8 things I want my daughters to know

As the mother of two daughters, there seems to be such a short time in which to teach them all the things they will need to know by the time they reach adulthood. Will I succeed in teaching them everything? No. But I can focus on teaching them these important truths.

mom and daughter

Focus on the things that are eternal. Material items, popularity, sports, homework, stress…these are things that will waste away. It is so easy to get caught up in the stresses of life – and there are many. But I hope you will remember that the only things that truly matter are those things that are eternal. Faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ is eternal. Sharing about Him to our loved ones and friends can plant the seeds for their eternal life.

Isaiah 40 8

God’s love is unconditional. Ask just about anyone and they will tell you they have experienced a time when someone stopped liking/loving them because of something they did or said. In a world where love is fickle, God’s love is unconditional and never changes. Nothing you can do can make Him love you any more than He already does. And nothing you can do can make Him love you any less.

Romans 8 38-39

Jesus understands. He’s been there. Jesus knows and cares for every detail of our lives. He, too, has had a friend betray him. He has been on the receiving end of lies, has experienced loneliness, and has been tempted. But no matter who lets you down, there is One who never will. He promises NEVER to leave us nor forsake us.

Hebrews 13 5

Where to find your value and self worth. It is so easy to attempt to find your self worth in others. That friend. That boyfriend. Your husband. Your parent. But your self worth comes only from One. If we garner our value from another human being, we will always be disappointed.

In our looks-obsessed culture, we could tend to think our value comes from our hairstyle, clothes, or whether our figure matches that on the front of a magazine. But our value does not come from people or from any of those things. Our value and our beauty comes from within. I have known far to too many women (and men!) who appear attractive on the outside, but are far from attractive on the inside. I hope that you will seek to be the girl God made you to be – one who has the love of Jesus within and who seeks to share it with others by the way she lives.

Proverbs 31 30

Speaking of value, do you know how valuable you are to our Lord? He loves you so, so much. Enough to give His very life for you.

The value of prayer. How often do we say, “Well, the only thing we can do now is pray.” The only thing? How about the most important thing and the thing that should top our list? Prayer is powerful. It is effective. And it’s our way of communicating with the One who created us and wants a relationship with us. When times get tough – and they will – remember that prayer is your most important tool.

James 5 16

God’s Word never changes. In any given day, especially in our quick-as-the-blink-of-an-eye culture, things change. Technology, the weather, fashion, styles, etc. But God’s Word is steadfast and never changes. We, as a culture, can try all we want to make God’s Word squeeze into our man-made box, but it will be futile. We should instead, with the help of the Holy Spirit, live as He commands by learning and living by the precious and timeless words of Scripture. The Bible is the only Truth, and is by what we need to measure everything else.

Give to God the unimportant things in your life, the important things in your life, and everything in between. Your future plans? Give it to the Lord. Your future husband? Give it to God. Surrender your life to Him and allow Him to use you for His glory. And He will.

Jeremiah 29 11

Aim to please only One. Live your life to please the One who matters. And everything else will fall into place.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

14 things for girls to consider before dating

scriptural antidotes for fear

4 ways to reconnect with your spouse

7 ways to encourage your children

Movie Monday: Little Women

leaving a godly legacy

looking to homeschool? here are 7 things to consider

how to build close bonds with your kids

A mom recently posted a question in a Facebook group. She needed encouragement in her parenting journey after hearing from several parents that she needed to enjoy her time with her children now (all under six-years-old) because when her children were teens, they would hate her and wouldn’t want anything to do with her. She asked how she could maintain a strong relationship with her children into adulthood.

Should we expect the close relationship we have with our little ones to change as they get older? Should that just be one more thing to worry about on the lengthy list of parenting concerns?

While it’s true that our relationships with our children change several times over the course of their growing to adulthood, it doesn’t mean that it has to be something negative. It’s important to note that the blanket statement of children hating us once they become tweens and teens or not wanting to spend any time with us is simply not true for everyone.

So how can we build close bonds with our children that last far into adulthood? And while the ideal would be to start these suggestions when our children are very young, we can never go wrong strengthening those bonds no matter what age our children are.

