Teaching and Living Out the Fruit of the Spirit at Home

Teaching and Living Out the Fruit of the Spirit at Home

Elizabeth P

Elizabeth P

I am a recovering Army brat who loves to travel and start new adventures. My handsome husband and I met at Oklahoma Christian University and he whisked me away to Kansas. So, I bought some ruby red high heels and made Topeka my home. I have a rough and rowdy Princess 4-year-old girl, amazing twin boys (almost 3) and a newborn baby girl who all make every day an adventure. We are grateful to be part of an amazing church in Topeka who regularly challenges and encourages our whole family. I have been both a full-time working mom and a stay-at-home-mom and/or both at the same time at one point or another. I am constantly seeking God’s wisdom on “balancing it all” and following His plan for my life, not mine.
Elizabeth P

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Guest post by Kelly Finstrom & craft by Elizabeth Patton

Galatians 5:16-17,22 says, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with one another, so that you are not to do whatever you want…. But the fruit of the spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, and SELF-CONTROL.”

Teaching and Living Out the Fruit of the Spirit at Home

We all as moms experience these traits off and on, generally when our children are behaving at their best. But what happens when they are NOT behaving like we have trained them to do? What happens when WE as moms stop behaving as the Lord has so clearly trained us to? Our flesh all too often stands in the way of the Spirit’s work.

Romans 8:5,6 ” Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is LIFE.”

Walking by the Spirit

When controlled by the Holy Spirit we die to ourselves but are given life!

Bearing fruit is completely unattainable by our own strength or our children’s. It is only through the Spirit’s work inside of us that we will be able to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit to our families. It starts with us.

Think about what fruits of the Spirit are or have been taught well in your home. Which fruits are you or your children most struggling with?

The Bible is clear. Walk by the Spirit. Hold fast to God’s Word.

How can we practically do this? Focus on one fruit at a time.

Is kindness a struggle for you or your child? Find specific verses relating to kindness and pray for that fruit to grow over the course of a year or for however long it takes to take root.

You may ask, “What if my child doesn’t have a personal relationship with Christ yet?” Is it possible for these fruits to be developed in their lives? What a relief that God’s control far outweighs our own. He will ultimately work in your child’s heart, but we as parents can train responses to life. Even unbelievers can benefit from the principles in Scripture.

Fruit of the Spirit Craft

You might also try this fun craft to help your kids learn these or incorporate one for a real fruit at breakfast or snack.

Love could be a red apple,

Joy could be a “smiling” banana,

Peace a pineapple,

Gentleness grapes and so on- whatever your kids will eat!

Here is a craft that your family might do to keep these in the forefront of your minds:

Make a construction paper tree- mine is about 18 inches tall but it can be as big or small as you want. You can even just draw a tree on a dry erase board OR your chalkboard OR hang them on a string. Then fold a piece of colored paper in half and make a fruit shaped “card”. This can be lots of different fruit or just one type for the whole tree. We used apples! On the outside I wrote a Fruit of the Spirit and on the inside I found a Bible verse that talked more about that Fruit. I tried to pick shorter verses for my young kids.

For example:

The kids got into it by helping trace the apples and cutting them out. We also ended up with a banana and a watermelon.

We spend time regularly working on pointing out and memorizing these verses as a family which are in a really visible place in our home so they can easily be part of the conversations we have on a daily basis.

Waiting on the Lord

Waiting on the Lord

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

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Vivid memories still linger from my childhood of those aching days before something exciting was going to take place. Perhaps it was spring break or a birthday. In my teen years it was summer camps.

Countless times I’d count down the days. Those periods of waiting might have felt unbearable at the time, but they were also exciting because I knew it would come to an end. The activity was marked on the calendar and I knew how long I’d have to wait.

Waiting on the Lord without a Set Date

Oh, but there are many times when what we desire isn’t marked on a schedule or calendar. Recently our 4 year old cashed in $5 worth of allowance quarters for a small Minnie Mouse doll- an item she’d spent months longing for.

Every time we went to the store she’d ask us if she had enough. We counted her money over and over, but without a clear concept of the value of money, she didn’t really understand. To her it felt endless. We were all weary from her waiting and it was a time of rejoicing when the wait came to an end.

Why Is It Taking So Long?

We can so relate to our children in their times of waiting, can’t we? Waiting is a life long experience in one way or another. Sadly, even as adults we don’t always handle it well.

I’ve had a particular request that I’ve been lifting to the Lord for years. At times I’ve been in such distress over it that I’ve found myself in doubt and anger.

“Where are you God? Why is this taking so long?”

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

The Opportunity in Waiting on the Lord

In the last year I’ve been challenged to consider my desires a little more closely. Could it be that God has withheld this good thing from me because he wanted me to draw closer to Him?

