Saturday, January 23, 2016

Being Steadfast vs Being Prepared

After a week away in Orlando for Stephen Ministry Leader Training, I was looking forward to returning back to "normal". For me, that meant the routine I had been enjoying since the kids returned to school after break. I'd enjoy a morning cup of coffee, listening to Rend Collective, looking over my new inspirational planner and connecting to God in some creative way; bible journaling, praying in color, my Solo devotion, etc...
Well, needless to say, that has not been my week. It has been one crisis to the next. First there was dealing with a common childhood infestation of sorts, which includes lots of cleaning and washing, and strict hygiene practices. Then came preparing for a blizzard, winter storm Jonas, that was about to dump large amounts of snow in a place where that is not the norm. 
This has been a very hard adjustment for me. Orlando was a lot of work and strain on my system. I needed days to recover, not shop for various supplies and scrubbing down my house. I have been a very cranky person. I am very grateful for my understanding and compassionate family. 
As I prepared for one of those crazy days of running errands and making storm emergency plans, I had a thought. I realized that being steadfast has pulled me through my pains and sufferings but has not necessarily made me prepared to handle a crisis. Clinging to God is good but how you do it can make a huge difference. That comes from a different kind of strength. As I made my supply list, I noticed that it was an intentional planning activity that took practice and disciple. 
The strength needed to pull through stressful events comes from what you do prior to the crisis. This will help you survive through it. It prepares you and builds a foundation to draw on. For me, God is steadfast to us through it all but if I am not prepared I find myself freaking out during the hard times. I can hold tight to God but what gets me through is the fact that I had been reading scripture the weeks before and had been feeling His presence. So, even though I was in a hurry and didn't have the time to sit down and soak in His grace, I could know that He was still there. I could pray and let Him through just enough to be reminded of His promise and His steadfastness. I could tap into the reserves that had been created in the last month. So now, instead of loathing where I am at, I can make it until the crisis is over. I still long to get back to my quiet place but can rest in the reassurance that God and I will reconnect on a deeper level again soon. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A New Year, New Family Faith Choices

My kids love to have choices. Life isn't as boring that way. Of course, on the other hand routine is good, especially when you are learning something new. Before, when we were all getting used to adding to our faith routines, we kept it simple. We did what we call Bible Journaling. That would be finding a verse in your print copy of the Bible and marking it up. We'd circle, underline and draw little pictures. We also all have prayer journals for drawing out, in doodle style, our prayers. Since this had become somewhat part of a daily practice, I've started hearing things like, "I don't know what verse to journal." and "what should I pray for." I realized at this point it was time to shake things up a bit. To offer a few options to guide them and keep them engaged.

Pray for Yourself

It is very important to teach a child, young and old, how to pray for themselves. How to ask God to change you and grow you. To be aware of the ways God works in ourselves and the world. Here is a photo of a printable for Ann Voskamp's Here she gives you prompts to write out for the new year how you want God to work in you. Instead of Resolutions, you have SOULutions, change through prayer. We worked on our petitions as a family, wrote, colored and framed one for each member. We are to look at them daily for pray for each one for ourselves.

 Coloring and Praying

Everyone loves to color! Matter of fact, it is the latest craze. I found these gems and Walmart and Michael's. They were pretty inexpensive, too. I taped them to foam board and stuck them up on our craft closet door in our dining room. The idea behind the posters is to color while you talk with God. What is on your heart and mind. It is relaxing and spiritual at the same time. Sometimes you can even feel the tug of His Spirit as you just let go and be. The kids may not have lots to say (or who knows, a lot goes on those little heads) but the practice helps you to remain in a prayerful state and hopefully carry that out into the rest of your day.

Scripture Prompts and Going Digital

Here is a simple list from Concordia Publishing House, that suggests bible readings for each day of January and has a reflection question, too. No more, I don't know what to read in the bible. Although my tech savvy kids already do some creating and journaling on their electronic devices, I did add a specific digital element. It isn't faith centered, but it can be based on how you reflect on it. There are simple prompts to photograph in your day. I love capturing my day and wanted to share that option with my kids. I found this list on Pinterest. Look on my Family Faith board for both links.

The Saint John's Bible

If you want to experience the ultimate in Bible Journaling and Illuminating the Scriptures, check out the Saint John's Bible. The story behind it is amazing and the artwork is breathtaking. In short, it is the first hand written and illustrated bible in over 500 years. It is from the Saint John's University in Collegeville, MN. Definitely google this gem. We gifted our selves the printed copies for our home library. The kids can grab one and page through it for inspiration.

I really hope that through these options my kids will learn a variety of ways to build their relationship with Christ and grow spiritually. Now, I just need to find a way to remind them of their options.