More hype. Less calm. More glitter. Less reflection. More decor. Less enjoyment. Round and round and round the hamster wheel goes. It seems to turn a little faster each Christmas, drawing us a little further from the true reason for the season, Jesus.
Yet, in the midst of the crazy haze of the holidays, a gentle example whispers life to us from the Christmas story. When she considered all that had unfolded surrounding the birth of Jesus, "Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often." Luke 2:19
I've been on the hamster wheel. I get it. More was never enough. New quickly faded to old. Colors became "Oh, so last year." More time was spent trying to keep up with the world, while less time was spent pondering the miracles of the season.
Finally, I chose to jump off the wheel and adopt the K.I.S.S. (Keep it Serene, Sweetheart) mentality. So I could breathe. So I could enjoy. So I could ponder. I’m glad I did. The older my Terrific Three become, the more I realize they crave tradition and a peaceful home more than the hustle and bustle the world portrays as happiness.
Few things picture Christmas joy more than a relaxed and joyful woman. Here are 7 calm, reflective, and peaceful traditions I employ to K.I.S.S. each Christmas:
1. The Reflection - On December 1st, I put aside the bible study I am working thru and pull out an advent book for my quiet time. I light a candle, snuggle under a warm blanket, and reach for the book and my Bible to reflect on the wonder of this season. Such a peaceful way to start my day before crazy kicks in. During the day, I enjoy listening to Christmas podcasts from Revive Our Hearts as I clean or bake or sit in the carpool line.
2. The Tree - To me, white Christmas lights radiated pureness and serenity. My children loved colored lights and pleaded for “pretty” lights. Sigh. I told myself “It is just a tree. "Pretty" lights are an “easy yes” in the parenting department, Tammy.” So, we compromised. I would wrap multiple white strands of bliss and add a few strands of color. They were delighted. I chose to delight in their delight. After all, they are just lights.
3. The Decorating - I used to change my Christmas decor each year. Crazy and costly! Now, I choose to reuse my decorations each year and tweak one area. 2 years ago, I let the kiddos pick the tree theme and color. Last year, we freshened the mantle. This year, the top of the piano received a new look. But everything else is the same just arranged a little differently. We crank the Christmas music and whip up some hot cocoa. We then decorate together, meaning I pretty much leave it the way they choose to decorate their given area. Beautiful memories are built with low stress.
4. The Gifts - For some reason, I felt the need to give my children a flurry of gifts each year. I realized this was filling something broken inside of me, rather than benefiting my children. Somewhere I heard the idea of 3 presents under the tree representing the three gifts the wise men blessed Jesus with whenever they arrived. I like it. It works. They’re satisfied. They still have stockings filled with little trinkets like Doritos and root beer. But the 3 gifts limit is one of the best ways I K.I.S.S. I'm more intentional in my gift giving, and my credit card bill is much lower!
5. The Focus - Advent, a time of expectant waiting and preparation, begins the first Sunday of December. I love the idea of daily Christmas readings with the family to focus on the Christ child. It's the perfect time to gently till the soil of their hearts. I tried several, but it seemed more of a hassle and a "check off the list" activity. That is until I discovered Focus on the Family’s advent readings. They offer low key, kid-driven, and last-minute momma friendly advent ideas. The kiddos choose the one they want to do each season. They then rotate each night who gathers the needed materials and leads the discussion. I.Love.It. We usually try to do it right after dinner or 30 minutes before bedtime. Rebecca posted about another sweet family advent idea which works for her family.
6. The Baking - Christmas always represented a flurry of baking, a mound of dishes, and added stress. A couple of years ago, I let go of the "from scratch" idea and purchased boxed cookie mixes, cake mixes, and refrigerated slice and bake cookies. And the angel choir sang, “Hallelujah!” SUCH a time saver, and I believe it’s cheaper in the long run. There are so many cute ideas out there to turn purchased mixes into Christmas confectionary wonders. Here and here are two sites to get your whisk stirring!
7. The Wisemen - When Elf on the Shelf became all the rage, my kiddos wanted in. I had already started my K.I.S.S. mentality, and it meant one more thing to plan and implement. Some people love the challenge, but it's not my strong suit. See #5. Also, one of my kiddos was struggling with anxiety and the idea of an elf watching their every move…nope. I have looked for alternatives and really like Laura’s idea involving the wisemen. After all, she’s created a download giving us 25 cards with a plan for each day! Just what this momma needs. I can’t wait to give it our own twist and start a new tradition.
