When Busy Seasons Dominate…

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Rachel Stevens and I at the M/D Retreat

Psalm 62:1, My soul finds rest in God alone.

Over the last month, we have hosted some wonderful events that have helped women, girls (and men) live the Bible in their everyday lives.  We’ve hosted:

  1. A workshop on the facts about Depression and solutions (last month)
  2. A  Mother/Daughter Retreat (Last weekend)
  3. A Luncheon on not becoming Holidazed during the upcoming holidays. (Last Friday)
  4. A seminar for Blended Families.  (This past Saturday)

As I type this, I’ve just returned from the doctor.  They tested me for strep and mono.  I have neither.  Just a nasty virus that’s making me feel horrible and causing me not to sleep too well.  So needless to say, I’m in rest mode – despite an upcoming move this weekend.

Yep.  My family is moving.

I am clearly in a busy season.  Who has time for a cold in season’s like this?!

Last week, as I was nearing one of the final climbs for our 2017 season, I started to feel a little overwhelmed.  Actually, very overwhelmed.  I was felt weak and weary.  I could feel myself running out of energy and passion.

I marvel at how Jesus knows the cries of our heart – even when we don’t voice them.   As I showed up Thursday morning for my quiet time, it’s as if He knew what I needed:  something short and simple, but powerful.  I needed words that would fuel me for:

  • a late dinner I would having with our out-of-town speaker guests Thursday night;
  • the luncheon (Friday); and,
  • the blended family event we hosted Saturday morning.

Suddenly six high-voltage words from Deut. 33:25 jumped off the page at me,

… your strength will equal your days.”

It’s as if Jesus Himself leaned out of heaven and said, “Tara, you will have the strength you need to do what I’ve assigned over the next few days.   Just focus on today.  You will have the strength to bear the load.”

God has been faithful to His Word.  Every single day, I’ve had strength to do what was assigned for that particular day.  Even on Saturday, when this bad cold was coming on strong,  my strength equaled my day.

God’s Word is relevant.  It’s alive.  God speaks to anyone willing to open His Word to listen.  Nothing thrills my soul more, than when the God of the Universe takes time out all He’s doing to renourish my tired, weary soul.  He always seems to know just what to say to remotivate me; to strengthen me; to enable me to cross the finish line.

As you make spending time with Him a priority, I promise, He’ll do the same for you as well.

So when busy seasons dominate your life, never, ever give up your time with God.  His Words are timely and personal.  Truly, He refreshes and restores – even when our bodies are weary.

Over the next few posts –

I’d love to highlight some of my favorite take-away’s from these events.  It’s not the same as being there – but it’s a taste of the relevancy of the Bible in the messiness (and sweetness) of life!

Next Post:  6 Take-Aways from Mother/Daughter Retreat

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The Holidays and My Blended Family

Guest Writer:  Erica Jevons Sizemore

Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us.”

The holidays always seem to be filled with both excitement and trepidation in my house.  Not because of the long list of to-dos, but because we’re a blended family.

As a blended family, the stresses that surround the holidays seem especially difficult to navigate.  There are lot of extras that need to be considered… extra sets of traditions, extra extended family to consider, etc. 

When my blended family embarks on holiday planning, we have three children to think about on three different schedules, with one that is grown and married with a set of in-laws of their own.  We have exes in different places, and subsequently additional grandparents all with very different traditions. 

I’d almost rather be victim to some sort of medieval torture method than broach a discussion with my husband about who, what, when, where and why for the coming holiday festivities.  When we finally get to that point to sit down together, it most often results in the status quo.  In the end, we’re both giving up something and there tends to be hurt feelings.  Even with the greatest benevolence, the conversation can be fraught with guilt and pain.  

The challenges we face in our blended family are often more than I can handle.  You may understand if you are part of a blended family, or maybe you understand because you grew up in one or married into one.  The holidays can cause me to tailspin emotionally.

This is when I must remind myself to give every circumstance to God.  To trust Him.  Without Him, blending a family during the holidays is a nearly impossible, mountainous road to climb.

After making many mistakes, my husband and I have learned that God alone knows what’s best for our marriage and for our wonderful blended family.  And while we cannot run from the consequences – and all the extra holiday planning – we can learn to handle things His way.   I’ve learned God is able to heal deep wounds.   He has given us the Bible, His guide book to show us the way. 

