Category Archives for "Christian Women"

Joy through trials—is it really possible? What are the practical ways we can discover joy, peace and even hope during illness, unemployment, marriage troubles and all of life’s biggest challenges? These Christian truths will empower you to find the source of joy in all circumstances.

How to Find Joy Through Trials: My Story

Life is hard. Hard. And, friends, it’s not getting any easier.

This isn’t a shock to God. In fact, the Bible talks about how we should expect trials and difficulties (1 Peter 4:12).

The good news is that He uses these trials as the conduits for beautiful spiritual growth. The Bible talks about that quite a bit too (Romans 5:3, 1 Peter 1:6-7, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

However, the problem is that we often don’t see that growth until after the trial ends. Hindsight may be 20/20, but during the difficulties our spiritual “vision” can easily become clouded and downright murky.

And joy? That can feel very, very far away.

But is it? Is joy really far off during life’s biggest challenges?

Joy through trials—is it really possible? What are the practical ways we can discover joy, peace and even hope during illness, unemployment, marriage troubles and all of life’s biggest challenges? These Christian truths will empower you to find the source of joy in all circumstances.

I want to testify that authentic joy can be found in all life circumstances–even during the darkest trials. I know because my husband and I have walked through several:

  • chronic illness in marriage,
  • scary health issues with our kids,
  • extended unemployment,
  • intense parenting battles,
  • miscarriage, and so many more.

I’m not here to promise that you can avoid the pain of a trial.

But, oh, how I want to help you to discover supernatural joy, contentment–even peace!–while you’re caught in the storm. 

Joy During Trials: It Comes Down to One Question

How can we find joy during trials? It’s all about how we answer this question:

“What will you choose to savor?”

Another way to ask would be, “What thoughts will you choose to let dominate your mindset?” What will you allow yourself to ruminate on when the test results come back positive, when you receive that rejection letter (again), or when you have absolutely no idea how things will work out?

The quiet, secret thoughts (played day after day) that you choose to savor will be the greatest influence on your joy level during a trial.

What you choose to dwell on during a given moment will either free you to experience God’s joy and peace; or it will hold you prisoner to your fears.

Yes, our thoughts have that much power.

But discovering joy through trials is so much more than rudimentary “positive thinking”.

It’s an acknowledgment of the difficulties without allowing the “what ifs” to steal the provision of the moment.

It’s an acceptance–a childlike trust–that no, we don’t understand the reasons behind it yet but we’re still going to believe in God’s goodness.

It’s a delicate dance between actively pursuing every option and choosing to trust God that He’ll provide an absolute miracle.

That ability to thrive (and not just survive) a trial with joy is founded on three principles that I want to teach you right now.

Principle #1: We must take responsibility for what we choose to savor.

Tonight I watched the sunset. I watched the sun dip lower and lower behind a silhouetted mountain crest and then—just like that!—it disappeared.

I can’t remember the last time I did that. And yet, the sun does it every day.

As I sat there savoring the last glimmers of sunlight, I asked myself:

What have I been stopping to savor in place of moments like these?

And the answer was clear: I’ve stopped too many times to savor the wrong things. 

Like the fears of the future. Like the utter agony of being broken–again and again–by this trial.

Friends, we get lost in the sorrow. We wander in the future without God (a place we were never intended to go).

We play those thoughts over and over. Not because they are good, but, honestly, because sometimes it feels good to feel sorry for ourselves.  

And the longer we hang out here the more familiar the thoughts become.

When we allow these thoughts to dominate we create a stagnant, spiritual “soil” in our minds that make it difficult to discover the joy during the trial.

What are you choosing to savor today, and how is that affecting your joy?

Principle #2: We must quiet our lives so that we can discover (and savor) the quiet undercurrents of joy.

Why don’t we spend more time savoring the good? Well, the pain is easier to discover, especially when we overcrowd our hectic lives with activity.

These tiny treasures aren’t loud and obnoxious, and maybe that’s why we so easily miss them. They speak softly—so softly that its easy to wonder if they’re even there.

They get crowded out in the mad jumble of a hurried life.

That’s why it is in the quiet and stillness that we can see them appear—like rabbits that suddenly materialize on a grassy field at twilight. We see them when we slow down enough to notice their presence.

When I’m enduring a trial I have to regularly quiet my heart: to let out the surge of emotion that’s building; and to allow God to replenish my soul with reminders of the beauty that is happening in my little world.

I write them down and savor the lovely little treasures of goodness that are present: 

  • The way my husband and I always hold hands in bed before going to sleep;
  • How my nine-year-old lights up when I ask if she’d like a cup of tea;
  • My five-year-old’s adorable furrowed brow when he’s confused about something;
  • The way all six of us snuggle in bed as we read a bedtime story;
  • The always-happy-to-see-me greeting from my two faithful Labradors;
  • My twelve-year-old’s dedicated work ethic (which reminds me of his father);
  • The “mystery” card left on my pillow that said, “I love you mom. Thank you for giving up your life to teach me.”
  • That moment in the car last weekend when I got to remind my son (who had tears of repentance on his cheeks while we looked up Bible verses together) that yes, he was absolutely forgiven.

I choose to savor these moments, like I’d savor a fine piece of cheese or an exquisitely-flavored chocolate truffle.

These are priceless gifts from God—rich and decadent treasures that are not meant to be gobbled up but to be remembered over and over. These are nourishment and hope during the most difficult times.

What would your list look like? What good things can you savor instead of the bad?

Principle #3: Release the fears to God and choose to savor His replenishing promises.

There’s a well-known Bible verse that many Christians quote during a trial:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6-7

This is a beautiful verse, but I believe many miss the true power of this verse because they stop at verse 7. They pray to God, telling him about their needs and releasing their fears (verses 6-7).

But then they forget to replace the fear. They forget to habitually replenish themselves with God’s promises. 

Check out the admonition in the following verses, Philippians 4:8-9:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

I’ve bolded those sections because I believe they are the final missing piece to how we discover joy in trials.

First, we must acknowledge and release our fears. Then, once we have this clean slate, we must regularly “fix our thoughts” (which sounds a whole lot like “savoring,” don’t you think?) on those things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise.

I’ve found that when I take this seriously–meaning, when I really do regularly choose to savor these gifts and promises from God–it is so much easier for me to discover joy in a trial.

Our family is enduring a huge trial right now and honestly, I have my list of these things in Evernote so that I can access them regularly from my phone and tablet. Whenever I’m tempted to let my thoughts wander into the dark places, I confess my fears again to God and meditate on the truths on that list.

Because it’s true that God is working out all these difficulties into a beautiful future for me.

Because He’s given me an honorable husband who cherishes me and longs to provide for our family.

Because it’s right that we have so many friends and family who are praying for us daily.

Because I get to spend my days around little children with pure hearts who see the world innocent and full of promise.

And the list goes on.

What can you choose to “fix your thoughts” on during a trial so that you can maintain a spirit of joy?

Yes, Joy Is Possible During a Trial

I hope these three principles give you the practical steps to take to discover joy during a trial!