Too soon, my kiddos will be out on their own, and I’ll be sitting in a too quiet house looking at my tree of only white lights. But maybe, just maybe, there will be a string of “pretty” lights entwined with those white lights. And I’ll have visions of joyful and serene Christmas memories dancing in my head. All because I chose to K.I.S.S. (Keep it Serene, Sweetheart!) each Christmas.
That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior. 1 Timothy 2:2-3
How about you? How do you K.I.S.S each Christmas? I'd love to hear! Or are you overwhelmed with crazy chaos? Jump off the hamster wheel and join me on the comfy K.I.S.S. couch. You and your kiddos will be so glad you did!
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.
Create God-consciousness in your children at Christmas
In his book Parenting, Paul David Tripp tells us that God uses parents as a faithful tool to create two critical things in our children: God-consciousness and God-submission. God-consciousness is the acknowledgment of His existence while God-submission is the surrender to His authority. Paul goes on to state, "Your children have the perverse and life-shaping ability to look at the world around them and not see God. Children who don't acknowledge God will act as if they are God and will resist the help and rescue that God has provided for them... Every day is filled with opportunities to point to God."
Perhaps there is no better opportunity to create this God-consciousness in our children than at the time of year where they are most prone to become me-centered: Christmas. Christmas can quickly become a "me, me, me" holiday if we, as parents, are not intentionally impressing spiritual truths onto their hearts and focusing less on self and more on Christ. But, if Christ is kept as the focal point throughout the hustle and bustle, there are so many ways that Christmas will have a profound impact in their hearts.
One of the ways that my family tries to keep Christ as the focus at Christmastime is a nightly devotional and activity called The Jesse Tree. My family began doing this about four years ago and it quickly became a favorite tradition.
Who is Jesse and what is The Jesse Tree?
Jesse was the father of King David. And, among the many, many prophecies that the birth of Christ fulfilled is one found in Isaiah 11:1-2, 10:
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord... In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.”
A Jesse Tree is a Christmas tree (we use a kid-sized tree) that is used exclusively for hanging ornaments that retell the Biblical stories that lead up to the birth of Christ. There are a number of Jesse Tree books available that offer 25 devotions each day from December 1st to December 25th. These daily devotions trace the heritage of Jesus through the stories and prophecies of the Old Testament enabling families to engage in a more meaningful celebration of the Christmas season. Each devotional story is paired with a representative symbol that traces the heritage of Jesus such the earth, an apple, stars, an angel, etc. These symbols are represented by ornaments - a new one is hung on the tree each night until all 25 are displayed.
There are a number of ways to do The Jesse Tree - all the way from totally crafting it out with homemade ornaments, to kid-created hand drawn laminated paper ornaments, to the easy method of store-bought ornaments (what I prefer), to a mixture of all three. The store-bought route may take longer to accumulate all the ornaments as you search for the right ones. It also requires a little out-of-the-box thinking. For instance, for Rahab's Scarlet Rope, we use a red braided cord as garland. For the Coat of Many Colors, we use colorful miniature glass balls. I also had to get a little crafty with ornaments such as wheat and baby Isaac. We are still missing a few but it's fun to hunt for them!
While Scripture is read and discussed every night when the ornament is hung, reading a short devotional to go along with it is optional (and based on your children's attention spans, ha!). One of the books that we have is The Advent Jesse Tree which is a short and sweet read but not very visually appealing for wide-eyed imaginations. The second book is Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp which is visually stunning but is long-winded and heavy on the author's interpretation of Scripture. We usually skip the author's writing and concentrate solely on the Scripture and pictures. My children are also at the ripe age where I can ask them questions or discuss ways they can apply the verses to their lives. Or, if you want to purchase a book that includes ornaments, Ann also has a newer interactive book The Wonder of the Greatest Gift: An Interactive Family Celebration of Advent that includes paper ornaments and a three dimensional Christmas tree.