Strengthen YOUR Blended Family
Saturday Morning, November 11th

Registration Includes: Breakfast, the book, God Breathes on Blended Families and Childcare.
If you need childcare, let us know when you register.



Managing the Stress of Family Dynamics

Luncheon, Friday, November 10th


Speaker:  Paige Becnel,
Co-Author of God Breathes on Blended Families


10 Suggestions for the Blended Family

Paige Becnel, Author of “God Breathes on Blended Families”

Matthew 12:25,

“Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.’”

The process of blending two families into one is often extremely challenging.   As my husband and I began the process of blending our new family of seven people in 1989, we were blind-sided by issues that were new to us.   Our attempts to solve them with human reasoning led to failure, hurt feelings, frustration, and disrespect.

Through prayer,  God began to expose key areas where our family was divided.   Areas where we were fighting each other rather than working together.

There are many symptoms that describe the struggle to blend.  Here are a few:

  1. “You discipline yours and I’ll discipline mine” are common statements.
  2. You have high grace toward your children, but low grace toward your spouse’s children.
  3. Two sets of expectations, rules and/ or discipline exist in your new home because you and your spouse cannot come to agreement on one set of rules and discipline.
  4. Your one-on-one time with children is only spent with your biological children.
  5. You and your spouse have separate checkbooks.
  6. A former spouse is allowed to interfere with your new marriage and family.

Notice how many of these involve the children…

When we began to address the divisions in our family by applying principles found in God’s Word, our family began to blend.  All families can blend.  But it takes commitment, love, grace, sacrifice, a willingness to change, and time. 

Here are some suggestions that will give hope to blended families.

Your family will blend:

  1. When you start believing that it can. If you think it will not, it will not.
  2. When you realize that God is a good God, and is on your side. After all, He wrote “the book” on relationships (The Holy Bible).
  3. When you highly respect your spouse, stand up for your spouse, and “demand” that your children treat your spouse with respect. You are two working to become one. Relentlessly pursue becoming one.
  4. When the stepparent chooses to love the children as his or her own. When a man or woman marries a person with a child, they are marrying that child too.
  5. When you seek to understand the potential pain in the hearts of the children in your home, and give them your compassion and consideration,
  6. When you avoid using the prefix, “step-”. Using this term puts people in a lower category than their biological parent, child or sibling.
  7. When you begin to build a sincere loving relationship with your stepchildren by consistently spending one-on-one time with them.
  8. When you do not try to discipline your stepchildren until you love them as your own.  (Hebrews 12:6)  Trying to discipline without love will only lead to resentment and disrespect, which in turn leads to more chaos in the home.
  9. When you stop allowing the children’s other biological parent to control or manipulate what goes on in your home. Defend your family against outside interference.
  10. When you do not give up trying.

For more solutions to blending a family,
join Paige and her husband Moe Saturday, November 11th!

Workshop for singles and couples
Early Registration Ends: Tuesday, October 31st

Registration Includes: Breakfast, the book, God Breathes on Blended Families and Childcare.
If you need childcare, please let us know when you register

Luncheon, Friday, November 10th
Do you experience family drama during the Holidays?

Holidazed, Managing the Stress of Family Dynamics
Speaker: Paige Becnel

Praying for Your Child… It Makes a Difference!

Melody Merritt

Melody Merritt

James 5:16b,
“The prayer of a righteous person [mother] has great power as it is working.”

If you’re a mom, what do you tend to spend more time doing:  reading parenting books or praying for your children and the challenges they face?  

There are many great books on parenting.  For every challenge, I guarantee you, there’s a book that addresses that issue!  With each book, blog, and chat forum, we get different ideas, methods, and advice that always seems to change.  What works this week will most likely be replaced next week by a quicker, easier, healthier method. 

While parenting resources are wonderful, beneficial and effective, God has given us the two most important tools for raising Godly children. 

  1. The first tool: God’s Word.  His Word never changes and it always works.    
  • The Bible is useful for teaching, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)
  • The Bible reveals God’s will for our life. (Romans 12:2)
  • The Bible draws us closer to intimacy with God. (Colossians 2:6-7)

2.   The second most powerful tool: prayer.  All too often, prayer seems to be the last tool we use after the book or a friend’s advice doesn’t work.   Prayer is simply communication with the God who created you and your child.  We can pray about everything!

