Titus 2 IRL – Is that what you really want?

Titus 2 IRL - Is that what you really want? | RaisingArrows.netOften, I receive emails from young moms crying out for an older woman to be a Titus 2 mentor to them.  Years ago, I wrote about how you should not be so caught up in looking, you forget to be a Titus 2 woman to someone else because there is always someone who could use what wisdom you have gleaned thus far.  But today, I want to address another aspect of this search for the Titus 2 woman. Because we have a shortage of Titus 2 women in our real lives, we tend to turn to Facebook and blogs and forums to find our Titus 2 help.  I’m sure many of you have mulled over the question of whether or not today’s young wife and mother really needs a real life mentor?  Could these blogs and forums and connections on social media be the Titus 2 of today? Before I answer this, let’s go back in time… In yesteryear, your Titus 2 women were a part of the local congregation.  You knew if an older woman was someone you wanted teaching you because she had proven herself.  The entire community could see that fact.  Young mothers knew they could count on her advice because they had seen her run her household day in and day out and they were able to observe the fruit of her labor.  It was obvious she was for real. Likewise, the older women could see the needs of the younger women.  They saw these woman with their husbands and children out and about and could readily ascertain many of the issues they were having. Now before you tell me those were the “good ole days”, I want you to consider how much you would welcome an older woman’s advice?   Would you really be all ears or do you think maybe, just maybe, you might end up feeling cornered?  Would that older woman come off as helpful or presumptuous and meddling?  Would you only want her advice if you sought it?  Would you be irritated if she kept a watchful eye on your progress? It’s tough to take criticism.  It’s tough to be told something in your life needs to change.  And it is beyond tough to be held accountable for the lessons you’ve been taught.  When we do our Titus 2-ing online, we can lie about how we are doing or hide behind a passive-agressive Facebook status.  We can even unfriend and walk away. The reason I think having In Real Life Titus 2 mentors is important isn’t because of the sweet and precious moments of fellowship we might have with an older woman, but because of the hard stuff no one can really manage from an online platform. There is no online substitute for accountability and tough love. Do you want someone to be real with you?  Are you willing to be real with them?  I wonder if we lack Titus 2 women in our communities because we aren’t willing to have someone meddling in our lives and/or we are afraid of meddling in the lives of others? Can we have online Titus 2 women?  Yes – but they have to be women who aren’t afraid to check up on us and ask the hard questions.  And most importantly, we need to truly see the fruit in their lives.  This doesn’t necessarily mean all their adult children are Christians (because God doesn’t have grandchildren and people make their own choices) nor does it mean they do everything right all the time.  But it does mean you know what their home life is like and you know if they truly are striving on a daily basis to live for Christ and serve their families in His name.  It will be difficult to find this type of relationship online, but not completely impossible. Should we have IRL Titus 2 women?  Yes – but be prepared to listen and potentially get your feelings stepped on.  If you want those real relationships, you have to be willing to be real and raw and teachable.  Iron sharpens iron and sharpening hurts.  Be aware that Titus 2 relationships are going to be this kind of hurt from time to time. So, Titus 2 seekers, let me leave you with this final question that each of you must answer on your own – Is that what you really want?   If so, then it is time to put yourself out there and let older women know how much you need them and how you are willing to hear what they have to say and how you are willing to be held accountable.  Stop looking for an older woman to have a cup of coffee with, and start looking for one who has proven herself and has wisdom to share!

Scripture Memory for Children Through Stories (+Giveaway!)

Wherever people get together, there are often stories to be shared, and usually the stories have relevance to the conversation and the message we are trying to get across.

Scripture Memory for Children Through Stories (+Giveaway!) | RaisingArrows.net

We read and tell stories to our children for various reasons.  Sometimes it is to spend quality time with them, sometimes it is to broaden their knowledge and vocabulary, sometimes it is to teach them an important lesson…just as Jesus did for His followers while He walked this earth!

So, if children (and adults!) can learn important lessons through stories, why not use stories to teach Scripture memory verses?!
{affiliate links included}

This is precisely what Moore Family Films has done with their latest DVD, “ABC Say It With Me Bible Memory Verses.”

Moore Family Films are a staple in our household.  My children enjoy them so much, and the films have sparked many conversations.  ABC Say It With Me is no different.

Scripture Memory Through Stories +Giveaway! | RaisingArrows.netmy boys can’t get enough!

