What If?

Lord, what if I stalled, paused before every single action or word and waited on You? I would never speak ahead of You. I would let You speak and I’d open my mouth only if You were opening it. I would let You go first. I would look to You then follow where You lead. I would do next whatever You say to do. I would get Your blessing, Your nod, Your approval before moving ahead with the next deed, the next word, the next thought. If only I would handle every moment of every day with that much consideration, that much self-control, that much faith, that much humble reliance.

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But the fruit of the Spirit
is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:
against such there is no law.
And they that are Christ’s
have crucified the flesh
with the affections and lusts.
If we live in the Spirit,
let us also walk in the Spirit.
~Galatians 5:22-25

Growing in grace, I pray…
~Melissa
Micah 6:8
11 Cor 9:6-8

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Turn Your Whine into Worship

It is sinful, human nature to gripe about things. But, it is dangerous. Whining and complaining is like a nasty disease that will spread quickly and violently if it’s not treated right away! And we all know that once we have developed a bad habit it is not easy to turn it around! The sooner we can catch that nasty habit, and do something about it, the better!

Children seem to be especially prone to whining, and sadly many never outgrow it. Parents have to train them that they do not get what they want by whining but by being grateful and we have to train them to look for and see their blessings. At our house, with the Lord’s help, we’ve tried to think of ways we can discipline ourselves to worship instead of whine. Here are some new habits we are developing in our family.

*** Every time we pray before we ask the Lord for anything we first thank Him for something! This is a great way to train ourselves to see our blessings and praise the Lord for all He has done! God inhabits the praises of His people! That is where He lives, and dwells! And, it’s wonderful how gratitude always radically changes our outlook, our perspective…an added blessing!

*** When any of us is griping, or grumbling about anything, such as, their sister, their friend, their food, cleaning their room, putting their laundry away, loading the dishwasher, their schoolwork, their hair, their toys, not feeling well, the many chores of homemaking and motherhood, or whatever it is, then we stop and say “Do not complain about your blessings!”. When we look at what’s bothering us in a different light then we realize that we are really complaining about our blessings.

What if something happened to that precious sister, family member or friend!

What if we only had beans and rice as our one and only meal of the day or what if we had no food at all! What if we couldn’t make that trip to the grocery store with all those heavy bags to unload into the trunk then unload them again into the house then unload them again into the pantry? It’s all a blessing!!!

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Some children would love to have a bedroom to clean with a bed of soft, warm covers and a pillow to make up, and clothes, shoes, toys and games to pick up and put away! And what a blessing that we are healthy enough to do these tasks!

What a blessing to have soap and hot water to wash dishes and an added blessing to have a machine that cleans them for us! And by the way, we have a machine for just about anything…we have machines that wash and dry the clothes, wash and dry the dishes, cook the food when and how we tell it to, sweep the floors! And when there are dishes to wash and a kitchen to clean that’s a sure reminder that there was food to eat and family or friends to share and enjoy a meal with!!!

There are children in the world that long to go to school and learn! There are children and adults who only dream of having shelves full of books to read anytime they want, school supplies and workbooks and pencils and paper and crayons and computers! My goodness! And what else? Eyes to see, ears to hear, hands and fingers to write, a mind to think.

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And most of the time whatever we are going through, whatever illness or condition, we can always be so thankful it is not worse than it is.

On and on we can go, because our blessings are so rich and bountiful when we think about how much we don’t do without and the multitude of annoyances, trials or horrors we do not have to endure!!! We have nothing to complain about and much, much, much to be thankful for!!!

*** Lastly, the newest habit we are implementing is this. As soon as one of us starts whining we stop them and immediately they must say, “A blessing I am thankful for is______________.” This turns our whine into worship right away!

It’s so good to share new ideas for living out God’s Word in a real way! What are ways that you have turned whine into worship? Has it become a way of life for you, for your family?

Walking with Jesus &
Growing in grace,

~photos courtesy of Amazima Ministries

Change My Heart, O, God!
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A Harvest of What is Yet to Come

A Boost from Ephesians

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Good Morning as we kick off the final week of our Ephesians Bible study/book club w/Eph 6:10-12!

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Until the Lord returns let us all continually be strengthened by His mighty power!

It is imperative that we arm ourselves with the equipment God has provided in order for us to stand in the battle against the devil’s schemes.

While it may appear our enemy is mankind, it is not. Our enemy is the devil and his workers. This is a spiritual battle for eternal souls!

Therefore, let’s stop fighting one another, especially at home, remember these conflicts we face daily are only temporal.

What really matters is Eternity!

So, when I’m in a struggle, I’ll keep putting on the whole armor of God & then ask myself…in light of Eternity does this really matter!?!

