Saturday, February 15, 2014

Don't Judge Me

Day 14
Good thing this isn’t a fairy tale or the love story would be over!
Reality Check: "Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart" Proverbs 3:4
Before I continue with my post, I would like to share a beautiful poem with you written by a friend. Dana Riek has portrayed exactly what True Love is all about! Thank you Dana for letting me share this with my readers!
By Dana Riek
true love 1I know a man who loves me as I am!
He is always faithful & always true!
His desire is for me no matter where I am!
He is beautiful & lovely, yet powerful & strong!
He is the most mighty warrior & He fights for me!
His love is perfect & goes deeper than I know!
I know a man who is always there even when I
turn away! He pursued me & wooed me before I
gave Him the time a day! He stands radiant among
ten-thousand! He is more faithful than a mother &
closer than a brother! He is the most loving & caring
One that I know & no one could ever compare!
This is my Savior! This is my friend...Jesus!
He died & rose again so I could find life in him!
He is my Beloved! I am blown away that he has called
me to be his bride! I am one with him & he is mine!
I want to live a life that is pleasing to him!
I was made to know & love him!
Jesus will return to the earth for his Bride riding on a
white horse in the sky! He will come with a sword upon
his thigh and destroy all evil! His Kingdom will reign and
have no end! Some would say this is a fairy-tale, but I
know it is true! He is the Prince of Peace and
King of Kings! He alone is my EVERYTHING!
true love 2Love is not the only thing that should be in our heart….mercy…
Actual Quote: "If you don't make me feel special tomorrow, I'm going to punch you in the face!"
Don't judge me.
I was mostly joking.
See [ladies], we have to be real with our husbands (and people in general). Let them know your expectations; DON'T make people try to read your mind. And then get mad when they don't. I have been trying to let my husband know what I want and/or need of him-
with respect
with love
without expectations
with mercy
I'm pretty flexible about most things...I don't get caught up when I don't get gifts and cards and I don't usually get all in a huff. But I find myself growing in disappointment that my hubby doesn't do things. This my friends, does not lead to anyplace that is good. I'm annoyed that he didn't take out the trash, I feel a little jealous when I see another guy open a door for his lady- when my guy didn't, I remember all the times he didn't do something nice for me when he could have....the list could go on. Did you notice something about my list?
All of those things are polar opposites of true love. And they definitely don't bring joy.
Whether you are doing this with your husband, your friends or your family- it’s wrong!
My husband is a very focused person, when he is at work- he thinks about work. That's a problem for romance on Valentine's Day. I reminded him last night, don't forget Valentine's Day is tomorrow. (I also remind him that it's his job to get the boys to do something on Mother's day ;) ) I expected to hear something about how is a commercialized holiday, designed by Hallmark to make millions, blah, blah, blah…. So before he had the chance to give me that spiel..."I don't care if it's commercialized, I want to feel special. I want to be romanced; despite my anti-fairy tale blotrue love 3g...I need  want to feel special!" He replied, "Mumble, mumble, I'll try to mumble..."
"If you don't make me feel special tomorrow, I'll punch you in the face!"
Now don't freak out, I've never hit my hubby and never will (not on purpose anyway); we both laughed pretty hard when those words popped out of my mouth. But the point is, he knows I need/want it to happen. I didn't set him up for failure, knowing he probably won't remember or think about it. And you know the true love in me; will not be disappointed if he still forgets, I won't allow my mind to wonder to past circumstances of feelings of disappointment.
Friends what I’m trying to say is that we want true love- all of us do. And it’s ok to want it. We just have to remember that everyone will disappoint us, because we are all human. So practice patience, grace and mercy and love regardless of the response you get. Don’t make your friends and spouses be mind readers, don’t lay your expectations in people- lay it in God!
Practice and encourage others here! We love hearing from you at Growing In Theory! Won’t you share how you’re growing and what your family has been doing this year with our 14 Days of True Love? Your ideas and stories can help encourage and inspire others!
A special thank you to Dana and Christy for making this post extra special!

Side Effects: Joy

Day 13
Reality Check:
Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Psalm 45:7

Love as we have discovered is not a fairy tale, it's a lot of work! Before we grow weary in doing good, let's look at the side effects of our hard working love! 
True love brings joy! It brings joy to those you show love to, and it brings joy to your own heart and soul!

Here are just a few more of the side effects of Godly True Love...

