Saturday, December 31, 2011

12/31/11 - Start the Year Off...

With Passion 2012!

On Monday 70,000...yes 70,000 college students will be descending upon the Georgia Dome to worship Jesus as King!

Maybe you're going!

But if you're not, you can watch the whole thing on a live stream: Passion 2012 Live Stream

Starting Monday night at 7 pm EST.

I'll be catching as much as I can (in between homeschooling, laundry, and being a mom!)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

12/17/11 - Being Real

People crave real authentic people. We live in a world where our interactions are so one-dimensional...with blogs, facebook, twitter, and other social outlets. We often only allow people to see the side of us that we want them to see.

We often don't share the pain, the yuck, the junk, or the sad things in our life. I am not advocating that we use these social outlets as a chance to bear our souls for shock value or to just to vent.

But those people in our real life, are they seeing us for who we really are? Are we wearing masks to keep up the pretense that all is well?

You know, no one has it all together! No one has a perfect marriage, perfect life, perfect parents, perfect body, perfect anything! We live in an imperfect world. We're sinners...all of us!

I appreciate friendships where there is no "playing", no pretending, but authentic fellowship for the glory of God. May God allow all His people to be in community with others where there's no masks or pretending!

Monday, December 12, 2011

12/12/11 - What comes out...

When someone bumps into your selfishness, what comes spilling out?

Jesus? Grace? Patience?

Or Anger? Frustration? Critical words?

We live in a culture that is always looking to blame someone else. (let's face it, Adam blamed God and Eve way back in the very beginning!) No one wants to take personal responsibility for their our actions or responses.

My five year old's classic line is, "Miles made me do it mom!"

I have always remind him that he is in charge of his emotions, his attitude, and his response.

That lesson is one we all have to remember. When someone mistreats us, speaking mean to us, gossips about us, or intentionally hurts us...our response to them is still our response. We have a choice to let Jesus spill out or a sinful fleshly reaction.

I am not saying it's easy to let Jesus spill's downright impossible without the aid and help of the Holy Spirit.

Next time your looking to blame the guy for cutting you off on the road that caused you to yell and scream...think again...that anger is already in there, he just bumped into it!

Friday, December 9, 2011

12/09/11 - Stuff, Christmas, and Gifts

In the last couple of weeks there's been a deep stirring in me about Christmas.

A couple of things have happened, but it's more of the overarching theme of this year. My heart wants simplicity, wants to honor God, wants to be Christ-centered, wants to be moment by moment walking in the Spirit.

As Christmas comes I have begun to search what can I do different? I am tired of stuff! I've spent this whole year getting rid of stuff, stuff that clutters my mind, my house, my ability to live fully for Christ.

John and I try to go small at Christmas. We don't spend more than about $100 to $125 on all three boys. We normally don't exchange gifts with each other. We don't exchange gifts with cousins on one side of the family. We try to keep it all under $250 (we do buy for our parents, renters, and secret Santa exchange)

But Christmas has nothing to do with us! However in our culture we've made it all about us, with wish lists, overspending, busyness, and buying toys for our kids who already have loads of stuff.

So what does this mean? No gifts at all?

No...but refocusing our gift giving. Read this blog speaks so deeply to my heart and what I'd like to do next year: A Radical Christmas

Thursday, December 8, 2011

12/8/11 - Merry Christmas


We chose to use our church, Christ Community Church, as the back drop for our Christmas card picture, because much of our year was intertwined with our involvement at church.

In February we had the privilege of hosting a marriage conference. That stirred in us a desire to do more marriage ministry and in September we began a class for newlyweds. God has also brought about some deeper ties to the body of Christ we serve and fellowship with at Christ Community Church!

We’ve also been blessed with a trip to Disney World with John’s parents and sister and Thanksgiving in the Dells with Heather’s family. What great memories we made this year with family!

We’ve continued home educating the boys and joined a local group of homeschoolers. The boys have enjoyed making new friends who, to their surprise, also have school at their homes!

Our prayer for the year to come is that we will be more God-honoring, Christ-Centered, and Holy Spirit filled, all for His glory!

John, Heather, Miles, Luke & Clark

Monday, November 21, 2011

11/21/11 - The Power Source

Today I watched the sermon The Power Source by James McDonald and it made my heart just beat with passion!

Too many Christians are trying to walk the Christian life on their own strength. They read the commands to forgive, love, be patient, be kind, give to the poor and the list is endless...and find that it is just too plain exhausting to do in their own strength.

We're not called to "be" Christians in our own strength. We are given the Holy Spirit, the indwelling of Christ, in us, to fulfill what He wants us to do.

Many Christians are living in "flesh auto pilot", trying to work out their walk in Christ all on their own. They are plain worn out, not victorious over sin, and tired of trying to be good. Worship becomes "going through the right motions". They lack joy and see little spiritual fruit in their life.

Living in the power of the Holy Spirit gives you all you need to live a very full life, hidden in Christ Jesus. We're no longer seeing the world through the flesh, but through the Spirit. We operate at a totally different level. (Oh and this is totally opposite world to live in the Spirit...just be warned you may be looked at like a nut case!)

If you are struggling in your walk with Christ, if you wonder why it's so hard to be good all the time, if worship doesn't just excite you, or if you are just tired, please take time to listen to this message. I believe that if every Christ follower tapped into THE POWER SOURCE we'd turn the world on its head!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

11/17/11 - Unresolved Conflict

Unresolved conflict in a church family is like cancer that grows and festers. I've heard stories of people who had no idea they had cancer until it was in later stages. Then it takes some extreme measures to rid their bodies of the cancer.

Same with unresolved conflict in a church (or in a family), it spreads and does damage and from the outside the "body" might look healthy, but inside there's a foreign substance eating away at the body.

Not only does it eat at the fabric of a church body, it grieves the Holy Spirit! Many times in scripture we're commanded to not have divisions and be united. Yes, there's going to be conflicts, that's why Jesus lays out in Matthew 5 and 18 how to be a peacemakers with others. It's a command to resolve conflicts!

Are there people at your church you just avoid because you don't like them?
Are there people you haven't forgiven for something they've done or said?
Are you holding onto any grudges because you think you need to be justified or defended to someone?
Are you gossiping or slandering people you go to church with?
Have you heard a rumor but not checked the facts, so your attitude towards someone is cast in a negative light?
Are you living at peace with all men, so much as it depends on you?
Are you willing to humble yourself and admit your wrong with a person who you don't think "deserves" your apology?

Oh may the body of Christ rid itself of cancer. Let it start with me, with us, and spread! I'll tell you there is absolute FREEDOM in dealing biblical with an unresolved conflict. Having conflict weighs down your heart and will effect everyone you worship with!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

11/16/11 - The Company You Keep

I wish that young (well and older) people realized the damage of keeping bad company! If close friends aren't challenging you to become more like Christ, chances are they will make you less like Him.

