“R” isn’t for just for “Recovery”, it’s for “Redemption”

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My mind raced from the effects of the drugs in my system as I sat in my pastor’s office. Seemingly overnight, I found myself 25 pounds lighter and thinking I was healthier than ever, but in reality–I was in chains.

Confounded and ashamed, I couldn’t believe I was in this mess again—only this time the battle ground seemed different. Instead of fighting outward struggles, like a financial collapse or wayward kids—I was fighting myself and quickly losing ground.

In fear I was afraid of admitting my struggle, I was worried I would be removed from ministry or lose my kids. How did I end up being a mom with an eating disorder on top of abusing prescribed drugs? How many of us are out there? 

 ABC News reports a 750 percent increase in women (moms) abusing drugs prescribed for ADHD and when they can no longer get the drug, some resort to meth. And here I was–becoming a statistic.  

Instead as I sat there, I felt the chains of fear and shame being broken as brought my struggles to light. My thoughts drifted once again to where I met God several years ago.  Only eight years prior, He met me  in an emergency room when I attempted to take my own life. I heard his voice above the noise of several doctors, nurses and officers as my soul hovered between life and death. That night, I heard his voice,

“Heather, I have plans for you. You’re time here is not finished.” And since then, I’ve become a mom to three, a speaker, author and leader.

How then could I end up in a mess like this?

Between raising two kids with special needs and not being able to sleep, I was feeling so overwhelmed, failing and unable to focus. Shortly after picking up my kids’ medications from the pharmacy, I read through the side effects of one drug and thought “If it helps her focus, maybe it can help me.”  And in that moment, I crossed the line—the cardinal rule for a mother, the very medication that helped my children function became my lifeline to control and I couldn’t stop, I upped and altered the meds as needed. As I weeks progressed and I sailed through my to-do lists, my body began to change, shedding the pounds from being overweight.

The comments of having it “together” and “looking good” fed my addiction of control and approval. As I sat in my pastors office, I thought I had gone too far. How could a leader and a mother come back from this? How could God still love me? I knew better. That one line kept playing like a broken record,

“You know better, he won’t take you back. You know better.”

And that’s when my pastor’s  words awakened my heart, “Heather, it’s often those with the loudest roar that the enemy will take out. If everyone hears you roaring, you’re a threat, so he’s going to prey on your weakness, if he can take you out, he doesn’t need to worry about anyone else.

If the enemy is able to trap us in our mess of failures and lies, he doesn’t have to worry about the future generation we are raising. He doesn’t have to worry who is listening to you or watching you. 

As his words sank in, he reminded me of why I fell in love with Jesus in the first place, of how much freedom I felt solely surrendering to God in everything. I had forgotten the freedom and my identity in Christ and the more I felt alone, the more isolated I became and the easier it was to accept lies as truth.  I had forgotten to take my struggles to Jesus and in the midst of it, I got lost—so lost.  

Being lost in my own circumstances, the echo of criticism and failure struck my soul like pounding waves of the ocean against the shore leaving me awake at night. The need to keep it together, to look good, to be “that mom” or “that leader” pulled me further into the pit I was trying so desperately trying to dig out of as the need of perfection pulled me back under.

Little mama, your fight may be different than mine but the universal message we hear when we we are facing our battles is this: “I’m alone, no one gets it. I’ve failed so badly, I’ve made mistakes and let my hope fail. No one can possibly understand.”

And when we listen to the lies, we hide in the darkness of our hurt and sin but when we reach out, hope rises in our hearts. The road you are facing may be difficult, filled with obstacles but know this: God sees you, you are not a failure and he can make you whole. The enemy wants you to believe that if you open your mouth, you will be perceived as a failure, but God says when we bring our struggles to the light, he can help us.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10  But he said to me,  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Today I am still in the process of recovering and have learned that it will be a life time of taking each moment to God. And my hope is to share my mess so you can be free to share yours. We’ve somehow come to believe that the pictures of perfect families and moms on Facebook is reality–when it isn’t. It’s a snapshot of a perfect moment but it doesn’t reflect the day to day realities of following Christ or being a mama. 

The reality is this: It’s hard, it’s messy, we have flaws, we’re imperfect. But when we share our struggles, God’s strength works through us and we are made strong. The key is to keep our eyes on Jesus, no matter what. No matter how messy life gets. 

