Everyone has a song that holds some sort of special meaning for them. It may be a song that is tied to a happy memory or a song that is tied to a sad memory. For us, it’s a little of everything.
“Praise you in this storm” by Casting Crowns will always have a special meaning to my family. It’s a song about how God is always with you no matter what, and there are moments in our life that we know without a doubt God was with us.
Several years ago, we were blessed to meet the family who inspired the song. We met a man whose daughter had passed away from leukemia. His daughter’s illness, death, and the family’s grief inspired the song. He shared that his daughter knew the band was writing a song about her but she passed away before she was able to hear it.
My mom downloaded the song as her ringtone, but with no way of knowing what that song would eventually mean to us.
About a year and a half later, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. After a rough four years filled with surgery, treatments and sickness, he passed away at age 54.
We were devastated at the time and even more than two years later, we still miss him terribly. Looking back on his illness and his death I can think of many occasions when I knew, in spite of everything, God never left our sides.
He was with us as we struggled to navigate a new life without my dad. He was with us as I faced crippling anxiety and depression. He was with us as we grieved.
No matter what trials we face and how many years we shed, God is with us and He knows we are suffering. He also restores us and heals us when we go through those trials. He knows why we suffer and He holds us as we suffer.
How many of you are planners, like me? We know we can’t plan our whole lives, and we know we aren’t in charge, but we still get irritated when our lives don’t go as planned. We know we aren’t in charge, but still we try to put our plans ahead of God’s plans, even when we know his ways are best.
The Bible has a lot to say about plans. There’s Jeremiah 29:11, which you probably have heard preached on graduate recognition Sunday.
God has plans for us, and in fact, his plans are greater than any plans we will ever make. Even though we are conscious of this fact, it doesn’t stop us from trying to plan our own course.
Proverbs 19:21 says this about making our own plans.
We can make all the plans we want, but ultimately what God wants for us will win. So why is it so hard for us to just let go and let God?
I think if I had to choose a word for 2019, I’d choose a phrase: let go. There are many struggles of which I need to let go of at the moment, but more than that, I need to let go of my tendency to control everything and let God handle it.
If we trust in Him and we know he has a plan for us, why do we struggle so hard with letting go and letting God?
Please pray for me to let go of my own will and trust in Him this year.
As we are preparing to return to school, there are so many things on my mind. We observe “back to school” in two ways in our home. Our oldest daughter is going in to second grade, and I am a teacher. We do the typical “first day of school picture” each year, but we do some other things too.
We talk about how we need to behave and how, as Christians, we need to treat others. As my daughter gets older, I want to make sure she understands that how we act, and how we treat others aren’t the only important things- we also need to pay attention to what fills our thoughts and what we listen to or watch on TV. I had a teacher several years ago who told me she used to keep her mind clean by reading Philippians 4:8 each morning before school.
There are so many things we give our time and our attention to that aren’t Godly. I recently went to church with my grandmother, and her pastor preached on guarding your heart. He talked about how listening to or watching unGodly things invites things into our minds and hearts. He also talked about how we are accountable for what our kids are exposed to, and how it’s important to guard their hearts as well.
I want to teach my child to memorize this verse and carry it with her as a reminder to think only on those things that please the Lord. When we keep our minds and hearts pure, others can see the difference in us as well. This is what I want for myself and my kids this school year- to radiate the love of God.
I plan to print off this Bible verse and hang it on our fridge, or somewhere where we will see it each day and be reminded.
I wish everyone a happy and healthy school year. May you learn much and make many new friends.
Have you ever felt “proud?” Not the kind of proud where your kids do something awesome and you’re proud of them. Proud has two definitions: proud can mean “feeling a deep satisfaction as a result of one’s possessions, accomplishments or those of someone close to them,” or it can mean “having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance.” That second definition is the one that gets us in trouble every time.
Have you ever been too proud to humble yourself and ask for help? This is something I struggle with frequently. I think I’m big enough and bad enough to handle my own problems and I don’t need anyone else. It’s not how big your problems are; it’s how big your God is. I need to realize that I can’t do everything on my own…and that’s ok.
Our pride gets to us and it makes us feel that if we don’t do it all on our own and perfectly, we are not good enough. The truth is, we were never meant to do all of those things on our own. God meant for us to give our worries, our burdens, our struggles and our concerns to Him.
After all, he already knows all about them. Isn’t it a comfort to know that God knows everything about us and still loves us anyway? Set your pride aside and seek His face.
It’s important to us to raise our children in the Christian faith. The easiest way to do that is to take them to church, but there is so much more to raising Godly children than attending church. We are far from being perfect Christian parents, and this is truly an area where we are working hard to improve. I thought I’d share some of the things we are trying to do, in the hope that some of you would share some of your great ideas with us 😉
We are a family of four, with a six year old daughter and a two year old daughter. We attend church regularly and also participate in Vacation Bible School and a summer camp program at our church during the summers.
1. Sunday school
We have recently begun to attend Sunday School after not attending for several months. Sunday School lessons for children are the Gospel tailored for their age and comprehension. This is why it’s important for them to be there. My kids have learned so much from the children’s programs at our church.
2. Read a devotional each day with your kids
We, as adults, get a lot out of our kids’ devotions. Not only are we reading and learning about the Bible along with the girls, we are modeling for them the importance of reading and studying the Bible. And don’t think because it isn’t written for adults that you can’t be blessed by it as well. I have learned from my kids’ devotion book as much as I have from my own.
3. Buy your kids a Bible they can read
There are so many wonderful Bibles on the market today you can choose from. There are Bibles available for little children, tweens, teens and primary aged children. My daughter has this “Big Picture Bible” which works in conjunction with a phone app. She loves it and it does a great job teaching and explaining the Bible stories to her.
5. Pray together
My children and I read the Bible and keep a running prayer list. We spend time thanking God for the things for which we are grateful and praying for the things we need or the people we know with needs. I’ve also started praying aloud in the mornings as we are driving to school- not only to pray, but to model prayer for my children.
What ways do you model living the Gospel for your children? How do you ensure your children are Godly? I’d love to hear ideas or suggestions!