It's sad to watch a strong Christian young person head off to college, ready to take on the world, but be so blown over by the strong winds of the world.

And it starts by the company we keep. Not just the once a month encounter with friends, but those people you hang out with all the time. The longer you spend time with people the more you become like them.

What do they talk about? What excites them? Do you feel uncomfortable talking about spiritual things with them? Do they bubble over with Jesus?

It's important to ask tough questions of our friendships and be the type of friend that pulls people to become more like Christ!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

11/15/11 - Brokenness Is the First Step in Revival

Are you spiritually dry? Going through the motions, but having no joy and feeling like you're just spinning your spiritual wheels?

In the last three years God has begun to show me the importance of walking in brokenness. To walk in brokenness, you have to let God break you. You have to allow Him to show you your sin, you have to be willing to see it for what it is: sin.

Sin breaks the fellowship, that intimate, sweet fellowship with our Lord. So many of us have become callous to this sin that our hearts are hard. We have a hard time seeing our sin for what it is. We have fancy names for our sin to avoid really seeing them as sin.

True brokenness will lead to revival in your spirit. Once you live with the "roof off with God and walls down with others" you will find a freedom in Christ that is sweet.

If you don't know where to start, can I recommend: Seeking Him bible study. This will lay out a fresh look at revival and why you need it to feel the fresh wind of God's Spirit in your life.

Monday, November 14, 2011

11/14/11 - Becoming The Person God Wants Me To Be

Over the past couple of months my heart has been stirring with many thoughts. I think about coming to blog, to write it out, but the words fail me and the Holy Spirit stops me.

God is refining me. I am not the same person I was a month ago, a year ago or even 3 years ago. When I think about who I was even three years ago I shutter. His sanctification process has been so intense, but exciting. Learning to be like Christ is an endless frontier

He's showing me even more the importance of 1) Being Christ-centered in every action of every day. 2) Living out biblical womanhood in my life and 3) Being focused on the ministry He's called me to (being a wife/mom and starting a marriage ministry with my husband)

This has allowed me to have a single, pin point, focus in a way I've never experienced before. Again hard to put into words, but in this book I am reading (Entrusted with the Heart of a Child) she talks about how God gives us a puzzle when we're saved and as we go about the process of sanctification the puzzle takes shape and we start to see the bigger picture of what God has called for us to do.

In the last year I've seen this puzzle take shape even more and it's exciting.

My faith is strong because of the good things He has done. I look forward to what the next few months and years will bring.

Monday, October 17, 2011

10/17/11 - No More Game Playing

Are you playing games with your faith, with God, with your walk?

It's not time to play games.

Either you're full on or your off! Get off the fence.

Throw sin far from you! Repent, turn, get your heart pure, clear your conscience with others, and make a change.

Maybe you feel like you don't know where to start, maybe you want to get back in the game fully, then let me suggest two of James MacDonald's messages on repentance. Part 1 was last week, part 2 was this week's message. Take it serious, God needs us to be full on!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

10/05/11 - God Answered...

Job 38:1 The the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind....

Is your life in a whirlwind. Do you wonder where God is?

Listen, He'll answer even in the storms!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10/04/11 - Emotionally Healthy Church

I've recently finished a book: The Emotionally Healthy Church. This book is a must read if you are wanting to work in ministry or work with people at all (so yeah pretty much for anyone).

This book is written for pastors and church leaders, but is a valuable resources for YOU!

I don't recall putting a hold on the library for this, but one night my husband brought it home for me. I started reading and couldn't put it down.

It answered a lot of questions and confirmed a lot of my beliefs about emotional maturity.

The author states: If you don't grown emotionally, you can't grow spiritually. That is a power packed sentence.

After giving you a test to asses your own emotional maturity, he goes on to share 5 key areas we must seek to grow in.

  • Breaking the Power of our Past
  • Live in Brokenness and Vulnerability
  • Receive the Gift of Limits (having healthy boundaries)
  • Embracing Grief and Loss
  • Making the Incarnation your Model for Loving Well
These five power packed chapters will give you a fresh perspective for ministry, motherhood, friendship, and life!

I hope you take time to read this book, not just for the Body of Christ, but for your own heart!

Monday, October 3, 2011

10/03/11 - Authentic Christian Living

I listened to Alex and Stephen Kendrick on FamilyLife this week. They are the brothers behind the movie: Courageous. (Which we're going to see on Saturday night with two other couples) They were talking about their own dad and one of them said something that has just replayed over and over in my mind. When talking about his dad he said that he (and their mom) lived out authentic Christian living in their home.

Authentic Christian living modeled and lived out.


Often times in parenting I think about this method or that tool. I contemplate if I am training the correct way. I doubt myself or a certain way I had a situation.

But when my sons are 40 I want them to say, "My parents lived out authentic Christian living"

So what is authentic Christian living?

This topic has been on my radar for awhile, but heightened since having 6 little eyes watching everything I do.

Here are a few things to me that are authentic Christian living:

  • Living with the "roof off" with God. Being will to admit your mistakes and not hiding any sin from God.
  • Living with the "walls down" with other people. This is so huge and I think plays itself out in many forms 1) Not holding grudges with other people, being quick to forgive others. 2) Not being critical of others and how they may do things different than how you do things 3) Serving others 4) Not speaking ill of those who are your leaders/bosses/church leaders
  • Keeping a clear conscience
  • Not thinking more highly of yourself. Keeping yourself in the shadow of the cross.
  • You are the same exact person Sunday morning in Church that you are Tuesday night or Saturday night...complete consistency in who you are
  • Being aware of the Holy Spirit in every moment of your life
  • Actively pursing holiness, letting your kids know and see this authentic desire for purity in all areas of your life
  • Prayer is not just something talked about, but something DONE! In all situations and for all things!
  • The word of God is read, studied, loved, enjoyed, appreciated, and discussed in the home.
  • Being humble and broken
  • Being consistent with rules
  • Look for heart attitude, more than just change the action
  • Caring more about the inside (heart) than the, house, clothes, external appearances or behavior
  • Honoring your parents (the children's grandparents)
  • Being transparent with your kids (age appropriate)
  • Having no huge family secrets
  • Openly talking about feelings about emotionally painful or hard things
  • Obeying the law
  • Not using control or fear to get them to obey
  • Not ever treating your kids like they are a bother or that they are getting in the way of you doing what you want
  • Serving your family with a genuine love and selflessness
  • Being hardworking
  • Having complete integrity
  • Husband loving their wives
  • Wives respecting their husbands
  • Husbands being the servant leader
  • Wives joyfully submitting to that servant leadership
  • Laughing together

What would you add to this list? Or what would you take away?

