Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas Blessing Giveaway

The start of the Christmas season is officially upon us. Often, this means the next 25 days will be insanely busy. There is shopping to be done, gifts to be wrapped, parties to attend, cards to be mailed, the list goes on and on.

Among the busyness, be intentional about still having your quiet time each day. Read your Bible, pray and sing worship; don't skip this time because you have a long to-do list.

Consider doing an Advent study. I began doing an Advent study a few years ago and I love this extra time each day to help me keep my focus on God during this time. She Reads Truth and Women Living Well have a great advent study going on right now.

No matter what your schedule, shopping list or to-do list looks like, make sure God is at the very top.

Today is the 4th annual Christmas Blessing Giveaway. We have teamed up with 17 other bloggers and one of our blessed readers will receive $400 in PayPal cash! What a blessing that will be this Christmas season!

Jennifer Ross – The Focused Homemaker

Giveaway Rules: No purchase necessary. Must be 18 to enter. Void where prohibited by law. Open to US and Canada residents only. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or associated by Facebook. By entering this giveaway, you agree to release Facebook, Woman to Woman Ministries and all participating bloggers of all liability. Contest ends at 11:59PM CST on December 6, 2015. Winner is randomly chosen by Rafflecopter and will be emailed.

To enter to win, complete each task in the rafflecopter below. Remember, come back each day and share the giveaway on social media for more entries!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thriving through Advent...

Advent has arrived with this first of the four Sundays of Advent leading up to Christmas.  If you're like me and grew up in a church that didn't observe the liturgical year, here's a beautifully simple explanation of Advent.

As women we can sure get caught up in the busyness of the holiday season.  We often take the unrealistic responsibility upon our shoulders of trying to make it a magical and joyous season for all those we love.  Meanwhile, we too often lose the joy of it ourselves.  Here are a few things that have helped me to thrive instead of just survive the holidays. 

Make sure you feed your spirit.  Oh, how easy it is to let time in the Word and time worshiping fall by the wayside in all of the hustle and bustle and busyness that this season brings!  A strong, well fed spirit is essential to keeping our mind, will and emotions ruled by peace.  There are some wonderful Advent devotionals available online or in book form if you'd like to focus your Bible reading on the season.  Also, don't forget that worship strengthens your inner man, (woman), as well.  Fill your home with beautiful God honoring worship, sing along as you drive to work or carpool the kiddos around.  The season can be spiritually draining, so even more than usual, you need a well fed spirit.

Set and keep a budget.  The decorations, the extra groceries, the gifts, the Christmas cards, it all adds a lot of extra expenses to the budget.  They say if you don't have a plan then you plan to fail, and this certainly holds true when it comes to our finances.  Set a spending limit, make a list, and then stick to it.  

As our family has grown from just us and three daughters, to us, three daughters, three sons-in-law and five grandchildren, we found ourselves still trying to spend per person what we used to spend when there was just five of us, not thirteen!  So this year we decided to cut what we were spending per person by half.  It seemed like a great idea until our youngest granddaughter really, really wanted something that cost double our limit.  So, I prayed about it!  A few days later I walked into a discount store and there on the shelf was just one of the very thing she wanted for 75% off of its retail value, and one cent below the limit we had set per person.  God cares about everything that we care about.  Don't be afraid to ask Him to help you with your Christmas shopping.

Time is another thing we need to budget.  We've only got twenty five days until Christmas, and if you've not made a plan with how you want to spend those days, your calendar will be all filled up and another Christmas will have come and gone with you worn out, weary and frustrated.  Think about what events you absolutely do not want to do without.  For me it's something simple, the annual tradition of having our grandchildren over to dip pretzels in chocolate.  It's a priority to us because its an investment in making memories with them. Other events I don't want to miss are the annual Christmas dinner and gift exchange with the ladies from our church and a Christmas concert date night with my husband.  As you can see, all three of these events involve relationships.  Thinking about the things you absolutely don't want to cut out shows you where your priorities are, and what things on your holiday calendar that you need to let go of.

Take good care of yourself.  Overeating and lack of exercise and inadequate rest make me cranky.  I might be able to handle it for a day or two, but when it stretches on from Thanksgiving through New Years it's a recipe for an emotional meltdown.  Eat a salad, drink some water, go on a walk or a bike ride, take a nap if you need one. You're going to need energy for the next few weeks.