Another (and important) thing we do is repetition, repetition, repetition! Every night, we go over each ornament in order, connecting the events of the Bible into one big story. We talk about the earth that God created represented by the earth ornament. Then we talk about how sin entered the world when Eve bit the apple represented by the apple ornament. Then we talk about how God sent the flood to cleanse the earth and how He saved Noah and his family represented by the Noah's Ark ornament. Then, the promise to Abraham that God would give him descendants as many as the stars in the sky represented by multiple star ornaments...and so forth. We move from ornament to ornament and retell the story, the greatest story, leading all the way up to our greatest gift - Jesus. It's a beautiful time where my children connect visible, tangible objects to the events that lead up to the birth of Christ. And, they love to see if they can remember the correct order. It's also a great learning tool for mom and dad, too!
I hope that you will consider the ways that you can celebrate Christ with you children this Christmas. Whether it's a special tree, a nightly reading of Scripture, baking cookies to take to neighbors...whatever it is, don't forget to tell them the bigger story, the greater story, on why we do these things and WHO we do them for.
The Jesse Tree - 25 Days of Advent
December 1 - Tree/Tree Stump, Isaiah 11:1-2, 10
December 2 - Earth, Genesis 1:1-5, 26-27
December 3 - Apple, Genesis 3:6-9
December 4 - Noah's Ark, Genesis 6:5-8
December 5 - Stars, Genesis 12:1-7
December 6 - Isaac, Genesis 21:1-7
December 7 - Ram, Genesis 22:1-14
December 8 - Ladder, Genesis 28:12-16
December 9 - Coat of Many Colors, Genesis 37:3-4, 50:15-20
December 10 - Ten Commandments, Deut 5
December 11 - Scarlet Rope, Joshua 2:1, 8-18
December 12 - Wheat, Ruth 1:6-9, 16
December 13 - Shepherd's Staff, 1 Sam 16:6-12
December 14 - Candle, Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
December 15 - Fire, 1 Kings 18:18-24
December 16 - Whale, Jonah 1:1-3, 17 2:10, 3:1-3
December 17 - Bethlehem, Micah 5:2-5
December 18 - Crown, Esther 4:10-16
December 19 - Tower, Habakkuk 2:1, 3:17-19
December 20 - Angel, Luke 1:6-8, 11-17
December 21 - John the Baptist, Matthew 3:1-3
December 22 - Mary, Luke 1:28-35, 38
December 23 - Emmanuel, Matthew 1:20-23
December 24 - Nativity, Luke 2:1-7
December 25 - Good News, Luke 2:11-19
For another fun way to create God-consciousness in your children at Christmas, check out Laura's Wisemen tradition - a great alternative to The Elf on the Shelf!
First, I am a child of God. And, like a child, I am always learning and growing. The more I know Him, the more I love Him. Second, I am a wife to a good man. Missions is his thing while teaching women to love God’s Word is mine. Third, I am a mama to three plus a sweet cockapoo who thinks he’s #4. My children are my ongoing sanctification. Fourth, I am a passionate advocate of all things healthy & natural, an even 50/50 split of introvert/extrovert, and a dreamer/designer. Old friends call me Becky, newer ones call me Rebecca, and the most intimate ones call me Beck. You can just call me friend.
It's that time of year where the hustle and bustle can easily take over the true meaning of Christmas. It happens to all of us, but how can we be intentional and keep Christ the focus?
When our daughter was younger, there wasn't an "Elf on the Shelf" alternative. Now hear me out, I am not against having an Elf on the Shelf and I do believe you can still keep Christ the focus even by using them. For us, though, we wanted to do something a little different. So, we started thinking of ways we could tweak the concept and fill her mind and heart with Scripture and challenge her to do things for others. That's when we decided to have the Wisemen come visit our home during Christmas.
We have a child's nativity set that we put out every year, and the Wisemen travel through our house looking for baby Jesus. They leave "acts of kindness" to do for that day and Scripture to go with it along the way. Our Wisemen typically come to visit on December 1 and stay through Christmas Day. Both of our children, ages nine and three, love this tradition and anxiously await where the Wisemen will be.
“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” - Matthew 2:2
As our daughter has gotten older, it has given us the chance to really dig into Scripture and have great discussion on things such as: Were there really only three Wisemen? Did they really find Jesus in the manger? We love these teachable moments to help her grow in her knowledge of God's Word.
If you are on our email list, I will email you a FREE download of 25 printable cards with acts of kindness and Scripture that you can use in whatever way you choose. If you are not on our email list, be sure and sign up here! Please let us know some fun traditions that you do with your family!
