Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

Graduation Bible verses and Scripture prayers

7 Bible verses and prayers that work well for graduations

Graduation is a time when new grads and their families look forward to the future and what comes next. For Christian moms, dads and grads, seeking out Bible verses for guidance and encouragement is important.

These seven Bible verses are ideal for graduation. You can use them in a graduation card, at a graduation celebration, in a graduation speech or wherever you can think of. The verses are all from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

Find a set of seven Bible verses and related graduation party printables in various styles in the Families with Grace Etsy store.

Graduation Bible verses in three different sizes

Each graduation Bible verse also includes two prayers: one to pray about the graduate and one for the graduate to pray. You can pray these prayers or use them as inspiration for a graduation card message.

Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” – Proverbs 16:3

Prayer about the graduate: Heavenly Father, I ask that you be with my graduate. Help them to stay committed to you in whatever they do. Lord, establish their plans and guide them as they embark on this new phase of life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Prayer for the graduate: Heavenly Father, please be with me as I enter into this new phase of life. Help me to stay committed to you in all that I do. Lord, establish my plans, guide me and direct me in all that I’m doing. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Colossians 3:23 (NIV)

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” – Colossians 3:23

Prayer about the graduate: Lord, help my graduate to stay focused on you. As they work in their education and career going forward, keep them motivated to work hard as though they are working for you. Encourage them and bless the work you have for them to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer for the graduate: Lord, help me to stay focused on you. As I move forward with my education and career, I ask that you motivate me to work hard as though I’m working for you and nobody else. God, help me to stay encouraged, and bless the work you have for me to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Psalm 20:4 (NIV)

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” – Psalm 20:4

Prayer about the graduate: Heavenly Father, thank you for my graduate. Thank you for the blessing of their life. I ask that you give them the desires of their heart that glorify you. Open the right doors so their plans succeed. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Prayer for the graduate: Heavenly Father, thank you for this phase of my life as I get to change and grow from here. Please help me to desire the things that glorify you and give me those desires of my heart. Lord, open the right doors so my plans succeed. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Psalm 110:105 (NIV)

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” – Psalm 110:105

Prayer about the graduate: Lord, I praise you for your word and its guidance. I ask that you place your word on the heart of my graduate to light their way moving forward. Give them just the right verse they need at just the right time as they enter this new stage. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Prayer for the graduate: Lord, I praise you for giving me your word and the guidance I find in it. I ask that you place your word on my heart to light my way moving forward. Father, lead me to the right verse at the right time as I enter into this new stage. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” – Jeremiah 29:11

Prayer about the graduate: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving my graduate enough that you have plans for them to prosper. Continue to protect them from harm. Lord, help them to live in your hope and trust in the future you have for their lives. Guide them on every step. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Prayer for the graduate: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me so much that you have plans for me to prosper. Continue to protect me from harm. Lord, help me to live in your hope and trust the future you have for my life, even when the way seems difficult or unclear. Please guide me on every step. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6

Prayer about the graduate: Lord, thank you for the good work that you have begun in my graduate’s life. Continue that work in their life so that it’s carried on to completion. Reassure my graduate that you are always there and have good work for them to do in this new stage of life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Prayer for the graduate: Lord, thank you for the good work you’ve started in my life. I ask that you continue to carry on that good work until it’s completed. Please be there every step of the way as I move forward in life. Guide me and direct me to the good work that you have for me to do. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Proverbs 3:6 (NIV)

“In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:6

Prayer about the graduate: Heavenly Father, soften the heart of my graduate to submit to you and your will. Lord, make their paths straight and keep them from harm and bad choices. Protect them in every way and watch over them. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Prayer for the graduate: Heavenly Father, help me to submit to you and your will. Keep me in your will and out of the way. Make my paths straight and protect me. Lord, help me to make good choices that honor you and honor myself. Protect me in every way, everywhere that I am. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Find prints of these verses in the Graduation Section of the Families with Grace Etsy store!