  • Prayer changes everything. (Matthew 21:22)
  • Prayer puts you in alignment with God will. (Ephesians 2:10)
  • Prayer gives God room to work. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Maybe your child is having a hard time in school.  Pray that they will choose godly friends and be kept from harmful friendships.  Pray that they will be firm in their convictions and able to withstand peer pressure.  Pray God’s Word over your child and the circumstances in their lives.

Is your preschooler having a behavioral problem?  Pray for changes in their heart and for your patience.

Making a lasting impactful difference in your child’s life begins with us, as their Moms.   Prayer is a mighty tool in the hands of a godly mother.  God hears every prayer.

Workshop:  Praying for your Children

Tuesday, October 24
10:00 – 11:30am

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Taught by Melody MerrittSign Up Now button

Parenting Step Children?
Don’t miss this special event!

8 Insights into the Mind of your Husband

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Genesis 2:24, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.

Our Luncheon last Friday was rich with insight into the way a man thinks.  Literally, had our time not been cut short, we could have gleaned for at least another hour.    A big thank you to John Mark Harrison and Barry Carroll!   They shared from the heart and had the courage to speak into areas of great vulnerability.  We are grateful for your advice and the wiser for it. 

Here are a few highlights:

  1. The best time to talk to your guy: 
  • The word count thing is a reality!  (Men speak 7000 words a/day.  Women speak 20,000) The time to talk to him is not when he’s walking in the house from work.  Choose a time when he’s decompressed from stress at work.
  • Be aware that men actually have a “nothing box.”  If you look at him and he’s dazing off into space and you ask him, “what are you thinking about,” and he says nothing, he means it.   He’s thinking about nothing.  It’s the nothing box!

2.  When your husband is an unbeliever, the best thing to do:

  • Without question, the most effective thing to do is to pray.  Pray for him.  Do not give up.
  • Love him and respect him with your words and behavior.

3.  Sex

  • It’s important to a man.  When a woman deprives her husband, it communicates disrespect or that she does not love him.
  • We are spirit beings created for intimacy with God.  It’s a mistake to expect your spouse to fill an intimacy need that only your Creator is capable of filling.
  • Make sure you’re not depriving your relationship with God.  Your husband will never fill you the way a relationship with God with fill you. 
  • Spend time with Jesus in the Word.

4.  Men do not like:

  • Being on the receiving end of a critical spirit.  Being critical is a respect killer.
  • Instead of being critical, think of three things he’s done right and that you’re grateful.  Think on those things.  Thank God for those things.
  • Blanket statements.  Such as, “You always…”  Do not do this.  It’s very disrespectful  Men hate it.
  • Being corrected in public by their wives.  This is very disrespectful.

5.  Men like it when:

  • You have an interest in their interests – such as golf or football, etc. 
  • When you compliment him.
  • When you encourage them in what they’re doing well – instead of what they’re not doing well.  You don’t have to tell a man what he’s not doing well.  He already knows it.  A man can be his own worst enemy.

6.  Comments that surprised me the most:

  • Most men carry the weight of providing for their family.  They worry about their jobs and being able to provide.
  • Sometimes they wake up in the middle of the night in fear.
  • There’s an unspoken pressure placed on men by society that translates into, “I’ve got to provide; I’ve got to be confident, successful and competitive.”
  • Men have a very real fear of failure.

7.  One of the greatest things a wife can do:

  • BE SUPPORTIVE and encouraging. 
  • Love him.
  • Tell him thank you often.
  • Tell him you love being married to him.

8.  Final words of wisdom:

  • “Tell him you believe in him.  It’s important for a man to know his wife believes in him.”
  • “I love and adore my wife.  I’d do anything for her.  Why?  Because of the way she treats me.”

Words to the wise…


The Art of Marriage, WorkshopImage may contain: 1 person, food Applying God’s Timeless Principles
Wednesday, October 11th | 12:30 – 1:45

Register HERE



Depression:  The Signs, the Facts and Solutions
KGM @ Night
Thursday, October 12th | 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Early Registration Ends:  Wednesday, October 11th

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