A Quiet Place
I had it all planned out to find a "quiet place" to be with Jesus yesterday. I was going to get filled up after two days of running errands and catching up on work this week. I had planned to blog and answer questions about finding time to be with Jesus so we can balance full lives that leave us lifeless and find life-to-the full with Christ.

Early in the morning, while it was still dark, I was going to get out of my bed and go to a quiet place where I could pray. (Mark 1:35) Then I'd drive Andrew to school, come back and read, and talk to God and listen and journal. Then I'd go running, listen to my favorite worship music, come back to shower, and do some writing for my book proposal.

Now I know all that freedom with no people sounds like a tropical vacation. Alone time is something many women would almost kill to have, and you just might want to hate me at this moment, but don't. I have to block out chunks of time to sit and soak in lots of Jesus, then read and write what He shows me. Otherwise I can't do what God's called me to do at home or in ministry, which includes working on a book for now. Anyway, it's a great plan but rarely does it happen like I planned and sometimes it frustrates me and makes me not want to plan it.

Like yesterday. I woke up early and was praying in a quiet place - my bed. I was telling Jesus how much I loved Him and how I was looking forward to snuggling up in my favorite chair with Him and my Bible and my journal. And just as my feet were about to hit the carpet to go do that, my husband came in to see if I was awake. He said he was taking Joshua to school soon, and then he was going to come back to get breakfast and hopefully get some time to read His Bible.

Here I was gonna hog up a whole day with my Bible in my quiet place and this dear man was just hoping for some time. Well, you know what happened, don't you? God told me to get myself out of bed and set aside my dreamy plans so I could take Joshua to school. Then JJ could have an unhurried quiet time in a quiet place with Jesus. I wanted that for him. I'm so thankful my husband wants to spend time with Jesus, but selfishly I didn't want to give up my dreamy plans. I knew that once I was in carpooling momma mode, my day would be in motion and my quiet place would be noisy because I'd be thinking instead of being.

When I got back from an hour of carpooling, I spent time with Jesus. But it was shorter than I hoped. Jesus had other places for me to be. All throughout my morning while I wanted to sit and seek, He prompted my heart to serve. A friend called and wanted help with something. Another friend had something to give me, which was very kind, but it meant going to meet her somewhere. A thought to encourage another friend came to me, which meant a phone call to make. A co-worker needed some direction and advice on a challenging situation.

My extended time in my "quiet place" didn't happen until very late in the day. I was tempted to be frustrated, but for some reason I wasn't as much as I normally am. Maybe God's making progress with me and my ways. I guess He's teaching me that my "quiet place" to pray will sometimes be just as I planned. But sometimes it's won't be what I envision, or what I long for. I know God wants me to be with Him - to pull away, to set aside, to plan ahead. But sometimes He rearranges the furniture in my "quiet place" and it becomes more of a place in my heart than a space in my home. A place where I simply abide in Him.

1.to remain; continue; stay.
2.to have one's abode; dwell; reside.
3.to continue in a particular condition, attitude, relationship, last.

Maybe it's in the pulling away, the setting aside, the planning ahead, that we are positioned to give Him our emotions, our thoughts, and then invite His perspective and plans to invade ours. And then we can continue in that attitude - so it lasts - as we try to follow where He leads us physically, all the while remaining in Him spiritually and emotionally.

I'd love to know what your quiet place, or not-so-quiet place, with Jesus looks like? Does it frustrate you when you plan time with Him and then life or little people interrupt? Do you keep trying or do you give up? I'll be back to share a few things that have helped me, but first I wanted you to know it's a struggle for me, too.

Abiding still,

Life to the Full
Have you ever felt like your life was lifeless?

Almost every day I meet women who aren't living - they're merely surviving. And some barely. And sometimes I am right there with them.

In John 10:10, Jesus said, "I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full." But it seems our lives get so full, we barely have time for life.

is how I would've described mine ten years ago. I remember it almost to the day. It was an epiphany of sorts. It happened sometime in March of 1999. That's when I realized I was miserable. I'd been unhappy for months, maybe even a year. But I thought it was just a phase. I thought life would slow down and I'd start enjoying it.

Looking back now I can see that the busyness of life had sucked me dry. And I had allowed it to happen. I was moving from one thing to the next but not stopping long enough to enjoy, or find joy, in any of it. And all along I assumed I was doing what God wanted me to do.

Drained by all my doing, I had become a mostly tired, stressed, busy, irritable and rarely content wife, mom and friend. I wonder now how I could've assumed that all I was doing was what God wanted me to do. Although it was good stuff, my excessive busyness took more and more time away from my time with Him. Limited by 24 hours in each day, I could only give so much time and energy to my responsibilities and relationships. My relationship with Him got bumped by good things that weren't God's things.

I was serving God in so many ways; my heart's intentions were good. But without even realizing it, I started serving more and seeking Him less and less. Oh, I read my Bible but it was hurried. Instead of just listening and talking to Him, I'd rush through my devotion time looking for answers to fill in blanks for my Bible study. Or I'd quickly search for a promise to get me through the day. There was no relationship in it and I'd lost that lovin' feeling. My time with God felt distant and dry. No wonder I was miserable. No wonder my life felt lifeless.

