Choosing Courage in Fearful Times (Mentoring Mondays coming back!)

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COURAGE

CHOOSING TO BE BRAVE DURING FEARFUL TIMES,

BRINGING HIS LIGHT INTO DARK TIMES.

Fear has been a threat to people over all of history. This week as Joy is preparing for her semester at Oxford, several people have sent her articles about ISIS and the increased danger of terrorism in England. We have had to talk through the issues and reality of living in a fallen world. We all have to make decisions for our lives based on wisdom and discretion. Yet, God has opened amazing doors for Joy to study in Oxford. He has ordained this path for her to take. She feels called to the studies she has been led to pursue, and so she is taking firm steps of faith to prepare herself spiritually, emotionally and mentally to go to England this week, and to cultivate a heart of trust in her companion God.

All of us have choices of how we will face our circumstances–the days in which God ordained that we would live. Our only choice as believers, is to hold His hand to believe in His reality and to walk our days by faith, and to seek to choose courage.

And so we are arming Joy with courage, faith, strength and wisdom as she prepares to walk the road God has set before her. None of us have control over all of the circumstances of our lives, but we do have the choice to hold God’s hand and allow Him to companion us well through the days of our lives.

 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
JOSHUA 1:9
Moms have the unique opportunity in this time, to model to their children what faith looks like in the face of fear. We show by the way we live what it looks like to seize this moment that God has ordained for us to live in, to praise Him, trust Him as the one who holds control over the universe, and the one who will reign forever.

Today is the day for courage.

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you have tribulation, but TAKE COURAGE! I have overcome the world!

I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS! John 16:33

Five Things to do to help you and your family.

1. Write out Joshua 1: 9 on a small poster board or white board and memorize this verse this week as a family.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

2. Don’t watch the news with your children in the room. Images create fear and are difficult to take away from the brain.

3. Stop looking at the feed on facebook that has articles that are fear oriented. Whatever you water will grow. If you feed your mind on images, newscasts, terrible happenings in the world, the natural consequence is that you will grow more fearful. I quit watching and listening to the world news, (except for the exceptional times when it involved my family directly.) about 20 years ago. I rarely watch images of violence, war, cruelty, as I know that for me to be a steward of my mind is to stay away from things that bring about false fears.

4. Read hero tales and stories of people who served others in difficult times. Define on character trait of each person you read and make a list of the character traits, with definitions, that you want your children to understand and the ones you want your family to exhibit. (Daniel–courage in the midst of lions; Mother Theresa–compassion for those who needed comfort; etc.)

5. Read through the heroes in Hebrews 11, one person at a time in the weeks ahead, and talk together with your family about how you will live the circumstances of your lives, the days of your own history, by faith–to bring His light, goodness and hope to a world that needs to know the hope of Christ. Talk of how your family might be a picture and words of hope and comfort during this time and use the difficulties that opens peoples hearts as a place of ministry and comfort to others.

Today, sweet friends, Jesus admonished  us to choose to take hold of courage, to face fear with His light, to choose to be strong, giving, redeeming in a time that needs to see His reality. May He give you peace of mind and the courage to live well during each day He has granted you.

Listen, listen, He whispers secrets every day

 

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This small framed verse stands on my small hall table to remind me of what really matters, daily taking time to listen, to understand His guiding love.

Today, thunder boomed while mist rolled in amidst winds and rain pounding our grass. Joy and I wrapped ourselves in warm wool throw blankets, carried steaming cups of tea, and sat under our front porch together, lost in the grandeur of the summer storm–together enjoying the company of shared moments, stolen from the duties of our day.

All the dishes in the sink did not get washed, there were still piles to be dealt with–but later. His voice reminded me that next week, she will be in Oxford and I will have more time to wash dishes, straighten piles. But I will not be able to look into her large brown eyes to see the wonder and excitement deep within, waiting to spill out her deepest thoughts,  as she adventures to her future days with an unknown ending ahead of her.

Today, I have the peace that comes from knowing the moments were invested in each other, not spilled on the busyness of life to be lost forever.

