Looking back over my sermon notes, and thought it might be something you needed to hear too! So many times, we get bogged down with what life throws at us. We get focused on the activities and busyness. This was a great reminder for me to keep my eyes on the prize! Keep pushing forward toward the goal! Don’t loose sight of our purpose! Every believer is called to ministry. Run Sister Run!
Tuck Them In - Audra’s Pick
We try to be intentional at night time when putting our kids to bed. We always make a point to tuck them in, talk through the day, pray as a family, and let them ask any questions they may have. This is a sweet time to be able to unpack what has happened in everyone’s day, since the school year is such a busy time!
Scripture Memory In the Car - Laura's Pick
I can’t take credit for this one, but my husband is so good at using the undivided attention during the car ride to school. He drops our daughter off at school every morning and they memorize a scripture each week during that 5-7 minute drive. Usually on Monday or Tuesday she tells me what verse they are memorizing and then by Friday she is reciting it to me.
Pray Out Loud For Them - Rebecca's Pick
When one of my children is facing a big day, I like to pray out loud for them as we are driving to school. I will ask the Lord to give them quick recall and clarity during their test. Or, I'll ask Him to take away their anxious spirit and replace it with a spirit of peace before presenting a project. As I pray, I try to ask for specific things (not just that they would "do well") so that they will be able to see the undeniable answers to that prayer and give thanks to the Lord. On days that I don't pray aloud, I always pray for them after everyone is dropped off.
Verse Flip Book - Tammy's Pick
One of my "Terrific Three" struggled greatly with anxiety. After praying for direction, the Lord gave me the idea to make her a verse flip book to help her learn to allow God's Word to comfort her heart.
1. I purchased a flimsy $1 photo book.
2. I looked up my favorite "God is with me" verses and printed them.
3. I inserted them into the photo book and gave it to her as a reminder that while I won't always be with her, God is!
My print and cut and stuff version is pictured below. You can make it as fancy or as simple as you want. This verse flip book is from a couple of years ago. She still carries it in her backpack to this day.
Teach them to be independent without nagging -
We have a white board on our fridge that lists what my boys need to do before school, after school, and what types of food can be packed in lunches. This allows them to check the list when they aren’t sure if they have everything ready and I’m not asking each child a million times if they filled their water bottle. On the first day of school this year, my boy that loves routine asked for the list to be re-written as it still had summer lists on it. You better believe I wrote it after drop off!
Back to School Time! As each new school year approaches, I find my wishes and dreams are sky high! Yet I often find myself deflated months later in the middle of crazy schedules, overcommitments, self-inflicted sleepless nights, and longing for the next blissful season. Am I the only mom that feels like I’m failing because my checklist of draining items outweighs the life-giving details? This year I resolve to be different.
This year I will be the peace.
As we roll into this new school year and have a clean slate to start fresh, I am challenging myself to be the “Peace” to my family. Not to be the peacemaker, or the person spouting about peace, but to actually be the peace and calming influence in my home.
This will look like me
- listening to my kids work things out rather than trying to problem solve for them.
- saying “no” to good things, to allow my family to get more rest or more time together.
- setting aside stuff I want to do for myself until a later time.
- having my kids plan a day of family fun that they want to do.
- planning school supply shopping earlier, or online, so I'm not all stressed out and yelling.
- stopping myself from spewing worry and frustration from my mouth because I am nervous about my kids starting school.
Here are the top 5 ways I will be the peace in my home at the start of this school year.
1. I will be excited about the endless possibilities of this new school year.
I will not allow my fears and worries transfer onto my children. Any concerns I have over the new school year, I will take to the Lord rather than speak them out loud for my children to hear.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
II Timothy 1:7 NKJV
2. I will speak words of life over my children
I will speak only life-giving words about the new school year. I will encourage my children to speak to God about their own back to school butterflies.
“Don’t worry about anything,
but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God.”
Philippians 4:6 HCSB
3. I will Say “No” to excess.
I will say “No” to the things that add too much to my plate. “No” to the things that don’t give me life. “No” to the invites for good things that will have me forego great family times. I will let these last weeks and days before school starts be intentional and not chaotic.
“God’s curse blights the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
He gives proud skeptics a cold shoulder,
but if you’re down on your luck,
he’s right there to help.
Wise living gets rewarded with honor;
stupid living gets the booby prize.”
Proverbs 3:33-35 MSG
4. In the words of Elsa, I will “let it go!”
If I forgot to order the personalized backpack in the perfect color, I will let it go.
If I am almost done with summer and my bucket list hasn’t even been touched, I will let the guilt go.
If I am upset that my child didn’t get in a class with their best friend, I will let it go.
I will let go of the back to school clothes shopping. I will instead turn it into a fun September activity together rather than a knockdown, drag-out stress-ball of time for back to school. (Honestly, the weather is still as hot as anything, and they won’t wear the cute fall clothes for a few months anyway!)
This is an opportunity to choose peace over being frazzled.
