February 26, 2018

Trust God and His Timing (Guest Post)

Hey friends. I’ve been so excited to introduce you to a dear friend. Her name is Jodie Berndt. She’s easy to love, and if you love UVA, you’ll love her even more!! HUGE Wahoo fan!

You know how we love prayer here. That’s why I invited Jodie to share from her new book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children. Be sure to enter to win your own copy at the end.

She not only has a HUGE heart bent toward praying for children, she also has a passion to equip parents how to pray for their children. I only wish I had her books when my kids were young. But, I’m so thankful for this one because her newest book teaches us how to pray for our adult children. It’s filled with stories, examples, scripture and humor. It’s a great book to get and to give!

Take it away Jodie …

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“Hillary doesn’t have a job,” I said, “and she seems…content.”

I was having lunch with a friend, confiding my latest parenting worry. I was afraid that I’d raised one of those boomerang kids—the kind who get out of college and then brings their lives (and their laundry) back home.

My friend smiled. “Your daughter,” she countered, “only graduated three months ago. Trust me; she’s probably not content. She’s an engineer—they think in linear terms. She’s pursuing a job; she’s just not doing it the way that you would.”

Well, she had that one right. Hillary was definitely not looking for a job the way I would have. I would have loaded my résumé into the barrel of a shotgun and pulled the trigger, splattering my education and experience all over any company that was hiring. But Hillary was a little more particular. She had some job offers but, having earned a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering, she’d set her sights on the space industry. Ideally? Ideally, my girl wanted to be an astronaut.

Which was, honestly, kind of hard for me to appreciate. Who actually does that? Was “astronaut” even a job? And how long would it take? I don’t remember my exact words, but I think my advice went something like this:

“Aim lower.”

(Yeah. Not my best parenting speech.)

You can read about Hillary’s job hunt (and how I ugly-wrestled with God over how and when he’d provide) in Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children. But if you want the condensed version, it pretty much boils down to this:

Trusting God with our children’s future means being willing to trust his timing.

Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children. A guest post by Jodie Berndt for wendyblight.com.

Psalm 139:16 says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Pick that one apart and you get the idea that 1) God has a plan; 2) He’s on a clearly defined timetable, and 3) His design has been in place since forever. Had I embraced these three truths at the start of Hillary’s job search (instead of eight months later, after I’d pretty much been exposed as the opposite of the Proverbs 31 mother), I could have saved myself a lot of mental anguish and spent the better part of a year enjoying time with my girl, instead of worrying about her future.

We know God has good purposes, and that (Philippians 2:13) his job is to work in us—and in our children—to get us to think and act in ways that line up with these plans. Part of that alignment, I’m (slowly) coming to realize, is being willing to depend on his timing.

Let us not become weary” Paul writes, “in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” That’s Galatians 6:9, and it’s always been one of my favorite “hang in there” verses.

Sometimes, “doing good” simply means waiting well. Because it doesn’t matter what our request is, or what it is that we think we need, God already has the answer all mapped out. He will provide. The harvest will come (spoiler alert: Hillary got her dream job) at the just the right time.

So let’s hang in there. Let’s wait well. And let’s pray:

Heavenly Father, 

Help me, as I put my trust in you, to trust your timing. Today, I give you ___________, surrendering this situation into your tender care.

Help me to wait well.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen. 

The Giveaway – now closed – Congrats Michelle Reed!

Where do you find yourself struggling to trust God’s timing? Leave a comment—perhaps a favorite Bible verse or promise that helps—for a chance to win a copy of Jodie’s latest book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children.

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Okay, don’t ya’ll just love her? Thank you, Jodie, for letting me share your book with my word loving, prayer warrior sisters here.

Jodie Berndt is the author of several books, including Praying the Scriptures for Your Children, Praying the Scriptures for Your Teens, and Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children. A speaker and Bible teacher, Jodie encourages readers to pursue joy, celebrate grace, and live on purpose. Find her writing (and download free prayer printables) at JodieBerndt.com and follow her on Instagram @Jodie_Berndt, Twitter @JodieBerndt, and Facebook @JodieBerndtWrites. Jodie and her husband, Robert, have four grown children and two sons-in-law.

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December 4, 2017

Embracing the Gift of His Presence & Giveaway

Today, I’m excited to welcome my friend, writing and editing mentor, and Proverbs 31 Ministries sister, Glynnis Whitwer, to share from her new book, Doing Busy Better. As we get swept up in the busyness of the Christmas season, Glynnis reminds us  to not only embrace God’s gift of work, but also of His gift of rest. Jesus tells us to come HIM first. HE is the one who gives us rest. Be sure to read till the end and enter Glynnis’ giveaway!

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Embrace the gift of God's presence this season. #doingbusybetter by Glynnis Whitwer.