When you're not easily provoked, you encourage peace.
When you stop being envious, thankfulness and contentment replaces it.
When you practice patients you give things time, you build endurance, your demeanor changes, patience grows patience, and when you wait on The Lord you gain strength. (Isaiah 40:31)
When you are kind, friendships and relationships grow.And kindness is like a germ- it's easily caught and spread.
When you're not holding onto the wrongs done to you, your focus shifts to the good in others, you start to see people as God sees them.

Simply put, when you practice true love or Godly love, things are just better! Your attitude is better, your outlook is better, you feel better, and you can enjoy what and where God has placed you. There is a reason Christ told us that loving God and loving your neighbor are the top two commandments. Mathew 22:36-40

Practice true love and life will be better, I promise! Remind yourself daily what true love looks like, think of specific areas that you may be able to focus on.

Family Activity: Think of a situation which needs the attributes of true love. Do a little role playing game and act out the situation without love. Then show what happens when we practice true love in the same situation.

Tell us what you plan to do with your family this year!

Guilttrip Lane: Do Not Enter

Day 12
Reality Check:
“I love You, O Lord, my strength.” Psalm 18:1
Can you believe we are only a few days away from Valentine’s Day? I hope you are growing in your love; I sure know I am teaching myself a lot! ;) I was a little stuck on what to write about for Day 12 and asked God to lead me to something specific. If you noticed today is actually Day 13…ooops!
I was feeling guilty for many reasons; I had lost all my strength! First, I didn’t write my post on time. 2nd, on day eleven, I wrote about not being idle. Although I wasn’t idle yesterday; I had spent many wasted hours on the days leading up to it.
dominoesThis caused me to not be ready for our Homeschool Valentine’s Party.
Which lead me to staying up all night.
 Which lead to a “ruff” morning, which lead to a crabby mommy, which lead me to here.
Thankfully, God can use ALL things for the glory of His people, and my mishaps will perhaps encourage you today!
My selfish idleness caused a domino effect, which essentially led to guilt. God reminded me that’s not the point! My boys received a magnetic scripture card that was on our fridge. “I love You, O Lord, my strength.” Conviction isn’t to make us guilty it’s to make us holy!
I’m reminded of a song I love…
Holiness, holiness is what I long for (that's what I long for)
Holiness is what I need
Holiness, holiness is what
You want for me
So, take my heart and mold it
Take my mind, transform it
Take my will, conform it
To Yours, to Yours, oh, Lord

So next time you are feeling guilty. Be encouraged because God is your strength! Instead of feeling guilty ask God what you can learn and then ask God to be your strength! He will take your heart, your mind, your will…..
day 12Practice: Don’t let guilt last, hum the song above and remember that because God loves you, you can love God and when you do- He is your strength! Download this song or learn it as a reminder that God is your strength!
Family Activity: I love the Valentine’s magnet that the boys got from their friend and I think your kids will too! Use the scripture from today and decorate a piece of paper. (Cardstock is good, or you can use cardboard from a cereal box for durability.) Use an old magnet and glue it to the back. At dinner time, take it down and use it to memorize as a family. For little kids make it into a song.

Idle-y Selfish

Day 11
Reality Check:
1 Corinthians 13:5 “[Love] does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered
True love isn't self seeking…..
                                                      but it does take care of itself!
It seems everywhere I go, I hear about, “me time,” or “mommy time.”
me timeMy response to this epidemic of me time….
Me time is over rated!
Before you feel like you need to explain, let me clarify. I know all too well that it is important to rejuvenate, it is important to rest, parents need to have time to unwind/ prepare for the next day, and married couples must have time with each other but....
There is a line between taking care of yourself and being selfish! God tells us not to be idle and he also tells us that there should be a day of rest. (She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Psalm 31:27)  (31 And He *said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. Mark 6:31)) I’ve decided to coin a new term, idle-y selfish. I think many of us (especially moms) have become idle-y selfish in the name of needing rest. Rather than trying to explain let me give you a couple of examples.
Idle-y Selfish
Playing on Facebook  for hours, while your children unwind all the toilet paper, become cranky because lunch is very late, and dump the entire toy box out on the floor. You turn the tv on so they'll stop whining and get irritated with every lego you step on. Then when your hubby gets home you say, I'm going to run over to get a pedicure because today has been nuts! I need some me time!
Taking Care of Yourself
After a long day of keeping up the kids and the house, you make dinner. Shortly after daddy gets home everyone eats. You ask daddy and the kiddos to clean up from dinner so you can spend 20 minutes reading your Bible or taking a shower ext.
Idle-y Selfish
Staying up until 1 am watching tv (and not because its date night). You're cranky and in desperate need of a nap the next day. Not much gets accomplished.
Taking Care of Yourself
Staying up late because Toddler is sick and needs extra attention. Not much gets accomplished the next day between taking care of toddler and your exhaustion. In desperation, you ask your spouse if you could take a nap.
sleep or channel surf
I'm not trying to make you feel guilty; these are all examples from my own life!  But I know that if I am to be where God wants me, I have to evaluate my motives. I shouldn't be idle or use idleness for an excuse to claim me time.
When we are evaluating our time spent it’s also important to remember (especially in families) is that there are different seasons in our lives.

