Category Archives for "Faith"

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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While every girl is different (and the journey is different for each one), we must let our daughters know what it really means to be a healthy, whole woman. This is far from easy, especially since many of us are works in progress ourselves, right?! But isn't that true about all aspects of parenting--we must guide our kids as we are learning ourselves about life? As I grow in my own discovery of what it means to be an 21st Century Christian woman, here's what I want to tell my daughter. Would you agree with this list? What would you add?

7 Things I’m Teaching My Daughter About Being a Woman

While every girl is different (and the journey is different for each one), we moms are given a unique call to demonstrate to our daughters what it really means to be a healthy, whole woman.

This is far from easy, especially since many of us are works in progress ourselves, right?!

But isn’t that true about all aspects of parenting–we must guide our kids as we are learning ourselves about life?

As I grow in my own discovery of what it means to be an 21st Century Christian woman, here’s what I want to tell my daughter.

While every girl is different (and the journey is different for each one), we must let our daughters know what it really means to be a healthy, whole woman. This is far from easy, especially since many of us are works in progress ourselves, right?! But isn't that true about all aspects of parenting--we must guide our kids as we are learning ourselves about life? As I grow in my own discovery of what it means to be an 21st Century Christian woman, here's what I want to tell my daughter. Would you agree with this list? What would you add?

NOTE: I wrote this as if I was writing a letter to my daughter. You are welcome to share this with your daughter(s) as well, or feel free to modify it for what you’d say to your little one.

It’s never too late (or too early) to share these truths with our girls! Decide today what you want to share with your daughter too, and be intentional!

7 Things I Want to Teach My Daughter About Being a Woman

 1-True-Beauty

1) True beauty is not what the world says it is.

Although you are strikingly gorgeous on the outside, more than anything I want to encourage you to always grow deeper with God, allowing his “gentle and quiet spirit” to flourish in your heart. The Bible describes this as pure beauty (1 Peter 3:4).

Of course this doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy a mani/pedi from time to time, or that we can’t share a love of clothes and fashion. In fact, I can’t wait to share more of those moments with you!

I just want you to understand that these things don’t define who you are or determine if you are beautiful or not. You are beautiful because you are His amazing creation, and your soul grows more lovely the closer you get to him. Period.

2-worth-in-getting-man's-attention

2) Don’t place your worth in how you can (or cannot) gain a man’s attention.

Oh my daughter, I spent so many years chasing this… only to find that the true void I was trying to fill was never going to be filled by a romantic relationship.

You will turn the heads of boys. I have no doubt about it. With your easy smile and your daddy’s sky blue eyes, you will get many looks (sometimes even when you won’t want them). 

But don’t fall into the trap of needing to have a man’s attention in order to feel beautiful. Your outward beauty (and your ability to turn heads) will fade, especially as your body changes after kids. You can’t let anyone’s approval or disapproval of your physical attributes determine your worth.

You are more than just an object to be desired. You are precious and loved regardless, and your worth has nothing to do with how little or how much attention you get from guys.

That’s why I encourage you to dress yourself in a way that honors your body as a gift from God, not as an object to be consumed. There’s lots of grey areas here, but when in doubt, err on the side of modesty.

follow-God-Fearlessly

3) Use your fearless spirit to follow God without hesitation.

Earlier this week you told me (in your matter-of-fact way) that you were going to be a missionary. This didn’t surprise me since you’ve already been on a few missions trips, and you have an intimacy with God unlike that of many other kids your age.

And let me say this: If anyone has the gumption and passion it takes to proclaim the Gospel to every nation, it’s you, my darling daughter! I love your fiery passion for God!

But whether full-time missions work ends up being part of your adult future or not, I want to encourage you to follow God in whatever you do. We are called to share God’s love in whatever job title we’re given.

There are no right or wrong answers! Your daddy and I are here to help you discover what talents you’ve been given and to guide you toward your beautiful future.  Whatever God calls you to do, never be afraid to follow him.

emotions-OK

4) Emotions are OK. They are part of being human.

With all that gumption comes lots of (sometimes unbridled) emotion. I have that same passionate, driven heart as you, and I get what you’re feeling. I want you to know that I’m always here to listen and to help you understand where those emotions are coming from.

