Archives for February 2016

Weekend Links

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Devotions for Lent

hold my hand
source: RobynLou8 via Flickr Creative Commons

Lent is well underway – that six-week period leading up to Easter Sunday. To tune one’s heart toward the cross and resurrection, spending Lent focusing on Scripture is profitable and helpful for adults and children both. Here are some devotionals you can use together or separately. Just jump in wherever you are. With Easter still nearly a month away, it’s not too late.

  1. Bible Gateway Lent Devotion – Include a prayer, Scripture, quote, and something to think about it for each day.
  2. She Reads Truth – Always offers daily devotions, with the Lenten season one being slow-paced and good food for thought. For men, see sister site He Reads Truth.
  3. Trail to the Tree from Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience
  4. A Sense of the Resurrection: An Easter Experience for Families from OhAmanda has 12 sense-invoking experiences to bring Scriptures to life for parents and children.
  5. Lenten Lights at Desiring God.

Weekend Links

Happy Saturday!

Seeing Sparkle and Choosing Joy by Mary Carver

photo-1453654166571-88b6571a59a3

Sara Frankl was a friend and fellow blogger who suffered from an autoimmune disease and several complications. As I worked on the book that tells Sara’s story and shares her message of hope and joy, I was amazed and moved to read about the incredible strength Sara drew from her faith. That inner strength allowed her to withstand immeasurable pain both physical and emotional — and to choose joy through it all.

I invite you to read an excerpt of our book today, where Sara shared a story from her childhood and gave us a glimpse of where she learned to choose joy.

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Listening to the sound of the wind whistling around the building as the windows shook and the snow whipped into tiny volcanoes in and of themselves, I found myself suddenly nostalgic for our farm house back on the acreage.

The blizzard here was just starting to get its footing. The winds were reaching their 50 miles per hour and the chill of the outside could be felt in my inside bones. And then, for a moment, there was quiet. So I grabbed my camera and looked outside, knowing what I would see: sparkly snow, right outside my window.

It was always my favorite part of the storm, watching from the window with my mom. I can remember the night, being in the family room, watching television with the family and suddenly noticing Mom was gone. I walked into the laundry room, knowing that’s where I would find her. But there was no sloshing of a washer or tumbling of a dryer. It was quiet. Dark. And the only sound was that familiar whipping of the wind as she sat on a stool by the window, watching it swirl.

Her moment of silence in the peace of the white sparkly snow.

As an adult, I now recognize the quiet moment she was grabbing. A husband and six kids content in another room. Dishes done. The house vacuumed. No pressing for homework to be done or school clothes to be ready, because she knew the snow was only starting and our rural roads wouldn’t be fit for the buses to pass.

She would sit quietly at the window and rest in the sound of the new fallen snow. The peace in the wild whipping of the wind. I, of course, would break her silence, but only by my presence. I liked the quiet, too.

She would show me the light we were trying to see in the distance – the one a quarter mile away that lit up Dad’s hog buildings. She was making sure the power was still on so the livestock were warm and fed and safe. But then she would take her eyes away from the light to make sure I saw the diamonds in the snow. She said they were the little gift that God gives in the middle of a storm.

And I would curl up with her on her stool and think about how she sparkled right along with them, in the quiet of the snow. There is no doubt that those little lessons then, about sparkly gifts in the middle of storms, help me to see the sparkle in my life now. Quietly content to watch the storms brew outside my windows – but only letting the sparkle rest inside.

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Frankl. Sara. Carver. Mary. CHOOSE JOY. Final cover. 050515.(1)

If you enjoyed this excerpt from Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts, you can learn more about the book and its authors at TheChooseJoyBook.com.

Mary Carver is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She writes about her imperfect life with humor and honesty, encouraging women to give up on perfect and get on with life, at www.givinguponperfect.com. Mary is the co-author of a new book called, Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts. Released by the Hachette Book Group in 2016, CHOOSE JOY is a must-have for those searching for meaning and beauty in a world full of tragedy. Sara’s words breathe with vitality and life, and her stories will inspire smiles, tears, and the desire to choose joy. To learn more about CHOOSE JOY, visit TheChooseJoyBook.com.

Weekend Links

Have a wonderful President’s Day and great new week.

