Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
God, renew my heart. Renew my spirit. Make it steadfast. Make it beat for your glory.
God, renew my heart. Renew my spirit. Make it steadfast. Make it beat for your glory.
I’m an author of a lot of books and a lot of blogs— 40+ and 3,000+ respectfully! I write a lot. I plot a lot, but one of my biggest weaknesses is in taking time to consider how to fuel my soul. There’s a lot outbound and if I’m not careful I get drained.
I used to think of these things as procrastination or obstacles, but I’ve found that when I give myself time to listen to words, to see lovely images, and to laugh and play, I’m filling up the creative fuel that allows the words to flow.
I’ve also discovered it’s important to brainstorm big ideas. Yes, writing a shopping list is planning, but at least every few weeks I like to jot down notes about “big-picture dreams.”
We’ll all get burnt out if we don’t create, explore, enjoy, hug, laugh, and dream. I guarantee you’ll be more efficient with your writing work when you feed these parts of your soul!
God, thank you for fueling my dreams and creativity. You are a life-giver! I ask that you continue to fuel my desires and dreams. Breathe creativity into my days and nights.
Creativity by Matthew Fox
Creativity According to the Kingdom by Matt Tommey
Roaring Lambs by Robert Briner
I’m also giving away 3 copies of Darlene Schacht’s Messy Beautiful Love. Enter to win here. Winners will be announced next Monday September 22nd. Only those in the U.S. are eligible to win.
“I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them.” Psalm 101:3 (NLT)
I can remember the first horror film I watched was when I was in third or fourth grade. The plot line was about a man who moved into a haunted house and then uncovers all the horror that happened there. I’m scarred for life, seriously. Who let me watch that? (Sorry, Mom and Dad, but it’s true.) I thought about that movie many times over the years. It didn’t leave me. That movie (and others that followed) brought fears and dark thoughts.
I’m sure at the time I begged to watch it and other movies I also still remember—those with sex and violence and foul language. When I was a kid, MTV and HBO had just shown up on the scene. Television was no longer a “safe” place . . . and I was drawn to all the smut. What kid isn’t? I wanted to feel grown-up. I liked being scared and having my heart race at both romance and danger.
Sure, I’d watch Fraggle Rock during the day, but at night when my friends were staying over, we’d turn the TV down and watch movies I’m too embarrassed to name. Then there were the popular songs at the time. How many times could one sing “Like a Virgin” by Madonna without the words making an impact? (I’m sure glad that I didn’t grow up with the Internet; kids today have many more temptations!)
So where did that leave me? At thirteen when I got my first boyfriend, my innocence was already gone—or at least that’s what it felt like. So when I started dating a handsome, older boyfriend, getting caught up in the emotion was easy. After all that’s what those people on those movies did.
It was never that simple. By the time my boyfriend gave me my first kiss my innocence had been stripped away one movie, one lusty song at a time. I didn’t have a sense of “Should I do this?” Instead, I thought “Finally.” After all those years of watching “romance,” I finally was experiencing a bit of it myself.
As a mom, I went to the extreme with protecting my kids, or so some people thought. My children couldn’t listen to secular music, and I monitored all their television. They couldn’t watch Jurassic Park until they were in junior high and Wizard of Oz was pretty much off limits until then.
I even homeschooled my kids so I could be the gatekeeper of what entered their lives. I’m thankful I did. My intention at the time may have been to protect my kids’ innocence, but the close relationships built during those years—and mostly their relationships with God—are our reward.
There’s a difference between my daughter accidentally overhearing a conversation between two pregnant teens than me allowing a movie with sexually promiscuity into our home. If you’ve reached out to and are walking with others, in a dirty world you’re going to get messy at times. Though we should model grace and compassion for our kids, we should never risk their innocence for the sake of entertainment.
In their growing-up years they still watched things they shouldn’t (when I didn’t know) and one of my children as a teen found a way to get around some of the safety protections we set up on the Internet and was drawn into places this teen should never have been. So I wasn’t able to protect my kids completely. But in many ways they were allowed to stay kids longer. Their minds weren’t filled with the smut, and it gave more room for God’s word and a relationship with Jesus to grow.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
You might even need to make sacrifices of money and time (especially if God calls you to homeschooling, too). But know that your effort will pay off. We only have a short season when we’re able to protect our children. Don’t let the world’s standards influence you. Instead turn to God for strength and wisdom for guidance in leading your kids toward all things pure.
Lord, fix my thoughts on truth, honor, and purity. Give me heavenly standards. Show me ways I protect the innocence around me in my day.
Parenting Grace. What do I mean by that? Don’t Seek From Your Parenting What God Has Provided Through Grace. What do you want most as a mom? Read on to hear what my answer would have been years ago and what it is today.
If someone would have asked me that years ago I would have said something like, “To raise children to love God and to serve others. To raise smart, successful adults.”
I would have said that, but it wouldn’t have been the whole truth. In my mind, yes, but not in my actions—not in my heart.
As a young mom, I made many decisions concerning my parenting, and the truth was deep down these decisions were not Christ-motivated. Instead:
Mom, maybe you can relate. Are you trying to seek from your parenting what God has already provided through His grace?
