The Life of Surrender

He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30

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Remain in Me

Well, we have officially been on break from school for one week.  We have run the gamut of emotions: joy, happiness, frustration, crabbiness, and boredom.  I get so excited for these breaks from school and all the time with family.  I often forget that extra time with family doesn’t always look how I pictured it in my head.  The past few days it seems like we have been living in time out.  There is rude talk, fighting, and whining, and Peter and I have had to remind ourselves and each other that our family and home is our children’s practice field.  They are not going to be perfect and behave perfectly all the time and it is our job to teach them what we expect of them.  The process can be difficult and not look at all how I pictured our Christmas break to go.

The above picture is how our village looked after Christmas this year.  Luckily, I have a talented husband that glued them all back together again!  I feel like my soul sometimes looks like it’s been through the runner after Christmas as well.  I think my attitude often needs adjusting and I need grace from God so that I can give it back to my children.  I think I get very focused on my children’s behavior and how they are frustrating me and I often forget to think about why they might be acting that way.

I was driving my son to grab some pizza on the day after Christmas and he talked my ear off the whole way there and the whole way back.  I realized in that moment that even though we are all home together, I am not putting in intentional time together with each child.  With our 1 year old it is easy because she follows me around and begs for my attention all day long.  I think I often let Peter interact with the older two because I get so busy with Nora.  Our oldest daughter has been whining and talking unkind and it all came to a stop today when I got down on the floor with her and wrestled and tickled her.  I didn’t hear anymore rude talk the rest of the night.  She just wanted her mom’s attention.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  John 15:4

We also need to be intentional with God.  Jesus tells us to remain in him.  When we are focused on him, our earthly problems seem to disappear.  Just like Emily stopped talking unkindly when she got some attention, we also have better attitudes when we remain in God and get his attention lavished on us.  He is not withholding his attention, we are running away from it.

Remaining in God is the best way to get our broken pieces glued back together.  That is my wish for everyone this Christmas season.  Let’s lean into God and let him make us feel whole.

Episode 14: Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

In Charlie Brown Christmas, he was feeling sad because despite all the parties, presents, and pink aluminum Christmas trees; He felt empty because he didn’t realize the true meaning of Christmas.  We can get pretty run down in a season when we should be focusing on Christ and his giant gift to us.  When we take Christ out of Christmas, we can feel burdened and bogged down with the weight of the world.  This podcast will discuss how we can keep Jesus as the Reason for the Season and how it is so freeing when we do that! 

Show Notes

Introduction and Conclusion music is Buddy by Bensound.com

Books

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

Blog Posts

What to do About Santa on Gospel Centered Mom

Five Reasons We Don’t Do Santa on New Orleans Mom’s Blog

The Christmas Conundrum  by Jen Hatmaker

5 Ways Advent Can Transform Your Marriage on Fierce Marriage

Promise of a Savior on Love God Greatly

It Meant Leaving Heaven  on Love God Greatly

He Came to Redeem the Lost on Love God Greatly

Ann Voskamp’s Advent Videos

Bible Verses

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  Philippians 2:6-8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules. Colossians 2:20

Peace When Loved Ones Are Hurting

Today marks the second week of Advent.  Even in this Advent season, people are feeling hurt, broken, afraid, sad, and unsatisfied with their lives.  This world can be a very difficult place to be.  I think we have all felt like we have wanted our wounds mended, our souls healed, and to live in happiness.  We also want these things for our loved ones.  I absolutely hate to see my loved ones suffer for any reason.  I hate to see them get their feelings hurt or feel unappreciated.  I hate to see them feel any pain.  I hate to see them feel even the slightest discomfort.  I ran home last week to get my daughter’s sweatshirt because I hated the thought of her sitting in her classroom uncomfortable and cold.

