Because We Are All Remarkably & Wonderfully Made (End Bullying)

*Don’t miss the video at the end of this post!*

remarkably-wonderfully-made-

In a recent hazing event at our high school, a young man was left taped to a pole one evening. Fortunately, he wasn’t physically hurt. But I can only imagine how he suffered and may continue to suffer emotionally.

After the smoke cleared, many in the community strongly condemned the action. Incredulously, others waved it off, saying it was just boys having some innocent fun.

I wonder, did those people ask the victim if he was having fun?

And it’s an oxymoron to call something innocent if it is done at the expense of someone else.

If adults won’t stand up against put-downs and harassment, how can we expect our youth to?

Bullying

Bullying stems from a lack of respect and love, for oneself and for others. I believe it damages both bullied and bullier. 

Unfortunately, our family has dealt with bullying in a couple different forms. It’s devastating to the recipient, and it’s effects can last a lifetime.

Everyone is a potential target for bullying, but those who exhibit something obviously different from others or who can’t defend themselves or speak out about it are more susceptible.

That leaves our children with special needs at a much higher risk of being bullied. 

The National Center for Educational Statistics reports that in 2013 nearly 1 in 3 students (27.8%) report being bullied during the school year. And children with disabilities were found to be two to three times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers (Marshall, Kendall, Banks & Gover [Eds.], 2009).

Remarkably and Wonderfully Made

Life is too short to waste it tearing others down. We need to teach acceptance and empathy. We need to demonstrate respect. We need to show love. To everyone, not just those we deem worthy. Why?

Because each of us is the undeserved recipient of the greatest love ever offered.

Because each of us is remarkably and wonderfully made by the Author and Perfecter of that love.

In light of those truths, how can we do otherwise than show love and respect to our brothers and sisters.

“I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14

Reflection: Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever been the bully? Please share in the comments. Help us learn from your stories.

Joni Eareckson Tada shared this video presentation by Nick Vujicic on a recent post of hers in observance of October as National Bullying Prevention Month. I knew immediately I needed to share it as well.

Nick Vujicic is an Australian who was born with no arms and legs. He received merciless bullying as a lad, and for several years wanted to end his life. Thankfully, at age 15 Nick realized he was just as remarkably and wonderfully made as his peers and that God created him with a purpose in mind.

A bit over 20 minutes, Nick’s presentation is powerful, moving, and effective. You will not regret watching a single second of it.

Share this video with others, your children, coworkers, other parents, church members. Be informed, and inform, teach, and guide others. Speak out against bullying and demonstrate the reason Christ died for all of us: love.

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

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Posted in Worth

Why it is Good to Dance (Celebrate) {Short Bursts of Encouragement}

Awkward and off-balance, Danny swung me around the dance floor. My first time swing dancing and I looked foolish, I’m sure of it. Part of me wanted to hang back, play it safe, not accept my son’s invitation. 

But how often does a mother get to dance with her college-age son?  

Playing it safe would have robbed me of the precious gift of those moments.

And so I danced, spinning dizzily and laughing away the embarrassment. I held onto the treasure of the moment despite my awkwardness.

Grasping the hands of my son, I held a gift. This time I chose to unwrap it.

Celebrate-before-the-Lord-

Click on this image to download/print and celebrate!

Celebrate Life

How often do we choose the safer option?

How often does the fear of looking a fool hold us back from fully living, heartily rejoicing, or boldly proclaiming?

How often does protecting our self-image get in the way of celebrating this gift of life or giving God glory?

How often do we live as slaves to fear when we are really heirs to freedom? 

Sadly, there have been many similar opportunities that I’ve let slip away. Times when I was more concerned about looking foolish than savoring a moment. And I can’t get those times back. 

But I can learn and grow from them. And I have. And I am. 

Today, let’s determine to do better at delighting in the precious moments the Lord orchestrates. Let’s be more intentional about savoring His gifts. Let’s make a point to display the richness of a Christ-centered life, not just speak of it. 

As redeemed children of God, let’s smile easier, laugh heartier, savor oftener, and proclaim with more fervor. Let’s celebrate before the Lord.

Today and every day that we are granted breath, let’s choose to express the joy of our salvation. [←Tweet this.]

David was dancing before the Lord with all his might,… [He said,] I will celebrate before the Lord. 2 Samuel 6:14, 21
Reflection: Do you find it difficult to express joy? Have you missed celebrating and savoring moments because you were more concerned with appearances?

Today I’m joining Holley Gerth for her Coffee for Your Heart Wednesday link-up and Rachel Wojnarowski for Whimsical Wednesdays. Click on the images to read more linked-up posts. So much wonderful encouragement!

  

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

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Posted in Daily Living, joy, Short Bursts of Encouragement

The One Thing I Hope My Children Remember About Me Above All Else

As a parent it is far too easy to get wrapped up in the daily happenings. Endless demands. Never-ending task lists.

