Practical Ways to Honour God in the Workplace

If you’re in the workplace, you know how tricky it can be to share your faith. That’s exactly what I’m going to talk about with my guest, Paige Clark. Paige will share her experiences and insights on being a Christian witness amidst the challenges and opportunities that come up in professional settings. For many of us, our work environment can be a space where faith often takes a back seat, overshadowed by the demands of daily tasks and corporate culture. Continue to read as I share with you Practical Ways to Honour God in the Workplace.

And don’t worry if you’re listening to this and you’re not in the workplace, this conversation is still relevant because the truths we share can be applied to any scenario we have an encounter with non-Christian people.

So stick around as we share the ways in which we can bring our faith into our work lives and serve as a positive influence on those around us.

Listen to the episode:

Timestamps:

00:00- Integrating Faith and Professional Responsibilities
03:53- Faith in the Workplace
07:01- Responding to Controversial Lifestyle Pictures
08:48- The Benefits of Working in a Company That Aligns with Your Values
08:51- Exploring the Line Between Gossip and Being Informed 
11:56- Showing Jesus Through Everyday Actions
18:44- Exploring the Power of the Holy Spirit in the Workplace and Beyond
18:46 Finding Balance and Blessing in Your Career
22:16- How God Can Use Us in Our Current Situations
23:25- Finding Identity in Christ, Not in Career
29:39- The Quiet Quitting Movement
29:42- Work-Life Balance and Setting Boundaries

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

Practical Ways to Honour God in the Workplace

Meet Paige Clark

I live in Arizona, in a suburb outside of Phoenix. I’ve lived here for now 10 years, and am originally from California. For my job, I like to say I have many hats. When people ask me what I do, I say how long do you have? Because then I can tell you everything that I actually do.

But for my regular full-time job, I work in marketing as a social media manager for a tech company. I also teach marketing on the side, have one-on-one clients, and I’m also a writer.

I publish a magazine every quarter, and I have a podcast.

Today we’re actually talking about faith in the workplace. I’m sure you’ve noticed this, but more and more it’s hard to be to show your faith just because of the circumstances we live in this day and age.

Navigating Workplace Culture as a Christian

Can you talk maybe a little bit about how Christians can live out their faith while balancing the culture of a workplace that really tries to discourage Christians to show their faith?

I think it depends on a few things. Do you work from home or do you work from the office? Do you commute? Do you not commute? How long is your commute? And what industry do you work in?

Because the answer to that question changes radically depending on what industry you work with, which is crazy.

My first job was at a Christian university, so it was very much accepted to demonstrate my faith. And then I entered the tech space, it was hard.

It’s becoming more and more prevalent. It’s not necessarily a corporate attitude, but it’s more so the prevalence.

It’s more of the individual attitude where you get put into situations and you’re thinking, OK how does God want me to respond to this? What is the Christian way to respond to this problem?

I ran into this issue and I still don’t have the right answer. I had a colleague of mine ask me if I wanted to see pictures of their controversial lifestyle. It put me in a really awkward situation because friendly Paige say, of course, let’s see what you did this weekend. I want to know all about it.

But then also I struggle with this part of me that is also very grounded in my faith and I go, OK how would Jesus respond in this situation? How is Jesus asking me to respond in this situation?

I don’t know the right answer. I never got an answer on that and maybe the answer is going to come some other day.

But through this experience, God has helped me take a minute and ask God for wisdom.

I can say: God, I don’t know what the right answer is here and I’m not going to say anything until you show up and you tell me what to do and that might result in me not saying anything at all.

A picture of a woman sitting on the ground with her legs crossed with a laptop on her lap. She is looking up and has a huge smile on her face. Under the picture are the words, Practicle ways to honour God is the workplace. www.onedeterminedlife.com

Christian culture depends on the company you work for


Being able to share your faith at work really does depend on the industry, but also the company you work for.

My husband is a marketing director and he really likes his company because they’re family based company.

Even though maybe his pay is a little bit lower, he doesn’t have to worry that he’s going to be pointed out as a Christian and affect his ability to work well in the company.

So for him, that’s a huge benefit because he doesn’t have to face these scenarios every day. Ones where he might worry he’s going to lose his job because of the way he handles these sorts of things.

His values align a little bit more with this company. But that wasn’t necessarily something he was looking for when he started the job. It’s just something that he’s learned as he’s been on the job.

But it’s one of the reasons why he stays is because he really loves it and they do really treat him really well. But he also doesn’t have that fear of showing his faith more at work.

So it’s understanding that there is going to be a cost if we decide to stay somewhere or leave somewhere.

So for my husband, He can be with a different company that would probably pay him twice as much as he is being paid now, but the cost would be his freedom and his faith versus his current cost. But for him, it’s worth it because of that freedom.

It’s not just about what you say, but how you act

Faith isn’t so just about what you say in the workplace, but how you act. One thing that I talk about on the podcast, is gossip.

I think I was very ill-prepared for the workplace and the gossip that happens in the workplace.

I would argue to say gossip in the workplace is worse than gossip in high school.

We need to critically ask these questions and be aware of what is going on and then go to God about it because ultimately the Bible says do not gossip, watch your tongue.

But what does that mean in the workplace? What is the line between gossiping and being informed?

These types of scenarios bring up many blurry lines there.

But in the workplace, it’s not so much about what you say, it’s about how you act. If people know you as the gossiper in the workplace, they might see that and might not see Jesus. And I think that when we are able to just show Jesus, I think that changes people’s approach to us a lot more.

If you are spending time with the Lord and you’re pursuing him and your relationship with him, then those things will naturally flow out.

Because I remember at one job – I’d be around my coworkers and they would swear and right away they’d look at me and say, oh, I’m so sorry. And I never said anything about their swearing.

But, I think they realized just by being around me, what my values were. I did have to say swearing makes me feel uncomfortable or I don’t like it.

And so I think there are some things that we just naturally do, that people sense and observe that we don’t necessarily need to be loud about. We can just naturally let it flow out of us and then people do see the difference.

A picture of a woman sitting at a desk in an office, working on her computer.

Balancing Faith and Perception

And I struggle with balancing that line between being holy and other people thinking that I had an attitude of being “holier than thou”.

In College, I had some friends that thought I was snobbish because of my faith. So they started hiding things from me.

Some of my best friends lied to me about stuff because they felt that they couldn’t come to me with those things.

And so it’s hard for me because I want my humanity to show, but I also want Jesus to show up even more.

And at work, do I cuss every now and then? Yeah, that’s just authentically me. But then how can I show up in love and in Jesus and be included in the conversations where Jesus needs to show up?

When people talk with me, when people are with me, I want them to feel heard and see where they’re at.

And then it’s just those real indications of how we act and how we show Jesus through those situations.

For some people, it’s having to cross on your cubicle or saying- I’ll be praying for you.

The Delicate Balance of Sharing Your Faith

I always like to drop little Nuggets. When people ask me- what are you doing this weekend?

I have two options for how I can answer that. I can say I’m volunteering or I’m volunteering at my church.

Those land very differently. And sometimes I found myself kind really comfortable doing that.

Because I would be self-censoring that. It’s not trying to brag, I’m not trying to show off. My co-worker asked me what I’m doing. For me, every other week I’m volunteering.

It’s letting people know that if they have questions about the church or if they need prayer about something, they can come to me about that if they need to.

And I think it’s so situational, and I think that’s partly why it’s hard to have very specific answers because it can depend on the environment or even the person that you’re talking to.

Each person at your work might have different standards or they might approach something really differently.

We are the only Jesus they see

One of the things I try to do is be different than what people think they think Christians are. — stick with me.

My brother-in-law and his wife aren’t saved. The only thing they know about Christianity is what they see in the news. And Christians don’t look good in the news these days.

So, I try to give them a different picture of what Christianity is.

And it’s not standing on my soapbox. It’s not shoving it down the throat.

It’s showing kindness, generosity, support, and all those things.

These should all be naturally flowing out of me because of my relationship with Christ.

What is a “good witness”

When I was younger, I thought I knew what it meant to be a good witness. I thought it mean all these things that just add up to good works.

But the older I get, the more I realized that my witness is about getting to know God, and being in a relationship with him, and letting it naturally flow out of me.

I don’t necessarily need to try and do it.

But then, I also need to be intentional in those conversations to say the words church or I’ll pray for you.

Those things help grow those relationships to then maybe have a discussion in the future. I want to make that relationship positive.

A picture of Anne Markey facing the camera. Next to her picture are the words, My witness is about getting to know God, being in a relationship with Him, and letting it naturally flow out of me.

Getting to know your neighbours

Another example- I live in a brand new community and so everyone in the community, nine times out of 10, they’re from out of state. They didn’t move from Arizona to another spot in Arizona. They moved from a different state, Nebraska, Ohio, and Minnesota, just to name a few.

They’re new and they’re not connected. Most of them don’t have family here. And so things that I’m doing is dropping little bread crumbs to let them know who I am and what I’m about.

And so that shows up for Easter when I shared my church’s information and I said, if you’re looking for a place to go to Easter, you’re welcome here.

I think it just shows people what I’m about. I’m just merely opening the door. And I think that if we’re dropping those bread crumbs, people are able to come and eat when they’re ready.

We are different

One of the things my daughter noticed is the difference between her and somebody who doesn’t follow the Lord in Jr. High because it is so completely evident.

It’s the same thing in the workplace. Since we’re full of the Holy Spirit, I think people sense it.

Tw that we’re different even without us saying or doing anything, just because their inner spirit knows that our spirits aren’t the same.

My husband and I joke around because we try to take different scenarios to know more non-Christians and see if we can encourage them.

The example that we think about is: before we had our eldest child, we went to prenatal classes. We assumed some participants in the class would be non-Christians. We decided we wanted to be intentional and see if we could make relationships with different couples.

And of course, the one couple we felt more connected to, we learned a few weeks later that they were Christian. To me, this shows how our spirit knows their spirit. It’s not because they even said anything or they did anything. It’s just that we share The Holy Spirit and we could sense it in each other.

No wonder we got along – we’re family.

A picture of a woman sitting at a desk in an office, working on her computer.

Should work be a mission field?

One other thing I want to say about faith in the workplace is I feel like there’s this misunderstanding that in order to practice your faith and be a good servant of the Lord, you need to step into using work as a ministry, and that is the furthest thing from the truth.

What I’m learning, especially through the conversations about faith in the workplace, is that God can have you in the position you’re in so that He can give you blessings in other areas of your life.

So it’s not so much so that you have to be in the absolute perfect situation but being able to do more with your time, do more with your money, or be home more.

Certain jobs may give you the ability to work from home and have more time with your family, and your church. It may give you more vacation time.

I’ll give you an example.

When I was in my first job I was commuting 80 miles round trip a day. So it was about an hour and a half each way of a drive. It was killer. It nearly killed my body and my soul like it was terrible.

What happened when I was doing that though was I had zero energy to pour out myself into my church community. I didn’t want to go anywhere on Sunday because I spent. On Saturday and Sunday because I didn’t want to go out of the house because of my long hours.

I wanted to be in my beautiful house. I didn’t want to be in the world because I’d been in the world for the past five days.

Then, when I moved jobs, my job was closer to my house. This magic thing happened, and I suddenly had enough energy and enough vibrancy for other areas of my life.

And it wasn’t necessarily that that job was the end all be all. It was fulfilling for what it was, but it wasn’t my ultimate calling.

What it did was allow me to grow closer to my husband, allowed me to settle us a little bit more in our house. It allowed me to get more plugged in with my church community. It allowed me to know my neighbours a little bit more.

The new job allowed me to have blessings in other areas of my life, and it wasn’t just about my job.

God can use you wherever you’re at, but also He may have you where you’re at, so you get blessings in other areas of your life.

A picture of Paige Clark facing the camera. Next to her picture are the words, God can have you in the position you're in so that He can give you blessings in other areas of your life

Our jobs don’t need to be our ministry

I have this discussion a lot with my husband as well. He has been in some jobs when they weren’t fulfilling and they were hard. In those times, he was more engaged in church.

But he has the opposite problem now where he really loves his work and so he doesn’t have tons of time for ministry, but he really does feel that the Lord is using this job for him to make a positive impact in that job.

I think it can be either or even both. Tb itself doesn’t necessarily need to be ministry.

We can just live our Christian lives and whatever comes in will come out naturally. The blessings will be in other areas or the Lord’s placed you in that position to be that Christian influence.

Not every single thing we do needs to be a ministry.

The tendency to over-spiritualize things

There’s the tendency to over-spiritualize things. I think that what we should do and what we actually do are probably very different.

But we should always go to God with our request and seek His guidance in our path and life.

I also believe that God is incredibly sovereign and He is going to make His way happen whether or not you choose to take the job, and whether or not you decide to step out in boldness.

Yes, he’s calling you to do that. And yes, you should do that when the Holy Spirit is moving you. But I think that there might be shame or guilt around.

Doing or not doing something because we might not have a clear answer. Does God want me in Job A or Job B? God is still sovereign and there’s nothing you can do to screw up God’s plan.

It’s about How you do a job

My husband and I worked with our youth group ministry for a couple of years. And so we would get to know these kids in high school.

And so you would see them in grade 11/12 thinking about what to do next.

Most of these kids wanted to know what to do. What program should I apply for? What should I be when I grow up?

As graduation came closer their anxiety would increase.

And I would say to them: no offence, but whether you become a doctor, lawyer, nurse, or Carpenter. It’s not about what job you have, it’s about how you’re doing that job for Him (God).

Just giving them that peace, their anxiety went down because it then no longer about making “the wrong choice”.

It just became about whatever choice you make, do it for the Lord.

Do everything for The Lord

And that is such a good reminder for any situation that we’re in.

Whether we do job A or job B. If we’re not getting a specific direction, then it’s not about the job anymore. It’s about how we’re doing that job right.

And one other big thing I learned in these conversations is just to do your job with excellence.

We are meant to reflect Jesus in this world. We’re here to give our all.

Finding Identity in Christ, Not in Career

And I want to draw a really distinct line: just because we give something our all doesn’t mean it is our all.

I find a lot of people have this mindset towards their work that it’s always about what your next step was.

What’s your next step? What ladder are you going to climb? What’s your next goal? What’s your career goal?

My career goals have nothing to do with this job, sorry. This is not why God put me on this earth. And I find it might just be corporate culture. It might be the company culture that you’re at that makes you cling to this idea of always having to be thinking of what’s next.

But my identity is not wrapped in that. My identity is in Christ. My identity is Christ alone, and my career aspirations are whatever he wants for me and my career.

When we started this at the top of the podcast, you asked me what I do. Well, I have my nine-to-five. Do I enjoy it? Yeah, I love my job, love my team. Is it what I’m meant to do on this earth? No, not at all. It’s to support my family and get a paycheck and to be able to have a roof over my head. And that’s OK.

