By Lynn Cowell
Many of us are experiencing it, but in so many different ways.
Some are preparing their lessons to homeschool. Others are shopping for the supplies on the public school list. The private school is hosting their ice cream social. And a few of you like me are dorm shopping and moving your kids to their school.
No matter what back-to-school looks like, we can all do one thing to help our kids prepare for their school days.
Teach them to start their day right.
When I stopped homeschooling my kids (my son was a middle schooler and my daughters in elementary), my heart started to ache because I no longer had the free time to teach them Jesus’ truths like I once did. For a least a year I simmered, thinking that was just the way it was.
Then I got the idea for what I called “Breakfast and the Bible”. I had my kids all come to breakfast at the same time, even though they left for school at different times. It only lasted 10 minutes, but these moments together allowed us to connect with each other and with Jesus before the rush of the day. When they were really small, I read them devotions. When my girls were in middle and high school, I wrote “Devotions for a Revolutionary Year” for us to use.
This school year, my kids will begin their day at three different colleges, but I am still encouraging them to start their day in God’s word using Proverbs 31 Ministries First5 app. This new app is actually an alarm clock on their phones. All they need to do is set their alarms each day in the app. Then, when their phone goes off in the morning, there is God’s word. First thing. They can simply lay in bed for a couple of minutes and start their day with Jesus in His Word.
Although I have taught my kids the power of opening God’s word for themselves each and every day, we all know this is a hard disciple to create. With the First 5 app, it couldn’t be any easier.
Even better, we can talk about the content together because we can each be reading the same thing each day.
Give it a try – Breakfast & the Bible. Gather your tribe a few minutes earlier than last school year or share the app together. It’s a beautiful way to grow closer to God and closer to each other!
By Ginger Ciminello
Confession: One of my biggest fears for as long as I can remember has been making a decision outside of God’s will. I think it paralyzed me for years. Sometimes it still does. I have prayer journals filled with the like:
Lord, I am asking for you to speak clearly about the direction of my steps. My life is moving after you… wherever I am. Please show me the steps I should take. But what if I can’t hear you? I feel like I can’t hear!! I’m afraid of staying, but I’m questioning my motives for going. What do you want from me? I want that answer. Show me where I should go… India, Uganda, Bolivia, Peru, Texas, Right here? Housing situation? Roommate? Stay put? Plan for the future? Prepare for transition?
Can you hear the desperation and fear in my requests? Although I was coming to God in prayer, I was still terrified that somehow I would miss Him. Rather than moving forward (here or there) in confidence, I clung to my square of carpet and declared, “I’m not going unless you tell me specifically where and when to move forward.”
God used my dear friend Adrianne to challenge me in my moment of fear. She wrote this to me in an e-mail: God is drawing all things together under Christ, and our part is to pursue holiness and blamelessness in the midst. Ministry will happen in your life because you have already declared Christ as Lord and you live towards that end… so choose! God will close doors if he doesn’t want you there, but move forward.
I had forgotten that our God is constantly pushing us forward. Or as C.S. Lewis reminded us through Narnia, “Aslan is on the move!”
Our God is moving and we would be wise to step in and join Him. The truth is that either God is powerful enough to direct and guide your steps . . . or He isn’t. I choose to believe that all power is His. So now my prayers have turned from the fearful, terrified fumbling to something more concrete.
Lord, I’m going to choose to step forward in this direction, believing that I’m joining you. If I’m wrong, please quickly hit me over the head with a frying pan of truth… whatever it takes for me to get the message!
It’s not poetic and it certainly won’t make it into a book of prayers any time soon, but it reminds me to keep the right perspective when I pray. God is greater than all of our fears.
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)
He can’t wait to hear from you.
Join us at Whatever Girls Live!
Update: Congratulations, Barbara Prince is the winner of Lynn Cowell’s book “Devotions for a Revolutionary Year”.
Happy New Year! Today brings a clean slate, a fresh start! I just know 2013 is going to be an amazing year!
On the eve of 2012 my best friend and I made a pact over steaming coffee. We both wanted to dig deeper into God’s Word, but we struggled with making the time.
We agreed that starting January 1 we would read our Bibles and pray each day. To help keep each other accountable, we would text each other every day after reading with the quick message “read and prayed”.
This past year of intentional devotional and Bible reading time has been so enriching and rewarding. Knowing we were waiting to hear from the other each day was a great motivation to stick with the plan. For me, it’s been life changing. There’s no other way to describe it.
I wanted to find a way to help my daughter and the girls I mentor in my Whatever Girls group experience this same growth. Fortunately for me, my dear friend Lynn Cowell’s second book, “Devotions for a Revolutionary Year” for teen girls was released this year, so the timing was perfect.
I ordered a copy of Lynn’s book for each girl and mom in my group and Lynn wrote a personal message and signed each book. The girls and moms were thrilled with their surprise.
