When I was a wee lass, I distinctly remember the first time I saw a color TV. Up to this time, we viewed the wonders of television in black and white. But then my cousin purchased a color TV.
His sister and I ran down the hill to his house, bursting into his living room eager to see this modern day marvel. And there it was, turned on, airing a hair commercial of all things. The model might have been showcasing the wonders of hair color, but I was more amazed at the explosion of color hitting my eyes rather than the color of her hair from a box.
Having just come off an 8-day journey thru the Holy Land, the wonder of stepping into the pages of beloved stories I’ve heard from my childhood is like the black and white to color TV scenario. My friend,
I’ve heard the waves lap on the Sea of Galilee.
I’ve tasted hyssop.
I’ve seen the sun paint the sky over the Valley of Armageddon.
I’ve felt the cold Jordan River.
I’ve stood in the EMPTY tomb!
I've walked where Jesus walked!
My Bible reading has exploded into living color!
And I want to convince you, dear reader, to save your pennies and go!
Here are 7 reasons why Israel should be on your bucket list:
1. The Atmosphere
Like any other country, a sea of humanity walks the streets of Israel. Yet, unlike any other place I have visited, outwardly expressive religions walk the same roads with each other. Stiff hats, dark garments, the swishing of the long robes, the curled sidelocks, the slits for beautiful dark eyes, all of it within a country the size of New Jersey! The mix of cultures, food, sounds, and smells makes for an unforgettable experience. Yet despite the mix, I didn’t feel unsafe at any time during my trip.
2. The Locations
Think of it, many of the locations we’ve read about and studied are right there,
- the Sea of Galilee where much of Jesus’s earthly ministry took place,
- the desert -- where John the Baptist started his ministry and Jesus was tempted -- stretches as far as the eye can see,
- caves where David and others hid
- the gurgling spring where God narrowed down a fighting force of men to 300 to fight by Gideon’s side,
- the Jordan River which God opened for the Israelites to cross on dry ground, and where Jesus was baptized
- the Dead Sea where nothing lives, but everything floats, including humans.
- Masada – a king’s desert fortress turned Jewish stronghold against the ruthless Romans
- Peter’s mother in law’s house!
3. The Guides
Like an expert on the Civil War or Yosemite Park, I’d highly recommend going on a tour led by a local guide who is a believer. Passages from Scripture have taken on deeper meaning when told in the context of what was going on in the place and time of the event.
A perfect example for me was Abraham offering Isaac as a sacrifice. Questions I had about that have now been answered all because I had a knowledgeable guide who was able to show and tell things I wasn’t privy to before.
Another example was the eye of the needle - Just look at the door in a door in the wall! "It is easier for a camel to pass thru the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter heaven."
Oh my! Where to start? There’s the Old City teaming with history centuries old, the underground tunnels hewed from rock and dirt to safely transport people and water in and out of the city, the wailing wall with rocks the size of a small car, the Upper Room, the basement where Jesus was beaten and flogged, the Via Dolorosa, the list goes on
5. The Garden of Gethsemane
Tucked away from the clamor of the city, is the garden where Jesus declared, “Not my will, but thine be done.” Such a serene spot to reflect and be reminded of what He did for us and can do for us.
6. The Empty Grave
Every other religion in the world visits their leader’s grave full of bones. But ours!! Think about it, we can travel halfway around the world to visit an empty grave! Totally worth it! Woohoo! “He is not here! He has risen, just like He said.”
7. The building of your faith
Of course, I’m still on my own Mount of Transfiguration trip high, but I pray I’ve been renewed and emboldened. Just opening my Bible this morning to continue my study of Mark was totally different than just two weeks ago.
I can now picture the sky being painted by the sun as it rises over the Sea of Galilee.
I can hear the soft lapping of the water, and the crunch of footsteps on the shore ladened with rocks and teeny tiny shells.
I can feel the water caressing my feet.
I have walked where Jesus walked! Glory be!!
