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Letter Z

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A quick update brought to you by the letter Z. As we have been doing preschool with Madeline (age 4) I have learned a lot about myself as a homeschool momma and about the learning styles of my kiddos.

Madeline who has been doing the only “formal” schooling, has been doing a great job. However, there have been many times of distraction and what I call helplessness. Where she looks to me for the answer that I would like her to figure out. (Example: sounding out a word.) Yet, when I reflect that we have only been doing this a few months I am amazing at the growth of this lovey of mine.

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Madeline working on beginning graphing

I am so proud of her, not just academically but because the fruits of the spirit are showing through her day to day.

I started out the year with “worksheets” (glorified coloring pages) for my now 3 year old Noah. And at times he really enjoys them. However, I would say the majority of the time he would rather learn through play. He enjoys puzzles, pretending with his younger brother Jonah, he enjoys games, and he enjoys looking through books. All these things I find he is learning far more then the coloring pages and it is fun to see him expanding his mind.

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Pretend playing, animals at the watering hole, the zebra is sad he is not at the water.

This kid enjoys hands on and spacial reasons so much (future builder or engineer like his uncle) but also has some much compassion. Today he was pretend playing with the animals seen in the above picture. He was worried that the Zebra had no water, he was saying the Zebra was sad to the other animals and the elephant came over to the Zebra and showed him the way to the water.

When I started homeschooling my youngest Jesse was only a few weeks old and I was sure that he was going to be my biggest hurdle to overcome. Boy was I wrong, this sweet boy 9 times out of 10 sleeps through school time. We start school right when we lay him down for his morning nap (love that we can be flexible) and by the time he has woken we are past the direct instruction and on to the hands on activities.

My biggest overcoming obstacle this year is my sweet pie 1 and a 1/2 year old Jonah. He wants to bad to do what his siblings are doing but needs to switch activities every 5 mins. We have found a lot of new activities and things we save special for school time which has been enjoyable for him.

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Cooking up a storm

His latest favorite activity is cooking. Family have got him some fake food and some small pans and he can play with these toys for a long amount of time. Which is such a blessing during direct instruction time with Madeline.

Another hurled I have learned about myself is that when I used to teach in a public school setting since there was 26 students I was in a constant state of teaching and rotating from student to student. In this setting now I started the year almost hand holding too much, getting in and watching every move. I have learned to step back and watch more. I have also figured out how to create a laundry schedule where I can be running loads and folding clothes while we are all in the same room. (Our homeschool room is downstairs conveniently next to the laundry room).

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Laundry for 6 living in the house

Laundry has always been a little overwhelming but just like kids thrive off structure, so do I when it comes to laundry. If I miss a day I can feel it. And I know if I work on laundry when we do school time (3 times a week) my life won’t revolve around always doing laundry. Put in the time and get the reward!

There is an update on how school has been going for us ūüôā

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Children Sing for Joy!

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I LOVE TO SING! My husband and I get the privilege of making music together. He plays beautifully and one of my favorite this is singing to his accompaniment. We have done many different musical events together. Some examples are: talent shows, musicals (we have written and performed in), radio competitions, worship concerts, worship in church and more. WE LOVE MUSIC!

It amazes me how much joy I feel when I sing. And if I was to be truly honest when I look back at the times when I have gotten to share my music with other the times I feel the most joy is when I am singing praises to my Heavenly Father. I believe that everything I do SHOULD be for the father but my own pride and selfishness gets in the way at time when the focus of what I am singing is not on him.

One thing I pray that will translate into my kiddos lives is the JOY that comes from music. And this is not me expecting them to be amazing musicians, but to enjoy and make a joyful noise with music.

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Psalm 33:1 says, “Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.”

Father God, I pray my children will sing for joy today. I pray that their joy will be found in you! May we all have child like faith and joy! Thank you LORD!

Join me as we enjoy God’s gift of music to us! And lets share it with others!

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Husbands – Words are POWERFUL

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I had some dear friends get in a horrible car accident several years ago, and in true form to help the family we all chipped in and did whatever we could do to support. However, one thing that I saw happening was lots and LOTS of people wrote comments on their Facebook pages that they were praying for them. Prayer is awesome and powerful. YET, one thing transpired that I was impressed and moved by: the family wrote to their family and friends on a post and communicated that what they needed the most in prayer was that their words to be filled will POSITIVE, LIFE-GIVING, FUTURE-HEALTHY-OUTCOME TALK prayers. Each day they would list the next step that they needed prayer for. For example, we need prayer that the MRI will come back clean.

What I learned about this is the power of words, and how what we are saying is either  purposeful building up or not advocating for change or sadly tearing down.

