Up and Running

I just want to thank everyone for being patient. I have my new site up and running now. There is still some tweaking that needs to take place over the next few weeks, but that’s just because I’m picky and I like things to look a certain way. I’m also type A personality if you couldn’t tell, so I like things in lists for more clarity. That being said, here’s the information for you about my new site:

1. You can find my blog at www.toteachwhatisgood.com

2. If you subscribe via email to my current WordPress.com site, then I have tried to transfer your subscriptions over. I’m not sure if I did it successfully or not, so you may want to re-subscribe¬†or subscribe via my RSS feed on the new site.

3. I will eventually have a redirect, so if you accidentally type in my WordPress site, you will automatically be rerouted to my new site, but that is not in place yet, so bear with me as I set that up.

I can’t wait to see you all over at my new domain and I’m so thankful for your patience as I switch everything over. This is such an exciting time. I just started a new Twitter Account and Facebook Fan Page, so be sure to find me there as well. I hope I remember to keep up with them! ūüôā

If you have any questions, please let me know.

God Bless and I’ll see you soon!

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Still Working on the New Site!

Thank you everyone for being so patient with me. I’m still working on some finishing touches on the new site. I will post more information once I’m ready to launch it. I won’t be posting this week until the site is complete, but until then, I will leave you with the following verse:

Ch, Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes…

For all of you David Bowie fans out there! Change is coming and I can’t wait. My blog is getting an update any day now, so look out for new goodness. Please bear with me as these changes take place. I have a domain name and a new format, but there may be some tweaking that needs to take place within the next week or so. I just hope you don’t mind being patient! Until then, enjoy: 

Building a Woman Community

When I first started this blog, my husband said, “Well, are you the older woman or the younger woman?” I thought this was interesting because when I felt led to start this blog, age never crossed my mind, but I guess since the foundation of the blog is based on Titus 2:3-5, then I should probably have a clear perspective as to if I am an older woman or not.

It’s so clich√© to say, “age is just a number,” but I believe that to be true. I think our life experiences define us more than our age. What events did we have to endure in our life to build our character, mature our thinking and rely fully on God? Those things are what makes us older women or younger women. The reality is, I’m not that old. I have been walking with the Lord for 16 years though, because he captured my heart and the young age of 14. I’m still young in my marriage (7.5 years), but my husband and I have been through a lot of things that most young marriages do not endure. I’m also still a new mother, but I have a high needs/spirited child, which is very challenging. I still feel young, although the more couples I meet at church, the older I’m beginning to feel! So, the truth is, by the standards of numbers, I’m young by age, but old by life experiences.

That being said, I’m not trying to justify to anyone whether or not I am too young to write a blog based on the Titus 2 woman, instead I’m just trying to talk about women supporting women.¬†I may not be the exact Titus 2 woman that you’re looking for, but what I am is a young woman who the Lord has matured through many challenging times, who believes strongly in the connection and community building of women, which is what I believe God is calling us to do in accordance with Titus 2.

We live in a strange world. It’s amazing how often we women do not support one another, we tear each other apart with our words, our judgements and our attitude. We do this at work, at play, in parenting, on Facebook, everywhere. This is not how it was meant to be, we MUST encourage each other in ALL situations. This is something that has been on my heart for many years now and even more recently as I have become a new mom and realize how much we judge one another, especially in regards to “mommy wars.” ¬†In order for us to love our husbands and our children more¬†thoroughly¬† we have to start loving other women too. Loving and encouraging other women is what will help us all love our husbands and children more, which ultimately helps us live out the word of God.

