10 Things I’ve Learned About Prayer

10 Things Ive Learned

 

I am not an expert on prayer. In fact, you’ll find me to be a member of the PWA. (You’ll find out about that later) But you know, it’s not hard to open the Bible and find pretty clear instructions on how we should pray.

Communication with God

God created prayer as a means for His people to connect with Him. It is literally just talking with him. Sometimes it’s just connecting with him spirit to spirit. It is a means to form relationship with God.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. – Psalms 145:18

necessary

To have a relationship with Christ, we have to pray. To praise him, thank him, ask for his forgiveness, ask for guidance, and to intercede for others. It would be practically impossible to walk with God and not pray to him.

commanded to pray

It’s mentioned over and over  in the Bible that we are to pray. It’s obviously very important to God!

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.- Romans 12:12

Physical requirement

If you’re thinking what the heck is she talking about, think bowing your head or kneeling. It most certainly helps us to be humble and to show respect to the Lord. The fact of the matter is, prayer is not physical, it is spiritual.

Jesus hung from the cross and was unable to be in the perfect posture for praying. He called out to his Father and the Lord heard him. How we are standing or holding our head will not make our prayers more righteous if we are truly connecting with the spirit of God. While those things can often help reflect our inner thoughts and humble us before Him, they are not requirements for praying to the Father.

fancy words

You don’t have to be a poet or a scholar of the King James Version of the Bible to pray. For many years I was discouraged from praying because I never knew “the right words” to pray. I lacked biblical language (still do) and I thought it made my prayers less important. The Bible says that we aren’t to worry about fancy words or long sentences. Whew, that’s a relief! I’m not good at that anyways!

When you pray, don’t pour out a flood of empty words, as the Gentiles do. They think that by saying many words they’ll be heard. – Matthew 6:7

know what to pray

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. Hallelujah! Have you ever been in a situation where a situation was so bad that you didn’t even know where to start to pray? Like your head might explode! According to the Lord’s will, the Spirit prays for us!

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. – Romans 8:26

never stop

When our prayer life dies out, so does our relationship with God. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 clearly  states- Never stop praying.  That seems pretty clear enough. I love this by C H Spurgeon.

As we breathe without ceasing, so must we pray without ceasing. As there is no attainment in life, of health, or of strength, or of muscular vigor which can place a man beyond the necessity of breathing, so no condition of spiritual growth or advance in grace will allow a man to dispense with prayer. – Charles Spurgeon, 1872 Sermon no. 1039

always hears

Even when we don’t see results, know that God always hears your prayers.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.” – Psalm 145:18-19

The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. – Proverbs 15:29

great power

One of the most powerful tools that we have as children of God is prayer. We are ordinary people who serve and extraordinary God. We cannot do the things that He can. Because we submit our sins, needs, and requests to Him, we turn them over to His mighty power. Prayer is HUGE!

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. – James 5:16

doesnt have to be perfect

God has never called us to be perfect. In fact, God Loves Imperfection. If you are communicating with God spirit to spirit, praising, repenting, requesting, you are doing it right. The more that you do it, the better that you’ll get at it. It brings God such great joy when his children humble themselves with their imperfect prayers to talk with him.

book of the year

I got the opportunity to read a GREAT resource on prayer. I wanted to share with you about it. It’s from my favorite Christian author, Max Lucado. It’s all in the video below. I edited the very living daylights out of it because I have come to realize that every other word that I say is “um”.

Please forgive me if you feel like you’re going nuts. 🙂 And PLEASE leave a comment below with anything that YOU would add to the list above.


Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer, Before Amen, Max Lucado
You can get Max’s book Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer at Family Christian. It is currently only $9.99!

I was provided with a copy of Before Amen by Family Christian. All opinions expressed at 100% my own!

Does Godly Romance Exist?

Does Godly Romance

Is true romance dead?

You know what I’m talking about. The kinda stuff that we see in the movies. The candlelight and flowers, sweep-you-off-your-feet, knock-your-socks-off kinda romance.

What about chivalry? Ha! Haven’t heard that word in a while. The word, which basically means respect, is not something that we hear of happening much anymore.

Too often in our culture, the dating scene and sometimes even the committed can lack in these areas.

Has a man who sends a girl flowers and opens the door for her without an ulterior motive become the minority? It seems that way!