Each letter of the alphabet has a memory verse that corresponds with it.  The Moore children say the verse and Scripture reference which is followed by a short “story” that helps to illustrate and explain the text.  At the end, the Scripture and reference are repeated again.

The “stories” include things like a clip of the children looking for a lost sheep, a silent film sketch showing what happens when greed gets a hold of you, and a funny skit of a patient family and a very clumsy waiter.

The film is a favorite of my little boys (ages 1, 3, & 5), but it was enjoyed by my 8 & 9 year olds as well.  They can say many of the verses right along with the Moore children!

Scripture Memory Through Stories +Giveaway | RaisingArrows.net

Scripture needs to permeate our children’s lives.  It needs to be living and breathing.  They need to see it in action.  ABC Say It With Me gives understanding to your child’s memorization of Scripture without compromising the message.  It digs deep, and I appreciate that immensely!

This week, I’m giving away a copy of ABC Say It With Me!  See the giveaway widget below:

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Simplify & Let Go {Welcome Home Wednesday}

Simplify & Let Go {Welcome Home Wednesday Homemaking Link Up on Raising Arrows}Lately, I’ve had some tough lessons to learn.  One of those lessons was to let go.

I tend to think I can just keep going.  I tend to think I’m strong enough to do just about anything.

And then God shows me I am wrong.

The verse doesn’t say, “I can do all things.”  It says, “I can do all things through CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME.” (emphasis mine)

And it doesn’t say, “I can do all the things I think I ought to do,” either.

We homemakers are a distracted lot.  We have a lot of things vying for our time and energy, and sometimes we choose poorly what we take care of and what we think we can accomplish in a day.  And we end up discouraged because we aren’t listening and we aren’t leaning.

Christ strengthens me.  He gives me rest.  He carries the burden of my day.  It’s time to simplify and let go of my agenda, and walk HIS path.  Won’t you join me?

Over at Family, Faith, And Fridays, you’ll find a guest post from Tracey on the Lessons She Learned While Living in an RV for 3 Years.

Simplify & Let Go {Welcome Home Wednesday Link Up} | RaisingArrows.net

Talk about simplifying!

On Modern{ish} Homemaker, there is a wonderful post about laying down the idols of mother, homemaker, and wife.  Definitely worth the read.

Kersten at Joy in the Journey shares Why You Shouldn’t Have a Pinterest Birthday Party.

And Holly at The Giles Frontier concurs with her post on how she had to let go of her need to control the organization of a birthday party and let others help her instead.

This week, take some time to prayerfully consider where you are.  Where is God calling you to simplify and let go?  What are you focusing on and trying to control that isn’t yours to control?  Where is your path heading and who is guiding the direction?

Simplify.

Let go.

Let Christ strengthen you.

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The most clicked post of last week belongs to Mama Gab with her wonderful series on Putting Sundays First.  This particular post was an After Church Meals Roundup.  I’m hoping to snag some time this week to read through the entire series!

Now, it’s your turn! Link up as many as 3 posts from your blog and enjoy the other links left here!  {If reading via email, please click over to see the links and leave yours!}

Welcome Home Wednesdays
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Guilt-Free Quiet Times {plus Giveaway!}

When Emily Ryan of Priority Ministries wrote to me about her new book Guilt-Free Quiet Times, I was skeptical.  Sure, I had written about how God wants more than a Quiet Time to-do list, but was this book a complete cop-out?  Was she going to coddle and even encourage excuses?  Was this just going to be another Christian-mom book promoting selfishness tucked neatly behind a veil of misquoted grace?

What I found instead was a book I have come to recommend nearly every week to other moms wanting meaningful Quiet Time with the Lord, but wondering when and how.

Guilt-Free Quiet Times {review/giveaway}

This book doesn’t make excuses.  It is a book that smashes arbitrary rules without throwing out Quiet Time altogether.  Emily takes the myths of Quiet Time and exposes the Truth every mother needs to hear.  Her witty style and humorous examples force you to face your own misconceptions and fears about what constitutes REAL Quiet Time.

I realized I had some pretty ridiculous notions about Quiet Time – notions I didn’t realize I even had!