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!
Do you struggle to pick out the perfect gift for the man in your life? We understand! Today we want to help you out!
Academy - Audra's pick
If your hubs is like mine, Academy is the place to find a gift he will like this year. Whether it’s hunting, fishing, grilling, sports, or anything else outdoorsy, you’re likely to find a good deal here.
Act Like Men - Laura's pick
My husband uses this book when he mentors other men. In his definitive, bold voice, James MacDonald calls men to be watchful, firm in their faith, strong, and loving. This isn’t a call for bravado and bluster. It’s a call for men to mix tender and tough, to be humble, to follow Jesus. It is a call to be leaders, men of God, husbands who are present and caring and strong. It is straight talk—no posturing or posing or beating around the bush—inviting men to redemption and restoration in their manhood. No matter where the man your buying for is in his faith, this is a great book to challenge him to be all he can be for Christ.
Katadyn Hiker Water Microfilter - Rebecca's pick
My husband and sons LOVE to hike! They frequently go on overnight hiking adventures with our local Trail Life group. While I thought we had all the hiking paraphernalia known to man, my husband just told me about this water microfilter that he would like to get before their next hiking expedition. It is definitely going under the tree this year and I will definitely be giving thanks to the Lord for the way he weaves together the hearts of fathers and sons as they explore His creation.
Backcountry - Tammy's pick
My man is an outdoor man. In fact, our first date was a hike thru some forest reserve and cooking hot dogs over a campfire. Mind you, my idea of roughing it is a warm fire inside with a mug of hot cocoa. He wooed me anyway! He loves hiking, camping, dirt bike riding, etc. Backcountry is a neat site to find unique gifts if your guy is like my guy.
Man Crates - Bronson's pick
While every guy is different, and while most just want to see a low credit card statement for Christmas, there is something all guys have in common. Guys want a gift from YOU. They want to see that you picked up on something we talked about, something we said, or a hobby we like. This site allows you to do all that and more.
November seems to be a month of firsts for ByFaithShe. Our first FB live, our first giveaway, our first downloadable ebook, and now our first male contributor. When you read his bio, you'll see why he's fearlessly stepped into our all-female world. Bronson is my family's teaching pastor. We've gleaned much sitting under his teaching. It is with great pleasure, I introduce him to you today.
By occupation, I preach. By trade, I’m a recovering has-been football player. Currently, I’m the figure head of a house full of females. But I’m a first-time blogger. But after church a few weeks ago, I was asked if I would write out my message. It had been a difficult, and somewhat emotional, message to preach, so I was hesitant to do it. But since preachers only work one day a week, I figured I had some time. In the days that followed, I was blown away by those who were experiencing precisely what Luke shares in Acts 15 and 16. And the Lord burdened me to blog it out.
When I graduated from college, I was offered an excellent opportunity in the corporate world. I graduated unsure what I wanted to do, but a second interview landed this awesome job. The way it came together, it looked like this was exactly where God wanted me. But over the next few years, I questioned the opportunity.
After the industry collapsed, I was left unemployed. I applied for a few coaching jobs, and immediately a door opened. I felt confident it was God’s plan. But days before school started that door closed as well. And it’s a long story, but ultimately we were called into full-time ministry. All of a sudden, it was clear where three years of closed doors had been leading us.
Every one of us has had God close a door in our life—a relationship, an occupation, an opportunity— at a point that seemed so right to us. At the moment, when that happens, it’s easy to ask, “Why?”
- Why did that job not work out? It provided for our family.
- Why did that relationship end? We were in love, or we had our future planned, or she/he was so attractive.
- Why did a loved one get sick? They were the rock of our family. We prayed to you, God, for healing.
As we question God, we cling to statements like, “If God closes a door, He’ll open a window.” We want the assurance of an immediate replacement in our life. We don’t really live believing that Christ ALONE is enough. The reality is that there may not be a window, another door might not open. So what is true about the doors God closes (or opens) in our life?
In Acts 15:36-41, a door unexpectedly closed for Paul in his ministry relationship with Barnabus. But that didn’t stop Paul from trusting. God might have closed a door, BUT that didn’t mean God was done working. It was never about Paul and Barnabas. And as hard as it may be to hear, it’s not about us.