Here are some ways to build close bonds with your kids:

Give your relationship with your children to the Lord. This is by far the most important suggestion and not a one-time prayer. Surrender your parenting to Jesus, seek His guidance, and endeavor, with His help, to be the kind of parent our Heavenly Father is to us.

Pray with and for your children without ceasing.

Spend time with your kids. Suggestions include listening, learning, singing, dancing, reading, playing games, and going for bike rides. Ask your children for ideas.

Spend one-on-one time with each child. When you’re a mom, the days go by at an unprecedented pace. There is just so much to do and so little time! But it’s critical to spend time with your children one-on-one on a regular basis. Some suggestions? Take a walk, go out for ice cream, plan a “girls day” complete with hair appointments, or celebrate at home with manicures. Again, ask each child for suggestions.

Make church, Bible study, and worship a priority.

Celebrate their uniqueness. Each of our kids are different, and that’s a good thing!

Make family night a tradition. Once you make this important night a tradition (for us it’s Friday nights) be sure to hold to it. Other activities are sure to come up, but if you make family night a priority, it instills the importance of spending time as a family and shows that other “important” activities can be scheduled around time with family.

Keep communication lines open. The standard “fine” when asked how their day is going can be avoided if you get creative in asking questions. If your kids attend a private or public school, wait a few minutes after they get home to ask them about their day. Children need a chance to transition and recharge. Keep in touch with what’s going in in their “world” and with friends and activities.

Bring up topics of interest. I bring a “topic” to the table each day, usually at lunch because it seems we have more time at that meal. I seek their opinions about the topic before giving mine and always listen to their point of view whether I agree with it or not. It can be any age-appropriate topic and has varied from how to be kind to others when they were little, to abortion when they got older, to today’s topic, which was on a Christian heretic and how we need discernment. As a homeschooling mom, I have an advantage of spending time with my kids that we wouldn’t have if they were in a school setting all day with limited time to spend together after school, sports, jobs, etc. If your child is private or public schooled, plan this time around the dinner table.

Express your gratitude. Have a grateful heart and a humble spirit whenever they do something kind or helpful.

Discipline with fairness and with love.

Be a good listener. Care about what matters to them, and always, always, always let them know how much you love them and how thankful you are that God has chosen you to be their mom.

Teach compassion and empathy for others by modeling it yourself.

Be respectful of them.

Find times to chat. Ever since my daughters were little, we’ve had a rule that we’ve never watched videos in the car. This wasn’t because I’m against videos – I actually love a good movie) – but because car-time is talk time, and if they don’t open up at other times, they will open up in the car (as odd as that sounds). On longer trips, we’d put on Christian tunes and sing together, or on family jaunts, we’d listen to Adventures in Odyssey. Other ideas? Provide a stack of books and travel games. (The license plate game, anyone?)

Don’t encourage your kids to grow up too fast. It really is true that when you blink, your kids will be grown. I didn’t believe it back in those early days of my kids not sleeping through the night and the ensuing severe sleep deprivation. All the milestones that our kids will eventually cross don’t need to be rushed. Take the time to enjoy each stage as it comes.

Priorities, priorities! Those we love should be a priority over all other “things” that clamor for our attention on a daily basis. This includes cell phones (which should never be allowed at the dinner table or family night), social media (fine in small doses, but it should never replace time with our families), choosing to work 24/7 with no time for family, and many, many other time vacuums that are in our busy lives. This is not to say that we make our children selfish because they think they are the only thing that matters (we do have to work, do laundry, and make dinner!), but it is to say that things can never take the place of people and we should never make it seem like they are.

Don’t listen to naysayers. Everyone will have a different parenting experience. Life happens and sometimes things beyond our control get in the way of relationships.

Remember there is no guarantee. A dear friend who was always close to her children recently discovered that one of them, as an adult, has joined a cult and has disowned their family. No matter how hard we try, things can still go in a different direction than we ever would have planned. We do the best we can, then leave the rest to God.


