Friday, May 31, 2013

Drawing Life From the Word

As a busy wife, mother of five, and minister, you can imagine that I lack for strength most days. We all know that life comes from drawing near to God and His Word, but it is so hard most days to tap into it. You know what I mean, when you know what to do, and how to do it, but your strength is at such a low point that you can't seem to reach for it?

I take comfort in knowing that He is reaching for me.

Just think about that. He isn't asking you to go the full distance, He already is meeting you halfway. He already spoke. He already put Himself out there. What comfort to my heart. 

He has given me His Word so that I will have life. Just one word from His mouth is all my spirit needs. 

These are some passages I am meditating on right now and drawing strength from. Are you an "artsy" type? Maybe you can draw or paint a few passages and hang them somewhere you'll see them often (like the kitchen, moms?) Maybe your taxed on time, print a few out off your computer and post them around your house. 

During different seasons of life I have painted scriptures on the walls, printed them, put them on post its, or written them on the mirrors with dry erase markers. I want to encourage you, whatever your style, get some life giving words in front of you. 

This is what I am doing this weekend as I prepare for my 21 Day Fast Unto My Family. 

There is Life in these Words.

Here are a few key verses on "life" in the "Word". Perhaps start with these if you are finding yourself in that place of needing to draw life from Him today. 

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
"How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Psalm 119:103
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." John 6:68
 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
"I am the Way, the truth, and the life." John 14:6

 In preparation for the 21 days:

  • I'm prepping these scriptures to hang in my home, for personal strength. 
  • I'm finishing our Mission Statement. It is done and ready to print.
  • I found a book to use for our devotionals along with our mission statement "talks" (I am using Jennifer Toledo's Eyes & Ears)
  • I laid out a page for each child in my journal and I am going to be praying out of this resource that my dearest friend made for our children's church classrooms. Biblical Promises to Speak over Your Children.
  • I am going to use our existing empty push pin board in the hallway that once was full of hopeful schedules, as a place where our kids can write prayers and leave encouragement for Mom & Dad during the 21 Days. 
  • My children requested "Mail Boxes" on their doors so they can leave each other notes as well, so those will be prepped this weekend. 

well, I got some work to do... let me know what you are prepping in your home!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Focusing on the Family

As parents we are faced with the focus on the family whether we are looking for it or not, it is always right in front of us, isn't it? There are many things in our lives that change, like jobs, homes, maybe even your church family, but one thing is for sure, your family is always right in front of you. 

    Just as with a job or a ministry, I don't want to just let things happen as they may, I want to pray into my ministry, plan out what I am going to do, and go after it with focus. If you are wanting to learn an instrument you don't just desire to do it, let the desire fade, then maybe try it out here and there. You don't learn to play the guitar on accident. You buy a guitar, you take lessons, you practice. 

   Recently I read the small book, Praying Circles Around Your Children, and I was really encouraged to get more focused as a praying parent. I mean, I pray for my children everyday, I use the Word and pray into their lives, and then over them at night, but I have been feeling like, "there must be more I can do in the place of prayer". If you are a parent, I do not need to tell you how emotionally and physically tiring parenting can be. Sometimes I feel physically or emotionally inadequate, but I know that if I can just get stronger in the spirit then maybe we would get more breakthroughs in the home. Can you relate?

   As the kids are getting older we are finding that what use to work simply doesn't anymore.  The things they use to think were fun aren't anymore, our discipline techniques don't quite work anymore, you get the picture- their growing up. In the process of this I am being challenged to get more creative, spend time with them in different ways, and even pray for in new, creative ways. This summer I am going to get way more focused on my family in a way I have never been, I mean I am ready to take things to a new level! Not only that, but as I embark on a 21 Day Fast for my family, I want to encourage you to join with me. I have never done a "link up" before, but I would like to invite you to "link up" with me during this series in the Month of June. I am planning to post something everyday for 21 days as part of my Fast Unto. 

   What "Fasting Unto"  means is that I am not just fasting "from" things, but "unto" things. Here are my goals for this 21 day fast. (If you decide to join, consider a post on your blog or a journal entry in your personal journey about your goals for your fast now.)

1. Slow down, look at my husband and kids in their eyes, and have quality time with them. I want to give my family my attention. I want to listen to them, I mean really listen to their hearts.  I want to be tuned in. 

In order to do this, I am going to limit technology use to my computer for work and blogging only. I am going to refrain from personal social media. I also have recruited help. I have arranged for someone to help me at home with my housework so I can have more time "with" my family, and less time doing work around the house where I am not engaged with everyone else.

2. Create a prayer list in my journal with specific passages of scripture and prophetic promises for my children that I will pray daily. I want to get tuned in to what God thinks about my family and what He has to say about each one of my children. 

To accomplish this, it is going to take some diligence on my part to have a consistent prayer time with God. Right now my time with the Lord varies from day to day, so before this fast begins, I am going to have to redo my schedule and get it tighter. I may have to say no to some things, and I may have to change some current commitments. But I am confident that nothing is more important than my family in God's eyes right now.

3. Create a family mission statement. Simplify that statement. Post that statement over the doorway so we see it everyday. 

Years ago some friends of ours told us about how they had a family mission statement. They also had a three-word simplified version of it they had vinyl letters cut out and adhered above a doorway in their home. It reminded me of that passage in Deut. 6:9 about "writing the commandments on your door posts". You know why God had the Hebrews put His commands on the doorposts? So that as they came and went daily they would be reminded of His covenant with them. He knows we are like sheep (that means dull!) and forget things so easily! He knows we need to be reminded constantly of His love, His commands, and His promises for us. We need to see our target, often, I mean, a lot, all the time. You catch my drift?
    So we actually created our Family Vision Statement and then that was it, we never actually did anything with it. This weekend we pulled it out and revised it a bit and were almost done fine-tuning it. 
    If you are interested in doing this, here is a great blog post on the subject: click here. Franklin Covey's website has a free online tool to help you as well: Create Your Family Mission Statement.

4. Do a devotional with my family each day around our family mission statement. Talk about why this is our focus as a family. Find the scriptures to support it. Write out those scriptures and do fun meaningful activities with it.

I have a lot of ideas for this, but honestly my biggest struggle is that we sometimes make these plans of what we are going to do and then we all fall apart once we are trying to get everyone to sit down together. With five kids, its hard to all be in the right mood at the same time. So this make take some creativity as far as "location" goes. This may work better in a different environment. I am currently praying about this one, I will keep you posted. 

Finally, my #5 goal is to blog daily during the 21 days, personally, it's because I need the accountability to follow through on my goals and I work better with others. Consider joining me in a Fast Unto My Family. If you would like to have a special Bible reading plan during your fast, consider using one of these from YouVersion. I look forward to hearing from you,

Fast begins June 2nd.