Saturday, December 31, 2011

everyday worship

May we not save our worship just for Christmas, but may we fall to our knees every day, of every year, in worship of our King.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Dear mama...

Dear Homeschool Mama,

It’s been a long year.

2011 is almost over. You’ve spent much of it at home. You’ve taught math lessons (over and over and over …) and learned more about grammar than you ever wanted to know. You’ve worked on character training as you’ve helped make beds and clear tables. You’ve washed a veritable mountain of laundry and cooked boatloads of macaroni and cheese.

You’ve had eyes rolled at you 9,362 times, stressed over the SAT and the ACT and had to make hard curriculum and school decisions.

Your heart has been broken when your children weren’t nice to one another or when older ones chose paths you didn’t approve of. You’ve cried over spilled milk and shattered dreams. You’ve received non-glowing progress reports and unfavorable doctor’s prognoses. You’ve questioned yourself daily as you struggle down this path of educating your children at home.

You’ve also enjoyed some sunny days. You’ve held hands walking paths in the park and watched the sun glow golden through trees. You’ve watched understanding dawn on your children's faces. You’ve lit birthday candles, wondered at giraffes and elephants at the zoo, and you’ve prayed together and laughed together and lived life together.

Not many people saw.

But I did.

And I want to thank you. For loving well, for laying your life down, for working hard at this task you’ve heard Me call you to.

Your Father

“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:11-12

“But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

New Year Hopes

New Years Hopes (in no specific order)
1. I hope to drink more water
2. I hope to drink less Pepsi
3. I hope to get healthier
4. I hope to lose weight
5. I hope to be a better wife
6. I hope to be a better mother
3. I hope to write real letters, not just email
6. I hope to get more organized
4. I hope to take my dog to the dog park
5. I hope to work out
6. I hope to pray more and spend more time with Jesus
7. I hope to share my faith more with boldness
8. I hope to serve God more and to serve others more
9. I hope to give more
7. I hope to eat less
8. I hope to make time to have fun and just be silly
9. I hope to tell my daughters something I love about them everyday
10. I hope to think about good things more and bad things less
11. I hope to cook more
12. I hope to be a better friend
13. I hope to be a better daughter
12. I hope to dance, dance, dance
13. I hope to love people that I do not feel like loving
13. I hope to spend less time on Facebook
14. I hope to spend more time with my daughters
15. I hope to listen to music
16. I hope to have a cleaner house
16. I hope to tell my husband something that I love about him everyday
17. I hope to offer my opinion about stuff a lot less
19. I hope to become less busy with stuff that does not matter at all
20. I hope to treasure every moment. We do not know when it may be our last day. We never know what tomorrow may bring.
21.I hope to live the best life day by day that I can


the gift

Thinking about Christmas brings to mind gifts. Well, this year I am thankful for the gift of homeschooling.

As I look back on this journey, I am realizing it is a gift that God presented to me five years ago, and I have slowly been peeling off the paper and bow, to reveal the beautiful gift that it truly is.

It is a gift that has given me more of my kids. Chances for relationships with them, time with them, and the opportunity to really get to know them on so many levels- being with them each day, teaching them.

It is a gift that has given me more of my beautiful Savior. I have grown closer to Him, seeing more and more glimpses of the other side, when I am drawn closer to Him each and every day.

It is a gift hat has given me friendships. I have been blessed beyond measure with the many friends I have made on this journey, and because of this journey. Kindred spirits, like minds, and sisters in Christ.

It is a gift that has taught me to lean on Him, and not my own understanding. To stay on His path, and the blessings are abundant.

This was a gift that I did not know that I wanted until it was given to me. And it has taken me awhile to unwrap it and appreciate how much I love this gift.

So I thank you Lord for your gift of homeschooling…

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15

You Never Let Go

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Story by Max Lucado

I read this on the Women of Faith blog last week. I love how it helps me visualize the birth of Jesus in a new way and that it reminds me how humbling his choice was to leave Heaven and come to earth as a human.

God did something extraordinary.
Stepping from the throne, he removed his robe of light and wrapped himself in skin:pigmented, human skin. The light of the universe entered a dark, wet womb. He whom angels worship nestled himself in the placenta of a peasant, was birthed into a cold night, and then slept on cow’s hay.
Mary didn't know whether to give him milk or give him praise, but she gave him both since he was, as near as she could figure, hungry and holy.

Joseph didn’t know whether to call him Junior or Father. But in the end he called him Jesus, since that’s what the angel had said and since he didn’t have the faintest idea what to name a God he could cradle in his arms...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Amazing Grace

Eternal Gifts

Santa knows what I want for Christmas,
But Jesus knows what I need.
It can't be purchased wrapped up and placed
under an eight foot tree.

I need patience and kindness-virtues like these
to bend on my knee at the manger

Santa may bring things that last for the year
but Eternal gifts come from the Savior.

Some days come when I'm plain selfish
I can't think of no one but me
Then I think of all that I've been blessed with
and how it is better to give than receive

I need faithfulness, love and generosity
to open my home to a stranger

Santa may bring things that last for a year but
Eternal gifts come from the Savior

Come and Worship

"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.'"

This passage teaches us two thing:

First, that Jesus was born.

What do we learn next?

He is worshiped.

Now, in reality, the wise men most likely traveled a very long way so they probably did not show up the night of Jesus' birth as we often see visualized and hear as part of the Christmas story.

But regardless. They heard the Christ child was born and their response was one of...worship.

What do you think they expected to see when they arrived? A teenage mom as a King of the Jews? A tiny infant boy who looked so...normal?

They came.


To worship.

