Jesus, children, grandchildren, and tea are four of my very favorite things. Sally Clarkson’s new devotional, Mom Heart Moments: Daily Devotions for Life-giving Motherhood speaks of all four with great encouragement and raw emotion.

I typically don’t use a devotional as part of my daily quiet time, but rather read the scriptures, journal, and pray using prayer books to guide me. I feel my prayer vocabulary is limited. Prayer can make things happen that won’t without it. Prayer can make things not happen that could happen without it, as well. For almost twenty years, I’ve used Stormie Omartian’s Power of a Praying Wife and Power of a Praying Parent each day to pray specifically for my husband and my children, now my grandchildren. It’s organized into thirty chapters with very specific prayers for various areas of my people’s life. It helps me to go beyond, ‘Fix them, Lord,’ or ‘I lift up…..” Thirty days, one for each day of the month.

Several years ago, I also began using Susanna Wright’s new edition of John Baillie’s A Diary of Private Prayer. The prayers are organized by morning and evening with special prayers for Sundays. Anybody else need special prayers for Sundays? A Diary of Private Prayer was originally published in 1936. There’s something to be said for being guided by the prayers of the saints, the dutiful, and those who totally understood conflict, hope, and change.

Anyway, Sally Clarkson is on the grandmother side of life. She raised four children, and moved around the world with her husband. Her books include titles such as The Mission of Motherhood, The Ministry of Motherhood, Season’s of a Mother’s Heart, just to name a few. My first Sally Clarkson book was the fabulous Life-Giving Home: Creating A Place for Belonging and Becoming which is all about providing the sacred space, faith-filled traditions, and an environment of hope and love for your family in your home.

My daughter just finished Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him which Sally wrote with her son, Nathan. From early childhood, Nathan was bursting with uncontainable energy and diagnosed with anxiety and OCD. Bravely choosing to listen to her motherly intuition, Sally dared to believe that Nathan’s differences could be part of an intentional design from a loving Creator with a plan for his life. Sally has spent some devotional-prayer time on behalf of her son and both she and Nathan share their stories. No Stepford children here…no Stepford mama, either. She’s got some scars and she’s had some amazing celebrations.

Today, Mom Heart Moments begins with Isaiah 40:11, then jumps right into, Somewhere along the way, I decided to put the load of guilt from all the ways I had failed into the file drawers of heaven and mark forgiven over them. (pg. 346). Yesterday, the short devotion included her admission to being overwhelmed because I felt trapped and wondered if I would truly make it through the rest of the years of my children being at home…..DON’T STAY THERE! MOVE ON! The day before she spoke of of an annual Christmas tea when she and her daughters would also invite two or three women or girls who didn’t have family or friends in town, or who we thought might need some special encouragement.

This devotional is where I’m at. One day recalling a memory of great joy, another day wondering if I can remain strong with a holy energy on those ministry marathon days.
As you begin to consider how you want the new year to begin, perhaps a new devotional, a new prayer book, or the start of a new holy habit might be just the thing to jump-start the weary. I decided not to wait until January.

What do you use to guide your daily devotional time?