How to Parent Your Angry Child

Have you ever worried that your angry child might never learn patience? Have you lain awake at night wondering how to help refine those strong-willed tendencies into good character?

A while back, our second-born, strong-willed, ball-of-energy-and-strength-and-passion son was showing me a few of his latest “tricks.” I watched somewhat half-heartedly and made the typical distracted mom comments.

“Wow!”

“That’s crazy!”

“How do you DO that?”

When suddenly he made this horrible grimace.

He effectively described it as “putting pressure” on his face. To me it looked an awful lot like his angry child face.

Curious, I asked him why he would put pressure on his face. He matter-of-factly explained that it helps him get his anger out when he’s frustrated or feeling angry.

Then he showed me another of his typical angry child poses (fisted hands clenched tightly at his sides) and told me that putting pressure on his body helps him get anger out, too.

Once he was done with the demonstration, he sauntered away, like it was no big deal for a seven-year-old to have such knowledge of his own emotions and body.

I sat there stunned.

Not because our son is so intelligent, although he truly is, but because a posture that I tend to “read” as angry disrespect or rebellion was, in fact, the complete opposite.

His tense posture was actually an attempt at self-control! And here I had been scolding him to “have a better attitude” whenever the “pressure” face and those “pressure” hands appeared, whenever I saw evidence of an angry child.

If you have a child with BIG emotions, you probably struggle with some parenting discouragement. What I learned from my angry child changed my perspective and helped me focus on the work in progress!  Work-in-progress Parenting: The Angry Child  #parenting #emotionalchild #strongwilledchild christian parenting|Devotional |Bible study|christian family|helping emotional children|emotions|anger|angrychild|christian mom|strong-willed child

Hope for the Angry Child

It turns out my angry child understood his own emotions (and boy, does he have b-i-g ones) better than I sometimes understand my own.In fact, he was learning self-control methods that work for him, without any help from me!

Our conversation reminded me that even though I have now logged over thirteen years of parenting experience, I don’t know it all. In fact, I never will!

Each child is created uniquely and requires unique parenting, a truth I tend to forget.

What I perceived as defiance or disrespect was actually the most self-controlled, respectful act my son was capable of in his angry moments.

 

I hope I remember to exercise caution when I see the angry child come out. I hope I remember that he’s making a greater effort than I ever realized and applaud him for maintaining a measure of self-control in the face of anger.

He has come so far in the area of emotions and self-control in the last few years, and I’m so quick to forget that in a heated moment!

I’m so quick to forget that my child is a work-in-progress, too, just like his siblings, just like his parents, just like every other sinful human on the face of the earth.

It wasn’t a proud moment for me, rather it was a thank-you-Lord moment. I couldn’t take credit for my angry child’s heart changes; in fact, I was unintentionally discouraging some of the progress he was making.

Only God can take credit.

Because our little boy who is so quickly growing into a young man accepted the free gift of salvation a few years ago. And not long after, he publicly proclaimed his son-ship in Christ before family and friends as he waded into the baptismal waters.

I see the work the Lord is doing in his young heart and mind already.

Even now as he enters his teenage years, I see how his heart has softened toward his younger siblings and how they now look up to him.

Even though our son’s passion and energy often cause trouble for him, I have faith that someday he will use those gifts to be a great leader and a bold truth-teller. He’s a born leader in the process of becoming.

What faithfulness on the Lord’s behalf!

My friends, when you’re parenting progress seems to have stalled, take heart.

Continue to follow the Lord in your parenting, and wait to see what happens. Pray for their little hearts and minds to open to the Father’s touch.

If your emotional, angry child is old enough, ask about his or her actions during a low-stress time rather than in the heat of the moment. You’ll likely gain some surprising insights!

Look for progress in the little things, the still, small moments.Perhaps the problem with your child is really a problem with YOUR thinking! #parenting #workinprogress #beingconfidentofthis purposeful parenting|intentional parenting|christian parenting|stubborn child|angry child|emotional child|strong-willed child|parenting help|how to be a better parent| godly parenting

 

Remember who your child has been created to be. He’s created to be different than your other children and different even than you.

Take every opportunity to rejoice over the slightest step forward.

Because God knows what He’s doing.

He created these children, these gifts, purposefully just as he created you and me purposefully.

Only He can see where that purpose might lead them.

Jen :)

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When It Is Hard to Believe Jesus

My Good friend and fellow writer, Aimee Imbeau is joining us with these words today:

She was shocked by my words. And a little frightened. If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. That was her understanding, anyway. Probably because I was known for my strong faith.

Friends would say, “When Aimee prays, things happen”. Well, nothing was happening now. In fact, I believed that God was purposely choosing to ignore me.

Yeah, I knew He could help me. He could easily change my circumstances. Making things better would be super easy for Him. It wasn’t that I did not believe He couldn’t. I believed He didn’t want to. Maybe this is something that sounds familiar to you today. Perhaps you just don’t know what to do When It’s Hard To Believe Jesus. If so, you are in the right place.

Not believing Jesus is a very difficult season to be in, friend. It’s even harder when you try to explain how you are feeling and no one seems to understand. They seem to think you are the creator of your circumstances and you have the power to change if you only…

  • Read your Bible more
  • Trust God more
  • Have more faith
  • Just try harder
  • Suck it up
  • That’s life
  • God gives and God takes away
  • Keep praying

It’s like it is entirely up to us and our efforts to believe. And it is entirely our fault if we find it hard to believe. The trite advice is not only unhelpful, but also potetnially damaging.

