How to Know When it’s Time to Panic – Mark 4:37-40

Being a new parent was often stressful and confusing. I didn’t know how to juggle decisions about my infant’s care, like when to hold him and when to let him fall asleep on his own. And where should I draw the line for my older children—between intervening in their disagreements and letting them manage without my help?

I may have been overly concerned about doing everything right at first, but I did relax in my role over time. I enjoyed learning and growing with them.

One of my lessons came while chatting with a young mother in her yard one day. As she turned to go into the house I saw her little girl fall off her tricycle and start whimpering. The child clearly wasn’t hurt badly, looking around to see if mom was nearby before letting out a howl. Before the girl drew her next breath mom was running to pour out comfort with hugs, kisses, and coos in a way that I thought was overdone.

But I took her actions to heart and made a deal with God.

I knew there would be times when I needed to act quickly to protect my children or others from danger, so I prayed, “Lord, I don’t want to be overprotective or fearful, but I also don’t want to be foolhardy. Would you tell me when it’s time to panic?”

I finished my prayer asking him to help me listen to his warnings.

I’ve had many situations where the plan to stay calm until I’m told to move quickly worked out well for me, one being when I encountered a large snake in Africa (that’s a story for another time). It’s comforting to know he’s in the boat with me, helping me understand what I should do during life’s storms.

And a great windstorm arose, waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

Mark 4:37-40 ESV

I’m happy to announce that my most current devotions have been released in the Summer 2021 issue of the Warner Press devotional magazine, Pathways—Moments With God. Yes, I’m a little late letting you know, but here’s where you can order your copy.

When You See Troubling Times Ahead, Try This – Philippians 4:5-9

In a previous post I mentioned how singing brings me comfort when I feel my life is spinning out of control. There’s another option, since singing isn’t always appreciated by those nearby. Maybe it will help you like it helps me in times like these.

Imagine you’re on a roller coaster.

Heavy chains rattle as the car drags its anxious passengers to the peak. Pausing at the top, you fight the urge to look down. A child whimpers a few rows back. You know what’s coming . . .

Then you’re descending, more like falling, down the track, and there’s nothing you can do but to hang on.

You’re sure to hear shrieks, maybe even cries, like I did at the Lagoon amusement park near Salt Lake City. But my reaction was unique, according to my older cousin. He said I laughed through the whole ride.

Like I said in my story in Jesus Talked to Me Today, I started believing Jesus was my best friend when I was very young. I don’t believe I was thinking about his presence during the ride, though. I honestly don’t know where my giddiness came from that day.

I’m also at a loss about how God wants me to “love my neighbor as myself” in some situations, but these verses offer clear direction about things I do understand.

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:5-9 ESV

What I hear is that I need to

  1. Allow people to see what’s reasonable in me.
  2. Instead of giving way to anxiety, I should pray, make requests, and thank God in everything.
  3. Keep my thoughts on what’s true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy, and not on things that are not of God, like those which are divisive, ugly, or degrading.
  4. Practice what I have learned, received, heard and seen in the life and writings of the apostle Paul.

Then the God of peace will be with me, guarding my heart and my mind in Jesus. Isn’t his peace something we so desperately need these days?

When we manage our thinking like the scriptures suggest, the roller coaster of life can still plunge, jerk, and throw us side to side in the seat, but it will be less likely that we’ll be the ones screaming during the ride.

Kathy Sheldon Davis

From Foster Child to Greatness – Exodus 2:6-10

When I began fostering children it didn’t occur to me that Moses, the great leader of Israel, was raised in a foster home. I only understood that his mother relinquished him to save his life.

Jochebed hid her baby as long as she dared, knowing her neighbors lost their infant sons to drowning whenever they were discovered. Finally, weaving a reed basket, she plotted her baby’s escape.

Her heart must have been breaking, yet she hoped God would protect his life. How did she manage to hold herself together as she wrapped her boy in his blanket one last time, placed his napping form in the basket, and launched him into the river?

When she (Pharaoh’s daughter) opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” 

Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?”  And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother.  And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.”

So the woman took the child and nursed him.  When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

Exodus 2:6-10 ESV

Her little one rescued from the river, Jochebed was given a few additional years to nurse him, sing to him, enjoy him–all while receiving wages as though she were merely a nursemaid. This boggles my mind.

Imagine how you would pray in Jochebed’s situation. Her son would be taught to serve the gods of Egypt, spurning her people and her God. He might even become an oppressor like the ones who tried to wipe out all her nephews.

As she mothered him a little longer, she prepared for the day she’d send him away again. Do you think she whispered in his ear to remind him she was his true mother? When she put her son into his foster mom’s arms, did she hear his new mother change her boy’s name–and maintain her peace anyway?

Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord.

Numbers 12:6-8 ESV

PRAYER:

Lord, I don’t know all your plans for my children and my foster children, but like Jochebed, I put them in your hands. I trust you. I pray you will teach them your ways and guide their paths in preparation for the tasks you have for them. May they surpass me in their knowledge of you, walk humbly before you, and serve you faithfully all their days. Thank you for hearing the prayers of a mother’s heart.

Kathy Sheldon Davis

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