Before you go, check out these other posts on this blog:

the importance of teaching our kids to think for themselves

leaving a godly legacy

7 ingredients for creating the perfect character

looking to homeschool? here are 7 things to consider

delectable gluten free chocolate crinkles recipe

how to start a sisters in Christ group

who are you behind the screen?

Movie Monday: Little Women (2019)

Little Women has had several movie adaptions made. The one that sticks in my mind the most is the adaptation from 1994, which starred Winona Ryder, Kirstin Dunst, and Susan Sarandon. I’ve always loved this movie for many reasons: the importance of family, the love between sisters, and because I’m a writer myself, Jo’s dream of being published.

I recently viewed the adaptation from 2019, which stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Laura Dern.

This particular version goes back and forth between the present and the past, mainly through Jo’s eyes. It contains the same characters as the original book and screenplay – the feisty and fiery writer wannabe, Jo; the calm and gentle actress, Meg; the fashionable and bratty Amy; the sweet and gracious Beth; and the fun-loving and dashing Laurie.

Talking Points

There are some excellent themes families can discuss with tweens and teens. The movie highlights contentment several times throughout, including the March family not having much food to eat and Meg’s marriage to a hardworking, but poor, man. Generosity is highlighted and seen especially in Marmee’s and Beth’s tender care for those less fortunate. Self-sacrifice is seen when Marmee suggests that her girls donate their breakfast to a starving family nearby. At first reluctant, the girls soon see the graciousness in Marmee’s suggestion. There is also the theme of forgiveness and the importance of Ephesians 4:26 “…Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” The theme of family is woven throughout and it is clear that the March family is close and cares deeply for each other, even if they don’t always get along.

Concerns

There are only a few concerns in this version: namely, an unfortunate use of the Lord’s name in vain uttered once and there is an instance of Jo sneaking alcohol and Laurie being drunk at a festivity. Laurie’s rebellious nature surges to the forefront after his rejection from Jo.

As was the 1994 version, this adaptation is also suitable for the entire family, although those under nine will likely not be interested in the entire movie. If you are looking for an enjoyable movie filled with drama, some humor, and a bit of romance, Little Women is just the ticket. I highly recommend it and give it 4 1/2 stars out of five. For more movie suggestions for the family please see my Mom Approved Movies Listing.

Before you go, check out these other posts:

Movie Monday: The Legend of Five Mile Cave

All things Christmas: Favorite Movies of the Season

Movie Monday: God Bless the Broken Road

Movie Monday: Hailey Dean Mysteries 3-film Collection

21 awesome family movies you may never have heard of

9 recently-released family movies for your next family night

9 movie series sure to be a hit on your next family night

the importance of new beginnings

new beginnings

At the beginning of every New Year, many make resolutions that they aim to keep throughout the year. Decisions to make them healthier, fitter, more organized, etc.

In the classic 80s song New Attitude, Patti LaBelle sings of starting a new beginning with a new attitude “from [her] head to [her] shoes.” Every time I hear that song, it brings to mind a crabby lady in need of a personality overhaul.

But what about a new beginning in Christ?

At any time of the year?

Paul in the Bible received a new beginning – a “start over”, if you will. A harsh man who made it his life’s goal to persecute Christians, Paul was the furthest thing from one who could be used effectively by God. Wasn’t he?

On the contrary. God used Paul in a mighty way. After Paul’s conversion, he was one of the greatest apostles who ever lived. He endured beatings and spent much time in prison for the sake of the Gospel.

Could you be used for God’s Kingdom?

Probably not if you have a “checkered” past, right? If you’ve done things you’re not proud of, sinned in ways you don’t care to admit, you certainly can’t be used. And definitely, God isn’t going to forgive you for all of those things you did. After all, we’re not talking “minor” sins here.

Again, on the contrary.

God can and will use you, no matter what you have done or who you have been.

We serve a  God who is One of second chances, and third chances, and fourth chances. Jesus took all of our sins, past and present, upon Himself when He went to the Cross. Your new beginning means your dry erase board is wiped clean from all of the junk that once cluttered it.

Ezekiel 36 26 a.png

So how can you have a new beginning?

Commit your life to Him. If you have not made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life, that is the first step.

