Goodness, it’s bittersweet writing that title out and hitting publish, but I wanted to let all my blog followers know I’m in the process of changing websites from meetmeinthemornings to sarahheringer.com.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3:1
After almost 7 years of blogging here and over 150 posts, it’s time for a change. Change is not easy on me (anyone else?) so it’s been a slow process, but I’m finally ready. I hope you will join me on the new site and we can really become a community of believers seeking, seeing and savoring the Lord.
~WordPress followers, I think you will need to re-follow.
~Current e-mail followers, you have been transferred over to the new site.
~New friends, be sure to follow the new site so you won’t miss a post!
I also have some freebies I’m giving to new subscribers and I will make sure current followers via e-mail receive these pieces as well. Be looking for them in your inbox (or maybe junk box).
Thank you so much for your support, love and grace over the years, I am so grateful for you!
***Over the years, my parents and I have written about my brother, Daniel. Now it’s my sister’s turn. I’m so happy to share with you her heart and experience. Today marks 14 years without him. I cannot believe it has been that long. Oh we miss him dearly.***
Have you felt the tug of the Spirit, nudging you as only The One Who Created You could – as if a string was tied from inside your soul to an unidentified outward location? Have you heard the silent whisper of His voice, beckoning to you to go this way or that, to make one choice or the other? There was a time in my life when I was not really listening…no, I was having too much fun living for myself. But I will thank God for the rest of my days for not giving up on me, for not going silent, and for His persistence one autumn day in particular, for carrying out one very special plan.
I was in my second year of law school at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and clerking for a large firm (large by Arkansas standards, anyway). I was also in a long distance relationship with my now-husband, Jonathan, and most weekends were spent traveling the hour-and-a-half distance to visit him (or vice versa) in his hometown, Russellville, Arkansas.
On that particular Friday in October, the managing partner of the firm – a.k.a. my boss – asked me to deliver a document to a town located halfway between Fayetteville and my hometown of Harrison. I had already planned a little road trip across the state for the weekend, driving to Russellville before heading to see my sister perform in a play in Jonesboro, on the east side of the state. With this new assignment, I decided instead to go through Harrison first. That is when I gave my brother a call.
Let me tell you a little bit about my big brother, Daniel Matthew Sprott. He was born on July 12, 1977, at Doctors Hospital in Little Rock, a short drive from where we lived in Brinkley. He was the firstborn in my family, and my parents were over-the-moon excited to become parents. There were no signs of problems during the pregnancy, but he suffered a skull fracture during birth and was immediately taken to a different hospital. The fracture was an early indicator of a rare medical condition.
He was a medical mystery, surviving, by his own count, “30 plus” surgeries. He could walk short distances but mostly used one crutch or his Quickie wheelchair. Doctors made surgical attempts to straighten his legs, but none significantly helped. There is a picture of the two of us after one of those surgeries; in it he is in his wheelchair, legs straight out in front of him in full casts, a big grin on his face, smiling down at me – a baby of about 6 months old – laying happily between his broken legs.
That was him: Daniel had the best attitude. I honestly cannot remember him ever complaining about the hand he was dealt. Now, do I remember him complaining about me being in his way in front of the television, or about me being an annoying little sister? Sure! But never once did I hear him play the victim.
He was always making people laugh, and people in Brinkley and then Harrison – where we moved when he was in the 4th grade – loved him, accepted him, and treated him no differently than they would anyone else. It was when we traveled out of town that I noticed a difference. Even as a young child, I can recall situations where kids would say something about “that weird looking boy”, like “what is wrong with him?” It hurt me to my core. He would smile back at the little kids who stared, oftentimes making a funny face at them to get them to relax and understand that he was not some sort of monster.
As he got older, the physical pain he endured was perhaps joined by emotional pain, as his friends started getting married, having children, advancing their careers, etc… He had a good job – working at our dad’s small law practice – and had countless friends. In fact, Daniel was the best man in several weddings and godfather of many children. Looking back, I see how he was also in a state of physical decline. Were we in denial? Were we in such a state of self-centered oblivion that we failed to even notice? Or were we to realize from the very beginning that he was an extra-special, unique gift from our God the Creator, and that each and every day we had with him was a treasure? Looking back, I know the answer.
On that gorgeous fall day in October 2006, the start of a weekend that I had high hopes for, I felt a tug, and I called my brother. He was not working that afternoon; my parents were in South Carolina under obligation of my father’s role as President of the Arkansas Bar Association. I could tell that Daniel was on the computer when he answered. I boldly told him my plan, and asked him to pack a bag and be ready for me in about an hour and a half. He was not used to taking orders from his little sister, five years his junior. (He was, in fact, used to taking orders from his other little sister, Sarah, only 13 months his junior and of a much more dominant personality-type!)
As I alluded earlier, I was not exactly listening to or living for the Lord much back then. I had just turned 23 and was completely occupied with law school and the roller-coaster ride of a long distance romance. The fact that I was even willing to drive out of my way to pick him up shows divine intervention! It could not have been anything other than the Holy Spirit that spoke through me, and when Daniel came up with a few excuses as to why he could not go, I knew I could not take no for an answer. I stood my ground and said “We are going to do this. We are going to go watch our sister perform a big role on the stage together. You are coming with me and that is that!” He finally gave in but only after he negotiated one bribe: Before I picked him up, I must go through Kentucky Fried Chicken and get him three Chicken Snacker Sandwiches. My goodness he was a hoot!
Thus began the weekend I will never forget.
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F R I D A Y
I completed my simple job delivery, then drove the winding scenic road I had traveled hundreds of times – U.S. 412 – to my hometown. I obligingly drove through K.F.C. before heading to the home my family had moved into nearly twenty years prior. I found Daniel downstairs, grumbling a little but mostly in good spirits with a little bitty overnight bag he had packed, ready to go. He was a little concerned about Annabelle Lee (“Annie”), our black Labrador Retriever we had given my dad when I was in the 10th grade. My parents had left Daniel in charge of her, so his concern was valid. I was on a mission; there was only one option: “Let’s get her in the Jeep then.” We all piled into “Hogger” – my red 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee – and headed down Scenic 7 South toward Russellville.
Jonathan had only recently moved back to his hometown after graduating with his MBA from the U of A, so he happened to be living with his parents at the time. There were countless parts of this journey that I consider special, but this first stop was priceless. My future in-laws spent time with and got to know Daniel that weekend. Jonathan, who I would marry less than two years later, spent quality time with him. Here is another sweet memory I have from that night and another example of Daniel’s giant heart: my in-laws do not particularly love dogs, so Annie stayed outside in the yard in a kennel far from the house. Annie was mainly an indoor dog at this point, so Daniel stayed out there with her a long time to comfort her and make her feel safe, and loved.
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S A T U R D A Y
The next morning, we left Russellville for Jonesboro. That meant we would be driving through Conway. Growing up, one of my brother’s best friends was our cousin Adam. His sister Laura lives close to Conway and has a horse farm and barn animals. Daniel, in his easy-going, slow-paced way, asked if we could stop and see if she was home. He was never in a hurry to get anywhere! It exasperated us all at times, but what a great way to live! I again felt that prodding from the inside, and Instead of worrying about the clock, agreed that it was a great idea. She was delighted to see us – especially delighted to see Daniel – and even let me ride one of her beloved horses!
While I was riding, Daniel took some pictures with his flip phone (this was one year before the iPhone took over). I remember how he smiled, watching me ride, even though it was something he was not able to do. I remember thinking about how I was being selfish; he probably was not having any fun just watching. But that was the thing that made Daniel special; he was always content, no matter the circumstances. Maybe it was because of his circumstances, but he had a mental fortitude unrivaled.
We left our cousin’s house happy and with sun-kissed cheeks. The Tour of Daniel’s Goodbye had one final leg: Jonesboro.
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My sister Sarah is only 13 months younger than Daniel; they were practically twins! He was always so proud of her, and then of me too when I came along four years after Sarah. She and her husband have three beautiful babies, and the youngest is Daniel’s namesake. In October 2006, they had been married four years and had recently suffered a miscarriage. Our hearts were particularly tender toward her at that time.
Daniel requested that we get to Jonesboro in time to get her some flowers before her play. Since neither of us knew any better – or knew the town of Jonesboro any better! – we ended up at a Walgreens. We managed to find some type of flowers there and lucky for us also some gummy worms, which we both shared an affinity for.
By this point, I did have to rush him along a bit because it was almost time for the show to begin! Sarah had saved us two center seats on the very front row of the Forum Theater in downtown Jonesboro. Sarah was playing Shelby in Steel Magnolias! She had minored in drama in college and this was her second lead role in the community theatre.
Daniel and I were mesmerized the entire show – I remember looking over at him and I could see on his flip phone that he was texting Sarah-something about being “fallible”, which is embarrassing to admit, but I had to look up the definition later (he was always surprising me with his wit and wisdom!). She showed me later what the text had said: “Who are you and what did you do with my fallible sister?” He had also configured a rose on that text. What a sweet comment from a proud big brother. I do believe he even wiped a tear or two during the show. That is how proud he was of her.
I love the memory of us sitting on the front row of that little old theatre watching Sarah do what she loves. To this day, when I see, hear or say the word “fallible/infallible”, I think of my big brother, and how he taught it to me. He taught me so, so much.
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I love my brother-in-law, but it just so happens that he was out of town that weekend, so it was just the three of us. We had the time of our lives. We listened to music, Sarah and I danced, and the three of us talked late into the night. I remember a conversation Daniel and I had outside that night on their back deck. For some reason, I had been questioning if he still believed. Because of that conversation, I know that he is in heaven with Jesus His Savior. His, Yours, and Mine. What a gift. What a comfort that was to ponder after his death…knowing that it was not really the end. We would see him again.
Also that night, Sarah and I – separately, without the other even knowing! – watched him sleep, which is something we would not normally do. God took our hands and led us into the room where he was sleeping, and told us to look at him, because He knew that the next time we would look at him like that, he would not wake up. That is just jaw-dropping to me still to think about, because what a crazy-stalker-strange thing to do! Who does that? And why? If not for God leading us to do it, stirring our hearts to feel the need, the impulse to do this otherwise abnormal thing, we would not have that memory of his peaceful, restful sleep. That memory of his face, his body, his hands, in restful slumber. Thank you, Lord.
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S U N D A Y
Sundays. A day of the week that looking back to my college and law school years feels dreary and sad. There are several reasons for this. Perhaps because it signified the end of the weekend and the beginning of the school week, which then meant long classes and endless quizzes, essays and exams. Perhaps because I had stayed up way too late the night before at a sorority/fraternity function. Or maybe, perhaps, because at that point in my life I was not in the joy-giving habit of Sunday-morning church-going, a habit I was raised with and knew deep down was best for my soul.
