Inspired Reading: Daily Devotions for Christian Moms

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo credit:  Emelda De Coteau
Photo credit:
Emelda De Coteau
My Mom's beautiful note to me nearly 3 years ago.  Photo credit: Emelda De Coteau
My Mom’s beautiful note to me nearly 3 years ago.
Photo credit: Emelda De Coteau
I believe there are times when books find us, becoming vertible lights, guide posts through life’s challenges.  A few weeks ago I discovered a devotional collection my mother gave me for Naima’s first Christmas (she was only 4 months old), How Deep A Mother’s Love… A Devotional Journey.

As I opened it, exhausted from the night before, I read her note to me and these lines stood out, almost as if Mom knew my feelings in this moment: “There will be days of delight and deep struggle. Remember, through it all, your help, your strength, comes from the Lord.”

As I lay there in the stillness of morning, ingesting the weight of her words, I thought of how God uses adversity to draw us closer to him. These devotionals are my solace, an anchor through the chaos and joy of motherhood.

Before Naima, I rarely sat still. Life, it seemed, could not move fast enough. I relentlessly chased experiences, hungry for an end to the mundane – art gallery openings, lectures, book readings, and of course, parties, lots of parties.

Then one cold late November night, nearly three years ago, three words (you are pregnant) transformed my life in ways I still struggle to understand. I am this precious little girl’s Mom.

In this new season, my soul yearns for the fullness only faith in God gives us. And so, I often begin the day (especially when Nai sleeps a little longer) quieting my mind and exploring passages of the bible I learned long ago. Of course now those verses I once recited as a child in Sunday School connect in a concrete way. The complexity of life – the adversities and struggles – do that to us. God is guiding us towards him; little by little, he seems to say, rest your weariness in me.

Here are some of my favorite devotional passages and verses of scripture highlighted in this book: 

” In the demanding world in which we live, financial prosperity can be a good thing, but spiritual prosperity is profoundly more important.”  (pg. 98)

“So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate times.” Galatians 6:9 (pg. 25)

“Sometimes patience is simply the price we pay for being responsible parents, and that’s exactly as it should be. After all, think how patient our Heavenly Father has been with us.” (pg. 143)

“But until God’s perfect plan is made known, we must walk in faith and never lose hope. And we must continue to trust Him. Always.” (pg. 134)

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 HCSB (pg. 21)

A Mother’s Prayer:

“Lord let me be a mother who celebrates life. Let me rejoice in the gift of this day, and let me praise You for the gift of Your Son. Let me a joyful Christian, Lord, as I share Your Good News with friends, with family, and with the world. Amen.”  (pg. 212)

 

Finding Faith In Chaos

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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I wrote this a few years ago, but I am still grappling with these lessons, and the concept of “faith in chaos.” I wanted to share my thoughts again. We are all learning many of the same lessons in different ways.

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Photo Credit: Emelda De Coteau Live In Color Blog

Let go of your old narratives when they no longer serve you. Life changes constantly, and your story will, too.”– Tammy Strobel (Author/Blogger/Photographer)

Over a year ago, within two months, both of our cars were totaled.

Before my husband and I could sigh, we learned about our baby. My emotions vacillated from surprise and joy to the kind of wrenching terror novel responsibility bears. How would I bring forth a life as I still searched for myself?

Months passed; halfway through the pregnancy, one of our doctors solemnly cautioned something may be wrong with our daughter’s heart. Racing anxiety quickly yielded to determination and prayer. We stood in the hospital parking lot on a tepid spring day, my husband, mother and I, heads bowed. We remained calm. A few days later the test results were negative.

After a nearly three-day delivery in August, Naima entered the world at 11:11 a.m., healthy and whole. Only seconds earlier, she maneuvered to break free of the umbilical cord which locked itself around her neck twice; the first cries were an audible reminder that life, in all of its complexities, is a continuous marvel.

As I look into those eyes, pressing against the softness of her skin, my heart is imbued with unending joy. She is here, because we refused to give up on her, on the power of faith. For me faith is not the absence of doubt—it’s having the courage to wrestle with it, facing our vulnerabilities, one day, one moment at a time. As Iyanla Vanzant, teacher and author often remarks, “we must do our work.”

This inner work is constant and consistent. I believe God pushes us with each new challenge to trust more fully. Certainly, there are days when it all feels impractical to me, as if I am swimming against a current.

This autumn, while leaves fell, so too did my tears as I came to grips with a stark realization—a close family member now deals with a lifelong illness. There would be no retreat, only our resolve to cope.

It is during quiet times of reflection, as the bustle of life subsides momentarily, that I am reminded faith, ironically, is perhaps with us most strongly in chaos, when it’s easier to lose ourselves in despair and panic. We only have to remain willing to see promise and possibilities, not obstacles.

What My Baby Is Teaching Me

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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I once read an article in Essence magazine about Hollywood’s golden African-American couple, Will and Jada. Jada said something which remained with me; she likened a marriage or long term relationship between two loving partners to a mirror, that person reflecting yourself back to you, all the issues we bury or ignore.

I never forgot that analogy, and see it so clearly with the birth of our daughter; each moment she teaches, gently pushing me to face myself in a more authentic way.

While I adored children, those ebullient faces filled with endless promise, I ran from motherhood for years, convinced it would signal the end of freedom; “I will have them when I am successful, wealthy, satisfied in my career…” I repeated over and over to myself.

My husband often jokes that I am the queen of preconditions. Several years ago in what felt like a crossroads within our relationship, he looked defeated, sitting across from me at a pizzeria in Brooklyn, and said dryly “just admit it, you do not want kids.” I smiled, “No,” I assured him, “I do, just wait until I get through graduate school.” “There you go,” he said, nodding his head, “with the preconditions.”

He dropped the subject of kids; we carried on with the fullness of our lives, balancing work and friends, business projects and educational pursuits, until one cold night towards the end of November; we sat in the doctor’s office together waiting for results. Congratulations, the nurse said, her voice imbued with the kind of universal joy reserved for bearing good news, “You all are having a baby.”

Outwardly I smiled, but felt fear bubbling with the enormous weight of those words. Baby? I repeated the word over and over. I am still figuring out who I am. How will I raise a child wrestling with this nebulous sense of self?

Well, Naima Deja De Coteau arrived at 11:11 a.m. on August 14, two weeks after the due date. Her first lesson for me? Value each moment and maximize it. Just before our daughter entered the world, I pushed for 3 hours; at the time no one realized the umbilical cord was wrapped around her tiny neck twice. Within those moments God was gently preparing her and me for the moment of birth. The time of 11:11 a.m. will remain in my consciousness, a reminder of endurance, beauty and the miraculous power of the divine.

Small pockets of time fill my days, and I maximize them in a way I did not before; when you no longer control nearly 24 hours of the day, flexibility and discipline become essential. There is no time to waste. Ironically I am more determined to blog, write, and push towards other projects than ever.

Of course all of this requires an inordinate amount of patience. Oh how I struggle with this in certain instances, but Naima teaches me that so much is beyond my control, like changing a diaper at 4 a.m., or her outfit after an accident. When the frustration builds, and it does, “patience, patience, Mommy,” her little eyes seem to say.

I now realize I am enough for Naima, with all of my flaws and insecurities, I am enough. This is the most profound lesson God is teaching me through motherhood. Love her with all of yourself; she needs it more than anything you could achieve or buy. Love fully.

Live In Color – E

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