Evidence of Life

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Messes don’t usually make me feel thankful.

I remember a day when my children were younger and I counted more than 14 pairs of shoes spread carelessly around the room I was in. I was not a happy mama!

But as I mentally chided my children for not being grateful enough to put their shoes away, I felt God gently reprimand me. Was I modeling thankfulness?

Those shoes were evidence of life. A life full of people I love. I realized I could look at their shoes and feel drained and frustrated or filled up and thankful.

Every day we have a choice. We can look at the messes in our lives — piles of shoes, dirty dishes, laundry that needs to be done — and frown. Or we can see all of these things as rich evidence of life and smile.

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Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst

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Reality Discipline with Younger Children

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Reality discipline for younger kids … is it possible?

It has been a while since my kids were preschool age, but I do remember holding on for dear life sometimes exclaiming this too shall pass! My reality discipline ideas, during that phase, seemed to be centered around privileges.

When my kids played with their toys correctly and put them away when asked, it showed they were responsible enough to have a few extra minutes added to their bedtime. But if they were defiant, this showed me they needed extra sleep, which meant fewer privileges.

Whatever the consequence, I made sure it was tied to the action. I tried to make sure that I thought of safe and reasonable consequences before my kids pushed my buttons.  Otherwise, emotions pushed over the edge will often cause us to throw out threats we won’t carry through.

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Am I Messing Up My Kids by Lysa TerKeurst

Godly Friends for Our Kids

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If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there’s no magic formula for raising kids.

If a new mom were to ask me for a secret formula, I’d say pray for wisdom to know how to balance discipline and grace, work and fun, saying yes or no and pray that they’ll find really good friends. The friend’s part is huge.

I’ve made plenty of mistakes as a mom. But one thing I’ve discovered I did right was praying for godly friends for my daughter. She’s not the kind of girl who will ever have a ton of friends. But I want the friends she does have to be good influences. So, I keep praying.

For more daily encouragement download our FREE app First 5, and spend your first moments of each day with God.

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The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst

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Looking At Love

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Today I’m feeling challenged to look at love a little differently.

To be completely honest, I often look at love by focusing on what it will offer me.

But if my only view of love is based on what I can get from other people, it’ll fail me every single time.

You see, I’ve finally learned that other people were never meant to be my God. No husband, children or other relationship can ever right all my wrongs and soothe those deep insecurities; Only God can do this.

So, I can choose to focus my attention and my heart on Jesus every day, and stop demanding that the people around me do things they were never meant to do.

Today I’m choosing to remember that love isn’t what I have the opportunity to get from this world. Love is what I have the opportunity to give.

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Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst

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The Family Hike

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A family hike … what a great idea! Or so I thought.

One summer at family camp, some exercise-loving friends suggested our family join them for a moderate hike. I pictured a path with a gentle winding, upward slope.

Not so! It was more like scaling a cliff. Climbing up that mountain against the force of gravity was really hard, but coming down was a completely different experience. I could actually talk and enjoy the scenery. Working with gravity made the journey so much better.

Life is a little like that hike. When I make choices that don’t line up with the Bible, it’s like working against gravity. In the same way, when I make choices that line up with the Bible’s principles, I am working with God’s power and that’s definitely the better route.

For more daily encouragement download our FREE app First 5, and spend your first moments of each day with God.

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The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst

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Love Notes To Lighten Their Load

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Yesterday I tried to pick up my son’s book bag and couldn’t lift it, because it was so heavy!

I found four textbooks, two big binders and some old candy wrappers inside the backpack. I wondered, how can Andrew carry this heavy load all day?  It dawned on me that high school had increased his physical burden but also other burdens as well.

I’ve decided to help lighten his load this year; I am going to put little notes in is book bag.  I can just picture him smiling about my crazy drawings or some fun phrases that we just say between the two of us, or even like a prayer or Bible promise.

Notes tell our kids we’re thinking about them, and that they’re not alone. A funny stick figure can bring laughter to their stressful day. Love notes can actually lighten their loads and lift their hearts!

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A Confident Heart Devotional by Renee Swope

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Convicted But Not Condemned

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I’d had it with my son’s attitude, and I let him know it!! Then I felt horrible for losing my temper!

I felt so guilty, and I was convinced that’s exactly how God wanted me to feel. Then, I remembered a pastor describing the difference between being convicted and condemned. He said condemnation sweeps over us with thoughts like: You’re such a failure, you’re a hypocrite, and it brings guilt and shame.

God’s conviction is specific. He’ll show us a behavior that was wrong and usually give us an idea of how to make it right, like nudging us to apologize and ask for forgiveness.

That day, I did just that. I let God’s conviction bring restoration between my son and I by apologizing, and eventually my guilt went away.

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A Confident Heart Devotional by Renee Swope

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Are They Getting It?

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I wonder if our kids are really “getting” what we hope to pass on to them?

A few years ago, my son’s youth group leader asked the kids to share ways to make good use of their time for God. Joshua told us he talked about how his dad takes time at lunch to do a Bible study with co-workers. I couldn’t help but smile knowing my husband, JJ, had simply shared with Joshua what he did on his lunch hour and it made an impact.

You see, for years JJ’s taken time to read the Bible or a book with co-workers who don’t have a relationship with God, in hopes of starting conversations about Jesus. By simply telling Joshua about his day, JJ had passed on an important lesson.

You know, sometimes the best ways for our kids to “get it” is for us to simply share our lives and our daily faith-stories with them.

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A Confident Heart Devotional by Renee Swope

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When Siblings Serve Together

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Have you ever noticed the first four men Jesus called to follow Him were two sets of brothers?

The Bible describes how these two sets of brothers, and a small group of friends impacted their world with God’s love. Yet today, it’s unusual to see brothers and sisters serving together.

So often as parents we encourage each child to explore their individual interests, which is a good thing. But often, as kids grow up, their lives take them away from each other.

As a mom, there is nothing I love more than seeing my boys work on something together but it’s usually a video game or skateboarding. What would happen if my husband and I got more intentional and looked for ways for our kids to serve God together? I wonder how that might shape their lives or lead them to do ministry with each other and maybe change their world one day!

For more parenting encouragement download our FREE app First 5, and spend your first moments of each day with God.

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Encouragement for Today by Renee Swope, Lysa TerKeurst, Samantha Evilsizer and other P31 authors

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Letting Kids Be Kids

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Do you ever get embarrassed when your kids act like … kids?

The other night our family went out to eat with some friends who have a 2-year-old. She was sitting next to our 4-year old and they loved being together — so much so, that at one point they were squealing with laughter and almost screaming with delight. At first we really enjoyed our girls’ interaction but as they got louder, we all wanted to quiet them.

My friend’s husband reminded us it was a family restaurant. They’d expect families to be here and kids to be a little noisy. And, by the looks on faces of others in the restaurant, they were enjoying our girls’ giggles too.

It’s hard to know when to let our kids be kids. There’s a fine line between having fun and disrupting others.  That night my husband and I were challenged to err on the side of fun as often as we can.

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A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

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