But I also want you to know that it’s not OK to let our emotions fly unchecked, and that we must continually bring our feelings before God for help in sorting them out.

He is the creator of emotion and He put that fire in your heart! Learn to listen to his voice in the moment, so that you can learn how to best handle those emotions in a healthy way.

choose-humility-always

5) Choose humility. Always.

Serving others and wanting to help seems to come naturally to you, and it is beautiful to see you use this gift.

While humility is a character trait that every person should strive for, God’s word specifically tells women to do good (Titus 2:5).  There are times when you must just let things go and give people space to be imperfect (Ephesians 4:2-4).

Look for ways to serve others, and be quick to help in whatever way is needed.

Regardless of your right to be angry, do your best to not return evil when you are mistreated (Romans 12:17) and instead exercise humility and gentleness.

In these simple ways, you will be changing the world–one moment at a time!

develop-real-relationships

6) Develop authentic, real relationships.

One of the greatest blessings I’ve been given in this life is the women I’ve encountered. But in order to know these women, I’ve had to take off the mask and learn how to be real. 

As a result, in every season of my life, God has always been so good to surround me with a myriad of women who each, in their own imperfect way, taught me about the woman I want to be.

These have been young women and old women. Some of them I’ve known for years, and others I only knew for a season. Regardless, as I look at the big picture of the woman I am today, I see tiny facets of each of these women reflecting back at me.

God arranged for my path to cross with each of these ladies. But, my daughter, I had to choose to invest time in deep, honest relationship with them. Sometimes I had to boldly pursue friendship, especially when I was in a brand new social situation.

And that’s my hope for you, my dear one. I pray that you would not be too busy or too afraid to open yourself up to authentic relationship with women who also want to live their lives intentionally for God.

the-only-constant-is-God-himself

7) Remember that the only constant is God Himself.

You will have good seasons and bad ones. You’ll have times when you are on top of the world; and other times you wonder if you’ll ever get out of this slump.

People–even the closest people in your life who love you profusely–will disappoint you sometimes and hurt your feelings.

Money will come and go. You may live in poverty at times or even possess extreme wealth.

There really is no guarantee in life. Everything you count as “constant” can all change in the blink of an eye.

Except for one thing: God’s love.

Let His love be your foundation. Let His words be your standard of right or wrong, regardless of what the world says. Let Him carry you and comfort you when you’re too weak to keep on fighting.

God’s love is real, never-changing and unconditional. Let His love fill your heart and be the overflow for how you can love others.

My daughter, I will always be here to listen and I will do my imperfect best to model all that I’ve shared here.

There’s so much I want to protect you from, and yet, I must hold you loosely. I can guide you and set an example, but ultimately, you are in the driver’s seat. And the older you get, the more I must slowly turn the steering wheel of your life over to you.

You can determine the type of woman you want to be! I pray that you will take small steps–even today!–toward that woman you dream of being. Don’t be afraid of falling down or messing up. Just keep moving forward.

I also pray that God will continue to give us a wonderful closeness and special bond so that we can continue to grow together. There’s so much I learn from you too!

You are my small-but-mighty girl, and I always will be in your corner cheering for you! 

I’m so blessed to know you through every stage of your life!

Love,

mom

Other Posts About Parenting and Raising Kids:

4 Ways to Build a Strong Relationship with Your Tween

It takes work and lots of intentional bonding with our kids through these sometimes challenging years to maintain a strong relationship with a tween or teen. There's no perfect formula, but what if there were mindsets we could adopt as parents that would allow us to maintain strong relationships with our kids as they change and discover who they are? Here are four important principles I've learned about bonding with my kids.

Why It’s OK to Not Have the Perfect Parent-Child Relationship

We love our kids so much! And in our efforts to show them the best life possible, we often feel an immense pressure to hold tight to our kids and to create the perfect parent child relationship. And yet... that struggle to keep the parent child bonds strong can bring so much angst and sometimes even heartbreak. When do we let go? When do we hold on tighter? There aren't simple answers to these questions about how to guide our kids toward adulthood. Today I'm sharing my own struggles to maintain the perfect relationship with my son, and what it's taught me about expectation, love and bonding. Moms, I want to free you to discover a beautifully imperfect relationship with your kids--one that doesn't have to be perfect to be good.