"But there is more here than a visit to a child who would be king someday. These Magi worshiped him. That was the intent of their coming. And so the narrative also reminds us that this child Jesus was far more than a future king. Only if He is divine could He be worshiped." -

We visit newborn babies in hospitals. We bring them gifts. But we do not worship them.

The wise men came to worship because they knew this baby boy was part of a much greater plan to restore humanity and repair relationships.

A few days from today is Christmas. And I have choice. I can choose to worship gifts. Or people. Or decorating. Or baking. Or shopping. Or partying.

Or I can do what Scripture models for me. The wise men chose to worship and it would be wise for me to choose the same.

What does that look like? Taking time each day to read, ponder, or dwell upon the magnificence that is Christmas. Sing a hymn. Write a love letter. Read Scripture to prepare my heart. Slow down and listen to what God might be wanting to say to me this advent season. Get on my knees and worship the Creator who brought the created to earth. Stop and recognize the m i r a c l e that is the Christmas story.

Friends, He has come. It is time to worship.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Waiting on God

Advent is the season of waiting.

And we all know about waiting.

What is so beautiful about this season of waiting is that we know what it is we're waiting for: the celebration of the birth of Christ.

My devotion today was about waiting and I was anxious to read about this topic and I was not disappointed.

One point that spoke powerfully to me was this: when one has surgery (internally) things on the outside don't really look like they're changing. But on the inside much healing is taking place. Things are being transformed and changed.

This is what it can look like when we're waiting. On the outside, there is no apparent change taking place. But on the inside, God is doing a work in me and a transformation can take place.

Two thousand and eleven years ago the world looked the same from the outside. Except for a few people, no one knew the change that was about to take place.

I wait in sweet anticipation of Christmas. The coming of our King. And I wait for God to reveal what His plan and purpose is for our family.

We can be confident that although it might seem that things aren't changing or moving in the direction that we would like, God is doing a work whether we can see it or not.

And if we allow Him to, he can be transforming us from the inside out. Our waiting does not need to be worthless. It shouldn't be wasted.

Let's wait expectantly...anticipating the great work that God is doing and will do...asking Him to transform us in the process of waiting.

I certainly have not been asking God for that lately. I've been whining rather than waiting. I've been working rather than waiting. And I've been wondering rather than waiting.

This is a lesson that I learn over and over and over again.

And this advent season is a good reminder about the purpose of waiting: to prepare our hearts. The devotion said, "Christmas is so momentous an event that we must prepare our hearts, minds and homes."

Lets prepare shall we? Lets tell God we are waiting for Him. We are expecting Him. We are anticipating His work in our hearts and lives.

And lets sit back and see what He does.

Here is a song I have loved listening to for the past year: "Waiting Here For You."

What a perfect song it is for this season of waiting. We're waiting here for you Jesus...with our hands lifted praise....and it's you we adore...singing Hallelujah.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Does Anybody Hear Her?

Hug on those around you who are hurting this Christmas. We all know or come into contact with someone who is feeling loss, sadness, and despair in their lives. You don't even have to say a word. Share about the greatest Christmas gift and give them a hug!!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father...who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Sunday, December 18, 2011

We'll Praise Your Name Forever

O Come All Ye's always been a favorite Christmas song, but I heard Chris Tomlin's version this week and I can't stop listening.

Do yourself a favor: turn off the 'Christmas noise' our world offers and immerse yourself in the beauty of this song.
We'll praise your name forever
We'll praise your name forever
We'll praise your name forever
Christ the Lord

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Through the Storm

The storms of life will blow
They're sure to come and go
They meet me at a time
When I'm calm and doing fine

But the Captain of my soul
He's always on board
He rocks me in His arms
While riding through the storm

While riding through the storm
Jesus holds me in His arms
I am not afraid
Of the stormy winds and the waves

though the tides become high
He holds me while I ride
I've found safety in his arms
While riding through the storm

I have no fear of the raging seas
Knowing Jesus is there with me
He can speak to the winds and the waves
And make them behave

All power's in His hands
on sea or on dry land
I found safety in the master's arms
While riding through the storm

While riding through the storm
Jesus holds me in His arms
noohoho I'm not afraid of the stormy winds and the waves
though the tides become high
He holds me while i ride
I've found safety in the Masters arms
While riding through the storm

Friday, December 16, 2011

There is...

There is...
For every hectic work day there is a quiet rest...

For every painful experience there is a healing touch...

For every negative feeling there is an abiding joy...

For every disappointment there is a certain hope...

For every turbulent storm there is a sure foundation...

For every doubting thought there is a calm assurance...

For every hurtful action there is a forgiving love.

In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37

-Roy Lessin, DaySpring co-founder and writer

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When You Need Someone To Notice

When You Need Someone To Notice
My family has a favorite phrase: "We'll see..."
We add it at the end of stories. Grab onto it to describe the future. Toss it into the middle of decisions.
It works pretty well.
And yet lately I've found myself wondering what it might mean to add more to the end of that phrase - to not simply stop at "We'll see."
What if I finished the sentence?
We'll see...God come through in amazing ways.
We'll He'll work all of this out.
We'll see...His goodness in the middle of the happy and hard places.
Yes, He knows all our circumstances, every hair on our heads, every care in our hearts.
He'll see...always has, always will (that includes today too).
And somehow that's enough to make me close my eyes and smile for awhile.
-Holley Gerth

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When You Need To Be Strong

When You Need To Be Strong

I look at the days ahead and wonder what they hold.
Don't we all?
And then these words make their way to my heart:
"Go in the strength you I not sending you?"
Judges 6:14

We don't have to...
wait to overcome our weaknesses,
complete the ten point improvement plan,
figure everything out.
The strength we already have is all the strength we need.
Because we have a limitless God within us who loves us.
As is.
And He promises to stick by us.
All the way.
-Holley Gerth