This amazing family friends of mine believe in the power of words in prayer, the power of words in self talk (I can do this), and they believe in the power in our influence on others through words.

I pray that my words would be edifying to the people I influence the most (my kids), and that I would always be building others up and glorifying God.

I also want to take the time to be intentional to pray for my husband and that he would speak with words that are edifying to those around him. I pray his words will build others up and Glorify God.

Ephesians Chapter 4 Says:

Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

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Ephesians 4:9 ¬†in the Message bible says, “But that doesn‚Äôt mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The text for this is, He climbed the high mountain, He captured the enemy and seized the booty, He handed it all out in gifts to the people. Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ‚Äôs followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ‚Äôs body, the church, until we‚Äôre all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God‚Äôs Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.”

I like that we all have different gifting, different places of influence, different ways we relate to people. But we all have the power words to guide, influence, and speak life on this journey of being alive in Christ. This however doesn’t mean we all need to be speakers in front of thousands, because I believe the one-on-one relationships/discipleships can really dive deep and create enteral change.

Lord I pray for my husband! As the spiritual leader of our house I pray that he would be aware of the influence of his words. I pray that they would be edifying to those around him, at home, work, friends, family and the places he goes in our community. I pray that his words would build others up and most importantly glorify YOU! 

Join me as we pray for our husbands and their influence on those around them with their words.

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Correction

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We are born sinful humans, I know might receive some opposing opinions on this but without pleading my case I would like to share some of my observations.

First, and foremost it outlines for us in the Bible we do not¬†become sinners but are sinners.¬†Psalm 51:5 “For I was born a sinner–yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.” And Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned–” But: life, hope, grace, freedom from sin, and eternal life is found in JESUS CHRIST.¬†“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29.

Secondly, ¬†(I shouldn’t have to preface but I will I LOVE MY KIDS) from my experience though, as a mom of 4, I can “scientifically” say four out of my four children (100%) have displayed on more then one occasion (ok lets be real! More then one time or MORE a DAY) sinful behavior that I HAVE NOT taught them! Where does this sinful behavior come from, it is in our nature and the reason for a savior. What I would like to point out however is I believe we are born with sin inside of us (a separation from God) BUT that sinful visional display to be is NOT represented when babies are crying. Let’s dive a little deeper: when a baby is crying it is not because they are trying to be selfish or manipulative, they are expressing a need (hunger, wet diaper, uncomfortable because of a burp, tired etc). Please don’t neglect to take care of your baby in reference to the misinterpretation of them trying to be sinful. When I have seen the sinful acts displayed within my children, I have seen it in sinful fruits (their actions due to a heart problem). Let me give you a few examples:

  • Difficultly sharing (selfishness)
  • Pushing brother out the the way to be closer to mom (inconsideration for others)
  • Telling mom they put their laundry away and knowingly did not (lying)
  • Hitting their sister (lack of self-control)
  • Excluding their brother when friends are over (lack of kindness)
  • Arguing over who gets to play with a toy first (lack of peace)
  • and on and on the list goes! (SINFUL HEARTS)

I John 1:8: ‚ÄúIf we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us‚ÄĚ

But when we are reborn in Christ the sin nature we have is not removed or has disappeared. (That is not until we are in Glory.) BUT we are given a renewed mind and spirit. With the Holy Spirit as a guide and the refining process of becoming more like Him, and by learning more of His truth in his written word (The Bible) we move away from the sinful fruits and into the fruits of the spirit.

Fruits like: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, kindness and self-control!

I know there is going to a lot of correction happening with my children to teach and show these healthy fruits especially while they are young and skill discovering God’s design for their lives. My cry would be that I can learn how to correct them and guide them gently WHEN REQUIRED! (I say this because it the example above about babies crying due to them expressing a need.) I pray that I can use the guide of the Holy Spirit to identify when these events occur that need direction to be able to differentiate between truly sinful acts and mistakes/accidents/cries for help. I want to call a sin a sin, while still embracing the child and their need.

For example: my 3rd child who is age 1 and 1/2 was getting really REALLY worked up at the dinner table, he was crying, and pushing his plate away from him, and really throwing a fit, he was NOT showing self-control. I really was becoming frustrated, I tried expressing in calm words, “please use your words,” “point at what you need,” “do you need to get down from the table and take a break?” These calm questions were not getting me anywhere. As frustration was building inside, I reminded myself to remain calm, but I kept thing I worked so hard on this dinner, my husband is late and all I want is a moment to eat my food! So with a little stronger conviction I said, “you will need to use a gentle voice at the table,” “mommy is trying to figure out what you need,” “how can I help you.” Nothing, more crying. Finally I took a big breath in and set the baby down who I was feeding and walked over to him and I wrapped my arms around him and get melted into me. I tried to set him down to tell him I love him but his action are not ok. But as I kneed down and tried to stand he wouldn’t, I tried again, he would just crumple into me. After holding him for a few minutes I discovered he was sitting on his knees and in the position he was in his feet hand fallen asleep. MY poor baby was confused, scared, and unaware of what to do.

