How to Fight for Contentment in Your Work as a Mom

Our guest contributor today is Esther Engelsma (née Beeke) who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with her husband and two children. She is the author of How Can I Feel Productive as a Mom? and serves her church as an administrative assistant. Learn more at


Contentment in the type and amount of work you accomplish in motherhood, or in any other role, is not a magical trait that God sprinkles over you. It is something that must be learned (Phil. 4:11) and fought for daily. One of Satan’s strategies since the day he tempted Eve in the garden is to sow discontent in our hearts. But we do not have to fall for his lies. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can combat him and glorify God by fighting for contentment in the work God has called us to. Here are some practical examples of how to do that: How Can I Feel Productive as a Mom

1. Believe what God says about Himself. He says He is good (Pss. 119:68; 145:9). He says that if you love Him and are called according to His purpose, everything in your life works together for good (Rom. 8:28). Do you believe this? If you do, then you must also believe that any command He gives is for your good. Among many other commands, He tells you to work heartily (Col. 3:23). He would not tell you this if the work in front of you was not good for you. Even if it feels small or boring at times, you can grow in contentment by repeating these truths to yourself again and again.

2. Work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men (Col. 3:23). Doing your work with energy makes it go by faster and helps you feel energized by it rather than depleted. The exhaustion that comes at the end of a day of hard work is a far better feeling than the tiredness at the end of a lazy day of short tasks sandwiched between long breaks on social media. It is laziness that breeds discontent, not work. And while work does not guarantee contentment, you will never be content if you don’t do the work the Lord has put in front of you. It is in obedience that you find peace.

3. Remember your reward. Read on in Colossians 3: Work “heartily…knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance” (vv. 23–24). God Himself gives the incentive of reward, and it’s not wrong to look forward to it. No matter what you do, knowing there is a reward waiting for you at the end is a wonderful incentive. As Paul wrote, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).

4. Learn to love your work. If a task must be done, you might as well learn to love it. You can learn to love it in the same way that someone can learn to love investing five dollars instead of spending it—by focusing on the long-term results rather than on the immediate satisfaction. And isn’t that what so much of the Christian walk is about? We must learn to deny what our flesh wants in the moment, which leads to death, in order to do what God wills by the Spirit’s power, which is life (Rom. 8:13).

5. Realize that the work of motherhood and homemaking must be learned. We tend to think that motherhood a natural role and must therefore come easily, but it doesn’t. We know how to do many of the individual tasks, but putting them all together in a way that gets it all done is a challenge and takes time to figure out. But just like any other job, you don’t have to start out as an expert. You can search out people in person or online to teach you better ways of doing the work. You can improve with time. As your kids grow, so do you.

6. Get good at your work. What activities do you enjoy doing? What activities are you good at? The two lists are probably similar. A reasonable conclusion is that if you want to like an activity or task more, you need to get better at it. How can you get better at your work? By practice. How can you practice? By doing it over and over—weekly, daily, or hourly. How convenient that motherhood and homemaking put you in a position that requires you to do just that. If you put in the effort, you can’t help but get better at your work and therefore learn to enjoy it more.

7. Accept what you can accomplish in a day. Productivity is like money in that you tend to think that if you had just a little more, you would be happy. You won’t. When you get more, you’ll want more. You must be aware of how much you can and should accomplish in a day and you must work hard, but you must also train your mind to be content with what was accomplished. God has the hairs on your head numbered (Luke 12:7). Do you think He didn’t number the crumbs that fell from the high chair today? Do you think He didn’t plan the fights you had to mediate, the tears you had to wipe? Those “interruptions” did not get in the way of your “real work.” They were your real work. They were your calling. Contentment doesn’t just apply to whether you are happy with your body or your clothes. God gave you a limited and specific level of ability, time, and opportunity to get things done. You must use time and talents well, but when you have done that, you must be content with what you accomplished, because it is what God meant for you to accomplish.

