Chosen…by Who?

God reminds me of who He says I am and also whose I am.


I was reading today’s “Our Daily Bread” – Belonging about God being our Father and the corresponding scripture, Isaiah 44:1-5. As I was taking some time to ponder these verses, God took me on a little scripture journey to remind me of who He says I am and also what He says about whose I am.

Isaiah 44:1-5 says this:

“But now listen, Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen. This is what the Lord says— he who made you, who formed you in the womb,and who will help you: Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land,and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord ’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name Israel.”

These verses highlight Israel being God’s chosen people. The rest of Isaiah 44 goes on to record what God Himself says about Who He is. You can read the whole chapter here but this is what I found. God says He is:

  • The King and Redeemer (v.6)
  • The Lord Almighty (v.6)
  • The first and the last (v.6)
  • The One and Only – apart from Me there is no God (v.6)
  • The Rock – there is no other Rock like God (v.8)
  • The Maker of the forests and trees from which the Israelites crafted idols (v.14)
  • The Sender of the rain that makes those trees grow (v.14)
  • The One who will not forget us (v.21)
  • The Forgiver of sins – I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. (v.22)
  • The Redeemer (v.22)
  • The Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretched out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by Himself, who foils the signs of false prophets, who makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise, who carries out and fulfills His prophecy and promises (v.24-26a)
  • The One who says Jerusalem will be inhabited, the towns of Judah will be rebuilt and their ruins will be restored (v.26b)
  • The One who tells the watery deep to be dry and makes the streams dry up (v.27)
  • The One who says Jerusalem will be rebuilt and the temple foundations will be re-laid (v.28)

This God, the King & Redeemer, the Lord Almighty, the First and the Last, the One & Only, the Rock, the One who does not forget us and forgives us all, the God who has made all things, stretched out the heavens, spread out the earth, defeated false prophets, fulfilled His promises, restored ruins, dried up streams and also poured out life giving water, rebuilt cities and relaid foundations – this God…has chosen me.

Initially when I read verses 1-5 for the Daily Bread devotional they resonated with me as a reminder that I am chosen and that I belong to God. I also wrote out these verses as a prayer for myself and my girls (see below) but reading the whole chapter reminds me of Who Has chosen me. Who has redeemed me. Who has secured me, restored me and blessed me. This God, this Rock, the One & Only. I am His and He is mine.

I believe very much in praying Scripture back to God over our own lives and the lives of others. We need to hear God’s Word spoken aloud and there is power in telling God what His Word says.

My Isaiah 44:1-5 prayer is this:

God, You have said:

Listen, Emily, My servant, Whom I have chosen.

God, You who have made me, You who formed me in the womb and You who will help me have said:

I, Your servant, whom You have chosen, don’t need to be afraid. You will pour out water on my thirsty land, You will pour out streams on my dry ground, You will pour out Your Spirit on my offspring, Acacia & Lily and You will pour out Your blessings on my descendants, my children and my children’s children. Thank You for how You give us life, how You bless us and the legacy we are leaving behind us.

I pray that You will make Acacia, Lily and all that come behind them to spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.

I pray that my children, Acacia & Lily and their children will say, “I belong to the Lord”, that they will call themselves by the name of Jacob (a people in covenant with God), that they will write on their hands, “The Lord’s” and that they will take the name Israel (Your chosen and redeemed).

Thank You, God, for choosing me, redeeming me, restoring me and blessing me. May I never forget who I am and Whose I am.

If you found this post encouraging, please feel free to share and I would love to hear what you think! You can also read all of my other posts by clicking here.

A Work That Counts

Are there other moms out there who struggle with questioning if what they’re doing counts for anything or really matters all that much? I can relate…

On Wednesday we dropped our oldest daughter, Acacia, off at her very first overnight camp with the youth group at our church. 4 nights away from home and she made the decision to go this year even though she knows no one her age yet at youth group. (Insert all the anxious Mom feelings here.)

Over the last few weeks she has mostly been excited with a few nerves mixed in. There’s been a few questions from her like:

What do you think the bathrooms are going to be like? Do you think I’ll be able to get a bottom bunk? Do you think I’ll be able to make friends with anyone? Will I be able to call you if I need to?

The last question made me pause because I didn’t anticipate her thinking about needing to call us. I told her there would definitely be a way to call us if she needed to but then asked her why she thought she’d need to. Her response:

I don’t know. I know we’ve been apart before but we’ve always called to talk to each other every night.

This type of conversation only added to my vacillating between being anxious and giving my anxious thoughts over to God. Asking Him to give her a genuine encounter with Him, for her to know she is loved by the Most High King and that He cherishes her down to the very core of who she is. I’ve asked Him to help her make friends, to have a good camp experience, to have fun. But still my nerves and anxiety remained.

