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Advent {Week 4} ~ Paralyzed or Purposed?

{So proud of her color choice… purple glitter!}

She’s four, funny and anything but fragile, and she’s my girlie who got a hearing aid last week.  It’s been a long time comin’, and let me be the first to tell you that we’re all about as giddy as it gets.

Funny how hearing makes you realize just how much you’ve been missing…

Immediately after she wakes each morning, she begs me to put her hearing aid in.  She knows the benefits already, and happily accepts that trying to hear on her own would be in vain.  Now she turns to me the first time I call her name. She sings along instead of asking me to turn the music up over and over.  She gasps with excitement at the breakfast table when her brother’s voice comes in loud and clear.    We actually get through an entire book without her saying, “Huh?”.  Thoroughly impressed, she stops me mid-sentence – several times throughout the day – just to say, “Mom, I…JUST… HEARD… THAT!”  She doesn’t take one clear sound for granted, this sweet, spunky girl of mine.

 

She was born with a deficiency, but she’s not held back, because she’s connected to the source of help that she needs.

 

As we’ve dived into this new chapter in our lives, I’ve learned a whole lot about the amazing technology that accompanies such a tiny device.  Tess’s hearing aid comes with two microphones: one placed to amplify noise in front of her, and one situated behind to pick up background noise.  Because of technology and timing, these two microphones allow sound to be divided into different parts, separating background noise from speech.  In mom terms (heh), what this means is that if Tess is facing and focused on the person who is talking to her, those sound waves hit her main microphone first, and the distracting background noise is essentially “turned off” so that she is able to clearly hear the speaker’s voice.  Pretty amazing stuff.

 

What had previously been paralyzed now has great purpose.

 

As we’ve mourned and wept for the families affected by the Connecticut tragedy these last few days,  it could be easy to give into thoughts that leave us feeling paralyzed.  Paralyzed by the evil in this world.  Paralyzed by overwhelming sadness for families we’ve never met.  Paralyzed by fearing for the safety of our own children.  Paralyzed by the unknown, and by our lack of control of what happens to us on this side of heaven.

 

Because sin entered the world, all of  human race has a deficiency.  But because of Jesus, praise God we don’t have to be held back, paralyzed by our sin any longer!

 

As I wake up each morning, I recognize my need to plug into the Source of Life - Jesus.  I’ve experienced the benefits of knowing Him, and recognize that I am nothing without Him.  He calls me by name, and I find comfort knowing that I am His child.  I can sing songs of praise, knowing that my Redeemer lives.  I’ve even caught myself stopping mid-sentence, overwhelmed by His love and the fact that “GOD… JUST… DID… THAT.”  And just like my girl’s hearing aid, I’ve learned that when I’m pursuing and focused on Jesus, only then is the background noise of this world hushed, so that I can clearly hear the voice of my Savior.

 

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have PEACE.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!

I have overcome the world.”

~ John 16:33


What had previously been paralyzed now has great purpose.  Because of the hope we have in Jesus, we are free to be messengers of PEACE to a hurting world.  

 

Paralyzed or purposed?  Which will you choose today?

 

At His Feet,

 

 And the PEACE of God, which transcends all understanding,

will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

~ Philippians 4:7


 

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Women around the world are IN THE WORD!

Every Wednesday we will have a link-up. If you are a blogger we invite you to link-up any blog posts that you have written about your quiet time that week. We ask that you put our button in the post or on your sidebar so we can find each other. We do not have code for this link up button. Just right click and save as. Then link it to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org



Jesus Birthday Party

 

For the past few Christmases, my Good Morning Girls group and I have gotten our kids together to have a “Happy Birthday Jesus” party. In the past I would decorate my house preparing for the upcoming celebration with red and green candy jars, streamers and a “Happy Birthday Jesus” sign strung across the fireplace. I would have Christmas treats for the moms and kids, a craft to do pertaining to Jesus’s birth, Christmas music playing and a special story read to the kids explaining why we celebrate Christmas. Previous years I had our kids each bring a gently used toy or a new toy with them to the party to donate to a local charity. This year since our kids are starting to get a little older, my friend and I decided to do it a little differently. Instead of having our kids bring a toy to the party, we wanted to use this opportunity to teach our kids the importance of meeting the needs of others.