If we only realized the truth, then maybe these seasons of life would be just a little bit smoother. Maybe we wouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. We would stop believing that we have failed or that there is something wrong with us. Perhaps we would begin to understand that it is in these challenging seasons that our faith is built up.

Do you ever feel like you're losing your faith? When It's Hard to Trust Jesus believing God|losing faith|struggling in faith|Christian women|Bible study|devotional|encouragement|trials|hard times|battling discouragement|prayer|being confident of this|a work of grace

Losing My Faith

When I believed that God was holding out on me, I thought I was actually losing my faith. The truth was that my faith was weak – not as strong as people had thought – or what I thought. God wanted me to have an unmovable, unshakable faith. And in order to do that, the old faith had to go. The process took time, but I can tell you now that my faith today is much more mature. Our God is in the business of rebuilding, renovating, and re-purposing our faith. Trust Him in this process. It might look messy as any renovation does, but the end result will be beautiful.

If you are struggling with your faith, trust that He is rebuilding it.

Be Careful What You Believe

There was a popular Christian saying that went something like, “If you feel far from God, guess who moved“. I thought maybe, somehow, I inadvertently moved away from Him. I wasn’t sure how I did it – maybe I didn’t study my Bible enough or pray longer prayers. It took me a while, but eventually, I came to see just how unbiblical that statement was. So often, we hear these things that sound good but simply aren’t true. But they influence our faith, and not for the better. We need to be very careful with whom we listen to, whom we believe.

If you are struggling with your faith, be careful whom you believe.

Not A Surprise To God

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God knew we would struggle with our faith. He knew we would have seasons where believing Him would be difficult for us. He expected this. That’s why He had John write his gospel account. The whole purpose of the book of John is for us to strengthen our faith and belief in Jesus.

Did you know that?

God loves us so much that He took the necessary steps to help us believe Him at His word.

God knew we’d struggle so the book of John was to confirm and secure Christians in our faith. He has given us what we need to build up our faith in Him.

Our God is so good to have done this for us.

If you are struggling with your faith, read the book of John and believe.

The Truth

As I matured in my faith and God rebuilt my trust in Him, I began to see the truth. My faith was not dependent upon how I was feeling or on my circumstances. In fact, it had nothing to do with me at all. My faith has everything to do with Him. He promises to never leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). He promises to hear and answer my prayers (Psalm 139:1-4, 1 John 5:14-15, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Jeremiah 29:12). And He has good and wonderful plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 1:18, Mark 10:29-30, Philippians 1:6). What a relief it is that I don’t have to strive or work harder to maintain my faith. I just have to choose Him.

I’d like to leave you with Natalie Grant’s new song, More Than Anything. May her words speak deep into your heart today.

If this is a topic you want more guidance in, I have written a study on the book of John called Believe. This study includes video, worksheets, charts, verse cards, Bible reading challenge, and more.

Do you ever feel like you're losing your faith? When It's Hard to Belive Jesus believing God|losing faith|struggling in faith|Christian women|Bible study|devotional|encouragement|trials|hard times|battling discouragement|prayer|being confident of this|a work of grace

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Photo 2 MEAimee is a home educating support teacher who lives in the sunny Okanagan, BC. Aimee has been blissfully married since 1998 and she still swoons at the sight of her tall, dark and handsome husband, Marcus. When she isn’t home educating her 3 kids, she enjoys sewing, quilting, scrapbooking, baking, writing and hanging out with her family. Aimee is a certified teacher who works from home, supporting and encouraging homeschool families. She blogs over at A Work of Grace. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

 

 

8 Verses of Hope for Every Woman (free printable!)

You wake up already weary, thinking of all that you need to accomplish for the day but also keenly aware of the obstacles in your life.

It’s one of those days when adulting feels too hard from the get-go. You’d rather just crawl back in bed and hide from the world.

Your body is weary, your mind overwhelmed, and your spirit oh-so-weak. But you must press on because you are wife, mother, friend, worker, leader…

People are counting on you!

Where do you find hope to persevere when you are overwhelmed by life? How do you find motivation to keep pressing on?

My personal favorite place to start is in the Word – looking for verses of hope to remind my heart and spirit of God’s truth!

Yes, maybe today feels too difficult and I’m tempted to believe Satan’s lie that I’m not enough or that this is too hard for me. However, God’s promise to sustain me remains true. His promise that my hope in Him will not be put to shame remains true. His claim to love me anyways remains true. No matter what my feelings tell me!

These verse of hope will encourage you to keep persevering even when life gets tough!  Being Confident of This|bible verses|bible study|devotional|hope for women|encouragement|inspiration|free printable|weary woman|wife|mom|parent|leader|christian women|faith resources|spiritual growth

Studying and memorizing verses of hope helps me to remember who I am in Christ: beloved daughter of God Almighty, chosen one, fully equipped for every good work, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, filled with the Spirit, able.

Friend, we can choose hope in Christ despite our current circumstances because we know the power of Christ in us. We believe His Word is true, and we will not let Satan win this battle for our day!

