Standing is Victory

As believers in Christ, we face spiritual battles daily—attacks from the same enemy who enticed and deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Some refer to him as the devil, others call him by name—Satan.

Satan is a formidable enemy and comes at us in a multitude of ways, sometimes as a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) and other times masquerading as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). And he is not alone. He leads an army of evil forces (Ephesians 6:12).

Scripture tells us we need to put on the full armor of God to do battle against this enemy of our souls (Ephesians 6:11, 13). With the armor of God firmly in place and with God’s help, we can withstand Satan’s onslaught and gain victory over him and his spiritual forces of evil.

Sometimes we may not feel like we’re gaining victory, but I love what author Sarah Young has to say in her devotional Jesus Always:

“When you’re in the thick of [spiritual] battle, declare your trust in Me—your confidence that I am with you, helping you. You may feel as if you’re losing the battle, but don’t give up! Hold tightly to my hand, and just keep standing. This is victory.”

Sometimes victory is simply standing. As weak as we may feel when we pull ourselves to our feet one more time, we are indeed victorious as we stand and refuse to let Satan keep us down.

Are you struggling to get to your feet spiritually today? Take hold of God’s hand. He will help you stand.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. . . put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10, 13 NIV

*What have you found helps you the most when you’re in the midst of a spiritual battle?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble 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.)

*Flickr photo by pic fix, Creative Commons License

7 October Stress-Busters

After posting 7 September Stress-Busters last month, I thought it might be nice to offer month-appropriate stress busters each month throughout this next year. Stress certainly doesn’t take a vacation, so many of us might benefit from some fresh stress-busters at the beginning of every month, huh?

May the following stress-busting strategies come in handy in October when you find yourself in need of refreshment and relief. Be blessed, friends!

October Stress-Busters

  1. Enjoy a fun fall activity with some favorite kiddos in your life. Visit a pumpkin patch, collect colorful leaves, or carve pumpkins for Halloween. Enjoy the season like a kid again!
  2. Decompress with the beauty—and awesome autumn scents—of candlelight. Light candles in various spots in your house so their soothing beauty and comforting aromas will refresh you as you move from room to room.
  3. After the leaves change color, go on a walk in the woods (or your favorite tree-lined street or park.) Let the awesome oranges, reds, and golds fill your spirit with joy.
  4. Spend an entire day (or morning or evening) in your favorite comfy pants and cozy socks. As you change into your relaxed attire and let it comfort your body, take off the stress of the day or week as well. Let your spirit and soul relax and be refreshed.
  5. Plan a coffee or lunch date with friends and treat yourselves to some special foods or drinks offered during fall. Get that pumpkin spice latte or apple cinnamon muffin. Slow down and savor a taste of autumn.
  6. Watch for an especially cool evening and start a fire in the fireplace or firepit. Sit for awhile and soak up its warmth and relaxing beauty. And don’t forget to roast some marshmallows or make some smores. Fully enjoy this evening respite.
  7. Let the cool evenings of October give you permission to curl up on the sofa with your favorite hot drink and a good book (or a must-see tv show.) Lose yourself—and your stress—in a compelling or funny story. Enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor.

Along with these stress-busting strategies for October, let’s not forget to turn to the One who knows every stress we face and is willing and waiting to take the load from us and let us relax in his arms. No better place to be—no matter the day or month!

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble 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.)

*Flickr photo by dan.kristiansen, Creative Commons License

Wedding Tasks Perfect for the Groom

Mother of the Bride, as you and your daughter attend to the multitude of details involved in throwing a wedding, don’t forget to put the groom to work. That’s right. It’s a good idea to put him in charge of a few tasks, too.

Your daughter’s intended undoubtedly has some passions or skills that you can put to good use while planning for their big day. Be sure to tap that resource. Lighten your load while giving him an opportunity to be personally invested in the celebration of his lifetime. It will even give him the chance to show off to his wife for the very first time.

Number one on the list of tasks perfect for the groom could be arranging for the getaway vehicle. What man wouldn’t like to be in charge of the vroom vroom? I asked both of my girls’ grooms to take care of the getaway transportation, knowing they would do their best to make it interesting or snazzy. They, of course, came through.

Other ideas might include asking him to help design the programs or invitations if he’s a computer whiz, or if he lives in a different town that you do, you could even send him to his local Hobby Lobby or Michael’s to pick up items that you need multiples of. If you can’t get everything at your store, he might be able to score the last five candles or the last white rose garland you need to complete your decorating.

