How to Create Lasting Memories With Your Kids – 5 Simple Ideas

“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100: 5

Intentionally marking moments with our children creates a living legacy of the many Scriptures reminding us to daily refocus on God’s goodness. Let’s resolve to live each day, not mindlessly ignoring the challenging world we face, but teaching our children to thrive in it. For Christ has already overcome the world. (John 16:16) The Father’s love will never falter based upon any missteps we make or misfortune we endure. Practice putting these five elements into play with your children this week, and watch the ball of joy roll through your house, and your life.

Click here to continue reading …

The Power of a Memory

“Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns.’ The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.” Psalm 96:10

God is unmoved. He reigns. He is omnipotent and sovereign. I know the truth of this verse in my head, but my world has been in complete earthquake mode. All of the wheels typically fall off in May, but this Spring’s combination of heartache and stress have left deep purple circles under my eyes.

“I don’t care …fine!”

The door slammed. Round two, day four. The tween years are rapidly rushing in the gray hair. Life isn’t stopping or slowing down so I can devise a plan of attack. It’s exhausting my emotions and frying my nerves. It’s messing with the amount of sleep I depend on, and interrupting hours when the house used to be quiet enough to unwind. Some nights both kids fall asleep on either side of me- one afraid of something and the other sad about something and we are all too tired to have heartfelt talks about it before we fall asleep. 

“Butthole …butthead …” The “butt” themed names continued to trail off as one of my darling children walked away to read her book as physically far away from me as she could get …to roll her eyes and make faces. How dare I tell her she couldn’t have my phone. It’s so great when that happens in front of other people in a public place …it’s my favorite. There’s no willpower, role model or Bible verse that can stop hard seasons and stages. I remember slamming my door off the frame when I was their age, but somehow I thought I had done just enough good parenting to skirt the door slamming issue. The respectful children I have raised are no where to found some days. 

On top of parenting two tween girls, life has piled on injury, conflict, difficult decisions, and air thick with drama in unexpected places. Life is going to be life, and if I don’t find a healthy way to handle the curve balls, I will start slamming doors myself. Or end up with stomach ulcers. When all of the hard, sad, trying, annoying, hurtful and overwhelming stuff reaches a certain capacity, I come unglued in prayer. The floodgates of composure open and the tears stream down my face, relying on the power of Jesus’ name (sometimes at very high volume) to pick me up off of the floor. In those moments, He is faithful to remind me I already have Peace.

Remembering is an important part of our faith. Psalm 105:5 says, “Remember the wonders He has done, his miracles …” (NIV) Our memories, answered prayers, and miracles are powerful. Remember. As a motivation for and focus of worship and the basis for trust- remember how the Lord has remembered.” (NIVSB, emphasis mine.) Compassionate and merciful, He sees us, hears us, and is with us. In the suffering hidden behind our highlight reels, He is palpably present. Psalm 105:39 says, “He spread out a cloud as a covering…” (NIV) to protect His people (NIVSB). His peace shields our hearts. He is constant. 

Constant means unchanging, uniform, regular or invariable. It’s continuing without pause or letup. Who, or what, is unceasing? Can we rely on anything to be regularly recurrent, continual, or persistent? Only God is faithful, unswerving in love and devotion. As we ride the waves of this world, He remains steady.

The dark circles under my eyes can be a badge of honor or a burden of despair. In every situation, I have a choice. And I don’t always make it well. I complain, but Christ is constant. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (NIV) The steadiness of Christ is in me. But I sometimes approach life like a roller coaster, strapping in and screaming when I’m scared and laughing when I’m happy. That’s no way to live. 

Through all of the chaos, Jesus remains constant. Unmoved. He sees me. He hears me. But I need to pause and remember the peace He died to give me. It’s not an easy world to live in. We will undoubtedly feel like aliens on our own planet many days. We’re placed purposefully by an all-knowing God who promises we’re never alone. Believe Him. Matthew 28:20b says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Happy Purple Circles,

Megs

The Christmas Bird (#jammed daily devo, day 358)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 358: Keepsakes.

“We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2

There is a little statue that sits on my desk. It’s a blue bird with a Christmas hat. I think it DECJAM24was stuck in a Christmas planter sent to my Grandma one year, and she noticed I liked it and told me to take it. Now, it reminds me of her endless generosity and love for her family. For me. Christmas was her favorite, and she was mine.

The wisemen charted stars and knew that when they saw Christ’s star rising, He had been born. From a scientifically proven stand point, they showed up. No cell phones or computers …google maps or Facebook updates. They just saw the star, knew what it meant, and went to see Jesus.

Not having all of the pieces of the puzzle, but enough of them to get there.

Life is full of pieces, and through prayer and time in God’s Word, He will convict and change our hearts on at a time. We won’t be whole until we meet Him in heaven. This little bird on my desk is a piece of my Grams. Until I get to heaven to hug her again, a glance at it brings back how loving her feels. I don’t want to forget how much I love her. It’s like that little bird stores it for me.

God blesses our lives with memories so that we can hold on hope. Christmas is one of them. We have heard the story so many times, that we can almost picture ourselves in the scene. It’s a familiar truth and love that gives us hope. He came. He was here. Now, He’s in heaven …and for all those that believe in Him, we’ll be there someday, too.