Friday, September 2, 2011

09/02/11 - 1 Corinthians 12

I've been in the book of 1 Corinthians lately. Chapter 12 verse 26 has just struck me in a few different ways. In chapter 12-15 Paul is talking about spiritual gifts. He explains different gifts and the reason for our spiritual gifts.

Chapter 12 he lays out that the body of Christ, is like a body. There's "eyes", "ears"...etc. And we are not to look at someone and say, "Oh I want to be that part of the body."

But it's been verse 26 that has jumped off at me:

Verse 26 says: If one member suffers, all suffer together, if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

We live in a very "island" mentality culture. We think what we're going through isn't effecting others. We think our conflicts aren't effecting others. We think our secret sins aren't effecting anyone. We think what we're going through isn't effecting the "body".

But in this chapter, which is a discussion of our spiritual gifts and edifying the body, it says that when someone is suffering we all suffer along side them.

We're the body, we're connected, we're to bear each others burdens, and we're effected by what others are going through. How can I help the body of Christ be healthy? This should be the question I ask every day!

Monday, August 29, 2011

08/29/11 - Teachable

How teachable are you?

How teachable am I?

The older I get the more I see having this attitude of being teachable is key to growth, healthy relationships, staying broken and humble, and relying on Christ.

Being willing to allow someone to see the real you, challenge you, ponder what they say, and actually change...that's real emotional maturity!

Being teachable was one quality that my dad told me to look for in a husband (actually dad's advice was aside from their walk with Christ, that being teachable, hardworking, and treat their mom/sisters nice were the three things to look for in a mate) and I am thankful for his advice.

What a blessing to live and be married to a person who is teachable on so many levels!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

08/27/11 - Being Foolish

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong 1 Corinthians 1:27

God's ways are completely, totally opposite of the things of this world. Do we grasp how backwards His ways are to the watching world?

Are we really ready to be fools for Christ?

What does a fool for God look like?

  • They realize how little they really know
  • They are willing to seek reconciliation no matter how wrong they have been
  • They are not concerned with self at all
  • They love to serve others
  • They are desperately aware of their spiritual needs
  • They are humble at any ministry God may allow them to do
  • They consider others more important than themselves
  • They compare themselves with Christ-likeness, not others
  • They freely offer forgiveness
  • They are grieved when they sin
  • They are willing to boldly confront sin
  • They are full of grace through the power of the cross
  • They are willing to be obedient, not matter what it may look like
  • They are dependent on the Holy Spirit for the power to live the Christian life
How we may become fools for our great Savior and King!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

08/24/11 - August

So August turned into one busy month for us!

We've been full swing with homeschooling since July 28th. I am really enjoying My Father's World 1st grade.

We had two birthday celebrations, my husband turned 40 and our youngest turned 2.

John and I had a full 25 hours of kid-free time!

We also celebrated my parents 40th wedding anniversary! You can check out pictures: HERE.

The rest of the month includes another BBQ for the "newly married" class we're starting at our church in September.

Then Labor Day, vacation, our class kick off, and life!

Just wanted to explain where I've been ;-) Much too share, not a lot of time though!

Friday, August 19, 2011

08/19/11 - Power Source

The other day I was going to vacuum my house. I clicked the button to release the handle and hit the power button...however the vacuum didn't start.

At first I was a bit confused, was it broken?

But I quickly realized that I hadn't plugged it in!

Well, duh! An election vacuum cleaner won't work without being plugged in.

I instantly thought of our Christian life. If you're not plugged into The Source, you'll not be able to function the way you are meant to function.

If you're not plugged into the power of God's Spirit, you'll just sit there, looking nice, with no power.

If you wonder why it seems like you're not working, check your plug....are you plugged in?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

07/26/11 - It's Broken

Why do we look to things of this world and think, "What's going on?" Friends, it's broken! Broken by sin. By my sin. By your sin.

It's broken! We shouldn't expect it to be comfortable, easy, or even to go smooth.

It's not how God created it to be. He created it perfect. We messed it up. Sin messed it up! It's cursed!

If you're talking to non-believing friends just ask them, "How's life going? Is it working like you thought it would?"

"No", would be the answer. It's not supposed to work here on earth apart from God. There's no peace or true joy without Christ.

Friends, it's broken. There's only one hope, one place to put our faith and trust and that's in Christ Jesus and Him crucified for all sin.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

07/23/11 - True North

In our conservative Christian circles we have lots of debates. These debates split churches and relationships. But what did Paul say, "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." 1 Cor. 2:2

He didn't make it about:
  • Reformed Theology
  • Homeschooling or Public School
  • Dating or not Dating
  • King James Version or another one
  • Birth Control
  • Creation Care/Environmentalism
  • Sunday School or Family Integration
  • Speaking in tongues as a sign of baptism of the Holy Spirit
  • Biblical Manhood/Womanhood
  • TV or no TV
  • Hymns or Praise and Worship Songs
  • What you wear
  • Drinking (not drunkenness)
  • When and how often you should take communion
  • Sabbath
  • Should Campus Crusade for Christ change it's name
  • Acceptable movies
  • or you name the debate
Yes, these topics are important and if you know me, you know I have an opinion on almost all of them. But are they are the core of what is essential? We must learn to walk hand in hand with those who have different opinions on these topics.

We must look at our True North, Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

(Many of my thoughts came from listening to Eric Ludy's sermon: The Ellerslie Experience. )

Friday, July 22, 2011

07/22/11 - Secret Sins

We've bought the lie that our private, secret sins don't effect anyone. We think we can live in direct disobedience to God and His Word, yet still be involved in our local church, our local ministry, and in discipleship of others in the faith. We believe God will hear our prayers and answer them. We believe it effects no one.

This, my friends, is a lie.

You secret sin effects the body of Christ. It breaks it down. It weakens it. You've put a breach in the wall.

Confess your sin, repent, and find accountability. Hide no more! Being secretive about your sin will eat at your body like cancer. Do whatever you can to remove that "cancer"! Get radical about purging sin from your life, your body, your mind.

Life your life in the power of the Holy Spirit, blameless and pure before our Almighty God!

Monday, July 18, 2011

07/18/11 - Believe vs. Being Saved

Sure you can believe in God. You can believe He created the world. You can even believe the bible. You can believe in Adam and Eve, the flood, Jesus, and His death. But that doesn't save you.

"You believe God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder" James 2:19

Being saved is transferring that head knowledge about God to your heart. It's faith to believe you need salvation from sin and death. Once you believe, put your faith in Jesus, and invite Him to take over your are saved.

We live in a culture that stops at belief, but the bible says we must take that to the next level.

Are you just believing or are you saved?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

07/12/11 - Money and Marriage

You may be single and years away from marriage, but how you spend your money has the possibility of effecting your marriage and future.

I see a trend that I want you to be aware of: young people acquire large amounts of debt even before they are married and within the first few years of marriage. Then they feel God calling them to something different (become a stay-at-home mom, adopt, downsize, go on the mission field overseas...or a host of other things), but have become a slave to their debt.

