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User Archives: Lysa TerKeurst

  • Will You Share Your Story?

    Posted on October 24, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

    Whenever I've stepped out to do something I felt God calling me to do, the voices of criticism and condemnation have been there to greet me. Early on in ministry the voices were loud and cruel. "You'll never be a speaker." "You are not wanted." "Look at you. Do you really think God could use someone like you?"

    Sometimes I measured myself against other people. "She's so clever. She's so educated. She's so connected. Who am I compared to all that?" Gradually, I shrank back. I pulled away. I put up a front of perfection with carefully crafted words and a house and kids that looked just right.

    Polished on the outside, yet completely undone on the inside.

    Eventually the Lord called my bluff. I was simultaneously going through the books Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Victory Over the Darkness by Neil Anderson. Often tears streamed from my eyes while attempting to get through the lessons. But one day it was more than just tears. It was sobs pouring from a chest so heavy with burdens I thought I might literally break apart.

    Down on my face, I asked God to speak to me. What I heard in reply was one simple, life-changing question: Will you share your story?

    "Yes, I will share my story. The good parts that are safe and tidy and acceptable."

    But safe and tidy and acceptable were not what God was looking for. He wanted the impossible.

    Absolutely impossible ... in my strength.

    God met every one of my arguments with scriptures about relying not on my strength, but on His.

    He untangled my need for approval with the challenge to live for an audience of One. He helped me see where the voices of doubt were coming from and challenged me to consider the source. And, quite simply, God kept whispering He loved me over and over again.

    The first time I shared my story was an act of absolute obedience. I kept my head down and my guard up. I expected the ladies listening to stone me ... especially when I got to the part about my abortion. The shame of childhood abuse and rejection was nothing compared to the shame of my choice to abort my child.

    I'd wept over that choice.

    I'd repented.

    I'd gone to God hundreds of times and asked for forgiveness.

    I'd laid it down every time there was an altar call.

    But nothing brought the redemption that day brought. As I shook at that podium, I shared exactly what God asked me to.

    And then the miracle happened.

    When I finished and dared to look up, tear-stained faces were looking back at me. Mouths were whispering, "Me too. Me too."

    In that moment, I finally understood the meaning behind Genesis 50:20, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

    Seeing God use the very thing that made me feel utterly worthless to help others changed everything. I was finally breaking free from Satan's chains of shame and could see his lies for what they were. In that moment, I felt victorious—not in my own power, but in the Lord's strength and ability to use all things for good.

    My saying yes to God gave others the courage to say yes to Him as well. Burdens were lifted. Lives were changed. Hidden secrets were touched by grace. It's a beautiful thing when women say yes to God. In what way is He calling you to say yes?

    Dear Lord, thank You for making the impossible, possible. Thank You for taking every event in my life and using it for good. You are worthy to be praised. I want to follow Your plan for my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What has God placed on your heart to share with others?

    Be intentional in encouraging someone with a compliment, positive note, or text message today. The Lord wants to use our words in our own lives, as well others'.

    Power Verse:
    Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (NIV)

    Taken from What Happens When Women Say Yes to God Devotional © Copyright 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. Published by Harvest House Publishers. Eugene, OR. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Genesis

  • Words

    Posted on October 17, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness." James 3:9 (NIV)

    One day, two of my kids were having a growth opportunity, which is our family's way of saying "fight."

    These two kids love each other, but didn't like each other very much in the heat of the moment. I pulled out my proverbial soap box, got my hand positioned just right on my hip, and told these two young teens to look outside the window of our home. I told them that outside our home a world of people exist who may or may not be nice to us. There are no guarantees.

    "But, inside this house," I continued as I turned them toward one another, "there are certain guarantees. Since the day I birthed you, I have preached one sermon about the words spoken in our home. It is a simple sermon. Before you part your lips to speak, you must ask yourself this question: Are my words kind, necessary, and true?"

    "If the answer to all three parts of that question is yes . . . proceed ahead."

    "If the answer to any part of that question is no . . . stop the words from coming out."

    Does that mean there is no room to address hard issues with one another? No. But in our home, it will always be done with a spirit of kindness using only words that are necessary and true.

