Create a Fall to Remember!

Create a Fall to Remember!

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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Each season brings it’s own cravings and fun activities.  It also brings many opportunities to do some soul searching, encourage each other and reach out to others!  You’ll love these ideas to use either in your own family or gift them to others. We’ve gathered a great list of activities, crafts, recipes, printables, decor and more for you to create a fall to remember!

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creating-a-fall-to-remember-pinterestSoul Food

Let’s start by feeding our soul with a little of God’s fall flavor. McKenzie’s way of digging into Scripture through Bible Journaling is inspiring and definitely brings a new perspective to God’s word.

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Sharing God’s love with others is a wonderful way to kick off the fall! Go on a Scavenger Hunt with friends, family or church group. Head out to your neighborhood or one that could use some tender loving care and love on the people there by doing different mini-service projects.

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As we look forward to the changes of fall and all the things that we can create, we can pray for the Lord to create a pure heart in us as well!

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Food

Kick the Morning off Right!

The first thing you reach for in the morning is coffee, right?  Well, that’s my husband. I prefer hot chocolate or a protein drink.  But as soon as I saw this deliciously, healthy version of a pumpkin spice coffee creamer I thought of him.

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These gluten-free apple cinnamon protein pancakes are so good you won’t even need to drown them in syrup!

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These Apple Harvest Muffins are perfect for mornings on the go.

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Fall Inspired Desserts

Ever since I was a child, desserts were what I enjoyed creating in the kitchen the most. As an adult, I still enjoy them but so enjoy finding recipes like this healthier apple crisp that chooses to not use refined white sugar, but instead adds an wonderful fall flavor by using maple syrup.

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These frosted maple cookies have me licking my lips.  I can’t believe I’ve never had these before.  Have you?

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It truly wouldn’t be fall unless homemade pumpkin pie is included!

pumpkin-pie

Fashion & Home Decor

I’m not one that enjoys shopping for clothes.  I do, however, enjoy shopping with friends who enjoy shopping and finding cute things for me to wear.  Now that I’ve moved into a warmer climate, I found this post about dressing for fall in a warmer climate to be helpful.

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Weclome guest with fall before they even enter your home with this adorable Hoop Fall Wreath.

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There are several fall themed signs for welcoming fall into your house.

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If you prefer to just add subtle hints that fall has arrived consider adding these 3 accessories

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Arts & Crafts

It would not be truly fall without crafts!  Craft fairs and festivals are some of my favorite places to visit in the fall.  I love seeing all the creativity and finding pieces that are draw in the season!

Engage all the senses with the most amazing apple cinnamon no cook playdough.

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This Autumn Hand Print Tree is such a cute way to capture our children’s hand prints and this could totally be made into a card to send off to the first person that pops to mind.

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Get the modge podge out and create a peppier fall look by mixing up the bright colors with your pumpkins!

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Get inspired by nature to create fun art like this digi-leaf art project!

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Activities

There are so many wonderful activities to do during the fall.  Visiting pumpkin patches is probably the first thing that pops to mind but don’t miss enjoying these other activities:

Visiting an apple orchard and picking your own apples!

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Interact with our feathered friends by creating an apple bird feeder for them!

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Fall & football go hand in hand.  Find budget friendly ways to decorate when you cheer on your favorite team.

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Explore nature with the fun fall scavenger hunt.

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Make art out of pressed leaves and flowers by making your own DIY Nature Press!

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Winding Down

There is something about fall that makes me want to gather with friends around my favorite drinks. Of course, Hot Chocolate will always be my favorite but since this is a fall round up post, I’ll share some others that are tempting me as well.

My Mother’s Quick and Delicious Apple Cider is one people always as about when they come over. It also makes a perfect gift for your neighbors!

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One of my favorite fall treats is a caramel covered apple and this Caramel Apple Cider recipe seems to be the drinkable version of that treat!

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And if you still need more ideas to dive into fall, check out these posts:

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50-ideas-best-fall-ever-1024x691

fall-bucket-list-activities

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What are some of your favorite fall activities?  

What is a new fall activity you are looking forward to enjoying? 

