continuing.  As I read “The Upper Room” devotion this morning, however, my thoughts swayed a different direction.  In 1 Thessalonians 5, we read the words “Rejoice Always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  The writer shared that within a month, she lost both a brother and her father, so thanking God seemed difficult.  It was later that she looked more into the words and found that the words “give thanks” did not mean being thankful for a particular circumstance, but to be thankful to God for remaining with us through the circumstance.  As I look back at my life filled with tragedies and changes, the knowledge that God was with me through each circumstance is clear and has no doubt.  God was with me, walking beside me all the way.  Today, as I enter this new year, I know without a doubt that God will be with me through every instance.  As I pray for a job position, even asking God to put my name constantly in front of a particular person I am thankful.  I am thankful for all those I have met throughout the process and I am thankful for the things God has led me to do during this time.  Thank you, God, for walking beside me every step of every day.

God has not promised us an easy road and He has not promised us that our prayers will be answered in the way we ask.  God has not promised us that our road will be lined with all things beautiful.  God has promised, however, that He will be with us through every circumstance.  All we need to do is open our eyes to see Him and to open our hearts to feel Him near.  That is what we are to be thankful for.

Prayer:  God, You are wonderful and You are mighty.  Thank you for walking beside us as we walk through this life.  You promised us that wherever we are and whatever we are doing that you will be near, and You are.  Today, I am thankful for family, and I am thankful for the knowledge that You are walking beside me every day.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Being Thankful

The Conversation

Isaiah 43:18-21

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old, Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.  The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.

Thought for the Day:  As we face new days and thoughts, remember the times God has made a way.

Sharing a conversation with a friend who I haven’t spoken to in many months was refreshing to me.  There are still days when I feel sorry for myself as I still do not have a teaching position and although I am fulfilling a lot of dreams and visions of my heart, I sometimes feel I am not complete.  As I spoke to her about my husband’s ministry in our church and how our children are doing in their school, scout, and church activities my heart seemed to warm.  She stated that it seems that God has definitely led us to this place.  I agreed as it seems that everyone in our home has their place and is happy.  Looking back at that discussion as well as talks I have had with others through the last months has reminded me, once again, of God’s great plan for our lives and that He places us where He wills.  I am still yearning for a  position teaching in a local school, but in the meanwhile, I will continue being in His presence and writing about being in the presence of God.

“God will make a way where there seems to be no way, He works in ways we cannot see He will make a way for me.  He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side.  With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way.  He will make a way.”  In our lives today, “God has made a way where there seemed to be no way, He has worked in ways we could not see.  He has made a way for me.  He has been my guide, has held me closely to His side.  With love and strength for each new day, He has made a way.  He has made a way.”  I am still watching for God to guide me to my next big chapter, but in the meanwhile, I am thanking God for walking beside me.

Prayer:  Father God, thank you for conversations where we can talk about our faith and where You have led us.  Thank you for the friends we talk to who listen, give words of wisdom, and then pray for us.  We praise You today.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Seeing where God has made a way