    I then ushered these precious teens outside to a bench in the front yard and instructed them to figure out their issues. But they were not going to bring words into our house unless they were kind, necessary, and true. Thank you very much. Have a nice time on this warm little bench on this warm little day.

    There are some verses in the book of James I'm considering writing on the palm of my hand. Think of how handy it would be just to flash my palm up in the midst of my people's growth opportunities with this verse in bold ink: "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be" (James 3 9-10 NIV).

    That same chapter of James goes on to read, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice" (verse 16 NIV).

    Have mercy. I do not want disorder and every evil practice to be invited into my home. And if envy and selfish ambition (which are where ugly words come from) are the key that opens the door for all that evil mess, then I will do everything with the power of Jesus in me to tame tongues.

    And all my Jesus girlfriends said, Amen!

    Dear Lord, help me to know how to teach my children how to be more like You. Help me to model You in my actions, my reactions, and in every word I say. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Take a moment to think about the words spoken in your home. Are they laced with tones of harshness? Bitterness? Envy? What can you do today to begin to improve these words and tones?

    Power Verses:
    Philippians 2:5, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." (NIV 1984)

    Philippians 1:9-10, "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with James

  • Moms: Let's Make This Pledge

    Posted on October 10, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today,' so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

    I really want to be a great mom. I want to raise kids who love the Lord, are respectful, kind, and smart, and all the other things we want for our kids.

    So, I pray. I read parenting books. I teach manners, kiss the skinned knees, and help the teen process her first broken heart. I plan the family dinners, the date nights, and the vacations. I keep track of who needs what and when. I set the appointments and the discipline parameters and the alarm clock so we can get up and do it all again tomorrow.

    And through every minute, I am hyper aware of my frailties and faults.

    My heart wants to be incredibly patient and organized and excited about reading books out loud.

    But then I get tired. And overextended. And suddenly my day finds me getting snappy, losing track of all those papers sent home from school, and skipping pages to hurry to the end of the book that started off with such promise.

    There is a gap between my desires and my reality.

    I bet this is true for many moms, so we should all understand those hard places, right? But somewhere in the day-to-day, we can forget how important it is to support each other as moms and sisters in Christ. We can forget the need to foster a sense of community. And as soon as we forget these things, it's much easier for thoughts of judgment to creep in.

    In those moments, it's crucial to remember that being a source of encouragement for others is biblical. Our key verse, Hebrews 3:13 tells us to "encourage one another daily" so that we aren't "hardened by sin's deceitfulness" which causes us to judge.

    So, I was just wondering if we might all make a little pact together today. To build each other up. To not judge one another. Ever. Even when we parent differently. Even when my kids act like I never taught them manners.

    Might you give me the benefit of the doubt? Just assume it's a bad moment, but this isn't an indication of all our moments.

    And then I'll give you the benefit of the doubt when your child messes up.

    Or I hear you snap in Target and make threats to your kids that betray every good intention you had that morning. When you prayed. And read the parenting books. And taught manners, kissed skinned knees, planned the dinner, and all the other zillions of things you did so well.

    Instead of judging you, I will love you.

    And maybe you can love me too.

    Yes, I think we moms should pledge to encourage one another each day. And never judge one another. We're all desperately trying to do this mothering thing right.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for not extending grace at times to others. I am a woman who desperately needs it, so I should be a woman who freely offers it. Help me to build others up and to love them as You love us. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think of a mom you know who really needs encouragement and support in this season of her life. Make a list of three things you could do or say over the next few weeks that would communicate intentionality and love toward her.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (NIV)

    1 Thessalonians 5:11, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Hebrews, Mothers

  • Sacrifices of Praise

    Posted on October 3, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the LORD." Psalm 4:5 (NLT)

    I have a confession to make. After many years of walking with Jesus and seeking Him to fill me, I still struggle with unmet longings.

    Maybe you can relate. Have you ever wanted something so badly your heart ached with each thought of it? It seems like life would be so much better if you had that one thing.

    There would be more happiness.

    More contentment.

    More fulfillment.

    More satisfaction.

    More peace.