It was a Christmas I’d like to forget. With five children at home, I should have planned a Pinterest-perfect experience – complete with decorations, cookies and crafts. But the stress of a crazy year had brought me to end of my strength.

The tree got put up, but no ornaments. It only had lights because it was pre-lit. That’s how bad it was.

Every day I felt like a failure. No matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t get ahead.

When that happens, I usually switch into go-mode. Checking items off my to-do list can easily supersede my desire for the quieter priorities of life, like time with God or my loved ones.

How can I possibly sit when there’s so much to do? That mindset has made me miss some of the most precious moments in life, and it’s a way of thinking I battle daily.

Somehow in the midst of that overwhelmed Christmas, God reminded me of the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible.

Luke 10 records a day when Jesus came to visit at Martha’s house. It’s a very short story, but we know that Martha fussed at Jesus because her sister wasn’t working hard enough. Rather than helping fix the food, Mary was sitting listening to Jesus.

Jesus loved both Mary and Martha. But in that moment, as the story records, Jesus was more delighted with Mary’s heart to be with Him than Martha’s heart to serve Him.

I can be a fusser too. Too busy with the details, too worried about planning for what’s next, too preoccupied with my to-do list. Even worried about other people’s to-do lists.

It’s not that I don’t love Jesus. I do. But so did Martha. She dearly loved Jesus. And I’m sure she loved having Him as a houseguest, where she could hear Him talk as she went about her daily tasks. Maybe she asked Him questions and served Him lunch.

But she didn’t stop to sit at His feet. She didn’t pause her preparation to give Him wholehearted attention. She didn’t embrace the gift of His presence.

Jesus so gently and lovingly corrected Martha saying:

“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:41-42, NIV)

Jesus loved Martha’s heart of service, but He just wanted her to stop what she was doing and prioritize spend time with Him.

I wonder if Martha changed her habits. Did she check her heart and consider where Jesus fit? Did she review her priorities and put Jesus before cleaning up?

We don’t know the answer. The only thing we can know is what we decide to do with this story.

It’s so compelling to jump into our days ¾ whether it’s fixing breakfast for children or leading a meeting at work — without ever pausing to sit at Jesus’ feet. It’s so much easier to whisper a prayer while driving carpool or listen to the Christian radio station and consider that time with God.

That crazy December day I decided to follow Mary’s example and sit in the middle of my mess to spend time with Jesus.

Normally, I feel as if everything has to be clean before I can “treat” myself to some down time. I believe I have to have the dishes clean, counters cleared, urgent emails addressed, laundry going. By the time I’ve done all that, something else has demanded my attention, and my time with Jesus is neglected – much like what happened to Martha.

But not that day. That day I made a cup of coffee and sat at the kitchen table and looked at my mess. It was big. There were papers, dishes, clothes and blankets strewn over every surface. The floor was filthy, and the list went on. I had to fight my instinct to get up.

Closing my eyes, I pictured Jesus sitting across the table from me. Sighing deeply, I felt the stress melt away, as my heart filled with peace. It was pure pleasure … and the mess amazingly faded from my view.

The presence of Jesus brings me more joy and satisfaction than checking 100 things from my list.

This Christmas, whether you’ve gotten your house decorated or not, whether you’ve mailed out cards or not … Jesus has come to your house for a visit. He longs for us to pause our preparations and sit with Him. What a gift.

Giveaway Ended

Congrats Kay (comment December 4, 2017 at 7:42 am) – you won! Please check your email and reply with your mailing address.

Glynnis is giving away a copy of Doing Busy Better to one of my readers! Comment below and let us know how you are embracing God’s presence this month. U.S. Addresses only please.

Doing Busy Better by Glynnis Whitwer.

P.S. The winners of last week’s giveaway were announced here.

About Doing Busy Better

In Doing Busy Better, Glynnis helps you examine your heart and your schedule in order to seek a healthy, holy, and enjoyable balance between work and rest. Most importantly, she shows you that your worth is found not in your accomplishments but in the love of the One who made you for work and for rest.

Glynnis Whitwer is the Executive Director of Communications at Proverbs 31 Ministries. She is one of the writers of Encouragement for Today, the Proverbs 31 e-mail devotions, with over 950,000 daily readers. She is the author and co-author of 10 books, including her latest Doing Busy Better: Enjoying God’s Gifts of Work and Rest. Glynnis, her husband Tod, have five young-adult children and live in Glendale, Arizona. She blogs at www.GlynnisWhitwer.com.

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November 6, 2017

When You Are Tempted – Suzie Eller Message and Giveaway

Hey friends! Before I introduce you to my friend, Suzie Eller, I’m announcing the winner of “Living So That” from last week’s giveaway. Thank you for taking the time to share your favorite verses to pray, and how you pray them. I will be copying many into my journal … so many good ones.