8. Look for the cause of your discontent. If you struggle with discontent, try to pinpoint what is causing it. On the one hand, is it something that you can and should be working on or changing? Then work at it. Spiritual life is so intertwined with your physical life and environment that often tackling a project or goal you should have finished months ago can help in the fight for contentment. It’s not the finished goal that will make you content, but it is God’s will that you care for the blessings and do the work He has placed in front of you, and you cannot expect contentment outside that will. On the other hand, is your struggle with discontent over something that you cannot or should not be working on or changing? Then soak your mind in the Word of God, prayer, and good books and podcasts so that it is not being soaked in the matter of discontent. No one stays content without prayer, work, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

9. Practice gratitude. Pray thanksgiving and sing praises all day long, every time you think to do so. It will change your experience of motherhood and of life. It is what God created you for. You are included in “the people…I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise” (Isa. 43:21). It doesn’t matter how productive you may be in the world’s eyes. If you shirk the purpose for which God made you, productivity means nothing and you will never feel satisfied, no matter how much you strive for it. If, however, you strive for productivity not as a means to prop yourself up but as a tool to bring glory to God, you can be and feel productive.

Note: Content taken from How Can I Feel Productive as a Mom? p. 28–33. © 2017. Used by permission of Reformation Heritage Books.



How Are You? 

How Are You

Note: This week our guest contributor is Marie Sweezer, a wife and mother of two living children. She and her husband Jordan lost their daughter, Katherine (Katie) Grace, shortly after she was born on June 15, 2018 at 37 weeks. I recently visited them and was so blessed by this couple’s testimony, who, even as their newborn daughter was dying could say by God’s grace, “No matter what happens, God is good.” This is their version of Job’s confession: “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).


Marie & Jordan Sweezer with thier baby Katie

Marie and Jordan Sweezer holding their baby Katie, who went to be with her Lord, 7 1/2 hours after she was born. 

How are you? That question can be at times so hard to answer right now. When someone asks me how I am, (and I can see in their eyes how much they care) I find myself just wanting to cry because, honestly, I’m overwhelmed with so many emotions.

Encountering mothers that are pregnant, or were pregnant with me and have babies now, looking at photos of new babies, hearing announced pregnancies, seeing my c-section scar, feeling the pain of my incision when I do too much, and having milk come down and leak thru my shirt are just some of the reminders that I don’t have my daughter.

I cry and hurt because I miss my baby girl. It’s hard and so very painful at times. And I believe there will always be a certain sadness about losing my baby as long as I live. However, I am putting my trust in the Lord, knowing that He is in complete control. But grief is still a real thing. To grieve doesn’t mean you aren’t a strong person, or not a believer. Even our Lord Jesus Christ wept (John 11:35). And contrary to popular opinion, there is no time limit on grief, or even really a “cycle” that every person goes through that loses a loved one. Everyone is different; and so, everyone will grieve differently.

I have found myself having such good days when honestly I can say my daughter’s name, or hear it. Doing this just puts a smile on my face. Then I have days where the mere thought of her, or just the sight of a newborn baby brings me to my knees, crying my eyes out. Everyday is different. Psalm 42 I think describes the feelings I have so well: the feeling of sadness but also the felling of joy which can only be found in Christ alone. This passage is such a beautiful chapter. I encourage you to read it; and read it in different translations to get the full grasp of what the psalmist is describing.

Marie & Jordan Sweezer with thier baby

Marie and Jordan Sweezer holding their precious baby

These past few weeks after losing Katie, many mothers, who have lost children shortly after birth, have connected with me. I encourage you, if you are one of those mothers, to continue to look to Christ. When you feel those tears coming on, when you get those feelings of anger and frustration, PRAY, PRAY, and PRAY. Prayer is such an amazing thing. Our loving God hears our cries to Him! We are to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17) and to be constantly filling our minds with the things of God (Phil. 4:8). What I learned recently which I found to be so encouraging is that the word “comfort” actually means “strength” in Latin.

