Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to guard our hearts, but constructing healthy boundaries among the family God has placed us with is extremely challenging. In the gap between fresh hurt and restored peace, the words with which we choose to express our emotions can be critically wounding, or soul restoring. To process emotion as our Savior would, it’s best to talk out our conflicts with Him in prayer.
Father, praise You for family. You tell us that it’s not good for us to be alone, and therefore have placed people around us that impact our lives and move us away from the loneliness of solitude. “The Lord is my strength and my song,” Exodus 15:2 reminds. We must remember that the family we live with is not responsible for our happiness. They are not charged with the status of our hearts and souls. And they cannot control how we feel, nor leap into our minds in an effort to understand the depth of our emotions. (Continue reading at crosswalk.com)
“Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together.” (Ephesians 4:3)
Here is a wonderful prayer to use to close a meeting, church service, or any type of gathering! Use your departure as a time to thank God and ask for His protection and blessings.
Father, praise You for the gift of unity that the Spirit creates in our relationships! You place others perfectly in our lives, and inspire us as Christians to work together with the gifts that we have been blessed with. When we look at this meeting through Your eyes, we see Your gifts fostered in us to further Your plans. (Continue reading at Crosswalk.com)
Hearing the call to serve is only half the battle. Once we slip into the shoes we were meant to fill, the journey continues to twist and turn with ups and downs. But serving the church doesn’t mean loyalty to one building… or one logo. It’s all about one man. Jesus. And spreading His gospel of love, peace, and hope. The church consists of all believers, regardless of denomination, over all time. Prayer is a powerful way to see and listen outside of the confines we serve in. (Continue Reading at crosswalk.com)
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Summer is a welcome break in routine. Relaxation. Laughter. Sunshine. Fun. But soon after the regularity that our children are accustomed to comes ends, their health can take a brief nose dive.
To all of the moms exhausted by long summer days and seasonal viruses… take heart. Through prayer, we can regain our strength and help our little ones return to fun in the sunshine. (Continue reading at crosswalk.com…)
“Know His incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:19)
We are pulled in different directions, and hardly any of the popular notions we are tempted to entertain on a daily basis would have us following Jesus as God intends. But prayer is powerful. Through our wavering, the Holy Spirit translates, and God hears. In Christ, we have peace in knowing that when we lift our confusion into His hands, He will faithfully guide us and answer us. (Continue reading at crosswalk.com)
It’s challenging for a mother to let go of an injustice that has befallen her child. Bullying is an epidemic, and it’s not limited to physical harm. The mental torment that some children receive in the classroom can distract them from learning, and lead them to question the very core of their self worth. (Click here to continue reading at crosswalk.com)
“It is by grace we have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:5)
Many of us feel the tight bonds of our budget each month. How do we have faiththat God will provide for us when we’re struggling to keep our lights on, gas in our car, and our growing children in clothes that fit? What about the ache to reach out to others when we lack the means to do it, or having to tell our kids they can’t join their peers because the budget is maxed out? (Click to continue reading at crosswalk.com)
It’s much easier to tell our children to say their prayers than to guide them through the process. Praying out loud is a bold expression of faith. Though many of us feel comfortable praying out loud in a group, it’s hard for others to muster the courage to verbalize prayer even to our own children.
Even when we are brave enough, we often let the opportunity to pray with our kids pass by in the rush of the day’s routine. Carving out time to pray with our children blazes a trail for them to cope with life the way God created us to – in conversation with Him. (Click here, or on the above image, to continue reading at crosswalk.com)
Mealtime prayers are essential conversations with God. Paul tells us to:
“Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18a VOICE)
Poverty and starvation are an everyday reality for some, while others of us quench their thirst and put hunger at bay at our leisure. No matter which side of the pendulum we find ourselves on, praying God’s will over our lives and our meals is important. (Continue reading at crosswalk.com by clicking here, or on the image above.)
Why do we let waves of fear swamp our lives, instead of dropping to our knees in prayer? Why does anxiety continue to crush us, when all we have to do is look up? Jesus has already cleared a path for us to talk to God, but we often continue to struggle within our own minds for solutions to life’s problems. Weave prayer into the natural inclination to solve problems by surrendering what ails us to our God. He promises to hear us, defend us, and loves us… through it all. It’s that simple. (Click here to continue reading at crosswalk.com)
God places people in our lives who bother us. He sets us in situations that make us feel uncomfortable. It doesn’t always feel optimistic to live in the pocket of God’s will of our lives, even when we undeniably trust Him. But, there is one verse that can help us bound forward obediently, without having to paste on a fake smile through gritted teeth. Beyond the sustaining joy we experience from a life walked behind Jesus, we can reprogram our thought process to a happier tune though the instruction of Philippians 4:6: (Click to continue reading at crosswalk.com)
Darkness can seep into the most joyful moments. Moms who are suffering with postpartum depression know what it’s like to live a sleepless life with the lights out. Whether you aren’t sure you’re suffering from PPD or know for a fact it’s attempting to disrupt your life, realize that there are many others wide awake with the same crippling fear. Click here to continue reading on crosswalk.com
Food is a common disguise for contentment. Whether we over-indulgently seek comfort by splurging, or restrict caloric intake to feel in control, it’s easier to blame what we eat for our problems than to dig past the surface of what ails us.