While I can’t know for certain the reasons for my situation, I can (and should) analyze the status of my heart. In the past, I’ve held this request as something that is of the upmost importance for my happiness and worthiness on this earth.

Through this time of waiting, I’ve grown closer to the Lord and found more of the happiness and worth that comes through Jesus. He’s given me comforts and answers in other areas. He has blessed me with the assurance of his presence in my daily life. In this time of waiting I have been able to more fully know the joy that comes from God alone.

God’s Faithfulness While We are Waiting

“Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! I say, ‘The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the person who seeks him. It is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.” –Lamentations 3:22-26 (CSB)

I’ve always loved this passage from Lamentations 3. It was written in the context of waiting for an earthly deliverance, but it is a reminder for all of us that God is merciful to us and that He is enough. Our joy today is that He offers us salvation through Jesus. We have an eternal deliverance from our sin, and the gift of His Spirit.

My Heart While I’m Waiting on the Lord

I will continue to offer up my request to the Lord. He knows my heart and He tells me I can bring my burdens to Him. I will not complain to Him though, as if he hasn’t already filled me with the greatest joy I could ever know. My happiness and worth do not depend on my unmet desires, my happiness and worth is set in Christ alone. “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore I will hope in him.” (Lam. 3:24 KJV)

Encouragement for Your Heart

Are you waiting on the Lord in an area of your life?

Sweet one, I know that it is not easy. Waiting never is. I encourage you to draw yourself closer to the Lord when you are tempted to back away and doubt. Open your Bible and read it’s accounts. Start a prayer journal. Fill your soul with songs of praise. Feel His gentle whispers on the other pages of your heart.

What we long for we may never receive. May our true joy come not from our earthly circumstances but from our eternal destination. Praise Him, we are rescued!



Who Am I?

Who Am I?

Jayne M

Jayne M

Jayne Michener has been married for over twenty years to a "son of thunder" and is mother to two adolescent daughters, one delightfully immersed in nature and another humorous, artistic girl who is devoted to cats.The better days are spent developing Christian culture and character with the educational principles of Charlotte Mason in mind.The worse days are spent with lightly held sanity, tightly gripped coffee, and semi-vocalized prayer.She is on a journey depending on the Holy Spirit to guide her into all truth, whether unseen spiritual realms or earthly ventures, such as education, healing arts, nutrition, neuroscience, and art.Oh, and her children would be horrified if she did not mention that they live with two cats, Blacksmith and Beauty.
Jayne M

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I can’t control my mouth.  I’m a cynic.  I’m an addict.  I’m a victim.  I’m fearful.  I can’t change. 

These statements may echo our experiences, but if we allow our experiences and brokenness to define us, then we shut out the possibility that we can be restored to the glorious image of our Creator.

The First Step of Answering “Who Am I?”

“Who am I?” is the question that haunts us.  This question will tease our minds until we first answer the question that Jesus asked Peter:  “Who do you say that I am?”  Only when we answer with Peter, “You are the Messiah,” meaning our savior and deliverer, will we be able to hear the Lord’s answer to our question, “Who am I?”

Our identity is like clay, molded by experiences, relationships, and our responses to them.  This clay is vulnerable, especially in the impressionable young.  Sometimes, unguarded clay can be malformed or disfigured when touched by the gnarled hands of traumatic experiences, abusive relationships, and inappropriate responses to them both.

Laura Perry’s Transgender Lifestyle

For example, First Stone Ministries recently published the compelling testimony of Laura Perry, who lived a transgender lifestyle for eight years.  Laura grew up in the shadow of her hyper-stressed, “super-Christian” mother.  Her mom communicated the message that Laura was a nuisance, while she doted on Laura’s more quiet, compliant brother.  The intense jealously this bred, combined with being molested at age eight, and female problems in her teens, was enough that Laura threw her female identity into a deep cistern.

Laura began fantasizing about being a boy due to her intense hatred of her own gender.  She began to seek out sexual experiences, became addicted to pornography, and pursued sexual encounters with strangers.  A local transgender group then encouraged her to pursue her new identity, so she received heavy doses of hormonal therapy, a double mastectomy, and surgical remove of all female organs to fully become “Jake.”  Laura’s name and body were changed, but her deep depression and dissatisfaction stayed the same.  She recalled, “The outward cosmetic change had done nothing to ease my identity crisis.”

Transformations & Finding Their Identity

As Laura was transforming, her mother was undergoing a transformation of her own.  Laura’s mom surrendered her self-righteousness for an enticing faith in Jesus.  The two of them began to talk daily about a Bible study her mom was leading.  Then Laura heard a radio broadcast discussing the rising transgender issue.  She wished the host would return to more mundane topics, but instead the words spun her identity around like clay on the potter’s wheel.  She was reeling.

