the importance of Christmas

The importance of Christmas

One of my favorite modern Christmas songs is This is Christmas by Kutless.  The words in the chorus are thought-provoking and profound:

What is Christmas?
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger
What is Christmas without Christ?

Indeed. What if a Baby, who would grow to be the Savior of mankind, was never born?

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For one, we would definitely not have the Christmas holiday. There would be nothing to celebrate.

I, for one, love the whole idea of Christmas. The day after Thanksgiving, my husband gets a calorie-burning workout hauling the numerous bins of decorations from our Christmas closet up the stairs. He then heads outside to set up “Wally and Eva,” our two laser light devices that shine brightly all over the front of our house and garage.

There is joy in shopping for presents for my family and mailing packages to my extended family in several different states. The delight my daughters and I find in baking delicious goodies for our neighbors and close friends and delivering them a few weeks in advance is an event we look forward to each year.

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And don’t even get me started on Christmas music. Let’s just say my Christmas playlist somehow mysteriously (or not so mysteriously) found its way into playing two days before Thanksgiving. Nope, I just couldn’t wait. And I seemed to run even farther and faster on the treadmill while listening to that Christmas playlist.

All of those things in and of themselves are fine. It’s when we replace the real meaning of Christmas with temporary things – and put our focus solely on those things – that we find ourselves in error.

Anything can become an idol – anything that we make more important than God. Can Christmas presents, decorations, food, tinsel, and laser lights become idols?

Absolutely.

Especially presents.

Or add in the busyness of this time of year. The pressure to live up to expectations to create the holiday a certain way for others, as well as ourselves, can become a stress-fest.

Or the debt that we manage to accumulate while finding all those perfect presents for everyone on our gift list.

Do we even remember – and take time to realize – that the perfect present is right before us? The gift of eternal life. Something that will far outlast anything in our temporary world.

So I’m reminding myself this year that it is all about the Savior that was born in the manger. It is all about that Baby that was born on earth and grew to be a man who would give His life for all mankind. A brutal death with the sins of the world on His back, Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice.

For me.

For you.

For us all.

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This holiday season, let’s make Christ the ultimate reason we celebrate.  Let’s place Him in His rightful place of importance. Ahead of the trees, the food, the presents, the Christmas music, and the laser lights.

And let’s do more than celebrate Him. Let’s show our gratitude for what He has done for us. Not just on December 25, but on every day of the year.


Other blog posts on this blog you may be interested in reading:

8 great Christmas gift ideas for wives

Thankful for the small things…

All Things Christmas: Favorite Movies of the Season

All things Christmas: favorite songs of the season

14 things for girls to consider before dating

15 verses for strength in challenging times

the importance of respectful disagreement

the importance of respectful disagreement

These days, we don’t have to go far to find someone who will disagree with us. Our communities, country, and sadly, sometimes families and friendships have become hotbeds for conflict.

One of the beautiful things about living in America is that we have the freedom of speech. Although we are seeing a stifling of our right to speak, but that’s a topic for another time.

Because of our freedom of speech, we are able to give our opinions, comment on posts, blogs, parlays, and tweets, and share our thoughts in person. Religious rights, the death penalty, gun control, abortions, mask usage, illegal immigration, how to handle COVID, and school choice are just some of the topics we can find ourselves at odds at with others.

Unfortunately, sometimes those debates can turn into something much less than peaceful discourse.

Case in point: I recently stumbled upon a social media group where bullying was rampant. A woman was saying that because she has asthma, she is unable to wear a mask.

One after the other, hateful comments appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. It became not a peaceful back-and-forth discussion about who does and who doesn’t support wearing masks. Rather, it became one of horrific attack methods and hatefulness directed at a woman who couldn’t wear a mask because of health issues.

Masks are probably one of the most contentious topics in recent days. I have my own opinions about them – albeit strong ones – but no matter how strongly we disagree with someone, it never does any good to be disrespectful, vicious, or spiteful.

So how do we ensure our disagreements are respectful?

Realize that family and friendships are not worth winning an argument. Sometimes we have to agree to disagree.