If this post was helpful, please pin it and share it with others on social media!

While every girl is different (and the journey is different for each one), we must let our daughters know what it really means to be a healthy, whole woman. This is far from easy, especially since many of us are works in progress ourselves, right?! But isn't that true about all aspects of parenting--we must guide our kids as we are learning ourselves about life? As I grow in my own discovery of what it means to be an 21st Century Christian woman, here's what I want to tell my daughter. Would you agree with this list? What would you add?

What-I-Want-to-Teach-My-Daughter.--VH--WEB

 

 

How do you cope with overwhelm and stress--especially when in survival mode? This homeschool mom shares 10 things she and her kids are learning right now to live in the moment and keep joy alive during overwhelming life seasons.

10 Ways to Teach Yourself to Live in the Moment (and 8 x 10 Printable Quotes)

How can we enjoy life–and truly live in the moment–when we’re in a survival-mode season?

As I’ve noticed the stress and anxiety levels rising, this is the question I’ve been asking God:

How can we still thrive even when we’re forced to run a million different directions?

And let me tell you… I can’t want to share what I’ve been discovering!

I even have a free gift to remind you of these truths: (4) 8 x 10 Printable Quotes!

How can we enjoy life--and truly live in the moment--when we're in a survival-mode season? Learn how to stop obsessing; How to find peace in the chaos; plus new habits that bring happiness and light into crazy-busy moments. And get (4) FREE 8 x 10 Printable Quotes for your home!

 We’re going to talk about:

  • How to stop obsessing over things
  • How to find peace in the chaos
  • New habits that bring happiness and light into crazy-busy moments

“Living in the moment” is more than a buzzword or trendy phrase.

It is possible to treasure the moment, and to thrive in these survival mode seasons!

I want to give you the 10 things that are changing me–quite literally–during this hectic season.

Plus I want to give you the free 8 x 10 printables!

But first, an important explanation…

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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!

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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!

Not sure how to help kids memorize Bible verses? This post has 3 easy (and powerful!) ways for scripture memorization. These 3 keys make memorizing scripture easy and do-able! You've got to check it out!

3 Keys to Easy Scripture Memorization for Kids

I have happy memories of Scripture memorization as a child.

Most of the verses I learned at home, one line at a time, day after day. By the time I turned double-digits I had dozens of verses tucked in my heart.

They shaped my life. And they still speak.

So when I became a mom, I was determined to give my little ones the same gift – and raise a well-versed family.

But it didn’t take long before my good intentions were derailed. Enticing distractions and hectic schedules were stubborn obstacles.

Arr. I needed a fresh approach.

And that’s when I discovered 3 keys to easy Scripture memorization. And they work!

Not sure how to help kids memorize Bible verses? This post has 3 easy (and powerful!) ways for scripture memorization. These 3 keys make memorizing scripture easy and do-able! You've got to check it out!

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This guest post by Caroline Boykin of WellVersedLiving.com is Part 1 of 2 in a series on helping kids effectively memorize scripture. You can read Part 2 (“21 Ways to Memorize Bible Verses with Music, Games and Art”) here.

Key 1: Learn it.

Long-term memory doesn’t happen overnight.

Neither does long-term scripture memorization. It takes repetition and review – going over and over a verse across time until it’s locked in our memory.

For example, saying a verse twenty times in one day is not as helpful as saying it twice a day for ten days.

My suggestion is:

Twice daily said,
Over a ten-day spread –
Will embed in your head.
(my apologies for the painful rhyme)

Scripture Learning Ideas:

  • Take turns reciting the verse using entertaining accents, like a deep southern drawl or Shakespearean stage voice.
  • Sing the verse to an operatic style, rap beat, or familiar tune.
  • Display the passage where your family can see it daily.
  • Place a verse card beside your child’s bed for cozy nighttime review.
  • Keep a verse card in the car for when you are out and about.

Key 2: Link it.

Associating and connecting a verse to something else – a picture, activity, motion, or melody – enhances our ability to recall. This also makes for easy scripture memorization.

