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Archive | Women’s issues

Dementia Took My Mom Years Ago

Caring for Aging Parents

My mother was witty, fun, and smart. She danced in the kitchen, talked her way out of every traffic ticket, and ran her own business. She read constantly, created intricate cross-stitched pieces, and could quote baseball statistics like a pro. She loved Jesus and adored my dad.

Mom may still be living, but years ago, dementia took the person she was. The disease slowly changed her personality and tore down her ability to effectively relate to other people. Although it happened over time, the reality hit me one day.

“Mom” was gone; just a shadow remained. And I’ve been feeling the loss ever since.

My mother and I were always close. Even after I married and we moved hundreds of miles away, Mom and I stayed connected with regular, long phone calls. I went to her with parenting questions and friendship issues. She always cared, always listened, and always had some words of wisdom.

I never realized how much I had depended on Mom until I couldn’t. But then I discovered that in some ways, our relationship had hindered my dependence on God. When something happened, instead of turning to Him, I called Mom. When she lost the ability to listen and understand, I began to learn how to take those things to the One who would always listen. Always understand.

Grieving Lost Relationships

The psalmist David knew about personal loss and painful relationships. Yet David learned to cultivate a deep, satisfying relationship with God that brought him comfort in the midst of grief, security in tumultuous circumstances, and joy that surpassed any loss.

In the sixty-third psalm, David emphasized God’s presence with His people. Whether through death, betrayal, or simply change, human relationships will always fail us. But God will never fail us. Our earthly relationships can never meet all our needs, but God can meet every need. He can quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger. His love is better than life itself. (See Psalm 63:1-8.)

When you feel alone, when a sense of loss overwhelms you, turn to the Truth. You are not alone. God is with you. Remember the times He has made His presence known to you in the past. Reflect on those moments you’ve experienced His loving care. Whisper His name and turn to Him. Depend on His strength and sustenance.

Finding Joy in the Changes

Yes, our relationship with our parents is different than it once was. Now they depend on us. Now they need our help. Our guidance. In many ways, we are the parent and they are the child. We grieve the people they were and the relationship we had with them. But, in our grief, let’s not miss what we still have. Who they are now.

Today, my relationship with my mother is drastically different than it was. Yet I’m seeking new ways to find joy in the relationship we do have and to help her enjoy the life she still has. Mom can no longer read, stitch, or dance. But she does like watching planes take off and land. So recently, we drove out and parked next to the airport. And we sat and together we watched the planes.

How has the relationship with your parents changed in recent years? What are some practical ways you can enjoy the relationship you have with them now.

 

30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents

Caring for Aging ParentsStruggling to navigate the parent/child role reversal? Kathy Howard’s new book, 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents, explores God’s Word to find hope and encouragement for the wide range of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual challenges the adult child caregiver may experience. Each of the 30 devotions – which can also serve as a guide for a daily quiet time – includes a Scripture passage, a real-life illustration, biblical commentary/application, and questions for reflection.

Read first 5 devotionals.

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6 Practical Tips When Caring for Aging Parents

Tips Aging Parents

Wouldn’t it be great if our aging parents came with an instruction manual? But, no guidebook exists. We don’t have a troubleshooting checklist.

So, here we are struggling to navigate the family role-reversal. The parent, who cared for us, now needs our care. And we are often physically emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. So, how can we excel at this challenging, God-given task?

The first – and best – things we can do are not “tangible.” Things like pray constantly, rely on God for daily strength, and humbly seek His wisdom. And let’s do those things. Every day let’s do those things. (The tips in this post are found in Kathy’s new book “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents. Read the first 5 days of devotions now. Or order from Amazon!)

6 Practical Tips for Caring for Aging Parents

But practical things are helpful too. And in the little bit of experience I’ve had caring for my father-in-law and my parents, I’ve stumbled across a few things you might find helpful too.