    You can envision yourself with this thing, this person, this opportunity. And all things are better. So, why doesn't God give you this longing of your heart? This longing of my heart?

    Could it be because He wants us to willingly let it go?

    Ouch.

    That's not the answer I want. Why would God let the aching desire linger and not make things happen? He could. He's certainly able. But when He doesn't, it seems unfair. Not good. Confusing.

    It's easy to get down when we're constantly let down. We hope this thing will happen ... we'll meet this right person ... we'll get this job ... we'll finally be healed ... we'll get that chance ... we'll see that family member turn his or her life around. Time and again it doesn't happen. That's when it's easy to slip.

    That's where trust steps in and reminds us we can't ever learn how to live real faith if we never need real faith.

    As an offering of trust, we must give up that which could so easily bring us down.

    Not give up as in discouraged surrender. But give up as in placing this desire in the hand of God and saying, "Either way, I will see Your answer as the good answer and walk in trust."

    I like to call these types of releases in my life sacrifices of praise, like Psalm 4:5 tells us to do: "Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the LORD."

    Lord, I sacrifice chasing this so I might more fully and with more focus chase You. I release this grip of desire. I praise You for who You are, what only You can bring, and how You will fill whatever gap this release might leave.

    Yes, I still struggle with unmet desires.

    But not as much today as I did yesterday.

    And that is good. Not easy. But good.

    Dear Lord, I want to offer You sacrifices of praise with a willing heart. Cultivate in me an attitude of obedience as I choose to trust Your plans above my desires. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What can you offer up as a sacrifice of praise to the Lord?

    Take small steps each day as you walk in obedience and give that thing up to God.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 62:8, "Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." (NIV)

    Isaiah 26:4, "Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm

  • The Moment

    Posted on September 26, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "And yet I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." (1 Corinthians 12:31 – 13:1 NIV)

    Each morning, I have a routine with my husband. It's simple. Nothing profound. Nothing for which we'd ever stop and snap a picture.

    It's just a moment.

    He asks me to help him pick a tie. He then goes away to fuss with this fixture of his professional job. Soon, he returns with a flipped up collar and a pressed down, knotted tie. He needs gentle hands to fold the collar over. Actually, he doesn't need. He wants gentle hands to fold the collar over.

    And I do.

    It's just a moment.

    But it's a moment when we follow the "excellent way" of love. In the intersection of this moment, we're once again saying to each other: I love you; I love you too.

    Now, please don't get an overly idyllic picture in your head of our marriage. Heavens, no. We have plenty of those "growth opportunity" moments too.

    But this moment with the tie, it's like a spot of glue ever tightening the bond between us day by day. It's so simple, and yet something I would miss with the deepest ache imaginable if today were the last of the moments.

    If today.

    Tears slip as I think about this. Dear God, help me think about this. Let me snap a hundred of these moments with the lens of my heart to be stored and appreciated and thought of as the great treasure they are.

    Let my mind park there.

    Let my heart relish there.

    Let my mouth dare to whisper what a joy this is. I love you. I love us. I love this moment each day.

    Our relationship isn't perfect; no relationship is perfect. We're two very strong-willed people with vastly different approaches to life. And, oh, how easy it would be to list all the differences. He likes the towel hanging in the same spot. I am more creative. But I stop the list there.

    I stop because great love isn't two people finding the perfect match in one another. Great love is two people making the choice to be a match. A decision. To fold his collar and snap the heart lens and find myself grateful to the point of tears. Tears of relishing today are so much better than tears of what was missed.

    It's just a moment.

    Or is it?

    Dear Lord, help me to appreciate each moment given to me. I want to park my mind on the daily moments I too often take for granted. Thank You for this joy, so simple but so sweet. In Jesus' name, Amen.

    Follow us on Facebook:


    Remember
    Let me snap a hundred "I love you" moments with the lens of my heart to be stored and appreciated and thought of as the great treasure they are.

    Reflect
    In what ways can you turn everyday moments into treasures? It may be as simple as relishing a moment in your heart or it may mean beginning a new moment every day, such as folding a collar over a necktie.

    Respond
    Discuss your "moments" with your spouse, your family, or a friend. Ask what stands out to them as important and meaningful and choose together to relish them. Take a photograph or journal about one moment.