Today I’m sharing with you 8 of my favorite verses for hope to celebrate the launch of our book, Hope for the Hurting Wife. Stop by and enter the giveaway if you haven’t already!

Print these verses of hope out and keep them near you as visual reminders of God’s promises!

Verses of Hope for Every Woman

  1. Psalm 71:14 (NIV)

“As for me, I will always have hope;

I will praise you more and more.”

I’ve been reading in the Psalms lately, and one recurring phrase stands out to me: “let me not be put to shame” (Ps. 22:5). The phrase recurs time and again throughout the early Psalms, and the context is that of crying out to the Lord and not being put to shame. We can be unashamed of our hope in the Lord, friends, because we know our God is faithful!

 

  1. Jude 24,25 (NIV)

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

One of my favorite verses of hope to cling to to in tough times, these verses in Jude remind us that it is God who works in us. He never gives up. He always perseveres. He is still at work in us and in our circumstances (Phil. 1:6).

 

  1. Palm 121:1-2 (NIV)

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Your hope is never in vain when you place it in the Lord alone, friends! We may have trouble in our families, with our children, with our marriages, with our finances, and so forth, but we have a God who cares about us deeply. Cry out to Him for rescue, for strength, for the will to persevere!

 

  1. 1 Cor. 13:7 (NIV)

“[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

God’s love for you – agape love – is perfect. We can always find hope in His love for us, even when we feel unloved, underappreciated, and totally inadequate Find rest in His perfect love today!

 

  1. Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Sometimes when we feel completely exhausted and at our limits, we don’t sense the Lord’s presence with us. We may even begin to believe that He has forsaken us altogether. But that’s not true, friends. His Word claims that He is close to us, especially when we’re brokenhearted, especially when our spirits are crushed.

Don’t let the Enemy convince you otherwise, friend. Believe these verses of hope and act on them!

 

  1. Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV)

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

This verse should probably come first among these verses of hope. Instead of wondering what is wrong with you when you have days of discouragement, recognize that the battle we fight is not against flesh and blood but against a very real Enemy who wants nothing more than to see you fail (Eph 6:12)!

 

  1. Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

As a wife who spent the better part of a decade learning how to fight for her marriage instead of against her husband, I often grew weary. Sometimes I even gave up for a time. This verse of hope has been key for me these last several years to keep persevering even when I’m not seeing the fruit that I want to see quickly enough to suit me. ;)

If we persevere in doing God’s work, we will reap a harvest!

It's easy to grow discouraged as a wife and feel like giving up. These verses of hope will encourage you to keep fighting for your marriage! Christian women|Being Confident of This|bible study|bible verses|scripture|hope for marriage|marriage encouragement|lonely wife|weary wife|difficult marriage|broken trust|depression

 

  1. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

My favorite among these verses of hope. The world tells us weakness is humiliating, but God’s Word claims otherwise. Take your weakness straight the the Lord, friend, and let Him demonstrate His power in you!

 Click here for Verses of Hope free printable

Download these free verses of hope today! Print them off and hang them around your home to remind you of the hope you have in Christ! christian printables|free printables|bible verses|bible study|scriptures|christian women|verses of hop|encouragement|wife|mom|leader

As you spend time with these verses of hope, study them, meditate on them, memorize them. Hang them in your home where you will see them frequently! Pray to the Father who loves you to give you motivation and strength to keep fighting the good fight (Eph. 6:12)

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

Press on toward the goal!

Jen

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Are you frustrated by failure you in your marriage? Do you wonder if there is any hope left for you? Hope for the Hurting Wife is a 30 day devotional journey written by two women who survived the muck and mire of marriage problems. Christian marriage|difficult marriage|encouragement for wives|hope for marriage|should I get a divorce|how to stay married| healthy marriage|trusting God with marriage|wife|husband|christian woman

For When You Just Want to Give Up

It was bound to happen eventually.

I didn’t really have much experience to go on, but it felt like maybe the honeymoon was over, like maybe I just want to give up already.

Like all new ventures in life, blogging was fascinating and exciting at first.

Every page view was cherished, every comment celebrated.

Some days I would check the blog first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.  It’s the truth; I became just a tiny bit obsessed.

Maybe, just maybe, I even made an idol of it, to my shame.

Then somewhere along the line, the new thing stopped being quite so much fun and started to feel more like work, like just another burden to carry.

Sometimes I just want to give up. Let's be honest.  It happens to all of us! When the newness of things wear of, we quickly grow tired and weary. How can we avoid it? women of faith|ministry|parenting|motherhood|writing|blogging|weary woman|want to give up|encouragement|Christian women

Some people may say, it’s just a blog – let it go! But it’s not “just a blog” to me. These words are part of me that I’ve put on display for the world to see.  And there are these nifty little graphs that measure that part of me day by day by day…

And some days they just don’t measure up to what I’d like to see.

Even when they do measure up, no matter how high the bars of the graph reach, there’s this insatiable desire for more.

And the inspiration isn’t always there.

And busy schedules get in the way.

And sometimes…

I just want to give up.

Let’s be honest – it happens to all of us!

When that new baby comes home smelling so sweet, and everyone is exclaiming “how perfect”…

when that new job is so exciting that you just can’t wait to go to work, and people tell you how happy they are to have you there…

when that new ministry that you’ve been planning for and dreaming of finally comes to fruition…

when you make that purchase that you’ve been saving up for and it’s just. so. amazing….

when that mountaintop experience leads you to a faith-high that just can’t be matched…

Inevitably, a valley follows, and you just want to give up.

