Does God Like Me? {and What Motherhood Can Teach You About God}

Sometimes my role as a mom helps me understand God just a little bit more.

As a mom, my kids are constantly on my mind. 

I think about what’s best for them, what’s hindering them, what’s hurting them.

I’m protective of them and hurt when they hurt.

I want to do special things for them. I want to talk about them because I delight in them. I want to show you pictures of them, so I will. (See what I did there?)

20140625-224355-81835698.jpg

 

 

IMG_8920

20140513-191928.jpg

I keep a protective helicopterish eye on them.

I pray for them when they get into a car to drive, or when they go to work or school. This morning I woke early to pray for my youngest who is at camp this week.

My love for them drives this interest in them.

Even with all of this,

my love for my kids is marred by my own sinfulness.

Can you imagine how much a perfect God must love and watch and protect His children?

Unfortunately, I believe we forget about God’s love for us as Christian women. In fact, this topic has come up several times in the last few weeks. Women who, deep down under all the hurt and despair are struggling to believe that God loves them. Well, academically, we know that “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” but deep down inside we wonder if God really likes us.

I believe that this is the root of so many of our problems.

There are many a miserable Christian woman out there who are stumbling their way through their Christian walk because they’ve forgotten how much God loves them. They’ve believed the lie that they’ve been shortchanged, and that everyone else is treated better than they are. They are constantly comparing themselves to others. They really doubt whether God likes them, and it shows up everywhere in their life. Instead of understanding her position as “adopted and accepted in the beloved,” she:

  • fears that God is somehow out to get her.
  • fears what others think of her. She can never fully accept others gifts and talents without feeling bad about herself. She lives an out-shined, left-out life in her own mind.
  • fears open relationships because who would actually love me if they really knew me, she reasons.
  • is touchy, sensitive and quickly takes offense, believing she’s not as loved or admired as so-and-so.  Every comment becomes suspect, every perceived slight is felt deeply. She never gives anyone the benefit of the doubt.
  • deals with others with “walls up.” Self-protection is always the game plan. It shows up in selfishness, irritability, indifference, peevishness, pettiness, sarcasm, put downs.
  • she can never let anything go. Resentfulness, grudge holding and feuds characterize her.
  • she clings ever so desperately to anything she believes gives her meaning or identity (children, ministry, friendships, you name it.)

These are symptoms of forgetting God’s great love for you. You always feel like an outsider. Insecure and unsure.

As Christian woman, the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross saves us from Hell, yes, and that is an amazing thing, but it’s not the only thing.

The cross of Christ shows His great love for us, AND THAT IS JUST THE BEGINNING of His love and of the innumerable blessings He has planned for us here and in heaven. We have an amazing inheritance in heaven. You’re not just saved “by the skin of your teeth” if you are a child of God. You are lavishly loved and accepted into His beloved family. A joint-heir with Jesus.

This should change you. Anyone who is lavishly loved upon can never be the same. It heals wounds, and makes you a grace-giver.

God’s two great commandments, loving God and loving others, are easier to live out when you’ve experienced His great love.

Receivers of such love overflow with the same love.

How do you know when you’ve forgotten God’s love?

You become small and self-centered in your dealings with others.

You no longer love God before all else and look out for what’s best for your neighbor.

But,

When you realize your own great sin,

and the even greater LOVE/LIKE/DELIGHT that our God has for us

that grace moves us, propels us in thanksgiving towards Christlikeness.

Imagine what our homes and churches would be like if we truly treasured all that Christ accomplished for us on the cross and all that He has planned for us in Heaven?

And imagine if God’s love satisfied us? Truly overwhelmed us with thanksgiving on a daily basis. Wouldn’t that joy overflow and sweeten all of our relationships with our family, friends and neighbors?

 

 

 

Do Small Things

What would the world be like if we encouraged each other to do small things?

We’ve all heard “Do Great Things”….

But what if doing truly great things means doing exceptionally small things?

