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A Spirit of Thanks is Contagious

My husband wrote a sweet surprise note thanking me for all I did today and placed it on my night stand. Because he did that, it made me think to write a note to him and each of my kids to thank them for something.

And because my son saw the note, it made him want to write notes to his sisters about why he’s thankful for them.

Then my daughter did the same.

A spirit of thanks is contagious. Who in your home can you write a surprise note of thanks too? Take a quick second and do that now- you might just make someone’s week!

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:3-6

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“When the Holidays Aren’t What You Imagined”

The truth that everything doesn’t always turn out how we think it will, is tough.

Two years ago, we were taking a ten-hour road trip to meet family for Thanksgiving – a trip we had planned a year before. Our kids were beyond excited, but after arriving to the hotel at the halfway point, the infamous stomach bug hit. The next day, we turned the car around and drove home.

But something remarkable happened. I waited for complaints and pity parties from our kids, but after some tears were shed, they actually showed far more concern for how their daddy was feeling than their disappointment.

They put him above all else. I wonder how much joy that brought to the Lord – seeing them choose gratitude and compassion over self-interest.

I love the Lord’s words. I love when He tells us that His will for us is to “give thanks in all circumstances.” His words and Presence change our hearts, and my kids’ attitudes were changed that day.

Yes, it was disappointing that we didn’t get the family time we had planned for so long. That just the four of us gathered around the Thanksgiving table since my husband was still sick. That what we had imagined didn’t come to be.

But, when it was time for the tradition of giving thanks, we still walked upstairs and stood in the doorway to the bedroom while my husband lay in bed – not quite how we had pictured it happening. Each of us said what we were thankful for, and there was a lot of love in that room.

My mind can easily wander to self-pity, and it did, but I caught myself. I reflected on how thankful I am to have my three kids and my husband. I am thankful we have food and a home. I am thankful we know Jesus.

The book, “The Hiding Place”, written by Corrie ten Boom, a famous evangelist during the Holocaust, is one of my favorites.

I’m in awe of Corrie and her family’s bravery in hiding and saving so many Jews. I think of the angst they must have felt as bombs exploded overhead and soldiers marched the streets.
I’m in awe of how Corrie and her sister, Betsie, still gave thanks and shared the love of Jesus in the barracks of the concentration camp, despite their circumstances.

Once we got home from our road trip, I read the story to my kids of Paul praising God in prison. I am in awe of his strength while in chains.

I am in awe of those who draw on the Lord for their strength and hope as their child, parent, or they themselves, fight cancer.

I think of those of you who have lost loved ones in this season or are struggling for different reasons, and my heart hurts for you. I am in awe of the way so many of you choose Jesus through it all.

I think of how sometimes it can seem like COVID has turned the whole world upside down.

But, I also think about how in the midst of all the changes here and now, what doesn’t change, and will never change, is how the Lord is greater than all.

How He is bigger than anything you will face, how he offers hope right now, today, in this moment – and how the Lord loves you, so very much.

I think of the upcoming holidays and how they will look so different. And, I wonder, how can we bring glory to God in the midst of heartache and difficult circumstances?

And, my mind moves to God’s Word to, “Give thanks in all circumstances.”

Everything doesn’t always turn out how we think it will, but one moment at a time, we can choose to give thanks, so we can experience God’s kingdom here, bring God glory, and remember that our greatest hope is not in the here and now, but in the Lord.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving full of giving thanks! ❤️

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Loving Our Kids in Their Imperfections, Just as Jesus Loves Us

In that moment, I was so frustrated with my daughter. I did not want to kiss her on the head and tell her, I love you.

We had just gotten in a silly argument and she was being so irrational, so I was frustrated and impatient with her. I muttered in my mind for the Lord to help me.

I had a picture pop into my mind of kissing her on her head and saying, I love you. 
I’m not kidding, I didn’t want to do it. I was mad.

But I knew I had to show her I loved her, no matter what, even in the middle of frustration.

When we pray, the Holy Spirit sure redirects our hearts, and that’s just what happened to me.

As my kids sat around the breakfast table, I went to each of my kids – first, to my other daughter who had been a delight all morning, and I easily kissed her on her head and said, I love you.

But, then it was time to walk to my second child, sitting at the far end of the table from us, by choice, eating her cereal.

I made myself walk over to her, kiss her on her head, and say, I love you. I love her so very much, but in that moment, it was hard, because I. was. frustrated.

But, I chose to show her that I love her through it all, even in the middle of frustration, because that’s what Jesus tells us to do.

He says that nothing can ever separate us from his love. And, I want my kids to know that nothing can separate them from my love.

Then, I walked over to my son and did the same.

Five minutes later, as I unloaded the dishwasher, my daughter, who earlier couldn’t get far enough away from us, walked over to me and said, “Please forgive me for how I acted.”

I was not expecting that. But, seeing my love for her, even when I was frustrated with her, lowered her defenses and calmed her heart.

She felt secure in my love and was able to apologize.

I told her I forgave her and then I apologized for being impatient myself. Because I know it takes two to tango and there’s always something I can do better too.

In these growing-up years, what I want my kids to learn is not perfect relationships with zero fighting (which is unattainable), but how to work through conflict, frustration, and bitterness to have healthier relationships.

I want them to know that love is a choice. That even when we don’t feel like it, Jesus calls us to love.

In the middle of our imperfections, Jesus chose to love us, and he wants us to do the same with our children.

Those everyday moments we choose to show our kids love no matter what, might seem tiny to us, but they’re actually really big to the Lord and to our kids, because we’re showing them the better way of love.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

#faith #parenting #beautifulheartedparenting

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If you missed my last email, I wanted to share that I just signed with Focus on the Family to publish my Mother/Daughter Devotional about women in the Bible fall 2021!!!

I’d love for you to be a part of the journey by being on my launch team for it, which just means sharing about the book with your friends when it comes out! (: 

I’ll be sending a few updates to the team before it launches. A fun perk to being on the Launch Team is that you’ll be entered in a Giveaway for my devotional when it comes out! 

To be a part of our Launch Team, just sign up here: Mother/Daughter Devotional Launch Team

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Some Really Exciting News!!! 🌟

I’m so humbled and excited to let you know that after several years of working on a Mother/Daughter Devotional about women in the Bible, I just signed with Focus on the Family, and they’ll be publishing my devotional fall 2021!!!

I’d love for you to be a part of the journey by being on my launch team for it, which just means sharing about the book with your friends when it comes out! (: 

I’ll be sending a few updates to the team before it launches. A fun perk to being on the Launch Team is that you’ll be entered in a Giveaway for my devotional when it comes out! 

To be a part of our Launch Team, just sign up here: Mother/Daughter Devotional Launch Team

Lord, I pray for each person reading this. I ask that you would lead them with their own dreams and that you would guide each step they take, lead them, and we pray that you would be glorified through it all. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Hope you have a wonderful day and again, we’d love for you to join our launch team (:

Teaching about Jesus in Everyday Moments

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Everyday moments are a powerful way for our kids to learn about loving the Lord and others. 

The other day, my daughter, Brooklyn, was mad at her sister for not sharing the fort builder sticks. When Brooklyn came down to talk about it, I first asked her to put her and her sister’s plate in the dishwasher. To my surprise, Brooklyn didn’t say a word but just did it, even though she was frustrated with her sister.

When I see a teachable moment, I try to jump on it.

I huddled our kids together and shared how Brooklyn had loved like Jesus loves us – even though we sin and mess up, Jesus still loves us deeply and even gave his life for us. When Brooklyn chose to wash her sister’s dish, she was still frustrated with her, but she did it because she loves me and her sister.

That is life. That is love. That is Jesus.

Fast forward to that afternoon. I was frustrated with my husband and saw his dish on the counter. I’m not kidding you, I said to myself, “He can get his dish.”

Immediately, I thought of Brooklyn putting her sister’s plate in the dishwasher. Convicting! So, I chose to replace my ugliness with love. I cleaned his dish and put it away because I love him and the Lord. 

In that simple grace-filled moment, I asked the Lord for forgiveness and to love better (And, yes, I told my daughter that her example helped me love her daddy better!).

Isn’t it nice when our first reaction is great? Well, when that doesn’t happen and our responses are anything but great, we have a chance to rewrite them.

Instead of growing in bitterness, we can grow in grace. 

That is life. That is love. That is Jesus.

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