That Sunday was the dreariest of all. Not atmospherically, though I have no recollection of the weather at all that day (of course it IS a gray day when I picture it all in my mind). I dropped him off, at the home we all grew up in. The house was empty and dark because my parents would not return from their trip until the following day. I watched him get into his wheelchair down by the basement door. He turned around and waved goodbye, giving me a toothless grin before I drove off down the alley and then back to Fayetteville. I will never forget that image…and I hope I never do.
Life resumed to what was normal back then. Busy and hectic, but otherwise, we had a carefree, painless existence.
Four days later, on Thursday, October 19, 2006, my Daddy called at 8:01 a.m. to tell me that Daniel passed away in his sleep; his heart had stopped beating sometime in the night. He was 29 years old.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
It took me a few days, but the realization of how, and when, and that that trip miraculously came to be slowly encompassed my being like the hand of God holding me. With that realization came a peace to fight any doubt that may exist, of knowing that God is with us, guiding us, and that we must listen when He calls.
After fourteen years without my brother, God is still revealing the beautiful, loving ways He prepared and held us before, during, and after that weekend. God orchestrated the entire trip. He had me take Daniel on somewhat of a farewell tour, to see people who had been a big part of his past, and to see people who would mean a lot to his family in the future. He worked it out where everyone could say goodbye to him: it was one last time for every one to be blessed by him and by his good nature.
God gave me the magical gift of TIME with my brother. Time spent with him in the car, with no cell phone service, where we were forced to talk to each other, to make memories, not knowing then that we were saying goodbye. And He gave me the gift of knowing where Daniel is now, and that I will see him again, and he will have a perfect body, and be able to run and do all those things he was not able to do on earth, all of the things he had to sit and watch the rest of us do.
I thank God for nudging me to make the call, to take the trip. Even though it hurt SO MUCH to lose him that day, I know that God is with him now. And I will see my brother again.
Today my husband and I celebrate 18 years of marriage. Wow. We really were babies when we tied the knot and had no idea what true love was really about. But we have learned over the years and are still learning as we go. It’s not always been perfect (what marriage is?) but I can say it’s been special and neat. Even the hard has taught us of who we are and who God calls us to be.
One day I’d love to elaborate on a few of the hard seasons, so to help others walking a similar journey, but for today I will stick to a light and lovely post. Maybe even a little sappy, but maybe it will encourage you wherever you are in your marriage.
We celebrated this weekend with a night away at our lakehouse, which we needed more than we knew. Since the virus we haven’t had our weekly date nights, and it really does make a difference. We’ve not been as connected, or ONE lately.
I bought him his favorite cake and meant to buy two candles, a 1 and an 8, but forgot. I searched the junk drawer at the lake house and found two candles, both 1’s. I thought, well that’s not going to work...and then I thought again.
Oh yes, it will work and be even more perfect than a 1 and an 8.
“And they shall become one flesh…” Genesis 2:24
ONE. When we marry a person we become one. It’s biblical and beautiful, but difficult to let go of ourselves enough to actually do time and time again. But it’s what a Christian, covenant marriage is about.
However, I can recall times when it felt like we were two VERY different people trying to make it work. Feeling so opposite, as if on different sides, all I could see were our differences.
I remember vividly the day I was hit over the head with this idea of ONENESS in our marriage. I re-postitioned myself to be ONE with him, a unit, a team… and not only my perspective changed drastically, but our marriage did too. And it grew.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
We must remember, we don’t fight against flesh and blood; our spouse is never the enemy. Sin is the enemy and we ALL struggle with it. Things like selfishness, entitlement, high expectations, unforgiveness, etc….get in the way of a thriving marriage.
The enemy is also the enemy and he HATES marriage. He wants us to quit, to give in and give up. He wants us on different teams than our spouses. He doesn’t want us living as ONE, because that is how God calls us to live and that is where the fruitfulness lies.
Our oneness honors God because it reflects His purpose for marriage. Our love for one another does the same because marriage is a picture of the Gospel.
So in your marriage…are you living as ONE? Or has the enemy and/or sin drawn a wedge between the two of you? Are you living separate lives, each going the opposite direction it seems? I encourage you to change your thinking. Think of it as a war – gird your loins, draw those weapons and fight. You and your husband are on the same team. Reposition yourself, encourage him to do the same. Get on the same side of the fence and your fight will be more powerful. Change your mindset to be on the same team, fighting for the same thing- your marriage. And not just a marriage, but a growing, thriving, flourishing marriage. It’s what we all want isn’t it? It’s what the Lord wants for us too. He designed marriage, it’s a good thing between a man and a woman.
This weekend, as we blew out the single candle, we each made a wish (or a prayer is what I like to say). We celebrated 18 years of marriage (21 years of total togetherness) and prayed for many, many more. We thanked God for the blessings over the years, especially in our three children.
I prayed before one meal, he prayed before another. Our prayers and hearts were met with the grace of God. His grace over the last 18 years, His grace for today and His grace for many more years to come. His grace giving us strength, stamina and fight. His grace calling us to pursue one another, cherish one another and truly love one another as He has called us to. To put one another first, our relationship as the priority above any other…which is hard! His work is his baby, our babies are my baby…we are spent all day long and there’s often little left for the other when we cross paths in the evenings. But with prayer and the Spirit’s help, we can learn to love the other more and not just give the left overs.
To end this post I want to share with you THE BEST marriage book I have ever read. The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller.
Go get this book! If your marriage is great, go get it. If you’re hanging on by a thread, go get it. If you’re engaged, dating or even single, this book is highly suggested. I pick it up from time to time to be encouraged and to revisit some amazing quotes. I’ll leave you with a few.
“The reason that marriage is so painful and yet wonderful if because it is a reflection of the Gospel, which is painful and wonderful at once.”
“The Gospel can fill our hearts with God’s love so that you can handle it when your spouse fails to love you as he or she should.”
“Seek to serve one another rather than to be happy, and you will find a new and deeper happiness.”
“Wedding vows are not a declaration of present love but a mutually binding promise of future love.”
“Only if you commit yourself to loving in action, day in and day out, even when feelings and circumstances are in flux, can you truly be a free individual and not a pawn of outside forces. Also, only if you maintain your love for someone when it is not thrilling can you said to be actually loving a person.”
“So, if your definition of love stresses affectionate feelings more than unselfish actions, you will cripple your ability to maintain and grow strong love relationships. On the other hand, if you stress the action of love over the feeling, you enhance and establish the feeling. That is one of the secrets of living life, as well as marriage.”
“You can change your heart over the long haul through your actions.”
“No other human being should get more of your love, energy, industry, and commitment than your spouse.”
“A deep experience of the grace of God- a knowledge that you are a sinner saved by grace- will enable the power of truth and love to work together in your marriage.”
“Christ is the only spouse that can truly fulfill us…”
“Christ’s love is the great foundation for building a marriage that sings.”
One more thing Keller points out in this book is the studies that reveal two-thirds of unhappy marriages will become happy within five years if people stay married and do not get divorced.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to my husband, Ryan. I love you forever and always.
I was invited to be the keynote speaker at my High School’s Homecoming Assembly last week. It was truly an honor and so fun, exciting and great to be back at Harrison High.
Grateful for the opportunity to share what I loved about high school and about Jesus too. Grateful for the many friends praying for me as I prepared and spoke. Grateful for the help of my dad as my editor on the speech. Grateful I didn’t fall in my new shoes or let my nerves get the best of me! TYJ.
Below is the speech I wrote with some encouraging words I need daily! After that you will find a link to the video of the speech if you want to watch. All glory to God! ♥️
***Wow, it is such an honor to be standing here today, 25 years from my senior year at Harrison high school- which, when I say that out loud, it doesn’t even seem possible that it has been that long since my time here. Time really does fly and I certainly don’t feel as old as I must be! It’s crazy to think none of yall were even born when I was a senior in high school!
After Mr. Parker asked me to speak to you all, I visited with my husband and parents about what I would say that would maybe make a difference. My husband suggested talking about my life then and now and what I’ve learned along the way, my mom wanted me to make sure I let yall know I would not be where I am today without her, my biggest cheerleader. I agree, mom! And thank you. (SHE RECEIVED A ROUND OF APPLAUSE HERE! Much deserved! I loved it!)
My dad reminded me of a short but powerful Winston Churchill speech many of you may be familiar with- Sr Winston, was back at his alma mater, speaking to the graduating class. A popular phrase that has been taken from his speech is: “never give in, never give in, never never never never never-in nothing great or small, large or petty- never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” I think he made his point to never give in very clear on this one. And while I will encourage you to never give in except to good and right things, I want to encourage you in some other ways too.
But first, I want to tell you what I loved in this place called the Home of the Goblins. I’ll try not to bore you I promise!
First of all- I love the Goblins. I mean, what other school has a mascot like that? Super special and sets HHS apart from the get-go. When I was here, the school spirit was contagious and magnetic. We all seemed to bleed blue and gold., at least I know I did. What about yall? I’m sure this year’s spirit has looked a little different b/c of all the COVID 19 guidelines, but I hope it’s still here like it was then.
I also love the traditions of this school- Have you ever heard of the shake and bake? During a pep rally, Coach Tommy Tice would lead us in it-I don’t know where it came from, or how it started, I just know it got us excited and made things more fun. (show how it’s done)
Friday Night Lights were awesome on the banks of Crooked Creek.
And then there’s the people here. So many amazing teachers and staff always were there to encourage and equip us students for life and learning. Some I still think of and keep in touch with today- thank you, Facebook!
Just so many lessons and memories in these walls
Speaking of these walls- they aren’t all the same as I remember! This school has grown and changed significantly in 25 years, but the core values of excellence are still apparent.
I am so proud to be from Harrison and proud to be a Golden Goblin for life. I hope you all can say the same now and when you leave this pivotable place in your lives. This school is the springboard of your education, character, and beginnings of your young adult life. The relationships, the experiences, the accomplishments and even the setbacks and disappointments can all be used to further your character. And while things may look, feel and be quite different than they did a year ago, I hope you can look for and notice the things you love and find lessons to learn that will shape you into you.
I can remember not always feeling like I fit in, perhaps you can relate? Maybe it’s just part of growing up and at one time or another we all struggle with that but what’s important is to remember to never give in to try and fit in. If you hear nothing else today, please hear this: You were made unique by a good God who knows you, loves you and has a purpose and place for you. Trust me, we all fit in with Him.
But Maybe you’re the one who has had a hard time fitting in here, maybe you’re the one who didn’t make the team or the squad or the grade; Maybe you’re the one who can’t stay out of trouble, maybe you’re the one whose heart has been broken. Maybe you’re everything here, maybe you’re the one who isn’t. Maybe you’re the one who is always on the homecoming court, maybe you’re the one who never is. Maybe you’re always surrounded by friends, maybe you sit alone. Maybe you’re the one who makes everyone laugh, maybe you’re at the core of everyone’s laughter.