There is such a thing as godly romance you know. That’s called old fashioned these days. Respect, saving yourself for marriage, and prayerfully considering if a husband/wife is God’s choice for you. Not always the norm!

What if you’ve already made bad choices in the past? Are you damaged goods?

Absolutely not!

God can and WILL redeem your past. All that matters is what you do with your future.

As believers, we should strive to stick to the values that we so strongly believe in. That isn’t an easy feat in today’s society. Have faith and courage, even if it means you’re the weird one. Hey, being old fashioned means you’re unique and completely unexpected. A change from an impending one night stand and fly-by-night romance.

It means that you’re allowing God to guide.

old fashioned

I’m still reeling from a movie that I was invited to screen. Guess what it’s called….

Old Fashioned. Teehee.

This film was made to touch on the very things that I just mentioned.

Old Fashioned is a faith-based love story about a former frat boy who comes to know Jesus and it changes the way he looks at dating and romance. He meets a free-spirited girl who is quite the opposite. In our modern-day dating scene, they attempt an old fashioned courtship.

My honest opinion? One of the best faith-based movies that I’ve seen in a long time.

This film was a refreshing taste of what love and romance can truly be if God is guiding it. I love that it stayed realistic by addressing common pitfalls like partying, pornography, and sex before marriage without glorifying those things. In fact, this film highlights how God’s grace covers our mistakes and makes us new.

<a href="http://gatheringgrain.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/old-things-are-passed-away pharmacie viagra sans ordonnance.png”>old things are passed away;

I enjoyed this movie a lot y’all. Even hubby liked it! We laughed, got teary, got angry, and felt connected with the characters. And it even had good acting too! I can’t say that about all Christian movies. There were moments that were a little slow, but what happened next always made up for it.

This would be a fantastic movie for a youth group to see! It would be perfect for singles, and those who are dating, too! And honestly, for anyone wanting to see a true and pure love story.

It hits theaters February 14th, 2015. Valentine’s Day, how fitting! Check it out at OldFashionedMovie.com.

You can find it at a theater near you here. It is at limit theaters, about 200 across the nation. It’s going to be competing with a certain well-known, less-than-Christian film, Fifty Shades of Grey. Let’s support truth instead of a false idea of romance!

I truly hope that you will go see Old Fashioned and that it will bless you like it blessed me! Watch the trailer below.

I was provided with tickets to the screening by Family Christian. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

God Loves Imperfection

God loves imperfection

I’ve been trying for far too long.

Year after year. Month after month. Day after day. Even moment after moment

I try.

I give it my all. I waste my precious and fleeting time on it.

When I wake up, I attempt it. Before I go to bed I attempt it.

When I was in school, it’s what I aimed for. When I became a woman, I thought it’s what I needed to do.

When I became a mom I thought it necessary.

The fact of the matter is, I’m giving up. I am officially throwing in the towel. I’m folding, conceding, and I surrender.

I will never be perfect. There I said it.

Whew. That’s a hard pill to swallow. Kinda like a gigantic horse pill for the psyche. 

But it must be done.

You see, God has told me that I don’t have to try anymore.

He wants me to know that He loves me right where I am at. He wants you to know the same.

He loves you when your sink is full of dishes. He loves you when your toilet is disgusting (but for real though, I need to clean mine). He loves you  when you spend too much money. He loves you when you skip church to sleep in. He loves you when you avoid people at the grocery store because you need a shower. He loves you when you go weeks with a stale fry stuck to your car’s floorboard. He loves you when you forget to pray. He loves you when you ignore Him.

He loves you in your imperfection.

Why in the world? Why would God love me when I am so jacked up? I mean, I don’t always get to my devotional and my bed sometimes goes days without being made.

For God's power

2 Corinthians 12:9 says this:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God loves us in our imperfection because that’s when He can make us better.

How can we improve if we are already perfect? There’s no room to grow if we have reached the top. 

Our entire existence on this earth is to be spent trying to be more like Jesus. Since we will never be just like him, God will have our entire lives to make improvements, tweak us, and mold us into His image.

Every mistake, every sin, every flaw is an opportunity for God to work in us for His glory.

We are not made to be perfect. If that were true, God would have made us robots. A bunch of perfect and flawless robots walking around with empty sinks, clean toilets, and always at church without fail. Would God really be needed with perfection like that?

