Roused from my sleep, I rolled over in the darkness. Then I heard it. A whimper from my toddler.

I reached for the baby monitor. Yes, she was awake and rolling around.

I glanced at the clock and sighed. It was 1:34 am.

Pulling myself out of bed, I slipped through the hallway to her bedroom.

She moaned when I opened the door to her room.

“It’s just Mommy,” I murmured as I crouched beside the crib. “You’re having trouble sleeping. Are you too hot or too cold, or do you have an owey?”

“Ow,” she said.

I squinted through the dim light. “Where is your owey?”

She pointed at her mouth. “Right here.”

I nodded. “That makes sense. That’s because you are getting your new teeth. I’ll go get some medicine to make it feel better so you can sleep.”

She fussed a little as I left the room, but I didn’t hear any more complaints as I fetched the teething medicine.

Returning a minute or two later, I encouraged her to sit up. “Here’s the medicine for you to drink. It will make you feel better.”

Groggily she pulled herself upright and sipped the medicine.

When it was gone, she handed the cup back to me.

“Lay down now, and I’ll fix your blanket.”

She did as instructed, but began to cry when I rose to leave.

I dropped back to my knees beside the crib.

“Mommy needs to go back to bed soon, but I can stay and sing a couple of songs with you first. Would that help you feel better?”

We sang Jesus Loves Me, A Prayer for My Child, and Count Slow.

My daughter appeared calm, but was still awake. I suspected she would fall asleep faster if I left.

“It is still nighttime, so Mommy needs to go back to bed. I also have to wash the cup from the medicine, so Mommy needs to go now. I love you. Your mouth will feel better soon so you can sleep. I’ll see you in the morning.”

She cried a little as I left the room, closing the door behind me.

“Mama, stay.”

It was hard on my Mama heart to leave when she wanted me to be there.

By the time I finished washing the cup, she had quieted.

I glanced at the baby monitor. She would be asleep soon.

Gratefully, I crawled back into my own bed.

It wasn’t until later that I noticed the lesson in my daughter’s attitude towards me.

My daughter was having trouble. Her mouth hurt which was keeping her awake.

I gave her the practical help she needed – teething medicine.

Yet that wasn’t the only thing she wanted. Even more than the medicine, she wanted my presence.

Do I want God’s presence? Or do I merely want the practical help He can give me?

When I am having trouble, do I merely request practical help and then go about my day without another thought of God?

Not that it is wrong to ask God for practical help. Indeed, He encourages us to do so. Yet He wants our heart and our devotion.

The Psalmists knew how to yearn for God’s presence. Among other things, they say:

“As a deer longs for flowing streams,

so I long for You, God.

I thirst for God, the living God.” (Psalm 32:1-2 CSB)

Today, may I seek not only practical help from God, but may I seek His very presence. He is worth it.


I shuffled through the items on the desk, trying to determine which ones to set aside for longer-term storage and which would be better suited to keep available on the living room shelf.

My toddler puttered around my feet with her toy doll. “I’m helping Emi walk.”

“I see that. Just like how Auntie was helping your cousin walk when we saw them last week.”

I picked up a roll of tape. That should stay readily available. I scanned the shelf and found a spot for it.

“Mama, I’m going there.”

I stepped out of the way so my toddler could walk past.

I reached for a stack of unused notebooks. My current notebook still had space so I wouldn’t need these for a while. I stashed them in a box to be put into storage, then jotted them down on the list of contents on the box.

“Uh oh…”

I glanced down at my toddler. She was trying to move past my big packing box.

Her little voice piped up again, “Move please.”

Normally the space would be empty, but since I was actively working on this box, I didn’t want to move it. Beside the box was a clear space, plenty wide enough for her and her doll to walk through.

“I’m using this box right now, but you can go around it.”

My toddler pushed her shoulder against the box. “Move please!”

“I will move it when I’m done with it.”

“Mama, move please!”

I crouched down beside her and pointed, “Look, there is lots of room to go around the box. You don’t have to be stuck here.”

She started to pout as she pushed against the heavy box again. “Move please!”

I tried to meet her gaze. “Mommy is busy using this box. I will move it when I am done. You can go around it. See, I’ll show you.”

Straightening, I stepped around the box through the clear area.

My toddler pouted and pushed against the box with two hands. “Move please!”

With a sigh, I returned to my organizing. If I couldn’t explain to her that she could go around the box, maybe she would figure it out on her own.

She continued pushing against the box as her frustration mounted. She began to cry.

After a time, I picked her up and walked around the box with her.

“See, you can go around.”

She wasn’t comforted in the least.

I carried her to the couch and picked up a book. Maybe a complete change of activity would help take her mind off that box.

This encounter with my toddler was not the first of its kind, and surely won’t be the last. Her stubborn determination that she must go exactly in the one place she cannot go, is nearly impossible to distract her from. Once she has decided she wants to go somewhere, her mind is set on it.

After multiple such interactions, I began to wonder if I am ever like that.

In my walk with God, are there times that I stubbornly try to go somewhere or do something that He has said no to?