Here are some things to think about when we relate to other women:

1. STOP JUDGING:¬†This is probably the MOST IMPORTANT point about all of this. We have to stop judging each other. Stop it, stop it, stop it. I know this is easier said than done, but we really need to ask God to convict us of our judgements of other people. This is¬†particularly¬†important in regards to parenting. All of those things that you think matter don’t. It doesn’t matter if the mommy at the park next to you is raising her kid on organic food and you’re not. It doesn’t matter if you’re breastfeeding your toddler, but the other mommy formula fed their child. It doesn’t matter and quite frankly, it’s none of our business. Instead of passing judgement because another mom is doing something different, we should encourage that mother to keep trying her hardest to raise the best children she can. We don’t know what other moms are going through at home. Maybe they are a single mom and they are doing the best they can, maybe they are not only raising little ones, but taking care of an ailing parent. Maybe they just lost a loved one around the same time they gave birth to their child and they are just trying to make things work as best as possible. The reality is, we don’t know, so we have to stop judging! “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

2. YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD:¬†Think about your relationship with God. Are you praying that God shows you how to raise your¬†children? Are you praying that God will fill you with his spirit daily, so that you are guided in actions by him and not by your own means? Are you¬†concerned¬†about how God will judge you based on how you raised your children and lived out God’s calling in your life? If ¬†you are doing these things and you feel confident that you are living out God’s truth in your family, then it shouldn’t matter what other people are doing with their families. If you are in constant communication with God and God tells you to be a stay at home mom, then that is great that God has convicted you in this way, but your relationship with God is just that,¬†your relationship¬†and not everyone has the same relationship with God and not everyone is convicted to stay home and not everyone is meant to stay home. My mom did not stay home with me and if it weren’t for public schools, I would not have become a Christian and even though my mom felt that was how she was supposed to raise me, I feel called to stay home. My mom and I are both Christians, but we are raising children differently and yet perfectly for the dynamics of our families. God convicts us all of different things in accordance to his will, so just remember when you are relating to other women, think only about your relationship with God and how those convictions may be different for you than they are for other women.

3. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE:¬†Just love other women! Plain and simple. Say nice things to other women, stop gossiping about each other. Don’t be sneaky and tell someone that another woman needs prayer and use that as an excuse to talk about that person. That’s not nice, it’s manipulative and it’s a justification for gossip. If another woman needs prayer and you think you should share that, then either don’t say their name, or say their name and don’t say what the specific prayer request is. Send encouraging notes and emails to one another. Hug each other. Hug each other’s children. Love each other’s children as our own. Make meals for each other, go out to lunch, dinner, drinks, whatever. Share scripture with each other, confess sins to each other, offer biblical advice and be empathetic. Just Love!

My goal for this blog and for life in general is to build up other women, so that we can live our lives in accordance with God’s will. Ladies, we have to stop tearing each other a part and start lifting each other up. Please know that I am just as guilty of these things as well. God has been working on my heart for a few years now about how to relate to other women and I’m so thankful that God has shown me how ugly I can be.

Do you find yourself judging other women, do you find it hard to love other women? I encourage you this week to make an effort to make a difference in at least one other woman’s life. Pick a friend and pray for her all week, send her a note of encouragement and let her know you’re praying for her and if you have the time, maybe send her some cookies or offer to bring her lunch! It would mean so much to her!

I leave you with this prayer:

Lord, I ask that you convict our hearts of our ugly attitudes towards other women. I pray that you show us how to love the way you love, help us to see how important it is to have a network of women around us and help us to build, foster and lift up that community. I pray that your holy spirit will guide us daily in the way we interact, treat and speak to other women and that you will use us a vessel of your love to lift one another up. Amen.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,¬†not giving up meeting together,¬†as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another‚ÄĒand all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25

*Please know that there are certain circumstances when the way other people raise their children is our business. This is in regards to abuse and other dangerous or destructive situations. I am not referring to those situations and I am not a qualified professional to address handling those types of scenarios. 

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A New Fairytale…or not.

