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.

Summers on Purpose ~ MOMS

All three kids were already awake when I finally quit hitting snooze. UGH. Rolling my eyes, I took in a deep disgruntled breath, threw the covers off, and immediately started barking orders at everyone. There was snapping, yelling and maybe some gnashing of teeth, you know what I’m talking about right? UGH. We rushed around and made it to school on time, I think, but I felt so defeated because my day didn’t start as I intended it to, nor had I acted the way I desire to act as a mom.

The baby and I came home after doing the carpool/drop-off thing and my attitude was still so awful. I made more coffee and got the baby situated, hoping he wouldn’t get into anything for just a bit while mommy tried to get it together. I’d been too rushed and irritated in the chaos to take two seconds to pray and ask the Lord for help, so right there, in my pantry I got on my knees and prayed.

With the baby playing around me, my face was on the ground in desperate need of the Lord’s help and forgiveness when I realized my hands, initially in the prayer position, had moved onto my face, covering my nose and mouth like an oxygen mask.
I’d already been thinking so much about the upcoming summer and the importance of my morning heart, soul and head being in tune with the Lord first so I can love and enjoy the craziness that summer often brings…
And there my hands were, as an oxygen mask breathing in His grace, breathing out myself. Emptying me of myself and letting Him fill me. Words spoken to the Heavens with each breath out, His love and grace returning with each breath in. My soul was immediately quieted and calm. Goodness His peace is beautiful and so needed in my life.

This whole scenario reminded me that I’ve got to take care of myself first, oxygen mask on myself first, before I can be the mama Christ has called me to be. This “self-care” that pours into everything else that I do comes from a place of complete surrender and dependence on Jesus to grant me the things I cannot give myself in the chaos of everyday life. Things like self-control, kindness, patience…three things I desperately need to be a good steward of the children God has entrusted me to, along with being a wife, daughter, friend, etc… This O2 mask is of Jesus Christ Himself.

But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

I think of how the O2 mask falls out of the ceiling in an airplane when it is needed, typically only in emergencies, hanging there ready to be grabbed by the person needing it. With Jesus, He’s always hanging there. Right in front of our faces ready to be taken a hold of and put on.

…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19

I couldn’t really find a verse about an oxygen mask (ha) or taking care of ourselves first, because the Bible is all about the “I’m Third” mentality–which is awesome ~ Jesus, others, ourselves…but we find several times in Scripture where Jesus withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16).

Quiet moments with God, even a quick surrendering of our wills to Him before our feet hit the floor in the mornings, is the best O2 mask we can ever wear. Because when we are filled with Christ, we will have more grace, love, and patience which means less yelling, reacting and snapping (yes, please!).  When we soak Him in and soak His Words up, we will be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit guiding us in the calm or chaos a day might bring (yes, again, please!).

Mother Teresa said, “to keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.” She was so right on that. When we pay attention to our needs we will be better equipped to meet the needs of others. He knows our needs and when we seek Him first and above all else He will give us everything we need (Matt 6:33)…it’s a promise!

Those moments on my pantry floor completely changed my attitude for the entire day. I was more calm, kind and surrendered to the only One who knows my every need before I even ask and is more than happy to supply an overabundance of Himself to my surrendered mama heart.

So, Moms, we can be purposeful this summer by putting the oxygen mask Jesus on ourselves first. To tap into Him daily-momently. In the pantry, in the pool, etc…He’s always there and always willing to help, to fill us so we can pour into others, especially our precious families.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us… Ephesians 3:20

A prayer for us mamas…

Dear Lord, what a mighty blessing and miracle our children are- it’s truly amazing. THANK YOU!  May we mamas, in each moment, praise Your name for allowing us to help mold and influence these little lives.  It can be a daunting task, Lord, but when we seek You first and acknowledge Your control over all and our lack there-of, we allow You to step in and guide us. To use us as instruments of Your grace for our children.  We can’t be the mamas You have called us to be in our own strength, so thank You, for being strong in our weaknesses. I am so weak so often, forgive me. But help me to point them to You even in my sin, weaknesses and apologizes.  Help us to lean into You and not ourselves when those hard mama moments come, no matter how many.  Fill us, Lord, so we can fill our homes with Your love, grace and truth. May we dive into You and Your word in new ways this summer. May this be a summer on Purpose for us and our kids all for Your name. Amen!

Pray Without Ceasing; A Way to Pray

Just a quick, simple way to start your day and pray throughout it using the YouVersion Bible app!

To get the kiddos involved: On the way to school or at the breakfast or dinner table, have them read the verse for the day (depending on ages) and come up with the prayer for everyone to pray throughout the day.

