Halloween Giving and Free Printables

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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).

Happy Halloween giving, friends!

Halloween 2018 verse card printable PDF link

A Strong Tower

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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!).

Know Him, love Him, run to Him.

In Jesus name amen.

Frizzy Hair and the Refining Process

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God allows various trials in our lives, various fires. It’s the refining process, with the heat molding us, shaping us and smoothing us out, just as a curling iron does to our hair. Our refining by the fire has the opportunity to bring growth, more knowledge of Him, more desperation for Him while transforming our hearts to be more like Him.

Eyes on Him, we will be refined for His glory.

This would be an easy/fun activity to show to your children, too!

(Ps! Sorry for my sweet little distractions 😂 I tried to re-record and it just didn’t happen 🤷🏻‍♀️)

Don’t. Be. Afraid.

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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.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭118:6‬

Dear Lord-

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.

When We Don’t Know Why, God is in the Why

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In less than a year, our community has lost two precious women I had the privilege of knowing. They both loved the Lord and lived for Him, teaching others His Word and shining brightly for Him. They leave behind husbands and children…and it all seems so unfair.

I find myself asking God a lot of questions– “Why?” “Why someone who loves You and follows You?” “Women who teach Your Word?” “Why someone so young?” “Why, Lord?” “Why these women, these moms still raising children?”

I know we are supposed to ask “What now?” rather than “Why?” But for today, I cannot stop the why. And that’s ok because God is in the why. It’s in our questions and our desperation that we seek Him and if we seek Him we will find Him.

I feel that when I doubt God’s plan or His ways I am disregarding all the truths I know to be true about Him, but as long as I find myself back at His truth’s, its’ OK to ask questions, right? Surely His grace still overflows when our hearts are breaking in the unfairness of life and the why’s that may never be answered.

As I wrestle with why, these truths stand out to me the most:

  • God is good even when life isn’t
  • He is always there with His people and to help His people
  • He can redeem hard situations
  • To these women, to live was Christ and to die was gain
  • Even in death and tragedy, others can be saved (hello, Jesus!- the cross!) or brought closer to Him
  • This place is not our home
  • We will be reunited again one day

We just don’t want these people gone from us, do we? We want them here to continue to do God’s work, don’t we?

Then I’m reminded that our work on earth is never done; even when we die, what’s done for Christ will last and these ladies certainly did a lot for Christ. A lot of eternal work. The impact they had on their families, friends, church, and community will live on forever.

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” C.T. Studd

God is always working for those who love him as I know these women and their families do. We must hold on to that truth and fill it in our minds when we wrestle with the “whys” of this world.

“God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

To my town as we mourn…let’s turn to Jesus and seek His face as I’m sure these women, if still with us, would be so honored and happy if we would all do just that. And please pray- when the only thing you can do is pray, you pray.

In Jesus Mighty name, AMEN.

Verses to cling to from God’s Word, the Book both of these women stood on:

  • “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts. My ways are far beyond anything we could imagine.” Isaiah 55:8-9
  • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
  • “O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is lovingkindness, and with Him is abundant redemption.” Psalms 130:7
  • “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18
  • “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

There are a million more I could post, but I encourage us all to get into His Word for ourselves and let the truths of who He is comfort and guide us.

For Wendy and Kristie ♥️

To the Anderson and Stokes families…you all are loved and prayed for by so many people who grieve with you. Praying you see, feel and know that the Lord is near.

 

G O A L

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When I was about 11, I played on a basketball league. We were the Rockets and my dad was the coach. Unfortunately, I was no good ~ one time I was put in the game and the ball was thrown to me. It was my chance to contribute to the team, I finally had the opportunity to make a basket. I turned towards the goal, jumped up…but the ball never left my hands.

Oops.

“Walking!” The referee yelled.

My one chance and I blew it. I was so embarrassed at the time but now it’s a funny story I like to tell my children. How I had the chance to make a goal and just couldn’t let go of the ball. I let my fear and nervousness get the best of me.

As Christians our ultimate goal is Christ, Heaven, Him; and I’m so grateful for the grace in the walking of this Christian life (pun intended! Ha!). Grateful for do-overs and second chances!

However, if we turn to the goal, jump to shoot and don’t let go, we won’t make the goal Christ has for us. We must let go of the ball. Give it to Him. Whatever our “ball” may be, give it to Him.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Hebrews‬ ‭12:1‬

Some days this daily letting go – surrendering – to make the goal is really hard and other days it’s might be easier.

Do your nerves get the best of you? Me too. Does what others think matter a little too much? Yup.