That perfect baby that slept so well in the hospital cries all night long, night after endless night.

That new job has its own set of challenges.  That new ministry has flaws, too.

That new purchase grows old or outdated.

Thus the mountain gives way to a valley, and those feelings that had us on cloud nine dissipate like mist burned off by the morning sun, so we wish for more.

But friends, our lives are not lived just on the mountain tops.  In fact, those mountain tops most likely add up to a very small part of our faith journey here on Earth.

The truth is that the valleys often naturally follow the mountains, not because anything has changed but because our physiology is built that way.

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Our bodies cannot sustain a constant state of “high,” so we must experience a “low” to bring us back to equilibrium.  Perhaps even more because we were not meant for this imperfect world, so we yearn for something better.

While I know that my faith isn’t meant to be built on feelings, as a woman emotions do come into play!  How often I’ve wished those pesky emotions away even though I know they serve a purpose. :)

So what’s a girl to do when she just gets a case of the blahs and the honeymoon seems to be over?

What’s a girl to do when her daily refrain becomes “I just want to give up”?

She recognizes the valley for what it is – temporary.

She remembers that she is not a citizen of this world.

She blogs/serves/works/mothers anyways because that’s what God led her to do. She loves anyways, she trusts anyways, she clings to His promises anyways, she speaks truth anyways, she leads anyways, and she hopes anyways.

She keeps seeking.

Sometimes she even stumbles and falls, and she’s so ashamed of her weakness.  But He’s right there to help her back up again.

Along the way, she learns a little more of the unfathomable depth of God’s grace.   She grows a little more confident in an overwhelming, unconditional love. She grows a little more confident in His timely provision. She grows a little more confident in the work He’s doing within her.

Because He promised that one day, one glorious day, that work would be complete (Phil. 1:6).

On that day the valleys will cease to exist.

And the mountain top lasts for all eternity.

And we see His face.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Heb. 12:1-3

When we just want to give up, we don’t.

So we wait, like so many others before us,

And we do not lose heart.

Jen :)

How to Have Life-changing Faith

Very few of us will have a book written or a movie made about our lives. Most of us will go from day to day living out a normal (whatever that means) life with its undulating highs and lows. The vast majority of us will never have even as much as a one-column newspaper article written about the space between our birth and our death.

So, why should we be too jacked up over our legacy?

I believe the answer lies between Hebrews 10 and Hebrews 12. In Hebrews chapter 11 we find what most Christians know as God’s Hall of Faith. A beautiful recounting of the lives of God’s servants beginning with Abel and ending with nameless individuals whose acts of faith were worthy of mention in Scripture.

Check out a few:

Abel offered a sacrifice that pleased God’s heart. (11:4)

Enoch pleased God and was raptured. (11:5)

Noah acted in faith when God told him about the coming flood. (11:7)

Abraham, whew, Abraham just flat out left home and family and set out to only-God-knew-where on faith. Abe also set the bar high for obedience when he was willing to sacrifice Isaac, just because God said so. (Try that one on for size!) (11:8-12, 17-19)

Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the Israelites, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, David and so many others acted in faith and believed that God was who He said He was and that He was able to do what He said He would do.

Heart-pounding, life-changing faith.

Legacy-building, life-changing faith isn't just for the biblical heroes of old, it's for us today, too! Find out how everyday, ordinary faith leaves a godly legacy that lasts!  christian faith, godly legacy, leaving a legacy. faith legacy

 

The thing about all of the folks named in Hebrews 11 is that they were just ordinary people going about their ordinary lives doing ordinary things when God said, “Hey you!”

These people were not stained-glass saints when God called them. For heaven’s sake, Rahab was a prostitute, Moses was a murderer, and Gideon was a wimp. These were people, exactly like you and me, who had a heart set on obedience to God. They were willing to trust that God knew what He was doing and had a plan that was for their good, even when it was crazy-scary.

Heart-pounding, life-changing faith.

It is what God calls us to when we decide to set Jesus up as Lord and Savior over our lives. Jesus said that all we need is faith as tiny as a mustard seed in order to do the impossible (Matthew 17:20). Do you know how small a mustard seed is? It is teeny tiny, yet that is all the faith we need….just enough to say ‘yes’ to whatever God is calling us to, then He will add to our faith so we can do the thing in obedience.

Heart-pounding, life-changing, legacy-building FAITH.

Faith that just might one day have our portrait hanging on the walls of heaven.

Faith that might encourage someone else to use their mustard seed.

Faith that pleases the God of heaven immensely.

Faith that leaves a legacy for those who come behind us.

Where is God asking you to use your mustard seed of faith today? Share about it in the comments. I would love to pray for you.

Speaker, Author, Mentor. Bible teacher. Jesus-follower. Wife. Mom. Friend. Daughter of the King.  Leah Adams writes at leahadams.org to point others to Jesus. You can also connect with her on social media: Facebook (Leah Adams), Twitter (LeahCAdams), Instagram (leahadams64), and Pinterest (leahcadams).

*Being Confident of This makes use of affiliate links. For more information, please see the about page. Thank you for helping to support the ministry of this site!

Enter below for a chance to win a free copy of Legacy!

