Real Marriage 2: The Need for Hedges as Well as Light in Our Relationships & Podcast

God’s Word is a hedge of protection for our marriage relationship. We can beautify the inner circle of our marriage but we must avoid the dangerous things outside His hedge of protection that would threaten or cause danger to this sacred relationship. Hope you enjoy the podcast.

God’s Word is a hedge of protection for our marriage relationship. We can beautify the inner circle of our marriage but we must avoid the dangerous things outside His hedge of protection that would threaten or cause danger to this sacred relationship. Hope you enjoy the podcast.

Bumping along a rough country road, our view from the upper level of a double-decker bus was breathtaking in the late afternoon sun. Passing the ruins of empty convents and monasteries left as ghosts of a by-gone era brought a sense of mystery. But quite amazing to us was something we had never before seen--rows and rows of hedges, sometimes for miles without a break in the walls of greenery.

The 6 foot thick, 12 feet high walls of bushes cultivated over years, kept everything on the outside from getting in, while protecting everything within its borders. Cattle were kept inside, safe from wandering or the harm of attacking animals. Hedges guarded the borders of land, one family's home boundaries separated from another-a literal hedge of protection.

When we pulled into an ancient town, we peered out our window before disembarking and saw the most gorgeous flowering garden in view beside the bus. When we were down on the ground, the tall hedge blocked our view of the garden and we could no longer see what was inside.

Just as we began to pass by,  a small, white-headed woman opened the front gate of the garden and came out into the road. I walked up and told her how lovely her garden appeared from our second-story view on the bus.

"Oh, come in for a first-hand look! I love to share its beauty."

Dozens of rose bushes in full bloom aglow with yellow, coral, reds of all shades, and pink filled every corner of the garden. Tiny delicate blossoms of honeysuckle, full sunflowers towering, a rainbow of mums clustered together filled the air with perfume as the autumn breeze swept gently over the plants.

"What is your secret to this splendid garden?"

"Honestly, I think the most profound but often invisible strength of my garden is the thick hedges that define the boundary. They protect all that is beautiful inside these walls from pests and predators that would destroy it.  Wind and storms do not sweep away the plants or diminish the leaves and growth, deer do not munch on the bulbs or eat the flowers down to the stubs, natural storms and threats at every point are kept at bay because of the protection of my hedges. Hedges protect the beauty and growth, and give me a safe place where my plants can grow over time."

Marriage needs to be protected, It needs to be hedged about by God's word and design, so there is accountability to living and choosing the right commitments and attitudes when temptations to compromise come. 

Recently, I was thinking about how this image so clearly portrays how important hedges are to a strong marriage. The hedges of protection for my marriage have been holding my bond with Clay for many years. This hedge is a wall of safety that has kept me from going outside its walls into the danger of the world, into the predators that would destroy marriage--adultery, a promise that perhaps happiness awaits outside the walls of marriage, there is a more perfect man--lover--somewhere else, vain imagination that promises happiness anywhere else, but provides only long-term scars.

But my marriage hedge was built around our sacred relationship by vows made before God. The borders of our hedge, created by scripture itself, kept us both within the boundaries of our marriage relationship, even when we would be tempted to discontent or a feeling of despair. Vows, scripture, and idea of God's desire for marriage, and strong intentions built the borders of our protective hedge.

"To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."

Sincerely, if naively, I had made these vows and intended to keep them forever.

My vows became a hedge that protected me from the danger of leaving the walls of safety that held our commitment together.

I made a vow before friends, family and most importantly, before God--and I knew from scripture that God holds us to our vows.

I wanted my integrity to match my words.

"If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth." Numbers 30:2

I also knew that God said, "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." Matthew 19: 6

To build anything great and strong requires time. But a hedge of strength, protecting, guarding the beauty inside is a safe-guard from destroying the sacred trust. Marriage is one of the most profound ways God designed for us so that we could slowly learn and develop in our own lives, the very character of Christ, learning to serve, love, and give ourselves as He did for us.

