Still Feeling Burned Out After Your “Me Time”? Here’s Why.

“Self care”

“Me time”

“Fill your cup”

The world seems to practically scream at you these days: “Tired? Overwhelmed? Burnt out? You need to take time for yourself!” Self care is the catch all solution to practically all your ailments.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love some good alone time (Hi, my name is Liz and I’m an introvert!). Even Jesus had alone time! However, here is the problem: Have you ever woken up from your nap or returned home from your “me time” at the coffee shop to find out something crazy?

Your life is still there! 

Seriously, I don’t know how many times I’ve been like, “okay, I just need a little down time and I’ll be good,” but then moments upon reentering normal life I am just as stressed out (or maybe more if the dishes magically piled up in my absence) as before!

What gives? I thought “filling my cup” was supposed to fix all these problems!

What is the answer?

A few weeks back I was listening to the sermon at church. I honestly don’t even remember what the general topic of the sermon was, because there was one illustration that totally rocked my world.

The pastor was talking about how we often view the power that comes from God like gas in a car. We “fill up our tanks” (through Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, etc) and then try to go about our days, using that “stored up” power. However, that’s not how it works. We don’t run on gasoline, we run on electricity. As long as our wires stay connected to the source, the power keeps flowing.

In John 15:5, Jesus says:

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

We can’t fill up at church on a Sunday morning, or even in our morning quiet time, and expect to run on that until we can “fill up” again. And we definitely can’t expect a monthly girls night, a nap on the weekend, or taking time to do our makeup in the morning to be able to give us the strength to face our days with love and patience.

It’s not that those things are bad (they can be very good!), they just don’t have that kind of power. Only one person does. 

Change your mindset

This simple revelation totally changed my mindset. Time with God is no longer another thing to do in my day, it is the lifeline that gets me through my day!

A good way to envision it is this…

Imagine you are swimming in the middle of a large body of water. The water is still, the skies are blue. You are enjoying yourself during your refreshing swim.

The wind starts to pick up a bit, but you are doing fine. However, time passes and the wind blows harder and clouds cover the blue sky. The waves start to roll, getting bigger and bigger.

It begins to rain.

The wind whips the rain into your eyes. The water below you is swirling all around. It is dark now and hard to see. The pleasant swimming you experienced before is only a memory. It is taking all your effort just to keep yourself afloat in this storm.

All of a sudden you look up. A boat has come near. Someone throws you a life preserver ring and it lands within your reach.

You turn to the source of the device and cry in despair: “Can’t you see I can barely stay afloat? How am I supposed to hold on to something while I am already so overwhelmed?!”

Ridiculous, isn’t it? Of course you wouldn’t say that. You would grab that thing for dear life and never let go. You would cling to it in the midst of the storm. 

I just can’t seem to make time

How many times have you said this in regards to spending time with Jesus? “I just can’t seem to make time.” How many times have I said it? We beat ourselves up for missing our quiet time, for skipping our Bible study because of the demands of life. Life swirls around us and we wonder, “when was the last time I prayed?”

Dear friends. God is not someone that we arrange a daily meeting with. To get our instruction and correction and then be sent out to face the world alone. No, God desires to be the life giving power throughout your day. Jesus is your vine. Your life preserver. Your rock.

In the words of the great hymn:

I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
  Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior!
    I come to Thee.

Stay connected to the vine

The truth is, when we are tired, weary, and overwhelmed, taking a nap, having some alone time, or even doing a Bible study is an easy answer. It is simple. It is a concrete action we can take. Clinging to Jesus is not. It takes practice to continually turn our minds to Him. It takes relying on the work of the Holy Spirit within us, instead of on something that we can do for ourselves. However, the power is in Jesus, not in our ability to make time for self care.

So cry out to Him..

…when the kids are going crazy.

…when the baby’s been up all night.

…when your marriage is going through a difficult time.

…when you are overwhelmed.

…when you aren’t sure what to do next.