A gratitude and prayer journal for Christian women

“The Christian Woman’s Gratitude Journal” helps you manage anxiety and grow closer to God!

Affiliate links are used in this post, if you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use and love. It helps support my blog, so thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here.

In the past, I’ve had so much luck using a gratitude journal and using a prayer journal. I also love devotionals. And I enjoy inspirational quotes. But I’ve never had them all together in one place — until now. “The Christian Woman’s Gratitude Journal” is my latest book release that combines a gratitude and prayer journal into one. You’re going to love it as much as I do!

Through the years, I’ve used prompted and blank journals to help manage my anxiety and grow in my walk with God. So, I’ve included both in one journal, because it just makes sense to me. Somedays even I as a writer need prompts to get my going. Other days, I have thoughts waiting to pour out of my head and onto paper.

The benefits of a gratitude and prayer journal

Throughout my lifetime I have struggled with anxiety. If I’m being completely honest, I know depression and anxiety have gone together at different times in my life. I have never stopped trusting in or believing in God. In fact, I’ve found anxiety and faith can co-exist and that doesn’t make me a bad Christian or mean I don’t trust God.

However, I don’t want to get stuck in those places. I have been stuck before and had my faith shaken. Healing after some of the most difficult times in my life has best been done at least in part by focusing on the things for which I’m grateful. Not only did that give me an attitude shift in general, but doing so also helped me to see God’s goodness and blessings in the midst of the struggle.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) And, quite frankly, that’s easier said than done in some circumstances. Keeping a gratitude journal helps us remember to truly give thanks, even on the difficult days when we are struggling to see any good.

What is a prompted gratitude journal?

When I think of writing prompts, I tend to think of language arts classes. Maybe you do, too. But, when it comes to journals, writing prompts aren’t designed to elicit long essays or short stories. Instead, they are often just simple.

In “The Christian Woman’s Gratitude Journal,” the prompts are designed to take no more than 5 minutes a day total per page. You’ll find three different types of prompts in this gratitude and prayer journal.

“List Three” prompts

Throughout the journal are 30 different “List Three” writing prompts. These are lines for you to list three of something for which you’re grateful. So, the first time I did a gratitude journal, I didn’t use a prompted version and really struggled some days to think of three new or different thinks for which I was thankful.

The “List Three” prompts are themed to make it easier for you. Here are some examples from “The Christian Woman’s Gratitude and Prayer Journal:”

  • List three ways you’ve felt God’s love this week.
  • List three of your favorite beverages.
  • List three of your biggest blessings.
  • List three of your favorite movies.
  • List three happy moments from the day.

“Question” prompts

The gratitude and prayer journal also includes one “Question” prompt. Thirty questions total are included. These are questions you can answer usually in just one or two sentences. But, if you need more writing space, 10 lined pages with inspirational quotes at the top are included after three pages of prompts.

The “Question” prompts also help you focus on something in particular that is positive or for which you are thankful in your life. Here are some examples:

  • How did you feel love from someone else today?
  • What made you laugh today?
  • What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
  • Where and when were you able to spend time with God today?
  • What did you accomplish today that makes you feel proud?

“Today’s Mood” checklist

Also on the prompted pages of “The Christian Woman’s Gratitude Journal,” you’ll find a checklist to mark off your mood for the day. It’s straightforward and easy. The following moods are included: happy, sad, angry, anxious, excited, afraid, lonely, jealous, calm and disgusted.

What is a prayer journal?

Along with the three writing prompts on 30 of the pages, the gratitude and prayer journal also include a box simply labeled “Prayers.” This space is designed for you to use however you’d like and can change from one entry to the next.

You can use the space to do any of the following (or whatever works best for you!):

  • List prayer requests for the day.
  • List praises for the day.
  • Write a prayer for the day.
  • Track prayers God has answered.

What else is included in the gratitude and prayer journal?

