5 Christmas Gifts for Girls that will Connect Them to Jesus: Part 2
For more gift ideas, be sure to see my original post here.
When it comes to Christmas shopping, I’ve noticed quite a bit of women in a frenzy trying to secure the latest craze for their loved ones. Gifts have become overrated, over the top, and beyond my price range! It’s all about the latest technology, the newest toys/gadgets, and expensive clothes that will go out of style by next year.
I’ve never been one to understand going into debt over things that are too quickly cast aside- especially since we’ve seemed to have forgotten the greatest gift of all time…..the one that didn’t come wrapped in sparkly paper with a giant glittery bow, but in swaddling clothes…..the one that is the true purpose for the Christmas season- Jesus!
Presence over Presents
Presents are no longer meaningful. And along with everything else in the world these days, they can distract us from our relationship with God. So instead of buying electronics and apps that will consume their time or toys that won’t last, let’s get our daughters gifts that will guide them to a closer walk with the Lord. Instead of swiping your credit card for whatever gifts are all the rage, look for items that will help your daughter seek His presence.
Whether your daughter (daughter/niece/cousin/best friend/student/etc.) is a youngster, a preteen, or heading off to college, these inexpensive gifts are the perfect options to point them to a personal relationship with the star of Christmas Himself and will even last well beyond December!
1. Uplifting Music: Part 2
If the girls in your life are anything like the girls in my life, they LOVE to sing and listen to music. And if you are anything like me, then you understand how important it is that what they are singing and listening to is encouraging and uplifting their spirits.
The following suggestions are albums that have not only had major positive impacts on my young daughters, but also on me as an adult:
Lauren Daigle – How Can it Be
Natalie Grant- Be One and Hurricane
Bethel- You Make Me Brave
Francesca Battistelli- My Paper Heart
Bethel Kids- Come Alive
Any of these, along with the ones listed in the original post (Francesca Battistelli- He Knows My Name and Barlow Girl- Never Alone), would make great gifts for the music-loving girl on your gift list.
2. Cool Coloring Books
Coloring books are all the rage these days and there are tons to choose from with inspirational quotes and scriptures. You can find them almost anywhere (Walmart, Christian Bookstores, Dollar General, etc). Pick one up along with colored pencils or gel pens and you’re good to go!
3. Busy Books Sermon Notes
Last year for Christmas we bought our daughters Busy Books Sermon Notes for kids 8-12 by Madison and Darlene Shacht. This gift option encourages younger ones to take their own notes each Sunday and helps them pay attention to the sermon. My girls have enjoyed having theirs!
For the older girls on your list, try the Busy Books Sermon Notes for Young Ladies, ages teen to adult. Both books are available on Amazon.
4. Bible Study
This world around us lately seems to have lost it’s mind. One thing I know for sure is I would certainly follow suit if not for the Word of God. A Bible study is the perfect option for any girl that will help them to remain grounded in what the Lord has to say about navigating this thing called life in a world as crazy as ours. There is a variety of choices when it comes to the many Bible studies available, so I would suggest basing your pick on the age and personality of the recipient.
Prayer Works by Stephen and Alex Kendrick is a great choice for younger kids that will keep their attention while strengthening their prayer lives.
Quieting Your Heart 30- Day Prayer Journal: Virtue Edition by Darlene Schact is full of adorable illustrations for the teens and young adults on your list.
Maybe more than something physical, there’s someone on your list that could benefit from a Girl’s Day where you can pour into her spirit. Whether you’re chatting over a bite to eat or a pedicure, make sure she knows she has your full attention. Does she need a listening ear followed by Godly wisdom? Does she need encouragement? Does she need prayer? Ask God to guide you as you gather the specific details for this gift and know that it will be appreciated just as much as a physical gift, if not even greater.
We’d love to hear your ideas! What awesome gift ideas do you have that will bring girls closer to Christ? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know!
Ahhhh….patience. Sometimes just the word itself can give me the heebie jeebies, not to mention the action it requires. Surely I am not alone in this!
I grew up in the church hearing saints say things such as, “I refuse to pray for patience,” or “I will never pray for patience again!” Then there were the holier saints who would say, “Now, Sister, patience is a virtue,” or “God is wanting to teach me to wait on Him so I’m praying for patience.”
I remember witnessing some of those saints that prayed for patience go through trials and tribulations almost immediately. If that’s what praying for patience got you then I wanted no part of it! So I decided to join the first group of saints.