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What I am realizing is that God will allow our loved ones to walk through hard things.  Our loved ones will not have a perfect life, just like we will not have a perfect life.  It is in the struggles where we grow and learn to trust God in everything.  When I try to step in and “save” my loved ones from walking through a hard thing, I am stepping out of God’s plan and trying to form my own plan.  My loved ones don’t need me to rescue them from their struggles, they need to know that I am praying for them and asking God to draw them nearer to Him.

A few years ago, a family we knew was going through a big heartache and struggle.  I told my mom that I just couldn’t get them out of my mind.  It was so hard to fathom what they were going through.  My mom wisely told me that the reason I couldn’t get them out of my mind was because God wanted me to lift them up to Him.  Every time I thought of that family I should pray as hard as I could.  That conversation has been in my mind quite a bit these last few years.  My biggest defense against the struggles of my loved ones is to turn those people over to my Heavenly Father.

This world is full of hurting people.  It can be very discouraging to feel like we can’t be there to help everyone.  The idea that I can lift all of those people that enter my mind over to God gives me peace.  I have really been enjoying Ann Voskamp’s Advent videos.  The second week of Advent represents peace.  Peace can sometimes be very elusive.  We see all the headlines around us and it is hard to be peaceful when this world feels so broken.  Ultimately, our only peace is resting in God through prayer.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ.  Philippians 4:7

This holiday season I want to have peace by putting my cares where they belong, with God.

Dear Lord,

   Please be with all of our loved ones this holiday season.  Help them to feel your peace and bring them closer to you.  Help them to feel your presence in their lives and help them to walk in your ways.  Most of all, Lord, help them to feel your love for them, your perfect love.

We love you,

Amen

Immanuel

We have begun our Advent season and I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have been lacking some zeal.  Today was our first day back at school after Thanksgiving and it is always hard to go back to work after a long holiday weekend.  The atmosphere in my soul felt very heavy last night.  I was talking to Peter about it and I think we concluded that I am clinging to the wrong things in this world.  In general, I want my life to be nice and easy.  The reality is that my life can’t be what I want it to be because we live in a sinful world.  When I feel burdened, it is because I am relying way too much on my circumstances to make me happy.

I think it is hard to go back to work after a break because my circumstances feel good during break.  I love to get to spend all that extra time with my family and be able to relax.  I love to not have to answer to the clock and have more freedom to do the things I want to do.  These holidays and breaks are a beautiful thing and I think they help us replenish.  We are not meant to live in “holiday mode” our whole lives.  I have been thinking of it like church.  Church is a gathering place for one day a week to go and get filled back up after a long week of following Christ.  I need to put in the hard work to get to the payoff (or enjoy my payoff fully).

Now that Thanksgiving is over, Christ is wanting me to go out and do his will for my life.  Fortunately, I live in the time of the Holy Spirit and I am able to feel his presence right within my soul.  God’s people were so looking forward to Christ coming to be with them.

immanuel

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel which means, “God with us.”       Matthew 1:23

We live in a time where we can read all about our Immanuel or our “God with us” in the gospels.  We also have the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us through our days.

I was watching  Ann Voskamp’s first week of Advent video and it is all about hope.  The sermon made sure to emphasize that it is not just remembering that God’s people were waiting for Jesus to come the first time, but we are also waiting for his second coming.  It is a time of preparation for us to be ready for Jesus’s second arrival.  At that time we will get to spend eternity with Him and be done with all the pain and disappointment here on Earth.

Peter and I have been reading in Matthew and chapters 24 and 25 are all about being ready for Christ’s second coming.  These have not been my favorite chapters to read, but they are very important!  The wording always seems a little menacing to me, but I think it is because he wants us to know that we need to be prepared for him.  It is so easy to get swept up in this world’s distractions and not be prepared for our King!

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.   Matthew 24:42-44

I can feel that I am not fully prepared for his arrival when I am relying heavily on my emotions about the circumstances that surround me. This week I will be focusing on hope for my future in Heaven.  I want to remember that Advent is not just a remembrance of Immanuel coming the first time, but also preparing ourselves for his final arrival.  The hope of Heaven and eternal life with God is the greatest hope of all.