Go to His Word. Not just to study like a textbook, but because it is the very life-breathing Words of God. 

Sing praises to him throughout the day.

Whisper a prayer or two or three during the moments that try you.

Come to Him again and again for forgiveness and a fresh start. He is not looking for someone who has perfect prayer and Bible study time, but someone who humbly goes to Him again and again for his mercy, grace, and strength.

So yes, take some time for yourself. Get that breather, enjoy your moment of peace. But when the trials of the day return, stay connected to the vine. Cling to the one who really has the power and the strength you so desperately need. 

That is something no amount of self care will ever give you.

 

Five Ways to Intentionally Disciple Your Kids Even When Life Gets Busy

Five Ways to Intentionally Disciple Your Kids

Life has been crazy busy for our family lately. Some of the commitments are choices we’ve made and some are out of our control – but one thing is for sure, the days are short and the to-do lists are long!

A while back I noticed that I was slipping in my intentionality when it came to discipling my son. We used to have plenty of time for fun Bible and character building crafts and activities (like Play Through The Bible and Hero Training), but lately I had been rushing through the day without giving much thought to activities like these.

I knew that this needed to change, but I also knew that life wasn’t going to be slowing down any time soon. I needed to find simple ways to be intentional about discipling my son that would fit into our current lifestyle.

I did some brainstorming, tweaked a few things, and I’m pretty happy with how things have been going lately. We haven’t been perfect, and I look forward to when life slows down a bit so we can do even more, but it has been working well.

Here’s what we’ve been doing…

1. Discipling In Moments of Discipline

Moments of discipline are some of the best times for pointing your child to the gospel. Little hearts are often tender and in tune with their own shortcomings and need for a Savior.

I am often reminding my son during these moments that God is the only one who does only good and that is why we need Jesus.

2. Simplifying Bible Study Time

It is very easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking that kid’s Bible time must always be fun, exciting, and special. Now, believe me, I have no problem with it being those things. In fact, I love making learning about God’s Word a fun and meaningful time for my son. However, it is okay to just keep it simple too.

Here are some ways we’ve done this:

  • Read straight from the Word – taking just a verse or two and reading it at breakfast, talking about it for a moment.
  • Use a simple devotional – I got my son this book for Easter and we have really been enjoying reading a page or two at a time.
  • Read through a children’s Bible – snuggle up on the couch and read a story or two. This is our favorite kid’s Bible

3. Listening to Christ-Centered Music

We love listening to music around here and we tend to listen to all different kinds. However, I do try to listen to Christian music often because of how my son picks up on the message. We will be listening and he will say “they are talking about Jesus!” or “that said the cross!” and he always gets so excited when he hears these familiar concepts.

The great thing too is that Christian music has come a long way since when I was a kid. There are a lot of quality options in different styles and genres. We enjoy listening to a “Toby Mac” station on Pandora that often plays Lecrae, Needtobreathe, Tenth Avenue North, Capital Kings, and of course Toby Mac.

We actually don’t listen to a ton of kid specific music, but some of our favorites that we do listen to are Steve Green and Seeds Family Worship.

Another awesome way to listen to music that I am discovering is through your Amazon Prime account. Did you know that you can stream tons of music through Prime Music? I had no idea until recently! A lot of the above listed artists can be streamed through Prime Music for free!

Join Amazon Prime Music – The Only Music Streaming Service with Free 2-day Shipping – 30-day Free Trial

4. “On The Go” Chats

My son and I talk about pretty much everything. Even when he was a baby and toddler I would talk with him about things that were probably above his comprehension. I figured that when he was able to understand he would, so we might as well start now.

Now, as a very inquisitive four year old, the conversations continue. Because we started early making talking about God a normal part of life, I am constantly fielding questions like:

“Is God really everywhere?”

“How come I can’t see God?”

“Is Jesus going to die on the cross again?”

“Can God hear me?”