20140617-113426-41666017.jpg

In a Christian world that encourages the “radical,” I believe we’ve underestimated the “ordinary.” And in doing so, the ordinary has become the exception to the rule.

Moms everywhere,

{yes you, who just plopped down for a five minute break to catch your breath between diapers and dishes, whining and sippy cup searching}

what if you are the one truly changing the world?

Although you’ll never get a Grammy for singing the best lullaby,

Or have your name written up in Bon Appetit for your teddy bear pancakes,

20140617-113813-41893886.jpg

 

Or make the pages of National Geographic for your amazing discoveries,

20140617-113815-41895029.jpg

what if the daily “small” that you share with your loved ones is the most important of after all. 

If you’ve been on the receiving end of these small, tender mercies, you’ll know that these small things change us and form us into “civilized” and loving people. They teach us how to love. They communicate, “You belong and are worth the effort.”

These tiny acts, almost too small to mention, shape the person and

as that wholehearted person raises their wholehearted child,

generational influence begins.

Some examples of small kindnesses that I’ve received that are indelibly etched on my mind:

  • Entering my Noni’s Italian kitchen, greeted by the warm smells of garlic and chicken, and her rushing to offer me ginger ale and cookies or grapes.
  • My grandmother, taking me out for blueberry muffins and hot chocolate with whipped cream. Her cards, with her gorgeous handwriting sprawled on the front. Her little bowls of cookies and goldfish that she’d take down when we’d stop over.
  • As a child, my own mother’s influence was the greatest. She spent time with us. She lugged us all over creation, she entertained our friends and was a mother to anyone who entered our house. She was hospitable and then some. She served tea, she served meals. No one ever went hungry in our house. She made a difference to us kids and to all of our friends.
  • Peter’s mom always has time for people. Even when we were dating, she’d sit and talk. She’d offer tea and drinks. She made me feel included instead of “under inspection” as a daughter-in-law. She makes and serves Sunday dinner every week and has for as long as I’ve ever known her. To some this may sound like drudgery or menial work, but I can tell you as someone who has experienced her Italian cooking that it means the world and communicates love because she loves us and loves to cook for us.

So, when you feel like everything you do is small and unseen,

when you’re tempted to think,

it’s just a cup of tea,

it’s just clean sheets,

it’s just a friendly chat,

it’s just a meal, or clean laundry, or a little note, or teddy bear pancakes,

remember that your small deeds communicate. They shape another person. And especially in motherhood, we’re showing love to the littlest among us, the least of these. It’s teaching by example. It’s pouring your life into anyone God put into your path.

It’s like doing it for Him. And that totally matters.

Embrace the small things. In a world that is so fractured and independent and dysfunctional,  we could use more of the small and self-less and loving.

Beautiful New England

This week our entire family is enjoying the Maine coastline.  I’m in love with the ocean and am so thankful that we live close enough for frequent visits. It’s calming, refreshing and so wholesome for the kids. Plus, we love Maine blueberry pie and fried clams. Who doesn’t. lol

And there are so many reminders of God and His powerful promises to us near the sea:

(I took these pics on a morning coffee run. The fog was so thick and gorgeous, it was hard to tell where the ocean ended and the sky started.)

IMG_8846 IMG_8885

He will again have compassion on us;
    he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19)

IMG_8857 IMG_8872

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. (Psalm 139:9,10)

IMG_8914

IMG_8850

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake and I am still with you. (Psalm 139:17,18)

Have you ever read this sweet poem to your kids?

If Once You Have Slept On An Island

By Rachel Field

If once you have slept on an island
You’ll never be quite the same;
You may look as you looked the day before
And go by the same old name,

You may bustle about in street and shop
You may sit at home and sew,
But you’ll see blue water and wheeling gulls
Wherever your feet may go.

You may chat with the neighbors of this and that
And close to your fire keep,
But you’ll hear ship whistle and lighthouse bell
And tides beat through your sleep.