Advent should be a spiritually strengthening season for us as we reflect on and rejoice in Christ's first coming and anticipate His second coming.  How like the enemy, who comes to steal, kill and destroy, to turn it instead into a time when relationships become strained, bodies and spirits become depleted, and finances are drained.  I don't believe this is how we have to live.  We can thrive this Advent season, and with God's help and grace, we will.

still following,

Friday, November 27, 2015

The God Who Sees

Have you ever felt like the underdog? The low woman on the totem pole? Overlooked? Not taken seriously? Invisible, perhaps? If we are honest, we have all felt this way one time or another. And what does it do? Leaves us feeling unworthy, unimportant, discarded, the least of the least. It has the ability to affect our self esteem and speak volumes about who we are. I remember a time walking into a group of women for a Bible Study and nobody said a word to me, not even a simple "hello," or a "nice to have you here." And I wanted to run. Run as far away as I could as fast as I could and never go back. Dramatic maybe, but at the time those feelings were very real.

Going unnoticed is one of the worst feelings in the world. But do you know that your God is El Roi? He is the God who sees. He sees you when you hurt, when you are lonely, when you are celebrating and when you are broken.  He sees you when you feel like nobody else does. Think about David in the Bible, He was overlooked by others, but He was handpicked by God. He wouldn't have been voted "most likely" to succeed or "most popular" by his brothers or the people who knew him. After all, he was just a shepherd boy. But He was chosen to be King because God saw something great in Him. He saw a man after His own heart. He saw something that everyone else overlooked. And the same is true in your story. You may feel invisible, but God sees you. You may feel like you are the "least likely" to do anything of significance, but God see's you and He knows your worth. In fact, the Bible tells us in Zephaniah 3:17 that He takes great delight in us and He celebrates us with songs of joy! To think that He delights in me is too wonderful for words, my human-ness can't even fathom it. He cares about every detail of our lives, even the things that others consider silly or unimportant. He is always keeping watch over you and I.

I take great comfort in knowing that no matter what the world does or doesn't say about me, that I have a God who doesn't take their opinions into account when He looks at me. He doesn't vote with the popular kids about who Sarah is. He doesn't take a poll from the people that know me best and take on their views. He loves me just because that is who He is. And nothing goes unnoticed, we are always in His line of vision. Do you get it yet?  HE SEES YOU! No matter your feelings today, your struggles, your assured, your El Roi, sees you. Not only does He see, He cares. He is ready to work on your behalf. You have the attention of the most high God; what else does that compare with? Oh this gift, too wonderful for words, we thank you Jesus that you see us just as we are and you accept us in our mess. Thank you for seeing me.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Don't Miss the Main Event

By: Shari A. Miller

Tomorrow is my favorite holiday that I look forward to every year.


As I write this, the smell of pumpkin pie is wafting through the air, and members of my family are busy throughout the house making preparations for the special day.

Cleaning and more baking will happen tomorrow in order to make everything just right for the arrival of family and friends.

In years past I've gotten a little too overwhelmed with making sure things were perfect; so much so, that by the time everyone arrived, I was exhausted and didn't enjoy myself at all.

We can see the same thing happening in God's Word as we read the story of Mary and Martha.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42
In this story we can see Martha busy around her home making sure everything was just perfect for Jesus. However, in doing this she was missing out on the "main event." Jesus even tells her to stop focusing on so many things, and focus on what matters most, Him.
As you busy yourself around your home, don't let your "to-do's" get in the way of the center of attention being on Him. It doesn't have to all be perfect, it doesn't have to all get done.
Tomorrow, enjoy the special moments with family and friends as you breath in deep the spirit of the season of thankfulness. Slow down and take time to be grateful for things that matter most in life, with the main important one being the King.

It is time for the Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesday Link Up. We desire to connect women of God with one another and encourage each other in Christ. So grab a cup of coffee or glass of sweet tea, sit back and visit a few blogs. Be encouraged and share your own stories in their comments.

Use hashtag #w2wwordfilledwednesday

Three rules to this link up:
1. Must be a {Christian} faith post.
2. Link back to W2W somewhere in your post. (Feel free to use our button if you want!)
3. Visit and comment on at least one other blog in the link up.

Woman to Woman Ministries