These conversations are usually short and sweet, but I love that his wheels are always turning and he feels comfortable sharing his thoughts and questions. I think these conversations are a great example of my favorite Biblical parenting advice:

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. -Deuteronomy 6:6-7

It is my goal for the Word of God to be so on my heart that we can’t help but talk about it as we go through daily life.

5. Simplify Life

I’m preaching to myself here.

Like I said, life is busy for us right now. And while some of that is just a season, I do know I need to keep looking for ways to simplify life. I don’t want to be rushing through my days, to-do list in hand, not having enough time to be intentional with the things that are priorities to our family.

If you are looking for a resource to help you live your life more intentionally, I highly recommend the eCourse IntentionalByGrace Unplugged: 10 days to live more intentionally from my friend Leigh Ann at Intentional By Grace.

IBG Unplugged

How do you find simple ways to intentionally disciple your children? I’d love to get some more ideas!

 

Affiliate links included. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Steadfast Family!

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible – REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

Today I am sharing with you one of my new favorite things. I’d like to introduce you to my new favorite Bible studies, Journal and Doodle Through the Bible!

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

I had been in a bit of a Bible study rut when I came across these intriguing studies. I had never done anything quite like them!

Created by Kari Denker, of the Stone Soup for Five blog, these studies combine simple drawing, journaling, and in depth Bible study for a devotional experience that will knock your socks off!

Here’s five reasons why I love the Journal and Doodle Bible Studies…

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

1. They are Perfectly Planned for You

Each study is broken into individual sections with tasks separated by checklists. I don’t have to waste any time or brain power trying to figure out what to do next because it is already all set-up for me! This is perfect for my quiet time, which tends to be frequently interrupted by my darling children. I can easily put down the study and pick right back up where I left off!

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

2. They Dig Deep into God’s Word

I’m not going to lie, I am really picky about my Bible studies and devotionals. There is just so much out there that is fluffy and cheesy! The Journal and Doodle Studies do a great job at helping you dig deep into the passage you are studying. They cover context, key words, reflection, application, and more.

3. They are Created to Be Memorable

Oftentimes while reading my Bible I find myself finishing a passage and then promptly forgetting everything I just read. These studies are amazing for helping you slow down and really reflect on what you are reading. Plus, the doodling seems to activate another area of your brain, helping you to better remember what you are studying.

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

4. They Are Great for all Ability Levels

I am a terrible artist. Seriously. I have drawing abilities about on par with a seven year old (and that may be a diss on many a seven year old’s abilities). At first I was a little hesitant to do a Bible study like this, because I thought it wouldn’t work for me and my limited abilities. I’m glad I decided to give it a try because I couldn’t have been more wrong! Kari does a great job guiding you through the doodling, complete with lots of examples! Perfection is discouraged and mistakes are welcome. Of course, if you are more artistically inclined, the sky is the limit with these studies!

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

5. They are Fun!

While I do thoroughly enjoy a good theological book or a detailed commentary, I love how fun this type of study is! It is so nice to take break from child wrangling and have a little fun with my Bible study during my quiet time.

Does this sound like something you’d be interested in? I have good news! Kari is generously to offering a free copy of her latest study pack to one lucky Simple Life. Messy Life. reader!

Journal and Doodle Through The Bible

The winner will receive a digital download (PDF) of the special launch week package – Journal and Doodle studies for both 1st and 2nd Corinthians, plus 4 doodle reference sheets! (If you don’t want to take a chance on winning, go grab the pack now before launch week is over – the studies are very reasonably priced!)

Enter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Summer Search for God – Week 7 – Conduct a Science Experiment

*UPDATE*
An updated version of this eBook is now available in the shop.

Join me as I blog through Summer Search for God

For eight weeks this Summer I will be blogging through my eBook, Summer Search for God. I want to be able to give some more examples of how you can do the activities, so I will be sharing how me and K go through the devotional.

I’d love for you to join us! If you don’t already have the book, grab it here for free. Then, share how you are rocking the missions using the hashtag #summersearchforGod on Instagram or Twitter. If you write a blog post on your experience, please leave a link in the comments!