Leah is generously offering the readers of Being Confident of This a chance to win a free copy of her newly released Bible study, Legacy: It’s What You Leave Behind. Woohoo!

legacy FRONT COVER

Let me tell you why I’m excited about this study. First, I have known Leah for several years now and have witnessed her passion for reaching women for Jesus, particularly through sound teaching and lots of grace! Second, I worked closely with Leah on the design of Legacy, so I’m very familiar with the material contained within these pages – it’s meaty, grounded in scripture, and exactly the message we need to be spreading in the world today!

Leah’s book uses scripture to teach you how life-changing faith leaves a lasting legacy.

So, who wants to win a free copy?? :)

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How to Overcome a Bad Day

Some days just getting started in the morning is the most difficult challenge we’ll face all day long.  It’s hard to overcome a bad day, especially when it starts out rough from the very beginning!

You know, the days when:

  • the kids wake up way too early
  • you feel overwhelmed by your to-do list
  • you didn’t get enough sleep
  • you’re so grumpy you feel out of control
  • it’s dreary outside
  • all you want to do is get back in your comfy bed and hide

Overcoming a bad day seems nearly impossible once it has already started!

What do you do when you wake up with zero motivation?

How do you get past a grumpy mood so early on in the day?

What do you do when you wake up with zero motivation?  How do you get past a grumpy mood so early on in the day? Try these 10 tips for turning a bad day around.

10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Morning (and overcome a bad day):

1. Go to bed earlier the night before! I know, I know – that’s the most obvious advice ever.   But it’s true.  When the twins were infants, I forced myself to go to bed not long after they did. I knew that if I didn’t go to bed right away, the next day would be miserable and difficult.  However, now that they are a little older, I’ve gotten out of the habit of early bedtime.  One of my work-in-progress goals is to go to bed earlier so that I can get out of bed earlier the next morning, (overcome the bad day before it even starts)!

2. Shower (or at least splash some cold water on your face). I know there are many mornings that showering first thing just isn’t an option, especially if you have little ones in the house.  I have found that on the days when I have to wait for my shower (or even go without), washing my face goes a long way toward helping my sleepy eyes stay open. The more awake I feel, the easier it is to overcome a bad day.

3. Spend time…

To read the rest, follow me over to Sharing Redemption’s Stories here!

You woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, and apparently the little people who live with you did, too. All you want is a few more minutes of sleep, but the to-do list beckons. How will you overcome the rough start? Try one of these 10 tips to jumpstart your morning!

 

 

 

 

The Truth About a Faith That Stumbles on Water

A few weeks ago I posted the verse below from Galatians 6:9 about not growing weary of doing good, which has become my anchor in this season of busy schedules and church planting challenges. It’s perfect for this season because it easily applies to every area of my life in which I desire to remain steadfast.

Do not grow weary of setting aside time to abide in the Vine.

Do not grow weary of loving and listening to my husband.

Do not grow weary of training up my children.

Do not grow weary of being a good friend and neighbor.

Do not grow weary of keeping my home tidy.

Do not grow weary of eating healthy and exercising even when….maybe especially when… the scale doesn’t budge.

Do not grow weary of…

The list could extend for pages, really.

We've all heard the story of Peter walking on water, yet we often focus on the miracle itself rather than what it teaches us about faith. We want victorious faith - the kind that leaps and soars. But sometimes what we really need is a faith that stumbles on water. Click through to read more about why you need this kind of faith! Why You Need a Faith that Stumbles on Water

 

So, I posted this verse on the blog facebook page and after seeing it there a few times, kind of forgot about it.

And wouldn’t you know that after weeks of not having a single new visitor (and very few actual attendees), we had not one… not two… but three unexpected guests last Sunday! In fact, one couple has been invited nearly every week by my persistent husband since the church plant opened way back during Easter.

There’s more. After prayer walking that same Sunday afternoon, we had almost a dozen extra visitors during our bread ministry that week and actually ran out of bread!

Do you think maybe the Lord was trying to teach us something? ;)

Here’s the thing: Sometimes we’ve prayed for something so fervently, and for so long, that we quit waiting expectantly. And then when the answer comes, when the need is met, we fail to recognize the significance.

As a daughter of the Most High, I often grow childishly impatient. I want an answer right now. I want clarity. I want an inkling of the Father’s plan. I want some sort of tangible evidence that we are on the right path.

If I’m honest, I want miracles.

And this is where I can most relate to Peter, who asked to walk on water with Jesus and then stumbled, nearly drowning in his own doubt.

Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  Mt. 14:28-29

I’m sure that first step was a mountaintop experience, a spiritual high like none other. I’m sure Peter was elated, soaring on faith-wings that yearned to stretch wider and swoop higher!

Yes, I’m doing it. I’m doing it!

I’m equally certain that the floundering steps that followed were terrifying.

Maybe it felt like too big of a leap of faith. Maybe the wind and waves increased in size and ferocity. For whatever reason, his confidence wavered.

Wait, am I really doing this? What if I can’t keep it up?  What if my faith is too small?

But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Mt. 14:30-31

What right did Peter have to walk on water in the first place?

Who was he to make such a bold request?

He was no one.

A nobody.

Yet in the eyes of Jesus, he was worth an abundant amount of time, effort, and instruction. He was worth forgiving even as he was busy betraying.