For anyone who needs to hear this, that is okay to collect a paycheck from work.

Do I still do my job with excellence? Yes, do I still put all my effort into my job? Yes.

Do I get my value from my job? No, I get my value from the one who sets my value.

A picture of Paige Clark facing the camera. Next to the picture are the words,  My career goals have nothing to do with this job, sorry. This is not why God put me on this earth. And I find it might just be corporate culture. It might be the company culture that you're at that makes you cling to this idea of always having to be thinking of what's next.

The Impact of Job Loss on Your Identity

I think that’s such a good reminder because my husband actually has lost his job more than a few times. In that process, it’s easy to see how you can completely lose yourself in your work and the identity you have in that job.

Losing your job can be hard because it’s such a big part of your life. So if you’re if your identity is in what you do- then if you lose that.

Once you lose that, it’s so easy to lose faith and lose direction and even any of those things because of where your identity is.

I talk about this not just in our jobs, but as a mom, and as a wife. If my identity is in my children- when they leave, I’m gonna be lost.

So I work on having my identity in Christ, because everything around me may change, but God doesn’t. He is the only thing that is permanent.

That mindset shift isn’t just helping to have a good work-life balance, but it also protects you in case you lose that job or it’s time to move on. Then you don’t spiral because your identity isn’t wrapped up in it. It’s such a good way to protect yourself spiritually and emotionally in all those different areas.

A picture of a women sitting at her desk in front of her computer. She has a phone in her hand and is looking at the camera with a huge smile on her face.

The Purpose of the Quiet Quitting Movement

You saw this conversation come up a lot with the whole “quiet quitting” movement.

For those who might not recognize that term, quiet quitting is not about people just abruptly quitting their jobs, but rather it’s the idea of this generation who will only go until expectations are met.

For example:

If their job is from nine to five, they’re out at 5 PM. They’re not checking their email or Slack or anything like that. They’re done at five.

On the other side, there are those who believe that you need to push harder and be more dedicated, going the extra mile, and striving for excellence.

These two opposing views created a divide, with some asserting their independence while others insisted on excelling at work.

As I observed this, I found myself in a position where I didn’t have to have a strong opinion about these matters because

  • God’s opinion is my opinion, and I don’t have to have an opinion about everything, which is part of the quiet quitting movement.
  • I realized there is a middle ground—a balance between doing your job with excellence and not allowing it to consume your entire life.

In an ideal scenario, this movement aimed to address toxic workplaces where people weren’t responding in a healthy way.

Advice for people starting a new job

If anyone is about to start a new job, I would give this advice: set your boundaries early and firmly.

If you don’t establish those boundaries from the beginning, others will assume they don’t exist.

So, if your boundary is, for example, not checking your phone from 6 PM to 7 AM, communicate that boundary clearly.

It’s okay to express these personal boundaries and limitations. Just say, “Hey, I have set this boundary for myself.”

Of course, it depends on the nature of the job, but if you establish and reinforce your boundaries consistently, people will respect them, and you can move forward in that way.

A picture of a women sitting at a table outside. There is a computer on the table and the women is talking on the phone while writing in a notepad.

Following The Lord’s example

I think sometimes as Christians, we feel obligated to be all things to all people, to always be kind and say yes because we think it’s the only way to serve the Lord well.

Guilt often plays into this dynamic.

However, if we examine Scripture closely, even Jesus himself had boundaries. He would separate himself from the crowd to spend time with the Lord and find rest.

Despite his followers sometimes not honouring those boundaries, He still took deliberate steps to separate himself.

What happened with COVID and technology is that when you’re always at home with tools like Teams, Slack, and Messenger, people feel like they have access to you because you’re working from home. It becomes easy to work all the time and remain connected.

But learning the balance between work and personal life, and setting those boundaries, doesn’t mean we’re going against our faith if we decline to answer an email at 8 PM.

It doesn’t make us bad Christians because we have healthy boundaries.

We can still give our all to our jobs while maintaining those boundaries.

Finding this balance is challenging because, as you said, it depends on the job and the work we do.

But ultimately, it comes down to why we do it, how we do it, and who it’s for. I feel like this is a topic we could discuss all day, but we’ve already been here for a while.

Connect with Paige

So you’ve mentioned your podcast a little bit, but if people want to know more about kind of what you share and what you do, where can people find you?

People can find me on my website. On all social channels or you can subscribe to my podcast.

Thank you so much and if you enjoy the show. Please share this podcast with a few of your Christian friends so that we can get bigger and more impactful guests on the show.

Thank you so much for joining me and I’ll catch you next week on the next episode.

Hope During Times of Struggle: How to Rely on God

Life is full of ups and downs, and there are moments when we find ourselves facing immense challenges and difficulties. It is during times of struggle that we often yearn for a glimmer of hope to guide us through the darkness. In the midst of our trials, one constant source of unwavering support and strength is our faith in God. Continue to read as I share how to find hope during times of struggle.

The episode:

Timestamps

00:00- Exploring Faith and Resilience: A Conversation with Carmen James”
02:15- Reflection on Growing Up in the Nazarene Church and Finding Faith in Adulthood
_:__:__ Reflection on Finding Faith After a Difficult Marriage and Cancer Diagnosis
09:36- Rediscovering God’s Priorities
_:__:__ Finding Faith in the Face of Cancer
14:10- Faith, Hope, and Overcoming Cancer
19:57- Exploring Faith-Based Support During Cancer Journey
25:58- Faith and Overcoming Adversity
30:39- The Power of Scripture in Healing and Encouragement
36:27-  A Reflection on Faith and Miracles
38:38- Trusting the Lord and Cancer Treatment
40:28- Experiencing God’s Presence During Cancer Treatment

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

Hope During Times of Struggle: How to Rely on God

Have you ever noticed that spiritual growth only comes through trials?? I know for me, the times I grow the most in my walk with God is when I’m facing hard things. This is also true for my guest today.

Her name is Carmen, and in this episode, Carmen shares her journey through battling cancer and the profound lessons she learned along the way. Carmen’s story is one of resilience, faith, and the incredible power of community.

Throughout her trials, she discovered a deep trust in God that carried her through the darkest moments. In today’s conversation, we delve into her experiences, the transformative healing she underwent, and the role that prayer played in her journey.

Carmen’s story proves that even in the face of unimaginable difficulties, it is possible to find strength, joy, and purpose.

Carmen’s journey reminds us that our greatest battles can become the catalysts for profound personal growth and transformation. Join me as we dive into Carmen’s inspiring tale, exploring the invaluable lessons she has learned and the wisdom she gained from her encounters with both darkness and light.

So continue reading as we discover how unwavering faith in God can help us navigate the unknown and embrace the healing journey with grace.

Meet Carmen

I was born and raised in the Nazarene church. I grew up in a very strict home. We went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night.

My dad was very big into our church, and very much lived out. His faith has been a tremendous role model for me through the years.

But like a lot of kids, I didn’t grow up loving church. When I went off to college and was obviously out on my own. You know at that age you you’re just exploring the world. You’re out from underneath your parent’s roof and their rules. And my rules at that point didn’t include church and I really started to drift.

Church was not a priority. A relationship with God was not a priority.

I wasn’t in the word of God. I could give lip service because I’d had years of going to church, but going to church is not the same thing as being in a real relationship with the Lord.

And so I got into young adulthood and married, and he was Catholic.

I made that conversion to Catholicism, did that for about 10 years, and learned a lot, but it just wasn’t for me. After our divorce, I continued in the Catholic Church for a very short time and my second husband’s father was well shall we say an atheist.

And so that presented a lot of challenges in our marriage and how I wanted to raise the kids. And I often found myself going to church alone and trying to take three small kids by myself and it was a real struggle and I gave up. I gave in.

And that marriage ended 10 years later.

And so at that point, I was in a space where I felt like I need to get back to church. And so I went back to more of a Protestant church like I was raised in and fell in love and started taking my children because I wanted my children to have that base right.

The person who I’m married to now was not going to church at that time and I just didn’t let that deter me. But what I found over the years was it did start to impact me.

A picture of Anne Markey and Carmen James. Above their names and pictures are the words, Hope during struggle. How to rely on God to thrive amidst cancer diagnosis.

The Importance of being equally yoked

We’re told in the Bible to be very careful about being unequally yoked.

I truly believe that people become like the five people that we spend the most time with. And that impacted me and I found myself again, once again drifting away from church.

So Long story short, five, 5 and a half years ago I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma stage 3, which is a blood cancer.

For those of you who know nothing about that disease, that illness, that type of cancer, you hear the words incurable when you sit with that oncologist. And that dropped me to my knees. It was a big wake-up call because God had been pursuing me.

Jesus had been pursuing me, and the bells and whistles were going off on the dashboard of life.

I was just choosing to ignore and live my life the way I wanted to live on my terms. And that diagnosis brought everything to a screeching halt. It literally.

My world crashed. It was turned upside down.

In that moment, I realized that I was not in control and that someone else was calling the shots for real and had delivered me something to which I wouldn’t be able to figure a way out.

Because I’m a firstborn. A type A personality, very driven, a control freak if you will, up to that point. And this diagnosis would be the one that I would find myself on my knees begging the good Lord.

The word of God does not return empty

I love hearing testimonies of how as a kid you got to know the Lord and that it wasn’t wasted. Yes, you drifted a little bit, but because of that solid foundation, you went back to it.

I know that as a mom I always worry about whether or not we are teaching them the right things.

But it’s just an encouragement to remember that training our children in The Lord can produce fruit now and/or in the long rung.

Even if they make wrong choices, it’s not wasted. God can still redeem it and can still use it and can still, bring them back.

A Father’s example

The interesting thing behind this is my dad was diagnosed with the same cancer 12 years prior and so I watched my dad walk in faith, never wavered, and really took a hard-line position that he was going to do the aggressive chemo route and that he was going to stand in faith and believe for his healing, believe for his miracle.

He was not willing to claim the word incurable because my dad believed that The Lord is the great physician and if He wants to heal me He will. And if He doesn’t heal me here, He will heal me on the other side.

So it rocked our world when we got the news that Dad was sick and we were shocked. When this sort of thing happens, you start to ask: How did we get here and were there signs that we missed along the way?

At one point I was heartbroken and scared that I would lose my dad. And my dad said, Carmen, I’m going to tell you something right now. Don’t cry. Don’t waste your tears. I’m good. My eternity is secure. And I’m good. If the good Lord calls me home today, I’m good. Waste no tears. I’ve lived a great life.

Do I want to go in this moment? No. But it’s up to God and we have no control. So I will do my part and I will do the treatment.

But if the answer is still no and he takes me home, we’re good. We’re at peace.

And I remember thinking – wow, I’m not at peace and I’m not good with this.

And I wondered why would my God do this to my dad. He was so active in his church and volunteered and, he was always the first one to jump up and volunteer.

When the church was raising money for a project, my dad would stand up and commit thousands of dollars. And I would look at my mom and she would have this like look of horror on her face because she was like, we don’t have that money. She didn’t know where that was coming from, but that was what I learned. Faith and action. And I’m thankful for that. Because as I walked that journey with Dad, little did I know 12 years later, that was going to be me.

Carmen’s Cancer Journey

I underwent the same aggressive chemotherapy that my dad did. I lost all my hair. I was deathly ill.

At that time, I was an entrepreneur trying to run a book of business. So I have no guaranteed paycheck.

I needed to work and I was scared to death. I also recognized that God has already prepped the stage. And I already had a great example of faith.

Now did that great example make it super easy for me to go through that process? 100 % no.

In fact, I had to work through the stages of grief. I had to take my own journey in it and let it play out.

In the 1st 24 to 48 hours of reality really sinking him for me, I remember sitting at the kitchen table. My husband came home from work and sat there bawling. And my husband like, what’s going on?

And I’m like, I am just so angry at God right now. Look what happened to my dad. And now it’s happening to me and this isn’t fair. And why me? And you know the whole- what did I do to deserve this?

I had this anger that just spewed out at me and I remember who I needed to get that out.

I needed to work through that and process all of that if I was going to move forward. And I let the dust settle and I didn’t linger there.

I would say within a day or two I was out of that pit and I was like going to rise up and kick cancer to the door.

Using the pain for glory

But what I would say is there were moments in the six months of chemo and being very sick and trying to hold on to my business. I never ever blamed God, but there were moments when I didn’t see how any good can come from this.

Here’s what I know today, 5 and a half years– I received a phone call that my dad would battle cancer again.

I could not believe what I was hearing and that was hard. But I was like, oh, my gosh, we just, it just feels like we came up for air and we’re going to get hooked under yet again.

Praise God he would come through for my dad yet again. My dad is still here, he’s in his eighties, and he has now beat cancer twice. And what I have come to realize is 2 of the clients in my Virtual Wellness coaching program have found out that they have cancer as they’ve been a part of my program.

And I have one right now who’s about to battle breast cancer for the second time. We have Bible study on Monday nights over Zoom and this particular client has been very active in my Bible study. She nearly lost her husband last year. She’s been through so much. So as a tribe, we call ourselves a tribe. We’re devastated by the news. But we’re not going into battle asking for the victory. We are going into battle proclaiming the victory.

Don’t be afraid to express your feelings to God

The Bible tells us the story of when Lot lost everything. He had these extreme emotions.

And so we see it in scripture.

But then when it comes to our own personal journey and we have these feelings of anger and feelings of things being unfair, I find that most Christians get really uncomfortable with those feelings.

Because you’re not allowed to be angry with Go. I’ve always felt like you like its OK, be angry but go to God with that anger. Express it and get it out on the table. Tell Him.

And so I love that you shared that you share how it’s messy. Our feelings and our faith aren’t always linear, and kind of get muddied up.

But I love that you were able to move. Out of that, into a space where you know you were trusting God through the process and then being able to use that experience to then encourage others.

God trusts us with the story

God trusts us with the story, right? He can’t trust everyone with incurable cancer.

He can’t trust everyone with breast cancer for the second time. But He’s entrusted us because He knows. That we will use that story and He will use it for our good in His glory if we allow it.

And I have been very open, very vulnerable, very raw, very real with my clients about this entire journey, very transparent.

One of the Bible verses that early on in my cancer journey really stuck out for me is from the book of Esther. And that the verse about perhaps, perhaps you were creative for such a time as this.

And in the moment I remember thinking, well, that really sucks. You mean to tell me that’s what this is all going to boil down to, that I was created for this? I mean, what good is going to come from this? What I can tell you is what I’m so passionate about. God has made it very real, the calling on my life. And who and what is my mission field?

And these women that I get to do life with and I get to be their Wellness coach. That’s my assigned mission field.