  1. Mark your calendar with a pencil – Like you, I’ve cancelled lunch plans to take a parent to the doctor. I’ve blocked off weeks for hospital stays. But the one that really hurt  was when I had to cancel keeping my grandson for a few days. After I threw my pity party, God got my attention. In this season, my parents needed me most. I can make plans, but I need to hold them loosely. I’ll never regret the time spent with my parents.
  2. Build a network of accountability – My husband has talked me down off the ledge more than once. The night Mom told me to leave her house, she didn’t want me there, sent me running out of the room ready to explode. (It was the dementia talking, but it still hurt.) My husband calmed me enough to pray, then God did the rest. We all need 2 or 3 trusted people who can not only act as a sounding board but also keep us properly on our God-given task.
  3. Help your parents find new ways to enjoy life – Due to Parkinson’s, Dad can no longer fish or golf. But he spends a lot of time beating my brother and me at dominoes. Dementia prevents Mom from doing pretty much everything she used to enjoy, but we color together and she loves beading with one of her caregivers.
  4. Ask for and accept help – Whether you care for a parent full-time, part-time, or share the responsibility with a family member there will be times when you need additional help. It may be ongoing or for a single afternoon, but don’t let pride or self-sufficiency get in the way. There are people who would love to help they just don’t know how. If someone says “Let me know if I can do anything,” give them a time, a date, and a task!
  5. Choose to act in love even when you don’t feel like it -True love, agape love, is love of volition, not emotion. This truth is freeing to me! We don’t have to feel guilty about not always feeling loving toward our parents when caring for them gets hard. Choosing to act in love pleases and honors God!
  6. Practice praise and thanksgiving – The caregiving journey is often deeply discouraging for the parent and the caregiver. Purposefully praising God for who He is and looking for things to thank Him for are not only the best weapons against anxiety, they also foster joy and peace. (See Philippians 4:4-7.)

These ideas are just a start. All of you caregivers have some hard-earned wisdom to share.

What practical ideas can you share with us to help us excel at caring for our aging parents?

 

 

30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents

Caring for Aging ParentsStruggling to navigate the parent/child role reversal? Kathy Howard’s new book, 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents, explores God’s Word to find hope and encouragement for the wide range of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual challenges the adult child caregiver may experience. Each of the 30 devotions – which can also serve as a guide for a daily quiet time – includes a Scripture passage, a real-life illustration, biblical commentary/application, and questions for reflection.

Read first 5 devotionals.

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We Don’t Have What it Takes to Care for Aging Parents

Caring for Aging Parents

This article is excerpted from Kathy’s new devotional book “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents,” which releases today! 

When my husband and I were young parents, our church friends had an ongoing joke that reflected the challenge of raising little humans. We designated that carefree time of life before the arrival of the first offspring as “BC” – before children. Before children, we enjoyed spontaneous outings, a little extra spending money, and a good night’s sleep.

But after the children’s arrival, everything changed. Grocery store trips required hours of preparation. Paychecks often ran out before the next payday. And we regularly navigated our days in a sleep-deprived state.

Caring for little ones was tough. Then they grew to be teenagers and parenting stretched us to new lengths. Now, with our children grown, we can look back and clearly see how God sustained us with His grace through every stage of parenting.

Kids out, parents in

Then we totally skipped the empty-nest stage. The summer our last child left for college, my 80-year-old father-in-law arrived. One young birdie flew out and one old birdie flew in.

Granted, Pappaw only needed a little assistance during the first years he spent with us. Then his health began to decline and he experienced one major problem after another. As doctors, medication, lengthy hospital stays, surgeries, and rehab dominated his life, he needed us more and more.

For a season, I was helping both my husband with his father and making regular trips to care for my own parents. I desperately wanted to do it all right, but the responsibilities felt heavy, draining.

I quickly realized I don’t have what it takes. I’m ill-equipped to make good decisions for my aging parents. I lack the spiritual strength to love and care for them unconditionally. One minute I want to hug them and tell them everything will be alright and the next I want to force them to “listen to reason.”

Read the first 5 days of “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents”

Are you caring for aging parents?

Many of you are there now – overwhelmed with the needs of your parents. With the responsibility of caring for them. Like me, you don’t have what it takes to do it well.

But I know Someone who has everything we need and more. Caring for ill and aging parents challenges us daily and can stretch us to the breaking point. But, by His power and grace, God will give us everything we need to care for them and live a life that pleases God “through our knowledge of Him who called us” (2 Peter 1:3).

Caring for our aging parents is a joint venture with God

As we abide in Jesus, God’s powerful provision flows through this life-giving connection. The power is Christ in us, working through us to minister to our parents. Caring for our parents is a joint venture with God. As we step out in obedience, God provides the power to fuel our efforts. God doesn’t promise the task will be easy. But He does promise our efforts make a difference.