God provided food in the Garden of Eden, in the desert to the Israelites, to a crowd with two fish and five loaves, and He provides for us today. As Creator of humankind, we can take solace in the fact that He knows how our minds work. Lean into Him to live well-fed. (Click here to continue reading at crosswalk.com)
Whether you embrace the “stay-at-home” status, miss adult conversations, or work while they nap, the struggle to maintain a daily balance is real. No longer are we on our own schedule, but that of little people who can’t tell time. Life is constantly interrupted by inconvenient vomiting and quarantine-worthy cases of pinkeye.
They can hear us on a conference call three floors down and tucked into the corner of the basement, but are nowhere to be found when getting into mischief. Every time we turn around, we are letting go of one stage and barreling into the next. (Click here to continue reading at crosswalk.com)
When the tears roll down over your overwhelmed cheeks and you can’t recall the last time you washed your hair, hold onto this prayer.
“Oh, Mommy,” she gasped. “What is happening to you?”
Head hanging, sweat dripping, and tears surfacing… I looked at her and told her it would be okay… even though it was clear to the both of us I was not.
When mom goes down, the ship starts taking on water. The quicker she heals, the faster it rights itself. The best way to make a mom’s sick day is to shorten its duration, and for that… rest is key. (Click to continue reading at crosswalk.com)
“Jesus replied, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6)
Marriage shouldn’t be a defining characteristic of who we are. Jesus said, “I am the way,” yet many around us say, “he/she is the way.” Marriage is not a destination that promises happiness, a life fulfilled, or a sign of a job well done. Jesus is. (Click to continue reading at crosswalk.com)
The sobering reality of addiction’s prevalence is evident in our daily prayers. The “addicted people” we are praying for have increasingly become “our people.” Our family… our friends… our circles of influence… our kids. When we feel a child is lost, slipping away, and have only a crack in the door to peek in on their lives… we can turn to the One in control to restore life. (Click to continue reading at crosswalk.com)
“Not-so-newlyweds” know the pain of love… the joy of love… and what it means to
choose love daily. If you find yourself in this category, the memories of your early days of marriage might be fading.
You’ve told your husband to put his sock in the hamper (not next to it!) more recently than you’ve told him how much he means to you. Or you’ve asked your wife how she didn’t notice how low the gas tank was in her car before she hopped in to run an errand more recently than you’ve said how beautiful she is. (Click here to continue reading at crosswalk.com)
Locked doors and lock-down drills bring fresh emotions to the surface during parent-teacher conferences and morning drop-off lines. The realistic worries of a modern parent are the stuff of fictional horror stories. How do we get past the lump in our throats as we say goodbye for the day? Focused prayer allows us to cope with the broad band of threats to our children’s safety without smothering their ability to be a productive part of society. (Click here to continue reading…)
The dangers outweigh the practicalities of entrusting a child with a device that many
adults struggle to use safely and appropriately. Parental guidance is at risk of being trumped by the smartphone unless we put a foot down. (Click here to continue reading…)
Commitment is hard to honor when marriage doesn’t feel like love. There are undoubtedly unsafe situations that require immediate escape through the Father’s guidance. But for many, marriage slowly fades into an agreement on paper. (click to continue reading)
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
A mother’s intention is never to raise an employee that feels entitled to show up late for work on account of the line for their five-dollar cup of coffee. No mom pictures her sweet-cheeked babe steered through life by any other substance than her love. Yet, these fears are very real for more than just a few faithful moms.
Fear will grow up to crush us unless we fight back. Thankfully, prayer isn’t a wafting of positive thoughts into thin air, it’s a firm grip on the truth of God’s promises. (Click to continue reading…)
Try to get back into the shape we were in 20 years ago in just one year? Give up soda forever? Cut out all reality TV shows? Forcing it all to happen in one year sets up a resolve to fail. We all know how to set aspirational New Year’s Resolutions, but keeping them all year can seem pretty hopeless.
The key to accomplishing it all lies in getting to know who we are… one year at a time. (click to continue reading…)
“Good morning, sweet girl!” I forced a smile as my daughter crept down the stairs to steal
my quiet time.
Bible study since the birth of my children has been an eight-year battle. I’ve done all sorts of things to avoid being noticed until 7 a.m.