Although they are not easy to implement, they are highly valuable mindsets that not only sustain us but allow us to be triumphant during times of trial.

We must lean on Jesus during the trial so that He can show us how to make these mindsets a reality in our lives. He wants to use these trials to transform our weaknesses into great dependence and strength in Him.

Friend, I’m praying for you to discover joy as you endure this trial!

Other Posts about Discovering Joy:

4 Ways “Acceptance with Joy” Will Change Your Life Today

18 Bible Verses About Joy

Did this post encourage you? If so, please share it with your friends via Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter!

Joy through trials—is it really possible? What are the practical ways we can discover joy, peace and even hope during illness, unemployment, marriage troubles and all of life’s biggest challenges? These Christian truths will empower you to find the source of joy in all circumstances.

How can we deal with unexpected death? It is never easy... Here's how to find hope in the midst of tragedy.

When a Loved One Dies Unexpectedly

My grandfather died last June, and my heart still winces at the realization that he’s gone. How I miss his cheerful spirit, incredible stories, and joy for his family. I’m so thankful that my kids had the chance to know him like I did.

But my grandfather lived a long, happy life. At 89 years old (and a cancer diagnosis), his death didn’t come as a surprise.

It was different with Tristan. And with Barbara. And now with Mandy.

How can we deal with unexpected death? It is never easy... Here's how to find hope in the midst of tragedy.

Despite a determined, unquenchable thirst for life, my dear friend Tristan succumbed to Scleroderma nearly ten years ago at the age of 55. It was the first time that someone I’d dearly loved was “gone too soon.”

A few years later, I watched Barbara, a mom of three from my MOPS group, walk the lonely, terrifying road of breast cancer. My heart still aches for her kids who lost their mom at the age of 33.

And now, there is Mandy, a thirty-something-year-old blogging friend of mine (read her blog Worshipful Living here). She, along with her husband and two of her kids, were killed in a house fire last week! I am still in shock over it all, and can’t believe she’s really gone.

Death Leaves Us With So Many Questions…

Death happens everyday, but when it happens unexpectedly it’s somehow a thousand times more difficult.

Once the shock wears off we are filled with questions, the biggest one being “Why?”.

We want to make sense of the pain and the hurt. We want there to be a purpose. And sometimes, the answers just aren’t there.

Death seems especially cruel when we can’t understand it.

… But Death Also Brings an Opportunity for New Life

The unexpected death of a loved one brings a sense of urgency and clarity. 

Those important things that we’ve been putting off? They get done. Those words we’ve been meaning to say? They get said. 

And we’re left behind with a bright, bold spotlight on our lives pointing out the obvious: This is important, and this isn’t. 

Death reminds us that our time on earth is short, and that one day we too will come face to face with eternity. It’s not a maybe. It’s a certainty, death boldly states.

And unexpected death? That shouts loudly and unmercilessly that our moment can come at any time.

We don’t like to think about that! That’s not a nice topic for everyday conversation, is it? We’d rather distract ourselves with talk of the latest news, the hottest trends and keep ourselves happily distracted behind an overpacked schedule.

And yet when we hear of stories like Mandy—a young mom of four with a beautiful smile and a bright future ahead—we realize that there are no guarantees of growing old and of having a long life. There’s no guarantees of “it’ll happen later.

We have to live fully and love deeply right now

And we must be ready when it’s our time to meet death face to face.

Death’s Million Dollar Question We All Must Answer

That’s why I must boldly ask you this: “What if today was your day to die? Would you be ready?”

I apologize if asking that is uncomfortable. It does seem rather personal, especially since we only know each other through a computer screen.

But I’m convinced that it’s no accident that you’re reading this today. Ultimately, we must all face this topic, and since we don’t know when our last breaths will be, why not talk about this now?

I want to share with you a truth about death that’s changed my life: It is possible to face death confidently and without fear. 

Now, this isn’t a confidence reserved for mystics and “religious” people. Instead, thankfully, it’s a joy and hope that God offers to all of us (“sinners” and “saints” alike).

It’s a confidence that my friends Tristan, Barbara and Mandy all had. And it’s one I want to share with you.

Confidence and Hope (In the Shadow of Death)

I first heard about this confident hope when I was 19 years old. There was a group of college students like me that I knew who were filled with a peace, joy and purpose in their heart I’d never seen before.

I was hurting and empty and was very ready to hear about hope.

They told me about a grace-filled God who accepted me for who I was. A caring God who wanted to bring purpose for the pain I’d experienced in my life. A loving God who had good plans for me here and who wanted me to know that I could spend eternity with Him in heaven.

A mighty, omnipresent God who wanted me to not live with the fear of death any longer.

That is the message I want to share with you today: You don’t have to be afraid to die. 

No one knows what those last few moments of death are like (or when death will come), but we can know what happens after death. We can life confidently today with peace about our death because we can know that our souls will be with God.

Do you want that confidence? Do you want to know that your soul will rest peacefully with God when you die?

It starts with a simple prayer, right here, right now. It starts by knowing that God that you will spend eternity with.

He wants to be in a relationship with you. He wants to live life with you everyday. He wants to take your biggest mistakes and wash you clean from them so you can start new.

There’s nothing he can’t fix, nothing he can’t mend and nothing he hasn’t done to prove how much you are loved by Him (including dying in our place for the bad choices we’ve made).

Yes, we can know that we will spend life after death with God by simply beginning a relationship with Christ today. The Bible is filled with promises about how we can confidently live today because know we are going to heaven when we die. There’s even the promise Jesus gives to a thief who is hanging on the cross next to him: “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:40-43).

There are no strings attached. God’s love and salvation is a free gift given without condition to all people. You don’t have to earn it; you just have to accept it.

Friend, I pray that if you’d like to have this confidence you will pray with me a prayer like this:

Dear God, thank you for making me.

Thank you for having good plans for me. Thank you that you want to give my life purpose and meaning.

God, I admit that I have made some choices in my life that weren’t the best. I’m so sorry for those, and I ask for your forgiveness for them. 

Would you please come into my life and start a relationship with me? Will you wash me new and make me clean so that I can have joy and peace and hope?

I want to know that I will be with you when I die. I want to be able to live each day confidently knowing that you have all things under your control, even my future place in heaven with you. 

Come into my life and change me. Thank you for loving me. Amen. 

3 Important Next Steps

Did you pray that in your heart?  Are these words the desire of your soul too?

If so, I want to welcome you into a new life with God! I’m so excited for you to have this confidence and hope! I can testify that following Christ is the best decision you will ever make.

I would highly encourage you to do three things. First, tell someone about what you’ve done. You can tell me (my email is alicia@yourvibrantfamily.com) or a trusted friend in your life.

Second, I encourage you to start learning more about this hope and peace found in God! I highly recommend that you read a chapter a day of the Bible (starting in the book of John), asking God to speak to you as you read.

I recommend this Bible (the New Believer’s Bible, New Living Translation) as a great resource for those just learning about God. I would also suggest you start reading in the book of John.