Yes he did not have self-control but rightfully so, in this situation was a when required moment. I was thankfully about to identify the need before I started shelling out corrects.

Therefore my prayer as a parent would be that HE would help me correct my child gently when required.

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Proverbs 27:5 says, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” From my experience in the teaching profession I have been able to see where boundaries, guidelines, and rules can really make students/children feel safe and secure. To know what is expected. May I help provide that for my children especially while they are trying to navigate this sinful nature.

Lord God, I pray you will guide and direct my path when in comes to correcting those you have put me in charge of. Speak loudly in my life when these corrects need to be corrected. And please help me always use the fruit of the spirit of gentleness when I am correcting. Thank you for being the example of gentleness and security. 

Join me as I find myself calling out for guidance when it comes to correcting and provided meaningful corrections in my children’s lives.

 

More verses about being born sinful: Here.

And more perspective on the difference between crying baby and sin.

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Accountability

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My sweet friend told me a story about her son, in which she prayed and ask God to reveal if any sin was taking place, since she didn’t see with her eyes what had transpired but had that momma feeling that something was not right. After she prayed she went to throw away something and ALL was REVEALED!

This story of my amazing momma friend shows me a lot. First it shows me that we are in need of help, and not the kind of help we can get with extra hands but the divine kind in which we need someone who wants even better for our kids then we do. Second we need to stop and be grateful for opportunities of correction instead of becoming frustrated when those correction and training opportunities arise.

Writing this blog is so convicting, because every time I sit to write down a thought it is because I have experienced the negative and want to do the positive. OR I hear some wisdom, and want to share it, THEN after I have had the chance to share it with others I GET TESTED on this newly acquired wisdom. Boy, oh Boy! The testing is the hardest conviction of them ALL. I mean here I am writing all this encouragement and I am on board and excited, then BOOM from “out of no where” I get slapped across the face with an opportunity to try it out. Do I fail? OH YEAH! Do I have successes? YES!

Sometimes I think WHY are my children acting up? Or giving me these opportunities for corrections!? Then it hits me I am basically saying, “WHY DO I HAVE TO PARENT?!” HAHA Lets all take a moment, a honest moment and agree NO ONE LIKES to provide correction in the moment BUT we can also ALL agree we see the value of correction! I pray I can begin to change my view of corrections to being grateful that I have the opportunity to correct. Because, there are MANY times I might not see what happened, and sin unchecked can grow like wildfire.

Ephesians 5:13-14

13¬†But everything exposed by the light¬†becomes visible‚ÄĒand everything that is illuminated becomes a light.¬†14¬†This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
¬†¬†¬†¬†and Christ will shine on you.‚ÄĚ

 

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Dear Lord, help me to catch my children when they sin. Lord help me to provide correction with a grateful heart. Allow me to give grace filled accountability, and encouragement to my children. Create in me a pure heart oh God that I might share your truths in my children. Thank you Lord for your love for my children.

Join me in prayer for eyes to see! I pray we can shine light on darkness that we see and that we can share of the light of truth of JESUS and His grace in the lives of those around us!

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Do you Believe in Your Children?

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We were at a play structure the other day, and during the free play time my 2 year old son had climbed to the VERY top of the structure. While he was up there he was looking out the opening of the structure to the fireman pole trying to decide if he was going to attempt to master the fireman pole. As one could imagine the mommy voice inside of me was say, “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING! OF COURSE YOU CAN NOT DO THAT! YOU ARE TWO! BACK AWAY FROM THE DEATH TRAP!!!!” But, surprisingly a moment of clarity came upon me and instead saying those thoughts in my head, I calmly walked over to the opening, looked up and said in a surprisedly restrained voice, “Do you think this would be safe for you to try?” At that moment I could see my son ponder for a quick second then replied, “No.” and climbed down to the next level and went down the slide.

I learned a lot that day.

First: I learned I wasn’t mentally prepared for him to say, “yes” to this dangerous situation. And I need to be! I need to be prepared to guide him to evaluate what he can do. During those time I “feel” he is not ready, I need to find ways to HELP guide him. Finding ways to show him that he CAN do things, he CAN have dreams and accomplish them, he CAN face those mountains without fear and he CAN ask for help to do them.