Of course, the groom will also be in charge of selecting tuxes and helping his family arrange for the rehearsal dinner, but what other wedding tasks might the love of your daughter’s life be especially good at doing?

Don’t overwhelm him with tasks but do carefully select some ways that he could really provide some help. It will be a win-win for everyone!

*You might also like to read 9 Easy Way for the Mother of the Bride to Bond With the Groom, Fun Gift for the Bride to Give the Groom, and Building a Bridge to the Groom.

*Since the readership of the Mother of the Bride Blog is ever-changing, I hope this encore post from Nov. 2013 helped you today!

*Photo by Will Flowers

Bridal Bouquet Roundup

Mother of the Bride, have you asked your daughter yet if she knows what kind of bridal bouquet she’d like to have? You two may have just started your wedding planning journey together, but it will be time to select flowers before you know it.

In addition to the beautiful fall colors featured above, options abound when it comes to the big-day bouquet. Will your daughter want something traditional like roses or will she perhaps interested in something less conventional like the gemstone bouquets some brides select now? Will she want something colorful or something in softer colors that will be an elegant and beautiful complement to her gown?

To help you both consider many of the options that are out there, I’ve put together a roundup of the bridal bouquets I’ve featured here on the blog (see links below.) I hope you both find it helpful and fun to look through these options. And MOB, your darling girl might even discover her dream bouquet. Good luck!

Bridal Bouquet Idea: The Roses Have It!

Single Bloom Bridal Bouquets 

Bridal Bouquet: Classic and Elegant Calla Lilies 

Wedding Idea That Sparkles: A Brooch Bouquet! 

White or Cream Bridal Bouquet: Add a Touch of Color 

Bridal Bouquet and Boutonniere Sheet Music Idea 

Inexpensive Bridal Bouquet Idea: Baby’s Breath! 

Bridal Bouquet Idea: Add Some Sparkle with Gemstones 

Knitted Bridal Bouquet and More 

*Since September is an exceptionally busy month for me this year, I’m taking a short break and will be back on the 26th. Why not take a look at my list of Favorite Posts (sidebar) and read some posts from there. Blessings!

*Flickr photo by Flower Factor, Creative Commons License

Wedding Resource: Prayers for the Mother of the Bride

Mother of the Bride, if you are a Christian mom who would like to prayerfully prepare for your daughter’s wedding and her new status as a married woman, be sure to read author Traci Matt’s new book Prayers for the Mother of the Bride.

You may remember hearing about Traci Matt here on my blog once before. Earlier this year I reviewed her book Prayers for the Mother of the Groom. Isn’t it wonderful that mothers of the bride can now be blessed by a similar prayer resource!

Prayers for the Mother of the Bride is a wonderfully thorough and insightful prayer handbook for Christian moms who want to cover their daughters, themselves, their families, and the entire bridal party in prayer as they all go through the life-changing event of a wedding.

Like Matt’s book for mothers of the groom, this book is designed in a two-month countdown fashion. She points out in the introduction that readers can start using it at any time during the engagement and possibly go through it more than once. Mother of the Bride, I would definitely advise you to begin using it much earlier than the two-month mark. Many of the topics covered are applicable in the early stages of wedding planning so you don’t want to miss the blessing of considering those topics and praying about them at the appropriate time.

Also as in Matt’s earlier book, each of the sixty selections feature an introductory paragraph or two about some aspect of the wedding or the changing family dynamic and then includes an in-depth prayer addressing the topic of the day. Matt’s prayers spring from the truths and insights she’s gleaned from the Word of God and from her own personal experience as both a mother of the bride and a mother of the groom. After each selection she adds “Something Borrowed”—a quote applicable to that day’s topic.

In this nicely done self-published paperback book, you will discover a biblically based, heartfelt guide for you own prayers, MOB. As a writer, I might have done a few things differently where organization and approach are concerned, but Matt is a skillful writer with godly insight and an easy-to-read writing style. I’m sure you will enjoy using this resource and be blessed immensely by it.

So MOB, if Prayers for the Mother of the Bride sounds like something you would be interested in, I encourage you to treat yourself to a copy of it today. It will be well worth the investment!

*You might also like to read Gift Idea: Prayers for the Mother of the Groom and A Prayer for the Newlyweds.

*Thanks to the author for providing me with the book and photo. The opinions expressed are my own.