Remember we can’t take words back once we say them. Oh, but that we could all take a magic vitamin that would put a guard over our mouth! Keeping in mind that once a word is uttered, the hearer can’t unhear it, can go a long way in thinking before speaking.

Try to respond calmly. This doesn’t come naturally to most of us, especially when it’s a contentious subject. Praying for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and praying for the Lord’s control over your words throughout the interaction is critical.

Remember that healthy disagreements are actually good. Constructive arguments can bring to light what needs to be said. My husband, a manager, once noticed severe tension between two of his workers. He could have written them up, and/or forced them to go their separate ways, leaving the topic unsettled. Instead, he called them into the small break room and told them to discuss the matter and that they weren’t leaving until it was resolved. Was it a bit loud and unruly at times? Yes, but within a few minutes, the two men were sitting at the table calmly discussing it. When my husband returned a half hour later, they were making plans on where to go out for lunch.

Men are a unique species that way, or at least in the past they were. They would have an argument, duke it out, and remain friends afterwards. I am saddened to say that with women, it’s the opposite. We women have long memories and if someone did something to us in 1853, we still remember it and hold a grudge. This should definitely not be the case.

Don’t attack the other person. James 3:5 reminds us of what a danger our tongue can be.

Know your facts before launching into an argument. You might not win the other’s person’s agreement, but you might win their respect.

Try not to take it personally. Easier said than done. Sometimes people already having a bad day need only one more irritant to lash out and you inadvertently happen to be that irritant. Not an excuse for their poor behavior, but a good reminder that we have been shown much grace and should extend that same grace to others.

Listen twice as much as you speak. Someone once said that we have two ears and one mouth because we need to listen more than we speak. James 1:19 tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Sometimes when someone is disagreeing with us, especially verbally, it can be tempting to interrupt and cut in with our own opinions before the other person is finished with theirs. Instead, listen – really listen – even if you don’t agree with what they are saying. This is one of the surest forms of respect.

Don’t let trivial matters divide you. At the end of the day, it’s just not worth it.

Don’t belittle or diminish the other person’s opinions. While we may be diametrically opposed to anything they may say about a topic (and sometimes with good reason), putting someone down never wins the discussion.

Remember that God made us all different. It would be pretty boring if we all agreed on everything. We should welcome respectful conversation about the difficult topics, not ban it or shame those who don’t agree with us.

Think about eternity. Remembering that if you both are Christians you will be spending eternity together can put things into perspective.

I’m not too old to remember when we could disagree respectfully and peacefully and remain friends. While it seems that may never be the case again, we can make huge strides by responding in a Christlike manner.

Other posts on this blog you may enjoy (click on the link and it will open a new page with the post):

5 do’s and don’ts when interacting with someone going through a difficult time

5 ways to be happier

Movie Monday: Free Burma Rangers

58 fun activities for kids of all ages

4 ways to reconnect with your spouse

tasty gluten free coconut muffins

the importance of teaching our kids to think for themselves

Parents are highly influential in a child’s life. Children are also influenced by youth pastors, teachers, social media, peers, coaches, employers, movie stars, sports figures, and their favorite singers.

Our children receive a lot of “information” in today’s media-saturated world by which to base their opinions about everything from what to wear to which stance to take on important world events.

How can we teach our children, that while those who influence them are important (some more than others), they do need to learn to think for themselves?

Encourage good role models. With our patient help and God’s guidance, they can navigate the wide range of choices in today’s society and choose a role model that will influence their lives for the better. For tips, check out 10 ways to help your kids choose good role models.

Give them practice. As a homeschool mom, I’ve often come up with several out-of-the-box assignments designed to help my daughters, not only think for themselves, but to also investigate “all sides of an issue”. My youngest daughter recently began an assignment I gave her regarding mask usage. Her assignment is to investigate fully the pros and cons and whether or not masks are effective in preventing the spread of Covid. This would include researching the opinions/studies of several medical professionals from various outlets, from the private sector to governmental agencies, and everyone in between – with an open mind.

The second part of the assignment is to take a poll/survey on both social media and among family members and friends, encouraging them to weigh in with comments.

The conclusion of her assignment would be to make a decision based on her research.

Other assignments have included: Should we keep the Electoral College? Why or why not? Is socialism a good idea and why are some in the United States pushing for socialism?

During election years, my daughters are given assignments to fully investigate and research the candidates running for offices, whether they be local, county, state, or federal offices. Based on those investigations, they complete a sample ballot indicating who they would vote for and why.

Letters to the editor have also been assigned, as well as research on world religions and how they compare to Christianity.

Encourage them to investigate. As I mentioned in my mask assignment, it’s critical to encourage our kids to investigate. Everything. Every day, I bring a topic to our breakfast table and my daughters and I discuss it. I have been doing this since they were little, and the topics have always been age-appropriate. We’ve ventured into such topics as peer pressure, drinking, drugs, what to look for in a husband, abortion, politics, and current events.

You don’t have to be a homeschooling family to give “practice assignments” or investigate topics over the breakfast table. The dinner table works just as well, as does time in the car going to and from activities. Also, public-schooled children will have an additional dynamic to add to the conversation based on their day at a public school.

Make time for important discussions. No matter what type of schooling your family partakes in, or even if your children are still too young to attend school or are college-aged, make time to have those important chats. You will never regret time spent with your children and time spent finding out what matters to them and what struggles they face. Having open dialogue helps them with important decisions and to think through those decisions with the assistance of trusted adults and siblings.

Encourage discernment. We live in a crazy, fast-paced, oftentimes biased world. Some influencers don’t have your children’s best interests at heart. Their “ideas” may be extreme, or at the very least, far different than those that are healthy or even reasonable for your child.

Teach your children how to discern between what is right and what is wrong. The only true and reliable “truth meter” to base discernment on is God’s Word. It is the only Truth that never changes in an ever-changing, chaotic world. If something is against His Word, then it’s not something we should espouse.

For example, many of today’s youth have been encouraged to destroy other people’s property or even harm people in the name of “peaceful protesting”. What does God’s Word have to say about burning, looting, destroying property and harming people?

The Bible is clear that we need to treat others the way we ourselves would want to be treated.

Encourage them to ask questions. Questions are a good thing and should be encouraged. It’s how they learn and it ensures they will take nothing at face value, but question all things.

Encourage respect. I’m not too young that I don’t remember a time when people could agree to disagree. A time when we could still care about and be friends with those with differing opinions. Sadly, that’s not the case anymore.

In teaching our children to think for themselves, we must also teach them that when they do disagree with someone, whether it be politics, religion, medical choices, or something as mundane as what brand of clothes is best, they can do it respectfully. And to disagree respectfully does not mean that they condone the choices or behavior of the other party. It simply means that they choose not to disparage others due to differences of opinion.

Encourage logic. Some great resources for teaching your children logic are The Thinking Toolbox: Thirty-five Lessons That Will Build Your Reasoning Skills ,The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning, and The Art of Argument: An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies, Student Text, Revised.

In a world where at times evil is bent on securing your child’s devotion, make it a point to come alongside your child and teach them to think for themselves. To stand strong in the face of adversity, to question things that seem “off” and to, above all else, allow the Holy Spirit and the precious words found within the pages of the Bible to guide them in making the right decisions.

Other posts on this blog that may interest you:

10 Bible Verses to Start off Your Day

10 Ways to Help Your Kids Choose Good Role Models

Are you showing the difference?

Where is your focus? Finding peace of mind in a world of negativity

14 things for girls to consider before dating

You might be homeschool mom if…

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

the importance of voting

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As we embark on yet another election, I’m reminded of why it’s not only important, but critical to vote.

This year is even more crucial than years in the past as the two presidential candidates share diametrically opposing viewpoints. This year, more than ever, we vote for our country’s future. This year, more than ever, we vote for our children’s future.

Why is voting important?