Along with 60 different writing prompts over 30 pages that have mood and prayer boxes as well, “The Christian Woman’s Gratitude Journal” also includes 10 lined pages that have inspirational quotes at the top. All of the quotes are original ones. For example:

  • Find something in each day that makes you happy.
  • You are important. You are special. You are smart.
  • Doing the best you can doesn’t mean you have to be perfect.

You’ll also find 10 devotionals throughout the gratitude and prayer journal as well. These are paired next to the blank journal pages to give you space to write about them if you would like. The devotionals are uplifting and helpful in both spiritual and practical ways. You’ll find topics such as:

  • Three ways to be kinder to yourself
  • Understanding God’s love for us
  • Prayers for women

Get your own copy here:

"The Christian Woman's Gratitude Journal" cover image
A gratitude and prayer journal can be a great way for Christian women to manage anxiety and grow in their relationship with God. #GratitudeJournal #PrayerJournal #ChristianWomen #ChristianMoms #Anxiety #MentalHealth

Join me for a Gratitude Journey!

While you definitely will get a lot out of using this gratitude and prayer journal on your own, I am also running a weekly discussion group about gratitude that starts April 4, 2023 and will be based on “The Christian Woman’s Gratitude and Prayer Journal.”

The group will meet in the private Facebook group, “Moms with Grace,” which is a part of the Families with Grace ministry. Each week, I will list five questions related to five pages from the journal as we work our way through it to end on June 6. Along with listing the questions, though, later in the week I will host a Zoom call to discuss our answers and how our Gratitude Journeys are going. (These will be recorded and shared in the “Moms with Grace” private Facebook group only.)

I’d love to have you join us and really grow in your relationship with God. We weren’t meant to “do life” alone!

Moms with Grace private Facebook group

The best Psalms for anxiety

10 Psalms to bring your peace when you’re anxious

Of all the people in the Bible, I have most related to David in the Psalms for many, many years. We certainly haven’t had the exact same life experiences, but David goes from grief to joy to everything in between within a chapter. And that’s how life is for me. I get David. He’s real to me in that way.

I also feel like David’s thoughts could get carried away and overdramatic sometimes. Anxiety rears its ugly head like that in my life. I completely trust God, but I have also learned that anxiety and faith can co-exist. So when I think of looking in the Bible for verses of comfort, it makes sense to start with Psalms for anxiety.

Did David struggle with anxiety? It’s quite possible! In 2004, History of Psychiatry researched whether David had a mental disorder and concluded that it’s highly likely he did. Major depression seems to be the most likely candidate. Depression and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. So maybe that’s why I relate to David.

Whether David had a mental disorder doesn’t matter as much as knowing that God is behind all the words he wrote. And we can draw comfort in the book of Psalms for anxiety. Read these verses and let them minister to your heart today.

(All Scripture is taken from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.)

Psalm 27:1-3

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me
    to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

These verses are awesome reminders of God’s power and faithfulness. He will protect us, so we don’t have to be afraid. I’ve been afraid so many times in my life. I recently heard someone say fear is at the root of anxiety. While I’m not sure that’s completely true, I do find great comfort in knowing God is in control and on His throne, so I don’t have to be afraid.

Psalm 61:1-3

Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe.

The New King James version of the Bible says instead that “my heart is overwhelmed” rather than “my heart grows faint.” I like that even more. Because, I get overwhelmed. Life is full of so many responsibilities and tasks. As a mom, it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed thinking of all the things I’m juggling mentally at any given time. But, God is there to listen to my prayer. He hears me and sustains me. He shelters me when I grow weak. Thank you, God!

Psalm 51:10-12

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Of the Psalms for anxiety, this one is one that makes an especially great prayer. I want God to purify my heart so that I’m not distracted by the wrong things. There are times I desperately need a steadfast spirit and willing spirit to sustain me and keep me going. I also want to always be in God’s presence and never forget the joy of His salvation.