We hope you’ll enjoy this podcast today, as Kristen and Misty are again joining me to talk about marriage!

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Joy Through Suffering: Dancing with my Heavenly Father 8 and Podcast

Many years ago, when I was first married, I had an experience that was both devastatingly sad and eternally impactful in helping me to always have in my mind, “This is not the end. This is not my final home. I need to live for the kingdom to come.”

I hope you will give yourself time to really ponder the podcast today and to breathe in the beauty of this story. We only have this life, today, to choose to celebrate the reality of God in the presence of others and we never know when this opportunity will be over. Let me know your thoughts after you listen.

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How To Live Through Deep Sadness and Move to Mature Joy

One of the biggest puzzles for me has been understanding how to deal with suffering and yet have joy at the same time. This is a big subject and hardly one I can deal with comprehensively in one small chapter, but I do want to at least touch on this important question.

Being born with a strong sense of justice has made it difficult for me to understand why so much suffering happens to good people at the hands of bad people. Yet in reading Scripture and pondering life, I have realized that in order for me to have joy and hold God's hand in this dance of life, I have to mount up over these questions. The seeming inconsistencies of unanswered prayer, sickness, broken relationships, sin that corrupts and destroys, and all those consequences of life that tear our hearts apart are not to be dealt with in this world. If I am to dance, I do so by holding God's hand in faith, celebrating that he will, in time, judge the world and all its peoples and issues and bring justice for his children.

So as I began to examine joy in this context, I was not seeking to deal with the "why" of difficulty. That was a given. Instead I was seeking out the reality of how to live with joy in the midst of the sadness and death.

In Hebrews this very issue is the centerpiece. Consider these verses from Hebrews 12:1-2:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The writer of Hebrews compared our lives to a race of endurance, a race in which joy is connected to what lies ahead, not to what is here right now. Just before these verses, in chapter 11, he called us to remember all of those who have gone before us who ran their race and finished well. The author listed the "Hall of Faith" and recounted the stories in Scripture of people who lived lives of faith and succeeded in pleasing God—the heroes of the faith. They are the cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. His admonition was for us to lay aside every encumbrance and sin, which so easily entangles us, in order to run this race of life with endurance.

Next he admonished us to fix our eyes on Jesus. Jesus is our target— the focal point of our lives and the finishing line of our faith. In other words, if we are to run well, we need to look at what Jesus did, follow his example, and run with his presence every step so that he can perfect our faith. Jesus endured the suffering of the cross because his eyes were on the "joy set before Him." I believe that the "joy set before Him" was the ultimate redemption of mankind through his sacrifice for us on the cross. He also took joy in knowing that he would soon be back with his Father, ruling and honored in the heavenlies as the Prince of peace, when he would once again "sit down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Jesus, once again our model for joy, endured the suffering because he knew that redemption and reward were coming. This must be the motivation of our lives if we are to experience internal joy in the midst of suffering: the certainty that we will be rewarded and justified in heaven because of our faith in his promise to make a place for us, the confidence that one day we will be in a place where there are no more tears. We can fix our eyes on Jesus, the One who is cheering us on, praying for us, waiting to greet us at the finish line of life.

I love the passage in Revelation that describes a part of the reality of heaven for us: "And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.' And He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' And He said, 'Write, for these words are faithful and true'" (Revelation 21:4-5).

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Books Referenced in this Podcast:

 
 

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What Does it Mean to Be Holy?

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I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy. Leviticus 11:45

… it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY." I Peter 1: 16

Today's culture gives us permission to do pretty much whatever we feel like doing. "I'm okay, you're okay," we posit, even in Christian circles. Compromise is everywhere— moral compromise, behavioral compromise, an "It must be okay--everyone does it. It's not that bad" mentality.

