Taking back my family step 1: PRAYER!


This may seem obvious to some, but it’s not obvious all the time to me (though it should be). When I want to make a change, I have to pray about it. 

So, I need do dust off my war room (AKA the master bath tub), write my goals down, paste them on the wall and pray my heart out every single day. That’s right, EVERY SINGLE DAY! The good, the bad and especially the ugly days. I need to pray for God to make us crave each other’s company, to look forward to dinner together, to want to play games and talk to other. God will do it. I don’t doubt it for a second. I need to pray for God to help us grow together through Him. 

I am being realistic in that I’m going to allow us to take baby steps at first. The other step for today is that we will eat dinner together with the TV off and all electronics away but more on that tomorrow… If we survive tonight! Pray for us!

I’m taking back my family

2016

We have become THAT family.  That family that goes to opposite ends of the house when we walk in the door.  That family that LIVES on our electronic devices.  That family that never eats all together at the same time.  That family that doesn’t know each other anymore…

We have spent all summer, all day together, and yet, we haven’t really been together.  How did we get here?  When did we get this bad?  Well… It has been a progression over years of getting worse and worse.  & this mom is over it.

I’m taking back my family!  They don’t know it yet, but it’s all about to change.  I know it’s going to be awkward and hard (especially for me the social media addict), but we can do it.  And we shall!

Ecclesiastes 10:1-9 with #GoodMorningGirls


When you struggle with something, you have a lot more to say. I am extremely passionate which means I am also easily angered especially by wrongdoing. I want to fight fire with fire, but the Bible is clear that’s not the way to accomplish God’s will.
“Calmness can lay great errors to rest.” ~Ecclesiastes 10:4b 
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” ~Proverbs 15:1
Plus, if you know me at all, these verses are ones I take to heart and challenge myself daily to uphold. 

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” ~Matthew 22:37-39
I honestly fail more than I succeed, but that’s no reason to give up! Each day is a new chance to get it right again!

Esther resources to help with #GoodMorningGirls

My online small group wanted to do something during the hiatus between Deuteronomy and Ecclesiastes with Good Morning Girls of Women Living Well. We voted on ones already done by the organization, me thinking, “all the resources are on the site.” We chose Esther, and I came to discover there were limited resources, namely no discussion questions nor verses of the day. I had a mini panic attack, then set to work reading Esther. God gave me some direction and here are the resources I created to use with my group.

Week 1


Week 2


Mark 6-10 ~ SOAKing the Bible

Some thoughts and pictures from this week…

 Mark 6 
Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own home is a prophet without honor.” Mark 6:4

I am a know-it-all. My family is filled with know-it-alls. I am not a prophet, but Jesus’ comments still apply as I have often felt that my opinions and ideas are least appreciated by my family. & often I have returned that favor on my family. My own husband and I are guilty of this with each other. Why is that?!?!?! We should value our family’s ideas as much if not more that others. Knowledge is power, so I must remember this so that I do not make anyone close to me feel unvalued. Lots of thoughts and feelings here. & conviction.

 Mark 7 

Mark 8  
Mark 8

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” ~ Mark 8:36

I used to be so consumed with the world. Status meant a lot to me. People pleasing meant a lot–who doesn’t want to be liked? Thankfully, a lot has changed recently because of my time in the Word. My perspective has changed and has come completely into focus. Nothing in this world matters. In the end, Jesus is what matters so He also is what matters in the beginning. If our choices and plans do not align with God, we are off track. A year ago, I struggled with spending. I knew it was a problem, it was on my list of things I wanted to change. I increased my daily time in the Word (and decreased my time in the world), I prayed about it and it was EASY to stop. Why? Because my peace comes from God now. I recognize that I was seeking to feel better when I was sad or stressed by turning to shopping rather than God. And thanks to God, that has improved. I still see temptation everywhere, but I don’t feel the need anymore.
 Mark 9 
 Mark 10 

It’s always a good reminder that there is NOTHING we can do to earn salvation. We don’t deserve it, yet God provided Jesus knowing that each and every one of us would sin and that many would deny Him. While on Pinterest yesterday, I happened upon an amazing thought… While Jesus was on the cross, he thought of ME. He thought of YOU too. How powerful is that? To know that Jesus thought of every single one of us and chose to die for me and for you. What?! It’s unfathomable, yet true.

A year in the Bible without quitting?

  

Who else has tried reading through the Bible only to get bored 😱 or overwhelmed 🤔by the time you reached Leviticus? ✋🏻✋🏻✋🏻✋🏻

Thankfully a Bible study last year with group accountability got me to finally make it through Numbers and Deuteronomy 👏🏻! After that study (over Moses) ended, I was intrigued enough to read through Joshua, Judges, Ruth and 1 Samuel on my own, at my own pace, but I hungered for a way to read the whole Bible in a way that would not cause burnout and would make me do it in a year or less. Being the genius 👀 that I am, it was still a few weeks before the light bulb went off 💡and I looked for a Bible reading plan in the Bible App 📱. I started back in Genesis in November–I’m a little OCD and needed to read it from the beginning in order. Fast forward to tonight (Day 136), 👣👣👣👣and I’m in 2 Kings and John.