Bible memory links are especially important for young children. Good links connect their concrete thinking to abstract spiritual concepts. It gives them a “hook” to hang the words on.

Scripture Linking Ideas:

  • The butterfly is a helpful illustration of our new life in Christ. “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Purchase a butterfly kit. Tape a verse card to the outside. Then watch as the caterpillars transform into new Masterpieces.
  • A flashlight is a handy learning link for Psalm 119:105, “Your word in a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Give your child his own flashlight and write the verse on the handle.
  • A wilted Mother’s Day bouquet is an visual {and smelly} learning link for Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Write the verse on an index card and tape it to the vase.

Scripture memory links are everywhere: in the sky, at the park, around home. It’s simply a matter of seeing them and seizing them!

Key 3: Live it.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “I have a horror of words that are not translated into deeds, of speech that does not result in action.”

Application moves the Word from our heads to our hearts. Brainstorm how your family can live a verse – and then do it. Put feet to your faith, and motion to your scripture memorization.

Ideas on How to Live Scripture:

  • Pray for someone who has wronged you and ask God to bless him.
  • Send a card or make a call to encourage a military or missionary family.
  • Bring dinner and a bag of groceries to an elderly widow and keep her company for a while.
  • Some verses are lived by believing they are true. After all, “the righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).

3 Keys: Learn, Link and Live Scripture

In his book Faith Training, youth expert Joe White says: “Scripture memory is the single-most-effective life-shaping tool in a parent’s toolbox!”

I couldn’t agree more!

So learn, link, and live God’s Word…with a smile. These three simple steps make for easy spiritual memorization.

Think spiritual Happy Meal for your child’s soul (not castor oil). And your child (and you) will soak it up like a sponge. I promise.

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These tips are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to helping kids grow in their faith and live out the truths of Scripture.

Caroline’s book, The Well-Versed Family: Raising Kids of Faith through Scripture Memory, is full of great tips like these to encourage kids to memorize Bible verses and to put their faith in action!

You’ll love her easy, conversational style and all the great ideas hidden in this gem-of-a-book!

Get your copy today here!

Life is hard, and we all struggle with joy from time to time. Here are 18 Bible verses about joy that will fill your soul in new and wonderful ways! Discover how it is possible to have lasting joy in any circumstance!

18 Bible Verses About Joy

On those days when mothering or homeschooling is especially hard, I find myself asking (alright, begging!) God to show me a sliver of joy.

And when I can take a few moments to think through some Bible verses about joy, I feel God’s presence encouraging me, telling me yes, you can keep going… yes, things will be alright.

It’s not that my life suddenly becomes perfect, but a beautiful undercurrent of peace and trust begins to flow. This simple trust leads to a deep abiding joy that cannot be shaken.

Friend, I want to share with you 18 of my favorite bible verses on joy so that you can discover this unshakeable biblical joy too.

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How Biblical Joy Brings the Right Perspective

First things first: joy isn’t the same thing as happiness. And that truth is present in each of the Bible scriptures on joy mentioned below.

As we study each of the Bible stories in these verses, we discover that biblical joy has nothing to do with the state of our circumstances, but instead with our choice in how we want to view the situation.

As you and I move through our (very imperfect) lives today, let’s ask ourselves these three questions in order to discover that unshakeable joy of God:

1) What new perspective does he want me to take on the situation? 

2) How does He want to encourage me to grow in new areas through what I’m experiencing? 

3) How can this situation be used (either right now or in the future) as an encouragement to others (2 Corinthians 1)?

When I challenge myself with these questions (and am reminded again of the deep, truly bottomless love of God), my soul settles a little further into the unexplainable mystery of God’s rich love, peace and joy.

Let’s Experience Deeper Joy Together

Before we get to the scriptures, I want to invite you to experience deeper joy and spiritual renewal this Spring… in only a few minutes a day with an awesome new Bible study, devotional and journal!

Check out the exciting Christ-Centered Easter Women’s Resources!

Sometimes it seems downright impossible to get any time to grow spiritually and find joy. But I designed these resources for busy moms like you and me.

 

 

By spending only 5 to 10 minutes a day with God, you’ll get back the joy you crave and rediscover true hope! Really!