Of course I was a teenager when I made that decision. I have since matured, not only physically, but spiritually. I began to read the Bible to get to know the author and not just to check it off my To Do List. I began to form a relationship with God that became more than just 3 church services a week. I fell in love with Jesus, the Savior of my soul.
In that process of spiritual growth (that thankfully continues daily) I started to look back over my teenage years and see things from a different perspective. I began to study those same saints with a new appreciation. They didn’t just go through trials and tribulations. They survived them! I realized patience and waiting on God made sense and helped them see the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt a twinge of guilt for the stance I had taken.
If you’ve never dealt with head lice, bless your soul. If you have, then you completely understand where I’m coming from.
This Mama went through the stages of grief faster than a getaway car at a bank robbery! There were tons of tears while cutting off several inches of thick, tangled hair to ease the process of cleaning it, yet we still weren’t done until midnight. And we can’t forget all the store bought and natural remedies (the smell of mayonnaise in your hair takes forever to go away!), along with endless laundry.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know we aren’t above head lice. That’s not the issue. The issue is the effort you have to put in to getting rid of it! Especially when it does not want to go away. It’s quite costly and extremely time consuming. One might even say it demands…*ahem*…patience.
It was on a Tuesday and she had to miss school the rest of the week. And although I had taken precautions by treating my own hair, my husband still ended up having to clean and scrub my scalp because they had somehow survived enough to show up in my hair anyway. It was a nightmare.
That following weekend, I had more tears of frustration streaming down my cheeks as my husband took the time to comb the nits out of my hair. I looked up into his eyes and said, “This is all my fault. I decided to pray for patience last week.” Then surprisingly, we both began to laugh.
We love the Happy Goodmans and had been listening to Vestal sing “Won’t it be Wonderful There” earlier in the week. At that point I started to sing it, however, I changed the lyrics from “Won’t it be wonderful there, having no burdens to bear” to “Won’t it be wonderful there, having no lice in your hair!” The girls joined in the singing and giggling with us. It felt amazing to have laughter through the tears.
I began to appreciate my spiritual maturing all the more because I was able to see God’s hand, even in the trial. Praying for patience may have opened the door for extra testing, but I believe being brave enough to pray for it allowed us to find joy in the midst of a stressful situation.
That being said, once it was all over and done with and nary a nit was to be seen, I decided to rejoin the first group of saints and no longer felt guilty about it.
I truly believe it was a lesson in which God revealed to me why it isn’t necessary to pray for patience. He showed me two reasons straight from the Bible that are so simple, I should have already known. And I am going to share these Biblical truths with you right now!
Are you ready?
The Bible tells us that we are to be walking in the Spirit, not the flesh. If we are walking according to the Spirit, then we should be producing the fruit of the Spirit, patience included! Therefore, we should already be walking in patience because we are followers of Christ, not having to pray for it to show up.
I don’t know about you all, but my faith isn’t perfect. It is tried quite often, and according to James, that means patience is being produced.
Remember when I said I formed a relationship with God? Remember when I mentioned falling in love with Jesus, His son? Because of that, His Holy Spirit is my teacher and takes me to scriptures in the Bible, giving me understanding. For that I am beyond grateful. It’s freeing to know that I don’t have to pray for patience…instead I am expected to apply the Word and practice it.
Instead of praying for patience, we should be practicing it.
I’m not saying that you should never pray for patience, but to this day when someone mentions patience, Adah is quick to tell them, “If you pray for patience you’re gonna get head lice!” 😉
*Disclaimer– This article is in no way meant to lessen the true hardships people go through. I could never compare the frustrations of head lice to the death of a loved one, divorce, etc. In the grand scheme of life, a week of dealing with head lice was no big deal. However, I do believe that God will see you through even those true hardships and give you joy and peace in the midst of hurt and chaos.
**Author’s note: I was very blessed to have my mom, Ann, and friend, Lynn, help with the process of treating our heads and home during that dreadful week. I would have been insane without them! Also, it was the ONE time in my life I remember being caught up on laundry. I believe God knew I needed to be caught up so I wouldn’t be that much more behind when it came time to wash all the bed clothes, etc. He takes care of even the smallest details.
Along with my One Word for each year, I choose a focus verse. This year my verse jumped out at me like a fountain in the scorching hot desert.
And you better believe I dove in headfirst.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” –John 14:12
This verse hits me with conviction like a bag of bricks.
WHY am I not walking in this? Listen, folks, we have no excuses. God has called us to greater and I am determined to walk in what He has called me to. I cannot let anything hold me back any longer. Lives and souls are hanging in the balance while I sit around twiddling my thumbs cause I’m just little old me.