There are seasons where you will feel exhausted on a daily basis (maybe nursing), there are seasons where you may be eating dinner on the run, seasons where you don't get a lot of dates with your spouse, and seasons where me time, is going to the bathroom with hands wiggling under the door. There may be seasons where someone might have two jobs, an undesirable job, long hours or maybe even no job, seasons of being single, school, dating, ext. There may be times in your life when you have ample me time, and times in your life where it is virtually non-existent. Wherever you are at, be sure you are using your time wisely and remember that our goal is to serve not to be served because True love is not self-seeking. (See Ecclesiastes 3 )

Practice: Evaluate your time each day. Are you idle-y selfish? This is something I recently was convicted of; I would spend a lot of time on the Ipad, because I was too tired to engage. One night I realized that most of my exhaustion was my fault. I would use nursing as my excuse, but in reality I should only be mildly tired- not exhausted. I would stay up late to "unwind" watching tv, Facebook or scouring the Internet. I wasted my time. Then I felt guilty for being too tired to read God's word. I am now in the midst of making changes. The goal is not to feel guilty every time you opt for me time, the goal is to change habits that cause us to be focused on ourselves- instead of others. There is nothing wrong with me time- just don’t get caught up in it! (15 Therefore [a]be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 [b]making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16)
Family Activity: Have your family sit down together and write or draw pictures representing the top ten things that you do most as a family. Be honest. Talk about how many of these things help others. Decide on how a few changes can make these times more service oriented, instead of self oriented. (For example, if eating is one of your things; discuss ways you can help each other prepare meals-instead of just waiting for your turn to eat.)

Don't Let Time Run Out

Reality Check
Day 10
be mineFor the last few days, I hope that I have impressed on you how important it is to spend time with God. The last few years there have been many trials in my life. From deaths, depression, day to day ware, to timidness, anger and everything in-between. God has taught me many things, but one that stands out above the rest, is that I MUST make time for Him. I can’t not handle some things that come my way, I’m simply not capable. And when I am not with Him, talking to Him, walking in Him, trusting in Him, depending on Him, and reading His Word, I fail and trip and fall and get stuck.
So enjoy these moments with God today and although time with our Father is sweet enough you can enjoy some sugary sweets too!
Practice & Family Activity: Today I saw a cute activity that I would like to share here. You can enjoy this by yourself, with a spouse, your kids or your family! Grab a box of conversation hearts. Find the heart that has the “scripture title”, and then look up the scripture.
Be Mine- John 3:16
All Mine- John 10:27-30
True Love- Jeremiah 31:3
Love Me- Luke 10:27
I’m Sure- John 14:1-3
Sweet Talk- Psalm 119:103
Be Good- John 14:15
Fax Me- Jeremiah 33:3

Don't Be A Do Gooder

Reality Check:
Day 9

And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13: 3
The title today is actually a little misleading. We do want to do good, we want to be kind and considerate and look out for others. After all, all of those things are part of true love.
In and of themselves, those things are worthless. Being good is just, well just being good. It doesn’t get you to Heaven and it doesn’t necessarily show love. If you truly love someone then it matters to you if they go to hell, it should bother and grieve you greatly! It should also motivate you to do good out of love, not out of obligation.
Let me give you an example, one variation of doing good but not having love. Say someone is trying to get over into my car lane. I wave them over, annoyed, and mumble, “Come on idiot, hurry up!”
Later that day my eldest says to his little brother, “Come on let me get your drink for you, hurry up idiot.”
Do I need to explain?
Good without love profits nothing. It may seem like it helps in a moment and certainly God could use it.  But it definitely won’t profit you and probably not your family either.
dose of true lovePractice: It’s hard sometimes having the right attitude. Think about how often we remind our children to have a better attitude. Is it possible that we are rubbing off? Think about your motives when you are about to do something, and say an SOS prayer if your motives are not coming from a place of love.
Family Activity: Talk about some situations that needed a dose of love. Discuss how it affects people when you don’t have love…like a medicine for the wrong symptoms. Find an old spoon, cut out the words love and paste them onto the spoon. Tie a ribbon around the spoon and hang it somewhere as a reminder. Challenge each other to gently and respectfully remind one another when they need a dose of love.