Two questions came to her in a vision from Jesus:  

“If you stood before me tonight, what name would I call?” and “Do you trust me?”

Taking Part in the Death & Resurrection

Laura affirmed her trust in Jesus by letting Jake die, a death that she mourned with deep, anguished sorrow.  In the dark night of her soul, she wept with painful grief for three days.  One can imagine Jesus with her in the tomb, waiting to guide the resurrection that was soon to come.

Leaving Jake’s clothes in the grave, Laura attended a women’s Bible study and encountered a love beyond anything she had experienced through a sexual partner.  Life and freedom were her resurrection inheritance, and in the light of love, her true identity was revealed.

Finding Our True Identity

Instead of gender reassignment surgery, do we let the Word perform identity reassignment surgery?  Do we have courage, like Laura, that allows the Lord to transform every aspect of who we think we are at the deepest level?

All too often, we identity with our sin and brokenness more than we identify with the image of God.  We must look to YHWH, the great “I AM,” to confidently answer the question, “Who am I?”

Our true assignment is to reflect the image of God in Christ.  Love calls us to identity with Him.

Cluttered Home: Cluttered Mind: Cluttered Soul

Cluttered Home: Cluttered Mind: Cluttered Soul

Picture this… a mom, who is trying her best to keep her kids fed and thriving and learning and not fighting and the house clean and the dishes clean and the toys put away and the kids entertained and the clothes put away and the dog fed and the bathrooms wiped down and the kitchen sanitized and the carpet looking as best it can and her husband de-stressed at home and the car vacuumed and the flowers alive

Tired yet?

Yeah, me too.  Sometimes in my day I can’t seem to keep my head above water, or above the clutter.  Some days I have to literally walk around with my head looking up so as not to be burdened by all the stuff collecting in my home.  Please say you can relate!

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my closet, before

I truly believe whether you are a stay a home mom, a working mom, a single mom, or not a mom at all, we all have the struggle with STUFF.  And I believe that the society that we live in has made us obsessed with having more.  Doing more. Being more.  So when my days get heavy with the hard stuff and my house can’t even be a calming, peaceful retreat, I cannot seem to get a grasp on any one thing. 

I am so excited to share this book with you! The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing a.k.a The KonMari Method.

It was recommended by a friend, so I read it as quickly as I could.  Along the way, I shared some ideas with my husband.  He was so quickly on board that he wanted to get started even before I finished reading the book! Ha!

So what did we do?  Called up my parents and asked if they could watch our kids so that we could…CLEAN!  I know.  We are some wild and crazy kids! 

I was drowning so deep in my things that

Once we began, the KonMari rules started to make sense.  For example, the book recommends starting with categories of items instead of rooms. The author suggests touching each piece to truly part with it. We asked ourselves if different items sparked joy in our life, among other rules outlined in the book.  Initially, we mocked the rules, but as we worked through the process, we began to praise them. 

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my closet, mostly done!

 

To be honest, it has been a spiritual experience for me.  The Lord asks the rich ruler to give all of his posessions away — could I do that?  The Lord calls me to be a good steward of what I have been given, and honestly, if I can’t even be joyful in my home, am I being a good steward in it?  Can I serve my kids, husband, friends, and family well?  My problem was that I was drowning so deep in my things that I couldn’t be a good mom or wife or daughter of the King.  I wasn’t a good version of myself. 

I am learning through my imperfections that the Lord wants me as I am.  But I have to make room in my life to hear Him.   I must make room in my life and in my home to learn and worship Him in all areas. This means willingly giving up things that are currently taking up space to make room for more of God.  

Over the next several weeks, maybe even months — because truly this is a process — Creating a Great Day will:

  • Weekly have a “KonMari Spiritual Adventures” thread on Facebook as a way to encourage each other on this journey.  Post what you feel comfortable with.  This is not about embarrassing anyone but truly freeing ourselves from physical stuff so that spiritually we can be ready for any adventure God takes us on.  
  • Every few weeks encourage you to tackle a new area of your house with a Blog post.  Of course, we will be following the KonMari method so we will go in her order but detail it out for you, just in case you don’t know it, sharing our funny stories and our spiritual lessons.
Will you join us on the KonMari Adventure with a Spiritual Twist of freeing ourselves up physically and spiritually to do God’s will?  

Don’t have a copy of the book?  No problem!  Enter to win a copy.

“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” Book Giveway

This is not a sponsored post.  Creating a Great Day is providing the book for this giveaway because we have found this to be helpful to us.

Although the book itself isn’t spiritual in nature, it does provide a lot of springboard applications that can be used to tidy up our hearts as well as our homes.