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Spiritual Bucket List Favorite Soups Confessions of a Homemaker Shine on Halloween

Broke Down: What Car Trouble Taught Me About God

Broke Down: What Car Trouble Taught Me About God

Toni D

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

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Let me start by saying that in my younger years I drove a few clunkers.  From this experience I learned a lot about cars.  I can fix several minor to moderate issues with my car, and many times I can diagnose the problem myself.  I very often surprise people with my knowledge of cars.

Recently, my husband had surgery and was not available to help. Because I did not want to worry him, I did not tell him my work van was not acting quite right.  I had been driving it and noticed it was hesitating to start.  Figuring I needed a new battery, I decided to wait a couple of days until I got through with farmers market for the week.  Then I planned to purchase and install the new battery.  This is relatively simple, just heavy lifting.

Well, things do not always go according to our plans.  When I arrived at market, I did not park quite straight.  But when I tried restarting my van, it would not start.  I figured that I could wait until it was time to leave and get a jump start.

Nahum 1:7

When the time came, I connected the jumper cables to a friend’s vehicle. My van started but when I let off the gas, it died.  I kept trying with the same results, which led me to believe the problem might be the alternator.  My friend called her husband to get his advice as the security guard came up to help us.  He was concerned that it was the alternator, too.  He was looking things over; my friend was on the phone to her husband, and I called my mechanic, who was sixty miles away.  We all finally decided that I could drive with my right foot on the gas at all times and my left foot on the brake when needed and my friend would follow me.  The parts store was 1.2 miles away and they could check my battery and alternator, and could change the battery if necessary.

After a stressful 1.2 miles through downtown rush hour traffic, we arrived.  The employee checked the battery, replaced it, and then checked the alternator, which was fine.  Finally, I was on my way home.

The entire day could have been stressful knowing that I had this to deal with. I didn’t want to call my husband because it would upset him that he could not help.  Due to his recent surgery, he could not even drive to come get me.

I say “could have been” stressful because I spent that day in prayer.  I prayed that we could get the van started.  Next, I prayed that I could get to the parts store without problems.  I prayed that it was just the battery and that I could continue my drive home.  Mostly, I prayed thanking God for bringing me through this trial and showing me that I was not alone even though it seemed like it.  A friend stayed with me through the ordeal, and her husband that stayed on the phone as well.  Most of all, God was there and kept me calm with his presence.

Of course, I told my husband, twenty-four hours after the fact.  He was not happy with me but was grateful that I had gotten through it.  He likes to worry about me and often forgets that I can take care of myself.  But this time I had a lot of help from friends and from God.

Matthew 28:20

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Lift up your eyes Forgiveness Dealing with Anxiety as a Christian Praying James

broke-down-what-car-trouble-taught-me-about-god-pinterest

Bearing with Each Other: The Other Side of Forgiveness

Bearing with Each Other: The Other Side of Forgiveness

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

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“Forgive and forget.”

It sounds so easy. I don’t like conflict so forgiveness usually comes quickly for me, but oh, the forgetting–that is where I have a hard time. The sting of past offenses stay with me, and the enemy uses them to distract me and even bring out sin I am ashamed of.

About ten years ago, I found out something had been said about me and it crushed me. To make the situation even more difficult to walk away from, this was not a person I could avoid. Someone I was going to be around for a long time had said these hurtful things. Despite my hurt and disappointment, I knew I was going to have to live with this remark and move on. I knew I didn’t want to hold a grudge, so I decided to take the comment for what it was worth and forgive in my heart.

Don’t Let Hurtful Words Destroy

As I said, this person is a part of my life, and whom I love. I’ve had good times with this person as well. In fact, I’ve even grown a little as the comment has helped me. However, that doesn’t mean I’m without memory of what happened. To this day I cringe when the memory pops up. I often feel intimidated and insecure around this person, all because of that one comment made ten years ago. The enemy wants to stir up past wounds and put anger in our hearts. He is out to destroy our godly relationships with others and wreak chaos in God’s kingdom. We can’t let that happen. We must put into practice the instructions offered in Colossians:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity.  

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How Can I Forgive?