  • Voting is a right not every country has. We are blessed to have a say in who governs us. It is our chance to have a voice in the topics that matter most to us.
  • Voting is our duty to our country. We thank those who died for our freedom to vote by utilizing that freedom.
  • Voting is a privilege. A right. A benefit of living in this wonderful country where men and women have given their lives for this right. I have an old saying that I say each year: “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain about the outcome.”

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Fellow Christians, it is especially imperative that we head to the voting booth and cast our votes. Yes, God is in control of the outcome. Whomever He chooses will be the next president of the United States. However, He does not expect us to sit idly by, but to exercise our vote – and to vote for the things that matter to Him. He has blessed us with this great nation. As crazy as these most recent months have been, He has chosen us to live during this precise time in history.

This election year, take into consideration being a voice for and protecting the unborn, protecting our religious liberties, retaining the Second Amendment, standing with Israel, and ensuring that our country remains free and doesn’t fall into the trap of socialism.

My grandfather, step-father-in-law, cousin, and uncle fought to preserve the freedoms we enjoy in this nation. May their sacrifice not be in vain.

Pray for God’s guidance and then get out there and let your voice be heard!

how to instill in your children the importance of voting

Voting has always been an important part of our family’s heritage. My grandma, Nanie, was the trusted investigator for our entire extended family, which included five families, all with the same political leanings.

Months before the election, Nanie would thoroughly investigate to determine which candidates in all of the races, from local, to state, to federal, espoused our same belief system in the things that were important to our families. My mom and dad showed my siblings and me the importance of voting, as neither ever missed an election and a chance to exercise their freedom and privilege of voting.

So how do we model the importance of voting to our children or grandchildren?

  • It’s never too early. From an early age, let your children go with you when you vote, if possible. My girls, from the time they were in our double baby-jogger stroller, accompanied me to the voting venue.
  • Express your beliefs and values with your children. Discuss the criticality of voting for those who share your morals and beliefs. What’s most important to you? Where do you stand on life vs. abortion? The Second Amendment? Religious liberties? Taxes? The role of government? What type of candidate do you want to see in the role of leadership? Why?
  • Encourage your children to ask questions. When they are adults, they will have their own opinions, but you can set the foundation for the values you hope they will emulate.
  • Don’t shy away from the hard questions. Your kids are growing up in an increasingly difficult and hostile world. Things we’ve never seen before have suddenly become commonplace. Don’t be afraid to open up the lines of communication, especially with tweens and teens.
  • Go over the sample ballot with them. Our local newspaper prints a sample ballot each election year. Our family sits at the dining room table and discusses the objectives of the candidates, based on public forums, debates, and their websites. Our daughters weigh in on who they would vote for if given the chance.
  • Engage in a mock election. When I taught Constitutional Literacy at our local homeschool co-op three years ago, we had a mock election on everything from the president to the city council. We conducted it like a real election – discussing the candidates’ views on the hot-button issues. Each of my students voted in private. We then tallied the scores and watched in coming weeks to see how closely they resembled the real outcome.
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Modeling truth and aligning your beliefs with the Word of God is critical. When your children are grown, they will make their own decisions. What they choose is not up to you, but how you give them the tools to make the right choices is.

Nanie still thoroughly investigates all the candidates and gives us updates, although now her five children, 11 adult grandchildren, and numerous great-grandchildren (eight of whom are adults) all live spread throughout the United States. I’m thankful for the time she took then and now to ensure we knew the importance of voting.

Other posts on this blog you may enjoy:

the importance of voting

14 things for girls to consider before dating

why I’m proud to be an American

6 suggestions for getting through the rough times of life

what’s in a name?

the importance of respect

My daughters and I went on a 15-mile bike ride today. During our ride, I noticed someone had spray-painted graffiti on the underside of a bridge.

We don’t have a lot graffiti in our small rural town, and when it does appear, it is usually covered up quickly (an excellent way, according to experts, to help prevent more graffiti).

The graffiti by the spray-paint “artists” brought to mind the destruction of property we are seeing on a daily basis in our country. Homes and businesses destroyed. Looters, people burning the property of others, and the list goes on.