And what about Jesus? Why would Jesus need to be sent to earth to be an example for a bunch of robots?

He chose to die for completely helpless, flawed, and undeserving human beings. That’s us! And how grateful I am that he did.

As I grow in my walk with the Lord I realize that I don’t have to try for perfection. Doing my best is as close to that as I will ever get. God loves my imperfection. He loves to make me better.

I love to let Him.

I pray today that if you feel the pull to always try for perfection that you will let it go. If only for a moment of freedom. Let the power of Christ rest in your weakness. He will be glorified when you trust in Him. God bless you!

A 21-Day Facebook Fast

Comparison

As a blogger, social media is a huge part of my life. I use it for so many things. In my personal life, it helps me keep up with friends and family who I may not otherwise see on a daily basis. I’ve been known to use it when I need a pick me up. Somebody is always sharing a funny video. I can use it to ask for a quick prayer request. I have some fantastic prayer warriors on Facebook.

I love Pinterest for ideas to make me feel crafty. And of course, for the recipes.

And who can forget, Twitter? The part of social media that I pretend to have figured out that I may never truly understand.

It’s all become an every day part of our lives. Which can be a great thing!  …Or it can drive a little thing called comparison. Scrolling through the newsfeed feeling inadequate because Suzy Somebody has her whole family in a perfect pose while they have ice cream at the best ice cream place in town. Or perhaps having to take a picture with friends during EVERY SINGLE visit just so you can tag them in your picture on Facebook or Instagram. Since when do you have to take a picture with a friend to make it count? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, but where is your heart?

 Is it waiting on approval?

A recent study claims that Facebook users mainly use it for 2 primary purposes: 1) the need to belong and 2) the need for self-presentation. Can we really argue with that? I will not argue that when I post a selfie that I took the time to find the one that gets me in the best light at the very best angle. I will not argue that I want to feel like I belong on social media channels. But what does this mean? It means that I put too much value on what others think.

Have you ever heard the quote, “don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”? Well I’m going to take that to a different level.

Don't

This has all been on my heart lately. I have days when I am completely fine and having a great day only to scroll through my Facebook feed and end up feeling down. It’s not that I’m not thrilled for all the amazing things happening to my friends and family, but sometimes I find that my comparison monster likes to rear its ugly head and within moments I have unconsciously been brought down. The devil knows that I have issues with looking for approval and comparing myself to others. He relishes when I scroll through Facebook to find these things.

This is something that I have been praying about. In the meantime I’m trying to take action against the things that might cause me to stumble. 

Watch

As Christ followers, we are to do the thing that others might not. It’s not easy missing out on things. Not going the same path that many others take. In my case, I feel the Lord calling me take a drastic measure. One that will take a stand against one of my temptations where comparison can lurk.

A

My church is starting 21 days of prayer and fasting starting January 1st. I’ve been contemplating on what I could do to really honor God. Facebook has slowly risen to the top of my heart as a way to honor God with fasting. 

It may not seem like a drastic measure to some, but I find that it’s just enough to remove my focus from Him sometimes. I scroll through Facebook and post on there way more than I should throughout the day. This will probably prove to be quite the challenge!

For the next 21 days I plan to stay off of my personal Facebook. I will still be posting on my blog page, but personally I want to drop off the radar. Put this to the test. I’ve never gone longer than a couple of weeks! While on my Facebook fast, I hope to pray more for God to remove this spirit of comparison from me. I want to accept the approval of God and be completely content with it. Not to look to others as a means for measurement. 

I have no doubt that God can help me overcome.

As moms, I think social media is harmful in the comparison department. You see the perfect photos of the perfect house. Kids dressed in clean clothes that were homemade for them. Comparison in the pinterest moms who are crafty. It’s a whole new meaning to keeping up with the Jones. It is harmful to self esteem. Makes us feel like we are failing in comparison. When reality is one picture or craft doesn’t show us the whole picture. 

Leslie

What about you? Do you feel that social media affects your mood or self-esteem? Do you find yourself making comparisons? I’d love for you to weigh in below! 