Yes, it’s easy to read the accounts of the ministry of Jesus and become intimidated. Especially when trying to comprehend the possibility that He Himself said we are capable of doing greater. But y’all, it’s right there in red and white. His Word is faithful and true. We must realize it’s not about us. It’s about Him!
Are you aware of the works that Jesus did? If not, you can see a very select few here on a previous post: http://raisingstickyhands.com/2012/04/26/psst-guess-what/
We are 4 months in to 2017 and my One Word for this year has been more persistent than any of my other One Words chosen in years past.
I actually began to pray about my #oneword2017 at the close of 2016 and thought I had the perfect one. Then one day around the last week of December, God said, “Hungry. This is your word.” Like I said before, this One Word has not left me alone.
This kind of hungry isn’t the kind where I run through McDonald’s and grab a cheeseburger. This kind of hungry isn’t the kind where I can pop a TV dinner in the microwave and wait a few minutes. This isn’t even the kind of hungry where I can slave over a home cooked meal and eat with my family and be full.
No. This kind of hungry is a spiritual hunger that only God can satisfy. But no, I will never truly be satisfied. Cause when God fills this hunger, I only become hungrier for Him to fill it some more, and more, and more. And again, I am so okay with that.
True hunger = desperate!
When you are sincerely hungry you do whatever it takes to eat. Just ask the homeless man who digs through trash or dumpster dives. It’s the same spiritually…when you are hungry, you are willing to do whatever it takes.
I always chuckle when I scroll through my Facebook news feed and see the meme that says something along the lines of, “I hate it when I go to the kitchen and there’s no food– only ingredients.” I can totally relate to that. Listen when I say this girl loves food and loves it to be available 24/7.
But when you are truly hungry, really reallllly hungry, you grab those ingredients and get to cooking! It’s either that or starve.
Many times in the natural we gorge ourselves and live like gluttons. Why is it that we live the complete opposite spiritually and we tend to let our spirit man starve? It makes no sense, yet this is true for most Christians. It’s so easy on Sundays because we run into our church services and someone else has done all the work. The meal has already been prepared, we sit down, eat, and leave. What about Monday through Saturday? We’re too lazy to feed ourselves so we starve the spirit. We don’t want to dig in to the word or seek God in prayer and because of our complacency we are leaving ourselves to be spiritually dead.
Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
Luke 6:21 says, “Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled.” (emphasis my own)
Psalm 107:9 says, “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”
God wants us to be hungry because He longs to fill that hunger.
There has never been a time that my husband has went to his mama’s house hungry and left hungry. Why? Because when she sees that he’s hungry, she says, “What do you want? Let me fix it for you.” And then she begins the process of making sure her child gets filled. She’s more than happy to feed him. When my babies are hungry I don’t make them stay that way. I’m glad to feed them and watch them grow. So it is with God! He’s more than happy to feed and fill His children any time they show up hungry.
I have been in the presence of the Lord. I have tasted of His goodness. And because of that, I have decided that it’s up to me to stay hungry enough that I’m willing to do whatever it takes so He can fill me over and over. Like a drug addict constantly chasing that next high, I will allow my hunger to fuel my chase of a fulfilling God.
Just like a baby starts with milk, then moves on to milk with cereal, then moves on to baby food, then one day Mama gives that baby a little taste of mashed potatoes… There’s no turning back when baby has had a taste of the good stuff.
When you’ve had the good stuff you’ll never be satisfied with anything else.
What about you? Did you pick a word for 2017? If so, tell us how it’s going!
Disclaimer: This will more than likely be my only personal thoughts shared on this matter because I typically like to keep it between me and God. I despise the constant bickering that has become social media and with that being said, I will not be engaging in debates or arguments. I just felt compelled to share my feelings so here I am. I also want to go ahead and inform you that you will not find arguments in support/opposition towards Law Enforcement, Black is Good/White is Bad, White is Good/Black is Bad, or my political viewpoints in this post. If you are trolling, this post is not for you.
For starters, I ask that you don’t jump to conclusions as to what my thoughts are before reading this post, seeing as I am a conservative white woman. This isn’t about I’m right, you’re wrong, vice versa. I do not exclude myself from being a receiver of this post just because I am the one writing it. As the old saying goes, I had to eat it first.
I am not a racist. I believe God looks at the heart, soul, and spirit of a human being, not the outward appearance or skin color. I have met many beautiful people with ugly souls, and I am a firm believer that what’s on the inside is what counts. I have family of all race and nationalities. They aren’t my family by blood or marriage, but by choice. Not only am I speaking about my brothers and sisters in Christ, but also about those I truly count as family, as though they honestly were blood.
