“In humility, value others above yourself.” Philippians 2:3
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.
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.
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!
“What a thrilling, glorious thing it would be to see the leaders of our country today kneeling before Almighty God in prayer. What a thrill would sweep this country. What renewed hope and courage would grip the Americans at this hour of peril.”
~Reverend Billy Graham
(Video transcript (kind-of) below-keep scrolling for ways to pray!)
Prayer: a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God; an earnest hope or wish; to address God with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving; to intercede
Today is National Day of Prayer, a day that our government designated decades ago as a day for American’s to turn to God and pray. It has quite the history that I found super interesting! For instance, National Day of Prayer shares common roots with Thanksgiving in that it establishes a day of prayer as a nation; prayer and thanksgiving in the fall (Thanksgiving), prayer and fasting in the spring (National Day of Prayer). President Abraham Lincoln established the fall observance as the official Thanksgiving holiday in 1863 and in 1952, President Harry S Trumann established the spring observance as the National Day of Prayer. Click here to read more on the origins of this special day for our nation.
I love that our government does this and I hope and pray they continue to call us to pray at least for one day a year, if not for the other 364 as well because we certainly need them as individuals, a country and world!
Something else I found interesting it that the use over time for the word prayer has significantly decreased since the 1800’s yet has increased slightly since about 2000. So maybe it’s on the rise- let’s make it rise, because prayer moves God. Worrying about it, talking about it, thinking about it just wears us (and others!) down. But our prayers and cried for mercy, help, love and grace can change and shape this nation and world one heart at a time and it starts with ours.
It doesn’t have to be overwhelming to pray- just share your heart with the Lord, pour it out to Him, make your requests known to Him! And what will happen? He will HEAR YOU. The peace of God that surpasses all with come to you. Do you know this? Have you seen it? Felt it? I have. But I’m not going to say prayer is always what I turn to first. Usually it’s my thoughts then a friend then my thoughts and my thoughts oh yeah and then maybe I should pray about this. Like really PRAY about this. Give it to the Lord so He will take it away and make me fruitful for the day. When we give Him our hard stuff and hard ships, he may not take them away but can take the weight of them away for the day…And help us not to be a stuck mess of a hamster on a wheel rehashing, assuming, worrying, etc..
God’s got us. He loves us. He is for us. He is for the U.S. of A.! He is for this world! He is for His people He created everywhere! He is for you my friend! He sees all and knows all and is good always. We must look to him in prayer more than just this one day, we are to pray without ceasing.
Just as MC Hammer put it, We got to pray just to make it today. YUP. We do.
Stop. Drop and Pray. Nothing is too big or too small.
Prayer lives are different. Some wake up and get on their knees and pray for 20 minutes, others just pray throughout the day. There’s no recipe. Just your heart poured out as a drink offering to Him. Even though He knows your heart, it’s always good to tell him anyway.
Pour out your heart like water before the Lord. Lamentations 2:19
Do not be anxious about anything but pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Philippians 4:6
May my prayer be set before you like incense Psalm 141:2
The prayers of God’s people are as incense in a golden bowl…Revelation 5:8
Below are more ways to pray!
- Walk through your home and pray bold prayers over your family and home.
- If you are a teacher, pray for your students and those under your influence.
- Pray as you are folding your family’s laundry.
- Walking or jogging through your neighborhood?? Pray.* Pray for the homes, for your neighbors, their marriages and children. You may not know what is going on but the Lord does.
- Making or serving food at a restaurant? PRAY.* Pray for those who will be eating it.
- Driving down the street and see someone walking or running or begging for money? Pray* for them.
- *God, because You are God You know all so you know this person (or these people) and I don’t. You know their situation and circumstances. God I pray that they would seek You to know You above all else and to encounter You today. Protect them Lord. In Jesus name, Amen
- While scrolling social media, PRAY for our friends. If judgement, rejection or criticism come to mind, shut it off and pray for that person. And ourselves.
- When we say we are going to pray- PRAY. Stop and do it then, don’t wait. If a friend needs prayer, do it over the phone or in person with them. It doesn’t have to be fancy or full of flowery words. Just pray.
- Pray before taking trips, in cars or airplanes. (We fly a lot and the kids love it when we pray for God to put a bubble of protection around us like bubble gum and not let it pop!)
- Keep Christmas cards and allocate some time each month to praying for each family on the card. Do one a day or one a week.
- Have a prayer board with a specific prayer for each family member or any other specific needs for that day , week or month.
- Have a weekly or daily verse to pray as a family.
- Drive by your children’s school and pray for the teachers, staff, students…for protection, safety and for God to be there in so many ways.
- Get a recipe box and index cards. Write prayers down on index cards and do one a day. Categorize them, “Me” “Husband” Children” Family” Work”, etc…
- Last but not least…LISTEN. This is sometimes the hardest, isn’t it?? To hear Him is to pray to Him also. His big, bold, beautiful, yet gentle, quiet voice will carry and guide us if we let Him (and that’s a whole separate blog post!)
- Click here for this verse printable!
- Click here for more information or to order a 30 day prayer journal by Anna of Asher. (I have gone through several of these and love the guided, scriptural based prayers! It’s also neat to look back and see answered prayers!)
- Easy ways to teach children to pray:
- A.C.T.S.~ Adoration. Confession. Thanksgiving. Supplication.
- WOW! THANKS! SORRY! PLEASE! (We LOVE LOVE LOVE this one and do it almost every night because it’s fairly easy for my children at this age) Click the following link for the printable –> WOW THANKS SORRY PLEASE
~Great books on praying: Before Amen (Max Lucado), Upside Down Prayers for your Children (Lisa T Bergen), Fervent (Shirer), any chapter in the book of Psalms
A Final Prayer for Today~
Heavenly Father, you are so, so good. So good that You hear and long to hear from every single person you have created. Your word says if we would humble ourselves and seek Your face You would heal our land…Lord our land needs healing. We need your power. Help our nation to turn to You today and everyday. Help each person reading this to turn their worries, regrets, hardships, anger, everything, into a prayer to the One who is Mighty to save, change and redeem. You, dear God, can do anything. We praise You for that! Help us to be a praying nation! We were founded on You, how I pray we would stay on You. Thanks for staying on us and never giving up on us. May we be praying people, praying wives, praying husbands, praying mamas, praying daddies, praying children of You. Without ceasing. Without doubting. Just with You. Help us to listen for Your voice sweet Lord. Speak to us please so we can better do Your will. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
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.