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How to Be Kind to Yourself + Free Scripture Cards

We’re often quick to offer kindness to others, but what about ourselves?

The fact that I winced when the idea for this post popped up is just one indicator that I have a lot of growing to do in this area. Maybe it’s because I was raised not to talk about myself. Just try bragging about how groovy that blue eyeshadow looked (hey, it was the 70’s!) and any southerner knew what was coming next⏤the ol’ side glance with a “bless her heart, she knows better” expression.

The silent “rule” of never speaking about one’s self in a positive light was engrained in my culture as deeply as cornbread and buttermilk. And that’s doggone deep!

These days, I show myself a little kindness by swinging by Starbucks for a brown sugar espresso after a long day of writing. But when it comes to offering myself kindness after repenting from something I said, or not doing something “normal” women do, like keeping everything tidy, kindness often stops short.

 

Like a bully, I beat myself up and rattle off a string of names I’d never call anyone else.

 

Recently, when talking with a friend who had a few “bruises” of her own, I suggested she be kind to herself. Those words were not meant for her ears only. I needed them, and maybe you do too. Be kind to yourself.

 

So, how can we offer ourselves kindness?

I think it begins, as does every part of life, with remembering who we are in Christ.

  • Receive God’s grace. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) A high cost was paid for the privilege of receiving God’s unmerited favor. I’m learning how to sit still until God’s grace settles in the soul to the point of peace. Then, I thank God and move on!
  • Practice what we preach. How would we help another woman who continues to beat herself up even after she’s repented and received God’s forgiveness for a particular action?
  • Align our expectations with God’s Word. Does God call us to be a perfect wife, mom, grandmother, or friend? Thankfully, no, but He does come alongside us, full of mercy and compassion, and shows us how to be who we can’t be without Him. If God doesn’t place the burden of perfection on us in these roles, why do we?
  • Discover the “why” behind the action that leaves us feeling less-than, and don’t shy away from it. Does my upbringing play a part in why I’m so hard on myself? Have I set unrealistic expectations on myself based on the culture? Am I giving others the power to determine how I feel about myself? Some of these may require biblical counseling, or maybe just some time set apart for prayer, asking God for wisdom. (James 1:5)

 

Love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:31 (emphasis mine)

How to be kind to yourself

Being kind to ourselves paves the way for us to be even kinder to others.

 

And kindness never goes out of style.

A fun way to remember to be kind to ourselves is to carry or display a scripture card…so I’m giving you four. Enjoy your PDF download!

Another way to embed the message of kindness into our hearts is to pause for two minutes and soak in this song by Andrew Peterson. Oh, to know and receive the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father!

 

 

So, how do you show yourself kindness? Please share in the comment section below!

Want a copy to keep for future reference? Here’s a PDF download of today’s post.

 

How to Pray for our Children

 

5 Ways to Prepare Our Soul for December and a Christmas Gift for You!

 

I know, I know. Here I am mentioning Christmas and we’ve not even carved a turkey yet.

But there’s a good reason, maybe two. In last week’s Tiny House Tuesday, I shared how this would likely be the final 2019 post due to dad’s recent surgery. {Thank you for your prayers. He continues to recover well.}

Also, despite the desire to create “Silent Night” December days, the real soundtrack that plays for many of us sounds more like the song Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. But it’s not the reindeer that runs us slap over. It’s the shopping, the list of to-do’s, the baking⏤the parties that extroverts enjoy and introverts survive.

So let’s decide now⏤before the traveling, the turkey, and the rush to buy maximum-strength Tums⏤to prepare our soul for the celebration of Christ with holy intent, refusing to allow circumstances to decide for us:

 

Preparing My Soul Through Prayer

Before animals go into hibernation, they prepare a safe place to lessen the chances of being ambushed by other animals. Many of us shift into a whole other gear during the holiday season. It’s almost as if November and December deserve a separate calendar. Starbucks Chestnut Praline holiday drinks pack on the pounds, while the checking account quickly disintegrates beneath the weight of the Amazon delivery truck. In our “hibernated” state, we can become easy prey, leaving us vulnerable for a cultural ambush.

But prayer protects our holy intentions to stay focused on Christ by purposefully shifting our gaze heavenward, gaining clarity we do not naturally possess.