I’ve dreamed of traveling to Israel for 30 years. And I long to go again!
So should you because while going to Disney may fill our hearts with glee temporarily, a trip to Israel gives us another brick in our foundation of faith. It's a trip with an eternal impact.
I'm not saying it's wrong to go to Disney or other fun places, I'm just presenting the question,
"We save our pennies to go to Disney, why not for Israel?"
Israel should be on every Jesus Girl's bucket list because a trip to Israel takes the Bible, a living book, and splashes gorgeous colors over every setting.
So, next year in Jerusalem! Yes? Start saving your pennies and let's go!
"Healthy parents don’t find family time, they make time."
Make time. Ha! How does one do that in this day and age? Even though we all have the same number of hours in a day, some of us are just a little more intentional with those hours.
I want to be one of those people. So as I started brainstorming ways to be more intentional, I remembered three of my friends who gave neat Christmas gifts last year centered around making time together!
Below you'll find their explanation of why they did their activity and how. "The Why" will touch a familiar chord in your own precious heart. "The How" will make your job easy. Choosing which one you want to implement will be the hardest part.
Adventure Box - by Darlene Howell Waller.
The Why - If we looked back on our years, we don't remember the gifts that were given or WHO gave them. But for me, time spent together are some of my sweetest childhood memories. I remember the family vacations, the Saturday trips to the grocery store, the lake and camping adventures with my family, the fun we had in the tree house that my dad built for me.
But I couldn't tell you a single gift that was a "thing" that I remember receiving.
I love my grandchildren so much. One day I will be gone. I want them to have wonderful memories of their time spent with me, their Nonna. They have every toy imaginable! I just want to give them the gift of my time.
The How - Every year I try to figure out how to creatively give gift cards. This year, I found some ideas on Pinterest.
- I found a husband's letter he wrote as a gift to his wife. I just changed some words. This introduced me to the idea of "a monthly adventure for the year".
- I went to Hobby Lobby to purchase a shoe box, stickers and envelopes, but then I saw this trunk!! It was perfect!
- I found stickers that said, "Adventure Awaits". I loved the idea!
- Every month's envelope has a different experience that is pre-planned and pre-paid (mostly). The gift cards are places we go anyway: Movies, picnics, laser tag, go carts, the beach and Redneck Island, Christmas lights, pumpkin patch...etc.....I added some extra adventures, like horseback riding that I think they will absolutely love. (I can't believe I hadn't thought of that sooner.)
- We will take pictures at every outing and those pictures will go back into this box. In years to come they will have a trunk full of memories with their Nonna to fondly look back on.
Date Cards - by Denise Slater
The Why - A few years ago, my husband and I wanted to find a way to give more individual time to our kids. We live multiple states away from our families. This means we do most everything as a family, except for our date nights when we pay for a sitter.
We have triplet boys, so we don’t have different times to spend when a younger child is napping, or an older child is in school. To solve this, we came up with “date cards”.
They are given to them in their stockings. It is always one of their favorite gifts!
We currently give them three “dates with Daddy”, three “dates with Mommy”, and three “stay up late” cards to be used for the next year. The categories for this year are “Kid’s Choice”, “Parent’s Choice” and “Both Choose”.
The How - The first year we gave choices on the cards for different dates. The next year we gave less specific choices because we learned that some are weather related. The third year we learned to give date ranges on the cards to keep us accountable.
We have done different activities such as an escape room, the movies, disk golf, hiking, Skyzone, Chuck-e-Cheese, painting party, crafting, etc. (My husband now has a “no Chuck-e-Cheese clause for his dates. Haha!) Our “stay up late” cards are just that. Individually they get to stay up 30 min later than their brothers and pick something to do with both Daddy and Mommy. Most times it ends up being a board game or card game.
We have found that three dates per child, per parent works best for us. That is 18 different times a year that we schedule to go out, while the other two kids and parent are home. This would work easier for those parents of two kids to two dates in one night. While my parents were visiting from Michigan this past spring, we were able to do three dates in three nights while they had individual time with each of our kids also!