I was recently surprised at my reaction to a meme that was floating around Facebook. It had to do with “The New Fairytale.” It said the following:

“Once upon a time a prince asked a beautiful princess will you marry me? The princess said ‘no’ and the princess lived happily ever after and traveled around the world and met interesting people and learned new stuff and always put herself first and went to rock concerts and no one ever told her to ‘go make a sandwich’ and kept her apartment and all of her shoes and never got cheated on, period. And all her family and friends thought she was cool and made tons of money and the toilet seat was always down, like it’s supposed to be. The end.” -source unknown

Wow. There are so many things that are wrong with this seemingly innocent little meme. First, let me give you some background about myself. You see, there was a time in my life (and yes, I was a Christian at the time) where this little meme would have truly meant something to me. I was a woman on a mission. I believed that God gave me the gift of leadership and it was my responsibility to forget about men or find a man who didn’t care if I was successful and then make something of myself. I pretty much spent all four years of college becoming that woman. My career path was right in front of me and I was primed to be successful and make lots of money and travel the world if I wanted. Sort of… Ok, so really, I didn’t have a job yet, but I had the drive and my passion was for almost all of the things listed in the above meme. I went to an all women’s college, so the feminist movement was apparent and active in my life. What I didn’t know, at the time, was that God had a different mission; a mission to change my heart to be more like him and to realize that my true calling in life was a little different than what the 22 year old version of myself thought. So, when I saw this meme floating around, I was shocked at how my immediate response was an uncomfortable feeling.

So, let’s fast forward to now. I’m not anti-feminist movement, I believe I have a healthy balance of women’s rights and how that falls in line with God’s plan for families, but I will share more on that some time in the future. For now, I want to talk about some things that set off red flags in my heart when I read this meme.

1. If some prince had asked me to marry him, I’m pretty sure I would have been cool with that! Just Kidding! In all seriousness though, the whole prince/princess thing has gotten out of hand. When I was younger, I loved all of the Disney princess stuff, which wasn’t much then, and I loved any kind of princess costume, wand, crown, etc. I loved it, but I also understood that it was make believe. It wasn’t real. I wasn’t a real princess, in worldly terms anyway, I was a princess in God’s eyes, but the reality is the only royalty in my family was German nobility that happened many generations before I was born and honestly, I know nothing about it. What happened that caused this make believe world that little girls play in to become an adult fantasy? It seems to be more and more common where women get wrapped up in this fairytale land where everything is perfect and there are no troubles to work through. I find this confusing.

2. The next two sections I have problems with are, “The princess lived happily ever after… and always put herself first.” Hmm… Honestly, I’m not even sure how to respond to this. As women of God, we should not be putting ourselves first, contrary to what the world tells us about making ourselves number one. Our priorities should be God, our families/others and ourselves last. It is sound scripture and it’s what God calls us to do. God first, others second, ourselves last. “The most important one, answered Jesus, is this: Hear, O¬†Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.¬†Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.¬†The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.¬†There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mathew 12:29-30) ¬†“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.¬†Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3) Does this mean, as wives and moms, we should never care about ourselves? Absolutely not. I do believe that all moms need a break to recharge and be in the best condition to take care of her family, and I also believe we should take care of ourselves in outward appearance, but it should not be our primary focus.

3. ¬†The last two sections I have a problem with are “and no one ever told her to go make a¬†sandwich” and “made tons of money.” ¬†First of all, my husband has never commanded me to “go make a sandwich.” I know that not all women come from good relationships and some husbands are dominating in a non-biblical way and command their wives to do things, but I’m not talking about sensitive or abusive relationships. I’m talking about your “average” marriage. If my husband “asked” me to make a sandwich, I would. I don’t see why this is a problem? I would love to serve my husband a sandwich and if I asked my husband to make me a sandwich, he would. The second part of this problem is the money. Obviously, we should not be making money our priority. Is it nice to have money? Sure. Does it sometimes make things easier? Yes, it does, but when it is our focus, it becomes our god. And God is very clear about that, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)

Ultimately, the above three problems aren’t the biggest issue I have with this meme, as I realize this meme was not intended for Christian women because if it were, then obviously loving God is the biggest issue. But given the fact that this is a secular meme, the biggest issue with this meme is how it demeans men. It’s putting in our minds that men are not important. It’s telling us women, that we don’t need our men and if we believe we don’t need our men, then we let our men know we don’t need them and the deeper and deeper this belief goes, the more truthful it becomes. There is a problem in this country and in our church, where we are constantly demeaning our men and teaching them to be passive and teaching them that they are not important and making them feel useless in the church, in the home and with our children. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty of this as the next. It’s something I’m really praying about and working on and God is really working on my heart in this area. This whole idea, though, is very dangerous. We can’t make our men feel this way. God designed men and women to be partners to share in each others strengths and weaknesses and to need one another! We can’t keep bringing our men down, we have to build them up and we have to tell them why we need them and why they are important. We do this through loving them in all circumstances and encouraging them as their partner.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands¬†as you do to the Lord.¬†For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church,his body, of which he is the Savior.¬†Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands¬†in everything.” Ephesians 5:22-24