When did we get to the point that it was all right to destroy the property, livelihoods, and lives of others?

When did it become all right to, just because we disagree with someone, their beliefs, or their actions, to outright deface, damage, destroy, or demolish their personal property? When did it become acceptable to ruin government property?

Property isn’t the only thing at risk. More disturbing is the general lack of disrespect for parents, other authority, older people, the handicapped, police officers, and people in general. If someone disagrees with someone, it no longer is enough to state your opinion calmly or courteously; there are now more damaging ways to make sure an opinion is heard. Injuring, harming, and even killing people no longer shocks us as much as it once did. We’ve become jaded to the horrific antics of those seeking revenge or acting in pettiness because something is not the way they want it.

Disrespect can stem from bad parenting, learned behavior, hatefulness, anger issues, etc. However, it is ultimately the perpetrator’s fault for their actions. No blame should be placed on others for evil behavior.

How can we teach our children to respect others?

Set a good example. If you are disrespectful to others, from the grocery store clerk to your employer, your children are bound to follow that example, no matter how many times you “tell” them to do the opposite.

From an early age, teach your children the importance of manners. “Please” and “thank you” are far too sparse in conversations these days.

Teach them to be generous and avoid selfishness. Putting others first is a critical component of avoiding self-centeredness.

Set an example for them on how to interact with those with whom you disagree. Role play ideas and encourage them to humbly and kindly state their position when it differs from yours.

Impress upon them the importance of honesty. Honesty and respect go hand in hand. Not too long ago, a friend of ours had her mailbox run over by the neighbor’s visitor to the neighborhood. Rather than admit to backing over the mailbox, the visitor denied it and lied to the police, even though there were witnesses. An easy solution would have been for honesty from the one who ran over the mailbox, a plan to have it repaired, and forgiveness. Instead, dishonesty got the crook off the hook.

Reiterate the importance of treating others how we would like to be treated. A good habit for all of us to remember is to ask ourselves before each action, “Would I like that done to me?” If the answer is “no”, then we shouldn’t be taking that action against others.

Remind them that not everyone is worthy of their respect. However, even so, we must remember that lashing out with destruction on someone’s person or personal property is never the answer.

Above all else, teach them to love and honor God. Respecting and revering our Lord is paramount to loving and honoring others.

Even if your children are no longer young, it is never to late to teach them the importance of respect. And as adults, it’s never too late for us to remember – and exemplify – that importance as well.

Other posts on this blog you may be interested in reading:

the importance of life

the importance of honesty

the importance of priorities

14 things for girls to consider before dating

Movie Monday: Signed, Sealed & Delivered Home Again (movie review)

Movie Monday: Invincible (movie review)

the importance of living out your faith

the importance of living out your faith

A friend recently told me a very inspiring story. When she first moved across the country for a new job, Lynn wasn’t sure what to expect in her new town. Her first Sunday there, she headed to a church, hoping to fellowship with like-minded believers and find a church home in the process.

No one welcomed her. No one said “hi.” No one even acknowledged her presence. And this was a small church.

Throughout the week, Lynn visited a local business. A woman who worked there invited Lynn to her church. “And I’ll be waiting by the front door for you so I can show you around,” she told Lynn.

Sure enough the woman was there. She showed Lynn around the church, introduced her to others, and encouraged her to come back the following week.

Lynn did.

When Lynn was diagnosed with breast cancer a short time later, the congregants of her new church drove her to her chemo appointments 95 miles each way, brought her meals, mowed her yard, and prayed with and for her. All with only knowing her a short amount of time.

She told me with tears in her eyes that these precious brothers and sisters in Christ had become her family.

Another friend, Sarah, in another town recently went through a nasty and unwanted divorce. Betrayed, broken, and hurt by the man she still loved, she stumbled into the church she had attended with her husband for the past year, sobbing and asking if someone would please pray with her. The secretary looked perplexed and called for one of the elders in the building. Rather than praying for her, he suggested she find a divorce support group, then ushered her out of the church.

