Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How to Train Your Kids in Godliness (when you struggle with it yourself)

Lindsey Bell writes weekly on her blog about faith, family, and learning to love the life she’s been given. I invited her over today to share some parenting encouragement with us. I hope, as you read through her post you will find that even if you don't have children living at home, these tips are great for any phase of life. 
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Photo Courtesy: Unsplash
Last night, I put my kids to bed at 7 PM.

It was either that or lose my temper with them yet again that evening. I chose an early bedtime.

Have you been there?

I adore my children (as I’m sure you do too), but there are some days when they push me so much that I turn into this person I don’t even recognize…impatient, unkind, and irritable.

My goal as a Christian mom is to teach my kids by my example what it means to follow Jesus. I want to be for them a living, breathing picture of the Father.

When they look at me, I want them to see Jesus.

Unfortunately, that’s not what they often see.

Instead of love, they see frustration. Instead of kindness, they see irritation. Instead of Jesus, they see a whole lot of Lindsey.

So what’s a mom to do when she wants to teach her kids about godliness but struggles with it herself?

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Cut yourself some slack.

The truth is, you’re never going to be godly on your own. It’s not possible. The only person who never made a mistake was Jesus.

You’re going to fail at godliness. We all do.

But the cool thing about godliness is that it’s really not about us. Godliness is all about Jesus. It’s about putting on HIS godliness like a cloak and allowing HIS godliness to cover your life…which brings me to my next point.

2. Connect with the Father.

Because godliness is all about Jesus, the only way to grow in godliness is to grow in your relationship with Jesus.

Spend time each day connecting with Him and asking Him to fill your life. Pray for His spirit to fill your life so much that when you spill over, it’s Him that seeps out instead of yourself.

3. When you fail, make it right. Then do better next time.

When the inevitable happens and you fail, make amends. If you lose your temper with your kids, apologize and seek forgiveness.

Allow your children to see your humility. Allow them to see your attempts.

Because the truth is, they’ll see your progress (probably long before you do). They’ll see how much you’re trying to be like Jesus. 

4. Watch what goes into their minds.

What goes in will come out.

That goes for us, but it also goes for our children. Pay special attention to the things they watch or read.

5. Grow in godliness yourself.

Ask God to grow godliness in your life. Fill your life with things that are good and pleasing to Him. Seek accountability for areas in which you struggle.

Be more like Jesus.

Because when you do, your kids will follow in your footsteps.

What else would you add to this list?

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Lindsey Bell is the author of the parenting devotional, Searching for Sanity, and of the upcoming Bible study and devotional, Unbeaten. She’s a stay-at-home mother of two silly boys, a minister’s wife, an avid reader, and a lover of all things chocolate. Lindsey writes weekly on her blog, Embrace the Momentsabout faith, family, and learning to love the life she’s been given. 

Connect with Lindsey

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Sign up for Lindsey's newsletter HERE

Searching for Sanity  
Have you ever looked at your beloved children and wondered, what in the world am I doing? Why did God trust me—of all people—to raise them? Motherhood is the most difficult job many of us will ever take. Searching for Sanity offers moms an opportunity to take a breath, dig into the Word, and learn from parents of the past. In short devotions designed for busy moms, this book uses the parents of the Bible—both the good and the bad—to inspire today’s mothers. 
You can pick up a copy today at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Coming in 2016

Unbeaten:How Biblical Heroes Rose Above Their Pain will encourage those who have been hurt to dig into the Scriptures and discover what the Bible has to say about their problems. It will look at biblical heroes who went through painful circumstances and answer the question, what does this story have to do with me and how can I (like these people) rise above this trial? Discover Unbeaten on Lindsey's website.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Increasing Your Joy

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD. Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. Psalms 27:5-7 (NIV)

When our life feels heavy, we often have to choose to shout with joy. Despite feelings. Despite circumstances. It can be a sacrifice to do this when all we want to do is hide and weep. When we are weary and afraid.

Sometimes God sends things our way that give us a smile and a moment of uplift to look beyond our circumstance and dares us to hope. An extra beautiful sunrise. A friend’s hug. A need met.

It can also be helpful to create a few of these moments. Like sprinkling joy into our day. Blowing bubbles with our kids. Having a tickle fight. Singing in the shower.

The funny thing is, when we CHOOSE joy, hope starts to take root! And we all need hope.

To encourage you, each month in my newsletter, I am including a page of ideas to sprinkle joy into your day. With a few spaces for you to add your own ideas. Hang it on your fridge, tuck it into your calendar or tack it to your wall. And before life can put a lid on your light, choose to sprinkle some joy into your day!