Here are three posts that are also helpful: 

5 Steps Toward Real Spiritual Growth

23 Tips for the Powerful Prayer Life You Want (for Busy Moms)

Simple 5 Step Method for Bible Study

Last, I encourage you to find a local group of believers to meet with regularly. Attend a local church in your area—not as a way to “check a box” each week but instead to be filled with powerful spiritual teaching and to be encouraged by other Christians who can walk this road of faith with you.

The unexpected death of a loved one always hurts deeply. But it doesn’t have to be without purpose. 

Let death’s reminder drive you closer to authentic living and to deep relationship with the one who has conquered both life and death!

Let your loved one’s death bring you clarity, urgency and joy to seek vibrant, full living!

 

P.S. Several of us who knew and loved Mandy are sharing our thoughts about her unexpected death in the following link-up. I encourage you to check out some of these other posts too (and please visit Mandy’s site, Worshipful Living)!


Ever felt trapped and guilty by a bad choice you’ve made? You need to talk to someone about it, but who? Can God help, and if so, how can you bring your feelings of shame before Him? What does that actually look like? Get real help and answers from someone who’s been there (and wants to show you real hope).

How to Find Hope When You Feel Ashamed

She found herself caught in the act. Guilty. No excuse, no way out of it.

They grabbed her hands and dragged before everyone in the town, putting her and her terrible, awful choice on display. “Look at what this woman has done!” the voices shouted. “Can you believe that she did such a despicable thing?”

Her shoulders slumped lower in shame and she fell to her knees in weakness. The shocked and disgusted stares of those around her–soul-piercing, condemning looks–were even more oppressive than the scorching heat of the mid-morning sun. Her soul felt wretched, empty and utterly lost.

Maybe you’ve never been caught in adultery like this woman was (you can read more about her story in John 8:1-11).

But I’m guessing you’ve felt the same depth of shame and self-loathing for a choice you’ve made. You’ve felt the weight of disappointment that comes from a wrong choice. 

You’ve heard the screaming voices in your head declare that you are awful and wretched and beyond hope.

Ever felt trapped and guilty by a bad choice you’ve made? You need to talk to someone about it, but who? Can God help, and if so, how can you bring your feelings of shame before Him? What does that actually look like? Get real help and answers from someone who’s been there (and wants to show you real hope).

 

You’ve felt paralyzed and trapped. Maybe you’ve heard that God would understand and you should reach out to him about it, but those voices quickly say, “That’s true for every situation but this one. This really is too much. It’s too despicable.”

So you close off part of your heart. You bolt down the door to that area and keep pressing on. No one needs to know about it, right? No one will find out. 

Besides, the phone is ringing and your kids are fighting in the other room and you tell yourself life must go on.

But as the days wear on, the torment continues. It’s not awful at first, but it’s enough that you take notice.

And when you make other bad choices in your life (whether a repeat of this one or something else), you notice that the oppressive heaviness intensifies. And oh how you hate the weight of it on your heart.

You need to talk to someone about it, but who? Can God help, and if so, how can you bring your feelings of shame before Him? What does that actually look like?

These are real issues that we all face everyday! We all make huge mistakes and must face the consequences of our actions.

And yet, the great news is that, yes, just like the story of the woman above, there is a way out.

When others (or even your own heart) won’t offer anything but reproach and vehemence, there’s a hand reaching out that’s ready to offer something perhaps you thought never possible: Hope.

Friend, that’s what I want to walk you through today. I too have felt the heaviness of my own shame and I want to share with you the hope that’s possible to you and everyone else, no matter what you’ve done.

The first step to processing our shame in a healthy way is to make a critical distinction: Are we dealing with conviction or condemnation?

Is It Conviction or Condemnation?

What is Conviction?

Conviction is God’s prompting in our heart to make a decision that brings us in closer fellowship to Him. God allows us to feel conviction so that we can live the humble, righteous lives he calls us to.

Conviction is an important part of the Christian life! We can’t have God’s grace without his gentle spirit of guidance. We could not grow spiritually without his promptings to live differently or to confess wrongful actions to Him.

Since conviction comes from God and God is the definition of perfect love (1 Cor 131 John 4:18) we can know that all conviction will be done from God’s pure heart of love (even if His truth stings sometimes).

In short, conviction is a good thing, and we must continually tune our heart to the Holy Spirit so that we can be quick to respond to any conviction He gives.

What is Condemnation?

Condemnation, on the other hand, is a negative, destructive thought pattern that seeks to destroy and undermine our self-confidence.

Condemnation doesn’t give healthy, biblical answers to a situation. Instead it fills a heart with with phrases like “You’ll never break this pattern,” “You’re worthless,” and “You’re a horrible person.”

There is no guidance toward God. Instead, condemnation is a prison—a breaking down of the spirit—and often leads to additional sin.

Jesus describes two distinct patterns of guidance in the parable of the sheep and the wolves. He says in John 10:10 (TK—LINK): “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

And that’s the best way to think of it: Condemnation brings destruction and disorder; while conviction brings healing and peace.

4 Steps to Take When You’re Filled with Shame

How can we tell if what we’re facing is true conviction from God or condemnation from the enemy (or from our own selves)?

And ultimately, how can we remove the heaviness and guilt inside that results from our bad choices?

Here are four simple steps to take.

Step 1: Ask God to help you clarify where the shame is coming from.

We serve a good, good God who wants to help us untangle our often confusing emotions.

Go to quiet place and take a few minutes to talk to God about all of it—your anger, your sadness, your guilt—through prayer and examination of various Bible passages. I’ve found that a concordance and a journal are a huge help here.

Don’t rush this process. Just read, share your heart with Him and listen. It’s OK if you need to spend several times alone with Him before you get clear answers about what’s going on.

Remember that God is on our side (always!) and wants to help you sort through all you’re feeling. He wants to give you the healing you’re seeking. Expect his help and his answer.

Step 2: Separate the conviction from the condemnation.

During these moments, God may show you that your feelings are a complicated mix of both conviction and condemnation (this is often true for me, especially if I’ve allowed the emotions to fester for a while).

That’s fine and that’s normal. Be gentle with yourself as you separate out conviction from condemnation. Sometimes I even make a list of convictions and condemnations so that I can really see on paper what’s going on.

Step 3: Learn from the conviction and restate the condemnation.

What healthy things is God trying to share with you (conviction)? How is God trying to direct you back on the good path? Ask for forgiveness and for His help in living out those truths.

Conversely, which emotions are flat out lies meant to destroy (condemnation)? Reword the negative, destructive thoughts into His life-affirming truths.

For example, recently I’d said some pretty awful things to my husband while we were in the middle of an intense “discussion” (read: an argument). God convicted me that I’d used my words to destroy instead of build up (Proverbs 12:18) (and yes, I needed to heed that warning and ask both God and my husband for forgiveness).

But I also heard terribly condemning thoughts like, “What an awful wife you are,” and “Your husband is going to leave you because you’re not good enough for him”. Those were not of God and I needed to call them out as lies.