“Remember, our prayers do not need to be long. Sometimes a word or two will suffice.”    — David Jeremiah

 

Preparing My Soul Through the Celebration of Advent

The word Advent comes from a Latin word that means “coming.” It’s a 4-week celebration that captures our longing to celebrate the first arrival of Jesus, as well as the Second. Advent can be celebrated in several ways⏤calendars, Advent displays with 25 drawers or pockets to fill, devotionals, etc.

This year, I’m reading Walter Wangerin’s Preparing for Jesus: Meditations on the Coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas, and the Kingdom. (The Kindle version is 2.99). Up until now, I celebrated Advent quietly and privately. But this year, through my church, small group, and my children, I learned the beauty of biblical community. I still have a lot of room for growth, but more on that in 2020.

For now, I hope you will join me on Instagram beginning December 1st as I plan to celebrate Advent through scripture, prayers, prompts, and poetry each day leading up to Christmas. It’s one way we can pause to celebrate our glorious Christ together. {Each day will also include a *tiny* snapshot of Christmas at the Tiny House on the Hill.}

“God is coming! God is coming! All the elements we swim in, this existence, echoes ahead the advent. God is coming! Can’t you feel it?”  — Walter Wangerin

 

Preparing My Soul By Planning Wisely

Before Thanksgiving (ideally), set aside a few minutes to gather your people and pull out the calendar. Decide what you’ll say yes to and what you’ll decline⏤guilt-free. You may not know which parties or events you’ll be invited to in December, but you can determine the number of events you want to occupy your family calendar. Jot down a few traditions you enjoy as a family and refuse to budge for they are the builder of memories that will last a lifetime.

“The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

 

Preparing My Soul in Song

Our turntable rarely stops spinning during the Christmas season. I play Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Johnny Mathis because it reminds me of cooking in the kitchen with my grandmother while her stereo spun these crooners in the background.

But nothing stirs this soul like Michael Card’s The Promise and Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb. One can’t help but sing when Word-immersed lyrics grab hold of both heart and mind.

“The Savior has rescued us that we might sing the song of the redeemed. May we sing it well. May we sing it constantly. May we sing it passionately. May we sing it for his glory and the advancing of his gospel until the time comes when our songs will never end.”  — Bob Kauflin

 

Preparing My Soul in the Pause

When we choose to pause, to slow down and consider our days, we’re able to see unique opportunities to celebrate and share the love of Christ during this particular season. To help in this effort, subscribers (or as I like to say, “our *tiny* community), will receive an easy-to-print download called KEEPING CHRISTMAS.

Here are four possibilities for using this resource:

(1)  Read the daily entry that includes a scripture verse and the simple but meaningful way to make Christ known that day.

(2)  Read the few words of scripture beside each Sunday and meditate on them throughout the week.

(3) Do both!

(4)  Print all three pages and cut each day into daily slips, using them as inserts for your Advent calendar.

 

If you’re not yet a part of the community, come on in and take a seat. We hope you’ll make yourself right at home in the Tiny House on the Hill.

In addition to KEEPING CHRISTMAS, you’ll also receive a PRIVATE VIDEO CHRISTMAS TOUR  of the Tiny House on the Hill!

Hop over to the sidebar and you’ll find a space at the top eagerly awaiting your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time. If you’re already part of the community {thank you!}, watch for your link in today’s Monthly Letter.

Now that the tiny studio build is coming to completion, watch for exciting opportunities coming our way in 2020! But for now, I hope you’ll follow me on Instagram and join in the Advent celebration beginning Sunday, December 1st.

 

“Awake, my soul!” Psalm 57:8

I pray this Thanksgiving and Christmas season will offer sweet opportunities to bless others, glorify God, and hold our families a little tighter than normal.

 

5 Ways to Settle the Soul Before December Begins + A Free E-book Reminder!

Settle the Soul Now

I want it to be different than the year before⏤you know, the way I go about celebrating the Christmas season.

Every December begins the mad dash to buy gifts, decorate rooms, pick out a fresh Christmas tree, make never-ending grocery lists, mail invitations, start new traditions and bake favorite foods.

And yet, one thing I’ve learned this year is that if I don’t take a few minutes each day to move me closer to necessary changes, nothing happens⏤nothing changes.