The Gentleness Challenge ~ Bumped and Shaken

Once a week during the month of January I am linking up with Courtney over at Women Living Well. She has set forth a challenge for herself and all of us Mommies to be gentle with our children.

“Let’s focus this January on dealing gently with our children. Touch them gently, use their names gently, use your words gently, slow down and be loving, kind, and gracious.”, Courtney Joseph.

I need the challenge! How about you? I’m like Courtney in her post for this week, I also never thought I would lose my temper with my children. And when I did first “lose it”, I was surprised at my responses to the stress and aggravation that come with parenting.

I have learned that I am certainly not alone. Many who see me with my eight children ages 5, 7, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, and 14 more often than not think that I must be thee most patient, capable mother and some sort of supermom. But, that is just not the truth. There are no supermoms (unless maybe you ask our precious children…:)but to them we are also beautiful with no make-up on, aren’t we?). There is only a Super Powerful God who graciously saves every sinner who calls on Him. His Holy Spirit moved into my heart when He saved me and He is all my righteousness. I am nothing and I possess nothing apart from Him.
Zero. Zilch. Nada.

The thing is, our true character reveals itself when it is shaken. I once heard my cousin, Pastor Tim Lindsey II, give an excellent illustration. He said when a cup gets bumped, or shaken, whatever it is inside is going to spill out. As I listened to his sermon the Holy Spirit gripped my heart. I knew He was convicting me of my sin of too often becoming angry and impatient with my children when I’m tested. Losing my temper, using harsh words or an angry tone of voice is unacceptable. Sarcasm is another one I am often guilty of.

James 1:19-20 says it perfectly. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. I need to hear that speak to me personally. It says to me, the wrath or anger of you, Mother, does not produce the righteousness of God! Ouch! Oh how I need that correction. I am so thankful that the Lord loves me and my children so much that He is willing to correct me and shape me into His image!

Moms, Grandmas, caregivers, I encourage you to click on the link and read the posts for this challenge at Women Living Well. She is posting her encouragement to us on Mondays. Since Mondays here at BIMH are Marriage Moments I will be posting mine on Tuesdays. Please leave a comment here at Bones in my Heart and let me know you are joining me in the challenge in dealing gently with our children. I know the Lord will bless us and give us the victory right where its needed! Praise Him!

Walking with Jesus,

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Bickering and Fighting and Strife! Oh My!


Are you discouraged when your children cannot get along? Are you tired of the bickering and fighting? Does your home seem out of control?
Be encouraged…there is hope!

1.) You are not alone.

We feel better when we know we are not alone. It seems to lessen our despair over our own situation when we learn we aren’t the only ones going through it. It’s a relief and a release when we can laugh with a group of Moms over our crazy day or cry and pray with a friend over our fears and frustrations. Someone else has been there, done that. God created us with a need for fellowship, companionship. Mainly, fellowship with Him, but with one another as well. Why else would He have filled His Word with so much Scripture concerning our relationships with others?

If you have conflict in your home, maybe it will help you to know, so does the Happy Scott Family. Oh my! Some days our girls seem to be at each other all day long. And some days, I don’t handle the conflicts well and I am barking at the kids and being impatient. By days’ end I can be discouraged and feeling defeated.

I Corinthians 10:13 says, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man…In other words, you’re not alone! We all have similar problems. Isn’t it good to know you are not alone?

    2.) Look at the conflicts in a whole new light.

    When I approach problems with an eternal perspective, they become opportunities! Opportunities for practicing God’s ways instead of the world’s ways (satan’s ways).

    Doing good and right takes practice, discipline. Yes, God’s Holy Spirit lives in us when we are born again and we can be filled with His power, but we are required to choose to do right. He created us with our own free will. He doesn’t just wave a magic wand and bing, we behave ourselves. Ha! Don’t we wish!

    Throughout the Bible He has written commandmandments He wants us to willingly obey. It is our choice. Therefore, when conflicts and problems arise, and we know they show up often, it is an opportunity for us to put God’s Word to practice.

    Mothers, conflict gives us the chance to practice God’s ways, and it is also our chance to teach our children His ways! You may have heard the term, “teachable moments”. Conflicts have the potential to destroy our family or they can be opportunities for building character, building up our family, and for teaching us that we can trust God and His Word. Oh how I know that’s easier said than done! Conflicts are set on fire with ugly pride and nasty emotions. But, it can be done if we are willing.

    3.)The Bible tells us what to do

    We know we are not alone and we can see conflict as an opportunity, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what to do when…dunt-dunt-dunnnn…it happens…they’re fighting…again.

    The Bible is our go-to manual and our workbook! All through the Bible there are many verses to read, teach, memorize, and copy and post on the walls and doorways of our house that will equip us with solutions to the arguments, fights, bickering, and tiffs encountered on a daily basis.