Jesus said, "I have come that [you] may have life and have it to the full," but right before that He warned us that a their would come to steal, kill and destroy. The thief will do all he can to keep us from "life to the full" by disguising a full life as the good life while making sure our minds and schedules are so full we don't have time to seek and live close to the one who offers life.

I once heard an acronym for BUSY: burdened under satan's yoke. Today as I reflect on the amazing things God has taught me and brought me through the past ten years, I am committing once again to being with more than doing for. Seeking Him more than serving others and savoring each moment I've been given to live - to the full!!!

So, back to my question: Have you ever felt like your life was lifeless? Why and how did you get there? Are there things you've learned that might help others or questions you have that we can ponder together?

Thanks to Random Integer, the winner of last Tuesday's drawing for Wendy's book, Hidden Joy in Dark Corner, is:
25 - Victoria

Timestamp: 2009-02-23 12:33:19 UTC

Victoria, please email your mailing address to leah.proverbs31@gmail.com.

Seeking His fullness!

This and that...
Hi friends! I have so missed talking with you. It's been a crazy busy but good week. I keep telling myself I need to blog about something meaningful and so I start thinking about what I am learning and can share with you, and then someone's hungry, another someone needs clean clothes and the other someone needs help with homework and, boom - it's time for bed! So tonight I decided to give up on "something meaningful" and just pop in to say hi! I have great intentions of coming back tomorrow with meaningful :-).

I've been writing like a crazy woman the past few days. I am so proud of myself. I wrote 10 radio shows and turned them in last weekend, and I have 10 more to write that are due tomorrow. It's all part of this ambitious goal I have to get extra radio shows recorded so I can have them "banked" for Spring months that are busy with speaking and traveling. Since I'm taking this month off from speaking, I decided to record 20 radio in 2 weeks! (I usually record 20 shows in 2 months.) I know, call me crazy! But then please say a little prayer that my brain and my voice can do this. I will feel so good if I can get ahead.

And you know what's really cool? You have been helping me! I've been going through your comments on my blog to decide what posts would make relevant radio shows. I read through your thoughts and stories. Then based on what you share that you're going through that ties in with something I wrote, God shows me what we women need for encouragement! It's so hard to know what to talk in our one-minute shows, so you are my little focus group. I really should be paying you! But since that's not really possible, I want you to know I so appreciate your willingness to do and talk about life here with me through your comments.

Oh, and I worked on my book outline this week. Yay!! And guess what? You helped me with it, too. This post that tied in with this post and this one and so many others where you poured out your hearts and shared your stories and life lessons, were God's way of saying "these should be somewhere in a chapter." And if there are others posts that you think tie in with a woman's self-doubt, please tell me. I'll also be doing some Mr.Linky soon to get you to share posts from your blogs.

Before I go to bed, I also wanted to thank you for praying for Leah last week. Her tests came back normal. The doctor said she had all of the signs of a panic attack. She said I could share that with you. It's part of a story God's been writing in her life for years and one God has used to minister to other women in powerful ways. I can't wait for her to share more on her blog or here one day. I think her attack was also spiritual warfare because it happened when it did and the director of the event couldn't sleep that night either. I so appreciate you praying for her and asking about her. Your prayers have been such a gift to her and me!


I've shared a lot of stories lately of ways I've helped my kids see God in everyday lessons and apply His promises in their lives. But I want you to know that I don't always know what to say or see spiritual truths in every situation. It's something I really want and something I've asked God to teach me and do in me.

It started several years ago. After going through a desert time in my relationship with God I came to a point where I wanted more of God. I wanted the life Jesus promised in John 10:10b. So, I aske God to give me a desire for more of Him. He answered! Now when I wake up in the morning there are three things I really want (other than a cup of coffee and another hour of sleep). I really want to see God. I want to allow Christ to live His life in me (Galatians 2:20) and through me. I want to hear Him speak to my heart, and follow His lead. I want to be an expression of His life on earth and in my family. So I pray, "Show me Lord, I'm looking. Speak to me Lord, I'm listening. And lead me Lord, I'm willing." It's my way of abiding in Him all day.

Then I look for God and His activity in my life. I listen for His voice and direction in my spirit, my thoughts and plans. And I try to surrender my heart to His lead in each moment, each conversation, each relationship dynamic, etc. Now I don't do this perfectly. I blow it all the time, and by 5pm I am sure God is thinking, "Renee, you're not listening. You're not looking. You're leading again."

But when I do listen and look and follow, it's amazing how God gives insight and wisdom. My friend Wendy Blight has a neat story about how she's experienced this in her life as a mom, too. Here is what she shared with me recently:

One day after church our family took a drive to the lake. Moments into our ride, my two children morphed into creatures I did not recognize. It began as simple bickering that exploded into an all out brawl. As the volume increased, the distance between the creatures decreased, and they began to push and shove each other. When the female (older by four years) flicked the male creature, my husband completely lost his patience. He gave the female creature one and only one opportunity to apologize and forbid her from speaking another word until we arrived at our destination. She, of course, would not apologize and began to whine and complain why everything was not her fault. With no warning he pulled to the side of the road and ordered her out of the car. I thanked the Lord we were on a deserted road, near the top of a mountain, away from any other human life.

