Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gideon 6

I spent some time in the prayer room this morning, really just wanting some insight and comfort from God. This year, 2014, has been the weirdest year of all. Friends moving, having babies, going back to school, changing jobs, and the list goes on and on...

In midst of all that is changing around me, I often wonder, What does God have for me?

I don't have all the answers, and I really don't have a ton of direction, but I do want to share my insights from reading (part of) the story of Gideon this morning. You can find this in the book of Judges, chapters 6 &7.

Judges Chapter 6

v. 14 "Go in the strength you have"

  • When I read verse 14, this portion stuck out to me. God requires us to act, even though we are oftentimes tired and weary. Gideon is asking God why things have happened to his family and in his life, but God is asking him to act/move/go. In my life, I very often feel tired and weary of the same problems. I'm wanting a "why", instead of just doing. I'm ready to sleep, instead of act.

v. 15 "I am the least"

  • This part of the story ties into the previous verse. Gideon exclaims that he is the least qualified person to do the job (God is asking him to do). Wow, does that resonate with me! So often I have a lens of disadvantage, saying "I don't have money, family, time, skill, bravery, etc to carry this out." What if all of those "disadvantages" didn't matter to God? 

v. 16 "I will be with you"

  • God answers Gideon's plea of being the least, with a promise to go with him. That promise can give me courage, hope, and faith, to walk out the weariness and disadvantage feelings. I know that I will never have to walk into something (God has asked me to do) alone. 

Judges Chapter 7

 v. 2 "You have too many men [resources]... I can not deliver [provide blessings]... or Israel [you] would boast... 'my own strength has saved me'. (Emphasis my own.)

  • Too often I think that once I have enough resources (time, energy, money), that that will give me enough strength and a victory. But God has to strip me down to next to nothing before He can do His work (incredible things). In my life, this is what makes incredible stories, and what gives God his full honor and glory.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A "His & Hers" Weekly Planner

I was inspired a few weeks ago to create a weekly planner for myself, that included things that were most important to me.

Being a wife (and not quite a mommy), I wanted a planner that was centered around my home and husband. Don't get me wrong, moms, I love you, but the planners for you guys that are all over Pinterest, just don't quite fit for a family with no children.

In any case... I give you the His & Hers Weekly Planner!

For Him...

And For Her...

Here's an example "Hers" for you to use a guide for your family. 
I used the same concepts for creating the "His" planner. 

It's been a few weeks now that I've used my planner, and I feel more focused going into each week. It is so encouraging to look at it periodically through the week, and to pray for people listed, read over my scripture verse. 

It's also helped us communicate more in our marriage, with the questions for each other. Too often, I was reactive in dealing with our week, rather than proactive. 

Please let me know your feedback on these free printables! I'd love to hear how they work for you!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Prayer Room

Two weekends ago, I was in church and a thought came to me to create a space in my home specifically for prayer and quiet time.

I have heard of prayer rooms, or prayer closets, before but never really considered making it a part of our daily life.

What a prayer room is, is exactly what it sounds like. A room to go and be with the Lord. A calming, private place, to seek God, read scripture, pray and worship.

Daniel and I are fortunate enough to have an entire room to devote to this in our house. But I want to encourage you to see if there is a closet, room, or nook that you can fully dedicate to providing the members of your family a place away from everything to go and pray.

Here were some of my ideas for setting up our prayer room:

  • Remove any distractions- I kept the artwork plain, and purposely did not put a clock in this room. 
  • Provide Resources- On the table, I have bibles, devotionals and other resource tools. (And also, you can see in the above photo, my sewing machine. ;) I can't find another place to just store that right now.)
  • Prayer & Scripture- I used wrapping paper taped to the wall to provide an area to include photos of people to pray for, and in another area a place to hang index cards with scripture verses. 
  • Other Ideas- If you have them, try to include floor pillows or a soft rug, musical instruments, or even something to play worship music on. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

First Friday Book Review - Every Day a Friday

Title and AuthorEvery Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week By: Joel Osteen

Release Date: September 2011

Page Length: 304 pages

How I got the Book: Public library

Find OnlineGoodreads Amazon ChristianBook.com

Description: "The title comes from research that shows people are happiest on Fridays. Pastor Joel Osteen writes how we can generate this level of contentment and joy every day of the week.
Known as a man who maintains a constant positive outlook in spite of circumstances, Osteen has described this message as a core theme of his ministry. Combining his personal experiences with scriptural insights and principles for true happiness, he shows readers how every day can hold the same promise and opportunities for pure joy that they experience at five o'clock on Friday."

My Thoughts:
If I were to share with you I've read this amazing book on how to find joy in each day, you'd want to hear more. Guaranteed. If I told you I've read a Joel Osteen book, you probably would give me weird looks.

Sadly, most Christians don't understand the charismatic movement, and label Joel as a smiling phony. While that's a post for another time and place, here's why I loved this book.

Everyone loves Friday. I'm a little happier. On Fridays, I think about things I love- coffee dates with my husband, pay day, lunch with a friend, the boss is even nicer on Fridays. Why can't all my days be like that!?

Fortunately they can be. "This is the day the Lord has made" (Psalm 118:24 NKJV; emphasis added). Joel encourages us to see each day as a special day, a victory day, a day where something can be good.

Express Your Joy
As Christians we know that joy far outweighs happiness. Joel shares that we are supposed to be more joyful than those around us because "God has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions" (Hebrews 1:9). For me, that just clicked. I'm supposed to be showing joy and happiness far more than others around me. Wow, I have not been stepping up to the plate on that one! God knows we have to deal with negative people around us all day. He has given us an advantage- His spirit of joy. 

Bloom Where You Are Planted
Another topic Joel discusses in Everyday a Friday, is this idea of blooming where you are planted. So often in life we are not in our ideal situations. Our job isn't the best. Our family isn't the most loving or caring. Friends are going through a tough time and are negative. We always think that if things around us change, then we will be happy. Then we can rest easy and smile more. But Joel challenges us by sharing that "A better approach is, 'This is where God has placed me right now, and until He moves me, I'll be happy where I am'". I just love that.

This book was the right book at the right time for me. I had been feeling so discouraged about all that was going on around me (personal and work life), that I just needed a reminder on how to live with God's joy filling me every day. I feel like I have a better attitude and countenance during my day. Specifically this week, I've been trying to find one thing of joy in each day and meditate on that.

I would highly recommend this book, and would encourage you to also check out his weekly podcast messages for even more encouragement!