Instead I restated them as these truths: “God uses my imperfections to demonstrate to others that He lives in me,” (2 Corinthians 4:7-12) and “As a daughter of God, I am no longer identified by my mistakes but I am completely redeemed and always ‘good enough’” (John 8:1-11).

Note: These aren’t “feel good” expressions but instead an affirmation of God’s truth supported by scripture. They are the thought patterns we need to cling to when condemnation strikes!

Step 4: Let it go, and walk on.

Once God has revealed any conviction (and you’ve asked for forgiveness and help to live differently), and He’s shown you how to rework the condemnation into truth, you can walk in forgiveness and freedom!

Those thoughts of guilt and shame don’t have to plague you further! God’s word says that when He sets us free, we are free indeed (Gal 5:1Isaiah 42:6-7Hosea 14:4John 8:32-36)!

Just like that woman caught in adultery who saw no where to turn and no way out, God is there reaching out, ready to listen and to offer you guidance to the healing you need.

He’s a good father that corrects his children in love, and who also shows them how to walk in that new path (and promises to be with them every step of the way).

I pray that you can prayerfully follow these steps so that you can move forward, walking confident and free in God’s grace!

His hand is reaching out to you today, ready to give you hope and to heal you from your shame. Will you take it?

I pray that you can prayerfully consider what we talked about in this post so that you can move forward, walking confident and free in God’s grace!

Sometimes being a mom is the toughest job around. We give and give and give, and we still can fall short. We often don't feel loved and appreciated, and we may even wonder if anyone notices all the blood, sweat and tears we put into every single day of mothering. But there's HOPE. Someone notices (someone who loves you very much). Let this love letter to you from God tell you all about it and bring you the encouragement you're desperate for today.

A Love Letter from God (for Those Tough Mothering Days)

Sometimes being a mom is the toughest job around.

We give and give and give, and we still can fall short. We often don’t feel loved and appreciated, and we may even wonder if anyone notices all the blood, sweat and tears we put into every single day of mothering.

I have been in that place, friend. In fact, I still often find myself there.

On those tough mothering days there is one thing that inspires me to keep going: He knows and He cares. 

A few months ago (when I was feeling especially weary from motherhood’s relentless pace) God spoke these loving truths to me that soothed my soul and gave me the courage to keep giving my best, despite the daily trials of motherhood.

These words remind me that even on the days when I’m exhausted, worn out, or when I’m sure that I’ve blown it (again), God has not given up on me. He’s got my back and is in my corner. He notices.

He sees it all, and He’s not afraid of any of it. Whether I “feel” Him there or not, He’s at work beside me in the motherhood trenches.  

Friend, I pray you will feel God’s loving arms around you as you read this very special message.

It comes straight from the heart of God and is meant just for you (do you think it’s an accident you’re reading this post today?)

Sometimes being a mom is the toughest job around. We give and give and give, and we still can fall short. We often don't feel loved and appreciated, and we may even wonder if anyone notices all the blood, sweat and tears we put into every single day of mothering. But there's HOPE. Someone notices (someone who loves you very much). Let this love letter to you from God tell you all about it and bring you the encouragement you're desperate for today.

Dear Daughter,

Today was a difficult day. One that stretched you beyond measure and seemed to tug at your very soul.

You were up several times last night because you heard a small voice say at 2:37 a.m.: “I had another bad dream, Mama.”

You woke up sleep-deprived and yet you still fed, clothed and changed your littlest ones (all before you stepped in the shower).

You negotiated a peace treaty between two warring nations (otherwise known as your two children with the opposite personalities).

You taught, encouraged and shared kindness and truth to your family (bringing just that much more light to the precious souls I’ve entrusted you with).

And as Valentine’s Day is on your mind (and talk about “love” seems to be on everyone’s lips), I want to share something very special with you.

I want to confess my deep, rich, unending love for you, my beloved.

god love letter you

I love you for all the ways that you serve your family. I’m proud of the ways you comfort, correct and console. I honor the extreme sacrifice you’ve chosen to make as a mom who serves her family day in and day out.

RELATED YVF VIDEO: “Keeping Your Eyes Above the Waves” (subscribe here)

And yet, beloved, I would still love you as completely if you did none of these things.

That’s because I love you for who you are—the woman you are deep down in your soul. I created that wonder, and it is I who is using all the trials and tears you’re enduring to encourage your inner radiance to be an even brighter light to all around you.

god love letter women

There is nothing that you can do to take my love away; and there is nothing that you can do to make me love you more. Period.

I know there are times that you feel unappreciated, unloved and (on those days when you’re most transparent) perhaps even unnoticed. 

You know your family members would say “I love you” if you asked; but there are moments when you still feel lacking and yearning for more love. Somehow marriage and mothering—even with its glorious joys—can never quite fully fill your heart’s longings to love and to be loved.

I want you to know that I see this, and that I understand. And on the days when the pain of this longing is too much (or anytime that you want to talk to me, actually) I want you to know that I am here—to listen, to bring peace and to remind you of the deeper truths. 

god love letter you

Can I share a few of those with you right now?

I have loved you with an everlasting love, and it with this love that I’m drawing you to me. (Jeremiah 31:3)god love letter women

I have searched your heart and I fully know you, even your deepest thoughts. (Psalm 139:1)

I made you and formed you with my own hands, and I call my creation of you “marvelous.” (Psalm 139:14)

God's Valentine letter to mom

My love carries you through the deepest waters of life. My love assures that when you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned up. (Isaiah 43:2)

My faithful love for you endures forever. (Psalm 136) It never ends and will pursue you all the days of your life. (Psalm 23:6)

god love letter women

My love is not based on what you do for me, but rests on you simply because you are my daughter. You can know this to be true because I show my love and kindness to you even when you walk in darkness.(Hosea 2:14-23)

In me, you can be made complete and full, lacking nothing. (1 John 4:12; James 1:4). Let me lead you into that kind of life—the fullest, richest life possible. (John 10:10)

I drew you to myself, not vice versa, and I continue to draw you everyday. (John 6:44, Romans 5:8)

Can you hear me? Can you see the new beauty I’m creating in you? (Isaiah 43:19) Can you see the beauty I’m creating from the ashes? Let me bring you refreshment. (Isaiah 61:3)

valentine love letter God women

Restoration and rebirth are my specialty. I love to bring new life out of the sorrows and sin that once defined you. In fact, these transformations in your life are signs of my great power and love for you! (Isaiah 55:13)

You are precious to me. You are honored and loved by me. (Isaiah 43:4)

god love letter women

You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words. Your love delights me, and you have captured my heart. (Song of Songs 4:1,9)

My darling daughter, this is my sentiment to you: I treasure you and adore you.

 

valentines day card from God to moms

This week, find a few stolen moments to come away with me, my love, so that I can replenish you.

No outward “show” of ritual needed. Just be alone with me and pour out your heart—all that excites and concerns you.

god love letter women

Allow me to sing over you and to show you again and again my deep, great, never-ending love for you, and to call you again my beloved.