As a believer in Christ, what is your only comfort in life and in death, or what is your only strength in life and in death? The answer is: “that I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him” (Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 1).

I encourage you that no matter what you are facing in this life, look to Christ for strength. He is our strength. He loves and takes care of His people. It’s in Him only that true comfort lies.  “He heels the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds” (Ps. 147:3).







Death Family Father Mother

Three Ways Adult Children Can Honor Their Mothers

3 ways children honor

Every second Sunday of May Americans, Canadians, Filipinos, and countless others around the globe celebrate Mother’s Day. This celebration centers on honoring mothers. Although this tradition originated in ancient pagan festivals, the motive embedded in this tradition is biblical. In fact, God in His fifth commandment demands that we honor our mothers: “Honor your father and your mother…” (Exod. 20:12).

Unfortunately, many children only remember to honor their mothers on Mother’s Day. They forget that honoring their mothers is their daily duty to God. Of course, our mothers are not perfect; they commit mistakes. Yet, we must still respect them in the Lord. If we ever disagree with them, let us do so using respectful language and gestures. Remember that when we disrespect our parents we sin not only against them but also against God, for God has commanded us to honor them.

Do you honor your mother? Here are three ways you can honor them.

Firstprize them. To honor our parents means to place a high value upon them. Our mothers, despite all their shortcomings, are precious gifts from God; and thus, we must treasure and love them. Remember, our mothers will not always be around with us. Most likely they will die first before we do; so while they are still alive, let’s tell them how much we appreciate them. Let’s show them our love in word and in deed. Sadly, it is when they are gone that we begin to realize how precious they were to us. Don’t wait until their funeral to say words of appreciation.

When was the last time you thanked and appreciated your mom? Again, she may have many flaws, but she is still your mom.

Secondprovide for them. In Matthew 15:4, Jesus understands the fifth commandment as referring to both submission to and provision for our parents. As God enables us, we should help our mothers (especially our widowed mothers) in their physical, material, or financial needs. If you grew up with a caring and responsible mom, just think of what she had done for you from the time you were born until you became an adult. For several months she carried you in her womb; she fed you, changed your diaper, rocked you to sleep in the middle of the night, took care of you when you were sick, and the list goes on and on. The least thing that we can do in return for our mothers’ loving care for us is help them in their time of need. The truth is we cannot pay them back for all the many good things that they have done and continue to do for us, even in our adulthood.

Are you concerned with your mother’s welfare?

Thirdpray for them, especially for their spiritual life. And pray for them regularly. Do not underestimate the power of prayer. If your mother is not yet saved, ask God to grant her faith in His Son, for the Bible says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). If you have a godly mother, thank God for that tremendous blessing. And as Abraham Lincoln once declared, “No man is poor who has a godly mother.” Indeed, the “mother is the central sun of the child’s early life, and without her it is a poor home.” I personally thank and praise God for giving me such a loving and God-fearing mother. Part of what I am today, I owe to my dear mother.


Now, if we are honest with ourselves, we all have failed to honor our mothers as we should. There’s only one person who honored His mother as He should. His name is Jesus. Born under the law (Gal. 4:4), Jesus honored Mary (His earthly mother) and Joseph (His foster father). Jesus indeed kept the fifth commandment perfectly, so that through His perfect obedience to the law, we who are sinners may be justified through faith in Him.

And here’s our comfort: Yes, we are all guilty of not honoring our mothers as we should. But we can always come to God for forgiveness. We can borrow the words of the prodigal son in Luke 15:21 and apply it to our mothers, “‘Mother, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’” Our heavenly Father delights to forgive repentant sinners (1 John 1:9). We trust, too, that our mothers will pardon us: “forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).