You can find links to the previous weeks below…

Week 1 – Build a Fort

Week 2 – Make a Special Treat

Week 3 – Go for a Hike

Week 4 – Create a Masterpiece

Week 5 – Go on a Treasure Hunt

Week 6 – Get Wet


mission 7

Mission Description

For this mission you need to conduct an official science experiment. There are many different types of science experiments you can do. You should take a guess at what will be the outcome of your experiment (that’s called a “hypothesis”) and then do the experiment to see if you were right! Two good places to find ideas for your science experiment are the library and the internet.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1 NIV

What We Did

K was very excited when I told him that the next mission was to do a science experiment. We’ve just recently started doing more science for homeschool preschool and he loves doing the experiments!

For this mission we decided to do the classic “sink or float” experiment!

First, I had K gather some objects together…

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Then, I wrote them down on a paper with space to write the predictions and results.

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We filled up a bin with some water…

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…and got to work testing our objects!

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We kept track of the guesses and results – and K enjoyed learning the word “hypothesis.”
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And of course you can’t have a bin of water laying around without a little water play time!

 

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The verse for this mission was Genesis 1:1. We talked about how God created the whole world and science is how we learn about the world God made. We kept our discussion pretty simple, but if you’ve purchased your copy of Summer Search for God you will find more discussion points, verses, and ideas.

 


Do you have your copy of Summer Search for God yet?

Grab one here and get all the missions, journal pages, and the parent debrief files. It’s currently free for subscribers!

Summer Search For God - Spiral Cover

Summer Search for God – Week 4 – Create a Masterpiece

*UPDATE*
As of 5/9/16 this eBook is now available in an updated version in the shop here

Join me as I blog through Summer Search for God

For eight weeks this Summer I will be blogging through my eBook, Summer Search for God. I want to be able to give some more examples of how you can do the activities, so I will be sharing how me and K go through the devotional.

I’d love for you to join us! If you don’t already have the book, grab it here for free. Then, share how you are rocking the missions using the hashtag #summersearchforGod on Instagram or Twitter. If you write a blog post on your experience, please leave a link in the comments!

You can find links to the previous weeks below…

Week 1 – Build a Fort

Week 2 – Make a Special Treat

Week 3 – Go for a Hike


mission 4

Mission Description

For this mission you need to create your very best masterpiece. You may think up any type of project you would like to create. You could paint, draw, build, sew, sculpt, or a hundred other things. The most important part is that you do something you enjoy and that you work your very best. Make it something you are proud to sign your name on. Make it your masterpiece!

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – Ephesians 2:10 NLT

What We Did

This has been one of our favorite missions so far! First, I explained to K what the word “masterpiece” means – your very best work. Then, I told him that he got to make a masterpiece out of whatever he wanted. We had already done a painting project that day, but he wanted to do something different.

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K painting fireworks – I post pictures of what we’re up to over on Instagram.

So, I let him loose with the craft supplies!

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He grabbed what he wanted off the shelf (read more about our craft shelf here) and got to work.

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He worked hard!

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It was definitely a 100% three year old made masterpiece and he was so proud of it!

We referred back to last week’s mission and talked about how God created so many awesome things. Then I asked him what he thought God’s best masterpiece was. You should have seen his smile when I said it was him!

We talked about how people are God’s greatest masterpiece and He created us to do good things. He thought this was really cool. He even brought it up again later in the day.

I love how activities like this are so simple and make starting a conversation about God so easy! What’s been your favorite mission so far?

 


Do you have your copy of Summer Search for God yet?

Grab one here and get all the missions, journal pages, and the parent debrief files. It’s currently free for subscribers!

Summer Search For God - Spiral Cover

Summer Search for God – Week 3 – Go for a Hike

*UPDATE*
As of 5/9/16 this eBook is now available in an updated version in the shop here

Join me as I blog through Summer Search for God

For eight weeks this Summer I will be blogging through my eBook, Summer Search for God. I want to be able to give some more examples of how you can do the activities, so I will be sharing how me and K go through the devotional.

