value, Oh Lord Help Us, mentoring, women

Value: Giving Worth to Ourselves, Others, and God

As women, we are prone to diminish our worth. When we rely on God, He changes our thoughts and actions to express value in ourselves, others, and Him. 



My early twenties have been nothing that I thought they would be. While there are accomplishments in my life I am immensely proud of (buying my first house, getting my first ministry job), most of my twenties have consisted of crazy things that I never would have expected to happen. They have also consisted of constantly de-valuing myself.

Twenty-four

I turned twenty-four this past week, officially entering my “mid-twenties”. There are so many things the Lord has taught me over the past four years, but I know that I have only scratched the surface. Also, I know that in the next four, He will teach me so much more.

I have been feeling like a light-bulb went on in my head. I seemed to wake up from a long sleep and realize I need to get my life together. They say when you turn twenty-five your brain is fully developed and it becomes increasingly difficult to change. That gives me one year. One year to change the things about myself that are holding me back. To learn how to value myself, advocate for myself, and take care of myself.

The Lord is teaching and challenging me more every day. And every day I feel like I am one step closer to who He has created me to be. Don’t get me wrong I have A LOT of growing to do and I will never be perfect, but I am excited to live in the truth of God’s grace and to live my life according to His purpose.

“Value” is the focus word that I have chosen to give myself for my twenty-fourth year. I want to value myself, value others, and most importantly value God. I know that the Lord has major plans for my next year of life and I am ready to value all the things he has for me.

As women, we are prone to diminish our worth. When we rely on God, He changes our thoughts and actions to express value in ourselves, others, and Him. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Value Ourselves

How can we value ourselves? That is the golden question, isn’t it? We know that we should and that God wants us to, but what does that look like? It means that we respect ourselves, we take care of ourselves. That starts with replacing the de-valuing lies with God’s truth. It means taking care of our bodies; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When we focus on that, we truly begin to know what it means to value ourselves.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.

1 Corinthians 6:19

Treasure Others

When we learn to value ourselves the next step is valuing others. This is a crucial part of what God has called us to and a life-giving thing to do. This can take form in many ways. From sending an encouraging text to a friend, to donating time to a non-profit organization. Treasuring others is important and can be life-changing.

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Romans 15:7

Cherish God

The most important part of value is valuing God. We must love God before we can value anything else. We must cherish His blessings, His presence in our lives, and His unwavering, unconditional love.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

Matthew 22:37

God loves and values us, and in return we need to value Him, others, and ourselves. When we live up to this idea of value and act it out in our lives we have richer, more joyful, and more peaceful lives.

We must love God before we can value anything else. We must cherish His blessings, His presence in our lives, and His unwavering, unconditional love. Click To Tweet

As women, we are prone to diminish our worth. When we rely on God, He changes our thoughts and actions to express value in ourselves, others, and Him. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

All scripture is from the ESV Bible.
friendship, love, sacrifice, unique

Friendship: A Practice in Sacrificial Love

Worldly standards on friendship can hinder our ability to be a Godly friend. In our quest to become the “truest” friend, we often stretch our personal boundaries and limits to the point of breaking. The Bible offers a multitude of advice on friendship and why sacrificial love is key.



I have the worst habit of telling new, potential friends that I am a “bad” friend. I began believing this idea when I started comparing what my friendships looked like with other friendships.

Surely a good friend should be able to drop anything at a moment’s notice. Isn’t a true friend able to carry the other through any darkness with strength and perseverance? Aren’t you “supposed to” go shopping, do lunch dates, talk on the phone?

I figured, since I wasn’t able to follow through on these standards 100% of the time, it meant I was not a “good” friend.

Well, that’s a load of junk.

Friendship: The Honest Truth

In my experience, stereotypical norms discourage Godly friendships from thriving. The world standards of “girl-friends” doesn’t always align with my personality type. I am not one for getting excited about shopping dates. I sometimes cringe at the thought of play dates. Socializing leaves me feeling exhausted. Typically, I get heavy after long conversations. Not by the subject matter, but by over analyzing my words and interactions.

Most people cannot commit to answering the phone WHENEVER the call comes; work, sleep,  and alone time are extremely important. Many of us can say that we will not ALWAYS make that coffee date; life happens and money is sometimes tight. We cannot ALWAYS keep it together while the other is going through a valley; pretending to have it all together is tiring, and quite frankly, insincere.

So, are these the reasons friendships go awry? Does lack of perfection cause us to feel guilt and give up?