After you have made a decision for Christ, you are forgiven. You have a new beginning. You also have eternal life and will spend eternity with Him. Nothing can ever take you from His hand (John 10:28). But it doesn’t stop there. Find a Bible-based church where the pastor digs into the Word and preaches it each week. Find a mature Christian to mentor you in your walk.

Spend time in the Bible. The Old Testament is wonderful, and I would highly recommend reading it, but as a new believer, the best place to start is in the New Testament in the Book of John.

Turn your eyes toward Him. Listen and watch things that aren’t contrary to your new faith.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

This year, spend time in prayer to dedicate your life to a new beginning for Christ. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “the old is gone, the new is here.” And that is definitely something to celebrate!

2 Corinthians 5 17 real

 


Before you go, check out these other posts:

the importance of gratitude

the importance of influence

the importance of avoiding the gossip trap

11 verses about God’s unfailing love

Movie Monday: Where Love Found Me

11 ways to be kinder in 2021

the top 11 curriculum choices for high school students

the importance of recognizing your influence

While foreign missions are an exciting and valuable way to fulfill The Great Commission, we don’t have to go far to make an impact. All that most of us have to do to be in the mission field is to step outside our front door.

We as Believers are all missionaries when we spread the Gospel, whether by actions, words, deeds, or a combination of all three. It has been said that we could be the only Jesus that some people see.

Thought-provoking. Humbling. And something that should spur us on with a vigor to share the Good News about our Savior.

So how are we using our influence?

And yes, we all have influence.

If you are a parent, grandparent, employer, employee, pastor, author, speaker, grocery shopper, neighbor, singer, actor, business owner, medical professional, patient, teacher, student, blogger, or a social media user, you have a platform and a sphere of influence.

Everyone can make a difference for the Lord. We just have to be mindful of our actions, words, and deeds. Here are a few examples:

The parent. Raising children is one of the most important responsibilities we parents will be entrusted with. And the most important thing about raising them? Teaching them about the Lord and praying that they will surrender their lives to Christ. Each day, we set examples for them. Do they see us reading the Bible? Making church a priority? Praying often?  Helping those in need? Do we read the Bible to them on a regular basis, or if they are older, spend time reading and studying the Bible with them?

The grandparent. Grandparents, you truly have no idea the impact you make on your grandchildren. Even if they don’t live nearby, you can still exhibit a heart for God. Sharing your testimony, reminding them of His love for them, texting Bible verses, and being there to talk through the tough times are just a few ways to encourage your grandchild in the Lord.

The employer. As an employer, you can show the love of Christ by being an honorable boss who makes your employees a priority.

The employee. Bosses know when they have an employee who stands out from the rest. Being reliable, punctual, dependable, loyal, and with a good work ethic can go a long way. Yes, a nonbeliever can have those traits as well, but as Christians, we should exemplify them. Do you stand out from the other employees? Are you the one who doesn’t resort to swear words or hateful rhetoric? Who takes pride in your duties, no matter what they are?

The pastor. Pastors, a majority of the people in your congregation on Sunday only hear about Jesus on that day during your sermon. Are you using that time wisely, to carefully explore the Bible in a way that pleases God? Or are you using those few precious moments for other less important matters or to further your own agenda?

The author/writer. Authors and writers, you have an invaluable platform. The written word reaches hearts and minds in a way that the spoken word can’t often do. You don’t have to write Christian novels to have an effect on your readers. Your bio and the things that matter to you are impactful.

The medical professional. Healthcare professionals who are Christians approach things from a different perspective. You have the awesome opportunity to pray for (and with if they are agreeable) your patients, to offer reassurance, and your calming presence can do wonders for someone undergoing a medical procedure or one who is scared about a painful diagnosis.

The patient. On the flipside of the medical professional is the patient. My mom has multiple health issues and is confined to a wheelchair. The chronic pain she experiences on a constant basis is often unmanageable. Yet, I have never seen anyone so strong in her faith, and that faith doesn’t stop when she visits the doctor. She has offered to pray for medical professionals (not one has turned her down), has asked them to join her in prayer when she’s about to undergo an excruciating procedure, and has praised the Lord for His goodness in their presence. Will my mom ever be able to do the things she once was able to do before an accident changed her life forever? No. But God is using her to make a mighty difference.