For those suffering from Anerioxia

If you suffer from the need for approval or control: Anorexia Nervosa

Those who are suffering with this illness have a low self-esteem and often a tremendous need to control their surroundings and emotions. The Eating Disorder, Anorexia, is a unique reaction to a variety of external and internal conflicts, such as stress, anxiety, unhappiness and feeling like life is out of control. Anorexia is a negative way to cope with these emotions. New research indicates that for a percentage of sufferers, a genetic predisposition may play a role in a sensitivity to develop Anorexia, with environmental factors being the trigger.

Get help. Take the first step to talk to someone, anyone. Ask God to place someone in your path that will help you get on the road to recovery.

Little mama, you’re already made whole in Christ, you’ve been redeemed, now it’s time to recover. 

 

Heather-Riggleman-320x250

Heather is a favorite speaker among Nebraska women, sharing from her past of failures and triumphs.When she isn’t producing the news at Nebraska.tv or tweeting the latest about her church  New Life Assembly, or hanging with her MOPS moms,  she is sharing about her first love–Jesus. 

 Her passion is to share how women/moms are made whole in Jesus at her blog: Falling to Peace(s): Thoughts on grace, letting, & imperfection. There she blogs about parenting special needs kids, vegan recipes, tattoos, all things motherhood,  and being imperfectly perfect in God’s eyes. She is the author of Mama Needs a Time Out and has two other books due out next fall. 

 

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Borrowing, Taking, & Stealing + Monday M.O.M. Link-Up!

Child taking cookie from cookie jar 2

I found my missing eye shadow in the guest bathroom yesterday.

My college-aged daughter had “borrowed” it.

Without asking.

As she had her dad’s teeth whitening gel two days prior. The pasta pot earlier in the week. And our camera last month.

All without permission.

And all of this “borrowing” was at least partly my fault.

Four years ago, whenever Annemarie came home to visit during her freshman year, I didn’t just overlook “little things” like my missing hair straightener and new boots. I was so glad to see her, I was downright thrilled by all my missing items. They meant my baby was home again!

But somewhere between then and now, my joy became jaded.

I started having resentful thoughts, like

  • I am sick and tired of reaching for my things and finding them gone.
  • Why doesn’t she at least ask before taking them?
  • Why doesn’t she buy her own?

Then came the day when I asked two questions I should have asked afull decade (or more) earlier:

What’s the difference between borrowing and taking?

and

When does taking become stealing?

 

If I could go back in time, I’d teach my children, at a very early age, that

  • borrowing is asking for and receiving permission to use someone else’s personal property with a specific agreement regarding when it will be returned and in what condition, along with an agreement regarding consequences if the item was not returned by the specified time or in the original condition.
  • taking is using someone else’s personal property without going throught the steps above.
  • stealing is taking while intentionally hiding both the act of taking and the item taken.

Yesterday, Annemarie and I clarified some boundaries. In case you might want to borrow and customize, I’ll share the understandings we put in writing:

1)  Private spaces and personal property are off limits when the owner of the space/property isn’t home. That includes Dad’s office, my desk area, our bedroom, and our bathroom.

2)  Private spaces and personal property require permission. Every single time. One occasion of permission does not imply on-going or future permission.

3)  Common places and property are available to everyone as long as they are returned to common availability in a reasonable time frame. For example, a pot in the kitchen, can be used in the kitchen for cooking and then cleaned and put away…or put in the dishwasher…or left soaking in the sink if necessary. But removing it from the kitchen and using it for an entirely different purpose puts it out of common use.

Your Turn!

What are you teaching your children about the difference between borrowing, taking, and stealing? How are you helping them learn these vital life lessons?

 

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How NOT to Be a Meddlesome Mom + Monday M.O.M. Link-Up!

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Hi. My name is Cheri, and I’m a Meddlesome Mom.

I hate admitting this.

I spent my first eighteen years of motherhood looking down my nose at smother mothers and telling myself Thank goodness I’m not one of them!

Proverbs 2:11 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

Let’s just say that once my children headed off for college, that wisdom starting coming, all right!

I discovered, much to my chagrin, that they were both lacking dozens of basic life skills. I’d prided myself in being a supportive mom, one who took an active interest in her kids’ lives. Turns out that I’d been so involved that when I wasn’t around, they floundered.

And when your 20-year-old flounders without you, that’s a pretty big sign that you’ve been meddling, not helping.