Worldly standards can hinder our ability to be a Godly friend. The Bible offers a multitude of advice on friendship and why sacrificial love is key.

Friendship: Where We Go Wrong

When thinking back on fizzled out friendships, I was surprised to find they were completely within my control. Instead of enriching relationships inside my own God-given strengths, I shook them off. I compared and belittled what I brought to the table.

Having a successful relationship, doesn’t usually fit into obvious standards. Feeding into the lie that we have to be like all the other friendships, is where we go wrong. God created us to be exactly who we are: unique. Thus, our friendships will be unique.

You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17, MSG

God ordains friendships knowing that each person has what the other needs. When we try to operate outside of this knowledge, we mess it all up. When we refuse to allow God’s love to fill in the empty spaces, our friendships die.

Worldly standards can hinder our ability to be a Godly friend. The Bible offers a multitude of advice on friendship and why sacrificial love is key.

Friendship: What the Bible Says

The Bible emphasizes love as the greatest way to be a friend. When we come together IN love, TO love, we are committing our hearts to serving the Lord.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

1 Peter 4:8-9, NIV

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Romans 12:10-12, NIV

Jesus spoke the most significant advice on friendship…

This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you.

John 15:13-14, MSG

Friendship: The Promise

Jesus’ sacrifice gives us the greatest example of how to truly be a friend. Laying down our lives doesn’t necessarily mean our hearts stop. Sacrificing our lives looks like prayer. It looks like following through, being trustworthy, showing respect. Sacrificing ourselves resembles grace in the midst of pain; love in spite of selfishness. Love looks like 1 Corinthians 13.

I have come to terms with the fact that I will always be in a state of progress. I will never, ever be a “perfect” friend because I am not Jesus. Understanding and accepting these truths, has made me realize, I’m not a “bad” friend just because I’m not a “perfect” friend. I may not commit to every coffee date, phone call, or outing. But, I can promise, from the depths of my being, that I will love fiercely.

If we can become comfortable with who we are and what we have to offer, I believe we would see less broken relationships/friendships. Striving to love in friendship, honors God more than striving to do and be all the things.


If you have found this inspiring, share the encouragement…

Pretending to have it all together is tiring, and quite frankly, insincere. Click To Tweet

Worldly standards can hinder our ability to be a Godly friend. The Bible offers a multitude of advice on friendship and why sacrificial love is key.

Don Ross III

Heard: Embodying Godly Virtues While Speaking Truth

Everyone has an opinion, and not all opinions exist from truth. It can be difficult to embody Godly virtues while trying to be heard.



My 30th birthday is fast approaching. Yes, yes… I’ve heard it all… “You’re so young!” “You’re just a baby!” “Wait, what!? You’re not 30 yet?” I have been the subject of these phrases a lot, lately. At first I laughed, then I felt a bit fired up and defensive, but now I’m feeling encouraged!

Being perceived as “young” has a few negative connotations. Some have a hard time taking stock in what you say. Some categorize you into your “generation name” (I will spare my opinions on that). Some, just simply do not show much respect toward those younger.

My attitude about my age was encouraged when I read through the entire book of Job. Please do this if you haven’t in a while or ever. I also encourage you to switch between NIV and MSG versions, as both can help you understand the intense conversations between Job and his friends.

Encouraged reading Job? Job is depressing and what in the world does that have anything to do with age?

The back and forth between the three friends had me all sorts of confused! Rightfully so. These men were “old” and “wise”, right? Should I side with the friends? Should I side with Job? I had lost all sense of “hope”, then this fiery young fella, Elihu, rises up and lays in to them all! Who the heck is Elihu? He was not the subject of any Sunday school lessons. What makes him worthy of 6 chapters in the book of Job?

“You have my attention Elihu!”

Heard: Show Respect

Elihu is the youngest of the men gathered, and he acknowledges that fact first. He also makes it known that because of his youth, he has held his tongue while the old guys banter.

I’m a young man, and you are all old and experienced. That’s why I kept quiet and held back from joining the discussion.

Job 32:6, MSG

I hung on your words while you spoke, listened carefully to your arguments. While you searched for the right words, I was all ears.

Job 32:11, MSG

This is one of the best character traits we see in Elihu. He is the embodiment of respecting your elders. He showed respect, thus, his words were received. Elihu waited his turn; not interrupting those he did not side with. He did not belittle their opinions by making fun or laughing at them. He waited patiently, really listening to their words.