Oh! you won’t know why and you can’t say how
Such a change upon you came,
But once you have slept on an island,
You’ll never be quite the same.

Rachel Field puts it beautifully, doesn’t she?

 IMG_4962

IMG_8920

15 Faith-Building Books For Your Beach Bag

Oh, how I love the beach. The salt air, soft sand, and rhythm of the waves. Paradise. {We’re spoiled here with Cape Cod’s beautiful beaches.}

Want to increase your faith while relaxing on the beach?

Here are some of my favorite Christian reads for your summer beach bag. Check them out of the library or download them to your Kindle.  I’m categorizing them for you into light reading (like one-a-day devotionals), instructive/encouraging, and boot camp and giving you five in each category to choose from. (I used the Amazon picture link this time to try it out so you could see the cover.) Enjoy!

faith building books

 

Light Reading





 

Instructive/Encouraging




Boot Camp for Believers




What books would you add to this summer reading list?

8 Family Building Ideas To Do This Summer

Need a few ideas for building family memories and strengthening heartstrings? Here are a few of our favorite ways:

8 family building activities

1. Plan a media fast. You’ll be amazed how many distractions this eliminates.

2. Read a book aloud, or for parents of teens, read a chapter in sync and talk about it at night. For moms of young children, listen to free audiobooks together from booksshouldbefree.com. Your kids get smarter and you get a brain break. Need a place to start? Try Edith Nesbit’s The Railway Children. It’s a charming story!

3. Plan evening walks or talks. I love the sounds of nature and being together outside after a busy day is unwinding and refreshing. My friend, Rhonda, just told me this week that she and her husband would sit in a field each night with sweet tea and just watch the sun set. We love lighting the fire pit at night and talking under the stars.

4. Plan to memorize scripture as a family. Choose a passage of praise and “race” your kids to memorize it. Um, disclaimer: you’re gonna lose, because OLD BRAIN, but kids memorize really quickly and it’s great to get God’s Word in their minds. We’re currently memorizing Ps. 33 as a family and Hope and Holly are already to  verse 7 and me, 2. :/

5. Serve another family as a family. Whether you are delivering a meal to the sick, helping a single mom babysit, inviting friends in for dinner or having a family stay in your home for a week, do it together. Tell your kids what jobs  need to be done, and let them pick which one they’d like to be responsible to oversee.

6. Support a missionary. This can be through prayer, letters, email or money, but give to a specific family. This helps the kids think outside of themselves and praying for anything as a family is a great way to build unity.

7. Read a devotional together each night. For younger kids I recommend Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family. {By the way, this devotional is great for kids who are struggling spiritually, or who have been through some kind of recent trauma/emotionally upsetting time in their lives. It answers many questions that kids feel in a gospel saturated way.}

For older girls, I would choose Made For More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image, True BeautyJoy: A Godly Woman’s Adornment (On-the-Go Devotionals) or  Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Pilgrimage Growth Guide)

8. Plan day trips. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but day trips can be like a mini-vacation. We love visiting coastal towns in New England.

What would you add to this list? What are your favorite ways to strengthen family ties?

*PS–I just want to say THANK YOU to all of you readers. I love hearing your stories and comments, and I don’t thank you enough!! You make writing this blog fun and I’d love to know how to serve you better. Let me know what topics you’d like me to write about and what your greatest needs are right now. I will try my best to address them in upcoming posts. ~Sarah

*post contains Amazon Affiliate Links at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting JFD.

Thoughts on Marriage from My 97 Year Old Grandfather.

My grandparents “celebrated” their 68th wedding anniversary this past week. I say “celebrated” because my grandmother was also put on hospice that day.

I sat with my grandfather and asked him why his marriage had survived 68 years when others all around us fall apart. (I got his answers on video, because–family history!)

20140530-112908-41348931.jpg

He’s 97 years old, so his answers came out slowly but he was certain of his answers. He answered:

  • We never competed against each other. We worked as a team.
  • That grandma was a hard worker and helped him on the bogs. “We weeded the bogs together at night until the misquotes drove us home.” (Calling someone a “hard worker” is the highest possible compliment in his eyes.)
  • She tried to help me save money by doing the work herself.
  • I made decisions that allowed me to put family first. When I was offered a job that would take me away from Lillian and the kids, I said no. “I wanted to be at home with the family and I wanted to run the bogs the way they should be. If it wasn’t good for all of us, it wasn’t good.”
  • Neither one of us cared about being big shots. We were happy to be at home.
  • We took the kids with us when we worked on the bogs in the evening. They played on the shore while we worked. They had “everything they could want to make them happy while we worked: plenty of sand and water to keep them busy.”
  • We tried to travel a little bit together.
  • We enjoyed the same things.
  • We were simple people and that’s the way we lived, and we mostly thought about the children.

Simpler times? I’m not sure of that.  Perhaps just simpler expectations and inner contentment and consideration for others were the magic bullet?

 

Thoughts on Peace, Trials, and First Loves

There is an amazing peace that fills you when you love the Lord first and foremost. And conversely, there is unrest and inner turmoil when you don’t.

This week has been a strange one. We started with a wonderful Memorial Day celebration on Monday, followed by an ER trip for Matt on Tuesday, then news that my Grandmother is in her last stages of life on Wednesday, to a trip to the hand surgeon with Matt to discover he needs surgery on Thursday. These are just the “highlights”–of course this week has also been sprinkled with driving kids to summer jobs, visiting/caring for my grandmother, visiting with family, cooking, cleaning, phone calls and general life.

My grandparent's celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary yesterday. Love this pic of them.

My grandparent’s celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary yesterday. She was also put on hospice yesterday. Love this pic of them.

Not only does life come at you fast, it also gives us ups and downs at alarming rates. The funny thing is that even with ups and downs, God’s peace is absolutely amazing and unexplainable.

I was talking to a friend about this, about this eerily peaceful state that takes over in the middle of a crazy string of unexpected, life altering stuff like this.

Peace that tells you that God is here and near, that He’ll never leave you and that He’s working. The peace brings an awareness of God’s presence that is unusual and is a rare gift. “Lo, I am with you always.” I don’t need to fear.

Yet other times, when things are calm and normal, peace seems elusive. Why?

Peace has nothing to do with circumstances and everything to do with “first love.” Loving God first, knowing His character, and resting and embracing whatever He brings.

Obviously, knowing about God, knowing proper theology, adhering to a certain creed is not the same as knowing and loving God personally.

We make our own Christian lives hard, when we give a nod to Biblical teaching but don’t love Him as we should. Christianity becomes an exercise of the mind.

We find ourselves in a predictable pattern of…

stumble, trip, fall, fail, oops, did I just say that, did I just do that, how could I say that, how could I do that, guilt, discouragement, despair, try harder, read more, do more, study more, try more…

and on and on this pattern goes, because we’re trying to live a life of will without the love to propel it. Head knowledge, yes, but misplaced heart affections.

This is putting a band-aid on cancer instead of addressing the root issue which is our love. We’ve left our first love and have tried to play the part.

We lack victory because our heart and head are not in agreement. Our head says “A” but our heart tugs “B”. If our heart tugged “A” then our minds would quickly follow.

Love must come first. (Imagine this in a “loveless” marriage where the guy has read all the books and has tried all the tricks, but it’s clear by his daily life that there is no real love for his wife. He wouldn’t have to try so hard if his wife was truly the center of his affections.)

This is especially troublesome for those of us who were brought up in Christian homes. We’ve known Christianity from infancy, but knowledge of God cannot do what the love for God constrains us to do, which is obey.

