How the Abundance Mindset Transforms our Relationships

There’s a relationship between how we act when we have an abundance of something and how we behave when it is scarce.

When we have abundance, we think nothing of giving away because we know that we’ll never lack. The opposite is true when a commodity is scarce.

fruit

My dad is a cranberry grower and each year we have an abundance of cranberries to give away in November. We happily share bags and bags and more bags of fresh cranberries because we know that we have so much.

I was watching my 2 year old toddler the other day and we gave him five m&m’s. He gobbled them up and then asked for more. I gave him a few more, then asked if I could have one. He looked at me, smiled big because he knew I was kidding, and quickly gobbled them up because he only had five and he knew I was holding the whole bag. He knew I didn’t anything from him–I had an abundance.

You guys, when it comes to spiritual things, we are holding the whole bag. In Christ, we have all that we need. But only when we focus on the abundance that is ours and set our minds on things above are we able and willing to give to others.

Conversely, if we haven’t been in connection with God, or question His love for us, when we believe He’s overlooked us or short-changed us, or that He can’t be trusted—-when we believe the lie that His resources are scarce and we are lacking, we will become self-serving, grasping Christians.

Our ability and willingness to do good to others is in direct proportion to our relationship with and our knowledge of Christ –however abundant or scarce.

If we are constantly receiving and focusing on the goodness, grace, forgiveness, encouragement, and love that is “lavishly” given to us from God, we’ll be more apt to freely and joyfully pass that along to others.

If we believe that God’s love for us is sparse, our love for others will be in proportion to that belief. We’ll hoard for ourselves. We’ll look to other to supply our needs and give, give, give to us and we’ll be angry when they don’t.

The woman who is a grudge holder, doesn’t realize that she’s been forgiven much and won’t forgive others.  She holds on with clenched fists to her rights and nurses the wrongs from others. The woman who knows the God that forgives her abundantly will be free to walk in obedience and give out forgiveness. She lives “hands open.”

The woman who believes that God can’t be trusted to meet her needs becomes a control freak and goes into self-preservation mode. The woman who believes that God can be trusted to meet her needs generously gives and doesn’t worry about supply. God will provide for her, so she’ll happily give to others whatever they need–resources, honor, recognition, time, encouragement. Hoarding for herself doesn’t come into play because she believes she’ll never lack. “The Lord is my Shepherd, He’ll take care of every one of my needs.”

Bottom line:

We will love more, serve more, forgive more, be kinder, more generous, more patient, more forbearing when we realize how much God has given to us in these very areas…and how much He is still giving to us…and how He’ll always provide these things to us.

I once had a Christian woman tell me off and basically say that because of a series of events, our relationship was over. The end. Final. I realize that she was just angry and spouting, but I honestly felt such pity for this woman because she was showing by her words that she’d never experienced the love, forgiveness, or grace of God in her life in a way that changed her. She was still in “famine” mode when it came to the love of God, and she was dealing with others in a scarcity mindset.

Maybe you don’t realize all that you have in Christ today. I’d encourage you to read Ephesians 1  today if you are in this boat.

God tells us that His riches are not handed out stingily, but LAVISHLY. In Christ you are

  • blessed (1:3)
  • chosen (1:3)
  • adopted into God’s family as a son/heir (1:5)
  • redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (1:7)
  • forgiven of all my sin (1:7)
  • lavishly given God’s grace (1:8)
  • sealed and secure through the Holy Spirit (1:13, 14)

 

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;” Eph. 1:6-8

Now, God’s abundant love transforms our relationships with all people and frees us to give them good whether they reciprocate or not. We don’t need payment from them–God’s holding all that we need. He’s never stingy. This frees us up to go and do likewise!

What about you? Do you notice a correlation between knowing God’s love for you and your ability to love others with no strings attached? Are you able to honor others without worrying about recognition in return? Share your thoughts in the comments.

The sky is falling, the world is horrible, and GASP, your Facebook “friends” are frauds.