We decided to combine the “Happy Birthday Jesus” party activity that I talk about on page 40 in the Advent ebook with the GMG Christmas Challenge……teaching our children that THEY can make a difference in our world by meeting the needs of others.

Heroes are not determined by their age or their size but by what they allow God to do through them.

We want our children to learn early in life that God can use them powerfully for His Kingdom……NOW.

This year my sweet friend, Kristi, hosted the party and did a FABULOUS job! THANK YOU SOOO MUCH Kristi!!! She invited a mutual friend’s son to come to our party and tell our children about The Last Well. We each had talked with our kids about The Last Well but we thought it would be more powerful hearing about it from someone their own age.

Today, I’ve decided to bring our party to YOU. Please note the video footage is well……the best I could do. You’ll hear my sweet little Brinnley occasionally in the background as she crawled around me, pulling on my leg and enjoying the festivities of the backyard….. hey, I’m a mom just like you!

A mom who is trying my best to encourage my girls to see the needs of others outside our little community.

A mom who safely wants to broaden their view of the world and help them learn how to be Jesus’s hands and feet to those who are hurting whether they are near or far.

A mom who is trying to teach her kids the importance of what it means to “be a neighbor.”

A mom who wants her children to learn to look at others with love…..just like Jesus.

I want my children to love others well. I believe that starts when we teach them to see the needs of others.

I love this quote by Katie Davis from the book Kisses from Katie (if you’ve never read the book I highly recommend it!)

“…I have one purpose, in Uganda and in life, and that is to love.
I could ask for no greater assignment.”- Katie Davis

 

Welcome to our Jesus Birthday Party

{Click here if you can’t see the video}

After a little time of playing together, we gathered our kids and had the wonderful opportunity to listen to Hayes, who’s heart and passion for The Last Well is so inspiring.

After Hayes’s informational and passionate speech we had a sweet devotional reading out of the Jesus Storybook (which I LOVE!!)

Then it was everyone’s favorite time……singing Happy Birthday to Jesus and eating some cake!

 

I’d like to take this time to thank my sweet friend Kristi for hosting the party and taking these beautiful pictures!!! You are a blessing to me! I’d also like to thank Hayes and his parents for allowing him to speak to our kids about The Last Well! We LOVED hearing you speak, Hayes……you did a WONDERFUL job! :)

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Click here to learn more about our Christmas Challenge with The Last Well.

How much does one well cost?

  • ONE dollar gives ONE Liberian clean water for ONE year.  How many people can you help?
  • Purchase a water well for a community in Liberia for $3000.  The average well serves 1000 people!
  • Purchase a bio-sand water filter for one family in rural Liberia for $102.  You can give an entire family clean water!

How Can You Get Involved?

  • Add The Last Well to your Christmas list.
  • Talk with your family about The Last Well and give a family gift.
  • Give up a Christmas gift(s) and instead donate the money to The Last Well.
  • Invite your children to give up a Christmas gift(s) and donate the money to The Last Well.
  • Have a “Happy Birthday Jesus” party with your friends and their kids. (I talk about this idea in our Advent eBook on page 40) Instead of having children bring gifts to donate, have them donate the money online and learn more about the need for clean water in Liberia, building awareness of how other children live around the world.
  • Tell friends about THE LAST Well by sharing this graphic on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, informing more people of this wonderful organization and the great need of physical water and the “Living Water” in Liberia!
  • PRAY! Pray God will use us mightily in this nation for HIS GLORY!

Please join us as we strive to make a difference in our generation for Christ by serving one of the poorest countries in the world. Imagine what 17,000 Good Morning Girls could do by giving just $10 each. We could provide clean water and the Gospel to thousands of Liberians, saving lives now and changing eternal destinies as well.

Please join us this Christmas and help change a nation in the name of Jesus, one water well at a time!

 

Click here to donate.

 

 

Love God Greatly!

-Angela

 

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Women around the world are IN THE WORD!

Every Wednesday we will have a link-up. If you are a blogger we invite you to link-up any blog posts that you have written about your quiet time that week. We ask that you put our button in the post or on your sidebar so we can find each other. We do not have code for this link up button. Just right click and save as. Then link it to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org

 

 

 

 



Advent {Week 2} ~ My love response…

{photo credit}

Years ago, my Christmas decorations were neatly placed, angled in all the right directions and color coordinated to the detail.   Sophisticated white lights prevailed, Christmas china was used only for special occasions, and precious nativity sets were placed high on shelves to keep from being broken by little curious, fumbling fingers.