When God closes a door, or says wait, do I push forward anyways?

There are many times in the Bible when God told His people to wait. Sometimes they obeyed, but other times they pushed forward stubbornly and paid the consequences.

I think of Saul and the sacrifice (1 Samuel 13), and the disciples waiting for Pentecost (Luke 24:49 & Acts 1-2). The nation of Israel’s first attempt to enter the Promised Land also comes to mind. At first, they said no when God said go, but then they tried to force their way in when God said no (Deuteronomy 1:19-46).

Can you think of other examples in the Bible?

So what do we do when we find a heavy box where we want to walk? The apostle Paul set a good example for us.

“Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.’

Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:8-10 CSB

What did Paul do when he came to an unwanted roadblock? He took the matter straight to God. That is the critical first step.

After praying about it a few times, Paul understood God’s answer to be “no”.

Did Paul throw himself on the floor in a toddler temper tantrum?

No. Paul accepted God’s answer, and turned his attention away from that box onto God. Instead of growing persistently angry, he chose to follow the path God had opened and to live his life for God’s glory rather than Paul’s own desires.

Surely there were days that it felt impossible for Paul to have this attitude of setting his focus on God rather than on his own desires. Thankfully, he didn’t have to do it on his own. God is a God of mercy and a God who willingly helps His children.

Next time I stumble across a box in my path, may I bring it straight to God in prayer. Then, if He says “no” or “wait”, may I move on following His lead and setting my focus on Him so that my life may be for His glory, not my own. And on those days, when I am stuck and it seems impossible, may I cry out to God to help me shift my eyes onto Jesus. God will help me.


While my husband finished his breakfast, I let our toddler cuddle up on my lap, or what was left of it. At 36 weeks pregnant there’s not a lot of room left on my lap for her.

We chatted about the plan for the day.

I gave my daughter a little squeeze. “You get to stay with Grandma today while I go to a doctor’s appointment for baby.”

My toddler rested her head against me. “Strong and healthy.”

“That’s right. The doctor is checking to make sure baby is strong and healthy.”

I glanced across the table at my husband. “It’s a routine appointment. They’ll likely want me to book another one for next week since I’m so far along now. What are you up to today?”

My husband launched into a description of his expected meetings and the project he had on the go at work.

His words trailed off when our daughter sat bolt upright, shock covering her face.

I laughed. “Baby just kicked you.” I had felt the strong movement too.

Her shock turned to a grin, as she shifted to rest a hand on my belly.

“You really felt that didn’t you?”


“He might kick you again, but I don’t know if he will. Sometimes he kicks a lot, but sometimes he is sleeping. I think he was sleeping just a minute ago, but then he kicked you.”

It wasn’t until the next morning that I found myself thinking about how the movements of my soon-to-be-born baby can stand as a meaningful reminder to me of how God works in my life.

Let me explain.

The kicks of an unborn baby are a wonderful, reassuring thing (though sometimes uncomfortable). Each kick is a reminder that he is alive and active. At checkups, the doctor asks if I’ve been feeling the baby kick because it is an important indicator that the baby is doing well.

Yet the baby isn’t always kicking. Sometimes he is sleeping.

More often than not, it is when I am busy or walking about that he sleeps. Then, within minutes of my sitting down or lying down to relax, I feel him start kicking.

His movements aren’t always the same either. Sometimes I feel his kicks on the right side, sometimes on the left. Sometimes he jabs at my ribs (those aren’t so comfortable), while other times he kicks deep within me. At times his movements are big and pronounced, visible to those sitting beside me. At other times, they are subtle and easy to miss. Still other times his movements are not kicks at all. Instead they are the steady rhythm of hiccups.

When I don’t feel him actively moving, does it mean there is a problem? No, unless the stillness lasts too long. He is most likely taking a nap while he continues to grow and develop.

Similar can be said of my relationship with God.

Sometimes I can see and feel that God is actively at work in my life. I know that I am walking with Him and He is growing me closer to Him.

Other times, I can’t feel Him. I sometimes start to worry – am I still following God? Have I become distant? Is He still at work in my life?

Just because I can’t feel God at the moment, doesn’t mean there is something wrong. God can still be at work in my life, even when I don’t feel it.

Often it is in the seasons of busyness that I feel Him less – such as the season I’m about to step into as the mom of a newborn.

That said, to help my baby’s growth and development be at an optimum, I must continue to eat a reasonably healthy diet, take my prenatal vitamins, and drink water – lots and lots of water.

Regardless of whether I have felt my baby kicking in the past while, I continue to eat for his optimum growth.

The same should be the case in my walk with Jesus. Regardless of whether I feel super close to God at the moment, it is still critical to be ingesting a healthy spiritual diet – Bible reading, worship songs, prayer, and times of fellowship with other Christians.

These elements will help keep me growing and learning more about God whether I feel it or not.

Today, whether I feel it or not, may I trust that, “He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 CSB)


Having cleared the breakfast dishes, I followed my little one to the living room. Pausing by the cabinet, I studied the to-do list.

