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  • Welcome!

    I am a wife, mom of 2 beautiful children and daughter of my Heavenly Father. God has taken me through some amazing journeys. With each challenge I have learned more about His amazing Love and Grace. Take some time out of your busy, hectic day and join me as we sit in the Calm of God's Presence.

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I am so excited to welcome my friend Julie Sanders to The Calm of His Presence. Some of you may remember Julie from her previous visit where she shared with us her work to prevent Human Trafficking. Her post Now I know can be found in her e-book RELEASED: 30 Days to Stand for Freedom. Today Julie is visiting to share with us a devotion from her newly published book EXPECTANT 40 Devotions for New and Expectant Moms. In EXPECTANT Julie shares information I wish I had when I was a new mom. I know if Julie and I had been friends 10 years ago the early days of motherhood wouldn’t have been so difficult. So, today I hope you enjoy your morning cup of coffee, quiet time while the kids are napping, or the last few minutes of alone time while sitting in carline as Julie shares with us.

Expectant_COVER

No experience has the power to stir a woman’s hopes like that of becoming a mother. Whether she enters in through adoption, infertility, or traditional pregnancy, a mother learns to sacrifice her expectations for the gift of raising a child. Instead of being paralyzed by the sudden uncertainty motherhood brings, confidence can be found in knowing, “There will never be a time when our children are out of God’s sight or apart from His presence,” (from EXPECTANT, Calling the Shots). Every journey is unique, but every heart is expectant.

Her betrothal was still fresh when her expectations dissolved in the light of the angel’s arrival. To be old enough to be promised was to be mature enough to bear a child. Before Mary even had time to adjust to changes in her own body or warm up to the name “Joseph,” everything she anticipated fell away. There would be no joyous gathering of girlhood friends, envious of her new status. None of the other girls wanted to swell with a child before uniting with a husband.

At the first sign of a change, Mary was troubled and frightened. She had questions. Before she had time to learn the physical ways of womanhood or enjoy intimacy with a man, her body would be taken over for purposes bigger than she could conceive. “And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. ‘”(Luke 1:30)

Most of us have plans for this Christmas season. No one anticipates interruptions like job loss or a life lost. Unexpected events never appear on our wish list. Advent readings rarely dwell on our suffering. But when our expectations are erased and our decisions dissolve, God has the opportunity to display His grander plan. He takes our hand, leading us to unwelcoming inns, simple stable accommodations, and to exile in our Egypts. Our Father lets us glimpse the greater glory found when life encircles the Prince of Peace.

Motherhood causes our expectations to fall away. From the moment young Mary received her angelic message, nothing unfolded as she imagined, but she found the greater glory in God’s greater plan. “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

We must hold loosely to our expectations, for Christmas will probably not be according to our plans. Let’s look for God’s greater glory with hearts that are expectant.

Father God,
I want to treasure Your actions in my life that bring about the glory of being part of Your story. Help me hold my expectations loosely and welcome your better plans for me.

Every heart is Expectant 400

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Julie lives where tea is sweet and grits are cheesy. She and her husband of 25 years have two nearly grown kids. EXPECTANT: 40 Devotions for New and Expectant Moms was born when God brought a group of young couples into their lives, just as they began to long to grow their families. Julie loves to teach God’s word to women in her hometown and across the globe; she is passionate about fighting human trafficking and helping women of all tribes and tongues find God’s peace for life.  Check out Julie’s blog home Come Have a Peace  (www.juliesanders.org) and Marriage Mondays to find reasons for peace and information about her ministry.

EXPECTANT is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ComeHaveaPeace with One Minute4MOM

Twitter:  @JulieSanders_

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/juliesanders_/

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed Julie’s visit as much as I have. If you have a friend, sister or daughter who is expecting a baby or is a new mom, Expectant  would be the perfect Christmas. And if you yourself are expecting or are a new mom this would be the perfect book to add to your Christmas wish list. Have a blessed day my friends,

In His Calm,

mary signaturenavy

Yesterday I shared with you the story of my husband’s grief during the holidays. It isn’t easy watching someone you love relive the pain of loss each year during what should be a joy-filled season.

Are you walking through a season covered by a cloud of grief with a loved one? Do you struggle with how to continue building traditions with your kids and family as a spouse goes through the motions of this time of year? Do you wonder if the pain will ever go away?

My friend can I share something with you? I know where you are. I know the tug of war you are feeling experiencing the joy of the season but hurting as you watch your loved one struggling.

Throughout the last 5 years I have walked the struggle out with my husband and learned lessons along the way. Today I want to share some of those lessons with you.

  • First and Foremost PrayWalking through grief with someone takes countless hours of prayer. Prayer is the foundation needed to help your loved one. When praying ask God to give them the peace they need. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
  • Grant Grace – When frustration sets in because your loved one isn’t as excited about something as you are remember to give them Grace. They are hurting & sometimes will say & do things they wouldn’t otherwise do. Give them the Grace to be a little moody while gently reminding them you love them. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6
  • Give Space –I have been given the gift of mercy and want to fix things and situations. One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is to give space and not hover. Sometimes they just need the space to breathe.
  • Give Permission to Grieve – The expectation during the holidays is that everyone will be happy & excited but when someone is living through a loss during the holidays they feel as if they can’t grieve. Let your loved one know it’s ok to feel the way they do.
  • Build New Traditions – It’s ok to set aside traditions that are just too painful right now. Find new ways to celebrate the season. Throughout the years I have done different things with the kids to give us all new excitement. There have been times when my husband has enjoyed the new activity and other times he participated because of the children, either way we were spending time together.
  • Give Unconditional Love and a Listening Ear – Let your loved one know that no matter what you will always be there for them. Assure them that you will always love them and be an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on when needed.

How to help a loved one grieve during the holidays

Thank you for spending these last two days with me as I shared our story of grief during the holidays and the lessons I learned while supporting my husband.

If you’re traveling this road with a loved one I would love to pray for you. Leave a comment, email me or leave a message on my facebook page and I will pray for you.

In His Calm,

mary signaturenavy

I remember it just like it was yesterday, every year my family gathered at my Grandparent’s house after my Grandmama worked for days preparing our Thanksgiving meal. Thanksgiving morning the children and grandchildren arrived bearing side dishes, desserts, excitement to see each other and empty bellies ready to be filled. Grandkids ran amuck running outside with the screen door slamming behind us as we raced to see who could get to the hay barn first – ready to play hide & go seek among the hay bales. As the big farm bell rang to announce dinner was served we raced back to the house and collapsed at the kiddie table ready to enjoy the bounty of food set before us.

My husband remembers his Thanksgiving a little quieter, time spent with his parents, brother & Gink (his Grandmama) sitting down to turkey & dressing and all the trimmings. After dinner he and is Mom began their yearly tradition of decorating the house. They spent hours placing newly collected and old family decorations in just the right spot.

For each of us, those days were spent building memories that would shape our love of the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Neither of us realized the deep joy those traditions brought us until one Thanksgiving chairs sat empty. Through death, loved ones-who were once such an integral part of our lives-were no longer with us.

I’ll never forget the first Thanksgiving my Papa and years later my Grandmama’s chairs sat empty. I remember sitting at the table staring at the chairs thinking that if I stared long enough my Papa & Grandmama would be sitting there again.

On that first Thanksgiving my husband’s parents were not with us the empty spaces at the table left a thick cloud of sadness. While my husband tried desperately to be joyful for our children, the pain & loss of both of his parents enveloped him.

The loss of my grandparents was separated by several years and over time it became a little easier to enjoy the holidays but for my husband the loss of his parents took place the same year leaving him with double the grief.

For 5 years I watched as he struggled to find joy in a season that was so rooted in tradition & memories. He tried hard to be happy, thankful & excited as our children experienced Christmas but he found it difficult to move past the pain of the memories of what was once such an integral part of his life.