I don’t believe I have to forget about my past grievances in order to forgive. I just need to be able to handle these hurts with:

  • compassion, as I seek to understand my offender’s point of view and situation;
  • kindness, as I choose to be respectful and pleasant despite how I’ve been treated;
  • humility, as I examine myself, and my own fault, realizing that I need Jesus to make me whole;
  • gentleness, as I respond to offenses, with my words, thoughts, and actions;
  • and patience, as I understand that this might happen again, and it might be difficult to move on.

When I read the phrase “Bear with each other,” it reminds me of ongoing struggles. It tells me there will be those who drive me crazy and might even upset me, but it’s not my right to hold a grudge. I’m to bear and forgive. I’m to live with it, and move on, realizing that the only perfect one is Christ.

Above all, I must remember to love. Strong’s Concordance defines this agape love as benevolent. It’s a love we give, not because it has been earned, not because we “feel” it, but because it is the right thing to do.

Bearing Each Other is Hard Labor

Learning how to move past my offenses in a godly way has been life-changing for me. I wish I could say that it’s easy, but “bearing each other” is hard labor. We should take the step of forgiveness, but we mustn’t forget that our relationship with that person isn’t over yet. The regard we hold each other in and the way we interact is important. We will likely feel the sting again, but we can move forward in love if we take on the characteristics described in Colossians 3. It is also helpful to remember that our enemy is Satan–not each other.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Ephesians 6:12

We must move past the grievances we have toward one another so that God’s kingdom is made stronger. 

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Do You Have Unforgiven Past Hurts?

What past hurts are lingering in your heart? Are you open to bearing and forgiving? It sounds hard, but you don’t have to do this on your own. You have a Father who understands because he continues to lavish his children with perfect forgiveness and reconciliation. Our Lord can empower you to bear and forgive, offering you the support you need. Won’t you seek Him?

Father God, You are Lord of the universe, yet you seek us out, one by one, drawing us to you in perfect reconciliation. Thank you for the forgiveness and life you offer us through your son. Thank you for your presence in our life and may we draw strength from you as we seek to have compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience in our relationships with others, bearing with each other and forgiving. Forgive us for the times we struggle to forgive and fail to take on these characteristics. Give us strength and wisdom to be united as your church in love. In Jesus Name, Amen

 

 

 

The Dark Day and the Emerging Light: The Day I Found out about My Husband’s Porn Addiction

The Dark Day and the Emerging Light: The Day I Found out about My Husband’s Porn Addiction

We stood there on opposite sides of the garage staring each other down. Letting the question hang there. Knowing the next few words from his mouth could–no, would–change everything.

In that moment, I doubted why I had asked. He hadn’t given me reason to question him. Yet after conversations with two friends struggling through their own answers to this question, I felt like I had to ask.

I had fasted, and I had prayed.

I thought I was ready for whatever his answer would be.

After all, I loved and respected this man. For better or for worse, I had promised to love this man.

As the words came, I crumbled. I was a mess of a woman on that cold concrete floor. I wasn’t ready for this.

“I mean, if I can’t handle it, I’ll tell you,” he said. Then I knew–he hadn’t been faithful to me.

Some will say, “It’s just with his eyes.” To me it was everything. No one had ever hurt me so deeply. No one had ever betrayed me to that level. I had never let anyone in that close before him. It was out of nowhere. I was lost and broken, gasping for air.

He knew how much I hated pornography. My heart ached for sex-trafficked victims, and he knew that. He knew the broken woman I once was and how close I had been to becoming one of those women myself.

He had hurt me, yes, but he also made me sick.

This man was the father to my children. This man who had studied the Bible with me, who had prayed with me, who had loved me was, all the while, sinning against me and our vows. He had lusted after other women. He had done this in our home, on his phone, and on our television.

I hated him.

Now, I hated all of those things. Looking at them reminded me of his betrayal. He came to me, crumpled on the garage floor.

I cringed at his touch.

We sat there for what felt like forever.

Finally I asked, “Where do we go from here?”

Equipped through God’s Grace

That night, neither of us had any idea what the next two years would look like. By his grace, God equipped me to love my husband through this dark time in our marriage. God’s grace has given him strength to fight the desire of his flesh, seek accountability, and submit himself to boundaries that are at times frustrating.