    Learn together verses about…
    *lying
    *talebearing (being a tattle-tale)
    *gossip
    *hearing and receiving instruction
    *getting wisdom
    *corrupt communication
    *sweet words
    *edifying
    *deferring to others
    *being kind
    *forgiving
    *things to think on

    Some places to start on this list would be Psalms, Proverbs, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.

    No matter what age, it is fun to…
    *read through a book of the Bible together, a chapter a day

    *as often as possible read through the book of Proverbs through in a month

    *go on a hunt for topics in the Bible

    *take some of the verses you are learning and do a Sword Drill

    *put up a sticker chart or set rewards & memorize several verses on particular issues

    *have your child keep a notebook of favorite verses, mottos and quotes and organize them by topic

    A mini-drama for a “What Does This Look Like in Real Life” segment:

    Two children are fighting about “what shade of green the grass is”. This is not an actual topic that has been fought over at our house (yet), but some just as trivial have occurred. One time four of our girls were in a very emotional battle over the ownership of. a. broken. paper. clip.
    True story.
    Not even kidding.

    So, when you see there’s a problem, reach for the Truth and put It to practice. Take the pair, or group, (insert smiley) of them over to the index cards posted on the doorway and have them take turns reading out loud, for example:

    * Proverbs 21:23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from troubles.

    * Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

    Briefly explain or review with them that keeping your mouth and tongue means to close it, to stop talking and their souls will be protected from trouble. The trouble will stop. Explain that talking softly instead of yelling defuses or calms their own anger and can also calm their sister’s anger, but speaking more harshly or loud will only make the fighting worse. And usually I have them walk through a “do-over” to practice how they could have handled the matter God’s way, correctly.

    Periodically, ask your child(ren) if they remember what the Bible says about arguing, talebearing, deferring to others, or what does God love and what does God hate? Encourage your children that God’s ways always work and God never fails!

    Children fuss and fight, grown-ups lose their cool. It’s not what we should do, or what we want to do, but it is still what we are prone to do.

    I’m so grateful to The Lord for forgiveness, for His blood that washed away my sin, for His Spirit living within me and The Bible that shows me how to live for Him each day!

    I pray right now that if you do not personally know Jesus that you would simply call out to Him right where you are and let Him in your heart, your life and in your home! I’m praying for you!

    Walking with Jesus,
    Melissa

Seriously?

Sometimes I really wish I could stop taking life so seriously. Do you know what I mean? Are you ever there? Where everything is urgent. All day long pushing and shoving yourself and everyone else in your family through the day. Keeping the schedule. Staying on track. Thinking ahead. Doing. Doing. It’s as if it’s up to me to keep the world spinning. Let’s go. Move along. Chop-chop-chop.

I find I live most of the day this way. I’m forever asking the Lord to please help me relax. Breathe slower. Smile. Laugh. Enjoy my children. Live in the moment. Bask in the blessings He has poured out on me and the beauty of all He has created and finished!

Did I stop and look at my girls straight into their eyes, delightfully, face to face countless times throughout the day? Or at all? I’m quite deliberate and diligent in training and grabbing those teachable moments, the many opportunities they give me to walk through life lessons with them. Sure, we are certainly face to face in those times. But, can I even count on one hand today the times I smiled into their vulnerable eyes, or laughed with them when something goofy happened? Do I even remember how to act silly or crazy, like them?

The Lord is so good. I know He is helping me. Answering my prayer. I can see it. I can feel it. I have more progress to make. Each day I certainly find myself caught up again in the snare of my making. But more often I am catching myself moving along at a more relaxed pace. Smiling. Humming. Singing. A funny thought will pop into my head and I actually spill it and get the kids looking at me like I’m weird or laughing along with me. I stop and rub their shoulders more often. Scratch their back. Kiss their cheek. Give more hugs. Or just sigh. Linger in more moments. Look around and just watch them all at whatever they are doing. Just because it’s ok to.

I so want to change. I so want to be free to live. Really really live! I don’t want to miss it! I don’t want to live life with my eyes closed. That’s kind of what it feels like when I’m in that mode. Contra-wise, my children are just simply living. Being. Whether they are doing their school lessons, reading, playing, even doing their chores, I notice they are content to just be. They feel free to giggle, they smile nearly all the time. For goodness sake, most of the time, not even my scrunched brow or barking voice can deter them. I get that they are kids and naturally it’s not their job to concern themselves with big people matters. But, you know what? It’s not mine either. It’s God’s.

Isaiah 40:28, 29 & 31 reminds me, “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. And Isaiah 40:6 says, “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee..” (emphasis mine)

It’s not all about me. It’s all about HIM. I believe the Lord wants me to rest and remember to only worship Him, enjoy His presence in me and let Him live through me. He’s got the whole world in His hands.

Growing in Grace,