Whoever you are, wherever you are, here are some truths and encouraging words to hang onto in these shaky, uncertain times. I still need these truths daily! I hope all or at least one of these points will stick out as a great foundation to walk on not only this year, but many years to come.
You are never alone. You have a Heavenly Father who is always with you and near when you call upon Him for help. He also gives us people, so don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. There’s always someone ahead on the journey that has walked a similar situation, don’t be afraid to seek them out for council, wisdom and advice.
B.D. B- be kind to one another and build each other up. D- do to others as you would want done to yourselves. Two Bible verse my kids and I have put together for an acronym we all need, B.D.
Focus on YOUR journey, not everyone else’s; Even as a 42 year old this is hard, but Comparison really is the thief of all joy. Try to look straight ahead at your path, and not left and right at everyone else’s.
Do your best with and in all things. shoot for excellence but always remember to give yourself lots of grace – look for progress, not perfection.
Set goals for yourself and know your limitations so you can set the appropriate boundaries.
Don’t base your identity, worth or security on the shaky ground of your accomplishments, accolades, likes or followers. There is more to life than this.
My own twist on Sir Winston’s speech— PRESS ON. Press On. There will be bumps in the road and if what our world has been through this year isn’t a bump, I don’t know what is. You all are making history and by being in such trying times, can really press on through this and learn how to overcome the unknown and the uncertainties of life. I think of the masks we all must wear now and how so many have taken what they were given (what we started with, light blue surgical masks), and made it fun, different, meaningful with various designs and slogans on their masks. We can do the same in life when we press on, make things fun and turn plain into extraordinary and unique.
So, I encourage you to press on and to Hebrews 12:1 : “run with endurance the race that has been set before you.” Set your sights on the eternal prize of Jesus and your footing will always be secure and you can PRESS ON no matter what.
Thank you, for your time today. And always; GO GOBS!!!****
I was out running errands the other day and, super inconveniently, buckets and buckets of rain were dumped on my path. There had to be flash flooding going on, at least I saw it happening in the streets.
I thought of how much easier my day would be if it weren’t for the rain. But I also though of how much we need rain. So while I’m inconvenienced by the darkness and rain of today, it’s necessary isn’t it?
Let’s think of what the rain does for the earth: it makes grass, plants and trees greener, helps them grow, and nourishes them. For my car, the pooled rain in the puddles washes the underbelly and the places even a carwash can’t reach.
I was reminded on that rainy day of how the “rain” we experience in our lives can do for ourselves what it does for the earth and our vehicles- help us grow and cleanse us.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold- though your faith is far more precious than gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:6, 7
God can use trials to purify us, change us and make us grow in His name. Although the rain, the storms and the clouds (the hurricanes, tornadoes, etc…) are often scary and inconvenient, they alter our lives. They show us how not in control we are. But they also put us in a place of looking for something that is in control; something to help us, grow us, know us, cleanse us and change us.
His name is Jesus.
Matthew 5:45 says, “…He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” We can’t buy the prosperity gospel lie that if we are a Christian we will be void of rain. His grace, however, is always present for those who look to him for help even especially in the trials. After a storm what do we see in the sky? The rainbow. God’s glorious, gracious rainbow and promise to many generations to never flood the earth again, but also His faithfulness in all things.
I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world. John 16:33
The other day I spilled my coffee all over my kitchen. I didn’t know there was any still in the cup and while placing it in the dishwasher, I flipped it upside down and soon my white cabinets were covered with the smell and color of coffee. I rolled my eyes and thought, Really?! Why.!? I mean why.
But then I was reminded of John 16:33; that in this world I will spill my coffee. And it lightened my frustration with the inconvenience. In this world I will make mistakes. I will sin, others will sin. We will have spilt things, broken things, difficult people and hard times. In this world we will have dirty kitchens, lots of laundry and dishes (sorry, I had to add it!). In this world we will have trouble but because of Jesus we can take heart and have peace. We can laugh, learn and grow from the “rain”.
I know I mentioned several small, minor inconveniences; but if we recognize His presence and refining in the sprinkling of rain, we will do the same in the downpours, right?
What we experience here and now is nothing compared to the glory we will experience one day in Heaven. So we expect these trials. We are not surprised by these trials (even though I often am). We welcome the inconveniencing rain because it shows us that this place is not our home and it gives us the opportunity to turn to the One, the only One, who can help us deal with rain big or small, spilt coffee, trials, sin etc…
Turn to Him today. Say yes to Jesus moment by moment, day by day. May He refine us into His image until we are face-to-face with Him in glory. No more spilled coffee, no more rain, no more trials… just praise and glory and honor in Jesus.
If you have not placed your faith in Him, I urge you to. This world is going to get worse. We must have something to cling to when the rain comes…may it be Jesus.
****UPDATE Sandy is being released! So many praises. Her status was not Covid driven but low sodium. They have treated her and released her! Thank you for the prayers! 🙌🏼
Hi friends! I had this post scheduled for next Monday but am posting today because my Aunt Sandy, the author and illustrator of The Little Licker Book Series is in the hospital with complications from Covid and I’d like to ask for your prayers for her during this time!!
There is a giveaway in this post of a Little Kicker stuffed animal and the first book in their series. I’m changing how you can be entered, though! Just say a prayer for my Aunt Sandy and Uncle Sam and comment below that you prayed and you will be entered in the giveaway. I will announce the winner next Monday.
Thank you in advance, friends, for your prayers! We covet them greatly!
If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, I have something that you’re going to love as a gift for the children in your lives. Watch the video below on how to enter to WIN a Little Kicker plush donkey and the first book in the LK series.
Thank you for joining me on the series of how I study and apply God’s Word. I’m praying you have found a time, a plan, a purpose and a prayer to begin. The Lord is with you every step of the way! We worship Him when we read His Word.
Watch below for part THREE of three in the series. Notes below ♥️
First off, thank you, Kandi and Robby Gallaty for your book, “Growing Up”, but also for the H.E.A.R method and encouraging us to know and study God’s Word and replicating disciples!
We were created to consume and worship. What are we consuming and worshipping? May it be the Lord Jesus and His Words to us!
The goal————> to be like Jesus. We want to be changed by scripture, drawn into a deeper relationship with Christ. We want to be changed into the likeness of Him.
Pray: Father, illuminate how you want to speak to me today! Show me the verse I need to be tethered to today.
If you have questions or if you do this, please, I would love to know and help in any way I can! Praying we develop consistent time with the Lord as we worship Him by reading His Word.
Thank you for joining me for part TWO of three in the series! It’s seems you are really serious about learning more about the Word. Watch the video below for four easy ways to embark on your journey to a faithful, fruitful life. Notes below video ♥️
God’s Word is the well and also the gas station. If we long to live faithfully and fruitfully we must stop and fill up regularly!
Prayer and Bible study SO important. The way to know the Father and His will for each of us as a whole but also individually.
Each day get fueled up. The goal is a deep, abiding relationship with Christ if we truly want to flourish in our walk with Him and as a Christian on this earth. To keep growing, we need to be in His Word. Who He is and His will for us jumps off these pages if we just get our noses into it. Don’t be afraid of it!
You will need:
TIME: pick a time and a place. Be realistic. I love mornings!
PURPOSE: What’s your goal and purpose?? Is it to know God more? To get through hard times? To know His will for you? All of the above?
PRAYER: simple- pray the Lord would illuminate the words He wants to speak to you that will best grow, convict, challenge, and equip you for the season/day. Pray the words would increase your faith and trust in Jesus and that His grace would abound in your life moment by moment.
Only one more video full of information on the reading method that helped me study God’s Word so much more deeply and faithfully. Stay tuned and thanks for being a part! Be sure to follow Meet Me in the Mornings so you won’t miss a post. And share with a friend if you’d like also!
Psalms 119:105 “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path.”
2 Peter 1:19 “…you must pay close attention to what they (the prophets) wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place– Until the Day dawns and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts.“
Hi friends! Welcome to post ONE of three about how I study and apply the Word daily.
Watch the video below and be looking for more in the next few days! Notes from video below♥️
Say hi to Mac, our newest family member!
Isaiah 55:1 “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink.” Jesus, His Word, is the well!
Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
God’s Word is: important, the most alive book, active, moving our hearts. It convicts, grows us changes us and helps us to know God and His will for us.
My friend, Shannon Popkin has done it again. Taken something everyone struggles with and tackled it head on. First in Control Girl (5 stars) and now in Comparison Girl. This is a book for each girl and woman in the world.
Looking at Jesus’ time on earth and how He teaches us to pour out instead of measure up, she backs up the book with Scripture and several personal/authentic stories we can all relate to. What’s best, she comes to the conclusion that living me-free is the solution to the comparison trap we find ourselves in daily.
Practical, applicable study and questions. Great for individual work or within a small group.
If you long to look at others with love and grace, with the attitude of “how can I serve?” rather than, “how do I compare, measure up or get ahead?”, then this book is for you. Actually, if you are a female this book is for you. I highly recommend!
In this American world of keeping up with the Jones’, do yourself a favor and get Comparison Girl, implement it’s words and let God change your heart to be free of comparison in our world today.
Thank you for making me. Thank you for molding me. Thank you for saving me. Once and for all but also every day.
You’ve been rescuing me for years. You’re my refuge and my song. My strength and my love. The One who knows me, gets me and loves me no matter what. The One who fills the gaps in the human heart. The One who lifts my head and heals my wounds.
You have never left me. You’ve always loved me. You have always had a plan and purpose for me.
Through the power of Your Spirit, You equip me. You make me brave. You hear me. You teach me. You forgive me. You make me nice.
Your timing in my life has been perfect. Your faithfulness goes beyond my grasp.
For this year, God, may I trust You even more and know You deeper still. Will you give me holy confidence and Gospel humility?
Help me to think of myself less and think of You and others more. Help me to see You in everything. Help me to know and feel Your strong presence. Help me to share the Gospel as you have called me too. Boldly. Authentically. Lovingly.
Help me look to You for my strength, security, hope and all. I can’t do it on my own.
May I be so sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and leading. May I be still and learn from you. Grow me. Change me. Sanctify me.
May I reflect Your Son in a world that needs Him.
May I love my children and be nice and loving to them. Teaching them of You by how I live and forgive.
Give me great, deep joy for this journey. No matter what. You hold it all and I can trust You. You have shown me that over my 42 years. You. Are. Trustworthy.
You’re it. You’re all that matters. You’re the reason we live and breathe. You’re our hope. You’re who we long to see. Here and now and also an eternity.
May my family love You and follow You in a way that isn’t normal. May You put a bubble of protection around us and not let it pop! Help us to keep our eyes on You and to love others well. To be generous with what we have. To BD and THJPL. To shine for You by loving others.
Help us to see others in Your light and with the lens of Your grace. Show us where to help. Guide us. Help us to live for You.
Thank you for 42 years today. I pray for many, many more. But. To live is Christ to die is gain!