But somewhere in my parenting journey, God graciously taught me  – through my children – that life is meant to be lived.  Touched.  Enjoyed.  So now our Christmas ornaments hang a bit off balance (but are placed with a whole lot of excitement and love), fun colored lights fill our home, and I try to say yes as often as I can to frequent tea party requests… using real china, of course.

And those nativity sets?  They have become more precious than ever.  Not half-forgotten up on some shelf, but adored in the hands of my sweet, imaginative four year old.

With the nativity pieces now within reach, Baby Jesus and Tess have had quite an adventurous week!  There have been rides in the Barbie car, and trips to the grocery store.  Baby Jesus has visited with Dora and all of Tess’s favorite baby dolls, and He even rode in an elevator (aka a tall pedestal candle) several times today.  Baby Jesus has kept Tess company at the lunch table and in the potty.  He’s been swaddled in a wash cloth,  and bathed in the bathroom sink.

But the moment that I can’t get out of my head is when I caught Tess in the corner of our living room, snuggling Baby Jesus with much affection. When I sneaked in closer to see what she was doing, I could hear her singing softly…

 

“Thank you, Baby Jesus, for being bor-or-orn.  Thank you, Baby Jesus, for saving the world. 

Baby Jesus, I… love… You…”

 

Humbled and instantly brought to tears, God knew just the reminder that I needed to hear that day.

 

God loves beyond comprehension, and that love is worthy of our response.

 

These days are busy.  Life gets full and complicated.  And if I’m not careful, I’ll go through this season fully aware of God’s tangible love for me through the gift of Jesus, yet will forget to bow down and whisper my love response back into Jesus’s ear:

 

“Thank you.”

“I praise You.”

“I love You.”

“I adore You.”

 

I tucked my spunky four year old into bed tonight, and instead of her regular bedtime song, she requested that I sing her a song about “Baby Jesus coming to save the world.”  Fully aware of several carols I could sing, I chose instead to take Tess’s lead and make up my own love song – not from any hymnal or jumbo-tron – but this time from my heart.  I closed my eyes, held her hand, and sung softly into her ear as I worshiped…

 

“Thank you, Jesus…”

“I praise You, Jesus…”

“I love You, Jesus…”

“I adore You, Jesus…”

“Thank you, Baby Jesus, for coming to save the world…”

 

My love response.  Well overdue.

 

You see, God wants ALL of me… not my leftovers after I’ve served on my own strength, not my rushed minutes after I’ve made everything else a priority before Him, not just my selfish prayers after nothing I’ve tried has worked. Oh Father, thank you for pouring out your great love towards me, and help me to reciprocate a love that is worthy of all that You are!

 

 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” ~Mark 12:30

At His feet,

 

 

Women around the world are IN THE WORD!

Every Wednesday we will have a link-up. If you are a blogger we invite you to link-up any blog posts that you have written about your quiet time that week. We ask that you put our button in the post or on your sidebar so we can find each other. We do not have code for this link up button. Just right click and save as. Then link it to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org

 

 



 

Advent {Pin}Inspiration

I thought for today I’d do a fun decorating post for those of you who are looking for ways to display your Advent candles. Here are a few ideas I found recently on Pinterest.

{image by Little Scandinavian}

{image by EAB Designs}

{image by RAUMDINGE}

{image by Liljor Och Tulpaner}

{image by Pure Joy}

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Using the image below for inspiration, I decided to create my own Advent candle display….I was surprised it really didn’t take to long!

{image by Garden Party}

 

 

All you need are:

  • 4 candles
  • 4 clay pots
  • ribbon
  • fake moss
  • glue

 

Step 1: Place the candle in the clay pot. {make sure to push it down to secure it inside the pot}

Step 2: Glue ribbon around the outer edge.

Step 3: Glue inside the pot around the candle and tuck in small patches of the fake moss.

Step 4: Repeat for the other 3 candles.

 

That’s it!!!!

 

For more Advent and Christmas decorating ideas check out our GMG Pinterest page!

 

Love God Greatly!

-Angela

______________________________________________________________________

Women around the world are IN THE WORD!