This little scenario from my childhood reminds me to get the ball, turn to the goal, let go and let God.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which god has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

“So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.” 2 Corinthians 5:9

W O R L D ~ Five Minute Friday

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God created the world and everything in it;

But how often we look to this world to fulfill us.

To fill this hole inside our souls

An aching to belong and to be known.

When we already are so known, so loved by our Creator.

How often we miss it because this world distracts.

It vies for our attention but leaves us in lack.

Of the goodness and grace of the Father above

Of forgiveness and kindness, gentleness and love.

This world is a world in which sin gets its way

It destroys and deceives and ruins our stay.

But hope has a name, it’s Jesus Christ

None can compare. None can compete.

With the healing, freedom and wholeness He brings

to His children, surrendered, fallen on our knees.

Giving it up to Him this place in our souls

Granting the Maker complete control

One with the world or one with God?

It’s one or the other- which way do we fall?

Q U E S T I O N ~ Five Minute Friday Writing Prompt and Blog Link Up

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“Question” is the writing prompt for today from the Five Minute Friday writing prompt. The following is what came to my mind and heart ♥️

“W I L L Y O U ?”

Will you follow Me today, my child? Will you?

Will you take My hand and let Me be your guide?

Will you let Me lead the way and open your heart to all I have to say?

Will you?

Will you rest in Me and My love for you? Will you look to Me to make you new?

Will you?

Will you shine like a star in the nighttime sky?

And spread My love as the day goes by?

Will you?

Will you know of the grace in each step you make?

Whether tethered to Me or making a mistake?

Will you?

Will you die to yourself so you can really live?

For in your place, My Son did I give.

Will you walk today in light of the cross? With eyes on Jesus, there is no loss.

A question for today, My dear child I love you so…

will you stay with Me or will you go?

On your own way, doing as you please?

With temporary pleasures this world tries to appease.

To temp you with things too small to make you whole,

to fill you with distractions that is the enemy’s goal.

Will you know that in Me you will truly be free?

I will open your eyes and you will really see.

Will you let Me reign in your life and soul?

Will you abide in Me so I can make you whole?

I will show you the way and help you live. This side of heaven My Holy Spirit I give.

Walk with Me, take My hand.

I will lead you to the promised land.

I’ll be with you every step of the way and always remember to take time to pray.

You have My Word to hear Me speak, get in it daily and you won’t be weak.

Worship Me and show others the way,

Will you follow Me today?

Old Testament or New Testament, God is the Same and Each Word is Useful + Bible Reading Plans to Take You Through His Word

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Below is the Bible reading plan I’ve done twice- it’s so good and I experienced the most growth in my spiritual journey studying this way!

For the Replicate Ministries F260 Bible reading plan click below!

https://replicate.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/F260-Reading-Plan-2018.pdf

Something Brand New

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Lord we need something brand new.

It can only be done with our eyes on You.

May our foundation be ever so strong

Built to last a lifetime long.

Built on You the ground floor is laid

Brick by brick the price has been paid.

You poured out your love for us on the cross

Our gain of Heaven in Christ’s brief loss.

He was resurrected, redeemed and restored

You still do this here and now, don’t you, Lord?

A plan you have a future you hold

A love story in us waiting to be told

Work mightily in our hearts today

You, Oh Lord, are the only way.

Happy Resurrection Sunday dear friends! Praying we all set our hearts and sights anew today.  Jesus is continually in the business of making all things ~ and anything ~  new. No better time to start than today, Easter Sunday 2019.

Have a wonderful day celebrating Jesus and the beauty He brings- in worship, in our children, in our marriages, in our faith. Praising Him today. Love you all, Sarah


God Knows What’s Next

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God knows what’s next.

He knew the day His one and only perfect blameless Son was brutally beaten and murdered what was coming next. He knew He had a plan of redemption for not just His Son, but for anyone who believes and accepts His love, grace and forgiveness.

He knows what’s next.

And sometimes that’s hard for me because I want to know what’s next. I want to know what’s coming so I can be prepared. Braced and ready for whatever. But I’ve always heard that when someone about to have a wreck tightens up because they know a collision is about to happen, their injuries are worse and they are more sore than if their body hadn’t of known what was coming; if they had just gone with whatever happened next.

So while sometime this blind-sighting of pain or tragedy can feel like a betrayal by God- we must know He is not a god of betrayal. He is a good God who loves us more deeply than we can imagine. He knows what’s next but He also knows there’s always a way out and a plan of redemption and healing. In Him, through Him and only with Him.

He knew what was next that gruesome Friday. He knew Sunday was coming.

