Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review: She's Got Issues

Pin It

Ever been surrounded by a group of women who made you feel very put together?  Their lives were in such shambles that you praised God that you weren't like them.  Or what about the opposite, a group of ladies who all wore the June Cleaver facade?  On the outside looking in, everything was perfect?

Then there are those rare groups that contain real women.  No masks or brick walls allowed.  With naked emotions everyone comes to the group broken and in need of a Savior.

She's Got Issues: Seriously Good News for Stressed-Out, Secretly Scared Control Freaks Like Us is that book/curriculum study that tears down the need to be perfect and goes straight to the heart of the issues all women face - control, insecurity, comparison, fear, anger, and unforgiveness.   Who doesn't struggle with these aspects of life on at least some degree?  This is a study written by Nicole Unice that forces women to look deep within.

Heidi's Thoughts:
Because I was traveling by myself, I slipped the She's Got Issues DVD Curriculum into the van's player and listened to the six sessions as I drove.  I am so thankful for this time because I was able to focus on the many topics that hit home.  The approximately 20 minute sessions made me hungry for more even while the topics pulled up characteristic flaws that I try to hide.  Because of the length of my trip, I was able to replay a few of the sessions.  Practical points to peel back the onion and get to the core of the issues. 

After listening to the video, I began reading the book.  (A little backwards, I know, but it is what it is.)  Unlike many Women's Bible study curriculum, the DVD wasn't just a synopsis of what the book contained.  Instead it was an overview and tied the topics up very well.   

Each topic is covered by two chapter.  The first chapter explains what the issue is with the second chapter covering practical ways to release the issue to God.  At the end of each chapter is a prayer, journaling exercise, group discussion questions, and a code to view a video of Nicole discussing the chapter.  (These videos are different from the DVD sessions.)

The fourteen chapters contain a lot of information and scripture.  In some way, I felt like I was reading a book of the Bible written by Paul - lots of commas and deep thoughts.  I found myself having to reread paragraphs to grasp all that the saturated sentences contained.  This isn't a bad thing just understand that due to the writing and depth of topics this study isn't going to be a fast read.

What I love about this study is how Nicole helps you figure out the "why" behind our issues.  Because, it is when we realize why that we can start to allow the Holy Spirit to move within us.  Her book also includes quizzes and assessment tools to help you narrow down the problems.  


In the next coming months, I will be sharing points from Nicole's study as I glean through the topics and wrestle with the issues that I face in my own life.  Maybe someday soon, I will be able to go through the study with a group of ladies!  But for now, I will continue to pour through during my personal quiet time.  (Thinking about doing this as a book study with the ABCJLM family starting in January.  Thoughts?)



Which of the six issues do you struggle with the most - control, insecurity, comparison, fear, anger, and unforgiveness?


Thank you to Tyndale for allowing me to review this book and DVD.

Friday, September 28, 2012

How To Read a New Book To Your Child


Because of the importance of reading with your child, I am reposting this information to help guide you through the process. 

Even before their precious bundle of joy is born, parents are told the importance of reading to their child.  Most professionals agree that children should be read to at least 15 minutes a day.  But is there a certain way to read to a child?

One academic term that you will hear floating around is "Picture Walk."  But what is it?  Why is it important? How is it done?  

Click to find out how you can Picture Walk through books with your kiddo!


What questions or experiences do you have?


Image Source

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Guest Post: Being Like Jesus When Your Day Falls Apart

Pin It

Guest post from Tauna:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control; against such things there is no law." ~ Galatians 5:22-23

A few months ago I was having a particularly hard mommy day.

OK, week.

Maybe month.


I emailed a good friend of mine asking for prayer. She's so faithful in her prayers for me. I am blessed to have a friend like her.

A few days later she emailed me a note of encouragement. She sent me an excerpt from what she read in her devotion that day, which I believe was Edges of His Ways: Selections for Daily Reading by Amy Carmichael. I'm so glad she did, because it changed me.

Here is a more complete version of what she sent me (emphasis and format mine):
Dr. F.B. Meyer once told me that when he was young he was very irritable, and an old man told him that he had found relief from this very thing by looking up the moment he felt it coming, and saying, "Thy sweetness Lord." By telling this, that old man greatly helped Dr. Meyer, and he told it to tens of thousands. 
I pass it on to you because I have found it a certain and a quick way of escape. Take the opposite of your temptation and look up inwardly, naming that opposite:
  • Untruth - Thy truth, Lord
  • Unkindness - Thy kindness Lord
  • Impatience - Thy patience Lord
  • Selfishness - Thy unselfishness, Lord
  • Roughness - Thy gentleness, Lord
  • Discourtesy - Thy courtesy, Lord
  • Resentment - Thy kindness Lord
  • Impatience - Thy patience Lord
Thy calmness, Thy peacefulness.
I think that no one who tries this very simple plan will ever give it up. (It takes for granted, of course, that all is yielded-the "I" dethroned.) Will all to whom it is new please try it for a day, a week, a month, and test it. 

