“To proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.” (Isaiah 60:2–3)
“[He] set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth – praise to our God!” (Psalm 40:2-3)
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What a year it has been! But it is not over yet. No matter what season of life you are in, God is calling you to a place of deep and wholehearted relationship with Him. We desire to see women empowered to live their Christian faith confidently with transformed minds and hearts. Psalm 33:11 & 14–15 says, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.”
Our mission is helping women be fully surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ and courageously on-mission for Him – one heart at a time. One of the ways we do that is by sharing real-life stories of Christian women both past and present who have decided to follow Jesus wholeheartedly in this way. We will focus these next few weeks on how cultivating a fully surrendered heart affects the dynamics of family life in transformative ways. We pray that each story told is used by God to fashion your individual heart, to know and experience Him even more deeply, and to joyfully do His will to His glory!
I (Jenni) cannot imagine my life without Beth. Not only is she my dearest friend, she is my sister and co-founder of Wholehearted Woman Ministries. What a gift it is to minister alongside her to hearts and minds of Christian women through weekly devotions. online content, our published book, relational discipleship, and personal honesty.
A word used to describe Beth is uncommon. She is a wife, mother, paralegal, women’s small group leader, and trusted friend. Each one of these roles has at times overlapped, required adjustments, or even been laid down for a time as the Lord led her into a new season. But it is not these callings that truly set Beth apart. It is the way she humbly yet boldly navigates the common, daily parts of life with an unshakable commitment to Christ. She honors, and points others toward, Him with beautiful vulnerability and God-given courage. She relies on the truth of the Bible and wise discernment from the Holy Spirit in all things. No part of herself is withheld from her Lord. This is Beth’s story…
How have you surrendered to God through difficult circumstances? What did your journey look like?
Last year in the spring, I was greeted by a bright, cheery Saturday morning. Birds were happily nesting and singing, the sun was shining and most of the snow was melted to reveal a green world again. Yet, rather than enjoying this blissful morning with my son and husband, I was feeling overwhelmingly stuck in a state of stress. Our family’s financial burdens were weighing on my heart, my son, Hunter, was 18-month old at the time and was getting bored more easily and experiencing overwhelming emotions commonly labeled as “terrible twos” or “toddler tantrums,” and I was having a hard time balancing part-time work and daily duties with motherhood. It was a struggle, but the real issue was not the state of my work, son or finances, but the state of my heart. Instead of walking in wholehearted surrender, courage and grace, I was letting myself become controlling and perfectionistic, which left me emotionally drained. As the pressure was building up in me, I tried to find answers and consider changes I could make, being as proactive as possible.
While it is good to work hard and put forth our best efforts, I was missing a key component in my situation: trusting God and walking in His grace. I was trying to figure everything out myself, and as a result became frustrated with shortcomings and failed to see the big picture of a heavenly Father who loves His children more than the flowers or birds.
My worried state came to a halt when my son and I caught a stomach bug. The kind that forces you to stop everything else, cancel your plans and lie on the couch. We spent several days snuggled together in between trips to the bathroom. While it was not fun for us to be sick, I found myself enjoying the time together that was free of obligations and full of story-time, cuddling and episodes of Curious George (which happens to be his beloved nursery theme!). More than anything, I sensed God doing a work in my heart to cast my cares on Him because He cares for me (I Peter 5:7). Navigating a situation out of my control helped me realize just how dependent on God we really are. Sometimes there is nothing more I can do in a situation except seek God’s help and rely on Him for strength. Sometimes His grace truly is enough (II Corinthians 12:9).
In my devotions, I came across a familiar passage of Scripture that spoke straight to my heart. Matthew 6 says, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries, add a single moment to your life? …And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you” (verses 26-27, 30). Reliance on God’s grace, knowing His love for you, is the secret to experiencing His peace.
How have you walked through brokenness? How did you experience God’s tender love through that season?
The hardest thing I ever went through was when my husband and I had a miscarriage before our oldest son was born. After that loss, God took me on a journey of putting my hope and trust in Him. For a season during my second pregnancy and even after my son, Hunter, was born, I had to reject fearful thoughts of losing him and continually put my trust in the Lord for his protection and well-being. When facing crippling fears, I had to discipline my mind and heart to trust in the Lord. I had to choose not to dwell on these thoughts and, instead, focus on the goodness of God and His protection for our family. When I did, God lovingly stepped in, removed all fear of losing our son, and filled me instead with His peace and joy. Psalm 34:4–5 says, “I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears.Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.”
I am now blessed to be a mama to two wonderful boys, Hunter age 3 and Jason age 1. My heart’s prayer for our sons has been that they would be the Lord’s for all their lives—that they would belong to God, surrender their hearts fully to His lordship, and serve Him by ministering to others. I still occasionally may have to battle thoughts of fear, but have made it a practice to rebuke these fears with God’s Word and to trust in Him for protection and blessing over our boys!
I love the books Prayers and Promises for My Little Boy or My Little Girl by Stormie Omartian. One of the prayers she shares is based on Jeremiah 29:13: “My sweet [child], may you believe from a very early age that if you seek God, you will find Him. When you search for God with all your heart, He has promised to make Himself known.” I think that is so powerful, investing deeply in your young children and teaching them the Word of God that they might know Him.
As a mama, I am called to show my children who God is and point them to Him through His Word, prayer and worship. Psalm 8:2 says, “You have taught children and infants to tell of Your strength, silencing Your enemies and all who oppose You.” It is never too early, or too late, to start teaching our children about God and His ways! What a privilege to nurture our children’s hearts with the help and grace of God.
Visit the link below to dive deeper into this topic and hear more from Beth!
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Check out our book The Wholehearted Woman: Who She is and Why She Matters by sisters and co-authors, Jenni Walker and Beth Doohan. With heartfelt messages that will challenge your faith, stories of other Wholehearted Women, and reflection questions to dive deeper, this is a great resource for personal devotion or small group study.