Today, let’s take a deep breath and settle into the amazing truth that our powerful God willprovide everything we need for this journey. Let us draw close to Jesus and hold tight.

What can you do each day to purposefully stay connected to Jesus? How will abiding in Jesus strengthen you for your God-given task?

Caring for Aging ParentsMore about “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents”

Are you struggling to navigate the parent/child role reversal? Kathy Howard’s new book, 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents, explores God’s Word to find hope and encouragement for the wide range of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual challenges the adult child caregiver may experience. Each of the 30 devotions – which can also serve as a guide for a daily quiet time – includes a Scripture passage, a real-life illustration, biblical commentary/application, and questions for reflection. AVAILABLE TODAY! 

Order the book now on Amazon, New Hope Publishers, or CBD.

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Special Offers and a Freebie to Celebrate My New Book!

“30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents” officially launches one week from today! We are so excited about this new devotional for caregivers we want to pass along the excitement with a couple of special offers and a free printable!

30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents:

Are you struggling to navigate the parent/child role reversal? 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents, explores God’s Word to find hope and encouragement for the wide range of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual challenges the adult child caregiver may experience. Each of the 30 devotions – which can also serve as a guide for a daily quiet time – includes a Scripture passage, a real-life illustration, biblical commentary/application, and questions for reflection.

Free Sample: Read the first 5 days of devotion!

Pre-order Specials

The book officially releases on May 21st, but you can preorder now. And there are benefits in pre-ordering!

Benefit #1: 30% the retail price!

New Hope Publishers is offering 30% off all preorders on their website through May 20th. Just click the “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents” pre-order button and use “preorder18” for the coupon code.

Benefit #2: Free Prayer Card Printable!

Each devotional in the book ends with a prayer prompt. I’ve used some of these prayers to created a sheet of 10 prayer cards for caregivers. Offer applies to preorders from anywhere – New Hope Publishers, Amazon, CBD, Barnes&Noble, etc. Just email me at kathy@kathyhoward.org with your proof of purchase and I’ll email you the pdf!

Prayer cards

Bulk Order Offer

Are you connected with a caregivers or dementia support group? New Hope Publishers is also offering a 40% off retail discount and free shipping on bulk orders for ministry groups. (Bulk order is any order over a case of 36 books.) Email me if you are interested.

Spiritual Encouragement and Refreshment for Caregivers

My prayer is that God will use this new resource to give spiritual encouragement and refreshment to those who care for their aging or ill parents. What is your prayer for yourself or others you know that are caregivers?

 

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Are you a Caregiver for an Aging or Ill Parent?

Caring for Aging Parents

If you are a caregiver for an aging or ill parent, check out this new resource and enter for a chance to win a copy of upcoming devotional book “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents!”

My husband and I skipped right over the empty-nest stage. The summer our last child left for college, my 80-year-old father-in-law arrived. One young birdie flew out and one old birdie flew in.

For a season, I was helping both my husband with his father and making regular trips to care for my own parents who lived four hours away. I desperately wanted to do it all right, but the responsibilities felt heavy, draining.

Many of you are there now – overwhelmed with the needs of your parents. Burdened with the responsibility of caring for them.

No one prepared us for this!

Yet, here we are, struggling to navigate the family role-reversal. The parents, who cared for us, now need our care.

We truly want to excel at this God-given task, but it challenges us at every turn. Many days it demands more than we feel we have to give.  Physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion are constant companions.

Encouragement for the Caregiver Available Soon!

30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents will be released May 21st! The idea for this devotional book flowed from my own need and life experience. My caregiving journey was still fairly new when I realized I needed a regular flow of spiritual encouragement and refreshment to keep going strong. While many resources exist that provide practical tips and help caregivers navigate the healthcare labyrinth, not many speak directly to our soul needs.

Caring for Aging ParentsWhether you care for your parent full-time, part-time, or share the responsibilities with a sibling or professional caregiver, this book is for you.  30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents goes to the Bible to find hope and encouragement for those caring for aging or ill parents. This daily devotional combines Scripture, biblical insight, life experience, reflection questions, and prayer prompts to help you rest in God’s grace and rely on His strength during this challenging season of life. (

Will You Help Spread the Encouragement?