The book has been such a gift for these girls. Lynn has a special way of connecting with teens on their level and in a relevant way. This makes her book perfect for a teen girl in your life.
Today in honor of the new year and because I want to encourage you and your girl to dig into God’s Word each day, I’m giving away a copy of Lynn’s book “Devotions for a Revolutionary Year”.
To enter, simply leave a comment for me letting me know you want to be entered in this giveaway. If you want to enter more than once you can get one extra entry for doing any or all of the following: sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Come back and leave a comment for each entry. It’s that easy!
The giveaway is open from now until Friday, January 4 (2013) at 6PM PST. I will select a random winner Friday evening and post their name back here in this post.
Update- we have a winner of the giveaway. Jenn, who said her intention without hesitation goal was: “Intentional about praying everyday for my children and reciting scripture.” Congratulations, Jenn!
My daughter starts high school in one week. Her new backpack will be laden down with homework, papers to bring home, and about 20 pounds of text books all year long. Unlike her mother, my daughter is a great student and takes academics pretty seriously and is involved with sports. She’s going to be a busy gal this year. Soccer practice 5 or 6 days a week, games, homework, Whatever Girls meetings, worship practice, chores, time with friends, time with family, church, and the list goes on.
Our kids, yours and mine, are busier than ever these days. My husband and I committed long ago to a one activity at a time policy. Our family does not function well when we’re out each night doing multiple activities. We suffer from burn out, our kids don’t get to be kids nearly as long as they need to, and we miss out on much needed together time.
Even with limiting activities, my girl is going to be crazy busy the next four years and I know some things are going to fall through the cracks. If I have to empty the dishwasher for her now and then, it’s no big deal. But there is one thing I don’t want falling through the cracks: her relationship with Jesus. Fortunately, she’s really on fire for God right now, but I want to encourage her to keep that fire going. Andrew Carnegie said: “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what people say. I just watch what they do.” These words have been weighing heavy on my heart for weeks. And so have these words, this concept: “Intention without Hesitation”.
Since January 1 of this year, my best friend and I have been keeping each other accountable spiritually. We read our devotion for the day, pray and then text the other saying “ I read and prayed”. Over the months we’ve missed a few days here and there, and there are days when I should have spent more time in God’s Word. Like last week, for example. Grace said “Mommy, are there any chores I can do so you can read your Bible?” Yes.She.Did. I smiled and thanked her. Even at 14, she knows if my cup is running on empty and can see how the rest of the family is affected.
Our intention without hesitation mornings with God start on the first day of school and will be as high a priority as eating breakfast and getting dressed for school. I wouldn’t dream of sending my kids to school hungry or improperly dressed. But, I’m sad to say I’ve let their spirits go to school cold and with hunger pangs- spiritually malnourished.
New starts are exciting, aren’t they? I’m especially excited about intention without hesitation mornings because of the tool we’re going to be using. My good friend Lynn Cowell (Proverbs 31 Author and Speaker) is coming out with her second book, “Devotions for a Revolutionary Year” on September 4. Lynn sent me an advance copy and asked if I’d endorse it. I didn’t hesitate. I’ve read Lynn’s first book “His Revolutionary Love” and the Whatever Girls brought Lynn to speak in our community last spring. We love Lynn. She has become one of my favorite people on the planet. She is so in tune with Jesus, so believe me when I say her books are amazing, relevant, full of God’s Word, wisdom, and will be instrumental in guiding your daughter to a deeper relationship with Jesus.
I believe a girl needs these two things in her life:
1. To (really) know Jesus loves her and to love Him back.
2. She needs to spend time with Him each and every day.
Not sure where or how to start? Keep reading.
Giveaway: Lynn and I want to spread the message of intention without hesitation to teen girls all over the world. We are giving away a copy of Lynn’s books, “His Revolutionary Love” and “Devotions for a Revolutionary Year”. The giveaway is open today through midnight on Tuesday, September 4.
To enter: please leave a comment telling us about your intention without hesitation goal(s).
For extra entries: spread the news about our giveaway on Twitter and/or Facebook for a total of three entries. Comment here (each time) telling us you’ve Tweeted or posted about the giveaway on Facebook. (You can post on your personal Facebook account or on your Facebook page, if you have one. Or both!)
For Twitter entries please Tweet this message: “@_WhateverGirls @LynnCowell please enter me in the#intentionwithouthesitation #giveaway #Devos4aRevYear http://ow.ly/di6X2 ”
For Facebook entries please post this message: “The Whatever Girls and Lynn Cowell are hosting an “intention without hesitation” book giveaway ‘His Revolutionary Love’ and ‘Devotions for a Revolutionary Year http://ow.ly/di6X2 ‘
A winner will be randomly selected and announced in this post on September 5, so be sure to check back!
If you don’t want to wait until September 5 to find out if you won the books, you can order “His Revolutionary Love” here and pre-order “Devotions for a Revolutionary Year” here.