Until then, we hold onto the pieces, and work on our own …keeping our eyes on the star in the sky.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for Christmas. Thank You for guiding us through this life, and forgive us for focusing on it more than the one to come in heaven. Bless us to love those around us, and to be a reflection of Your love, to everyone that knows who we are. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Piecing,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

The Right Stuff (#jammed daily devo, day 165)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 165: Step by Step.

“They took some ragged sandals and patched them. They dressed in threadbare clothes—all so it June 14would look as though they had come from far away. Even the food they carried was dry and moldy, as though it had been carried a long distance.” Joshua 9:5

It takes two notes of a New Kids on the Block song to transport me back to the fluorescent colored days of my 90’s childhood. Watching them re-emmerge decades into adulthood makes me want to break out all of my old dance moves. There were no ragged sandals on those boys back in the day, but I plead the fifth on threadbare clothes. Back in the teeny bopper magazine days posters of their faces covered my walls and buttons with their pictures littered my jean jacket.

Today’s verse tells of some old-school trickery. Who would’ve thought that the ‘right stuff’ would be ragged sandals, threadbare clothes, and moldy food. They knew Israel was under oath from God not to make a covenant or show favor with anyone in the land. (Duet 7:2).

The Gibeonites were their neighbors …and knew they would be destroyed. They had just witnessed what Joshua did to Jericho …the famous story where the army marched around the city until the walls came down. They were scared, and figured the only way to get Israel to strike a treaty with them was to pretend to be somebody else, and it worked!

When we strive to be accepted for people we are not, we suffer anxiously until the wool eventually falls off the eyes were trying to despise. And the wool always falls off. 

Gibeonite Leaders (to Joshua):  We knew for a fact that the Eternal One, your True God, had told His servant Moses that He would give you all of this land and that you would destroy all of the people in it. We were so afraid of you that this seemed the best thing to do.  But now we are in your hands. Do to us what seems fair and just to you, and we will accept it. Joshua 9:24-25

They Gibeonites were grateful to be spared, and happy to serve in whatever capacity Joshua assigned to them, having successfully spared their lives. Meanwhile, Joshua was left scratching his head. He had failed to consult God …a familiar pattern of old …that once again landed God’s people in a sticky situation.

Old memories serve as great reminders of growth, but…

It’s important to remember who you are and what you’re fighting for. Joshua 9 (VOICE)

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for memories, and thank You for the lessons that You teach us through them. We confess, it’s easy to get caught up in the past …for better and for worse. Help us to make smart decisions now, learning from where You have brought us from and looking forward to where You are sending us to. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Remembering,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

The Crowded Mirror (#jammed daily devo, day 144)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 144: Remembering.

Whoever schemes to carry out evil
    will be labeled a troublemaker.” Proverbs 24:8 (VOICE)

Growing up, I was always getting in trouble for sticking things on my antique mirror, and image-144cluttering it up with pictures and memories. So, when I passed it down to my daughter, I got her started by lining up a bunch of her favorite memories all around the border. Mine looks no different. In fact, two of the three panes are completely blocked by cute chubby cheeked baby smiles and firsts. Happiness abounds on that mirror that I sanded down, repainted, and I’m sure in some people’s minds, completely destroyed. But to me, it’s become treasure.

Today’s verse has some harsh warnings for ‘trouble makers.’ In an attempt to make things our own, we must be so careful not to push past the path we are attempting to follow. Life outside the confines of Jesus’ love is littered with trouble and schemes. If we don’t stay close to His counsel, we are libel to fall deeply into …and possibly even the perpetrate, such scheming.

conspiracies-Malicious plots or plans to harm or to kill, which may be directed against other people, or even against God. Conspiracies are sometimes motivated by political aspirations, but may be simply an outlet for wrongdoing.- Dictionary of Bible Themes

The reason prayer is so important is because conspiracies sound serious and obvious …but they don’t always look that way from the outside. We sometimes only see glimpses of just how deeply evil roots can go. Prayer and petition in honest humility will keep us on the path of walking wisely with God.

label- a word or phrase indicating that what follows belongs in a particular category or classification. Dictionary.com

When we’re tempted to label another heart, it’s a stark warning for our own. Seeing trouble and labeling are two different things. My mirror may seem like an atrocious disrespect of property to some, but if they could see it through my eyes perhaps they’d see what I see. Or, perhaps they’ll come a day when I do realize the error of my ways, and decide to take better care of the belongings I’m blessed with. Do you see how situational each life’s trouble can be?

This verse clearly warns us to stay clear of obvious trouble, and I agree! But what about the subtle doses of trouble that sneak in the back door? When we stay close to Jesus in prayer and in the Word, I believe we will be able to tell the difference.

Remember, just because we see trouble in someone else does not give us the right to label them. That’s between Jesus and them. Christians are to rebuke other Christians, but be so careful to consult Christ before confronting another with their faults.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise Your just hand. Thank You for taking judgement out of our hand through Your Word and through Prayer. We confess that we rush to judge others a lot. Help us to battle off the human temptation to label and call out, replacing it with the tendency to love and have mercy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Holding-back,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80.