Do you need some encouragement as you care for your parents? Maybe you know others who need encouragement too? I would be honored if you would help me spread the news about 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents. Here are a few ways you can find out more and share info about the book with others.

You can enter the drawing up to 3 times! In order for each time to be counted, please make a separate comment for each entry (Note: If you are reading this in an email, click through to the blog post to comment.):

  1. Preorder a copy of the book and leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  2. Share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and leave a comments letting me know you’ve done it.
  3. Leave a comment answering the following question:

In your experience, what has been the most challenging aspect of caring for your ill or aging parent?

 

 

 

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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Moving, and Making New Friends

Making new friends

Banana chocolate chip muffins remind me of making new friends. That’s why after we made our most recent move, I made a double batch of them in an attempt to meet our new neighbors. Unfortunately, it didn’t go like I’d hoped. (You can read more about this in my post “Making New Friends in New Places” at (in) courage. However, the my first encounter with banana chocolate chip muffins and new friends turned our far better.

One of our family’s eight moves took us all the way from the hot desert of West Texas to the cold, beautiful mountains of Alberta, Canada. A couple of days after we moved into our new home, the neighbor directly across the street welcomed us with warm banana chocolate chip muffins. The muffins were delicious and JoAnne’s offer of friendship was a blessing!

JoAnne and Kelly’s daughter was the same age as one of our daughters and their son was the same grade as our son. The two boys especially became inseparable and Joanne and I became good friends. That was 20 years ago, but their family came from Alberta to Louisiana for our son’s wedding two years ago. And it all started with banana chocolate chip muffins!

My post last week at (in) courage prompted at least two requests for the recipe, so I promised to share it here. My only request is that when you make them, you share them with a friend. Maybe you can even use them to make a new friend!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. Combine egg, milk, and oil in another container. Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened; batter should be lumpy. Grease muffin cups or line with paper bake cups, fill 2/3 full. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or till golden. Makes 10 to 12 muffins.  (Download and print the PDF version of the recipe!)

Wish we could sit down together over coffee and a warm muffin! But we can talk here. What are some ways you reach out to make new friends?

Some other posts on friendship you may find helpful:

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3 Ways to Respond to Hurtful Words

Hurtful Words

(This post is a giveaway!) A good story transcends time, culture, and history, grabbing our hearts in a way no other medium can. A good story even has power to give a voice to the voiceless, hope for the hopeless, and the power to overcome hurtful words.

But no story offers entrance into the world of relationships like the greatest story ever told—the Bible. Full of romance, conflict, betrayal, and more, these true stories reveal the power of real love transforming the lives of real people. People just like you and me.

I’ve held my Bible close through the years, but it seemed to come more alive for me during a particularly traumatic time in my life. Somewhere in the midst of grief and healing from a crushing relationship, I found a story in the Old Testament that literally changed my life.

The True Tale of Two Wives

This story centers on a man named Ephraim and his two wives. (See 1 Samuel 1:1-20.) Peninnah had many children. And although Hannah had none, she had the love of her husband. These facts alone make the story ripe for conflict.

This true story is filled with lessons on both healthy and unhealthy behaviors for relationships. If the cameras of reality TV had been rolling in 1083 BC, these two women would have been catapulted into stardom, starring in The Real Housewives of Ephraim or perhaps guest stars on an episode of Sister Wives.

Imagine how the juicy storyline would have filled today’s social media:

“Poor Hannah—Unable to Give Her Husband a Beloved Firstborn Son.”

Or maybe,

“Motherhood is hopeless for Hannah. Bring on the next woman!”

And if the shame of infertility wasn’t enough, Elkanah’s second wife, Penni—who was more than fertile—relentlessly flaunted her fertility. First Samuel 1:6 says, “Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her.”

The Bible Speaks Wisdom for Today

In order to irritate her. I really tried to give Penni the benefit of the doubt. She didn’t have it easy. But I finally realized I couldn’t sugarcoat Penni’s unhealthy, negative, hurtful presence in Hannah’s life. Penni was Hannah’s rival. Plain and simple, she was not a nice person.

Sadly, the world hasn’t changed. Mean-spirited people still exist. And they still purposeful work to hurt others with their words and behavior.