So what’s different this time? Why am I actually sticking to it FINALLY?
✝ I regularly ask God to make me hunger for Him.

✝ I picked out a Bible to be the official Bible for this read through and I Mark it up like a text book. It also makes it fun to be able to see my progress.

✝ I have friends who keep me accountable simply because we always talk about what God is revealing in our lives.

✝ I feel different and have noticed a change in my view of the world the more I spend time in the Word.

✝ My plan lets you start from the beginning any day of the year (so I could start then, not wait until January 1st).

✝ Because God decided this was the year I would do it. That’s the real reason. The others are just ideas to motivate me to stay excited.

Have you read the whole Bible recently? If not, why not jump in now? There are many options, some take a few years, some read the whole Bible, others take you through the highlights.  There are so many options! I’m sure there’s one for everyone. Click here to open my plan in the Bible app.

Mark 5 ~ not all are called to leave everything behind

  

In Mark 5, Jesus commands a legion of demons out of a man (5:8-13) and afterwards, the man begs Jesus to let him go with Him. As verse 19 says, “Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.'”

 
The man’s story in scripture ends with the him spreading his testimony (verse 20). What an important moment this is. While those of us who are passionate about our faith may think we are supposed to drop everything and follow Jesus, that is not what we are called to do. We are called to follow Jesus and share Jesus in our everyday lives. That may mean God calls us to be in the classroom, or in an office job or somewhere else. If every Christian became a priest or minister, the world would fall apart. In a sense, Jesus needs His non-clergy ambassadors out in the world, loving and serving His people who don’t yet know Him or who haven’t yet chosen Him. We are called to live in faith and sharing our faith wherever God calls us. But we are not all called in the same way nor place.

  
After a decade of complacency, I am on fire for Jesus. I’ve even thought, “should I look at working in a Christian-based job?” But then I remembered a blog post I did in the past after the Newtown massacre. People were blaming the lack of God in schools. I clarified that God is still in schools because there are believers in schools trying to extend Christ’s love, grace and mercy to our students, parents and colleagues. I was clearly called to be a teacher. My mother even said I wanted to be a teacher before I could possibly know what one was. That’s a true calling. There are times where I want to walk away, but for now, I can see that there is a place for God to use me in my school. While it may seem easier to spend all my time with other followers of Jesus, I have to engage my world and help create more disciples (Matthew 28:19).

 
But if you are struggling at work, my church recently did a series of sermons called “Made for Monday.” It was extremely impactful to me as it emphasized that when we view our jobs as our calling, we can get more satisfaction from them and more easily accomplish God’s will. If you are unhappy in your job or just need some inspiration in it, I highly recommend you watch the series here.

Mark 4 ~ Deepen the Roots of Faith

Mark 4!  

If you are struggling with faith, I have been there. I’ve always believed in God & Jesus. I have not always trusted. I remember taking a spiritual gifts survey in college and being shocked that faith was my number 1. I was like, “but I have so many doubts!!!!” I lived a life believing in God and never trusting in Him. That is NOT how He wants our relationship to be. While I’m no expert, here’s what helped me grow my faith to where it’s deeply rooted like the seeds in the deep soil.

1️⃣ I spend time daily in the word. I did not know where to begin, so I joined a Bible study–BSF. I started out with only 10 minutes a day.  While the 10 minutes helped to an extent, I’ll be 100% transparent and share that it was not until I started spending an hour a day that I began to not only grow in faith but also see positive changes in myself.  I now spend an average of an hour reading the Bible, journaling and praying over it. Some days it’s 2 hours, others only 30 minutes, but outside of church and Bible study meetings, I spend about 7 hours a week alone in the Word. Please do not be overwhelmed by this. Start small and adjust as needed. This is what I need in my current season on life.

2️⃣ I joined multiple Bible studies both in person and on line. I would recommend finding one where you feel comfortable talking and sharing–you should not feel that there are right or wrong answers, you should feel you can be open and honest. Fellowship with others helps us process what God is trying to show us. We can only do so much alone. If you are in a group and don’t feel you can be your whole self, I would try some other groups. I have been in both kinds. While I still learned a lot about the Bible from the “right answer, everyone pretend all is perfect” groups, I did not feel it helped me grow as much or contribute as much.

