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When You Need God’s Strength

July 27, 2020
when you need God's strength

We’ve all had those days: the ones that seem to drag on endlessly, where we wonder what else could go wrong. You’re exhausted, the house is a mess, your children are whining, your husband still isn’t home from work and dinner burned. Or maybe you’re dealing with a deeper trial where you really need God to carry you through. It’s on these days when we need God’s strength the most. 

God put these verses on my heart to share with you, and it seems like the more I searched for scriptures on God’s strength, the more there were! There are so many precious Bible verses about God’s strength at work within us. Download these printable memory verse cards that you can post around the house for those weary days.

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    Paul gives us a great example of someone who went through hardships and trials (2 Corinthians 11:24-29) yet was strengthened again and again. Here’s a powerful verse displaying God’s strength:

    At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    2 Timothy 4:16-18

    In this passage, Paul was going through one of the most challenging times: he was imprisoned, on trial, facing the end of his life, and he was alone. It seems that when he went to court to defend himself, none of his friends showed up. Despite all of this, he kept his faith. He believed that God would carry him through – and He did. None of his earthly friends may have stood beside Paul, but the Lord did. He was not truly alone, because he had Jesus beside him. The same is true for us. 

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    Activities & Crafts

    Simple Seed Growing Experiment

    July 22, 2020
    seed growing experiment

    This seed growing experiment is one of my favorites for so many reasons!

    1. It teaches kids about how plants grow.
    2. It gets them excited about vegetables (and fruit and flowers)!
    3. It’s simple and inexpensive.
    4. It’s genuinely incredible to watch these plants grow up close.

    What you’ll need for this seed growing experiment:

    • Clear cups (glass or plastic)
    • Seeds of any kind
    • Paper towels (about 2-4 sheets, depending on the size of your cup)
    • Water
    • Dry erase marker or permanent marker (to indicate the seeds on the cup)
    • Patience

    First, pick out your seeds. We did pea, green bean, cantaloupe, radish and an assortment of wildflower seeds – but you can use any seeds you want! It was fun to take Finn to Lowe’s and have him pick out which seeds he wanted to grow.

    Next, take your paper towels, wrap them around your hand so they form a tight spiral (so they can fit in the cup in an organized manner). Then, wet the paper towels so that they are moist but not soaking wet. They need to maintain some structure inside the cup. Then, place them in the cup so that they are snug against the edge of the glass. If the paper towels are falling down, just reinforce them with more damp paper towels.

    Finally, stick the seeds on the outside of the paper towel so that you can see them through the glass. You can use your finger (or a pen) to create a small tunnel on the side of the paper towel so they can slide down the glass. You want to paper towel to be snug against the seed so that the seed gets the moisture from the paper towel. This will help it to germinate!

    Then, mark your seeds (so you can remember what they are) and place in a sunny spot in the house! A central windowsill is a great spot so your kids can check on them every day.

    If you’d like to make this into more of a formal experiment, here’s what we did:

    Question: which seed will germinate (grow) the fastest?

    Finn guessed that the green bean would grow the fastest because it was the largest. I “guessed” that the radish would germinate quickly because it was the smallest. (Also because I read online that it would! Ha!)

    Keep track of the results and once the seeds have sprouted, you can do some more research with your little one about why they sprouted at the rate that they did. You could also have a “competition” on which seeds will grow the tallest or test different hypotheses based on how much sunlight or water your seeds are receiving.

    Watching these seeds germinate was really amazing! It took a little patience at first, but once they sprouted I was amazed by how quickly they grew.

    After they outgrow your cup, you can (very carefully) remove them from the glass cup and replant them. Note: the roots will grow into the paper towel so you have to be careful to gently detangle them.

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    Meditations

    5 Questions to Ask About Your Postpartum Body Image

    July 20, 2020
    postpartum body image

    Have you ever felt disappointed with your postpartum body? Today we’ll be discussing how God wants us to view our postpartum bodies.

    Recently, my mom and Finn were reading a book called “My Amazing Body,” and they were  on the page where it shows how mothers carry their children before they’re born. It had an image of a pregnant woman with a flap to lift so that you could see the growing child inside.

    My mom told Finn, “God made our bellies to stretch and grow so that we could fit a baby inside! Isn’t that amazing?!” 

    From across the room, I commented, “Yeah, and those bellies never go back to normal.” 

    We laughed, but the interaction made me pause: I realized that my comment was actually detracting from God’s glory in the childbearing process. It is amazing that our bodies can expand to hold another living being! And by grumbling about the flaws in my own body, I was diminishing God’s incredible design. 

