Help Others Find Strength in God

Jonathan went to David . . . and helped him find strength in God.” 1 Samuel 23:16 NIV

We all have times in our faith and life journeys when we need someone to help us find strength in God. Someone who can come alongside and remind us or show us that God is the source of the truest and best strength we can find. Without help like that at a time of great difficulty, we may falter and lose our way.

In the Bible we read how Jonathan did this for David. David and Jonathan were dear friends, but Jonathan’s father, King Saul, began to see David as a threat because the people praised him so highly. When Saul made plans to kill him, David had to flee. During his time on the run, Jonathan came to him to encourage him and help him find strength in God. We don’t know all the specifics of how he did this, but scripture does tell us they made a covenant together before the Lord.

How might we help someone find their strength in God today? We may go to friends to give them hugs and let them know we’re praying for them. Or we might join hands with a family in a hospital room and pray over their loved one. We may offer to meet someone weekly for coffee and Bible study or send daily text reminders that we’re praying. We could post inspirational memes or scriptures on social media. After all, God’s word does not go out without result (Isaiah 55:11). And these are just a few ideas.

Who do we know right now who may need help finding strength in God? Will we be a Jonathan in their lives? Will we take action to help them? And if we’re the one in need of help, let’s pray that someone comes alongside us so that we don’t lose our way. Let’s help one another.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NIV

*How has someone helped you find your strength in God?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by marmunia, Creative Commons License

Preparation for Decorating Wedding Reception Venue

Mother of the Bride, one vital step in your wedding decor preparation is to visit the reception venue site. You probably visited it early-on with your daughter while selecting a venue, but now you need to go back and carefully survey everything with an eye for decorating.

Here are some things to take to the reception venue when you visit:

*The bride. This is her party, and you definitely need her input. Your job is to help bring her vision to fruition. As you visit the site with your daughter, you’ll both have ideas and can decide together which ideas to implement. Also, two sets of eyes are always better than one in spotting potential problem areas and making sure those are addressed before you arrive to decorate.

*Questions for the venue’s event coordinator. When you make your appointment to visit, make sure the event coordinator will be there so you can ask questions, gain his or her insight, and get advice based on what they’ve seen work well there before. Take time to compile a list of questions before you go so you’re not trying to think off the top of your head. (Lists like this are included in my book Mother of the Bride.) If you see any problems or things you’d like fixed or done differently than their norm, speak up and ask. They will generally try to accommodate if possible.

*Your MOB folder or notebook/journal. As you make your way through wedding planning, you’ll keep a folder and/or notebook of all the info and plans you’re accumulating. You may need some of that info as you talk with the venue’s event coordinator or as you brainstorm decorating ideas with your daughter. Be sure to take this all-important MOB folder/notebook with you. It will also give you a place to make notes during your appointment.

*Camera. Pictures of the site will be invaluable after the appointment since more ideas will come to you and your daughter later on. Pictures of the site will help you carry them out. Also be sure to capture a shot of the two of you during this stop on your wedding-planning journey. You’ll be so glad you documented this once-in-a-lifetime journey together.

*Tape measure. This is the time to record vital statistics like how long banisters or mantles are or how many feet of lights you’ll need. Measure everywhere, even if you’re not sure you’ll decorate a certain area. For example, if you ultimately decide to string lights around the windows, you’ll have the measurements you need.

So MOB, head out for your venue appointment armed with these items. You’ll not only have a successful planning day, but you’ll have fun with your daughter as well. Another win-win on the wedding front!

*You might also like to read Include Venue Signs in the Wedding Photos , Wedding Planning Tip: Ask for Price Breaks, and Get It In Writing.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by J. Aaron DelgadoCreative Commons License

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Parenting and Grandparenting

If you’re looking for help in your parenting or grandparenting role, you’ve come to the right place today. Last month I started a new blog series—posts on the first Tuesday of each month that will feature sentence prayers inviting God’s power into a variety of important areas of our lives. 

Today we’ll focus on parenting and grandparenting. Chances are a majority of us fall into one or both of those categories. Both roles are awesome privileges and offer untold blessings, but they often hold multiple challenges as well.

The most important thing we can do as we fulfill these important roles is to call on God and invite his power into all of our parenting and grandparenting efforts. Here are 7 sentence prayers that can help you do just that. May they bless you—and your children and grandchildren—today!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Parenting and Grandparenting

  1. Father, give me the wisdom, the selflessness, and the discipline to be as present as possible in the lives of my kids and grandkids, giving them my undivided attention at the moments they need it. (Romans 12:10)
  2. Lord, since battles are fought and won in prayer, keep me ever on my knees for the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of my children and grandchildren. (James 5:16)
  3. Father, help me to faithfully teach my children and grandchildren to love and obey you and your Word so their lives will be built on the solid, unshakable Rock that is you. (Deuteronomy 11:18-20, Matthew 7:24-25)
  4. Lord, help me to be the person you want me to be, modeling for my children and grandchildren a way to live that glorifies you and loves others. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
  5. Father, when problems with my kids and grandkids come, remind me to immediately turn to you for wisdom and direction and to also seek out wise counsel to find courses of action that have helped others. (Psalm 121:1-2; Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 13:10)
  6. Lord, help me be a great encourager for my children and grandchildren, helping them reach for their dreams and fulfill God’s plan for their lives. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  7. Father, at each stage of letting go, give me wisdom and strength to do it with grace, trusting my precious kids and grandkids to your loving and able care. (Psalm 55:22, Philippians 4:6-7, Psalm 62:8)

May we always look to the Lord as we love and guide the children he has placed in your lives!