And I have watched God move inside my client’s lives. I have watched God show up.

When COVID hit, I was in a gym as a personal trainer. So basically all I did was give people great workouts. When COVID hit, I had a choice. At that moment, I prayed about it and I had a certification as a Wellness coach. But I had not used that certification.

God opened the door for me to be able to have an income, to still be able to have a job, because I could move my clients online, turn my business upside down, and go from just personal training to giving my clients workout, faith-based spiritual component, a nutrition component, a stress management component.

We talk about sleep. We talk about work-life balance, which is where I found myself when I had the cancer diagnosis. I wasn’t living in alignment with God’s priorities and there was no number work, life, balance. It was all about work.

My clients get to see me walk that out in real-time. And it’s one thing to sing a song about faith, you know, I’m always reminded of that song, Oceans.

That was such a popular song at the time I was diagnosed with cancer. I know that song because I would sing it and sob. That was my victory song, if you will because I felt like God was taking me into the deep where my feet wouldn’t touch on purpose so that I would become so dependent on him.

And when we’re never called to the deep, we don’t know the definition of faith. We can sing about it till the cows come.

But when you’re fate, when your feet don’t touch the bottom of that ocean and you have to lean on him and not yourself, that is the game changer.

Trials test your faith

I grew up in a Christian home and I thought I had faith. When you face those hard things, it’s the rubber hitting the road.

And this is when you have to decide: is this real?

And I remember for myself, it’s like I could spend all my time angry or frustrated or questioning or anything like that. But if I really believe that God is who He says He is.

I have to choose to trust.

And so it’s always these points where you have that choice.

You have the choice to say no, I don’t know what God is doing, but I trust Him.

Or it’s really a whole bunch of baloney.

But I know that it’s in those hard moments where you see Him so much stronger. That builds your faith.

Why is it the hard things that help us grow? I don’t actually want to go through all those things.

But then on the other side, it’s seeing how the Lord carried me through. He helped me grow. I understand so much more. And so there are these benefits, even though it’s sometimes a circus or a gong show or just a lot of ridiculousness.

We are the proof of God’s existence

If we’re not entrusted with the story and we don’t live it out, how will others really even know God exists?

Because if we can just be cured by modern medicine, which I know God uses medicine why am I doing this if we can just do it without him.

No one’s ever going to believe that He exists or that He is sovereign and that He is in control and He has the bigger picture.

We are the miracles.

When people say to me, I’ve never seen a miracle, I tell them “you’re looking at one”.

God knew that His strong-willed child needed something that would reguire me to need Him.

In the Bible, wasn’t it Paul who had the thorn in the flesh and He kept going back and asked God to remove it. Please remove this. Please take it. And God’s like, no, I’m not taking that away.

Why? Because it creates dependent on him.

Midset is life changing

I’ve learned a lot about mindset. I’ve learned a lot about the battlefield of the mind because that’s where the battle is won or lost.

In most things in life and the enemy very early on. When I was not rooted and grounded in the word of God, when I did not know my identity in Christ, when I did not understand love, not your life, even unto death.

I’m not here for me. I’m not here to just get married and have kids and be glam on run a business and make money and go on vacation.

I’m here to serve him.

He’s not here to serve me.

Standing of the Word of God

I love how practical scripture can be and how it becomes so real in certain circumstances.

When I was younger, I would read scripture and ask, what do you mean? I would think, this makes no sense, and how is this possible?

And then you go through an experience, it clarifies to truth of The Bible.
We know that the word of God can come in and give us life.

How did Scripture help you in your journey?

I’ve shared this story before on a couple of other podcasts. At the time that I was diagnosed with cancer.

I was in a gym, and the gentleman who owned the gym that I was renting space from, he’s a Christian. He’s now an associate pastor at a local church. 1 morning I was sick that morning. I didn’t feel like I look good. and he met me at the door and put his arm around me and he spoke scripture over me and he prayed over me and he did that more than once.

It was a game-changer for me. He was the reason I started going back to church.

God does put the right people in the right places for us. And encourages us.

He was the reason that I got back in my Bible, that I really got back in a relationship with the Lord because he ministered to me every day and he believed in me and he spoke life over me when others were not.

God puts the right people in place

When you hear incurable and people aren’t educated, sometimes they say things that mean and they’re devastating.

He was that one person that would speak the word of God, pray the word of God, and stand in the gap. And it was amazing and I’m thankful for that because. That was life-giving, life-changing.

That was God who put that person right there when I needed them the most. And I really have prayed that God would give me those same opportunities to pay that forward for others to be the one who speaks. Life stands in the gap, intercedes and walks out of the difficult.

And I was so thankful that God put him there.

The Peace of God will wash over you

We read about, you know, and the peace of God will wash over you. And that was going through my mind when you were saying that it doesn’t even necessarily need to be a specific scripture, just the opening of God’s word and speaking it out loud and speaking it over people can bring people peace.

I think sometimes people want to do this, but ask what scripture and you can get hung up on, What do I say? What do I do. Instead of just being, saying- I’m just going to speak whatever words, whatever scripture the Lord tells me to and let God bring the peace.

It’s not about magic words

I was that person early on who I googled healing scriptures. And I’m obsessed. I printed them all off. I started putting them on index cards.

I started trying to memorize them because that was me trying to take control. That was me thinking there must be this magic formula that by praying the right words or memorizing enough scripture that God was going to love me enough that He’s going to come through.

It was never about that.

The other thing that I’ve really learned since then is we don’t have to pray some big, laborious, perfect prayer when it comes to healing because it isn’t about that.

It’s about do we believe, Do we have faith? Do we understand our identity in Christ? And who God is and what He’s capable of.

But then also recognizing there are no perfect words and it doesn’t matter how much we memorize or we could drone on in prayer for 20 minutes. If there’s healing, it’s because God’s organs that God gets the glory. God does the healing.

It isn’t because 10 people laid hands on you and prayed over you. Even though we realizethe Bible tal ks about that. I’m not negating that. I’m simply saying sometimes we get hung up on that.

We worry, did I say the right words. We worry that if we say the wrong words they don’t get healed.

We can also think wedon’t have the magic scripture to give you.

At the end of it all, God knows our hearts. He knows.

It’s not about OUR faith

I want the formula. I want The Lord to just tell me what specific steps do I need to take so that my kids get saved. Lord, tell me the specific steps I need so that …fill in the blank.

You can have the most amount of faith and say all the right things and do all the right things and the Lord still chooses not to intervene.

I remember this instant in the last year at our church. Within the span of one week, two different girls got diagnosed with the same cancer.

The church gathered around both and poured the oil and prayed and laid hands on them both. And one was healed miraculously. She went to hernext appointment and it was gone.

And then the other one walked through the cancer journey.

And I wondered why this one and not this one?

And I know the mom must have been thinking the same thing and it was kind of hard to watch.

We did all the same things, and the results were very different.

But they both walked the road that the Lord had put in front of them. And both of them gave the glory to God.

And thankfully, the second one is now in remission.

That tought me that it’s not about what we do, and what we say. It’s about the Lord. And it doesn’t take a magic verse. It’s just trusting the Lord for His plan, even if we don’t know what that is or agree with it.

Praying through the pain

Carmen had six months of treatment and the oncologist said we’re going to do something called our CHOP. And for anybody who’s been through cancer, you know our CHOP is literally the most aggressive cancer protocol out on the market today and it’s.

It, you know, it knocks you. I mean, I would literally get home and I spend the next 24 hours literally beside the toilet on the bathroom floor, face down, like help me survive, like just get me through the next 24 hours. It was debilitating.

In those moments, I did pray a lot.

I had this one moment when I was walking the hospital floor, I rounded that corner with an IV pole and in the blink of an eye I saw that sun setting and I felt the Lord put his arm around me. And I knew at that minute He was walking that hall with me. His presence was so real.

I just knew he was right there beside me and we would get through it one way or the other. We were going to get through this. I mean, I didn’t know if the kid, if the chemo would work, but I knew he was there. I absolutely knew He was present.

Struggles can take various forms – whether it’s battling an illness, facing financial hardship, navigating through broken relationships, or dealing with the loss of a loved one.

It is during these moments that our faith can be tested and our hope can waver.

However, by seeking a deeper connection with God, we can find solace and renewal even in the midst of adversity.

Proof The Bible is the word of God

I was born into a Christian family, so I take my faith for granted. But one question seems to come up. What proof do we have that shows The Bible is the word of God? Can we really trust The Bible and know if The Bible is true? Is there any evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word? Continue to read as I share proof The Bible is the word of God.

Satan can use this type of question to make us doubt our faith and doubt The Lord. So, it’s important that we are ready with the truth- so when the attack comes- we are ready. 

 

Proof The Bible is the word of God

1. The Bible Is the word of God

The Bible identifies the author as God. For our benefit, He encouraged mankind to record His words in writing.

While there are recurring themes in the Bible, the authors’ individual styles and personalities are also evident.

The things that are recorded in the Bible were not created by humans but by God.

This is demonstrated by the fact that the original manuscripts were error-free and authored by God, who is the ultimate authority on all subjects and who is without flaw so it is clear that God has authority in every area covered.

2. The Bible Is Unique and Unified

The Bible stands out over all other literature because its message is consistent across all 66 of its books.

Over the course of 1,500 years, it was written by more than 40 distinct authors, including shepherds, monarchs, priests, intellectuals, fishermen, and prophets.

The Bible does, however, convey a consistent message despite its authors’ use of a wide range of genres, and goals for their writing, and exhibited a broad range of emotions.

A picture of a shelf full of Bibles. Above the picture are the words Proof The Bible is the word of God. www.onedeterminedlife.com

3. The Bible Has Been Faithfully Passed Down

Isn’t the Bible just a copy of a copy? This is a typical denial of the Bible’s accuracy. The scribes who copied the Bible did so meticulously. Several precautions, such as counting the number of letters on a page and in a line, were used to verify accuracy. There are a few minor differences among some manuscripts, but we can almost always determine the original phrasing. Thanks to the abundance of early texts and fragments, we can find out the original wording in nearly every case.

4. The Bible Contains Fulfilled Prophecy

The Bible’s frequent use of prophecy serves as proof of its divine origin. Only the Bible provides precise, prescient prophesy because only the God of the Bible has the knowledge of the future and the ability to make it come to pass (Isaiah 46:9–12).

It shows every messianic Old Testament prophecy and then how those were fulfilled in the New Testament.

5. The Bible Contains the Key to Eternal Life

Everyone wants the secret to having eternal life. Many people spend crazy amounts of money and time trying to find the answer. I haven’t heard of anyone finding the source of eternal life.

That’s because they are looking in the wrong place. The Bible contains the key to eternal life. Nothing else.

The Bible’s message provides ultimate answers to our greatest need (God’s forgiveness) and meets our deepest desire (eternal life).  In order to atone for our sins, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place. God raised Jesus Christ from the grave three days after He died in order to fulfil His justice. Three days later God raised Him from the dead.

The answer to our greatest need and deepest longing is the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

6. The accuracy of the Bible is confirmed by archaeology and history

  • The Bible describes ancient customs, cities, towns, and conflicts, and over time, archaeologists and historians have uncovered discoveries that support those descriptions.
  • The Bible is frequently used as a guide for archaeological investigations due to its accuracy.

7. The Bible speaks of prophecies that are already fulfilled

  • The rise and fall of the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans were foretold in detail several years in advance in the Old Testament book of Daniel.
  • The birth, life, ministry, betrayal, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ were all foretold in the Old Testament, and they were all fulfilled.

8. The Bible and science are in agreement

  • The sun, moon, and stars are situated in the sky just as the Bible says they should be.
  • Astronomers frequently claim that the stars have not yet been entirely counted; this claim is supported by Jeremiah 33:22, which states that the stars are “as many as the stars in the sky.”
  • Geological research supports the existence of the great flood. Last but not least, Job 36:27–28 and Ecclesiastes 1:6-7 both provide precise descriptions of the water cycle as it is understood by modern scientists. What more evidence do you require?
  • In The Old Testament, The Lord asked His people to keep themselves clean. At the time, the other people in the world did not practice cleanliness. The people of Israel followed God’s law. These are now known to be simple practices such as washing your hands and not touching dead animals. Science has proven that these actions keep people from contracting diseases. 

9. The Bible was written by eyewitnesses

  • The authors of the Bible, especially the New Testament, went into great detail in their descriptions of every event, proving that they actually saw it all firsthand.
  • The fact that there was always more proof to back up these eyewitness accounts shows how accurate they were.

10. The claims of Christ concerning the Scriptures

  • The fact that what Jesus predicted in the Bible actually happened is one of the reasons why you can put your faith in it. Before He died, He predicted His resurrection, and when He died, the tomb was empty three days later!
  • Jesus appeared to His followers after His resurrection and instructed them to return to the Bible. The majority of the early Christians thus passed away professing and defending the truths of His death and resurrection.

11. The Bible has the power to change lives

  • The words in the Bible are powerful enough to change lives, some of whom include the apostle Paul, CS Lewis, Martin Luther, etc.
  • Some of the passages that have turned lives around over the ages include the Psalms of David (Psalm 23 in particular), The Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes and 1 Corinthians 13 (Paul’s teaching on love).

12. The Bible’s primary author can be trusted

  • This book’s principal author is responsible for maintaining its continuity throughout. From the promise in the Old Testament to the fulfilment in the New Testament, it has a clear plan for humans that points them in the direction of redemption.
  • The Bible demonstrates to people that God is a loving and dependable being through the life and death of Jesus.

Conclusion

Ultimately, We Must See for Ourselves A person can know the Bible is God’s Word by first examining the claims of Scripture, considering the evidence for those claims and then personally accepting the challenge of Scripture to “taste and see” if these things are true. The psalmist gave the following challenge:

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (Psalm 34:8 NKJV)

20 Creative at home Date Night Ideas for Couples

Are you ready to spice up your date nights without leaving the comfort of your own home? I know how important it is to nurture your relationship and create lasting memories, even when you prefer staying in. That’s why I’ve gathered 20 incredible at home date night ideas that are sure to ignite the spark and keep the romance alive. From cooking up a storm in the kitchen to challenging each other on game nights, we’ve got you covered.

So, grab your favourite blanket, light some candles, and get ready for a whirlwind of fun, laughter, and quality time together. Let’s dive into these creative date night ideas that will make your hearts flutter!

** This post contains affiliate links and sponsor links. Please see my disclosure policy here.**

20 Creative at home Date Night Ideas for Couples

1. Try a date night subscription box

There are several different subscription boxes for couples looking for a creative date night idea. You can pick a theme, and get a box with all the materials. Some popular subscription boxes are from Trailblazing Love.*

Our outdoor adventure boxes are designed to provide couples with an unforgettable experience in nature.