I immediately put it into practice.

When I was tempted to sigh in frustration..... "Your contentment, Jesus."

When I was tempted to be rough with or yell at my children..... "Your gentleness, Jesus."

When I was tempted to worry..... "Your peace, Jesus."

When I was tempted to want my way..... "Your selflessness, Jesus."

When I was tempted to entertain lies about myself from the enemy..... "Your truth, Jesus."

"More of You and less of me, Lord Jesus."

I still practice this worship and prayer and desperate plea daily. Some days it's easier than others. As the author says, "all is yielded - the 'I' dethroned."

But in those sweet moments when I am truly yielded, I wash my family with the words and attitudes of Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit nourishes their souls through me. 

I encourage you the same way my dear friend encouraged me! In the days ahead, when faced with your own temptations, turn your eyes upon Jesus and ask for more of Him.


Fill in the blanks...
   When I am _________ - Your ______, Jesus.

Tauna loves her family and loves God. She has been married for 7 years and has 3 young children with another on the way. She writes at ProverbialHomemaker.com, so named because, as she says, "me becoming a wife, mom, and homemaker proves that anything is possible with God."




Image Source

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Don't Have to Stress Because....


Pin It

Friends, I have been under spiritual attack. Attack towards me as a wife, as a mother, and as the fingers behind ABCJLM.

It has been mounting for a few weeks but it finally hit the top on Friday.  Other than days in which I have been overcome with extreme grief, Friday was the worse non-grief day I have ever had.  My attitude was horrific and I could only see down.  My stress level was at maximum thinking about all that I had to get done in the next several months.  And, anything even remotely negative was eating away at the truth I stood on.

Knowing that prayer was my only answer, I posted on my Bible study's group page asking for prayers.  Within minutes, I received a phone call, text, and comments offering Bible verses, prayer, meals, visits, and an invite for supper.  (Yes, I have an amazing set of girls surrounding me.)


In reading and listening to what they told me, I realized I had taken my eyes off Jesus. The enemy was attacking yet again and I was believing lies.  I felt alone and unable to manage the ship.  All I saw was the raging waves swirling around me and I looked down. But, Jesus softly took my chin in His hands and pulled my eyes back up.

With this understanding, my head came on board but my heart was still stirring.  I had the end in sight but I still struggled with the waves hitting the side of my boat. 

Needless to say it was a restless night.  My prayers seemed to hit the ceiling and bounce back.  I tossed and turned.  My mind was a machine flipping out new thoughts and reasoning like a ticket booth at a carnival.  My shoulders still felt heavy.  What sleep I did get was not restful.

Morning finally came and I turned to the final week of our Bible study -  Balance at the Speed of Life - for Women.  The title was "Enjoy the Ride!"

Yep, not feeling it.  This is not what I signed up for.

Author Barbara Folkerts started out...
When God is at the helm of the ship, we can lean back and enjoy the ride!  He's in control.  We can breathe easier knowing He's the Almighty, and we don't have to be!  We don't have to stress about anything; instead, we pray.  We make sure we're using our time as He desires, and then we trust Him to work out the things that concern us. 
Then Ms. Folkerts provided us with three scripture passages to guide the reader toward prayer and away from stress.   We were instructed to begin each answer with the words, "I don't have to live under stress because..."

At this point, I am blown away.  This is SO GOD!!!!  In my quiet time He hits me right where I need it.

So, I begin going through the verses that she provides.

  1. Eph 3:20
    I don't have to live under stress because He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.
  2. Phil 4:6-7
    I don't have to live under stress because I can present my request to God and the peace of God will surpass all I can understand.
  3. Rom 8:28
    I don't have to live under stress because we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.
And I went on...Googling more verses to finish my sentence.  
  • Matthew 6:25,27
  • John 14:1
  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Psalm 34:3
  • Psalm 55:2
  • John 14:27
  • Psalms 62:8
  • Hebrews 4:16
  • Psalm 27
  •  Matthew 11:28-29
  • Psalms 29:11
  • Deut 31:6
  • James 1;5
  • I Peter 5:7
  • Jeremiah 29:11
  • 2 Timothy 1:7
  • John 16:33

Each of these verses I wrote in my Prayer Journal under the "Me" section.  And as I remembered why I don't have to stress, I remembered who God is.  And if God is in control of one area of my life, I have to believe He is over all.