It’s always about God, and whatever door God has closed in your life it doesn’t mean He’s done working in your life. God closed numerous doors with Paul, but Paul continued to trust. God rewarded Paul's trust as seen in Acts 16:1-5 where a new companion was provided and churches were strengthened.
God WILL close doors in your life. They may be doors you want to be open. But He’ll never close a door He wants open. And the question for you is simple:
- Do you trust Him through it all?
- Do you believe that He alone is good enough whether another door opens or not?
God closed the door for Paul with Barnabas. He opened the door for Timothy to travel with Paul. Paul had no companion more devoted and more involved than Timothy.
- Are you staring at a door God has closed, questioning His leading in your life?
- Or are you trusting and obeying him no matter where He leads you from there?
The relationship door wasn’t the only door God closed. Acts 16:6-8 shows us Paul attempted to travel into Asia, but God closed the door. Paul and his companions moved west, but the Spirit of Jesus said, “No!” They are obedient to the mission, but at every turn the door is closed.
Have you ever found yourself there, not in Asia, but where Paul is? Have you ever been in a season where you’re obedient, your “Yes!” is on the table. But just as you think the pieces are coming together, you’re left at a bigger dead end than when it started?
Sometimes I hear people say that God closes doors to get our attention, but in my opening story, God already had my attention. I had planned to work for the Lord, coach for the Lord, do whatever for the Lord. I had good intentions, but what is actually true, is that sometimes the Lord intervenes in man’s best intentions.
It can leave us more confused than before, but we have to live believing He’s enough and be obedient to His way. Paul’s decision to move past the closed doors led to one of the most important turning points in history, the gospel left Asia and made its way to Europe for the very first time.
The truth of it all is that you might have the best plans, or might not have any plan, but God always has a plan. In fact, He has one very simple plan - our life, for HIS glory. Sometimes we live thinking it’s His life for OUR glory, but the whole reason we get breath in our lungs, movement in our body, and a chance to face today is to bring the King of kings glory.
And that means that sometimes He closes a door because there is a different area He plans for us. Sometimes He closes a door because THAT is how He plans to use us. And I have to be completely honest with you:
- Sometimes God is going to close a door and open another one. I think we pray for that and we expect that, and we trust Him for that.
- But sometimes He isn’t going to open another door, because it may be that His plan for you isn’t riches, that it isn’t success, that it’s not to be on top of the world, but to have the world fall in on you.
And the question you have to be able to answer, is if that ends up being the case, will Jesus Christ be enough? I know that can be really hard to hear, but it’s a reality for so many. Many who might have been told, “It’s just a matter of time, bigger, better, richer, healthier times, are just around the corner.” But it doesn't pan out. While it’s tough to hear, if that’s you today, you’re not alone.
In John 3:30, John the Baptist wrote, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John simply desired that Jesus would be in the spotlight, not him. He understood that God’s plan for him was to play a minor role, for God’s bigger glory.
I think that we believe our purpose is to have God play a minor role in our bigger glory. John also understood that a closed door didn’t always mean a bigger or better opportunity would rise. After Herod had John arrested and put in prison there wouldn’t be a better door that opened for John here on earth. It was the end for him.
It’s why the question you have to ask yourself, “Will Jesus be enough?” If another door opens, if healing comes, if the money is there. Even if God doesn’t open another door, if the money isn’t there, if an answer doesn’t come. Is He still enough? And the answer is 100% Yes, yes He is!!!!
When you have cancer, when you lose your job, when your house is damaged, when you walk through a divorce, when you’re sick, and when your family is scared. Whether every door opens or every door closes Jesus is still Jesus, and He will always be enough for you!
2 Corinthians 4:17 - For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.
If God opens another door great. If he opens it tomorrow…awesome, in a month, praise Him, in a year, I’ll still trust Him. But if God closes a door, and another one never opens…if the whole house falls down on you, our foundation in Christ will never crack, because Jesus Is Enough.
I don’t know about you, but while it can seem scary there is no greater assurance. I know I can’t make it on my own. I know that by myself I am not enough. A weekend of kindergarten soccer pushes me to the edge, but thankful Jesus is enough. No matter what you’re going through, that moment is just a speck compared to eternity.
Trust Him and BELIEVE that He is enough.