Oh my goodness. As it turns out, this world is really more horrible than once thought.

A new study circulating the internet shows that your FACEBOOK FRIENDS ARE ALL A BUNCH OF FRAUDS AND COULD NOT CARE A STITCH ABOUT YOU.

“Facebook Friends Are Fake, Study Finds.”<—You can read all the depressing but true details here.

Here we all were, accepting friends requests like drunken sailors and now it turns out that ALL these people don’t care about us.

You have no friends. Just four. Probably five if you count your own mother. Six if you count great Aunt Gertrude.

And don’t even think about considering your PETS as friends, because, WHATEVER.

photo-1415369629372-26f2fe60c467

Honestly, how could we have been so dumb? It’s like we got on this social train of an experiment and we were all duped into thinking that our third grade playmate really had an ounce of affection for us, but turns out, in crisis, she could care less. And if you wouldn’t ask your book club members to, say, pick up a prescription or drive you to the hospital or airport, then, you fool, THEY WERE NEVER YOUR TRUE FRIENDS. Awesome.

Okay. Let’s just tinder down a minute and think about friends.

I can promise you that, unless you are friend-ing absolute demons on FB, that your friends DO care about you and WOULD help you IF YOU ASKED THEM.

Here’s the thing. Just because we have different levels of friendship doesn’t mean that they don’t care. And because I wouldn’t inconvenience you by asking you to drive me to the airport unless you were my parent or sister, doesn’t mean that we aren’t friends.

Let’s define friend, shall we?

  • a person who you like and enjoy being with.

  •  a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity)

  • a favored companion

Now then, we have all kinds of friends: neighbors, acquaintances, our church congregation, people who work on projects or ministries together, our kid’s friend’s parents, our kid’s friends, people we know from town, people in support groups for illness or homeschooling. Maybe we are separated by an ocean, and we really don’t have the chance to get together, but that doesn’t mean you don’t care about me. Maybe our stage of life keeps us from meeting up more than we do, but that doesn’t mean I assume you aren’t really my friend.

In fact, I know that if money was no limit, I would FLY to visit many of my friends, because I value our friendship and wish we could spend more time together.

But there’s this thing called common sense that says that I call my mother for help before I call my neighbor, no matter how friendly we might be. And, actually Dunbar’s observations make absolute sense:

  • my “closest friends” (which are usually family) number about 5.
  • the people I could/would confide in for sympathy/help when I need it is about 15.
  • the people I would invite to a dinner party at my house numbers about 50.

But this doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t LOVE and totally enjoy going out for coffee with any of my Facebook friends. If you are really a demon, I’m not going to friend you in the first place. And just because I wouldn’t ask you to pick up my anti-nausea meds at the pharmacy for me, doesn’t mean that we aren’t real friends or that I don’t care about you.

If you believe that your FB friends are not really your friends, then they probably aren’t. Know–this is not a reflection on them, though. It’s more about friendship being a two way street.

For the rest of us, we choose to believe the best about others.

And, for the record,  if we are friends on Facebook, however casually, and you DID need me to help you, if I could, I absolutely would.

And I choose to believe the same about you, too, friend.

 

 

 

 

3 Ways to GROW this year.

Want to have the best year spiritually? Do you want to experience unprecedented growth and fruitfulness?

Did you know that the Spirit enables us to grow when we not only do the right things (obey) but we avoid doing the wrong things. (saying NO to what is forbidden.)

Here are three attitudes/actions that will help you as you seek to grow as a Christian woman this year.

photo-1451303688941-9e06d4b1277a

In order to grow and thrive, you’ll need to be:

Submissive vs. Self Willed. This seems obvious, but sometimes we forget. A submissive spirit doesn’t have a will of it’s own, but places itself under the will of another. A “servant” mindset follows where God leads, serves as God provides opportunity, and says “Yes, Lord” when the Spirit tells you that something needs to change and go. A self-willed Christian has her own agenda. A self-willed Christian is an oxymoron–Jesus is Lord of our life or He is not. Whenever you demand your rights, resist serving in a “lowly” capacity, or seek to strong arm positions of leadership and authority for yourself, you’re headed the wrong way. Choose submission.