For those who may be interested in fasting Facebook with me. Here are some tips:

  • Remove the Facebook app and Messenger apps from your phone and other devices.
  • Change your Facebook password to something crazy and email it to yourself (Or a spouse). The only way to login when you decide to end your fast will be to access that email. My husband has done this and it worked for him!
  • Focus the time that you would be on Facebook onto reading the Bible or doing a study. 
  • Create Facebook statuses for when you do return that might encourage others and brighten their day.
  • Read and encouraging book instead.
  • Go for a walk!
  • Enjoy time with family instead.

Just Be Loved

beloved

Have you ever researched what your name means? I didn’t for a long time for fear of finding out that it might mean “harry goat” or something. It’s actually quite interesting to find out what the origins and variations are.

I never gave the meaning of Amy much credence until somewhat recently. My name means “Beloved”.

Dearly beloved or beloved.

I love the surprise that my name means something that I tend to have struggles with. Beloved.

Be. Loved.

I think God might just be trying to tell me something. My own struggles with accepting love stems mainly from self-love, mostly. Which in the scheme of things doesn’t mean a hill of beans compared to the love that God has for me. So why is it so hard?

This is a path that I am walking out with help of God’s mighty grace. Learning to love yourself how you are right now takes BIG grace. It takes BIG mercy and even BIGGER strength. 

Just be loved. Accept it. Be loved by your husband. By your children. By your coworkers. By your friends. By your parents. By yourself.

By God.

The LORD your God among you is powerful— he will save and he will take joyful delight in you. In his love he will renew you with his love; he will celebrate with singing because of you. – Zephaniah 3:17

Be Loved

 I recently got the pleasure of listening to Christy Nockel’s CD Into the Glorious. God knew that I needed to listen to this one. I am a big fan of her’s. We use some of her songs on our worship team at church so I’m familiar with many. In fact, one of my favorites is on this CD- “Waiting Here For You” is so good.

Some new ones on this CD that I had never heard that I now love are, “Sing Along”, “Wonderful”, and “Into the Glorious”.  But they are ALL so good.

After turning on this album, God lead me to track #5 which is called “Be Loved”. There were tears. It speaks to my struggle.

Be loved. Beloved. That is what my name MEANS! I mean, God places just what we need in our path at the right time. This song washed over me like a refreshing river of truth.

If you can relate at all to my struggle, this whole album is so good for you. Highly recommended!

Christy Nockels

Track List:

Ever Lifting
For Your Splendor
Wonderful
Into the Glorious
Be Loved
Waiting Here for You
Sing Along
Love Can Build a Bridge
Your Love is Moving
Hearing is in Your Hands
Already All I Need
How I Love You

You can grab a copy of Christy Nockels’ album Into The Glorious at Family Christian for $11.99. You can also get the whole MP3 album for $9.99.

How about a giveaway so you can get a copy?!

$10 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate Giveaway

$10 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate

I was provided with Christy Nockels album for review purposes by Family Christian. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

This giveaway will end on Monday, December 29th at 11:59pm CT. I will contact the winner on December 30th and they will have 24 hours to respond. If I have not heard from them, I will name a new winner.

The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook

Baker Illustrated Handbook

The following is a review and post written by my darling husband!

 

I have been a student of the Bible for about two years and make it a goal to dig deeper into the Word in a variety of ways: through One Year Bible daily Bible reading, Verse by Verse ministries audio Bible during my commute, and learning memory verses.  So I was excited when I was recently asked to review The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook.  This handbook has a load of full-color pages, color photos and illustrations, cool maps and charts, and articles by leading evangelical scholars.  It is intended to help the reader grasp God’s word and understand how each book of the Bible fits together into God’s overarching purpose.  It will help you more effectively interpret the Bible and apply it to your life.  Below are my key takeaways.

This is not a Bible

I thought I would be reviewing a Bible, but I found out pretty quickly once getting into the book of Genesis that I, in fact, was not reviewing a Bible.  Instead, this is a reference guide to the Bible — as indicated in the title, it is a Bible Handbook.  This can be seen as a supplement and guide to reading your Bible, but not a replacement.  I will point out that by the nature of being a summary of the Bible, it is inevitable that certain details are lost in the process.