In each day’s busyness, the urgent gets our attention, and far-too-often the most important gets forgotten. [←Tweet this.]

We work hard at being Supermom or Superdad, yet forget being Child of God is our first calling. 

And we end up being remembered for something less than.

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Worthy Attributes To Remember

There are many things I’m sure my children have noticed about me. Even a few I’m happy about. 

I am a rather driven lady. A woman in need of getting things done; checking items off lists. I take satisfaction in accomplishing tasks. 

But that’s not the most important thing I want my children to remember about me. 

I am friendly and helpful albeit a bit shy and reserved. I enjoy serving others. 

But that’s not the most important thing I want my children to remember about me. 

I am fiercely loyal and  extremely honest. I value integrity.

But that’s not the most important thing I want my children to remember about me. 

I love my family immensely and would lay down my life for them. 

But that’s not the most important thing I want my children to remember about me. 

I hope my children have learned from me that it is important to work hard, serve others, be a man or woman of integrity, and love deeply.

I hope they remember my love for them and the little things I did to show it. The notes in their lunchboxes; summer picnics and stomping through the creek; autumn mornings jumping in the leaves; winter afternoons sledding and building snowforts; evenings spent playing games and reading books; the joy of just being together.

Put In All

But there’s one virtue in particular I pray sticks in their forever-minds: one that bears eternal value. 

I hope my children remember always and forever that I loved the Lord and represented Him well as His daughter. 

After Jesus observed the widow giving two tiny coins, He made this statement: 

“This poor widow has put in more than all of them. For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:4, my emphasis

May my children see that I put in my all for God … and remember. [←Tweet this.]

Reflection: How about you? What do you want your children to remember about you? 

Joining Suzie Eller and her Friday linkup party a bit late. Writing on the topic, What I Hope They Remember, one thing I want my children to remember about me! Click the image below to read all the inspiring posts in the linkup.

Since beginning more than 3 years ago, I’ve counted more than 3,000 gifts in Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare! What a blessing! So here we go: #3261–3281, read the entire list by clicking here.

  • Peaceful morning walk in the fog and drizzle; Going to sleep to the sound of rain; Rachel happy as can be standing out in the rain playing her Leappad
  •  Mosaic of brilliantly colored leaves spread over the road; Rachel helping fold towels; Deep-seated security that comes from decades in a committed (albeit not perfect) marriage
  • Sharing weariness with a knowing friend; Progress noted as a recovering people-pleaser (releasing the guilt); Plans for visiting boys finalized
  • Packed and baking done in prep for visiting my boys; Hubby’s Mom spending the next few days with us; First time in forever I actually feel ready for a trip
  • Sharing a meal and 2 hrs with Zach at college–a quick but nice visit; Watching Dan play kazoo in a coffee house jazz band; Relaxing with Dan and one of his roomies at their off-campus house
  • Driving through gorgeous “tunnels” of colorful maples; Enjoying Hillsdale College hospitality, meeting with Danny’s professors, and watching his performance in the orchestra; Swing dancing with my boy–I wasn’t very graceful, but it sure was fun!
  • Precious pockets of time with my boys sprinkled throughout the weekend; This weary, grateful family home to rest; Being able to take Dave’s Mom along to see the boys

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

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Posted in Christian walk, Daily Living, legacy, One Thousand (or more) Gifts

Find Courage When Fear Comes Knocking (with free printable) {Short Bursts of Encouragement}

 “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.
John 16:33, emphasis mine

Find-courage-when-fear-knocks-

You and I are faced with trials every day. Fear is a real thing—a powerful force in this world.

Too often we become paralyzed by that fear or, sometimes worse, act rashly in our fear.

Finding Courage in the Face of Fear

But the opening verse from John declares that God has already conquered the world. Therefore, fear has lost its anchor. It should have no power over those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Savior. 

So why is it still so hard to be courageous in the face of trials? 

God addresses fear and having courage often in the Bible. Both the Old and New Testaments hold references.

What’s striking about these Scripture verses is that every one has its focus on God, not on you or me or on the circumstances that cause our fear. 

That’s telling! 

Not one Bible reference to courage says trust in yourself or your goodness or in the outcome of what you are facing. [←Tweet this.]

Check out some of them below (emphasis is mine): 

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“For they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately He spoke with them and said,“Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Mark 6:50

“Immediately Jesus spoke to them. ‘Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’” Matthew 14:27

“But Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Have courage, daughter,’ He said. ‘Your faith has made you well. ‘And the woman was made well from that moment.” Matthew 9:22

“Just then some men brought to Him a paralytic lying on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, ‘Have courage, son, your sins are forgiven.’” Matthew 9:2

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?‘” Matthew 14:9-31

“Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

He will not fear bad news; his heart is confident, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:7

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2

“But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household. And we are that household if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope.” Hebrews 3:6

I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8

“Wait for the Lord;  be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14 

“Therefore, take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me.” Acts 27:25

Surprised?

