Fall Into Grace: 4 Steps to a More Peaceful Home this Fall

Friends, my family has been through quite a year. We’ve been through health issues, unexpected upheavals and big changes – not the least of which was moving halfway around the world to a place we never thought we would be!

Our little family has weathered the craziness of this past year really well. My husband and kiddos are rock stars!

But gals – and I don’t know about you – I’m tired. Body and spirit, I’m weary. I’m still faithfully spending time in the Word and in prayer; but most of the time these days it feels like my prayers are hitting the ceiling and the words from The Word are hitting plexiglass instead of a pliable, open heart.

And my family, y’all. After a year of change and movement, we need some peace. We’re all tired, we’re a little rough around the edges and we’re all a bit on edge.

How about you? Could your heart use a little bit of peace? Could your home use a little bit of peace in this season of back to school, impending holidays and pumpkin-everything?

(Note: “peace” does not necessarily mean absence of action, or even absence of conflict. Rather, a deep seated contentment in your current season.)

I don’t know about you, but I tend to think/feel, “If only someone would calm things down around here I could be the patient and loving wife and mother I long to be!!” You and I both know that we are the ones who set the tone for our homes and families. If someone is going to usher peace into our chaotic lives, it must start with us.

I know.

Fall Into Grace: 4 Steps to a More Peaceful Home This Fall

So, let’s do this together. Let’s take 4 simple steps to make our homes and families a little bit more peaceful this fall (and all the year ’round!).

1. Choose a theme verse. Spend some time praying, searching God’s Word and talking with your husband. Ask God to lead you to a verse to be your theme for the fall. Commit to memorizing it, praying it daily, and talking about it with your family. I’m thinking about choosing Psalm 119:165:

Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

I also want to incorporate verses 166-176 into my daily prayers for my family. Print your verse and hang it in prominent places in your home. Is there a song that incorporates your verse? Play it! Sing it! Learn it! The Word of God is living and active and the most powerful resource at our disposal to bring about positive and lasting change in our own hearts and in the hearts of our families.

2. Examine your schedule. It’s hard to have any time of peace or rest if you’re running six ways from Sunday everyday of the week. Talk with your husband and together come up with a plan for how many extracurricular activities in which each child can participate. We can’t do everything, and we shouldn’t try. For our family, in this season, our rule of thumb is one extra activity per child. That may change over the years, but for now it works for us. Decide for yourselves, too, how many extra things you will participate in. Do you really need to lead the women’s Bible study at church, coordinate the nursery rotations, make snacks every week for the youth group and go visiting the homebound every week all while running a blog, personal business website and planning your next mission trip? By all means, serve!! However, let’s find the places He is really leading us, and serve there. It will free our energies to cultivate peace at home, and it will free up ways for others to serve!

3. Concentrated time alone with God. My quiet times have been struggling lately. Oh, I’ve been in the Word. I’ve been praying…or trying to. But as I look ahead to cultivating a season of peace at home, I cannot give (or cultivate) what I myself to not have. We need hearts at peace in order to be agents of peace in our homes. Set aside time daily – a good chunk of time where you will have minimal interruptions – and really spend time with God. You may just need to sit quietly at first and focus on His presence to allow your heart to soften and open. If you’ve been through some stressful times this year, you may have been building a protective wall around it without realizing. This time can be early in the morning, during nap time or after the kids are in bed. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you take it. Set a reminder on your phone, write in on your calendar. Protect this time like your life depends on it – because it does.

4. Accountability and Encouragement. We cannot do this parenting gig alone. Find some friends from church, work, other school moms, whatever to come along with you on this journey of peace. If, like me, like-minded friends in person are a rare find, there are loads of online resources to help you, too! The past few years I’ve been participating in the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge from Courtney at Women Living Well (this challenge will run again this year, every Monday in October). Last year I fell in love with the book, Autumn Bliss, from Denise Thompson. So many great ideas for cultivating peace and rest in our homes.

So, are you in? Leave us a comment and tell us which one of these steps you’re either most excited about…or most terrified of! :)

Blessings,

Jen Deibel

5 Ways to Move from Overwhelmed to Overjoyed

overwhelmed to overjoyed

Today’s woman wears many hats; we experience this on a daily basis. Whether chauffeuring children to their next activity, bandaging a skinned knee, or washing the last dinner spoon, the responsibilities of wife and mother reflect many shapes.

Maybe you work a job for income, either inside or outside the home. While the work brings additional fulfillment and privileges to your life, it also brings stress.

Perhaps you volunteer in the community, at your church, or for your child’s school. While this is a blessing, it also uses time.

As a woman who, like you, wears many hats, I don’t want to feel overwhelmed. Because when I feel overwhelmed, I act overwhelmed; and honestly, this is not a good thing. (I was hoping you might understand?)

On a daily basis, then, how can we really move from overwhelmed to overjoyed? What decisions can we make that will bring feelings of joy and not feelings of alarm?

Today I wanted to share with you a few ideas I’m using to best focus my emotions. Maybe one of these ideas will stick with you and bridge the gap between feeling bewildered and feeling blessed.

1. Think about the daily schedule in small chunks of time, rather than a whole day’s worth of events.

On particularly busy days in our home, I only look at the schedule for the entire day one time in the morning. For the remainder of the day, I focus on a couple hours, or even an hour, at a time.

2. Dwell on Scripture frequently throughout the day.

Keeping God’s Word on display is so important to me. It’s my reminder to remember the promises of God’s provisions and reflect on His grace, mercy, and love. Continually acknowledging that HE is my strength prevents those threatening feelings of being overwhelmed.