I glanced at the date on the top. “Today is the day!”

I skimmed down one side of the list. It laid out all the things we had to do prior to today.

  • Clear conditions – complete
  • Choose insurance company – done
  • Set up utilities – yup

The list went on. Everything was checked off.

The memory of late nights and earnest discussions filled my mind. We’d asked so many questions and done so much research.

Now it was done.

Today is the day.

I glanced at the clock. The hour wasn’t here yet. I still had to wait until the time for the key handover. Then the new house would be ours.

I scanned the other side of the list. Everything we needed to do after we received the keys.

  • Set up internet
  • Update the address on our driver’s licences
  • Figure out where the mailbox is
  • Move in

My mind raced forward as I glanced around the living room. Already we had packed several boxes, thanks in large part to my mom’s help. Still, there was so much more to pack!

“Mama, play with me.”

My little one’s voice interrupted my musings as she tugged on my leg.

“Okay, I can play for a few minutes.”

We settled down to build with blocks.

Later, when Easter was on my mind (it was coming soon), I found myself marvelling at God’s perfect orchestration of it.

The day Jesus died on the cross was the day He paid the price for all my sin. It was The Day. Yet throughout the Bible we see decades of prep God did to bring all of history to that point.

God’s to do list involved cultivating the nation of Israel and sending prophets – so very many prophets.

To the people of Israel He gave traditions, such as the Passover, which so beautifully point to Jesus’ death on the cross.

Through the prophets, God hinted again and again at Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection.

Then, so many, many years later, Jesus was born. The appointed day was drawing near.

Finally it came. Jesus endured the cross for my sake. He died that I may truly live.

But God wasn’t finished yet.

Three days later, Jesus rose again – evidence of His victory over death itself.

Now, just like after we got possession of our new house, God is still at work.

Even today, He has purposes in mind and is actively working toward the day Jesus returns.

He is drawing people to Himself and stirring many hearts around the world. He is transforming people’s lives and bringing hope to the hopeless.

Am I a part of this? Have I willingly offered my life to the Lord that He may work His purposes through me?

Or am I too caught up in my own life?

As I celebrate Easter this year, may I marvel at the beauty and perfection of what He has done and may I join with Him in what He is doing today.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)



I helped my toddler climb into her booster seat, then clipped her tray in place. I placed her water cup in front of her.

“Hmm. Something is still missing.”

My daughter looked down, then patted her tummy. “Bib missing.”

I grinned as I reached for her bib. “You’re right. You are missing your bib. Here, I’ll put it on for you.”

I settled into my seat and pulled a slice of bread from the bag.

“What would you like on your bread this morning?”

My toddler straightened. “Pea-butter. Stra-sa jam.”

“You want peanut butter and strawberry jam? Okay. That sounds yummy.”

I spread the bread for her, then set my knife aside.

“Okay. Now it’s time to pray and then you can eat your bread.”

My daughter leaned forward earnestly. “Mary, Tommy, Dada, Mama.”

I nodded. “Okay, we can pray for your cousins and for Mommy and Daddy.”

Folding my hands, I bowed my head to pray, but before I began, her little voice piped up again.

“And wawa.”

“Yes, we can thank God for water.”

Her eyes scanned the area. “Pea-butter, stra-sa jam, bread… and tray too.”

“Okay. We can thank God for those too. Let’s pray now.”

Satisfied, my toddler folded her hands and sat quietly while I prayed.

“Dear God, thank You for Mary, Tommy, Mommy, and Daddy. Help us all to have a good day and to know that You love us. Thank You for the yummy food we get to eat. Thank You for water, peanut butter, strawberry jam, bread, and trays. Help them make our bodies strong and healthy. Amen.”

I passed my toddler her bread.

Happily she took a big bite.

This sort of interaction just before, or more often right in the middle of, prayer has become common recently. Almost any time we tell her it is time to pray, she lists off various cousins and relatives. Her eyes then roam the room looking for anything else we should pray for.

Water, various food items, tray, bib, crib, soother, bear, clock… Nothing is too insignificant to mention.

This got me thinking. How often do I stop to thank God for His many blessings?

When was the last time I paused to let my eyes roam my surroundings and simply thanked God for what I have?

Certainly not recently enough.

So many times we are instructed in the Bible to give thanks to God, yet how rarely I stop to do so.

Here are snippets of a few of those places. I encourage you to read the full passages to get proper context.

“Be filled with the Spirit always giving thanks to God the Father for everything…” Ephesians 5:28b,20a NIV

“… Singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:16b-17 NIV

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

Beyond giving thanks for the things I have, how often do I pause to thank God for the people in my life?

Over and over again Paul mentions that he thanks God for people. (See 1 Corinthians 1:4, Colossians 1:3, and Philemon 1:4, among others.)

Furthermore, when was the last time I thanked the Lord for who He is? Regardless of my current circumstances, God never changes. There is always much to be thankful for regarding who He is.

As the psalmist puts it:

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1 NIV

Today, may I take a moment to simply thank God.