As I saw what was going on between them escalate, I prayed. At that moment, John 10:10 came to me, The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I jumped from the car and asked my husband if I could take a walk with my daughter. He reluctantly acquiesced.

We walked over to a swing overlooking the lake. I began to share with her the verse God had given me. I spoke of Satan’s name, “Diablos,” meaning divider. I explained how Satan desires to divide families, and he commits his life to bringing all out assaults against families who love God and seek to make Him the center of their homes.

I did not want to frighten her, but I warned her how Satan goes after those who love God. I shared how I believed at this moment he was going after her. But then I spoke Truth to her. I shared that her heart belonged to God and had since the moment she accepted Christ as her Savior. I began to pray, praising God for who He is and for our family, standing in the authority we had in Jesus’ name and rebuking Satan and His power in Jesus’ name. As I was praying, I opened my eyes and saw the anger and pride pouring out of my daughter. Her stiff-necked, arched-back body went limp as tears cascaded in a continuous flow down her cheeks. She was broken, humble, and tender. Before my eyes, she morphed back into the beautiful young woman I knew.

It was an incredible moment in our relationship. How did this happen? ABIDING. I had recently committed my mothering to God. I had spent significant time in His Word, praying and studying, claiming promises and claiming Truths. As I invited Him into our family, my mothering changed. I was truly able to speak Truth in Love into situations without raising my voice, without “losing it.” Our home, our family began to change because God changed me.

What a powerful picture of what Jesus tells us in John 14:5, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me." Wendy was able to bear fruit in her relationship with her child because she'd been abiding and seeking, and listening and following Christ.


Win a copy of Wendy's Book

Wendy is a dear friend, author and one of my teammates as a Proverbs 31 speaker. You can find out more about Wendy on her blog. Also, her first book, Hidden Joy in Dark Corner, is being released this month. I would love to give a copy away today so if you'd like a chance to win, please leave a comment below.

Last Week's Give-Away Winners!

Monday’s Winners:

Kate (khthankful@hotmail.com) wins a copy of “Out of the Mouths of Babes” by Wendy Pope

Melissa (blessedoriginals@mchsi.com) wins a D6 Mom T-Shirt and a year’s worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6.

Tuesday’s Winners:

Tonya (tonyarenee1972@yahoo.com) wins a copy of “Revolutionary Parenting” by George Barna

Cynthia (ihs_70x7@yahoo.com) wins aD6 Mom T-shirt and a year’s worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6

Wednesday’s Winners:

Racquel (msmogul31@gmail.com) wins a copy of “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emmerson Eggerich

Angela (avjuarez@yahoo.com) wins a copy of “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emmerson Eggerich

Winners, thanks for your sweet notes. We are trying to catch up on notifying everyone so if you don't mind, it would be so helpful if you would email the following information to Leah.proverbs31@gmail.com.

Please include your:
Phone #
T-shirt size if you won a shirt

We promise not to share it with anyone.

This is love.
I just got back from driving Andrew to school. On our way through the carpool line he was talking about the Valentines' treats in his book bag and wondering when they'd be passing them out in class - anticipating whether he'd have to wait all day for chocolates he was drooling over.

I am so not prepared for Valentines Day. I honestly can't believe it's already the middle of February. Last night Andrew reminded me that he needed treats to bring to school so we ran to Target and joined 50 other mom's and elementary age kids on the "aisle of love-chocolates." It seriously looked like a bomb had hit. Mismatched candy and gifts everywhere. Being all creative, we grabbed four packs of non-Valentines mini Kit Kats and decided Andrew write, "From Andrew" with a Sharpie on the back of each one. Thank goodness he's a boy who doesn't care about the packaging.

This morning as we drove through carpool, I started wondering what I should do for Andrew and Joshua for Valentines Day. I knew it might mean a trip back through the "aisle of love-chocolates." But instead of assuming I asked, "Andrew, what makes you feel loved?"

He thought for a minute and said, "THIS."


"Yea. This. You being with me. You driving me to school and talking to me about my day. You telling me you'll be there when I get home. That makes me feel loved and secure. Thanks mom. I love you, bye!"

And he hopped out of the car.

This is love?

You mean, I don't have to run to Target? I can just be here for him and that will be love. Even though I was a mean mommy yesterday so much that he asked if I was mad about something more than once. This is still love?

I stopped to wonder if God were to ask me what makes me feel loved today, what would I say? I thought how true Andrew's words are:

This is love.
  • A promise that is kept.
  • A place that is certain.
  • Someone being there.
  • Love being present again and again.
Today, because of my son's simple child-like heart, I see what love is. And my heart whispers..."Lord, this is love. You asking and caring. You being there. You keeping Your promises like You said you would. This is love. This makes me feel secure."

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us (first) and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins... And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him....There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect (complete) in love. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4: 10, 16-19.

We are loved. We don't have to wait for God to show it. He already has. He promised He'd always be there for us and He is. He is present and listening. Asking and caring. No matter what we are going through today, we can live and love from the overflow of being loved. We can know and rely on God's promises and presence and be made complete in Him. And this is love.

Oh, Lord, remind us and embrace us and pour out on us your perfect, completing and unfailing love today. As we think of those we love and the ways we want to be loved, remind us that we are Yours and we are loved!!!