I encourage you this week to really work towards encouraging your husbands. If you do this already, great, keep it up. If this is an area you struggle with, then give it to God. Ask God to show you how to make your husband see that he is needed and how to love him in a Godly way. Do you struggle with sometimes making your husband not feel needed? I find this especially challenging with parenting. Is this an area that you need to turn over to God? Have you seen this same things happening in the church and around you?

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Four Ways to Change Your Prayer Perspective

The other day, I was going about my business, when God decided it was time to speak to me. I was opening the refrigerator to get something to drink and God said, “I answered your prayer and you didn’t even notice.” Wait? What? Woah, this really cut right through my heart. God was right, of course he answered my prayer and I really didn’t notice. It was a small prayer, but it was answered. In fact, it wasn’t just a small prayer, it was a silly prayer.

You see, the Saturday before, I went to the hair salon and got a new hair color. I needed a fresh look. I spent 3 hours in the salon trying to achieve the color I wanted and when all was said and done, I hated it. I didn’t say anything because the shop was closing up and we were already there for 3 hours. I kept thinking it would grow on me, but as soon as I got in my car, I started crying. The tears lasted all afternoon and into the next day. My poor husband! I felt horrible and my hair looked terrible. I immediately called the salon and left a voicemail, but they were closed on Sundays and Mondays, so I had to wait out 2 full days with really awful looking hair. On Tuesday morning, I received a phone call from the salon saying they couldn’t fit me in until the following Wednesday. That meant I had to deal with my hair color for a week and a half. I was so upset because I was going out of town to see my family over the weekend and I really wanted my hair to be fixed since I don’t see them too often. I decided to call back the salon and see if I could get put on a cancellation list and then I prayed. I told God that I knew this was a silly prayer and maybe a little vain, but I was really embarrassed by my hair color. I thought it portrayed to the world that I was somebody else and it made me feel really uncomfortable. The next day, the salon stylist calls me and says, “we got a cancellation for Thursday morning and you were the first person I thought of because I know you were going out of town.” Of course I said, “YES!” I rearranged my schedule and was super excited to go on Thursday to get my hair fixed. After I hung up the phone, I moved on with my day and left it at that, but that afternoon God said what he did, “I answered your prayer and you didn’t even notice.” Doh! I immediately repented and praised God for his answered prayer and for hearing my small cry.

This whole situation got me thinking about prayer in general. I started thinking about how I can make my prayer life more complete and I came up with a few ways. Here are four ways to change your prayer perspective:

1. CONSIDER SMALL PRAYERS: Understand that no prayer is a small prayer. All prayers, no matter how small we think they are, are important to God. We are his children and he hears our cries and though we may think our prayers aren’t that big of a deal, they are to God. We should not take prayer lightly. “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)

2. CONSIDER BIG PRAYERS: Remember, all prayers are the same to God. We are the ones who do the ranking. We determine what we think are big and small prayers, but God sees all of our prayers the same, as children crying out to their father. That being said, if we have ranked a prayer as a “big prayer,” we need to be patient. The reality is that sometimes our big prayers seem to go unanswered because there are a lot of factors that must take place before the full answer to that prayer comes. For instance, let’s say you’re praying for someone to come to know the Lord. It seems like it’s taking forever and you can’t figure out why God would not want this person to come to know him as their personal savior. What I have learned, over time, is that all that waiting time isn’t about me as much as I think it is. That waiting time does build our character and teach us patience, which the Lord is doing, but it’s also about the person we’re praying for and God needs that time to set up everything perfectly so that when it is time for that person to know him personally, their heart is in the right place. Remember, God’s timing is perfect? “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end‚ÄĒit will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2:3) God is much bigger than we and he crosses our hearts and paths at exactly the right time to receive him fully.