Sign up HERE to receive your own joy sprinkles each month!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

True Inspiration: Final Grace for Reverend G by RJ Thesman

Its time for the final chapter on one of my favorite fictional characters. So much truth and inspiration within these pages. From feisty reverend to floundering Alzheimer’s patient, Reverend G is a true hero of the faith as she clings to God no matter what. I hope you take time to read the whole Reverend G series! You will be blessed.
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She has reached the final stages of Alzheimer’s still, Reverend G finds ways to bring encouragement and humor to the residents of Cove Creek. The cast of characters at the assisted living facility widens around her, even as her world begins to shrink. She becomes a grandmother and her relationship with Chris deepens through need and grace. Meanwhile, the disease is always there, robbing her of memories and now, even her words. But even as Reverend G struggles to communicate with her friends and family, she remains steadfastly honest in prayer. Once worried about forgetting God, the brave little minister discovers that He will never forget her.   

Get your own copy at CrossRiver Media  

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From the heart of RJ Thesman: 
At some point, every novelist must say goodbye.

The writer spends months thinking about a character and conversing in the make believe world of words – fleshing out the character, checking the nuance of her speech, falling in love with her thoughts and cherishing her family members.

But eventually, the writing is complete, the book is published and that character’s story reclines on a library shelf waiting for readers to pull it off and escape into its chapters.

Since 2010, I have lived with Reverend G, this gutsy petite minister from the heartland who devotes her life to serving God, then receives the death sentence of dementia with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Reverend G has wakened me in the early hours to remind me how her mind struggles with the ravages of the disease even as her heart hopes to continue serving God.

She is as real to me as my reflection in the mirror, and I have felt her despair even as I fashioned it on my computer screen. As the creative juices merged into sentences and paragraphs, Reverend G became my psychiatrist’s couch.

Somehow, I found solace in telling the truth of this horrid disease that my mother is currently living with. It was almost as if Mom shadowed Reverend G and embodied her spirit so that all three of us could simultaneously cry, “Oh, God – I can’t stand it.”

Many of the scenes in the Reverend G series were synonymous with my journal entries every time I visited Mom. No paragraphs are exactly the same, because this series is after all, fiction.

But while Mom forgot names and lost her hearing aid – again! – Reverend G forgot the Lord’s Prayer and lost her Chunky Monkey ice cream. While Mom frustrated me in her last shopping trip because she couldn’t decide on a purse, Reverend G frustrated Jessie while shopping for a cream-colored blouse.

Fiction does mimic reality and novels show the truth, even while wrapped in pretend worlds. And the Reverend G books allowed me to insert humor and the companionship of Reverend G’s boyfriend and cat because I could find no laughter in Mom’s situation. Her companion of a lifetime died in 2004.

To say goodbye to this courageous little minister is to realize my mother’s story will also end and with it – a piece of my history. I am so grateful God planted this story in my head, then dared me to consider writing fiction after decades of published nonfiction.

While I have grieved the end of this series, I am grateful for the journey and for the readers who shared it with me. I hope you will purchase “Final Grace for Reverend G” and find closure when you read its last pages. May you also recognize the hope printed within dialogue that points to the divine Word who communicates his love to us all.     
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RJ Thesman has been a writer since she flipped open her Red Chief tablet and scribbled her first story. Thesman is a Certified Life Coach, a Biblical Counselor and a Stephen Minister. She has worked as a communications professional in a variety of nonprofits and has served as campus minister to international students at the University of Kansas. Currently, she is Program Director and Life Coach at GateWay of Hope.

As the author of “The Life at Cove Creek Series,” Thesman has completed the trilogy about the gutsy little minister, Reverend G, who struggles through Alzheimer’s but keeps her faith. Thesman has over 600 publishing credits in various magazines and her work is included in 13 compilations, including 5 Chicken Soup books. 

Thesman enjoys teaching writing workshops and as a writing coach, she helps writers move past obstacles and birth their words.

She is the mother of an adult son and enjoys reading, gardening and cooking – especially anything with blueberries. Thesman lives in the heartland of Kansas with her son and an elderly cat.
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Connect with RJ Thesman

Sign up for her newsletter!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book Spotlight and Review: Justified by Varina Denman

Justified by Varina Denman
Reviewed by Angela D. Meyer
Radiant Lit Blog Tours
Genre : Contemporary Fiction           
Publisher: David C. Cook      
Release Date: June 1, 2015

In a small Texas town ruled by gossip, Fawn Blaylock believes others are justified in condemning her untimely pregnancy. Stifled by guilt, she yearns for grace while the local football coach treats her with gentle respect.

My review:

Justified definitely makes the list of books I think you will enjoy and be encouraged by. 

I enjoyed reading Justified. I like the way Varina writes. From the beginning, it was easy to get into. It kept me up when I should have been in bed!