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” – Albert Einstein

So, before the hoopla of the season hijacks the days of our December, let us consider small but specific ways to settle the soul and savor the beauty of our Savior.

 

Every Day in December

Step outside for five minutes.

 

Depending on our season in life, this may mean stepping out while little ones nap or watch a favorite Christmas movie. It may require a bundling process but we can do this. Inhale and take in all God has for you. Thank Him. May we see⏤really see⏤our surroundings and remember the humble beginning of our Savior.

Look for Christ and you will find Him. And with Him, everything else. – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

 

Read and meditate.

 

If possible, read from your hard copy instead of the phone. Intentionally slow down to ponder God-breathed words as you listen to crisp vellum-thin pages turn one by one. Click here to access Daily December Scripture Readings if structure is your friend (we’re BFF’s, by the way!) Obviously, longer reads are ideal but if given the choice to glaze over a chapter or indulge in a hand-full of verses, I’ll choose the latter any day, especially in December.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. -Matthew 2:10

 

Savor a favorite cup of coffee or tea.

 

What does this have to do with settling the soul? On the mornings I choose the sip over the gulp, my day begins on a calmer note. Couple that time with reading scripture, and it becomes both calming and enlightening, for nothing is sweeter than conversing with my heavenly Father over a hot cup of brew. Sometimes I even pull up a nearby chair to remind myself that yes, His presence is that real.

If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: “God with us.” -John F. MacArthur

 

Play Christ-centered Christmas music.

 

I’m a huge Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Johnny Mathis fan. Tears hit the brim line when I hear these artists at Christmas. Immediately, I’m transported back to my grandmother’s house where her stereo console turned all their albums upstairs while she crafted homemade fudge in the kitchen. Nowadays, we play a variety of music during the Christmas season but mostly our music consists of a few favorites. My absolute favorite artist is Michael Card. I’ve played several of his songs from The Promise in my bible studies throughout the years. A few other favorites are: Behold the Lamb by Andrew Peterson, City on a Hill: It’s Christmas Time by various artists and Windham Hill’s Christmas Solitude, which is instrumental. Its quiet notes quiets the heart. And a quiet heart is a receptive one.

O come, let us adore Him. (Based on Luke 2:15-16)

 

Light a Candle.

 

Before bedtime, light a Christmas candle. Marvel at its glow. Reflect on the warmth and the beauty discovered in the flickering light. Inhale and enjoy its fragrance. Close out your day by quietly worshipping the Light of the World who was born on a bed of straw that we might one day walk streets of gold.

I have come into the world as light so that no one who believes me need remain in the dark. – John 12:46

 

Is there one thing you would plan to change as you move through the days of December? If so, please share!

 

Settle My Soul

 

 

Christmas PausesSubscribers! Watch for your gift scheduled to arrive in your inbox tonight. This e-book offers Christ-centered celebration tips for each day in December leading up to Christmas Eve.

 

 

 

 

Not a subscriber yet? No problem! Add your email in the sidebar. You can unsubscribe anytime. 

Downloading A Gift of Worship

Music moves the heart to worship like none other — especially during the Christmas season. Some of my favorites:

Michael Card
Andrew Peterson
Frank, Bing, and Johnny

This year, I’m delighted (and very proud) to add another favorite to the list. Our son, Brandon, is a worship leader in OH and just released his first Christmas EP. It includes 3 songs:

Go Tell It On The Mountain
O Come O Come Emmanuel
Christmas Medley

The EP can be downloaded for $3.00 via online or you can purchase a 10 card bundle to slip into your Christmas cards. It’s a meaningful way to share the gift of worship. 

If you’re local, our youngest son, Zach, Brian, and friends from his church will be leading in a time of worship on Sunday at 6:00 p.m., Providence Baptist Church. All are welcome! 

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!”

[Psalm 95:1]
– See more at: http://www.prayers-for-special-help.com/bible-verses-about-music.html#sthash.Zg4FfTGZ.dpuf

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. Psalm 71:23
“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!”

[Psalm 95:1]
– See more at: http://www.prayers-for-special-help.com/bible-verses-about-music.html#sthash.Zg4FfTGZ.dpuf

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