A mind full of worry is not a sound mind. Who wants a sound mind, peace?? I sure do. It is possible if we turn our worries into prayers! Mamas let’s be prayer warriors not worriers!
“Worry weighs a person down.” Proverbs 12:25
“Give all your worries to God.” 1 Peter 5:7
“The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear [worry] but of power, love and a SOUND MIND.” 1 Timothy 1:7 (emphasis added)
“Do not worry about anything. Instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need. Thank Him for all He has done. Then the peace that passes all will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
These verses empowers us for hard, uncertain times like now. We can always be certain of God. Who He is and what His Word says. He is good!
Turn worries into prayers. When we worry what do we do?? PRAY. A mind full of worries is not a sound mind.
Want to worry less? Pray more.
Know God is in control and is good. Our life and our children’s lives are in His mighty, loving hands.
From worrier to prayer warriors! God can heal us of the disease of worry!!
Father- you long for your children to walk in freedom. Worry is not freedom. I pray you would help us trust in your mighty name and perfect plan in all things but especially with our children. Help us to not worry but if we do help us to stop and humbly ask you for help, hope and healing from worry. You are able! We trust You. May we know You and love you with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. In Jesus name, amen.
Today is my brothers birthday! While he is in the most glorious place ever (Heaven) we celebrate him and miss him dearly. I’m so grateful for him and I admire my mom and dad so much as they have endured and carried on- of that he would have wanted them to.
I wish everyone had a chance to meet Daniel.
My Mom wrote this poem for Daniel on November 15, 1993. He was 16 at the time. We had many more years with him until the Lord took him Home in 2006.
Below are more blog posts to help you know him a little more!
Not much of a chance was he given when born.
His skull was fractured, his little body limp.
Oh! How I mourned!
But I could hold him, and love him.
He surprised us with a spirit so young,
Smiling and eyes full of mischief,
His world had just begun.
We helped him, and we loved him.
Through the croup, asthma, bladder and leg surgeries
So…yesterday our state announced they are pushing back the school start date to the week of Aug 24. We were to go back Aug 13.
I might have cried a little.
School was a light at the end of this Covid tunnel for me. A place where chaos can end and normalcy begin again. A time to “get it together” and for everyone to be on a schedule and routine.
One lie I believe, although there is some truth to it, is that I can’t get anything done with all 3 kids in the house (or anywhere near the house). A statement I read last week by a fellow mom blogger resonated so well with me, “Everything I do gets undone.” Yes. That is it in a nutshell.
I also get easily overwhelmed at all I am to be doing with my children– are they drinking enough water every day? (no) Are they eating a good balanced diet? (not always) Did they take their vitamins today? (maybe) Oops did I even feed them breakfast? (mostly) Did they clean their rooms? (nope) Brush their teeth? (there’s always tomorrow) Get off devices? (nope)
Also, maybe if they aren’t here all the time I won’t feel like I’m failing in so many ways.
It’s just all so much sometimes. Somedays I feel the pressure more than others and want to find a dark corner in the house and hide. (anyone else!??)
I’ve learned of myself, I’m not as consistently self-disciplined or motivated as I want to be and crave the routine and structure the school year brings. But I’ve also learned that I am looking to something else- school- to help me “get it together” and feel normal and in some sort of control.
All these things I’m craving- calm, joy, peace, control, consistency, normal, etc…can be found only in the Lord and Him working in my heart. Nothing else.
He can and will help me create calm, normal and routine in my own home. He will help me endure when all I want to do is not. He will help me set boundaries that are different with each child and say NO instead of this famous “whatever” I’ve had going on for a few months. He will help me care when I don’t feel like I do. He will help me lower my expectations of myself, this time, this world, my kids and my husband.
He is the One. The Answer, the Help, the Hope I need to endure and persevere no matter when we go back to school.
Father God, forgive me of my many weaknesses but thank You for big spaces for You to move and work in my life and my home. May I look to You and nothing else for calm, consistency, routine…may your Holy Spirit equip me to do as You’ve called Your children to do– endure no matter what. May my yes be yes and my no be no. All things through Your Son, Jesus. In His name I pray, AMEN!
When a local grocery store first began doing grocery pick up I was so excited. I thought, yes, sign me up for that!
So I tried it.
The ordering online was easy, getting to my spot was easy, calling them to tell them I had arrived was easy. What wasn’t easy was waiting for my groceries.
I waited. And waited. And waited.
Apparently there had been a mix up and I’m not sure of all the details, but in the end it took almost an hour to get my groceries.
The employees were very nice and I, although steam had begun to come out of my ears around 25 minutes into my wait, pasted a smile on my face and, through gritted teeth, thanked them. I drove off with not happiness in my heart, head or attitude.
I kept thinking of all the things they could’ve done to make the situation not so wrong. I noticed when I would drive by the store I would turn my nose up and get irritated all over again about that hour wasted waiting on groceries that defeated the purpose of the entire convenience experience. I even boycotted this place for a bit.
And then one day I realized I needed to forgive this grocery store.
So, with God’s help, I did. And now this store and I are not only back on great terms, but the best of friends (well, my checkbook is).
I let grace slide into all the areas I thought they could’ve, should’ve done better. I let mercy fall in the spaces of what they could’ve, should’ve done to make it better or to have avoided my inconvenience.
And healing took place. Since then, if there’s an error in my order, I give them grace.
I realize this story of forgiveness is small and seemingly insignificant, but I use it as an example. I know we have all been wronged by people and perhaps, some so wronged, it has left painful scars and wounds that are still bleeding.
It is hard to forgive.
But it can be done with the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to continue walking in unforgiveness, but with Christ as our Savior, we have the power to do as God has called us, His children, to do. We have the mighty power to forgive.
God always calls His people to forgive. It’s what sets us apart.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
Because we have been forgiven, we can forgive others.
Loving others = forgiving them. We have the power to do this through the Holy Spirit no matter how large or small the offense.
It’s through Him we do this…not ourselves.
We walk by the Spirit, not our flesh. The flesh erodes, rots, wounds and grows bitter. We become better with God and the power inside of us to forgive!
Who do we need to forgive today? Some major offense? Or perhaps a grocery store?? It frees US when we forgive wrongdoing. We don’t get sucked into a cycle of bitterness.
Ask the Lord to search our hearts for any unforgiveness lurking. Take the bitterness and unforgiveness to Him, pray continuously for Him to heal the hurt and then walk in the freedom of forgiveness.
In Jesus name, amen.
*This devotional was recently a part of my church women’sministry’sdevotional series, Mocha Monday ♥️
•He looks deep into my eyes •He takes my hand- loves holding my hand •He lets and loves for me to guide him •He loves to touch my arm or leg if we are just sitting •He trusts what I say; takes me at my word •He is joyful, innocent and depends on me •He doesn’t hold grudges or stay upset or angry for long; he is very forgiving
In Mark 10, some parents brought their children to see Jesus. The disciples scolded them for bothering Jesus, but when He saw what was happening, Jesus became angry with the disciples and said, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.” (verse 14)
We cannot come to the Lord for salvation or help without recognizing our need for someone bigger than us. We cannot be saved or walk with Him without humbling ourselves and softening our hearts to accept His grace- once and for all but also for today.
Children are innocent, trusting, forgiving, loving and easily impressionable. Are we this way with the Lord?
Do we readily and happily seek His help? Do we rely on Him to be our guide? Is His imprint on our life and actions? Do we trust Him wholly?
Ahhhh, that last question as an adult with a lot of “life” experiences may be a hard one.
Life, sin, circumstances, death, etc.. have taken our innocence and shed light on the darkness in ourselves and this place. Experiences that callous our once pliable hearts keep us from getting to and staying in the place where the Lord longs for his children to be— trusting Him.
Are we childlike? Is our faith that of a child? Is salvation at hand- once and for all but also for today?? I have no doubt it can be, and how freeing that will be!
“I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. Then He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on their hands and blessed them.” Mark 10:15-16
Lord- thank You for these words and for Your ever-present love and grace in our lives. Help our hearts be humble, soft and drawn to You and nothing else. Help us to be 30, 40, 60, 90-year old children who look deep into Your Word and trust You no matter what. Help us to stay on your lap and not the lap of the world. Help us to let Your Spirit within guide us and mold us to have child like faith for today and everyday. Thank You for Your Son. In His name I pray, amen.
*This devotional was for my churchwomen’s ministry Mocha Monday devo series.
It has a vitreous luster which means it’s clear and reflective. It’s highly diathermic which means heat goes in and out of it. It’s viscous, or sticky; and it flows at high pressures.
Salt is most known for preserving food but also for enhancing the flavor, texture and color of food.
So, when Jesus says we must have the qualities of salt among ourselves, what does He mean?
We make a difference in the “flavor” of the world we live in. Salt changes food’s flavor, making it better. We “salt” the earth with Jesus’ love, grace and truth. We are peacemakers. We reflect Jesus in our words and actions.
As salt is sticky, may our faith adhere tightly to every ounce of our being and permeate within.
Our “saltiness” (remember, this is not worldly saltiness) preserves our faith during fire- giving us perseverance during life’s many trials.
Our “saltiness” prevents the decaying of our souls. Possibly, even as we live a life seasoned with salt and keeping in step with the Spirit, we help preserve other’s souls, too. No, we cannot save people, but we can point to Jesus and show them His uncontainable love with our salt.
Think of ways to increase the salt in your life- in your words and actions. Filter everything through the lens of the Gospel and ask, is this edifying, seasoned with salt? Is this going to make things better?
I have a feeling this may stop us dead in our tracks, several times a day, from using careless words and harmful actions.
May it be so.
May Jesus help us to live a life of salt in a world that desperately needs it. In Jesus Holy Name, Amen.
*recent devotional for my church’s women’s ministry devotional series, Mocha Monday
With so much injustice in the world, what is a person to do?
In Romans 12 we are encouraged not to let other’s sin cause us to sin, but instead leave the revenge to our just and compassionate God.
“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.” … “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” Romans 12:17-19, 21
We leave things to our God who is sovereign over all and can work ALL things together for good for those who love Him. We release the desire to get even, to our God who has compassion for us in pain and can heal broken places, fractured relationships and hardened hearts. We let go and let our God, who will right all the wrongs, be God.
So as Christians, how do we do this?
We love Jesus, seek to know Him and we do good.
We love one another because love comes from God. We see each and every human as created and loved by our God who has a plan for each and every life.
We love one another the way He calls us to love. We forgive and give grace. With Him we CAN forgive; only with Him can it be done.
We can pray. Always we can pray. We can pray for all people involved- the victim (that’s easy to do) but also the perpetrator (that’s the hard part). The Bible tells believers to pray for those that hurt us (Romans 12:14, Luke 6:28).
It’s backwards or upside down, isn’t it?
But such is this life we are called to live as Christians. It goes against the world and our flesh and towards the will of our Father. The will of loving Him, and loving others.
