Monday, July 21, 2014

Being Still - by guest blogger, Lori

Earlier in the year, myself and a few girl friends went away for a weekend. We called it our "Strength Weekend" and it was designed so we could relax,  strengthen our relationship with God, and get closer to each other. We talked, prayed, watched an inspiring movie, played croquet and had a communion pancake breakfast. Also, each of us shared a lesson of something on our heart. Below is one lesson that was shared. I hope you'll find encouragement in her thoughts. :)

Being Still 
by Lori

The main scripture I want us to focus on: “Be STILL and know that I am God” –Psalm 46:10a

Since last year I realized my body has been telling me things are not going well.

-Depression (no joy, a week long, sad and wanted to be alone)
-Sick (Jan-Feb) 

I started thinking maybe I don’t know how to relax, how to take in the moments, or even how to listen to my own body when it needs rest.

As women do we know how to be still? Can I sit in one spot and take in God's Glory without thinking about my to-do list, my job, my pet, my worries, and my replay of previous events. Can I just sit here and take in the sound of the wind blowing the leaves, the wind chimes playing music, or do I hear the world and all its to-do’s?

#1 Live in the now, don't wait for tomorrow

-Don’t overload your schedule

“Look, I am Coming Soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done." ~Revelations 22:12

-Your schedule may not be packed to the max like some others and you may feel you are not doing your best because you’re not running around like a headless chicken. It's important to focus on what I do today and if it would make Jesus proud? (The little things)

-Think about the moment, about today, what you are doing

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  ~Matthew 6:34

-Don’t get caught up in worrying about things that could happen in the future. Example: Cleaning, planning my future, my projects/crafts, etc.

*Be still and LIVE in the moment

#2 Take the time to Love and Encourage yourself 

-Take care of yourself by treating yourself as one of God's treasures

“For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” ~Romans 14:7-8

-The world makes us believe that we own ourselves; God says we belong to him.

-Honor God with your body

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”  ~1 Corinthians 6:19-20

-The World believes that your body is an image and that we can do whatever we want to our bodies. We should ask ourselves, would Jesus do this to his body?

- Feel good about ourselves and where we are at physically and mentally. Sleepy, then get rest. Weak, then work out.

*Be still and Love, Encourage, and Honor your body.

 #3 A day of rest is crucial

-Do you know what happens to a battery when it keeps running? It dies quicker. We are no different.

“Six days of work shall be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest.”  ~Exodus 31:15a

-What is solemn rest? True Rest?

-Definition of solemn is characterized by deep sincerity; serious (syn.-somber, grave, honest, genuine, wholehearted, firm)

-God is the only one to give us the solemn rest we need

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  ~Matthew 11:28

-A true reset is to give it all to God so you may receive rest.

-You and the body/temple God gave will let you know how much rest is enough. That could be once a week to once every four months.

-It can be tough to keep this day sacred but if you do not get what you need you could end up sick and miss more than 1 day.

*Be still and REST.

Now, take a moment & practice being still (deep breathing and focus on breath)

craft with one of the lessons

communion breakfast

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Time for Everything

Have you ever tried to control the weather?
Or tell that rain cloud, "Don't pour yet!" 

What about the Winter or Summer? Have you ever tried to hold them back from arriving? 

This sounds silly and honestly, it is silly. We all know that we cannot do one thing to change the weather in an instant or stop how the seasons change.

Yet today I realized I try to do just that. I try to stop the seasons from changing. I even get disappointed when they do change. It may not be the weather's seasons I'm trying to control but I totally try to hold back the seasons of life. I'm not writing about the huge, hard things such as death or illness. I'm talking about regular 'ole changes like changes in relationships, career, my body as I age, or even the group of people God wants me to serve. I know the year will flow from one season to another yet for some reason I've gotten it in my mind that a season of life should always stay where it is...or at least be there as long as I think it should. When it doesn't, I get overly frustrated or sad. Silly me. Can you relate? 

Right now, I'm pondering how to better embrace those things that are just plain GOING to happen. As I try to change my mind set and get more comfortable with change, here are a few things I've found so far that I really like:

You may often see me wearing this pendant I bought at James Avery. I wear this as a reminder that whatever is going on in my life right's just one season.

Ecclesiastes 3:109
A Time for Everything
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Protecting Your Teen - Online, Social Media

This is not another post on what parental control options are out there to help you. This post is something a little different. Since just two weeks ago I was thrust into parenting a teenager, suddenly I have found myself scrambling for parental control options to protect her from social media demons/pitfalls. Over these few weeks, I began feeling tremendous pressure rise in my heart from the thoughts of, "How can I even come close to protecting her from it all or teaching her all she needs to know??" So...HERE'S A FACT: I can't. No matter how much advice other parents spew at me, I can't buy/download/upload enough "guards" to protect her from everything online. 

I needed this amazing article below to remind me of that. All I can do is put some parental controls in place, monitor as best I can, teach her wisdom lessons about being online, and most of all pray for God to help her because He can help her in ways I can't. I've shared the sentiment expressed in this article below for years to other parents as I mentored their I needed the reminder!!! We can only do what we can do. Ultimately, our teens choose for themselves.

Here's the article from "the Better Mom" by Elisa. Enjoy! Please click on the links to go to the website.
I’ve been a mentor of teen girls for more than sixteen years, and in that time, I’ve walked through some rather difficult situations with girls and their families. What has always surprised me over the years is how often the girls are able to keep their trouble, and rebellion, off their parent’s radar screen.

Before I had my own teen children, it was pretty easy to pass judgment about what every mom or dad ought to do in order to keep their children from walking in prodigal shoes. But the fact is, I could be that mom. All my children have the potential of going the prodigal way, just as much as I do. God’s gift of free will enables us to embrace loving him as much as it allows us to take one degree steps in the wrong direction.
Cultivating a Relationship with Your Teen
Even though I feel a sense of confidence about what my tween and teen daughters are up to when they are out of my sight, the reality is that I may not know as much as I think I do. We’ve spent hours talking (and training) about how to live with integrity and long term vision, yet our children will have to choose for themselves whether they will yield to God or the ways of this world. Their flesh will be as tempted as mine to dominate their discernment and self-discipline!
As a mom, I’ve had to fight against the fear of my own children rebelling, especially when I’ve seen how unexpectedly it happens in other families.
In one particular year, I was mentoring three girls, two of whom came from loving and devoted Christian families. Can you imagine the shock and disappointment when these girls made choices that landed them in a big heap of trouble, not once but twice in less than three months! I felt like a total failure as a mentor, shared sobs with not only the girls but with their moms! These were Christian moms raising daughters using the same Bible study materials I was pouring through with my own girls. 

Desperate and defeated, I begged God, “If this happened to these girls, what can keep it from happening with mine?”

He answered me. And He changed my parenting forever.

You can’t protect them from making bad decisions. Their choices are their choices. But you can continue to pour into their lives and establish a relationship with them that is bathed in My love. You won’t be able to control their future but you can be the one they return to in their mess. Receive them as I receive you. In love. Even if there are consequences.
By the grace of God, I realized I needed to spend more time listening and engaging with my growing children, and less time worrying about their future. I put my schedule and priorities under careful scrutiny, and made the necessary changes so that I could be available to hear their hearts, instead of being out at a meeting or staring at a screen or pursuing some dream that could wait until tomorrow.
I realized that we need to cultivate relationships with our kids that would be able to withstand the stress of a prodigal challenge rather than crumble under the impact of one. 
Yes, I could be that mom who has no idea what her teen is up, too. But why borrow trouble worrying about tomorrow? Instead, I’m focusing on on building a relationship that will outlast the mistakes and lay a foundation for God to make beauty from ashes. Will you join me in doing the same?"