Month: April 2018

Are you sharing gossip more than the Gospel?

Are you sharing gossip more than the Gospel?

Our words. They can build someone up or tear someone down in the same moment.  Our words are so powerful that we can hear what someone else *might* have said to someone else *possibly* about us, and our entire emotional state can go from one end of the spectrum to the other.

 

As moms, our words have the power to encourage our children and affirm who they are in Christ… or our words can break them down little by little until they begin to question their worth and our love for them.  As wives, our words can speak love, support and respect into our husbands… or our words can belittle them into thinking they’re bumbling fools.

 

I read a study once that concluded that women tend to bond over negativity.  Two women meet and are engaged in small talk.  The conversation isn’t going well and it’s hard to really catch a topic… until they discover a common dislike.  Then, they can go on for hours discovering all the hate they have in common.  Confession time… I can think of more than one friendship of mine that started this very way.

 

My current Bible study, Discerning the Voice of God, asked us to name a few areas or behaviors that we would have never thought twice about before deciding to follow Jesus.  There were a few things on my list, but gossip was one of them.  I not only didn’t give it a second thought, I craved it.  I wanted to know how messed up everyone else was.  I wanted to know that “at least I don’t have that problem.”  And I wanted to be the one to heard the latest *news* first.

Are you sharing gossip more than the Gospel? This 30-day Scripture writing plan will help point your heart (and your words) back to God.

You know, it’s no wonder that many of my friendships during that season didn’t last.

 

But God.  He’s a God of forgiveness.  A God of heart-change.  A God of relationship.

Mark 16:15 tells us to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.”   So friends, I ask you. are your words spreading gossip… or the gospel?

I’m a big believer in memorizing Scripture.  I believe that when we fill our minds with the Word of God, the lies of the enemy have no room to creep in.  When God’s Word is so firmly written on our hearts, those are the words we turn to in the heat of a moment.

 

Over the next 30 days, I’m writing through the Word.  I’ve selected 30 verses, and I’m praying the Spirit will work in me and sanctify my words, thoughts and actions.  I pray He will renew my mind and that my words will spread only encouragement, Truth, and Love.  I pray that I will flee from spreading the latest “news” and that I will spread only His Good News.

Are you sharing gossip more than the Gospel? This 30-day Scripture writing plan will help point your heart (and your words) back to God.

 

Join us on Instagram as we write the Word!  Let’s encourage each other as God works to refine each of us in this journey!

 


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Scripture Sunday ~ Ephesians 4:1-6

Scripture Sunday ~ Ephesians 4:1-6

Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.  There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope at your calling – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all in all.  

Ephesians 4:1-6

 

As a mom, I like to watch my children sleep.  I  know I’m not the only one.  There’s something about watching your sweet babies at their most peaceful state.  I have a three-year-old and a nine-year-old.  We have a bedtime routine that involves reading aloud stories (picture books for the younger one, a novel for the older one), a Bible story or devotional, and a prayer.  We tuck them tightly into bed and turn off the lights.  My husband and I then have a couple hours to do the things that need to be done to prepare for the next day.  On an ideal night, we’d have some time to connect at the end of a busy day… to talk through the events and conversations that occurred.  I love the nights that I get to curl up with a good book, and I know he loves to relax with a movie or the news.  Usually, it involves prepping lunches or putting away laundry… tidying up backpacks and books that have been strewn about.

 

But I digress.  At the end of the night, the boys are sleeping peacefully.  My husband and I have had a few moments to talk.  The house is tidy and prepared for the next day.  It’s time for me to to go put myself to bed.  Each night, I peek into the boys’ rooms on my way to bed.  I pull up their blankets and gently kiss them on their foreheads.  And as I do, I watch.  Their eyes closed, their breathing steady.  Sleeping peacefully without a worry for the next day.  And then I begin to wonder…. what will their lives be like in the future?  What will they do?  Who will they become?  How will they impact the world for the Kingdom of God?

 

These children… they can be anything!  God has a plan and a purpose for each of them that I can’t even begin to imagine.  Each night I pray that I will help them discover the gifts that God has given them.  I pray that they will have servants’ hearts and be warriors for Christ.  I pray that God will use them in big and mighty ways.

 

This weekend is baptism weekend at our church.  This is one of my favorite weekends.  I’ve recently had the privilege of leading the baptism class for the elementary kiddos.  It’s such a joy to see these kids go from having seeds planted in small group conversations in our children’s programs, to having those conversations with their parents during the class, and then taking that next right step and being immersed into the water and coming back out as a new creation.  When it’s a parent and child taking that step together… y’all, I lose it.  It is simply beautiful.

