Monday, October 16, 2017

GROWING my children's faith 🙏


eat healthy.
exercise.
get fresh air.
get enough sleep.
do your chores.
finish your homework.
mind your manners.
obey your parents.

of all the things we want our kids to do and to be, and of all the daily expectations we have of them, one thing is MOST IMPORTANT of all: their relationship with Jesus. it's so much more than having good morals, obeying the law, having religion, and generally being a good person. it's important to me that my kids know Jesus so that they know true hope, grace, joy in all circumstances, the power of prayer, godly love, and the promise of heaven. i want Jesus to influence their day-to-day decisions, and i want them to live eternity and kingdom-minded. i want my kids to know that we have a friend and Savior in Jesus forever! in our home, a strong faith foundation is top priority. 

"direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older, they will not leave it."
proverbs 22:6

God has entrusted us with or children and we're honored to lead them to knowing Jesus! what an awesome privilege. instilling faith in our children's hearts is a huge responsibility and an ongoing process, and we need all the tools, resources, and helpers we can get! 

there are a lot of resources out there to help parents lead their children into a relationship with Jesus. it's easy to get overwhelmed with all the options. where do you even start to introduce your child to God?? the best news is, it's never too late to begin to nurture your child's spiritual growth. my encouragement to you is to simply start somewhere. pick up a children's or family devotional and open to page 1, and make the most of this beautiful gift of raising your child with a heart for Jesus.

here are a few of our family's new favorite faith-growing books:

 


  • Jesus Always: 365 Devotions for Kids by Sarah Young // help your child develop a friendship with the Lord through daily time with Him and His Word. each day features a scripture and a devotional that is written as though Jesus is speaking directly to your children. we read these daily devotions as a family at dinner time and it makes for really great discussions! ENTER TO WIN 1 OF 5 COPIES OF Jesus Always: 365 Devotions for Kids: http://www.blessedfreebies.com/jesus-always-365.html




  • Faith, Hope, Love Devotional by Amy Parker // one hundred daily scripture-based devotions explore faith, hope, and love, written in a way children will understand. each day has space for kids to journal as they learn, as well as a prayer prompt or applicable action step.



 

  • Cover Them: Bite-size Prayers for Busy Moms by Brittany Frey // this is perfect little book for moms who need quick but powerful prayers for their kids. i love to write out each day's prayers, filling in my kids names, and also write out the scripture reference, and exploring different translations of the verse if i have more time :) super simple book with adorable illustrations. this is great for keeping in the car and praying in the school drop off line, or keeping in your diaper bag or purse for those stolen moments of quiet time with Jesus.






  • She is Yours: Trusting God as You Raise the Girl He Gave You by Jonathan and Wynter Pitts // this book has practical advice and encouragement for parents of girls. i love the stories and real ways the Pitts' offer for helping my daughter develop an awesome relationship with God, with me, and with others. i also love the surrender prayer included in the book!  




i hope these books help you in your God-centered parenting journey!  


Father, thank You for the honor and blessings of being my kids' parent. thank You for helping me grow my child's faith, and guide them to a real relationship with You. God, thank You for the privilege of directing my children in the right path, and that when they are older, they will not depart from it. cover our home in Your peace and grace. in Jesus’ Name, amen.


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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

REMEMBER YOUR ANCHOR ⚓

one of my friends has a tattoo of an anchor on her rib cage. it's a delicate drawing of a weighted object - so pretty in an ironic sort of way. i think about her tattoo often, and what a good reminder it is - permanently inked on your skin or otherwise - because we are so quick to forget about our anchor. 