Side note: one of the best ways to know where you are not submissive is to ask yourself, “What am I hiding from people? What don’t I want them to know I am doing?” We usually try to cover up our sin and since we all have a conscience, we know what we are doing is wrong. For instance, your child sitting in the corner hiding the fact that they are eating cookies before dinner. Or the woman who is flirting with a married man who goes out of her way to run into him and lies about bumping into him yet again. Or the teen who is texting inappropriate things, so they hide their phone so nobody knows. WE know the right things to do–the question is—will we do them or not? Will we submit to God’s ways or go our own?

Teachable vs. Stubborn.  Obeying God’s Word is not optional. Have you ever known the right thing to do and chose to do the exact opposite? I have. Obviously, choosing God’s way is much more conducive to Christian growth. A teachable woman is pliable and will change behavior and attitudes to please and obey the Lord.

The opposite is not a pretty sight. Have you ever seen a “stiff necked” person who literally looks as straight and stiff and unmovable that it oozed out of her persona? A “stiff necked” people resists changing when God prompts. (rebellious because their heart is bent on something else.) A teachable woman puts self aside and embraces the path of holiness that God ordained for her.

Led vs Leading.

Even in you are in a position of leadership somewhere: the home, the work place, or church, you are never really leading. As Christian women, we are to be professional followers of Christ.

We want to make sure we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. We never want to take the “bull by the horns” and run our own little show because the Bible teaches that we should be led by God.

I’ve seen this over and over again and it never ends pretty. A woman domineers. She insists on her own way. The people who usually speak into her life know that trying to speak reason to her is pretty much futile, so they let her learn the hard way.

If you are in ministry, this is the surest way to ruin your effectiveness because God’s not on board with your agenda. He’s got His own.

If you are led by the Spirit, your interactions will be peaceful and peace-filled because all of that icky flesh stuff is not lurking underneath. You’ll have opportunities that come to you and you’ll know they were God given. You’ll have people to serve and you’ll know that God sent them or brought them to mind. You won’t have to try to orchestrate your own parade because the Lord has already gone before you.

These three traits will give you the mindset that allows you to see God as Sovereign in all things, to submit to His Word and will, and to put your eyes on Him as you walk through this life.

How about you? Are you struggling with any of these attitudes or actions? What do you need to do to re-calibrate and get on the right course?

 

 

Book Giveaway: The Life Giving Home!!!

UPDATE: THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNERS ARE DEBBIE S AND JENNY M!

I’m super excited to be able to offer a copy of Sally Clarkson’s newest book, the Life Giving Home, to TWO Joy-filled Days readers, courtesy of Tyndale House publishers!

IMG_9498

IMG_9496

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“One of the first obstacles I find in presenting the vision for the importance of home is the almost unconscious assumption on the part of many modern people that home is inherently a sentimental notion and that beauty is peripheral to spiritual formation. We discount our own homesickness as a form of weakness. We marginalize the beautiful. We dismiss the aesthetic as second class. WE think of beautiful spaces and comforting traditions as spiritually unnecessary and underestimate the profound importance of a safe place for growing minds and souls.” Sarah Clarkson, pg 15,16

“We must understand homemaking not as a retreat from the fallen world, not as a retrenchment from culture, but as a profound engagement with it. ” Sarah Clarkson, pg 17

No matter what has transpired throughout the day, we can close it by speaking to our children’s hearts with something like, “I love you no matter what. Please forgive me for my impatience today” or “I forgive you for your disobedience today” or “You are very precious to me. I am blessed to have you.” pg 56

“So often we get caught up in the immediate things, the practical tasks–getting the housework done, doing our jobs, checking homework, paying bills, disciplining our children. yet it is the emotional and spiritual atmosphere our children and friends breathe–the way we treat people, the foundations of the grace we live by, that will attach their hearts to ours and ultimately to God.” pg 65

“Even as an orchestra needs a conductor to choose the music, lead rehearsals, and unite all of the instruments into a harmonious sound, so every home needs someone to conduct what I call the life music of home–its atmosphere.” pg 24

To enter, use the form below and either follow us on Instagram, share on Facebook, or comment below. Easy. <3

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A New Book to Nourish Your Soul

When we first started homeschooling, I had two book mentors that impacted me tremendously and Sally Clarkson was one of them.