This has been an amazing experience to spend individual time with our boys. Giving them our undivided attention, without them competing with their brothers, brings out different sides to them. Our quiet child talks nonstop. Our boisterous child tends to be more reflective. Our creative child shows more insight. We are giving them the gift of time.
Our boys are tweens. Oh, that is hard to write the word “tween”! We are praying that these individual times invested will help us roll easier into the teen years to spend time with each of our boys. This gift of individual time has not only been great for our boys, but a blessing for my husband and me. I hope this will be a blessing to your family.
A Day to Remember - by Lesley Guilaran
The Why - The idea for our family Christmas gift ironically began in the toy aisle at Target. It was a hot August day, and I remarked to my husband that this was the time of year I started to look for gifts for the kids for Christmas, since Target clearanced toys in August.
He looked at me and said, “I think I’m done getting them toys for Christmas.
Every year they open them, play with them for a little bit, and then they are finished. It’s just silly.” Inside, my heart was rejoicing! I had been wanting to give our kids experiences as gifts for awhile, so we began talking about that idea on that day.
At first, we thought of some grand plan to go to a different city, almost like a mini-vacation. However, our oldest son has autism, and this past fall was a difficult season. Traveling to another city seemed to be a bit too much for him to handle, so we sat on the idea for a few months.
About three weeks before Christmas, I was listening to a blog post from “The Lazy Genius”. She was discussing this very topic and the idea of giving experiences, like a family movie box filled with pajamas, special snacks, and a movie for the family to watch together. I thought, “YES!!!” This is the family gift I have been looking for! Not some grand plan, but something simple; creating a beautiful memory out of something not so fancy.
One very important lesson that autism has taught our family, is to see the beautiful in the ordinary. So, ideas began churning in my head, and the one we landed on was to have a day in the small city we live in with our family.
The How - Each person in the family could pick one place they wanted to go. We would pile in the car and go to each place one afternoon. The funny thing was, we didn’t really go anywhere new! I chose the Old Town Spaghetti Store, my youngest chose SkyZone, my oldest chose The Green Frog Cafe (for coffee, of course!), and my husband chose to watch the sunset from a high point in our city, which just happens to be the Dairy Queen parking lot overlooking Wal-Mart!
We made a schedule for my oldest so he could handle all the transitions and off we went! At the end of the day, everyone said their favorite part was drinking our coffee or eating ice cream (depending on what they chose) and watching the sunset in the car. Our youngest LOVED it and said, “Can we do this again next year, Mom?”
It was really the best; we all felt it.
The gift of time is the best gift we could have given our kids. We have all loved it. They have not missed the tangible gifts at all, and honestly, that makes my Momma heart full!
Make time. These three friends have been intentional to make family time happen. I hope these ideas have gotten your wheels spinning.
What better gift can you give your family this year than the gift of being intenional to spend time with them?
May this be more than just a spark in your "want to"; may it ignite a fire in your soul to make time with those you love.
**If you want a copy of the downloadable to go along with this post, please share your email and we'll zip it over to you! <3
How about you? Do you have any neat ways you "make time" for family time? Please share as we'd love to hear about it!
Tammy Valdivia - 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.
Find us on Facebook here.
Amusement parks are not my forte. So when we decided to visit a popular amusement park, I knew I needed help planning. One of my friends is an expert of this particular park, so it made sense to ask her the best places to eat, what sites were a must see, and what rides were worth the 1-hour long wait.
Sure enough, she zipped over a detailed email outlining the best ways to get the most bang for our buck. I forwarded her info to each of my family members and saved it to the top of my email list for easy reference.
While we could’ve navigated the park with our own game plan, our visit was so much better because we chose to defer to her vast knowledge of a park we’ve never experienced resulting in a thrilling, fun packed adventure.
Unfortunately, most of life’s decisions aren’t even remotely related to navigating amusement parks.
Real life issues tend to focus more on:
Tricky job scenarios
Heart-wrenching health diagnosis
Financial gain or loss
"How could this have happened?” situations.
“What should I do?” scenerios?
Real life problems and situations require expert advice, sound counsel, and unwavering wisdom.
Thankfully, we have to look no further than Isaiah 9:6, which describes the character of God wrapped up in the gift of His Son, Jesus.
For a Child will be born to us,
A Son will be given to us,
And the government will rest on His shoulders:
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Wonderful Counselor. My friend, His counsel is a wonder! It’s amazing! It’s awe-inspiring! It's miraculous!
And where better to look this season than at the Christmas story which shows us a glimpse of how His counsel is indeed wonderful, wrapped up in one of Christmas’s unsung heroes, Joseph.
Joseph’s world probably seemed all right and orderly until the woman he was engaged -- Mary, a godly woman, a virgin -- told him she was pregnant.
Not quite the news he would expect from her.
Being a righteous man though, he considered his options and elected to send her away secretly so as not to disgrace her in a day where a pregnancy before marriage usually resulted in being stoned to death.
Apparently, this secretly sending her away seemed the best course of action.
But God. God stepped in and suggested a different course of action setting him on the course of a life way better than he could have ever imagined!
Four times in Scripture (Matthew 1&2) we see Joseph choosing to follow God’s counsel over his own, starting with Mary.
1st time - God sent an angel to tell Joseph in a dream that it was all right to take Mary as his wife, for indeed his heart's greatest desire was wrapped as a gift in the womb of his betrothed.
By faith, Joseph obeyed God’s counsel — that went against his own — and chose Mary as his wife.
2nd time - Soon after he had made this decision, an order arrived from Rome commanding all citizens to return to their hometown for a census. Mary’s pregnancy had progressed to the point of nearing the delivery of This Christ child, but Joseph felt compelled to go to Bethlehem. Can you imagine him knowing she was so close to delivery and having to ask her to leave her home and family?
By faith, Joseph trusted God’s timing and traveled to Bethlehem with a very pregnant wife.
3rd time - Having settled in a dwelling place in Bethlehem in which to raise the Christ child, Joseph received an urgent message from the Lord to uproot his young family and flee to Egypt — a place so opposite of his own customs and language and food, etc. — to escape a mad ruler’s death edict.
By faith, Joseph followed God’s counsel and left the comforts of everything familiar to protect the Christ child.
4th time - When it was finally time to return to Israel, instead of returning to his hometown of Bethlehem, the Lord advised him to go to Nazareth.
By faith, Joseph followed God’s counsel, curtailing his desire to return to his hometown.
Like us, Joseph faced tough decisions; marriage, obeying the law of man, his family's safety, and where was the best place to raise his family. God, in His kindness, didn't leave Joseph to wonder and guess which way was right, but He was faithful to walk Joseph thru them victoriously.
Did you catch that? Victoriously!
God's counsel isn’t only wonderful in Joseph's story; it’s wonderful today with any issue you face! Dear one, just as it was true for Joseph, so it is for you, also!
Our minds cannot begin to comprehend the depth of His amazing, life-giving wisdom!
Why are we negligent to seek His counsel first and foremost? Better yet, why don’t we heed it when He does send it?
It all boils down to trust.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him
And He will make your path straight.
Joseph lived as if he believed Proverbs 3:5-6. He humbled himself and followed God's counsel, entrusting the results to Him.
So should we!
Dear one, does your life illustrate an unwavering trust in the counsel of God thru thick and thin? Think about situations you are wrestling with. Like Joseph, allow God’s wonderful counsel to become part of your story, a story with a way better ending than the one you could ever imagine.
May your life's tagline declare, "By faith, ___________, trusted God's counsel over her own."
