Posted on June 25, 2021
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Life is hard enough on us without us being hard on ourselves. Continually criticizing your performance and worth will wear you down, and the kindness you withhold from yourself, you will eventually withhold from others. It’s time to put down your weapons and learn to practice being kind to yourself.
Christ has set us free to flourish in the fruits of the Spirit Paul listed in his letter to the Galatians. We cannot live out kindness in its true form apart from Christ. But within His love, we can learn to let kindness flow in and through our lives, fully, and expectantly. The wise King Solomon wrote, “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor”(Proverbs 21:21). To pursue kindness, we must pursue Christ. Kindness develops in us as our hearts are sanctified in Him.
Here are four habits every follower of Christ must practice in themselves to allow this fruit of the Spirit to flow outward to those around them.
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Posted on September 23, 2019
“Confident Moms, Confident Daughters,” by Maria Furlough, caught my attention in the author bio. As a fellow mom of an eleven-year-old daughter, I knew the words Maria wrote were meant to help equip my heart. A tough age, in fact one that now has it’s own, “tween” category, is difficult for this mom …and I’m sure many others …to process. Maria offers advice that is soothing and encouraging, Biblical, and relatable. (I normally follow standard procedure and reference the author by their last name in reviews, and I mean no disrespect to this author by not doing so. It’s the highest compliment. I truly felt, and believe all of her readers will as well, as if I was talking to another mom over coffee about the desires of our hearts to raise our daughters to be confident in who and Whose they are.)
“Our bodies carry a purpose, they carry importance, and each part is uniquely equipped with a certain set of skills. May be focus on this. May we rest here until the thoughts stop coming that our bodies are only for looking at and shaping up.” Maria Furlough, “Confident Moms, Confident Daughters.”
In twelve chapters, Maria enlists the expertise of a pediatrician, a nutritionist, and a Christian counselor to come alongside her in breaking down the root of our insecurities. Each chapter has a “Confident Mom Challenge,” “Confident Daughter Discussion Questions,” and “A Mom’s Prayer.” The prayers are heartfelt and powerful, as we know all prayer is. I personally love when an author reserves page space to incorporate prayer into the word count. “My prayer is that you will do your own digging and soul searching with this question in mind: What do I want my daughter to learn from my outward adornment’ choices and philosophies?” Maria asks her readers in Chapter 4, “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.”
I highly recommend this book to moms and caregivers of tweens. Its convicting, caring, and confidence building.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)
Posted on June 9, 2016
The product of my rushed suburban childhood is arm-in-arm in that sandy crop of kids, traditionally appreciating the last day of school in their little lake town …where the busiest road has a 35 mph speed limit, and we can count the number of stop lights on one hand. “Rush” is absent from their vocabulary.
Traditions can bloom dreams if we allow them to align our intentions with His design. The small lake town I live in has taught me to treasure tradition. In your town, on the farm, amidst a metropolis, or in your move; here are some benefits I’ve uncovered in establishing a little tradition.
foundation- the basis or groundwork for anything…the natural or prepared ground on which some structure exists. (dictionary.com)
Learning to leave God in our dreams takes faith tough enough to trust that His view of them will undoubtably differ from our expectations a lot of the time. If we learn to look up before we dream out; the surrounding blessings, people, and places in life begin to reveal parts of His purpose. Tradition rooted in Christ yields a stable foundation to dream upon.
“You are being built on a solid foundation: the message of the prophets and the pieces of God’s chosen emissaries with Jesus, the Anointed Himself, the precious cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20
Paul reminded the church at Ephesus to embrace the foundation that Jesus laid at the foot of the cross. We would be wise to do the same. When our dream is drifting with the Creator’s current, living it each day spreads the virtuous kindness and joy of Jesus.
“Take a close look at everything, test it, then cling to what is good.” 1 Thes. 5:21
I had all intentions of moving by the water to be out on the water, but God threw out the anchor… and beached my boat. And as I peeled back the layers of blessing from the shoreline, I’m so glad he didn’t let me rush past it all. Changing the direction of our lives is never easy, but layered in the learning are blessings that follow an obedient heart. “Clinging” to those blessings, to who He is, shapes a resilient heart.
resilience the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape.- Google
The pre-school years flew by, and the “Last Day” tradition that started with four moms is still growing … each year new friendships form and new laughs are logged. We pray for each other, help each other, laugh, cry and load up on a bus to celebrate milestones together… stand arm-in-arm together.
“So, brothers and sisters, all you need to do now is stand firm and hold tight to the line of teachings we have passed on to you, whether in person or in a letter.” 2 Thes 2:15
Paul wrote this letter to clarify some traditions that had been muddled in translation. Can you imagine passing things down accurately without the Internet?
I’ve been privy to witness, that the tradition of excellence my town, has more to do than just the happy disposition that often follows suit with living on the shoreline of one of the world’s Great Lakes. The tale of each home-town Tiger begins with tradition.
From the first day they high-five the elementary-school principal down hallways decked with yellow smiles, they are brought up to believe they can find their best and bring it out in others. The entire town cheers them on until they show up dressed in white to lookout from that shoreline together one last time …arm-in-arm. I’ve watched my daughters watch those beautiful graduates, confident they can conquer anything because they’ve been raised to believe that they will.
Confident, bright, and beautiful blooms are the result of roots. Spectacular moments of growth don’t last forever, but roots remain to break through the soil once again.
Christians are confident in the joy Jesus. From the very first time we high-five Him as we’re dunked under the water, or whisper a prayer…His truth allows us to bloom beautifully along life’s bumpy road. Like the graduates confident they can conquer the world, He stands with us, arm-in-arm, in a victory that’s already been won.
“I must say how pleased I am to hear that you remember me in everything and continue to hold on to the traditions I have passed on to you.” 1 Corinthians 11:2
Paul wrote this letter to the believers at Corinth as they were torn by spiritual immaturity in attempting to uphold tradition.
Triumph is synonymous for “coming back.”
The “Last Day” tradition isn’t always a smoothly executed plan, but we all keep coming back. Tradition gives us a space to embrace our place on this earth.
Sometimes the frustration in having to be still is God whispering that you’re already here. Perhaps the purpose of my dream to live by the lake was simply to slow down and embrace tradition all along. That’s all God asks of us …keep coming back. Keep the tradition of meeting with Him everyday …of looking for Him in everything we experience. Those are strong roots, a stable foundation, a resilient reliance, and a triumphant destination.