I am a wife, a mom, a teacher, a pastor’s wife – and a lot of other things. I wanted God’s wisdom for all of these different roles. This book is about what I learned that helped me with that goal. I often say, “This book is about the spiritual matters, that matter most.” Then I like to say, “it is a lot easier to teach this book than to live what I teach.” God’s Spirit helped me write this book and He often uses my own words to bring me back to his Presence. Truthfully, I still need to continually remember the lessons I wrote about!
What chapter generates the most discussion?
Chapter two is titled, “Do you recognize the voice of God?” I think most Christians are unaware that God speaks to them – often. This chapter is to help the reader understand that God will speak to them, guide them, comfort them and teach them – they just need to know how to listen. I love to tell a room full of Christians that they need to stop reading their Bibles. (This always tends to wake up those that have fallen asleep!) I teach them to listen to the Bible, God’s word. They can learn his voice, what he says and how he says it. It is possible to recognize the voice of God – and it is crucial we learn to listen.
How can I find the right church for my family?
Choosing a church can be a tough decision these days. Do you want stained glass or flat screen TVs? Do you want hymns or praise songs? Do you want a preacher in a robe, tie, khakis, jeans or dress? If you ask the wrong questions – you will get the wrong answers. The important question is not “What church gives me more of what I want?” The right question is “What church am I supposed to serve?” Churches have personalities just like people do. I know a lot of people, but I don’t “hang out” with everyone I know. It is ok to choose a church that has the kind of personality you want to spend a LOT of time with. Once you know that, ask God which church he wants you to invest your gifts and talents in, so that your family can serve Him and his plan for your lives.
How can I know God’s will for my life?
Romans 12:1-2 is the best answer for someone who needs to know God’s will.
Verse 1: “Therefore, (Read Chapter 11 to know what the “therefore” is there for.) I urge you brothers, (Paul is pleading with the church to understand what he is about to say.) in view of God’s mercy, (again, look at chapter 11 to understand God’s mercy) to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is our spiritual act of worship.”
First, realize who God is and the mercy he has shown you. Know God – and make him Lord of your life. A lot of us are happy to call Jesus our Savior – but is he LORD of your life? If Jesus is your Lord, he is your master and therefore, you sacrifice your life, your agenda, and your plans – so that you can follow his. You live a life that is holy and pleasing to God because that is how you worship him. God doesn’t make “suggestions.” Knowing his will requires that you understand He is LORD – and whatever He tells you is his perfect plan for your best life.
Verse 2a: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Knowing God should cause you to think differently and live with different values than those found in the world. For example, our culture defines success a lot differently than the Bible. Knowing God’s will requires that you think differently than the world – and causes you to see things from God’s point of view.
Verse 2b: “Then (the upcoming promise has the previous “conditions”) you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good pleasing and perfect will.”
Knowing and following God’s will requires knowing and following him as Lord. It requires you to think and act differently than your human nature and our culture would teach as “normal.” At this point, does it seem like too much?? Then look at the last part of verse 2 again. Why is knowing God’s will worth your greatest effort? Because it is good, pleasing and always the perfect choice. Your best life is your blessed life – and God blesses those who follow his will.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love books. I have read my entire life and it is still my favorite hobby. I love a book that is crafted with excellent characters and a complex plot. Words are powerful and I respect those who use them wisely. I think Francine Rivers is the finest Christian fiction writer I know. She teaches biblical truth by writing great stories. I suggest you read everything she has written! I read three devotionals every day. I like My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, At His Feet by Chris Tiegren and Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Oops! I also read my husband’s daily essay…you can sign up for that at www.denisonforum.org. (And by the way…it is free.) My favorite book reviews to do were on The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I liked these books a long time before they were made into movies! Read books that make you think—and teach your kids to do the same.
What lessons do you teach kids and their moms?
Preschoolers: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
Mom’s of preschoolers: You will probably never smile as often as you do now. As you go through your days of CONSTANT chaos…pay attention to how many times your kids make you smile – and thank God for them.
Elementary aged: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).
Mom’s of Elem. Aged: You will tell stories about your kids for the rest of your life. You will probably laugh, smile or show great grace for your kids as you tell these stories, years after the fact. So…go ahead and laugh, smile and show grace now. Your kids will learn how God loves them – mistakes and all.
Middle-school kids: “The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does” James 1:25.
Moms of middle-school kids: Wean your kids from you – spiritually. They need to strengthen their relationship with God. If they ask you what they should do, say or think, don’t jump in with your ready answer. Teach them to go to God and ask him. It is important that they understand (and you understand) that God won’t tell their moms and dads what He wants to tell them himself. Finally, a good way to make a choice is to think about the likely consequences and ask: Which decision is God most able to bless? Then choose his blessing.
High school: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
High school moms: Your kids will make wrong choices – just like you did. They need to own the consequences of those choices, not be freed from them. Encourage them with the fact that if they love and serve God, he will redeem even their bad choices – for a good purpose. Don’t circumvent the work of God by allowing your love for them to appear greater than the Lord’s. “The Lord disciplines those he loves” (Proverbs 3:12)…(and their parents too!)
College age: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Moms of college age: Watch and pray. College is a time when your children will probably decide whether or not they will continue to walk with God. Watch for the signs that indicate they are close to the Lord – or falling away. And pray accordingly. If you need wisdom, ask God for his (James 1:5). Caution: The point is not whether or not the behavior is “normal” – the point is: Is the behavior acceptable? Your prayer life, coupled with your love, will be your greatest influence with your adult children.
To every parent: There is no amount of parenting that can remove the God-given free will your child was created with. Good parents teach their children to use their free will to choose the perfect plan of God. Jeremiah 29:11 does not read, “I know the plans I have for you” says your mother. It is a plan to prosper you, and not to harm you. To give you hope and the future I had picked out for you from the time you were born!
(That is just a heads up from this mom to other moms. Thankfully, God’s grace is sufficient for all of us too!)