    Power Verses
    1 Peter 4:8; Psalm 90:12

    Taken from Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living by Renee Swope, Lysa TerKeurst and Samantha Evilsizer. © 2013 Proverbs 31 Ministries. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Corinthians

  • I Had the Perfect Comeback

    Posted on September 19, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Only let us live up to what we have already attained." Philippians 3:16 (NIV)

    Last year, I was on a plane with two of my friends. We were talking in normal conversational tones about the release of my book, Unglued, when suddenly the couple in the next row up came unglued. On us. Joy.

    The man turned around and said, "Can you guys just QUIET DOWN already?"

    It wasn't a gentle suggestion. It was a harsh command.

    A little stunned, we simply replied, "Sure."

    And we did our best to finish our conversation in a volume slightly above a whisper. But that wasn't working for this man or his wife who kept turning around to give us "the look."

    Finally, in as kind a voice as I could muster up, I tried to explain the situation, "Sir, we are really trying to be as quiet as possible, but I've recently experienced trauma to my ear which caused hearing loss. While I want to respect your wishes, I'm having such a hard time hearing my friends ..."

    Before I could finish my sentence, his wife whipped her head around and snapped, "Well, we don't have hearing loss and your constant talking has given me a migraine. So just HUSH, okay?"

    My heart raced. My face turned red. And I thought of the perfect comeback to say.

    Have you ever wanted to put your Christianity on a shelf and be as mean to someone as they are being to you?

    Maybe not, because you are nice. And most of the time, I am too. But in this moment I didn't want to apply a single bit of my own advice I'd just written about in Unglued. I won't tell you what I wanted to say, but I can assure you it didn't involve being kind or gentle.

    This is the exact point where I had to make a choice.

    A choice of whom I wanted to partner with in this situation ... God or Satan.

    If I'd chosen the route of anger, a harsh comeback and retaliation, I would have basically stepped into Satan's camp and caused conflict escalation. If, however, I'd chosen the route of gentleness and grace, I would be partnering with God and would continue to make progress with my raw emotions. Like Philippians 3:16 reminds me, "Only let us live up to what we have already attained."

    On my journey of improving my reactions, I have already attained more gentleness, more grace, more peace. Why would I want to trade all that for a few minutes of retaliating words? Words that will only leave me with a big ol' pile of regret.

    Now I can't promise I've progressed to the point where my initial thoughts about this couple were nice. They weren't. But, I chose to consider the reality that people who are that on edge must have a lot of stored up misery. Their reaction probably had a lot less to do with me and a lot more to do with another situation in their lives.

    My job wasn't to fix them or set them straight or prove how wrong they were acting.

    My job in that moment was to keep everything in perspective. And simply give a gentle answer that could turn away their wrath.

    While it felt hugely offensive when it was happening, it wasn't huge. This wasn't some sort of major injustice in my life. This was just a minor inconvenience. Why would I want to trade the peace of partnering with God for a few cheap moments of putting someone else in their place?

    It's all about perspective.

    Because in all honesty, if this was the worst thing that happened to me that day, it was still a pretty good day!

    Dear Lord, You are so good and faithful. Thank You for helping me keep things in perspective so I can work on having better reactions that honor You. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Think about the last time you reacted out of anger, frustration, bitterness, etc.

    Assess how you felt in that moment and what mindset you need the next time a conflict arises.

    Remember to ask yourself — will I partner with Satan or God with the reaction I'm about to have?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 15:1, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Philippians

  • Should I Quit?

    Posted on September 12, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

    We all have those times we wish the voice of God would audibly speak so loudly there's no way we could miss it: "THIS IS THE DIRECTION I WANT YOU TO GO." Then we'd know whether to stay the course or head in a new direction.

    Have you ever wished for this kind of certainty?

    I have.

    Most of us want to know what to do. Without that confidence, sometimes we stay in a place too long. But the greater loss happens in those times we quit too soon. Then, we can live with this nagging sense of "what if?" What if I'd persevered one more year, one more month, one more day?

    Knowing when to stop and when to keep on keeping on is a crucial life lesson. One I want to learn well. Often, the more I struggle on my own, the less confident I am with the right next step. It's exhausting!

