Tag Archives: family

Use Your Beach Trip to Talk About God

Use Your Beach Trip to Talk about God

In June, I am picking a relevant scripture each week to focus on. My conversations with my kids will be about the verses, and bonus! – I’ve picked a craft to help us (and you!) talk through spiritual things.

Don’t forget – you’re the primary influencer in your kids’ lives, so be intentional about sharing God’s truths with them! I’d love to hear if you have success with these. Share in the comments!

Week 1 – Talk about God at the Beach

This week, my family is on staycation!! We’re heading down to the coast for an (insane) there-and-back-in-the-same-day trek. So our craft for this week has to be on the beach!

Since I’d like to avoid bringing a bunch of supplies, and we’re going to be in the sun all day, we’re going to do some shadow activities! Here are the ones I’d like to try:

Taking a family “shadow picture”, like this: Idea here.

I also think making a sundial would be really easy and neat for the kids.

But we might just make a sand volcano (not a shadow activity) b/c that sounds really fun!

Verse focus for shadow activities:

“…you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 63:7

This entire psalm is so powerful to pray for reliance on the Lord. God is our protector and our refuge!

And… let’s not make this too complicated. We’re at – THE OCEAN. Besides talking about God’s creative nature in designing the ocean, this passage from Job contemplates the infinitude of God.

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
    Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do?
    They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know?
Their measure is longer than the earth
    and wider than the sea. (Job 11:7-9, NIV)

 

Sharing the Heart of Haiti with My Mom

This Mother’s Day, I’m working with Clever Girls in support of Macy’s Heart of Haiti to shine a light on the “trade, not aid” program, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans struggling to rebuild their lives and support their families after the 2010 earthquake.

Ready for the most gigantic understatement of the year? Raising children is difficult. Yeah.

In fact, I learned recently that it’s part of the fall. When God says that we will have pain in childbearing, the word “childbearing” follows a literary device where the beginning of something represents the entirety. In other words, think of “pain in childbearing” as “pain in childrearing” – makes a lot more sense, huh?

Anyway.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that we (the cultural/societal ‘we’) have made this problem worse. OK, obviously, we all contribute to problems in our family. But have you thought about this one?

We have made family life more difficult by moving away from our families.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to move away from your family. In fact, we truly need our own family identity – maybe some of us should move away from our families! Haha! I’m just saying that it makes things more difficult.

It took me a little while after having Samuel to realize it, but I desperately wanted my mom around. It didn’t matter that she couldn’t remember every detail about breastfeeding or that she loved co-sleeping and rocked us to sleep when those weren’t my things.

I wanted her support. I wanted her encouragement. I just wanted someone to be there, someone I could by my absolute self around!

And even though we don’t live in the same city and my mom hates driving as much as I do, she was there as much as possible. She came in on weekends when she was working; she took vacation time; and since she’s quit her job, she’s been here every time I’ve asked her to come and help.

That’s what moms do.

And that’s why I’m sharing a Heart of Haiti necklace, courtesy of Macy’s, with my beautiful mom.

Thank you to Macy’s Heart of Haiti for sponsoring my participation in this “Share Your Heart” promotion. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

What is Macy’s Heart of Haiti? Heart of Haiti is a “Trade, Not Aid” initiative launched by artist and social entrepreneur, Willa Shalit, The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and Macy’s. Already, Heart of Haiti has led to employment of 750 artists in Haiti, providing financial benefits for an estimated 8,500 people in the country.

Each item is a one-of-a-kind design and handmade by a Haitian master artisan from raw materials such as recycled oil drums, wrought iron, papier-mâché and stone. The collection features more than 40 home decor items including quilts, metalwork, ceramics, jewelry and paintings and is made almost entirely from recycled and sustainable items such as old cement bags, cardboard, oil drums and local gommier wood.

Heart of Haiti products are available online at Macy’s.com.

The Importance of Goal Setting (Plus, a FREE printable!)

Some of you, like me, are die-hard goal setters and always have been. When you were 13, someone could have easily found you with a glittery pen and black construction paper, writing our your 5-year plan.

Some of you are just not goal setters. Goals are scary; too constrictive; too concrete.

But they work.

Usually, the goals you set do not end up being accomplished exactly as you thought or wrote out. But that doesn’t mean your goal-setting session was pointless! On the contrary! Goal setting:

  • makes you sit down and think about where you are in life, and where you think you should be – in a general sense.
  • forces you to take responsibility for the actions you’ve taken in the past.
  • presents an opportunity to predecide how you might want future plans to work out.
  • gets you on your knees.