We can beg God for injustice to stop but we have to know we live in a sinful fallen world with sinful fallen people and it’s always been that way and it, according to the Bible, will get worse before it gets better.
It will get better, though, for those who love Jesus. Because He is coming back to redeem all. that. is. broken.
So share Him today. In your smile, in your giving, in your goodness and living.
Give Him away.
Know He is in charge and will take care of injustice. Know He is a good, good God always. He alone is worthy.
May the injustice being brought to light bring a revival in the hearts of those who know Him so others will be drawn to Him.
Love Him. Love His people. In Jesus name amen. 🙏🏼🙏🏼
*This is a recent devotional originally posted to my church’s women’s ministry devotional series, Flourish Friday.
Our kiddos have received Hello Bible Box since December and we love it so much I wanted to share! Watch video for more info on the last two boxes. To join Hello Bible or learn more, click here. https://www.hellobible.org/home
My Bible reading this morning was really encouraging and I hope it is the same for you!
Watch below and keep reading for the three main take-always from 2 Corinthians 4 verses 1, 8 and 16-18 ♥️
1. Our fallen bodies and worlds are wasting away but inside we can be renewed day by day by coming to the well of Jesus.
2. Look to the unseen and not the seen. We will be afflicted, perplexed, etc by looking at the seen but focusing on Jesus and our faith, the unseen, we will not be crushed or destroyed or driven to despair.
3. Because of Jesus we can have hope for each day.
More background on these words— Paul, who was hunted down, imprisoned, wanted for dead, etc… wrote these words to encourage the Corinthians in their faith. His circumstances make our afflictions truly seemingly light. Wow. What an example to live out not losing heart. Paul knew His circumstances were temporary and that a greater glory was awaiting him in heaven one day. I love Paul and how he held fast and firmly to his faith not by His own efforts but by the grace of God.
“The suffering in Paul’s ministry brought forth life.” (Enduring bible commentary)
And we can not lose heart, not quit and faint not in our callings because of hard times, we press on and into the Lord for strength. Yes, Jesus, please help us in this today!
I walked to my mailbox, surgical gloves on my hands, grabbed the mail and was careful not to let any of it touch my clothing. I brought it inside, laid it on a counter and began sifting through it- imagining every piece contaminated, the small unseen COVID-19 lurking everywhere just waiting for it’s next host.
And then I snapped out of it and thought- what am I doing? Is this really happening? I’m crazy, this is crazy! Oh goodness did I just touch my face!?
Is anybody else here with me on this?
In that moment, I thought, “What would Jesus be doing right now? What would He do during a pandemic like this?”
Would He put on gloves to open His mail? Would he wonder if he washed His hands for 20 full seconds? Would He wipe down every. single. thing that comes into His house? Would He wash His phone with alcohol multiple times of day? Strip all clothing off when He comes in from going anywhere? Would He have shaved His beard and worn a mask? Wait. Would Jesus even be able to contract the virus?
You can see, I’m a gal of many questions and curiosities (I get on my own nerves sometimes, I promise!). And we don’t have time to answer all of them today, mainly because a lot of them are answered with, I don’t know.
BUT! I did realize a couple of things Jesus would be doing during a pandemic and want to encourage us all to do the same during this time. No, we aren’t Jesus; but we have the Holy Spirit’s mighty power inside of us to do more than we can think or imagine with willing, humbled, surrendered souls. Oh, that we would be those souls!
HE WOULD SEEK HIS FATHER AND PRAY: We see, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’ humanity in the emotions displayed before He faced His death that saved believers. I’m grateful that Jesus was 100% God yet 100% man and could relate to our emotions but without sinning. The picture of Him here, greatly troubled, in distress, in extreme anguish and His words to His Father in these verses (Matthew 26:36-56) show me how near He was to us as a human walking the earth. He related to us. He felt. In His darkest moments He sought His Father. And we can too.
Read His Word Daily. There are so many Bible reading plans out there to get you started! Or just start with the book of John- it’s sure to ignite a fire for more of Jesus.
Memorize His Word. Psalms 23 is a great place to start! Search the Psalms and find a few verses that speak to you, print them off and meditate on them, memorizing them with your head and heart.
PRAY. PRAY. PRAY. Set aside time each day or once a week to do some major praying and even fasting. Pray while you walk or run. Get on knees and pray… Write down requests, go through your phone list or family members and pray for them. Ask the Lord how you can be His Hands and feet during this time, perhaps with a family member, neighbor or friend?
HE WOULD HELP OTHERS, HEAL OTHERS, PRAY WITH OTHERS AND TEACH OTHERS
Healthcare Workers: You are in scary but unique positions to be the hands and feet of Jesus. On the front lines, holding peoples hands, caring for them, helping them get better, praying with them, being with them when they are healed either here or in death. YOU ARE BEING JESUS. Keep it up, we are praying for you! Draw your strength from His never ending well of hope, love and grace.
Pray with others–call a friend and pray! Have you ever done it? It’s beautiful, meaningful and God is in the midst even if you can’t be.
Teach children: We have such a unique opportunity with our children right now. I’m reminded of Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them with you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” To teach them His Word, We must know His Word and be in it for ourselves. Study it together! One verse a day, one chapter a day, family devotionals or based on their ages, Bible studies for them. We have loved the resources at http://www.notconsumed.com
HE WOULD BE FULL OF ALL THE HOLY SPIRIT OFFERS
1. Peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control.We cannot have these fruits walking in our flesh, we must die to self, surrender to His grace and giving of these things to our souls. His Word tells us these attributes of Him are available through His Spirit. And He will supply our every need (Philippians 4:19). I don’t know about you, but I am in desperate need of the Holy Spirit these days. I’ve seen all too much of my many bends to everywhere but Him. This is all hard and we need something bigger than ourselves to walk steadfastly to come out of this time better than when we started it.
One final truth about our Lord is He is not a God of chaos or fear (1 Corinthians 14:33, 1 Timothy 1:7). So anytime we are experiencing either, know they are not of Him but can be corrected and calmed by Him. I’ve felt much chaos and fear during this whole pandemic and that is so natural and common to man. The Lord sympathizes with us in our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15) with compassion and holds out His hand to help us. He is calm not chaos; faith not fear. Thank You, Jesus.
So. Not sure if I really answered any of my specific questions, maybe with more research I could come to a better conclusion on Jesus and social distancing, but for now, we can practice these things I listed and grow in Him during this time. We can be, as Jesus was, about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49b) and be renewed, our families can be renewed and flourish in Christ no matter what is going on around us. There’s nothing He wants more for His children.
Today we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from His death on the cross. What a glorious day then, and now.
To resurrect means to revive, restore to life, raise from the dead, breathe new life into, renew, awaken, wake up, renovate, rejuvenate, and my favorite: to bring back into use or existence after it has disappeared. What a beautiful word with such meaning.
Scripture tells us Jesus not only WAS resurrected, but He IS the Resurrection.
This means He is our revival. He is the One who can restore our lives and relationships. He can raise us from the dead of our sins, He can breathe new life into us and renew our relationship with Him. He can wake us up from the death of sin and awaken us to new life with Him. He can renovate and rejuvenate our calloused, hardened hearts. He can return to us the joy of our salvation. He can give us hearts that long to please Him. He can roll away the many stones that have piled up between ourselves and Him.
Do you ever find yourself walking in your own strength? Toiling, striving, yet never getting anywhere? Are you tired of trying to keep up with the ways of the world? Tired of trying to fill a void that only the Lord Jesus is meant to fill? Does it seem impossible, as if too much would have to change for you to be made new?
When we surrender, Jesus revives us. He breathes new life into our hearts and changes our desires, realigns our priorities, helps us love others and truly live in freedom. He teaches us about grace- for others and ourselves. He gives us sure-footing and a security the world can’t offer.
Are we walking resurrected, dear friends?
“Awake, O sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:14
God’s loving plan was always to redeem His Son; God’s loving plan is always to redeem His people. Once and for all but also every day. Because He lives, we can too. Both now and forever.
Today, as we think of the empty tomb, may anything dead in us be revived. May stones be rolled away, and our hearts awakened by His Spirit. May the miraculous, mighty power of Jesus’ resurrection stir new life, love and healing inside of each of us. In Jesus name I pray.
Love you all,
(This devotion is from my church women’s ministry page- wanted to share with you all too)
Folly: Foolish, lack of good sense, unwise, lacking good judgement, weakness of mind.
The cross is the power of God. It’s also the love of God the Father. Love. For us. A sinful people.
How awful and brutal for Christ…for my freedom, my redemption and for the glorious forgiveness of my sins.
Just standing amazed today.
Jesus, You are our salvation. The only One mighty to save. Save us, Lord. We are a sinful people not worthy of the death of Your Son. But Your Love for us saved us. May we see the love and power of the cross and walk in the wisdom, sanctification, redemption, and righteousness You offer those who follow You. In Jesus name, Amen.
For years, the kids* and I have worn red on Good Friday…here’s why. Hope you will join us! #loverunsred2020
Tomorrow is Good Friday. The day many, many years ago Jesus Christ sacrificed His perfect, blameless life for our salvation and redemption. One man, one act, one horrific death for any and all. It’s hard to comprehend! I can’t think about that day without recognizing the significance of Christ’s bloodshed on the cross.
We all know what blood is, it’s the red fluid continuously circulating throughout our bodies composed of vital nutrients and transporting them to and from our organs. It gives us life and without we cannot live…interesting, huh?
“For the life of a creature is in the blood…” Leviticus 17:11
In the Old Testament, God required animal sacrifices for the temporary forgiveness of sins. Can you imagine? I think it’s all I would be doing, sacrificing animals to live in a brief moment of freedom, a temporary time of forgiveness…wow. Just wow. I’m so grateful we live on this side of the cross, this side of the last blood shed for our permanent forgiveness…and then I think of what it cost and I’m overwhelmed and cannot believe I am loved so much– we all are!
“…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22
With blood we have life, without it there is death. Through Christ’s blood, poured out on the cross, we can truly have life and freedom. His bloodshed wasn’t a temporary act like an animal sacrifice, but was and is a permanent reminder of our forgiveness of sins. Of grace being enough; of Christ being enough.
“…and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in Heaven, by making peace through His blood shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:20
From the beating with the whips, to the crown of thorns, from the holes nailed in his hands and feet suspending Him on the cross, to the final pierce in His side, the weight of the sins, sadness and sufferings of the world were laid upon Him, one man, our Savior, Jesus. With each drop of blood that fell at the foot of the cross, each drop that rolled off of His brow, we are forgiven. We are given grace. Grace undeserved but given anyway. We will continue to struggle with sin and sufferings until we meet our Savior face to face but no more is there a need for blood to be shed, just blood to be remembered and received. Oh THANK YOU JESUS!
Love runs red. On that dark day years ago and until He returns, His love runs red for each one of us. Tomorrow we honor Him and remember His sacrifice by wearing red, won’t you join us!?
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.” Ephesians 1:7, 8a (NIV)
*Not all children will grasp the cross and what wearing red tomorrow truly means, but it’s never too early to start teaching them about the importance of Good Friday, Jesus’ sacrifice for us, sin and Heaven. Pray for God to give you wisdom in speaking to your children on a level they can better understand. There are several tools out there that can help, too. Here are a few of our favorites:
The Resurrection Eggs (LOVE LOVE LOVE these. They visually teach the story from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection. My kids love them too!)
I was going to wait until Good Friday to do this but it’s perfect for any day this Holy Week♥️ Bacon alighted just right in microwave or on stove turns into a Bible lesson at breakfast ♥️ I’m sure a lot aspects of the cross are difficult for children to grasp (ummm me too!) but we can teach them John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 and explain that God loves us and sent His perfect Son to die in our place. But it didn’t end at the cross! The cross saves us and the Resurrection gives us Eternal Life ♥️🙌🏼 If you do this, please tag me or #baconcrossforkids ♥️ 🥓♥️
You think, surely that’ll never happen. I mean, how many times do we get in our safe spot for a little while then pop back out and all is fine? The kids play and think it’s fun and exciting. We send pics to family saying “we’re in our safe spot 🎉” almost making jokes about it. You see it happening to other places and hate it for them and pray for them but maybe don’t ever think it would ever really happen to you.
But no one is immune to tragedy.
And never again will I go in that safe room again without thinking of last night.
Our community was hit by an F3 (I think?) tornado that ripped through the heart of it.
I sat in our safe spot with the kids and did NOT remain calm. We watched live coverage from our news team (shout out to them for being awesome and remaining calm) on Facebook (Thank You, Lord for Facebook)
I couldn’t belive my eyes when I saw the tornado forming and quickly touching down. Coming out of nowhere. But when I started seeing debris flying up in the air circulating with the clouds, pieces of our town blown up and scattered around I could not keep it together. I screamed and yelled at God to make it stop and to forgive us of our sins and briefly I thought it might quit but it didn’t. For miles it kept going and for what felt like minutes I kept begging God to make it stop. I really don’t know what all I was praying. I reminded myself at one point I’m the mom keep it together! But I was far too gone for that. Watching in disbelief, our town demolished; So much destruction so fast.
Wondering if my husband was ok. The kids asking if he was ok. “Of course he is yes daddy’s fine.” He better be fine, God! (He was although we didn’t find out til later; and the tornado initially touched down right by his office where he was hiding under the stairs).
My 8 year old was the adult and suggested we should maybe all calm down. Great idea, son but my body won’t let me. Shaking so badly.
Soon it was over but we were a mess and so was our town.
Seeing the videos, pictures and news coverage we are still in disbelief but amazed that NO ONE was killed. They are reporting only 6 minor injuries.
Amazing. One huge praise.
Another praise is that had we not all been quarantined to our homes because of COVID-19, sooooo many people would’ve lost their lives. So many. It hit a ton of restaurants and shopping areas that would’ve been so busy on a normal Saturday night. So thank You, Lord, for your provision in that. THANK YOU.
When I saw the debris flying I think I thought it was probably taking people up with it and my mind couldn’t make sense of it. Obviously, this tornado only scattered debris. Thank You, Lord. Buildings can be replaced. A life can’t. So grateful.
Another praise— the people have come together! It’s beautiful, humbling and as if socially distancing hasn’t already (oddly enough) made us all grow closer, THIS is showing what our community is all about and it’s each other.
Gods Word says to love Him and love others. I see this happening more and more lately, don’t you??? God’s people are rising, people are seeking, praying and drawing near to firm foundation; because all else, as we are seeing, is sinking sand.
We can praise Him in this storm. We can praise Him in any storm.
He is still good He is still faithful and surely He is coming back soon. People get ready.
Please pray for our community and those that lost homes and businesses. Please pray for revival and for all to come to know Him during this time.
One being happy, grateful and excited to be home bound with my family, to be slowed down and paused from the business of life. The other, looking out and around, and being so fearful of COVID-19, what’s coming for my community, what if we get it and what if we die?
Am I alone in these two paradoxes??
I know I can’t ignore what’s going on but I cannot live in fear either. So with each fear, I must turn to God.
I listed 4 fears above and will list them again below with what God’s Word says and what I can replace my fears with. We fight fears with faith and faith comes from God’s Word.
1. Fear of COVID-19 ~
“The Lord has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
2. Fear of the future ~
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8
3. Fear of contracting the virus ~
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. HE will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
4. Fear of dying from COVID-19 ~
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.” Psalms 23:4
“For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
“You saw me before I was born. Everyday of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalms 139:16
So today when I find myself afraid, I am going to acknowledge the fear and knock it down with the Truth of God’s Word. If you want to join me, I’ve designed a print off for you to put where you can see it so His Words are ever before you. Just right click to save it and print it off if you would like. Remember, too, His word never returns void! We need His words going on in our heads and being present before our eyes, not the many fears we can find ourselves battling with the current situation.
A prayer for today~
Heavenly Father, I praise you in all things. I lift my hands to you in prayer and beg you to stop the spread of this virus but, God, mostly may we just know you and be filled with your Spirit so we can walk in faith and not fear. Steady our hearts, today, Oh God. You are the only one who can give us peace. Help us to trust in You no matter what. You are good, we praise Your Holy Name. Thank You for Your Son. It’s in His name I pray, AMEN.
I prayed to the Lord and He answered me, he freed me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4
We had a tea party yesterday and all dressed up. The boys were super hero’s and my daughter and I put on old bridesmaids and pageant dresses. I couldn’t breathe and they wouldn’t zip on me. Ha!
I didn’t intend for it to be a Bible lesson but it was— we talked about Colossians 3:12 and what is most important to clothe ourselves with. Greater than any costume or dress, it’s most important to put on compassion for others, kindness for one another, humility in our hearts, gentleness in our words and actions, and patience in all we do.
I needed this as much as they did. Hope everyone is doing well ♥️
Happy Sunday, friends! Happy National Day of Prayer for our country in this state of emergency. I hope we will all spend more time talking to God today than we talk about this virus. I hope we look at His Word and seek His face above the latest news and information being tossed our ways. I pray we would humble ourselves, surrender our fears and lack of control and let God be God.
Three things to remember as believers in Jesus:
We are the Light of the World
Isaiah 60:1 says, “Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”
Matthew 5:16, “let your light shine before man.”
This light the Lord gives is full of grace, truth, hope and peace. This light is inside of us believers and followers of Christ!
We are a City on a Hill
Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”
When we walk in this light, we will stand firm in uncertain times. We will have peace in the chaos and others can be drawn to the Lord by our faithfulness.
We are Set Apart to Pray
2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people who are called by My Name would humble themselves, pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.”
We are set apart for such a time as this to PRAY for our nation, our world. For hope to spread, for healing to be present in hearts and of course in health. But even if the healing just comes in our hearts and not in eradicating the coronavirus, He is still good, still working and always worthy of our faith, hope, love and adoration.
Christians, it’s on us to pray. Let’s get on our knees today and show our children where our trust is.
I just watched the 20/20 special on this deadly virus and got an alert from the Weather Channel that there have been more confirmed US deaths… panic and fear began to rise but I want to take the path of freedom from fear that God offers us with His spirit and His Word. Watch video for the verses that I am clinging to during this time! (Also- it’s 2 Timothy 1:7, “the Lord has not given us a spirit of fear but one of love, power and a sound mind.” I butchered that reference in the video!).
Heavenly Father, You are good. May we never forget that. May we believe it to the depths of our beings and walk in it. Help us to not fear or panic but to trust in You. The only One who can offer true peace and freedom from our fears and circumstances. I pray in your Mighty Name for this virus to be contained and stopped dead in its tracks! May we spend more time praying than worrying. May we show a lost and broken world who You are as we rise up with love and faith. I pray for mighty miracles, healing and health but if not, you are still good, faithful and worthy of our everything. Help us to focus on Your Word and nothing else, to replace the fears and lies with the love and truth from Your Holy Word. Spirit help us. In your name I pray, amen!
With Lent right around the corner, I though I’d re-post this from a few years ago.
I had a sweet friend text me about adding something to her day during Lent, something she can read to learn more about Jesus and the Bible. I loved her desire to not just give up something to enrich these 40 days, but to add something to grow in her faith.
Here were some of my suggestions:
~You Version Bible App has a great 40-day Lent reading plan that takes you through the gospels. I have not done this reading plan, but one can never go wrong adding time to read the Bible as one practices Lent; after all, isn’t the purpose of fasting to turn our hearts towards Him? And isn’t that what He is truly after, our hearts? What better way than to get into His Mighty Word!
The book of John is another great place to start! It has 21 chapters so you could read one chapter a day then pick another book to read. Romans and then 1 John would be good follow ups and there are others too! Let the Lord guide you on this and He will!
~Rick Warren’s the Purpose Driven Life is another 40-day devotional book that can change your life. It answers the many questions of our true purpose on Earth and living out the Greatest Commandment and Great Commission.
~Prayer. Prayer is a huge part of fasting, taking our eyes off ourselves and the things of this world and focusing on God. Fasting isn’t always easy, but if we praise the Lord and pray Scriptures when we desire what we are fasting from, it will help us avoid what we are giving up but most importantly take our focus off of ourselves and onto Him and His amazing sacrifice for our souls. Again, isn’t this the purpose of Lent? Let Him hear from you, He loves it!
~Memorizing Scripture. Focus on one a week or maybe just pick one to meditate on during the 40 days of Lent. There are so many to choose from but one of my favorites is Zechariah 4:6, “‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord.” Especially in the realm of fasting (and raising kids ha), this verse can help get our focus off of what we want with His help. His Spirit is unending and overwhelming inside of believers! Let’s put it to good use!
I have to admit, I have never officially practiced the 40 days of Lent, but I enjoyed reading and researching more about it from various denominations viewpoints.
I have no doubt that God can work in amazing ways anytime we turn our hearts toward Him, get in His word and pray. What an exciting time Lent can be and it doesn’t have to stop there! May we continually seek the Lord every day of the year. 🙂
Mealtimes are CRAY in our home. I should record one sometime and post it for all to see. HA. It’s hard to keep kids in their seats and often there is a lull in the conversation. I desire mealtime to be more civilized first and foremost, but also as a time to hear about the day and visit with one another; to get the children to open up but also learn to listen to others.
When we vacationed last summer to Vail, CO (I highly recommend it!) with our oldest two children, we had dinners scheduled each night and I wanted us to really visit and not succumb to electronics (or craziness), so I found the hotel stationary and wrote out some questions. I was super excited to surprise my family with this dinner fun. We each took turns picking and answering the questions. It was a really special night. My heart felt so full and I think everyone else liked it as well.
Here are some of the questions we used:
Where in the world would you most want to live?
What are you most proud of?
Describe yourself in 5 words.
Describe the person next to you in 5 words.
If you could invite anyone to dinner who would you invite?
If you were a superhero what would your power be and what would you be called?
If we all loved in a zoo, what animal would each of us be?
What scares you and why?
This is also fun with couples! We have some friends we go to dinner with from time to time and we all enjoy this mealtime activity as well. We usually laugh so hard and aren’t ready for the questions to end.
On thanksgiving, we had my parents and my husbands parents join us for the night meal. We used Ever Thine Home’s “Untie Your Story” ribbon. So beautiful, festive and I love the questions. Several of us had tears in our eyes as we answered in gratefulness. Again, a special meal!
I also did this with my women’s ministry team when I had them over for our Christmas Party and it was so special. I placed a question/card at each place and had no assigned seating but the Lord ordained the questions in such an amazing way. It was a night I’ll never forget!
I googled some of the questions and came up with some on my own but Table Topics ￼has several boxes of questions geared to different ages/scenarios. We also just bought this set that has been fun to do at home mealtimes. ￼Just anyway to get the conversation going, kids opening up, laughing and having fun. Try it at your next dinner with friends or family vacation!
Does anyone else ever struggle with thoughts that carry you away from reality? I went through a terrible season of that a few years ago. While these words are from that time, and the Lord has done a work on my thoughts and mind, I am still in continual need of mind-renewing. Grateful He is our help for just that! For more on this click here.
When my mind is a mess, what can I do? My thoughts, oh Lord, you must renew!
My heart and soul love You but my mind seems so stuck. Please, dear Father, lift me out of this muck.
Teach me your ways, help me know You are near. Teach me to live my life without any fear.
Keep the distracting thoughts at bay; for only You can make a way.
Reign in my heart, reign in my head. Only by You may my spirit be led.
May I think on things pleasing to You. My thoughts, oh Lord, continually make new!
In Your son Jesus’ name I pray. The name above all and only way.
Although I dragged my feet for quite a while, our daughter officially has a cell phone. She’s 11 and was one of the last of her friends to get one. I know it can be a good thing, but as her mom, I want to educate her on the dangers and set it up safely.
I recorded this video before she got her phone and forgive me for saying “you” so many times– I am ALWAYS preaching to my own heart and self before preaching to anyone else! Watch the video, and then read below…
5 ways to guide and protect:
Set up filters and restrictions
Disney Circle: Love this! You can set time limits, downtime, see search history and much more. I highly recommend this to protect your home WIFI and devices. CLick here for more info.
Apple restrictions in phone: When a child is added to family sharing, there are many restrictions/filters that can be put into place. From allowed websites, content restrictions, time limits, installing/deleting apps, etc… I had someone at the AT&T store guide me on this.
Remove Gifs– I just realized you can do this! (go to the “…” in the bar below a message, you can remove or add certain apps (like photos, app store, animojis etc..) -I love this feature!)
When Joe White with Kanakuk Kamps spoke at our church years ago, he talked of drawing up contracts with children. I felt a cell phone was certainly a place that needed clear boundaries in a contract. Here is the contract we drew up with our daughter. You are welcome to take and use whatever you like for your children as well and feel free to let me know of anything I might have left off!
Take phones up at bedtime
If left to their own devices, I know my children would have a hard time putting the phone down to go to sleep. We have set downtime which turns almost all apps down but I still want the phone with me during the night. Kids need sleep so badly. You can read in the contract the downtime hours for us.
If having a sleepover, communicate with the other children the rules of the house–no cell phones past a certain time. Take them up (depending on kids ages) or have them put them away.
Teach Phone Etiquette (more of this in the contract above)
Be mindful of what pictures are taken/sent…once it’s out there, it’s out there
THINK: Is it true? Helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Kind? Think before sending/taking/texting
Be kind. Don’t gossip on group texts. (group texting is a feature that can be removed if needed!)
Answer the phone when parents text or call
Always wrap up a call with “BYE”
Say NO to social media (Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, etc…)
Kids can’t drive until they are 16, vote until 18, gamble, drink or smoke until 21, rent a car until 25 and yet social media is “legal” at 13. This to me is way too young for these sweet, innocent hearts and minds that aren’t fully developed. The bullying that takes place, the FOMO, the availability of porn, the addiction of likes or comments, etc….
To whom much is given, much is required. My mom reminds me of this often, and I’m grateful! A phone is much, therefore will require much from us and our children
Each child is different- don’t just get a child a phone (or social media) because all of their friends have one
It’s ultimately our phone and we are lending it to them
We are not powerless when it comes to our children and electronics. As parents, we are in charge of their cell phones
Use the phone as currency. Chores must be done, grades made, good behavior at home and school, etc… or phone is taken away
Have a “grounded” phone to be used if main phone is taken away. A flip phone or a GABB phone would be great. (we actually looked into the GABB phone and may consider it for our “grounded” phone or other children if we need to strictly get a hold of them It seems like a great device!)
I am not an expert, I’m learning as we go. I want to share this information to help others navigate electronics in this day and age. I know they are kids and may be able to find loopholes or ways around things, but a constant prayer on my lips and in my heart is that anything hidden in the dark would be brought to light. I can trust the Lord to do this, so grateful!
Heavenly Father, because of your love, presence and Word, we are not alone in our parenting- I praise you! You have blessed us with our children for just a short time, may we be great stewards of them always. May we diligently pray for them and their friends as they grow up in a place where too much can be accessed and known too soon. May we grant freedoms according to each child, letting You help us discern that which is pleasing to You and good. Father, I pray You would continually shine light on any darkness in my life and my children’s’ lives. Keep them safe and smart. May they long to do Your will. May the phones we use be used for Your glory. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.
Relief: a feeling of reassurance and relaxation following release from anxiety or distress.
Everyday I mess up as a mom. And everyday I am given grace.
What a relief.
Everyday I need something other than myself to help me. Everyday I ask, seek and surrender I am given the Holy Spirit’s help.
What a relief.
Everyday I get it wrong, say the wrong things or think unpleasant thoughts. Everyday I confess I am forgiven.
What a relief.
His death on the cross and resurrection sealed our fate as believers. Eternity with Him.
What a relief.
The words he left behind and how to live this life.
What a relief.
Yes, what a relief it is to have such a God! To send His one and only Son to die for us, to raise Him for us, to send His Spirit to help us, to give us the Bible to guide us. To give us access to Our Great Creator through prayer.
What a great relief it is.
Are we living in this relief today or merely going our own way?
Lord, help us to know these truths and live them out everyday. Thank You for paying the price for our sins and for granting us eternal life, your Spirit and your Word. You have truly given us everything we need to pursue life and godliness this side of our eternal home. What a relief. I love you. In your Son’s saving name, amen.
I sat in church looking at the exits, imagining a shooter busting through. I wondered if I was sitting in the safest spot possible. I quickly realized I wasn’t; any seat could be a target, anyone a victim of such evil. And I remembered the verse my discipleship group and I recently memorized…
The angel of the lord is a guard he surrounds and protects all who fear him. (Psalm 34:7)
So one would think maybe this angel of the Lord wasn’t with all the churches that have witnessed such monstrosity. One may think God was asleep when those tragedies happened. One might think maybe they didn’t properly fear the Lord and so death came. I believe all these things are lies.Lies easy to believe in our feeble human minds but lies. The truth is the Lord never sleeps or slumbers. The truth is sometimes the Lord allows tragedy to bring about his glory and so others will know who He is (think about the cross…always go back to the cross). The truth is there is protection in death for Christians.
We are protected by God. Even when the worst happens there is some level of protection we cannot even see.
So we do not fear death, although I often do because this world is all I know and all I seem to be able to wrap my head around sometimes. We can have hope in death because death of a Christian means JESUS. It means perfection. It means heaven.
The events taking place and the overwhelming excess of this place we live in can make one shrink like bacon. To shrivel up and hold in our faith. To stay home from church on Sundays because of fear.
We can do as we’ve been equipped and rise like bread when the heat is turned up. We can rise up and proclaim the name of Jesus that has saved us. We can share this hope we have. We can trust and believe that God is surrounding us and protecting us daily from things we can’t see. We can trust that death isn’t the end for a Christian.
Believers…Christians…church. It’s time we rise up. It’s time to rise like bread.
There is no hope in our circumstances. There is no hope in ourselves, others, food, drink, drugs, busyness, shopping, tv, etc…our only hope is Jesus.
As we continued to worship in church that morning, we sang these words from “Grace to Grace”:
How wonderful, how glorious
My Savior’s scars victorious
My chains are gone, my debt is paid
From death to life and grace to grace
When I see that cross, I see freedom
When I see that grave, I’ll see Jesus
And from death to life, I will sing Your praise
In the wonder of Your grace
I was truly free. Surrendered. Rising like the bread because I was worshiping my God. I trusted him that if my death came in that place, in that moment, what mighty glory and protection that would be.
Unfortunately I’m merely human and struggle to stay in that place of surrender, freedom from fear, and awe. But going forward, how do we rise like bread? How do we keep from shrinking like bacon into our fears and flesh?
Know God: ask him to reveal Himself to us
Read His word: we have to dig into it to know it
Attend a Bible believing, preaching church; join a small group
Pray: turn fears and anxieties into our greatest prayers
Rest, trust and obey
Memorize and Meditate on Scripture
Father God…so much evil and wrong in this world, yet You are always with us. Grieving with us at the injustice. Thank you for your presence and the hope that your son Jesus has given us. We have a choice- we can be afraid and worry or we can know Your truths are true and we can rise as you’ve called us to. Help us to be bread, dear Savior. If we start shrinking like bacon, help us to notice and turn our fears into prayers so we can rise. May we all know you better and allow Your Holy Spirit to change who we are for our good and Your glory. But also, keep us safe. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.
An activity for children:
Bake bread. It starts small but rises into something beautiful. Watch it rise and talk of how we, as believers, as called and equipped to rise against the struggles, fears, and sin of this world. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to be our Helper! Go over spiritual disciplines like reading the Bible, praying, church, memorizing Scripture, etc… to increase faith and rising up.
“I will put my Spirit within you and you will come to life.” Ezekiel 37:14
Make bacon. Watch it shrivel up. It starts large and the heat causes it to shrink. Talk of certain “heats” your child might be facing (bullying? up coming changes at school? fear? sin?). Talk of how this is where the enemy of our souls wants us, but God has called us higher and will help us rise and not shrink.
“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” Hebrews 10:39
We live in a world where self is so important. Self confidence, self sufficiency, self care, self before all else, etc… all so relevant but yet quite contrary to the gospel of Christ.
Yes, Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, paying the price for our sins, but over and over in scripture we see the proper place for ourselves and that is last.