Attacking the Closet! {KonMari Spiritual Adventures}

KonMari home, mind, and soul

The Medicine Cabinet of the Heart 

The Medicine Cabinet of the Heart 

Susan
Follow Susan

Susan

Susan York Meyers is the author of several children’s books, including the picture book, Grrr…Night! for which she won the Creative Women of Oklahoma Award. If you enjoy Susan’s humor, check out Two Little Old Ladies: It’s all in the Attitude, a humorous inspirational book combining both fiction and devotionals. Susan lives with her hubby and Kira, the dog that thinks she’s people. You can find out more about Susan and her books at susanameyers.com. Sign up for her newsletter which comes out four times a year.
Susan
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A Moment of Panic 

“May I use your other bathroom?” 

A simple question, but one that threw me into a panic. My carefully cleaned hall bath was in use. That left my definitely not-ready-for-guests master bathroom. In one moment, I had to decide whether to graciously say yes, (oh please, help me to have remembered to close the closet door on our dirty laundry) or plead a lack of toilet paper. I’m not sure which scenario would have left me looking worse, but as I mentioned, I was panicking. 

In the end, I let my guest use the bathroom and hoped she ignored the used towels and toothpaste splattered mirror. And please, let her be gracious enough to stay out of my medicine cabinet.  

The Medicine Cabinet of the Heart

Bathrooms are truly the great equalizers of life. Want to know a little secret? Everyone hides scary things in their medicine cabinet. The lady who always looks like the wind wouldn’t dare blow her hair stocks Gas Away medicine by the case.  The lady who makes you feel like nothing ever goes wrong in her life hides hemorrhoid cream behind her moisturizer. And the woman whose kids call every day, twice on Sundays – well, that little mustache razor doesn’t belong to her hubby. 

We often don’t see the ugly in other people’s lives. And unfortunately, that can lead to a type of reverse judging. I see your clean house, supposedly perfect family, and totally put together life and decide my prayers aren’t needed.  Why pray for someone who has no real problems?

But if I could look into the medicine cabinet of your heart, I might see a different story.  

I’d see a Sunday school teacher who struggles with a substance abuse problem. 

A mother whose heart breaks as she prays about the wrong choices her child is making. 

Or the woman who, every morning, prays every prayer she has to fight her pain just to get out of bed.  

And beneath it all, beneath the embarrassing secrets and heartbreaking pain, is a terror of being judged, especially by her fellow Christians. 

I need to start focusing on the heart.

Not because it makes me feel better to know Ms. Perfect also has problems, but because Proverbs 12:25 tells us,

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. 

We all have anxiety and pain. I need to look past your carefully crafted-exterior. I need to see the fellow Christian sister who hurts. I need to throw away the judgement and simply approach with love.  I need to be the kind word.  

As for that actual medicine cabinet in the bathroom – if you keep your mouth shut about mine, I promise to keep mine shut about yours! 

Prayer Over our Hearts

Dear Lord, I don’t need to know all You know. But I pray that You help me to see the needs of others. And, Lord, help me be willing to help, love, and comfort, but never judge. In Your Son’s name, Amen  

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

AGe is Just a Number Groovy back to Middle Age Common Sense

Extending my One Word Challenge

Extending my One Word Challenge

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

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The One Word Challenge

Have you taken the “One Word Challenge” before?

This is where you select one word to focus on in the new year. You might approach it as a word to study, reflect on, put into action, or all of the above! I’ve been participating in this challenge for several years now, choosing words to help me grow spiritually, and I’ve grown so much each time.

Sinking Deeper into Goodness

As 2018 is nearing it’s end, I’ve been thinking and praying over my word for next year. I find myself in a different posture this time. I’ve been truly inspired by my chosen word, goodness, and I’m not quite ready to move on. I feel as though I’ve only just started to embrace it’s meaning in my life. I have learned to see God’s goodness around me, but I want to let it sink deeper.

I’ve begun to look at the way I spend my time and see what is good- what I need more of and what I need less of- but I want to choose the good more often. Some of the good I’ve chosen in my life is hard- so hard- and I want to let this goodness fill my heart with pure gratitude and gladness. I feel like I have so much more to learn! I want mastery, or I at least want to see the change more in my day to day life.

The nice thing about this challenge is that there really aren’t any rules so I can apply this idea to my life the best I see fit. This year, I see fit to grow with this word a little longer.

So I won’t be choosing a new word for 2019, rather I’ll be extending my challenge another year. I will be embracing the word “goodness” and applying it to my life in new ways.

How about you? Do you choose one word for your year? What word will you be claiming for 2019?

Read my previously written post on the “One Word Challenge” here:

Will You Take the One Word Challenge? 

 

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