I’ve been thinking about YOU!

erikadawson.com

erikadawson.com

I hadn’t planned on taking a blogging break, but here we are on this side of September and one month has passed since I’ve posted. How did that happen?! *smile*

Wow, what a month it has been!

August was a good month, a full month, a back-to-work and back-to-{home}school while still adjusting to a newborn month.

I think we might finally be hitting our stride or finding our groove, but I MISS blogging!

I am super excited about what this fall holds. I have spent a lot of time praying for YOU and praying for the direction of this blog and what sorts of plans God has in store for us.

As I’ve been thinking of you all, I’ve had a lot of questions. I want to provide content that speaks to you — that encourages, inspires, and helps you.

To help me do that, would you please, please, pretty-please take 5-10 minutes to fill out this reader survey? I know time is a hot commodity, and I SO appreciate if you could spare a few minutes to share your thoughts.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Friends!!

CLICK HERE to take the 2014 Reader Survey

 

 

p.s. — I’ve mentioned my book a handful of times over the past year, and I’m thrilled to tell you that it will finally be released in early to mid-December! I am offering a free PDF copy of the book for a limited time longer, and I wanted to make sure that you know about it and can get it! Go here for a FREE copy!

 

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Praying for Our Kids — 5 verses to pray

In the past 3 weeks, I have spent 2,471 minutes nursing our newborn baby. Crazy, isn’t it, when you consider how much time is spent feeding a little one?!

To be honest, I have been convicted about how I’ve been spending that time. While it’s easy for me to hop on Facebook or Instagram or get further ahead in one of the books I’m reading, God has been reminding me what a unique opportunity this time is to pray for my children!

The reality is that we have moments like this sprinkled all throughout our days. We might not have 30 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time in the morning, but we do have the few minutes we’re washing the dishes or waiting in the pickup line at camp or sports or school. We have 5 minutes while we clean the bathroom or 10 while we mow the lawn. We have longer stretches on sleepless nights while we snuggle a little one back to sleep.

Will we take advantage of those little moments and take time to pray?

I’m writing over at For the Family today sharing 5 Scriptures to pray over our children. I hope you’ll join me there!

5 Scriptures to #Pray Over Your Child -- and get a #FREE book with #Scripture prayers for our husbands {for a limited time} #parenting #marriage #family

 

Resources for You:
Praying God’s Word for Your Kids: A Resource List

Pray Truth: Praying God’s Word for my Husband’s Heart (FREE for a limited time)


When You Don’t Love the Bible: Developing a Desire for the Word of God

 When You Don't Love the Bible: Developing a Desire for the Word of God #Bible #Scriptures #BibleReading #devotions

 

I love the Word of God.

I don’t know quite when it happened, but I know it was sometime when I was young and I think it began because I needed it so much.

When I was afraid or lonely or confused as a child, by God’s grace and because of the influence of my grandparents, I turned to the Bible.

Before I had even turned 10, I had already begun filling a tiny notebook with verses that brought me comfort and counsel and hope. I carried that spiral notebook with me everywhere, flipping through the verses often and praying them back to God.

Though life felt unreliable and my heart so insecure, I found comfort and courage in the reliability of  God’s Word, my only security in Him.

But even though I learned early to depend on the truth of God’s Word, my love for the Bible has been a fickle one.

Like any journey, there have been ups and downs and turning away and recommitting. There have been times when I have had no desire to read the Bible or I haven’t known where to start. Many times I haven’t understood what I was reading or found God’s Word to be boring. And how often it was (is!) that I knew God’s Word but didn’t obey!

Today God led me to share about desire.

 

What if I don’t have the desire to read the Bible?

So many of you have shared with me that you just don’t have the desire to read the Bible, or if the desire is there, you certainly don’t delight in God’s Word.

Friend, let me tell you: you are not the only one.

Few of us can relate to the Psalmist who exclaimed, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day!” (Psalm 119:97)

and

“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17)

For many of us, these verses don’t describe our longings! If we come to the Word at all, we come with a sense of obligation and maybe even dread. We find the Bible to be boring and think reading Scripture requires a lot of effort. We don’t naturally hunger for and delight in God or the wisdom we find in reading His Word!

But Friend, you don’t need to be stuck there. You can change your desires. You can develop an appetite for the Word of God!

 

How to Develop a Desire for the Word of God

I think the two best things you can do to develop a desire for the Word of God are to pray and to start reading the Bible!

Pray

Admit to God what’s in your heart. If you hate reading the Bible, tell Him so! If you don’t even desire to have a desire to read the Scriptures, tell Him that too! God can handle it, and He won’t be surprised—He already knows what is in your heart.

Ask God to give you a hunger for and delight in His Word. Ask God to “wow” you! This is what the Psalmist did. Look at Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” The Voice translation puts it this way, “Let me see clearly so that I may take in the amazing things coming from Your law.”

This is the same Psalmist who later said, “How sweet are your words to my taste” (Psalm 119:103).

God can develop in us a taste and appetite for His Word! Let’s ask Him to work that miracle in our hearts.