Bible Handbook

High Level – 50,000 Ft. View

This handbook does a good job of summarizing the Bible.  This would help someone new to the faith or young in the faith to grasp the vision of the overall message of the Bible and to see how the books of the Bible fit together.  Each book of the Bible is almost like a cliffs-notes version of the book.  Some examples of this book that I particularly enjoyed are The Grand Story of the Bible showing how the grand story is summarized into Opening, Problem, Resolution, Climax, and Closing as well as How the Bible is Organized which shows and explains the sections of the Bible (Old Testament: Pentateuch, Historical Books, Psalms, Wisdom Books, Prophets, New Testament: The Gospels, Book of Acts, Letters of Paul, General Letters, and Revelation.)

Baker Handbook

Going Deeper

This handbook also does an excellent job of arranging facts, maps, and charts of information, simplifying what would otherwise be complex.  A great example of this is found in the The Beginning and The End section which gives a chart matching up events in Genesis (“The Beginning”) and Revelation (“The End”) showing how the beginning elements in Genesis find their conclusion in Revelation.  An example would be:  Sinful people are banished from the presence of God in Genesis 3:24; But God lives among his people in Revelation, effectively restoring them to His presence (Revelation 21:3, 7, 22; 22:4.)  Digging deeper, for each book of the Bible, this handbook covers important historical context as well as information on the author of the book, the audience, the heart of the message being communicated, and any interesting / unique facts about the book.  It includes letters from Bible scholars throughout.  It also has Part II and Part III sections which respectively cover How the Bible Came to Be and Digging Deeper into the Bible.

 

In summary, this is a great and unique companion resource for the Word of God.  It is easy to read and understand and is well organized.  I am excited to own a copy and plan on referencing it.

Grab a copy of The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook for $29.97 at Family Christian right now!

And you might just be able to use this to do it…

$50 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate Giveaway
(can be used in-store and online)

 

$50 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate
This giveaway will end on December 26th at 11:59pm CT. I will contact the winner on December 27th and they will have 24 hours to respond. If I have not heard from them, I will then name a new winner.
The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook was provided for review purposes by Family Christian. All opinions expressed are 100% my own. 

The Accidental Vocalist

Sing to the Lord

Have you ever stepped back and looked at your life and just been in complete awe? In awe of how God has blessed you. In awe of the people that God has placed in your life. Or maybe you’re in awe of the impossible that God has made possible. What a faithful God we serve that He takes things that we only dream of and makes them reality.

And when we look back at those “dreams” to find them as our current reality, we are humbled. Humbled by His attention to our simple whim that was never considered an actual possibility.

I want to share a piece of my story with you.

Music has always been a part of my life. In the earlier years when I was growing up, my dad had a music ministry. My mom would play the keyboard and they would travel to churches singing and praising the Lord together. My dad even had a cassette tape, y’all. He was big time.

When I got to middle school, I chose the band over the choir route. At that point I considered it a bigger challenge to play an instrument than to open your mouth to sing. Plus, I wanted to be like my big sister, what can I say? I played the clarinet and I was actually pretty decent at it. I spent most years in 2nd chair fighting for first with my arch nemesis and friend, James. The result of his 1st chair status was due to my letting him think he was better. Yep, we’ll go with that.

By the way, don’t ask me to play the clarinet for you as I’m pretty sure that my frazzled mommy-brain may never let me remember how.

I totally digress…

I’ve always been one to run to music for comfort. It’s amazing how it can really touch you. I am so thankful God created it, otherwise I’m not sure where I’d be. I’ve been all over the radar with genres of music. I started with Christian music when I was little and branched out to some pretty rough stuff in my teenage years. You may not have pegged me for hardcore rock and gangsta rap, but you name it and I’ve listened to it. Yeah, I’ve moshed with the cool kids. But I eventually found my way back to Christian music after trying all the rest. While I still have to have a little taste of country and my Boyz II Men, I listen to Christian mostly now. I LOVE worship music and how it connects me directly with the Spirit of God. Nothing better. 

Confession: I’m a shower singer. A car singer. A sitting ’round a circle at a bon-fire singer. A bathing-the-kids-and-make-up-a-song singer. I think you get the point. I enjoy it. I consider myself ok at it. But I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, sing in FRONT of ANYONE. 

My church had a ministry fair one Sunday where they were looking for folks to serve in certain areas. Choir was looking for voices. I didn’t realize how big my fear of singing in front of people was until I asked the director if I would have to audition.  Relief fell over my entire body when she said no. I made a very last minute and completely unintentional decision to join the choir that day. I got involved and began to have a blast! Singing was becoming something I really enjoyed doing. In a group. I was learning about alto and soprano and beats and such. I was growing! And the best part? I was doing it all for the Lord. 2 of my favorite things: singing in harmony and praising Jesus!