This year as we drove to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving with all of my family – uncles, aunts, cousins, mom, siblings and their children – I watched as the cloud of sadness began to overtake him. And this year just as I have the last 5 years I begged God to take the pain away and give him a spirit of joy and excitement. I asked God to remind him of all that he has been given despite the pain of loss.

As Thanksgiving came to a close I sensed that this would be another year where he would struggle and not be able to find the joy he once had for this blessed season. I went to bed Thanksgiving night praying God would heal his heart and remind him what it feels like to be joyful during this time of year.

On Friday morning we decided to return to our old tradition of choosing our Christmas tree and decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving. We spent the day cleaning and unloading the decorations from the attic. As my husband dug through the pile of boxes in the attic he uncovered a cluster of boxes that had been pushed to the very back dark corner. In those boxes were ceramic houses, figurines, & accessories that unearthed memories he had covered years ago. Those memories were filled with hours spent with his mom setting up Dicken’s Village scenes.

I watched as an excitement I hadn’t seen in years began to wash over him. With each box brought down out of the attic I saw more of the man who once found joy in this time of year. The fog of grief that covered the season was beginning to disperse.

This weekend as he thoughtfully and deliberately built Dicken’s Village scenes he relived emotions both joyful and painful but with each ceramic house, figurine & accessory placed healing took place.

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This time of reflection wasn’t easy but it was necessary to move beyond the pain and begin to build memories and traditions that our children will hold dear.

Time of reflection quote

Do you have a loved one that is spending their first Christmas without someone close to them? Have you watched as a cloud of grief has covered what should be a joyous time of year for a loved one?

It hasn’t been easy to watch my husband hurt and grieve but over the years I have lovingly supported, prayed and stood by him as he worked through the grief. This post became so much longer than I thought it would be. Thank you for bearing with me as I told our story.

I have learned over the years as God takes me and teaches me through difficulties he has given me a story and has called me to share what I have learned with others. Will you join me tomorrow as I share some of the lessons learned as I walked beside my husband during his time of grief during the holidays? I want to make it easy for you to join us tomorrow…take a look on the right sidebar and find the area that says “Subscribe by email”, fill it out and follow the prompts and tomorrow’s post will quietly find its way into your inbox. Have a blessed day my friend.

In His Calm,

mary signaturenavy

  • Julie@comehaveapeaaceDecember 3, 2014 - 8:39 pm

    I love this Mary. I love how God never stops healing our hurts. I love the heritage you and your J have been given and the legacy you’re continuing. I love how you have loved him through the years as he has felt the loss in fresh ways each holiday season. I think this is one of my favorite posts. Thank you so much for sharing.ReplyCancel

    • Mary@thecalmofhispresenceDecember 4, 2014 - 6:14 am

      Julie~ Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! I knew when God called me to be Jeff’s wife I was being called to love him in the good, bad & everywhere in between. Sometimes that means loving through grief. As difficult as it has sometimes been God has used it to tie us together more than I could have imagined. Blessings to you my friend!ReplyCancel

  • […] I shared with you the story of my husband’s grief during the holidays. It isn’t easy watching someone you love relive the pain of loss each year during what should be […]ReplyCancel

  • RachaelDecember 4, 2014 - 5:51 am

    Found your post through Come Have a Peace. This post resonated with my heart, as I lost my mom 4 years ago, but this is the first holiday season I am enjoying since her passing. So I can very much relate to your husband. Sharing your story is so important because many do not understand the loss of a loved one or what someone who faces that goes through at the holidays. I hope this year is filled with new memories as well as remembering the old, for your family. Merry Christmas :)ReplyCancel

    • Mary@thecalmofhispresenceDecember 4, 2014 - 6:17 am

      Rachael~ I am so glad you found The Calm of His Presence and I am so sorry you have had to suffer the loss of your mom. I’m so glad you are beginning to enjoy the holiday season again. I’ll be praying for you throughout this season. Please come by again.ReplyCancel

Good morning my friends. How has your week been? Have you had a fun & exciting week filled with answered prayer and God moments or have you struggled with unanswered questions and wondering when you will hear from God?