It’s my love letter to you… every day.

 

With love,

Your Heavenly Father

 

Other Posts About Mothering During the Tough Times:

Tough Mothering Day? 3 Tips to Turn It Around

I Am That Mom Facing Burnout

4 Ways to Cope When Motherhood Feels Relentless

8 Ways to Stay Replenished In Every Mothering Season

Does growing spiritually seem like a mystery or something reserved for “other people”? You know that there’s got to be something more than just living for what this life offers, but you’re not sure how to get there. Maybe you even go to church on Sunday and pray before meals… but still you feel like something’s missing or lacking. Friend, I want to tell you that what you’re feeling is not only normal, but it’s a beautiful invitation to grow deeper with God! God loves you and wants to show you the richest, fullest version of your life, and that comes through (imperfect) movement toward spiritual maturity. Let me share with you five simple ways to discover your beautiful path toward spiritual growth, including some helpful resources and powerful scriptures that have changed my life.

5 Steps Toward Real Spiritual Growth

Does growing spiritually seem like a mystery or something reserved for “other people”?

You know that there’s got to be something more than just living for what this life offers, but you’re not sure how to get there. Maybe you even go to church on Sunday and pray before meals… but still you feel like something’s missing or lacking.

Friend, I want to tell you that what you’re feeling is not only normal, but it’s a beautiful invitation to grow deeper with God!

God loves you and wants to show you the richest, fullest version of your life, and that comes through (imperfect) movement toward spiritual maturity.

Let me share with you five simple ways to discover your beautiful path toward spiritual growth, including some helpful resources and powerful scriptures that have changed my life.

Does growing spiritually seem like a mystery or something reserved for “other people”? You know that there’s got to be something more than just living for what this life offers, but you’re not sure how to get there. Maybe you even go to church on Sunday and pray before meals… but still you feel like something’s missing or lacking. Friend, I want to tell you that what you’re feeling is not only normal, but it’s a beautiful invitation to grow deeper with God! God loves you and wants to show you the richest, fullest version of your life, and that comes through (imperfect) movement toward spiritual maturity. Let me share with you five simple ways to discover your beautiful path toward spiritual growth, including some helpful resources and powerful scriptures that have changed my life.

The Biggest Obstacle to Spiritual Growth

What’s the biggest obstacle to spiritual growth, especially if you’re a busy mom?

Time. As in “not enough of it.”

I totally understand that and can relate to that. I homeschool my four kids, run two online ministries and do my best to still be the best wife, mom, friend and daughter of God that I can be.

It’s not always easy to manage everything since life is full and packed (I know you can relate because your life is probably equally busy!).

But here’s the truth: The only way I’ve been able to actually keep growing as a Christian is to spend time every day in prayer and Bible study.

And anyone who I’ve ever admired as a spiritual mentor would the same thing.

I think it’s because daily time with God grounds us. It centers us. It calms us in the chaos.

And most importantly, it’s the glue that not only brings much-needed refreshment, it strengthens our relationship with Christ and transforms the difficulties we endure into avenues for beautiful spiritual growth.

“How?” I hear you asking. “How can I find the time?!”

Totally get it. What if I said you could experience spiritual refreshment in only a few minutes a day?

If your time is greatly limited, then you’ll really appreciate these Women’s Resources that I designed just for women like you.

These are marketed as “Easter” resources, but really, you could go through them anytime you need a quick-but-powerful way to access real spiritual refreshment.

The best part is that they take only five to ten minutes a day!

And they’re only 12 days long, so they’re a perfect way to experiment with how just a few minutes a day with God can bring the spiritual growth you’re looking for.

 

 

 

Now, let’s talk about 5 ways to grow deeply with God.

Besides the time factor (mentioned above), how can we find the true path to spiritual growth?

TIRED OF FEELING BURNT OUT, MOM? I felt that way for a long time too… My soul REALLY needed replenishment and rest. Here’s what I did about it.

8 Ways to Stay Emotionally Replenished in Every Mothering Season

It’s no secret that busy moms like us need more rest–times to unwind and de-stress.

We’re left with only one question:

How?

How in the world can we regularly get the rest we need to stay sane and whole?

I mean, really? Not theoretically. Practically.

It’s a big question that deserves a real-world answer.

TIRED OF FEELING BURNT OUT, MOM? I felt that way for a long time too… My soul REALLY needed replenishment and rest. Here’s what I did about it.

Friends, I have struggled with this on and off throughout my entire mothering journey.

I used to beat myself up that I couldn’t discover “the” schedule or even “the” way that ensured that I stayed well-rested as a mom.

However, the fact is that life is constantly changing. Our kids are constantly changing. And what fills us up is always changing too.

So why in the world should we believe that we can simply “discover” the ultimate way to get rest and tackle this issue once and for all? That’s simply preposterous, right?

Instead of looking for a cure-all that works for every season, I’ve discovered 8 keys to successfully incorporating the deep soul rest I need into my current mothering season.

And I want to share them with you since so many of us struggle with this.

Imagine how much better life could be if you could simply be filled up emotionally, spiritually and physically! How much of a better mom and wife could you be?

Now imagine if you had a way to make these part of your life–no matter if you have a brand new baby or only one older child in the house.

I can’t tell you how much these have made a difference from making rest a “someday” item to a “today” item on my to-do list.

I want to give you the simple guidelines I use so that you can be at your best too, no matter what mothering season you’re in!

Plus there are really IMPORTANT secrets that are critical to successfully enjoying rest in every season. I don’t want you to miss these, ok?

I can’t wait to tell you about all of this! (Click next to learn all about it!)

How can we give REAL thanks when life is FAR from perfect? We all need to hear this refreshing perspective on giving thanks during trials, especially during Thanksgiving.

How to Give Thanks During Trials

Thanksgiving: Just the word evokes an idealized family gathering where everyone is holding hands and in perfect health, with fully-funded bank accounts, blissful marriages, and children who are always cheerful and obedient.

Now that’s a far cry from reality isn’t it?

No one’s real Thanksgiving gathering looks like this. Ever
How can we give REAL thanks when life is FAR from perfect? We all need to hear this refreshing perspective on giving thanks during trials, especially during Thanksgiving.

Yet we’ve somehow convinced ourselves that in order for unreserved thanks giving to occur (no matter the time of year), this idealized picture must be present.

We’ve bought the lie that our ability to give thanks should be based on how close our life matches this perfect image. 

But what if giving thanks is possible in the here and now–in the midst of marital difficulties, cancer diagnoses, wayward children and empty wallets?

What if God is calling us to search for more on Thanksgiving–to discover a deeper life that is truly able to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) …and he’s using these adversities to bring us there?

What if he’s allowing our tragedies to  to say, “Walk with me and let me show you a lasting contentment and thankfulness that cannot be shaken”?

This is the “giving thanks” I believe God calls us to discover this time of year.

In fact, it’s often through the tears that we can see the testimony to the thanksgiving.

Redefining “Giving Thanks”

In Christian circles, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 is an oft-quoted scripture, especially this time of year: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Let that thought sit there for a minute. All circumstances? All the time? Really, God? You want me to say “thank you” if my child is suffering from a debilitating illness or if my husband one day decides to have an affair?

Well, perhaps we need to redefine our definition of what thankfulness is.

Giving thanks doesn’t necessarily mean that that we’re saying we believe the situation is perfect and that’s why we’re thankful.

In fact, giving thanks doesn’t even have to mean that we’re happy about the situation or that we like it at all.

Thankfulness can simply be an offering: a hope and a faith put in a promise yet to be fulfilled. It’s a faith in believing God’s truth that “all situations work together for those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

It’s persevering through the pain because we trust Him and believe in the promise, like the example given of many who have gone before us (Hebrews 11).

RELATED YVF VIDEO: “Acceptance With Joy” (subscribe here)

Thankfulness recognizes that it doesn’t have to be exactly how I want it for me to say “amen.” 

Instead, the act of giving thanks acknowledges–sometimes with tears–that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be good.

How Am I Supposed to Be Giving Thanks Through This?

I’m like you–sometimes life’s difficulties make it nearly impossible to “see the thanks.” Truth be told, my wretched heart’s natural bent is to wallow in my misery, complain about the injustices and rail against the painful parts.

The last thing I want to do is to “give thanks for all things” as 1 Thessalonians 5:18 encourages me to do.

It’s during these times when the Holy Spirit steps in. In a gentle voice, he reminds me of those who walk beside me and who have gone before me (Hebrews 11; Hebrews 12:1-3) so that I don’t lose heart.

I think of the biblical story of Job–a man who watched his whole world collapse as his livelihood and family were taken from him–who still said, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15).

I think of Horatio Spafford–a modern day version of Job–who was able to pen the powerful hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” after the death of his daughters and the loss of his entire fortune.

I think of the friends whom I’ve watched succumb to horrible illnesses–wonderful men and women who were bright lights in this world–who overcame their tragic circumstances by choosing to say “God, please allow me to discover ways to give you the thanks for all aspects of this unspeakably awful part of my journey and let my life be a testimony to your faithfulness.”

I think of the thousands of Christians worldwide who right now are suffering extreme persecution, and the hundreds who, today, will willingly choose to give up their life before giving up their faith in God.

And I think of my Lord–the God-man beaten to a pulp, pinned to two splinter-filled planks of wood, and humiliatingly displayed before the entire city–who underwent such physical and emotional torture for no other reason than to say, “My darling daughter, this is what I’m willing to endure so that you and I can be in relationship together.”

Reflecting on these people and circumstances doesn’t change the difficulty of my own situation; but it changes my perception of it and opens the door to authentic thanksgiving.

 

4 Steps to Authentically Giving Thanks

If you’re finding it difficult to give authentic thanksgiving right now, first of all know that it’s OK.

We place an added shame on ourselves when we know we should be doing something (especially something that is right and good and that is encouraged because of a national holiday) and yet we don’t feel the emotion of thankfulness.

Acknowledge. Can I first encourage us to admit to these emotions? Can we be real enough with ourselves to see these places of inauthenticity and choose to desire something more?

Discover. Next, let’s do a little digging. Let’s write down everything about the situation and let those real emotions flow–even if they are painful to feel. We’ve got to be honest about all aspects of the circumstances so that we can identify the areas to bring healing.

Reflect. What are the areas here that are pleasant and easy? And which are unenjoyable and difficult? Most important of all, consider which aspects of the situation are blessings. Note that something doesn’t have to feel pleasant to be a blessing.Where have you seen God provide, bring hope, offer encouragement–even in this trial? And where do you see room for God to do even more miraculous things? Look to these as the starting point for that flow of authentic thanksgiving to occur.

Ask. Come face to face with those things that are gut-wrenching, unfair and challenging and ask for Him to bring you a different perspective. Ask for the supernatural ability to choose to be thankful during this trial, trusting that only He can provide the endurance and encouragement through the pain.

Search, dig, look for the authentic thanksgiving today. It may be tear-stained, covered by anger or drenched in frustration, and that’s alright.

Give every part of it as an offering to God, asking Him to give you the power to rise above the ugliness of the situation to discover the blessing.

Just like a pearl that is formed inside a oyster’s shell as a result of the oyster’s irritation by a grain of sand, great blessings are often released through acceptance and authentic thanksgiving.

More Posts on Giving Authentic Thanks

4 Ways That Acceptance with Joy Will Change Your Life Today

18 Bible Verses on Real Joy

 

And if this post encouraged you, be sure to share it with others so that they can be blessed too!

How can we give REAL thanks when life is FAR from perfect? We all need to hear this refreshing perspective on giving thanks during trials, especially during Thanksgiving.

It is SO EASY to be depressed and annoyed by our present circumstances with our kids or our husbands. But we don’t have to live annoyed and unhappy. We have choices, and I want to show you how the simple phrase “acceptance with joy” can reframe even the hardest parts of your life TODAY.

4 Ways “Acceptance with Joy” Will Change Your Life Today

I look around my house and see stained carpets that really need to be replaced.

I look outside and see that my yard desperately needs a trim. 

I just watched my preschooler spill strawberry smoothie down his brand new shirt.

My husband calls: Did you forget that we had an appointment together at 10 a.m. with the doctor?

And I sigh as I hear my kids fighting—again—in the other room over that same darn issue.

It’s easy to let all the everyday things of the mom life really drag us down, right?

The sad truth is that we moms are surrounded by opportunities—so many opportunities!—to be depressed and annoyed by our present circumstances.

Our messy, real family lives rarely reflect the Pinterest-perfect images we see online. We make mistakes. The people around us—our dearest loves—drive us a little batty quite often, truth be told.

Everywhere we look we can see the flaws and areas where change needs to happen. And some days, that “imperfection overwhelm” can make us want to lock ourselves in the bathroom for several hours with an extra large carmel-drenched coffee drink.

The good news? We’re also given the opportunity to decide how we want to view those imperfections. We are in the driver’s seat.

Friend, you and I have choices, and we don’t have to live under the burden of anger and exasperation.

 It is SO EASY to be depressed and annoyed by our present circumstances with our kids or our husbands. But we don’t have to live annoyed and unhappy. We have choices, and I want to show you how the simple phrase “acceptance with joy” can reframe even the hardest parts of your life TODAY.

Are you feel stuck in discontent and unhappiness with your life? I want to share with you my story from anger to freedom, and to give you a simple phrase that will reframe your perspective on your circumstances: “acceptance with joy.”

My Story Out of Anger and Into Acceptance

large-7dlam-logo-imageThere was a period of my mothering where I lived permanently in that state of annoyance and frustration (I speak about it more in my “7 Days to a Less Angry Mom” Course).

I felt trapped and shamed by my seeming inability to fix these imperfections. I believed the lie that surely if I worked harder or did things differently then things would change and I would finally be happy.

Yet time and again, that happiness eluded me, and instead I found myself angry. A lot.

When I cried out to God each morning I felt little relief from my frustration (even though that was what prayed for over and over).

Then one day I had a big realization: I was the one hindering my own peace.

God showed me that I really had only two options (and I was in complete control over which one to take):

Option 1: To continue to replay the “what ifs” and “if only” conversations (and all those moments of disappointment) like a record stuck in a groove; or

Option 2: To stop complaining and whining about things outside my control and instead develop a brand new thought pattern—“acceptance with joy.”

Option 1 had been my steady go-to for quite some time. It had become my secondhand nature, and felt comfortable like a pair of old slippers.

Yet I could clearly see that this stinking-thinking was the very source of my exasperated attitude.

“Girl,” I told myself, “It’s time to throw those old, stinky slippers out!”

P.S. If you’re ready to finally get rid of habitual anger and discover a new path too, the practical teachings found in my online video course “7 Days to a Less Angry Mom” can bring so much freedom! Join us and let’s dig deep together to find new solutions to the ongoing frustration!

 

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That day I began a slow and gradual journey towards “acceptance with joy.”

It’s taken time to see progress (and some days I still find  myself putting on those old ratty slippers) but this simple reframing of my circumstances has made my life so much more contented and clear.

4 Ways “Acceptance with Joy” Can Change Your Life Too

Let me share 4 simple ways that “acceptance with joy” can bring real peace to your life, starting right now.

Acceptance in the Transition

We’ve been taught that the in-between places on our journey are the bad ones. We’ve been told that we must discover solutions—right now—to our daily dilemmas, or something is terribly wrong.

First of all, life sometimes doesn’t have a 5-step solution. We might just need to accept that right now.

However, even when there is room for progress, it’s often a long road to change.

Instead of bemoaning the wait, what if we choose to discover what we can learn about ourselves and others through the transition and start serving there?

What specific thought patterns can we change so that, instead of allowing the in-between places to destroy us, we can discover the rich beauty found through transition?

Acceptance as a Place of Trust

Jesus taught us much about acceptance as an opportunity for deeper trust in God.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus wrestled with the agony of choosing to go to the cross. He didn’t have to accept that His fate was to be a sacrifice for all. He, being God, had the power to not accept it. But He chose God’s way because although he understood the cost of his decision, he also understood fully the wholeness and perfection that comes with accepting God’s way.

And that’s a lesson for us, friends. If we believe that God is in control of every part of our lives, then mustn’t we accept that our lives right now are somehow part of his bigger plan? What purpose is there is fighting and complaining about it, especially if we truly believe that He is in control?

NOTE: I’m not saying that human sin or discord (which we often must accept) is part of his plan or that it’s OK. Not at all.

But we also must accept (and trust in His truth) that he somehow purposes everything for our good, even those sinful things that aren’t of him.

Acceptance with Joy (Not Without It)

Acceptance can be done as a drudgery—as an “I have to” act. But this isn’t the answer because then we’re simply replacing our frustration over the situation with an obligation to trudge through.

Don’t get me wrong: Acceptance with joy isn’t a natural response (especially when you first start practicing it). You may have to fake-it-till-you-make-it at first.

But eventually the best kind of  acceptance—the kind that brings lasting life and peace—will be found when joy is the source.

Acceptance as Impetus to Change

Acceptance doesn’t mean settling, however. Acceptance can be what spurs us toward change.

In fact, acceptance is often the first step to change. We must first accept, “Hey, I’ve gained a bit of weight” before we can be fully committed to a new exercise plan and healthier diet.

If we lean too much on being content with everything as it is, we lose the God-given ability to make much-needed improvement in our lives; and if we focus too heartily on change, then we miss the power of resting in his omnipotence.

It’s a daily–and difficult!—tension, but ultimately, acceptance means finding the ability to be content with whatever the day brings and yet still find opportunities for there to be a better way.

Letting God Lead You Through Acceptance with Joy

We are all being called to learn acceptance with joy, and yet, we’re all on different points on that journey.

I challenge you to read through these four Bible verses and use a inductive Bible study method like the 5 Rs method I’ve created to gain a deeper understanding of what God wants to say to you about “acceptance with joy.”

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Ephesians 4:2-4

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4

My prayer is that you will begin today to let the simple-but-powerful phrase “acceptance with joy” bring new peace and hope to your mothering!

P.S. Is “acceptance with joy” something you want to work on? Why not join us for the “7 Days to a Less Angry Mom” course so that we can explore this concept further?

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The course consists of:

—7 pre-recorded online teaching sessions,

—50 homework pages

–Private Facebook group

In this course, you will:

  • Identify key anger triggers.
  • Discover powerful in-the-moment anger strategies. 
  • Learn how to (really) turn up the calm in your life!
  • Find a custom, step-by-step approach to lasting change.
  • Grace-filled, biblical advice from a mom that’s been there!

Find real solutions for dealing with the ongoing frustrations of motherhood in this awesome course!

Click “learn more” to watch a free sample video and get a free sample homework download!

 

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Other Posts on Surviving Everyday Life with Joy:

18 Bible Verses About Joy

Tough Mothering Day? 3 Tips to Turn It Around

Discovering Joy Through Trials: 3 Must-Have Mindsets

 

If this post helped you, please pin and share it with others so they can be encouraged too!

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You want to pray more, but HOW does it happen when life is so chaotic? These 23 tips will help you discover how YES you can have a powerful prayer life even as a busy mom. Learn 9 ways that prayer can change everything for your family, 2 things your prayer life must have; How to make prayer a priority even when you feel time-strapped; 6 incredible resources that give specific plans on how to pray for our husband and/or kids; What your prayer room can look like (video), and 6 ways to make can make prayer work as a busy mom! Don’t miss this amazing post full of fabulous resources!

23 Tips for the Powerful Prayer Life You Want (For Busy Moms)

Want to live with purpose and without any regrets? Want a family that is growing and thriving?

Want to be the change in this world (instead of being changed by the world)?

It all starts with a vibrant prayer life.

And here’s how to get it as a busy mom!

You want to pray more, but HOW does it happen when life is so chaotic? These 23 tips will help you discover how YES you can have a powerful prayer life even as a busy mom. Learn 9 ways that prayer can change everything for your family, 2 things your prayer life must have; How to make prayer a priority even when you feel time-strapped; 6 incredible resources that give specific plans on how to pray for our husband and/or kids; What your prayer room can look like (video), and 6 ways to make can make prayer work as a busy mom! Don’t miss this amazing post full of fabulous resources!

The Bible is clear that we–mere mortals!–have the power to shape destinies and move mountains on behalf of our loved ones (James 5:16) through humble, heartfelt connection with God through prayer.

Next to salvation itself, prayer is one of the best gifts God gave his children!

But here’s the problem: Prayer is a gift that so many of us never ever open. Why?

  • We’re scared of it because we don’t quite understand it.
  • We’re confused about what prayer is, and what it isn’t.
  • We’ve tried praying before but became quickly frustrated when our “way” wasn’t happening.
  • Or, we believe in the power of prayer, but we find ourselves too busy make prayer a priority.