Sally’s volume, Educating the WholeHearted Child was recommended to me by a friend, and I quickly devoured it. It helped give me a big picture into the hearts and differences of my then very young children. I referenced ETWHC so often and loaned it out so regularly, that I “laminated” the cover so it wouldn’t get ruined. (By laminate, I mean I covered it with see through adhesive drawer liner.)

Sally taught me about the different ways kids learn and I quickly adjusted my teaching methods for my wiggly Emily who would have rather been swinging and moving or crawling or jumping.

Sally planted the seeds of grace-based parenting into my very novice black and white ideas.

So of course I was so excited to learn that she had written another book, this time about home!

IMG_9496

Reading The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming made me appreciate her even more. It’s a peek into their life, family, and traditions and if I could describe Sally in two words they would be:

AWARE–Sally constantly encourages you to be aware of your own heart, your own needs, your surroundings SO THAT you can then serve those around you, which requires awareness of the needs of others.

WELCOMING– Sally uses her home as the epicenter of her far-reaching ministry, a concept we’ve talked about extensively on this blog. This is something that every Christian woman can do. Hospitality isn’t optional for the Christian, and she gives you a living example of how it has worked in her home. She talks about inviting people in for the holidays, for concerts, for teas, for talks. She shares her life–which is the first step to touching the heart of anyone, young or old.

Her daughter, Sarah, also writes several chapters and let me just tell you that she has a “delicious” vocabulary. :) You’ll love it.

Life-Giving Home gives you guidance and helps you see the potential that your home can have when you take responsibility to orchestrate the rhythms of your life. She includes a chapter for each month of the year and discusses how to make life special by incorporating traditions with your family and friends.

Lest you think it all sounds too idealistic and pie-in-the-sky, she doesn’t paint life as though it’s one big tea party and talks quite honestly about the really tough times when the door of the home would have to stay closed so that people can heal and regroup after a loss or hurt.

Life is busy and it goes by before you know it. I used to think life slowed down as the kids got older, but now I know that it goes by faster each year. A book like this helps you slow down and choose to say NO to the filler material of life–and to say YES to the things that will impact generations.

You can get it here.The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming

Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite quotes and doing a giveaway!

Are you planning on reading this book? Have you already started it? Have you had any ah-ha moments while reading it? Share!

*Disclosure: I received this book free of charge to review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

The Love Chapter For Mothers

I’m in the process of doing something that I’ve been planning for 15 years now. Years ago, I heard Elizabeth George speak and she encouraged younger women to not only make future goals, but to take steps to wisely prepare for their future. One way that she recommended was to make “fat files” which were basically articles ripped out of magazines or printed out and stored by category on topics you wanted to learn more about. As time passed, you’d have “fat files” full of great resources, favorite quotes, articles, and a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. (Today we have Pinterest–the same idea, only digital.)

mother

Over the years, I’ve collected articles on raising children, hospitality, discipleship, marriage– anything really about godly womanhood and living. Now that my oldest daughter is getting married, I’m trying to organize and assimilate all of this information for a future generation.

All that to say…

I’ve been working on another website for nearly 2 years in anticipation of this moment. It’s a project that has been a labor of love for my daughters especially, but for all younger women as well. I’ve had limitations on my time and have been stretched by having to learn some techy things that I knew nothing about, so it has been an uphill battle. I’m still not there, but I’m close and can’t wait to share it with you. Would you pray about this with me? That God would allow me to finish this project in His time and His way and that it would be an encouragement to the next generation of women? I’d be honored if you would.