Father God, thank you for the gift of Your wonderful counsel. Forgive me for areas where I choose to follow my own or other's counsel over Yours. Change my heart. Increase my faith to trust Your counsel even when I don't understand and my flesh rebels. May my mind and heart embrace your counsel as wonderful and more desirable than any advice man can give. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen!
For further reading:
The Gift that Keeps Giving
When God Doesn't Move Mountains
Is God Good When Life Isn't?
Tammy Valdivia - 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.
Follow us on Facebook here.
We ByFaithShe Girls love cheering on other Jesus Girls who are living fearlessly for the Lord. Therefore, we are delighted to give you a taste of a year long devotional about to be released. Below are a few days of water for the parched soul from one of the thirteen mommas who collaborated on this project. Purchase info included. Enjoy.
Devotional excerpt #1
She was deeply distressed
and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly.
1 Samuel 1:10 ESV
“I feel like Hannah, weeping from bitterness of soul. I’m so sad and so frustrated.”
I wrote those words in my prayer journal on January 14, 2004.
We had been trying to get pregnant for about three and a half years, and we were facing our second artificial insemination. The roller coaster of infertility was wearing on me. Why did other people seem to be able to get pregnant when they weren’t even trying? (And who even says that to someone walking through infertility?) Why was God not answering our prayers for a baby? I became bitter.
Hannah wasn’t the only woman in Scripture who struggled with bitterness. In the book of Ruth, Naomi struggled so much that she changed her name to Mara, which means bitter (Ruth 1:20). At this point in our journey, I was dangerously close to needing a name change too. Hannah wept bitterly. Mara became bitter. This was not what I wanted.
I searched Scripture more diligently. I prayed more fervently. I asked others to pray with us. We sought medical help. Yet nothing seemed to change.
Thirteen years later, I can see that God’s plan is so much better. I can also see that He can handle our bitterness – even when it might be enough to change our very name for a time. He is not surprised by our reactions. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He continues to reveal Himself – through His Word, through the kind words of friends, through praise songs – slowly changing our hearts.
He grows us through those trying times, refining us even in our bitterness.
Please don’t hear me saying that God is always going to give you what you ask. He might, but He might not. What He will give is grace. Our bitterness can become sweet if we will only trust Him.
Father, thank You for giving us grace and for loving us patiently when we become bitter to our very core. Help us to trust Your plan and Your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Devotional Excerpt #2
We do not know what to do,
but our eyes are on you.
2 Chronicles 20:12b ESV
You’ve been there, right? That point where you throw up your hands and exclaim, “I don’t know what to do!” There are many situations that can bring about this type of response, and adoption is one of them.
During our international adoption, we learned that our home study file was inactive. This realization was a painful reminder of how long we’d been in the process – and that we still didn’t have a child. What we’d thought would take eighteen months had stretched to four and a half years, with no immediate end in sight.
To keep our file active, we would have to update everything and come up with more fees. I hung up the phone, had a good cry, and then called my husband, exclaiming, “I don’t know what we’re supposed to do!”
In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat faced a vast army that was seeking to dethrone him. With his kingdom in jeopardy and his heart fearful, “Jehoshaphat ... set his face to seek the LORD” (v. 3, ESV). He declared a fast, gathering the people to pray. He acknowledged that God “will hear and save” (v. 9, ESV), that they were powerless to face the enemy (v. 12a, ESV), and then voiced their complete reliance upon God.
They fixed their eyes on the only One who could give victory.
Throughout the adoption process, there will be enemies to face: discouragement, financial stress, closed programs, and naysayers, to name a few. You’ll face fear and uncertainty. Your plans will be in jeopardy. Especially in those times, set your face to seek the Lord. Acknowledge that you don’t know what to do but that your eyes are fixed firmly on Him. Sometimes God is waiting for us to express our total dependence on Him before He acts.
Our situation didn’t change immediately after reaching this point of desperation. However, a few months later we did receive a call about a little boy in a program we had not even considered. We basically started over. But in the end God prevailed, giving us victory and bringing our son home sixteen months later.