In our culture we must have the biggest and best, the latest and greatest. This attitude has filtered into the church, so we've become caught up to this slave master of debt. Being enslaved to our debt limits what we can do because of the money millstone around our necks.

My advice: stay debt-free or work your tail off to become debt-free before you get married!

Monday, July 11, 2011

07/11/11 - Repentance

I wish I could remember where I heard this, but I wrote it and hung it up, "Repentance is a change of heart that leads to a change of actions."

If you have claimed Christ as your Savior, yet live an unchanged life, ask, "Have I truly repented?"

Once you grasp what Christ did for you, you can't help but respond by changing actions in your life that displease Him.

This is a process of sanctification, so we're going to be at all different places, but headed in the same direction: living a life to fully glorify Him! We'll remain teachable, open, and unafraid of the truth!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

07/09/11 - Tame your Tongue

The other day my oldest son asked me, "Mommy, what is a tamed tongue?" (He was listening to a music CD that quoted James 3:8 "No one can tame the tongue, it is a restless evil full of deadly poison"

My words have gotten me is a lot of trouble over the years. I tend to be outspoken and uncontrolled in my speech. This has been an area that God has pressed in on more over the past couple of years.

I said to Miles, "A tamed tongue is a tongue that lets the Holy Spirit fully guide and direct it."

Not sure what he understood, but that is a tamed tongue, that's what I want. I want every word I say to be guided and directed by the Holy Spirit. I want my words to bless not curse. To support or pray for and not judge.

Oh Lord tame my tongue for Your glory!

Friday, July 8, 2011

07/08/11 - Think of others

As I've been in the Sermon on the Mount nearly every day since the beginning of the year, the verse: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them" Matt 7:12 has been a theme around here.

I am asking my boys all the time, "Would you want your brother to treat you that way?"

Yes, the simple golden rule has been on my heart over the past few months.

Do I treat others the way I want to be treated? Do I take into consideration how I am to live in light of this verse? Are others more important than me? Do I truly care for others feelings more than myself? Am I being proactive, looking for ways to treat others the way I want to be treated?

Treating others the way I want to be treated requires me being uncomfortable and/or inconvenienced. It's the example Christ left for us. He laid it all down for others. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we are to live our lives as Christ did!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

07/05/11 - Power of God

I wrote a blog post on my "family" blog, but thought I'd share it here: The Power of God


Hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

06/29/11 - Good Weather

We've basically been outside for the past 5 days! I love when the weather turns nice!

My heart is full with things to share! God is teaching me much on prayer, repentance, and being judgmental!

Those each need their own posts, but for now, it will have to wait. I am way too tired to write.

Just know that God is always at work, even if you're walking through something painful right now, He'll use it for His glory and when He does, be amazed at His grace!

Friday, June 24, 2011

06/24/11 - Be a doer

Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

Let that sink in, re-read it!

We must not just hearers of the Word, but doers. We must radically obey the words of scripture.

The consequences of being just hears causes me to shutter! Our churches are packed full of hears who remain untouched by what they hear. They call on grace, yet live their lives with themselves on the throne of their heart!

May we not be untouched! May every aspect of our lives be radically touched by the Gospel!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

06/22/11 - Confession/Repentence

As I've listened to Revive our Hearts the past couple of days I can't help but think of the concept of true confession and repentance in our Christian walk.

As Andrea Griffith has shared her testimony I think there are many in our churches who have the "I believe in Jesus as the Son of God" part down, but are lacking that "180 degree repentance and true confessions of sin" part.

They go through the motions, but have unconfessed sins that gnaw at their very souls. They are bitter, angry, unforgiving, and prideful. They lie, over exaggerate, and pretend. They don't obey the authority in their life, actually they despise that authority. They lack modesty in their hearts, and are deeply immersed in pornography or sexual relationships. Their bibles sit Monday to Saturday, untouched and if they were honest, they really don't get much from reading. Their prayer life is mostly short prayers of grace at dinner or when they tuck their kids in bed.

Yes, each Sunday they sing praise songs with full effort but their hearts far from truly bowing in full submission to the King and Lord. They've never understood those Christians who say, "God's Word jumps off the page to me." or "I just can't get enough of Him."

If you feel this describes you at all, please listen to Monday, Tuesday, and todays program of Revive our Hearts, I believe this could be life changing!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

06/21/11 - Praying Through

I had a chance to hear Eric Ludy speak at the Illinois Christian Home Educators conference at the beginning of the month. I typed out notes and would like to share. (these are just my notes, unfiltered and unedited...enjoy!)

Praying Through - Eric Ludy

It's longer than most of my posts, but if you need encouragement in your prayer life, I know this will give you just that!

Monday, June 20, 2011

06/20/11 - Make me sensitive

That's been my prayer lately, "God make me sensitive to gossip, to slander, and towards negative/critical attitudes in my heart."

You know what, God is making me sensitive!

If you have a sin in your life you want to purge, ask God to make you sensitive towards that sin, hyper-sensitive!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

06/18/11 - God's Learning Curve

God is so gracious. He gives us what we need, when we need it.

He's got a big learning curve.

I can just see Him shaking His head, "Oh Heather, you want me to have to teach you this lesson all over again. Okay, then here we go."

Then I shake my head, "Why didn't I remember!?!"

I am thankful for a husband who walks along side me without being critical, without get mad at me, without complaining, but just loving me!

Friday, June 10, 2011

06/10/11 - Sanctification

"Marriage is one of God's best instruments for sanctifying His children! Differences between spouses work great for revealing their true spiritual state." - resolved2worship -

My friend posted this on her blog and it jumped out at me!

I've been thinking through sanctification in my life and seeing how I can tend to see things through a selfish perspective and not, "How is God using this to sanctify me?"

We tend to be self-centered in our thinking when issues of life arise. We may ask, "Why, God?" His only answer may be, "To sanctify you my child!"

We can think of being single through this self-centered perspective, when in reality God will use being single and being married as a tool to sanctify us.

God's hand of sanctification will grow you into Christ-likeness, which will further the gospel. It's all about Him and once we realize that we can move aside and let His perfect will be done.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

06/08/11 - Siblings

"Love your neighbor as yourself" is the second great command (Mark 12:31) and at times loving "our neighbors" is easier when it's the homeless at the soup kitchen, or the best friend, or the person who needs to bend your ear for 2 hours, or the random friend you've not seen from college...but your brother or your sister you live with?

Learning to really selflessly love those we live with can be a challenge? Why? Those people tend to bring out our fleshly tendencies the most. They are with us when our guard is down and they rub those spots that cause a reaction out of step with walking in the Spirit.