We have both learned a lot in the past two years. I’ve learned a lot about grace, God, and walking in this gift of marriage.

Lessons Learned

Here are a few of my take-aways from this dark and painful time. I hope these lessons I’ve learned will bless any other woman walking through a similar battlefield.

1) Be in the Word.

When all this happened, I was just finishing Beth Moore’s study on James. I know without a doubt that had I not been deep in the Word of God for weeks leading up to this, my faith would have faltered even more.

I had memorized more scripture than I ever had before. Without it I was lost.

I’m not saying I never doubted God’s plan. I’m not saying I never questioned the purpose of this life we are living together.  I am saying knowing and relying on scripture is one of the few things that helped me get out of bed every morning.

These verses in particular, which I had memorized weeks before, anchored my storm-tossed mind and soul.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

 

James 1:2-4

Most days I did not find this trial to be pure joy, but God’s Word encouraged me to see the joy in the situation.

Another verse, which I often pray I will be able to say before the Lord one day, came back to me over and over.  

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. 

 

2 Timothy 4:7

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2) God is faithful.

I doubted He was there with me. I doubted where He had been as my husband walked down this road to destruction.

But He was there.

He was there, grieving with us. He was there, prompting my husband to walk away from the computer. On the days, weeks, and months that my husband did not betray me, God was there, giving him strength.

Again, the words of James were aptly timed for just this moment in my life. These words helped me to reconcile our sinful temptations with the Lord who walks with us by His Holy Spirit.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, not does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.

 

James 1:13-15

3) This wasn’t about me.

Let me say it again: this isn’t about me!

It hurt me, it broke me, it made me grow. It made me stronger, but in the end, it was about my husband, his experiences, and his personal struggle with sin. 

This was the most difficult lesson. One I still have to be reminded of regularly. This was my opportunity to be gracious, to be an example of mercy to my husband.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.

 

James 2:12-13

Mercy triumphs over judgement! That brings me to my next lesson.

4) I can’t do this alone.

Jesus Christ didn’t come to earth and disciple one man. He discipled many, and established a church. We need the church in our brokenness. I’m not saying go out and shout your husband’s sin from the pulpit. I am saying wisely and prayerfully seek out one or two women to encourage you during this season. You will be amazed at the women God brings to you. These women will love you when you hurt and encourage you to be Christ-like when you don’t want to be Christ-like anymore. Women who will pray with you, cry with you, check in on you, and just be with you.

Is any of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise…and the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 

James 5:13, 15-16

5) Lastly, and most importantly, Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, not my husband. 

I had him on a pedestal. His desire, love, and admiration fueled me. After almost ten years of marriage, I had forgotten that my value and purpose is from the Lord. None of us are perfect–not my husband, and definitely not me.

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking it all.

 

James 2:10

My husband can’t save me and I can’t save him. Jesus Christ took care of that almost 2,000 years ago.

There are still days I fight to control the images and thoughts in my mind. There are days I just want to cry in my best friend’s arms, and I hate that the one who comforts me is also the one who hurt me.

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Satan Seeks to Destroy Marriages

Sin is gross. It hurts. Sin is dark.

Sexual sin destroys trust beyond comprehension.

Satan is prowling like a lion seeking to devour each and every one of our marriages. He is seeking to destroy the most intimate and grace-filled institution that represents Christ’s love for us. 

Be on guard. Stay in the Word. Devote yourself to prayer. And…

…put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

 

Ephesians 6:13 (emphasis added)

eveningskies

An Abiding Friend

An Abiding Friend

Ali R

Hey! While most of my life was spent in Colorado, I am happy to now call Oklahoma my home. I am amazingly blessed to have a supportive and God-fearing husband who is also a terrific dad to our four kiddos (who we had in a 3 year 9 month time frame). I love to drink coffee, sing, hear people’s stories and have dance parties. I am passionate about my relationship with Jesus and desire to share that gift with every person that I meet. My hope is that I can encourage someone today with and through the Word of God and His steadfast love. ::psalm 27:4::

Latest posts by Ali R (see all)

Love is not affectionate feeling

I’m a People Person

When I say that I love people, I mean that…I LOVE PEOPLE. Just being around new people or in a group setting gets me excited. Does anyone out there feel the same way? There is just something so fun and refreshing about seeing new faces, hearing everyone’s stories, and growing relationships. It’s truly the main reason why I love hosting large parties or get-togethers. I will invite a good chunk of my phone book, for no other reason than I genuinely want to share life with others. Sure, it may increase the budget for the party, but if there is something to celebrate, I want others to share in it with us! Why not, right?