I just finished blogging a month-long series on Rebekah, the biblical Queen of Meddling Moms. To help us remember the difference between meddling and helping, I compiled this free downloadable chart. I hope you’ll find it helpful (…but not meddlesome!)

Meddling vs Helping Chart IMAGE

(Can’t see image? Click here to download the Meddling vs. Helping Chart!)

Your Turn:

  • What else would you add to the Meddling vs. Helping chart?
  • How do you discern between meddling and helping?
  • What consequences have you seen when a child has a Meddlesome Mom?
  • What’s a recent situation in which you had to figure out quickly if you were helping or meddling?

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Lead Your Family Like Jesus + Monday M.O.M. Link-Up

by Tricia Goyer

Three Ways You Are A Leader in Everyday Life … and how to be a better one

Family_In_FieldMany people are confused about the term “family leader.” As I’ve blogged about moms being leaders I’ve had both men and women pipe up, “But wait, the man’s supposed to be the leader in the home, right?” Yes, but women are leaders, too, in many ways you may not realize. 

1. You are a Leader in Your Role As Spouse.

Yes, friends, I believe in the “S” word … submission. I believe God has called men to be the spiritual head of the home, and the one to care for and provide for his wife and family and lead the family unit. I believe wives come under their headship in willing submission … yet women are leaders too.

Any time you strive to guide the thoughts, behavior or direction of another person we are a leader! Or as John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Go ahead, read that again. Mom, you are a leader! Wife, you are a leader! Your thoughts and attitudes guide your closest relationships. Family leadership can be as intimate as offering words of guidance and encouragement to a discouraged loved one, or it can be as directive as issuing specific instructions on how to drive the family car.

2. You are a Leader in Your Community.

A man or a woman’s position as a family leader also extends beyond the four walls of the home. Just think of your roles at your work, at your child’s school, and in your neighborhood. Influence can also be exhibited in your roles as church volunteers and community leaders. These are important roles in our every day life, especially since many couples today are often not well-connected with siblings and parents.

Many families are spread out, living far from extended family members. This causes many couples to create their own “family units” with like-minded friends. These are the people they vacation with and spend free time with. Seeking God in roles is important because it’s then couples realize they can be a positive influence in their church and community outside of their own home.

3. You are a Leader in Your Extended Family.

Sometimes this is the hardest place to be a leader. We can’t choose our relatives, and sometimes the relationships with parents, siblings, aunts, uncle and cousins can be the hardest. Often people are put into “roles” within their family. Yet in your actions and reactions you are showing leadership—whether you like it or not.

In each of these areas … you make an impact!

As a leader you …

  • Build enduring relationships within the home that can have far-reaching impact beyond the home • Set the basic direction of life values, character development and relational behavior
  • Involve seasons of personal sacrifice to promote the spiritual and physical well-being of others
  • Sustain love, loyalty, trust, mercy, forbearance, forgiveness, and sacrifice
  • Mature and grow
  • Foster values of love, compassion, trust, commitment, honesty, and grace within its members.

Think your role as a leader doesn’t matter? Think again. The #1 way you can be a better leader in each of these areas is to pray.

Today take a few minutes to pray for your role as a leader.

  • Pray for your leadership in your family.
  • Pray for your leadership in your church.
  • Pray for your leadership in your neighborhood.
  • Pray for your leadership at work and school.
  • Pray that God will show you how to lead.
  • Pray you will submit to His leadership in your life.

The impact we can have in the lives of people around us can’t be underestimated … and only prayer prepares us for the work ahead!

 

Your Turn!

How is Jesus your role model as a leader in your marriage, community, and extended family?

 

Lead Your Family Like Jesus

Lead-Your-Familysm-e1360603289982Does your family need a five-star general at the helm? A psychologist? A referee?

Ken Blanchard, best-selling co-author of The One Minute Manager and Lead Like Jesus, points to a better role model: the Son of God. Joined by veteran parents and authors Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer, renowned business mentor Blanchard shows how every family member benefits when parents take the reins as servant-leaders.

Moms and dads will see themselves in a whole new light—as life-changers who get their example, strength, and joy from following Jesus at home. This user-friendly book’s practical principles and personal stories mark the path to a truly Christ-centered family, where integrity, love, grace, self-sacrifice, and forgiveness make all the difference.

The M.O.M. Initiative is giving away a copy of Lead Your Family Like Jesus! Enter via the Rafflecopter below:

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RENEWED: An Interview with Lucille Zimmerman + Monday M.O.M. Link-Up!