However, as moms and women of God in a world quickly going down the tubes, we no longer have the luxury of not fighting for ourselves, our families and our nation through prayer.

We simply must be praying. Regularly.

I want to empower you with 23 tips to help you grab hold of this amazing gift that God wants to give you and your family.

We’ll discover:

  • 9 ways that prayer can change everything for your family
  • 2 things your prayer life must have
  • How to make prayer a priority even when you feel time-strapped
  • 6 incredible resources that give specific plans on how to pray for our husband and/or kids
  • What your prayer room can look like (video)
  • 6 ways you can make prayer work as a busy mom

We really can have a stronger prayer life–even in the midst of this chaotic, already-too-busy young family stage.

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9 Important Truths About Prayer

Before we dig into how to build a strong prayer life, let’s talk about 9 truths that highlight why prayer can change everything–for ourselves and our families.

  • Prayer is simply communication–a conversation–between us and God.
  • Prayer is accessible to any one at any time;
  • Prayer allows us to connect deeply with God about any subject;
  • Prayer is how God tells us to let go of our fears and pent up emotions;
  • Prayer allows us to fight for the truth and to claim it for a specific situation;
  • Prayer gives us the opportunity to support our friends and family behind the scenes as we lift every corner of their lives up to His guidance;
  • Prayer teaches us to wait expectantly, knowing that He will answer (yes, no or wait) and that it will be for our best;
  • Prayer helps us to be content with His best answer (based on His omnipotence) instead of demanding our own (based on our shortsightedness);
  • Prayer changes not only the person we’re praying for, but prayer changes us–regardless of what the answer to the prayer is.

2 Things Your Prayer Life Must Have

First, prayer is first founded on a living relationship with Christ.

God says that we’re all separated from Him without Christ’s redemption (Romans 3:23).

So if we want to access the power of prayer, we first need to be in right standing with God (which we can never do enough to earn and only comes through God’s grace-filled gift of salvation through Jesus) (Ephesians 2:5-8).

If we’re not in a committed relationship with Jesus and praying with God’s will in mind for the situation, then our words are empty and powerless.

There’s a reason why Jesus’ model for prayer starts with, “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-13)

We need to be in one accord with Him–accepting whatever He chooses to give us as the best answer to our situation–before we enter the heart of prayer.

Second, a passion for prayer must flow through our hearts like wildfire.

We must pray regularly, with an open heart, and with a conviction that our prayers are making a difference.

James 5:16 may be a familiar verse: “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

But do we believe that–deep down in our souls? Have we allowed that truth to fire us up to the vibrant prayer life we long for?

The good news is that you don’t need to worry about “mustering up” all that the passion if it’s not there now.

You simply need to have a heart that’s willing to learn. A heart that says, “I know you’re calling me to this, and so I know you’ll teach me how to do this.”

Fervent--300-x-300Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer is one of the best books I’ve found on igniting that passion to prayer.

The book details how prayer is our most powerful weapon against the enemy’s plans to hurt us, and how we need to understand those strategies–and she lists 10 common ones for women–so that we can begin strategically and powerfully praying for our families.

If you’re serious about developing a heart committed to prayer, I’d highly recommend Fervent!

But I Have No Time…

Right. I totally understand. Even if you totally on board with having a stronger prayer life, you’re already feeling overextended.

You feel like if you have to fit in one more thing you’re simply going to explode.  

Can I lighten your load here? We don’t need to try to “fit” prayer into our lives. We just need to adjust a few things.

Let me show you exactly how I make fervent prayer part into my crazy mom life (which is probably a lot like yours).

It’s not as complicated or all-consuming as it sounds. Click “NEXT.”

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Can you guess what every homeschool mom wants for Mother's Day? Homeschool moms, read this and be encouraged, knowing that you're NOT ALONE in this wish!

What a Mom REALLY Wants for Mother’s Day

Another day of mothering has come to an end.

After cleaning up the last meal of the day, tucking the kids in bed, tending the baby, and preparing for tomorrow, I have exactly an hour to myself before my brain shuts down entirely.

I haven’t eaten dinner. I am spent. The list of things that never ends just. never. ends. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, planning, teaching, correcting, disciplining, shopping.

I sink my head to the counter and take a minute to collect myself before I implode. My husband looks on, slightly concerned I may not get back up.

This is my life! It is both messy and beautiful. I know you can relate, right?

Can you guess what every homeschool mom wants for Mother's Day? Homeschool moms, read this and be encouraged, knowing that you're NOT ALONE in this wish!

http://yourvibrantfamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/What-a-Homeschool-Mom-Really-Wants-for-Mothers-Day-11.jpg

This guest post is from Tauna at Proverbial Homemaker.

I love my calling as wife, mom, homemaker and homeschooler. LOVE it. I never doubt the value of my work in this role. And most days I finish with a sense that time was well spent.

Some days though…

Some days I just don’t see the reward I want to see. Some days I just want a gold star to put on my own chart.

Have you been there, too?

What Many Moms Will Get for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. What is Mother’s Day all about for moms?

Many moms will be getting gifts, chocolates, jewelry, small appliances, crafts, and more. Those are good things. They really are.

I like a good handprint card and a blender just as much as the next mom. But…

We cook and clean and plan. We snuggle and comfort and play. We teach and we train and we instruct in the ways of the Lord.

It is wonderful and exhausting.

We labor in prayer over our precious children and do our best to point them to Christ, knowing the decision to follow Him is their own.

Everything in us is poured into this worthy endeavor.

So what we really want is this:

  • For our labor to not be in vain.
  • For there to be good fruit.
  • For our children to rise up and call us blessed.

Those are hard things to wrap a bow around, right? Yet they are the longing of our hearts.

Here’s the thing, dear moms: most days you are sowing seeds, not harvesting fruit. There will be times when you will be blessed with an amazing glimpse into the impact your work is having on the lives of your children. Some days, however, there will seem to be little reward.

Here’s Your First Mother’s Day Gift!

Even if you aren’t sure you’re making a difference, I want to tell you right now: What you do matters tremendously.

Be encouraged! You are planting deep and meaningful things into the hearts of your children for a reward that is eternal. It is a work approved for God’s kingdom.

Do not grow weary of good! The labor of a loving mother will never be in vain.

Know this, friend:

  • Your prayers are being heard,
  • your work is being seen, and
  • the gold stars are piling up like crazy, whether you see them this side of heaven or not.

In fact, I want you to read these posts to be encouraged and inspired about motherhood:

A Love Letter from God (for Those Tough Mothering Days)

4 Ways to Cope When Motherhood Feels Relentless

8 Ways to Stay Emotionally Replenished in Every Mothering Season

Tough Mothering Day? 3 Powerful Tips to Turn It Around

 

This Mother’s Day, enjoy your children, bask in the love of their hand-print cards, and rest in knowing that what we really want has already been given: a labor of love that will bear eternal fruit for the King.

Happy Mother’s Day to you!