Read the Bible

As you pray, start reading the Bible! If you’re unfamiliar with the Bible or aren’t sure where to begin, try starting with the book of Psalms, one of the Gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John), or even one of Paul’s letters, like 1 Corinthians.

If you’ve read the Bible often but found yourself in a slump, try starting by meditating on the incredible promises of God and praying through the Psalms. If you’ve become so familiar with the passages that you just skim through, reading in a different translation could help slow you down and focus on the meaning or help you understand the passage in a new way.

While you’re reading, keep praying! Ask God to open your understanding and quicken your heart to long for His Word. If you’re having a hard time understanding what you’re reading, ask a friend to read along with you or join a Bible study at church or online.

 

Remember Truth

God’s Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) — by His Spirit, God makes the truth of the Bible come alive in our hearts and work in us. His Word will never return empty but will accomplish the work God has planned (Isaiah 55:11)!

Be honest with God in prayer and keep on reading. God can change our hearts and give us new desires. Let’s ask Him to work, do our part, and trust Him for the results!

 

p.s. — If you’re not sure you even want to desire the Word…

{And if you’re not sure why you should even want to desire the Word, just look at some of the benefits of reading the Bible and of immersing ourselves in the Word of God!!

The Word of God:

  • is powerful, working its purpose in our hearts (1 Thes. 2:13)
  • is sanctifying (John 17:17)
  • makes us wise (Psalm 19:7)
  • gives understanding (Psalm 119:130)
  • gives life (Psalm 119:93, Matthew 4:4, John 6:63)
  • gives joy (Psalm 19:8)
  • gives strength to the weak (Psalm 119:28)
  • gives comfort to the discouraged (Psalm 119:76)
  • gives guidance (Psalm 119:105)
  • brings peace (Psalm 119:165)
  • brings freedom (Psalm 119:32, 45)z
  • brings salvation to the lost (2 Tim. 3:15, Psalm 119:155)
  • promises great reward (Psalm 19:11)

Kind of amazing isn’t it? What a faithful God we serve!

 

Question for You:

What keeps you from reading the Bible? Have you ever struggled with a lack of desire for the Word?

 

Flickr Photo Credit: Eric Angelo {original photo with no text}

How to Really Change our Kids’ Hearts

How to Really Change the Hearts of our #Kids  #family #Bible #devotions #parenting

I wrote a whole post about family devotions, and it was shared over 800 times.

I’ve written lists of great devotional resources for families and have shared in parenting classes about family devotions and praying with our kids and living authentically at home.

But that doesn’t mean we get it right all the time. In fact, most of the time, we have a long way to go to be where I want to be.

Family devotions can be challenging. Whether it’s because of a busy schedule or lack of leadership or just plain apathy, it’s easy to ditch the effort and skip family devotions all together! Ever been there?

I’ve had many of the same doubts and questions others have shared with me:

  • Where do we start?
  • Which resource is best?
  • Is the effort paying off?
  • What if it’s me leading and not my husband?
  • Do family devotions make any difference?

On and on the questions run, leaving many of us feeling overwhelmed. {My tendency is to overthink things and get stalled before I even start!} But I’ve learned (am learning?) to begin somewhere — to just start!

If you’ve ever felt these same insecurities or asked similar questions, can I just encourage you? Start somewhere. You might not choose the best devotional available. You might not have the best plan in place. But starting somewhere is better than not starting at all!  

Begin. Start where you are and make changes as you go. A little bit of God’s Word is whole lot better than none.

We had a re-start like this in our family this summer. Our family Bible time was set on hold with the arrival of our newest little one, and getting back into normal routines took some time. I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know the best way to start again, so we chose simple.

I grabbed this book off my shelf, even though it’s one we’ve used in the past, with the plan to go through slowly, spending only 5-10 minutes a day at the breakfast table talking about God’s Word and praying together.

I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t expect much, but Friends, God showed up! With this little resource, during our short time together, God spoke to us through His Word.

Though I hadn’t planned it, the verses and stories in the first few weeks of the book were exactly what we needed to hear, totally applicable to the individual struggles we were all facing, and provided for great conversation with the kids!

I was so struck by how God takes the little we give and multiplies it. 

Even more than that, though, God reminded me that we can’t change our kids, and we can’t make our kids change. It is the Holy Spirit who works in their hearts and changes them. One way He does this is through the Word of God.

Among so many other advantages, God has promised that the Word of God is reliable, powerful and doesn’t return empty to the One who sent it.

My job is to expose my children to the Word of God, to help them hide His Word in their hearts. The rest I trust to the Holy Spirit. If I’m not getting my kids in the Word, how can I expect the Word to do its work in their hearts?

We are living proof that even a few minutes together in the Word is worth the effort. Just begin.

 

Question for you:

What keeps you from reading the Bible together as a family? What can I do to help or encourage you?

 

Resources for you:

How to Introduce your Child to Jesus 

Teaching your Child to Pray

Family Devotions: Resources to Help your Family Grow

 

Flickr Photo Credit: Helga Weber (original photo without text)

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