P.S. These women’s resources really are about discover spiritual renewal, hope and joy. So really, they can be used year-round (not just at Easter!)

 

If you’re ready for authentic joy that comes from simple, quiet moments with Godmoments you and I desperately need—then this the perfect resource for you!

Best of all, if you purchase these resources before March 21, you get a free bonus–access to a Private Facebook Group where I’ll be going through the study LIVE with women from all over the world!

Please join us! We’d love to have you.

 

 

18 Scripture Verses on Joy in the Bible

Joy is found where God is:

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” Psalm 1:1-3

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

“Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling.” 1 Chronicles 16:27

Joy is found when we follow God’s truth:

“The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.” Psalm 19:8

“Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.” Psalm 119:1-3

“Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans. If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life. Psalm 119:91-93

“Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful.” Proverbs 16:20

Joy results when we trust God and lean on Him for strength:

“The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Psalm 28:7

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

“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.” Psalm 126:5

(Personification of Wisdom speaking) “And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 8:32-35

Joy is a valuable gift of God: 

“You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.” Psalm 4:7

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Joy can change our difficult circumstances into blessed ones:

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles 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

“Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:10

“Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-3

“We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father.” Colossians 1:9-12

“And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Discovering the Joy of God iAs homeschoolers, we all struggle with joy from time to time. Here are 18 bible verses about joy that will fill your soul in new and wonderful ways!n Any Situation

I am so grateful that God has left us with encouraging words–His words–about the lasting joy. I cling to these scriptural truths when I am need of soul replenishment.They remind me that my situation has less to do with what’s happening, than with what He can do through it.

They also remind me that staying absolutely close to Him during this time–through confession, pouring my heart to Him and filling my mind with his promises–are critical aspects to a joy-filled life.

Call upon His name today, and let these bible verses about joy fill your soul in new and wonderful ways!

Additional Posts on Finding Lasting Joy:

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

8 Ways to Stay Emotionally Replenished in Every Mothering Season

Discovering Joy Through Trials: 3 Must-Have Mindsets

 

And don’t forget to check out the awesome Women’s Bible Study I mentioned before!

Even though it’s Easter-themed, this is a women’s study you can do anytime you want refreshment and true joy!

 

 

chronic illness marriage

When Chronic Illness Invades Your Marriage

Today I will walk into the ICU at our local hospital and visit my hero, my beloved husband. For the third day in a row, I will hold his hand, offer a smile and maybe give a shoulder massage–something to comfort him during this health scare.

We are both still reeling from the diagnosis (really? how can this be happening?) and fearful of walking the road of chronic illness. 

But, as I stare into his beautiful blue eyes today, I’m wanting to tell him that I’m here for him. Always.

And as we pray quietly by his hospital bed (as we’ve done each day before I must leave him again), I’ll pray that he understands that when I said “in sickness and in health” thirteen years ago I really meant it.

With trembling knees, I’ll do my heartfelt best to tell him that we’ll walk this unknown road of long term illness together.

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**This story was originally published in July 2013. I’ve decided to re-share this post now because I want to encourage those of you who are facing chronic illness in your family.

Long Term Illness Has Disrupted Our World

I have a t-shirt that reads “My Husband, My Hero.” I wear it on days that he or I need a visual reminder that, yes, he is and always will be my champion, my best friend, my sweet confidante… the one God handpicked just for me out of every other person in the world.

I am wearing it today.

And like the other days before, the rhythmic pattern of the heart monitor, and the multitude of tubes and wires protruding from his arms and chest will remind me again that, yes, our little world has been greatly disrupted, and that things are far from normal.

An uninvited guest named life-long illness has pushed its way into the door of our lives, boldly taken up residence and rudely demanded that we adjust accordingly.  

But today’s routine will be a little different. Today he is being released from the hospital. Today we will be handed the keys to our new life.

Our New Life with Chronic Illness

Three short days ago we were given the news: along with miraculously being spared from some truly awful conditions (including coma and death), my husband was diagnosed with Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), and with Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes.

It was a shocking diagnosis, to say the least, especially since my husband is in fairly good health and we eat a (mainly) plant-based diet.