But Hannah’s story spoke wisdom to my story. Her response to her situation and to Penni, helped me know how God would have me respond to my own relationship trauma.

Hannah purposefully chose to respond in three ways: Hannah chose to pray, cling, and love.

 The more Penni spoke hurtful words, the more Hannah opened her heart to God in prayer. The harder Penni pushed, the harder Hannah clung to God, with the same relentless pursuit. And the hardest thing Hannah did that has the potential to change everything? When Penni chose hate, Hannah chose not to retaliate.

When those in our lives choose to act in hurtful ways towards us, we too have a choice. We can choose to act in kind or we can choose love. Is it easy? Oh no. But it is empowering.

How do you respond the last time someone spoke words that hurt you? (Comment to enter the giveaway!)

Overcoming Hurtful WordsToday’s post is by Janell Rardon, author of the new book Overcoming Hurtful Words: Rewrite Your Own Story. Hurtful words can steal joy, distort truth, and create long-term struggles with understanding your worth and purpose. In this powerful new book, counselor and life coach Janell Rardon, MA, equips you to address and reframe negative words and labels that have hurt you in order to achieve healing and lasting freedom.

Download Chapter One of “Overcoming Hurtful Words.

Free small group study guide for “Overcoming Hurtful Words”

Janell Rardon

Janell Rardon is an event speaker and board certified life coach (AACC) who specializes in marriage and family relationships, She loves nothing more than helping others speak healing words that help them live a rich, meaningful life. She loves traveling to Kenya with Tree of Lives, a non-profit serving the African family, with a particular interest in serving the Mamas of “The Joy Village,” a family-modeled orphanage to care for abandoned, abused and neglected children of Kenya.

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Say Yes to the Cupcake: Why We Need Food & Fun in Women’s Ministry

I am a women’s ministry leader and I have a confession to make: I love cupcakes. And ice breaker games. And door prizes.

Does that make me shallow?

I also crave transformational Bible study and deep spiritual conversations about the things of God. I love to discuss theology. I long to pray in intimate circles of Christian sisters about things of eternal value. I want to impact the world for Christ.

In recent years, there has been a movement in the Christian community to cut the “fluff” from women’s ministry. For instance, this open letter to Women’s Ministry by Sarah Bessey has been shared thousands of times and republished on other websites such as ChurchLeader.com. (See “Why We Don’t Need Women’s Ministry.“)

Even though the article was originally posted several years ago, every once in a while it still pops up on my newsfeed. And a friend from church emailed me the link, wondering what I thought about it. So I decided to think about it. Really think about it. Here’s my response in a nutshell:

Cupcakes and theology are NOT mutually exclusive. There is room – and need – for both in women’s ministry.

Serious Discipleship is Top Priority

Basically, I agree with the heart of Bessey’s article. Women always need deep, spiritual connection to other believers. We need encouragement to fulfill God’s purposes for their lives and to grow into Christlikeness. We need accountability and equipping. Solid biblical teaching and sound, godly leadership.

Yes, all women need these things. This should be the heart and soul of our women’s ministry. It is in fact, the church’s calling.

We Must Engage the Felt Need

But if we’re honest, we’ll acknowledge that not all women recognize this need in their lives. If we want to reach all the women in the church – and the community – we must also minister to the felt need of cooking, friendship, and yes, maybe even crafting! We must connect with the women who aren’t ready to jump into the deep end of the spiritual pool. We must provide a way for them to get their feet wet.

A church’s women’s ministry can be  both deep and wide. Let’s provide in-depth Bible study. Let’s train teachers and mentor moms. Let’s help mission efforts in our community and around the world.

We Need Connection Points

But let’s also reach new women in the community and women in the church who don’t yet recognize their need for a deeper faith. For instance, my church has a yearly “Table Top.” You know, that dinner where women show off their table decorating skills and act as hostess to a table full of women. It’s fun, it’s festive, and yes, some think it’s frivolous.

But the guests hear a strong Gospel message and are given the opportunity to get involved in specific mission efforts. Women who won’t come to Bible study or a spiritual retreat accept their neighbor’s invitation to Table Top. And the women in our church who hang out on the fringe of things come. They meet and mingle, and move a little deeper into the spiritual water.