Each box is carefully curated with a variety of activities and surprises, from guided hikes to stargazing to gourmet snacks and drinks. 

Games and activities, candles, conversation starters, and surprises or personalized items make the experience unique and special.

A date night box may also include a selection of delicious and indulgent snacks to enjoy together, such as chocolates, cookies, popcorn, or other treats. These snacks are designed to add to the overall enjoyment of the date night experience and create a cozy and intimate atmosphere.

Whether you’re a seasoned outdoors enthusiast or just looking to try something new, our boxes offer something for everyone and are the perfect date night idea for couples on a budget.

2. Have a wine or beer tasting

Transform your home into a cozy tasting room as you embark on a delightful wine or beer-tasting adventure.

Select a variety of bottles from different regions or breweries, set up a tasting station with glasses, and savour the flavours together.

Discuss the notes, aromas, and pairings as you expand your palates and deepen your appreciation for fine libations.

A picture of a couple in the kitchen cooking a romantic dinner. Above the picture are the words 20 creative at home date night ideas for couples.

3. Plan a game night

Gather your favourite board games, card decks, or video games for an epic game night at home. Challenge each other to strategic battles, engaging trivia, or cooperative adventures.

From intense competitions to hilarious moments, the game night offers the perfect opportunity to bond, engage in friendly rivalry, and create lasting memories.

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4. Watch a movie marathon

Transform your living room into a private cinema and plan a movie marathon night. Snuggle up on the couch, prepare some popcorn, and dive into a series of films that captivate your interest.

Whether you choose to binge-watch a beloved franchise or explore a genre together, movie marathons provide a cozy and immersive experience that allows you to escape reality and indulge in cinematic adventures.

5. Host a DIY spa night

Create a haven of relaxation and self-care in the comfort of your own home with a DIY spa night. Dim the lights, light scented candles, and set the mood with soothing music.

Take turns pampering each other with massages, facials, and foot soaks. It’s a perfect opportunity to unwind, rejuvenate, and nurture your connection as you prioritize self-care together.

6. Build a blanket fort

Tap into your inner child and build a cozy blanket fort in your living room. Gather blankets, pillows, and fairy lights to create a magical hideaway.

Crawl inside with your favourite snacks and enjoy quality time cuddled up in this whimsical space. It’s a playful and nostalgic experience that fosters a sense of warmth, intimacy, and childlike wonder.

7. Have a paint-and-sip night

Unleash your creativity and artistic flair with a paint-and-sip night at home. Set up easels, canvases, and a palette of paints.

Follow a tutorial or paint freely as you sip on your favourite beverages.

Explore your artistic side together and discover the joy of self-expression through painting, all while enjoying each other’s company and embracing your inner Picasso.

8. Plan a fondue night

Dive into a deliciously interactive dining experience with a fondue night. Set up a fondue pot with melted cheese or chocolate, and prepare an array of dippable treats.

Share laughs and conversation as you dip bread, fruits, or other delectable morsels into the velvety goodness.

Fondue nights create a fun and intimate atmosphere that encourages sharing, conversation, and culinary exploration.

A picture of a couple on a couch.

9. Create a DIY photo booth

Set the stage for silly and memorable moments with a DIY photo booth. Gather props, costumes, and a camera or smartphone with a timer.

Create a designated photo area with a backdrop, or simply use a blank wall. Strike poses, capture candid shots, and let your creativity run wild as you create lasting memories together.

10. Have a dessert-making competition

Unleash your inner bakers and engage in a friendly dessert-making competition. Select a sweet treat or challenge each other to create a mouthwatering masterpiece from scratch.

Set a time limit and let your culinary skills shine.

Taste-test and share the results, celebrating both the delicious creations and the joy of friendly competition.

11. Have a themed dinner party

Transport yourselves to another time or place with a captivating themed dinner party. Choose a theme that excites you both, such as a Hawaiian luau, Mexican fiesta, or elegant masquerade.

Decorate your dining area accordingly, dress up in theme-appropriate attire, and prepare a menu inspired by the cuisine of your chosen theme.

Indulge in the flavours, immerse yourselves in the ambiance, and let the theme ignite conversation and laughter as you embark on a culinary adventure together.

A picture of a couple dancing in the kitchen

12. Do a puzzle together

Unplug from technology and engage in a soothing and stimulating activity by tackling a puzzle together. Select a puzzle that catches your eye, set up a dedicated space, and work collaboratively to piece it together.

As you sort through the puzzle pieces, engage in conversations, share stories, and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing the picture come together before your eyes.

Puzzles provide a wonderful opportunity to foster teamwork, patience, and mental stimulation while enjoying each other’s company.

13. Plan a craft night

Tap into your artistic sides and unleash your creativity with a craft night. Select a craft project that interests you both, whether it’s painting, pottery, knitting, or DIY home decor. Gather the necessary materials and set up a crafting area.

Dive into your chosen project, exchange ideas, and support each other’s artistic endeavours. Crafting together allows you to explore your creativity, bond over shared interests, and create tangible mementos of your date night.

14. Have a tasting party

Elevate your taste buds with a tasting party at home. Choose a specific food or drink category, such as cheeses, chocolates, coffees, or wines, and curate a selection of different varieties to try.

Take your time savouring the flavours, discussing the nuances, and discovering your preferences together.

A tasting party allows you to expand your palate, deepen your knowledge, and appreciate the intricacies of different flavours and aromas.

a picture of a couple touching heads and both smilling

15. Create a scavenger hunt

Ignite a sense of adventure and excitement with a DIY scavenger hunt for your partner.

Plan a series of clues or riddles that lead them to various locations or meaningful items around your home or neighbourhood.

Each clue can be accompanied by a small surprise or thoughtful gesture.

The thrill of deciphering clues and uncovering hidden treasures add an element of surprise and discovery to your date night, creating memories filled with laughter and excitement.

16. Make homemade pizza

Unleash your inner chef and indulge in the joy of making homemade pizza together. Prepare the dough, select your favourite toppings, and get creative with flavours and combinations.

Roll out the dough, add the sauce, sprinkle the cheese, and personalize your pizzas to your heart’s content. As you wait for the pizzas to bake, enjoy each other’s company, share stories, and anticipate the delicious meal you’re about to create and savour.

17. Have a dance party

Transform your living room into a dance floor and let the music guide your movements during a lively dance party.

Create a playlist of your favorite songs or select a specific genre to set the mood. Let go of inhibitions, embrace the rhythm, and move together in sync or with playful improvisation.

Dancing together allows you to connect physically, let loose, and experience the joy of movement while building a deeper connection through shared laughter and enjoyment.

A picture of a couple sitting on a couch having an at home movie night.

18. Play a murder mystery game

Unleash your inner detectives and immerse yourselves in a thrilling murder mystery game. Choose a game that captures your interest and provides a captivating storyline.

Assign characters, dress up in costumes, and follow the clues to unravel the mystery together.

This interactive and engaging activity encourages teamwork, problem-solving, and creative thinking while adding an element of intrigue and excitement to your date night.

19. Have a book club date

Combine your love for reading and quality time by having a book club date. Select a book that intrigues both of you or choose to read the same book together.

Set a reading schedule and discuss your thoughts and insights as you progress through the story. Engage in meaningful conversations about the themes, characters, and plot twists.

You can even prepare some discussion questions in advance to spark deeper conversations.

A book club date allows you to share your love for literature, exchange perspectives, and gain new insights while strengthening your intellectual connection.

20. Cook a meal together

Experience the joy of culinary collaboration by cooking a delicious meal together. Select a recipe that piques your interest, gather the ingredients, and don your aprons.

Chop, sauté, and season as you work side by side, sharing laughter and creating a delectable dish that will tantalize your taste buds.

Action Step

These at-home date night ideas provide endless possibilities for creating memorable moments and deepening your bond without breaking the bank.

Whether you’re cooking together, indulging in a tasting experience, or engaging in creative activities, these budget-friendly ideas allow you to prioritize quality time, laughter, and connection.

So, let your imagination soar, embrace the joy of simplicity, and embark on unforgettable date nights that will strengthen your relationship.

5 reasons why Christian Family Values are important

In a world that is constantly changing, it’s important to create and hold on to strong family values. Christian family values are rooted in the teachings of the Bible and provide a foundation for building healthy relationships, nurturing spiritual growth, and guiding moral decision-making. Continue reading as I share 5 reasons why Christian Family Values are important. 

5 reasons why Christian Family Values are important

1. Foundation of Love and Compassion:

At the heart of Christian family values lies a foundation of love and compassion. 

Creating a Christ-centred home is all about creating a home filled with warmth, care, and understanding. 

When we prioritize love and compassion within our families, we create a safe space where everyone feels accepted and valued. 

It’s about showing kindness and forgiveness, even in the midst of disagreements or mistakes. 

By building this foundation, we form strong bonds and create a sense of belonging that lasts a lifetime. 

By bringing in the whole family and doing it together, we can create a loving and compassionate environment where everyone can thrive and grow.

2. Moral and Ethical Guidance:

Christian family values are like a compass that helps us make good choices and do the right thing. 

As parents, it’s our job to teach our children about what’s right and wrong and why it matters. 

We want them to grow up with values like integrity, honesty, and justice, so they can make wise decisions in life. 

By instilling these values in our children, we’re giving them a powerful tool—a moral compass—that will guide them through the ups and downs of life. 

They’ll be able to navigate tricky situations, stand up for what’s right, and treat others with fairness and kindness. 

With a strong moral compass, our children can be confident in their choices and make a positive impact on the world around them.

A picture of a family posing for pictures. The dad is holding one child while the other is in front on mom. They all look very happy. Above the picture are the words 5 reasons why christian family values are important.

3. Spiritual Growth and Faith Development:

Christian family values are like seeds that help our faith grow stronger. 

When we make prayer, Bible study, and worshipping together a priority, we’re building a strong spiritual foundation for our family. 

These activities shape who we are and what we believe. 

When we pray together, read the Bible, and worship as a family, we experience the incredible power of faith firsthand. 

Our children see how faith can change lives and make a real difference.

 It inspires them to develop their own personal relationship with God, to ask questions, and to grow in their faith journey. 

Practical ways families can incorporate prayer, Bible reading, and worship into their daily lives:

A) Prayer:

Set aside a specific time each day to gather as a family and pray together. It can be in the morning before starting the day, at mealtimes, or before bedtime. 

Encourage each family member to express their thoughts, concerns, and gratitude in prayer. You can take turns leading the prayer or say it together as a group. 

Praying together helps create a sense of unity and allows everyone to share their hearts with God.

B) Bible Reading:

Choose a regular time for family Bible reading. For our family, we do this right after dinner before the dishes and food are put away. 

Then, choose a passage or story from the Bible that is age appropriate for everyone. To make this easier for our family, we read the verse of the day in the YouVersion Bible App. 

It’s now time to read the passage aloud and discuss its meaning and how it applies to daily life. 

My husband and I take turns asking our children questions about what we read. 

C) Worship:

Find ways to worship together as a family. This can involve attending church services as a family, singing hymns or worship songs together. 

You can also encourage each family member to express their love and gratitude for God through music. 

You can also include a time of singing and praising God during your family Bible reading time.

The goal of these activities is not to make them feel like a chore but to help create a genuine connection with God as a family. 

Flexibility and adaptability are key, so find a routine that works best for your family’s schedule and dynamics. 

An animated picture of a young girls singing. Next to the image are words that encourage families to find ways to worship together. This can include singing, praying, or reading The Bible.

4. Building Strong Bonds:

Christian family values are like the glue that holds a family together. They help create an environment where everyone feels safe, heard, and loved. 

Here are a few Christian values we hold and how they help build strong bonds: 
  • Open communication: we talk and listen to each other with respect and kindness. 
  • Share our thoughts, feelings, and ideas: we try to do this without fear of judgment. We tell our children not to make fun of each other so we can build this trust. This helps build trust and understanding among family members. 
  • Become each other’s biggest cheerleaders: we try to celebrate each other’s achievements, big or small, and encourage one another to reach our goals. 
  • Provide comfort: When tough times come our way we comfort and encourage each other. 
  • Show empathy: We try to understand and support each other’s feelings and experiences. 

By making these values a priority, we’re creating a foundation of love and respect that will carry us through life’s ups and downs, and make our family ties unbreakable.

A pciture of a family together on the couch posing for a family picture. It looks like there are children, parents and grandparents in this picture. A great representation of leaving a legacy of faith.

5. Positive Impact on Society:

When families embrace Christian values and put them into action, something amazing happens—their influence spreads far beyond their own household. 

By simply living out virtues like being kind, generous, and compassionate, Christian families become like shining lights in their communities. 

They bring hope and make a positive difference in the lives of others. 

When people see the love and kindness within these families, it inspired them to adopt similar values and ways of living. 

Conclusion:

Christian family values are like a guiding light in an ever-changing world, that helps us navigate through life’s ups and downs. 

These values give us a strong and steady foundation to build our lives. 

When we embrace these values, something incredible happens – our families become even closer, our character becomes stronger, and our spirits grow deeper. 

And you know what? It doesn’t stop there. 

These values have the power to make a difference in the world around us. They inspire us to be kind, loving, and compassionate, spreading positivity wherever we go. 

So let’s nurture and cherish Christian family values. Together, we can transform lives, and create a brighter future for generations to come.

The Ultimate Secret to Raising well-balanced teens

Are you a parent or guardian struggling to raise godly teenagers in this digital age? Do you wish you had access to practical advice and biblical principles to guide you through this challenging time? Click to learn the Ultimate Secret to Raising well-balanced Teens.

In this episode of The Christian Minute podcast, host Anne Markey sits down with Natasja Visser, a personal counsellor who works with families and teenagers, and shares some key biblical principles to help you raise your teenagers in a godly way. 

Listen to The Episode

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Watch The Episode

Episode At A Glance:

  • 00:00- About Natasja Visser 
  • 05:59- Raising Godly Teenagers in the Age of Technology
  • 11:46- Explaining God’s Principles to Our Kids
  • 14:04- Principle of “Easy now, hard later or hard now, easy later”
  • 17:47- Applying Principles to Parenting
  • 21:48- The Benefits of Delayed Gratification for Teenagers
  • 22:43- Teaching Biblical Principles and Reaping Consequences

The Ultimate Secret to Raising well-balanced teens

Understanding and Applying Biblical Principles

Principles are an essential aspect of our lives, whether we realize it or not. They are the foundation upon which we build our decisions, actions, and beliefs. 

When it comes to principles, there is no better source than the Bible. 

However, for many people, the idea of biblical principles can be intimidating and religious. So how do we explain these principles to our kids in today’s age?

The answer lies in the way Jesus explained things: through stories and parables. 