BookCover-1

Overwhelmed.

I’ve been speaking to women’s groups for more than two decades. And while fashions and American Idols and fad diets have changed over the years, this one thing has remained constant:

When I ask women what they struggle with, day in and day out, their #1 answer is “I feel so overwhelmed!”

So I fell in love with Lucille Zimmerman’s new book the moment I laid eyes on the cover.

Renewed.

Ahhhh…what an invitation!

I spent two weeks enjoying Lucille’s stories, Biblical insights, and practical wisdom as I savored (and stuck Post-It Notes all over!) a chapter a day.

Renewed now resides on the “grab often” bookshelf near my writing desk, as I know I’ll be quoting from and highly recommending it daily.

So I’m thrilled to welcome Lucille to The M.O.M. Initiative today!

Cheri: In Chapter 7, “Renewed Through Appreciating Beauty,” you advise “Don’t multitask–enjoy the one thing you are doing now.” How can we teach the value of focus to our children who seem to thrive on multitasking?

Lucille: I think a good way to do that is to take a mommy time-out. Mommy can turn off the phone, get off the computer, and take some quiet time to read or whatever it is that helps her relax. At the same time she can put the child in a quiet space with his or her own books.

Cheri: I’ve re-read Chapter 11, “Renewed Through Creating a Place for Grief”, several times and shared it with my college-aged daughter, as our family has experienced numerous losses recently. I’ve never learned to grieve, so I’ve felt helpless and inadequate watching her struggle. How can mothers help their children learn healthy ways of grieving?

Lucille: I’m so sorry you are both experiencing so many losses.

It seems common in America to hide or bury grief. If people grieve they do it behind closed doors. Many people are ashamed to shed a tear in public.

This creates an environment where people don’t know how to grieve. But while there is no right or wrong way to grieve, we know that burying grief does not work. Grief waits. There’s a wonderful book, for children or adults, that helps normalize the grief process, and gives readers encouragement. It’s called Tear Soup. Here’s a short video clip about the book:

(Can’t view embedded video? Click on this link to view Tear Soup directly in YouTube!)

Cheri: In Chapter 14, “Renewed Through Generosity and Gratitude,” you give practical tips for adults. What advice do you have for mothers who would like to teach their children to be generous and grateful?

Lucille: People who are generous and grateful are also much happier. Studies prove the powerful and long lasting effects of writing a thank you note or even giving a $5 item.

Here are some of the ways I tried to model gratitude and generosity to my children:

  • Talk about what you are thankful for. (e.g. “Aren’t we lucky to have such a nice cozy house? Clean clothes? Yummy food?)
  • Model a giving heart by anonymously paying for a person’s coffee or meal. Or pay the toll for the car behind you.
  • Volunteer at food banks or deliver meals to the needy during the holidays.
  • Sponsor a child in a third world country through organizations like Compassion International and
  • Highlight the feeling a child gets when someone is generous to him or her. (“Wasn’t that nice how Elizabeth thought about you and gave you half of her cookie?”)
  • Have older children journal and younger children draw pictures of the people and things they are thankful for.

Cheri: Lucille, thank you so much for sharing with our moms and for sharing a message through your book that is both challenging and reassuring!

ReturnImage.aspx.jpegLucille Zimmerman is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Littleton, CO and an affiliate faculty professor at Colorado Christian University.

She is also the author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World. Through practical ideas and relatable anecdotes, readers can better understand their strengths and their passions—and address some of the underlying struggles or hurts that make them want to keep busy or minister to others to the detriment of themselves.

Renewed can help nurture those areas of women’s lives to use them better for work, family, and service. It gives readers permission to examine where they spend their energy and time, and learn to set limits and listen to “that inner voice.”


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Grow Your Gratitude: Happy Thanks-Living! & The M.O.M. Initiative Monday Link Up!


The Typical 2

I’ve always heard that there are two ways to focus on thankfulness:

  1. Keep track of what I’m thankful for (i.e. in a gratitude journal)
  2. Share my gratitude with those for whom I’m thankful (i.e. by writing a thank-you note)

 

A New (for Me) #3

But over the last month, I’ve discovered a new way — new for me, at least! — to focus on thankfulness.

I’ve been asking people this question throughout the day:

“What’s one thing you’re thankful for right now?”

And I marvel at the diversity, the depth, the humor, and the honesty of each answer.