There’s little time for formality after childbirth, but always time for Him. Though we may not be able to wrap our exhausted minds around how to fit one more busy thing into our lives; the Author of Creation can stretch our time. (click to continue reading…)
In a culture that wants to convince us that we always need more of something, Christmas joy comes regardless of gifts. It’s not just a notion of hope, but the reality of God’s provision. Christmas is about a little baby born in a manger, set on earth to live out a reality impossible to everyone but God. And His plan never includes forsaking His children in a time of desperation… (click to continue)
Christmas can be joyful no matter our circumstances, because of the hope Jesus brought down from Heaven with His birth. Those of us blessed with the witness of parenthood forever share a piece of our souls, and it seems insurmountable to fill the void when those little lives that once clung to us in safety are replaced with somber quiet… (click to continue)
Divorce doesn’t have to be the crushing end to all Christmas traditions. Hope does not have to fade as the picturesque view of a familiar life wanes. Christmas is the celebration of the hope Jesus brought into the world with His infant cries.
Hope lives in Jesus-filled hearts.
When my daughter’s ukulele instructor requested I sit in on her lessons, I should have refused. My ears cringed when she practiced wrong. Although unqualified to critique her musicianship, my opinion hit her heart because of who I am to her.
How do we talk to our children in a way that encourages their character without inflating their attitudes? Take a deep breath, and just don’t say one of these. (click to continue)
“Why does it have always have to be like this?” whined my eight-year-old daughter. Both of my daughters react the same way to each act of differential sibling discipline, unfair choice made, or anything else that pops up on the elementary-aged “no-fair” radar.
We’ve all been on the other end of a question that we have absolutely no idea how we’re supposed to answer, let alone on a kid-appropriate level. Or, caught ourselves dead in our tracks over-explaining our reasoning to the children we are in charge of. Spiritual preparedness is the only key to responding to the wacky, weary, and out-of-bound inquiries pint-sized people ask.
Here are a few actions to find the right answers. (click to continue)
Being a kid can feel pretty helpless, but learning how to unlock a conversation with God is like discovering a secret superpower. Suddenly, the people placed around them will mean a little bit more. And turning them outward by teaching them to pray for their friends allows them to experience God’s love.
We can teach our children to pray for their friends using the acronym LET’S PRAY. (click to continue)
“But everyone else-” my daughter trailed.
“But you’re not,” I interrupted.
Modesty isn’t only about wearing a sports bra that covers what it’s intended to in it’s entirety, but also behavior and self-perception. A lack of it leaves the door wide open for comparative worry and anxiety, threatening to steal a lot more than innocence. Here are the verses about modesty that your daughter needs to know. (click to continue)
The homework problem that stumps them… the toy they don’t want to share… the practice they don’t feel like attending… the commitment they don’t want to honor… the sibling they want to smack… Preparing our hearts daily with the truth of God’s Word enables us to breathe through our kids’ meltdowns and apply the discipline they need to grow into God’s calling on their lives. (click to continue)
Parenting is tough stuff. Summertime can put an extra stress on schedules that don’t allow for stay-at-home-parent down-time, and further tax the juggling of working parents. The absence of structured school days challenge “teachable moment” opportunities. Here are five ways VBS can keep the reel running. (click to continue)
The sight of my daughters in their pajamas long after lunchtime sends my pulse into a panic. They’ve earned a moment to embrace their inner sloth after another stellar school year, but I prefer to make sure every minute of sunshine is accurately accounted for. My quest for a healthy mix of downtime and activity-time has unearthed some secrets to savoring summer. (click to continue)
“Mommy!!!!” my daughter squeaked with joy, “Can we please take Chicky home?”
On our annual fall trip to Amish country, my daughters cannot wait to jump out of the car and play with the animals at the farm we visit. Brianne has a giant tender spot in her heart for animals, and as precious as it is, we cannot adopt every animal she wants to add to the family. But, oh, how I wish we could. It’s amazing to watch my kid light up like that, and awful having to watch it break. (click to continue)
My husband and I sat across the table, aggravated as our picky daughter’s kids’ meal sat idle. The loss of us catering to her taste was starving my patience. As my volume increased, and my husband’s face turned red, God said, “Be compassionate.”
How does a disciple of Christ discipline in the face of unreasonable behavior? Prevent the angry parent fail by inserting compassion into your gut reaction. Here’s a five-step method to master those burn-a-hole-right-through-you moments of madness. (click to continue)
Parenting is a battlefield bursting with questions that beg to be answered. Thankfully, many older mothers distribute their wealth of knowledge to the next generation.
In a sea of moms willing to give advice, why are there still so many unanswered questions?
There are three big questions I tend to ask older mothers, and much wisdom to be gleaned from their answers. (click to continue)
No one ever told me how horrendous helping my children do homework would be. Even if I encouraged finished homework by Tuesday to avoid complete implosion on over-tired Thursday, the process can blow up horribly.
I’ve attempted multiple tactics: Hovering, double-checking, not checking at all, reminding when it’s due, putting it in their folder, driving it up to school when they forget, and ignoring it completely. We tried completing a little each day, all on one day, while waiting for sister at dance class, in the morning, after school… None have yielded a formula to equate homework with happiness.
In the world of “10 steps to a better (fill in the blank),” it’s easy to crave the end product of someone else’s preparation. The key is in knowing how to make it stick, especially in the realm of parenting. (click to continue)