In fact, one of the sweetest women in my family is a black woman who was my worship leader until marriage led her to a different area of the state. (GASP!! I belong to a multiracial church!) She has been my friend for many years and we refer to each other as Twin. Believe it or not, people actually get us confused. I refer to another black woman I know and love as Auntie. My kids have never known her as anything else. Then there’s the black man who pastors in a neighboring county and coincidentally shares my last name. My husband affectionately refers to him as his brother, not just in Christ. All 3 of these, and many others not mentioned, call my in-laws Mama and Papa. And these are just the ones in America.
I also have black siblings in Ghana, West Africa. My father-in-law very recently had open heart surgery and my sister in Ghana has not failed to send me a daily message asking how her Papa is doing. Our pastor friend over there calls my mother-in-law Mama Linda and even named one of his daughters after her. Yes, her name is Mama Linda. This doesn’t even begin to include the many others who are white like me, or Mexican, Indian, Native American, etc. that make up my family. I could never mention them all by name.
Anyway, that is not the purpose of my post, just a real glimpse into the background of my heart.
The point is this- I am not in any way, shape, or form surprised by the current events and chaotic state of our nation. It didn’t surprise me this week, last month, or even last year. Why? Yes, there is the whole thing that according to the Bible certain things have to be played out, but that’s not even it. It’s because we are living in a Godless nation. I 100% believe the United States of America has turned her back on God.
What is God? 1 John 4:8 says that God is love. When there is a Godless nation, it becomes a loveless nation. A nation without God and His love can only be filled with evil and hate. It’s as simple as 2+2.
This is the reason why these sad and depressing current events don’t shock me at all. What more could we expect from a broken, ugly, cruel place that has denied the love of Jesus?
Black lives Matter. White lives matter. Police lives matter. Christian lives matter. All lives matter. It’s all overwhelmingly heartbreaking that it has come to this. Apparently if you support one you’re automatically against the other and it’s ridiculous. And as ridiculous as it all is, do you want to know who I am really grieving over? The Church.
Please don’t stand up and applaud yourselves if you feel you fit this category.
I am grieved in my spirit because I am beyond disappointed in The Church. I have prayed this past week and even had to rebuke my own thoughts. I do my best to stay out of the social media circus because all it does is harm instead of help. And you know what I’m seeing? I’m not seeing God’s people shine His light in the midst of all this chaos. I’m seeing what is supposed to be His Church tearing each other apart with their words and actions. I’m scratching my head trying to figure out what part of all this we think is going to lead us into heaven.
See, as I scroll through my news-feed and I find I can’t tell my churchgoing friends apart from my non-churchgoing friends, I am grieved and disgusted. I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to be upset or even mad, but I do know the Bible says in Ephesians 4:26 to be angry and sin not.
Now, I’m not talking about the “Christians” who are nothing more than modern day Pharisees, Sadducees, and Hypocrites. I expect that from them. I’m talking about us that call ourselves the True Church of the Most High God…you know- the one that is supposed to be washed in the blood of the Lamb. The one Peter wrote to in 1 Peter 4:8 that is supposed to have fervent love for each other cause it covers a multitude of sins. The one Jesus expected to keep the greatest two commandments in loving God with our all and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Listen, we do not get to pick and choose our neighbors. How can we honestly say we love God when we’re picking which neighbors to stand up for instead of operating in the love of the Father? When the True Church begins to operate in the same hate as the world, we might as well forget about being there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun. We won’t be going. And that is a shame.
I realize by the world’s standards the things we spew out of our mouths (which is essentially where we stand in our hearts—Luke 6:45) are justified, but we aren’t supposed to be living by the world’s standards. Remember? Or have our hearts lost focus?
If anyone had the right to rant and rave about unjust persecution and the loss of innocent life it was Jesus. And if I remember correctly, His only social outburst during those current events was, “Father, forgive them.” (Luke 23:34)
Whether they are right or wrong, criminal or innocent, honest or crooked, black or white—God calls us to forgive. Will it be easy? No. But it would certainly go smoother if we fight this battle on our knees in prayer and not with our words and actions.
As I previously stated, I am truly disappointed in what is supposed to be The Church and ashamed to be included in what the world is seeing us represent right now. What I’m witnessing does not in any way reflect the God we’re said to be serving.