The command to honor our mothers should humble us before God, because it makes us realize that apart from God’s help we cannot honor them according to God’s standard.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms!

mothers day abraham


The Most Beautiful Place I Have Ever Lived

I’ve lived in different places in the world. I’ve visited many beautiful places. Yet, I can say that the most beautiful place that I’ve ever lived was my mother’s womb. Let me repeat what I’ve just said: the most beautiful place that I’ve ever lived was my mother’s womb. I remember when my wife and I heard the heartbeat of our first child for the first time. After hearing our baby’s heartbeat, my wife made this comment, “That was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.” That sweet sound came from a mother’s womb.Tarsier and Chocolate Hills In Bohol of the Philippines

Why do I think a mother’s womb is the most beautiful place on earth? I will give you two reasons.

Here’s the first reason: We are conceived in our mother’s womb. David writes in Psalm 139:13[God] formed my inward parts; [He] knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” God created David, putting all his cells, organs, and parts together. Then in verse 16 David adds, “[God] saw my unformed substance.” In Hebrew the term “unformed substance” can also be translated “embryo,” which refers to the unborn baby from the time of conception through the eighth week of development. Notice God regards David in the womb as a person not as a thing. David became a person the moment he was conceived.

One of the arguments for abortion is that the embryo or the fetus (the unborn baby after the second month) is not yet a human life; and thus, pre-born babies may be terminated. Some pro-choice individuals would even dare to say that the fetus is just a bunch of tissues woven together. In sharp contrast to the pro-choice movement, God sees a fetus as a human being even if the fetus is not yet fully developed. Abortion therefore is sinful for it deliberately destroys a living human being in the womb. Sadly, what I call the most delightful place has become the most dangerous place in the world for this is where the murder of unborn babies happens.

The second reason why I think a mother’s womb is the most beautiful place on earth is because this is where we had our first reason to praise God. In verse 14 of the same chapter David proclaims, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” When you cannot find a reason to thank God, remember the time when you were in your mother’s womb. Someone has noted, “We cannot begin too soon to bless our Maker, who began so soon to bless us [in our mother’s womb]: even in the act of creation he created reasons for our praising his name.”

Do you know how God created you and me? Fearfully and wonderfully! We were fearfully made. The making of us is astonishing and should create in us a sense of reverence toward God. It should inspire us to bow down before our Creator in worship. Pregnancy is indeed amazing! If you are pregnant, think about this: there is another person in your womb. Unfortunately, some pro-choice mothers think that the fetus is only an internal organ connected to a woman’s body. But God tells us otherwise. The pre-born baby is not an organ but a person.

We were also created wonderfully. We were separated from the other creative works of God, for he created us in his own image. We are special creatures, and the proper response that we can give to our Creator is praise: “From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you” (Ps. 71:6). Yet, I thank God not only for creating me in the womb, but also for recreating me in Christ. I praise him not only for my physical birth but also for my spiritual birth (John 1:13). God caused me to be born in order for me to be born again (John 3:3).


Abortion Mother

A Biblical Look at Mother’s Day

Every second Sunday of May Americans, Filipinos, and countless others around the globe celebrate Mother’s Day. This celebration centers on honoring mothers. Although this tradition originated in ancient pagahappy-mothers-day-2014-ukn festivals, the motive embedded in this tradition is biblical. In fact, God in His fifth commandment demands that we honor our mothers. Unfortunately, many children only remember to honor their mothers on Mother’s Day. They forget that honoring their mothers is their daily duty to God. Of course, our mothers are not perfect: they commit mistakes. Yet, we must still respect them in the Lord. If we ever disagree with them, let us do so using respectful language and gestures. Remember that when we disrespect our parents we sin not only against them but also against God. Children, do you honor your mothers? There are three ways to honor them.

First, prize them. To honor our parents means to place a high value upon them. Our mothers are precious gifts from God; and thus, we must treasure and love them. Do you show to your mom that she is precious to you?

Second, provide for them. In Matthew 15: 4, Jesus understands the fifth commandment as referring to both submission to and provision for our parents. As God enables us, we must help our mothers in their physical, material, or financial needs. Do you care for your mother?