Explaining how biblical principles can be used in everyday life, in a way that is relatable and easy to understand.

Principles are actually scientific, much like laws. 

For example

The law of gravity is always on, regardless of whether we believe in it or not. If we climb on the roof of a house and jump, we won’t fly because gravity is on. In the same way, the principle of God applies in life because He is the Creator of the universe, and He has shown these principles in His creation and in the Bible.

God’s principles show up in all areas of life. People may think they have discovered something new or secret, but in reality, God has already created it. 

By understanding and applying these principles, we can make our lives easier and more fulfilling. 

For instance, if we understand the principle of gravity, we can make airplanes fly. If we apply God’s principles to our marriage, it can soar.

Teaching kids about biblical principles isn’t just about being religious or avoiding sin. It’s about showing them how to apply principles to their lives so they can have an easier and more fulfilling life. 

So, let’s help our kids understand and apply these principles to navigate life with ease and confidence!

Principle of: Easy, hard, hard, easy

The principle is this: easy now means hard later, but hard now means easy later.

It’s important to teach children about delayed gratification, which is a principle that applies in various areas of life.

For example:

If you have younger kids and you don’t want your kids to yell and scream and throw a tantrum, put on the TV or give them the chocolate they’re asking for and you give in. That’s easy because now they stop crying at the moment.

However, when that child becomes a teenager, it becomes challenging to give in to their demands all the time, and this can cause heartache for parents.

Principle of Sowing and Reaping

What we sow into our lives, we will eventually reap. But I want to take that principle a little bit further or a little bit deeper in the insight for us parents.

I get this a lot with parents that I work with in my office whose kids are sewing things in their lives, spending obscene amounts of money, making bad choices and all that. So they are sowing.

But then what do we do as parents? We come to jump in and reap what the kids have sown.

When we do this, we put our kids at a disadvantage. We need to teach our children the principles of life, that if they are late for school, you don’t jump in and fix that.

We need to let them suffer a bit. They learn that there are consequences and, they need to learn those principles.

When should we start teaching our kids these principles?

They are actually learning it from a very young age. When they start learning to walk, they try and stand up, but they fall and experience some pain. They get up and walk again, fall and get some pain. We can’t save them from that pain. Otherwise, they might never walk.

We should teach this to them in everyday life. Let them experience God’s principles. When our kids are listening to music, when they are watching TV, whatever they are busy with, we can teach God’s principles in everyday life.

And we can always bring The Bible into our teaching.

Start this as young as they are and in every kind of moment. But also at an age-appropriate level, because I think sometimes I’ll try to explain to them a concept, but it’s like they’re not old enough to fully understand that.

So being able to simplify biblical principles to teach the young ones and then walk with them as they’re learning it.

Teaching kids about forgiveness and consequences

Let me give you a quick example of how I taught my son and daughter some principles about God when they were young.

My son was installing something because, you know, boys love to play and tinker. He would sometimes get carried away and accidentally bump his sister or play too rough.

One day, they were playing dangerously on the trampoline and I had to intervene. I explained to my son that he could say sorry and his sister would forgive him, but the consequences of his actions would still be there.

Just like how God’s grace can forgive us for our sins, the consequences on Earth may still remain.

I think sometimes kids, and even adults, believe that everything will be fixed if they ask for forgiveness from God, but that’s not always the case. The consequences of our actions can still remain.

For example, if someone has a child outside of marriage, asking for forgiveness from God will not make the child disappear.

We can teach these principles to children as young as five, and continue to reinforce them as they grow older.

Conclusion

As parents, it’s really important to teach our children about values and principles. We need to show them that waiting for some things can be really worth it, and they’ll be happy they did later on.

There are some great ideas we can use to help them make good choices, like the ones from the Bible. These include things like waiting for good things to come, understanding that what we do now affects our future, and respecting God. These can help us in raising well-balanced teens.

About Natasja

Natasja is an experienced counsellor and coach. Throughout her career, she has specialized in working with children, adolescents, and families. She has developed expertise in teen-parent conflict resolution, especially in the context of healthy sexuality.

Her expertise is helping families cope with day-to-day challenges and discover answers by looking at life through the lens of simplicity.

Natasja works as a Family Counsellor in South Africa, registered as Advanced Religious Professional in Christian Pastoral Counselling.

Through her private practice, Natasja Visser Counselling Centre, Natasja developed, Let’s EXplain coaching program. The program assists parents and teenagers with practical guidance to navigate through a risky world filled with sexual imagery and sexual exploitations.

Check out her blog!  |  Connect on Youtube  Connect on Facebook

Resources: 

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A picture of a mom and daughter giving each other a side hug on the beach. Under the picture are the words, The Ultimate Secret to raising well-balanced teens. Learn more. www.onedeterminedlife.com
A pciture of Anne Markey and guest on The Christian Minute Podcast about the ultemate secret to raising well-balanced teens

9 Simple Strategies for setting biblical boundaries

In today’s fast-paced world, achieving mental health balance is essential for Christian mothers who juggle family, work, and personal responsibilities. Establishing and maintaining biblical boundaries not only helps you safeguard your emotional well-being but also sets an example for your children and enables you to live according to your faith. Continue to read as I share 9 Simple Strategies for setting biblical boundaries. This blog post will guide you through practical steps to set meaningful and biblical boundaries, ensuring you maintain strong connections with yourself and your loved ones. 

Podcast Episode

Time Stamps summary of this episode:

00:00:00 – Introduction,
00:03:07 – Concrete boundaries,
00:05:06 – Setting boundaries,
00:07:11 – Guilt and Comparison
00:11:25 – Jesus as a model,
00:13:39 – Measurable Goals and Setting Boundaries,
00:17:11 – Setting Boundaries with your Spouse,
00:19:17 – Saying “No” and Overcoming Guilt
00:25:31 – Recognizing the Need for Boundaries,
00:28:03 – Practicing Boundaries,
00:28:41 – Where you can find Natalie

Podcast Guest

For today’s podcast, I am joined by Natalie Souders.

Natalie Souders is an experienced mental health professional with a decade-long tenure at a Christian-based counselling center.

She has had the opportunity to work with clients from diverse backgrounds, integrating faith and mental health services for those who seek them.

In addition to her counselling work, Natalie is also the author of the book, Dear Mama, which focuses on helping women with postpartum depression and anxiety bond with their babies.

Natalie’s expertise in setting biblical boundaries and her dedication to promoting mental health among Christian mothers make her the perfect guest for this episode.

You can connect with Natalie on her website and on social media.

9 Simple Strategies for setting biblical boundaries

1. Identify your personal mental health triggers

As Christian mothers navigate the various roles and responsibilities in their lives, acknowledging their mental health triggers can provide a sense of empowerment and control. In doing so, mothers are better equipped to seek help and support when needed, whether it be through prayer, professional counselling, or confiding in trusted friends and family members.

This honest self-appraisal aligns with scripture, such as

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. By trusting in God’s guidance and wisdom, identifying triggers becomes an essential component of spiritual growth and personal development.

In addition to the spiritual benefits, recognizing personal mental health triggers has practical applications in managing life’s demands and promoting self-care.

For instance, if a Christian mother recognizes that her mental health is negatively impacted by excessive social obligations, she can make the conscious decision to avoid overcommitting to events or intentionally schedule downtime for relaxation and rejuvenation.

By doing so, she is not abandoning her role as a caregiver or community member; rather, she is preserving her mental health so that she can continue to love and serve others more effectively. This aligns with the biblical principle of loving oneself so that we may love others better, as Jesus teaches in Matthew 22.

Matthew 22:38-39 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’

Identifying personal mental health triggers and implementing appropriate boundaries is a critical and valuable approach to achieving mental health balance for Christian mothers as they seek to live fulfilling lives while nurturing their families and communities. 

2. Set measurable goals for self-improvement

The practice of setting measurable goals for self-improvement helps you establish a well-rounded identity anchored in your spirituality.

It is important for women to define their roles as mothers, wives, and daughters, but also as unique individuals with their own aspirations and desires.

By setting specific personal development goals, you can create a deeper understanding of yourself and your values, and strengthen your faith.

By nurturing your own personal growth, you can set an example for your children, demonstrating the importance of self-awareness, and perseverance.

When setting these measurable goals for self-improvement, you should also remember to seek guidance and support from God and your faith community.

Prayer, meditation, and scripture study can be powerful tools to help you understand your personal goals, giving you insight during hard times or doubts.

Sharing your journey of self-improvement with fellow believers can create a sense of encouragement, as well as provide an invaluable network of support and accountability.

By grounding yourself in your faith, you can access wisdom and strength through The Holy Spirit. This will help you achieve your goals while helping in your spiritual development.

In this way, setting measurable goals for self-improvement becomes not only a commitment to your well-being but also an essential aspect of your faith and shows the transformative power of God’s love in your life. 

3. Communicate boundaries clearly to loved ones

Learning how to effectively communicate and enforce personal boundaries can be an ongoing process for many women.

It’s essential to establish an open and honest dialogue with loved ones about individual needs, limitations, and priorities.

This ongoing communication helps create an environment where boundaries can be periodically reassessed, adjusted, and maintained to ensure the continued well-being of all involved.

To help in this process, it may be helpful to seek guidance from trusted sources, such as a pastor, a counsellor, support groups, or mental health professionals who understand and value the unique challenges and desires of Christian mothers.

By actively practicing and refining these communication skills, you can become more confident in conveying your boundaries to your loved ones, not just for the sake of your mental health but also to strengthen their relationships.

Being vulnerable and open can create a sense of trust, and understanding within a family, as well as model important values and skills for children to carry into their own relationships.

In the end, the intention behind setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is to allow individuals to flourish as whole people in their own right while creating a supportive and nurturing environment for everyone involved.

As you prioritize your mental health and employ effective communication around your boundaries, you can create a more balanced, joyful, and enriching family life that reflects the love and wisdom found within your faith. 

A picture of a woman standing on a dock with her hands in the air. She is smiling. On top of the picture are the words- 9 simple strategies for setting biblical boundaries. www.onedeterminedlife.com

4. Prioritize self-care activities in daily routine

Incorporating self-care activities into your daily routine does not necessarily require extensive time and effort. Small, incremental changes can significantly impact your well-being and ultimately lead to a more balanced and fulfilled life.

As a mom, it is important to recognize your own needs and take the initiative to address them, rather than waiting for someone else to provide care or support.

A picture of a mom on the floor with her child hugging her from the back. Next to the picture are the following words. As a mom, it is important to recognize your own needs and take the initiative to address them, rather than waiting for someone else to provide care or support.

For example, a brief time of daily reflection and contemplation can contribute to emotional stability, and regularly scheduling time for yourself outside your hectic daily routine can help alleviate built-up tension and stress.

Remember that prioritizing self-care is not a selfish act, but rather a way to ensure you are better equipped to care for and guide your family.

2 women laying stomach first on a bed. They both have facemasks on and cucumbers of their eyes. Next to the picture are the following words.  Remember that prioritizing self-care is not a selfish act, but rather a way to ensure you are better equipped to care for and guide your family.

As you consistently engage in self-care practices, you may discover that the impact of these activities extends beyond personal well-being.

Prioritizing self-care not only strengthens your relationship with God and your Christian faith but also fosters a sense of confidence and self-awareness that can be transformational in your relationships and overall life experience.

This shift in mindset can lead to more open communication, improved teamwork in your family unit, and fruitful connections with friends, neighbours, and your broader community.

Ultimately, the power of self-care can influence every aspect of your life as a Christian mother, reflecting the love and compassion you hold for yourself, your family, and the world around you. 

5. Model healthy boundary-setting for children

Moreover, healthy boundary-setting also extends to relationships with individuals beyond the immediate family. As mothers, it is essential to ensure that your children acknowledge and respect the boundaries set by friends, teachers, peers, and other authority figures.

Encourage children to engage in open conversations about their feelings and the emotional needs of others. Nurture their ability to empathize and respect the personal space of those around them.

A picture of a mom sitting next to her daughter on the couch. They are both looking at a phone. Next to the picture are the following words. Encourage children to engage in open conversations about their feelings and the emotional needs of others.

These practices not only build stronger connections with others but also align with the core principles of Christianity, such as kindness, understanding, and treating others as we would like to be treated.

Instilling the significance of boundary-setting in children from a young age paves the way for a future of mental well-being and a deep-rooted connection with Christian values.

By being proactive in modelling healthy boundary-setting practices, you can create the foundation for your children to develop self-esteem and resilience.

In doing so, we prepare them to navigate the complexities of life with grace and confidence, all while staying true to the teachings of the Bible.

6. Reflect on biblical teachings for guidance

In addition to drawing from biblical examples, Christian mothers can also rely on the supportive community and resources available within their church and faith groups.

Sharing personal experiences, struggles, and triumphs can help build connections with other mothers who may also be on the same journey toward mental health balance.

Surrounding yourself with a community can provide further guidance in setting boundaries, offer encouragement, and help remind mothers that they are not alone in their quest for healthy emotional well-being.

In times of self-doubt, the collective wisdom and understanding shared among your friends can help remind you of the importance of self-care and its positive impact on both your personal lives and your relationships with others.

By leaning on biblical teachings, seeking support from the faith community, and nurturing open communication about their experiences, you can foster a network of resources to assist you in setting healthy boundaries in your life.

Through this community, you can learn to prioritize your own well-being while continuing to serve your families, church, and community wholeheartedly.

By investing time and effort in self-care, you can truly experience the benefits of mental health balance.

 

7. Find support in the Christian community

In addition to finding support within the Christian community, it is essential for you to keep in mind that your role in the community is also to serve and support others.

Engaging in community activities, volunteer work, and contributing to the well-being of others can be an excellent way for you to stay connected and maintain your own spiritual growth.

However, it is crucial that these acts of service be balanced with setting appropriate boundaries, ensuring that your mental health is not compromised by too many responsibilities or unrealistic expectations.

It is in this sense that the support of a Christian community becomes even more valuable, as members can help each other navigate the delicate balance between service and self-care.

Finding support in the Christian community is a critical step in creating and maintaining healthy boundaries.

A picture of a group of people looking toward the camera. Next to the picture are the following words. Finding support in the Christian community is a critical step in creating and maintaining healthy boundaries.

This support network provides a safe space for sharing experiences, learning from others, and drawing on biblical teachings to develop strategies for setting boundaries.

Being part of a community with shared values and beliefs reinforces the importance of balancing service to others with self-care and well-being.

By actively engaging with and learning from your Christian community, you can create a more balanced and fulfilling life for yourself and your family while also making a meaningful contribution to the lives of others in your community. 

8. Adjust social media habits for mental health

Adjusting social media habits can have a ripple effect on other aspects of life, as it encourages you to be more intentional with your time and focus on what truly matters.