Apparently, courage has nothing to do with the person involved or the events and everything to do with God. [←Tweet this.] 

The strength to press through fear is found in God’s goodness and faithfulness. It is found in the fact that the things of this world have already been defeated in Jesus’s sacrifice. 

Therefore, when we anchor our courage in the Lord, we cannot help but overcome fear.

To help ourselves be properly anchored when fear comes knocking, I’ve compiled a list of 7 of my favorite courage verses in a printable to keep near. Just click on the image below to download and/or print. And feel free to share it. 

Verses-to-face-fear-

Reflection: Which Bible verse on being courageous, facing fear, speaks most to your heart? Why?

Today I’m joining Holley Gerth for her Coffee for Your Heart Wednesday link-up and Rachel Wojnarowski for Whimsical Wednesdays. Click on the images to read more linked-up posts. So much wonderful encouragement!

  

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

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Posted in Courage, Faith, Fear, God's attributes, Short Bursts of Encouragement, trust

Two Little Words to Utter as You Grow Weary

Sometimes weariness builds over a long day or string of days. Sometimes weariness hits quickly, coming unexpectedly. 

The only thing certain is that it will come.

weary-come-

We All Grow Weary

We will all have moments we aren’t certain we can get through. Hours or days or months that drag us down like a ton of bricks.

Why? Because we all walk this world of brokenness, in bodies destined to return to dust. And we all hold something or someone dear. And that something or someone will let us down, tear us apart, break, or disappear.  

An elderly parent in need of care. The death of a loved one. A child with disabilities. The loss of a job. A fire-razed home. A scary diagnosis. A hurting teen. 

No one has a monopoly on suffering. We all face (or will face) something we’d rather not. 

And it can zap every ounce of strength we have. 

Two Little Words of Strength

Not long ago, I was there … again.  

I was more than a little wore out raising a daughter who will always be a “little girl.” Weary of endless days of pull-ups, bathing and dressing her, and “considering” her future. 

It’s not easy, this journey we’re called to walk. 

But as I looked deep into the sparkling eyes of my trusting, brown-eyed beauty and uttered the words I’ve said many times through the years, “Help, Lord,” I felt a strength that was absent just a few seconds before. 

I knew a deep assurance that I could do this. Not on my own, but I could carry this heavy load by the endless reservoir of God.

It’s not magic; it’s Divine. It’s all about where one chooses to focus.

Get hypnotized by your circumstances and know discouragement and weariness; turn your gaze to the Lord and know His power. [←Tweet this.]

I don’t know what load is yours to bear, but God is the answer to carrying it. Our heartache, our pain, our loss, our dreams. He’s our strength when we are weak. He offers us shade when we are scorched and leads us to a fountain in the middle of the desert.

The Father bids us, “Come!” and then carries us when we can’t take one more step. [←Tweet this.]

So my weary friend, don’t isolate yourself in the desert. Don’t try to travel this rocky road alone. 

Utter those two little words that make all the difference. Refocus on the Lord. Open your heart to receive His well-spring of bountiful strength.

Let God renew and refresh your parched soul. 

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Reflection: Are you finding yourself growing weary as you become hypnotized by your circumstances? Do you need to tear your gaze away from your troubles and refocus on the source of endless strength? 

Since beginning more than 3 years ago, I’ve counted more than 3,000 gifts in Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare! What a blessing! So here we go: #3240–3260, read the entire list by clicking here.

  • Wonderfully sweet anniversary gift from 2 special people bring back memories of that fateful proposal day; Ending the day with a sparkling, clean kitchen sink; Tan pine-needle carpeting spread under a tree
  • God’s grace in providing for our marriage; Sounds of the waking woodland; Homemade sea-salt caramel dip–so many yummy uses!
  • Fun of watching an empty garbage bag outside on a windy day–thanks for pointing that out to me Rach; Fuzzy caterpiller crossing the road; Realizing our two older boys are not only brothers, but they are friends as well
  • Sharing a few fun moments with dear friends who dropped in; Watching Joey play nearly the entire game of the sport he loves; Remembering the life of a sweet girl gone too soon who brought a smile to all who knew her 
  • “Attending” Zach’s college vocal concert via livestream; Evening alone with my daughter; Smiling faces as Rach says hi and waves to everyone in the campground on her bike ride 
  • Cheering Rach on in Special Olympics bowling; Washing the outside of the windows; Wandering aimlessly in the late afternoon sun
  • Wonderful 50th Anniversary service and celebration for our church–blessed to have found it more than 17 years ago; Joey’s excitement at shooting his first buck; Surprise visit from Dave’s sister and her hubby–much laughter

Yours in grace ≈

Julie

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Posted in Brokenness, Daily Living, One Thousand (or more) Gifts, Rachel, Rest, Struggles, Suffering

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Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's BLESSINGS to get lost in its HAPPENINGS. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 10:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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