How often do we allow the noise of the world to overwhelm His voice. Do we take time to listen? It is only as we quiet our hearts amidst the moments of our days that we will hear His whisper, walk in His ways. But the quiet of His leading always takes us to the eternal treasures, the hearts that are waiting for us to listen, the memories that are waiting to be lived now to impress what is precious on our minds.

What is His voice whispering to you today in the midst of the noise of your life? Only you can respond to what secrets He has prepared uniquely for you to celebrate and to enjoy.

 

 

Creating Your Own Cozy Corner

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“Because my life is rarely neat and together, I attempt to make my devotional spot a regular place where I can spend my quiet, holy moments resting in beauty and having a sense of civility. I needed to have a place that was ready–and that would give peace to my soul–even if for a few moments. This gives a sense of order to the rest of my life, even when the other edges of my life are seemingly out of control. Life in our home with four kids, a dog, and people in and out rarely provides composure.

Yet when my inner life is composed, my outer life feels manageable.
-The Mom Walk

Often times, the way we begin our day sets the tone for how the rest of it will look. It’s crucial that we counter the loud, stressful alarm clock or toddler with some peace and quiet prior to jumping straight into the chaos of the day. Some mamas I know do this at night before they go to bed. Whatever your habits, intentionally decide to breathe peace into your soul before you go out into your day. I spend a lot of time straightening my house and attempting to keep a peaceful, orderly environment that soothes and blesses my family.  And so I have understood that I need to continually seek to bring peace and centeredness to my soul, which is constantly being tested and getting in disarray! I am a passionate, philosophical, artistic person.  I am very relational but love, hunger to have time to think, read, write, and drink lots and lots of tea and coffee and to do it all alone! It doesn’t always happen, but when I fight to find a place for a few minutes of this kind of centering with my heart, mind, and to give the day to God, then a habit is built and a foundation is laid over days and days of practice.

Don’t allow your desire for perfection to rob the joy out of this day. Each day is filled with it’s own set of tasks and troubles, but try to find the beauty in this morning. Even if it’s just a cozy corner, for a very few moments, it is important to sit down, create your own little place that’s in your control in the midst of chaotic life. Cozy devotional corners can include:

-Candles
-Hot cup of tea or mug of coffee
-Comfy pillows
-Flowers

-Journal
-Bible
-Artwork 
-Beautiful music ready to go at the push of a button

A basket full of devotionals or inspiring books that can be picked up for short bursts of inspiration.

When you take a moment to invest time and energy in your own sense of calm, you will find the rest of the day much easier to manage. Peace begins inside of our hearts, and only when we are filled with it can we pour it out into the various areas of our lives.

As you prepare to do this week’s mini bible study with the scripture and questions below, go find your comfortable, quiet, devotional spot (your cozy corner!).

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
-Isaiah 26:3

When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.”
-Luke 10:5

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.”
-Psalm 59:16

Ask yourself:
-Which spot in your home can be the safe haven for your morning devotional?
-How can you make time to have a moment to yourself? Does this mean waking up earlier? Setting aside a special quiet time during the afternoon? Enjoying a quiet evening on the porch at sunset?
-How much more efficiently do you think you will be able to handle the rest of your day if you had your very own quiet time each morning?

Beach, Great Food, Friends, Retreat–Sarah & I would love to see you!

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Calling all North Carolina Moms and those near by!

September 19-20

Start your school year off with inspiration, fun, sharing with friends and a retreat. For all of you who have attended our Raleigh Mom Conferences in the past, this is for you., as we will not be able to have the spring Mom Heart Retreat there this year.  I miss being there the past couple of years but now, I have been invited to speak in Wrightsville Beach, nearWilmington, North Carolina–the darling, artistic town, at a retreat just for mamas–to fill them up, spoil them and give them a sense of grace, peace and wisdom as they enter another school year.

Sarah will be speaking about her newest book, Caught up in a Story, about the importance of winning your children’s hearts through great literature, intentional mentoring and strong foundations. She will also be speaking about her favorite books, lists of the best books we used in our home, and the ways we inspired boy and girl alike. Our own practices of reading, discussion, and cultivating a high standard of education in our home will all be a part of our story for you. And of course we hope to have some of these books available for purchase–though we will be giving some away!