By limiting the time spent on social media, mothers can prioritize quality interactions with their family, friends, and community, fostering stronger relationships and a deeper sense of purpose.

This intentional living can extend to prayer life, allowing mothers to devote more time to their spiritual growth and deepening their relationship with God.

Minimizing exposure to negative influences on social media can also help reduce feelings of anxiety and overwhelm, providing mental clarity and a more balanced emotional state for Christian mothers as they face daily challenges.

A picture of social media icons across an office table. Over the picture are the following words. Minimizing exposure to negative influences on social media can also help reduce feelings of anxiety and overwhelm

As you strive for balance in your lives, it is essential to address the influence of social media on mental health and well-being.

By setting healthy boundaries, making conscious choices about who and what to engage with on social media platforms, and integrating faith-based practices into self-care routines, mothers can foster an environment that supports their emotional and spiritual growth.

Adjusting social media habits may seem like a simple step, but its impact can be transformative, promoting a healthier mindset and a deeper relationship with God, family, and community.

Embrace this journey towards mental health balance as a testament to your strength. These small changes can enrich your life and nurture the values at the heart of your faith. 

9. Continuously reevaluate and adjust boundaries

As you continue to adapt and grow in your roles, it is essential to remain aware of the impact that changing life circumstances may have on your mental health and well-being.

Whether experiencing a significant life event such as welcoming a new baby, starting a new job, or adjusting to an empty nest, each transition can bring new challenges and adjustments to our established boundaries.

As our lives ebb and flow, it is crucial to be proactive in identifying situations or relationships that may require a reevaluation of our personal boundaries.

a picture of a mom holding her baby. Next to the picture are the following words. As our lives ebb and flow, it is crucial to be proactive in identifying situations or relationships that may require a reevaluation of our personal boundaries.

This can involve open communication with loved ones and asking for their support and understanding as we journey through life together, always striving for a balance between serving others and maintaining our mental health.

Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries is a vital aspect of self-care for Christian mothers seeking mental health balance.

By continuously reevaluating and adjusting boundaries, we can ensure a healthy space for personal growth and nurturance of relationships with our loved ones and, most importantly, with God.

Learning from biblical teachings and role models offers inspiration and guidance in setting clear, relevant boundaries for each phase of life.

Prioritizing our mental health is not a sign of selfishness but rather an acknowledgment of our need for God’s love, strength, and grace as we serve our families and others to the best of our abilities.

By taking the time to nurture ourselves and our mental well-being, we can be better equipped to lead the fulfilling, balanced lives that God intended for us.

 

Conclusion

Finding mental health balance through the establishment and maintenance of healthy boundaries inspired by biblical teachings is absolutely vital in today’s demanding world.

Identifying your personal mental health triggers and setting self-improvement goals are the first steps on this journey.

By clearly communicating your boundaries to your loved ones and incorporating self-care activities into your daily routine, you’re taking crucial measures to create a lasting mental health balance.

Following biblical teachings and modelling boundary-setting for your children can create a lasting legacy for generations to come.

Always remember to seek support from your Christian community, adjust your social media habits, and continuously evaluate and adjust your boundaries as needed.

Your mental health balance is well within reach, so tackle these steps with courage, determination, and faith. 

What other steps are you taking towards achieving mental health balance through setting boundaries? Comment below and let me know. 

Resources Mentioned

  •  Seek support from a Christian-based counsellor, like Natalie Souders, for guidance on setting healthy boundaries.
  • Consider reading Natalie Souders’ book, Dear Mama, for support in postpartum depression and anxiety.
  • Reflect on biblical characters and their imperfections as a reminder that God can still call us righteous despite our shortcomings.


Connect with Natalie: 



My Best Bible Study Resources

  • The Christian Growth Hub: a growing online membership that helps women read their Bible, understand it, and apply it to their lives with all the resources they need in one place:
  • FREE ebook: 5 Simple Steps to get started in Bible Study: grab it here
  • FREE 1-week Bible study workbook: grab it here

 

12 Songs about your Identity in Christ

Most people who know me, know that I have songs going through my head all day long. The songs that seem to go through my head the most are songs about your Identity in Christ. Click to see 12 songs about your identity in Christ.

Most people who know me, know that I have songs going through my head all day long. The songs that seem to go through my head the most are songs about your Identity in Christ.

These types of songs get me through the day and lift me up when I am not doing well. Not only that but Songs also have a way of expressing all the things that I can’t.

That is why I wanted to add this post to my blog series on our identity in Christ. Today, I have another guest blogger. Her name is Sandy, and she loves to encourage women through storms. To learn more about her, read her bio at the end of the blog post, or check out her blog here. Today, Sandy will share with us 12 songs about your Identity in Christ.

picture of a happy woman looking over her shoulder. Next to her picture are the words 12 songs about our identity in Christ

You are a child of God. 

You are a child of God!

There is no statement more important than that. 

As women, it is so easy to forget who we are. We lose ourselves in the hustle and bustle of life. We describe ourselves as moms, wives, sisters, friends, chauffeurs, teachers, and the list goes on and on…

We sometimes forget that our identity is in Christ alone and not in the roles we have in life.

There have even been many times when I’ve let my circumstances define me and my mood for the day. I’ve let them keep me from being productive. I’ve let them stand in the way of my relationship with the very One who created me! 

How many times have you let your circumstances define who you are?

Our identity is tied to whatever and whoever we give our hearts to. When we aren’t giving our heart completely to the Lord, that’s when we lose ourselves. We lose ourselves in our children, in our jobs, in our relationships, and in our circumstances. When this happens, we need to be reminded that we are children of God and we are who He says we are.

Music can be a reminder of our identity in Christ.

Music has always played a significant role in my life, especially in my relationship with the Lord. 

“Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.”

Psalms 105:2

Singing is my favourite way to praise Him.  It opens my heart to truly worship Him.

It always draws me nearer to Him so that He can draw near to me. (James 4:8) It brings me great joy and the right song can remind me of who I am in Christ.

Lauren Daigle’s song You Say is my favourite one to listen to when I need a reminder that I am who He says I am but there are so many others. I’ve listed more below that will remind you that you are a child of God who is forgiven and redeemed. 

Through Him, you are an overcomer, you are free, you are chosen, you are loved, you are different, and you are beautiful! Most importantly you are saved!

12 Songs about Your Identity in Christ

1. You are

This song is my favourite one to listen to when I need a reminder that I am who He says I am but there are so many others. I’ve listed more below that will remind you that you are a child of God who is forgiven and redeemed. 

Through Him, you are an overcomer, you are free, you are chosen, you are loved, you are different, and you are beautiful! Most importantly you are saved!

2 & 3 You are a child of God.

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,” Galatians 3:26 NIV

These are both songs about your Identity in Christ.

4. You are Forgiven.

“All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:43 NIV

This is another great song about your Identity in Christ.

5. You are Redeemed

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” Ephesians 1:7 NIV

6. You are an Overcomer

“for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4 NIV

7. You are Free.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

8. You are Chosen.

“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13 NIV

9. You are Loved.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1

10. You are Different

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV

11. You are Beautiful.

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Songs 4:7 NIV

12. You are Saved.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV

This is the final song from my list of songs about your Identity in Christ.

Whenever you feel the enemy creeping in and telling you lies, then sing any one of these worship songs and be reminded that you are a child of God and the enemy has no power over you!

You are a masterpiece created for a purpose.  Live in that truth and never forget who you are!

A beautiful printable of the scriptures listed above can be found here in my FREE Resource Library along with many other printables to help encourage you. 

Going Deeper

Singing these songs and listening to them has inspired me to take a further look at who we are in Christ.

I actually wrote a Bible study called: Who am I? Discover who you are in Christ.

The world tells us our identity is based on our work, our talents, our extracurricular activities, and our background. We often introduce ourselves by sharing our names and what we do for a living. We often change parts of who we are to fit into the world’s mould. But none of those things actually define who we are. We are not our jobs, our culture or even our relationships. We are made in the image of Christ and are called to so much more than what we can imagine. 

Join Anne Markey in a discovery of who we are in Christ and what we were made to do. Ditch the chains of expectations and base your identity in Christ and what matters most instead of what others think. With guided questions, real-life examples, and comparing scripture, discover what the Bible says about who we are. Stop striving to be what the world accepts and stand firm in who God has called you. Click here to get the study today.

Homeschooling vs. Public Education: Which is Right for Your Family?

Welcome to today’s episode of The Christian Minute Podcast, where we discuss the pros and cons of different educational systems. In this episode, I have the pleasure of hearing from Jackie Diggins, a mother of ten children, who has both homeschooled and sent her kids to public school. She will share her insights on the differences between the two systems and how to choose which is best for your family. Stick around as we discuss Homeschooling vs. Public Education: Which is Right for Your Family?

In This episode we talk about:  

The differences between homeschooling and public education, including individualized attention and tailored education in homeschooling, and more structure and socialization in public education. 

How to choose the educational option that fits their family best, without feeling like there is a right or wrong choice. 

How fear can impact your decision and how to be motivated by obedience to God and not fear 

How taking life one step at a time can help you navigate aspects of life with a positive mindset. 

Homeschooling vs. Public Education: Which is Right for Your Family?

Hi and welcome back to the Christian Minute podcast. My name is Anne Markey, your host, and I’m here with a special gift. Her name is Jackie.

Today we’re going to be talking a little bit about the differences between homeschooling and public education. But before we get into all that, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Introduction to Jackie Dighans

I’m Jackie Dighans. I am a mom of 10 children. I now have six children in the public school system. I used to home-school for 20 years, but now there are six in the public school system.

I’m a covenant life coach, which means faith-based life coach and also an author.

I’ve been married for 30 years.

I love getting to know people who just have so many different experiences and lots of wisdom.

One of the things that really caught my eye was that you have experience with both homeschooling and the public school system.

Because I’m sure you’ve experienced this, where there seemed to be a rivalry between the homeschooling moms and the public moms.

I would just see a lot of arguments back and forth and it’s always interesting just to talk to the different sides and see how things actually look in either decision.

Fundamental differences between homeschooling and public school

Can just maybe explain a little bit the fundamental differences between choosing to do home school or choosing to do either public school or private school?

We started out with one daughter in the public school and then chose to home-school from there because of a business we were starting.

So we chose to homeschool because of our lifestyle. So I always think of home school as a lifestyle.

It just depends on what you’re wanting.

I knew I wanted to relate more with my kids.

We all grew up differently so I maybe wanted to have a little bit different relationship with my children than what I had., Not that mine was bad, but I wanted something different.

I knew I needed to be with them a little bit more to have that. And I like the idea of homeschooling. If they don’t learn something that they’re not into then they can pick it up the next year.

You’re not so boxed into.

Don’t homeschool out of fear

A lot of people are concerned about the social aspects of homeschooling versus public school.

As for me, I always tried to be sure I wasn’t homeschooling out of fear of the public school or fear of something my kids might pick up there.

I did it because that’s what was on my husband’s and my heart’s. That’s what we decided to do.

But if decisions are fear-based, that’s not a great way to start out.

Fear is one of those things that can keep us from a lot of things. Or drive us in a specific direction because of that fear.

But I think you’re absolutely right that if fear is our motivator, then that’s not the great first step.

Because we know the Bible says that our motivation should be to obey and glorify God. So we’re just doing something out of fear, then we’re a little bit out of alignment.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7

The Lord’s direction will give you peace

My oldest daughter is 13 and in grade 8. The things she comes home with, and shares about what people say, what she sees can be scary.

When some things come up, this is a chance to make a decision.

Is it still working? Is it time for us to shift?

We can’t take the next step out of dear.

If I’m confident that this is where they need to be, which I am right now for our kids, this is where they need to be. I’m not homeschooling out of fear, but out of obedience.

So then I can go 100 % forward being like, OK God, lead us here. We’re peaceful about this.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be any negative things coming our way, but we get to decide what we do with them and how to work through them.

A picture of a black board behind school suplies and an apple. Under the picture are the words Homeschooling vs. public education: Which is right for your family? www.onedeterminedlife.com

Shape your frame of mind

As a young mom, I thought I needed to decide at the start of our kid’s lives what education is going to look like.

In my brain, I thought that whatever decision we made, it had to be for all the kids, for their entire school journey.

I was really feeling really anxious about it until finally, I heard The Lord and He said: one child, one year at a time.

Why do we have to make decisions for the whole 12 years or whatever it is? Why can’t we just take it, a year at a time? Even sometimes if it needs to be a day at a time. Is it still working?

Depending on The Lord

Sometimes we will get to the point where I knew I was supposed to put my kids in school. That summer, I said to God: You’re going to have to give me a lot of creativity and energy to continue this.

I always tried to stay open to what God was saying each year and what the kids needed and what I needed, and the family needed one thing that’s interesting, too.

When we were homeschooling, we had a family business. When that shut down, it seemed like then homeschooling changed. Because we could always like, OK, you guys go help with this part of the business and that was part of the home school. They could go be with their dad out there where I was with the younger ones in the house. Well, when that business changed, it almost seemed like shortly after then our schooling changed for the kids where we put them.

Seasons Change

I just always assumed that the seasons of childhood were so quick. Seasons when they’re small and they teach you a lot maybe about like the baby years. But then the different seasons you go through as a family or even as an education and how that’s going to change.

So it’s interesting how you said that starting your business is what prompted the change of lifestyle.

How stopping that business brought you into a new season. And that one season change might mean it also means there are changes in education or other changes in different areas.

The only reason I’m doing this is that I know you’re with me because it was not easy to shift everyone over. But He said they will excel and be a light. So as I shifted them and I heard that word, I stood on that whenever there were some struggles with the kids.

I wouldn’t let fear overtake me or think we made the wrong decision because these things are happening. Instead, I stood on the word that I had heard – this is where they need to be.

And I know that some things can easily be moved by circumstances, but we need to be people that are moved by God.

What parents can be looking for

What are some kinds of things that parents can be thinking about or looking at to just help them make these types of decisions?

Sometimes we’ve shifted due to different seasons in our lives. Just when things start feeling kind of uncomfortable or what’s another word for that just it gets hard in a way.

  • Asking: why is this feeling so hard now? Almost like you don’t have the energy for that particular thing anymore sometimes, then that can be a good time to get curious.
  • Why am I not having the energy I had for this for the last 15 years?
  • Why is that all of a sudden changing and is it then time to shift?

Sometimes we just overlooked that and think it’s just a season in my life. But sometimes it’s God saying, it’s time for something new here, and He wants to do something new with your family.

I know for us, knowing that my kids would be a light in the school and that they would excel there, too.

In homeschooling, you don’t always know exactly where they’re at. As far as compared to the public school system and so ours weren’t all right on spot, but they got there.

I didn’t focus on the other but just looked at what was getting uncomfortable here. Why am I feeling this shift, this hard?