When we got to camp to drop her off I could see her nervousness starting to kick in. We got her checked in, grabbed her bag, she gave Jason, my husband, a big good bye hug and we went off to find her room. She picked her bed (bottom bunk), put her stuff down and met her leader who told us everyone was hanging out in the Rec Center until dinner.

I asked Acacia if she wanted me to walk her down to the Rec Center to make sure she could find it — wrong suggestion! Of course she didn’t want me to do that! Duh, Mom!

I felt myself hovering and smothering but I didn’t know what else to do. I wanted to make sure she was ok and for all of her strong-willed, independent, tough attitude…I could see the nervousness written all over her face. And for all of my strong-willed, independent tough attitude…the mama bird in me wasn’t ready for my baby girl to test her wings without me right by her side to pick her up if she fell.

So I asked her for the 100th time if she was ok and she huffed:

Yes Mom. Can you just go?

I felt every bit of her irritation. I know she was nervous and overwhelmed but if we’re being honest…it hurt to be brushed off like that.

Everything inside of me wanted to gather her up into a huge hug. To have her hug me hard and say she was going to miss me. I wanted to infuse every bit of my love, my strength, my courage and every prayer I have ever prayed for her into her with my arms wrapped tight around her. I wanted her to need that from me and it hurt that she didn’t.

She gave me a quick hug, a hurried Bye-I-love-you, then turned around and walked away.

I couldn’t stand there and watch her walk away. So I turned around and walked back to our van. Tears welling up in my eyes and hurt overflowing in my heart.

With every step I took that tension between us felt like it was being stretched thin until I could feel it about to snap inside me. I knew if I turned around I would see my heartstrings tenuously and weakly trembling all the way back down that road attached to my precious girl.

I finally did turn around when I got to our van and there she was, still walking all by herself. She looked so small and alone.

I cried on the way home. I went for a short walk before dinner and cried some more. I went on another walk after dinner and cried even more. Because letting go is hard and the pretty much the stupidest thing ever.

On my 2nd walk I was taking time to pray and process all my feelings. I kept thinking about our goodbye and I was asking God to help me not take it so personally, to not let it hurt so much. I had been comparing Acacia’s goodbye with Jason to mine. She had given him a big hug with a huge smile on her face. All sunshine and rainbows for him but thunderclouds and rain drops for me.

Why is it like that, God? So easy and loving with her Dad but all irritated and “you don’t get it Mom” with me? God, it makes me feel like she doesn’t even need me and I hate feeling like I don’t count.

As soon as the words crossed my lips I felt God speak to my heart:

She doesn’t need you like she needs her dad. She needs YOU for all the things YOU give her in ways that only YOU can.

Who taught her to shave her legs on the night before camp? I did.

Who is reading devotionals with her and talking to her about puberty and dating and what it means to be a young woman of God? I am.

Who has helped her be confidant, have a voice, know who she is, believe in herself and encourage her to be brave? Me, I guess? But her dad does all those things too, so…..

Yes, he gives to her all those things in a Dad’s way and you give to her as a Mom. You didn’t need one last hug to give her all your love, strength, courage & prayers because you’ve already been giving her those things for the last 11 years. And it counts. It matters.

My heart was flooded with gratitude for all of God’s wisdom and encouragement in that moment. And then He blessed me with more of it again this morning when my Mom called to give me a bit of her own insight.

I had shared with her yesterday how hard the drop off and good bye with Acacia were for me. She told me this morning as she was thinking that over she was reminded that every time Acacia spends the night at her house she’ll say, “I miss my mom” or ask if she can call me. From my mom’s perspective, Acacia wasn’t brushing me off at the camp drop off because she couldn’t get rid of me fast enough but possibly because she knew it was going to be just as hard for her as it was for me to say good bye. That in order to be able to separate from me without falling apart she had to put her thick skin on and be tough.

This perspective helped ease the hurt in my heart and gave me permission to stop beating myself up over all the ways I’ve messed up or could’ve done better. Maybe the connection Acacia and I have is deeper than I realize. Maybe all of the battling we do is because we are so alike. Maybe God actually did give Acacia the exact Mom He knew she would need. Maybe I’m not doing such a bad job as a Mom after all.

And maybe these times and these letting go experiences are exactly what we are raising her to do. To branch out of the nest and test her wings. These moments that give her the opportunity to learn and grow and mature without us by her side but with all of our love and strength and courage and prayers inside her.

If we get this right we’ll be working ourselves right out of a job. And I want to get it right.