Each time, I think, “Me, too!” or “Oh, yeah!” or “I’d forgotten!” or “That’s so true” or “That reminds me of ____!”

 

Others’ Gratitude Triggers My Thanks-Living

I’ve started writing down other people’s answers in my gratitude journal and then adding my response.

Here are a few examples with answers from adults:

  • Our son got a job today after looking forever!!!  (Me:  My daughter is applying to go to Italy for her final year of college!)
  • My good friend is visiting today. (Me: I spent some time Thursday morning with a good friend I don’t get to see much during the school year.)
  • Honestly, my morning coffee. (Me:  Honestly, my morning coffee.)
  • God’s mercy. (Me: ditto…plus patience and promises!)
  • My new friend. (Me: An acquaintance that is turning into a dear friend.)
  • My son not needing a third shot for his ear infection.  (Me: My husband staying healthy despite stress, lack of sleep, and a nasty bug making the rounds!)

And if you want to have some “serious fun,” ask kids!

  • My 13 year old son is grateful that he got a new release video game for 10% off. (Me: My new Coldwater Creek skirt that I could not possibly justify buying at full-price three months ago but that I was more than happy to buy at 40% off the 40% off!  LOVE wearing it…!)
  • My 4 year old in PreK said he was thankful for Mommy’s car. (Me:  That my car made it to San Jose despite a bad tire; that roadside service came in 25 minutes when I found said tire flat as a pancake.)
  • My 14 year old said, “Everything, Mom. Every breath!”  (Me:  The reminder to be thankful for every breath!)
  • Evan, age 7: “Legos” (Me: Fond memories of the Lego years and the American Girl doll years.)

FREE Grow Your Gratitude Journal Starter

Want more?  Download your FREE “Grow Your Gratitude” journal starter, with 7 pages of thanks-living trigger answers from adults and kids to get you going!

Then develop the habit of asking people throughout the day, every day:  “What’s one thing you’re thankful for right now?”

Have a Happy Thanks-Living…Thursday and every day!



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Raising Kids to be Independent Adults: How to LET. THEM. GO. & The M.O.M. Initiative Monday Link Up!

with Karen Ehman

My friend Sheila Wray Gregoire asked a great question last week: “When Does Childhood End?”  I agree with her premise that one of my duties, as a mom, is to help my kids find their route to independence, maturity, and purpose.

So it’s been hard to admit that I was a “smother mother” when my daughter was in high school. I ran interference with my daughter’s teachers so often, she did not learn how to advocate for herself.

She didn’t know how to ask, “When can I come make up the quiz I missed yesterday?” or “Why did I get 25/50 on this essay?” or “What can I do to improve my grade in this class?”

My well-meaning “help” (read: meddling) resulted in unintended developmental delays. My daughter’s freshman year was a tailspin of ditched classes, failed tests, social media overload, anxiety attacks, and depression.

And she’s not unique. I read daily on Facebook of the pain and confusion that blind-side many of my former students their first year of college, when they are expected to behave as adults but lack the skills and practice to do so.

Karen Ehman on “Turning Over the Reins”

Today, I’m thrilled that Karen Ehman, Director of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaking team and featured speaker for Hearts at Home conferences for moms, is here to share her strategies for preventing such unnecessary challenges!

When They’re Little

Cheri:  Many of our readers aren’t even thinking about sending their babies and toddlers off to college. They’re just trying to get a decent night’s sleep! Should they even be worrying about letting them go this early?

Karen:  Absolutely!  In the toddler years, it’s important to allow your kids to get the feel for making choices. Offer them options that don’t really matter, like the clothes they wear or style of their hair. (Yes, you’ll survive it when they pair stripes with plaids!)

When They’re in Elementary School

Cheri:  In your new book LET. IT. GO.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith, you emphasize setting boundaries during the elementary years. Does this just mean spelling out the family rules?

Karen:  No, it goes way beyond “laying down the law.” It’s vital to also explain the consequences and tell them why. When possible, use a story, a video clip, or a real-life tale to show them, not just tell them.

When They’re in Middle School

Cheri:  You recommend involving our children in setting boundaries and consequences in middle school. Why?

Karen:  First, they’ll feel a sense of ownership and will be less likely to balk at the consequences, since they helped invent them. Second, you’re inviting your children to discover how society works, on a microcosmic level. The real world has laws and rules; bad behavior has consequences.