For those who were raised in Christian homes, our minds know THINGS–BIBLICAL THINGS–but our hearts love other things. God won’t allow us to live in our own little tidy, spic-and-span, look-good-on-the-outside-because-we-dressed–up-for-church delusional worlds. God calls us on it. He calls our hearts for what they are: Your heart is “far from Me.” Far. Distant. Away.

Loving God with all of your heart is the primary thing. Trying to obey God without loving Him is putting the cart before the horse.

 

That’s why years of Christian education does not ensure a healthy, vibrant, thriving Christian walk. This is why pastors in the news can be charged with immorality and criminal behavior against children even though they know scripture inside and out. Their first love was not God and what He loved…it was some twisted, dark desire that ruled them and then ruined them. And that is why we, too, refuse to love that unlovely person, carry a grudge for years against another person, look at immorality on the screen, tell someone else off in an angry outburst, or overindulge the flesh to the point of addictions, even to the hurt and ruin of others around us, all the while donning a dress or tie on Sunday morning.

Who or What you love most rules you and determines what you’ll chase.

Our heart can be pursuing that one earthly thing, that small g-god, all the while our mental assent to a creed has not changed. Our mind affirms Biblical teaching, but our behavior betrays our heart.

When our heart’s true love is on earthly things…

for admiration, for love, for a change in health, for a new job, for a better set of in-laws, for a more understanding church, for an obedient child, for a positive pregnancy test, for a husband, for a new home or couch or car or whatever…

the desire controls us and we cannot love God as we should.

We need to pry our hearts off of temporal things and clasp on to loving God again as we should. First. Most. Only. Life is supposed to work that way. We are made for this.

Life is peace-filled and joy-filled when He truly is first in our affections. Our circumstances may not have changed, but He changes us! And suddenly, it is well with my soul.

 

Chalk Paint Tutorials and The Importance of Making Your Bed

I’m sure you’ve heard of Annie Sloan Chalk paint. I’d been seeing it all around home design blogs and was itching to try it. (It’s not chalk board paint, just FYI.) So, before Rebekah and Emily came home for the summer, I decided to refinish an old bureau in their bedroom.  I used this plaster of paris tutorial. I used flat Benjamin Moore Sail Cloth. It was a creamy linen color that wasn’t too yellow or too tan. Lovely.

20140527-110118-39678468.jpg

20140527-110116-39676669.jpg

I added some touches from Wal-mart: a little natural basket, a robin’s egg blue spindle lamp and some fake flowers, sold by the stem. I am fussy about fake flowers, so I was pleasantly surprised to see Walmart selling a line that passed muster. The peonies and ranunculus were $2 each. I used them for a pop of color.

I’m really looking forward to diving into The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful this week. I think I’ll love it because I love fixing up yard sale finds to make things homey. When people come here, I tell them that there’s nothing “irreplaceable” in this house so put your feet up. That’s the beauty of decorating your home with inexpensive finds. :) Have you read it?

Do you have strong feeling about making your bed as soon as you get up? This navy seal does. He told graduates at a commencement speech at the University of Texas:

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed…If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

In my favorite home care book, Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, Cheryl talks about her grandmothers’ different approaches to making their beds and their strong opinions about it. One insisted that a bed must be made right away; the other insisted it be aired out, sheets pulled completely back, then made.

I agree with Gretchin Rubin who asserts that making your bed is a quick way to make a big difference. It promotes a peaceful environment.

It’s also the largest object in your bedroom, so when it’s neat, the majority of the room looks neat. Plus, you can’t see pretty throw pillows when they are under the blankets or on the floor. ;) I’ve taught my kids to get up, turn around and make their beds. Also, if you make your bed well, you get the pleasure of sleeping in a crisp, neat bed that night.

So, if you want to feel accomplished, go make your bed! :) Easy peasy.

Did your mom have strict bed making rules in your house?  Do you make your kids make their beds right away? Have you tried refinishing anything with chalk paint? IF NOT, yard sale season is coming! Keep your eye out for something inexpensive to paint! :)

Made for More– A Must Read!