 

Love Runs Red

For years, the kids* and I have worn red on Good Friday…here’s why.  Hope you will join us! #loverunsred2017

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 grace, 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…and then entered grace.  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:

One Way to Incorporate Scripture into Our Children’s Prayers

We’ve had fun with this so I though I would share!

Go to I Can Teach My Child to get your own ABC Scripture cards!  Although we don’t add on a new verse each day, we incorporate the ones we have already done into our nightly prayers. Reminding children of the verses throughout the day will help too, as well as praying one or two with prayers before meals or on the way to school, etc… Make it your own and do what works best for your family!  Enjoy!

 

One of a Kind

IMG_5869While at the store one fall day, I picked up some small striped pumpkins, mainly because I thought they looked really neat and would add to my seasonal décor, but when I took them out of the bag at home, I noticed how vastly different each one was even though they were the same type of pumpkins.  I immediately thought of how different each of us are; how different God makes each of us.  We are all human, we are all made in His image (Genesis 1:27), yet we individually have certain character traits and physical features that set us apart from one another, just like these pumpkins.

Not only did these little pumpkins remind me of God’s creativeness in fearfully (meaning with reverence or awe) and wonderfully designing each and every person that ever was, is and will be, it makes me feel very special and loved to know that I was thought of and known even before my conception- even before the world began we were thought of by our God! It’s so amazing!

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” Jeremiah 1:5a

“Long before He laid down the earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love…” Ephesians 1:4a

We were made by God and for God.  Ephesians 2:10 states that we are His handiwork, designed for the good works He has already determined for us when we walk in them.  Basically, God has a unique plan for each and every one of us!  When we walk in the way of Him and His design for us according to His Word, He does a mighty work in and through us.  By faith and in our obedience, His artistic process of making us into His image continues.  It’s beautiful, isn’t it!?

You, like these cute pumpkins, are one of a kind; there is no one else like you nor will there ever be anyone else like you.  Memorize these truths for yourself and let them sink into your being so you never doubt your (or other’s!) beautiful design, uniqueness, purpose or the plan God has for you (or them!)!


An activity for children:

  1. Gather two or more pumpkins (other items could work great too- fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, leaves)
  2. Have the children take note of the differences in each one…if you have older children, they could write them down, maybe making it a fun game of finding ten things that are different between the pumpkins, you could also circle any obvious differences on the pumpkins.
  3. Talk to your child about how just as God created these pumpkins one of a kind, he made each person one of a kind.
  4. Going over Ephesians 2:10, let them know they were created in their Creator’s image, they are His workmanship, His work of art; they were thought of by God way before they were even in their mother’s belly!
  5. Talk about how awesomely and wonderfully God made them; how unique, beautiful, loved and wanted they are by God and you!
  6. List the ways they are unique and beautiful.
  7. If they have siblings, celebrate their differences.  Let them know they are one of a kind and there’s no need to try and be like anyone else.  Often we want to compare our children (or ourselves!) to others…this, too, takes away from God’s unique design of your child, try not to do it.

TIPS:

~Grab a Bible and look up the verses together, they are woven all throughout the Bible–you could make this a Bible drill type of game or just use it as an opportunity to get into the Bible together and find the verses together.

  • Genesis 1:27
  • Psalm 139:14
  • Jeremiah 1:5
  • Ephesians 1:4
  • Ephesians 2:10

~For younger children, the verses can be broken down:

    • (child’s name)    , you were created in God’s own image (Genesis 1:27)
    • You are so awesomely and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14)
    • God thought of you long before you were in mommy’s belly, even before He created the world! And He even knew you then! (Jeremiah 1:5, Ephesians 1:4)
    • You are God’s work of art! (Ephesians 2:10)

~If your children can read, write the verses (or fragments) out and have them read them aloud.  Have them practice memorizing the verses in their entirety.

~Remind them that just as they are God’s handiwork, so are others; they should not only treat themselves as such, but others as well.

~Talk about God’s special plan and purpose He has specifically laid out just for them.  Include what God has already done in their life, or any way God has used your child to grow your faith.

NOTES:

~There are so many ways to utilize this activity on a daily basis: with clouds, trees, sunsets, etc…

~When you are shopping at the grocery store you could have a hayday with all the various looking fruits and veggies! And what a way to keep a child entertained while you shop! Give them two of any fruit or vegetable and have them list the differences.

~When shopping at the mall, sit down and people watch, admiring God’s art work in people passing by.

I want my children to know these truths and understand how vastly important and unique they both are.  I couldn’t wait to sit down with them, observe the differences in these sweet pumpkins and discuss the creativeness of our God in each of them…my little pumpkins.