Heard: Confidence Through Truth

I kept thinking, ‘Experience will tell. The longer you live, the wiser you become. But I see I was wrong—it’s God’s Spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty One, that makes wise human insight possible.

Job 32:7-8, MSG

Elihu was not afraid to speak his feelings to his elders because he knew his words were true; truth, Spirit prompted from the innermost of his heart. The same should be true, when we write or speak against anyone’s personal opinions and feelings. We must make sure we do it from a position of knowledge. Whether it’s in God’s word, or extensive research on the matter. Above all, our argument should not be from a place of anger or animosity.

Everyone has an opinion, and not all opinions exist from truth. It can be difficult to embody Godly virtues while trying to be heard.

Heard: Be Reasonable

Elihu was extremely passionate about what he was saying. However, in the midst of the intensity, he was also reasonable.

My words come from an upright heart; my lips sincerely speak what I know. The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Answer me then, if you can; stand up and argue your case before me. I am the same as you in God’s sight;

Job 33:3-6, NIV

He was reasonable enough to acknowledge that he was fired up, but that he should not be held in a higher regard than any other. Particularly, he recognized that his words were not his own, but from the Spirit of God.

 

Everyone has an opinion, and not all opinions exist from truth. It can be difficult to embody Godly virtues while trying to be heard.

Heard: All-Inclusive

Hear my words, you wise men; listen to me, you men of learning. For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food. Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.

Job 34:2-4, NIV

I believe this is one of the most important characteristics to learn from Elihu. Elihu included everyone listening, in his argument. He truly invited all of the men to enter in to his speech. To learn, together, the power of God. Elihu spoke from the ground with the others, not from a lofty, high above pedestal. In other words, he spoke from a posture of equality, not from a know-it-all angle.

Heard: What God Speaks

When God finally spoke, he scolds Job, all three of his friends, but makes no mention of Elihu. I believe Elihu ushered in the Spirit of God while he was speaking. Although he was the youngest of the men, he was the most impactful. He spoke with passionate truth, humility, and love for God.

Elihu has me encouraged for the future. Yes, I may be the youngest of most of those I hang around, but I believe, if I can embody the characteristics of Elihu, I can make a lasting impact. How humbled I would be, if the Lord chose me to usher in his Spirit so those with closed hearts would hear and know His truth!

What about you? Have you ever heard of Elihu? Do you find these characteristics helpful when approaching an intense subject with differing opinions?


If you have found this inspiring, share the encouragement…

Above all, our argument should not be from a place of anger or animosity. Click To Tweet

Everyone has an opinion, and not all opinions exist from truth. It can be difficult to embody Godly virtues while trying to be heard.

To love our children is to teach them to obey. First, to the Lord, and, in turn, to us. How do we teach our children to be obedient and respectful?

Living the Obedient Life

To love our children is to teach them to obey. First, to the Lord, and, in turn, to us. How do we teach our children to be obedient and respectful?



Yikes! That title is super intimidating, but let me sell you for a second. What if I told you it’s vital for Christian living? It’s God’s love language. Our obedience makes His heart happy! Doesn’t it make your heart happy when your children do what they are told without a grumble or a whimper?

“Whoa! How do you get results like that, Katie?” I don’t. Not always. And, I don’t always give my Lord the same respect. I also grumble and complain.

As a parent, I give in. I’m clear on the rule, I communicate the consequence, but, if I am honest with myself, I can be easily swayed. Not hearing the complaining and the whining is a reward to my mental state. This is one of the biggest lies I feed into. “You will be happier if you don’t have to hear one more tantrum.” Am I teaching true obedience to my children if I continually buckle under the pressure of the arguments and crying fits?

Our youngest, at the ripe age of 2, quickly learned to cry for Mommy when he wanted a drink of water at night. The rule is set: no drinks in bed. Consequence: a wet bed, extra laundry, and a grumpy child. It seemed that no matter how many bottles of water I filled during the day or how much was consumed at dinner, his thirst was not quenched until he had that last sip while snuggled under his super hero blankets. We stood firm. Water Nazis, if you will. The worst ever. The tears, the anguish. Ultimately, I submit to one more sip of water to ease my ears and my patience. Choose your battles, right? No. He’s not thirsty. He’s letting me know that he can be disobedient without recourse. He’s getting his way.


Parenting is not for the faint. It’s a constant cycle of holding to account our child’s actions and being held accountable for our own. It’s absolutely impossible to be a successful parent without first bowing to the Lord. How do we teach our children to be obedient and respectful? The answer for obedience is obedience. Respecting and submitting to the Lord’s commands. Love God with our whole existence. To love God is to be obedient to God because He loves us.

I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (MSG)

Because of this verse we have this verse:

Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, ‘so you will live well and have a long life.’

Ephesians 6:1-3 (MSG)

To love our children is to teach them to obey. First, to the Lord, and, in turn, to us. The lie says we will be happier in the end, but the truth is the exact opposite. When we choose disobedience in any form, we choose death. Life or death? Thanks, I’ll choose life. Somehow I think that if I would just remember this in the midst of a battle of wills, I would find strength to follow through. If I would just remember that when my children choose to be disobedient they choose to be separated from the Lord. Heavy. No, most children can’t grasp the intensity of this. Especially when it’s “just a sip of water”. So, how do we convey the importance?

Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (MSG)

We can’t instill honesty, kindness, love, self-respect, responsibility, and OBEDIENCE in our children with “giving in.” We have to LIVE in obedience without wavering. We have to speak the truth of God. We have to completely submerge our whole existence in God’s living word! This is the most important assignment the Lord has given his followers and ultimately those he has bestowed parenthood upon.

When we choose disobedience in any form, we choose death. Click To Tweet


You’re turn!

Listen, Ya’ll! I feel convicted, even now, while writing this post. It’s difficult. Life is hectic and nuts! It’s easy to let the day pass with just a short devotional, a 5 sec prayer, or even nothing at all (Gasp! For shame!). Honestly, it happens. It shouldn’t but it does. It does for every single one of us. That’s how I know this message is important. Parent or not.

In what ways can you better your obedience to God?

How can we practically show this important lesson to our children?

To love our children is to teach them to obey. First, to the Lord, and, in turn, to us. How do we teach our children to be obedient and respectful?

Daiga Ellaby

Empowering the Fathers

The role of a father is a powerful thing. As a mom, we can encourage the father of our children to embrace his role and in turn raise a generation of healthy and confident children.

Before I continue, let me make it known that I was raised by a good man, and then I married a good man. I completely understand that the father of your children may, in fact, not be a good man. Or maybe he is a good man, but you had a bad marriage. These are situations that I cannot empathize with, nor will I try to pretend that I can. In these situations, I listen. I will always listen.

Since my husband and I are pretty much perfect…hahahahaha! Um, no. Not even close. Here is the truth: My default is to yell. Or as my mother use to say (as she was yelling), “I’m not yelling, I’m talking passionately!” I often have to put myself in “time-out.” Last week I hid in my room and had “happy hour” with a beer at 4:30 in the afternoon. My husband never yells, but he has the ability to make others feel like an idiot when he talks. He can be harsh with his words if he is stressed. But we are constantly working and encouraging each other to be more loving, more patient, more consistent.

Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Psalm 127:3, ESV



Here are five ways that we can empower the fathers…

Respect. By respecting my husband (and him respecting me in turn), we are modeling to our children a couple things. First, how to treat others. Second, that they must respect their father and mother. It’s what is expected. Is it always achieved? No, but when it’s not it gets corrected, both within our relationship and our relationship with our children.

What this looks like for us

  • If I disagree with my husband on a topic, I don’t talk to him with a condescending tone.
  • I am not demanding in my tone. I ask for things to be done, I say please a lot, and thank you a ton.
  • If I disagree on a parenting action, I talk with him about it in private, not in front of the children.

Communication. This is crucial in any relationship, but especially marriage. And with honest communication, there must be trust. Because we are not perfect parents, there are times that we have to point out faults to one another. This is done in a calm, sincere manner.

What this looks like for us

  • Pointing out that his tone was too harsh.
  • Informing him that he did not follow through on what he said he was going to do.
  • Mentioning things that he needs to be more attentive to.

Listen. Being the financial provider for our family, he can feel stressed from pressure with work related events. By listening to him vent about his day, he is then able to relax and enjoy family time when he is home.

What this looks like for us

  • I don’t fully grasp what my husband does for a living. I kind of hate it when people ask what his does. Because of this, I often get glassy-eyed when he starts talking too technical, and he knows this. The point is that I still sit there and listen. And sometimes I can even think of good questions to ask!
  • I do not typically give advice, unless it’s an issue with a female co-worker, in which case I may play devil’s advocate and try to help him understand what is going through her mind.

Support. My husband and I do not have the same strengths, and for this I am thankful. If we had the same strengths, we would probably have the same weaknesses, and then we would be in a real mess. We are able to acknowledge these areas of weakness, which allows the other to fill-in the gaps. We are not perfect, but together we are strong.

What this looks like for us

  • At times I have trouble keeping boundaries with my boys. They just end up wearing me down. In these times, my husband is able to step in and be the enforcer. This allows me to be a better mom in the long run because I’m not so worn out. And I appreciate not having to be the “bad guy” all the time.
  • My husband is super detailed with his career. With the children, not so much. I, however, am quite structured with home-life, and this allows everyone to be fed and clothed everyday.
  • When one of us is having a bad attitude day, the other one goes into nice-guy mode. We have even been known to tell the other, “I’m in a crappy mood today, I need you to take over.” Rarely have we both been nasty at the same time. Thankfully.

Encouragement. All of us need a pat on the back from time to time. In the trenches of parenting, we need this often.

What this looks like for us

  • Simply saying, “You are such a good dad” goes a long way. And when there are specific attributes that he shows, I point those out as well.
  • I can never say “thank you” enough to my husband. Knowing that his sacrifices are appreciated is an encouragement and motivator to continue all the work he does for our family.


Your turn…

In what ways do you support your husband to be a strong, loving father? I would love to hear your thoughts!

xoxo

father

The Couple That Works Together, Stays Together

My hubby and I love to do projects. Big or little, there is also something going on. Our problem is actually finishing a project before we start another one. I know not all couples enjoy working together (and honestly maybe shouldn’t), but for us it has definitely strengthened our relationship.

We’ve done little projects, like making a crafty-looking vase for our bathroom.

vase

 

 

And major projects, like a complete gut rehab of our second floor.

IMG_0147

 

 

And then plenty of in-between projects like the bunk beds we made.

bunkbed_complete

As we were working on the bunk beds we were commenting to each other how much we enjoy working together and how blessed we felt. But then several weeks later we were helping a friend with one of her projects (gut bathroom remodel) and it was not the same experience. We were on edge with each other and making snippy remarks. So what was the difference?

Normally

We are willing to listen to each others ideas and we don’t hesitate to question one another. It’s not taken personal. A lot of times our concerns are not valid, but there have been instances that we have caught one another from making a mistake or have simplified the process or have come up with an idea to make it even better.

We are both willing to be the assistant. Sometimes I take the lead and have him hand me things. Sometimes he takes the lead and I stand there and look pretty (and hold the board steady).

We give each other the freedom to make mistakes. On the bunk bed, there was one board that my hubby cut the wrong length. Too short. Kinda difficult to put that back on. Instead of getting frustrated with him, I assured him that it wasn’t a big deal and that we would just use that one in a different spot and I would go buy an additional board. And then when I miscalculated and bought the wrong length of board for the shelves, he assured me that it wasn’t a big deal and we ended up patching in a piece (that only my older son would ever see).

So, why were we having problem at our friend’s house?

Well

It started with miscommunication. I thought he needed something, so I left and went to the store to get it, only to come back and he had moved forward without it and looked at me confused when I was telling him that I got what he needed. So the frustration started right off the bat.

Even though it wasn’t my house it very much felt like my project and I was the one giving direction. This particular day though there were other people helping and not room for me to be in there. I know that I have the freedom to tell my hubby if something needs to be done a certain way, not quite so easy to tell others. And unfortunately I felt like this was because I’m a woman and should not be telling men how to do “manly” projects. Now, I’m in NO WAY saying that they behaved in such a way to make me feel that way. I put that on myself, but it made me angry and stirred up all these resentments within myself that I of course blamed my hubby for (and the church, but that is a different topic for a different day).

And then, when there was something that had been done “wrong” I got all upset again and felt justified in my resentments. If I had been in there, this would not have happened. Now to be completely honest, this “wrong” was so utterly minor, it was truly a non-issue. But I was not quick to let it and go and assure him. Instead I felt the need to point it out and complain that it wasn’t done correctly.

Afterwards

We of course talked about the major cloud of tension that was occupying the space between us. We talked about why I was peeved and what the deeper issue was. Because let’s be honest, so often what gets us all riled up is not even the real problem. So ultimately we walked away having an even greater understanding of the other. Marriage is great.


Final though…

Yes, we enjoy doing projects together, but maybe this doesn’t work for you and your spouse. Maybe for you it’s being able to play together, or have a shared passion or hobby. The key is to have something to share, that is challenging, and results in both of you growing closer to each other.

xoxo

 

couple