Second: I learned that I am a mama bear, I will fearlessly defend my cubs! I will defend them against threats both ones that come at us and ones that we face. My mama bear mentality is a great quality BUT needs to be harnessed into order to train up my children in the way they should live. Using the situation above, if I reacted with my inner mama bear voice I would be unintentionally instilling fear instead of reasoning. (SOME fear is appropriate, but in many situations could be handled differently. One healthy fear that comes to mind is not allowing children to walk in the street without an adult.) My husband always says we need to teach them the WHY. Rules without purpose can seem to leave more to be discovered.

Third: I learned that the inner voice of my children will be affected by MY outer voice. There is a quote that says, “Behind every child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.” We have such an influence in the way our children think about themselves. SCARY, but INSPIRATIONAL!

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I am always learning so much about what it means to be a parent. And while I am learning about myself, I can see so much of the Father God’s, love for us. God gives us guidelines to allow us to be successful but is always showing LOVE, GRACE, TRUTH, and PATIENCE with us. HE says trust me, pick up your cross (the thing you hold on to so tightly, your security, your pride, your dreams, the thing you are not trusting God with) and follow me. He does not tell you where he is going, but he promises joy, love, grace, truth, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and so much more. He takes what you have given and gives you something BETTER. This simple picture convicts me! “WHY AM I STANDING IN MY OWN WAY?”

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Forgive me God, and thank you for the reminder to pick up my cross daily and follow you.

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Mom – Quick to Listen

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James 1:19b says “EVERYONE should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

I made an observation this week, there is MOST definitely a difference between listening and truly listening.

My two oldest are a girl (age 4) and a boy (age 3) they are the best of friends! They play together great (of course they have their moments). One thing however is my daughter has always been more verbal then my son. She tries her best not to “run” him but she has always communicated for him, telling others what he means when his words were unclear, and directing the play. But, now he is 3 and wants to communicate for himself, give ideas for playtime, and have his thoughts HEARD!

Just this past week I asked the kids what they wanted for lunch. A simple question that I thought would only have a simple answer, but what I was in for was a BIG lesson. Even though we are working with my daughter at letting others have a turn first, and showing patience, as one could imagine it does not happen all the time (duh). So my daughter speaks up quickly that she would like quesadillas, then goes into this incredibly looooong narrative on how she wants: sour cream, no veggies, only beans, maybe a little meat, on a pink plate with salt and lime (and on and on and on). My Son starts to reply that he would also like quesadillas but keeps repeating his statement over and over while getting more and more frustrated because he thought no one could hear his thoughts. Now as a mother of 4 and a previous 5th grade classroom teacher I can hear several comments, stories, and replies all at once. My son though didn’t feel like I hear him because I wasn’t able to¬†truly listen,¬†by giving him the attention and responding to his comments.

That day I was able to start to see glimmers of how my son would feel respected by me when it comes to listening. He wants to be heard, he wants to be known, and what I feel like it boils down to is respect of my sons words. I need to truly listen to all my children. Yes, he can wait his turn. That is not what this is about, that I learned was all of us want what we say to be respected, heard and we want to be valued.

I pray the Lord would continue to help me grow in truly listening. A skill in patience and taking the time to hear with open ears and a open heart. That day I was in a rush, wanting to start lunch and move to nap time, I was thinking about what comes next instead of stopping and explaining to all the children they each will get a chance to tell momma what they want and for me to respond to each.

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Lord I pray that I will learn what it means to be slow to speak and quick to TRULY listen to the words, thoughts, ideas, and dreams of my children. I pray that I will grow in patience when opportunities arise for me to sit and listen to each of my children. Thank you Lord, for always working on me as I try to reflect the patience, dedication, and respect you show us as in example of what it looks like to truly listen. 

Join me in discovering and praying for truly listening skills.

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Shape Them to Reflect You

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My husband Darren was a competitive swimmer, lifeguard, and swim coach in his younger years; he and I both find a lot of value in knowing how to swim. As a young girl I have a lot of fun memories of taking swim lessons, as well as my husband. So when the age came for my oldest 2 kiddos to be able to start swim lessons I got all excited for them, and quickly signed them up!

Well, we had our first chance for them to “dive” into lessons this past week. Darren my husband took them, my oldest got right in the water excited to learn, my second oldest was a lot more reserved. In fact he didn’t get into the water at all the entire class, just sat on the edge.