Justified is a gently told story about some gritty situations. You get to see not only the damaging effects of wrong choices, but also the redeeming effects of forgiveness and grace extended after those choices.

If you are looking for a fiction book that could minister to someone who has experienced rejection due to bad choices, this is one I would recommend. It might also challenge you to extend love and acceptance to someone who might not look like they deserve it!

The Author:
Varina Denman is a native Texan who spent her high school years in a small Texas town. Now she lives near Fort Worth with her husband and her five mostly-grown children.

Justified is available for purchase here from

Note: I received this book as part of the Justified  blog tour from Radiant Lit.  I received no compensation for this review and only received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Review copy provided by the publisher for Radiant Lit Blog Tours. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Finding Your Testimony

photo credit: // Naypong 

God didn’t pull me out of some deep dark pit way of living in order to save me. 

So then, what did He do for me?

It is tempting to go into comparison mode when telling people what God has done for me. Others’ life changes seem so much more inspiring that my own. What they were saved from so much more of a testimony that what I experienced.

I grew up in a Christian home. Even though we had our share of dysfunction (what family doesn’t?), it was, overall, a loving home. I became a Christian at a young age, not having meandered into the worldly side of living.

My church is encouraging us to write out our testimony. Know what it is God has done for us so we are prepared to share with others when we have opportunity. There are some here and now things God has helped me through, but what pit did He actually save me from?

Have you ever felt the same way? Wondering what words you could share that would impact someone’s life. Then felt like your life was so ordinary, there wasn’t much to say?

I decided it would be helpful to look at my it from another angle. What would my life be like if I had never known God?

I tend to be selfish, but God helps me lay down my wants for others. Without Him, I think I would be a very selfish person.

When I am hurt or angry, my tongue can be very biting and harsh. God helps me with self-control. Without Him, I think I would be a mean person.

Feelings of anger rise up in me when I feel mistreated or unheard or misunderstood. God gives me peace in these times. Without Him, I think I would be an angry person, not easy to be around.

Without Him, I don’t think I would forgive easily if at all.

Without Him, I’m pretty certain I would be a very fearful person.

Without Him, I’m not sure I would know the meaning of joy or hope.

Now I see how much God has saved me from! He has kept me from the dark pit way of living! Instead of feeling like I don’t have anything to share, I know for certain His work in my life.

What would your life be like if you had never known God?

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Most Beneficial Thing

"Everything is permissible--but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive.” 
I Corinthians 10:23

Many things in my life are neutral within the “right or wrong” category, but are not necessarily beneficial. 

In the middle of these choices of permissible busyness, I cry out “how do I fit in the most beneficial thing?”

Sometimes there are seasons when choices seem to be made for us as we move constantly to keep up with life circumstances such as illness, death, family difficulties.  

But most often, the truth is…

If I have time to read a book or watch TV, I have time to read my Bible.

If I have time for coffee with a friend, I have time for coffee with Jesus.

If I have time for hobbies, I have time for stillness with God.

If I have time to listen to podcasts, radio shows and the like, I have time to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

In moments of mindless chores and activities (dish washing, cleaning sinks and toilets, folding towels, vacuuming, exercise, showers) I have time to pray.

I have to decide. What do I want to go big on? The permissible? Or the beneficial? There is a trade off because I can’t do it all.

I struggle because my flesh likes to take the easy road. Overindulging in the permissible before I plug into the lifeline of the beneficial-time with God. 

It’s not an abundant life if I have all these (permissible) 
things but don’t have Christ.  Click to Tweet 

Each day I have a choice. And each day you have a choice. Which will you choose? The permissible or the beneficial? What do you struggle with letting go to have time with God? 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Author News.

Thank you to everyone who participated in my survey to discover where I can encourage you. I value each one of you and your input. 

A few themes ran common. A need to trust in God, to find rest in the middle of life's storms and strength to carry on. Whether it was in the middle of moves, health issues, parenting, marriage struggles or pursuing dreams. 

I am planning some blog posts to give you "uplift" in those areas, including a few from some blogger friends who share similar challenges as you. Be on the lookout for those. 

Most recently I restyled my newsletter to better encourage you in your faith journey and these struggles you shared. See the new header above? Sign up in the sidebar or check out a sneak peek here 

Other author news:

October: be on the lookout for a contest! Hint: it has to do with food.

November: Author Extrvaganza here in Omaha. AND my publisher is planning a great surprise for CrossRiver fans. More news on that to come!

Early 2016. Book 2 is due for release. I have lots of goodies planned for my readers. I am so excited!

That's about it. What is new for you? I would love to hear. If you have a prayer request, feel free to contact me using the form in the sidebar.