So, along with nursing him out of his critical state, the hospital staff has spent the last few days introducing us to what will now be our new normal:

  • Carb counts for everything that goes in his mouth.
  • A diet that restricts (or severely limits) certain foods.
  • Insulin injections four times a day.
  • Blood glucose level monitoring six times a day.
  • A slew of (regularly scheduled) appointments with various specialists.
  • Classes on lifestyle management.
  • A special medical identification bracelet to wear.
  • The wonderfully tasty world of glucose tabs and gels.
  • New guidelines for air travel.
  • Health signs to watch for–daily. And the list goes on and on.

Today the at-home-care process will begin. And thus, so will a new chapter in our marriage.

In Sickness and In Health

My Facebook post yesterday was simple: “…for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish; ‘till death do us part.”

My heart still chokes just reading those words, knowing how heartfelt they were.

I didn’t expound on the “whys” I’d posted the traditional marriage vows. Those who were closest to us and knew our situation understood the reasons behind the post, and simply posted comments like “praying for you guys.”

This whole experience has highlighted for me two distinct ways couples approach their marriage relationship.

One way is to think of marriage as being glorified housemates: you share your thoughts and feelings together (and decide together how to run the home) but there still is a sense of independence… a feeling of “this is mine, and that is yours” so that when hard times come, that separation between “yours” and “mine” becomes more distinct. It’s as if the two of you say you will work together as a team through it, but in reality, you approach it as if it’s still “your issue” or “my issue.”

In contrast, another way to approach marriage is to fully embrace the other’s issues, truly considering that their “issues” are truly your issues to tackle. For example, there is no such thing as “his medical condition”; it becomes “both of your medical condition” because you are handling it together.

To me this is far more natural and God’s true intention for marriage. What good is marriage, unless you have truly agreed to embrace each other’s scars and ugliness as if they were your own, and have determined to work together as one mind to fully help one another?

Two Are Better Than One (Especially During Difficult Times)

Speaking from a practical sense, Ecclesiastes 4:9 describes this by saying, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.” Yes, we are more successful when we tackle a difficult road like chronic illness together.

chronic illness marriage

A few verses later, Ecc 4:12 states, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” This verse too makes me grateful for the marriage bond because in those moments when we are defeated and downtrodden, God designed it so that our spouse can steady his or her shoulders and defend both of us against attack.

I also love this verse because it reminds me that we don’t have to be that “strong cord” on our own in our marriages—that the foundation of our love (and of our lives!) is not each other, but something much, much bigger and completely trustworthy and unchanging. That wonderful “third cord” is our loving Heavenly Father, and He will be the one ultimately empowering us to stay strong through the storm.

Two of us “strands”(even if we are holding on tightly to each other) might snap in the harsh winds of life. But as a strand of three—as the tiny threads wrapped together around God’s huge, thick cord of heavy rope–we are not easily broken. Hallelujah!

Do our actions show this? Do we really embrace—fully, totally and completely embrace—our spouse (and God) in this way?

How to Help A Spouse Living with Chronic Illness

One of my biggest struggles through this process has been how to help him. It is so difficult to see your beloved suffering and in both emotional and physical pain, and to feel like there’s little you can do for them.

So I have begun brainstorming practical ways that I can be involved in this burden for my sweet husband. Thankfully, I am learning that there is a lot I can do.

First and foremost, everything our family does needs to encourage a healthy lifestyle for him. My goal is to create a home environment that encourages him in this lifestyle and to not make things harder for him. So at least for a long while, my food choices and activity levels will be very similar to his. It’s the absolute least I can do to embrace “my” part of “our” disease.

Physically, I can help him with making appointments, picking up prescriptions and gathering information from other health professionals. I can help him with his food choices and have foods available to him in our home that will help his body heal. I can also research new recipes, talk to others who live with this condition, and give him the nutritional information about the food he eats.

Emotionally, I can give him a smile and a hug when he needs it. I can do my best to maintain a simple yet pleasant home environment that refuels and encourages him on those rough days. I can just be there for him if he wants to talk or process things.

Spiritually, I can daily (or hourly, if need be) lift him up to our Father and intercede on his behalf. I can pray that his wife (yep, that’s me!) will not be selfish or quick to complain. I can savor the blessings in this situation (and in our life in general) and then bHow can your #marriage weather life's biggest changes, such as #long term illness? |christian marriage | spouse illness | hard times | vibranthomeschooling.come an example of this to our children.

Wow… deep exhale. There really is so much that I can do for him. I can truly help him carry this terribly heavy burden. Just the thought of that makes my heart sing.

As I type this, I’m dedicating my own sinful heart to this new part of the calling I’ve been given as his wife.

Lord, give me the strength to do these things. Please show me even more ways I can carry my part of the burden. And may my actions all be used to point others to You.

 

Other Posts on Marriage:

The Surprising Secret to Better Sex for Christians

chronic illness marriage

 

How to Keep a Strong Marriage While Homeschooling

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Your Turn:

Do you view marriage as a “strand of three cords, not easily broken”? How have you and your spouse tackled tough issues like these? I would love to hear your stories so that we can be mutually encouraged.

 

Wow... now THIS is an important post. How can we teach kids about news and current events without telling them too much? Some great ideas and resources here. Must-read for all moms!

6 Tips for Teaching Kids About Current Events

As parents, we’re given the amazing privilege of introducing our kids to the world.

Now that’s a mighty job, especially as we read frightening news headlines everyday. How can we teach kids about news and current events (without sharing too much)?

Although we show discernment in how and when we discuss difficult matters, I firmly believe we need to be talking to our kids about current events–regularly and from a young age.

But how can this happen? Read on to discover six helpful tips (plus some awesome resources) to help us keep our kids informed about world events.

 

Wow... now THIS is an important post. How can we teach kids about news and current events without telling them too much? Some great ideas and resources here. Must-read for all moms!

I believe six elements are critical for success when sharing about current events: 

1) Provide quality, informative resources.

2) Share a little at a time from the youngest age.

3) Listen to God’s leading on how and when to share more.

4) Share the good and the bad.

5) Layer information and help kids connect the dots.

6) Encourage discussion (and stay open to ongoing questions).

Let’s look at each of those, and discover how we can personalize these methods to fit our individual families.

#1: Provide Quality Informative Resources

I have long admired WORLD Magazine for their ability to intelligently discuss current events–everything from politics to changes in culture to the latest in television and the arts.

While I’m grateful for publications like WORLD that keep me informed as an adult, I’m immeasurably blessed by WORLD’s offerings for kids and teens.

news kids current events

These three publications–God’s Big WORLD (for preschoolers), WORLDkids (for elementary-aged kids), and WORLDteen (for ages 11-14)–are incredible resources that teach kids about current events within a biblical framework.

 #2: Share a Little at a Time from the Youngest Age.

Each bi-monthly issue of God’s Big WORLD, WORLDkids and WORLDteen give relevant age-appropriate content within a Christian worldview.

They can be exposed to relevant news content that’s designed to inspire, to inform and to challenge… a little at a time.

This means that kids can start thinking outside their four walls from the earliest age.

They can learn–from the start–that there’s a big world out there and that it’s not all about me.

Now that’s an important lesson, don’t you think?

#3: Listen to God’s leading on how and when to share more.

There’s an immense tension when considering how to share with kids about current events–How much? How soon? There’s also an overarching fear: How do I preserve their innocence without keeping them in a bubble?

Only the Holy Spirit can best answer these questions, and we must trust Him to give us that insight for each child.

I appreciate that the WORLD publications have considered this in the editorial structure of their magazines. As kids get older (and move from one publication to the next) the content becomes a little less “sugar-coated” and kids are slowly introduced to more hard-hitting topics. Should parents want to explore the topic further with their kids, each issue of WORLDkids and WORLDteen has additional digital content.

On WORLDteen online, teen readers can even comment on article topics and share their insights with other teens (all within a safe, closed network).

And speaking of safety, all digital content on the sites are self-contained, meaning that kids can interact with all the content without leaving the page to go to another site, such as YouTube. This was huge for me since internet safety is a big deal in our home.

And of course, parents can choose which magazine is the best fit for their child’s unique emotional, intellectual and social level–regardless of the magazine’s target age. For example, I knew immediately that my overly mature 11-year-old son would relate much more to the content in WORLDteen instead of WORLDkids (made for kids ages 11-14), even though the same would not have been true of my 13-year-old son when he was eleven.