Update: I just got a call from Lysa about the plane crash in upstate New York. Please pray for these families. O Lord, may they feel your very present help and the power of your love for them in this tragic loss.

Cleaning Out the Clutter

My closet is cluttered and it’s starting to get to me!

I am so tired of clothes hanging off the shelves more than the hangers and tripping over shoes and things that need to go to Goodwill. I know it will take me a few hours to sort through it all and get rid of some stuff, but when I'm done I get to enjoy a clean closet! So that’s on my "must do" list this week.

I usually avoid cleaning my closet as long as I can because it’s no fun! But it never fails that the longer I neglect it, the worse things get, and the longer it takes to clean.

God recently reminded me that my heart can be the same way. It’s easy to let impatience, unforgiveness and my desire for things to go my way (I know that's control but it sounds better described as desire). Anyway, it's easy to let those things clutter up my heart. And the longer I let my heart stay cluttered with sin, the more of a mess I end up with in my thoughts and in my relationships.

I've been challenged about not letting clutter build up in my marriage while reading the book, "Love and Respect" by Dr. Emmerson Eggerich. Have you ever read it?
This book is about the love a woman most desires and the respect a man desperately needs. Inside the book, Dr. Emmerson shares this:

"I wrote this book out of desperation that was turned into inspiration. As a pastor, I counseled married couples and could not solve their problems. The major problem I heard from wives was, "He doesn't love me." Wive are made to love, want to love and expect love. Many husbands fail to deliver. But as I kept studying Scripture and counseling couples, I finally saw the other side of the equation. Husbandss weren't saying it much, but they were thinking, She doesn't respect me. Husbands are made to be respected, want respect and expect respect. Many wives fail to deliver. The result is that five out of ten marriages land in divorce court (and that includes evangelical Christians). As I wrestled with the problem, I finally saw a connection: without love from him, she reacts without respect; without respect from her, he reacts without love. Around and around it goes. I call it the Crazy Cycle of conflict. In my marriage conference and book I help men and women learn how to:

  • Stop the Crazy Cycle of conflict
  • Initiate the Energizing Cycle of Change
  • Enjoy the rewarded cycle of New Passion
Oh, I can so relate! As I shared in this post in December, showing my husband respect is something God has taught me the importance of over the past 15 years. I've had to work at it and find practical ways to show it. This book is a great reminder for me to ask God if there's anything cluttering up my heart or my thoughts or my marriage. I don't know about you, but I'm so thankful I don't have to do this de-cluttering alone. Like King David, I can ask God for help, by asking Him to give me a clean heart and renew in me the desire to keep it clean along the way! Hmm, I wonder if He'll help me with my closet, too!?

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Today's Give-Away

I'm giving away 2 copies of "Love and Respect" by Dr. Emmerson Eggerich and 2 tickets to this weekend's Love and Respect Conference in Charlotte, NC.

Make plans now to attend the
Love & Respect Marriage Conference
at Calvary Church in Charlotte, NC
February 13 &14, 2009.

Click here to read what Dr. Eggerich wrote on his blog this week about the conference in Charlotte this weekend. And let me know if you'll be there. My husband and I would love to meet you!

To be part of today's give-away, click on "comments" below and indicate if you would like to win the book, the tickets to the conference or either one. PLEASE include your email so I can contact you if you win. Thank you Love and Respect Ministry for today's great give-aways!

A D6 Mom - A D6 Moment
My friend and assistant, Leah, is one of the most amazing moms I know. She is constantly inspiring me with stories about her kids and ways she is passing her faith to them in everyday moments. Sometimes they pass it back! Here is a neat D6 story she shared with me recently:

“We need new tennis shoes!” It was a school night and our family had just finished dinner. The plan was to clean up, get homework done and have my two sons in bed on time so that my husband and I could enjoy a little rest and relaxation. However my boys had a plan of their own.

Basketball season had started and they both insisted they “needed” brand new basketball shoes. “Absolutely not”! Their school tennis shoes would be fine. My oldest son had a hole in his left shoe but surely that couldn’t interfere with him running down the basketball court. My youngest son’s hand-me-downs would certainly survive a few more months.

As I stacked the dishwasher, my boys secretly strategized a plan. They explained that these new shoes could play a dual role. Not only would they be perfect for basketball season but could also be worn to school. They told me it would be the last pair of shoes they would need until Summer time. I fell for it… hook, line and sinker.

Before I knew it, we were in the car headed for the local shoe store. I had already told the boys we needed to stay away from fancy sporting goods stores that seldom have the deals we were looking for. I've majored in shopping most of my life and this was definitely going to be a buy one get one free shopping spree.

As we drove to the store, I began to feel my stress level rise. So many thoughts flooded my mind. Basketball shoes are expensive. Christmas is right around the corner. So much for those cute boots I was saving up to buy. It's after 7:00 pm on a school night. What am I doing! In that moment, I blurted out to my son "Brody, would you please pray”?

Many years ago our family started consistently praying every time we left our home. It didn't matter whether we were running a simple errand or leaving for a 7 day vacation trip. Regardless of the circumstances we always asked God for protection and a safe return home. Tonight was no exception.

