To Experience Lasting Joy {Dancing With My Father Book Club Chapter 10}

Nov
15
- by Ruth Schwenk - Leave a Comment
To Experience Lasting Joy {Dancing With My Father Book Club Chapter 10}

I remember the first time I heard the lyrics of the song, You are For Me.  The chorus went, "I know that you are for me. I know that you are for me. I know that you will never forsake me in my weakness."  I was pregnant for the ninth time and I had lived the last 14 weeks in total fear of what could happen....Read the rest today at The Better Mom

Candle in The Darkness {Dancing With My Father Book Club chapter 8}

Nov
8
- by Ruth Schwenk - Leave a Comment
Candle in The Darkness {Dancing With My Father Book Club chapter 8}

Sometimes life doesn't make sense.

As we grapple with heartache our focus must be turned to God. Through 5 miscarriages, the sudden and tragic loss of my father-in-law to a car accident 2 years ago, and the death of my mother-in-law just days ago this is something I have had
to remember over and over again.

To dance in the midst of terrible suffering is to resolve, "I will not be a victim. I will not allow this situation to determine the response of my heart, because I have this life, this chance to trust God....Keep Reading at The Better Mom

Joy is Made Full When It's Shared {Dancing With My Father Book- Club Chapter 7}

Nov
6
- by Misty Krasawski - Leave a Comment
Joy is Made Full When It's Shared {Dancing With My Father Book- Club Chapter 7}

We need look no further than our computer and phone screens for proof of this chapter’s title! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram … all full of, “Look where we went!” and, “Guess what my child just did?” and, “You have to try these amazing cupcakes!”

Yep. Delight multiplies when we experience it in community—even after the fact.

God knew it would be this way.

Friday night I met girlfriends at a nearby restaurant. It had been an eventful week and there was plenty to talk about over salads, chicken and dessert. Afterward, the poor guy trying to help us at the Starbucks drive-thru probably thought we were crazy as we laughed our way through our skinny/fat/whip/no whip/sprinkles order for four peppermint mochas (perhaps not the brightest idea we’d had all night, as in our giggling we forgot to make them decaf, and it was after 9pm by the time we got there!) Trooping into a row at our downtown prayer and worship center, we turned worries over the upcoming election into prayer and thanksgiving for God’s sovereignty in it. And we wrapped up our night several hours later around a fire pit in one of the girls’ backyards, having swapped tales both joy-filled and perplexing, offering advice and more prayer, laughter that was probably too loud in the neighbor’s book, creating memories none of us will forget. Burdens had been shared and thereby made lighter. And we had made our joy full by sharing the week’s happy stories, too.

“Oil and perfume make the heart glad; so a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.” Prov. 27:9

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” Ecc. 4:9-12

I love Sally’s stories about her dear friend, Gwen, told here in chapter seven of Dancing! What a wonder it is when God grants us the amazing gift of a friend. The four of us had such a wonderful time together because we shared many of the same standards, values, and goals for our lives—plus a true love for one another. As Sally says here:

“There is a palpable energy and life to relationships forged on ideals, faith, and hope. Friendship forged in the work of God’s kingdom is the best kind. The grandness of the calling supersedes the small, selfish issues that abound in relationships and give us a grace to accept each other as we are.”

We search for joy in so many places—and it’s so elusive in a darkened world! Yet Jesus has pointed the way to it, and it’s a surprising direction—one that leads not to lists of rules and regulations, but to love.

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:9-13

Sally says, “He said that we are to obey Him and that if we do, we will abide in His love; live there, dwell there, flourish there in His love. And then He went on to define the commandment that will help us to abide in His love and experience full joy: “This is My commandment, that you love one another.” That’s it? Not that we have to be perfect or holy or righteous or without sin, but that we love one another? That is where our joy is made full? Absolutely! This is why Jesus commanded us to cultivate and be committed to ‘life-laying-down,’ serving, loyal love.”

We all had plenty of other things we could have been doing on Friday night. We’re moms, after all! But taking that time out for one another led to support and prayer and multiplied joy. And pleased our Father.

How might you reach out and love a friend or two, this week?