Next, I went through and listed everything that I was stressing over. 
God, I am stressing over...
- Getting it all done
- Hearing and doing Your will
- Bubs' severe language delays
- Bubs' social skills
- Bub's severe reading delays
- Little Man's obedience
- Sweet Pea not getting the time she needs
- Peanut's lack of language
- ABCJLM

...and the list went on totaling 21 real life, large, daily stressors in which I am carrying right now. Each of the stressors are tied to a boat that I am trying to captain. 

But as I was writing each one down, my eyes would glance back at the scriptures I had just read.  And slowly but surely, the weight began to lift and I saw myself unclench my fingers from the wheel that I was tightly clinging to.   The enemy had convinced me that I was alone in this and if I could simply stay in control, I could manage.  Jesus said, "My precious child.  Let go.  I will take the lead.  You follow." 

I don't have to stress because...GOD!



What are you stressing?


Image Source

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Newsflash: God Has Asked Me to Do Something I Can't Do


Pin It

According to my Advanced Comp teacher, I can't do it.  According to the worlds standards, I can't do it.  And, I agree.  I can't write.  The paper above looks clean compared to assignments that I turned it.  I was sure that my teachers used entire red pens on just my essays.  

Fast forward fifteen years.  I feel God nudging to start a blog.  A blog to encourage moms, especially those with challenging children. 

What?  God, didn't you get the memo from the world that says:

"Heidi can't write.  Please keep this in mind before making future requests of her."
It has now been 3 1/2 years since God started OurOutofSyncLife.  And I still struggle with the voice in my head saying, "You can't write and everyone knows it."  Many times I have thought about asking someone to polish up my posts in order to rid the grammar and wording errors.  Or, I have debated on whether to throw the towel in on the whole thing.

This morning God spoke to me in a very strong way.  Almost writing-on-the-wall kind of speaking.  My devotional instructed me to read Exodus 2-4.  These chapters talk about the birth, childhood, and teenage years of Moses.  In just a moment, he goes from the Pharaoh's pampered son to being on Pharaoh's hit list and managing sheep.  Talk about a downgrade!

Then one day God shows up in a burning bush instructing Moses to ask Pharaoh to release the Israelites.  After much complaining and questioning, Moses says:
10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth"
In a nutshell, Moses says, "I don't have what it takes."  God says, "Didn't I create you?  I will help you in this."  Moses replies, "With all respect, but God, You are wrong."  God, with great anger, says, "Fine.  I will use your brother."

Moses blew it.  I mean, he really messed up.  He had an opportunity to be used in a great way and he chickened out.

I wrote in my journal this morning:
You asked Moses to talk and he said he was not eloquent.  You have asked me to write even though my grammar and wording are poor.  But You say "Who has made Heidi's mouth and mind?  Is it not I, the Lord?  Go, and I , even I, will be with your mouth and mind, and teach you what to write."

Doesn't get much plainer than that!

Sometimes God asks us to do things that don't come naturally.  That way we can know without a doubt where the praise lies.  
2 Corinthians 12:9 - My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.



What is God asking you to do that you are passing off because it is not your gift?


Image Source

Monday, September 24, 2012

Creating A Prayer Journal that Works




If you Google "prayer journal" you will find many links to purchase a spiral or string bound book.  You will also find suggestions of what to write in your journal - prayers, sermon notes, requests, etc.  And each time I have purchased or been given a prayer journal, I got really excited thinking it would suddenly transform my prayer life.

But after a couple of weeks, the newness wore off and I was back to being frustrated and desiring something more.  I found the pre-bound book to be restraining and hard to use with my Type A personality.

A few months ago, in desperation, I began searching again.  This time I stumbled upon (by the Holy Spirit's leading) the words "prayer notebook."  A single-word difference but a world of difference for me.  This led me to a YouTube video by Gina Garland showing me how to create a Prayer Notebook.

Eureka!  Direction, vision, and hope all from switching from a pre-bound book to a 3-ring binder.  While what I am about to share with you is based upon Gina's example, I am going to show you how I tweaked it for my needs.

My Prayer Notebook:

Supplies:
5.5 x 8.5 Inch Binder - I like this size because it is easy to hold in my lap and is about the size of my Bible.  With the clear cover pocket, I can place a note card, memory verse, or picture as a reminder.  Or for those of you who are creative, you can create a pretty slip-in cover.
5.5 x 8.5 Inches Filler Paper - This is the only product that will need to be replenished.  
5.5 x 8.5 Inches Write-On Dividers- I purchased more than one set of these because of the number of sections I desired.