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I hope to inspire you about the rhythms you set up in your home to cultivate learning as a way of life. On my heart is helping moms to learning to inspire your children to love education, to become critical thinkers and to be passionate about becoming leaders in their generation is all a part of the message on my heart. Discipling your children to have a strong faith in God in a challenging culture is essential.

Finally, I wanted to end our time together to encourage all of you precious moms how to stay fresh, to take care of your own soul, to rid yourself of performance guilt and comparison, and how to refresh your own heart, mind and soul so that you can stay resilient in your ideals while enjoying educating your children.

I hope to be at the retreat center early so that there will be time to visit with all of you in a more casual setting and to provide time for questions and answers with Sarah and me.

We will also be giving away some books during our talks!

Please pass the word around. Please share this with all of your friends and we shall make a grand weekend of it all.

Can’t wait–I have wanted a mini-vacation at the beach for a long time!

But hurry, the deadline is coming soon and the retreat is almost full. For more information, and to register,

go HERE.

http://www.nche.com/nche-moms-retreat-sally-clarkson

Hope to see many of my old friends there!

Created to be artists of Life


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A snack dinner, recently celebrated in our home when I did not want to cook!

Ideals and the desire for beauty are simply the echoes of God’s design in our hearts. He was the one who designed the world to be a masterpiece of wonder and life. The yearning for peace, health, and comfort is natural to our souls and comes from the depths of our hearts where we can still feel and imagine what God created life to be before the fall.”    The Mom Walk p. 58

In the beginning, God created…..

One aspect to being created in God’s image is that even as the first thing he did was to create, so we are made to be creators.

God placed his first children, Adam and Eve, in a vast, splendid garden with variety of color, sound, texture, light, taste–all for the pleasure of His beloved Adam and Eve.

As women and as mothers, we long to follow this design and make masterpieces out of the everyday things in our lives. We sometimes forget that masterpieces are the work of a lifetime–we create, bring light, prepare food, build traditions–just as God did when he crafted the garden and will prepare a meal for us in the new world. He brought the light of stars, the sun, constellations, we illuminate our homes with the ambience of soft reflections of firelight, lamplight, candles.

When the real world comes crashing in on us, by rumors of war, killings, earthquakes, the fall of Godly leaders, we can quickly become overwhelmed and walk down  pathway of fear and despair.

And yet it is important for us to persevere and create beauty in our world. When the walls within our home bring safety, the music brings comfort, the food satisfies the body, the touch brings affection, the words bring hope, we are like the Holy Spirit–bringing the reality of God into the dark places of this world. 

When we give up, we are submitting to the darkness that surrounds us- and in giving in to fear gives darkness to our own soul.

I believe mothers are widely capable influences in this world for good. They have an incredible capacity to be strong, faithful, life-giving. Even lighting a candle will influence our surroundings and bring soothing comfort to our souls. The dancing flicker of light gives hope that we are making a difference in this dark world.

In reading Genesis 1, what words did God use at the end of days 1-5? He said, “It is good.”

Creating beauty, light, as God did, is a “good” work of our own lives.

On day 6, God pronounced his work very good.  How did he summarize all of creation?

 

When a mom is overworked, she may think this work of beauty if frivolous. But I have found that creating beauty actually has an inspiring, peaceful influence on my own well-being. Creating brings an energy to our lives. It doesn’t have to be difficult or comprehensive, but it is a glorious process of bringing the art of God into the moments of life.

 

What is one thing you can do today to make your home more beautiful? Stop to think about it and make 3 ways you will beautify or tame your home this week. How can you make it more peaceful? Just a tiny effort every day can bring a legacy of comfort to your children’s perceptions of life, memories, sense of belonging to a place.

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It can be as simple as picking a wildflowers and putting them in a vase. Let your children gather a bouquet for you. They will love picking flowers for Mommy.

How does making your home beautiful and peaceful glorify God? How can you glorify God as a mom today?

As you look into the eyes of each of your children, pray that the Lord will help you see the masterpiece he is creating in them. Give them a gift of God’s life art through the acts of worship of your life and you will bring a sense of peace into your home.

I pray God’s beauty will permeate your life today!