Third, pray for them, especially for their spiritual life. Do not underestimate the power of prayer. If your mother is not yet saved, ask God to give her faith in His Son, for the Bible says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Do you pray for your mom regularly?

On this Mother’s Day, can you honestly say that you cherish, care for, and commune with God for your mother?


Dedication, Doubt, & Declaration: A Graveside Service for Mrs. Joan Jacoba Elshout

Note: This is a revised version of the message I delivered on May 13, 2013 at the grave-side service for my dear mother-in-law Joan Jacoba Elshout (March 6, 1949 – May 6, 2013).

Joan Jacoba Elshout (1949-2013)

Joan Jacoba Elshout (1949-2013)

To read or print this message in a PDF file, click here.



Before proceeding to God’s Word, allow me to first commend my dear father-in-law for his forty years of faithful and patient love for his wife. Dad, thank you for the good example that you have left to us your children. You kept the vow that you had made to your wife on your wedding day—to love her in sickness and in health. I understand that without God’s grace, you would not have been able to love her in this way; therefore, praise God for His grace upon you.

Let’s now read our text for this short meditation—John 20:24-28.

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Sadly, we remember Thomas as “Doubting Thomas.” But, as Joshua Harris asserts, “God didn’t give the name ‘Doubting Thomas’, we did. God never defines us by our failures. He defines us by the perfection of his Son.” In the gospel God defines us not according to our sin but according to His Son’s righteousness.

You might ask, “What is the gospel?” Interestingly, in Mark 1:15 Jesus says, “[R]epent and believe in the gospel” and you will be saved. Then when the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” they replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:30-31). Notice that Paul and Silas did not say, “Believe in the gospel,” but instead, “Believe in the Lord Jesus.” Observe also that Jesus says, “[B]elieve in the gospel,” and not “believe in me.” Here then we see that the gospel and Jesus Christ are essentially synonymous. The gospel is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the good news. And here is the good news: He “came to seek and to save the lost” (John 19:10).

Upon my mother-in-law’s request, I would like to proclaim this gospel to you. And I can only preach the gospel if I preach Christ to you. My mother-in-law would have agreed with Charles Spurgeon who rebuked ministers that did not preach Christ: “Leave Christ out? O my brethren, better leave the pulpit out altogether. If a man can preach one sermon without mentioning Christ’s name in it, it ought to be his last, certainly the last that any Christian ought to go to hear him preach.”

This brief message will present the gospel by looking at Thomas’s life under three headings: (1) his dedication, (2) his doubt, & (3) his declaration.


I. His Dedication

In John chapter 11 Lazarus whom Jesus loves is sick. Actually, as the story progresses we discover that Lazarus eventually dies. Jesus wants to go to Judea to revive Lazarus, but listen to what His disciples tell Him:

Then after this he [Jesus] said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?”16 So Thomas, called the Twin,said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Please note Thomas’s remarkable dedication to his Master. He is courageously willing to die with Jesus. He is loyal to the Lord’s work. To some extent my mother-in-law was like Thomas. She was also committed to the service of the Lord. Her passion was to serve others. In fact, even when she was sick, she was still thinking of how she could minister to others. When she became severely ill, she was greatly disappointed that she could no longer help others, especially an older lady who became like a mother to her. No one who knew my mother-in-law would question her dedication to the Lord’s work. She evidently loved the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, like Thomas, although she had a strong commitment to Jesus, her faith in Him was weak. Like Thomas, she also struggled with doubt.


II. His Doubt

In our passage, the dedicated Thomas shows his doubt to the testimony of his fellow disciples concerning the resurrection of Jesus. Thomas tells them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (v. 25). Before Jesus died, He Himself had informed Thomas of His resurrection (Mark 8:31). Thus we learn that you can be dedicated to the Lord’s work, and at the same time doubt His word. Are you like Thomas—dedicated and yet doubting? You actively serve God, but doubt His promises. You faithfully attend church services every Sunday, but you doubt the gospel promise that if you believe in Jesus you will be saved.

