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Tag Archives: Lysa TerKeurst

  • When I Want to Be Mean

    Posted on April 16, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst APRIL 16, 2015

    When I Want to Be Mean
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)

    I looked at the text message in complete disbelief. Why couldn’t this person see how insensitive and hurtful she was being?

    I don’t know who made up the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Either they had nerves of steel, or they lived on a deserted island with no other people. Because not only do words hurt me but they make me want to fight back and be mean, too.

    Have you ever had a little situation with someone where you just knew you were right and they were wrong? Or at least you could make a really good case for your side of things?

    Oh how I have this burning need to state my case in these kinds of situations. It’s like an inner attorney rises up desperate to defend my rights and get the other person to see things my way. This is pretty normal, right?

    Yes. But normal doesn’t always mean good. Especially in light of today’s key verse.

    Colossians 2:6-7 reminds me, "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."

    I should live rooted in Jesus’ teaching and overflow with thankfulness. The opposite of this is when I’m rooted in self-centered opinions and overflowing with grumbling. I need to let God show me how to see things from this other person’s side and gain a different perspective. In doing so, I will be strengthened and taught.

    Colossians 3:12-14 reminds me, "… as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity" (NIV).

    My job isn’t to fix this person or make them see my side of things. My job is to obey God by offering an extension of the forgiveness I’ve been given. But I can also stay healthy in this situation by remembering forgiveness doesn’t mean giving this person access in my life that sets me up for destructive patterns.

    Finally, Colossians 3:17 reminds me, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (NIV).

    Everything I do and say tells a story of whom I serve. If I act out of anger and spite, I give in to the ways of the enemy, spreading his darkness. If I honor the Lord with my actions, I serve to further the Name of Jesus and spread His light.

    At the end of the day, honoring God leads to good things. Anything else leads to confusion, emotional exhaustion and a lack of good things.

    I processed the text message mentioned above with my husband. He said something that brought much clarity. "Lysa, you know when you’ve taken the high road, God blesses you. You’ve seen these blessings over and over as you’ve made choices that honor God. So choose a blessing today and save yourself the emotional turmoil of trying to prove you’re right."

    He’s a smart man.

    I know this isn’t easy stuff. I’m having to live it in the midst of feeling hurt. But I’m also feeling more at peace being able to see another perspective — a healthier perspective — a Biblical perspective. And I’m really excited about the blessings that are surely coming my way.

    Dear Lord, You know the hurtful words and actions that have come my way. Please give me Your strength to not retaliate, but instead to react based on Your Truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    James 1:19-20, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Learning to control our reactions can be difficult! In Lysa’s book, Unglued, she shares personal experience and Scriptural wisdom to help us make healthy decisions with our reactions. Order your copy today.

    The accompanying Unglued Bible study package will help you understand what the Bible says about better ways to react. Get started here.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Are you struggling with a person who sometimes acts rude or insensitive? Choose one of the truths Lysa mentioned today to pray and live out.

    At the end of the day, honoring God leads to good things. Anything else leads to confusion, emotional exhaustion and a lack of good things.

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Moment that Saved My Marriage

    Posted on April 9, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst APRIL 9, 2015

    The Moment that Saved My Marriage
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "Let your gentleness be evident to all." Philippians 4:5a (NIV)

    We all have them. Weak places. Places inside us that make us wonder if we’ll ever get it together like the together people. Places that make us feel "less than" the next girl.

    One of those weak places for me has always been my tendency to let my emotions boss me around, especially in conflict.

    My deepest desire is to let my "gentleness be evident to all" like our key verse says … but the truth is my reactions haven’t always reflected my desire for gentleness. I really think I was born with firecrackers in my blood.

    But when my relationships began to suffer due to my emotionally driven tirades, I found myself crying out to the Lord for help. He prompted my heart to pause and let the Holy Spirit intervene on my behalf when my emotions rallied to be right.

    Honestly, I wasn’t totally convinced that this whole "giving it over to God" thing really worked. Until one day I saw the beginnings of my imperfect progress.

    A few years ago, my husband Art and I hit a rough place financially. Some investments we’d made went bad and we lost nearly our entire life savings. I was knee deep in caring for three small children at the time and hadn’t a clue that financial danger was looming on the horizon.

    That is, until Art came home and the look on his face spoke of utter defeat. How could we have lost so much? He’d been wise with our finances. He’d done his research. He was a faithful saver. I stood stunned in our foyer that day, as Art told me the news.

    There were many different directions my reaction could have gone in the minutes that followed. I was upset. When Art first talked of making these particular investments, I shared with him that I didn’t have a good feeling about it. But, in the end, I let him make the final decision.