And before Jesus left this earth, He claimed His Church would be built upon Peter. Imperfect Peter with the imperfect faith (Mt. 16:18).

You see, friends, we need a faith that leaps – yes, we do, but we also need a faith that stumbles on water.

We've all heard the story of Peter walking on water, yet we often focus on the miracle itself rather than what it teaches us about faith. We want victorious faith - the kind that leaps and soars. But sometimes what we really need is a faith that stumbles on water. Click through to read more about why you need this kind of faith! Why You Need a Faith that Stumbles

We need that sudden sinking, that floundering fear that drives us straight into the arms of our Savior. Because when we are weak, then we are strong (2 Cor. 12:10).

It’s when we begin to think that we can do it on our own, when that smidgen of self-righteousness and self-sufficiency sneaks its way in, that  we should truly be frightened. That truth has never been more clear to me than these last few years of struggle.

Friends, if I only talked about the faith that leaps, I’d be remiss.

I’d be painting only half of the picture.

The truth is that these last few months have been full of walking-on-water moments followed by sudden sinking and ultimately a return to the truth that trumps all others – we need Him.

We need our Father God.

We cannot do it alone as much as our perfectionism preaches to us that we can, for even our very faith comes from the Lord and not ourselves (Eph.2:8-9).

We need to keep believing that He will “show up” for us. We need to keep waiting expectantly. We need to look for the work-in-progress He is completing in us.

So, if you’ve had some of those moments of stumbling on the water lately, take heart and look to Jesus just as Peter did.

And in the words of Toby Mac,

“Keep walkin’.”

Jen :)

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, Faith Filled Friday, Tell His Story

The One Time You Want to Be a Fool

I have a little confession to make:  I am afraid to fail, to look a fool.

Recently I realized I’ve been afraid to get excited about our church plant opening in less than two weeks.  Yes, me, a church planter’s wife. Afraid.

It all sounded so exciting back in the beginning and even leading up to the planning for our opening Sunday. But as the time draws nearer, I feel that familiar fear creeping up on me. What if we fail?

You know that fear, don’t you, friend?

Often we fear to take important steps forward in God’s plan for our lives because we might end up looking foolish if things don’t work out the way we think they will.

So we remain paralyzed, stuck.

I believe it’s the enemy’s favorite tactic when God’s people set out to serve and obey Him.  If he can overwhelm us with fear, then maybe we’ll freeze in place or start stepping backwards instead of forwards. Maybe we’ll even turn around, tuck tail, and run like Jonah in the opposite direction.

Maybe we won’t want to be fools for Christ.

But what the enemy doesn’t want you to know is that no effort is wasted when it is done in the name of the Lord. There is no such thing as failure in God’s economy when we walk forward in obedience!

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Gal. 6:9 NASB

Often the Lord asks us to do things that just don't make sense to the world or even fellow believers.  Throughout the Bible we see the evidence of such "fools for Christ." Are we willing to risk that label? And if so, what are the consequences? The One Time You Want to be a Fool. fool for Christ, fool for Christ quote, willing to follow Christ, Christian encouragement, followers of Christ

Consider these biblical “fools for Christ”:

Abraham sacrificed security and uprooted his entire family with no final destination in mind, then became the father of nations.

While building the ark, Noah preached for 100 years with zero converts, but his family was saved.

Daniel spent the night in the lions’ den, risking death rather than giving up prayer and changed the law of the land. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked into a fiery furnace rather than bow to an idol and influenced the heart of the King of Babylon.

Mary faced a world of scorn for the miraculous conception of the child within her, yet she gave birth to the Son of God.

And consider Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who had every right to strike his enemies dead rather than suffer on the cross for us.  Even as he strained for breath, those around him taunted:

And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.”  Luke 23:35 NASB

If Christ Himself was willing to look the fool for laying down His own life, why are we so hesitant to do so when laying down ours?

Why am I afraid to look a fool for the sake of His call?

Pride.

My own stinkin’ pride.

I’m learning that I’ve got to get over that silly pride issue if I want to be an effective servant of the Lord.  And you need to, also, friend.

This quote from recently departed Justice Scalia really speaks to me:

“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools … and he has not been disappointed. … If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.”

You've heard the phrase "being a fool for Christ," but what does that really mean? See how these 5 biblical fools teach us to have faith! fools for Christ, Christ followers, Christian encouragement, the cost of following Christ

Pride is the enemy of Courage.

If we want to be courageous, we must be willing to put our pride at risk, yes?

Listen, friends, maybe we can’t all have the influence of men like Abraham or Justice Scalia, or women like Mary, but we can all be everyday fools for Christ.

We can be fools for Christ by…

  • choosing forgiveness when the world would hold onto anger
  • raising children God’s way even if those around us scoff
  • remaining in a wounded marriage when friends advise divorce
  • sacrificing time to live on mission right where we are
  • following Christ into ministry even though we feel inadequate
  • packing up and moving when He says to go
  • writing when God says write or speaking when led to speak even if we’ve never done it before

We can be fools for Christ in a million other ways by simply following Him moment by moment, day by day.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot

Don't let naysayers keep you from God's plan for your life! Being a Christ-follower requires sacrifice, but you'll find yourself in good company with these other "fools."  fools for Christ, Christian encouragement, following Christ, trusting God's plan, jim elliot quote

We can leave jobs, and homes, and families, and possessions, all for the sake of Christ and count it as gain! We can look naysayers in the eye and say with confidence, “I aim to follow the Lord – that’s the best I can do.”

