Friday, December 15, 2017

Joy To The World!


Joy To The World! 

 C- Charity
    H- Humility
     R- Reconcile
   I- Inclusive
        S- Sentimental
T- Trust   
      M- Memories
      A- Accepting
 S- Sincere

Let us pray:

Father, 
We praise your Holy Name! Your name is holy, high and lifted up. We trust you and your plan. We surrender to your will and plan.
Lord, help us your daughters, believe that Jesus came to save each and every person. 
Please remind us that we should forgive much because we have been forgiven of much. 
Jesus is the one true reason for this special season. 
Lord, help us put on love as Jesus did with no expectations, no judgements or labels, but just pure unconditional love.
Help us Father, to give with no strings attached, no expectations, with no past hurts, no bitterness or anger.
Lord, please bring warmth and joy into our hearts, homes and celebrations. Help bring healing to each family relationship that is strained, broken, or in need of repair.  
Father, Bring the teenagers out of their rooms and help each family have precious time for togetherness, fun and play games, sing songs, bake cookies, and truly enjoy one another this season.
Most of all, 
help us to make time to worship you together and remember your Perfect Gift, Jesus Christ our savior!
In Jesus name we pray, Amen

"Here is the Lamb of God!" John 1:29

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:25-26

"Let Love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart." Proverbs 3:3

women encouraging women






Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What I Want My Children to Know: Stress

How to deal with Stress

My daughter had a total stress breakdown the other day. I had been warned, by her principal, that this was coming (as all new middle school students would have a "freak out" moment he said).

"I can't do it!" she cried out through tears streaming down her face.  As any mother would probably do, I pulled her close and gave her a big hug.  I asked her to tell me what was going on and she opened the floodgates and poured her heart out to me. It all came down to some homework assignments and her first band concert. She was feeling overwhelmed, a feeling we can all relate to but don't always deal with properly.

Lesson Learned: Our children are under tremendous stress but do they have the tools to deal with it?  

She and I talked it out and here is what we learned together:

Step One: Admit you are stressed! Help your child to see what is stressing them.  Let them talk it out, cry and give them a listening ear first (advice comes later) and lots of hugs/attention.

Pray ... let them know that they are able to deal with this because they have Jesus Christ in their lives and the Holy Spirit living inside them. Invite God to be in this moment.  Pray Philippians 4:13 with them,  
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Make a list ... help your child to prioritize what they need to do and help in whatever way you can (try to refrain from doing the work yourself). 

Give them Grace ... let your child know that they are not expected to be perfect! Yes, we all want our children to do well at whatever they attempt but this is a huge part of the stress upon them. Allow them to do their best, accept that and celebrate their results with them.  Your opinion matters to them.

Keep God first ... remember to make all decisions based on God's love and His willingness to bare our burdens. He is amazing! Share that blessing with your child.

"Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you." 
1 Peter 5:7







 


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Advent Week Three JOY

Advent Celebration Week Three - JOY
By Carri Pratt

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, 
which shall be to all people.”
Luke 2:10

This week is a great and JOYFUL celebration of advent! The theme for this week is "Joy" because Jesus has come into our world to free us from the bondage of sin and darkness. We have much to be joyful for in our lives!

As you go through this week, focus on how Jesus has brought joy into your life.

Celebrating Advent is a special way to keep Jesus Christ at the center of your Christmas Season. All you need is a Bible, a few candles and a willing heart to share the true meaning of Christmas with your family.

Instructions for Celebrating Advent Week 3:

 Day to Light:     Sunday December 9, 2017
Candle to Light: The 1st 2nd & 3rd candles (traditional = 2 purple & 1 pink)

Family Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8-12          read at www.Biblegateway.com

Prayer:  Father God, may we experience the great joy proclaimed by the angel sent to earth by You. Help us to overcome anything in our lives that might stand in the way of our joy. Help us to focus on the greatest blessing we could receive, the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ.


Digging Deeper…
Week Three is also known as “The Shepherd’s Candle” because the good news was proclaimed first to the Shepherds, by Heavenly Angels.

About Advent Wreaths - Candle Colors
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christ

Friday, December 8, 2017

Steer Them To Jesus


Steer Them To Jesus

Our daughter is a first year college student away at school. She called me recently really needing to talk. I could tell by the tone of her voice this was serious. She began to tell me that her grades had fallen and that she was completely over-whelmed, but hesitated to call because she was afraid that we would be upset with her. 

I started with, Thank you SO much for trusting me with this and I assured her that nothing is more important than her well-being. 

We then spoke of the scripture that says, When we hope in The Lord we will soar on wings like eagles.