Teaching to really love your "neighbor" (the people you live with), will help you be a better wife/mom or husband/dad. And more importantly learning to be patient, joyful, loving, peaceful, and kind will help as you grow in Christ-likeness.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

06/07/11 - Surprise

So we have this HUGE surprise for our boys on Saturday. They have no idea what's coming, they have no idea the blessing that is in store for them on Saturday.

Because we have this surprise that will wear them out, we've decided to have a super low key week. We're not going to go anywhere, we're just going to be home, and be calm. (or try to be and dad are super excited as well!)

As I got thinking about this, I thought of when God has some BIG thing around the corner in our life. We may think, "Life is dull! Nothing is happening! Why does life seem so low key, when I am looking for some excitement?"

Well, maybe God has some HUGE surprise for you just around the corner. Maybe He's got you in a season of rest to prepare you for the adventure that lies ahead.

So trust Your Heavenly Father knows what's coming and watch for His movement in your life.

Monday, June 6, 2011

06/06/11 - Prayer

As I've been reading Wrestling Prayer by Eric and Leslie Ludy my prayer has been, "Lord give me Your eyes, give me Your ears, give me Your mind, give me Your hands, give me Your heart."

I want to be fully engaged for the sake of Christ.

If you're looking for a good summer read, can I recommend "Wrestling Prayer"?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

06/02/11 - ICHE Convention

I am leaving in an hour for the Illinois Christian Home Educators convention. This year I'll be speaking on three topics:

  • Emotional Purity: The Heart of Purity vs. The Form
  • Intentional Mothering through the Preschool Years
  • Couponing 101
If you think of me, will you pray for me. I want to have the eyes, the ears, the voice, the mind of Christ these two days. I want to see what He wants me to see. Say what He wants me to say. Minister to those He wants me to minister to.

I have a burden to share my heart of totally surrender to Christ in every aspect of our life and I need the Holy Spirit to guide and direct.

Thanks friends!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

05/31/11 - Every Nook and Cranny

If someone came and looked in every nook and cranny of your life would they see Christ? Would their findings be consistent with your proclamation of the gospel in your life? Would people see that you are the hands and feet of Jesus by examining your life?

If they looked:

  • at your e-mails/computer history
  • your CD's/Ipod
  • your movies
  • the books you read
  • your bank account
  • your clothes
  • your journals
  • your Facebook account
  • your photo albums
  • your calendar
  • your text messages
May every area of our lives come under the total Lordship of Jesus Christ!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

05/26/11 - World Magazine

The cover of World Magazine splash that within these pages they will look at "relationship and marriage 2011".

I flipped open to page 41 and in bold quotes: "If you are dedicated to emotional purity you are afraid. You either risk nothing or you risk everything." Hannah Farver

I couldn't agree more.

If you are looking to the form of emotional purity to keep you pure, you will fear. A focus on rules will lead you to bondage to the outward appearances of what you think purity should be.

If you are totally and completely trusting your emotional needs to God Almighty, you will rest in His mighty hands. There is no fear, there is no risk. You are safe.

I've been "preaching" the heart of emotional purity for years. Although, at times I feel a bit misunderstood.

Emotional Purity is:

A humble desire to honor God in our relationships.
To surrender our emotional needs to God,
whether married or single, for the sake of the gospel.

It's not a form, it's not courtship, it's not control, it's not fear, it's not manipulation.

Emotional purity is: heart driven, living authentic lives, there's a confident, calm trust in God, it's a Christ focus heart.

So yes, you will fear if you are dedicated to the FORM of emotional purity. But if you're heart is dedicated to Christ alone you will not may look the same as someone dedicated to the form, but your heart is not the same.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

05/25/11 - 25 years

25 years ago my dad baptized me! It was a public act of the re-birth in my life. That was the first time I ever remember feeling the Holy Spirit prompt my heart in obedience and I followed that leading and was baptized.

For 25 years I've walked with the Lord. Sure I've taken my own path along the road, but He is faithful. He has never left me. He is always pursing me to deeper understanding of Himself. As I've drawn near, He comes near.

I love His Word more now than ever before. I am thankful for 25 years of walking with Christ as my Savior! How I long to grow and mature in Him each and every day!

Praise God for my re-birth!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

05/24/11 - Wrestling Prayer

Yesterday I started reading "Wrestling Prayer" by Eric and Leslie Ludy and could hardly put it down (of course with three kids, being outside most of the day...I got though four chapters, which is a lot for a busy mom!)

The Ludy's talk about knowing the tools we have to fight the unseen battle. As I was reading I got this feeling that I wanted to pick up a big spiritual "Gladiator" sword, put on full spiritual armor, and run into the battle, screaming. (Sorta cheesy, but it's how I was feeling.)

We must know the weapons we have to demolish strongholds and anything that sets itself against God (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Our weapon is living and active two edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12)

We must learn how to use these weapons so we can walk in freedom that comes from our salvation.

Sadly Christians pick up nurf $1 store swords when it comes to fighting this unseen battle. We don't know the power we have in the Word of God and in our prayer life. So we live in defeat, letting sin rule in our bodies. We don't have joy, we struggle with feeling peaceful, and we are unable to love with the love of Christ.

I am excited to read more of this book...but these are my thoughts so far!

Friday, May 20, 2011

05/20/11 - What holds us back

What holds us back from total surrender to God? What keeps us from laying everything aside and running hard the race He marked for us?




Lack of trust

Lack of knowledge

Whatever is holding you back from totally releasing your will and replacing it with His, I pray God makes it abundantly clear and you let go! Today!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

05/17/11 - Family Vision

Organized Simplicity: A Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living encourages you to write a family vision.

Once your family has a vision or mission statement you can more easily go through and assess if this is something you need or can let go of.

John and I wrote out this vision statement:

Our family vision is to

glorify, honor, and serve God

by promoting a simple environment

where we value prayer, self-control,

honest/open communication,

hospitality, and loving others

more than self.

With this statement in hand, I was able to go through my house with this new perspective. It has been my filter, so to speak.

How do you think a vision statement could help you organize and clean your living space?

Monday, May 16, 2011

05/16/11 - Cleaning House

I've been cleaning house. Not just dusting and vacuuming, but deep cleaning and purging!

A friend blogged about this book: Organized Simplicity: A Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living and it peaked my interest. Being intentional about living has been on my radar for about 4 years.

But let me back up about a month ago.

I looked around my house and felt overwhelmed by stuff, almost suffocated! Why do we have so much stuff? How do we collect so much? We try to not, but I felt so overwhelmed.

So I started a garage sale pile and it filled more than 1/2 of my front porch! I felt pretty good about this dent of stuff getting out of my house. We had a garage sale, but it wasn't well attended because of a new law in my town that we're not able to put out signs, other than on our own yard.

Then I check out Organized Simplicity from the library and it gave me a fresh perspective on purging and organizing my house.

My husband and I decided to have another 1 day garage sale at my in-laws because they live on a busy street.