3️⃣ When my faith was tested, I put feet to my faith. I used to fly all the time, no problem, no fear. I even flew back from Spain on a flight that was turbulent for 7 of the 9 hours and still flew without issue. Then on a flight back from my friend’s wedding, I had a panic attack. This led to a flying phobia that limited my world from 2007 to 2015. I knew that flying last fall was my opportunity to show God that I trusted Him–and He got me through it. I had 2 turbulent flights during which I listened to worship music on repeat and worked on a Bible study that I bought specifically for the flights. God even placed a kind woman next to me who talked me through the first take off. What you may not know is that I flew in 2014 and it was not great. My dear friend was convinced that God would use those flights to get me over my phobia and grow my faith. BUT, I was not trusting God. I wanted Him to do just that, but I did not trust Him to do it. Faith means nothing without action. It was a disaster. I did not trust God, I wanted to, but let the devil play on my every fear. After that experience, I was terrified about trying again. Nevertheless, this time I was ready to rely on God as I had already been doing for months. When I chose–free will, man–to depend wholeheartedly on God, I felt Him with me. He got me through those flights and I had a moment of clarity. I wondered, “was the devil limiting my world so that He could limit what this outspoken women could accomplish for God?” Only time will tell, but I have my suspicions.  

4️⃣ I found a church home that feeds me weekly. I loved the church I grew up in. I still do. It’s 40 minutes away and hard for us to participate in anything but church on Sundays. After being invited for almost a year, I finally attended my new church home for a women’s conference after listening to all the sermon podcasts while driving back and forth to work. The church you attend will impact your faith. My new church is a place where we feel welcome, expected and are encouraged to be 100% ourselves. I know I can share any struggle and I will receive love, prayer, encouragement and support without judgment. I’ve never felt that way about church before.

 
It’s amazing how a year or even 6 months can change everything. It’s amazing what God can do during that time. A year ago, I spent maybe 10 minutes a day with God. Now, I work on my relationship and faith everyday. I give all glory to God in the highest for the words of this and every post and for not giving up on my despite my lifetime of complacency and lack of trust. I pray for you who reads this that you have faith like the seeds in good soil and that if you don’t, God helps you put feet to your faith so that you too will experience His awesomeness.

Mark 2 & 3 SOAKing the Bible

   
Mark 2 gave me lots to think about!

1️⃣ We must humbly recognize our need for Jesus.

2️⃣ We must accept and believe that Jesus died for us even though we know and feel our unworthiness.

3️⃣ When we feel we are doing “well,” we must never think we are “better” than anyone else. We are all sinners, sometimes we go through seasons of big time sinning and other times we go through seasons of small time sinning. No matter what, we are all sinners and should never feel superior to anyone.

4️⃣ Finally, it’s worth noting that Jesus and His disciples were not just chilling in the Temple interacting with only believers. They were out engaging their world. While fellowship with believers is crucial, we too must go out in the world and engage people. We need to love them as Jesus would until they ask us why. 

Mark 3 
❤️”If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Mark 3:24-25❤️

Once again I suspected I would have many verses to choose from, especially when I opened my my Bible and saw a few already underlined or highlighted. Nevertheless, I read the chapter closely only to discover that I was drawn to 2 verses I had not marked in prior reads. I chose verses 24-25 where Jesus is explaining that He cannot possibly be possessed by a demon because that would mean Satan was driving out his own minions–which makes no sense! These verses struck a chord with me because of all the political posts that litter my Facebook newsfeed. What we must remember as we disagree over issues and candidates is that we all want the same thing: an improved nation. We simply cannot seem to agree how to achieve that. We also rank our priorities differently and cannot always see eye to eye. That does not make people who don’t agree with me evil or deserving of disrespect. That does not make me evil or deserving of disrespect. I love Jack ‘N The Box tacos. Many people don’t. Am I evil for liking them? Are others evil for not liking them? No! When we bring insults into an argument, we forfeit even if our original point was valid. Every person is created in the image of God. When we insult another person, we insult God. I feel personally convicted by this and remind myself daily when I feel hurt or offended. We must recognize that we are on the same team with different ideas of how we all can and will “win.” 

 

Mark 1 – SOAKing the Bible

  
I recently read Mark as a part of my year read through the entire Bible, though I did not pause to SOAK it like we are now. As I expected, there were so many verses I could have chosen to write about–I was a bit overwhelmed after Job where I often struggled to connect to even 1 verse in each chapter. The one I chose this read through Mark 1 is verse 35 because I am on a mission to be more Christlike. In this first chapter we see the importance of prayer/Bible time as Jesus started His day in prayer. We should all strive to be like Christ, praying, loving, serving, caring for others. We are some people’s only glimpse of Christ and while we cannot ever be perfect, we have a responsibility to others to help them see Christ so they will recognize their need for Him and want to be His. If we want to be successful fishers of men (verse 17), we have to be like Christ. Plus, our time in the word transforms us. I can personally attest to this based on my experiences in the last year in my walk with Jesus.

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