    But the truth is, I don't need to be confused or tired. There is one central place I can go for direction and rest. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus encourages us, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

    I used to get so frustrated with this verse because I thought, I don't want rest. I want reassurance! I'm burdened by this decision I have to make. I don't want to mess up by missing a cue from You, God.

    But the rest Jesus offers is not a spiritual sleep aid. The Greek word for this kind of rest is anapauo which has as one of its definitions, "of calm and patient expectation."

    In other words, Jesus is saying if you come to Me, I will take your exhaustion and uncertainty and turn it into a calm expectation.

    But how?

    My friend Jennifer Rothschild does this enlightening exercise at some of her conferences. She tells the audience to imagine her writing two different words on a large chalkboard. She then speaks the letters as she draws the first word into the air ... R-E-S-T. She does the same for the second word ... R-E-S-I-S-T. Then she asks what is the difference?

    The difference is, of course, "I."

    I don't know what to do. I can't figure this out. I'm worn out. I've tried everything I know to do. I've given all I have to give.

    I'm familiar with these "I" statements because I've said them myself.

    We can only find anapauo rest — fresh hope — as we stop running ragged and simply take on the next assignment Jesus gives.

    In verse 29 of Matthew 11, Jesus gives us the assignment: to take on His yoke and learn from Him. Ask Jesus to show you how to rest in Him. It might mean sitting quietly, asking others to join you in prayer or clearing your calendar to read the Word. Once you're still, take the next step. Not ten steps. Not the whole path. Not the Google map with the highlighted route. Just the next step. You'll know it because it'll be in line with God's character and His Word.

    Complete that step with excellence and an open, humble heart. Listen and look for all Jesus wants to teach you in this next step.

    This is your part of the equation.

    But after the assignment comes the reassurance in verse 30, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." We don't have to have all the answers. We just have to stay connected to the One who does. Where our strength ends is the exact point where His will begins.

    This is God's part of the equation.

    I must do all I can do. Then trust God will do what only He can do.

    Should I stay? Should I go? Maybe the better question is, "God, what is the next step I'm to take today? I'm going to do my part. And trust the rest to You."

    Dear Lord, I am tired, and I can't figure things out. Please help me see Your part in this equation. Where my strength ends is where Your will begins. Help me, Lord, to look to You for my very next step. I will wait in calm expectation. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:
    Billy Graham - The Reason for My Hope: Salvation

    In The Reason for My Hope, Graham presents the core message that has guided his life and calling for more than 70 years. Filled with new stories and timeless truth, he once again calls the world back to its spiritual priority as only he can.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Listen and look for all Jesus wants to teach you in the very next step you will take. Determine what your part is and then look to God for His.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 16:9, "Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure." (NIV)

    Psalm 51:12, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Matthew

  • A Different Kind of School Year

    Posted on September 5, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)

    As we get back into the routine of a new school year, I'm making a commitment: no more unglued mama mornings. I want our mornings to go better this year with less frustration, yelling, and chaos.

    This idea developed last spring when we had a string of really hard mornings.

    One day, as I pulled up to the school, the atmosphere inside the car was thick with tension. Not wanting the last words spoken to my daughter to be harsh, I tried to change the course of our conversation. "Sweetheart, I love you. I'm sorry we had a rough morning."

    "We always have rough mornings," she shot back before slamming the car door.

    Nothing quite makes a mom feel more successful than a little dialogue like that.

    As I rubbed the stabbing feeling in my chest, I thought, Something has got to change. Each day I promise myself I won't yell at the kids. But each morning something triggers me and I lose it.

    Ever been there?

    It's not like we wake up in the mood to get frustrated with our people, right? I usually wake up in a good mood. But then the stress of getting everyone ready and out the door on time makes the crazy creep in.

    This one can't find her shoes. That one needs a report printed and we have no ink. The bread for sandwiches is still at the grocery store because I forgot to buy it the day before. And to top it all off, I don't have any cash to give the kids so they can buy lunch at school.

    The whining. The complaining. The feeling that I can't ever get it together. It all escalates and sends me over the edge.