“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ…” Phil. 3:7-8 NASB

Don’t be afraid to lay down your life like a fool no matter what anyone else has to say about it because the rewards are both now and for eternity.

What is it that the Lord wants you to do for Him?

Will you follow no matter the cost?

Be fools for Christ!

Jen :)

Sharing with: Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Wholehearted Wednesdays, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Grace and Truth

7 Scriptures for a Steadfast Heart

Steadfast.

The word brings to mind a calm assurance, an unwavering faith, and unchanging character. Steadfast is a gentle power complimented by humble quietness.

A steadfast woman is a woman at peace.

This is my desire, friends, to be a woman who is steadfast in heart, faithful to Jesus and to her family.  I want to be the kind of steadfast woman who is Christ-confident rather than self-confident, who utilizes the gifts He’s given not for her own glory but for His glory.

Steadfast.

Last year the Lord kept bringing to mind the word Persevere, and if you follow along with this blog or the BCOT facebook page, then you know why I needed that word! We’ve been through a season of turmoil and change that still hasn’t quite settled.

Yet in the midst of all the chaos, I’ve found a more confident faith.

I’m not just referring to the recent reminders that Jehovah Jireh provides for all of our needs, but also to the understanding that He directs our paths in ways that don’t always make sense. What I’m learning is to trust His voice rather than letting doubt seep in through cracks chiselled by the questions of others and by my own fears.

So this year, my One Word is steadfast.

If you want to walk through this year with a steadfast marriage, a steadfast ministry, or a steadfast faith, no matter what curve balls life throws your way, then this one is for you!  Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence.  Becoming a Steadfast Woman

 

That word applies to so many areas of my life in which I wish to remain secure and consistent. So, I’d love to share with you these verses for a steadfast heart.

7 Scriptures for a Steadfast Heart

Steadfast faith

Over these past few years of writing and speaking, my faith journey has taken many unexpected twists and turns. As I continue to grow in Christ, I want a steadfast faith, one that remains consistent no matter what challenges life throws my way.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Ps. 51:10 (NASB)

I want to remain confident in that work-in-progress promise found in Phil. 1:6.

Print out this free Scripture reminder of how to be a steadfast woman! Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence. Becoming a Steadfast Woman, christian women, bible verses for confidence, studying the bible, faith, faith blog, christian mom, christian wife, free printables, free faith-based resources

Steadfast Marriage

Faithful readers will already know that my husband and I have faced significant challenges in our marriage.  However, the Lord has been faithful to see us through many trials and to help us see the progress along the way. I find that I don’t panic anymore when conflicts come.  I’m no longer enslaved by the enemy’s lies that our marriage will never be any different or that we might as well give up trying to change it!

“After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore you and make you strong firm, and steadfast.” 1 Pet. 5:10 (NIV)

Being steadfast in my marriage this year means that I won’t despair during difficult seasons, but I’ll have a calm assurance that we will come out on the other side not only intact but stronger!  It also means I’ll keep doing the good work of becoming a wife after God’s own heart.

Steadfast Parenting

Lately, the Lord has been convicting me that we need to keep persevering in our parenting methods even though our children are getting older and more self-sufficient. I want to be a steadfast parent who stays the course rather than one who gives in to laziness. My job is not yet finished! :)

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Gal. 6:9 (NASB)

If you want to walk through this year with a steadfast marriage, a steadfast ministry, or a steadfast faith, no matter what curve balls life throws your way, then this one is for you!  Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence.  Becoming a Steadfast Woman

Steadfast Writing

Being steadfast in the area of writing means I will aim to be more consistent, and that I will obey that still small voice when the Lord prompts me to sit and write.

“This hope we have as an anchor to the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast, and one which enters within the veil…” Heb. 6:19 (NASB)

It also means that I will grow in confidence in the voice He has given me so that I don’t make comparisons or look for outside approval. My heart’s desire is to write for an audience of One.

Steadfast Weight-loss Journey

(Sigh….) Many of you know I’ve been working toward some weight-loss goals since last year.  I only got rid of a little over 25 pounds, yet I persevered through injuries, illnesses, schedule changes, and the upheaval of changing ministries this past fall.  This progress was only possible through the power of Christ in me!

“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!” Ps. 57:7 (NASB)

This year  I’m aiming for another 50 pounds gone, an average loss of a pound a week.  So, being steadfast in this area means I’ll keep plugging away at healthy eating and exercise while trusting the Lord to take care of the results.

Steadfast Church-planting

Being steadfast as a church-planter means I’ll be secure enough to be a fool for Christ, willing to take risks because my faith is firm and my identity is secure.  It means I will keep doing the work the hard work, but I’ll trust Him for the results.

I can also be steadfast by pushing myself beyond my own comfort zone, especially when it comes to evangelism and by trusting the Lord to continue providing for our physical needs.

 

I want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman who does not fear the future but greets trouble with an unshakable faith (v.25).

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.” Isa. 26:3 (NASB)

As this year progresses, I’m excited to see how the Lord continues to use the word steadfast to teach me.

Will you choose to be steadfast this year?