The blogger/social media user. Bloggers and social media users, we have a huge platform for the Lord! Where else can we share the love of Christ to people in multiple nations around the world? While not every post or update needs to be a Bible verse, (I blog on many other items including writing, homeschooling, humor, and movie reviews) our words can encourage someone having a difficult day or shine Christ’s light.

Realize your influence. Whether by visiting with the grocery store clerk and inviting her to church or as an employer treating your employees differently than the worldly employer, you can be the Jesus people see.

No, we won’t do this perfectly. Of this I can personally assure you. But with the Lord’s help, we can seek to share the love of Jesus and the life-giving Gospel no matter what our occupation or role in life.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

The importance of Christmas

The importance of respectful disagreement

Kids write the funniest things!

For such a time as this: finding stability in an unstable world

28 verses for uncertain times

how to survive in an out-of-control world

Mom-Approved Movies listing

How to Start a Sisters in Christ Group

15 scriptural reminders of God’s comfort

Numerous verses from God’s Word serve as reminders of His steadfast comfort. Rest in Him today and be reminded He is there for us no matter what we are going through, and He is there to comfort us in those challenging moments life tosses our way.


Before you go, check out these other posts on this blog:

12 verses to encourage the burdened heart

6 suggestions for getting through the rough times in life

5 ways to be happier

6 Ways to Encourage Other Moms

5 ways to start your day off right

6 ways to stick with homeschooling (when you want to give up)

5 ways to jumpstart your writing project

for such a time as this: finding stability in an unstable world

14 things for girls to consider before dating

what to stock up on this winter

the importance of respect

Movie Monday: Miss Potter

how to survive in an out-of-control world

I recently heard someone say that they’ve experienced the thirty-day trial of 2021 and they’d like a refund.

The world has changed so rapidly in the past year. It is cause for concern, fear, and even grief, as we ponder the effects of those changes not only on ourselves, but also on our children and grandchildren. Our nation has been transformed in ways we don’t recognize and never thought possible – or at least never thought possible -in such a short amount of time. Things are chaotic, tumultuous, and turbulent.

For survivors of 2020, 2021 has started out much the same, and the struggle to put one foot in front of the other and forge ahead can be a challenge.

What can we do when things seem out of control? Here are some suggestions:

Pray often. Prayer is critical, and not a once-a-day event. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 reminds us to “pray without ceasing”. The good news is that God is available to hear those prayers 24/7 without fail.

Immerse yourself in the Bible and hide His Word in your heart. If our Bibles were taken from us tomorrow, would we have enough of it hidden in our hearts? What if we made it a goal to dive deeper into the precious words of Scripture more often and more fully than we ever have?

Church is crucial. Fellowship with other believers is essential. Make both a priority.

When things are stressful and unmanageable, focus on God’s promises. (I will be posting another installment of The Scripture Series on God’s Promises in the coming weeks).

Cherish your family members. Love them well, appreciate them, cling to them, and realize they walk through the same challenges in this topsy-turvy world.

Be selective about which headlines and articles you read. Hibernating, avoiding all happenings in the world around us, or playing ostrich is never a good idea. We need to be aware of what is going on in our world, but not take it to the extreme. Read from sources you know are based on honesty, not on an agenda.

In addition, be vigilant about what you allow into your mind. Not everything you read or listen to is true. More importantly, not everything you read or listen to is pleasing to God. Practice discernment.

Engage, but don’t make it an idol. I am a firm believer that Christians should engage in politics. In a world that, among other things, seeks to attack religious liberties and deems the killing of the pre-born acceptable, we need to stand for the right to worship God and for the value of all life. And we need to elect those who will do the same. If something grieves our Heavenly Father, it should grieve us. Contact your local, state, and federal legislators about issues of concern. Run for office. Pray that God would place godly men and women in positions of authority. Just remember not to allow politics to consume you.