WINNER of “Living So That” is Lisa S. who posted on 10/31 at 9:19 p.m. Lisa, please e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com with your full name and mailing address.

Okay, now it’s time to meet my friend and fellow Proverbs 31 Ministries author, Suzie Eller. She’s written a beautiful new devotional, “Come With Me: A Yearlong Adventure in Walking with Jesus.” After you read her post, be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy. You can find more about her devotional book by clicking here.

Incredibly Loved and Made for More

“When you are tempted, remind the enemy — and yourself — that you are incredibly loved and made for more. ~ Jesus”

We tend to think of temptation as BIG.  

When I think of temptation, I tend to think of BIG things. It’s cheating. It’s stealing something that’s not ours. It’s something news headline worthy, or at least fodder for local gossip.

Yet that’s not normally our greatest temptation. Instead, our greatest temptations come in ways that no one sees. We are tempted to discouragement. We are tempted to give up. We are tempted to look at ourselves and see a mess.

Those temptations may not be defined as BIG, but they pile up like mountains in our heart and thoughts. They get in the way of God’s best for us, and they trip us up.

Just this past week I was tempted.

No one saw it. If I wanted, I could push it down, down, down where I didn’t have to acknowledge it. Rather than be ashamed of temptation, the truth is we all struggle with it. If I pretend that I don’t, I’m lying to myself (and to you).

It started innocent enough. Richard and I were enjoying a rare night out together. He said something, and I disagreed. I pushed back, and so did he. Before we knew it, it sat between us like a boulder.

I was tempted to make him see it my way.

I was tempted to keep talking until he “got it.”

I was tempted to be angry when he didn’t.

I have to be honest. I was more than tempted. I caved in to all three of those things.

Don’t do it.

Oh, no. Not you! Not the Holy Spirit when I’m fully ready to cave in. After all, I’m right (even though he thinks he’s right).

So, I tried to compromise (because I was tempted, so more caving in).

Okay, I won’t say anything more.

I won’t try to make him see it my way. I’ll just be silent. Deafeningly silent. On the outside, we’ll look like the perfect couple enjoying a night out. Richard will reach for my hand, and I’ll hold it. I’ll nod and maybe say a word or two, but we’ll all be aware that I’m still angry. I’ll be so miserable that he’ll be miserable too.

Don’t do it.

There it was again. That invitation to take a different path. To resist temptation that seemed small, but Jesus knew had the power to create a divot in my heart (and relationship) if I chose.

Temptation isn’t reserved for a few. In Luke 4, the enemy tried to tempt Jesus. Some of the temptations were big, but others incredibly small. Jesus met each with the same response.

He faced the enemy head-on, declaring that His love for His Father was greater than a right-now temptation. He refused to be deceived by one who cared less about his Him, and more about the destruction of His soul.

Jesus understands how hard it is to be tempted. When we are tempted in any way, we are offered an invitation. We are invited to remind the enemy — and ourselves – that we are made for more.

That night I had a choice. First, to acknowledge that every temptation is BIG, when it filters into an enemy’s plan for my heart, or my marriage.

Second, to go the other direction of that temptation.

I reached for Richard’s hand, and said I was sorry.

I still felt I was “right,” but being right was less important than a right relationship with the guy I loved. He saw it one way. I saw it another. We are two different people, and that’s going to happen.

Sure, there are times we have to work through BIG conflict to find what is right for us as a family or in a relationship, but in this instance, it really was small. Even if I was right, it didn’t change anything.

However, realizing that I was made for more than a petty disagreement did change something – it changed me.

It wasn’t the first time I’ve been tempted. It won’t be the last. We all face temptation.

Whether it’s BIG or incredibly small (in the eyes of the world), we are not without help when temptation comes our way.  And if we fail – because sometimes we all do – we won’t be tempted to give up or hide, because Jesus offers all of us forgiveness and a fresh start.

Are you tempted?

Look that temptation in the eye. Remind the author of it that you are incredibly loved, and made for more.

Suzie has a free gift for you:

“13 Prayers for Come With Me”, a free PDF to encourage you to accept the invitation to follow Jesus wherever He goes. Click here to subscribe and receive the PDF in your inbox.

Leave a comment for the giveaway

We would love to hear what tempts you and the truths that help you fight temptation. Suzie will choose one name to win a copy of her new devotional “Come with Me.”

Come With Me Devotional by Suzie Eller

Suzanne Eller (Suzie) has served Proverbs 31 Ministries for 10 years. She’s an author, international speaker and Bible teacher, top 100 Christian women’s blogger, and popular media guest. She loves nothing more than watching God work in the heart of a woman.

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