Until one day when at the very end of choir practice they announced that they were holding auditions for the worship team. I packed my stuff and began to leave. There was no way that I was good enough to be on the worship team. In all seriousness, ME? On the church’s worship team? IN FRONT OF PEOPLE? Who are looking at me? IIIIIIIIIIIII don’t think so. (That was in my best Macaulay Culkin voice from Home Alone y’all)

And then I walked right back over to my friend handing out info and application packets and got one. WHA? What was I thinking? Something told me to get one and it wasn’t the anxiety building up within my gut. I didn’t know, but I went home and filled out the application and looked over the information. I couldn’t believe that I was considering this. 

I found out in the next few weeks that there were some really talented people trying out. Many were more talented than me. More experienced than me. I couldn’t figure out why I was even contemplating something so out of reach. I struggled with not feeling good enough and that oh-so-familiar fear. I was overcome with these things and I made the decision to drop out of auditions. I gave up. 

My husband was not convinced that I should drop out. He spent days encouraging me and telling me that I could do this. With hesitation, I decided to still try out. I practiced the chosen songs like a crazy person. I’m pretty sure that my daughters know every word of every song that I had to sing. I played them over and over to get it right.

When my audition date and time came, I found myself walking into that church. Was I really about to do this? My hands were sweating and I was shaking. I heard the singer before me. She was reeeeeeally good. I went into the bathroom to collect myself. I thought about going home. I entered the sanctuary instead. The girls from the worship team met me with a warm hug. They cracked jokes and tried to make me feel comfortable. And then they prayed over me. It was just what I needed. After that I felt much better. My shakes weren’t gone, but my worry was.

I walked up to that stage and held a microphone in my hand for the first time, ever. I managed to get sound out of my mouth without screaming at the top of my lungs and running away like a scared little school girl. Instead, I sang those songs just as practiced and I felt incredible. The Lord had brought me through one of the scariest situations that I’ve ever been in. I sang for the Lord. It was an incredible experience.

After my audition, I was so proud of myself for braving my fear that I forgot that they actually choose someone to be on the worship team. I wasn’t holding my breath that it might be me. My phone rang late one evening and it was the team. I could tell they had the no for me. And then it happened…

They said the words, “we want you to be on the worship team”. Um. AAAAHHHHH! Really?! All I could say was shut-up. Are you serious? I’m not sure how many times I said that, but I’m pretty sure that I got annoying with it. I was in complete awe. 

It has been over a year now that I’ve been on the worship team at church. It has been an amazing growing experience in my walk with God. He has slowly pulled me out of my shell and into His presence. He is teaching me to shut-up about myself. My insecurities. My feelings of not good enough. He wants me to focus on Him. And I LOVE being on the worship team with the privilege to do just this. I have been able to glean wisdom from those on the team and they love me just as I am. I am growing! Learning that worship is way more than just singing with your voice. Worship to me is letting go in complete abandon to the Lord. Saying “Here I am Lord, take me”.

Gosh, I love how God operates in our lives. Surprising at times, but all a part of His sovereign plan. 

…and that’s how I became the accidental vocalist. Though we both know that it was most definitely not accidental. 

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. – Psalm 104:33

Have you ever done something you never thought you could do?

Four Reasons Why We Told Our Kids the Truth About Santa

 

Truth About Santa

I want to begin by saying that I have absolutely no issue with anyone who supports Santa with their children. That is a personal choice for your family and I make no judgement on that. We are all free to make our own traditions and memories with our families.

My husband and I both grew up with the Santa thing. We left cookies for Santa, listened for reindeer hooves on the roof, and sent Santa letters. We never got together and said that when we had kids we weren’t going to play the Santa game with them. We knew that we would let the Lord lead and He has. For years our family has done the Santa stuff. We’ve visited him with long lists, made extra special cookies, and even left his reindeer food on the front porch so they would find our house.

We sat down together a couple of nights ago to have the talk with our girls. No, not the birds and the bees, but the talk about the fact that Santa isn’t actually real. I was a bit hesitant as we sat there waiting to break the news. I knew that within the next few moments we were going to be saying words that were going to change their lives forever. They would be going from children who had that bewilderment of a man that flies with reindeer to children that knew that was not real. I always thought that we would tell them when they asked us a question first. God had different plans.