A green background with school suplies around the border. In the centre, there is a list of 4 questions parents can ask when thinking about making a chabe in school.

Listen to your kids

Sometimes kids will even say I don’t like doing this and it’s good to get curious.

Why are they saying that all of a sudden?

God has used that before. We put our kids into one place for a couple of them for a year or two during COVID the one said- I don’t ever want to come back to this place again.

And I was thinking and we were just at the point of making a decision.

I hadn’t heard the one say that at all. And then I wondered if God was trying to tell me something.

It’s interesting listening to what our kids are saying and getting curious about why they are saying or doing something.

That doesn’t mean we always do what they say, but it’s good to listen.

Some parents talk a lot about age and like, at what age can a kid understand. I think sometimes we can get trapped into this thinking that if I asked them their opinion, then people might think I’m doing this because of them.

But I think what you said just hits the nail on the head: what our children say it’s just that little flag that it’s making you think about being curious and asking questions and kind of investigating that line and it may go nowhere.

But listing to your children helps them feel heard. But then they feel involved in the process of deciding what’s going to be the best fit for them.

And I think that that’s really helped us in the sense of just learning who our kids are, seeing how they learn.

A pink background with text in the middle. The text says, But listing to your children helps them feel heard. But then they feel involved in the process of deciding what's going to be the best fit for them. www.onedeterminedlife.com

Each child is so different

COVID was a huge opportunity to see whether or not homeschooling worked for all my kids.

My middle daughter hated being homeschooled. Because I wasn’t a very structured homeschool mom.

I’m organized and not very structured, and she just excels more in a structured environment.

So even though now she doesn’t love her teacher at school this year, she still prefers it because it has a structure that she does better in.

And so it’s really kind of taking that time to figure out why school or homeschooling isn’t this working. Why is this feeling off? And then see if this means we need to make a change or does it mean we help our kids through this uncomfortable time.

It could be either, but it’s just good to get to stop and get curious that way. That way you’re not missing something that God’s trying to do.

One of the things that we look at is whether or not our children are excelling.

One of the drawbacks of public school is, you know, they kind of have to learn at the pace of the public school or they’re behind and then they’re always kind of playing catch up.

So we’re at the point now with one of our kids that she’s behind. So then it’s thinking about: do we push her to get at the same pace? What do we do here?

Do we stay the course? Do we change schools? Do we homeschool?

And I think those answers are gonna look different for everybody.

You are going to be led

You have to be where you’re led.

Everybody has a place and a season for being in a place.

When I was a younger mom, I don’t know that I would have been a great public school mom. But now that I’m a seasoned mom, I do better with that. I flow better.

I was a little bit more fearful as a younger mom. Now, I know how to listen to God better and you know all the things.

People ask me, what is God saying? What is your husband feeling?

Because if you confidently step toward what you and your husband are leaning toward, you can know God’s with you there because he doesn’t ever leave.

If your heart is to listen and you want to do the right thing and you’re leaning toward one way, you can believe you’re led because the word tells us those that are sons of God are led by the spirit of God.

So you can just confidently go, this is what we’ve decided. God’s with us here. If He wants to close the door, He will. He honours the heart that wants to obey.

When you’re seeking the Lord’s will and you’re wanting to obey him, he’s going to like he wants to tell us what to do, right?

He loves it when we ask Him to show us the way. When we do, He is going to show us the way.

1 Year Bible reading plan

What time of year should parents be asking these questions

Do you have a particular practice, whether it’s weekly or yearly, that you think through the education options and how you’re going to continue or is it just seeing kind of how the kids are feeling and how things are working out?

We’re in a season now where we are always listening, always aware of changes whether it changes the family’s making or changes in us, one of our kids, you know how they’re dealing with school.

So just always awareness and have an open heart saying: God if you want to shift something.

I don’t like to get too settled, you know what I mean? Because I want to be moldable and shapeable as we go.

Since we already have switched from home school to public and that was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, you know? But I’ve seen how He’s blessed it because I listened.

And I didn’t just do the safe and comfortable thing. The thing that I was familiar with, the thing that all the kids were familiar with.

I was willing to step out and do the new thing. And so I’m always very aware of God, and asking: are you wanting to do something different this year? Or knowing that it won’t ever look like it did?

We were a whole different family then. But just willing to shift as we go. It doesn’t really look the same.

You are allowed to change things up

One of my friends was homeschooling for a really long time but then got completely burnt out and so she took a break and sent her kids to school for a year. But then decided to bring them back home but then decided to homeschool differently.

So even if you’re feeling like the Lord still wants you to homeschool, things aren’t working, it’s not necessarily going to mean God wants you to send them to public school. It could just mean there you need to shift something in the way you’re doing school.

There other options that you can still enjoy the homeschooling pieces but you’re not going to get burnt out?

What benefits are you eligible for?

We’re really fortunate because we live. I live in Alberta, Canada, and it’s one of the provinces that has so many options for education, schooling, for homeschooling. Homeschool parents actually get money from the government to homeschool their kids.

And I don’t think there’s another province in Canada that does that.

So there are so many kids’ programs and groups and different options. So there are quite a lot of homeschooling kids and families here.

And so I think that that’s a huge benefit.

If you do want to homeschool, it’s worth thinking about whether or not you are eligible for any type of support.

This can be activities or things that you can be part of so that you’re really not feeling like you’re doing it alone.

Life happens regardless of the choice you make

When I was homeschooling, I found that life happened right as your homeschooling life happens. And we had a baby every other year, we had business.

I always tried to keep a pretty good schedule and routine and but I also kept it very flexible as needed because if you get too rigid it doesn’t flow well.

But then as I put my kids in school, I realized life happens there too.

And one of the verses that God gave me as I was homeschooling my kids was:

All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.

Isaiah 54:13

And so I just remember holding on to that verse. I remember thinking: OK God, I’m going to take the steps. I know I’m going to do my best job, but I’m trusting you.

And it’s the same thing I feel with my children at school.

I’m thankful for the teachers, I’m thankful for this opportunity for them and all the things.

All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.

A common misconception about public school

I think one fear that a lot of Christian families or homeschool family has, is that sending their kids out of the home for school stops a lot of that life happening or even the connection that you have with your kids.

And I know for ourselves, even though we don’t see the kids as much on a school day as we would on a nonschool day, our relationships are still really strong because of the things we do when they are home.

1 Year Bible reading plan

Will your relationship with your kids change when they go to school?

If any parents are scared of sending their kids to school, can you talk about how that can change the relationship with the kids?

We found that it creates new opportunities. New conversations to talk with them about things that they wouldn’t come up with just when they’re home, which isn’t bad.

We graduated the three oldest ones homeschooled. They didn’t have any public schools.

Now the family that it’s changed, only two of them haven’t been homeschooled at all, the youngest 2.

But it creates new conversations, interaction with new people, and learning how to deal with different personalities. You know, teachers and principals and friends. It just expands your world in a good way.

If that’s where you’re supposed to be, look for the opportunities there and then enjoy the time you have with the kids at home.

We try to keep things like Monday through Thursday, no TV in the evening. Phones are off by a certain time.

It doesn’t always flow quite the same but just try to have some boundaries and opportunities.

Catching those moments of when we’re driving them places and you know just doing what we can and then trying to keep like the Sunday time Family Day and you know just anyway it’s a flow it.

I just have learned to flow with life and I don’t if I sense something uncomfortable then I either talk about it or we shift something. We also make a point of being more intentional with the time we have with the kids.

Be intensional

That word intentional is so key because that’s exactly what it needs to be.

Certainly, when you do have less time with your kids, you have to take advantage of the time you do have and be intentional about it and look for ways to have meaningful conversations.

For us as well as a family, we decided pretty early on that we didn’t want to have our kids involved in a zillion things. So they’re involved in maybe one or two things during the week so that we can have those meal times together or those Sundays together or that intentional time together that we’re always connecting.

My oldest is turning 14 in September, and in Alberta, you can start work. And so I know that that’s going to bring a new season. So I’m trying to prepare for the future. It’s going to shift our schedule.

I have to kind of rethink this intention that I’m having with the kids. How is this going to work?

So it’s interesting to be aware of those shifts.

But as you said, not being afraid of those changes, but using them as an opportunity to either ask the Lord for Wisdom, for direction and then trusting that He’s going to take you where He wants you to go.

Kids starting work or kids starting to drive or whatever. It’s what they need to do. They’re starting to flap their wings, and getting ready to leave our nest.

I try to give them as much opportunity to not only still stay connected but also recognize they’re going to be leaving.

A soft purple backgroud with the quote of the day from The Christian Minute Podcast.  not being afraid of those changes, but using them as an opportunity to either ask the Lord for Wisdom, for direction and then trusting that He's going to take you where He wants you to go.

How to prepare for your child to leave the nest

I just talked to a friend this weekend and she and her husband have this theory that at 16 you pretend that they’re not in your home even though they are. And you spend basically those two years giving them as much independence or responsibility in your home. So that by the time they are 18, if that’s the age they’re leaving at, they’ve already had 2 years experience.

Do you have like a process or just things that you consider as you’re like helping your children go through these seasons and stages?

You know, as early as they can. We started seven kids in the school system. Do you know how many paperwork, how much paperwork we filled out, I mean? It was crazy. So I gave each of them a pen, as many as could write, and they filled the paperwork out and I signed.

So as young as possible, I start having to make the phone call or do the thing. And so by the time they’re that age, it’s not difficult. Like, how do I do this, mom? No, they’ve probably already done it several times here.

Even before 16. I’m working on their independence. I do try to have them get their own lunch or whatever. But here and there though I will I’ll be like hey come on in and make this for me.

I think also this mindset that you can have a plan or an idea as to how you want things to go, but as my kids are getting older and I’m realizing what they can do. That the reality doesn’t always match my idea of how it’s going to go.

And so instead of being rigid, just giving them that space.

I always say that home is a safe space to practice. We’re also just giving them a safe place to fail so that they can learn. That way, when they’re on their own, they’ve already failed at this. They’ve already gotten up from this and they’ve moved on because we gave them a really safe environment to do that in.

Anne Markey

I think we just do our best and do what we know and not none of it’s perfect but some of the stuff our kids have to walk through on their own will just need to learn it the hard way.

We’ve had we had one of the older kids specifically who would kept a messier room just it was just that way. Well now, she’s got a very organized house. So it doesn’t always look the same as you think it would as they get on their own.

They’re going to have to figure it out and they decide and sometimes they can’t do it right in the home for whatever reason.

Just, you know, I’ve enjoyed seeing, we’ve got 3 married kids now and four grandkids and I’ve just enjoyed seeing them parent and seeing them run their homes well.

And you know, it’s a blessing to me too, and I know I wasn’t perfect, but I know my parents weren’t perfect either. We all had to learn certain things.

Advice for people moving from public school to homeschooling


So we’ve talked a little bit about parents transitioning from home school to public school. What about parents who’ve never tried homeschooling? They’re in the public school system and they’re thinking about homeschooling. Do you have any advice kind of going that way?


So if you know that’s what you’re supposed to do, go online, or ask a friend. There’s so much more curriculum and program available these days.

It’s changed so much and we didn’t ever do anything online specifically. Ours was bookwork. That’s just what we did.

But there are so many different things and I would recommend just asking a few people.

Everyone has different advice or different curriculums they liked and worked for them.

But just make a decision. When/if it doesn’t work, you can always change the curriculum.


Once you have your core subjects, you can ask your child, what are you interested in? And try to get some little projects or things that they could do to learn and grow in their interest.

And so I don’t think I was amazing at all of that, but I did what I knew.

It’s the process that we do it in. The attitude we do it in that is the most important.

So don’t bring your children home and yell at them and harp on them and have a negative relationship. It’s not worth it. If this is what you’re supposed to do, do it with a good spirit, and a good heart, so that your kids then are modelled that and they grow. It’s a good relationship.

Even though you have struggles, you have those moments. God taught me a lot about doing it with the right spirit so that you’re a good example as you’re homeschooling them.

I think that goes even the other way.

Recap

I just want to just recap some of the things you said:

  • The answer is going to look different for every family and we just need to be looking to the Lord to get that direction. And when we do, He’s going to show us the exact way.
  • Start small: Once you start investigating homeschooling, it can feel overwhelming because there are so many more resources out there than ever before. And so starting small and then building. As you get more comfortable, you get a rhythm. And I think that could help a lot of people.
  • Asking a friend: The resources available to me in Alberta are completely different than those of somebody who lives anywhere else. And so that support and those resources are going to look different depending on where you live. And yeah, Google always can tell you what’s in your area.

* This post contains affiliate links, please see my disclosure policy for details.

Connect with Jackie:

Before we go can you tell them maybe where they can find you online?

You can find Jackie on Instagram and Facebook.

Jackie has written two books. Each can be found on Amazon.

  • Covered on a Deeper Level: Living in Triumph While Going Through Trials: What if you embrace your trials and grow through them rather than wish them away? What if their purpose is to make you mature and complete, lacking nothing? Take a walk with me through my journey of life raising ten children. Walk with me through the ups and downs of marriage, parenting, and business, and watch how I ended up on top. I chose growth, learning, believing, and following God through it all. * Click here to order today.
  • If you believed: 31 beliefs to act on from the living word to bring about life change. Take five minutes each day to read these scriptures and encouraging words as Jackie assists you in lining up with the Covenant of God in order to live your best life! Click here to order today.

Thank you, Jackie, for being here and just talking through the differences.

Love like you have never seen

We live in a world that is so confused about what true love is. It’s easy to fall for the lie the world tells us about love. But as Christians, we know there is an amazing love- love like you have never seen. Today, want to take a few minutes and share with you about The Love The Lord has for us.

https://onedeterminedlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Love-like-we-have-never-seen.ogg

Love like you have never seen

For the next couple weeks, as we get closer to Christmas, I want to spend a few minutes every week focussing on The Lord. 

Bringing you short, biblical devotions to help you focus on Jesus- the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

Love Confusion

We live in a world that is so confused about what true love is. 

I’ve had a few conversations with my children about love. 

They thought there was only one type of love. When I told them that there are 4 different types of love and that friendship love differed from romantic love, they sighed in relief. 

They now love their friends freely. 

A picture of a dad hugging his child. Above the picture are the words, love like you have never seen. www.onedeterminedlife.com

Perfect Example of Love

As Christians, we are given the perfect example of what true love looks like. 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 

John 3:16-17

I have 3 kids and love them to the end of the universe. I can’t think of 1 scenario that would lead me to choose one of my children to die in the place of someone else. 