I figured my son would toss out a quick three liner prayer asking God for a specific pair of brand name shoes he was hoping for. Instead he started out with a very simple prayer of thanks. He thanked God for passing his science test that morning and for his friends at school and church. He thanked God for keeping our family safe and for the great dinner we had that night.

Then he prayed about the new basketball shoes he and his brother so desperately wanted. Not only did he ask God to help us find them but requested that they be available in just the right size, and that his soon to be found shoes would be on sale at a really good price and of course be a popular brand name. He prayed we would find the shoes quickly and not have to run to several different stores since it was a school night.

I'd heard my son pray many times before but this time was different. As I reflected on all of those long talks and numerous questions he’d ask about God and answered prayers, I realized that taking the time to share God’s principals and promises with him in the past had made a difference in his prayer life.

In those fleeting moments, I learned something very special about my teenage son's prayer life. It is real. It is honest. It is personal. He understands that no request is too big or too small for his Heavenly Father. That no matter how busy life may seem God always has time to listen to him. That every detail in his life has significance to God, even something as simple as basketball shoes.

After one hour, we found those perfect shoes. They were just the right size and just the right price. Not only that, they were a name brand too! What more could we have asked for. God was faithful and answered a young boy's simple prayer about basketball shoes.

As we headed home, I didn't have to ask my son to pray. He just automatically did as a natural response to his joyful heart. My heart was full of joy too because I knew that the feet that would walk in those shoes would also walk the road for Christ."

Leah's an amazing mom and a great writer, too, huh? I am so thankful she was willing to let me share her story with you today.I also wanted to let you know Leah is going for her physical today after her racing/pounding heart rate episode I posted about last week. Please pray for her and for the doctors to be able to determine what caused it. We'll keep you posted. Also, Leah sent me last week's winners. They are listed below in Sunday night's post.

Today's Mom Give-Aways

A copy of George Barna's "Revolutionary Parenting" and a D6 Mom Tshirt.

To be part of today's give-away, click on "comments" below. PLEASE include your email so we can get in touch if you win. Thank you D6 for today's great give-aways!

Lessons from an Oreo Cookie

I love it when God takes an ordinary moment and shows me an extraordinary truth about His heart towards me. Sometimes I pass it onto to my kids right then, but other times I let it sink into my heart for a while. That's how my friend Wendy felt when God used an Oreo cookie to teach her about his wholeness offered for our brokenness. Here is how Wendy describes it in her book, "Out of the Mouths of Babes."

It was another normal lunchtime of peanut butter sandwiches, chips, and apples for my children and me. We had all finished our lunch and in our home this means "treat time." A "treat" is usually our family favorite: Oreo cookies.

Eating an Oreo is an art to each individual. Some dunk the cookie in milk; some eat it all at once; others take the cookie apart to eat each part separately. I have perfected my own way of eating these mouth-watering morsels. I twist the cookies apart and scrape the crème filling off with my teeth. This leaves my most favorite part of the cookie: the wafer. Eating the wafer is almost sacred to me. I never want to be interrupted. Delightfully savoring each bite, I slowly eat each wafer, being careful not to break either one; somehow the experience is not the same if a wafer gets broken.

Without my knowledge, my children have begun to eat their Oreos the same way. I had never noticed their ability to scrape the crème without breaking the wafer. (It must be in the genes.) On this particular day, I noticed my son, three at the time, finishing his last wafer at the very same time I was finishing mine. That is when it happened: his wafer broke. It was heartbreaking to him, and because I had broken my wafers before, I knew just how he felt. He brought his broken wafer to me, and as I looked at my whole wafer, I gladly exchanged it with him.

It was that moment God reminded me of His love for us. His desire is to take the broken pieces of our lives and exchange them with His wholeness. He does not want us to wait. He wants us to come just as we are. God came to heal the broken hearted. Luke 4:18 says, "He (God) has sent me(Jesus) to heal the broken hearted and to announce that captives shall be released. (TLB) This scripture is quoted from Isaiah 61:1, where the word "bind" is used instead of heal. In the original Hebrew the word bind means "to wrap firmly, govern, healer, or wrap about."

Will you take the broken pieces of your heart to the Healer and let Him wrap His arms firmly around you today? He loves you and came to give you abundant life (John 10:10). You cannot experience the abundant life until you give your brokenness over to the only one who can make you whole-Jesus.

Wendy Pope is a wife, a mom, a P31 speaker, an author, our development coordinator and the inspiration behind over a thousand women reading through the Chronological Bible in a Year with Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Copyright 2009, Wendy Pope - All rights reserved.

Wendy, thank you for sharing that story with us today. I don't think I'll ever have another Oreo cookie without remembering that Jesus came to heal my broken places and make me whole again! And what a greatD6 moment to pass on this spiritual truth to our kids.

Today's Mom Give-Aways

A copy of Wendy's book, "Out of the Mouths of Babes, a D6 Mom Tshirt, and a year's worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6.

To be part of today's give-away, click on "comments" below. PLEASE include your email so we can get in touch if you win. Thank you D6 and Proverbs 31 Ministries for all the great give-aways!

Last Week's Give-Away Winners!