So with this book in hand and a fresh perspective on my stuff, I started through each and every drawer, cabinet, pantry, desk, sheets, towel, bathrooms, cleaning supplies, and I still have yet to go through the toy room, boy's bedroom and our bedroom.

My porch is filling up again. I've examined everything I have and asked, "Does this fit our vision for our family? Is it filling up too much space for something we hardly use? Can we live with out it?"

Some things I've kept because it does fit with our vision and other things I've let go of.

I feel light! I feel like my house can breath in a new way!

If you're feeling overwhelmed by stuff, can I recommend this book? It's an excellent resource.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

05/11/11 - Resources for Parents

Dannah Gresh: Secret Keeper Events for girls and their moms (ages 8 to 12)

Dannah Gresh: Pure Freedom Events for teen girls and their moms (13 and up)

Passport to Purity: A "do it yourself" purity retreat weekend for teen boys or girls and their parents

Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz for boys

Created for Work by Bob Schultz for boys

Practical Happiness by Bob Schultz for young men

Do you have any good resources for parents?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

05/10/11 - Marriage

Our church is going through a marriage/family series from Mother's Day till Father's Day. Our pastor is using 1 Corinthians 7 through the entire series and yesterday he talked about walking into marriage without illusions.

He said the bible is clear to walk into marriage without illusions and I agree. We must understand what we are getting ourselves into.

So what is marriage without illusions? (note: these are my ideas and thoughts)

1) You are a sinner. You are selfish

2) Your mate is a sinner. Your mate is selfish.

3) What is the sources of conflicts: your wrong motives and selfishness! (James 4:1-5)

4) Marriage should cause us to become more like Christ as you spur each other towards Christ-likeness. Marriage should cause us to lay aside selfishness and become more self-controlled.

What are your thoughts about marriage without illusions? What are some illusions we bring into marriage?

Monday, May 9, 2011

05/09/11 - Authenticity

Since I took a mini-break from blogging, I've not picked back up "Girls Gone Wise" Wednesdays. But I've continued to go through the book with my niece.

Friday we talked about authenticity.

A girl gone wise in this wild world is the same person Sunday morning as she is Saturday night, or Tuesday afternoon or Thursday night.

A wild girl puts on different masks and acts different depending on who she is with.

Being an authentic woman of God means your life is consistent with your worship on Sunday. I believe when a watching world sees that inconsistency with Christians, it makes the statement, "I don't go to church because it's filled with a bunch of hypocrites" correct.

Breaks my heart really!

A flippant attitude towards being a woman who is consistent, paints God to be a wimpy God. A God not worthy of total surrender. I'd rather someone not come to church, than to come on Sunday, different than who they are the rest of the week! Just devalues our amazing King!

Here's Mary's video for the chapter: Spotting a Fake

Saturday, May 7, 2011

05/07/11 - Blessings!

I got this comment on my post: Helping our Sisters on my Facebook page, but I felt it so awesome I had to share:

"I went to a CEF training camp several years ago and all the girls came together in the beginning of the two-weeks and committed to hold each other accountable in the area of modesty. The boys had no idea we did this. At the final session of the training, one of the guys (21YO) stood up and said "I don't know what you girls did, if anything, but I just want to thank you all for the way you've dressed, it's been so easy for us guys to focus on the Lord, and not on you." It was awesome, and us girls were SO excited to be a blessing to them!!"

Now that is just a blessing! Thanks for sharing friend!

Friday, May 6, 2011

05/06/11 - Helping our Sisters

I got this e-mail from a wife whose husband has been battling an issue with pornography:

“We have a few women in our church that dress immodestly. I so badly want to go up to them and say, ‘Don't you know what you are doing to my husband? Can't he even come to church and not have to battle this?’”

Do you know women, that there are other sisters in Christ who are battling pornography in their homes? Their husbands want to be free, but at every turn are being bombarded with images that tempt him.

Yes, saying that cleavage is inappropriate may sound legalistic and putting on rules, but I think of my sisters in Christ who are striving to be Godly wives and have God honoring marriages who feel like they have to “do battle” with immodesty even at church.

Please let’s encourage and help one another in this area. May we gentle correct, with grace and love. Older women take the lead in this. Don’t encourage immodesty among the younger women in your lives. Dress modestly and let the “hidden person of your heart” be what motivates you.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

05/05/11 - 3 Year Curriculum

Are you a mentor looking for curriculum for teenage girls?

I came across a three year curriculum from Susan Hunt for teen girls. This will teach biblical womanhood to young women! Awesome!

What an amazing resources for the body of Christ!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

05/04/11 - Rules

No rule will keep your heart pure.

You must desire purity. It must be the intent of your heart. It must be what motivates you.

Once you have an internal desire to be pure, your outside will follow!

No amount of outward rules and regulations can make a heart pure.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

05/03/11 - Young Ladies

Lately God has shown me some real jewels among young ladies I know.

They love Jesus.

They are willing to go against the flow!

They stand for Him.

They strive towards purity.

They are waiting patiently for God, even though they desire marriage and children.

They are serving the body of Christ, with JOY!

They aren't afraid of making sure the world knows they're are in love with Jesus.

They are bold!

They are learning self-control.

They seek out older women to mentor them.

Thank you ladies! When I was your age I wasn't even thinking through half the issues you are. I wasn't as in tune with purity as you ladies are! I can't wait to see what God has for you!

Love to you all!

Monday, May 2, 2011

05/02/11 - Modesty

Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 1 Timothy 2:9-10

Modesty is a hot topic in Christian circle. What is modest? What is immodest? How do we honor God in what we wear? How do we have an open, honest, and frank discussion about this topic without coming across prideful or legalistic?

As I’ve been reading through Mary Kassian’s book: Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild, I realized that we all have wildness in our heart. We all have fleshly bents of the heart that pull the attention off of honoring God and put it squarely to us. We all have the bent of heart this way in our flesh.

I've observed in my own heart a bent towards wanting to wear clothes that put the focus on me, and not on God. It’s a matter of the heart I’ve had to wrestle with over the years.

However, as the weather warms up the cleavage comes out. The shorts get shorter, the tops get lower, and the dresses get tighter. Literally it’s a sea of cleavage in the world and in the church.

Having a husband and three sons has changed my view of what is modest vs. immodest. As a mom of sons I believe it’s my duty to protect their eyes for their future wives. Also, I don’t want their eyes to be stimulated too early by images that could haunt them their entire life.

So I started noticing the plunging necklines and all the cleavage that was all around me, around them! Not just them, but I have a husband who doesn’t need to see other women’s boobs.

Ladies, when you look in the mirror, if you see your boobs, other people see your boobs. If you’re in a low cut top and bend over in front of mirror and see boobs, others will see your boobs.

Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s John Piper’s take on Modesty: Is Modesty an Issue in the Church today?