I will always remember going to church one Sunday after one of the very worst weeks of my life. My heart was broken and I was feeling low. During the sermon, I got distracted by the cross. God reminded me that in the end, what matters most is how much He loves me that He sent His Son for me. It soothed my soul that day in a way nothing else could.

Psalm 121:1-5a

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
 The Lord watches over you.

When I was in college, a member of my Bible study group shared that she used to feel bad about falling asleep while she was praying. But then she just imagined that God was holding onto her like a parent does a child and letting her sleep. That image has stuck with me. In my hardest nights, I have prayed for God to surround me and hold me tight. I love knowing that He doesn’t ever sleep. He watches over us day and night. In my head, I feel like that gives me permission to let down my guard and trust that He is completely in control. That’s a relief when I’m struggling with anxiety.

Psalm 32:5

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

In the four verses before this one, David talks about how he has been consumed by tears day and night. He remembers the good times with God, but he feels far apart from them at this moment. But then this verse is his pep talk. We all need pep talks sometimes. When we are depressed or anxious, David reminds us that we can put our hope in God. We can praise Him in the storm and trust He is there even when He feels far away.

Psalm 77:11-12

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
    and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

David spends the first 10 verses of this Psalm talking about how he felt God had rejected him. He was grieving the silence of God and feeling heartbroken. But then he stops to remember the good things God has done in the past. I have learned to do this very same thing when I start getting anxious. I go back in my head to all the times God has been working for my good when I couldn’t see it. And I know that God won’t fail me now. Sometimes the best thing I can do is think about my history with God’s faithfulness and focus on the blessings He’s given me in the present.

Psalm 116:1-7

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me,
    the anguish of the grave came over me;
    I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    “Lord, save me!”
The Lord is gracious and righteous;
    our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you.

God hears our pleas and cries for mercy. He is there and listening, even when it feels like He is not. David talks about seeing that happen in his life. I’ve seen it happen in mine. So now I find this one of the Psalms for anxiety that brings me comfort. I can be reminded that God will see me through time and again.

I also especially love verse 7: “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” This is a verse to memorize and hold close for the dark nights when anxiety is high and life is hard. God is good all the time.

Psalm 40:11-13

Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
    may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
For troubles without number surround me;
    my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
    and my heart fails within me.
Be pleased to save me, Lord;
    come quickly, Lord, to help me.

The Bible tells us that Jacob physically wrestled with God, but David does some of his own wrestling in an emotional way. If you read the entirety of Psalm 40, David is at a low point but also asking God to bless those who trust in Him. Verses 11-13 really stuck out to me as being a sincere prayer to God for times when we are overwhelmed by our circumstances. We can call out to God: save me, come quickly and help me. And we can remember the times God has protected us by His love and faithfulness before to keep us going as we wait.

Psalm 62:5-8

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

This is a great Psalm for anxiety. It reminds us that we can find rest and have hope in God. With God as our protector, we can withstand the storms of life. We weren’t made to go through life alone and God will hold us through all of it. If we allow Him, He will be our rock in whom we can trust at all times. I love the idea of God being our refuge. A refuge is somewhere you run to when you’re in trouble or in distress. And that’s exactly what God is for us. We can run to Him and know He will hold us tight through everything.

Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

Again, David refers to God as our refuge. When we are anxious and overwhelmed, a refuge is what we need. We need a break and peace. There are moments when God truly gives us peace beyond understanding. He can calm our anxieties and fears, even if just for a few moments, as we fully rest in Him.

How to keep Christ in Christmas

7 Simple & effective ways to keep your family focused on Jesus

Affiliate links are used in this post, if you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use and love. It helps support my blog, so thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here.
How to keep Christ in Christmas Pinterest image

From the beginning of our parenthood journey, my husband and I have worked to share our faith with our children. And Christmas is an important season for Christianity. We want our children to enjoy the fun of Christmas, but we also want them to understand what and Who we are ultimately celebrating. Throughout the past 13 years, we’ve come up with a few ways to keep Christ in Christmas that are both simple and effective.