Jen :)

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Print out this free Scripture reminder of how to be a steadfast woman! Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence. Becoming a Steadfast Woman, christian women, bible verses for confidence, studying the bible, faith, faith blog, christian mom, christian wife, free printables, free faith-based resources

 

 

Are you frustrated by failure you in your marriage? Do you wonder if there is any hope left for you? Hope for the Hurting Wife is a 30 day devotional journey written by two women who survived the muck and mire of marriage problems. Christian marriage|difficult marriage|encouragement for wives|hope for marriage|should I get a divorce|how to stay married| healthy marriage|trusting God with marriage|wife|husband|christian woman

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If you want to walk through this year with a steadfast marriage, a steadfast ministry, or a steadfast faith, no matter what curve balls life throws your way, then this one is for you! Use God's Holy Word to help strengthen your faith and give you confidence. Becoming a Steadfast Woman christian women, bible verses for confidence, studying the bible, faith, faith blog, christian mom, christian wife

 

 

Look to Jesus: A Review (and giveaway!)

If someone asked me if I trust God, I’d most likely answer yes, but I haven’t always trusted God in every circumstance.  In fact, during certain trials in my life when I felt I was drowning, trust seemed very hard to come by.

I’m certain I have more lessons in trust ahead of me, too.

That’s why Dawn Klinge’s new book Look to Jesus is so important.  My friend Dawn recently shared with us about how trusting Jesus is related to the joy we experience, but her book delves even more deeply into the topic of trust.

Klinge’s suggestion to trust God by looking to Jesus sounds so simple on the surface, maybe too simple. However, Klinge takes the reader on a journey to discover how looking to Jesus through various seasons of life leads to a deepening trust, one not easily shaken.

Along the way, Klinge takes time to explain basic doctrines that even seasoned believers may not fully understand, such as the Trinity.  I appreciate that the author lays this groundwork because if we don’t understand God’s character or how He operates, then we don’t really know God, do we?

And if we don’t really know Him, how can we trust Him?

In the first few chapters, Klinge rightly points out that we cannot generate trust on our own.  She encourages the reader to understand this truth by using her own life experiences.

“I’ve never needed to literally walk on water. But I have had storms in my life. In some of those storms, I’ve kept my eyes on Jesus and in some, I’ve looked around at my circumstances and started to sink – and I’ve called out to Jesus and he has rescued me. He wants to do the same for you.” ~Dawn Klinge, Look to Jesus (pg. 31)

But my favorite part of the book takes place in Chapter 4, when Klinge gets down to the nnitty-gritty of how we become conformed to the image of Christ, yet she also makes an important distinction between legalism and grace.  It’s this grace-filled approach which permeates the book that really resonates with me!

Dawn Klinge's new book, Look to Jesus, gently leads the reader to an understanding of how to trust God even during the painful trials of life.  Read here for a review and enter for your chance to win a copy of this new release!

Throughout Look to Jesus, Klinge supports her own words with a wealth of Scripture as well as well-chosen quotes from other authors and famous people from all walks of life. The reader will appreciate how the author weaves all of this knowledge into her own story of learning to trust God.

Out of all of the quotes chosen, however, the Oswald Chamber’s quote on page 58 is my favorite because it falls right in line with the purpose of this blog. The point of our faith journey is the process – the work-in-progress of being remade into His image, moment by moment, day by day.

I always enjoy a reminder of my work-in-progress status! :)

Another favorite moment took place in Chapter 6 when Klinge speaks to trusting God when life is hard.  I applaud Klinge for being brave enough to tackle this issue by sharing from her own pain.  I also agree with the author on her conclusion that pain has a purpose, one we cannot realize if we try to deny the pain of a difficult season of life.

More than that, I respect that Klinge points the reader to the truth that Jesus understands human pain because He endured pain himself!  Not only does he understand our pain, He wants to sit with us in the midst of it.

What I admire most about Look to Jesus is that any person who reads through the book will find a clear presentation of the gospel and what it means for us. In the final chapter, Klinge writes:

“Think of the high price God paid for you.

You are precious to Him and it doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how terribly you’ve failed – because it’s not about you. It’s about Christ in you.  How could we possibly doubt that God would ever give up on us, ever fail us, when we consider what was done to earn our place in His family.” ~ Dawn Klinge, Look to Jesus (p.95)

What better way to close than to remind us that looking to Jesus, trusting God in every circumstance, is rooted in our identity in Christ.  He who paid the price for us will not turn away in our times of need!

Dawn Klinge's new book, Look to Jesus, gently leads the reader to an understanding of how to trust God even during the painful trials of life.  Read here for a review and enter for your chance to win a copy of this new release!

Although the tone of this book is more conversational in nature than some readers might be used to, the nuggets of truth throughout make it a good read for anyone.

If you haven’t already read Dawn’s book, I hope you’ll take the time to do so.I have no doubt you’ll find wisdom and encouragement that applies to your life.

And if you’d like a chance to win a free copy of Dawn’s book (PDF version), be sure to enter the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also  visit Dawn at her blog, Above the Waves, where she writes on life and faith.

Because of Him,

Jen :)

*A proof copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author for purposes of review. However, all opinions are my own!  Also, this post makes use of affiliate links. For more information on the affiliate links used by this blog, visit Being Confident of This’s homepage.

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