    This realization, as well as the chapter on postpartum body image in Risen Motherhood, encouraged me to dig deeper in the scriptures and in prayer to figure out how God wants me to view my postpartum body. 

    This is the fruit of that investigation. Here are 5 questions for us to ask ourselves about our postpartum body image: 

    #1: Why do I want a better-than-before-baby body?

    Before we have kids, we think, “I’ll be the bounce-back mom! No one will ever know I had a kid!” But once we actually have a child, life doesn’t look the way we thought it would. Our bodies don’t cooperate the way they used to. Our schedules aren’t as neat as we thought they’d be. We find ourselves disappointed in ourselves and the bodies that just carried us through the miracle of life-giving.

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    Marriage

    Conflict Resolution Strategies for Married Couples

    July 15, 2020
    conflict resolution strategies for married couples

    Today, Tyler and I are sharing with you some conflict resolution strategies for when you and your spouse get into an argument. This article was borne out of a lot of experience with conflict with each other. When we first got married at the ripe age of 20, we fought…A LOT. We had to learn “on the job” how to fight fairly with each other. 

    This is us! We’ve been married for 11 years. It just keeps getting better! 🙂

    Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

    Proverbs 19:11

    A few memorable instances of us fighting fairly – NOT!

    After several minutes of sobbing hysterically at Tyler, he replied: “Your tears are invalid.” 

    Once, while expressing my frustration and anger at something that Tyler deemed benign, he laughed at me. So I threw my keys at him. And he laughed some more. 

    If you’ve ever thought your husband had a heart of stone you can take comfort knowing I (Tyler) had the emotional sensitivity of a gargoyle. I thought I was the great arbiter of which emotions were justifiable and which were not. Turns out you’re better off empathizing and actually caring about what your spouse cares about. 

    On my part (Tiffany), I had to realize that I was allowing my emotions to rule me – for me, what I felt was my truth. My feelings were reality, and whatever Tyler did or said could not convince me otherwise. I unintentionally weaponized my tears against him in arguments, and they quickly became ineffective in convincing him of anything.

    The strength of your emotional response to a situation has no correlation to how true it is or isn’t. Sometimes I (Tyler) felt like held hostage by Tiffany’s emotions in any given situation. She would feel something so strongly it made it difficult to disagree without further hurting her feelings. She has since greatly grown in her emotional self-control, which has stopped more disagreements from unnecessarily escalating and makes it easier for me to be sensitive when she does feel something strongly.  

    Both of us have said things to each other we regret, taken small hurts too personally, thrown old failures at each other like daggers, and generally just been immature, selfish and filled with pride. 

    Since our first year of marriage, we have grown a lot (and, clearly, there was a lot of room to grow!) through the power of God. We wanted to share some conflict resolution strategies with you here today to hopefully help you through difficult situations with your spouse. 

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    Chronic Pain Meditations

    When You Need Comfort…

    July 13, 2020
    when you need comfort

    Are you in need of some comfort today, mama? I don’t know about you, but I woke up this morning in need of encouragement. And God sent it to me, by way of a beautiful sunrise, a pack of wild pigs, and this Bible verse…

    Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

    2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

    In case you needed the reminder: God loves you 

    How has God shown you His love? For me, I see His love in my family and in nature. I get little “I love you’s” from God through Tyler every day. And I constantly am in awe of God’s love for me when I think about how much I love my kids. If I love my kids this much, and I’m a sinful human being, how much more does God love me?! (Matthew 7:11)

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    Meditations

    God Sees You

    July 8, 2020
    God sees you, mama

    We recently got back from a staycation with my family. When we got home, Tyler and I took the kids to his parent’s house (AKA our next door neighbors) and I came back home to set up the kids’ rooms for bedtime. I ended up unloading the whole car and putting everything away from our week-long trip.

    When Tyler came back with the kids, I told him: “I unloaded the whole car and put everything away.” 

    “Cool,” he said, scrolling through his phone. 

    I paused. His response wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, so I said, “I’m going to repeat myself in case you missed it. I unloaded the ENTIRE CAR and put EVERYTHING away.” 

    He put down his phone and smiled at me, “Wow, babe, that’s awesome. Thank you so much for doing that.” Then he kissed me and offered me a massage.

    See, sometimes it does help to repeat yourself! Ha!

    But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    Matthew 6:6

    This morning, I noticed this verse of the day on the YouVersion Bible app. It made me think about whose praise I’m prioritizing. 

