Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 139:1-18

Thank you for joining me on this 28-Day Journey to know God in a deeper way. It is my prayer that these daily Bible readings and devotionals will both strengthen and encourage you in your walk with God. Today I want to start by sharing a testimony that I pray will encourage you as we begin this journey.

During the years when our three boys were growing up, I felt many times that I was not being the mother I’d always dreamed I would be. I was not always there doing “mom stuff” for them as they were growing up. God called us as a family to the former Soviet Union, but fulfilling that call required my being away from home at times, ministering with Rick in various cities. Consequently, we hired a loving and nurturing nanny to help meet the boys’ basic, everyday needs.

Of course, I was at home a lot with our children. We were always very close as a family and are still close to this day. Our boys are our best friends. There’s no one on this earth whom Rick and I enjoy being with more. Our children are each amazing and wonderful gifts from God. They have wholeheartedly stood alongside us in the ministry and still serve with us in ministry today as grown men with families of their own.

But the times we had to be apart when the boys were growing up were at times difficult for me because I felt like I wasn’t doing everything a mother should do for her children.

If you’re a parent, you can probably think of times you felt you should have done more in the raising of your kids, or you wish things could have been different. The fact is, none of us is perfect. We’re not perfect as parents, and we don’t have perfect children. But we are serving One who is perfect and who will make all the difference in our lives if we’ll trust Him.

As Rick and I traveled and ministered, I had to continually put my trust in God, believing that He would bless our children as we faithfully served Him. Today’s devotional is about some of the fruit we have reaped from those times of depending on the Lord concerning our family as we stepped out to obey Him.

In 2007 Philip returned from a Making a Difference missions trip in Ukraine that was sponsored by our ministry. During that trip God had burned in his heart a deeper desire to be more like Jesus to others. While on that trip, Philip began to allow the divine compassion in his heart to touch others in a powerful way.

I was greatly blessed and encouraged when this continued to be his testimony and heart’s cry after he returned home to Moscow. As Philip shared with me what God had done in his life as a result of participating in that missions trip, I wept. I saw that although I’d sometimes struggled with feelings of failure as a mom because of my absences, God didn’t see it that way. Through His amazing grace and loving-kindness, He had planted something greater into Philip than I could have ever dreamed of instilling in my son. God had put in his heart a desire to help the helpless — those living under life-threatening conditions who’d been left completely alone in life. God also gave him a desire to raise up young people to have the same heart.

Although I didn’t wash and iron every shirt my boys wore or prepare every meal they ate, God was so faithful to give my sons something no man or woman can impart — a depth of compassion to help and to serve others. Subscribe to Denise’s 28-Day Journey Email Devotionals! What about you? Maybe you feel as if you haven’t done everything you should have done as a parent. Maybe you’re a single parent or a married mom working outside the home, and you’re often plagued with thoughts that you’re not a good parent or that you’re not giving your children all they should have of you and your time. Or maybe you were always there for your children, yet they didn’t turn out as adults the way you’d hoped or desired.

Please be encouraged! God knows your heart, and His grace is greater than what you’ve done or haven’t done. He will take care of the things you may be concerned about but have no control over. And He is so good that He will work behind the scenes on your behalf, accomplishing something so much greater than you can see at the moment.

Never forget — there is an unseen Parent who is working in the lives of your children! He is the Heavenly Father, and He knows your children’s address, the number of hairs on their heads, and their every thought. He is filled with compassion and power to touch and change your children in a way you cannot — in a way you can’t even envision!

Think for a moment about what you were like before you were saved. Think about the many ways God’s grace and mercy have been bestowed on you over the years. Think about the times He healed your body, delivered your mind, or protected you from the consequences of a wrong decision you made or from some imminent danger. Yet despite all God has already done for you, He still isn’t finished with you — and He isn’t finished with your children, either!

I’m not sharing my testimony to provide excuses for some people who don’t fulfill their responsibilities as parents. I’m sharing this to comfort those who genuinely desire to follow God, yet who have become frustrated because of their many responsibilities.

Sometimes it just isn’t possible to do everything we’d like to do or think we should do for our families. In those cases, God will do what He has promised, and He will do it “…exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20)!

If you’re a mom with young children, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of your role in shaping and molding the character of your children. There is no one more anointed and suited for that job than you! I encourage you to do all you can to discipline and train your children and to love and nurture them. This is your time to sow godly traits into their lives. It’s important to remain continually aware that this child-raising season will pass very quickly. Make the most of it, yet at the same time, rest in the knowledge that God is working out a plan for your children that is bigger and better than anything you could possibly conceive and bring about.

I encourage you to accept God’s grace today and believe that God is working in the unseen realm, doing something in your life that’s wonderful and amazing. When you trust in Him, He will help you raise your children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). He will add grace and increase to your sincere efforts, blessing your children beyond your greatest dreams for them.

Do you have a prayer request? If you need someone to stand in agreement with you for God to do the impossible in your life, we are here to love you and help you. And God loves you! He poured out His mercy and grace through Jesus’ suffering and pain on the Cross. Now we can come boldly to God in Christ’s name and obtain mercy and grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Please let us know how we can pray with you.

In His great love,

Denise Renner

Denise Renner