Nevertheless, despite his doubt, Thomas is an honest seeker of truth. He does not want to remain in his state of doubt. He eagerly looks for the truth. Do you recall his dialogue with Jesus in John 14:5-6? In this passage the confused Thomas asks Jesus about the way to His Father’s house—the way to heaven:

“Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Thomas doubts, but he is not content to remain doubting. He wants to be certain, especially of matters pertaining to everlasting life. Sadly, some Christians seem to be content to stay in the place of doubt. They don’t seek the truth. Perhaps you are struggling with assurance of salvation. Well, seek the truth that will set you free from the bondage of doubt. Read books about assurance of salvation. Attend bible study where your faith can be strengthened. Learn more about the gospel promises. Attend a church where the gospel is preached faithfully. Charles Spurgeon once mentioned, “Many a believer lives in the cottage of doubt when he might live in the mansion of faith.” My friend, you do not need to live in the cottage of doubt. Leave that place and live in the mansion of faith.

You might ask, “Can I really know if I am saved?” Oh, yes, my friend, you can! As John the Beloved articulates, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Take note, the Bible has been written in order for believers to have absolute knowledge of their salvation in Christ. Can you honestly sing with Fanny J. Crosby?

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!

O what a foretaste of glory divine!

Heir of salvation, purchase of God,

born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.

Now it is not necessarily true that once you become a Christian, you will never experience doubt. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains in his book Spiritual Depression, “Doubts are not incompatible with faith…. Some people seem to think that once you become a Christian you should never be assailed by doubts. But that is not so, Peter still had faith (as he panicked in the storm in Matthew 14)…. His faith was not gone, but because it was weak, doubt mastered him and overwhelmed him and he was shaken…. Doubts will attack us, but that does not mean that we are to allow them to master us.”

With love let me challenge then those of you who are like Thomas. Are you allowing your doubt to rob you of the joy of assurance of salvation? Are you allowing your doubt to keep you from growing in your faith in Jesus? Are you making an effort to stay away from the cottage of doubt? Again, like Thomas, my mother-in-law struggled with doubt, but she strove for assurance. She wanted to be certain of her salvation. Thankfully, after a long struggle, she experienced full assurance of salvation and could echo Thomas’s declaration.


III. His Declaration

Thomas doubted. But, look what he declares in our text after he has been confronted by Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). This confession is the clearest confession on the deity of Christ. Of all the twelve disciples, only Thomas explicitly calls Jesus God. In this sense, Thomas has surpassed his fellow disciples.

Notice the personal and possessive pronoun “my” in Thomas’s declaration: “My Lord and my God.” What Thomas is saying here is this: “Jesus is my Lord and my God, and I am His. Jesus belongs to me, and I belong to Him.” There is no more doubt here but assurance. Two days before my mother-in-law died, my wife and I sang for her the famous hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” Despite her extreme fatigue, my mother-in-law still sang with us:

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

For many years my mother-in-law had struggled to call God her Father. Now by God’s grace she could prayerfully sing with full confidence, “O God my Father!” What a confession! What an assurance! Can you say by God’s grace that God is your Father, too? John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Oh, I urge you, my dear friend, to receive Jesus by faith; and you will be given the right to become a child of God. Are you His child, or the Devil’s?

Remember what Jesus says to the proud and self-righteous Pharisees in John 8:44, “You belong to your father, the devil.” They belong to Satan because they have not received Jesus. Have you received Jesus Christ as your only Lord and Savior? Consider this verse—“Jesus receives sinners” (Luke 15:2), but you must receive Him, too.

On her death bed, shortly before she died, my mother-in-law prayed with her hands lifted up toward heaven, “Lord Jesus…..please come quickly!” Unquestionably, my mother-in-law borrowed her prayer from John the Beloved who pleads in Revelation 22:20, “Come, Lord Jesus!” This is a prayer of a true believer who longs to be with Jesus Christ. This was my mother-in-law’s last prayer.