    So many times in my marriage, I’ve chosen the wrong words — words that were tainted with bitterness, words that were emotionally toxic. But I’m so thankful the Lord had been working on preparing my heart for this moment, and instead of reacting immediately with what would have been a disastrous response, I paused. I allowed the Holy Spirit a few seconds to interrupt my natural flesh feelings.

    Then, because of God’s Spirit working in me, I was able to wrap my arms around my husband and speak life-giving words into his weary heart: "I love you, Art. I loved you yesterday when we had everything. I love you today when we have nothing. I love you for who you are, not what you have."

    Now please understand … I was only able to have this response by God’s grace working in me. I still did quite a bit of wrestling to let my feelings catch up to the gentle words I felt led to speak out loud.

    But a few years later, I saw incredible fruit from this one good reaction. Art and I were interviewed on a radio program. On the show Art was asked, "I know you and Lysa had a rough start to your marriage. But what happened that made you know you’d stick by her forever, no matter what?"

    Without hesitation, Art recounted my reaction over the lost investments.

    I cried. I couldn’t help but think this could have been the moment that saved my marriage.

    Had I been left to my own flesh reaction that day, it could have set us on the road to marital disaster. But, because of God’s response being stored up in me, this situation wound up bringing us closer together than we’d ever been.

    And I realized how crucial it is to always be aware of God’s preparation in our lives.

    One way to be more discerning of this is to commit to exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world every day. Before you check your cell phone or scroll through social media, spend time with Him. Listen for Him. And then go look for rich evidence of Him at work in your life.

    Because God stands in our yesterday, today and tomorrow, He sees all. And He knows the perfect way to prepare our hearts for every situation.

    When we embrace His preparations, even a girl with firecrackers in her blood like me can have reactions that honor God and breathe life into relationships.

    Dear Lord, I’m choosing to let You take control of my reactions. Help me to always exchange whispers with You before shouts with the world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Proverbs 29:11, "A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back." (NKJV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Learn more about responding to situations out of your control without acting out-of-control with Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Unglued. Purchase your copy here.

    Know some friends who need help with their reactions too? Invite them to join your Unglued Bible study and make imperfect progress together! Get started here.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What situation have you been in recently where you could have paused to let the Holy Spirit work on your behalf?

    If you didn’t have a good reaction, don’t give up! The beauty of imperfect progress isn’t having it all together right away. It’s allowing the Lord to take you by the hand and lead you through slow steps of progress wrapped in grace.

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • And Then I Received Another Rejection Letter

    Posted on April 2, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst APRIL 2, 2015And Then I Received Another Rejection Letter
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction." 2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV)

    I remember the letter like it was yesterday. In a nutshell, it was another publisher telling me my writing did not meet their needs at that time.

    And in his attempt to soften the blow, he’d added a wee bit of humor: "Just use this letter as the liner of your cat litter box as I’m sure one day things will work out for you."

    As if a little humor ever helped someone who has just been knocked into a pit of rejection.

    The letter wasn’t even signed.

    It was clear that nobody at the publishing house stood up in awe as they read my typed words and enthusiastically exclaimed, "Girl has skills!"

    I hung my head, got into my car, and drove to my local bookstore. I saved up all my tears until I was smack dab in the middle of thousands of other books — thousands of other writers who’d received a thumbs up to their dreams — thousands of other people with evidence that their writing mattered — and I sobbed.

    But the tears didn’t come from my eyes. They didn’t come from my heart. They came from my soul that was always slightly suspicious that God really didn’t have any sort of spectacular plan when He created me.

    After my rather impressive display of emotion in the middle of the bookstore, I drove home and silently declared I’d never set myself up for this kind of rejection again.

    I put all my writing attempts in a file drawer. I made tacos for dinner. And made note of the fact that God did nothing to soften this blow.

    There was no verse mysteriously written on a slip of paper that suddenly wafted down from my kitchen ceiling.

    There was no friend that called and said she felt led by the Holy Spirit to encourage me in my writing.

    There was no divine directive that gave any sort of inspiration for me to keep going.

    There was just this utter realization that I’d now have to tell all those praying for me that this writing a book thing was a no-go. In essence, with this "no" from a publisher, I felt I had no skills. And I’d obviously heard God wrong.

    So, surely I should give up.

    Oh how I wish I could go sit with myself on that day from the vantage point of this day.

    I would hand myself a tissue and state that this was not at all a rejection from God. It was a timing issue.

