Back to it

New Years is the time of year most people become resolved to change or set and strive for fresh goals. But for me as a stay-at-home mom and ministry leader, back-to-school time is the golden ticket!

My sweet kiddos started a new school year yesterday, and in many ways my year begins again, too.

Seriously. Have you seen sweeter kids?

It’s time to get back to it!

I’ve missed posting here on my blog. For the past year, I’ve allowed my ministry to-do list to crowd out my writing time. This fall, I’d like to change that, because God uses blogging in my life to punctuate how He is at work in the details all around me.

Earlier this year, knowing what God was calling me to, I asked Him to increase my capacity (aka the prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10). The vision He had given was impossible to achieve without His presence and power — and Him stretching me even further in faith. God answered that prayer by giving me more to do and more people to love and serve. That’s just like God! ūüėČ

I can say truthfully I haven’t “handled” it all well. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve burnt out in my own strength. And, God has allowed me late this summer to solely focus on my first ministry — my family — to rejuvenate my heart and clarify my priorities.

What God calls us to, He equips us to do. But you know how He does that? It isn’t that God suddenly gives you new skills or management techniques or aligns all your people in an orderly manner so that leadership is easy. He gives us Himself. He requires us to be with Him, stand with Him, depend on Him, trust in Him, and release control so He can work — in US.

That’s why I want to get back to recording God’s words and encouragement here in blog form. I want God to keep me on my toes, recognizing His work in the details of life so that I can stand firm in Christ, as He calls me in Ephesians 6:10-20 (note all times we are urged to “stand”). And, I want to be able to share with you the amazing blessing and miracle it is that God chooses to move and make Himself evident in our everyday lives — the places that real life happens, those in-between moments that define us.

This restart may not be perfect. It’s a beginning, again. That sounds a lot like grace.

Thanks for joining me in the journey!

Diving into the Word this summer

It’s summer!!

In addition to splashing in the pool, exploring at the river, sleeping in (well, we are working on that!), and jumping on the trampoline, it’s also a perfect time to dive into the Word of God.

Though we emphasize the Bible as a family in our devotions, AWANA work and special experiences (like Christmas Countdown and 2 Weeks 2 the Cross), summer is a special time to dig deeper in the Scripture sandbox. We want our kids to discover God’s Word for themselves, and independently spend time with their Savior. Summer provides us an expanded format for them to learn how, at their own level and pace.

The kids' Bibles and devotion binders

The kids’ Bibles and devotion binders

Here’s how¬†we are approaching our personal devotions¬†this summer. This plan may change, because I want to give each of us the opportunity to wander down the paths where Jesus leads us!

We are using this page out of Lauren's Explorer Bible as a template for her devotions to start the summer.

We are using this page out of Lauren’s Explorer Bible as a template for her devotions to start the summer.

Early Reader Plan
Lauren, my six-year-old, has leaped forward with her reading skills. She surprises me every time I hear her read. This is her first time to study God’s Word on her own, since she now¬†has the ability to read and write very well. I just bought her an NIrV Explorer Bible (with a purple cover), and she loves it! It is a treasure to her, as God’s Word should be. I love the NIrV translation because it is specifically geared toward young readers. Inside her Bible, we found a highlight page with Scriptures taking the reader through the life of Jesus. What a perfect place for her to start! So, each day (most likely weekdays), she reads the Scripture verses, then writes a few sentences about what she’s read and then draws a picture to help her remember. In addition to embracing the Word of God for herself, she is also furthering her reading, writing and comprehension skills. When we finish the life of Jesus, we will likely focus on another Bible hero, like David or Esther.

This is Lauren's first devotion page. She started reading about the life of Jesus in her Bible, and this is her synopsis and illustration!

This is Lauren’s first devotion page. She started reading about the life of Jesus in her Bible, and this is her synopsis and illustration!

Advanced Reader Plan
Jackson, my nine-year-old, is an advanced reader who just needed some focus and a plan to¬†process and apply what he was reading. I discovered he was jumping around in Scripture rather than reading it through, so I asked him what he would like to study. He knew right away he wanted to know more about the life of Jesus! So, I collected devotions from TruthforKids.com. They have a plan for kids to work through the entire Bible in a year, with Scriptures and devotions for each day. I had downloaded them last summer and we had started from the beginning, but trailed off during the school year. So, I printed off the first chunk of devotions starting in the Gospels. In addition to the Scripture and devotional reading, Jackson needed a place to process and record what God was teaching him. So, I found a great free resource for kids and teens to use for Scripture journaling. Each morning, Jackson will read Scripture and the corresponding devotion, then journal and pray. He is currently using his NIrV Explorer Bible, because his NKJ version has a tiny font size, but he’s ready for a good beginner study Bible, probably in a NKJV, HCSB or ESV. (Not sure what I mean with those acronyms? Find out more about Bible translations and what might be a good fit for you!)

Adult Reading Plans
Both Matt and I are working through different Bible reading plans with YouVersion Bible App. If you don’t have their Bible app downloaded on your phone, you need to! There are so many plans to choose from, and you can sign up for reminders, and even push the “catch up” button if you get behind. I’ve completed many reading plans that have taken me from “cover to cover”. Right now, I am doing a 100-day focus on the Gospels. Matt is working through a read-the-Bible-through-in-a-year plan.

Even if these Bible study plans aren’t the right fit for you and your family, find a way to focus on God’s Word this summer! And, please drop me a note to let me know how you are diving into the Bible!