Gel Pens- And of course your favorite pens.  I write more when I have a pen that feels good in my hand.  (Same concept as workout clothes when you are running.  LOL!)

Assembly:

Place the dividers in the binder adding several filler pages in between each divider.

Setting Up the Sections:

My Prayer Notebook consists of eleven sections:  God Is..., Me, My Husband, Our Marriage, one for each of our children, Family, Friends, and Blessings.

Depending on your situation, decide what dividers you need and label them.  You may want to tape a picture of that person or an image to the divider to help you pray. 

What to Journal:

God Is...
This has quickly become my favorite section of my prayer notebook. In this section I write down scripture, songs, and quotes telling me who God is and the promises He has given me about Himself.  I begin prayer time in this section.  As soon as I begin reading over the lists, my heart softens to the amazing God I serve. 

To begin this section, I googled "Bible Verses God is..." and found several examples.  Then as I have read through the scriptures, I add ones that speak to me.  Sometimes I write the lyrics to a worship song or a quote that I read in a book or hear in a message at church.

For each verse or thought written down, I add a heading which finishes the statement "God is...".  For example, if the verse is about God's power, I write "...Powerful" and then the verse and reference.  On days that I am needing encouragement about the power God holds over the universe, I can immediately head to this verse via the heading.

Anything (verse, quote, story) that I find to remind me of who God is goes into this section.

Me...
You would think that "me" would come at the end of the binder but in reality this is where I deal with the "me-ness" and sin in my life.  I confess sin, write our prayers, and make notes of what I have read in the Bible - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Looking back, I can see where God has brought me in my spiritual life.  This section is the largest and contains the most writing.

My Husband...
In this section, I pray for my husband, listing specific items.  I ask God to be with him at work, keep him safe, and protect his witness.  More ideas are listed on the "How to Pray for Your Husband" post.

One of my friends uses this section of her prayer journal with the intent that her husband can read it at any time.  How powerful to see specifically how someone is praying for you!  Also, she has asked her husband to write down in the journal specific prayer request that he has.  Sometimes, men don't feel comfortable telling their wives what they need but by providing them with a place to write the needs down still accomplishes the goal. 

Our Marriage...
What concerns do I have about our marriage?  What issues are we facing at the moment?  This is the place that I write prayers and praise about our current situation.  My main prayer for our marriage is that it would be a good picture of Jesus to our children and those around us.

Each of our children... 
A divider separates each of our children giving me area to write down request and prayers as well as praises.  Sometimes the requests are short term (i.e. prayer for a sickness they have) while many are long term (i.e. prayer about a character issue).

Family...
Here I write down prayers for my family (my parents, brother and his family, etc.)  

Friends...
This section is divided into two sections.  The first page is "Friends Who are On My Heart for Heaven."  These are the people whom I feel God has given me a specific burden for their salvation.  I list their names and requests for them.

The next page lists requests and praises for people in our lives - close circle, church, or simply acquaintances.  I take my prayer journal to Bible study so I can add specifics as prayer requests are mentioned.  I also use this section to remember requests that people ask me in conversation or email to pray.

Blessings...
A sweet friend suggested that I add this sections to my prayer journal.  She was so right!  No matter how big or small, I make a note of blessings that God sends our way.  Those little things that aren't so little!

The Format:

I start each line with a date, then the request.  When the prayer is answered, I lightly cross it out, add the answer and the date it was answered.

When a page becomes confusing or hard for me to navigate, I begin a new page by rewriting unanswered requests and ones that I want to keep praying for.   Either remove the finished page to a folder or keep it in your binder until the journal becomes too full.  You could also move the page to the back of the section to keep the most current requests towards the front.

Having the sections and removable pages has made all the difference for me. I can keep what is important at the front and keep it organized on paper and in my mind.

Using a Prayer Journal in Quiet Time:

Each morning, I begin with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to open my heart to what He desires to teach me and have me do.  I ask for direction, wisdom, and revelation as well as acknowledgement of sin in my life.

Then I begin reading.  This could be simply Bible verses or a devotional book.  Read more in my ebook, "A Quiet Time, Worth the Time."
While I am reading, I typically make notes in the "Me" section using the "Drawing Deeper" four-step process.  But, if there is a verse or point that helps me better understand who God is or what He wants to do in my life, then I place this is the "God is..." section. 

Next, I pray.  I start at the beginning of my Prayer Journal by remembering who God is and how much I need Him.  This prepares my heart for prayer time as I am reminded just how incapable I am. Sometimes, I think of a song or listen (without getting sidetracked with other options on my electronic device) to praise music. 

