The Decision That Will Change Everything

We all go through so many different kinds of circumstances in our lives – wedding, childbirth, sickness, job changes, church issues, death of loved ones, and a thousand other varieties of joys and trials.

Well, my family and I are in the process of one of the more trying circumstances of life at the moment – moving house! And as if that isn’t challenging enough with five beautiful children in tow (and all their stuff), the house we are heading to won’t be available for another couple of months yet, so we are in a temporary location – a campground – until then.

I must confess that it’s a New Zealand campground, which is probably the most beautiful kind of campground you can get. Check out our serene view here:

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Not too shabby, is it? However, it’s not home, and as homey as we’re trying to make it for the next 10 weeks, it is a stop over… a transition we would have rather avoided.

Our eldest children, aged 12 and 15, feel isolated, disoriented, and pretty miserable, to be honest. And it’s not as hunky-dory a time as I was hoping it would be.

But here’s the thing; this life of ours – and yours – is so temporal, so short, so trivial, while eternity is so permanent, weighty, and everlasting – and…

God is *always* more interested in our immortal souls than in our momentary earthly comfort. Click To Tweet

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Each and every circumstance that you and I will ever go through during our lifetimes, is carefully designed and custom planned for one reason only – to transform our character further into the likeness of Jesus.

Whatever you’re going through this very day, this very week, is literally the working of God in action in your very soul. Through your current circumstances He is morphing your discontent attitude into one of contentedness, your ungrateful heart into a heart of thanksgiving, He’s changing your anger into peace, your impatience into quiet forebearance, and your distrust into a far deeper faith.

Our part, as believers, in this drama called life is to surrender.

The Decision That Will Change Everything

I recently found myself in a situation where I learned this lesson of surrendering.

I love the well known hymn, I Surrender All, but yet I realized that I hadn’t done just that when I was faced with a potential D&C following a miscarriage. The last thing I wanted was a D&C. I felt it’s an invasive medical procedure, and I was fighting not to go through it.

But, I knew within myself that there was far more than meets the eye in this circumstance than a surgery. My heart was the object on that operating table, and not my womb!

God dealt with me through this trial and convicted me of not surrendering my “all” to Him. I was holding on to my body, and not giving that to Him to do with what He saw fit to do.

I chose to surrender

It was a far longer process in my soul than typing in those four words was, I assure you. But His peace overtook me.

[I’ve made the point I want to make here, which is to surrender to the Lord and allow Him to bring about whatever He wishes into our lives. But I will just say that when I went to the hospital for my appointment to schedule in the D&C, the most amazing thing happened. The doctor opened up the consultation explaining that she had reviewed my case, and that it seems I will not need a D&C after all! I was gobsmacked.]

I’m not saying that if you surrender to the Lord in every trial you go through, He will completely take it away – it would be great if God decided to do that. But in this case, my Father had accomplished the work that He set out to achieve in my heart, and so He graciously withdrew the tool He used to do it.

A Final Word

God is at work in your life, my friend. Every crisis no matter how great or small, is His divine intervention to transform you into His image, in preparation for Heaven!

Embrace His wisdom in bringing what He does into your lap. Surrender your life to Him, to His intricate workings, to His loving shaping. This time and these exact circumstances in which you find yourselves are gifts from His Hand.

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;

I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

Isaiah 48:10

How do you see God’s fingerprints in your life through what you’re going through right now? I’d love to hear… 

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Being There: How To Love Those Who Are Hurting

I hesitate in how to begin telling you about an excellent book I have just read. Not because it is difficult to write about its moving, practical, and hard-to-put-down content, but rather because it is about a subject that we don’t like to talk, think about, or face. Yet so many countless do. It’s the subject of helping the hurting – the suffering – those dealing with physical and emotional pain.

Now before you run the other way, as my tendency would be when hearing about a subject that I’d prefer to avoid, I want you to know, that by the grace of God, I am not currently experiencing suffering, nor am I in the process of caring for someone who is. And that is why I was absolutely amazed at how this book touched me, and how I learned infinitely more than I ever thought I would – about people, about being there, about myself.

