“Life cannot be sustained without hope.

That is what is so remarkable and intriguing about this tiny word.

It has a mysterious and generous quality.

We know hope when we have it and feel miserable when we don’t.”

Meg Meeker

 

 

 

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My preschooler has suddenly—and repeatedly—added one word to his vocabulary: Monsters.

 

We have no idea how it happened. One night, we were tucking Oscar into bed and turning off the lights, when he panicked and blurted out in the darkness, “There’s a monster in my closet!” My husband and I gave each other the exact same look, Where in the world did he even pick that up?

 

Maybe it was at preschool or on a playdate, but thanks to one mention, one story, and one kid, my son is now convinced of the boogey man—and his fear is real. The alarm I see in his eyes is distressful and the fright I hear in his voice is unsettling, and my first response was shock, with an underlay of outrage.

 

“Oscar! No. There are no monsters, there is no such thing. There is nothing to fear. We are here, you are protected and you are safe.”

 

Unfortunately, this pep-talk did not dispel his fear. The very next day, we pulled into our dark garage, and Oscar whispered, “It’s scary in here.” And then later, when we were playing with trains, he pointed to a closet and said, “Monsters are in there.” And when the sun went down and bedtime rolled around, he pointed to a shadow in the corner and said, “It’s a monster, mama.”

 

I felt the same indignation rise up from the night before, and I shook my head so hard. “Oscar, that is just a shadow. There’s only clothes in the closet. The garage is just dark, not scary. We have nothing to fear. I am here, God is here. We are protected and we are safe.”

 

Later that night, as I was laying in my own bed and left alone to think, here was my own train of thought: “Oh Lord, this is just the beginning. I’m so scared of all the things my kids will pick up and experience and suffer through in this world… Which reminds me, that friend with the lump in her breast. I’m nervous she has cancer. Oh, and my annual scan is coming up—what if I have cancer?” As I thought about the future and a handful of worst-case scenarios, my spirit was suffocating with fear and I was desperate for comfort.

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Will simply talking about our own faith help our children to better understand theirs? How can we best equip our children to embrace their faith?  

 

This week on Connecting Faith, Jo spoke with Natasha Crain about how encouraging our children to know God on a personal level help is the first step to lasting faith. 

 

Click HERE to listen in as they discuss Talking with Your Kids about God: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have.

 

Catch Jo live every Friday at 12:00 p.m. on Faith Radio Network / KTIS AM 900 or online at myfaithradio.com

 

We were all in our twenties at one time. That place of struggling to find out who we are and where we fit in the world. McKayla has been a guest writer in the past and we love her honesty. I find that I always learn a thing or two from this spunky young woman. And I'm sure you will too!

 

 

 

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Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

John 15:4

 

“McKayla, why do you try to produce good fruit?” 

 

“What on good earth are you talking about?” I asked my roommate. She has been someone that has poured a lot of truth, love, and wisdom in my life but with this question out of the blue, I thought maybe a little too much paint from construction next door had seeped through the window and was affecting her brain. 

 

“You heard me; why are you straining to produce good fruit?”

 

“I honestly have no idea what you are talking about,” I replied.

 

She began explaining that it was a metaphor from a sermon she heard from one of our favorite God-fearing speakers, Dan Mohler. “God has already defined you as a good tree. All you need to produce good fruit is to remain rooted in him. You are striving and struggling for the by-product when really you need to be striving for intimacy with the Lord, and the good fruit will grow forth naturally.” 

 

Identity is defining ourself in the truth:

 

-We are not defined by our struggles in the past or in the present or by our sins.

-We are not defined by the devil’s lies.

-We are not defined by the shallow labels that society, family, or anyone around us identifies us by.

-We are identified by the creator. He identifies us as heir to his inheritance. He identifies us as having the authority of heaven on earth. He identifies us as righteous, infinitely loved and forgiven.

 

Gandhi understands the importance of belief with his quote, “A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes.”

 

One day in my journal, I felt the Lord prompting me to understand my beauty and my identity in him and wrote this short poem:

 

“You are a flower… you are not a rock, a shrub, or a barren seed. You are a flower, so just be. Choose life by knowing your beauty. Choose to live by believing your Kingdom-given identity. When he died on the cross, he gave you all the authority. To radiate true life, overflowing love, and his glory."

 

When I was going through a dark time, I questioned whether Jesus was real in my life and whether he really loved me and made me righteous. I started to believe the lies that because I was craving sin, that I was sin. With my mindset, my identity was defined by my struggles and my sins; it became a prison and the habits were impossible to break. 

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Think you have nothing to offer? Or that choices from your past prohibit God from using you? No one knows that storyline better than Rahab. 

 

This week on Connecting Faith, Jo spoke with Aaron and Elaina Sharp about how God is in the business of redemption. Click HERE to listen in as they discuss The Most Important Women of the Bible: Remarkable Stories of God's Love and Redemption.

 

Catch Jo live every Friday at 12:00 p.m. on Faith Radio Network / KTIS AM 900 or online at myfaithradio.com

 

 

Our next contributor is a dear friend of Julie Miller's, Melody Martin. Mel has lived with cerebral palsy and all the struggles that a disability entails. She has endured the trauma of being hit and run over by a truck and has recently undergone two serious neck surgeries. It is through these times the Spirit has acted like an Energizer bunny and kept her going. She realizes it has been
God, the Eternal Life force within her, that has gotten her through all the hard times.

 

We know what we are, but not what we may be.”

― William Shakespeare

 

Who do I say that I am? This question is an essential question to be reckoned with throughout our lives. During the first twenty-some years of our lives one of our main tasks is to develop a sense of our identity.

 

We get a lot of input from outside sources on this topic from family, friends, coworkers, teachers and ministers… We usually end up with a sense of identity that is based on the roles that we have, what we are able to do and how we look. Look at how people introduce themselves: I’m name; I work as a job title at employer. I’m married with # of children.

 

 

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On one level we know who we are. Yet, on another level we don’t have a clue as to what we are. Some of you might be thinking, “That’s pretty easy. I’m a human being.” However, is that all we are? We could say we are energy that is vibrating at a low frequency. But, that feels too basic. We’re missing a key part of who we are.

 

In the Judeo-Christian tradition there is the belief that we are made in God’s image. What does it mean to be made in the image of God? How we answer that question will depend on how we define God and how we relate to God. For example, God as father, creator, judge, love, mystery, life force and spirit are a few of the ways I have related to God. Given this, I have identified myself throughout my life in various ways: a child of God, sinner, co-creator, beloved, mystery and spiritual being.

 

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