In looking through my material, I came across this lovely poem and wanted to share it with you. Hence, this post. 😉

The Love Chapter For Mothers

If I talk to my children about what is right and what is wrong, but have not love, I am like a ringing doorbell or pots banging in the kitchen.

And though I know what stages my children will go through and understand their growing pains, and can answer all their questions about life and believe myself to be a devoted mother, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give up the fulfillment of a career to make my children’s lives better and stay up all night sewing costumes or baking cookies on short notice, but grumble about lack of sleep, I have not love and accomplish nothing.

A loving mother is patient with her children’s immaturity and kind even when they are not; a loving mother is not jealous of their youth, nor does she hold it over their heads whenever she has sacrificed for them.

A loving mother believes in her children; she hopes in each one’s individual ability to stand out as a light in a dark world; she endures every heartache and backache to accomplish that.

A loving mother never really dies. As for home-baked bread, it will be consumed and forgotten; as for spotless floors, they will soon gather dust and heel marks. As for children, right now toys, friends, and food are all-important to them. But when they grow up, it will be their mother’s love that they will remember and pass on to others. In that way, she will live on.

So care, training, and a loving mother reside in a home, these three; but the greatest of these is a loving mother.

-by Dianne Lorang 

God’s Providence Printables

I love to use Scripture or inspirational quotes to decorate my home. I made this series of 5″X7″ quotes to accompany my “When Life’s Hard, Remember these 4 Truths” post from a while back. I thought maybe you’d enjoy them for your home as well. You can print them and mount them on card stock to make a banner, or you could just frame them. Either way, I hope they remind you of God’s presence and goodness during your trials. Enjoy!

CLICK HERE TO PRINT :: Vintage God’s Providence Printables

Vintage Bird 1

Vintage 2

Vintage 3

Vintage 4

A special thanks to the TheGraphicsFairy.com and JustSomethingIMade.com for the free vintage postcards images.

Favorite Things Friday

It’s been a while since I did a Favorite Things Friday edition. Did I mention that life has been just a bit busy? All last week was spent searching for a wedding venue for my oldest daughter. {We got one!} It was a tad overwhelming, but, you guys, I made an Excel spreadsheet for this purpose. Peter was surprised and a little proud as he is a spreadsheet kinda guy.

Also, we’re expecting a little snow this weekend, but it’s nothing compared to last year at this time. Remember this!?

IMG_3913

What a difference a year makes. Did you realize that it has been one year since Addy’s surgery? She’s doing great by the way!

And, it dawned on me that I never shared “on the blog” that my daughter, Rebekah, got engaged over Thanksgiving to a great guy also named Peter (his website here). So, to remedy that, pictures! We took these at Harvard Yard. We are so excited for them!

12273616_1528893664097853_6496850849490427543_o 12291322_1528893427431210_1553989694948595472_o 12291810_1528893634097856_1543742906216322126_o 12307963_1528893424097877_528131261536710913_o (1)

This week, I’m reading a pre-release copy of Sally Clarkson’s newest book,The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming. It’s available Feb. 2nd. This book is right up my ally. I’m only half way through but it has made me want to hug my kids a little tighter and it has given me “permission”–actually, an excuse–to do what I love which it to decorate and make the home a place where everyone wants to be. You can pre-order it, and there are several book studies that you can jump in to soon. Makenzie at Bold Turquoise is planning one, I know. I plan to review it during release week and Tyndale has agreed to do a giveaway here for my readers! Very excited for you guys!

Here are a few of my favorite things that you might also enjoy: enjoy:

Recipes::

Garlicky White Bean Soup from The Nourishing Gourmet. One of my favorite winter soups! Delish with french bread and blue cheese sprinkled on top!

If you’ve never made Barefoot Contessa’s Beef Bourguignon, you are in for a treat. This is THE best.  I made this for dinner this week and made a batch for a friend who just had a baby. She told me it was delish! Thanks, Ina!