Sarah has yet to find a new church home.

A blog post on how churches should welcome and support fellow believers?

On the contrary. Rather, my blog post is one about how important it is to live out our faith.

We, as Christians, have been given an important responsibility. To love Jesus and to love His church and to share the Gospel with nonbelievers.

Here are some suggestions on how we might better live out our faith.

Be the light. Sure, we hear this phrase often. But what does it mean to be the light? Consider the following verses:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:14-16

“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” ~ Ephesians 5:8

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We are to stand out from the rest of the crowd. We are to show our light and be able to give an answer for the hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15). We aren’t to blend in and look like the world, but to look like one of His. Yes, there truly is a difference between us and someone who doesn’t proclaim Christ.

Definitely a tall order in a world that puts a high emphasis on things that are anti-Christian.

Be a doer, not just a talker. When we say we will pray for someone, we need to take that promise seriously and not just say it, but follow through and do so. Prayer is important and effective. People are hurting and struggling with a multitude of issues, from grief to serious illness; from job loss to homelessness; from addiction to the difficult road to recovery.

Reach out to those around you. Our world moves at a dizzying pace. We are ever consumed with busyness and a focus on our ourselves. What if we instead took the time to care for those less fortunate? To help someone in need of help? To lend a listening ear? To ask someone how we can serve them, and then offer to follow through with their request? To be a giver rather than a taker? Jesus consistently reached out to the less fortunate. He loved others with genuine passion. When we serve others, we serve Him. (Matthew 25:40-45).

In today’s world, it’s not always “popular” to be a Christian. We are encouraged to dim our lights or even put them out completely. Rather than follow the world’s demands, let’s  vow to live out our faith daily with the confidence that we are called to a higher purpose and live for Someone greater than anyone on earth.

As someone once said, “You may be the only Jesus some people see.”

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Check out these other blog posts:

the importance of perseverance

the importance of authenticity

Movie Monday: Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Road Less Traveled

surviving shingles – part 1

the importance of perseverance

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Life is not easy. It’s full of challenges, and when we face those challenges, we have a choice. Do we stick with it and persevere? Or do we give up?

My mom has recently been confined to a wheelchair. She struggles with severe osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, scleroderma, a shoulder injury that has never properly healed, a herniated disc in her back, and celiac disease. She faces chronic pain. Everyday. All day. Without relief.

In other words, the pain and debilitating illness she faces are nearly unbearable.

Some days it feels like too much.

But she perseveres. And no, she won’t tell you that it’s easy or that she doesn’t struggle at times.

Chronic illness.

A difficult boss.

A challenging relative.

The effort to lose weight for health reasons.

The challenge to bring up your grades.

Marriage struggles.

Working two jobs to afford basic necessities for your family.

Being a caregiver.

Trying to move on after a death or divorce.

Struggling with isolation and loneliness.

Job loss and mounting bills.

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All of the above can bring about difficult life situations where it’s easy to give up and give in.

The Apostle Paul went through many trials and hardships while persevering for the Gospel. Missionaries today persist in bringing the Truth to people who may never otherwise hear the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ, even though some risk their lives doing so.

No matter what issue we face, we have hope of endurance.

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Yet, enduring and running the race well is not easy. Situations out of our control threaten to bring us down with no hope in sight.

How do we persevere when life gets turbulent, topsy-turvy, and off-track?

By keeping our eyes on Jesus. The second we take our eyes off of Him, as Peter did in Matthew 14:30-31, we sink.

By realizing that He knows the “big picture”. How it starts, the middle, and the ending. Remember that we see the tiny hand-held phone screen of life, while God sees an enormous big-screen TV. Or to look at it a different way, we see one word in an entire book, while He sees the entire book – every word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter.

By remembering that even in times of hardship, He loves us and will never leave us. Ever.

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By knowing that He is a great listener…and never sleeps. His “line” is open 24/7/365, no matter what.

By being assured that He’s got this and was not caught off guard. This past year did not catch Him off-guard or unprepared. On the contrary, God knows all from the beginning of time to the end of time. He’s never uninformed, unconcerned, or oblivious to the trials we face.