Jesus often paved the way to deeper things over a dinner party. And He bonded with the guys in a fishing boat. He fed the crowds and the twelve with both physical and spiritual food.

Food and fun can foster relationships. Few of us will pour our hearts out to strangers or ask some woman we don’t know to be an accountability partner. But give them an opportunity to bond over a cupcake and then they’ll reach out when a crisis hits.

There’s room for cupcakes and spiritual depth.

We can have the cupcake and eat it too.

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Pumpkin Bread, Peanut Brittle, and Lies

Thanksgiving seemed to come early this year. I bought fresh cranberries to make my traditional cranberry pumpkin bread, but I didn’t get to it before Thanksgiving. So, I made it yesterday. The Libby’s recipe is below!

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

I guess I call it “my” bread because I’ve been making it for years. But in all honesty, I took it off the back of a can of Libby’s pumpkin more than two decades ago. It’s probably safe to call it “mine.” But, I really try not to claim recipes unless I created them. Particularly since the peanut brittle incident.

I make peanut brittle every Christmas. I got the recipe about twenty years ago from a dear friend, Kelly, when our family lived in Wyoming. Then we moved to Canada and Kelly moved to Houston. Over time and among new friends the recipe became “mine.” Everyone loved it and I often gave it as gifts to friends at Christmas.

Years later, when we moved from Canada to Houston, Kelly and I picked up our friendship. Well, when two Canadian friends came to visit me in my new home Kelly joined us for an evening out. Over dinner we began to talk about food. One of my Canadian friends, Glennie, asked Kelly if she had ever had “Kathy’s famous peanut brittle.” Before I could even speak Kelly quietly said, “I believe that would be my peanut brittle.”

I never claimed that the recipe was mine. I just never gave the credit to Kelly. I liked the praises I received when I made the candy. So even though I didn’t blatantly and intentionally lie, I never corrected the assumption. Then came that fateful day when my omission caught up with me.

I know this particular situation is silly and pretty harmless. But it did remind me that we always reap what we sow. All sin has consequences. Sometimes it just may take a little while to catch up with us.

Here’s Libby’s recipe for the Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread. Enjoy it!

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

  • 2 slightly beaten eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup Libby’s Solid Pack Pumpkin
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries

Combine eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin; mix well. Combine flour, pie spice, soda, and salt in another large bowl; make well in the center of the dry mixture. Pour pumpkin mixture into well; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in cranberries. Spoon batter into two greased and floured 8 x 3 ¾ x 2 ½ inch aluminum loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

What’s your favorite fall or Christmas recipe?

 

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God’s Design for Spiritual Heritage

Want your children to love God and follow Him? God does too. His plan for our children’s faith begins with us. God’s plan includes a design for spiritual heritage, where each generation passes our faith to the next.

God’s Spiritual Heritage Design in Scripture

We see God’s design scattered all throughout Scripture. The most familiar passage is probably Deuteronomy 6:4-9. (For more on this passage see this post.) God tells His people to teach His Words diligently to our children. To talk about them when we sit at home, when we go out, when we rise, and when we lie down. His Word should be woven into the fabric of our family.

Timothy’s spiritual heritage is my favorite New Testament example. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he highlighted the younger man’s “sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice” (2 Timothy 1:5). Timothy’s mother and grandmother faithfully taught him God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:14-15) and modeled godly lives.

Even in the Psalms we find God’s design for His people to pass faith to the next generation. Not long ago, I “discovered” a prescription for spiritual heritage in Psalm 78:1-8:

My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lordhis power, and the wonders he has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
They would not be like their ancestors— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.

“Do this… So that…”

I noticed a “do this… so that…” format in the psalm. If we as parents follow God’s design for passing down our faith, then our children will be impacted in these ways. Here’s what I found in the passage:

“Do this…”

  • Teach our children God’s law
  • Tell our children about the hope we have in the Lord
  • Tell our children about God’s mighty works
  • Encourage our children to obey God

“So that…”

  • Our children will know God’s commands
  • Our children will obey God’s commands
  • Our children will be steadfast and faithful to God
  • Our children will have hope in God

We don’t have to merely hope that our children will claim God as their own. We can take purposeful action to encourage them to find their eternal hope in Him.

What are some ways you’ve seen in Scripture that we can instill a spiritual heritage in our children?

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