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224 pages
Jan 2004
Harvest House Publishers

10-Minute Time Outs for Moms

by Grace Fox

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The Measureless Sea

The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. PSALM 33:5

Upward Gaze

I praise You today for Your goodness and unfailing love (1 Chronicles 16:34). Your love reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies! (Psalm 36:5). My heart rejoices in Your salvation. You’ve been good to me, and I sing praises to Your name (Psalm 13:5-6). Your goodness to me can’t be measured. Amen.

Every Sunday morning, three or four dozen children swarmed our church’s basement, eager to hear Bible stories and sing songs—or at least hang out with their buddies. Freckle-faced boys greeted each other with a bop in the arm while pony-tailed girls giggled with their friends.

Chatter and laughter stopped at ten o’clock sharp when the Sunday school superintendent took her place behind a lectern. She introduced visitors, led us in singing “Happy Birthday,” and collected a missionary offering. Then came the best part—singing action choruses.

We pretended to march in the Lord’s army. We imitated Zaccheus climbing the tree to see Jesus. We sang about a fountain flowing deep and wide and about Jesus’ love for all the children of the world. I enjoyed every tune, but my favorite song compared God’s love to the ocean.

Growing up on Alberta’s prairies limited my ocean knowledge to what I gleaned from television’s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. But my ignorance didn’t stop me from singing with gusto.

“Wide, wide as the ocean,” I chirped, stretching my arms open from left to right, careful not to knock my neighbors’ noses. “High as the heavens above”—I pointed skyward, imagining God’s love reaching higher than fluffy white clouds. “Deep, deep as the deepest sea”—I pointed at the floor, visualizing His love extending to inky depths where submarines pinged and hid. I enjoyed singing and acting, but in reality, my limited imagination didn’t comprehend the song’s truth.

Thirty-five years and many life lessons later, I’m finally beginning to understand the height, depth, width, and consistency of God’s measureless love. Living on an island surrounded by saltwater provides me with a perfect visual aid.

Each morning when I open the window blinds, I see the water. The tide rolls in and out, and the water level rises and falls, but it’s always there. Local commercial fishermen count on it. Alaskan cruise companies sell tickets months in advance, believing it will always be there. Tugboat and barge owners book their business, banking on the sea’s presence. And they’re never disappointed.

Divers explore the sea’s depths but will never exhaust its uncharted territory. It’s simply too deep and too wide to conquer.

Like the ocean, God’s love is wide, deep, and always there. We read about it in the Bible. We feel it in a child’s hug. We see it in a friend’s smile. It’s with us throughout each day and while we sleep at night. It surrounds us when we’re lonely and completely unaware of it. It embraces our children, and it will be there for their children, too. Even if, heaven forbid, the ocean should dry up someday, God’s love will never run dry.

This knowledge fills our hearts with a confident song! In every circumstance, we can celebrate His measureless love.

Inward Glimpse

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your constant love. Help me face the future with confidence, knowing that Your love will always be with me. Amen.

• Record how God has shown His never-ending, unconditional love for you in the last week.

• In a sentence or two, thank God for His measureless love for you.

Outward Glance

Dear Father, thank You for Your unfailing love toward ————— (Psalm 6:4). Help him understand that love and never doubt it. May he fear You and hope in Your unfailing love. And as he does so, may Your eyes be on him (Psalm 33:18). Make him like the sun rising in its strength as he loves You (Judges 5:31). Amen.

One More Peek

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him (Psalm 103:11).

This Place Is for You

Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” GALATIANS 4:6

Upward Gaze

Dear Father, I trust in Your unfailing love. I know You’re with me every moment of every day. As I walk with You, nothing can change or remove Your love for me. My heart rejoices in Your salvation. I’ll sing to You because of Your goodness to me (Psalm 13:5-6). I praise You for being my Abba Father and pouring Your love out upon me. Praise be to Your name, from everlasting to everlasting (1 Chronicles 16:36). Amen.

When I was young, visiting Grandma and Grandpa’s farm was the next best thing to Christmas. I relished unlimited freedom and ran forever without fear of strangers or getting lost. Each visit brought wholesome adventures—discovering newborn kittens tucked between stacked hay bales, spying on piglets squeezed in a row against their monstrous mom, snuggling under Grandma’s homemade feather comforter, and sneaking eggs from cackling hens. And Grandpa—well, he was better than any adventure.

“Come here, Gracie,” he’d say, patting his knee. “This place is just for you.”

I would run to him and climb onto his lap. He wrapped his strong arms around me and laughed his jolly laugh. I braced myself for the inevitable. Squeezing me so I couldn’t escape, Grandpa put his cheek against mine and rubbed gently. Two days’ whisker growth scratched my skin.

“Stop, Grandpa, stop!” I begged through my giggles. I squirmed to escape the sandpaper rub, careful that my wiggles weren’t strong enough to free me. I loved every minute of his undivided attention. I felt like the safest, most-loved girl on earth. My heart sang, Grandpa loves me, and I’m his girl!

My Grandpa’s love portrays God’s Abba-love, His father-love, for His children. His arms are always open—“Come here, My child. This place is just for you.” He delights when we crawl into His lap, leaving anxieties and fears behind. Nothing can touch us when we’re safe in His arms.

Many women haven’t known the love of a father or grandfather. Perhaps you find difficulty relating to Abba-love because of abuse suffered at the hands of those you trusted. If so, I pray that God, our heavenly Father, will show His love to you in special ways. I pray that He will heal your wounded heart and set you free to rejoice in the marvel of being His precious child.

Crawl onto His lap. Tell Him your concerns, fears, and joys. Ask Him for help with whatever you’re facing today. Let Him wrap His arms around you. Close to the Father’s heart, you’re safe. Be still. Listen. Do you hear His voice?

I love you—you’re My girl!

Inward Glimpse

Heavenly Father, thank You for claiming me as Your child through the blood of Jesus Christ. Take me by the hand and lead me into a greater understanding of the depth of Your love. Amen.

• Is anything in your life preventing you from enjoying God’s Abba-love for you? If so, what is it? Ask God to remove any barrier and reveal His incredible love for you.

• Write a short prayer to acknowledge God’s love for you. Begin with, “Daddy, thank You for loving me. I feel Your love when…”

Outward Glance

Father, I pray that ————— will know and love You as “Abba Father.” May he keep Your commands, in order that he might receive Your promise to keep Your covenant of love to a thousand generations (Deuteronomy 7:9). I pray that he will trust in You as David did and that your unfailing love will hold him tightly, keeping him from being shaken (Psalm 21:7). Wrap Your loving arms around him today, I pray. Amen.

One More Peek

You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children (Romans 8:14-16).

Excerpted from 10 Minute Time Outs for Moms By Grace Fox. Copyright © 2004 by Harvest House Publishers. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.