You see, goal setting makes you realize how powerless you are to see some major things (future marriage, jobs, children) work out, and so you cry out to your Father instead of trying to make it all happen. You rely on Him to orient the desires of your heart.

A big, fat bonus to goal setting is that if you have a spouse or children, goal setting turns into a family event. This means you actually talk about things and get your dreams out in the open!

Honestly, sometimes goal setting with my husband is a time for tears. A time to see what burdens lay ahead of us. And sometimes, it’s a time of joy. A time to see what burdens God has blessed us with.

OK, so let’s say with such a short tirade, I’ve convinced you of the need to set goals. (Uh-huh!)

What kinds of goals should you set?

  • Try to consider goals in categories. We always include goals for finances, spiritual growth, and family needs. Those aren’t the only areas we cover, but those are always on there.
  • Keep your goals simple. Don’t write a paragraph of the details. Your goal should fit on 1-2 lines when written out.
  • Think short-term and long-term and even super long-term. Say 6 months, 1 year, and 2-5 years.
  • Limit the number of goals. Your entire goal list should be 1/2 – 1 pages. The first time you do this, it will be longer.
  • Let goals roll over. If you didn’t accomplish everything from your last goal list, consider which ones you want to axe, and which ones should make the new list.
  • Set goals every 6 months. You (and your family, if applicable) should sit down together about twice a year to do this. This is a great date night activity!
  • Praise the Lord for how your family has grown closer to Him, and pray for guidance on wisdom for the future.

So you say now you’re really digging this goal setting thing?

Great news: I created a simple, but powerful, goal template for you. This is the exact format that our family uses when we write out our goals. Nope – it’s not flashy. But it works!

How can you get this FREE goal sheet? All you have to do is be a subscriber of The Candid Pastor’s Wife. And you can subscribe by entering your email in this box:

Once you’re a subscriber, just look at the bottom of the post you get (in your email or reader). There will be a link to a Family Goals printable. Click on it to save or open the PDF file.

How often does your family set goals? Do you have any other great tips to offer us?

A Prayer for My Father

My father is currently facing some consequences to his actions that feel impossible to bear.

He’s hurting. He’s worried. Dare I say he’s … scared? My father who seems to flinch at nothing – he can’t ignore what’s in front of him right now.

I was in Houston visiting family for a couple of birthday celebrations, and on our way out of town, Sammy and I stopped by my dad’s house for a visit. We haven’t seen him in quite some time, and I’m really glad we made the visit today.

As I sat listening to my dad pour out his story, I truly hurt for him and what he was going through. I didn’t see the actions that led to where he is. I just saw him and his brokenness. I felt a glimpse of how God sees us at any given moment.

I had the privilege of praying for my father, and as I prayed, I knew that, without Jesus mediating our eternity to the Father, he and I are in the same state. I felt completely equal with him. Not better, as the world would probably view us and conclude. Not one little bit. We are the same.

On my drive home, I prayed for him a few times, and I felt his fear and his pain in my own way. I want to lay out a prayer right here for him. Maybe you’ll pray it with me? Perhaps your father needs it too? Most of all, I bet you need it yourself. Just as I do.

Dear Lord,

My father is your creation, and your amazing word says he is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). He is a masterpiece of yours.

But he is broken. His paint is crackled with age and abuse. He himself has marred the very quality of the craftsmanship, as though ripping apart the canvas and crudely sewing it together. Over and over again. (Romans 3:23)

Oh Lord, I praise you that you don’t leave us in our wretched state. But you sent Jesus, God-as-a-man, who in his perfection died and pulled all of our penalties on his broken and bloody body. (Romans 5:8)

I pray that my father would receive your gift of eternity instead of the spiritual death he has earned himself (Romans 6:23).

My father needs a miracle in the very near future, Lord. He needs a small dose of mercy to continue.

And I know full well he might not get it. I thank you that you are gracious and provide for us in ways we never see, and I know you are in control and will use this, miracle or not, for your glory (Romans 8:28).

Regardless of the past and future events in my father’s life, I pray above all things that he would love Jesus above everything in his life. I pray that above all – above it all Lord – that he would just want to bring you glory. That your glory would motivate his heart. 

Beyond that, I pray that people who are in his life who are followers of Jesus would rise up in his life and help him in his time of need. That your saints would love him with the hands of Jesus.

In the power of the blessed name of Jesus, I pray this. Amen.