I have always sincerely believed that the more people you surround yourself with, the more encouragement and joy there will be in your life. Truly a “the more, the merrier” mentality.

For over thirty years I have never seen a problem with being wired that way…that is, until lately. As I started to think about planning birthday parties for my kids and summer BBQs and began looking at our list of “friends” to invite, I realized that while they may be on our guest list, we may not be on theirs.

** Now, before you think that this is turning into a big ol’ pity party, I can assure you it’s not. So please don’t give up on me yet! **

Believing Lies Based on Missed Expectations

The truth is, I am a sinful human being and am guilty of reacting in my flesh frequently, so I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t initially feel hurt, betrayed, and bitter at one person’s “oversight” of my feelings. This weird encounter (which truly did nothing more than leave me feeling awkward), completely opened the floodgates of undealt with emotion from over the years. It’s as though I had a flip book of memories and times where I was hurt by a friend flipping rapidly through my mind, taking my thoughts to extremes and probably exaggerating what really happened by 1000%.

Y’all, my mind was out of control. I truly was walking with some nasty lies.  Thankfully, my wonderful mentor (mom), was there to listen to me ramble as I talked myself in circles until the truth punched me in the face: IT WAS MY FAULT.

You heard (or rather, read) that right: The pain I felt was actually my fault. Why? MISSED EXPECTATIONS. Here is the hard truth I had to receive:

Any expectation I placed on another was a setup for relationship failure from the beginning.

The moment I decided what type of friend they should be to me was the moment I became less of a true friend myself. I focused on how they treated me, rather than on their heart and how I should treat them.

A Godly, yet Complicated Friendship

Of course, as with everything, the Holy Spirit oh-so-graciously reminded how I was wrong and pointed me to the Word and the friendship between Jonathan and David. You guys, talk about a complicated relationship. You can read all about it in 1 and 2 Samuel, but this passage about this one selfless act essentially sums up how Jonathan was a true friend, despite all the circumstances and trials that the two faced.

 “… Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself… And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow, and his belt.”

1 Samuel 18:1-4

I love how Beth Moore puts this into perspective…

“Clearly Saul intended for Jonathan to become the second king of Israel (1 Sam 20:30-31), but this son had other plans. In David, Jonathan saw character fit for a king. He was so determined that the throne be occupied by God’s chosen instrument that he offered everything he had…Jonathan sacrificed himself. He removed his royal regalia…and placed it on David.”

 Jonathan literally gave up everything to help encourage and support his friend David in all that God had called him to be. Nowhere does it say that David ever reciprocated that love and sacrificed as Jonathan had, yet Jonathan remained loyal to his friend. Better yet, Jonathan remained loyal to God.

Philippians 2:3-4

You see, it shouldn’t matter how others treat us.

If God has placed on our hearts to love, support, and walk with someone as a friend (Amos 3:3), we need to be faithful to that calling, not only in the good seasons, but also in the hard ones. This isn’t about how they make us feel, but rather about being who God has called each one of us to be and how we are to make others feel.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works… encouraging one another…” 

-Hebrews 10:24

Unconditional Friendship

I still love people and will continue to throw huge celebrations. The difference is, when I call someone friend, it holds no expectation of them. It simply acknowledges that regardless of their choices or how they may treat me, I will continue to welcome, love, and encourage them as Christ does me.

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

-Romans 15:5-7

So what do you say, friend?

Are you willing to take the road less traveled and pursue a life of obedience to the Lord in seeking out the welfare and accomplishments of others over yourself, even if that means giving while never receiving? To be that selfless, abiding friend like Jonathan, full of love and encouragement so that he/she may pursue who God has called them to be?