    Sometimes callings from God unfold in a miraculous instant. But more often callings happen within a million slow moments of me becoming mature enough to handle this calling.

    I needed to experience God revealing Himself and maturing me so I could properly handle the Truth I would eventually write and speak about. And so I could develop my communication skills by learning how to string thoughts and words together that could be received by an audience.

    We are charged to be prepared in 2 Timothy 4:2, "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction."

    I know I needed maturity to be able to pay special attention to this whole verse, especially that last part … "with great patience and careful instruction."

    I am thankful it would be nearly four years … approximately 1,400 days … 35,040 hours … over 2.1 million moments before I was ready emotionally, spiritually and developmentally to properly handle the weight of God’s Word and the assignment of writing a book.

    Have you ever felt a stirring to write or attempted to write only to have something or someone shut it down?

    I understand. That’s why 14 years ago, after a publisher finally said yes, I knew I had to help other writers coming behind me. So, I developed a conference called She Speaks to train, equip, connect and breathe life into other writers’ dreams.

    You can click here for more information about She Speaks.

    But whether you want to write or fulfill another calling from God, let me assure you of one thing: Slow progress is better than no progress.

    The slow unfolding of readiness in us is often misunderstood to be a quick rejection by God. What a tragic mistake this is for many of us who too quickly shut down in our flesh what God is trying to develop in our spirit.

    Sweet sister, don’t give up. Ask yourself the questions I’ve listed below in the Reflect and Respond section. Then, walk toward the calling God created you to fulfill.

    Dear Lord, I want to step into the calling You’ve prepared for me. Help me push through feelings of doubt and rejection to embrace Your plan for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    2 Timothy 4:5, "But you — keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant." (MSG)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Receive the tools and the confidence you need to answer God’s call on your life at our She Speaks Conference! Find more information and sign up here.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Filter your feelings of rejection about your calling through these questions:
    1) Have I taken this seriously by investing time, effort and resources in my development?
    2) Have I given up too soon?
    3) What have I let dissuade me from this calling, that I need to face?
    4) Have I bought into the lie that all the opportunities for my calling have already been given to other people?
    5) What’s one thing I can do today to move my calling forward?

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • What if the Next Big Step God Wants You to Take is Small?

    Posted on March 23, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst MARCH 23, 2015

    What if the Next Big Step God Wants You to Take is Small?
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "Listen for GOD’S voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track." Proverbs 3:6 (MSG)

    It was a hot day inside and outside at the orphan village in Liberia. The 12 boys inside, practicing their choir music, found their eyes wandering over to the soccer field, where the promise of fun and the cheers of their friends tugged at them.

    They were feeling the pull of wanting to go outside and play soccer. But these boys determined the choir was worth the sacrifice.

    Years earlier, Liberia had been ravaged by a civil war that left more than 25,000 orphans to be cared for. So to raise money and support, an a cappella boys’ choir was formed to travel throughout the country of Liberia and perform in churches.

    Two of the teenage boys in that choir, Jackson and Mark, had been orphaned as babies when their parents and most of their siblings were killed by rebel forces.

    Night after night, these boys knelt beside their makeshift beds and poured out prayers of thanksgiving and hope that one day they’d hear six simple yet life-changing words, "You are my child — welcome home."

    God had a perfect design for their prayers to be answered and worked miracle after miracle to bring the boys’ choir to America. But little did I know my husband Art and I would be part of the answer to Mark and Jackson’s prayers.

    Our life was busy and full, and we were enjoying being the parents of three little girls. So you can imagine my surprise the night I went to see The Liberian Boys’ Choir concert at our church that I was stirred to consider adoption.

    As I sat in the concert, God whispered to my heart that two of those boys singing were mine. No, I thought. Not me.

    I felt like sticking my fingers in my ears and singing, La, la, la, la, la … I’m not listening to You, God! But the stirring in my heart wouldn’t stop.

    I decided to try a new tactic with Him. Lord, I just came here tonight to bring my girls to a simple little cultural event. I’m not looking for a major life change. My life is already very full with speaking and writing and homeschooling three girls. Besides, all my friends would think I was crazy, and my husband would never think this is a good idea.

    But God wasn’t discouraged by my response. His directive in my heart became more intense as the evening went on. After the concert, I asked the coordinator of the event which of the boys still needed homes. He told me that eight of the boys still needed to find families and encouraged me to walk into the reception area where they were. If God intended for some of these boys to be ours, he was sure I’d know it.

    Reluctantly, I walked into the reception area. In a matter of seconds, Jackson and Mark walked up to me, wrapped their arms around me, and called me Mom.