1) Conviction from the Holy Spirit

..and when He may come — the Spirit of truth — He will guide you to all the truth… – John 16:13

This was the first and most important reason that we told them. This began to hit me last Christmas. I kept feeling the nudge to ask my oldest what she thought about Santa. She told me one day that someone at school had told her that Santa wasn’t real and that she didn’t believe them because how could we (her parents) get all those presents each year. I didn’t say much and just let her believe what she wanted. We went along pretending as the feeling of conviction (which I didn’t immediately recognize as that) got worse. I shared this with my husband and he wasn’t sure if we should drop this bomb or not.

This year as Christmas grew closer, I knew that we had to. I didn’t know how or when, but we had to tell them.

2) To take the focus off Santa and put it on Jesus

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2:11

If you take a look around, most of the world is spending their time emphasizing Santa. We can’t depend on them to explain the TRUTH about Christmas to our children, that’s our job. So when it comes down to it, we want them to celebrate Christmas because of the birth of Jesus Christ, not because of presents or stockings. 

3) Honesty

Say you’re on the way to the doctor and you know they are about to get a whopping five shots. Your kid asks you if they are getting shots today. You say, “Oh, I’m not sure we’ll see when we get there” and change the subject. You may not have meant to lie to them, but you told a white lie to avoid meltdown. Some can be seemingly harmless like the scenario above, but where do we draw the line? If we continue to tell them little white lies, will they really trust us when we actually tell them the truth? It’s important for our children to be able to trust us. When we convince our children to believe in an imaginary man only to find out later he never existed, what will they think about what we have taught them about Jesus?

4) Logistics and appreciation

I felt a little silly with this being a reason, but after much thought it’s not so silly now. There were years when my daughter would ask for things that were just way out of reach for us as her parents. She got a little upset one year when she didn’t get what she wanted. I think she may have thought that because he’s Santa, that he can produce anything even if it costs $300! Telling her this has opened her eyes a bit to see that me and her daddy work hard to provide these presents for her. I believe that it’s giving her a new appreciation for her presents. Not to mention that we don’t have to explain why Santa uses the same wrapping paper as we do! Or why Santa left a Dollar General price tag on that one thing. 

 

Here’s how it went. My husband and I asked our oldest what she thought about Santa. She said “I think he’s real. I mean, there’s no way that you guys can put that many presents under the tree every year.” And then she said, “Can you put that many presents under the tree each year?” Perfect segway…

We began by telling them that Santa was in fact real. He was a true saint back in the 4th century who was a very religious man that dedicated his life to giving to the poor and needy. He knew the real meaning of Christmas about baby Jesus. And because of that he gave just as the wise men did. We told them that even though Santa was a great man from the past, that he wasn’t magical and that he didn’t fly with reindeer. Expecting a flood of tears, the question that followed from my oldest’s mouth was this. She looked at her daddy with a sneaky smile and said, “Dadddddy! So it’s YOU who eats all the cookies on Christmas Eve every time!” She talked about this all night. And that was that.

It went better than I expected, but how could I really have doubted it wouldn’t go well? The Lord lead us to this place!

We are not removing Santa from our Christmas completely. We talked with them about how he is still fun to imagine and that even though we know that he’s not real, that the thought of him is still fun and there’s nothing wrong with pretending. He now falls in the same category with Mickey Mouse and Elsa from Frozen, which they know are just for fun!

 

What about your family? Does your family do Santa or no? Join the conversation below.

When the Game Stands Tall $24.99

Did you see When the Game Stands Tall when it was in theaters? It was out in August of this year and it got fantastic reviews! I can’t wait to get my hands on this one. It was inspired by an extraordinary true story. You know that those are always good.

When the Game Stands Tall is a true story about love, loss, friendship, and perseverance.

A high school team sets a 151-game winning streak under the leadership of coach Bob Ladouceur. But when tragedy strikes, they must find it within themselves to get back up and push forward.

It has officially been released! Head over to Family Christian and grab your copy of When the Game Stands Tall.

Get this movie as a gift or grab it for yourself! And while you’re there, check out the  Tenth Avenue North Cathedrals CD! Or check out the 50% Off sale going on now through December 24th!