Look over the results of The Modesty Survey done by the Rebelution. These are real thoughts from real guys on modesty.

Or listen to part of C.J. Mahaney’s message on modesty as he reads a letter from a young man on modesty. *edit* Here's another link: Ladies What do Your Clothes Say About You.

As we hear about the struggle men face with this issue, why to we come as close to the edge as we can? Why do we see “how much we can get away with”?

Our hearts should be in humble submission to God asking Him what He finds acceptable, modest, and appropriate. We should ask if our clothes have people look at our faces or other parts of our bodies.

We are representing Christ in our dress! That has to be our focus! We are to shine the gospel to those looking at our clothes!

This is going to look different for women, but I hope we can all agree that cleavage is immodest, no matter what the occasion, what the outfit, how the person looks in the outfit, or how little of the cleavage is showing.

Friday, April 29, 2011

04/29/11 - Royalty Demands Modesty

Yesterday on the radio they were talking about the wedding dress of Kate Middleton. They were speculating about who made the dress and what it was going to look like. They said they knew one thing, "Her arms will be covered because Royalty demands modesty."

Yes, royalty demands modesty.

As Christian women we are daughters of The King, we are Royalty. We should be setting the standard of modesty, not stoop to the world standards. We should be distinctly different!

I hope others take notice of her beautiful dress and the simply way she honored her position as the new Duchess and maybe one day the Queen.

I also hope wedding dress designers take notice that not all brides want to wear strapless, which is pretty much all you find if you go wedding dress shopping. They need to give brides a choice. (Although you can have a wedding dress alter to make it "chapel ready" which would add straps or sleeves to a dress.)

Let's hope that Kate's dress sets a new standard in Wedding Dresses!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

04/27/11 - Relationship Target

I've been working on a power point for my Emotional Purity talk I'll be giving at the ICHE convention in June and I found this Relationship Target.

I felt like it was a perfect visual for my heart for emotional purity.

We have this one spot reserved for our mate, whether married or single.

We live in a culture where we've lost a sense of what our healthy, good boundaries and this target puts it into a good visual perspective.

Monday, April 25, 2011

04/25/11 - Sports Team or Jesus

Think of your favorite sports team. Get a picture of them in your mind. Now imagine that they are having the BEST year ever! They've won almost every game and they're unbelievable!

Now imagine if someone gave you front row tickets to the championship game!

What would you do?

How would you behave if you were at the game?

Would you dress up?

Would you cheer so loud that you'd lose your voice?

Would you jump up and down?

Would you dance around at each score?

Would you spend a week reading the paper and listening to sports radio to get ready?

Would you talk to all your friends about this game?

Would you go to sleep thinking about it and wake up thinking about it?


Would you say, "Really front row...that's too close!"

Really, cheering, no..why would I cheer...what would people around me think.

Yawn...didn't they play last week, do we really have to go?

What...3 hours, no way, I am not staying 3 hours.

You want me to wear my jersey, no thanks.

Don't tell anyone we're going!!

Raise my arms at a score...those people are silly!

See friends we're all created to worship.

But what do we worship?

Some worship sports teams more than Jesus.

Some worship their family more than Jesus.

Some worship their sex life more than Jesus.

Some worship their dreams more than Jesus.

Some worship their career more than Jesus.

Some worship their stuff more than Jesus.

Some worship their coffee more than Jesus.

Some worship the earth more than Jesus.

Some worship their ego and reputation more than Jesus.

Some worship their un-forgivingness more than Jesus.

What do you worship?

What gets you excited?

Going to church or going to your favorite sporting event?

Friends, transfer that worship to Jesus, there's nothing better!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

04/21/11 - Leaving and Cleaving (part 5)

I asked an "older" more "wiser" woman her thoughts on the "leaving" process. Here's what she shared:

"There is a leaving at the wedding, and it actually starts before, but there still is a relationship with parents, one the bible even addresses. Honoring your parents I believe is living a God-honoring life, not parent-honoring life, even though it honors the parents, that is not the focus.

Living financially independently is just one of the ways a new couple will not depend on parents. The decision making is now made by the couple, not that parents won't be asked for guidance and wisdom, but the ultimate decision is made by the couple.

Conflicts are now handled without the parents involvement, and many women run home to mother to vent, not really looking for advice, just to be heard. But, I do believe all of these issues can be done within the guidelines of living in a complementary fashion. Meaning the parents complement and enhance their children's marriages by not stepping over boundaries, yet having involvement with their adult children when asked.

The command to honor our parents is not rescinded at the marriage when the new family is formed, it is still in effect, but I think it's important to state that it's not obeying the parents. The best way to honor parents is to live a life that honors God, that honors the parents more than anything."

The highest way a young couple can honor their parents, is to honor God. When the couple is seeking the Lord, they will seek right relationships with those around them. Great thoughts!

I'd love your thoughts on "leaving and cleaving"!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

04/20/11 - Leaving and Cleaving (part 4)

So many newly married couples face "issues" with family or in-laws (depending on who's talking). It makes me wonder, "How will I be as a mother-in-law?" I guess this post is just a wish list for how I hope to behave when my boys get married. I hope to help encourage that cleaving process, especially that first year.

Here's a post for a future me when I do become a mot
her-in-law (Lord willing):

1) Give grace! Grace that they don't deserve. They will hurt your feelings. They will step all over your heart. But give them grace! Remember what it was like those first couple of years of marriage. Let them be intentional about growing that bond with their wife. It may be hard, but give them grace upon grace upon grace.

2) Have no expectations...especially around the holidays! They are going to be juggling two families (in some cases 3 or 4 families with divorced parents remarried with new family units) and that is not easy! Plus, they may want to create some of their own new traditions. Don't let this bother you, Heather! The less demands you make the more they will want to be with you!

3) Keep your mouth shut! They may not want your advice. They don't need you to nit pick at them. They need to just have your support and encouragement.

4) Give them space to "cleave". Don't make late night phone calls. Don't stop by without calling. Don't intrude. Don't ask questions about things you don't need to know about. Just give them space!

5) Don't compare how much time they spend with your daughter-in-law's family. It's not a competition. Sure you may want more time with them, but give them space and when they ask what you want share your needs in a very honest way without adding guilt or manipulating them.

6) Pray, pray, pray! Cover and bathe them in your prayers. Pray that God will use everything and anything to help them form a bond that will lasts for as many years as God gives them life!
(By the way, 8 years ago I told John that I'd be honored to be his wife!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

04/19/11 - Leaving and Cleaving (part 3)

Cleaving with your mate is not just the physical act of becoming one, but becoming emotionally and spiritually "glued" to your mate.

When you are intentional about becoming emotionally and spiritually "glued" to your mate, that bond will help you as you face life's "storms", which come for every married couple. And this bonding requires a lot of emotional energy.

In Deuteronomy 24:5 it says: If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.