Father, when the enemy threatens with his fiery darts of discouragement and frustration, when we reach the end of our rope, help us to acknowledge our helplessness and fix our eyes on You.
Devotional Excerpt #3
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
Matthew 6:34a ESV
Before becoming a mama, I was an English teacher. When I taught writing, I taught my students about the four types of sentences. One of those was the imperative, a sentence that gives a command. Matthew 6:34 is an imperative sentence, a command given by Jesus to His followers. The Apostle Paul gives the same command to the church at Philippi in Philippians 4:6. Do not be anxious.
I am a rule follower. When a command is given, I try to follow it to the best of my ability. This command though? It’s a little harder. Don’t be anxious? When the pregnancy test is negative again, when you learn that you’re too young to pursue the adoption program you just knew God was calling you to, when invoices come from the adoption agency, when a country closes its doors, when it seems like nothing is happening ... how do we avoid being anxious?
In the earlier verses of Matthew 6, Jesus reminds us that our Heavenly Father knows everything we need. I believe this knowledge even extends to knowing our heart’s desire for children, which we would classify as a need. But perhaps He must have us in a place where we are seeking Him first before these blessings can be added (Matthew 6:33).
Besides being a command, an imperative is also something of great importance. This command not to be anxious is necessary as we seek to live a life of obedience to our Father. We could be a great witness to others as we are walking this journey. While they may not be adopting, they may be facing other trials. If we constantly fret and stew over each hurdle, we fail to follow this important command from our Heavenly Father. And we fail to show that He is trustworthy and provides in His perfect time.
Don’t be anxious. While not easy to follow, it’s clear that these words are more than merely a suggestion. They are an imperative from the One who feeds the sparrows, clothes the lilies, and gave His Son as our ransom.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You know our every need. Help us to have hearts that seek to obey even this command not to be anxious. Amen.
Gina Bowling is a pastor’s wife and a homeschooling mama to two swim-loving girls and a superhero-loving boy. She is passionate about women’s ministry and seeking to point women to a greater desire for Truth and a better understanding of biblical womanhood. She loves listening to podcasts and audio books, reading, and chocolate.
For more information about the devotional, click here.
We had no sooner stepped out of church Sunday when an incident turned my rejoicing heart into one that was cold and hard. My attitude showcased it. Not so much my words, for I spoke few on the short car ride home. But the air all around me was cold and condemning.
Once we entered our home, my man asked me if I was all right. You know the routine, I responded with, “I’m fine.” when everything about me said just the opposite.
Then it happened.
I opened my mouth, and the ugliness in my heart spewed forth. An exchange of words passed between my man and me, accelerating as my words became swords daring him to spar with me.
From the corner of my eye, I saw the shock in my youngest face.
Here was her momma, just moments ago rejoicing and praising Jesus, now a prickly mess of ugly emotions. I watched her take her Bible over to a chair in the next room and begin to read it. “How sweet,” I thought, “she’s found a passage to pray over us.”
My man had had enough of my ridiculousness and walked away, and I finally cooled my jets and took my erratic thoughts captive.
Later that afternoon, this same child and I were chatting when she mentioned the argument she had witnessed.
She - “Momma, you know when you and Daddy were fighting?”
Me - “Yes, dear one, I’m sorry you witnessed that.”
She - “I had turned to Proverbs 31, and nowhere did I see how you were acting.”
Me - stunned and scrambling over my thoughts I finally answered, “Yes, you are correct. My actions would not be found in Proverbs 31.”
She - “Most of the time you are a Proverbs 31 woman, though.”
Me - sadly smiling, “Yes, but thank you for loving me enough to point out when I am not.”
That was yesterday, and here I am 24 hours later still chewing on this incident, this conversation in light of whom I present myself to be not only to the world, but to my children.
I mutter and sputter about how emotions seem to be dragging many around by the nose today in the public square. Yet, in my own home, in my own heart, am I any better? While a nation might not be tearing apart because of my erratic emotions, something much more significant is at stake, my testimony in front of my children.