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” Psalm 127:3-5

*Which of these prayers do you most need to pray right now?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by will_i_be, Creative Commons License

9 Love Quotes You Can Feature in Wedding Celebrations

Mother of the Bride, since love is in the air big-time where weddings are concerned, do you think your daughter and her beloved might like to use a love quote or two in some special way on their big day? If so, I’ve compiled a list of suggestions below that you might like to share with your starry-eyed bride and groom.

As they read through the options, tell them to consider the variety of ways a love quote might be incorporated. Doing this will certainly impact their decision if they do decide to use a quote about love in some aspect of their wedding celebration.

Love quotes could be used in a number of ways. Before the big day ever arrives, they might feature a famous love quote on their wedding invitation. On the big day itself, I’m sure the minister would be happy to include their choice during the ceremony, or they might want to feature it somewhere on their printed program.

Other ways to feature a quote include using on signs or plaques in the welcome area, on the cake and gift tables, or even used in some way in the centerpieces on the guest tables. Certain wedding favors even lend themselves to including a short message so that could be a possibility as well. After the big day, they might incorporate a quote in their thank you cards. These are just a few ideas. Bet you all will think of even others.

Here are 9 quotes the happy couple might want to consider. Keep in mind that even brief portions of them can be used for impact or because of space considerations. Hope these help!

“[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV

“What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined for life—to  strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent, unspeakable memories.” George Eliot

“Love is the greatest refreshment in life.” Pablo Picasso

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” A. A. Milne

“Lord, grant that I might not so much seek to be loved as to love.” Francis of Assisi

“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” Antione de Saint-Exupery

“There is no remedy for love but to love more.” Henry David Thoreau

“Love is the only gold.” Alfred Lord Tennyson

“Love is extravagant in the price it is willing to pay, the time it is willing to give, the hardships it is willing to endure, and the strength it is willing to spend. Love never thinks in terms of ‘how little,’ but always in terms of ‘how much.'” Joni Eareckson Tada

Hope these offer a good starting point, MOB, in your sweet couple’s search for the perfect quotes as they embark on their marriage journey. May it be one filled to the brim and overflowing with love!

*You might also like to read 9 Scriptures You Can Feature in Wedding Celebrations.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by Greg Daniel Photography, Creative Commons License

Making Our Lives Count: Laura Bush’s Words Still True Today

Several years ago when the tenth anniversary of 9/11 drew near, we heard, saw, and read many reminders of that horrific time. I came across one that year that I think bears repeating here. I hope you will agree.

Woman’s Day Editor-In-Chief (at that time) Elizabeth Mayhew introduced their September issue with a quote from an essay former First Lady Laura Bush wrote for their magazine on the first anniversary of the attacks. I love what Mrs. Bush had to say:

“You don’t have to walk into a burning building or wear a badge to rescue someone. You don’t have to go to medical school to help a person feel better, or walk on the moon to change this earth. You simply have to care about what happens in our country. To me, we can all honor the lives lost on September 11 by making our lives count even more.”

What great perspective Mrs. Bush offered back in 2002—and it’s still true today. Instead of feeling hopeless and helpless in the face of overwhelming times, we can make a difference. We can make our lives count. Sometimes we just need to think about it a bit and then become more intentional in our efforts.

So what can we do to make things better for our nation? We can vote regularly in elections and pray for our leaders. We can treat others with kindness and respect. We can volunteer through our churches and civic organizations when crises come or to help with ongoing projects. We can support our military and their families and volunteer at our communities’ schools. We can also recycle and try to incorporate other earth friendly practices in our lives. The possibilities abound.

In like fashion, we as Christians should be making our lives count for the Lord as well. We can grow closer to him each day, becoming a beacon of hope and good news for those around us. We can live our faith in front of our families and friends in good times and bad, setting an example for our children and grandchildren. We can pray for and encourage others. We can get involved in mission projects and actively support missionaries. We can be ready to share the good news of a Savior as the Lord gives opportunity. Yes, we can make a difference eternally.

Let’s heed the wisdom Mrs. Bush offered on that first anniversary of 9/11. Let’s make our lives count even more.

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42 NIV

*What else can we do to make a difference in our nation or for Christ?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*I hope this slightly revised post from Sept. 2011 blessed you today!

*Flickr photo by włodiCreative Commons License