My sweet sisters do you know I pray for you? I may not know each of your names or have a chance to sit with you talking over coffee while eating a sugary dessert (shhh don’t tell my doctor I’m cheating on my low carb diet) but I do pray for you. My heart and passion is for women of all ages & stages to grow closer in their walk with our Lord Jesus Christ. And my friends, I pray that you will do just that.

The community here at The Calm of His Presence is made up of ladies in so many different stages of life. There are those of you who are:

  • college students studying as hard as you can to make it through the next test
  • young wives who are trying to figure out this amazing, hard & beautiful thing called marriage
  • moms of young children walking around with spit-up on your shoulder, tripping over toys, escaping to the bathroom just to find a few quite moments
  • working moms who struggle to keep up with the housework while helping to provide for your family
  • moms with older kids who find yourselves in the middle of the road all afternoon and evening as you shuttle your kids from one activity to the other
  • empty nesters or ladies without children who work & serve in your church & in your community.

I hope each of you know you are right where God wants you to be at this very moment. He is doing an amazing work in you in whatever stage of life you are in.

My prayer is that while you are serving where God has you, you will also find time to sit in His Calming Presence. Whether it is 15 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour I hope you make time each day to pray & study God’s Word. As you study His Word you will grow closer to Him.

You each may have different quiet time and study needs so today I want to share with you 3 different types of studies I have just finished.

http://inspiredtoaction.com/downloads/hellomornings-advent-power-pack/?ref=6

http://inspiredtoaction.com/downloads/hellomornings-advent-power-pack/?ref=6

Hellomornings – This is a great study for those of you who like to study & interact on social media. Hellomornings offers discussion groups on twitter, facebook & instagram. You determine the time that works best for you to have your personal quiet time but still have the accountability of a small group.

This Christmas season Hellomornings will be doing a 4 week Advent Study, Then Came Jesus by Lara Williams. You can go to the Hellomornings website to register for the free study guide. You can also use this study as a family Advent time. Purchase an optional Advent Power Pack for just $5 dollars and you will receive the study, a printable companion journal, the Christmas Song “God With Us” by Shaun Groves and suggestions for Advent time with your family. During the Advent Study there is no official small group discussion by I would like to invite you to join me and my co-AC for discussion by using #newmercies on twiiter.

 

The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands

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– Do you like to read? The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demandsby Lysa TerKeurst is a great book that can be thrown into your purse or downloaded on your Kindle to be read while your sitting in carline or snuggled in front of the fire on cold winter days. In The Best Yes Lysa helps us determine what God’s best yes is for each of us. This fall I participated in the study with Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies.

Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies offers several studies through out the year. You can be as involved as your time will allow you. Their options range from interacting on blog posts, facebook small groups to conference calls. Visit the P31 website for more details.

 

Children of the Day: 1 & 2 Thessalonians

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by Beth Moore – Do you have a little more time to dig into God’s Word? Children of the Day takes you through 1 & 2 Thessalonians. In it you will find that “Your circumstances and conditions are not coincidental in your journey. God’s timing is impeccable. Join Beth Moore on the Thessalonian shores as you face real crises, real medical diagnoses, real afflictions, real relationships, real doubts, real concerns, and real fears.” I just finished leading this study with a women’s small group at Church and loved it. You can go through it on your own or lead your own small group through Children of the Day: 1 & 2 Thessalonians.

 

So my friends I pray you will find a Bible Study option that works for you and your needs. Whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour my prayer is that each day you will enter God’s Presence through His Word. When we enter His Presence He will calm our souls to serve in the place He has us.

Please note some of the links present are affiliate links.

In His Calm,

mary signaturenavy

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