Monday's Winners

Shannon(smarklow@gmail.com) wins a copy of “Untroubled Heart: Finding Faith that is Stronger than My Fears”.

Mary Beth (mbsalmon@sbcglobal.net) wins a year’s worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6.

Wednesday's Winners

Terry (jonesy4him@comcast.net) wins a copy of “Total Money Make-Over”.

Oh Dear (dearingfamilycircus@verizon.net) wins a copy of “Finding Home”.

Ann Marie (amkraft1@gmail.com) gets a copy of “Finding Home”.

Caroline (thegrossmans@carolina.rr.com) wins a year’s worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6.

Thursday's Winners

Bugladynora@yahoo.com wins a D6 Mom T-shirt.

Jennifer (jenniferroskamp@gmail.com) wins a copy of “Total Money Make-Over”.

Victoria (vwilson7@gmail.com) wins a copy of “My Single Mom Life”.

April (aprilt@conwaycorp.net) wins a D6 Mom mug.

Chrissy (cgunning94504@adelphia.net) wins a year’s worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6.

Update: When I started to write a post today (Friday), I sensed God wanted me to leave this post up through the weekend. I pray these words will fall fresh on your weary or worried heart today. They have on mine. I am working on my book proposal about a woman's doubts this weekend. I' know I've said it before but I'm really starting. I have to thank you because your comments and God's clear leading have inspired me to take that first step! I'd treasure your prayers as I seek His thoughts and gather mine. I'll keep you posted, and I'll be back Monday with more encouragement!

When I look at a rocking chair I feel peace-full! And I have to admit, I long for peaceful almost as much as a cup of coffee or the chance to stay in bed longer on cold winter mornings. Yes, peace-full is very appealing to me.

Worry is the opposite of peace-full. It leaves me me peace-less!

There are times when I don't even realize I'm worried. My mind is wired to think a lot so I get used to the constant flurry of motion in my brain. Worry will start to slowly creep in, and then before I know it there's a stirring in my heart, my neck is tense, my mind won't shift gears and little concerns have kicked into full blown worry.

Author Linda Dillow says, "Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won't get you anywhere!" Oh, she is so right. When I finally stop worrying, I realize I've wasted a bunch of time and mental energy thinking about something I can't change when I should've been talking to God - since He is the only one who can.

In Philippians 4:5b-7, Paul tells us how we can find peace in the midst of our worries. He says,"...the Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:5b-7 (NLT)

In the NIV translation, Verse 7 says, "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Oh that God's peace would transcend my need to understand! Sometimes that is my biggest problem, I can accept what God is doing if He'd just help me understand why He's doing it that way.

I want what Paul promises. I want God to guard my heart and mind with peace as I tuck myself into Jesus (because He's near) and live in the sovereignty of Him being in control. Let's break down the ways Paul says we can get God's peace that is far more wonderful than our minds can understand:
  1. Stop worrying
  2. Start praying - tell God what I need.
  3. Thank God for what He's already done

Now that is doable! So why is it so stinkin' hard to do? Why do I naturally do the opposite? I think it's because the enemy whispers in our thoughts: Do not be calm about anything; instead worry about everything. Tell God what He should do. Then take control if He doesn’t listen. And the concerns that consume your thoughts will devour your peace as you wring your hands, allowing anxiety and fear to rob you of your joy!

But according to yesterday, we are taking those thoughts captive, right? We are throwing them in the outfield and claiming God's promise to provide just what we need - peace. So, today when our concerns consume us, let's choose to stop and empty our hearts of our worries, talk to God about what we need and THANK HIM for His faithfulness and provision. One thing I do is write it in my journal so I can look back and remember the times God has been there for me or my family. It's amazing how peace-full comes when I stop worrying, start praying and begin thanking Him for what He has and will do.

“You will keep in perfect peace, (her) whose mind is steadfast, because (she) trusts in you.” Isaiah 24:4

This Week's Mom Give-Aways

This week Leah will be drawing names from each day's comments for this week's give-aways which include the following: D6 Mom Tshirts, "Total Money Make-Over" by Dave Ramsey, Finding Home by Jim Daly, George Barna's "Revolutionary Parenting", "My Single Mom Life"by Angela Thomas' and a year's worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6.

To be part of these give-aways, click on "comments" below. PLEASE include your email so we can get in touch if you win. Thank you D6 and Proverbs 31 Ministries for all the great give-aways!

When A Child Worries
Recently my son came to me and said he didn’t want to have ANY anxious thoughts that day – he didn’t want to worry about me being home when he got off the school bus, or about his teacher liking his science project, or about whether his dad would get in a car accident.

It made me so sad, but I could identify with what Andrew was feeling. As a little girl, I had so much anxiety. I worried that my parents would forget to pick me up at school. I was afraid something would happen to my mom. I was constantly worried about what my friends or teachers or parents thought about me. I was a fearful child, but I always thought it was because I had lots of real reasons to be afraid.

You see, my parents divorced and my dad left home when I was two. From that point on, I feared my mom would leave, too. When I was 10 years old, my dad decided that my brothers and I needed to live with him and his wife for the school year. He lived 30 minutes away from my mom. It was the most traumatic year of my life. I cried and worried all the time. I can't even describe how anxious and afraid I was that something would happen to my mom and I'd be alone forever.