UPDATE: Giveaway is over and the Made for More Winner is Mrs. T!! Congratulations! I’ll be emailing you for your mailing address shortly!

I’m so excited to be able to give away a copy of Made for More this morning thanks to the generosity of Moody Publishers!

20140513-191949.jpg

I receive a lot of books to review and I’m rarely as excited about them as I am about this one. Made for More is a must read!

Caveat: I find that I am the world’s worst book reviewer ever. If I hate the book, I don’t want to discuss it. If it’s full of doctrinal error, I won’t recommend it or discuss it on the blog for fear that I’ll promote error. And if it’s really amazing, like this one, I feel as though I will do the book an injustice by trying to explain it! I can’t win! lol

I don’t want to short change Hannah Anderson by this review! It’s amazing and  you should buy it! And I’m going to be honest: I covet her writing style and precision with words! Her book is phenomenal.

Hannah Anderson answers this simple question: What does it mean to live Image Dei, in the image of God.

And when we don’t live as proper image bearers, what affect does this have on our souls, our relationships to others and on our “wholeness” as people.

Instead of trying to do this book justice, I’ll let it speak for itself. Some fav quotes:

As an image bearer, you are made to reflect and represent God on the earth. And this happens as you live at the convergence of the three aspects of identity. In order to know yourself and exist as you were meant to exist, you must live in dependent communion with Him: you must be in loving relationship with other and you must exercise creative care over creation. And when any of these elements is off-kilter, you will experience a loss of identity and feel disoriented simply because you are not existing as you were created to exist.” (pg. 40)

Most of the time we associate legalism with strict adherence to a specific set of rules, but legalism is not simply choosing the letter of the law over the spirit. Legalism is any attempt to model God’s attributes apart from a relationship with Him. Legalism is trying to be an image bearer with relying on the Image. (pg 78)

On being gracious people:

...grace is not simply God’s response to our sin; Grace is the essential nature of a God who is already intentionally inclining Himself toward you. In this sense, forgiveness is the result of a grace that already exists; it is the fruit of a tree whose roots run deep, ever reaching, ever stretching, further and further into the generous nature of God Himself. (pg. 88)

After talking about extending grace is a very broken world where people sin against you:

When you remember that imago dei identity is defined by relationships, you can begin to understand how grace–the inclining of yourself toward another person–strengthens and maintains bonds between us. And you also begin to understand why the forgiveness that flows from grace is essential to becoming the people God created us to be. (pg 89)

After talking about judgmentalism, tribalism, and other forms of self-protection in a world that is splintered with sin and brokenness:

When we do not extend grace to those around us…we are really restricting ourselves from being what we were meant to be. When we respond in anger and bitterness, it only furthers the divide  between us as image bearers… This is why people who hold grudges seem so small. They are not existing in the largeness of God’s grace; they are not existing in the fullness of Him nature. They are not existing as image bearers. (pg. 91)

The chapter on using your God-given gifts to bless those around you is worth the money for this book alone. (Know any college bound women? This is a great gift.)

I’m so excited to give away this book!

To enter, leave a comment, tweet this or share on FB and let me know in the comments so I can count your votes accurately! (total, 3 entries possible)

If this is your first time to the blog, your comment will go to “moderation” and will not show up immediately. Don’t worry, I’ll approve your comment ASAP. I moderate new-comers to avoid spam and to prevent profanity from appearing on this blog. :)

If you are out of the US, you’ll receive the KINDLE version of this book. :)

Contest ends Wednesday night, 5/21, at 9 EST!

 

Family Photos and An ESV Journaling Bible Giveaway

Update! Winner of the ESV Bible is Charity Harley! Enjoy!!

 

So, first matter of importance, MY GIRLS ARE HOME FOR THE SUMMER!!

20140513-191928.jpg

We had the loveliest weekend. Holly and I spent a night in Mystic, CT, seeing the sights, eating delicious seafood, doing pedicures, spending quality time and eating ice cream. I also had the opportunity to speak at a ladies luncheon at a church there. They were super sweet and I felt led to encourage them to not merely survive in their spiritual walk but the THRIVE. We looked at Psalm 1, about the blessed man and his habits. Bottom line: He delighted in God’s Word and everything was touched by that: his ministry, his fruit bearing, his effectiveness. It’s always a privilege to share the gospel and it was a great weekend spiritually.

20140513-191825.jpg

AND then we had a lovely Mother’s Day Together. Peter and the kids made a special breakfast and spoiled me. Then we went to church and I was blessed by the message about the qualities of an older Titus 2 woman. We were spoiled at my sister, Hannah’s, for lunch and a special tea. All in all, I was just plain blessed and spoiled. (Not complaining! ;))

20140513-191815.jpg

I’ve been quiet around here as things have been busy, like I mentioned before. The Lord has been graciously teaching me to take each day as it comes and to thank Him for the opportunities He gives me. It’s all from His hand.

I’ve been reading quite a bit. Here are some highlights.

 

20140513-191805.jpg

Rebekah and Emily got me Holiness Day by Day: Transformational Thoughts for Your Spiritual Journey Devotional by Jerry Bridges and Pause for Power: A 365-Day Journey through the Scriptures (Year in the Word Series) by Warren Wiersbe for Mother’s Day. These are two of my favorite authors and I didn’t know that either of these books existed. I love one-a-day books like this.

20140513-191949.jpg
{DRUMROLL} If you have book money right now, this is the book to get: Made For More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image. This book is really excellent. It’s about properly reflecting the image of God. I’ve told my college girls that this is MANDATORY summer reading for them. :) It’s just one of those world view books that is so very helpful. I can’t recommend it highly enough. In fact, I’d say it was the most spiritually beneficial book I’ve read all year. If you can buy it sometime, you’ll be blessed.

ALSO, I told you the other day that I had won a new ESV Journaling Bible. Bekki asked how I used my old journaling Bible, so I thought I’d share pics.

20140513-191845.jpg

20140513-191745.jpg

First, when I’m studying with my commentary, I use a 3-ring binder for my notes. I messily jot down things I don’t completely understand (to remind myself to go back and look into it), quotes I want to remember, and any verses that really spoke to me that day. I also write out any attributes of God that I notice in the reading. (I got that idea from What Do I Know About My God?)

So what do I actually write in my journaling Bible? I usually write down the main point that sticks out to me during my study. Also, things like illustrations or quotes from commentaries, word meanings that clarify a passage for me, quotes, sermon outlines and cross reference proofs. THIS is so helpful when you are teaching. It’s a quick reminder of what you’ve already studied and what impacted you.

And although I love my new Journaling Bible, there’s a bittersweetness about changing Bibles, know what I mean?  Certain passages that have been life changing for me will be copied, but for the most part, I will start again.

Monday, I received my ESV Journaling Bible in the mail. Here it is!

20140513-191711.jpg

And on Tuesday ANOTHER one showed up on my door from Crossway Books! I contacted them about the mistake and they encouraged me to give it away on my blog!

20140513-191721.jpg

So, that’s what’s happening.

You can win this ESV Journaling Bible, value $59, compliments of Crossway, by commenting and telling me if you’d copy your old notes or start afresh or how you use your Bible. Do you write in it freely or reserve your writing to a notebook? Also, you can win additional entries by sharing this giveaway on social media via FB or Twitter using #joyfilleddays or @joyfilleddays.  Just let me know you did in the comments.

 

Easy peasy.

I’m so excited for one of you because this is a beautiful Bible.

Ends Saturday, 8 pm, EST. Continental US only. Will mail via USPS. 

If you are new to the blog, welcome! Your first comment will be moderated, so it might not show up right away, but I’ll approve it ASAP, so no worries. Feel free to look around and subscribe to get our posts via email. 

*posts contains Amazon Affiliate links at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my blog.