 

Looking at the Beatitudes through the Lens of Parenting

Parenting and the Bible
source: MarcosReis07 via Flickr

John MacArthur wrote, “The Beatitudes demonstrate that the way to heavenly blessedness is antithetical to the worldly path normally followed in pursuit of happiness.”

Parenting isn’t about feeling good all the time.

Make it that, and you’ll have kids who run the house and don’t understand the word no. Some of my best parenting moments are when I feel the worse, I think. Holding a screaming, flailing 5-year-old who is throwing a temper tantrum – when really I just want to shut her in her room and go eat chocolate cake. Taking a deep breath and explaining to my 3-year-old onemoretime that “I need” is not the way we start sentences to ask for things. Not biting back when my 17-month-old decides to gnaw at my shoulder.

Often parenting is going against my human nature and trying to latch on to my Jesus-nature instead, asking for His power to flood me. Because seriously, there is no way I can do this on my own.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus shows us a flip-flop view of His kingdom versus the world’s. He says, “You’re going to mourn. You’re going to be persecuted. You’re going to need to show mercy and peace and gentleness when you don’t want to. But I am going to bless you for it, and it’s how I am going to work through your life.”

How many times as a parent do you feel mournful? Poor in spirit? Persecuted, even, by your children or other parents? Jesus blesses that.

The Beatitudes are everything I want to be as a parent. Gentle. Peaceful. Merciful. Pure in heart. In my study Bible, MacArthur also writes that “gentleness is supreme self-control empowered by the Spirit.”

I’ve seen a graphic around Facebook lately, with a toddler laying on top of his mama on the beach and the words, “You’re never going to be loved like this again.”

Until we see Christ, no one on earth is going to love us with the uninhibited crazy love of a toddler or preschooler. So let’s pour back that love, praying for the Spirit to fill us with mercy, purity of heart, gentleness, and peace, not giving up when we are mournful or feel persecuted or want to hide in our rooms and throw stuff at the wall.

In The Message paraphrase, Matthew 5:3 is, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”

Praise God and Amen!

Originally published on JessieWeaver.net. 

A History Book Your Child Will WANT to Read! {GIVEAWAY}

In Fear of the Spear

What parent doesn’t want his or her child to learn about how God has worked throughout history to save His people? But sitting down for a faith history lesson is not exactly every child’s favorite way to spend time. A dry textbook or worksheet doesn’t make history come alive. And while there are some great movies out there to help kids understand historical events, many parents are looking for alternatives to screen time that will engage their children in learning—to make them excited and want to learn. Does that sound impossible?

I can guarantee you, it is not impossible. Imagination Station books are the answer that Christian parents have been waiting for and kids have been begging for. In this book series, created by the award-winning team that brought us Adventures in Odyssey, kids take a journey through history, using their imagination. They learn about history characters as if they are friends by following the adventures of young Patrick and Beth. And because faith and values are woven seamlessly into the stories, children learn how to call upon God in their everyday choices and actions.

The Imagination Station is an invention created by the owner of Whit’s End, John Avery Whittaker, in the fictional town of Odyssey. The Imagination Station takes its passengers back in time during key points in history to places like Nazi-occupied Germany, Greenland, Egypt, Rome, and even Bethlehem. Kids learn about famous historical Christians such as Corrie ten Boom, Saint Patrick, and Telemachus.

The Imagination Station books are perfect for children just starting to feel confident in reading a chapter book on their own. Your child will be captivated by the stories and want to read every book in the series.

The latest exciting Imagination Station book takes your child to the rain forests of Ecuador, a land of tribal warriors. Patrick and Beth have escaped from volcano lava only to be separated again, and no one knows exactly where Beth has gone. Eugene and Patrick frantically try to fix the Imagination Station so they can find Beth, who unbeknownst to them has landed in the Amazon jungle. Will Patrick find Beth? Will Eugene be able to fix the broken Imagination Station? What will happen to the strange man with who was speared?

Find out in the latest Imagination Station adventure, In Fear of the Spear!

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Want to win a copy of In Fear of the Spear? We have five copies to give away. To enter, leave us a comment. Have you or your kids ever listened to an Adventures in Odyssey episode? My daughter is fairly obsessed with them and listens to them on CDs all the time! One of our favorite sets is the Platinum Collection.

Winners will be selected by random on Friday, February 12. USA only, please.