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Grieving Your Loss in Another’s Pain

From the very first chapter, you will be pierced. Challenged to look at how you have sacrificed and had to give up on so much for the sake of others. This is primarily guided towards those living with and/or caring for the hurting, but do you know what?! I found myself grieving as I read Dave Furman’s words. Grieving at the sacrifices I hadn’t even realized I was making in living in a marriage with a man who is so different from myself. And my husband would no doubt agree that he has had to make many painful sacrifices to live with a woman his opposite, and a great sinner to boot! So while this first chapter would be invaluable to those caring for the hurting, it will affect any reader deeply. Just this chapter alone was worth the price of the book!

Being There: How To Love Those Who Are Hurting

This book is beautifully and clearly written from beginning to end. It has the feel of the author speaking to you personally and directly, yet after each stint of reading, as I did, I believe you will feel as though you just put down a stunning devotional teaching. So gently does it weave the Lord’s truths into the way we are to treat one another, serve one another, befriend one another, pray for one another, and share with one another, that it fills the heart with hope and understanding of God’s very ways. And if knowing how to “be there” isn’t enough, Furman also has an excellent chapter on what not to do! Wow! Good stuff…

Being There: How to Love Those Who are Hurting GIVEAWAY!!! Click To Tweet

Support, Encouragement, and Wisdom

Writing out of his own experience of needing care on a daily basis, Dave Furman offers support, encouragement, and wisdom for those called to care for others in need. Whether they are suffering from sickness, disability, depression, or grief, he equips us to effectively care for the hurting and points us to the strength that God provides.

Being There: Dave and Gloria Furman from Crossway on Vimeo.

Yes, this is a book for many out there who know the pain of suffering themselves… and who have and continue to care for those who hurt, but my heart is to tell you that no matter where the Lord has you in your life at this very moment in time, Being There: How to Love Those Who are Hurting is a book that will be a treasure in your hands and on your shelf! One that I believe every believer should read, since each of us lives in a world where we will one day, in some way, be affected, and/or have the opportunity to care for those who are suffering.

I will be referring to this book often in the months and years to come. Because “Being There” for one another is at the core of our faith, at the root of Jesus’ teaching, and is the lifeblood of each and every relationship that He brings into our lives.

You Could Win One of 3 Copies of Being There!

Incidentally, Dave Furman is the husband of author Gloria Furman whom you may remember from a recent giveaway on the blog – Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God

I am absolutely delighted and honoured that the publisher of Being There: How to Love Those Who are HurtingCrossway, have most generously offered to give away 3 copies of Dave’s book to three precious Women Abiding readers!

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Can only be shipped to U.S. and Canadian addresses


 Can’t wait to get your hands on Being There?

Purchase as a gift for yourself and a friend 🙂

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A Meaningful Activity To Do With Your Teen Daughter

There are few gifts as sweet as little girls. In her frilly frock with her first locks tied up in a pretty bow, boasting a toothless smile, a baby girl can cause even the hardest of hearts to melt…

And just like all the wonders that God created, our little girls grow, and mature, and develop. Unfortunately in our fallen world, there are issues that seem to grow with them and make a much more prominent appearance during their teen years; temptations, obsession with their outer appearance, the need to feel loved and accepted, and the need to sleep, to name but a few.

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In the midst of this concoction of emotion and struggle, as parents, we need to be strong faithful anchors, a voice of encouragement in despair, a source of unconditional love, and givers of much wisdom and guidance. It is during this time of their lives where all of our investment into our daughters pays off, and where we may see sweet fruit of years of hard labour.

Last night, my husband and I took our daughter, Aviel, out on a surprise outing. It was such a blessing to each of us, that I wanted to share the idea with you as a meaningful activity to do with your teen daughter. We had on our hearts to spoil her as a small token of our appreciation to her for all the many ways in which our soon-to-be 15 year old serves our family. But we also used the opportunity to focus on a quality that we pray she would thrive in: Purity.

The Meaningful Choice of A Purity Ring

During the first part of our evening we went shopping for a Purity Ring. This is any ring that our daughter, Aviel, could wear as a reminder to live a pure life before a holy God. What we didn’t anticipate was how significant it was that she got to choose her own ring. Firstly, it wasn’t the one I would have chosen for her, and she will be much more keen to wear a ring that she chose for herself. Secondly, after we bought it, she shared with me why she wanted this ring, in particular.