3. BE GRATEFUL: This situation really pulled at my heart because I started thinking, if I don’t notice the answers to these small prayers, how could I notice the answer to the big prayers? Again, remember, all prayers are cries from God’s children, we do the ranking, but God knows we do the ranking and he uses that to teach us. Let’s take a minute and look at this verse, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 5:21) I know that this is about responsibility and about God trusting us with more, but what happens when we apply this verse to our gratefulness? It made me start thinking about God teaching me to be grateful for answers to my small prayers in order to prepare me to be grateful for my bigger prayers. The heart of this point is if I can’t give God credit for HIS doings, then I am selfish and I am not giving control to the Lord, because I am taking credit for myself for his workings. God is in control, God answered the prayer and it was not my doing. For that, I am grateful!

4. REMEMBER GOD IS BIGGER: Finally, God is bigger! We can’t forget this. God is so much bigger than us, this, everything. He is in control and we are only human. We may not ever understand why God does what he does and we may think we know more than God, especially in regards to timing, but the reality is we don’t! We don’t know anything compared to God. He is supreme and we have to humble ourselves before him and accept this reality because if we don’t we may often not notice those answered prayers and what we think is us losing hope waiting on the Lord, is really us being disobedient in our ability to let God rule our life. “And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” (Colossians 1:18) God is above all!

This situation really changed my prayer perspective. I can’t believe how easy it was to dismiss God’s answered prayer for my own doing. I have really been thinking about this a lot lately and God is really working on my heart to point out my sin of pride and selfishness.

Are there any prayers in your life that you took credit for the answers? Do you remember to thank God once he answers your prayers, even the small ones? I’d love to hear about small and big prayers that God has answered in your life!


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If Bibles could talk…

What would your Bible say about you? I have three Bibles. Well, technically, I have like 10 Bibles, but I have three Bibles that I have used for studying. These Bibles have been really special to me and each one has a different story. I started thinking about the story that goes with each Bible, which made me think, “If my Bible could talk, what would it say about me?” Here’s what I think they would say:

Bible #1:

NIV-Thinline-Navy Blue (Given as a gift from my parents the Christmas after I became a Christian, Dec. 1996)

You have spent many hours studying me. I have loved your passion for learning the word. I can see you’re an artist at heart because you drew lots of doodles and used your highlighter all throughout my pages. You devoured the word as if you were literally hungry! You wrote notes and underlined important words and you even stuck stickers in the front of me. You were so young and so excited. I loved seeing your zeal for the Lord and the excitement you had learning new scripture. You had a hard time understanding a lot of the scripture and you never really went beyond the surface of what my words held for you. You were really good at scratching the surface, but never quite figured out how to dig deeper. It’s OK though, because these years were your formative years. You were learning how to use me correctly, learning how to find different books, different verses and how to share them with others. You also learned how to have quiet times and how to write in a journal. I could tell you were having a great time because the binding actually fell apart on me. These years were crucial for your foundation in the Lord and I am so glad I was chosen to be at the beginning of this journey for you. You lost a little interest in me in college and it made me sad, but I know that in your heart you still believed the truth I was sharing. I could tell you still loved the words I offered because when times were really tough for you in college, you still pulled me out. It was kind of heartbreaking when you put me on a shelf with all of the other books and didn’t keep me by your bedside anymore, but I understood. You were confused and although I served as a great foundation for you, your inability to dig beyond the surface was catching up to you as the worldly experiences of college were influencing you. After college, you picked me up a few times and that felt really good, but I could tell that my time with you was coming to an end and that a new journey was waiting for you.