An Abiding Friend_ C.S. Lewis Quote

Gracefully Accepting Advice

Gracefully Accepting Advice

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

Advice…Welcome or Unwelcome?

I’m going to bring up a subject that seems to be a little taboo these days. First though, can I get honest with you? I’m nervous about the negative comments that might flood in or coming across as judgmental. Let me clear– I struggle with this too!! Please know that I’m writing this from my heart because there is a direction I’m seeing so many of us young moms going that I fear is dangerous–our resistance to advice.

The internet is full of advice for mothers. Everything from what to pack in your hospital bag to tips for encouraging your college kids. There has never been a time before us when there was SO much advice available right at our fingertips. So chances are, if we feel that we need advice, we will go in search of it and try to come up with a solution on our own.

So what happens when an older woman drops us a hint?

Don’t tell me how to raise my child. 

What happens when our mom or mother-in-law tells us how they handled toddler tantrums?

Don’t tell me how to raise my child. 

What happens when another young mom tells us what’s working for her?

That’s great for you, but don’t tell me how to raise my child. 

We might not actually say that out loud, but many of us at least think it. Just about any parenting related article I find on Facebook contains at least several comments of: Don’t tell me how to raise my child and I won’t tell you how to raise yours. To each their own.  

Barely Hanging On

As young moms we are often living on little sleep and feel like we are just barely hanging on. Depending on the day we might feel frail and insecure. Our laundry is stacked up, the refrigerator desperately needs to be cleaned out, our diaper genie can’t hold one more diaper, and we can’t remember the last time our showers were wiped down. Oh yes, and we have no idea what the family will eat for dinner. Our toddler’s nose has been running non-stop foreeeeever, our baby won’t nap unless they are in their swing with baby bum playing in the background, and we keep reading that our eighteen-month-old really should be off the bottle but yet it’s all they want. (I’m speaking from my own personal life here, friends!)

We are just doing what we have to do to get through the day.  We are doing the best we can. So when we hear a comment that suggests maybe we should approach things differently we tense up. We block it out. What do you know? You’re not here with us every day. 

This isn’t how God intended us to survive, though.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slandered or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Titus 2:3-5

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God designed us to need the advice of older women. It’s part of his plan. Sometimes advice isn’t given in a respectful way and we are offended. As hard as it is, I truly believe we should still accept it with grace. Sometimes advice feels irrelevant to our actual individual situations, we should still accept it with grace. Other times, we are given advice that we’ve heard before and are maybe already practicing, we should still accept it with grace. Occasionally, we are given advice we don’t agree with, and that too, we should accept with grace.

Accepting Advice with Grace

What does it mean to accept advice with grace? To me, it means that we respectfully respond to those who offer us advice. Rather than putting up our defensive walls or assuming judgment, we might take a moment to examine our current efforts and think about what we’ve been told. We don’t have to apply it, but I think we owe it to our Lord to be respectful to those who offer us advice, even if we don’t like it. Giving others the benefit of the doubt will help us be much happier as well. We can consider that they are sharing with us from their heart based on their experiences and we can be grateful that they care enough to share.

This is not my natural approach. When I’m offered advice I usually start into long remarks as to why that hasn’t worked for me or something I read or learned about that before. If there is anything I’ve learned though in my short two and a half years of parenting, it’s that things change fast. Things that used to not be effective (time out, for instance) are now actually effective. Problems that I once thought I’d never deal with have poked their head up. Things change! So even if we feel that advice is irrelevant, it doesn’t mean that it will never apply. It actually might someday!

A Blessing to Survive the Chaos

Look, friends. I hear you, and I’m with you. It’s hard to accept advice with grace, but we were not meant to live this life on our own. Parenting is hard. While there are millions of blogs, articles, and e-books out there telling us the best way to approach child-rearing, let us not forget the people God has put in our life. They are there to help us. They are a part of God’s design for getting through the chaos. They are a blessing.

So let’s vow to open our minds and our hearts to what they share, and to accept their advice with grace.

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