4 Secrets to turn God's "No." into my "Yes!"
I just had one request on my birthday: “This year, Lord, please remove the depression, heal my mind, and set me free from this plague of darkness." As the days melted away, I stood expectant that God would deliver. After all, it was my year of jubilee, a year of freedom and restitution. But as the sun kissed the day goodbye 365 days later, the darkness of the evening mocked the darkness closing in on my mind. I wasn't healed. Depression was still a part of me.
God had said, "No."
The Apostle Paul was familiar with God saying, “No." In 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, he wrote,
"Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.”
I'm not claiming my depression is from Satan, but it sure does torment me.
- It trips me in my upward momentum.
- It isolates me in a crowd of joyful people.
- It mocks me at the slightest seemed offense.
- it... ugh, the list drones on.
"Why, Lord? You can do anything. I know You love me. Why would You, in your great kindness, choose not to heal me?"
After I finished pouting, my heart softened. My "woe is me" turned to "Show me, Lord!" I craved to live abundantly with this "thorn in my flesh." I asked. He answered. Help arrived. God’s words to Paul became my lifeline, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Two phrases serve as handholds on this lifeline.
1. My Grace - Grace in the Greek is “charis” meaning that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness. I think of babies laughing, lambs skipping, and all other gifts in life that are bright and beautiful. These are just a small taste compared to the abundant grace God lavishes upon us. Therefore, when my soul is downcast with “woe is me,” God’s grace penetrates the dark with joy and delight and sweetness.
2. My Power - Power translated from the Greek is “dynamis" which is my favorite Greek word. Your mind probably pictured dynamite as you read it. Not only does it mean strength power and ability, it also means power for performing miracles! Chew on that, my friend, the power for performing miracles! Glory bumps!!
Just imagine any stronghold which shackles us from living the abundant life. Like dynamite blasts thru mountains of rock, so it is with God's power. It blasts thru any stronghold holding us captive! Yes! If that doesn't make you want to cheer, check your pulse!
So even though God said, "No." to taking away the depression, He was inviting me to say, “Yes!” when dealing with the depression. “When Tammy is weak, then God is strong.”
We sing and listen to sermons of God's grace and power on Sunday mornings, but how does that translate to the nitty gritty of life by Sunday afternoon? Oh, my friend, it is by applying God's Word. This is how we "Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear." Philippians 2:12.
Here are 4 Scriptural Truths on thankfulness which we can apply to help depression!
1.Thankfulness Beckons Me to the Light.
“Be thankful in ALL circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18
It's His will for me to be thankful because He knows that thankfulness is life-giving! Thankfulness alters the flow of my thoughts from darkness to light!
2. Thankfulness Protects Me from the Dark.
“we take captive every thought
to make it obedient to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:5
All dark and negative thoughts are cheating me of the abundant life Christ died and rose again for. This verse pictures criminal thoughts being handcuffed and thrown into prison to protect my mind from their folly.
3. Thankfulness Frees Me from the Dark.
“Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again
—my Savior and my God!”
Experts say worry and worship can’t occupy the same space. How kind of God! He knows when I’m focused on thankfulness, I’m allowing joy to bloom in the desert places of my heart and mind.
4. Thankfulness Empowers Me in the Light.
:“A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Depression is equivalent to a crushed or sad spirit. Yet, God, in His kindness, supplied us with the answer! His antidote? A joyful heart! A joyful heart hones in on thankfulness! A follow-up post will demonstate this link between thanfulness and joy. Thankfulness empowers me to choose joy in the darkest times. Thank you, Lord!
Bouts of depression are like the onslaught of seasonal colds. They come and go at will. When I have a cold, I take medicine formulated for my symptoms. So it is with depression. When it swoops down on me, I apply these 4 Secrets to shine the light in the dark. Is it easy? No. I have to bully my flesh. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely! Why? Thankfulness helps heal depression.
While I didn't receive my birthday request, I received something so much better: God inviting me to trust Him. I have turned God's gentle "No" of a miraculous healing to a life-preserving "Yes!" by taking Him at His Word.
Truly Paul's words have now become my mantra, "Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses...for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Soon, I'll share some of the cool science proving these 4 Secrets work! Until then, my friend, how have you beaten depression? I'd love to hear! If you're currently in a dark season, I'm sorry. That's hard. I get it. You're not alone. Let me know if you're struggling. I'd love to pray with you.
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, deep talks, lively laughter, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.