    I was moved and terrified at the same time.

    What began as a small heart prompting had turned into a very big decision for our family.

    After talking with Art, we cried out to God, desperate for His guidance and wisdom. We pondered every aspect and wrestled with this decision deep in our spirits.

    Still, doubts and questions flooded our minds: How could we financially increase the size of our family? How would we find the time in our already crammed schedule? How would we raise boys? How would we find room in our home? The list went on and on.

    One day, I called a friend and poured out my heart. I told her I could list many other parents who were much more qualified to adopt. She patiently listened without much response as I asked, "Why me?"

    Then quietly and prayerfully she answered: "Because God knew you’d say yes, Lysa."

    I was stunned. It was the highest compliment I’d ever received. My heart was filled with joy as memories filled my mind of the years of small steps God had me take to reach the place where I could be prepared to take this much bigger step.

    Now, over 10 years later, I think back to sitting in that church pew, just going about my ordinary life when God’s extraordinary invitation burst forth. I could have so easily walked out of that church and ignored God’s stirring. I’ve done that more times than I’d like to admit. But look at everything we would have missed out on, had I done that.

    Terkeurst Family
    Hear my heart: I’m not saying everyone is called to adopt. Honestly, the next big step God wants you to take might actually be small. But we’ll never know what that next step is if we don’t "listen for GOD’S voice in everything we do, everywhere we go" as Proverbs 3:6 instructs us.

    Each day we can look for His invitation to leave our plans behind to join Him in His wondrous work through small steps of obedience.

    Dear Lord, today I will embrace what You have for me. I will step out in faith because Your ways are higher than mine! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Proverbs 16:9, "We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps." (NLT)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    WIF Bookcover

    What if the next big step God wants you to take is actually small? Remember, Lysa’s big step of faith came after years of taking small steps of faith. No matter where you are or what God has called you to, you can take the first step. Find out more in our next FREE online Bible study of Lysa’s book, What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. Sign up today.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Be in prayer about what small steps you can take to experience God’s big plans for your life!

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • 3 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Was Single

    Posted on March 19, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst MARCH 19, 2015

    3 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Was Single
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow." Matthew 6:34a (MSG)

    I remember the hardest day of the week for me when I was single was Sunday. Specifically, Sunday right after church.

    Many of my other single friends would have plans with their families that day, but not me. My family lived nine hours away.

    So, I’d walk through the parking lot, watching young moms ooh and ahh over Sunday school artwork and I’d think, Their lives seem so blissfully full.

    I’d walk past an older couple holding hands and think, They are so lucky to have such an easy, breezy life.

    I’d walk past a gal walking arm in arm with her boyfriend and think, She is so fortunate to feel loved.

    And then I’d get in my car and decide happiness, fulfillment and contentment were something to hope for in the future, when I found the life I desperately wanted. I was focusing on what could be instead of looking for evidence of what God was doing right in that moment, like our key verse Matthew 6:34 instructs us to do.

    Boy, do I wish I could go sit in that car beside my single self and tell her some life-giving truths I now know:

    1. Loneliness isn’t fixed by surrounding yourself with more people.

    Sure, having people to go grab lunch with you after church is great. And having the built-in companionship of your own family is wonderful. But it hasn’t fixed my struggles with loneliness like I thought it would.

    Some of the loneliest women I know wear wedding rings.

    I had to learn to enjoy life without being dependent on someone else to create the fun for me. That way I could bring the fun. I could bring the interesting conversation starters. And I could start to better discern the kinds of people who would get me.

    What are those things you truly love spending time doing, creating or researching? Invest your lonely moments there. Create life-giving experiences around your unique passions. After all, people are attracted to others who are full of life.

    2. Learn from the pitfalls in friendships.

    If only I would have dared to really look, I could have seen patterns of pitfalls in my relationships. Some of the same relationship struggles I had in my single friendships quickly popped up in my marriage.

    Being a little more self-aware of how I contributed to frustrations in friendships would have helped me work on having a healthier marriage even before I met my husband.

    I could have learned valuable self-improvements like taming my spontaneity a tad, remembering that not everyone likes to talk before the sun comes up and working to not interpret everything with way more emotion than necessary. Just to name a few.

    I absolutely would have encouraged my single self to make good use of those hard friendship moments by learning … really learning … from them.

    3. Stop expecting perfection.

    All those people I was watching those Sunday afternoons weren’t living perfect lives. They were having a moment of perfection in the midst of very imperfect relationships.

    None of those moms were perfect moms. None of those couples were perfect couples. None of those families were perfect families.