Holy: Set Apart for God’s Purposes

One of the goals I have in my life is to search out people, books, and places that will cause me to want to love God more, to live a more excellent life, to want to devote myself to ministry. I want to focus on those areas that cultivate in me a desire to be holy, to be set apart for God's purposes. I have three older friends I specifically spend time with because they are stalwart, seasoned, mature women. I know that when I am with them, I will hear something from the Word. I will be challenged by their thoughts, their lives, their convictions and the ways they are living.

I am far from perfect. But I am an idealist and I can imagine and desire far more than I am able to live. I regular disappoint myself and as Paul said, “ I do the very things I do not wish to do.” And yet, the more time I spend pondering Christ, His creation, His ways, the more deeply I desire to live the way He designed life to be—set apart for Him. This is what holiness means—to be dedicated, to be set apart for God and HIs purposes.

I know from many years that God wants me to push through the self-condemnation and move forward the habit of moving forward, taking one step at a time toward Him, in spite of the bumps in the road when I am either hurt or distracted by the disappointments of others in my life or when I fall short of what I would like to be or do.

Yet, I have learned to have walk with God for many years and to have been challenged to hold fast to Him, amidst all of my struggles. Jacob, in the old testament, is a picture of what it looks like to hold fast to God. He wrestled with God over a night of God’s presence and wrestling with him, and yet, steadfastly, he would not let him go until God blessed him,. This has been my heart's desire, to hold fast to Him until I see Him face to face—a choice to keep going, keep holding on, keep following one step forward at a time.

I seek to find others who are also seeking to please Him, to learn from Him, to walk with Him. It is a rare privilege to meet someone who has determined to be holy--truly set apart for the Lord. A holy person listens to His voice, seeks His word, and prays for His guidance. I believe that God is so willing to work in great ways in and through the lives of any person, but the requirement is a heart set on holiness.

Some of the Requirements of One who is Holy

1. A person who is set apart for God's purposes has learned to view their lives in light of eternity.

Seek first the kingdom of God … lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven and not on earth … teach us to number our days that we might present to Thee a heart of wisdom … Two commandments--love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor.

2. We must put away the sin inside our hearts where no one but God can see.

Is there an idol in your life? It could be money, television, Facebook, Twitter, acceptance from others, popularity, romance novels, food, the need to be right,— anything that replaces God in our hearts as our primary source of satisfaction or joy is an idol. God will not tolerate idols.

Is there any bitterness, insecurity, fear, anger, condemnation of others, critical attitude, judgment, involvement with pornography, lust, etc. that we are holding onto rather than repenting of? God and sin cannot dwell together in the same space—our hearts. Whatever we practice, we become--we cannot love God and practice bitterness or hate or fear; we must choose our master and yield our heart to Him when the Holy Spirit puts His finger on an attitude or practice. The more we ignore His voice, the more we train ourselves in listening to the wisdom of the world which is all around us.

3. One who is focused on pleasing God must spend time in His word.

I am surrounded by people who say, "God told me this or that" or “Why did God do that to me?" Lots of God talk with no basis in scripture. I look for those who are listening to the voice of God. Psalm 1 says, "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the path of sinners or sit in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in this law He meditates day and night.”

4. A holy person is humble--meek, compassionate, and giving grace to others and admits faults and wrong doing when they have offended others..

Jesus said, "I am humble and meek. Learn from me." A proud person cannot be used by God. He gives grace to the humble but is opposed to the proud. I have not met an older person who is godly who has not been humbled in her own eyes over the years.

Humility leads a person to say, "Life is not about me or my pleasure or my happiness. It is about Him and His ways. Be it done to me according to your will, Oh God." As I look at all the obstacles of my life, all the difficulties and deeply painful times, I see that God was leading me on a course to train my heart, so that I would understand the struggles of others, have more compassion for them, and learn to extend His grace to them. A holy person says, "God, have your way in my life, and I will look at everything that happens to me as a lesson or place where I might be faithful to You or where I might have something to learn about ministry."