Because of my childhood fears, I easily empathize when my son describes his. But what I don't sometimes understand is why he has similar fears although his childhood and family life are so very different from mine. As a momma who was robbed of half her childhood and adulthood joy, I don't want my children to miss a day in the amazing life God has for them, or ever be held hostage by fear or worry. Andrew is an incredible kid who brings joy to everyone he meets. I sensed that the enemy was truing to use fear and worry to still, kill and destroy my child's joy, hope and peace.

Not only had Andrew declared he wanted a "anxious-free" day, he also said he wished he was someone else who didn't worry because he feels like no one else does. Feeling like the "only one" is a lie from the pit. Although I couldn't take my child out of the battle that waged in his mind, I could surely equip him for it! I wanted to give him the confidence he needed to fight courageously so I assured him that other kids worry; they just don't talk about it on the playground. I reasoned that worry and fear must be a normal part of life since God tells us not to so many times in the Bible. I also told Andrew that God tells us what to do, when we do.

I wanted to equip him with God's plan of action.Then that verse came to mind where Paul tells us to demolish all arguments and any pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, by taking every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5). I knew it's what my little man needed to do, but it seemed like a hard concept for a kid (even an adult) so I tried to put it in terms he could understand.

"Andrew, when you have a thought that makes you feel anxious, catch it like it’s a baseball.” I then cupped my hand like I was holding a ball and told him to look at it and ask, “Is this something Jesus would say to me?” If the answer is “no” - then throw that thought back into the outfield! Then we talked through some of his thoughts and fears:

Worry says: “Your mom isn’t going to be here when you get home.”

Would Jesus say that?

Andrew replied, "No."

Then it’s outta here!

Worry says: “Your teacher isn’t going to like your science project!”

Would Jesus say that?

Again, "No."

Throw that one away, too.

When we finished talking through each worry, I shared Philippians 4:6-9 with him, and we prayed together - telling God Andrews concerns, asking Him to replace his worries with promises and thanking Him for what He's done in the past and would do that day. And we claimed God's peace that passes understanding when we bring our concerns to Him. After the Amen, Andrew looked at me, smiled so big and said, "Thanks Mom!" as though all his worries were gone.

Mom, the most powerful thing we can do is pray for our children, equip them with God's promises and show them how to apply them in daily life. I also think it's important to talk with them about times when we worry, too, and tell them how we take my thoughts captive by taking them to Jesus (and if we're not, we need to start!). Funny thing, the very next week I was worried about something and remembered this lesson and applied it in my own life. I was able to tell Andrew and he encouraged me, too. I think that is
what being a D6 (Deuteronomy 6) mom is all about - loving God, learning from God, and sharing with my children what God's teaching me and how He's transforming me with His Truth each day!

Copyright 2009, Renee Swope - All rights reserved.

This Week's Mom Give-Aways

We're trying to figure out how many resources we have left in my D6 give-away stash, so this week Leah will be drawing names from each day's comments to be part of this week's give-aways which will include some or all of the following: D6 Mom Tshirts, "Total Money Make-Over" by Dave Ramsey, Finding Home by Jim Daly, George Barna's "Revolutionary Parenting", Angela Thomas' best-seller "My Single Mom Life", and a year's worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6

To be part of these give-aways, click on "comments" below. PLEASE include your email so we can get in touch if you win. Thank you D6 and Proverbs 31 Ministries for all the great give-aways!

Have No Fear
There are so many things I want to teach my kids, so many spiritual truths I want to pass on. Like Deuteronomy 6 tells us, God wants us to impress on our children's hearts the things He is teaching us. As a D6 family we try to look for opportunities during conversations, or plan times to sit down and talk with our kids about important topics and truths. But we also realize that our kids learn a lot from J.J. and me by watching how we do life....how we make hard decisions, react to stressful situations and walk with God in everyday life circumstances.

This is true for every family, and it's always a process, isn't it? I love hear how other parents are seeking to live out D6 principles with their kids. So, today I invited a good friend of mine,
Micca Campbell, to share her thoughts on how parents can show their kids how to live by faith or fear. Micca has a lot to share on this topic, much of which she covers in her soon-to-be-released book, "Untroubled Heart:Finding Faith that is Stronger than My Fears." Here is what she had to say:

Psalm 127 paints a wonderful picture of God’s plan for building successful, worry-free families. The Psalmist explains that Lord builds the home, but the parents are the gatekeepers. A gatekeeper is like a watchman or overseer who monitors the family’s activities and decides who and what is allowed access into the home. The gatekeeper should be aware of what is going on in the house and who is influencing the household. The watchman isn’t afraid to let the kids’ friends come over, because he (or she) decides who stays and who leaves, who comes back and who doesn’t get to return.

A good gatekeeper also protects the hearts and minds of the children by monitoring what they watch on TV, view on the Internet and listen to on their iPods. It’s the watchman’s duty to monitor the home until the children can supervise themselves.

The watchman isn’t afraid to let the child learn and grow through trial and error, nor is the watchman afraid to trust the child again after the child has made a mistake. The watchman knows their actions and reactions are teaching their children on a daily basis to live in fear or faith.

