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If you’re hoping to discover a few good reads this fall, take a peek behind these book covers. They are sure to edify, challenge, and encourage your heart.

I'd forgotten to breathe in life and Light in the middle of mothering, marriage, and messy life. Click To Tweet

In a year marked by personal and global change, I’ve been forced to slow down. To stop making excuses and finally consider whether or not I’m stewarding my time and body well. When I read Kelly Balarie’s new book, Rest Now: 7 Ways to Say No, Set Boundaries, and Seize Joy, it was as I though I recognized my reflection in the mirror.

I’d forgotten to breathe in life and Light in the middle of mothering, marriage, and messy life. If you can relate, you may want to pick up a copy of Balarie’s book. It is a guide for getting away with Christ and learning to rest in Him. You’ll discover how to rest in weakness, forgiveness, humility, and more.

To cultivate what is most important is to live a life of great importance. Click To Tweet

Quote: “To cultivate what is most important is to live a life of great importance. Then moments have meaning. We give ourselves permission to be where we are. When we’re with our family, we can truly be with them. And when we’re with God, we’ll really be with God.”

 

Julie Lavender has created a go-to guide for every parent, grandparent, teacher, or any other person who enjoys spending time with little ones. Whether you’re stuck inside, far from home, snuggling, or playing games, you’ll find a variety of ways to engage that special child and brighten his days with moments that will last a lifetime.

This book would be a perfect shower gift or stocking stuffer! I highly recommend it.

Favorite Idea: Go for an outside prayer walk with your child. Pray aloud, thanking God for the provision of a roof over your heads and the love of family.

 

 

 

Practicing the Power of Prayer: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your Life by Sam Storms was a thought-provoking year marked by personal and global change, I’ve been forced to slow down, faith-stretching book. It’s the sort of “meaty” book I’ll read again because it isn’t quickly digested. Storms brings depth to topics almost all Christians can agree on, such as prayer, while tackling more controversial subjects, like prophecy.

Whether you agree or disagree with Storms, this book is sure to challenge your views of how the Holy Spirit operates.

Fasting tenderizes our hearts to experience the presence of God. Click To Tweet

Quote: “Fasting tenderizes our hearts to experience the presence of God. It expands the capacity of our souls to hear his voice and be assured of his love and be filled with the fullness of his joy.”

 

 

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I have a confession to make and a realization to share.  The confession?  It begins with the birth of ourfirst child. One glance at his precious, wrinkled, newborn face and I knew Ben was destined to attain great things.  I imagined him on stage, standing in front of thousands of people as he humbly accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.  Or, perhaps he would demonstrate such athletic skill that one day he would boast a cherished Olympic gold medal around his neck.

Impossible?  No.  Unlikely?  Absolutely.  I had succumbed to a common belief—The Myth of the First Time Mother.  Maybe you’ve never heard of this particular myth.  Well, if you’re at all like me, you have probably been part of its storyline before.  Let me explain.

Like most stories, this one introduces a few main characters who deal with a specific conflict.  My particular version involved our little boy, my husband, and me.  Our problem?  I bought into the idea that fame, fortune, or feats would secure my baby’s position in life.  As a result, other proud play-group mommies (who also found purchase with this myth) and I compared developmental achievements as if the baby to walk, talk, or crawl first somehow ranked above the other children.  One mother might brag, “My child is in the 95th percentile for height AND weight.  He slept through the night before he was even a month old.”  And someone would respond, “Well, Jenna already started potty training.  They say it’s a sign of intelligence.”

Inevitably, these conversations caused a lot of consternation and concern.  Was I reading to my child often enough?  Shouldn’t he know his sight words before kindergarten?  If we forgot to register for pee-wee soccer had I eliminated Ben’s chance for sport stardom as a twenty-something?

Finally, around the time our third child joined the family, there was a twist in the plot.  For almost two years, Seth endured the confinement of miniature casts and discomfort of daily stretches.  Other mothers avoided making comparisons to their own babies and instead offered apologies for Seth’s condition.  But, in my eyes, neither Seth’s imperfect feet nor his clunky shoes impacted who he was.  The realization?  I love and appreciate my children even more fiercely for their imperfections than for their accomplishments, resiliency, or intelligence.

Yes, I still have dreams for my children.  On occasion, I imagine them performing at Carnegie Hall or serving as an instrumental diplomat in a far-off land.  More often, though, I remove unnecessary expectations.  It’s not what they do or how they look, but who they are that matters.  Even God gently reminds us, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:7)

Today, look for opportunities to remind your family and friends of their importance to you–

not for what they do, but for who they are.

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