It’s time for REAL men and women of God to stand up and stand TOGETHER with all of our brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of color, nationality, or background. It’s time we sincerely represent the God who is love and who has called us to serve Him and our neighbor. We must be careful in our claims as The Church. We must search ourselves. Wolves in sheep’s clothing will not be making the cut.
We are called to love in word, deed, actions, reactions, justice, injustice, and at all times. The world may be allowed to decide when love shuts off, but God’s people don’t have a choice- no matter the circumstance or situation. He calls for love and requires forgiveness.
I pray we begin to walk in this before it’s too late.
This is what God gave me one morning last week and I have felt impressed to share it with you.*
8 Steps to Becoming a Woman on the Warpath:
1- Assume the Position
2- Know Your Enemy
3- Be Sober
4- Suit Up
6- Power Up
Join me on the warpath!
*I have never done this before, nor wanted to, but I felt compelled to post this. Please forgive the million “umm’s.” 🙂
We are human. As humans we have a tendency to fail. We fail each other, we fail ourselves, and we fail God. Is this our plan? Do we fail on purpose? No. We don’t set out to fail. Most people don’t wake up one day and choose to fail. BUT we are human and it happens.
Because of that tendency to fail, we also have a tendency not to trust. We don’t trust our family, our spouse, our children, our friends, our coworkers, etc. Many times our distrust is not unfounded. And many times this distrust filters into our relationship with God, the One we can most definitely count on at all times.
The Bible is filled with scripture after scripture letting us know how important it is to trust God. Psalm 118:8 tells us “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Then over in Proverbs 3:5 it says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” See, sometimes we can’t even trust ourselves. God, however, we can trust wholeheartedly. He is the only One who will never fail us.
Life is filled with ups and downs, twists and curves, situations and circumstances beyond our control. Fully trusting God can be hard, but I am choosing to trust in 2016. I’m determined that no matter what it looks like/sounds like/feels like, I will continue to trust in the name of the Lord my God! He is my faithful Father, my All in All, my Alpha and Omega, and my Everything in between. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is my very present help in time of need. In Him will I trust!
“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
– Luke 1:38
“And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
– Luke 1:45
A few days ago I was praying and thanking God for sending His son as the greatest gift we could ever fathom. After all, this is the reason Christmas exists.
As I was praying, Mary’s sacrifice is what really hit me. I am amazed at Mary’s willingness to carry the Son of God. She said yes to an impossible task and went on to carry, deliver, and raise the Son of God…and then she went on to watch Jesus die.
I imagine her thoughts went something like this, “But He’s supposed to be Emanuel—God with us! Why are You taking Him away from me, God? I raised Him! You chose Him for the ultimate sacrifice. YOU chose that for Him. Not me!”
Then again, I realize she knew from Day 1 that there was a very specific plan and purpose for this Messiah…her son that she shared with the Almighty. I believe she had a sort of feeling in her heart of hearts, and yet she still said yes. She was still willing to walk in obedience to God’s plan for her life—no matter what—for the glory of the Lord.
Again, I’m amazed, because I don’t think I’d ever have been that brave. I can only pray and strive for the kind of courage to respond to God’s call on my life, regardless of situations and circumstances, with “Be it unto me according to thy word.”
Is there any way to be certain that God is hearing your hearts cries? Any way to know for sure He is listening? The answer is yes! The Bible actually provides us with 4 simple steps to follow that will guarantee God’s ear. So you want to be heard? Here’s how:
For a lesson in humility, look no further than Jesus. In the book of John, chapter 13, we find Jesus showing us the perfect example- the Son of God humbled himself to serve each of His disciples by washing their feet.
It’s important to have a prayer life. In Matthew 6:5-18, Jesus teaches us the to do’s and not to do’s of prayer and supplies us with a model prayer, telling us to pray in that manner.
God longs for us to seek His face. Many times our prayer life consists of maybe 10% of thankfulness (if that), and 90% of asking. We rarely set aside time for seeking, although the Bible clearly tells us in numerous places that we are to seek!
Isaiah 55:7 encourages the wicked to forsake his way. God cannot hear us if we refuse to turn away from that which is wicked and not of or like God.
These 4 steps are so simple that if there is anything blocking us from heaven, it’s because we’re making it too hard. How do I know that these 4 steps will guarantee God’s ear?
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”- 2 Chronicles 7:14
2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us step by step what our part is and when we do our part, we find an amazing promise of results. Not only will God hear us, but He will also forgive and heal!
So you want to be heard? Yes. It’s really that simple.
*All definitions taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary app.