"...we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls." (hebrews 6:18-19)
if we are like boats, we float through our days just kind of bobbing along with the current. sometimes a tidal wave comes and we toss and turn wildly, letting the winds dictate our drift. and other times we're caught in a major storm, a hurricane maybe, and our boat goes nuts and flips all over the place, and we freak out. sometimes we act like we have no anchor at all. the waves and the storms might as well take us out to sea, far from the shore, throw us to the rocks and destroy us. 

but, no. we do have an anchor. his name is Jesus. he is secure and firm. he is comfort and safety and hope and he is ALWAYS. the hope we have in Jesus is based on certainty, truth, and the unchangeable Word of God. our anchor isn't on a chain at the bottom of the sea. our anchor is in heaven. our anchor is
an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God (hebrews 6:18-20, message)
so the wind is blowing and the waves are crashing and the boat is swaying? get ready. plant your feet, lock your knees, turn your back to the storm, and look to your anchor. hold on to hope. remember your anchor. i'm not suggesting we all go get anchor tattoos on our rib cages (but i'm not against it, though). but i do want to suggest we establish a habit of recalling the image of a heavy, solid, safe anchor any time the wind and waves start to try to move our boat. 


what does that look like when we aren't actually in boats? how do we remember our anchor when it's tuesday afternoon and life is happening like a hurricane? here are some ideas:  

PRAY // stop that broken record in your head that is replaying conversations and negative words and just say/think/sing thank You, Jesus. repeat those 3 words over and over until you mean it from the bottom of your heart. i promise it won't take long before the Lord starts replacing your worries and fears with comfort and peace, and you will be thankful. this happens to me all the time i will have myself worked up into a frenzy, my mind going 100mph, i have to stop myself with that phrase: thank You, Jesus thank You, Jesus. thank You, Jesus. and it's like a weight is lifted and my eyes are opened to the goodness of God all around me and in every situation, drowning out my frenzied thoughts.
 
GET QUIET // stop talking about your worries, fears and problems - to yourself and to others. just stop. press pause for a sec. did you know that worries, fears, and complaints can be idols? they can. and talking about them every chance we get is a form of worshiping those idols? ew ew ew! try this - next time you want to speak out loud about something you're afraid of, worried about, or frustrated by, put your finger to your lips (shhh) and the next thing that comes out of your mouth must be a true fact. not an opinion or a feeling. give yourself a pause and let God calm the waves. what would glorify Him would be for you to not speak about your worries/fears/problems, but instead talk about how God saw you through it, provided peace, and redeemed it all! that's what we should be talking about! 
  
DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE // take your eyes off of your own boat and look across the waves to someone else in need. oh yeah, we aren't in boats. so take your eyes off of your own life and problems and go love on your neighbor. send an encouraging text, buy a coffee for a friend, water your neighbor's flowers, tip the waiter generously, complement the cashier. do something selfless and suddenly your storm won't seem so bad. 
 
EXERCISE // get up and move your body. go for a walk. jump rope. hop on that stationary bike. there is something scientifically real about endorphin and adrenaline and natural mental and physical pain killers that our bodies release when we are active. i know my natural inclination is to park on the couch when i'm stressed, anxious, or discouraged. but i also know how much better i feel after i work out. exercise does wonders for mind, body, and soul.  

UNPLUG // literally turn off the TV and log off of Facebook. your anchor is not online and is definitely not on the 9 o'clock news. in fact, i'd go as far as to say those things put a kink in our anchor chain, making it harder to hold on to hope. it's easy to forget your anchor when your mind is filled with the noise of the world. remember, the news is biased and literally written to cause waves of panic and fear and hysteria. and Facebook is just a free-for-all forum for people to share those biased news reports as well as their opinions about the news. you might not even realize that being online and watching TV is causing your boat to sink, but if you spend a lot of time plugged in, and your boat never really feels steady and secure, so to speak, i recommend unplugging.  

CONFIDE // not to negate the "be quiet" suggestion above, this encouragement is to confide in a trusted person, your spouse, a close friend, or a counselor. it can be helpful to hear someone we love gently remind us that we are believing lies, on a negativity cycle, getting caught up in fear-traps, or making an idol of worry. find a friend who's anchor is steady and reach out to her to help you access your anchor.    
"What anchors our soul is not our subjective confidence, but the sure objective reality that God has promised. This is our anchor. And this is what we are to lay hold of." -John Piper

if you search the word anchor in the thesaurus, one synonym result is HOLD. Jesus is our hold. we can hold on to hope in Christ because we are held. (you know i love that.) we are anchored. winds and waves of doubt and discouragement will come, fear will crash over us and worry will threaten to rock us, but our anchor of hope is secure and unmovable. remember your anchor: Jesus. He holds us steady and sure, come what may. 


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