5. A person who is holy is committed to growing in love, because this is what pleases God.

Loving means putting away anger and harshness toward the one you love. Love means seeing the other person with the intention of serving and encouraging them, not asking what the person can do for you. Love means generously pouring out life-giving words and messages--I believe in you. I appreciate you. I accept you. I will help you. I love you and let there be no doubt, I will be committed to you and seek your best my whole life.

Love does not come easily, but matures over time. But without love, we cannot please God. He cares not so much that our theology is perfectly in line, but that we serve others in love. (The Good Samaritan is one example.)

6. Holiness requires that we choose to believe in God's presence, purpose, and attention in every moment, every day.

Without faith, it is impossible to please Him. We believe in the dark times of life. We worship and sing to Him every day. We wait as long as it takes to see His answer to our prayers. We wait on God and God only.

I want to be faithful and holy until I see Him face to face. All of life, it seems, works against my faithfulness--I am weak and vulnerable. I am surrounded by voices of the world. I am tempted regularly. I am lazy and tired and undisciplined at times. But I have made commitments that are at the front of my mind to call me to my ideals. These commitments speak to my heart, call to me to keep going, and give me personal accountability.

What commitments have you made that keep you going? What are your ideals, your hopes, your goals that keep you going? No one can make you be faithful or strong, but God is cheering for you, hoping you will be one of those who stands fast, holds on, chooses Him, desires in your heart to be holy and faithful to Him.

To be set aside for God’s purposes and to follow Him in obedience also provides us with the deeply satisfying fruit of soul satisfaction, deep fullfillment from finding a centeredness in life. in I What will you choose today?

Real Marriage 1: The Ease of Making Vows Vs. The Difficulty of Keeping Them

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In a fallen world, many precious ones find themselves in heart-breaking circumstances in broken marriages, and find themselves alone. We are all broken and in need of the sweet mercy of Jesus. I understand that everyone's story is different and I have deep love and sympathy for anyone whose journey has brought such pain. Many sweet friends have lived through these very difficult times and I pray God's gracious love brings healing and comfort.

Yet, when, if we are able to follow God's ideals and stay the course of our marriages, we are building foundations where loyal love, and virtuous commitment can be a story lived out in real life to show the reality of God's unconditional, forever love for us.

The man said,

"This is now bone of my bones,

And flesh of my flesh;

She shall be called Woman,

Because she was taken out of Man."

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. ~ Genesis 2:23-24

These are serious words. They are words of covenant, of God’s design for marriage. Yet those of us who have entered into such a covenant have also learned a difficult truth: it’s easier said than done!

While today’s culture looks upon marriage as something to provide self-fulfillment, easily entered into and simply though regretfully ended when one or both partners decide they’ve “fallen out of love” or “just aren’t compatible” anymore, we can see in the damage done to our society that marriage is much more than our current view might suggest.

Marriage is meant to be a picture of the love Christ has for the church; His commitment and persevering faithfulness to us. He said He would never leave us or forsake us. He laid down his life for us.  Jesus treasures marriage because it is the holy place where His love for the world is modeled by how we practice giving to one another and staying the course of our commitment. What might you do to strengthen your own marriage, today?

Printables:

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Books Referenced in this Podcast:

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Joy Grows When Burdens Are Shared: DWMHF 7 & I Podcast

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Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made frill. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

I have had several podcasts lately about friendship. I almost didn’t play this one today because I wanted to be sure you had not heard too much about friendship from me lately. Yet, in this podcast, I realized that there have been crucial dark moments in my life when I would have floundered or fallen apart if I had not had friends to carry me, to comfort me, to guide me when I couldn’t see where I was going. So I hope that you will listen to this podcast today and be encouraged once again about how vitally it is to understand that much of our joy is sustained through relationships with people who have chosen to love us, to help us, to be committed.

I find it curious that Jesus said, "These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full." He wanted his disciples to be joyful—full of joy! And he was telling them how. He gave them a whole list of connections, and it is all about relationship! He said that we are to obey him and that if we do, we will abide in his love, live there, dwell there, flourish there in his love. And then he went on to define the commandment that will help us to abide in his love and experience full joy: "This is My commandment, that you love one another." That's it? Not that we have to be perfect or holy or righteous or without sin, but that we love one another? That is where our joy is made full?