Are you in a Friday moment? Hold on, Sunday’s coming. ♥️

“He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.” Psalms‬ ‭112:7‬

Easter Baskets on Purpose, Free Printables and other Easter fun! (Grown-Up post only!)

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Yay It’s almost Easter! Below is a video that explains more about the fun printables and several links to help make Easter fun and memorable for your kiddos while incorporating God’s word and the reason for the season.

I’ve designed these free printables for you to use however you like~ use them for your children’s Easter Baskets or randomly put in their lunchboxes- His Word never returns void the Scriptures tell us! These verses can start some really great conversations with your children no matter their age.

Click HERE to download these Easter Basket Verse Cards I designed for YOU!


Click on the following links for more great ways to do Easter on Purpose:

PS- Don’t get overwhelmed, there are a lot of things you can do for Easter. Pray and pick a few or just one thing and do it, you don’t have to do it all sweet Mama or Dadda (I’m learning this too!)

Here are the kids Easter baskets from the last few years ♥️

A few years ago I just wrote out verses- you can do that too!

Verse of the Week for Little (and Big!) Hearts

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Here’s a video on how we do a verse of the week. If you want to do this too, you can tailor it to meet your needs! See below for more options!

As you can see in the video, we do our verse of the week on a dry-erase board in a very central part of the house. If you would rather not mess up the walls, hang the scripture on the fridge or above bathrooms or kitchen sinks. Really anywhere that is frequented would work!

Praying this will help us all to hide God’s Word in our hearts- big and small!

 

Reward

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A mother’s job is one that never ends. One that is exhausting, overwhelming, but oh so special, too.

In the middle of it all, however, I find myself tiring of doing what is good. Tired of bedtime battles, tired of poopy diapers, tired of the sibling rivalries, tired of trying to get it together only to find myself (and everyone else) falling apart.

Only twice have I really wanted to just get in my minivan and drive away (once was right after having baby #3 so I’m blaming that on the crazy hormones!)

But I’ve found that it’s in those moments of complete “done-ness” that God meets me and reminds me of who He is

He is my reward. He is the One I do this for. He is the one who has given me every desire in my heart with my three precious children. He is the giver of all things good and He is the One who will help me keep pressing on and doing what is good.

For Him, my reward.

It’s not a crown we get here on this earth. We get spit up on, thrown up on, peed on, kicked, yelled at, etc…we don’t get thanked or appreciated the way our selfish hearts desire BUT we get Him and the reward He has for us if we keep pressing on and doing what is good.

Lord help us to lean on you, to do things for You, to know that You are with us, and for us giving us strength to keep pressing on.

(This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!)

Apples and Training Up

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I have always loved apples. Anyone who knows me knows of my love for apples. The other day as I was washing some apples I wondered why I have always loved apples and then I remembered that both of my grandmothers had several apple trees in their back yards. I can remember picking apples with them- eating them whole with peel on (the best part!). Grabbing them from the branches or even finding some good ones still on the ground….

Watch below for more!

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

There is only one right way, God’s way, the way of life. Since it is axiomatic that early training secures lifelong habits, parents must insist on this way, teaching God’s Word and enforcing it with loving discipline consistently throughout the child’s upbringing. -John Mac Arthur The MacArthur Bible Commentary

(axiomatic: UNDENIABLE🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️😂)

Ps- I truly believe training up children begins at home but never want to minimize the impact church and church activities at a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church can have on a child. Remember what my first full sentence was? “My go church all night!” Church involvement and attendance is so incredibly important to supplement what we teach, model and value at home ♥️

 

 

Let My Life Be the Proof of Your Love

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How we treat others is truly how we represent Christ the best. Watch below to see how the Lord has been reminding me of this continually lately!

Scripture reading~

  • Isaiah 58
  • James 2
  • 1 Corinthians 13

We cannot be saved without faith in Christ, but our faith lacks sincerity if it doesn’t reach out to others.

This song speaks so much to this post and my heart. Can’t get the lyrics out of my head- which is a good thing! Click below to listen! ♥️

I’m involved with our local Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) and loved the following quotes from our notes last week:

God expects His people to show their love for Him by showing love for one another.

Loyalty to God includes loyalty to His people.

Tough stuff, loving others. There are hard people in this world (myself included from time to time I am sure!). But with Christ we can represent Him well and love others by helping, giving, sharing, forgiving…what are some other ways we can represent Christ well and love others? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Love you, friends

Sarah ♥️

Can A Mom Forget Her Nursing Child?

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Isaiah 49- the promises of Israel’s restoration and the Lords compassion and unending presence.