Most of my husband’s family isn’t saved. And for the longest time, I had this fear that if I prayed for my family’s salvation, it would somehow mean that my kids would have to, like, get hurt or die. I’m not sure where that fear comes from. Probably from the devil, since it’s not from the Lord, but that fear kept me from praying for them because I’m not willing for my kids to experience any type of pain, even if it meant somebody else’s salvation.

Now, thankfully, the Lord has helped me process some of that, and he’s given me some wisdom as to how to pray for my family to overcome that fear. But this is just an example that I am selfish. I’m not going to choose my kids to die over somebody else. I would choose for my life to end instead of my children. But I just never want to see my kids in any type of pain.

The Bible shows us a better love

Now we compare that to God’s love for us. God loves us so much. That he sent his only son to Earth. To live a life here on Earth, and not just to live it, but then to die. And then three days later, rise again. I can’t imagine what that would be like.

We know that Heaven is an amazing place, and just going from heaven to earth in itself, even if Jesus did nothing else, would be an act of love.

Jesus freely gave us heaven to come to Earth.

But that’s not where it ended. It goes even further than that.

The Old Testament tells us that we’re sinful and that the only way to pay for that sin is a blood sacrifice. Something or someone had to die.

Now, throughout the Old Testament. Those were the perfect lambs, and they represent the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus himself, who came to Earth because even though those lambs were perfect, they weren’t good enough. People didn’t have to just do 1 sacrifice in their entire life. They had to come over and over and over and over again.

But Jesus he came. And he died only once because his sacrifice was perfect. So He’s the one that took her place. So that we can have a relationship with the father.

And even though I’ve been a Christian for a long time, I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around that type of love because like I said, I could never do that. I am completely selfish.

I don’t think I would ever choose Mike his death over somebody else. Now there is that little fear in me that now that I’ve said that, the Lord’s going to test me and I’m trying to get over it yep this idea that my selfish love is no comparison to the love that God has for us, that he was willing to sacrifice his son for us.

Characteristics of Love

But The Bible gives us so much more insight into what Love looks like. 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. 

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a

You’ve probably heard these verses read at weddings. And even though they are appropriate verses to read there, these verses are not talking about marriage. 

These verses characterize what love is. The only person who fulfills all these things is The Lord. 

When I was in university, I felt alone and like nobody loved me. My family would reassure me of their love for me, but it wasn’t enough. 

In my mind, they didn’t have a choice but to love me. They were family and had to love me. 

During that time, The Lord brought me back to scripture and reminded me how much He loved me. 

He showed me a better and more perfect love.  

I’ve learned that friends come and go, but the Lord never changes. He’s always near, he never changes, and his love for me never changes, regardless of what I do. I can be my worst self on the worst day, and God’s love for me stays the same.

God might not be happy about what I’m doing, but he loves me.

So if you’re here today and you’re feeling a little bit uncertain, maybe you’re feeling lost and you might even be feeling unloved. I understand that. I’ve been there and every single time I’ve had those feelings, the Lord’s been so gentle to bring me back towards him and say human relationships will sometimes fail.

How to remember God’s love for us

So if you are feeling lost, uncertain, alone, or unloved- take some time and read through 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 again. 

So what I want you to do is, for each characteristic to write it down. And then think of some examples.

For example

The first characteristic on the list says love is patient.

So what I want you to do is to write down love is patient. And then I want you to take a few minutes to think about and to write down all the different examples you have of maybe your own life, your friend’s life, or even scripture of very specific examples when the Lord showed you patience.

And if you have a hard time thinking of one, I can give you one. And you can write this down if you’d like.

The fact that God hasn’t come back again shows his patience in the Old Testament.

We read that before he flooded the earth. The Lord looked at the Earth and was like, these men are horrible, and he sent the flood to destroy, like to destroy them. And the word of God tells us that one day God will destroy the earth, but the longer he goes without doing that just shows how patient God is.

Because God isn’t willing for anyone to die. He doesn’t want anybody to be separated from him, so he continues to extend Earth so that as many people as humanly possible will choose God.

And so every single day that passes that the Lord does not return shows us his patience for people.

Make a list

So take a few minutes and add to that list what are some other things that he has done, or what are some other ways the Lord has shown you patience. And then when you’re done, I want you to go to the next characteristic- Love is Kind.

And again, I want you to do the same thing. Think of all the examples of all the times. The Lord was kind to you.

Then, I want you to do that exercise for every single character in that verse.

Now that might feel overwhelming. So I don’t want you to do that all at once. Maybe just do one characteristic per day. So the first day you can talk about patience, the second day about kindness, and after a few days, you’re going to have this comprehensive list and proof of how God shows His love towards you in all these different areas.

Carry The Love of God with you

That way, the next time you’re feeling discouraged, or maybe the next time you’re feeling unloved, you now have this list of evidence to tell your brain The Lord loves you.

Carry that list with you because when you do that, you can be reminded of what true love looks like when you have God’s example of love.

It just helps in every aspect when it comes to relationships with others because it helps you show love better and then it helps you accept love differently because now you know what true love looks like.

Colossians 3:14  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 

1 Corinthians 13:3 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 

Thank you for being with us. And I just pray this time be a blessing to all of us amen thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate this. That you’ve taken just to spend some time with me. In God’s word, I hope you’ve been encouraged by these devotions.

25+ FREE Bible Studies for women

My passion is to help women discover who God is and how to live their lives for Him. The best way to know God is through Bible Study and Prayer. There are many Bible studies for women out there, but it’s hard to cut through all the noise. To help you in your search, I wanted to share with you 25+ FREE Bible studies for women.

a picture of two woman standing in front of a tree looking happy. Above the picture are the words: 25 free bible studies for women

25+ FREE Bible Studies for Women

1. In Christ, I am a new Creation

Anne Markey is passionate about teaching women about The Bible. She longs for women to understand what God has to teach us in the Bible and how we apply these truths to our lives. Anne has created a one-week study called: In Christ, I am a new creation. 

This study will help you define your identity in Christ and guide you to understand God’s amazing work in your life. 

Fill in the form below to get your FREE workbook.

2. Becoming a Courageous and confident woman

Arabah Joy is passionate about seeing women flourish in God’s Word. She has created a Bible study Called: Becoming a courageous and confident woman. 

This 1-hour mini Bible Study will quickly show you how to become a confident and courageous woman of God…regardless of how much of an outsider you currently feel you are. Click here for access to the study. 

3. 45 Topical Bible Studies

Melissa Tumino has been actively involved and trained in various church ministries and leadership. Melissa has a passion for God’s word and has created 45 blog posts that focus on specific topics. 

These posts are perfect for someone who is looking to do a topical Bible study and doesn’t know where to start. Click here for access to these posts 

4. Cultivating the Fruit of The Spirit

Heather Hart has spent years writing printable Bible studies for the women at her church and has provided them for you to study. If you’ve been looking for a study to do on your own or with a group, you can download the study guides here

Bible study included are: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit, Ready to Stand, Believe

5. Seeking Him

In this 12-week study, Wolgemuth and Grissom will guide us through critical stages of spiritual renewal including humility, repentance, grace, holiness, obedience, forgiveness, and power through the Spirit-filled life. 

Each week the book includes five days of individual study, thought-provoking questions, and application exercises. Each Tuesday morning at 9:00 est, June 1 through August 17, our guest blogger Julie, who is a Revive Our Hearts ambassador, will guide us through that week’s lesson with a new blog post.Get all the details here

6. Gracefully Truthful

They seek to equip women to welcome the fullness of the Almighty into the innermost parts of our everyday lives through studying His Word and entering into an authentic, biblical community. 

Gracefully Truthful is a place to connect, it’s a place to be real, it’s a place to share fears, ask questions, and unashamedly seek out the Father who crafted our hearts to love boldly and bravely as we discover together what it means to truly walk in the fullness of grace and truth. Click here to access their Bible Study posts. 

7. 5-Day Micro Bible Study Journaling Challenge

A free 5-day challenge that will help make your devotional time more personal and meaningful. This challenge will help you connect your faith and creativity in your Personal Devotional Time. Click here to join the challenge. 

8. Mary and Martha

Starla Hill is a mom, and blogger, who loves to drink coffee and talk about Jesus. She has written many posts about what the Bible teaches. One of my favourites is her posts about Mary and Martha. This story is one we can all relate to. Click here to discover what Mary and Martha can teach us. 

9. The women before us

Betty Predmore wrote a study called: The Women before us. The Bible is filled with stories of women who came before us. Their strength and perseverance, their pain and joy, their suffering and their rewards made them into women who God used for teaching the generations that came after.

There is much to be learned by digging deeper into the stories of four women who came before us. (Ester, Hannah, Hagar, Elizabeth). Click here for access to the study.  

10. Printable Bible Reading Plan Resources

Natalie Lynn is a teacher and loves to write about her saviour and simplicity. Studying the word of God for many years has made her realize that the mysteries of the bible can be unlocked, one day at a time. She has created a variety of Printable Bible Reading Plan Resources. Click here for access. 

11. Variety FREE Christian Resources

Sacha is passionate about encouraging women to be strong, honourable and faithful to God. She has created a variety of FREE Christian resources. These include Bible study guides, bible studies for women, scripture printables, women’s devotionals, and more. Click here for Free access. 

12. Ladies Drawing Nigh

This is a website dedicated to offering free online Bible studies for women. They created these to encourage and equip women to have a closer fellowship with God that results in their walking out His purposes for their lives. Click here for access to the studies. 

In the comments below, share your favourite Bible studies for women.

How to get started reading The Bible

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I know that Bible study can be intimidating. I also know that you may feel you don’t have the time, or you don’t know where to start. I get it.  That is why I’m sharing this post. I will answer the questions I see most often regarding Bible reading or Bible study. How to get started reading The Bible?

In today’s world, we have endless resources at our fingertips. 

With so much great Christian content out there, it’s easier than ever to connect with Christians from around the world and dig into the scripture. 

If it’s so easy, why do so many people have a hard time starting? 

That’s because there are too many choices!!!! 

Growing up, we had a TV, a VCR and 4 movies: Gulliver’s travels, Dr. Dolittle, Hans Christian Andersen, and Fantasia. 

When PD days came around, we would watch at least 2 of those movies without wasting any time trying to choose which one to watch. 

But, when we got older, we would spend time looking for spare change around the house, walking to the movie rental store and spending an hour trying to pick which movie we wanted to watch. 

The idea of having LOTS of resources sounds great. But in reality, the more we have to pick from, the harder it is for us to choose. 

That’s because we are afraid of missing out on all the other options we said no to. 

It’s the same for choosing a Bible study, a Bible reading plan, or even a Bible. 

The choices are endless. 

How to get started in Bible Study

My number 1 piece of advice is this: Just Start

You don’t need fancy equipment or the “right Bible”**. 

You probably already have a Bible at home, or on your phone. 

Open it up and start reading the gospels. (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). 

Most Christian leaders agree that starting in the gospels is a great start. 

That’s because you get to know the story of how Jesus was born, His ministry, who He was, and then His death, resurrection and ascension. 

Even with 4 gospels, people have a hard time choosing, so I’ll make it really simple. 

Open your Bible to the book of John and start reading.

Don’t worry about taking notes, or anything else, just focus on reading. 

** This post contains affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosed policy.**

Make Bible reading a Habit

Now that you’ve started, I want you to make Bible reading a Habit.

You’ve probably heard that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. That means doing the same thing every day for 21 days straight. 

John, just so happens, to have 21 chapters. So, on day 1, read John chapter 1, on day 2, chapter 2 and so on. 

Then what? 

If you’re like me, you might be thinking: Anne, that’s great. I have a 21-day plan, but then what? 

What do I do next? 

That’s an excellent question! 

A picture of a woman sitting down and reading a book. Below the picture are the words How to get started reading The Bible? www.onedeterminedlife.com

During the first 21 days, when you already have a plan, I want you to do 2 things. 

1. Ask yourself why you are reading God’s word 

There are many reasons to read God’s word, I shared a few just the other week. But, those were generic. 

Most people have a personal reason to read God’s word. 

  • Maybe you are facing unrest and want peace. 
  • Maybe you don’t know who you are, so you want to know what God says about that. 

The list can go on. 

But I want you to take 5-10 minutes and pray about what area The Lord wants you to grow in. 

  • Anger 
  • Forgiveness
  • Parenting
  • Growing in your faith 

Once you have prayed through it, something (a topic) should stick out to you. 

Maybe you are watching this right now and already know what God wants you to grow in. 

Once you know what that reason is, I want you to write it down.

If you aren’t sure about this step, don’t let it keep you from continuing to read God’s word. 

Write that you don’t know, and then move on to the next step I’m going to share. 

Once you know what area you want to grow in, 

2. Find a Bible reading plan

Find a Bible reading plan that will match your reason for reading.

For example: 

A few years ago, I was feeling lost as a parent and I wanted to learn more about what The Bible had to say about parenting. 

So, I turned to my Bible app on my phone, went to their bible plan section and put parenting in the search function. 

The app then gave me a list of plans. I read through the descriptions and picked one. 

Then, for the next couple of weeks, I followed that plan. 

Then the cycle starts again. 

  • If you want to learn more about who God is, look for studies that teach you His name and the things He has done! 
  • I you want to have more peace, then find Bible reading plans that guide you through verses about peace with God. 

Whatever you want to learn more about, I promise you there is a resource out there for you! 

Just turn to our trusty friend Google. You can simply search: Bible verses about…….. (fill in the blank). 

This past Sunday, the message was about reading the Bible. The pastor said the one thing you don’t want to do is to open your Bible to a random spot and read the verse. 

He gave 2 really silly examples of the types of verses you can land on, and how they might not be applicable to your life. 

I agree with him. Flipping to a random verse in your Bible is probably not the best idea. 

But, If it’s all still feeling overwhelming— then take your Bible. Open it to a random page and start reading. 

Don’t just read whatever verse you land on. Read the surrounding verses, and read the whole chapter. If need be, read the next chapter. 

If that’s what it takes to get you started then DO IT! 

The Lord can use EVERY SINGLE VERSE IN THE BIBLE TO ENCOURAGE YOU

Since you are in this group and following me, you have already taken the first step. You want to read your Bible, and you want to know God more. 

My number 1 goal is to help Christian women, read Their Bibles, understand what they read, and then help them apply what they have learned to their lives. 

That is why I am so excited to invite you to The Faith in Action Conference.

The Faith in Action Conference

The Faith in Action Conference is a FREE 4-day virtual event to help Christian women take action in their faith through a deep dive Bible study of Mathew 5-7 & James.

The conference is all about helping Christian women take action in their faith through a deep dive into Bible study.

16 speakers over 4 days will help you discover how to live out your faith by looking at Mathew chapters 5-7 & James. These chapters are filled with practical advice for us. Everything from how to treat one another, to marriage advice.

Click here to register for your FREE ticket today!

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