We made one of our favorite addictive cookies this week: Molasses Sugar Cookies  Perfect with chai tea on a cold winter’s day. Here’s my DIY Just Like Dunkin Donuts Chai Tea Mix recipe, which is my most pinned recipe ever. Yum.

Articles::

How to Choose Contentment Right Where You Are by Joy.

This article by Lore about Spiritual Depression: Men as Trees Walking and Being Honest About the Blurry Things. “What is the cure for [spiritual depression]? For the moment I shall give principles only. The first principle is evident: above everything else avoid making premature claim that your blindness is cured.” In the last few months, several women have told me about their lack of desire for anything, including the Word of God. Their honesty is a gift and will help them as they sort through this season. And, as always, God is in the gift–even if He allows a season of struggle.

How Comfort Food Poses As Spiritual Food. This is a great article to read if you are turning to food to fill needs that only God can fill.

This article on hospitality by Jen Wilkin was both humorous and helpful. Don’t wait until your home is perfect to extend hospitality and don’t allow false standards to discourage you from welcoming others into your home. Was it Shauna Neiquist who said that you could just wipe your coffee table off with a baby wipe and be good to go? I can’t remember. 😉 Anywho, she also has this sweet printable if you are interested.

 

Products::

This CamelBak Eddy Insulated Water Bottle is saving my skin right now. I find my skin is so dry if I don’t drink enough in the winter. This helps make it easy.

I’m also loving TAZO: Earl Grey Black Tea right now. Emily makes me a London Fog with the strongly brewed tea, frothed milk and vanilla. So good!

What are you reading this winter? What favorite products would you recommend? Are any of you planning your garden yet? Share in the comments and let me know what you’re up to!

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links at no cost to you.

 

 

10 Helpful Lists to Remember from the Bible

Are you a list person? I tend to live my life by paper lists. Right now I have a grocery list, a wedding list, a thank-you card reminder list, a priority list, a hospitality list, a prayer list, and a vacation list in my planner. I write these things down so I can know where I want to go, remember to do what must be done, and ultimately, live by my ideals.

lists

The Bible has some very helpful “life lists” for us as well. They give us guidelines and boundaries.  They give us a vision for the future and cover almost every situation .They tell us when we are out of step with God’s will.

I shared one of these lists with a lady I recently counseled. She wanted help with a relational problem in her family and asked me for a book recommendation on the subject. After listening to her story, I shared one of my Life Lists with her. She didn’t need better communication skills and she didn’t need another how-to book. She simply needed to put into practice the simple truths of scripture. “Be ye kind…let no unwholesome speech come out of your mouth…love one another fervently…”

I’ve found this true in my own family.  No marriage book will strengthen our marriage if I blurt hurtful things to my husband or disrespect him.

A seminar won’t help interpersonal problems if you’ve held a grudge over someone’s head, dwelling on their offenses when Scripture commands us to forgive.

No mentor will help you become a gracious, thriving ministry wife if you are unloving or resentful to even just one of the people in your congregation. Loving others is not optional.

Lists help us gauge where we are headed and can help us anticipate outcomes and consequences. Wisdom would dictate that we take this seriously.

Here are 10 Lists that will help you and give you direction as you seek to grow in Christ-likeness.

If you want direction and an example of a life well lived, this list tells you the good deeds that qualify an older widow for church support:

having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work. 1 Timothy 5:10

And if you want to know whether you are qualified to mentor others or if the mentor you are choosing is a wise choice, consider this:

teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Titus 2:3

If you want to know if your attitude is right toward another person:

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Eph. 4:31,32

If you want to know if your actions and attitude are Spirit led:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.… Gal. 2:22,23

If you want to know if your actions are wrong, carnal, or fleshly:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.… Gal. 2:19-21

If you need to evaluate whether your love for another person is self-centered or Biblical:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Cor 13:4-7

If you need to identify and stop your wrong behavior:

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity,passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice,slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Col.3:5-10

If you want to know what your daily wardrobe should look like:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts,kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Col. 3:12-14

If you need to know true wisdom vs earthly wisdom:

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.