A prayer- Lord, thank You for being a compassionate God. One that does not leave us alone in our suffering and who can never forget us. Forgive us for questioning You and doubting You and wondering where You are. You are there always, always working and moving in ways we cannot see. Your plan is restoration for Your people. May Your will be done in us today. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

A New Year’s Verse & Last Year’s Word

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/07f/54734968/files/2014/12/img_7678.jpgWow, we’re 2 days into 2019.  Someone tell me where 2018 went?? I’m already feeling like I can’t keep up- I can’t decide on a word for the year…maybe a handful will do?? Maybe I should just choose the word “simple” and that would solve all my problems- ha!

While I don’t feel my mental calendar has flipped the page to 2019, it’s here and with each new year, for me, comes the desire to change up a few things in my life.  It’s a time to reflect on the previous year and set some goals or “resolutions” to be better in the following year.  You do it too, right??

Over the years, I’ve set many of these so-called resolutions, but I find, so often, they don’t stick.

Anyone else know what I’m talking about?

I can remember starting a read-the Bible-in-a-year devotional (more than once!)…I made it to about maybe mid January.  I know I started several new workout regimes only to fall off the wagon soon after I got on.  Why is this??  Is it because we are relying upon our own strength and will to set and accomplish these new goals?? Are we setting ourselves up for failure by expecting too much?

What would happen if we prayerfully considered and established goals, words or verses for ourselves and relied we on the power of the Holy Spirit to see things through? What would happen if we resided to rest in Him and the grace He offers when we forget or don’t follow through on those new year commitments?? What if we took the pressure off of ourselves to perform and humbly allowed Him to move and work in our hearts and lives?

“Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit,” says the Lord. Zechariah 4:6

Last year my word of the year was courage- and while I ignored it on some days, there is a vast difference in my courage level from one year ago. HUGE, actually. And it’s because of Him. I’ve struggled with fear most of my life. I still do at times and probably forever will, but who knows, with God all things are possible, right!? So, for me, courage was the perfect word last year. And please know I have in no way reached a pinnacle of “courage” perfection- ha! As I reread my “courage list” I see many areas I still need him to move mightily in!

img_0325This was the cheesy picture I sent my friends as we all shared our words of the year. And below are the words I wrote as I began 2018, the places I needed God to help make me brave.

Courage: the ability to do something that frightens one; strength in the face of pain or grief; bravery, valor, FEARLESSNESS, audacity, boldness.

The courage to trust the Lord.

The courage to let go.

The courage to be authentic.

The courage to be bold in faith.

The courage to surrender.

The courage to be different.

The courage to go against the flow.

The courage not to yell.

The courage to speak the truth with love.

The courage to love freely, openly and with no regrets.

The courage to write.

The courage to speak and speak up.

The courage to give to others.

The courage for missions when it’s scary.

The courage to only seek Gods approval.

The courage to be consistent disciplining my children.

The courage to say yes.

The courage to say no.

The courage to take the risk even though I’m afraid.

The courage to let others in.

Their courage to ask for help.

The courage to be kind.

The courage to be humble.

The courage to surrender.

The courage to do His will.

The courage to say the hard things

The courage to think before I speak.

The courage to forget.

The courage to remember.

The courage to cry.

The courage not to cry.

Courage.

Funny–is it just me or is the word “courage” starting to look misspelled? It’s interesting how looking at a word so long can do that. Even if we say it too much it might start sounding strange.  Which was probably good that everyday I didn’t just wake up and say, “COURAGE!” or continuously repeat the word to myself– it was there when I needed it and an unspoken between the Lord and me. I didn’t rely on the word “courage” to help me but somehow rested in Him and His unfolding of new courage in areas I’ve longed to be more brave in. It’s been like a river He has taken me through, guiding me with the current, developing courage subtly and slowly, without me really even realizing it until now as I reflect upon Him moving and working in my life in the last 365 days.

Maybe before 2020 I’ll have the courage to pick just one of the many words on my heart for 2019 and get back to my initial point of this post!

Not by might now by power but by HIS SPIRIT.

His Spirit will help us in ways we don’t even see or know.

Whatever word, verse, motto we choose this year, may we give it to Him and take note of how He moves and changes us and shows Himself to us. And if you’d like to share, I’d love to know your goals, resolutions, etc…

Happy New Year friends, love y’all!

Thank You, Sweet Jesus for working in ways we can’t even see. Thank you for being so good and faithful even when we are not. I pray today that we feel your love and grace and rest in the plans You have to carry us, mold us and make us new. I pray we press into this new year and forget the things behind. I pray we are steadfast in seeking You and that we wake each day with purpose in our hearts- Your purpose for us. Daily may we give ourselves to You. By humbling ourselves, listening to the Spirit’s leading, and letting You guide us as we determine our goals, word, motto, and/or verses of the year, help us purposefully put them into action each day. May we go into this year with Your grace in our arms knowing that even if we slip, mess up or fail all together, nothing will change Your love for us. In Your saving Name I pray, AMEN. 