Amazingly, my mother-in-law had a calendar that provided her a daily verse. The verse that she was supposed to read on the day she died was John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans [or comfortless]; I will come to you.” Indeed, Jesus heard her request. He came quickly and gently to take her home to be with Him. What a comfort and joy to know that she is now with her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! She is now free from sin and sickness. Also, it is a comfort to know that Christ bought not only her soul but also her body. As the Heidelberg Catechism so beautifully states in response to the question: “What is your only comfort in life and in death?”

That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil….Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

This body then in the coffin that we are about to bury is Christ’s. He purchased it, and it will someday be changed into an immortal one (1 Cor. 15:51-54). On the great day of the resurrection of the saints, this mortal body will be raised from this cemetery to be with the Lord forever and ever and ever. It is with this glorious doctrine of the resurrection that the Apostle Paul exhorts us to comfort one another (1 Thess. 4:18). Hence, as we bury my mother-in-law’s body, we do not need to say goodbye but only good night to her; for we believers shall see her again in heaven. May the precious reality also that her soul is now in heaven sweeten our sorrow! She is now in a far better place than we can imagine (Phil. 1:23).



Let me close this message by simply asking you: Do you belong to Jesus? Does He belong to you? Is He your Lord and Savior? If not, and you were to die today, you would go to hell for eternity. Oh, once again I beg you to come to Jesus by faith and be saved. Jesus promises, “[W]hoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37). Therefore, with the words of the hymn writer Joseph Hart, I plead with you:

Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready waits to save you,
Full of pity, love and pow’r:
He is able, He is able,
He is willing, doubt no more.

Jesus says, “Stop doubting and believe” (v. 27).




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A Mother’s Struggle With Prayer

The Heidelberg Catechism (published in 1563) asks, “Why do Christians need to pray?” It answers, “Because prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness God requires of us. And also because God only gives His grace and Holy Spirit to those who pray continually and groan inwardly, asking God for these gifts and thanking Him for them” (Lord’s Day 45, Question & Answer 116).

I have been familiar with this section of the catechism for many years and it often makes me feel guilty. I struggle with taking the time for “real” prayer: kneeling beside my bed, head bowed, hands folded, and pouring out my heart to the Lord. This struggle is partially due to the fact that I am a busy mom of four young children. Yet, my main problem is not really my busyness but my laziness. I need to reprioritize my life.

Lately I have tried to make it a habit to pray throughout my day, while life is happening all around me. If someone I know comes to mind, I lift him/her up in prayer. If I have a concern for myself, my children or husband, or something going on in our lives, I bring it to the Lord in prayer. I have struggled off and on wondering if this kind of prayer counts. I am not, after all, bowing my head, folding my hands or closing my eyes. I have had doubts that it is truly prayer, because it seems like I am just talking to myself in my head. But then I have to tell myself that God knows my heart. He knows my intentions. He knows that those “thoughts” are really prayers meant to reach Him.

Some mornings I say a quick prayer before getting out of bed. I ask for the will-power to actually get up instead of sleeping in. I pray for the strength needed for the day, and in regards to my children, patience and the right balance of loving nurture and firm discipline.

I read this quote the other day and, for myself, found it to be very true:

The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day (E.M. Bounds).

When I get up early, before my kids wake up, and am able to spend some alone time with the Lord, my day goes much better and I seem to think of God much more often than if I do not get a good start to my day.

I would encourage all young mothers (and anyone else!) to start making time for God. Try to find a quiet moment where you can focus on Him. Read a Psalm or short devotional and spend some time in prayer. It can be difficult to make yourself do it, but it is so worth it!



The article is by Catie Lobbezoo, wife to Joe and stay-at-home-mom/teacher to their four blessings: Sierra (7), Cody (5), Abby (almost 3), and Brooklyn (9 months), and a member at Dutton URC, Caledonia, Michigan.

Mother Prayer