I’d love for you to join us! If you don’t already have the book, grab it here for free. Then, share how you are rocking the missions using the hashtag #summersearchforGod on Instagram or Twitter. If you write a blog post on your experience, please leave a link in the comments!

You can find links to the previous weeks below…

Week 1 – Build a Fort

Week 2 – Make a Special Treat


 

mission 3

Mission Description

For this mission you need to go on a hike. The destination is not what is important, so pick wherever you would like to go. Instead you must focus on the journey. As you walk, pay close attention to the things you observe in nature. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? What can you feel? It would be a good idea to bring along a bag that you can use to carry home any interesting things you find.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – Romans 1:20 NIV

What We Did

Like with the previous weeks, I started with reading the mission to K and then I let him color in his mission page. Then, I read him the week’s verse. This verse was a little above K’s head, so I abbreviated it a bit and really focused on how God created the world with his mighty power.

We love going on nature walks, but with a new baby in the house getting out for a nature walk wasn’t really feasible this week. Thankfully, the missions are so easy to adapt to being low-key (or more involved if you want!). So, we headed out to the backyard!

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I gave K instructions to look for things that reminded him of God’s power. We looked at the sticks and the cool circles on the roots of the tree.

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We also turned our gaze upwards and looked at the tops of the trees. We even found a birds nest in the branches.

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We ended our nature time by looking up to the puffy clouds. The whole time we talked about the powerful God who made all these cool things.

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Oh yeah, this little cutie was hanging out with us too. 🙂

Another fun mission accomplished!


Do you have your copy of Summer Search for God yet?

Grab one here and get all the missions, journal pages, and the parent debrief files. It’s currently free for subscribers!

Summer Search For God - Spiral Cover

Reach Their Hearts Early: Discipling Your Preschooler

reachtheirhearts

I tucked my three year old son into bed and asked him if he’d like to pray. He nodded his head yes and began in his small voice, “God, please give me a new heart every day…”

My own heart melted. I want nothing more than to see my child’s heart renewed through Christ.

It is my goal to be very intentional in discipling my children, even from a very young age. The hearts and minds of the littlest ones are capable of grasping more than we often give them credit for.

Are you looking for ways to disciple your young child? Join me over at Rooted Families where I’m sharing three ways that I’ve found to disciple my preschooler.

Reach Their Hearts Early

 

 

Summer Search for God – Week Two – Make a Special Treat

*UPDATE*

As of 5/9/16 this eBook is now available in an updated version in the shop here

Join me as I blog through Summer Search for God

For eight weeks this Summer I will be blogging through my eBook, Summer Search for God. I want to be able to give some more examples of how you can do the activities, so I will be sharing how me and K go through the devotional.

I’d love for you to join us! If you don’t already have the book, grab it here for free. Then, share how you are rocking the missions using the hashtag #summersearchforGod on Instagram or Twitter. If you write a blog post on your experience, please leave a link in the comments!

You can see week one here.


mission 2

Mission Description

For this mission you need to cook a special treat to eat. Think for a minute about what your most favorite thing to eat is. What makes your mouth water just thinking about it? Maybe that is what you should make! Once you have an idea or two of what you want to make, first you need to make sure you have all the ingredients. Once you have all the ingredients gathered together, you can get to cooking!

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! – Psalm 119:103 NIV

What We Did

I told K that we were going to be doing another mission and asked him if he remembered our last mission. After briefly reviewing mission one, I read him mission two.

I asked him what what his favorite sweet treat was and he listed off a couple before deciding on drawing a cupcake.

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When we moved on to discuss what supplies we needed, I told K that we didn’t have the ingredients for cupcakes, but we did have the ingredients for peanut butter cookies. He was more than okay with that!

Before we got started making the cookies I read the verse and we talked about how God’s Word is sweet like cookies. With K being only three, we also had to back track a little and review how the Bible is God’s words to us.