    I obviously know this with my head. But sometimes my heart gets tripped up looking for perfection and missing what’s really good.

    Single self, realize perfection doesn’t exist on this side of eternity, and it’s exhausting to chase something that doesn’t exist.

    So, look at relationships through the lens of grace. Instead of asking, "Is this the perfect relationship I’ve dreamed about?" ask yourself, "Is this a person with whom I can both give and receive grace?"

    Sundays are no longer the hardest days of the week for me. But it wasn’t because I got married and had kids.

    It’s because I finally learned how to bring the joy I wanted to experience, became a healthier version of me and stopped chasing perfection.

    Dear Lord, I’m choosing to give my full attention to what You’re doing in my life today. Help me to keep the right perspective as I place my plans and my future into Your hands. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Have a friend who needs to know she is valued, loved and beautiful? Encourage her with the Proverbs 31 Ministries "Live a Life of Love" Gift Set. Each set contains a piece of stationary, a frameable print and 2 Scripture cards so she can keep God’s Truth close to her heart. Get one for a friend here.

    Live A Life Of Love

     

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Whether you’re single or not, consider the three points Lysa talked through. Which perspective do you need to work on embracing this week?

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • What I Want To Teach My Kids

    Posted on March 12, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst MARCH 12, 2015

    What I Want To Teach My Kids
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)

    Early in my motherhood adventure I realized I could solve my kids’ problems for them. Not every problem. But for the most part when they had an issue I could step in and be the solution.

    Or …

    I had another option. I could mentor and equip my kids to solve their issues, which is much more time consuming, brain draining and sometimes quite frustrating.

    But for me, the most important lesson I want to teach my kids is how to think.

    It’s that whole "give a man a fish" thing.

    Give him a fish and he’ll eat for a day … or teach him to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.

    I don’t want to train my kids to only turn to me for solutions. I want to help them think in Biblically and emotionally healthy ways, so they can learn the fine art of becoming a solution finder. I want to help them learn to process life choices in grounded, mature ways.

    If I only tell my kids what they can and can’t do, I’m establishing rules for them to follow. This is a part of parenting for sure, but it can’t be the whole part.

    If I teach them how to think, I’m establishing healthy processing patterns that will serve them when they’re no longer under my immediate watch.

    For example, I don’t want my kids to text and drive. I’ve taught them this rule. But to help them learn to process the dangers of driving while distracted, I decided to have a family discussion.

    Recently, I asked each of the kids to come to a scheduled family dinner equipped to present a brief report on the dangers of texting and driving.

    As they presented their reports, I saw the light bulbs coming on in their thought processes. They weren’t just learning a rule; they were discovering how to think about this dangerous habit. They were passionate about it. And the best part? They all owned the solution of committing to not text and drive.

    They owned it. Not because I preached a rule at them. But rather, because I helped them learn how to think through this danger for themselves.

    The Bible instructs us to teach our kids the truths of God by talking and processing with them all throughout the day. Obviously, texting and driving isn’t a Biblical truth, but how powerful it is to apply a Biblical mindset to every issue we face.

    So be it a Scriptural truth, or processing life stuff in general, I think the secret is tucked within the beautiful words of Deuteronomy 11:18-21a:

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many …"

    Yes, may our days together be many. Learning. Thinking. And processing each problem through the filter of God’s Truth.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the opportunity to teach my children how to think in a way that honors You. Use me as an example of Your love and compassion in their lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Equip your child to think in Biblically and emotionally healthy ways this Easter with ABC Scripture Cards or The Jesus Storybook Bible. Click here to get these practical tools and celebrate Scripture as it comes alive in your home!

    Learn more about processing your decisions through a God-honoring, Biblical filter with Lysa’s book, The Best Yes. Purchase your copy here.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    How can you begin to implement this new way of thinking with your family?

    Start small — direct your child to Scripture, say a prayer with him/her or make it an overall family discussion!

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Scribbled Truth that Changed My Life

    Posted on March 5, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst MARCH 5, 2015

    The Scribbled Truth that Changed My Life
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.’" Acts 3:6a (NIV)

    There was a season of my life that was very dark. When my baby sister died tragically and unexpectedly, my entire world flipped upside down.

    What I once knew to be true suddenly became questionable.

    Is God good? If so, why this? And if I never know why, how can I ever trust God again?

    Hard questions. Honest questions. Questions that haunted me.

    Until one day I got a note from a friend. A girl I not-so-affectionately called my "Bible friend." She honestly got on my nerves with all her Bible verse quoting. I wasn’t on good terms with God at that point in my life. I didn’t want to believe God even existed. And I certainly wasn’t reading the Bible.