Every Wednesday we will have a link-up. If you are a blogger we invite you to link-up any blog posts that you have written about your quiet time that week. We ask that you put our button in the post or on your sidebar so we can find each other. We do not have code for this link up button. Just right click and save as. Then link it to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org



{Week 8} WIWW Link-Up Party… Finding Peace by Wrestling in Prayer…

Every other Saturday morning I kiss my sleeping husband on the cheek and whisper a soft “thank you” into his ear.  Tiptoeing through the living room, I beg God to please let my children sleep just two more minutes until I can make it out the back door without being noticed (because awake children are always on this momma’s heels, but especially if I dare try to slip out the door without them).  I quickly slide my Bible off of the kitchen counter and under my arm, and head out the door into the dark, early hours of the morning.

I don’t especially love hearing the alarm go off that early on a Saturday, but once I’m up, an immense feeling of satisfaction pours over me.  Houses all around me are still asleep, and the day is momentarily untainted by the world.  My drive is short but peaceful, and I can’t help but notice God in the soft silhouettes of trees and farmland.  Details that for some reason I don’t take time to appreciate except for on mornings like this.

Just like clockwork, I smile as five others pull into the church parking lot at almost exactly the same moment as I do.  A year and a half later, we’ve got this thing down, and our sea of minivans gives us away.  We’re moms on a mission.  The only ones on the road this early on Saturday morning.

And we’re here to pray.

We’ve taken time to email our prayer requests in the days before, because we’re aware of our own tendencies.  Specifics and explanations have already been shared, because we’re not here to talk.  We’re here to pray.  Our time is limited, and our needs are great.

Before we cry out to the Father, we humble ourselves by taking time to recognize who God is.  We focus on one specific character trait of God each meeting, and take time to read together a handful of verses to remind us just Who it is we’re approaching.  This particular morning… God is my Helper: One who assists, aids, eases or relieves (Deuteronomy 33:26; Psalm 18:6; Psalm 121:2).  Ah, just the reassurance this momma needed to hear on this particular morning, in this particularly busy season of mothering.  Of life.

After intentional times of thanksgiving and confession, we enter into a time of intercession, or going to God in prayer on behalf of others.  While we mostly focus on our children, we often weave in prayer for ourselves, our husbands and others.  Sometimes we pray back fitting scripture, inserting our children’s names (“May Chase know that You are his God, who takes hold of his right hand and says to him, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’” ~ from Isaiah 41:13).  But most of the time we use our own simple, broken words, clearly demonstrating our passion and great need for God in all things.  Some of us have been praying for years; others of us, only recently.  But God doesn’t need fancy prayers… just willing servants who are quick to admit their need for a Savior.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned during our time together, it’s that we can go to God with any request, great or small.  We’re not afraid to ask God to help our kids master math facts… any desperate mom to a fourth-grader will instantly high-five me on this one with no further explanation needed.  Heh.  But there are moments of intense wrestling with God too, as we ask Him to protect, mold and guide our children to turn from their sin and to walk in His ways.  Oh, God, bring them to Yourself, we pray…

God is our Helper.  And He hears our prayers.

We’re lucky if we make it through the hour without tears, because there’s just something so humbling and powerful about hearing someone else pray for your child by name.  I love these women’s children, and they love mine, and there’s extreme comfort in knowing that we’re not alone in this battle.

We reluctantly finish up our prayer time, exchange quick hugs, but can’t linger.  The sun is coming up, and there are early morning soccer games to attend, Saturday morning pancake batters to mix, and oh yes, all of those children who will soon wipe the sleep from their eyes and will be looking for their mommas.  But we’ll continue to check in, share updates, and pass on new requests until we meet again.

 

I drive home with a new outlook on the day, feeling like a weight has been lifted.  The peace in my heart out-weighs that spent feeling, from all of that prayer “wrestling”.  Practically speaking, no circumstance has changed, and no prayer request has been answered in the last sixty minutes.  The difference then?

 

Our focus, our confidence, our hope has been shifted… off of our circumstances,  and instead onto our Helper.

 

 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” ~ Colossians 4:2

 

At His feet,

 

 

We hope you’ll join us for our four-week Advent Study, beginning Monday, November 26.  What an incredible opportunity to help prepare our hearts and keep our focus on Jesus this holiday season!  The FREE Advent study e-book will be available for all blog subscribers beginning November 12. Haven’t subscribed to the Good Morning Girls blog yet?  Click here!



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