    I don’t think it’s unscriptural or unholy for me to seek my husband’s recognition or praise – however, I do think that I can oftentimes feel under-appreciated or like all that I do somehow doesn’t matter if no one sees it or recognizes it. 

    Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.

    Hebrews 4:13

    However, there is one being who sees every single thing: God. 

    He sees the middle of the night feedings and the early morning risings when no one else is awake. 

    God sees us serving our families in all of the daily, humdrum ways that no one else ever notices. 

    He sees us cleaning up poop and vomit and who knows what else! 

    And it’s HIS praise that we should be seeking above all. 

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    Activities & Crafts Marriage

    26 Summer Date Ideas

    June 30, 2020
    Summer date ideas

    It’s summer time! And what a strange summer it’s been so far…

    Look, we ALL need some fun, de-stressing dates with our spouse this summer. Talk to your spouse and pick a day of the week to be your “date day” and then make it happen! Even if you don’t have a sitter, some of these can all be done from the comfort of your home. The rest are social-distancing approved.

    Also, if you want more stay-at-home date ideas, I’ve got a whole year’s worth of ideas right here.

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    Meditations

    Letting Go of the ‘Perfect Day’

    June 29, 2020
    Letting go of the perfect day

    If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

    Colossians 3:1-4

    Envision your perfect day.

    For me, I wake up before the kids, have my prayer time and Bible study while watching the sunrise. I exercise and make a healthy breakfast for everyone. The kids happily eat what’s prepared for them. We go for a walk and Justus goes down for his nap without a peep. Finn and I do a science experiment and read books together. He doesn’t whine or complain. The kids play independently while I make lunch and they both eat all their food without grumbling. We read a book together and get ready for nap. Finn doesn’t drag his feet, whine or procrastinate. He obeys the first time. Justus is happy and the two of them play well together. During nap time, I accomplish every single task I set out to do plus have time to relax and read a book before the kids wake up. I cook a delicious and healthy dinner that’s ready right when Tyler gets home from work. The house is spotless when he walks in and the kids greet him with smiles and big hugs. We have a joyous dinner together discussing our days. The kids go down for bed without protest and lots of hugs and kisses are exchanged. Tyler and I talk and laugh on the porch while I drink tea and he rubs my feet. We go to sleep early so we’re well-rested for the next day – the house is clean, dishes done and put away, laundry completed, and all of our clothes are laid out and prepared for the next day. It goes without saying that the kids sleep through the night and wake up the next day with big smiles on their faces. 

    Ah. What a dream, right?

    I’m going to be really honest with you guys:  I expect every day to look like this. I’m constantly striving for this sort of fantastical perfection and am disappointed when it’s not achieved. 

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    Marriage Meditations

    Combating Critical Thoughts About Your Husband

    June 22, 2020
    combating critical thoughts

    It’s Monday morning, and perhaps the magic of Father’s Day is beginning to wane. Yesterday, we honored and praised the dads in our lives. We could name a laundry list of wonderful attributes about them. But today, all of those critical thoughts we held back yesterday are sneaking their way to the forefront of our minds, turning us slightly sour. 

    Why does he have to do it like that? 

    How many times do I have to remind him?

    Is he ever going to be better at this?

    When will he ever stop doing that? 

    I don’t do that, why does he? 

    These critical examinations of our husband’s shortcomings run like an ongoing commentary in the background as we go through our days. 

    Perfection. It’s what I so often expect from my husband. 

    (I mean, to be fair, I often expect perfection out of myself, too.) 

    But, as I poke and prod at my husband – whether silently or aloud – I’m forgetting one important thing: in the same way that God is working on me, molding me to become more and more like His Son, He’s doing the same work on my husband. 

    And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

    2 Corinthians 3:18

    By continually pointing out the ways that my husband is not perfect – perhaps in an attempt to make him grow or maybe because I’m just annoyed – I’m not entrusting my husband to the One who is actually helping him to grow. 

    I don’t need to be my husband’s growth police. 

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    Activities & Crafts

    Father’s Day Craft & Gift Guide

    June 17, 2020
    father's day craft and gift guide

    If you’re looking for a Father’s Day craft to do with your little one, you’ve come to the right place! My sister-in-law, Amanda (our resident Arts & Crafts Guru), created this adorable craft with her daughter, Lily. This would be a nice touch for a dad or grandpa who loves fishing! For more Father’s Day inspiration, check out the results of our Father’s Day Survey: What Dads Really Want for Father’s Day. Also, don’t forget to click through the crafts & gift guide from other mama bloggers at the end of this post!

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