Minions Are Loyal and So is Love

Reality Check:
Day 8
Love is loyal.
“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (NASB) John 8:31-32

Minion:  noun /min∙yen/
1. a servant or follower
2. highly favored one
3. an official
minion 1
Today I was blessed with two sleeping children, at the same time! That’s rare. Since Timmi was at work with his daddy, I thought I would get a jump start on the sample bags, for our homeschool group’s Valentine’s Day party. One of the sample bags (for their mailboxes) was a minion. It got me thinking; as God’s children we have some similarities to minions.
1.        We are God’s followers; he is our king, our master, our God!
Matthew 16:24
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (KJV)

John 8:12
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” ” (NIV)

1 Corinthians 11:1
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

John 8:31-32
“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (NASB)

Mathew 6:24
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. (NASB)

2.      God favors us, he loves us, we are very good!
Romans 5:8
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Psalm 5:12
For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.
Psalm 30:5
For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
1 Peter 5:6-7 
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Genesis 1: 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
    3.     We are sent to be God’s officials, His ambassadors, rulers of His creation!
Mathew 20:25-28
25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His [a]life a ransom for many.”
Matthew 5:16
“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (NIV)

Philippians 3:20
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (NKJV)

2 Corinthians 5:19-20
“That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (NKJV)

Genesis 1:26
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
minion 2Practice: Minions are extremely loyal. How loyal are we to God? Read through these verses again. What does God expect of us? To give him time if we have it, to pray when we’re in trouble? To read His Word if we’re well rested? I don’t know about you but I often fail miserably in many of these areas, and I am ever grateful of God’s infinite grace and mercy. BUT that doesn’t make it okay to continue to allow it. Challenge yourself with mee to pray that God would reveal the areas of your life that you have loyalty issues. Then earnestly wait on the Lord, and continue to seek Him until it is revealed…and then DO something about it. Search His Word, pray and meditate for help and how you can change! And if you have time after all that, let me know how you’re doing on that journey! I love to hear from you!
Family Activity: Make a minion bag, talk about what it is. Fill your bag with scriptures and pictures that remind you of Christ and following Him. Maybe write the scriptures from this post and read one each day. If you’ve seen Despicable Me, talk about the similarities we have with them (and the stark differences).

Bundle Up, We're Headed Inside...

Reality Check:
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. 2 Samuel 22:31