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She said it reminds her that Jesus is the centre of and the beauty in her heart, and that just as the zirconia shines, He is what she wants people to see shining out of her. Wow! So precious….

The Meaningful Significance of Purity

We kept her ring in the box it came in, and moved to the second part of our plan. We went out for a dessert at a restaurant that we knew our daughter would love.

As we walked in and after she ooo’d and aaa’d, she spotted a piano in the corner of the restaurant and asked our waitress for permission to play it. Her playing filled the place with so much peace. It was beautiful. This was a blessing we could not have foreseen.

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We ordered our treats, and then read some notes we had made (mostly compiled from the internet) on purity. I, for one, learned so much, and Aviel was listening intently.

I am offering a free PDF of our notes which you may choose to use, in order to save you the hassle of doing the work yourself, but as a short summary we shared that:

  • Purity is a heart choice that affects all of life, not just abstinence. Purity needs to stem from a heart that desires to honor and obey God in every area of life.
  • Purity is not a one-time choice, it is also a daily decision.
  • Purity is ultimately her decision. We, as parents have given our daughter a piece of jewelry; but she has to choose to be pure.
  • Purity has to start in the small areas. The girl who wears the ring should work hard at keeping her mind and heart pure.
  • The way she will treat her purity is a direct display of her personal relationship with God and her respect of Him.

We also shared some relevant verses with Aviel which we encouraged her to memorize and hide in her heart for when she faces temptation of any kind (also in the PDF provided).

 

The Meaningful Gesture of Making it Official

We thought that our daughter could handle making her commitment a little more formal and intentional, so we had printed this Vow of Purity certificate on to some thicker paper, and presented it to her:

meaningful-activity-teen-daughter-womenabiding

As we handed her the purity ring, she read the certificate carefully, signed it, and handed it to each of us to sign as witnesses. I can’t begin to tell you how powerful this was. It was almost as though it sealed her desire to be pure, and set it in motion.

Of course, time will tell. Neither the certificate, nor the ring guarantees that she will remain pure in body, mind, and heart. But it is definitely a step in the right direction, and a document that she can look back on, to remind her of the commitment she made, and to keep heading on the narrow path.

The Meaningful Blessing of Special Treats

The last part of the evening was a special treat that we had planned as the cherry on top of our time with Aviel. She has always longed to go to a ballet and since there was a single showing by the Royal New Zealand Ballet of Giselle, we bought some tickets and surprised her. She was beaming! I’m talking radiant light shining out of her big, brown eyes! It was all she had ever imagined it would be…

You know, my friend, sometimes we can be so focused on training our girls, on disciplining our girls, and correcting our girls, that far too long of a period can pass without us treating our girls! Making memories with each one truly is a meaningful blessing, and will only bear good fruit in our relationships.

The Meaningful Response

On our way home, our daughter could not stop thanking us, acknowledging the sacrifice we made financially and time-wise in planning the evening and spoiling her. She also told us that she can’t imagine there being better parents than us on the whole earth, and that she feels so blessed and privileged to have us as her mother and father.

I don’t say this to boast in our parenting (because she obviously temporarily forgot the myriad of mistakes we make with her!), but I wanted to share this to emphasize that the fruit of this meaningful activity that expressed our love, seriousness about her faith and purity, and our desire to bless her, resulted in a reciprocal heart of grace and kindness.

A Warning

Please don’t misread these words and think that our evening was perfect, and that yours wouldn’t match up! Part way through the evening we received a text inviting Aviel to a teen camp that both my husband and I were against her attending. And as we discussed it, there were tears and I feared our evening would be ruined. But as God always does, He takes our feeble efforts and redeems them, turning them into eternal gold!

So, no matter where you are in your relationship with your teen girl, I encourage you to plan a special evening to share about purity, or something meaningful that can assist your daughter to grow in her faith, sprinkle it with some treats and affection, and ask God to graciously accomplish His holy purposes through it.

I’d love to hear how it went!!

What would your daughter enjoy doing that you can use as a springboard to spending a meaningful evening with her? What Godly quality would you emphasize that would set her up for living for the Lord to a greater degree?

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