“And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Colossians 3:17 HCSB
5. I will be there.
Once school starts, I will just be there for my child without overloading my schedule. Those first few weeks of school can be difficult for kids. They may not know anyone in their class, get a teacher they don’t like, struggle with remembering their new schedule, or are just plain tired.
I will not be on the phone at school pick up. I will hug them. I will sit down for family dinners. I will share about my day, inviting them to share about theirs. I know they will talk when they are ready, but I will make sure I am there for them to have the opportunity to talk.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB
My prayer is to find a way to let some things go and make a choice to be an influence of peace in my home this back to school season.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13 NASB
Denise Slater - I’m a mom to 12 year old triplets and a wife to a college professor. We both have relocated to Tennessee by way of Michigan (Go Blue!), Missouri and Arkansas, which means we have lots of family to visit during the summer. We are blessed to travel quite often during the summer as my husband’s job during this time can be done anywhere with a modem.
'A car not my own sat in my driveway this morning. Two other cars were in its spot last night. This is the new phase of parenting we're in, one where my kids and their friends drive. Not only do they drive, but they now choose where they want to go and hang out.
As I was pondering the bittersweet beauty of this season, I reflected on a few of the recent comments made by my kiddos' friends:
"Thank you for always letting us crash here."
"I feel at home in your house."
"You always make us feel welcomed."
I share these comments not to brag on myself, because it's not me, it's Jesus. Yet since I gave birth to my firstborn, I wanted to be the house where my kids and their friends wanted to come. Making that a joyful reality is a daily feat in itself because there are
- Shoes and dirt and wrappers and pillows everywhere.
- Late night laughter and early morning pancake making guarantee a less than ideal 8 hours of sleep for this momma.
However, I wouldn't have it any other way.
It's not about a beautifully clean house or a pantry abounding with snacks. It's about loving and accepting my kiddos' friends as if they were my own. Noticing them, loving on them, feeding them (ha), and speaking life to them.
It's having the eyes and ears of Christ.
The command to "practice hospitality." (Romans 12:13) and "show hospitality to one another without complaining." (1 Peter 4:9) is not bound by age restriction or stage of life requirement. It's just a command to share your life with those who walk thru your door:
Open your home to young and old alike with a cheerful attitude.
And oh, my friend, the ministry opportunities I have as they are noisily eating salsa and dip at my table or quietly slipping in my door at 10:30 at night. These are the opportunities to speak life and truth and peace into my kiddos' friends, these friends they choose to hang with, listen to, and do life with. Priceless!
Hospitality. It certainly is not what I pictured 17 years ago as I was rocking my firstborn to sleep. It's much more beautiful. It's an always/anytime open door to my physical home, but more importantly, it's an open door to my heart and my time, regardless of age or season of life.
Come on, Mommas! Throw open the door! This generation needs us. Who better to speak truth and life into our kiddos' friends than us Jesus Girls!
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11
*Disclaimer: I am not a political or Biblical scholar; no way, no how, not even close! This is not a political post, but rather how I feel we are seeing Biblical prophecy fulfilled right before our eyes.
Last week I watched the press conference as President Donald Trump met with Vladimir Putin, President of Russia. I’ll admit it, normally politics don’t interest me too much. I know I should show more interest in today’s current affairs, but sometimes it goes right over my head! I also noticed all the negativity and harsh comments made about the historical summit. But last weeks press conference intrigued me because I believe we are see Biblical prophecy fulfilled right before our very eyes!
Whatever your political standing is, whether or not you agree with our current President and the decisions he is making, one thing stands true for us as believers, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1) We must pray for our leaders!
As I read Scripture about the prophecy of the end times, I get so excited about Christ’s return! We know that “no man knows the day or the hour,” (Matthew 24:36) that Christ will return, but we have been given God’s Word that clearly states the things that must take place before Christ comes back for His bride!
“God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3
I remember as a child I would hear sermons on the rapture and Jesus’ return. To be honest, it scared me! My friends and I would always say things like, “I just want to turn sixteen and drive! I hope the Lord doesn’t come back before then!” or, “I want to get married, have kids, then the Lord can come back!” Oh how immature in my faith I was! Knowing that heaven is far greater than anything this world has to offer was really hard for a young girl to wrap her mind around.
If you are interested in reading about prophecy, the book of Daniel chapters 7-12 form the framework for the book of Revelation and for the understanding of Biblical prophecy. It's really impossible to understand what's going on in Revelation without understanding the book of Daniel.
He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.” Daniel 12:9-10
Another one to help us understand the end times is the book of Ezekiel, that is the most referenced Old Testament book in Revelation. This is so deep and so rich and rather impossible for me to break down in one blog post, maybe a study will be birthed!
My heart is stirring for us as believers to have a longing and excitement for Heaven. When we see historical moments occur with nations, or the United State’s support of Israel and moving of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, I want us to get so excited to see that we are one step closer to seeing Jesus face to face! I pray that we notice and are aware of God’s Word coming to life before our eyes.
As my husband and I had the honor of walking where Jesus walked last January, Scripture became so real! As we stood where Jesus would make his return through the Eastern Gate and as we stood on top of the Temple Mount in the place that Jesus will rebuild His temple...y’all, there are no words!