Absolutely. This is why Jesus commanded us to cultivate and be committed to "life-laying-down," serving, loyal love.

As I consider this passage in light of my most committed "love" relationships—marriage to Clay, who has stuck with me through thick and thin for nearly forty years; Gwen (and a few other close friends), who have loved and accepted me unconditionally for more than four decades; my children, who are the closest of friends and beloved of my heart—I realize that it has been in my relationships with them that I have had the most joyful memories, the deepest intimate encounters, the greatest celebrations of life. I have felt deeply loved and accepted in the common life experiences that have knit our souls together. And it all came through committed, "I will be loyal to you and love you no matter what" love.

I also see that severed relationships have kept so many of the people I know from having joy. Any broken relationship is like a divorce: it tears a portion of our heart apart when something that was made to be whole is broken. I wonder if a statement opposite of Jesus' could also be true, "You will not experience fully my Father's love, nor have your joy be full, if you refuse to love one another. That is what will keep you from experiencing the intimate love of God and the fullness of joy in life—because you were created for love!" And I also wonder if a statement such as "Greater love will a person lose if he is not willing to lay down his life for his friend" is true as well.

This laying down of our lives—serving, giving, helping—is the key to real friendship and love, and ultimately, the fullness of joy. What does that look like? Looking back at the passage, Jesus said, "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you." How has he loved us? He gave up his throne in heaven and came to the earth as a simple, humble man. He lived and loved and served and healed and poured out his life and died on the cross to pay for our sins. So that becomes the standard for what he means when he says, "Love one another."

Printables:

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Books Referenced in this Podcast:

More Resources:

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  • Leave an iTunes Review These are so important as they help our podcast reach more women with messages of encouragement.

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  • Share with others. My prayer is that this podcast brings encouragement to women and families, and I would be honored for you to tell others about it.

  • Join my friends and me in membership at Life with Sally, a place for me to share more teaching from the Bible and messages on education, motherhood, discipleship, and more!

Child Training In the Family: What Does "Training" Mean, Anyway? (part two!)

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Because we focused on relationships as our children were growing up (and encouraged other parents to do the same) many people assumed that meant we allowed our children to do whatever they wanted. Someone once even called one of our neighbors and asked, “So, just how out of control are their children, anyway?!” It is difficult for some people to wrap their minds around the idea of training as a main discipline method.

Child Training Is Instruction, Interference, Consequences, and Modeling/Correcting

Training is constant instruction, interference with immature and inappropriate behavior, consequences of some sort, and modeling or requiring a correction of that behavior, with constant attention to the relationship all the while.

Babies need to be held, guided, and distracted. When my little ones would put their fingers in the wall sockets, I would pick them up and say, “No, no! Danger! This will hurt you!!” And take them away and be strong with the Danger word so that they understood it was not something to be played with. I read an article recently that said if you respond to babies under 2 within 10-15 seconds, they learn what you are telling them and are much more likely to obey. If you just yell or say something across the room, they do not get the message. In other words, babies respond to immediacy and personal training, interaction.

Often, just distraction—taking them away from what they thought they wanted and showing them something else. “No more cookies! Now let’s walk to the window and see if there are any dogs outside.”

Now to older children as they grow. An extrovert needs time to talk and talk and to be active; and they should not be punished for being loud or active or talkative. It is a part of their glory. We as parents need to learn how to channel and train that exuberance down a path of fruitfulness.

An introvert needs time alone or time alone with you, and they should not feel shame for feeling shy or fearful but should know they are precious as they are, with you leading them to grow in relationship to other people.

A little wiggly boy needs to be understood as one who God gave testosterone so that he could protect his family some day. A young teen girl needs grace with her hormones and patience when she emotionally spills her feelings or anger and frustration all over people— (so do boys, by the way) and so on.