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 2 Corinthians 3:4-5

True love always trusts.
Today’s post is a little longer but bear with me…
It’s ironic that I am writing about this today. (Of course by ironic, I mean Holy Spirit inspired- he knew what we would have to endure today!) This morning my heater was only blowing out warmish air. My first thought, “Oh great!”
 I was quietly reminded of a payment I just made. “You can trust me.”
The last trial payment for a modification, which is supposed to save our house. Thank God I have a home! Even with no heat, it’s still warmer than outside.  So I called my hubby, told him the predicament and bundled everybody up.
snow 3
Then the heater stopped working completely. “Dang it!” I took a deep breath and sighed. I posted a request on facebook for space heaters; we weren’t in a position to purchase one.
I was desperately trying not to get discouraged-after all, it wasn’t freezing and we were all ok. The thought of the cost and time to fix the heater was stressful. And the only way I could keep myself from worrying was to not think about it. A small whisper, “You can trust me.”
A few hours went by and the temp dropped quite a bit. Another sigh; I turned on the oven and opened its door. I also made a comfy spot in the kitchen to hang out to make sure no one got hurt from the open oven. (Side note- every time Zeke walked by it, he’d say “hot”, and push it closed.) Thankfully we have a pretty comfy and spacious kitchen.  However, I agonized over the purchase of space heaters and bill for fixing the real heater. Does God do healing miracles on heaters? I seriously was wondering that.
Like it often happens, my sister came to my rescue, and her father-in-law brought us a space heater. It was one of those nice rotating ones-perfect! “You can trust me.”
Then a friend offered one, so I called my father-in-law to see if he could pick it up. He decided to come by instead.
I had already checked the breakers, reset the system, changed the batteries in the thermostat and turned everything off and then back on- I figured it couldn’t hurt that’s what I do with my computer. None of it worked.
He came by, checked the breakers, reset the system, changed the batteries in the thermostat and turned everything off and then back on. But this time it worked. Does God do healing miracles on heaters? Hmmm….I think he does!
The point is, today I had to remind myself constantly that it was okay, despite the job loss, despite the heater going out- I can trust God.
For the last few years we have been battling saving our home. For almost 1 ½ years, I lived in agony. I wanted to trust God, but the fear and worry consumed me. I finally let it go, and I mean I actually let it go. (Unlike the year leading up to this, I would state that God could have it- but I didn’t actually release it.).
What was different? I trusted God. I accepted the fact that we might lose our home, and that was ok. I trusted that what God had in store for provisions, would be good. I realized that whether I lived in a small cramped apartment, a rental, a trailer, my Grams, or in the wonderful home we are currently blessed with- that God would provide and that I could TRUST him. It didn’t matter if it was my fault or not that we were in this position, because God cleanses us through the blood (forgiveness) and we have no reason not to trust him. (Although I don’t think it was our fault, or at least not something we did “wrong”.)
redneck space heaterYou’re probably thinking that I must have been able to save my home and that’s why everything is ok. But I don’t actually know yet. We just made our last trial payment and technically that should mean we are good…but we did this once before. We made all of our trial payments, on time and exactly how we were supposed to do it and then they said, oops sorry, we can’t help you. So we will see.
We don’t know what God has in store for my husband’s job/ future career, but we know we can trust him.
We don’t know if we will keep this house or have to move on, but we know we can trust him.
We don’t know if ___________________, but we know that true love always trusts and we can ALWAYS trust God!
Practice: Today is the same as yesterday’s family activity, because knowing our God allows us to know that we can trust him. You wouldn’t trust a stranger…so don’t let God be a stranger!
Family Practice: Have your child stand in front of you (arms crossed, with their back to you). Ask them if they think you would let them fall. Hopefully the answer is no. Let them experience trusting you by catching them when they fall back. Explain that this is like God, his plans are perfect for us and if we trust him, he will not fail us! Psalm 9:10
What do you struggle trusting God on? If you share, I will be sure to join you in prayer! (And maybe my visitors will too! -hint, hint ;) )

Professional Poop Cleaner

Day 6
Reality Check:
…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7
Ponder this story: As she scrubbed fecal matter off the wall she thought, "How did I get myself into this mess?" This job was not what you'd call a glamorous job. In fact, it didn't even pay the bills- but it provided. If you would have asked Elizabeth what she would be doing in twenty years, cleaning up poop with a sauce stained shirt, hand feeding Sara, would not have been her answer. Today she had scrubbed the floor- twice, wiped several rear ends, and done four loads of laundry and that was just the beginning of the list. Why did she do these things, was scrubbing poop her dream job? I seriously doubt it, but she loved her _______. Fill in the blank. You could put children there, you could put a parent or grandparent or othprofessionaler relative, maybe a friend.
You probably couldn’t pay me to clean up fecal matter everyday (Although God has given some the ability to handle this kind of job.) But I wipe butts for free! Why? Because love endures all things. There are a lot of things we will sacrifice, a lot of things we will do, for someone we love. But sometimes I don't endure ALL things...
 Just the other day, when I started writing this blog series, I was having a difficult day. I had no patience for dealing with my kiddos, I lacked self-control, and I was losing it. When I say losing it, I mean losing it. I felt like a volcano must, right before it's about to explode and burn down a village. I say that lightly but that's really what happens when we forget about love. We can literally burn things down. We burn out hope, joy, fun, playfulness, learning, the sparkle in the eye...and that my friend is a horrible place to be. But I was there. As I snapped at one of my boys, I saw the sparkle leave...guess what replaced it? Fear.
 In a moment I burned out the sparkle, and in a moment I was crushed.
 That's not what I want to instill in my children or anyone else. I doubt that you do either.
 Why was it that I could not endure all things? What was different today? Not enough sleep?  Low blood sugar? Stress? Maybe.
 A few minutes later, my sister editor called. She was telling me about a typo on day 2 of this series. I read it, "did you start with God today..." Oops. I hadn't. I stopped what I was doing, I said a little prayer. I thanked my sister for the inadvertent reminder and I got my Bible out.
 You’re probably saying, "I have x amount of kids, I can't just stop the day and read my Bible." Or, "I have to get this x done before x happens."
 Trust me, I've been there. Here's what I'm learning to do. I stop and do it anyways. Now this particular day, I read with my kids. I grabbed my Bible; I grabbed the kids and sat them down. I opened it up and started reading. Stryder sat and listened the entire time. Zeke listened for about 1 1/2 minutes, Elisha cried the whole time.
 Was there some miraculous change in our day, were things suddenly going smoothly? Hardly.  Elisha cried the entire time we read; Zeke spilt his water and the list of chaos continued through the day.  But every time something came up, I had a little more patience to handle it, my spirit's whisper was a little louder in my ear, and I had the peace to remind myself to take a breath before I burned down my village.
Practice: Go back to day 1, where is that sticky note? Did you read the post, get excited and then fall back into old routines? God has to be priority! If he is not number 1 on your our to do lists, then it will be easy to forget, easy to say, “in a minute”, easy to say, “before I go to bed”, or, “I’m too tired.” Don’t let it be easy to make excuses, make Him your priority!

Family Activity: Make it your goal to read your Bible with (even if they’re young) your kids every day this week! In order to know true love (and to be able to teach it), you have to know the author…and the only way to do that is through relationship-prayer, His word and the Holy Spirit!

Fist Bump

Reality Check
(Day 5)

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
1 Corinthians 13:6

Today we are featuring a special guest post from Cassandra Finkes. She is well known for being an encourager! Read, enjoy and be encouraged!
I was thinking about a study I read in Dr. Dobson’s book, Bringing Up Girls; the top ten reasons for depression in women. More than 50% of women listed self-esteem of some sort as their number one issue. At least 80% listed it in the top five. (Check out the book for more specific details).
This really made me think that we should make a dedicated effort to help tear down the lies that each of us ladies has brewing in our heads. It lead me to believe that most of us are struggling with some self-esteem issue on a daily basis. That something is the enemy and our flesh lying to us and holding us in bondage. Jesus calls us to be confident and bold in Jesus Christ! As my pastor said in one of his sermons; we have all the power in the world to break through these bondages but we let a tiny chain hold us down. (This was referring to an illustration about how elephants as infants are held by a chain and that same chain keeps them in check even as adults, despite them being more than able to break the chain. But their life has convinced them that the chain is able to keep them from going beyond it.) Not only does God give us more than what we need to break through all of this bondage; He gave us each other to, “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Heb 3:13). It’s our job to build each other up so that we are not held in bondage by the lies in our heads. SO.... let’s actually do that for one another!!!
God has searched us and knows the innermost parts of our beings... we were fearfully and wonderfully made! His thoughts are precious toward us even though He sees the deepest parts of our souls and searches every part of us! Why then do we tear apart ourselves with hurtful words and thoughts? It's like we are spiting on God’s creation and saying, “What you made was not enough.” Let's find joy and comfort in knowing that our God made us and made us with His perfect hand. We can be sure that Jesus has made us new in Him. So even when we think; “We’ve messed up Gods creation,” we can be reminded, that we aren’t big enough to void out what Jesus did for us on the cross!
Practice: Have you ever been at a store and watched a child throw a tantrum and toss their stuff to the floor? Then lean over to your friend and whisper how the mother should…. Mothers this can be especially true of us, but many are guilty. If you are a mother, how many times have you seen or heard someone whisper about your parenting and suddenly felt like a failure. Or a past comment makes you feel like a failure the next time it happens? Let’s kick this habit of putting others down (regardless of what we think of the situation). Chances are, we don’t even know the whole story. Instead let’s jump in and help! When little Tommy throws a fit and throws his mom’s purse to the floor. Instead of whispers (that encourage those lies and bad self-esteem), grab the purse and say, “It’s tough being a mom.” Or “Not every mommy (or daddy) moment is glamorous, keep up the good work!” Be an encourager, seek out ways to break our flesh and satan’s lies! While you’re at it, today set a time aside and read Psalm 139:1-18

Family Activity: Discuss what being an encourager looks like (and what delighting in evil looks like). Help your kids point out opportunities to encourage others. Maybe think of a friend or family member to make an uplifting and encouraging card for.
Share ideas on how you can give a "fist bump" of encouragement!