When wars break out or peace offerings are given, why are we surprised? We have the instruction Book that tells us who wins in the end! No matter what happens in this world, we have hope knowing that God gave us His Word, He has not forsaken us nor forgotten about us, He has given us the greatest hope...hope of His return, hope of eternity with Him! As believers, we must continue to pray for this world and our leaders. We must be burdened for those that don’t know the Lord. We have such great responsibility to live out each and every day the love of Jesus and be the example that God has called us to be.
I encourage you to dig into Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation and see how God has orchestrated every piece of history and prophecy to ultimately support Jesus’ return for His children. I am never more thankful to be a Christian and to place my hope and future in the hands of the One who created me!
Laura is a pastor's wife, mom to two crazy fun kids, part-time marketing director, loves hanging out in her community and building relationships...oh and loves to laugh!
Hard marriages. Floundering economies. Troubled children. Failing health. Drama and Chaos. Division home and abroad.
What in the world? Why is life so hard? Why are we believers stressed out, strung out, over-tired, and down-right wore out?
We've lost our vision and our hope.
We've forgotten we weren't created for this world. We are just passing thru. Our real home is wherever Jesus is.
In fact, He encouraged His disciples and us in John 14:
1"Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You believe in God; believe in Me as well.
2In My Father’s house are many rooms.
If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?"
A charge and a promise:
- Do not lose hope.
- I'm going to get things ready for you.
As I was flying home Monday, I was mesmerized by the carpet of puffy clouds stretched out beneath me as far as the eye could see. So serene. So beautiful. So ethereal. It almost didn't seem real, but it was.
That's what I think has happened to us, we know Jesus is coming again. We know He's gone to prepare a place for us. But it seems fuzzy, and almost not real. We used to think, "Maybe today!" but today melted into tomorrow and still no sign of Jesus. Just more heartache and pain. So, our hope has evaporated like the morning fog.
But Heaven is real. Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for us. He only spoke the truth; therefore that's what He is doing, preparing a place for us! A place full of joy and love and peace and beauty. A very real place, oh so different, and oh so much more glorious than this present life.
Soon and very soon,
- Your feet are going to be walking on streets of gold.
- Your eyes are going to behold a city of sparkling jewels with gates of pearl.
- Your ears are going to hear the gurgling of the river of life.
- Your nose is going to delight in the perfume from the myriad of flowers.
- Your mouth is going to enjoy the choicest fruits and vegetables.
- Your heart is going to mend from the sight of loved ones and heroes of the faith and the sweet face of Jesus!
Soon, my friend, soon.
"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully,
even as I am fully known."
1 Corinthians 13:12
Do not grow weary. Do not stumble. Do not lose your focus. You've got this, because Jesus has you.
"I have told you these things,
so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Fix your eyes on the prize. Heaven. is. real. It's just around the corner.
Keep the faith.
Meditate on the hope.
Share the joy.
Jesus is coming soon! <3
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
So I have a question for you. Do you ever go through seasons that feel like a spiritual drought? Or maybe times your circumstances are so scary you don’t even know how to pray? You might have even walked through a season where sin has troubled your relationship with God and you can’t find the words to say to come back to Him?
I’ve been there too. There have been days that I have sat down to meet with The Lord and I feel numb. Everything in my head is jumbled and I have no idea where to even start.
One of my most recent experiences with this was several moths ago when I was in the hospital awaiting surgery and ultimately the results to what was going on inside of my body.
I had plenty of time to sit and pray and read my Bible, but every time I tried I was just numb. I didn’t know how to feel or what to pray. I decided to open my Bible and start reading through The Psalms because I knew that they were words to God, from His people, pouring their hearts out to Him. Since I could not do this for myself at that time, many of these Psalms became my prayers in the hospital that week and even after, while I was recovering.
One particular very early morning, the nurses had been coming all hours of the night, taking blood, and running tests. I was dehydrated and this was causing difficulty in taking my blood. Two nurses began working on me. I had my Bible in my lap and one nurse could see I was physically weak and exhausted. She asked me what I was reading and I pointed to a Psalm. As the other nurse worked to take blood, she began reading the Psalm out loud. I can’t remember which one it was exactly, but it was one that was crying out to God for help! As she finished reading she prayed, in Jesus name, let that needle go into that vein. And it did! Praise The Lord, Hallelujah! And even though they weren’t my words originally, what a sweet reminder that God was still in control and He heard my cry for help.
If your struggling in your circumstances today, I encourage you to look over The Book of Psalm. There are chapters praying to God over sin, in need of help, in times of danger and trouble, in need of healing, comfort, forgiveness...
And if you’re not struggling, but find yourself in a place of spiritual numbness, there are Psalms of praise, celebration, and joy!
If you can’t find the words to pray, let these words be your prayer.
Audra and her husband Jordan are called to ministry and he is the senior pastor at their church. They have two beautiful children who bring them tons of joy, lots of laughs, and on occasion new grey hair. She is a former teacher who still loves to teach, enjoys cooking and baking, and has a passion to lead other women to know Jesus and live out their faith in Him.