1. Read a Christmas devotion book together throughout December.

When my daughter was a preschooler, our church passed out free family devotions for Advent. It wasn’t something we had done as a family before, but we decided to give it a try. On the first night we did so, our daughter cheered.

Family Christmas devotion time during December has worked its way into our routine. When we had some trouble finding devotion books that we really enjoyed, were age appropriate and didn’t take a super long time, I decided to put together my own. I now have two versions of “A Family Christmas: 25 Days of 5-Minute Family Christmas Devotions.” Volume one is for younger children (preschool through early elementary), and volume two is geared toward tweens and teens. My kids are 9 and 13, so we are using volume two again this year.

Reading through the Christmas devotion book together takes us through the Christmas story and gets us talking about how it can apply to our lives today. Just a few minutes each evening makes a big difference to help our family keep Christ in Christmas.

"A Family CHristmas" devotion books are a great way to keep Christ in Christmas.

[You can find both volumes of “A Family Christmas: 25 Days of 5-Minute Family Christmas Devotions” for sale on Amazon in print and for Kindle. They are also part of Kindle Unlimited. Both versions for younger children and older children are also for sale in PDF format in the Families with Grace Etsy store.]

2. Include Jesus in secular traditions.

Our family believes in Santa Claus and uses a visiting Elf in a positive way. But we also incorporate Jesus into those traditions. For example, Santa Claus leaves a letter for the children each year to find on Christmas morning. And he always mentions the importance of remembering the real meaning of Christmas. The Elf also reminds them in different ways to keep Jesus the focus of Christmas as well.

Both Santa and the Elf compliment our kids for kind things they do and how they keep Christ in Christmas. It’s a simple way to help tie the more secular traditions with our faith.

3. Read the Christmas story together.

When our kids were little, we found the best way to read the Christmas story together was one verse or so at a time. In fact, you can find a free printable version of Bible verses for Dec. 1 through 25 in this post. We would usually print the verses, cut them apart and then number and attach a verse to each of the Christmas books we wrap for our kids to open throughout December.

One of the bonuses of doing one verse at a time is that each evening, we would ask the kids what happened previously in the Christmas story. That helps ingrain the story firmly in their minds. In fact, even now with using the devotion book, we still do this since its verses lead us through the Christmas story as well.

4. Talk about the true meaning of Christmas.

You don’t have to give your children sermons or lectures about the true meaning of Christmas. But mention it in small ways when it comes up. For example, we have watched Christmas movies or shows as a family when the characters reference the real meaning of Christmas being time with family or something. We will ask our children what the actual true meaning of Christmas is. Or we mention the other stuff is great, but Jesus’ birth is the true meaning.

Our children are exposed to secular culture in a variety of ways. I like finding ways to help them learn how to navigate the world around them within their faith view. And this is something that works well at Christmastime.

5. Set up a nativity scene.

Whether you use a toy nativity scene or a decorative one, a nativity scene at Christmas helps your family keep Christ in Christmas. We’ve never had a toy one. Instead, I have the one my family had when I was a child as well as one from my maternal grandmother. We set up one downstairs and one upstairs.

My kids love setting up the nativity scenes. We’ve had many years of having a nativity scene that doesn’t look like I necessarily envision, but I don’t mind. What I have really enjoyed is hearing the kids as they were younger playing with the nativity scene as they moved it around. Learning about Jesus’ birth definitely doesn’t have to be all serious!

6. Listen to Christian Christmas music.

Music is a big part of my life and my worship. So listening to Christian Christmas music just fits right in. But, I will be honest in saying that I don’t usually enjoy the Christmas music played on contemporary Christian stations. It tends to all be slow and emotional. So, I have my own playlists. And some secular artists have their own renditions of Christmas carols talking about the birth of Jesus.