Quiet Time Myths from Guilt-Free Quiet Times by Emily Ryan {review/giveaway on Raising Arrows}

I had to ponder this one deeply.  Sure, I use technology all the time to look up random Bible verses, but ever since I installed a Bible app on Ty’s phone and we started using it during church, I felt, um…

{guilty}

The truth, as Emily goes on to clarify, is that:

You CAN use technology in your Quiet Times with the Lord! {Truth from Guilt-Free Quiet Times by Emily Ryan}

Honestly, just about every chapter in this book made me stop and think.  Did I hold any notions about Quiet Time that were holding me back from meaningful time spent with the Lord?  Was I holding on to an ideal rather than being ready and willing wherever I was?  {Apparently, you CAN write a Quiet Time post and still not fully get it.}

Emily has generously made her book FREE in ebook form to anyone who subscribes to the Glo Girl Blog. {CLICK HERE}  But trust me, you are going to want this in paperback as well.  You’ll want to hand it out to other mothers, lead a group study in your home, or even just keep it on your end table as an encouragement to be a woman firmly planted in God’s will, ready to hear Him ALWAYS!

Also note:
Priority Ministries offers discounts for BULK orders!
{CLICK HERE TO ORDER}

I am also very pleased to be able to give away 5 copies of Guilt-Free Quiet Times!
Enter the giveaway below!

Guilt-Free Quiet Times Review/Giveaway on Raising Arrows

{if reading via email, click here to enter}

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In the Midst of It All…Thrive

In the Midst of It All...Thrive | RaisingArrows.netThree days ago, a door we thought was being opened was closed instead.

Two weeks from now, we will move…again.

I am physically and emotionally spent.  Weary is the word.

“Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

I carefully pack boxes, wondering what is next.  I quietly stop and stare at empty walls, my heart mirroring them.  My “what if” has become my “what now”.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

I said I would walk it.  Perhaps I need carried instead.

It feels like too much too fast, but I know the Lord never deals out too much too fast.  This is perfect.  This is needed.  This is now.

Even when I am broken and weary, He is there.  Amidst boxes and questions, He is there. Amidst frantic schedules and fearful faces, He is there.  Amidst teary eyes and broken hearts, He is there.

And I will thrive.

I am not left to wander in a dry land or thirst without water.  I am not broken beyond repair or lost without hope of being found.  I have been here before – burdened by a heavy load, needing to be carried.

And He was there.

And He is here.

This post was inspired by Casting Crowns new album Thrive available January 28th. Learn more about what it means to Thrive at facebook.com/castingcrowns

Take Yourself Out of the Equation

Take Yourself out of the Equation - sometimes we just need to remove ourselves from the situation to see the truth of the matter | RaisingArrows.net

Did someone hurt you today, yesterday, years ago?  Did someone do something today that made you angry, resentful, sick to your stomach?  Did you lose your cool with one of your children…again?  Did you lose your cool with your spouse?  (again?)  Are you bothered by someone in your past who wronged you?  Are you finding it nearly impossible to let it go?

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Recently, I overheard a woman recounting a situation from her past that had hurt her.  I could tell by the way she was nearly spitting out her words, that the pain was still very much with her.  She was bitter and angry, and mercy toward the person who had wronged her was far from her mind.

I wondered if she would ever fully heal.

There seem to be a lot of angry, hurting, bitter people walking around these days.  Many of them are Christians.  They speak of grace and mercy in their own lives, but cannot seem to extend that same grace and mercy to others.

Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. –Romans 12:16

What if we took ourselves out of the equation?

Life is like an equation.  Situations arise and what we add to them or take away from them make all the difference in the outcome.

As believers, ideally we should be adding things like lovingkindness, grace, mercy, faithfulness, obedience, and taking away from them a closer relationship with Christ, a deeper understanding of our God, and a stronger love for others.

Life is like an equation...

When we make ourselves a major part of the equation, it is nearly impossible for us to see the true answer…the answer Christ would have us see.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
– Romans 12:9 – 10

The less I consider myself, the more peaceful I am

When my day hands me difficult situations and difficult people, I can walk away unruffled if I remember to take myself out of the equation.  I don’t have to get my emotions all tangled up in things, feel personally offended, or plot revenge if I remove myself.  I can go in peace because I know the Lord carries me no matter how battered I feel.

Satan thrives on stirring up strife and dissension – especially amongst the Body of believers.  It is easy to be offended.  It is easy to want to fight back.  But it takes practice to live a grace-filled life.

Start practicing

Fill your mind and heart with God’s grace, not only toward yourself, but toward others.

When someone hurts you, look to Christ to heal you.

When someone offends you, don’t get tangled up in the offense.

Remember sin is the root cause.

Remember, love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

This week, take yourself out of the equation.  Don’t let that difficult situation consume you. Know that God has this in His hands.  You don’t need to handle it.  Go in grace.  Live in peace.  Let love be your life.

Amen.