I wanted her to visualize the difference between doing it all in her own power and exhausting ourselves and doing all things with Hope in The Lord. 

By keeping our hope in Him we will soar with Him and He will carry us through. So, when birds fly up and find wind currents they are able to save their energy and just be carried and soar effortlessly. 

She really needed that good cry, she dropped a course that was over-whelming her, she re-grouped,  and now feels much better and is back in the fight, so to speak. She also recently asked me to mail her bible to her at school.

I have her little Christmas tree up in her room and waiting for her when she gets home for the holidays. And I found her the perfect ornament for her freshman year of college, 
and it's an eagle. 

"...but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31 

"Brothers (Sisters), if you have any word of exhortation for the people, come and give it." Acts 13:15

"For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him." Colossians 1:16

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Advent Week Two PEACE

Advent Celebration Week Two- PEACE
Carri Lynne Pratt



“For a child will be born for us, 
a son will be given to us, 
and the government 
will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, 
Mighty God, Eternal Father, 
Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6



Welcome to Week Two. The theme for this week is "Peace" because Jesus is known as The Prince of Peace. As you go through this week, focus on the peace that can be yours by simply calling on the precious name of Jesus. He was sent here for you.

Celebrating Advent is a special way to keep Jesus Christ at the center of your Christmas Season. All you need is a Bible, a few candles and a willing heart to share the true meaning of Christmas with your family.

Instructions for Celebrating Advent Week 2:

Day to light the candles:     Sunday, December 2, 2017
Candle to Light:                   The first & second candles

Family Scripture Reading:   Luke 2:1-7

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending us your Son, Jesus Christ, to bring peace to our world. Please help us to have peace in our family and to enjoy Your peace this Christmas season. In Jesus name, Amen.

Read Luke 2:1-7 at Biblegateway.com

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

What I Want My Children To Know Before They Leave Home

Traditions Make Life Special
 "Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you." Deuteronomy 32:7

Traditions are unique to each family. They are the simple things we do each year to commemorate an event or make a holiday special. They are the things our children will remember about their family.

God is very traditional. He personally told the Jewish people hundreds of times to remember things that He had done for them, places they had been and events that had taken place. It was God who set up the Jewish holidays knowing that without them, the people would forget who they were and how they got there.  Annual events gave the parents an opportunity to tell their children the amazing things God had done and give Him glory.

I want my children to know how important tradition is to the memories of our family and important events in life.  I want them to have a desire to start traditions on their own both now and in the future with their own family.

Discuss with your children what traditions they enjoy in your family as well as  possibilities for new traditions they might be thinking about.  Remember to give God a special place in your traditions so that the stories of God's amazing love will continue through all generations.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Advent Week One HOPE

Welcome to the Advent Season!
 Carri Lynne Pratt
 
Tomorrow is the beginning of Advent, a time when we not only get to look forward to celebrating the birth of Christ but also a time to look forward to the second coming of Christ.  This is a wonderful opportunity to share the excitement of Christmas with your children.

Each Sunday a candle is lit representing the corresponding theme of the week.

Week One is HOPE and we light the first of the four (or five) candles. The optional 5th candle is lit on Christmas Eve along with all the others.

Day to light the 1st candle:  Sunday November 26, 2017
Candle to Light:                    The first candle
Prayer:                                   Thank God for the HOPE we have 
                                                 in Jesus Christ, His only Son.
Family Scripture Reading:   Luke 1:26-38

“The Lord Himself will give you a sign: 
The virgin will conceive, have a son, 
and name him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14



Friday, November 24, 2017

Above All, Love Each Other


Above All, Love Each Other

We are humanity. 

We live on this planet as wide variety of people of many differences of culture, beliefs, location, languages, interests.

  Yet, our differences, they do not matter--they are not the way in which to look at each other.

The human race is just so full of variety, and so very beautiful. And just like the seasons, if there were no variety in the seasons, just think how bland that sounds.

We all have the same beating heart. Each of us wants to protect and love our family and guard our children.

Jesus was our best example of pure unconditional love, and for all no matter the circumstance. God can certainly help us see His creation the way He sees.

This Christmas season, and upcoming new year, let's commit to keeping our thoughts pure for one another. Cast off evil thoughts, labels, and judgements. Allow yourself to really SEE beauty in all the many faces you encounter. See their hearts and ask them to tell you about themselves. 

Lean in....
Learn more.
Love MOST!

Honor Humanity. This will make you Christ-like. This will honor God, the father. This will serve God and change the world.

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people." 
Ephesians 1:18 

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." Romans 12:9

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." 
1 John 4:7

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What I Want My Children To Know Before They Leave Home

THANKFULNESS - Be still and consider the good gifts God has already given you.