 

Broken Hands & Clenched Fists

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This was a recent guest post on my friend Emma Mason’s blog (link here). Thought I would share with you all too! Merry Christmas Eve!


A few weeks ago, while decorating the house for Christmas, I came across our nativity scenes. We have two and they both make me super happy because they are both so special. One was a gift from my parents many years ago and the other belonged to my paternal grandmother.

Unfortunately, one nativity scene has several pieces that have broken over the years- baby Jesus’ hand, Mary’s hand and this year, I noticed Joseph’s hand was somehow knocked off. The other nativity scene was in pristine condition as I carefully pulled it from the box then WHAM! I clanked the pieces together and off fell Mary’s left hand. UGH.

As I glued the hand back on I couldn’t help but think of the position of Mary’s hands reflecting the position of her heart. Both hands in this figurine are open to Jesus. Yes, she is His mother, but before God even opened her womb she had opened her hands and heart to Him.

I’m reminded of her response to Gabriel, the angel who tells her of the supernatural pregnancy she will soon experience:

“’I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary said. “May it be done to me according to your word.’” Luke 1:38

Now let’s just stop for a minute and put ourselves in her shoes- I think I might have laughed like Sarai did in the Old Testament if an angel had come to me and told me the news that I would be carrying God’s One and Only Son. The Word, God in human form…the One that was promised long ago to be our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God and Prince of Peace. The One everyone had been waiting on. I also think I would be very, very afraid of what was to come and what others would think.

But Mary, having open hands, child-like faith and an obedient, willing heart humbly responded to the angel, “OK, whatever you say.”

I mean, wow.

Maybe that’s why He chose her…But honestly, if we are children of God, we are all chosen to have open hands and open hearts to whatever He has for our lives, right?

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel my hands are clenched tightly. I lay in bed at night and must consciously relax and open my hands. It seems they have developed a need to retreat to a position of being closed. Has my heart assumed this position too? Maybe my hands are closed because I’m tense or anxious and that’s where it all goes, maybe because I have a phone in my hand so much of the day my hands just assume that position, or maybe it’s my age- I did turn 40 this year? Who knows… but it’s something I must continually do and have become very aware of. Open my hands, stretch out my fingers. Keep my hands open.

Back to my heart- shouldn’t I practice this same exercise here too? Each day wake up and stretch open my heart to the Lord. His ways, His words, His voice and His plans for my life…even and especially if they look different than what I had planned. Keep my heart open.

I’m fairly certain carrying baby Jesus and giving birth to the One who would save people from their sins was not what Mary or Joseph had in mind as they were beginning their relationship. And surely, they had no idea what his life would entail- the criticism, ridicule and His brutal death. And yet, they were the Lord’s servants. Open hearts and open hands to do His will.

Somedays my hands and heart are humbly open to the Lord…other days, they are closed tightly around the things I hold dear and my heart seems shut down and far from him…which begs the question-what truth about God am I not believing?

As I type this, tears are brewing in my eyes because I know what often holds me back- I don’t know what’s next.

But neither did Mary. Neither did Abraham as he walked his only son Isaac up the mountain to the altar. When I think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane as a grown man begging God to take the cup from Him because He knew what was coming yet He still humbly responded with an open heart and hands, “…not my will but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

With my fists clenched and heart closed off I’m not believing that His ways or plans are good, or that no matter what’s around the corner, He is good still and can bring good from any situation. I’m not believing He truly loves me.

I can’t control people or circumstances, so my hands and heart assume a closed-off position while holding tightly to what I can because I know that sometimes our biggest fears come true. Sometimes people hurt others, babies die before they even breathe a breath and we cannot make sense of the tragedies we see or experience. BUT- I cannot look to or think about these things more than I look to, think about and believe the truths about God. His promises for good, to be our comfort, for peace and joy, the promise of HEAVEN. The promise and help of His Spirit when bad times come, the promise that His character is ALWAYS GOOD and even though this world is often hard, and disaster comes, HE CAN BE TRUSTED to bring good. Somehow, someway. IF we look to Him for help with open hands and hearts.

Keep my hands open. Keep my heart open.

Our 7-year-old son has placed two gifts in his stocking- one for Santa and one for Jesus. How sweet that he is giving something to Jesus this year for His birthday. I mean, we do leave Santa and his reindeer cookies and milk, right? Of course, we should give something to the Lord as we celebrate His birth.