I don’t want to limit my kids and make them miss opportunities because it’s hard to let go. I also don’t want to keep under valuing who I am as a Mom and how important my role is every single day to prepare my kids for whatever their future holds.

I know that although our kids don’t often show it, they are thankful for what we do and how we give. Maybe they can’t see it now or know how to express it but when they’re older they’ll look back and see a distinct set of Mom fingerprints all over their hearts.

Are there other moms out there who question if what they’re doing counts for anything or really matters all that much?

We all tell ourselves it’s going to be worth it one day…when they’re older…when they graduate…when they move out.

If we want it to be worth it “one day”, we have to value the work we’re doing now. Today. It counts for something and it matters.

If you found this post encouraging, please feel free to share and I would love to hear what you think! You can also read all of my other posts by clicking here.

Stones from My Mother

To my Mom on Mother’s Day. Thank you for always praying, loving, believing and encouraging.

Standing on the shore.

Gazing out over the stream of my life.

Watching water wrinkle and roll in many different places.

Looking inside the ripple in front of me, I see a sword shaped stone.

Reaching down, I pick it up.

Noticing the unusual shape but now also seeing a word on the stone: Prayers.

Envisioning my Mom, bowed down before the throne of the Most High God.

Waging war on her knees, on my behalf.

Fighting an unseen battle for my salvation, my protection, my choices, my struggles, my life.

Dropping the stone back into the stream, the ripple rolls on.

Glancing into another wave.

Seeing a red, heart shaped stone.

Picking it up, I see these words: Legacy of Love.

Flashing before my eyes, a picture of my Mom, my Grandma, myself, my daughters.

Intertwining before me, an unbroken circle of love from generation to generation.

Letting this stone fall into the water, I look for another.

Catching my eye is a large, brown stone.

Having a wood-like pattern, shaped like a cross.

Feeling the weight of this stone, I read these words: Foundation of Faith.

Sensing a change beneath my feet, I look down to see the grass has turned to rock.

Hearing these words sung by my Mom:

“On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.”

Tumbling heavily from my hand, the stone splashes back into the stream.

Moving further down, I see the water moving tumultuously.

Leaning over, I cautiously pull up a dark stone.

Appearing to be shaped like a storm cloud, with these words: Teenage Turmoil.

Turning the stone over in my hand, I find a rainbow on the back.

Playing in my memory are these words my Mom said to me many years ago and many times since:

“Love is a choice. Every day we choose to love. Even when it’s hard.

Especially when it’s hard.

God didn’t say it would be easy but He promised He would always be with us.”

Thinking back on how she chose to love me when I was most unlovable, I gently drop the stone.

Rippling the water rolls and waves before me.

Pondering the stones in my own stream.

Making me who I am today.

Shaping who I continue to become.

Looking up and around, I notice more streams than just my own.

Reaching into my pocket, I pull out a handful of stones.

Reading these words: Quality Time, Planting Seeds, Words of Life, Intentionally Invest, Hug More, Give Grace

Turning away from my own stream.

Walking towards the waters surrounding me.

Spotting my own daughters as they watch the ripples before them.

Pulling from my pocket, I softly drop stone after stone into the streams of their lives.

If you found this post encouraging, please feel free to share and I would love to hear what you think! You can also read all of my other posts by clicking here.

Walking in Circles

My heart was heavy with questions this morning. After praying (and talking to my Mom), God reminded me of this simple truth and these words came pouring out. I’m praying it will be an encouragement if you’re facing a similar struggle today.

What do you do when you’ve prayed believing that God would bring freedom and healing but none of that seems to be happening? What do you do after He answers in big, miraculous ways and we praise Him for the scales falling from our eyes and the chains breaking from our hearts only to find that we’re still blind and bound? What then?

Were our prayers for nothing? Did we not believe enough? Were we hoping in vain? My head says nothing is wasted in God’s economy but my heart is breaking for all that is, all that could be and all we thought God was doing. So, what now?

That’s the question rolling around in my heart this morning. What now, God? And I hear Him say, “Keep walking. One step at a time.”

The path ahead is surrounded by darkness but God provides enough light to see the next step. The road is muddied with our tears. The heart break and agony is pouring from our eyes to the ground beneath our feet but we keep walking. Each step forward is a step towards Jesus. Each step says, “I am for Jesus” and it may not make sense to our limited vision but if Jesus is calling us forward, who are we to question His methods?

We look around and see destruction, chaos, sadness & broken families but Jesus says, “Keep your eyes on Me.” And so we do. We walk, we pray, we cry and we cling to the hope that God will use every bit of it. In His time. In His way. One step at a time.

If you found this post encouraging, please feel free to share and I would love to hear what you think! You can also read all of my other posts by clicking here.