Episode 13: Engaging Our Children Wholeheartedly

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Anyone who has kids will be able to tell you how quickly time passes. It seems each year and each child we have time spins faster and faster.  Our oldest daughter’s five years have flashed before our eyes in a blink.  When we think about this time passing so quickly, we also want to think about how we are using that time.  Are we using it to engage our children in loving ways and teach them about their Creator, or are we letting those precious hours and minutes slip by.  This podcast will discuss how we can be engaged with our children while we still have them.

Show Notes

Introduction and Conclusion music is Buddy by Bensound.com

Books

Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford

Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic

Fit to Burst by Rachel Jankovic

Blog Posts

Why Every Parent Should Know the Magic 5:1 Ratio  by Kelly on The (Reformed) Idealist Mom

Taking Off The Ticking Clock by Rachel on Hands Free Mama

Connecting Our Kids with God’s Truth by Courtney DeFeo on LysaTerkeurst.com

Adding Structure to the Chaos: Living Intentionally with your Littles  by Emily Jensen on Emily Jensen Writes

Finding My Inner Slow Parent by Kristin P. on Twin Cities Mom’s Blog

The Intentional Jar: Making the Most Out of Time by Ali on Austin City Mom’s Blog

Dear Moms of Littles, This Might Be the Most Important Thing You Do Right Now by Kristen Welch on We Are That Family

An Intentionally Long Bedtime on The Orange Rhino

“Mommy Will You Play With Me?” by Amanda on Dirt and Boogers

Bible Verses

Be very careful, then, how you live –not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Ephesians 5:15-17

Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.  Psalm 39:4

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.  Philippians 2:3

Episode 12: New Level, New Devil

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Our main goal here on Earth should be to follow Christ and increase his Kingdom.  Satan has a different plan for our lives.  He would love to distract us, tempt us, and make us doubt our relationship with Christ.  He wants to prevent any growth that we have.  We will discuss different ways that Satan tries to get to us and prevent us from serving Christ.  We will also discuss how we can identify these instances and pray, pray, pray.

Show Notes

Introduction and Conclusion music is Buddy by Bensound.com

Books

The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer

Bible Verses
  • Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children. Ephesians 5:1
  • Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” Genesis 3:1
  • (The Temptation of Jesus) Matthew 4 
  • Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:7-8
  • Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
  • Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
  • (The Armor of God) Ephesians 6:10-20

Episode 11: Surrender

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We have been on a journey since January of 2016 trying to take the word surrender very seriously.  We have been trying to put our lives in God’s hands and give up our illusion of control.  We feel this is foundational as Christ followers. We need to know that we can’t get through this life without him and he can’t fully work through us until we surrender our will to him.

Show Notes

Introduction and Conclusion music is Buddy by Bensound.com

Blog Posts

One Word for 2016: Surrender by Krystal Kolb on The Life of Surrender

When I’m Unsure of What’s Ahead by Jennie Allen

When You’re Tired of Trying to Control Everything by Ann Voskamp

Programs, Schedules, and Parenting Resources are Good; But God is Better! by Krystal Kolb

I Need Thee Every Hour by Krystal Kolb

Books

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families (Habit 1: Be Proactive)

Bible Verses

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 26:39

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  

Matthew 26:42

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

Luke 9:23

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

I Need Thee Every Hour

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I absolutely love a good hymn. I have been wearing out my Joey + Rory Hymns That Are Important to Us album and every song on there speaks to my heart and soul.  When I sing I Need Thee Every Hour I have been feeling that it is what my life should look like but it isn’t always what my life actually looks like.

I need Thee, oh, I need Thee; Every hour I need Thee; 

Oh, bless me now, my Savior! I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, Stay Thou near by;

Temptations lose their power When Though art nigh.