 

These children are no longer just our kids. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

One of the things we talk about in that baptism class is the idea that these children, as they take this step, they are no longer just these parents’ children.  They are becoming their brothers and sisters in Christ.  Isn’t that amazing?!  Our first ministry is at home.  As we pour into our children, we are planting seeds, helping them discover their gifts, and walking alongside them as they seek after Him to fulfill their calling.  They are not “just kids.”  They are mighty warriors for His Kingdom.  They are the hands and feet of Jesus.  They have a purpose and a calling chosen specifically for them.  They are the sons and daughters of the King… just like you.  They are your brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

Y’all, this parenting thing is hard.  It’s a constant exercise in patience, in juggling the busyness of life, in humility and forgiveness.  And there is nothing more humbling than sitting next to your child, looking them in the eye, and admitting you were wrong and asking forgiveness.  But it’s through that humility that we begin to understand that we can’t do this parenting thing alone.  I know that I need Jesus walking with me every step of the way.  I need the Spirit leading me in every moment.  I’m constantly praying that the Spirit will take over and use my words to say what He wants my children to hear.  They are His children first.  I am just the instrument He uses here on Earth to shepherd them and lead them toward Him.

 

They are not just our children.  They are sons and daughters of the King.  They are our brothers and sisters in Christ.  I pray we serve Him well by leading them well.

 

 

 


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When God Calls You to Wait

When God Calls You to Wait

Waiting.  It’s hard.  We live in a culture that is so completely full of instant gratification. If we find that we have to wait for something, we can’t stand the thought of not having something to do while we wait.  While we’re waiting in line, we’re grabbing our phones to scroll through Facebook.  While we’re waiting for the doctor, we’re reading a magazine.  While we’re in a season of waiting, we’re busy trying to control the circumstances.  I’m stuck in this place right now.  Anyone else?  
 
Right now, God has called me to wait.  And goodness gracious I have fought Him on it.  Fought hard.  As women, we often feel a need to be in control over every situation and every detail.  My husband has lovingly told me that I can be “less than patient” at times.  Of course I told him that he was absolutely wrong and that I was excellent at being patient.  I have all the patience in the world because I know that God’s in control and that He’ll reveal everything when the time was right and I will be overflowing with joy at His perfect timing.  I’m obviously very patient and I can definitely wait on God because He knows details that I couldn’t even begin to plan for.  I know I’m patient because that’s what I pray for when I’m feeling stressed about my kids and the Spirit works in me to help me treat them with
kindness when the moments get tense.  Of course I’m patient and excellent at waiting and my husband is 100% wrong…. right?
What about when I find myself having panic attacks for the first time in my life?  What about the fact that I can’t sleep because I’m so overcome with anxiety about not knowing what’s next?  What about my kids who see me crying every day because I’m so stressed that I can’t handle my emotions?  What about the number of times I say, “I’m fine” even though I know that I’m a wreck inside?  What about the physical pain because my body is so tense?  What about the fact that my thoughts are so completely consumed by the things I want that I’m missing what God wants? 
 
Friends, here’s my confession.  I have had no less than 20 tabs open on my computer at all times trying to plan every detail of this next season of life.  Of course, I easily justified it by saying that I was just trying to come up with a “back-up plan” in case God’s timing didn’t match mine.  It didn’t matter that I knew God was telling me to wait.  It didn’t matter that I knew He was telling me to relinquish control and trust Him.  It didn’t matter that I wasn’t honoring my husband when he was asking me to just wait a few more months.  It didn’t matter that none of my “plans” were working.  I was just trying to come up with a back-up plan… right?
Ladies, I was wrong. God was asking me to wait.  Not… wait, but control made-up details in the waiting season.  Not… wait, but worry about the timing.  Not… wait, but stop functioning in the day-to-day.  He said wait and trust Him completely.  He said wait and stop worrying.  I have been so anxious about making a back-up plan to fit what I want, that I have missed the sweet intimacy with Christ that comes from complete obedience to what He wants.
I recently came across an Instagram post about viewing waiting as an act of obedience.  It was as if it had been written directly to me.  I have been doing the exact opposite of waiting in obedience.  I was acting along of the lines of a child who is trying their hardest to get away with something while pretending to be obedient… doing “just enough” to technically obey, but not really obeying in my heart. 
 
God has called to me to wait.  And while I’m waiting, I must trust Him.  If I shift my thinking and view waiting as
obedience, I am turning away from the idea that I have to be in control.  This is a true season of refinement and learning what it means to completely surrender.  To actively wait in obedience, I have to recognize when my anxiety and worry about the situation is taking over.  I have to recognize when the enemy’s lies are creeping in.  I have to understand that my emotions don’t tell the truth.  To actively wait in obedience, I must trust that His best for me may not look like what I think it will.  I must listen to His command to not worry.  I must then actually stop worrying.  In those moments of worry, I must turn it over to Him… to draw near to Christ as I place my complete trust in Him as my Lord. 
 
I’ve been missing those moments of intimacy with Him because I was so consumed with my selfish wants.  And I have so needed those moments!  Isn’t it just like Him to know exactly what we need in every season?  Isn’t it just like Him to tell us exactly how to abide in Him while we wait?  And isn’t it just like us to become stubborn little children who fight every step of the way?  
 
To actively wait in obedience, I will draw near to Christ in this season.  I will stop worrying.  His plan may not match mine, but I know His will be better.  I know that He is preparing me for what He has already prepared for me.  These are the verses I’m praying during this season of waiting.  I pray they are an encouragement to you as well (all emphasis added).
Ruth 3:18 ~ Naomi said, “My daughter, wait until you find out how things go, for he won’t rest until he resolves this today”
Habakkuk 2:3 ~ For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and it will not lie.  Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late.
Psalm 27:14 ~ Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord.
Isaiah 60:22 ~ The least will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am Yahweh; I will accomplish it quickly in its time.
Psalm 62:5 ~ Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him.
Galatians 6:9 ~ So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.
Isaiah 40:31 ~ But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.
Psalm 37:7 ~ Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way, by the man who carries out evil plans.
Philippians 4:6-7 ~ Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 5:6-7 ~ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because he cares about you.
Has God called you to a season of waiting? Here are 10 verses to encourage you as you draw near to Christ during this uncomfortable season.

 

I’m praying for you this week, my friend.  If you are in a season of waiting right now, I pray that you will find peace in the season, and that it may be full of sweet moments with Jesus as He refines you and prepares you for what He has in store!


Menu Plan Monday ~ 4/16/18

Hey, hey friends!  So today I am bringing you one of my favorite ways to serve my family … food!  I LOVE planning menus, grocery shopping, and preparing meals each night.  I firmly believe that family time spent around a dinner table is some of the most connecting time there is.  We all have busy schedules and sometimes it’s hard to make time to spend as a whole family.

Menu Plan Monday  ~ A real menu from a real mom for real families

For our family, my husband and I decided that dinner time is non-negotiable.  That’s not to say that we don’t have nights where one person is gone, but we make an intentional effort to keep those nights as few and far between as possible.  When we are all at home, dinner together is a thing.  We all eat dinner sitting at the table together and enjoying conversation.  
It should also be noted that I am NOT a food blogger.  You will not find posts with beautiful food photography and perfectly plated dinners.  I do not create these recipes on my own.  I am a big nerd and have a process for how we work through recipes… I am not a chef.  I simply love to serve my family through intentional preparation.  My process is another blog post in and of itself, but for now, I’ll let you know that we cook through a cookbook each year, so many of my recipes come from that.  I also go back and try “in progress” recipes that we liked, but weren’t quite perfect for our family.  I also have a few tried and true favorites that I don’t remember where they came from!  
With all that said, here’s what’s on the menu this week!  I’ll try to link to the cookbook or blog where the recipes can be found!  And just an FYI, some links may be affiliate links.
Sunday
Chili-Rubbed Steak
Barbecue Onions
Scalloped Potatoes
Monday
Tuna with Asian Flavors
(The original recipe is swordfish, but we switched it to grilled tuna steaks)
Fried Rice
Stir-Fry Veggies
Tuesday
Frozen Casserole
(Tuesday is my Bible Study night with my women’s group.  The boys sometimes go grab something, but generally prefer something they can just pull from the freezer)
Wednesday
Tokyo Bowls
Thursday
Chick-Fil-A Night!
Friday
Chicken Alfredo Rollups
Green Salad
Saturday
Teriyaki Chicken
Asian Rainbow Salad
Brown Rice
(The chicken is just marinated in a teriyaki sauce, but the salad comes from Forks Over Knives Family)
So there you have it!  What’s on your menu this week?
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