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
“Therefore, present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God…” Romans 12:1
Motherhood is a high calling of putting ourselves last, of putting our children, our blessings from above, before our wants and needs. Of dying to ourselves and thinking of them first. Everyday we have choice to sacrifice ourselves for the good of our family. We can prayerfully consider how we can deny ourselves in certain situations and go God’s way.
For me, dying to myself as a mom means missing out on events that cut into my family time. It means saying, “No” a lot to others. It also means dying to my desire for control, dying to yelling (such a struggle sometimes!) and putting down my phone (another struggle!). It also means putting my selfish desire to hurry up with bedtime so I can read a book or watch TV aside so I can read, pray and visit with each child. It also means to quit wishing this season away because it is often so hard, chaotic and exhausting.
It’s a continual death and one we will never quite master, but with the Lord’s help, we can do it better, we can be less selfish, we can be more like Christ.
Just as motherhood is a high calling, so is following Christ and we have a choice- sacrifice or self? What will we choose today? Where can we deny ourselves and put others needs truly above our own? How can we present our bodies to Him today to be living sacrifices for Him?
Father God, you are so gracious in all things- THANK YOU. I praise you for the blessing of motherhood. I pray we don’t take it lightly and we allow You to show us our selfishness so we can sacrifice instead. Help us to put our children and families before our own wants and desires. Help us to cherish the moments with our children and not wish for a different season. Thank you for being our ultimate sacrifice and paying the price for us. You are a good, good Father. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.
Several times a day, shuffling the kids to school and activities, I am faced with an intersection that has three different paths I can take, all leading to different areas of town. Because it changes based on my destination, almost every time I get to this place, I have to remind myself which way I need to go. I have to think, “Where am I going?” “Which way do I go right now?” I can leave my house, knowing where I am going, but once faced with this intersection, I have to remind myself the direction I am going so I don’t take a wrong turn.
Whether you turn to the right of the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
As Christians, when we choose to follow the Lord, it’s a once and for all decision but also everyday decision to go HIS way and not our own. Thankfully, we have His Spirit to help us, telling us the way in which we should go.
So today we can ask ourselves, Where am I going? Am I going with the Lord today? In that specific situation where we may be at a loss as to what to do or how to proceed in love, ask the Lord which way you should go…HE will point us in the direction of HIM, He will tell us, “This is the way, walk in it.”
God’s way is never wrong. God’s way is not always easy. God’s way is normally against the flow of the world and even our own desires. God’s way is always love, forgiveness and grace. God’s way is best found in the pages of His Word.
Heavenly father, so many directions we can go in one day. May we not only take you with us, but may we let You guide us. You, the only One that can set our feet on solid ground. You, the only One who can help us take the direction of love, grace and forgiveness when we get to the messy intersections of life. You long to see Your children walking in the freedom that comes with a deep relationship with You- thank You for pursuing us with your never-stopping love and grace. Thank You for Your faithful patience. I praise you for granting us your continual presence, Your help, and Your voice when we seek You. I pray we all know You through Your Word and choose walk with you today. In Jesus name, AMEN.
Christmas is such a wonderful time of giving but do we ever give anything to the One we are celebrating? We all know the wise men brought gifts to Jesus after His birth; shouldn’t we, too, as we celebrate His birthday?
“They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11
Here’s a short video with how we did this last year:
Here are some ideas, verses and questions to help you find something to give to Jesus this year for His birthday.
“Make vows to the Lord your God, and keep them. Let everyone bring tribute to the Awesome One.” Psalms 76:11
Some things to consider:
What is an area of struggle for you right now?
What can you not quit?
What can you not let go of?
What are you trying to control?
What is keeping you from intimacy with God?
What does He need to change in you?
Last year I gave Jesus my voice. Because I needed Him to change it, make it new, make it kind, compassionate and loving in the hard moments of parenting- and really life in general. I needed Him to help me with my tone of voice and how it comes across. And He did. I’m no where near perfect but He helped me all year with this. So grateful!
What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? Psalms 116:12
Your heart. All of it.
Your life, if you haven’t yet made Jesus your Savior
Your job situation
Your bad habit (s)
Your phone (seriously considering this one myself!)
10% of your monthly income
Your material possessions
Your first 30 minutes of the day
Looking through this list, a lot of it is what the Lord wants from us, but giving Him something specific for His birthday and really surrendering it to Him consciously in2020, is a start in the right direction. Much of following/choosing Jesus is a learned behavior, only done with the Spirit’s help. And help us He will!
My prayer for all of us as we give to Jesus this year is that we Proverbs16:3 – “Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established.”
If you and your family start this tradition, I’d love to hear from you on how it went and what you are giving.
One of my greatest desires for our children is that they are others-focused. Not that I have in any way mastered this, but together, I want us to love to give and to do so with cheerful hearts.
Halloween, like other holidays for children, is a lot about receiving, of getting something from someone else. We have always participated in this receiving, but one year, with my husband out of town and not wanting to tackle trick-or-treating alone with all 3 kiddos, I decided we would stay in and give out for a change.
I didn’t want to just hand out candy, though. Somehow I wanted to be able to share the love of Christ with those coming to our door step. What an opportunity, right!? I found and printed off some cute Halloween-themed wallet sized cards with a bible verse on them and let the kids help me laminate and cut them out (so fun for the kids!).
“…make the most of every opportunity.” Colossians 4:5
The evening of Halloween rolled around and we were so excited. Costumes were on, we had a bucket of candy and a bucket of verse cards, we were ready! When the princesses, superheroes and other cute (and some scary!) characters came up to our porch to trick-or-treat, my children handed them candy and a verse card and told them “Jesus loves you!” It was really a precious sight. Thanks to a friend, my older kids were even able to go to a few houses and trick-or-treat.
That night, as so many people came to our house and we handed out candy and verse cards, my heart was full. It even made me wish we did something like it for Christmas and Easter and not just Halloween- but that’s dreaming really big, isn’t it!? It also made me realize we can take anything and turn it into a way to share hope with others.
“…it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
Since that particular Halloween, we have enjoyed continuing this tradition and have designed some verse cards with some of our favorite verses. If you would like to do more than just hand out candy this Halloween, a simple “Jesus loves you” is easy and great, or you can click here to download the Halloween verse cards we designed in PDF.
As I type this, my children are happily (for now ha!) cutting and laminating our batch of cards. They don’t have to be laminated and would work just fine without the lamination, we just kind of love and enjoy using our laminating machine. You can also right click and save the individual images below and print at Walgreens or Walmart for more professional and evenly cut cards (wink-wink).
We can’t put our trust in people, we can’t put our trust in our circumstances, there has to be something stronger, more stable, constant & perfect.
His name is Jesus & He is mighty to save. To redeem, restore & heal.
HE is a safe place. This world is not but He is.
Bad things happen in this world- it’s fallen, we are fallen, no one is immune. But God is faithful loving & kind. Do we really trust & know this when we see so much bad happening or even when we remember this day so many years ago?
Can we praise Him amidst our many storms & sorrows in this life? Can we be real with Him & let Him know how hurt, disappointed & sad we are at people and circumstances?
He allowed this day 18 years ago to happen. And it makes me shake my head, wide eyed, wanting to step away from Him because that was so bad & yet He allowed it? But the gospel & God’s goodness and grace go against our human sinful nature & eyes that only see bad.
We can choose to walk with Him when He allows bad things to happen or we can choose to distance ourselves from the only one who truly knows us & can heal us from the pain of this world.
We are not safe in this world, we are safer because of Him but this safety doesn’t always reveal itself as protection from trauma & death. This safety reveals itself as a Heavenly Father who knows, loves & wants His children to turn & follow Him. To grow “better from hard things & not bitter” (Lisa harper).
We can not know why, His ways are higher; we can shake our heads & question Him, & ultimately run to Him as the only strong tower worthy of our trust.
He is good, y’all.
He is faithful.
This place is not a believers home.
He is hope, healing & freedom. Here or in heaven.
He is sovereign & can work all things together for good, for a greater purpose.
We have to know His truths as this world, people & circumstance beat us down or cause us to question His love for His people.
Know there is more to come, HE is to come. No matter what’s next HE is there & He loves us.
Look at the bad & recite, memorize, meditate on these truths. Know His Word, get into it. Read Job (talk about brutal circumstances!).
His desk is the one closest to the door of the classroom. I noticed it right away at the teacher meet and greet. The scenario of a gunman entering the room filled my thoughts as I visualized where the shots would most likely be fired first.
A lump welled up in my throat and a shot anxiety passed through my body. I took a deep breath and reigned myself in, for the most part.
I know these thoughts are irrational but it’s a fear I see played out in my head as my children happily choose or are assigned their seat at the beginning of a school year.
I’ve not thought about it much since school has started but in light of the recent rumor of a school shooting the lump and anxiety are back.
I think of how my parents never had to think of things like this, how schools were just open…so different than the way things are today.
So what are we to do?
I know my children’s school is safe but I also know evil is lurking everywhere. We could all just stay home all the time in a bubble, Amazon everything and stay safe, right?
But what good is it to live in fear???
Do not be afraid. The Bible tells us over and over and over.
Jesus is with my children in their classroom. Jesus is in their school. Worrying will only cause me grief and no quality of life so I must pray and trust. And when I worry I pray and trust some more.
Be anxious for nothing. But in everything with prayer and supplication make your requests known to God. Philippians 4:6
I must take every fearful thought captive to my Jesus. I trust that He is good and just. He is righteous and can save. I know that this world is not our home.
And the peace of God which surpasses all will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
The minute the fear creeps in I must replace it with truth. His word tell me His peace will guard my heart and mind– goodness, how I need this peace!!
When guards are set up, they keep bad things out, right? So this peace from God will come when I Philippians 4:6, when I PRAY. And when I “be anxious for nothing”. Agh I can’t do that one without praying. My own strength can only do so much at getting rid of anxiety, I need Christ and His words to truly combat it.
Such a war we live in– in the world but also in our minds and hearts. But we are not alone- we have the Spirit of God to help us, to guide us and to equip us.
No matter what.
To the schools who hold our precious babies for 35 hours a week, please be vigilant. In prayer and protection. To the moms, dads, grandparents and teachers – pray like crazy. But trust like crazy too. We must teach our children to pray as well, and to not be afraid. Why? Because God is with them (us), He loves them (us), and He is good.
“I will not be afraid because the Lord is with me. People can’t do anything to me.”
Just no. No. Please, Lord. You see all and know all. Please stop this evil. I beg of you. Please help us to pray and give you every ounce of anxiety and fear. Help us to not. Be. Afraid. Help us to teach our children who you are so they won’t fear. Guard our hearts and our minds please. Stop any evil plans, let it all be a hoax and just an opportunity to turn to You, children in hand and walk with Your peace surpassing all. Help us to trust You and know You are good even in the bad and You do not change. In Jesus saving name, amen.
Alright, people. Let’s pray and trust and go about our day with the strength and peace of the Lord. May our children see the difference in us today and be transformed as well.