 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish.For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. James 3:13-17

If you want to know how to grow in godliness:

For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.  2 Peter 5:7

Of course, there are many more. And let’s not forget that there are things we should never keep lists of:

  • the offenses of others against us
  • the failures that are behind, former things
  • worries about tomorrow

If you are struggling with one of these areas, write out these lists as a reminder and post it where you can see it often. It helps so much!

 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Are You Accomplishing Anything For God?

Maybe you’re discouraged today, dear friend.

Maybe you’re wondering if what you’re doing matters in the long run.

Last week I wondered, too.

photo-1429554513019-6c61c19ffb7e

I was reading over a list of New Year’s questions (meant for personal reflection and growth) from a sweet friend in a writing group. It was a wonderfully thorough list, meant to prompt confession, repentance, acceptance.  Questions like:

  • “If the last year could be summed up in a word, what would it be?”
  • “What are the two or three themes that kept occurring.”
  • “What are some major life lessons I learned this year.”
  • “What’s one thing I can do this year to increase my enjoyment of God?”

I breezed through them until I came to this one:

What did I accomplish this year that I am most proud of?”

I sat and thought. What one thing did I accomplish that I was most proud of?

Honestly, I couldn’t think of one. I sat on this for a few days, thinking about it. Still nothing. This really bothered me.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t done anything. We live a busy life. But to not be able to think of one thing? This bothered me enough to write a dear friend to see if she could think it through with me. (THIS is the benefit of having iron-sharpening-iron friends.) We hashed it out a little and she helped me gain perspective.

Some seasons of life cannot be measured by accomplishments.

There are times when life happens so fast and people need you so intensely that what you accomplished hardly makes the highlight reel. (Think sickness, death, new baby, foster child, new adoption, moving, etc…)

This Christmas I planted a lovely amaryllis bulb that a sweet reader, Becky, gave to me. I’ve been watching it grow and bloom against the backdrop of the grey bare trees outside my window. It started as a brown bulb, a stump really, not very pretty but full of potential. I planted it, put it on the windowsill, and gave it water. Things must have happened underground, because now it’s in full crimson bloom. The flower was alive and accomplishing its task underground before any of us had any clue it was accomplishing anything. The growing season was an accomplishment that allowed the flower to blossom.

1927671_1213832435313608_4507446157078502397_n

I believe our mundane days are the same–underground work, unseen, undetected, un-celebrated, but vital.

Maybe you are in a mundane season right now. Maybe all your hard work is unseen because it’s undone the very next day– the clean house dirtied, the once shiny sink now full of grimy water.

Moms, we feed hungry bellies. We wash clothes and remove stains. We wipe tears and console hurt feelings. We listen to little hearts. We make meals for others and host people in our home. We bake cakes to mark milestones for family parties and church fellowships. We bathe dirty bodies and change messy diapers. We stir stew and kneed bread. We watch our neighbor’s kids. We calm irrational fears and keep toddlers on our hip when they are whiny. We make sure our kids do their homework, get to their appointments, and make their beds. We sit with hurting women. We stay behind so that our husband can minister to others.

It’s not hollywood stuff and it may not be memorable, but it’s important. This is the stuff of life and it’s where God has called us to bloom. It may not feel like an accomplishment. Nobody’s going to celebrate that you made your bed and got tangles out of the two year old’s hair.

But it’s our sacred work. It’s our reasonable service.

My friend sent me this wonderful verse:

Ps. 37:3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

God doesn’t require accomplishments. God just wants us to be faithful right where we are. He wants us to take joy as we serve others in hidden ways that no one will ever know about except God.

My friend also sent me these lovely lines from Robert Louis Stevenson that I hope encourage you as much as they encouraged me!

“The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain common work as it comes certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things of life.”

and

“Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name.”

And from Elisabeth Elliot:

This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”