As the gatekeeper of our homes, it’s our job to teach our children how to live a life of faith. Unfortunately, as parents our lives are sometimes marked by fear rather than faith.

A few years ago, my husband, Pat, was offered an accounting job that included a big promotion. It was what he had been working for, praying for, and waiting to happen. However, once he settled into the new position, he had regrets. Not only did he have to learn a new job, but he also had to clean up the chaos someone else had left behind. On top of that, the company’s financial status was hanging in limbo. Pat’s worries weighed heavily on his shoulders. As the provider for the family, Pat was deeply concerned about losing everything. He suddenly found it difficult to trust God.

Before I knew it, his concerns and anxieties became mine. Looking back on this frightful time, I can’t help but wonder what Pat and I were building into our children—faith or fear? As Christians, we should be the last people to be afraid of anything. We claim what Paul asks us in Romans 8:31—“If God is for us, who can be against us?”—but act otherwise when the foundation of our home is shaken. Our children shouldn’t see fear in us. We can’t say with our mouths that we trust God and contradict that trust with our actions. So what does it tell our children when we’re afraid to go to the doctor when we begin experiencing symptoms? What does it teach them when we constantly worry about who will move in next door or when we don’t trust God to provide financially? We teach our children live in fear instead of living by faith when we fail to trust God’s ability above our own.

It took Pat and me awhile to admit that our resources weren’t limited to our own finances. We had God’s unending wealth and provision available to us. It was foolish to attempt to get on our own what God was so willing to provide. We decided to trust God—no matter what.

By putting into practice what we learn from God’s Word, we make knowledge a reality in our life. One step of trust leads to another until we find ourselves living carefree in God’s tender care.

In faith, Pat made an appointment to talk with his old boss. He expressed his desire to return to his old job. Surprisingly, they were thrilled to have him back. Pat resigned from the new job and resumed his old position. Looking back, Pat and I realized we prolonged our peace by fearing the outcome. Once we got around to it, trusting God was so much easier—just the lesson we want to convey to our children.

At first, we were overcome with worry and stress, but we realized that we couldn’t be afraid and exercise faith at the same time. Our house couldn’t have two builders. It was either us or God. Eventually, we gave up our restless cares and let the Lord’s peace flood our soul. We simply rested in God. What better place is there to be? Nowhere—especially when our goal is to teach our children how to live a life of faith.

Copyright 2009, Micca Campbell - All rights reserved.

More Mom Give-Aways

Please share your thoughts on this topic in the comments section and you'll be part of today's give-away which includes Micca's book "Untroubled Heart:Finding Faith that is Stronger than My Fears" and a year's worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6.

To be part of these give-aways, click on "comments" below. PLEASE include your email so we can get in touch if you win and I'd love to know where you are from.

Thanks & Congratulations!
Thank you so much for your prayers this weekend! I could really feel them while I was traveling and speaking at the Christ Community Church's women's retreat in Sumter, SC Friday and Saturday. There was an amazing sense of God's anointing on the whole event and lots of spiritual warfare, too.

My very dear friend, Leah, who is also my speaking ministry/travel assistant, woke up from a deep sleep Friday night with a racing heartbeat. She felt like her heart was pounding out of her chest. After 15 minutes of praying, she woke me up (much to her dismay) at 1am to lay hands on her and pray. It was so scary. But, through the power of prayer and the presence of God's Spirit, peace came over her and she was able to lay down. However, she couldn't get back to sleep so she prayed all night for me and for every detail and person who would be part of the event. Bless her heart.

She is such an important part of the ministry God has called me to. I can't even tell you how much God has used her in the past few months to listen to, encourage, serve, help with the details, keep me organized, prayed for and just strengthened in so many ways. We would treasure your prayers for her. She's going to have a physical this week and of course the enemy is trying to distract her with what is going on. If you have a minute to leave her a prayer here, I would so appreciate it.

Leah is also the one who randomly, but very prayerfully, chooses each week's winners. Then she sends them to me to post, contacts them by email for addresses and coordinates them being mailed from the office. So, now it's time to congratulate those of you that God lead Leah to choose for last week's winners! Congratulations....

Samina (samina@kingwoodcable.net)is the winner of Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Chart

Margaret (msmith@smithstevens.net) is the winner of Angela Thomas' best-seller "My Single Mom Life"

Denise (dnd001@shsu.edu) is the winner of "Learning to Live Financially Free" by Marybeth Whalen

RefreshMom is the winner of "Total Money Make-Over" by Dave Ramsey

Holly (hollyplatte@sbcglobal.net) is the winner of Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child Chart

Pam (pjoyreed@hotmail.com) is the winner of George Barna's "Revolutionary Parenting"

Rebecca (tiggerdaisy@gmail.com) is the winner of Finding Home by Jim Daly

Nikki (nikki.shoemaker@gmail.com) is the winner of the D6 gift pack with a D6 Mom Tshirt and a year's worth of Family Devotional Magazines from D6.

Anna (anna@lachlanfarm.com) is the winner of "Learning to Live Financially Free" by Marybeth Whalen

Stacey (thepadens@cox.net) is the winner of Total Money Make-Over by Dave Ramsey

Paula G. (wrinkledshirts@yahoo.com) is the winner of 2 tickets to the D6 Conference