When They’re in High School

Cheri:  I can attest to the wisdom of your advice for parenting high schoolers. Instead of treating them “like young adults, not babies” I stepped in and rescued mine far too often. I thought I was “helping.” I now see that I needed to walk alongside them through the normal pain of growth.

Karen: This is so hard! When your fist is almost unclenched and your baby birds are test-driving their frail, underdeveloped wings, it will tear your heart right in two, and it will toy with your emotions daily. But you have to fight the urge to step in and overcontrol.

And don’t beat yourself up for their bad choices. They aren’t your fault. Yes, equip them as best you can, but don’t glean your identity from their decisions. It’s God’s job to be their God and your job to be their mom.

When They’re in College

Cheri:  You’re so right in saying that where others may see our college-aged child as “a young, independent man taking his place in society..but you may still see a little boy.”  My son was born prematurely, and even though he stands six feet tall and sports an impressive beard, I still see a little blue bundle in an incubator when I think about him!

Karen:  It’s hard, but necessary, to remember that while your adult children will always be your children, they are now also full-fledged adults. You may want to intervene when you see your children making choices that will lead to heartache or trouble. However, sometimes you need to keep quiet and let them take a path that might temporarily sting but, in the end, will steer them in the direction of spiritual maturity and success in life.

Fight the urge to step in and intervene when God is trying to teach your adult children a life lesson. Back off. Hit your knees, not the phone.  Know your role as a praying parent, not a meddling mother.

Always: To God

Cheri:  You emphasize that during all stages, we are pointing our children to our faith. What might this look like?

Karen:  Make applying biblical principles around your house as natural as breathing.

  • Show your children — by your attitudes and actions — that God is your plumb line for living life and that you long for every decision you make to glorify Him.
  • Knit Scripture into your conversations, not as a weapon, but as a way of showing your children that God is right and good and knows what He’s doing.
  • Steer, cheer, and encourage instead of control.
  • And don’t forget to ask for forgiveness when you blow it.
Many thanks to Karen for sharing her time-tested strategies for “Turning Over the Reins” slowly and intentionally so that our children are ready to go when the time comes!
 

Karen’s new book LET. IT. GO.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith releases tomorrow! A Participant’s Guide and 6-week study DVD are also available.

You can read an excerpt from LET. IT. GO. and sign up for the 5-day From Chaos to Calm: The LET. IT. GO. Christmas Challenge (I just got my 5th e-mail today and have LOVED the whole series!)

AND, you can enter to win a copy of LET. IT. GO!

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A Holiday-Ready Heart

Maybe November and December are your two favorite months of the year.

Perhaps preparing for, living through, and cleaning up after the holidays don’t phase you in the least.

You may have your Christmas shopping all done, your cards ready to mail, and your menus completely planned.

If these are true for you, then The PURSE-onality Challenge “A Holiday-Ready Heart” is not designed for you. (But please join us anyhow and give us your best advice!)

However, if you…        

  • dread dragging out the holiday decorations…
  • wonder how what should be “the best of times” often ends up being “the worst of times”…
  • wish you could hibernate from October 30 ’til January 1…
  • become overwhelmed by the commercialized chaos that tries to overtake your life in December…
  • cringe just thinking about spending yet another holiday with certain people…
  • feel like a failure because you never seem able to do everything “just right” for the holidays…
  • have an over-full calendar already (and the invitations haven’t even started coming!)
  • wonder how on earth you’re going to afford everything this season…
  • miss loved ones more than ever during the holidays…
  • want to focus on the real reason for the season…

…then you’re invited to join The PURSE-onality Challenge: “A Holiday-Ready Heart  31 days of intentionally pray-paring for the most peace-full, joyous, family-focused, meaning-filled holy-days we can possibly have!

For some, this may take just a slight tweak. For others, this will require a serious overhaul of how we approach the holidays in our hearts.

Each day, we’ll examine an issue that often triggers holiday “baditude.” We’ll discuss how to maximize our own purse-onality strengths and intentionally meet the purse-onality needs of those we love. And we’ll plan ahead to be already meditating on God’s word and gratitude when the holidays roll around this year!

Join us for “A Holiday-Ready Heart” if you…

  • …want to do more than just “go through the motions” this season.
  • …long to focus on the true Reason for the season!
  • …desire peace on earth and goodwill toward others this Christmas!

Check out our website and Facebook page for the nitty-gritty details!