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Then we got to baking!

IMG_6245Since K is gluten free, we decided to try out these super simple peanut butter cookies.

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For a young child like K, I am able to adjust the devotionals to discuss the topic as we do the activity. However, for an older child you can let them loose to do the mission on their own and then sit down afterwards to discuss the devotional. It’s very easy to adjust for age differences! IMG_6249 Once the cookies were done we had to try one of course! This was another good opportunity to talk about the verse.

After he took a few bits of his cookie, we did the extension activity. This activity takes the discussion a slightly different direction. We compared the taste of the sweet cookie to the sour taste of vinegar.

vinegar

 

He had no idea what he was about to taste. As soon as he took a sip, he said “That’s gross! I need water!” 🙂

We talked about how we can have sweet words and say the good things God wants us to say or we can say mean things that are like something sour. It was definitely a memorable experience!


 

Do you have your copy yet?

Grab one here and get all the missions, journal pages, and the parent debrief files. It’s currently free for subscribers!

Summer Search For God - Spiral Cover

 

 

Summer Search for God – Week One – Build a Fort

*UPDATE*
As of 5/9/16 this eBook is now available in an updated version in the shop here

Join me as I blog through Summer Search for God

For eight weeks this Summer I will be blogging through my eBook, Summer Search for God. I want to be able to give some more examples of how you can do the activities, so I will be sharing how me and K go through the devotional.

I’d love for you to join us! If you don’t already have the book, grab it here for free. Then, share how you are rocking the missions using the hashtag #summersearchforGod on Instagram or Twitter. If you write a blog post on your experience, please leave a link in the comments!


 

 

fort

Mission Description

For this mission you need to build a fort. Make sure to build it big enough for you and anyone who is joining you to be able to fit inside. You will also want to make sure it is sturdy and doesn’t fall down. What building material you use is up to you. Use whatever you have available. Once your fort is constructed you may want to bring some necessities inside, such as blankets, pillows, books, and a snack.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. – Psalm 18:2 NIV

What We Did

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First, I explained to K what was going on and I read the mission to him. Then I read the verse (shortening it a little for him) and talked a little about how God is like a fortress/fort.

Then I asked him what kind of fort he wanted to build (“we’re going to do it today, Mom?!”). He said he wanted to build a tree house. I told him that probably wasn’t going to happen, but he could still draw his idea.

After he drew his tree house, we talked about building a blanket fort and I helped him think through how he’d do that. Then, he drew a blanket fort. After he was done drawing, I did the writing for him in the last two sections.

Then, we built a fort!

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Once the fort was up, I surprised him with a nerf gun attack! (Easily his favorite part!)

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Afterwards, we settled in the fort with a snack and revisited the verse we read. I asked K if I was able to shoot him with the nerf gun when he was inside the fort. He said no and we talked about how God is like a fort because he protects us and keeps us safe – just like his fort kept him safe from the nerf gun.

At three, K is at the young end of age to do Summer Search for God, so I do have to simplify some things for him. However, thats one of the benefits of the devotional – it can easily be adapted for every age in your family!

Do you have your copy?

Grab one here and get all the missions, journal pages, and the parent debrief files.

Summer Search For God - Spiral Cover

5 Ways to Intentionally Point Your Kids to God This Summer

5-Ways-to-Intentionally-Point-Your-Kids

Summer.

With such a big break from your normal routine, how are you going to make sure you remain intentional in pointing your kids to God?

In Deuteronomy 6:6-9 it says:

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (NASB)

Even during times when life gets busy and unpredictable (like Summer!) we are supposed to be diligently teaching our children God’s truth. Thankfully, this scripture gives us some insight on how we are to go about doing this! We are to talk about God “when you sit and when you walk, when you lie down and rise up.” We are to incorporate learning about God into everyday life.

Today, I’d like to share with you five ways that you can incorporate discussion about God into day-to-day life and intentionally point your kids to God this Summer.

Continue Reading Over at Intentional By Grace…