I want to end this post asking, what will we give Jesus this year? What gift can we give Him? Can we give Him our clenched fists, so he can open them? Can we give Him our broken hands, so He can heal them? Can we give Him our whole hearts today and every day? Can we truly say, “I am Your servant…Your will not mine”?

I think we can. After all, with God all things are possible.

Lord, thank You for Your Word filled with many promises we can cling to. Thank you for the many humble, broken people in the 66 books of the Bible that can teach us how to open our hearts and hands to You. Forgive us when we don’t trust You or when we question Your will or ways. Help us get to a place of surrender. Keep our hands and hearts open to You for salvation, Your Spirit, guidance, comfort, peace, joy, grace and to be used by You. May we gift you our hearts and hands this Christmas. May our eyes see you and look to you, not our circumstance or what if’s. If we are going to clench our fists may it be because we are holding tightly to You and the promises of You. The now and always of You- You are a good God, You love us, Your ways are good, and we can trust You. Happy Birthday, our Savior and King. May Your will be done. In Your mighty saving name, I pray, Amen.

No Shadow of Shame

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It was Christmas Eve. There had been a situation and I was extremely angered by it. Looking back, it didn’t warrant that much anger…but we live, and we learn, don’t we?

Anyway. Angry was I and I didn’t just keep that anger in. I let anyone and everyone in my path have it, even taking it so far as to leave the situation. I just needed to find the Lord and be near Him. To feel His presence and to let Him calm me. So, I headed to the local Catholic church because I knew it would be open at 3pm on Christmas Eve and wasn’t sure about our home church.

I huffed and puffed and made it there safely, my baby in tow, wondering if jumping in the fountain of holy water would take care of my heart situation. While knowing water wasn’t what I needed but just God, Jesus, His Spirit and a big dose of humble pie.

I took a seat in a pew and wouldn’t you know it, there was a group of children singing carols-practicing for an evening performance. I sat, letting my baby play in the floor below me, hoping no one would even notice me, and I cried.

Tears rolled down my cheeks as the sweet sound of children singing flowed through my soul. Words about my Savior, His humble beginnings, His love for us. As I quieted my crazy and humbled myself, His presence was so vastly known to me; although I felt such shame and regret for my behavior.

I remembered the verse my discipleship group and I had recently memorized:

“Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their face.” Psalm 34:5

Ouch, it stung.

Shame had darkened my face because I let my anger rule my moments and hurt others in the process. Shame darkened my face because I was full of pride and selfishness. Shame darkened my face because in the heat of the moment I did not look to God. I could’ve continue to let shame darken my face, but I looked to Him with a broken and contrite heart, for help.

And help me He did.

I collected myself and the wandering baby, and drove quietly back home to apologize for my outrageous behavior.

While not grateful I had stormed out of the house, I was grateful for some time to clear my head and for a church with open doors on Christmas Eve filled with the sound of children singing. It was me looking to Him and Him helping me. It was me getting to a place of humbling myself and being radiant with joy, even though radiant and joy are not two words that come to mind when I reminisce about the situation. However, in humility, I sought the Lord and found Him. I looked to His radiant face full of joy and therefore was somehow reflecting His Light. Now, did it really require me driving to a church to find Him? Of course not, but my first full sentence as a kid was “My go church all night”, so I know if I’m grappling for Him when the chaos and my sin are ever-abundant and swirling around me, I will find Him at church (and quite often in my pantry!). Thank you, Jesus.

In the last year, I have often thought of this verse; it’s actually in a frame in my closet it means so much to me.

In fact, just this morning as one child was having a meltdown I recited these words out loud, “…those who look to Him for help…help me Lord...”. Just as His Word promises, He heard me and I let Him help me turn a frustrating situation into laughter and joy.

I’ll write it again for us…

“Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy…”

Yes, Lord, may we all look to you with humble hearts eager to seek your radiant face for joy, calm, love and grace. We need your help for this journey! Help us to remember a broken and contrite spirit You do not despise but work mightily in. Help us to stay in this place as we enter the very busy season of Christmas. Help us to keep our eyes turned upon your wonderful face and ponder the reason for this season. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

Take a minute and listen to the words of this old hymn…love you friends.

Halloween Giving and Free Printables

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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).

Happy Halloween giving, friends!

Halloween 2018 verse card printable PDF link

B.D. B.D. B.D.

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Over the years, the kiddos and I have used the A.B.C. Scripture Cards as a way to pray and memorize Scripture.  (Click HERE for an earlier post/video and more information on these awesome cards)

I wanted to share the two particular verses that have stood out and helped us the most so far.

