A couple of weeks ago I witnessed my brother go to “battle” as an MMA fighter in the cage. Something was different about this fight. As a sister, I had all the nerves and butterflies but there was a sense that this fight was going to be different in some way and that it was. With it being my brother’s first fight viewed in homes nationwide, I watched in awe at what God did through his life.
My brother’s fight was the Main Event so naturally he was last. During the pre-fight interview my eyes were glued to the TV as he openly shared about Jesus. He commented how this fight was not about the opponent or even the fight itself, but rather an opportunity to compete and more importantly share Jesus with others. He then stated how the real “fights” in life are the battles we face day by day. In that moment, I felt as though he already won. He showed up and used the platform God had given him for sharing God’s love. When I thought it couldn’t get any better, I saw him face the crowd but his focus was on God. His music started playing as he entered the audience I heard the song “You Make Me Brave” playing, a worship song, not the typical harsh and sometimes vulgar come out music for fighters. With his trainer, corner men (and corner woman, his amazing wife) walking out with him he stopped, paused, raised His hands and without shame praised his God.
He entered the cage and in the natural lost the fight but I looked at the TV with tears in my eyes because in that span of time he won something so much bigger than a belt or a title.
You see, there will be many “battles” we face in life and oftentimes there is a crowd watching. Some cheering us on and others wishing to see us break and bleed. Nonetheless, HE makes us brave and we are required to show up, lift our hands and trust God to do His will through our lives.
Are we being brave in how we live? Do we show faith especially in audiences that don’t celebrate what we live for? Are we trusting God with our finances, our marriages, our families and so on? Are we brave when we look at facts contrary to God’s truth? Faith comes easy to talk about but much harder to walk out. In all these things, let us keep our eyes on God and allow Him to make us BRAVE!
Photo of: @parnelldavismma
It is so hard to not nag your husband when there are messes around the house and you can trace his tracks of where he has been. I can get so frustrated if my husband is just watching TV and I am slaving away at cleaning up the kitchen from dinner or doing laundry or chores of some sort. I don’t like to nag him to help clean up because that just makes it stressful and tense between our relationship. As frustrated as I can get about it, those messes are reminders of God’s gifts all around us. Like Jesus’ example, He extends His love all around and we have the opportunity to demonstrate that love to our loved ones by serving them through our daily lives like doing chores and cleaning up after them. Marriage is designed to be a reflection of Christ and His love and serving your husband is key in that. Therefore when I nag and point out his faults, that is poisoning our relationship and not allowing God to shine through our marriage. I have failed many times at this and not looking at my spouse through God’s eyes and how He sees him. But I get tired of picking up after my family and I get grumpy and don’t want to serve. Than I am reminded of the verse in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good.” We have our days where we get exhausted but I need to remember to focus on the good work ahead. I know it is hard work to serve someone when you are tired and all you want to do is nag and yell at them to get it done but that has gotten me nowhere. My husband doesn’t want a nagging wife, he wants a loving wife that will serve him and do the good God has called me to do. A nagging wife is like, “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike,” Proverbs 25:24. I don’t want to be that dripping water that annoys the ones I love. I want to bring refreshment and encouragement to my husband. Taking these messes as blessings and understanding how God created my husband in His image has helped me see that serving him is a gift. I should be thankful when I do clean up, do laundry and chores around that I am doing unto the Lord. I’m grateful to be able to do this for my loved ones because I don’t know how much longer God will allow me to be with them. Let that be a reminder to cherish each day and when we start to nag at our spouses or get frustrated of the messes they’ve made to know that it is an honor and gift to serve them as they are a gift from God!
Photo Credit:ID 54737746 © Voyagerix | Dreamstime
By mid-August my “bonus daughter” will be leaving for college and quite honestly it’s daunting. While I’m excited for her next phase of life, I find myself pondering how this beautiful, brilliant and incredible young lady will transition into her new life. And although she’s been raised with incredible morals and a good foundation from her Dad as well as other family, I still find myself asking… Will she find the right friends? Will she stay focused on her studies? Will she make good choices? Is she prepared to be away from home? Will she meet and date the guy she is going to marry?
It’s crazy being a parent/stepparent. Your mind tends to wonder and second guess if you’ve done all you can do to be an example, to instill the right things and so on. Let’s just pause right here because while most people have 18 years to wrap their brain around this parenting thing, I’ve had a 12-month crash course. In my own translation being a stepparent means stepping in where needed, as needed, if needed and most importantly not overstepping your boundaries. It’s a tricky thing to learn and balance. However, I’m learning to embrace the process and the role I’m assigned to and might I add the operative word is “learning.” Every day I’m introduced with a new lesson and some pop quizzes here and there.
As our children prepare for their school year be it elementary, high school, or college we as Christian parents have an obligation to pray for them and cover them. Our children are facing temptations and pressures we know nothing of. While it’s my desire for this amazing young lady to make good decisions, it’s even more important that she makes Godly decisions. But it is her decision and our job is to equip her with God’s Word and trust that if we train up a child in the way they should go when they are old, the will not depart. (Proverbs 22:6).
So I put my questions aside and pray for God’s protection and leading because at the end of the day, I know the real question isn’t, “Is she ready for the world?” but rather, “Is the world ready for her?”
Photo Credit:ID 50102932 © Hongqi Zhang (aka Michael Zhang) | Dreamstime
As I am raising three daughters, I am learning a lot about keeping their innocence. Especially my oldest daughter, I have realized our parenting needs to be so intentional as my husband and I are training her up where she should go! This verse has been essential to us, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” Proverbs 22:6. I truly believe if you are training your children in God’s word, and rooting them in His truth, that they will not depart from it. I am experiencing this firsthand as my daughter is in middle school and has lots of pressures of looking and acting a certain way. She comes home and tells me what things go on and what things are not appropriate and I try not to have the shock look but just listen. Because the more we just listen the more they share. My daughter sharing with me is allowing her to discern right from wrong and what God says and what the world wants you to believe. This is so powerful if your daughters can understand who they are in Christ and realize the importance of that.
Keeping your daughter innocent by speaking the truth does make a difference. The relationship with your daughter or children doesn’t come over night but takes constant effort and communication to work towards having that solid connection. This relationship of open communication and trust has been key in keeping her innocent because she hears first our opinion and not what her friends think on certain issues. Another essential part is being involved in their lives and helping out at school or their activities. I am thankful my daughter lets me chaperone her socials because I get to see her friendships and what her classmates are like. Being involved shows your daughters that they are valued and taking the time for them shows so much love and support. Also letting them be who God has designed them to be is very important in keeping them innocent and not trying to push your agenda or grow them up faster than they are ready for. My daughter loves ballet and dance and music and I never took dance so it took some time to get used to the fact that she didn’t want to do sports. I was an athlete in school and wanted her to experience that, but she doesn’t like sports so I had to hold back and allow God to develop her in the way she was made for.
Keeping that little girl in your daughter is about allowing her to just be in love with the simple things. My daughter still loves to play Barbies and babies and she is almost twelve years old. Also she still wears bows in her hair to school almost every day just because she loves to dress up. As a parent embracing her little girl side and encouraging it is the best way to keep that innocence. So tell your daughters out there to “Rock that bow and keep the little girl side!” Remind your daughters they are made in His image and, “They are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago,” Ephesians 2:10. God has big plans for your daughters and helping to keep your daughters innocence is a big part of that!
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