Bible #2:

NIV-The Quest Bible (Given as a gift from my husband for Easter)

You asked your husband to give me to you as a gift because you had a lot of questions about your faith. When you first opened me, you didn’t even really know where to start. You didn’t highlight me too much, or underline many of my words, but you did read close to every question that was listed in the margins. It’s OK that you didn’t use me too much because I served a very important role in your life. I kept you afloat when you weren’t sure where you stood in your faith. I reminded you that the word of God is true and I helped you wrestle with some really tough questions. You were pretty inconsistent with reading me, but I could tell that you were trying and I could tell that your heart was doing some honest soul-searching.   Your cries out to the Lord were heard and your fast flipping through my pages and slow reading of my words showed how much finding your faith meant to you. I’m glad that I was there for you when you needed the most stability in your journey and though you didn’t really open me as much as I would have liked, I know that I served my purpose.

Bible #3:

NIV-Thinline-Bloom Edition (A gift from myself for this new journey in Christ)

I don’t know you too well yet, in fact, we just met this past week, but I can already tell I like you. You carefully read over my words and choose wisely what you underline. I can tell by the way you stay on the same page for a long period of time that you know how to read me and apply me to your life. I can see your smile when you pick me up and I can tell how much peace you feel when you touch my pages. I believe that I am going to be around for you for a while and I believe that you will be digging a very deep well within my words. If I could see your heart, I would guess you’re in a place of reconciliation and that whatever doubts or questions you may have had in the past have now been resolved. I am happy to partake in this journey with you and look forward to many highlighting, underlining and margin note taking moments with you.

Each of these Bibles have represented a specific time in my life in my walk with Christ. They will be my legacy to pass down to my children and they will always be a reference and a reminder of where I have come from. I love all three of these Bibles for different reasons and am so grateful to have each of them at the times I have had them. I may or may not have more study Bibles in the future, but as the seasons of my life change, I find that the way I read and apply scripture changes too and because of that I am so thankful that God’s word is never unchanging.

Do you have multiple study Bibles? Have you ever thought about how your Bible might reflect a certain time in your life? What do you think your Bible would say about you?

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What is Love?

“Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more.” Ok, that was my lame attempt at a throwback reference to Night at the Roxbury. But seriously, what is love? Did you know that the question “What is Love?” was the number one Googled question in 2011? Crazy, right? Out of all of the questions that could possibly be Googled in any given year, this question was number one! So here we are, wondering “what is love?” I’m asking too and yet, I know the answer, but do I really¬†know the answer?

Scripture is full of the word love. In fact, depending on what Bible you read, the word love appears approximately 500 times. (Check out this cool chart breaking it down) The simple church answer to this question is obvious, God. God is love, but what is love in the way that we express ourselves to others? How do we show love? How do we know love? What exactly is love? Is it a feeling? An emotion? An action? God makes it very clear to us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

How many times have you seen this verse and never gave a second thought? I’m pretty sure this is the first verse you learn when you’re a new Christian and it’s a verse we read over and over and yet, it wasn’t until recently that God really showed me what this verse was about. I have a wonderful mentor in my life and she recently told me that when I am frustrated or feeling defeated or feeling impatient to think about this verse, but instead of using the word love, replace it with my name or with I.

I am patient, I am kind, I do not envy, I do not boast, I am not proud. I do not dishonor others, I am not self-seeking, I am not easily angered, I keep no records of wrongs. I do not delight in evil, but I rejoice with the truth. I always protect, I always trust, I always hope and I always persevere.

Wow…I was speechless when she told me to do that. I’m still speechless sometimes when I think about this. This was a total game changer and completely, 100% convicting. How can I truly say I love someone when I am rarely patient when I need to be, I struggle with kindness, I envy “the easy life” that others have, I boast about my accomplishments, I’m proud when I do something that I think deserves attention. I dishonor others when I gossip or when I overstep my boundaries. I’m completely self-seeking, especially when it comes to my household responsibilities. I’m easily angered, especially when I’m tired, and I totally keep records of wrongs. Honestly, I’m the Library of Congress when it comes to keeping records of wrongs. I could tell you everything bad anyone has ever done to me over the past 30 years of my life. Seriously, it really annoys those around me because I can recall just about every wrong thing that they have done to me. It’s terrible. How can I say I love, when I have never truly applied this verse to my life?

So, people of the Internet, you ask, “What is love?” Love is God and God is love and love is being patient and kind and all of the above. Love is having a merciful God who showers us in grace and understands that we are not perfect, we are sinners and that we can’t quite figure this love thing out even when it’s right in front of us.