The two verses are -you guessed it!- the “B” and “D” verses.

B: “Be kind to one another and build each other up.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

D: “Do to others as you would want done to yourself.” Luke 6:31

In our house, B and D are not just two simple letters being put together, but two BIG letters pointing my children back to some very important words. When my children start picking at each other or fighting, I quietly and firmly say to them, “B.D.”, and they know exactly what it means. I even ask them if they are “B.D-ing” in certain situations, which quickly makes the light bulb go off in their sweet minds to recognize how they are acting, realize they aren’t “B.D-ing” and respond by “B.D-ing”.

This year, as my son has been adjusting to 1st grade in a new school we have really been going over B.D. So much that we’ve taken it a step further and on most days I write it on his hands. He then writes it on mine.  We are in this together and I need to be reminded of B.D. just as much as he does.

Using these verses and the letters in which they stand for has created a unique way to communicate quickly and effectively as I parent and it has so greatly impacted the kids. I even see them writing B.D. in random places- YAY. 

While I know the Lord’s greatest concern is our heart and not just our actions, getting His Words planted deeply in a heart can cause great transformation and lasting change.  “B.D.” has been an incredible way to come back, not to my words, but to God’s and how He desires us to treat others so I wanted to share. Love you all.

A Sabbath from Social

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I grabbed my phone, swiped to the second page, tapped my social media box and clicked on Instagram. No new notifications and after scrolling a bit not much new there either. So I switch to my Facebook app right next to IG and opened it up. 9+ notifications- yay, that’s nice! Oh, wait… Nothing too interesting to really be notified about, just some new likes and invitations and oh, I think I’ll respond to the comment my friend left on one of my posts. So I like her comment, post my reply then re-read it and edit it because I’m not sure how it sounds- I add an emoji to help convey my emotion–I would hate for there to be any misunderstanding on what I really was meaning in my comment- and post my edited reply….

The kids start fighting from across the house and my 2 year old starts trying to throw something at my head. I want to keep looking at my feed and let the anxiety from my comment and how it’s portrayed settle so I harshly tell the baby “No. No” and yell at the kids to stop fighting. I mean can’t they see I’m busy?

I go back to my feed.

The fighting gets worse except at this point I’m on a really great informative post about parenting and how I can be better at it so I’m all in here until I hear a scream and someone starts crying. I huff and puff, put the Facebook and my phone down and come back to reality- mothering (or referring in this case–did they offer that as an elective in college? Maybe it would’ve helped me as a parent a little more? Right?).

I break up the fight but now the baby is into the cup drawer again and there are cups everywhere and he’s taken his diaper off cause he went “shoo-shoo”.  Ugh.  All I want to do is get back on FB and finish that article so I can know how to do this parenting thing better but these three little ones keep requiring me to give them my attention which because of my phone and social media has become so very, very divided.

The conviction that it’s time for a change resides over me but I don’t give in quite so easily.  I know what the Lord is calling me to, but I resist the urge to obey… I continue to let social media take up more and more of my time and my joy with my children.  It’s not so much the posting and sharing as it is the time spent scrolling, commenting, and even the things social media has brought out of my heart. Things like jealousy, criticism, judgement, loneliness, fear, anxiety and even anger to name a few.

Anyone else know what I’m talking about? Does the previous scenario sound familiar to you, too?? Do those sins that lurk around in my heart take up space in yours as well?


After starting Breathe by Pricilla Shirer with a group of ladies this summer, the conviction grew.

This study was all about Sabbath rest and making room for it. In fact, the Hebrew word for Sabbath is Shabbat” and means to cease, to stop, to pause, to come to an end. Pricilla questions us from the get-go: “What are we overdoing in our lives? Is there anything we can’t stop? Anything we can’t say no to? What do we need less of?” She says, “Once something is allowed to creep past it’s appropriate place in your life- once you’re unable to say “no” to it- it has become an illegitimate god (an idol)“. GULP.

She encourages us that we gain something when we give up something and that although it takes discipline to decline, freedom lies on the other side of our obedience. She reminds us through Biblical text that on the 7th day, God created rest and we would be incomplete without it. It’s a gift to be celebrated, cherished and respected. I love what my Bible study teacher Leith had to say about it: “Rest is where peace is found.” So beautiful and true.

I knew the conviction on my heart was an invitation to change. To let God mold me. To be a better, more present mother. To give up something to gain something. I knew I needed to “Shabbat” from the social and I confessed to my group what I felt the Lord calling me to do- take the month of July off.