    I want this school year to be different. I want to be like Ephesians 4:22-24 describes: "made new in the attitude of my mind." The Greek word for "made new" is kaino. One of its definitions is uncommon. I want to be an uncommon calm in the midst of chaos and an example of peace for my kids. For that to happen, I came up with a plan:

    Tell the world to wait. When I wake up, my mind is like a dry sponge. What I soak up first will saturate me most deeply. If I don't want to be consumed with the stresses of my day, I must put the world on hold to soak up what will renew my mind—God's Word.

    Remember I'm managing blessings. If I want my attitude to be made new, I must keep things in perspective. While my frustrations seem big, things like lost shoes and less than perfect lunches aren't big problems. They are small aggravations that come with managing blessings.

    Let my kids own their irresponsibilities. My kids' irresponsibilities will not become my emergencies. I need to communicate my expectations so they know they're going to have to own the consequences of their choices. For example, if they wait until the last minute to print their report and the printer doesn't have any ink, they'll have to print it at school or turn it in late. Either way, I can't own this situation and let it throw me into frantic, fix-it mode. I can let the consequences of my kids' choices scream, so I don't have to.

    All of this is going to take some intentionality, and I doubt I'll do it perfectly. But I'm excited about trying. I'm excited to "put on my new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Which is another way of saying, I'm excited to have less unglued mama mornings and more peace this school year.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the grace You give. I don't want to live in the same pattern of coming unglued anymore. Help me put these principles into practice. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:

    Reflect and Respond:
    Which of the following action points can you put into practice?
    1. Tell the world to wait.
    2. Remember you're managing blessings.
    3. Let your kids own their irresponsibilities.

    Power Verse:
    2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Ephesians, School

  • The Day My Fragile Identity as a Mom Melted

    Posted on August 29, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

    She had the most angelic sweetheart lips. Eyes blue as the most tranquil oceans. Blonde ringlet curls. Chubby cheeks begging to be kissed over and over. Little hands that instinctively curled around my finger while simultaneously melting my heart.

    Pure sweetness wrapped in a pink blanket.

    And then came the day this little creature pursed those lips, gripped the toy in her hand, tilted her pigtailed head and screamed, "Mine! Mine! Mine!"

    The fuss was over a small red toy my friend had let her borrow. My friend who was much more organized than me. She had brought along toys and baggies of Cheerios to keep the kids entertained during our coffee date. The plan to use this toy as temporary entertainment had worked beautifully. Until it was time to go.

    I could feel a burning flush of embarrassment rush from my chest to my face.

    Of course my friend's child was shining her halo with one hand while happily handing over her yellow toy with the other.

    "Mine! Mine!" My daughter screamed as every eye in the small java joint stared at me.

    I pried the toy from her hand, thanked my friend, and hoisted my kicking and screaming daughter out of the wooden highchair. And then in slow motion, I watched in horror as she knocked my paper coffee cup from my hand and sent it careening across the floor.

    I felt my fragile identity as a mom melt into the puddle of spilled coffee. What happened to my angel? My beautiful daughter was ... not so angelic.

    It's been many years since that day in the coffee shop.

    But oh how I wish I could go back and sit with my little inexperienced mommy self on the drive home.

    I would say, "Your daughter is a child in need of a parent. She needs to be taught. And some of your best teaching opportunities will come when she puts her sin nature on display. Don't fear or fret or feel like this is some sort of failure on your part. Her outside demonstrations are an internal indication of her need for guidance. So guide her. Love her. And always remember to be the parent. Not her friend. Not her buddy. The parent."

    I needed to know what Proverbs 22:6 teaches, "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."

    That daughter is 19 years old now. And is an absolute delight.

    But growing her up wasn't always easy. There were many more times when she put her sin nature on display. And each time I had to choose to be the parent.

    It's not easy to be the parent. It seems less and less popular to tell kids no.

    As parents, we need to set biblical boundaries. Teach our kids the difference between realistic and unrealistic expectations. Not cater to their every whim. Draw lines between what's appropriate and inappropriate for language, entertainment, and the length of a hemline. Model manners. And what it looks like to seek a life of godliness, not just religious activity.