Avoid the lure of constant 24/7 social media. While there is nothing wrong with social media (I will be the first to tell you that I love social media and have accounts on several platforms), the key is not to allow it to become an idol or something that takes you away from the important things of life. Checking it a few times a day is fine. Being tethered to it isn’t.

Turn off the cell phone/computer an hour before bedtime. Finish nightly duties, then spend the remainder of your time before bed reading the Bible. I guarantee you will find peace.

Don’t suffer alone. Spend time talking with a mentor – a spiritually mature person who can pray with and for you and help you navigate the ongoings of this chaotic world with a focus on the Lord.

Spend time listening to godly podcasts. Several people have told me in recent weeks that they are hungrier than ever for godly counsel and Bible-based teaching (and many are not getting that need met). Bible-focused podcasts that put God’s Truth above all else provide encouragement and remind us in Whom we place our faith. Again, practice discernment.

Journal your thoughts, worries, and concerns – then turn them over to the Lord.

Take care of yourself. Do your best to eat healthy foods, get sufficient sleep, and find time to exercise. Go outside and soak up sunshine, even on a chilly day. It will do wonders for your mood.

There is hope. Our lives, while affected greatly by the world around us, are not defined by it. Rather, they are defined by the One who holds the seat of highest honor today, tomorrow, and eternally. May we not only continually and permanently fix our eyes on Jesus, but also rest in our Heavenly Father’s arms where peace reigns.

___________________

Other posts on this blog that you may enjoy:

the importance of new beginnings

the importance of perseverance

for such a time as this: finding stability in an unstable world

28 verses for uncertain times

15 verses for strength in challenging times

you might be a homeschooling mom if…

the importance of teaching our kids to think for themselves

Movie Monday: Flying High for the Glory of God

Movie Monday: Unplanned

For such a time as this: finding stability in an unstable world

As a kid, I remember after a long day of playing outside, I came in and turned on the TV. Flipping through our three channels, I came across a black-and-white re-run of The Twilight Zone. Intrigued, I watched it for a few minutes. While it never became my “cup of tea” to watch continuously due to the fact I’m not a sci-fi/fantasy fan (although 3 out of 4 Zellers are) and I watch, read, and write only stories with happy endings, the show stuck with me.

All these years later, it feels as though we have stepped into the Twilight Zone. Things are just bizarre. It leaves me wanting to change the channel.

Things are scary right now. Our nation is in turmoil, a crisis that leaves (if we’re honest) even the most faithful with a moment or two of uncertainty.  When we return our focus to Him, we are reminded of a few key things:

God is bigger than all of this. Bigger than nefarious evildoers, communism, socialism, hatefulness, division, wars, diseases, illnesses, viruses, and all the other truly frightening things in this world. And He always walks with us through those daunting times.

He was not caught off guard. God wasn’t asleep or having afternoon tea on the patio when these frightening events began to unfold. To the contrary, He knows all that has occurred and will occur throughout history.

We are here for such a time as this. Just as Esther was placed in her role to help her people, we are placed in our role at this precise time in history. Sure. I think it might be neat to have lived in the late 1800s/early 1900s, or another time period, but that’s not where God has placed me. Or you. We are here through Divine appointment. He never makes a mistake or bemoans the fact that He allowed us to be born when we were born, rather than 10 years, 100 years, or even 1,000 years earlier.

Jesus gave His life for us. Time may be short, or He may tarry for another 400 years. No one knows except God. But before He returns, we have our work cut out for us in the here and now. To tell others about the saving faith found only in Jesus Christ and the eternal life they can have when they put their faith and trust in Him. To love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Yes, even those challenging “neighbors”.

We need to be an encouragement to each other. In the past couple of weeks, I have seen some discouraging folks out and about bringing others down, rather than building them up. Instead of spewing hateful rhetoric or division, let’s rally around each other and support each other. And never, ever forget how important fellowship is (Hebrews 10:25).

He is our Protector and our Refuge. Seek Him and rest in Him.

There is a happy ending. For those of us in Christ, it ends well. I’m personally not keen on what may be an arduous and troublesome journey between here and the end when I see my Savior face-to-face, but as Christians, He promises to go before us, be with us through the journey, and to carry us safely home when our time on this earth is done. Hopefully, that’s decades away for all of us, but we do have that reassurance that this story has a happy ending.

So, my friends, hang in there. Keep your focus on Christ and know that if He is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?

Other posts on this blog that may interest you:

13 verses to comfort the weary soul

13 ways to help someone going through a rough time

10 ways to help your kids choose good role models

who are you behind the screen?

the importance of gratitude

Movie Monday: Indivisible

28 verses for uncertain times

Life can be a road of uncertainty. Current events have been a definite testament to how things can change in an instant. Fear and discouragement can easily envelop us and take up residence in our lives, even with our best efforts. Thankfully we don’t have to navigate these unsettling times alone.

Amidst the anxiety and fear that grips us during these uncertain times, we must keep our focus on the only One who can give us peace and comfort when all seems lost. The only one – our Savior – who is our true refuge in these turbulent days. Pray for our nation. For each other. For truth and justice to prevail. And remember, for those of us in Christ, this is not our home.

In this installment of The Scripture Series, be encouraged by the following 28 verses found in the precious pages of Scripture. They are the Lord’s promises that we are never alone, that He goes before us, that He is our shield and our comfort.

Before you leave, check out these other posts:

12 verses to encourage the burdened heart

11 verses about God’s unfailing love

10 Bible verses to start off your day

13 verses to comfort the weary soul

scriptural antidotes for fear

11 ways to be kinder in 2021

Every year when New Year’s Day arrives, we make resolutions. Lose weight. Exercise more. Eat healthier. Stick to a budget. Declutter.

These are all excellent resolutions, but what if this year, we resolved to be kinder? More giving? More gracious? Less rude and impatient? Not so quick-on-the-draw to find fault in someone who doesn’t see eye to eye with us? Less inclined to make others feel they have to align with our standards if we’re going to like them.

It doesn’t mean compromising our faith and values, but rather to respectfully disagree.

This year has been a rough one for everyone, but unfortunately, instead of pulling together in unity, the opposite has occurred in many cases. It seems people are angrier and less inclined to give others the benefit of the doubt. Less likely to show grace. Quicker to assume the worst of someone. Abruptly forgetting that it’s all right to agree to disagree.

In addition, this past year brought in a litany of things to add to our growing list of why we are divided as a nation, as a church, even as friends and family. We’ve witnessed friendships end, families in dispute, churches divided, and a nation in turmoil.

Having our own opinions isn’t wrong, as a matter of fact, it’s a good thing and a testament to the creativity of our Creator. He made us each different with different longings, different ideas, and different ways of seeing things. Wouldn’t it be a boring world if we all had the same thoughts on every topic? If we all had the same hopes and dreams?

So this year, in addition to our regular New Year’s resolutions, what if we made it a goal to be kinder? Here are 11 ways to do just that.

  • Give people the benefit of the doubt.
  • Offer a genuine smile. Smiling not only benefits others, but also, according to Benefits Bridge, benefits you by improving your mood, enhancing your immune system, and reducing blood pressure.
  • Offer ample appreciation and encouragement.
  • See a need and fill it.
  • Dedicate yourself to praying for others often, even your enemies. (Matthew 5:44).
  • Be generous with forgiveness. (Matthew 18:21-22)
  • Offer grace, especially when it’s undeserved.
  • Be humble and put others first.
  • Agree to disagree, and do so with respect.
  • Be honest.
  • And most importantly, tell someone about Jesus and make an eternal impact in their lives.

We don’t have to align ourselves with a culture that is harsh, angry, and divided. We can choose to be kind and gracious, even to those with whom we strongly disagree.

May this year’s New Year’s Resolution be one of kindness.

Other posts on this blog you may enjoy:

The importance of respectful disagreement

13 verses to comfort the weary soul

6 ways to stick with homeschooling when you want to give up

6 ways to encourage other moms

20 upbeat songs to encourage you

58 fun activities for kids of all ages

5 ways to be happier

5 ways to start your day off right

Movie Monday: Hailey Dean 3-film collection

what to stock up on this winter