I became a Christian when I was pregnant with my oldest child but somewhere along the way my zeal for the cause of Christ was pushed to the side by the hunger and praise of people. I wanted to be seen as a “good mom” by others.
“If we take our meaning in life from our family, our work, a cause, or some achievement other than God, they enslave us,” says Tim Keller. Too often I filled my schedule with activities that I thought were for my kids, but really they were to make me look good.
I was enslaved by a busy schedule in an effort to look good, but I’m thankful that over the years God reminded me who I truly serve. As I’ve sought God, He’s helped me to adjust my thoughts and where I find my meaning.
Yes, I’m still busy. I homeschool three kids, write books, blog, speak (on occasion) and lead a teen moms support group, but deep in my heart, I’m doing these things as service to God. Deep down I can tell the difference.
My kids are only involved in a few activities a week (like Sunday School and Awana) because I prayed about it and God and I feel these things will benefit them—and not because I’m trying to “keep up” with society’s ideas of what kids should be involved in. I can’t describe the feeling of peace that “not trying to keep up” brings.
I don’t need the approval of others to be worthy. I already have God’s approval because of what Jesus has done for me and in me. God sees me and thinks, “This is my child, who I love completely. This is my daughter, and I am preparing her a heavenly home.” When I live my life out of those thoughts of approval everything changes.
Somewhere on the parenting journey, it became easy to focus on others. In the process, I pushed God’s grace to the side. Do you find yourself doing that? Do you tend to try to take credit for the good things you do or the good things you have?
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT
Being reminded of grace brings peace to my day. I don’t have to “strive” for approval. Instead, I simply have to accept what’s already been given.
Some days I look around and think, “The house is a mess. I have no plans for dinner. The kids are out of control but God still loves me at this moment absolutely and completely.” I turn to God’s Word and I’m reminded again and again who I’m trying to please.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Galatians 1:10 NIV
This sounds wonderful—this seeking God’s approval, but how do we get there?
We need to have faith that as we see God first, He will guide us in our parenting. We have to be humble enough to realize that doing things God’s way means not “keeping up” with the world’s standards.
Now, after being a mom for 20 years, what do I want most? To seek God’s approval. To look at Him first. To lift my children up to Him in prayer. To encourage the unique gifts God has given my children, and to look into His eyes and hear, “Well done.”
When I focus on God, first as a mom, He will guide me on how to raise children who do love Him first, who serve others, and who will be smart and successful (according to God’s wisdom and idea of success).
And this is truly what I’ve wanted all along.
-Seek the approval of God first.
-Ask yourself, “What are my expectations? Are they realistic?”
-Remember what God has already provided through His grace.
2. Cut out.
4. Post these truths and be reminded daily of God’s grace in your parenting.
Lord, help me to seek Your approval in my parenting, and to look to You first in my decision making. Remind me often to lift my children up to You in prayer, and to encourage the unique gifts You’ve given my children. And, at the end of my life, may I look into Your eyes and hear you say, “Well done.”
I would love to hear if any of these truths touched you today? Comment below, I love connecting!
In the everyday stretch and squeeze of motherhood, Tricia Goyer often feels smooshed by the demands of life. Sure, life is messy and beset by doubts. But God keeps showing up in the most unlikely places: in a bowl of carrot soup, the umpteenth reading of Goodnight Moon, a woe-is me teen drama, or play dough in the hands of a child. As her story unfolds, Tricia realizes that God has more in store for her than she has ever imagined possible.
In Tricia’s transparent account, you’ll find understanding, laughter, and strength for your own story. And in the daily push and pull, you’ll learn to recognizes the loving hands of God at work in your life and know He has something beautiful in mind.
(Christian fiction with themes of approval and worth in man and God’s eyes.)With equal doses of adrenaline and poignancy, Tricia Goyer’s storytelling brings well-crafted characters to life in a graphically authentic World War II setting. She places readers not only behind enemy lines into the heat of battle, but also deep into the innermost sanctuary of the human heart.
I was raised in a home with no art appreciation, no music, no reading. My parents were TV people–soap operas, HBO, sports. I can never remember music playing in our house. I can’t remember ever having a storybook read to me. They weren’t very spiritual people either. In fact there was no spiritual heritage until my mom and grandma got saved when I was in 2nd grade.
When I was in the 6th grade, we moved about a mile from the library. I loved it! I read TONS. I drew. I dreamed. I listened to the radio. (Okay, it was ’80s music, but I listened.)
It wasn’t until I was 27 years that I met my biological dad. And guess what? His mother was an artist. His sister makes quilts. His brother and numerous cousins write. My sister sings. My other sister is very crafty. My other sister is a photographer and web designer. My grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great (you get the picture) were missionaries . . . from all the way back to Luther, or so I’m told.
It was amazing to discover a spiritual and artistic heritage I never knew. It was “there” but it wasn’t until later I discovered why. It was in my genes. Another thing: my dad is a huge history buff, and guess what I write?
Sometimes things like these are hard to understand, but very cool. What have you been surprised to learn about your heritage? How has your heritage affected who you are? Share below!
Did this post speak to you? Check out these similar posts: