Wisdom for My Son as You Graduate

My eldest son Jacob graduates Magma Cum Laude from the Honors College at Houston Baptist University this May with a Pre-Law degree! I can’t believe how quickly time has flown. It seems like only yesterday he began college, and all those years of homeschooling are now a distant memory. Here he is pictured below the first week of school.

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All incoming freshman have to wear their HBU beanie the first two weeks of school, and students in the Honors College must also wear a colored cape that Jacob decided to wear as an ascot. He looks so young in this picture. What a difference four years makes. Especially, when boy meets girl. Pictured below is Jacob and his fiancée Jane.

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I can’t believe my baby is graduating from college and getting married!

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My son,

As you graduate here are a few things I want you to know.

  • Follow the Lord with all your heart. 

My prayer for you is Proverbs 3:5-6.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

If you Trust God and have unwavering faith in Him, no matter what circumstances come your way in life He will show you what to do and where to go. Be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life and allow God to direct your steps.

  • You are never alone. 

Jesus is always with you, and he will never leave you nor forsake you. Your Dad and I will always love you and you will always be our little boy no matter how old you are.

Remember, that you are your brother’s keeper. God has given you a tremendous blessing as the firstborn son. Your brothers look up to you, never take that responsibility lightly.

Remember the Parable of the Faithful Servant found in Luke 12:48 ESV,

“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.”

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  • Let wisdom be your guide. Always remember the instruction of your Father and the truth of Proverbs 4 that you memorized as a boy.

Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”

Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness.

FullSizeRenderWhen you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. 

Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on. 

For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

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But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness they do not know over what they stumble. My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.

 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.
Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

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  • Let Love be your Guide.

Follow the Golden rule and always be kind and loving. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Even when others are not kind to you. Love the Lord with all your heart and love others, because that is why we are here.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:37-40 ESV

Son, know the Lord has a special plan for your life that only you can fulfill. If you seek Him, You will find Him, and He will be your guiding light all throughout your life. I look forward to this next season in life and I pray that you will live an abundant life with all that the Lord has for you!

 

This Is Us-When Life Gives You Lemons

Have you seen the television show This is Us?have a love/hate relationship with this show. I love it, but I bawl like a massive baby through each episode! One episode really hit home. Dr. K comes out to give Jack the sad news that one of his triplet babies is stillborn. Jack is entirely stunned and is trying to process what has just happened. Dr. K tells Jack that he and his late wife lost a child when they were first married and how he thinks of that baby every day.

He encourages Jack by saying if “you can take the sourest lemon that life hands you, and make something out of it that resembles lemonade, then maybe one day you can provide another man hope.” Wow! I bawled as I watched this… I sobbed uncontrollably.

[ctt template=”2″ link=”8k0m_” via=”yes” ]We all experience tragedy, grief and difficult seasons in life. We don’t all have the same hard, but we all go through difficult seasons.[/ctt]

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)

This week, a picture popped up on my facebook memories from 7 years ago. I took a look at this picture and the smile on my face and thought, “I can’t believe all that has happened in my life in the 7 years since this photo was taken.”

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When this picture was taken, I was in my 30’s and I have a huge smile on my face, not knowing what the years ahead would hold. My husband had just bought me a BMW. We were living the American Dream with our home in the suburbs, our 3 kids, and a dog. We were surrounded by family and friends, and life was good.

I was homeschooling my boys, living life, and the future was bright. Much to my surprise a few weeks before my 40th birthday, I found out that I was pregnant!

I birthed and buried my baby that following year.

My long-awaited son was stillborn. Within a short period of time, I went from living life on the mountaintop of life to quickly descending into years of agonizing, soul-crushing pain.

Life didn’t stop and I didn’t slow down. I pushed the pain down, put on a happy face and just kept going. In between my days of intense grief, there were happy times too. I helped  Jacob start a Model NATO debate league for high schoolers, and host conferences and workshops. Most of my days were filled living life to the fullest loving my sweet husband, homeschooling the boys, going to church, doing Bible Study, cooking tons of meals and washing a million loads of laundry, traveling across the country with Jacob and Ian for Speech and Debate, and driving Connor back and forth to therapy and school.

Jacob later graduated from our homeschool, took a gap year, and it was during this time that the health of my mom rapidly declined. We spent our Christmas that year going back and forth to the hospital. My mom was put on life support, and after many years of pain and suffering and battling illness, she died a few days after Christmas. After her death, I cried nearly every day for almost a year and I was consumed with grief. In between my days of intense grief, there were good times, but this season was marked by agony and major life transitions. We were in a serious transition period. We moved for the first time in 15  years, Jacob started college, and Peter changed jobs!

After we moved, I struggled to get our life back to normal, although I am not really sure our life has ever been “normal.” We moved into our home 2 weeks before the new school year started. On top of that, we began renovations on our home immediately. Things were pretty chaotic.

A few months after we moved into our home, and eleven months after the death of my mom, my dear sweet Mother-in-Law suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. This sent rippling effects through our immediate and extended family. Once again we found ourselves devasted by loss and heartbroken in the valley of the shadow of death.

Fall turned to Winter and Winter turned to Spring.

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We found ourselves out of the valley and back on the mountaintop of life again. We continued our home renovations, bought new furnishings, and put in a pool. Things were finally looking up, and it looked like 2015 was going to be a great year, and it was until spring break came, and I broke both of my arms in a bicycle accident and was incapable of doing anything for myself for weeks on end. My guys had to feed me, dress me, brush and floss my teeth, fix my hair and do my makeup. They literally had to do EVERYTHING for me! During my recovery, God was very near and taught me many things. After months of healing and therapy, I was finally beginning to get my life back.

Soon after we discovered that Connor was not Autistic, but that he was suffering from PANDAS and Auto-Immune Encephalitis. Which began months of intense medical inventions and therapies.

Most recently, I hit my head and suffered a concussion, and was laid flat on my back in complete darkness and silence as I healed. I was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, and for weeks I suffered the effects of that concussion. I spent hours in my room by myself in the dark completely overwhelmed by sight and sound. I am still feeling some of the side effects of my concussion today, and hope that the symptoms soon reside.

[ctt template=”2″ link=”SXRd2″ via=”yes” ]Life is uncertain.[/ctt]

It is filled with both personal victories and mountaintop experiences in between the valleys. Life has continued to give us some of the most bitter pills we have ever had to swallow, but through it all, we have become stronger as a family. We have become closer to our Saviour. We have learned that life is hard, but God is good. He gives us beauty for ashes, and His Love for us incomprehensible! It is not just about taking lemons and making lemonade.

[ctt template=”2″ link=”GBklS” via=”yes” ]It is about trusting Jesus with our life and our circumstances.[/ctt]

With Jesus, the scripture says, we can do all things! No matter what the future holds, for those who are in Christ, we are clothed with strength and dignity and do not need to fear the future. We know God is with us and that he loves us and wants good for us. He has given us a hope and a future, no matter what comes our way!

My friend, I don’t know what lemons life has given you. Your hard is not my hard but hard comes in all shapes and sizes. The road ahead may be uncertain, but I am here today to tell you that no matter what you are going through today, it is temporary and cannot be compared with the glory that awaits us in heaven! Press on, and continue to fight the good fight of faith.

 

She said “Yes!”

How was your 2016?  We had a year of ups and downs, but what a difference a day makes! For our family, Christmas came early. A life-changing event occurred three days before Christmas, when on December 22, 2016 our eldest son Jacob Phillip proposed to his beautiful now-fiancé  Jane Reynolds.

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After much dreaming and planning, Jacob surprised Jane by taking her out to a romantic dinner to their favorite Houston Sushi hotspot, Uchi for their 14 month anniversary. When they finished dinner they meandered over to a place that it is near and dear to both their hearts—the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

Waiting anxiously in the wings for the happy couple to arrive were family members and a few friends. We had a wonderful photographer and longtime family friend Madeleine Frost there to capture our special moment.

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As Jacob dropped down on one knee, and asked Jane to marry him we were all there to witness and share in this special occasion.

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Jacob Phillip & Jane Reynolds are pictured with her parents Hope & John Mark Reynolds

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Misty Phillip with Jacob Phillip, our future Daughter-in-love Jane Reynolds, and Peter Phillip 

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An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.- Proverbs 31:10 

We look forward to Jane becoming a part of our family next year. She is absolutely precious. I often tell Jacob he has chosen well. Jane exemplifies the woman who fears the Lord found in Proverbs 31:10 ESV.

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I don’t know what 2017 has in store for us, but I am sure that there will be quite a lot of wedding talk.

Finding Fulfillment this Holiday Season

After years of living in a testosterone-filled home and raising boys, it is a joy to spend time with my son’s girlfriend Jane, doing “girlie stuff.” My husband and my son both work at the same consulting firm. For the past two years, we have enjoyed getting dressed up and attending the annual corporate holiday party together.

Jane and I spent the day talking and laughing and prepping together for the party. We enjoyed a day of pampering. Our first stop was Blush and Brush where we enjoyed a blowout and style. Then we went to Saks Fifth Avenue, where Michelle at the Dolce and Gabanna counter made us look beautiful!

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Jane and I talked a lot about family, the upcoming holidays, kids, and friends. My son Jacob and Jane are planning to be engaged soon, so we talked a lot about graduation, her career, and having children. Jacob and Jane were both homeschooled, and have very similar ideas about family. Our conversation turned to fulfillment, and thoughts that girls her age have today about being fulfilled.

Later that evening, we attended the Christmas party at the St. Regis Hotel in Houston. We had a wonderful time in visiting, eating, drinking, and dancing. A couple of hours into the party, Jane and I snuck off to the ladies room where we found a couple of comfy chairs in the dressing area. We kicked off our heels and began laughing and talking. Then, a beautiful young woman who was also at the party walked in. We made small talk for a few minutes when our conversation turned to Jane. We talked about her upcoming engagement, and this young woman proceeded to tell to Jane the importance of pursuing her career and being fulfilled before she had children.  There was that word again, FULFILLMENT. This young lady in bathroom thought the way to be fulfilled was through a career. This got me thinking. What is fulfillment, and how are we satisfied?

What is fulfillment?

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, fulfillment is the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted: winning the championship was the fulfillment of a childhood dream.• Satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character: she did not believe that marriage was the key to happiness and fulfillment.

I am concerned that young women today are being misled about how to achieve fulfillment. True fulfillment doesn’t come from things, people, or a career.

When I was young, I dreamed of becoming a wife and a mom. I had a career, but I couldn’t wait to quit as soon as I could to stay home with my children.  I made the decision to quit work and devote my life to raising and homeschooling my boys. I would not have wanted it any other way. I didn’t struggle with being fulfilled. Like the second definition in the Oxford American Dictionary says, my satisfaction and happiness were a result of fully developing my abilities as a wife and mom, and further developing my character. There is nothing like being a young mother to develop and try your character! From sleepless nights to diapers, and from vomit to screaming toddlers, Motherhood is not for the faint of heart!

How are we fulfilled?

First of all, fulfillment does not come from being married, having children, or having a career. True fulfillment comes from knowing Jesus Christ and living for him. But here is the rub: we will never be truly fulfilled here on earth, because this is not our home. We have a God-shaped hole in our heart that only He can fill.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

He has placed eternity in our hearts, and He is making us beautiful in His time. As we get to know Jesus Christ and spend time with Him reading His word, and praying we are transformed. Regardless of your age, don’t look to the world or to the things of this world to make you happy or to fulfill you. Fulfillment does not come from things, a house, a job, a car; it doesn’t come from people, a boyfriend, husband or children. You won’t find fulfillment wrapped in a box under your Christmas tree. True fulfillment comes from knowing and walking with the Lord.

May you know His love and feel His Presence afresh this Christmas Season!

 

A Gospel Christmas

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It is time to put away the turkey, and pumpkins and to begin thinking about Christmas.

Today I am pleased to invite Jennifer Moye to guest post on the blog! I met Jennifer at She Speaks 2016, and love her heart for Jesus, and her family.  Jennifer is going to share her journey of connecting Santa and his elf to the story of our Savior. I am excited to share this resource with you just in time to prepare our hearts for the Christmas season.

Welcome, Jennifer!

A Gospel Christmas

By Jennifer Moye

Around this same time a couple years ago, our boys were sitting in the living room floor creating their Christmas lists to send to Santa. The lists consisted mostly of cut out pictures from the Toys-r-Us catalog pasted sloppily with glue sticks on poster paper. They jumped up and down with excitement with every page turn as they found a new must-have toy. In all the fun of that day, I noticed that our oldest boy had only 3 things listed on his paper. An IPad, a phone like mommy’s, and crutches.

Crutches?

Yep, that’s right. Those were his must-haves of that Christmas.

As Christmas morning rolled around, the boys ran downstairs with all the excitement that kids should have on Christmas day. They ripped open packages and slung presents around, eagerly ready to move to the next item.

The younger two boys seemed quite content with their loot for the day. But the oldest sat on the floor with his arms crossed and a sour look on his face. In his lap set a box for a brand new iPad mini still in the wrapper.

Let me just pause right here. I do not even have an iPad. Just sayin’.

When asked what was wrong, he proceeded to through a fit about how he didn’t get a phone like mommy’s or any crutches. He was furious!

I could not believe how ungrateful he was being. Didn’t he realize how awesome the gifts he had received were? How did we get to the point of demanding what we should receive and then being mad if we didn’t get it exactly as expected? Didn’t he understand he couldn’t have everything? Didn’t he know that Christmas is about more than receiving everything on your wish list?

As I sat there in the floor with my wonderful little boys, I instantly felt like a failure.

Clearly I had missed the mark in explaining to him what Christmas is all about. Why else would he act so ungrateful?

Now before you say it, I know . . . he is 5 years old. And kids are kids. I get that. But it just didn’t sit right in my soul. We had talked about the reason we celebrate Christmas. We read the Bible stories. We went to the Christmas play at church. We even gave gifts from the angel trees and donated spare change to the guy outside Walmart. We had talked about this.

I wanted my children to understand at their very core, that Christmas simply wasn’t about them. It was about Jesus. I wanted them to realize that our gifts should be a reflection of the gifts God gave to us in His Son Jesus. I wanted them to have the fun and excitement that Santa, and the Elf on the Shelf, and Christmas parties at school bring – but they needed to know in their hearts that all of it was because of the birth of our King. Even though they knew these things in their heads, I don’t think they really felt it in their innermost being. And that really bothered me.

The following year was a big year for us as we decided to homeschool, made another move, and various other life changes. One scripture passage remained in my mind throughout that time.

Deuteronomy 6: 5-9 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

As the holiday season approached I knew we needed to do something different this year. We needed something that would create an impression of the hearts of our boys and our family. It needed to be in our home, on our doorframes and at our gates. It needed to be intentional and purposeful.

I had no idea that the months to follow would lead me to writing a book and sharing with others the things God was revealing to me and convicting me of in my own life. This month marks the launch of the book A Gospel Christmas and it is straight from my heart to yours.

A Gospel Christmas, is our journey through the month of December 2016. We found a way to connect Santa and his naughty little elf to our greatest gift of all. It is personal and transparent. It is messy at times and most importantly it is real. It is our story of how God lead us to Himself and made a huge impression not just on the hearts of our children, but on my heart as well.  Through the 25 days in December we walked through the life of Jesus in a very practical, easy, and kid friendly way.  We read scripture together, we did crafts, we talked, we gave to others, we cried, and we laughed. It was the most beautiful thing to see the gospel of Jesus come alive in our children’s’ hearts. To see their eyes light up with excitement and their minds begin to understand who Jesus is to them is something that a parent couldn’t be more proud of.

As the Christmas season is approaching us quicker than we all can handle, I would like to challenge you to pray over how your family will celebrate the birth of our King this year. Do your children truly understand what this season is about? Is your family focused on Jesus this year, or distracted by parties, the latest gadgets, and hosting friends? Are you searching for a way to connect all the fun of the holiday with the true meaning of Christmas?

I would love to hear your thoughts and I would love to be on this journey with you! Head on over to my website and receive the first two chapters of A Gospel Christmas for FREE! You will also be included in our Christmas newsletter which provides tons of ideas and inspirations on different ways to connect your family to Jesus throughout the season. And because you are one of the first to know about A Gospel Christmas, I will also send you some insider tips on how to incorporate Santa, the Elf, school parties and more with our Savior’s birth!

A Gospel Christmas is available in digital copy and paperback just about everywhere! It can be ordered online or ordered through your local bookstore. Bulk orders are available for churches or other organizations as well. I would be truly honored for you to share this book and post with those you love. What better gift to give at Christmas than one that could lead someone to Jesus? You never know who’s life can be touched by a simple share.

“My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

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BONUS!!! Just because you guys are awesome and you are supporting my friend by reading her awesome blog I want to give you a chance to win a signed copy of A Gospel Christmas for FREE! Enter our giveaway below and you will be in the running for one of several prizes that will be picked to celebrate the launch of this great book!

 

 

Go to A Gospel Christmas-giveaway to enter.

Jennifer is wife to an Airman and mom to three rambunctious little boys. With excitement on a daily basis and grace around every corner, she believes we are meant to live this life in community with others and with the mercy to mess up and try again….and again.  Being a mom is hard, but it is also a divine calling we can have in this life. Her ministry to women is relevant and heartfelt with her core passion being that we learn to glorify our God in our parenting, our marriage, and in our everyday lives.

Join Jennifer’s community online at:           image6

www.jennifermoye.com

www.facebook.com/jennifermoye

www.twitter.com/jenmoyewrites

www.pinterest.com/jenmoyewrites

 

Thanksgiving Preparations!

Today I want to share some of our Thanksgiving preparations! I want to start out by saying thank you to all of my blog readers! I am so encouraged by you all, and I thank God for each of you!  I pray that you will enjoy a bountiful feast with your loved ones, and that your heart is filled with praise to Jesus our King!

Our dining room table is set for a thanksgiving lunch celebration with our immediate family, along with one lovely addition. Jacob’s girlfriend Jane will be joining us this year!

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While out shopping this year I found these amazing chargers, and cute little leaf shaped bowls to add to our table this year! I paired that with dishes we already own, and vintage classes from Peter’s childhood. I just love the way the place settings turned out. So fun!

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This year we are mixing things up a bit, and instead of having TURKEY OR HAM, we are having PHEASANT AND DUCK! Along with a wild rice stuffing, 5 cheese macaroni, whiskey Glazed carrots, a healthy version of green bean casserole, crusty bread with onion jam, along with pumpkin muffins, and buttermilk pie for dessert. Yum! I am so excited.

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Peter grated a mound of cheese for me, and I made a Béchamel sauce, and viola. A hearty 5-Cheese Macaroni make ahead side dish, that I topped with Panko bread crumbs, and popped in the refrigerator for the big day!

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Peter’s brother and his family will be joining us in the afternoon on Thanksgiving day. We will enjoy a more relaxed setting with the kids. Leaving lots of room for the adults to talk, and the kids to play.

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A few years ago I started doing crafts with the kids, and it has become a holiday tradition. This year we are painting wooden Christmas ornaments.

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I also picked up these fun coloring, bingo, tic-tac-toe pages to keep the littles busy.

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As we prepare our homes, our tables, and our food, let’s not forget to prepare our hearts. We have so much to be thankful for, and in the midst of our busyness, let us keep our eyes fixed on the giver of all good gifts.

 

Psalm 100 – A Psalm for giving thanks.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

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Have a Blessed Thanksgiving! Be sure to follow my blog for a chance to win the Listen, Love, Repeat! bundle. Stay tuned for more holiday inspiration and giveaways from now until the end of the year!

How are you preparing for the holidays? What traditions are you planning to incorporate? Are you doing anything new this year? I would love to hear from you!  Leave me a comment  and let me know what you have planned.

 

Steadfast Podcast-Deep Wounds of Losing a Child

I have exciting news to share with you this week! Recently, I had the opportunity to share my testimony on Casey Tate’s Podcast, Steadfast. Many of you have read parts of my testimony of losing our son Little baby Liam, but there is just something special when you can hear someone’s testimony.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. -Psalm 139:4

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If you know anyone struggling with the loss of a child, infertility, miscarriage, or someone who just needs to hear a reminder of God’s faithfulness, please share my testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness in the midst of suffering the loss of a child on Casey Tate’s Steadfast podcast.  The Deep Wounds of Losing a Child

God is so faithful! He is working in the lives of people all over the world. On Steadfast, Casey Tate covers a wide variety of topics on her Podcast from sex trafficking to physical illness, and everything in between. Recording the podcast with Casey was a lot of fun! She does a great job of pointing people to Jesus, and I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of this special ministry. All of her podcasts are available to listen to on iTunes.

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We all have a hard story. Whether or not we chose to tell it or let our shame consume us is a decision that will chart the course of much of our lives. God’s grace, his redemption, can change us from the inside out. Steadfast is a collection of brave women that want to tell you their story so you can know that you aren’t alone in your struggles; there is community among the broken. Join us every week and find the freedom that can only come from the steadfast love of our Almighty Father. – Casey Tate

Be sure to check out my post on Loved Baby:  a beautiful devotional book to help you grieve and cherish your child after pregnancy loss.

 

Love not Fear for the Holidays

This weekend a glitter bomb exploded in my home as we began pulling boxes out of the attic in preparation for the holiday season and in anticipation to celebrate the birth of Christ. Simultaneously, on the streets of America another bomb exploded throughout cities across the country. Streets filled with people young and old raging against a Trump presidency. Angry mobs filled with hate and a palpable spirit of fear.

We are witnessing a huge clash of worldviews right before our very eyes.

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For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.- 2 Timothy 1:6-7 ESV

As Christians, we are not to have a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, and of love and self-control. Instead we are to fan the flames of our spiritual gifts. How should we respond to the lost and hurting people in our country? How can we use our time, money, and talents to make a difference?

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 ESV

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Love casts out fear, and it is only the love of Jesus Christ that can bind up the wounds of the brokenhearted, that can save the lost, and calm the fears. Last week, I told you about Karen Ehman’s new book and Bible Study Listen, Love, Repeat!  And as I prepare my home for the holidays, I am also preparing my heart. I am praying about how I can use my gifts and talents to love people. I am praying about who I can be a light to, and how I can be the hands and feet of Jesus.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I am overwhelmed by all that I have to thankful for.  I am abundantly blessed with the love of the Savior, my husband, children, family, and friends. As Americans we have so much to be thankful for.

However, the holiday season can be a very complicated, if we gather with family who may is different from us. Those who have different morals, values, worldview or political views can be especially challenging. For other people even the thought of gathering with family during the holidays evokes stress, and for some this may be a season of aloneness or intense grief.

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My plan is to pray and ask the Lord what he would have me and my family do this holiday season, and then do what he leads me to do. Showing love to others will look differently to each of us. For some it may be as simple as smiling more often. Slowing down to be more present, or thinking of others more often than thinking of ourselves.

What are some ways that we can reach out in love and bless others?

I would love to hear from you!

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If you would like more practical tips on how you can love others well this holiday season, be sure to follow my blog. I am excited to share one copy of Karen Ehman’s book, Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World along with a study guide and DVD! To be eligible to win, simply follow MistyPhillip.com, anytime between now and December 1, 2016!

Listen, Love, Repeat!

As the dust settles after a very contentious political season, one thing that is for sure is that our nation is divided. In the midst of this division, how should Christians respond? The answer: Listen, Love and Repeat!

I just finished reading Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World by Karen Ehman. Wow! What a timely and relevant message for us to consider and apply in our lives today. I was first introduced to Karen Ehman this past spring when I attended the She Speaks Proverbs 31 Women’s Conference and joined the COMPEL writer’s training program. When the opportunity arose to review Karen’s new book and Bible study I was thrilled to do so!

In Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World, Karen encourages us to be mindful, and look beyond ourselves and listen for ways we can can bless others. This book is based off of the principle, Love God, and Love people. In Matthew, we see the Sadducees ask Jesus questions to try to trap him theologically. When Jesus silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees continued to engage in ongoing debate with Jesus.

 

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:36-40 ESV

This command comes from Deuteronomy 6:5,”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”  Love God, and love others. In these two commandments we have the sum of the law. Devote yourself to God by loving Him, and then show grace, love, and kindness to others.

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Karen has identified a major problem that affects society today. This problem will likely  plague the next generation, if something doesn’t change. In the crazy fast-paced selfie culture we live in, how can we love God and love others well? Karen shares both biblical stories and personal examples, along with practical wisdom on how to love others well.  Karen shares memory verses for making a difference, recipes for reaching out, quips and quotes, and much more.

I am excited to share one copy of Karen’s book, Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World along with a study guide and DVD! To be eligible to win, simply follow MistyPhillip.com, anytime between now and December 1, 2016! To follow MistyPhillip.com enter your email address into the text box on the side bar of my website.

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Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World (Zondervan, November 15, 2016) is Karen Ehman’s ninth book and has a Bible study with DVD with it. Karen is an encourager to women and her life work is to help women live their priorities and to love their lives.

 

Karen is a Proverbs 31 Ministries Speaker and New York Times bestselling author. She is also the Speaker Track Director of the She Speaks Conference and a teaching staff member of Proverb 31’s writers training program COMPEL.

In Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World Karen talks about listening for heart drops – a heart drop is when a person, either directly or in a cryptic way, gives you a peek into his or her heart – and what to do when we hear them. When we take notice of those who are in our presence we are able to mimic what some refer to as the same ministry Jesus has. Karen says, “Jesus’ real ministry was the person he found standing in front of Him” and asks, “Who is that for you today?”