Loving, serving, encouraging, and requiring honor in relationships was always the foundation for all child training in our lives, seeing that, like the Holy Spirit in my own life, I was coming alongside my children, helping them, encouraging them in the path of righteousness in their own lives as one of my primary roles as a mom.

"No, not that way, but this way,” we said over and over and over again; gently, lovingly, firmly, consistently. Always be ready to praise for good choices and say, "You are growing so strong inside, and I see you making such wise choices."

Remember you are will training, Will training is what we see in Deuteronomy 30:15-20--"See that I have set before you: life and prosperity or death and adversity, so choose yourselves today, what you will do."

“I hope you will obey mama. It is your choice, if you choose to obey ______, then you will find blessing for your good choice. But if you choose to disobey, you are choosing these consequences, (sitting with mama while the others play, or having to clean up all the toys in the play room as a practice for being responsible, etc. (whatever the parent decides is equal to the issue.

Child Training is Not Controlling

We do not want to control our children because we are bigger and louder and can create havoc in their souls with our anger. Instead, we want to train them and motivate them, to help them understand early on that they have the capacity to decide how to behave. If they respond to our wills and desires, with our encouragement, then they will be blessed. If they do not respond, then they are choosing to be disciplined in some way--they have a choice to make. This way, we honor their own ability to choose to be wise, and we train them that choices have consequences.

I cannot make you strong--only you can decide how strong and how excellent you want to become. But I believe God has created you to be a wise or strong or valiant (fill in the blank) person, and I can't wait to see His plan for you. So, I am hoping that you will choose to obey mommy, so that you can be blessed and happy."

Children who are controlled by anger or spanking may learn to obey when their parents are present, but they will rebel when their parents are not.

Children who learn to use self-discipline and develop a sense of their own worth and strength and understand how to take ownership for their lives, will obey and be strong because they desire to build their own character.

There is always more to be said on this topic, but these are some starters for building a plan and following it. I spoke these things even to my toddlers and babies when I was carrying them around my home, and talked and talked to all of my children about truth, God, love, and our ways, all day long. Now they all joke about the mantras they remember me saying over and over again.

Here are the books we’ve created which we hope will be helpful in your own child training efforts!

When Life Gets Tough, Put on Lipstick & Podcast

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Sometimes, we need to just stop life from invading every moment of our day and sapping all our energy, and take the time to make a new plan. Rest, rest, rest. We all need to regularly rest to keep ourselves alive. But we need more than rest: sometimes: we need something fun.

When the girls came to Colorado for our yearly national team meeting this year, we took some time to sit down and record a chat about some of our favorite things to do when we just needed to restore our souls in an enjoyable way. We did a lot of giggling, and hope you feel like you’re sitting with us today as you listen in.

Oh—and lets not forget the most important thing: what lipsticks do we all prefer???

Sally uses Burt’s Bees Lip Crayons in Niagra Overlook and Hawaiian Smolder (she may not live that color name down, ha!) Jacqui likes Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector; Zoe’s favorite is Maybelline Colour Sensational Loaded-Orange Danger (Jacqui also loves the same line in Bossy Berry and Fiery Fuschia), Kristen wears Turkish Delight by Nars everyday and a gorgeous red called Jackpot from Sephora for special occasions, and Misty has been wearing L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche in Mica (which looks nothing like what’s in the tube when you put it on!) for longer than … well, let’s just say it’s been a long time, and has a special place in her heart for the roll-on gloss called Lip Potion which she fondly remembers even though the last bottle she’d seen of it (glass) actually broke in the back pocket of her jeans wayyyyy back in 4th grade!

Of course, we talked about lots of weightier matters, too. Sally shared this story …

Years ago while we were on a long walk, I asked my adult kids what they really thought mattered—what were the important things in life. Maybe you should ask yours, too!