As I flipped open my Bible, I prayed that the Lord would reveal something new to me in Proverbs 31. In all honesty, I wanted to make this a parenting post, to wax eloquently about the beautiful reward found in verse 28.
But verse 12 stopped me in my tracks.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
My words and actions were evil?
My heart wanted to sweep this notion under the rug, but following my heart obviously led me into trouble in the first place. So I put on the brakes and looked up what the word “evil” meant in the original text. I was stunned by what I uncovered. Are you ready for this? It means “disagreeable, unpleasant, sad, unhappy, unkind…vicious in disposition.”
Bing! Bing! Bing!
That’s why my daughter didn’t see a Proverbs 31 woman in me! I was acting in a way which was just the opposite of a Proverbs 31 woman by being disagreeable, unpleasant, unkind toward my man, and - gulp - vicious in disposition.
God considered my actions/words as evil.
God, forgive me.
As I was praying about this the Spirit pointed me to a passage in James 3 which perfectly sums up this good versus evil which wages war in my heart.
Good - vs. 13 - Who among you is wise and understanding?
Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
me - I want to do good.
Evil - vs. 14 - But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.
me - But my selfishness often bullies my "want to do good" and reigns supreme. I need to stop kidding myself and call my selfishness what God calls it - evil, sin.
Evil - vs. 15 - This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. (Ouch!)
me - God considered my actions on Sunday evil, because my selfish motives played out the way a child of the world would act instead of how a Jesus Girl should act.
Good - vs. 16 - But the wisdom from above is first pure,
then peaceable, gentle, reasonable,
full of mercy and good fruits,
unwavering, without hypocrisy.
me - If I want to do good - and for my child to recognize me doing good as a Proverbs 31 woman would - I need to be Holy Spirit led, rather than Tammy led.
Tammy-led actions bring disorder and division.
Spirit-led actions bring love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Walking thru these verses in James spotlights my desperately wicked heart and how more times than I am willing to admit, I don't choose to "do good and not evil" to my man. Rather, I allow selfishness wrapped strongly in my emotions to lead me instead of staying in step with the Spirit.
God, forgive me.
This incident has given me pause and thankfully has been a wake-up call. I've asked for forgiveness and have implemented a new strategy: all interactions with my man are now schooled by Proverbs 31:12, “Bring him good and not evil, Tammy.”
While this turned more into a marriage post rather than a parenting post, the bottom line is that the greatest thing I can do as a momma is to be a Proverbs 31 woman to my child's father.
May Sunday be one of the last times my child sees me drop the "Proverbs 31 woman" ball. I’m not expecting to live a perfect life, but after Sunday’s gentle reproof, I will work harder at keeping in step with the Spirit to showcase the beauty and life-giving peace found in thriving as a Proverbs 31 woman, for the glory of the Lord and for my (and my children's) good.
How about you, my friend? Are your actions toward your man good and not evil in word and deed? If not, would you consider schooling yourself with the, "Bring him good and not evil, __________." mantra? Others, including our children, are watching. Let's joyfully and victoriously point them to the power of dying to self so we can showcase the beauty of being a Proverbs 31 woman.
For further reading on this topic
Modern Day Mary's
love him like Jo loves Chip
How to End Your Marriage
Blessings in Obedience
Tammy Valdivia - Jesus Girl, wife, momma, student, teacher, lover of dark chocolate, milky coffee, deep talks, and lively laughter. Oh, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
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Be Crafty - Audra's pick
I love being crafty and so does my girl! Whether it be painting, baking cookies, sewing, or making jewelry, we share this love of creating. It has been such a blessing to me that we both enjoy this and can spend time together while we work. The funny thing is, most of her creations turn out much better than mine😂, but I don’t mind. I just enjoy the process with her.
Spa Date - Laura's pick
The first thing my girl wants to do when I suggest a “girls day” is to go get our nails done! I started at a very young age taking her to a nail salon for special occassions. It’s time that we can laugh and talk, all while getting pampered a bit. My hope and prayer is when she gets older and can drive or when she goes off to college, I will be the first person she calls when she is in need of some girl time.
Parties! - Rebecca's pick
I got my girl's input for this Top 5 pick because I was curious to see what she would say. And, like me, her favorite thing that we do together is host parties!! I have always tried to make her birthday extra special and pick a theme that is near to her at that age. Well, as she has gotten older, she has developed a love for hosting parties, too! She comes up with really good ideas and has an eye for details. We enjoy brainstorming themes, scanning Pinterest, and setting up the table. It's always low on budget, high on creativity, and rich in memories.
Her favorite is her Teacher 8th birthday party that we had last year. All the girls played school and absolutely LOVED it! My favorite (and most challenging) was her American Girl Kit (Depression-era) 8th birthday party where the girls played with their dolls and her Veterinarian 5th birthday party where they "doctored" their stuffed animals. And, we both loved her Jesus Loves Me Valentine party this year, too. Whatever the occasion or whatever the theme, the aim is to celebrate each season of life, make our guests feel special, and create lasting memories TOGETHER.
Book Date - Tammy's pick
We have a standing day of the week that we go out, just the two of us, for some quality mother/daughter time. Depending on the season, it could be for a scoop of ice cream or a steamy hot beverage. We find a quiet corner and catch up on life. After she's shared her heart, we crack open a coming of age book or a chapter of a book and discuss it. These are some of my favorite times with them.
My two girls are blossoming into young women before my eyes! As my role morphs from parent to coach, these dates grant me access to their hearts and minds before they step into the next season of life God has for them as thriving adults.
Shop! - Kaylee's pick
My favorite thing to do with my mom is shop! We love searching through antique or thrift stores for something unique that someone else might consider junk. We always have the best and craziest conversations while browsing for hidden treasures!
Ouch! Just writing the title of this post kind of stung. I hate feeling like I’m not enough, like I don’t measure up. In today’s picture perfect society, the pressure to be enough is almost crushing. To have the cutest Instagram pictures, newest shoes, the most friendships.
We let the world put so many standards on our lives, and I don’t know about you, but it leaves me feeling like I can’t keep up – like I’m a failure. It's hard to accept the fact that we as human beings can never achieve perfection, but if we could just get past the blinding wall of pride and self-reliance, life would be so much sweeter.
Let me give you some hope. JESUS IS ENOUGH! In fact, He is more than enough. He is perfection in its truest and most real form. Out of His great goodness, He wants to fill you up.
I like to think about it like this: if being enough was a cup, I could pour myself out all I wanted to, and it still would not even come close to filling up the cup. But if instead, I pour myself out at the feet of Jesus, His goodness would fill my cup to overflow.
As a recovering perfectionist, this is so comforting and so freeing to me!!! I don’t have to waste my life away trying to achieve the unobtainable. Instead, I can rest in the freedom that Jesus Christ declares me His own. I don’t have to have everything planned out, because my Father already does.
I’m able to go about each day chasing His glory instead of my own.
It no longer matters what my peers think of me because I know with absolute certainty what He feels about me. He says I am loved, redeemed, cherished, forgiven, chosen, and beautiful in His sight.
And let me tell you, loved one, He says these things about you too.
Choose to take Him at His word. Believe in the power of Christ’s sacrifice. Submit yourself to His perfect plan and let yours go.
1 John 3:1 says,
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are! How incredible is His love!!!! He not only gives it to us, but He LAVISHES it on us!!! He calls you His child!!!! His beloved son or daughter!!! That is who you are!!! You can place your identity in the fact that your Father loves you and will never ever stop doing so!!!!! I hope you realize how cherished and adored you are today & everyday.
Kaylee Grace Snider - Kaylee is a vivacious 16 year old who loves Jesus and all those she comes into contact. Find more of Kaylee's writing here or follow her adventures here.