This week, I challenge you to replace the word love with your own name and remind yourself that when you love those around you, you should be practicing 1 Corinthians 13. I am so thankful that my mentor told me to do this. It was so life changing for me and I hope that you get as much out of it as I did.

Are you like me and you struggle to express love in the way God asks us to? Is God tugging at your heart to get you to love those around you unconditionally, the way he loves us?  My prayer for all of us is that we can truly love those around us and that God will help us have a clear understanding of What love really is!

5 Ways to Change Someone’s Attitude

My husband was in a crabby mood recently when he got home from work. I’m not really sure what made him upset, but he was very short tempered and obviously tired and/or irritated. As most humans, I feed off of the emotions of those around me. This is very important to keep in mind as a teacher. I always knew that whatever I was feeling in the classroom, my students were feeling it from me. Whenever my husband is in a icky mood, it always makes me feel upset, mean, frustrated, angry, you name it and I feel it. It’s amazing how much his mood sets off my mood, which in turn sets off our daughter’s mood. It seems no matter how many times I tell him that his mood affects everyone around him, he still doesn’t change.

God has made it very clear to me that it is not my responsibility to change my husband or anyone for that matter. God is responsible for changing, not me. So, what do we do when people around us make us feel bad, especially when they are people we love? Well, the straight answer is, we continue to love them, but to help you along in these situations, I’ve come up with 5 ways to change someone’s attitude:

1.¬†PRAY:¬† This seems the most obvious thing to do, but if you’re anything like me, it’s not the first thing I think of doing. Usually, I’m so frustrated that the person around me is in a bad mood that the last thing I want to do is pray, but God calls us to humble ourselves and pray in all situations. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes. 5:16-18) Yikes! Did you see that?¬†“This is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”¬†Do you know what that means? That means that if we refuse to pray continually, then we are not living the will of God, which means, uh-oh, we’re being disobedient. Given this command, I think it’s important that we make sure we pray. Not sure what to pray in these situations? Try a simple prayer like this:¬†

God, I want to praise you right now for this situation. It is hard for me to pray right now because I’m frustrated, but you said that it is your will for me to pray continually. I pray that you soften my heart towards this person and this situation and I pray that the joy in my heart to follow your will, Lord, will shine so bright that the person near me will absorb your spirit instead of a spirit of moodiness. Thank you for your spirit of peace, joy and kindness. Amen

2.¬†REMAIN SILENT:¬†Hmm… This.is.hard! I’m a strong willed woman. I always have been and I’ve been blessed with a strong willed daughter (more on this some other day). I was raised to speak my mind and stand up for myself. I also was grounded a lot as a child for talking back to my parents and I may or may not have always had to have the last words in an argument. God has taught me and is STILL teaching me how to tame my tongue. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21) Ugh, this one gets me every time. It is so hard to remain silent, but I need to remain silent in order to let God work in the situation. Remaining silent not only gives us time to evaluate the situations and to observe what is¬†really going on, but it also gives us a chance to practice self-control on our own emotions and mood. Remaining silent is a way to catch our breath and not say something sharp to the other person

3.¬†USE ENCOURAGING WORDS/STAY POSITIVE:¬†Think about a time when you felt really bad, sad, mad, tired, angry or any other negative feeling. Has anyone ever said anything positive to you during that time? If so, it probably made you feel a little better. Our job in this situation is to say something positive. It could be something as simple as, “you look great today,” or “I know you’re probably tired, thank you for working such long hours for our family.” Maybe it’s a friend’s attitude that’s got you in a tizzy, you could stay positive by bringing up a funny memory with that person. “Hey, remember the time when…” We are called to encourage one another, so it is essential that we do this in all situations, but even¬†more so¬†in these situations. “Therefore¬†encourage¬†one¬†another¬†and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thes. 5:11)

4.¬†EXPRESS CONCERN:¬†Politely ask your spouse, friend, whomever, if something might be bothering them. Tell them that you noticed they might seem a little on edge and you were wondering if everything was OK? This is not always my first reaction. My first reaction tends to be a snappy, “what’s your problem?” kind of response, which ultimately leads to a much heated argument. When we give attitude back to the person who is already grumpy, we are just adding fuel to the flame. It is important that we have genuine concern for the person and take an interest in finding out what really is wrong. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephs. 4:32) Ouch, another zinger! Be compassionate and forgiving just as God forgave me. Talk about conviction! Expressing concern makes the situation all about the other person and not about us and not about how offended we are by their actions or how “unjust” it is that the other person is upset and taking it out on us. When we love someone, then we should not be selfish, for love is not self-seeking. (1 Corinth 13:5)

5.¬†OFFER HELP:¬†Finally, offer help. “Do you need me to help you somehow so that you can relax?” or “How about you go ahead and spend some time enjoying a TV show or a cup of tea and I’ll take care of everything else tonight.” A simple gesture that could make all the difference in that person’s day. It is our calling to carry the burdens of our family and friends and anyone else. God’s will is for us to care for one another and help each other in all situations. “Carry each other‚Äôs burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians¬†6:2)

So there you have it, how to change someone’s attitude. If you haven’t caught on by now, the person’s attitude you’re changing isn’t someone else, but rather your own. If we change our attitude towards other people, ultimately, we may find that their attitude changes too. This has been a real struggle for me to realize and God has been telling me over and over how I need to change. I always like to say, “but that isn’t fair, ” at which point God reminds me that he is a fair and just God and that he knows more than I do and more than I ever will.

I encourage you this week to change your attitude towards someone else and see what blessings God will bring.

Are you like me and find it hard to change your attitude when you feel it’s the other person who needs changing?

God’s Timing is Perfect

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A few months ago, or maybe it was a year ago, I met a young mom to be at a small group through our church. She was pregnant and I had just had my baby a couple months prior. We chatted for a few minutes and exchanged names, which happened to be the same, and then we moved on. A few days later, I reconnected with her on Facebook, but we never met in person. We commented on each other’s posts and pictures and¬†occasionally¬†sent private messages to one another. She had her baby and we kept in touch, but we never met up with one another. It was a rather odd situation because I felt like I knew her and that we were friends, even though we spent no time together. Months had past and God finally gave us the chance to meet in person.

We met up just a couple of weeks ago and within 30 minutes of seeing one another we were in deep conversations about the state of our marriages, where we were on our spiritual walks and what we thought or didn’t think God was doing in our lives. How funny! Honestly, we really didn’t know one another and here we were sharing our deepest confessions. I thought to myself, “Wow, this is really what it means to be a sister in Christ.” When we are brothers and sisters in Christ, we know one another in a very different way than we would a non-believer. We should be able to confess, share, and trust our siblings in Christ because we are of the same family. After God revealed this to me, He went on to reveal even more. Prior to this meeting, my friend and I kept trying to make plans to get together, but somehow the opportunity never arose. When we finally managed to match our schedules, the timing could not have been more perfect. My friend and I were in very similar places in our marriages and we were able to talk and connect with one another so intimately as a result. Had we met prior to that day, we would not have had the same connection. All of those failed attempts at getting together was a way for God to build our character, take us deeper in our journeys, and intersect our lives at exactly the right time.

God is so good. Had none of this happened, I would not have even considered writing a blog about encouraging women in the Lord. I felt so refreshed and so inspired by the date with my friend that I dug deeper into scripture and found that God was really laying Titus 2: 3-5 heavily on my heart. I can’t get this verse out of my mind because I can’t believe after 16 years of being a Christian that I never took this verse to heart. God needed me to be in a place in my life to really understand this verse and really apply it and so here I am sharing it with you and allowing God to use this blog to inspire my sisters in Christ.

3¬†Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers¬†or addicted to much wine,¬†but to teach what is good.¬†4¬†Then they can urge the younger women¬†to love their husbands and children,¬†5¬†to be self-controlled¬†and pure, to be busy at home,¬†to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands,¬†so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5

I’d love to hear how God has revealed his perfect timing in your life?