It was out there so I had to do it now. I told my husband and he so encouragingly told me I couldn’t do it- ha! I proved him wrong because I did it! It’s August and I still haven’t opened the floodgates. Mainly because I need to make sure my heart is in the right spot and the social is in the right spot on my priority list.

Looking back, this “fast from my feed” went by really quickly. The first few days I did find myself out of boredom and probably mostly habit just going to tap on the apps but they weren’t there. My hobby had become a habit- an idol that was taking up too much space in my life- I was glad the Lord had called me to a break.

On a side note….isn’t it interesting it’s called a “feed”? I’ve never really thought about it until now but it sounds a lot like food and like something we nibble on…which we do, I guess? Consuming highlights of others lives, binging on the latest stories of both good and bad, uninspiring and inspiring, seeking fulfillment in a place that will never fully satisfy…and I guess just like we must have self control with food, we need it with anything else we are “feeding” on, right?

The following are a few things I learned from my sabbath from the social:

  • I was often seeking approval and affirmations from the social instead of seeking the Lord for this in my insecurities and weaknesses. I am already super known and super loved by God. If I know this deep down in the depths of my heart and soul, I will long for nothing else but Him and His approval.
  • There is certainly a place for the social- it’s an amazing gift of technology and freedom and a tool for so many things BUT, it like anything, can become a sin/idol.  It, like most things, boils down to the heart and priorities.
  • I’m so guilty of over-posting and over-sharing at times but checking my motives before I post can help me moderate things better.
  • If I’m always on the social or my phone, it leaves little room for personal space with the Lord and my family.
  • The sin may not be in earthly terms that great but the ignoring of the conviction or condition of my heart can along all facets be.
  • My phone- the distraction it brings and how tethered I can be to it makes me more prone to sin- to be testy with those closest to me, judgmental, critical, jealous and even competitive of those I call “friends”.
  • Social Media can be a breeding ground for love, hope, laughter and life but it can also be a breeding ground for everything the opposite. My heart must be guarded before I social. Before I check in I need to check my heart. Am I tired, lonely? Feeling like a bad mom? Maybe social isn’t the best place to go. It could easily enhance those feelings of loneliness and failure.
  • There is freedom in the fast. Sometimes it’s found right away, other times it’s not until after the completion of the fast that the freedom comes.
  • In this fast, I gained freedom from the rope tied to the social. It’s a freedom I can’t explain in words, but it’s known in my heart. I gained precious moments with my family. I read more, prayed more and spent more time with the Lord.
  • There are seasons in life. Different seasons require/call for different things. Different seasons bring varying freedoms and convictions. We must learn to flow with the seasons God has us go through (hard for me!).

So. What now? Honestly, I’m a little nervous about hoping back on and scrolling through the feed. Will it turn into a monster again? Especially when I really would like to publish my “meet Me in the mornings” Facebook page that’s been sitting there for, ummm, years.

I guess all I can do is stay in tune with the Lord to hear Him and let Him guide me on the social, which if I’m listening, I know He will.

A Prayer for the Social
Heavenly Father. You are so good, kind, loving and patient with your children. Thank You. God, guide us as we live in this day and age of technology. Help us to act on any calling or conviction you’ve placed on our hearts and trust You for deliverance. You will provide, Your Word is true. Help us to stand firm and represent You well as followers of Christ. Help us to only be enslaved to You, to feed only on your Word more than we feed on the social. We all want to be liked and known, forgive us for trying to get that from others when it’s already there! We are not just liked by you but deeply LOVED and so very KNOWN by You. Help us to hold fast to these truths! Create in us pure hearts, bring out any stuff lurking in the dark so we can remove it with your Spirit. Help us to rest. To Shabbat. To be present. Give us wisdom and strength to get, have and keep our priorities right and in line with you, committed to You, and laid at Your feet. May we bring glory to You in all that we do. In Jesus’ mighty, saving name, AMEN.

Easter Baskets on Purpose, Free Printables and other Easter fun! (Grown-Up post only!)

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Yay It’s almost Easter! Below is a video that explains more about the fun printables and several links to help make Easter fun and memorable for your kiddos while incorporating God’s word and the reason for the season.

I’ve designed these free printables for you to use however you like~ use them for your children’s Easter Baskets or randomly put in their lunchboxes- His Word never returns void the Scriptures tell us! These verses can start some really great conversations with your children no matter their age.

Click HERE to download these Easter Basket Verse Cards I designed for YOU!


Click on the following links for more great ways to do Easter on Purpose:

PS- Don’t get overwhelmed, there are a lot of things you can do for Easter. Pray and pick a few or just one thing and do it, you don’t have to do it all sweet Mama or Dadda (I’m learning this too!)