At times, this is all the further that I get.  And that is okay.  Some mornings, I need to simply bask in the presence of my Daddy!  Other days I desire to bring requests before Him.

Following, I turn to the "Me" section.  I confess sins, lay out all of me and my plans.  I ask God to be my hands, my feet, my mouth, my ears, and my eyes.  That I may simply do His work.  I pray over concerns, issues at hand, and process what the Holy Spirit is teaching me.

Next is my husband and our marriage. Then I go through each of our kiddos. 

Depending on the morning, I then pray over family and/or friends.  While praying for specific friends, sometimes I will grab my phone to send them a note of encouragement.

Instant Success?

Is using a Prayer Journal or Notebook going to automatically improve your quiet time 10-fold?  No.  I really wish it would.  Unfortunately, just creating the book and holding it in your lap is not going to lead to a spectacular prayer life. 

For me, having a plan and forcing myself to journal has been the best thing.  Honestly, I don't like to write and journaling was in my mind for those people.  And, I don't journal every day.  But when I do, I find my prayers are more focused and honest.  God is blessing the time that I feast at His table and it has made me hunger for more. 

Will you join me?

If you would like to have some accountability or encouragement as you dig deeper into the Word and develop a real prayer life, our Facebook Group - SISTERS - is available.  Here you will find other woman who have this same desire.  We would love to have you join us!
 
Additional Resources:
- Gina Garlands "How to Organize Your Prayer Life" Handout
- Getting Organized with a Prayer Journal  



How do you organize your prayers and journaling?


Image Source

Friday, September 21, 2012

Did I...?

As you think back over this week, pray through the following questions:

   Did I serve God with my whole heart?

        Did I honor Him with my time, my talents, and my treasures?


Did I take the time to truly love others the way His Word instructed?

              Did I make a difference in the lives of other people?


Taken from the book:  Balance at the Speed of Life - for Women




Did I...?


Image Source

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stop the Lying: Tips


Pin It
An OurOutofSyncLife blog reader asked...
Anyone have good ideas for dealing with lying?

That's a tough one and a very common problem.  (We have a lying in our home!) Lying is an issue with many preschoolers.  Some more than others, though.  There are several reasons why preschoolers lie.  Here are a few that I found and a few of my own:

• Forgetfulness.
• Wishful thinking.
• An active imagination.  They struggle to understand what is real and what is make-believe.
• A need to feel good. 
• A craving for attention.
• A sense of control.
• Laziness.  It takes work to be honest.
• I want what I want and I want it now!
• Lack of character and maturity to stand against temptation.

But there is also the I-don't-want-to-get-into-trouble reason.  Let's face it; our kids are born with a sinful nature and lying is a sin. Period. 

Then, how do you stop the lying?  Here are a few tips.

• Depending on the age of the child, she may not fully realize the difference between a lie and the truth.  Play the "True vs. Not True" Game to help your child understand the separation of the two.

• Don't allow your child to get away with lying.  Lying is always wrong and is never cute or funny - not matter how creative it is. 

• Don't set your child up to lie.  Especially children who struggle with lying, phrase questions in a way that helps them tell you the truth.  Instead of "did you ..." say "you did ...". 

• Discuss honesty.  Why should we tell the truth?  Why is telling the truth better than lying?  What is the difference between my imagination and lying?

• Discuss the consequences of lying - guilt, disobedience which leads to consequences, making God and those around me sad.

• Read Scripture verses about honestly.  Talk about God's view of lying.  Here are a few verses.
    Luke 16:10                                   1 Corinthians 13:6
    Exodus 20:16                                2 Corinthians 8:21
    Leviticus 19:11                              Proverbs 21:3
    Proverbs 12:22
    1 Peter 3:10-12 - “Keep Your Tongue from Evil” – Steve Green – Hide Them in Your Heart Vol. 1

• For those child who are saved, remind them that the Holy Spirit lives inside their hearts to help them make the right choice.  We frequently talk in our home about listening to His voice.


• Pray with your child about being honest.  Ask God to help them tell the truth. 

• Model honesty!!!  Your child picks up on more than you think.

• Set clear expectations about honesty.  Praise the child when they have the courage to tell the truth.

• Read books about lying: 
The Berenstain Bears and the Truth (First Time Books(R))The Berenstain Bears and the Truth

Lying (God, I Need to Talk to You About...)God, I Need to Talk to You about Lying by Dan Carr

My Young Child is a free website with various character education stories.  Two stories are available about honesty.

• Other ideas can be found in the 4 Year Curriculum Week 30 (lesson on honesty) and then in the 10 Commandments lessons.



Your turn...how are you teaching your child about honesty?


Image Source