    I made all of this very known to my Bible friend. But in her gentle, sweet, kind way … she kept slipping me notes of truth with gently woven verses tucked within.

    And one day, one verse cracked the dam of my soul. Truth slipped in and split my hardhearted views of life open just enough for God to make Himself known to me.

    I held that simple note with one Bible verse scribbled on the front as the tears of honest need streamed down my cheeks. My stiff knees bent. And a whispered "Yes, God" changed the course of my life.

    My Bible friend had reached me. And because of her, I’m determined to use my words as a gift to others who may be in hard places … like a friend of mine who recently told me she is struggling with feeling she has no real purpose.

    Life rushes at her each day with overwhelming demands. Everything feels hard, with very little reprieve.

    If ever there were a drowning with no water involved, this is where my friend is.

    Maybe you have a hurting friend, too.

    So I sat down to write my friend a card and send her a little gift. I desperately wanted to love her through my words. My heart was full of care, compassion and a strong desire to encourage but I struggled to translate all I felt on paper.

    As I prayed about it, the word "loved" kept coming to mind.

    Remind her she is loved. Remind her how much you respect her. Remind her she is a woman who has so much to offer. Remind her she is valuable and she is enough.

    In Acts 3, Peter and John encountered a crippled man at the temple gate called Beautiful. They stopped. They noticed. They decided to touch. Riches weren’t available to them but the ability to value was.

    As our key verse of Acts 3:6-7a says, "‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, walk.’ Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up …"

    Peter and John didn’t have silver, but they had a hand to offer and value to give. The man in need was worth touching. The hurting one in need was a man who needed someone to see him as a man. The man in need had so much to offer. After he got up, he went into the temple courts praising God and stirring up wonder and amazement about God.

    I want my friend to remember she, too, has praise left inside her for our God. She too can get up. She too can stir up amazement and wonder about our God.

    Yes, she is loved and God has a good plan for her. It’s my job to help her see that, just like my Bible friend did for me all those years ago.

    I will never doubt the power of one woman reaching into the life of another woman with some written whisper of love.

    Dear Lord, I’m so thankful for the relationships You’ve placed in my life. Would You help me discern what encouraging words my friend needs to hear today? I want to show her Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    1 Thessalonians 5:11, "So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind." (MSG)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Remind a friend she is valued, loved and beautiful with the Proverbs 31 Ministries "Live a Life of Love" Gift Set. Each set contains a piece of stationary, a frameable print and two Scripture cards so she can take God’s Truth with her wherever she goes. Get one for a friend here.

    Learn more about intentionally investing in your relationships with Lysa’s book, The Best Yes. Purchase your copy here.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Which friend comes to mind when you think of someone who needs encouragement? Ask the Lord to give you the words that are specific to her needs in this season as you write a note to her this week.

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • I Don’t Want to Raise a Good Child

    Posted on February 26, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst FEBRUARY 26, 2015

    I Don’t Want to Raise a Good Child
    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)

    When my daughter Hope was in high school, she decided her senior year should be adventurous and a little out of the "normal" box. A lot out-of-the-box, actually.

    She withdrew from traditional school. Applied with the state to homeschool. Enrolled in online college courses that would allow her to get both high school and college credit simultaneously. And planned to spend a month serving in Nicaragua doing missions.

    This didn’t surprise me, really. Hope has always liked charting her own course. This thrills me now. But it didn’t thrill me so much in the early years of raising this strong-spirited child.

    When she was really little I was scared to death I was the world’s worst mom, because Hope was never one to be contained. And I honestly thought all her extra tenacity was a sign of my poor mothering.

    One day I took her to the mall to meet several of my friends with toddlers to grab lunch. All of their kids sat quietly eating Cheerios in their strollers. They shined their halos and quoted Bible verses and used tissues to wipe their noses.

    Not Hope.

    She was infuriated by my insistence she stay in her stroller. So, when I turned away for a split second to place our lunch order, she wiggled free. She stripped off all her clothes. She ran across the food court. And jumped in the fountain in the center of the mall.

    Really, nothing makes the mother of a toddler feel more incapable than seeing her naked child splashing in the mall fountain. Except maybe that toddler refusing to get out and said mother having to also get into the fountain.

    I cried all the way home.

    Not because of what she’d done that day. But rather because of how she was every day. So determined. So independent. So insistent.

    I would beg God to show me how to raise a good child. One that stayed in her stroller. One that made other people comment on how wonderfully behaved she was. One that made me look good.

    But God seemed so slow to answer those prayers. So, over the years, I changed my prayer. "God help me to raise Hope to be who You want her to be." Emphasis on, "God HELP ME!"

    I think I changed my prayers for her because God started to change my heart. I sensed He had a different plan in mind for my mothering of Hope.

    Maybe God’s goal wasn’t for me to raise a good rule-following child. God’s goal was for me to raise a God-following adult. An adult who was just determined and independent and insistent enough to fulfill a purpose He had in mind all along.

    Today’s key verse reminds us we are training children so that when they are old they will not turn away from Biblical principles, but rather implement them in their life-long pursuit of God. Remember, the things that might aggravate you about your child today might be the very things that, when matured, make them great for God’s kingdom tomorrow.

    I’ve certainly seen this in raising Hope.

    I don’t know which mama needs to hear this today. But let me encourage you from the bottom of my heart with three simple mothering perspectives you must hang on to:

    1. Don’t take too much credit for their good.
    2. Don’t take too much credit for their bad.
    3. Don’t try to raise a good child. Raise a God-following adult.

    And all the mamas of fountain-dancing children said, "Amen!"

    Dear Lord, I know You desire for me to raise a God-following adult. Please give me Your wisdom as I seek to become the parent You called to this high honor. Redirect my perspectives and equip me for this task today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Deuteronomy 11:18-19, "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (NIV)

    Isaiah 40:11, "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Learn how to make God-honoring decisions throughout your motherhood journey with Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes. Get your copy here.

    Find community with other moms when you hold The Best Yes Bible study in your home or church! Click here to get started.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Which of the three mothering perspectives Lysa shared resonated with you the most? Focus on that point this week as you spend time with your kids.

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • A Wedding Prayer, A Marriage Prayer

    Posted on February 19, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst FEBRUARY 19, 2015

    A Wedding Prayer, A Marriage Prayer
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry." Psalm 34:15 (NIV)

    When my husband Art and I got married, we had a tough time transitioning from being two independent people into a unified couple. We didn’t have huge marriage issues to overcome — we had a lot of little everyday annoyances that started to chip away at the foundation of our relationship.

    Slowly, we stopped seeing all we had and started focusing on all that was lacking in each other.

    Honestly, enjoying each other got lost in all the efforts to fix each other. And that can be so disillusioning.

    It can open your marriage up to a world of attack and the temptation to think, Did I marry the wrong person? I didn’t know it was going to be this hard.

    Do you ever find yourself in this place? Me too.

    The other day I came across the prayer Art’s dad prayed at our wedding. And it occurred to me this is much more than a wedding prayer. It’s a marriage prayer.

    As I read back over this prayer, I am amazed at how God has answered so many of the requests intertwined in the words. This was being prayed over two broken, fragile, headstrong, needing-to-learn-a-lot individuals. Individuals who five years into our marriage weren’t sure we were going to make it. But we did.

    And so can you.

    I would encourage you to take your spouse’s hand and either have someone read this prayer over you or read it together. Use it as a reminder and recommitment.

    And if your marriage isn’t at a place where that’s possible, pray this in the quiet shrine of your heart. As our key verse, Psalm 34:15 tells us, God hears you. He knows. He loves you. He will show you the way.

    Father in Heaven, thank You for this husband, ______, and wife, _______, and their commitment to Christian marriage. As we look ahead, we pray that their future will never lack the convictions that make a marriage strong.

    Bless this husband, ______. Bless him as provider and protector. Sustain him in all the pressures that come with the task of stewarding a family. May his strength be his wife’s boast and pride, and may he so live that his wife may find in him the haven for which the heart of a woman truly longs.

    Bless this wife, ______. Give her a tenderness that makes her great, a deep sense of understanding, and a strong faith in You. Give her that inner beauty of a soul that never fades, that eternal youth that is found in holding fast to the things that never age. May she so live that her husband may be pleased to reverence her in the shrine of his heart.

    Teach them that marriage is not living for each other. It is two people uniting and joining hands to serve You. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, knowing that You will sustain them through all of life’s challenges.

    May they minimize each other’s weaknesses and be swift to praise and magnify each other’s strengths so that they might view each other through a lover’s kind and patient eyes. Help them every day to be kind and gentle, more like You. Give them a little something to forgive each day, that their love might learn to be long-suffering.

    Bless them and develop their characters as they walk together with You. Give them enough hurts to keep them humane, enough failures to keep their hands clenched tightly in Yours, and enough of success to make them sure they walk with You throughout all of their life.

    May they never take each other’s love for granted but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims, "Out of all this world, you have chosen me." Then, when life is done and the sun is setting, may they be found then as now, still hand in hand, still very proud, still thanking You for each other.

    May they travel together as friends and lovers, brother and sister, husband and wife, father and mother, and as servants of Christ until He shall return or until that day when one shall lay the other into the arms of God. This we ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the Great Lover of our souls. Amen.1

    ~ ~ ~ Dear Lord, thank You for the opportunity to come before Your throne with every concern I have and blessing I desire for my marriage. I pray these blessings over my husband and myself today, believing You will do immeasurably more in us than we can imagine. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    1 Adapted from Dr. Louis H. Evans’ Marriage Prayer for Bride and Groom.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    1 John 5:14, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    If you feel like your marriage is constantly getting your "less" instead of your "best," learn to re-prioritize with Lysa’s book, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands.

    Pop over to Lysa’s blog today for a free, printable version of this marriage prayer! Download yours here.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Take time each day this week to pray specifically for your marriage and spouse. Ask God to breathe new life into your relationship and show you anything He wants to bring to your attention.

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • 3 Ways to Find Life-Giving Relationships

    Posted on February 12, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst FEBRUARY 12, 2015

    3 Ways to Find Life-Giving Relationships
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works." Hebrews 10:24 (ESV)

    I pressed my forehead against my front door window while tears quietly slipped down my cheeks. I watched my husband pull out of the driveway and head off to another day at work. I then turned to look at what my day would hold — a crying baby, a messy house and an overwhelming feeling of dread. How could this be?

    I finally had everything I ever thought would make me happy, fulfilled, significant and satisfied, yet I was more miserable and lonely than I’d ever been. Finally realizing a great husband, healthy baby and a comfortable house with a flowerbed planted out front, weren’t the answers to ultimate happiness in life, rattled my soul to the core.

    There are deep places within our soul that God hand-designed and reserved only for Him to fill.

    But my whole life had been focused on getting these other things that I thought would fill me up. So when they fell short, I slid to the ground and cried, "God, I can’t do this. Where do I go from here? How do I find You? Help me!"

    A few weeks later, my husband called and said there was a woman in his restaurant who wanted to meet me. I glanced down at my spit-covered sweatpants, ran my hands through my greasy hair, and willed my mind to override the desire to pass on meeting her that day.

    I couldn’t handle the relationships I had in my life, I certainly couldn’t make time for more. Plus, if I got too close to women who appeared to have their lives together, they’d judge me for the pitiful way mine was falling apart. I just didn’t have the whitespace for anything but my family.

    But that was exactly the problem. I was giving everything I had to my family with nothing to fill me back up, no one to encourage me past the hard spots, and no one to share practical advice because she’d been there, done that.

    So, I crammed my diaper bag full and headed out the door.

    Over the years, I’ve thought about that pivotal decision to pursue and embrace the necessity of friendships. Not only have they helped me personally, my friendships have been crucial to my success (and sometimes survival) in my roles as wife and mom as well. They’ve made our key verse, Hebrews 10:24, come to life for me.

    What I once thought would take away from my family, has proven to add a richness I couldn’t have gotten any other way.

    If you can relate to the season I was in, here are 3 practical ways to find life-giving friendships:

    1) Find a friend who does something well that you wish you were better at.

    It may be managing paper piles, cooking, organizing kids’ rooms, creatively loving her husband, effectively disciplining her kids or a hundred other things. Whatever it is, ask her if you could spend time observing how she does what she does so well. Women love to talk about things they do well.

    2) Choose a friend with whom you feel comfortable to pray.

    There is no better gift we can give our families than to be wives and moms who pray. Praying with a friend about our families will not only knit our hearts closer to the ones we love, but to that friend as well.

    3) Pursue a friendship with someone who is one stage behind where you are in life.

    Offer them practical help in their area of stress and weave in the wisdom you gained as you went through that same stage.

    Why not spend some time today praying for the friends you have and the friends you’ve yet to meet? God loves to answer those friendship prayers! And trust me on this — go ahead and wash your hair, just in case you get a call like I did all those years ago.

    Dear Lord, You know the friendships I need in this season of my life. So I’m praying today for the friends I have right now and ones I have yet to meet. Help me be a God-honoring friend who always points them back to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Colossians 3:16, "Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Relationships help nourish us in ways nothing else can! Learn how to be intentional in your most treasured relationships with Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes. Purchase your copy here.

    Gather your closest friends and hold The Best Yes Bible study in your home! Click here to get started.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Consider the three friendship points Lysa talked about today. Choose one and pursue it this week!

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

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