As I listen to my children discussing their Christmas lists, I am reminded of how often we tend to focus on what we want rather than being grateful for what we already have.

I want my children to see that God provides in amazing ways for His children and His creation. We can count on His goodness, His mercy and His provision.  We can know for sure that Spring will follow Winter and that crops will grow when properly planted and cared for.  We know that the sun will rise in the morning and that time heals most of our wounds. We know that His love endures forever. We  know that He gave His only Son for our salvation.  It is encouraging to just be still and consider the good gifts He has given you.

This week my goal is to spend a few private moments with each of my children discussing this very thing. I want them to know how much God loves them and I want them to realize how much they already have from Him. I also want to know what they are most thankful for in their lives.

"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever."
Psalm 136:1
 

Friday, November 17, 2017

I Want A Divorce


I Want A Divorce

This is where I was 15 years ago this month. 

I had filed for a divorce. I told my husband. All of my friends and family knew I was done. 

I wasn't the type to quit so easily or to even consider divorce, but we had become so distant and I felt so cold and alone.

My thoughts had slipped into a dark pit of remembering each and every disappointment, every hurt, every hopeless thing.
All of which was justifying my decision. 


I was so DONE, but God sure wasn't.  
My husband's initial reaction was hurt, betrayal, and anger. 
Except God quickly and consistently intervened. Our loving heavenly father placed amazing men with wise advice into his life.

Specifically: Jay, Jeff, Mike, Kyle, and Reggie all told him the same thing: STAY ON THE MARRIAGE LINE.  Even though I had stepped off the marriage line, our God and Vince would not. 

 My husband,Vince, took the time to really hear me, and he prayed for me continuously and he refused to argue with me. 
He chose faith as he made his relationship with God his first priority. 

Vince never wavered from the marriage line because he trusted God  that I would return to it. With only a few days left until the divorce was final, God broke though the lies of evil and my heart was clearly and precisely being called back and not to quit that the best is yet to come. 

I returned to the marriage line and praise God there stood my husband.  

God IS in the business of bringing dead things to life and this was miraculous. Our best was yet to come. 

Since then, we now have 3rd child who is an absolute blessing to us. We are also so attracted to each other, we have a million inside jokes, we go on dates often, we travel and we love being together. 

Only this man knows all the history of our family. He was willing to humble himself and to fight for this family. He is here to raise our children together as we navigate the tough times and celebrate the victories as a strong family unit. 

Please know that:
Anger and blame simply cannot co-exist in recovery.


Ironically, this is also our Anniversary month and we get the privilege of celebrating 24 years together and we simply couldn't be happier. 

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not demand it's own way, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." 
2 Corinthians 9:15


titus2womendevotional.blogspot.com
women encouraging women


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What I Want My Children to Know Before They Leave Home

You Are Loved

The number one thing I want my children to know and to carry with them through this life is that they are loved. They are loved unconditionally by their father, by me and by their Creator, their Heavenly Father God.  My hope is that they will not only know they are loved but have the ability to love others and to love God.

God gives us this command when He states, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:4-and in addition, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Mark 12:31.

How do I show love in an appropriate manner?

   * Say "I love you" everyday!
   * Spend time with your children
   * Do things they like to do
   * Understand their love language
   * Discuss God's love for them
   * Discuss Jesus' sacrifice for them 

Say "I love you" everyday
This is not something I used to do. I noticed a mom saying it over and over to her child and it finally came to me that yes, my children needed to hear this too! I made an intentional decision to tell them I love them as often as naturally possible. It actually felt uncomfortable to say it so often, but it became a habit that my children love. 

Spend Time With Them
Time is fleeting and precious. It is one of the only things we can't buy and would love more of. It is also the number one gift our children long to receive.  Sit with them, listen to what they want to share, watch a show and have popcorn. Our children are only with us for a very brief time. Spend it wisely.

Do Things They Like to Do
We have started a couple of new traditions in our family. The first being date night with the children. I make a date with each of my children individually and allow them to choose where they want to go and what they want to do. (My oldest son is the most recent to plan his date for the opening weekend of the remake of Jumanji!) They love this special time alone with mom or dad.

The second tradition we have started is the Summer Fun List. Around April or May we sit down after dinner and discuss the things the children want to do over summer vacation and make our list. We then choose the things that are within our budget and plan our schedule accordingly. We then post a calendar on the fridge and put it in our phones so everyone knows when and where. This has helped us enjoy summer together before it flies by. 

Understand their Love Language
You have to read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. He has even come out with a new book geared specifically towards teens. (which I am ordering asap! Will keep you posted)  Look on our printables for a Love Language quiz.

Discuss God's Love for Them / Jesus' Sacrifice
It is so important for our children to understand how much God loves them (and us). Help them to memorize John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16



Friday, November 10, 2017

Behind Every Young Child Who Believes In Himself Is A Parent Who Believed First


Behind Every Young Child Who Believes In Himself 
Is A Parent Who Believed First 
~Matthew L Jacobson

When parents encourage their children to help in the kitchen or help making a repair it makes for confident learning. Allow them to get involved and to make mistakes, it's the best way to learn. 

It is much more than cracking the eggs, flipping the pancakes or replacing a bulb, it is you saying, "I believe in you", "Come learn beside me".

As we occasionally and gently correct them, but mostly encourage the kids in all these life lessons--they will grow up with great confidence.

Knowing you believe in them is the best way for them to try new things without fear of getting criticized. 

"Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged." Colossians 3:21 

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What I Want My Children to Know Before They Leave Home

Greetings Sisters in Christ,
I am so grateful for you amazing women who embrace the role of mother on a daily basis. Being a mom is the most difficult job I could ever imagine! Much encouragement to you.

As a mother of three I want to do the best job I can to provide for and nurture these sweet spirits. I am in constant prayer for both their well being and my capabilities to meet the challenges of each day.  Recently the Holy Spirit has been convicting me of the fact that I have a very limited amount of time left with my children at home. (The same might be true for you.) My oldest son will be graduating high school in less than three years and it grieves me to think of all of the lost opportunities I had to share moments and important advice with him but didn't. I may have chosen to do something important (like laundry or dishes), but actually it wasn't the most important.

I sat down and wrote a list of at least fifty different things I want them to know to prepare for their independence and luckily there is still plenty of time! 

Henceforth, I have made a commitment to share at least one piece of advice or a life skill with my children each week that I absolutely want them to know before they leave my home; and I am going to publish it here on Titus2Women.org with the hope that you will serve as my accountability partners. 

I welcome (and crave) advice and suggestions for things that you want your children to know before they leave your home and enter the world on their own. Please share your thoughts with me. If you are feeling conviction about your children, please listen to the Holy Spirit, and allow Him to guide you as well.  
I will be posting each Tuesday and look forward to hearing from you. 

A prayer for our Journey
     Heavenly Father God,
                 We pray for guidance, through the power of the Holy Spirit. We know the struggle is real for the hearts and souls of our children and we call upon You to give us Godly wisdom. Help us to train up our children to be prepared for life, to know You and to love and obey You and to call upon Jesus for forgiveness and salvation.
                We love You and praise You, In Jesus name, Amen.

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old, he will not depart from it." 
Proverbs 22:6

Friday, November 3, 2017

No Regrets


No Regrets

Have you ever done something like take a class, do a bible study, even run in a marathon or be in a relationship and immediately after it was over wish you had given it more?

To conquer the flesh we must get in the habit of pressing though the old mindsets that limit us. It's pressing through that moment of physical pain or a mental block that says, "This is not happening", "You must quit", "Take the easy way", or "It's not worth it". 

Being a good steward of your life means making the most of every situation and throw off distractions, disappointments, and/or possible offense that are stealing from you.

 Now, I do not wish to make anyone feel guilty. I want us all to start this day forward remembering to be present, purposeful and intentional with each moment we are gifted to have.

As you take on this new mentality, you are going to find strength, joy, courage, momentum, physical results like weight loss, defined muscles, youthfulness, and personal success.

"Don't you know that all runners in the race run, but only one receives the prize. So run to win!" 1 Corinthians 9:24 

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Friday, October 27, 2017

The Heart of Parenting


The Heart of Parenting 

Training up children isn't always easy. Parents can be prepared and equipped to act in a way that properly trains children when the situation needs you.

Instead of talking to your child about their behavior, teach them the heart behind the problem.

A young child can be taught about the love of God, the forgiveness of Christ's sacrifice, and the importance of repentance and turning from sin. 

To me, this is so much more fruitful and productive than a spanking or a time out which only addresses the action, not the heart.

Use scripture that teaches God's way and it will correct the heart. This will not only train them in the way they should go, it will strengthen your bond and relationship. 

God does not see any of us as BAD and we should not label our child as such. God the Father uses each opportunity as a way to teach us and draw us to Him. 

Instead of labeling and using negative words like 
Bad, Trouble, Spank... 
Use kindness and powerful biblical words like Honor, Obey, Wise, Trust, Peace, Self-Control, Courage, Upright.

Softly and tenderly correct them as God does with all the fruits of the spirit. They will surely reflect your behavior as the grow up. You will in turn be their safe place while fostering a close relationship.


"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26

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