3. Acknowledge the blessings in the midst of burdens.

Everyone has their burdens; but the richer woman is the one who multiplies her thoughts on her blessings. Sometimes I personally feel overwhelmed by my daughter’s special needs. Perhaps someone who is scheduled to help care for her doesn’t show up and this causes a ripple effect on my availability to care for my other children. Or if I begin to think about all the things she is no longer able to do, then fear of the future begins to wreak havoc on my spirit. Instead, I focus on the things she can do and thank the Lord for those abilities.

4. Recognize and enjoy moments of joy and fun.

When a moment of joy arrives, whether it’s a text message from my husband, a card in the mail, or a kiss from my baby girl, recognizing its value can mold my outlook for the next hour.  Savoring the simple things in life certainly brings joy.

5. Pray for a change of spirit when the feelings of being overwhelmed begin to peak.

When my head starts to spin a little and things are moving faster than I can keep up with, then asking the Lord to give me direction makes all the difference.

What have you found to prevent those feelings of being overwhelmed? We’d love to hear from you today!

Rachel at RachelWojo.com

3 Tips For a Smooth Back-to-School Transition

ManagingYourBlessings.com

Many students are returning (or already have returned) to school this month and sometimes in the transition things can become chaotic. I cannot count the times that summer seems to vanish without warning and the next thing I know, it’s time for school again. I know I certainly do not enjoy being stressed out when I can prevent it. In my experience there are three things that help make this back-to-school transition for our family run smoothly year after year.

3 Tips For a Smooth Back-to-School Transition

  1. Lay out clear goals with deadlines throughout the summer. I have found that getting things done a little at a time gives me the freedom to stress less and enjoy summer more. If you are able to get your child’s supply list at the end of the year, then do so. If you are able to schedule doctor and dentist appointments staggered throughout the summer, then do it. When I map out my goals – writing them down – it helps give me a tangible way to see them coming to pass. And this, my friends, gives me great peace.
  2. Make the time to pray over your back-to-school goals. This is an important step. All too often we can find ourselves caught in the “busy” of life managing to get to our appointments and cross off things on our to-do list leaving God out of the equation. I know I’ve been guilty of this very thing. I also know that when I do things in my own strength, I have no peace and tend to be grumpy to those I love the most. Praying over my goals has allowed me to hand over all the stress of day-to-day life back into God’s hands giving me the peace and strength to move on and show my family more grace. It’s a win-win for everyone.
  3. Talk to your children about your expectations for them in making the transition. This always helps our children when they understand what is expected of them. It gives them the opportunity to work through things in their heart and minds giving them time to formulate questions or concerns. Because our family is military, we move often and this can cause a different type of anxiety in each child. We have discovered that when our family is able to communicate both our excitement and concerns for the upcoming school year that we thrive during the transition. This makes for a fun back-to-school season!

When we set clear-cut expectations and transitional goals for our family, praying over them, we find that we have less stress and more fun every summer. It’s important to recognize that our children find comfort in this process as we settle into a new routine every fall. I am thankful for a loving and merciful God that guides us through life giving us the wisdom we need to life a peaceful, Christ-filled life.

Does your family have any routines to cut out the chaos and replace it with God’s peace? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Carlie @ Managing Your Blessings

3 Reasons You Might Be Too Busy

I hear it over and over and over. I even say it myself:  “We’re just soooo busy!”
I see our busy-ness addressed at church and in books, on blogs and Christian magazines.
I even see it addressed in non-Christian media.

why-so-busy

In fact, I see the problem stated so very often that I forget to think about the cause.

It seems like many times, teachers and pastors are showing us how to treat the symptoms while ignoring the problem

Why is everyone so busy?

Here are a few reasons to think about.

1. Everyone else is busy

We’re keeping up with the Jones’s.  We might purpose to slow down when school starts, but then we talk to our friends and their kids will be in karate, on swim team, taking piano and playing in the band.  Plus they’ll be participating in such-and-such ministry as a family and each spouse will be in the church choir…all of a sudden we wonder what we’ll be doing in those boring afternoons when the kids finish their homework.

2. The culture around us.

We live in a culture of speed.

We don’t want to wait for things.  We’re always moving.  I do work on my laptop while waiting for Facebook to load on my phone.  We want lightening fast internet and answers to text messages within 20 minutes.  If an email isn’t responded to by day’s end we wonder if we’ve done something to offend the other party.

3. We’re running.

Sometimes busy-ness can be an indication that things aren’t right.

  • Are you hurting?  Are there issues under the surface that you just don’t want to think about?
  • In the quiet hours, does your heart ache? Do you feel anger, sadness, or hopeless?
  • Do you avoid thinking about finances, your marriage, or your interactions with one of your children?

We can “try” new things all day long.  We can cut down on the kid’s activities and loosen up our schedule.  We can learn to say “no” to choices we’ve determined aren’t beneficial to our family, and we can even move to the country and start homesteading.

All , or even one, of these decisions could be the right ones to help you and your family slow down, unless the reason for your busy-ness is number three.

Friend, if you are filling your schedule with good things because it’s too hard to look at the painful things, please rethink your decision.

It’s in the quiet moments that God begins healing.

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone. Psalm 62:5

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35

This fall as the school year begins for so many and activities pick back up, instead of focusing so much on how busy I am, I will be thinking on why I’m busy.

I’ll be focusing on finding time with God.  I’ll try to carve time in my schedule purposefully – so I can fill it with healing and seeking His voice.  Join me?

There can be so many reasons for our busy-ness.  Can you share any others I didn’t list?

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