I think there is such wisdom in this passage. I don't want to make something out of it or try to just make this fit my point, but that first year of marriage should be a time that a couple is intentional about focusing on one another.

Many people told us, "Oh that first year is the hardest!" or "If you get through that first year, you'll be good!"

It's true...not that the first year, for us, was filled with fights and arguments (honestly most fights couples have that first year are because someone is being selfish or has unmet expectations) but it was filled with a lot of emotional and spiritual complex bonding, that required a lot of energy!

Way more energy than I could have ever even possible imagined!

Can I make a couple of suggestions to new couples:

Turn the TV off at night (or Internet, ipad, ipod or anything that becomes a distraction) and focus on each other. John and I played this card game Hand and Foot almost every night as newlyweds. We loved just talking and getting to know each other. It will take intentionality to bond with each other.

Read one chapter of the bible and prayer together daily. I wish I could say that John and I have been doing this since day one, but it took us a few years to get our act together and we've had to be very intentional about growing this aspect of our marriage.

When you want to plan an outing, or have company over...make sure you run your plans past your mate.

Go to bed at the same time.

Go away at least one weekend every three or four months (if this is in the budget). Once you have kids getting away will be harder and those intentional times of stepping outside of your normal routine will grow and bond you.

Try to eat at least one meal together each day, at the table, with the TV or computer off. Family dinners rock!

If you can, step down from outside commitments for that first year.

If possible work in ministry together!

Don't let people make you feel bad for taking that first year to just bond! You'll come out of the bubble and into real life soon enough!! ;-)

Monday, April 18, 2011

04/18/11 - Leaving and Cleaving (part 2)

As soon as Eve was fashioned out of Adam's side, it says, "For this cause and man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Gen. 2:24

Adam and Eve had no earthly parents, yet this is recorded as the beginning of marriage in the bible.

My parents recently went to a Weekend to Remember put on by FamilyLife today. My mom was sharing that one of the speakers was talking about the Old Testament covenant that God made with Abram in Genesis 15.

In the Old Testament the way people made a covenant with each other was to cut in half an animal and pass through together. In Genesis 15 God's Spirit passed through the halves of animals making a covenant with Abram.

The speaker went on to say that at a wedding you have the groom's family on one side and the bride's on another. The couple pass through creating a new covenant with one another. Laying aside the old bond with their families.

Interesting concept!

When a couple gets married they form a new team, a new family! This new family should be intentional about "cleaving" to one another, especially in that first year of marriage.

When issues rise, they turn to each other first.

When holiday plans need to be made, they do what's best for this new family unit.

When job decisions need to be calculated, they look towards one another.

When conflicts arise between them, they don't run to their original family unit for support (first).

They don't throw each other "under the bus" in front of anyone.

It's about making their needs and wants more important than anyone else's (including their own!)

They don't share private family issues with others.

They create a safe, refuge from the world.

Do I think this means the couple doesn't interact with family or engage the world? By no means! I am saying that a couple should be intentional in cleaving. In using emotional energy to form this new family.

But cleaving goes beyond what I shared above, it's about becoming one. We'll talk about that tomorrow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

04/15/11 - Leaving and Cleaving (part 1)

Last week at a wedding the pastor was talking about "leaving and cleaving". He said that the primary bond of the groom and bride to their parents was to be transferred to each other. He stressed this point. The fact is their allegiance should be towards each other and should be the strongest bond in their life.

As a mom, the bond with my sons is strong. It's been present since the moment I found out I was pregnant. (I still remember the exact moment I found out I was pregnant with each son.)

But as a mom my hope is to prepare them for a bond that will be even stronger than the one I have with them.

Eight years (almost) into my marriage I see that we as a Christian community aren't talking enough about what the "leaving and cleaving" looks like.

Many young people struggle with, "What does this look like?" And many parents struggle with feeling not as important in their child's life any longer.

Next week I hope to post some of my thoughts about this topic and I'd appreciate any of your own personal thoughts or testimonies. I think the more we talk about it the "easier" it may be for some of us to "leave and cleave". It may also give parents tools to help their child break away from that original family of origin.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

04/14/11 - Tips for getting into the Word

(I wrote this article for my local MOPS group, so yes,

it's geared towards moms, but I hope it can be helpful for you!)

I can do all things through Him who strengths me

Philippians 4:13

In these tiring days of wiping noses, cleaning up messes, being on the brink of exhaustion, and acting more like a ref than a mom some days, how do we stay spiritually satisfied?

As moms of preschoolers there should be a sense of urgency to keep ourselves spiritually full each day. If we have a bent towards spiritual matters our kids will have a bent towards spiritual matters. Also, if we’re to be raising up this generation of kids it’s best we go to The Book to find out how to! But how does that practically work itself out each day?

I hope these practical tips will help you as grow spiritually as a mom of preschoolers!

1) Don’t compare how other mom’s do it. When I hear of a mom who gets up an hour before her kids to do her bible time, I sigh, “I’d have to get up at 5 am and honestly I need sleep!” This doesn’t work for my schedule or with my kids.

2) Find the best time to get some time in God’s Word. We should try to get at least 15 minutes a day reading God’s Word. Now before you lament that you don’t even have 15 minutes, look at what you do: Do you watch TV, surf the Internet, or look at random profiles of friends on Facebook? I am sure if we all got real honest with ourselves we can find 15 minutes.

3) Find some verses that really minister to your heart, write them out on 3x5 cards and post them where you spend most of your time: kitchen, car, bathroom, laundry room, or carry them in your diaper bag.

4) Leave bibles around your house where you spend time nursing, cooking a meal, or in your car. Having the Word around will give you more of a chance to grab a quick spiritual snack.

5) When you do get some “time off”, use some of that time of concentrated and quality time reading God’s Word. This has proven to be some of the most spiritually awesome times for me!

6) Get accountable with another mom. One great idea is to text a friend “check” each day after you’ve read. For me, there’s a group of gals on Facebook I “check” in with each day after reading.

7) It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, just read the Proverbs of the day. So the 6th of the month read Proverbs 6. Or pick a passage of scripture and read it every day for a month or two. (I’ve been in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5 – 7 nearly every day since Jan 1) You’ll be amazed at how much you are fed just by reading and re-reading the same passage!

8) Subscribe to a podcast of your favorite teacher (Can I suggest: Walk in the Word, Revive our Hearts or FamilyLife Today) and while you’re folding laundry or playing a game on Facebook you can turn on a sermon to be encouraged.

9) If you have time join a bible study. This may require more of a time commitment, but would provide accountability and some life on life mentoring you may need in this season of life.

10) Relax! There are no rules on how you do your “bible time”. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what works for you! And remember we only do this “through Christ who strengthens” us!

I hope you’re encouraged by one of these tips and I hope that you continue in your daily bible time or find time to get started!