#4: Share the good and the bad.

What are some amazing new inventions that are changing our world? What wonderful stories of sacrifice and beauty are going on right under our noses? And what new facts about God’s amazing creation are being discovered daily?

Good news is happening and it can be inspirational!

In fact, just today at lunch, my eleven-year-old was telling our family about the amazing article he’d read earlier in the November/December issue of WORLDteen called “Hands for Zion.” This amazing story tells of eight-year-old Zion Harvey, a hand and foot amputee, who recently underwent a hand transplant surgery! Not only does the two-page spread tell the backstory of how Zion lost his hands, feet and kidneys, it gives an illustrated account of how doctors performed this remarkable procedure.

news kids current events

It doesn’t mean that the kid-focused WORLD publications don’t talk about hard news (natural disasters, war, and politics, for example) but they are careful to soften these stories a bit (depending on the age group and the sensitivity of the topic) as compared to what would normally be in the adult publication.

#5: Layer information and help kids connect the dots.

This is where I think the WORLD publications really shine because, month after month, kids are exposed to high quality reporting about interesting, timely information in ways they find engaging.

news kids current events

 

That interaction starts from a preschool age with God’s Big WORLD. Published bi-monthly, God’s Big WORLD is divided into eight individual magazines (each one with short stories, along with a handful of puzzles and games) that make learning fun and informative. Like the rest of the WORLD publications, scripture is woven throughout so that kids can see how God’s truth applies to each topic.

news kids current events

Next, WORLDkids applies some real-world context to the topics presented in God’s Big WORLD. Kids are beginning to ask “why” and “how” at this age, and WORLDkids presents a slightly deeper look at current events. For example, the headline on the November/December 2015 cover is “Waves of Refugees and Migrants Keep Arriving.” The magazine also is formatted to look like a traditional news magazine with a table of contents, news shorts and longer featured articles. Colorful images and drawings (and a few quizzes and puzzles or games) are woven throughout.

news kids current events

WORLDteen takes learning about these current events one step further. For example, the European migrant crisis is headlined in the Table of Contents as “Refugees, Migrants, Hard Choices.” Interesting discoveries (“The Machines Have Ears”) and fascinating articles about the natural world (“Catering to Wild Cats”) fill the pages of this bi-monthly publication. And as mentioned before, teens can go online to learn more in-depth about each topic and sound off with their peers.

#6: Encourage discussion (and stay open to ongoing questions).

News is continually happening and our world is always in a state of change. The beauty of experiencing news together through these age-targeted news publications is that families can discuss world events as a group.

We can share news stories, relate them to our own lives, and challenge each other to consider what God’s word says about the situation.

And just like that, news goes from being something “someone else” is experiencing to being a personal invitation to ask God, “How can I play a role in your plan for this situation?”

Whether that answer is prayer, finances or front-line involvement, this is how we can teach our kids that yes, current events matter and that our lives can have an impact on those events.

Little by little, this is how we raise the world-changers our culture desperately needs!

Special Savings on WORLD for Your Vibrant Family Readers

WORLD product subscriptions can be purchased individually or are discounted when purchased in combination together as a family membership.

Plus, WORLD has graciously shared two exclusive deals for Your Vibrant Family readers!

YVF readers can take 15% off any kids-focused WORLD publication by clicking here (no code necessary!).

You can also receive a 3 month (6 issues) free trial to WORLD magazine here.

If you’re interested in raising kids who are culturally savvy, I highly encourage that you learn more about these awesome publications!

FTC Disclosure: I received products from WORLD News Group and was compensated for my time. However, all opinions stated here are 100 percent mine, and I was not required to post a positive review. 

Don’t miss these other posts from the Raising World Changers series:

Ownership: The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Child

Encourage Your Kids to Be Praying Kids

The Hows and Whys of Talking to Kids About Sex

38 Bible Verses to Teach Kids Wisdom

9 Tips for Raising Kids Who Change the World

The Hows and Whys of Teaching Kids Commitment

 

Your Turn:

How do you share with your kids about current events? Are you afraid of sharing too much too soon? If you have had some of these deeper discussions, how did they turn out? Share about it in the comments!