Here’s what they said …

People, not things

Kindness, not being right

True life virtue, not opinion or debate

Loving, redeeming, forgiving, extending grace; not judgment, criticism, self-righteousness, or cynicism 

Living into His grace as a habit of living well with others; not striving to impress or earn love through works, accomplishment, status, fulfilling expectations, or influence,

Being intentional, not just frantically busy

Seeking Him, pondering Him, listening to Him; not the approval of man or living by the rules of others or seeking to be popular but living happily within the limitations of life

Seeking the Kingdom and eternity, not the kingdom or voices of the world

Honestly admitting a need, confessing a weakness or sin, not stuffing our insecurities and pretending to be perfect

Being humble and meek, not powerful and influential

Waiting for Him, not living in the flesh and striving

Living a life of worship, focused on meeting the needs of others; not making self-fulfillment our life goal

Being still and knowing He is God, not living a noisy, empty life

Loving well with words, actions, and setting an atmosphere of love and acceptance, not competition

We pray you’ll enjoy listening in, and also think about what small actions can restore your own soul this summer!

Printables:

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Books Referenced in this Podcast:

 
 

More Resources:

FOR MORE

  • Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app.

  • Leave an iTunes Review These are so important as they help our podcast reach more women with messages of encouragement.

  • Follow on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news and updates.

  • Share with others. My prayer is that this podcast brings encouragement to women and families, and I would be honored for you to tell others about it.

  • Join my friends and me in membership at Life with Sally, a place for me to share more teaching from the Bible and messages on education, motherhood, discipleship, and more!

Blessed, Broken & Given: Glenn Packiam & podcast

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Play Episode on iTunes & Stitcher

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”

Jesus, (John 6:35)

Throughout all cultures, bread has been the basic, sustaining food that represents the satisfaction of hunger. Whether tortillas, a loaf of sandwich bread, pita, nun or others, bread is a basic of life.

Jesus called himself the bread of life—and he said He would satisfy our hunger.

Do you hunger for love? For finding purpose in the midst of your every day circumstances of life? For forgiveness? For belonging? For healing?

Jesus is our bread of life. But what is also mind blowing, is that when our own hearts have been filled by His love, power, personal presence, He fills us with Himself and we become and offering of His attributes of filling hunger for others. We are blessed by His adoption, redemption, coming into our lives.

We then see that our brokenness is satisfied by His presence in our lives.

Then, our lives become a sacrifice, breaking open for the sake of others who are hungry for Him. We are given to the world, as He was, to bring His satisfaction to those who also hunger and thirst.

My friend, Glenn Packiam, has written a book that will refresh your understanding about how Christ comes to you to satisfy your life, to validate your story and to show you how to become His life and light to those He brings your way.

I so enjoyed talking with Glenn Packiam on my podcast today about the beautiful, life-giving concepts he shares in his new book. I pray the podcast will be of great encouragement to you as you continue to know God’s blessing and then become bread of life, because of His presence through You, to those who long for His love, light, satisfying love.

I so enjoyed talking with Glenn Packiam on my podcast today about the beautiful, life-giving concepts he shares in his new book. I pray the podcast will be of great encouragement to you as you continue to know God’s blessing and then become bread of life, because of His presence through You, to those who long for His love, light, satisfying love.

Printables:

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Books Referenced in this Podcast:

More Resources:

FOR MORE

  • Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app.

  • Leave an iTunes Review These are so important as they help our podcast reach more women with messages of encouragement.

  • Follow on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news and updates.

  • Share with others. My prayer is that this podcast brings encouragement to women and families, and I would be honored for you to tell others about it.

  • Join my friends and me in membership at Life with Sally, a place for me to share more teaching from the Bible and messages on education, motherhood, discipleship, and more!

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Child Training in the Family: What Do You Want to Build? (part one)

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"A wise woman builds her house, and a foolish woman with her own hands tears it down." Proverbs 14: 1

Often, in my conferences, I have said, "In order to build a house, you must have an architectural plan or the house will not stand. There are many ways to build a home and many kinds of homes. One can build a small shack or a grand estate, but all begins with a plan. It all depends on how big your vision for your plan is--you can build generations of legacy or only have a small sphere of influence because of having no imagination or Biblical plan in place. "

None of us is perfect and so we will never have a perfect plan, but we must have something in place and expand and build on it! Here are several foundational principles that Clay and I followed.