By spending time in constant prayer, giving thanks for all He has done, seeking His will for your life, and laying down prayer requests. These are tantamount to a close relationship with Him. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, we are told to pray without ceasing. If there is one thing that has become more prominent in recent days days, it could perhaps be said that praying is at an all-time high.

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By reading God’s Word and learning about the faithful ones of the Bible who persevered. To know we are not alone in our difficulties gives us hope and courage.

By continuing to move forward…even if you feel like you’re constantly going backwards. John Wayne said it well when he said that “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway”.

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By making sure you have a good support system. This can be a loving spouse and children, caring friends, and a faithful church body.

By being encouraged by listening to uplifting Christian music. The quickest way to fall into a slump is to surround yourself with negativity, darkness, and despair. What we watch, listen to, and partake in affects our mood.

By facing each day one step at a time. Set small and realistic goals.

Life is not easy. Everyone has a struggle, or multiple struggles, that they face on a daily or on an ongoing basis. But with faith in God and perseverance, we can face our hardships head-on and emerge victorious.

 

the importance of authenticity

importance of authenticity

What do you think of when the word “authentic” comes to mind? An antique? A piece of jewelry? An artifact? While these things deal with authenticity in their own ways, there is another, more important type of authenticity. It is the vulnerability of allowing others to see our true selves and that we have flaws. It’s the sometimes-scary act of “being real.”

In today’s world, authenticity isn’t always a common thing. How can you be authentic? Here are some ways…

Put others first. Think of others better than yourself (Philippians 2:3).

Act the same no matter who you are interacting with. Are you the same person with the one you think can advance your career as you are with the person who can offer you nothing?

Don’t compete with others. We all have God-given gifts, talents, and strengths. Don’t begrudge someone for a gift/talent/strength you wish you possessed, but don’t.

Show no favoritism (James 2). Treat the person who lives in the run-down trailer on the bad side of town the same as you treat the person who lives in the mansion on the golf course.

Be genuine. If you say something, mean it.

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Avoid trying to impress others because of their social status, wealth, or appearance.

Be a person of integrity, both while alone and in the presence of others.

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Avoid being condescending or a know-it-all.

Show compassion and empathy when someone is struggling with a problem. If you yourself have dealt with the same issue, gently share what helped you. (Second Corinthians 1:4).

 

Dave Willis

 

the importance of mentorship

The importance of mentorship

We hear a lot these days about mentors and mentorship. By why is mentorship important?

Why is mentorship Important?

I was fortunate as a child to have my extended family living nearby.  Not only was I blessed to have parents who loved and cared for me, but my aunts, uncles, grandma, and grandpa were also hugely instrumental in my life. As a teen, a dear woman named Marge spoke into my life about the love of Jesus. I am thankful for those mentors in my life who took the time to come alongside me.

When we take the time to mentor others, we show them that we care. That we are there through the difficult times, and that we are committed to helping them become the best they can be.

Mentoring makes a difference in every life. No matter what our age, if we have someone invested in our lives, it makes an impact for the better.

Anyone can be a mentor, but an effective mentor is an encourager, they are available, and they set a good example.

Titus 2 7

Life can be challenging. Mentors see the end result, not the here and now. They help the one they mentor to achieve those goals that are important to him or her.

We all need a mentor.

In our church, I have mentors whom I look up to – godly women who are examples in their knowledge (and application!) of God’s Word, the way they love their husbands, and the way they truly care for others. Most of these women are much older than I am. They have life experience and are mature in their faith.

My teen daughters and I have had many great discussions about who they would turn to (besides my husband and me) if they were going through a difficult time. Brainstorm with your kids some godly adults that they could call upon if times were tough. Someone they look up to, can be honest with, who will pray for and with them, and who will provide wise counsel.

Proverbs 27 17

When we mentor someone else, we help shape their lives for the better. John C. Maxwell sums up mentorship in a nutshell when his quote: “One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.

John C Maxwell

Who has been an important mentor in your life?