While having caution is never bad, this example helped me start to see where areas in my life that I have weaknesses can really hold me back from what could help me reflect God.  See our lack of trust, lack of love, lack of whatever could be holding us back from our closeness with God as well as holding us back from us reflecting God.

While I know I struggle with a lot of weaknesses in my life, I want to take the time to pray for each of my children to start to find ways to rely on God, and not on their weaknesses. As I dive in closer with God to work on my weakness, I not only hope to be an example but also a support in showing everyone deals with different things that hold them back but we have a God who is bigger then them ALL! He is our VICTORY and our assurance of HOPE!

Ephesians 2:8-10

8¬†For it is by grace¬†you have been saved,¬†through faith‚ÄĒand this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God‚ÄĒ¬†9¬†not by works,¬†so that no one can boast.¬†10¬†For we are God‚Äôs handiwork,¬†created¬†in Christ Jesus to do good works,¬†which God prepared in advance for us to do.

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Father God, You know the areas where my children are weak. I pray that you would help to shape them to reflect YOU!!! Help us all know the that while we may have struggles that does not define the person we can be in you!! We are in your image, allow us to reflect you for others to see your Glory. 

Join me in praying for our next generation that they will be not shaped by their weakness but that they will be shaped in handiwork of the creator to reflect HIM!

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FRESH STARTS

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Today is the Day the LORD has made I will rejoice and be glad in it! Psalms 118:24 What a wonder verse of hope, grace and the promise of new beginnings. As a parent, there are many, Many, MANY times I was a redo! I want to try again! I want a FRESH START! God in all his Glory and GRACE gives that to us each and every day! What a blessing!

While parenting my kids there are many times of shortness, frustration, loss of words, shaking of the head, and more! And I sit there and think where is the the RESTART!

I am a big advocate for working through these sinful expression with my kids, by showing my humanity, my imperfections, and my need for grace. I am DAILY finding opportunities for growth! Being a parent is TRULY a refining process, I am consistently evaluating and growing into the woman that God has created me to be. It can be difficult to apologize and explain my sinful behavior to my kids who are 4 and younger BUT even so important for my growth and theirs as they are learning what it looks like to apologize sincerely.

God has given us a RESTART. He has given us an opportunity to try again. It is up to us to take it! Rejoice in the day He has given us. Cast our cares on Him for he cares for us! Give it to Him and allow Him to refine us. Never wake up with yesterday’s troubles; EVERY DAY is another chance to be better! Amen!

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Do not be discouraged! When we mess up, ask for forgiveness and take our chance to be better we are not only growing ourselves, but we are showing our kids and those we influence that MISTAKES happen! (I mean we are sinful people! We are GOING to mess up!) BUT when those mistakes happen, we are showing and modeling what to do, how to learn! So do not be discouraged, be ENCOURAGED to try again!

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Husband – Grow in Grace and Knowledge

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There are so many seasons in life, and within each season so many changes! In this current season of life there can feel like a lot on my husband and my plate. Things we have said yes to. All these yes’s are good yes’s, they are things we enjoy or are needs for our family. But as we have been chatting about our schedule we both feel we can tend to neglect the BEST YES. The Best YES is spending time in the word with God. Discovering his calling on our lives, growing in his grace and knowledge EVERYDAY.

See sadly this is the yes in our lives that gets passed over. IF you were to ask me why, I would tell you I have no idea! BUT if I was to think through it I think it is because this is the area of my life I “FEEL” like no one depends on me to do. Let me explain, my children DEPEND on me to feed them, my baby DEPENDS on me to change his diaper, my family DEPENDS on me to do laundry (going naked to look wouldn’t go over real well). It is so good to honestly reflect on the “reason” I think it gets passed over BECAUSE what I realize when I am finally honest with myself is I am missing my lifeline. I am that passenger on the airplane running around attaching my families oxygen mask and soon my air is going to run out.

Now all these things I do like food, diapers, laundry are all good yes’s and I will continue to do them BUT what I need to do is put my mask on first.

Unfortunately this trait of looking out for everyone else before myself is not just me, my husband as well has this personality.

SO my prayer is my husband will grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ EVERYDAY. Some way or another, finding a way to connect with God, deepen is relationship through committing his time to connect.

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Lord I pray I my husband would grow in grace and knowledge of you EVERYDAY. He is a man who has integrity, follow through on his commitments, works hard for those he loves, shows dedication to his family. I pray these traits and fruits you have bore into him will start to help allow himself to put the biggest yes first: YOU! Thank you Lord for your gentle nudging and guidance. 

2 Peter 3:18

18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Join me in praying that our biggest YES can be to the commitment of Christ, growing in knowledge, grace, truth, joy and love.

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