You’ll also find four free PURSE-onality audio messages:

plus a free e-Book: Top 10 Priceless Gifts that Don’t Cost a Dime for Each PURSE-onality!

 

Your Turn:  What are a few of your favorite things about the upcoming holidays?  Least favorite?  Family traditions?

 

Cheri Gregory has been married to her pastor/teacher/musician college sweetheart, Daniel, for 24 years. The Gregorys are enjoying their newly “re-emptied nest” now that Jonathon (19) and Annemarie (21) are back in college.

Cheri is a high school English teacher and Christian speaker/author. Connect with her via Facebookcheri@cherigregory.com, and www.CheriGregory.com.

Monday M.O.M. Initiative Link Up

Every Monday, we want to invite bloggers to link-up any blog posts that will minister to the hearts of women. All you have to do is enter the direct link from your post into the linky tool below!

Please be sure to grab our button on the sidebar and share our link on your blog so that other bloggers can join in too!

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Still We Battle & The Monday M.O.M. Initiative Link Up

My children begin each homeschool day with Bible study. A lesson earlier this week focused on Joshua 10:6-15. The moral of the kids’ lesson was that God can do anything He wants, with or without the help of men, that His power is limitless, and that He is able to do all things. Now, the story was geared toward elementary aged children, and that message is indeed what the story illustrates. However, I, as a more mature Christian, saw something a little startling when I looked deeper into the message.

To recap this passage, in the days of Joshua, five kings of the Amorites joined forces and set an attack on Gibeon. The Gibeonites, though mighty and strong, fell into dire straits and sent pleas for help to Joshua, who was encamped with his forces at Gilgal. Joshua and his army marched through the night to reach Gibeon. Upon arriving, they launched right into assault on the Amorites, defeating many right away and pursuing the remainder some 20 more miles before finally claiming victory.

Accuracy in Genesis gives us some figures to help us see this battle and the ground it covered:

The Israelite army traveled all night from Gilgal to arrive outside of Gibeon for an early morning surprise for its foes, an ascent of around 4,000 feet and a distance of more than 20 miles…After routing the opposing army with a great slaughter outside of Gibeon, they then continued in hot pursuit toward Beth-horon, where the hailstorm started its destruction. They pursued the Canaanite coalition down through the descent of Beth-horon, and then southward across the Valley of Aijalon and finished the job at Azekah/Makkedah, two neighboring villages approximately 20 miles from Gibeon.

So what do I find disturbing? It’s just a battle scene, right? Wrong.

In verse 8, “The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.’” God basically told Joshua, “I’ve got this.” Right? He said this battle is already won; there’s no reason to fear. God knew the outcome, but the battle still had to be fought. And that bothers me.

That message means we do still have to go through life’s motions. We do have to go the distance. We do have to climb great heights. We do have to feel pain, sorrow, sickness, and yes—even do battle—in order to claim God’s victory. That bothers me, because those things are not pleasant. To have to walk through the night only to bust into bloody battle without rest—for an extended day (God made the sun stand still for about a day while war waged on)—to march miles and miles and to muster strength and courage, to wage war and to attack with vigor, knowing the battle’s already won, seems a little bit pointless and a whole lot painful.

But here’s what makes me smile and carry on: God basically told Joshua, “I’ve got this.” And the moral in my children’s story book rings true in my ears. God can do anything He wants. His power is limitless, and He can indeed do all things. He’s got it all under control! He knows the outcome before it begins. He directs us along the path. He helps in our time of need. The victory is already won!

When I dread the drudgery of going through life’s motions—like washing endless piles of laundry and taxiing kids to activities—or when I suffer the scars of life’s battles—like losing loved ones or mending broken hearts—I need “not be afraid of them.” I need merely to obey and follow God’s instructions. He knows the plans He has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He will get me through. He already has.

Jodi Whisenhunt’s MAGICAL MOUSE SCHOOLHOUSE: Learn While You Play at Walt Disney World Resort is now available in print and can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and  CreateSpace. (Kindle and Nook versions also available!) Come, think outside the textbook and stretch the walls of your home classroom with Walt Disney entertainment!

Monday M.O.M. Initiative Link Up

Every Monday, we want to invite bloggers to link-up any blog posts that will minister to the hearts of women. All you have to do is enter the direct link from your post into the linky tool below!

Please be sure to grab our button on the sidebar and share our link on your blog so that other bloggers can join in too!

 

Click Below to LINK UP

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