    Glory knows I've been so imperfect with all this.

    But holding the line on being the parent, even when done imperfectly, is good.

    And will be worth it.

    Even in those seasons where you feel as if they're doing everything the opposite of what you've taught them. All that parenting is in them. And the fruit of that will emerge one day.

    Yes, be the parent. Teach biblical truths. Stand strong in saying no even when it's not the popular choice.

    That's what our kids need so desperately.

    And be encouraged, friend ... you're doing better than you think you are.

    Dear Lord, You know better than all of us that parenting is hard. Help me to see each day as a teaching opportunity to raise up a child who loves You. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:


    A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others by Karen Ehman

    Reflect and Respond:
    Take a moment to think: how and what am I communicating to my children?

    Read today's power verses for a better understanding of just how important it is to raise a child to follow after the Lord.

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 54:13, "All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace. (NIV)

    2 Timothy 3:14-15, "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Proverbs, Mothers

  • Messy Marriages

    Posted on August 22, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God." Jeremiah 17:7 (MSG)

    I threw the cup of orange juice across the kitchen. It felt good to do something, anything, to release all the surging anger and frustration. And I didn't even mind cleaning the pulpy, sticky mess.

    It felt soothing to know how to clean something. I knew how to wipe away this mess. And I liked seeing the mess disappear.

    If only my marriage mess could be fixed with soap, water and a handful of paper towels.

    I whispered, God, why does this have to be so hard?

    Have you ever been there?

    I think many of us have. Whether we're in a really tough marriage or just in a rough patch, marriage can be messy. Hurtful. Lonely.

    No one ever told me about this side of marriage before I donned the white dress and danced to MC Hammer at the reception.

    But after 20 years of learning, growing and pressing through the messes to see something beautiful form in the midst of it all, here's what I know ...

    Jesus loves those in messy marriages.

    He loves my husband, Art, and me in the midst of it all. Jesus doesn't love the mess of hurt, isolation and bitterness. Those are things He wants us to work on. But He never stops loving us.

    Jesus loves me. His grace is strong enough to extend His love into every part of me. The good parts. The broken parts. The ugly parts. The bitter parts. The loving parts. Even the parts that throw orange juice.

    And Jesus loves Art. His grace is strong enough to extend His love into every part of my husband. The good parts. The broken parts. The ugly parts. The bitter parts. The loving parts. And even the parts that look at me like I'm crazy when I throw orange juice.

    Since Jesus loves both of us, He's the best source of help for our marriage. I don't say that without a deep awareness of how stinkin' hard it is to go to Jesus when I'm mad as fire at my husband.

    And I certainly don't say it in naive simplicity. Gracious, I know some of you are facing marriage situations that rip your heart into a thousand pieces every day.

    But still, I know Jesus is the best source of help.

    Honest cries for help lifted up to Jesus will not go unheard. He sees. He knows. He loves. And Jesus will direct you as long as you stick with Him.

    Jeremiah 17:7-8 in The Message version reminds us:

    But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They're like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers-Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.

    So, how do I stick with Jesus? I proclaim I'm sticking with Jesus:

    Jesus, I'm sticking with You. I'm giving You what I don't understand and what I can't fix. I'm giving You what I don't like about me. I'm giving You what I don't like about him. And I'm giving You what I don't like about my marriage. I'm listening for Your instruction. I'm positioning myself to go where I'll hear Your truth. To talk to others who love You and serve You. And to read wise instruction from the Bible. Amen.

    Jesus loves those who are in messy marriages. I know. Though Art and I have a wonderful marriage now, we can still hit some rough patches now and then.

    But you'll be happy to know I haven't thrown orange juice across the kitchen lately.

    Dear Lord, so much of me wants to stick with my anger and frustration. But I'm choosing to stick with You. Today I'm going to hold my temper, hold my tongue and hold on to Your Truth. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman

    The NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women with 366 devotions written by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team on everyday life.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you honestly waited on the Lord for His guidance? Today, make a choice to seek His wisdom through His Word and ask for wise counsel from a trusted, Christ-following friend.

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 4:26, 29-32, "'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry ... Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

    And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Marriage, Jeremiah

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