1. God designed the family and children and He called them a blessing--so He must have something in mind.

Starting out with scripture, reading Genesis 1, pondering how God fathers us, observing how Jesus influenced His disciples, --these principles give us a starting place. God is relational and loving and provides and pursues and protects and wants to communicate.  And so I pattern my life after His.

2. We are building generations--a legacy of messages, values, traditions, and convictions.

Parenting is not primarily focused on behavioral goals, but on heart values and messages--those purposes that inspire, capture a child's imagination, and give those in the family a sense of belonging and hope. Purpose and focus on heart messages is a part of the grid that I work from every day.

3. We must have in mind what it is we are building.

Clay and I partnered together to come up with values, truths, and habits that we wanted to become the very core of our children's impulses on how to live life well. The picture of the Holy Spirit comes to mind. Jesus said, "I will send you a Helper, and He will guide you into all truth." We are like that with our children and as Christ was with His disciples: helpers who will guide them into truth.

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

All day long, the grid I worked from was through the lens of our “family ways”. For instance,  when a toddler was about to hit another, I would pick them up, hold the hand and say very seriously, "We never, never use our hands to express hate or anger. Remember our way: ‘We treat others with kindness, gentleness and respect.’"

If a child was older and mouthed off, I would remind them of that same "way", and require them to apologize or write a note to the offended person, or write out the memory verse however many times I thought would be appropriate. Our ways became an objective grid for training and building expectations in our children's soul for Biblical ideals.

Our 24 Family Ways is a devotional that Clay wrote for our family, to be the discipleship tool for building a plan of how we wanted our children to live life--to train them in what was true, what was expected, and how to practice living within the guidelines of the Clarksons. We wanted our children to know how to honor us and God; to know how to practice loving others in word and deed; to know how to cultivate strong work habits and attitudes about all of these and many other things. We attached each "way" to scripture, gave our children memory verses, and went over our ways again and again over the years so that these truths would be deep in their hearts. We pray this book will be a blessing and guide for your family, too!

More next week on this same topic!

Deep Heart Satisfaction of Friendship With Women & Podcast

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Play Episode on iTunes & Stitcher

A man of too many friends comes to ruin,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.~ Prov. 18:24

 

One of the most common letters or notes I receive is, “I am so lonely and have difficulty finding like minded women.”

Cultivating deep, soul filling, heart strong friendships with women who call you to your best self is becoming more and more rare. Yet, love, companionship, comfort, understanding, sympathy, “being known and loved” is one of the ways we were created to experience the Love of God in our lives. Love gives us the oxygen we need to breathe in grace through the taxing days of our lives.

Friendship is an imperative part of a healthy life! We hope you’ll enjoy our podcast today as we discuss women’s friendships.

It is the reason my girls and I wrote “Girls’ Club”. We wanted to help women remember the gift of developing close, intimate friendships with other women and we wanted to encourage women to reach out to others.

Today, ponder the podcast and pray about the truths we address for your own life. Reach out to at least one woman this week. And we do pray that each of you will find a sweet friend with whom to walk through the pathways of life.

Remember, Proverbs tells us, “A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” ~C.S. Lewis

Printables:

Download and print the postcards below and send to a friend!

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Books Referenced in this Podcast:

More Resources:

FOR MORE

  • Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app.

  • Leave an iTunes Review These are so important as they help our podcast reach more women with messages of encouragement.

  • Follow on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news and updates.

  • Share with others. My prayer is that this podcast brings encouragement to women and families, and I would be honored for you to tell others about it.

  • Join my friends and me in membership at Life with Sally, a place for me to share more teaching from the Bible and messages on education, motherhood, discipleship, and more!

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