We have been watching some Joyce Meyer broadcasts and on one she talked about having trouble brushing her hair and she felt like God was telling her to ask for help brushing her hair.  At first, she didn’t want to ask for help, but later decided to.  I think my initial thought is that God doesn’t want to hear from me on the trivial stuff.  What I am coming to realize is that when I bring everything to God, he will choose to work through me.

Just last week I was searching for items in my house in two different instances.  I was looking for my one year old’s shoes and my oldest daughter’s library book.  In both instances, I stopped searching frantically and sat down and prayed about it for a few seconds.  In the case of the shoes, it took a little bit. In the case of the library book, I found it a few seconds later.  If I were a betting person, I don’t think I would have found the library book right then had I not stopped to ask God’s help for it.

We wrote a family mission statement and the first thing we need to remember is to humbly acknowledge our brokenness and rely on God’s strength.  I love that relying on God is the first item on our mission statement.  I feel like we can’t accomplish the other items until we are able to rely on Him. I have the best intentions to not rely on my strength, but on His.  I can wake up in the morning fully aware of God’s presence in my life and completely forget by the time I walk out the door.  Just yesterday I was sitting in church struggling with my children’s behavior and not even thinking to ask God for help!

I have seen what God’s power can do in our lives.  I have seen God work through people in amazing ways, but he is not going to do it if we don’t go to him for help.  Going back to the song lyrics: I Need Thee Every Hour.  I am not sure that there has been a day in my life where I have been focused on God every hour.  I think there have been scary times for my family if someone is in the hospital or we are waiting to hear test results where I am very aware of God’s presence in my life and then things work out and I go on with my day depending on myself.  How arrogant and entitled I must seem to him.   Still, he wants me.

With November being the  month where we focus on thankfulness and how much we have, I also want to focus on how much I need God.  I am going to try to say a little prayer when the clock strikes every hour.

I want to say:

Dear Jesus, another hour is passing in this day and I need you.  I need you every hour.  Please help me to work for you and not myself.  Please help me to fix my eyes on you.
I love you,

AMEN

My hope is that God will be an even bigger part of my day and my life.  I want him to be my whole life. Peter and I have been reading in Matthew and Jesus has some pretty intense things to say about our lives:

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  Matthew 10:37-39

I have tried too many times to count to “find my life” in myself and my own pursuits.  I have tried to find my life in relationships and circumstances.  It is time that I find my life in Jesus Christ because I do need him every hour.

 

Episode 10: Lust and Marriage

This topic would not go down in the books as our favorite topic.  We do think it is important to discuss how Satan tries to mess with our marriages through lust and pornography.  He is able to render both male and females ineffective for Christ because he gets them all tangled in the sins of (for men) lust, guilt, shame, and (for women) inadequacy, self-consciousness, and self-doubt. We want to be a chord of 3 strands for God and work with Him to increase His kingdom!

 

Show Notes

Introduction and Conclusion music is Buddy by Bensound.com

Blog Posts

3 Part Series from A Mother Far From Home about protecting your family from pornography

Books

The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer
Clean by Douglas Weiss and numerous other books can be found at the Heart to Heart Counseling Center website.
Chapter 3 of Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch

Bible Verses

1 Peter 5:8
1 Corinthians 10:13
Job 31:1
James 5:6
Philippians 4:8

Episode 9: Living with Zeal

We too often get stuck in a comfort zone and forget about our purpose for walking this Earth. God wants us to live with zeal!

Show Notes

Introduction and Conclusion music is Buddy by Bensound.com

Blog Posts

How to Get Really Living Instead of Merely Existing by Ann Voskamp on A Holy Experience
How to Focus in An Age of Distraction  by Ann Voskamp on A Holy Experience

Bible Verses

Romans 12:11

Matthew 25:13

Matthew 25:16

John 15:16

Philippians 2:1-4

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