Believing God Over Our Circumstances

Nov
1
- by Ruth Schwenk - Leave a Comment
Believing God Over Our Circumstances

The desert is always a dangerous place to be.  In the Bible, it was always a place of death or dependency.  By way of reminder, we read Moses’ words in Deuteronomy 8:2, “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”  Several years ago, my husband and I found ourselves in the “desert....Keep Reading at The Better Mom

Dancing With My Father Book Club {Chapter 3}

Oct
23
- by Misty Krasawski - Leave a Comment
Dancing With My Father Book Club {Chapter 3}

He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11

These words jumped out at me from my dining room table this morning, declaration emblazoned on a lovely copper-colored pitcher, fall blooms spilling over the side.

In the three hours I’d been awake, I had somehow managed to break one everyday glass, the upper rack of my dishwasher, and also a decorative canister I’ve had since we got married. One child was in bed with a toothache, another plugging away at the computer, finishing a math lesson I thought she’d done three days before; and a pair of chubby legs were dangling where I could see through the opened bathroom door that the three year old was washing his hands and watering the floor in the process. I looked in the mirror at my disheveled ponytail and sighed. It wasn’t looking very beautiful from my vantage point.

We hear the verse so much it becomes a mere platitude. But this morning I thought a little deeper. He sees everything beautiful—has made it beautiful. Everything … and in Greek, the word means just that—everything, the totality, each and everything. In its time. Perhaps this is where the trouble is. We don’t want to see God’s beauty in this moment, this time—and this time is all we have. Most mamas are always thinking ahead. Things will be so much better …

When he sleeps through the night.

When she’s finally potty trained.

When my husband gets a new job.

When we get a bigger house.

When we find a great church.

And the beautiful moments of our lives slip by as we reach, reach, reach after moments that are not yet.

When you dance, the most important thing next to knowing the steps is keeping the time.

And the dancer isn’t in charge of the music’s timing. You have to listen, to feel the beat in order to keep in step with your Partner. Earlier in this passage we find a clue as to why that’s so important:

To everything there is a season

And a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

(Come on, sing it with me, you know you want to … “Turn, turn, turn …” Just can’t help it!)

Can we embrace the time we’re in? Can we ask the Lord to help us accept that this—this time, this season, this tempo-- that this is all we have, and this is beautiful? Can we leave time in the hands of the great Designer, put ourselves in His arms, and let Him lead us through the dance we are in?

Sally speaks here in chapter three of Dancing With My Father about how she too was always looking for “the next thing” to make her happy. And then one day she realized that here on earth, things just aren’t always going to go the way we like! We must let go of the things we hold on to so tightly and build our lives upon eternal foundations if we are going to find joy in this life.

“God’s desire is for us to experience true joy and deep fulfillment. It must start, however, with the journey into the recesses of our heart. It is only as we release our hold on the things that we think we need to be truly happy, when we open our hands freely, that we experience true joy. We yield our demands and expectations to Him so that we may take His hand and let Him lead us into the dance of joy. He is the One who will teach us. But it requires a total relinquishment of self and a simple trust in a great God, simple faith to understand that He who created joy will lead us on the pathway that ends in the joy that will last forever.” ~ Sally Clarkson, Dancing With My Father

So, let me ask you the question Sally asks us here at the end of this chapter:

“Are you willing to give away all that you think is valuable in order to find all that truly has worth?”

And Click here to see a video  from Sally about chapter 3.

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To view previous book study posts, click the image below and check out our Book club Facebook page for more discussion throughout the week with over 200 women from Mom Heart and The Better Mom who are reading Dancing With My Father together! 

Dancing With my Father Book Club {Chapter 2 Finding Joy in the Midst of Life's Circumstances}

Oct
18
- by Ruth Schwenk - Leave a Comment
Dancing With my Father Book Club {Chapter 2 Finding Joy in the Midst of Life's Circumstances}

As moms we can lose our joy without even realizing it.  It is a slow fade.  As the dishes pile up and the laundry multiplies, day after day goes by and grows into year after year.  Before we know it we can look back and wonder where time went, and if we aren’t careful we can miss it altogether.

But I know that it isn’t just the mundane daily tasks that can get to us. It is the trials of life added to everything else that can wear us out.

Click here to keep reading more  at The Better Mom.

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To view previous book study posts, click the image below and check out our Book club Facebook page for more discussion throughout the week with over 200 women from Mom Heart and  The Better Mom who are reading Dancing With My Father together!