Our family doesn’t listen to only Christian Christmas music, but it definitely is part of our December. I always kick off the Christmas music season with my favorite Christmas album by 4Him, “A Season of Love,” that was released way back in 1997.

The "God Gave Us Christmas" book from Lisa Tawn Bergren is a great way to keep Christ in Christmas

7. Read faith-centered Christmas books.

One of our family’s Christmas traditions is opening a Christmas book each evening Dec. 1 through 24. We have a wide array of books from traditional secular Christmas stories to silly ones to faith-based ones. We enjoy “The Animals’ Christmas Eve,” which tells the story of Jesus’ birth from the animals in the manger. Another great one is “God Gave Us Christmas” from Lisa Tawn Bergren. (I love the entire “God Gave Us” series from her!)

How Christian moms can teach their children about God

7 Simple ways Christian moms can help grow their children’s faith

Affiliate links are used in this post, if you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use and love. It helps support my blog, so thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here.

For us Christian moms, finding ways to teach our children about God is important. More than anything, I want to help my children learn about and know God in a personal way. I love them so completely and fully. Yet, I also know I can’t be there for them every moment. It’s neither possible nor feasible. But, God can. And He knows what the future holds for them. He loves them even more than I do.

While we want to be intentional as Christian moms to teach our children about God, we also need to find the best ways to do so. Long theological lectures aren’t going to convince a 6-year-old that she needs to ask God into her heart. Trite, vague answers aren’t going to convince a 16-year-old that he needs to follow God.

7 Simple ways Christian moms can teach their children about God

It’s certainly a precarious balance and one that my husband and I continue to work on as we are raising our kiddos. Just as I want to teach my children how to take care of themselves physically, I also want to teach them how to take care of themselves spiritually.

I’m still learning and growing on my journey as a Christian mom, but over the past 13 years of motherhood, I have found a few things that work for us.


Praying for our children is important. Praying for ourselves as Christian moms is equally important. I pray daily that I’ll be the kind of my mom my children need to raise them according to God’s will and plan for their lives. I also pray in the moment. When my kiddos are asking me questions about God, the Bible or anything faith-related, I silently pray things like, “God, give me the right words.”

Faith questions are difficult and even with kids who are only 9 and 13, we’ve already been asked some deep questions. Turning to God to help us answer is my first stop. I’ve been surprised by answers that have come to me as a result and discussions I’ve been able to have with my children. And I know that wouldn’t have happened without God’s help.

Praying with our children is also incredibly important. Each evening before bedtime, our family has prayer time together. This has a been a great time to teach our kids what praying to God can be like. We talk about prayer requests and remind them they can talk to God just like they do anyone else. They don’t need to recite memorized prayers but can really talk to Him.

Be honest.

In order to keep lines of communication wide open, I think honesty with our kids is important. My husband and I have a policy with our children that if they ask us a question, we will answer them honestly. We have adhered to that policy while also keeping their ages in mind. This is true with faith. If our kids ask us something we don’t know, we’re honest about that. We’ve told them that if we don’t know the answer, we will help them find it. We’ll turn to the Bible and our pastor to get a good answer for them.

We are also honest that some topics are debated in Christian circles. So we share our own experiences and interpretations as well as some differing views. But, we also always get back to the fact that no matter what disagreements there are, the most important thing is knowing Jesus died for our sins and wants a relationship with us.

Talk about your faith.

This might seem like a no-brainer to us Christian moms, but I think it can be easier to talk to our kids in more abstract ways about God and less about how He is working in and through our own lives. I have shared stories with my kids that happened recently and in the past of how God has helped me through situations or ways I’ve seen Him work.

You don’t have to get a 20-minute testimony to your children, but taking a minute to point out how God answered your prayer is powerful. It helps our kids realize God is still working and impacting lives today. And it shows them what a daily walk with God looks like. My hope is that it also helps them be able to see Him at work more easily in their own lives.

Listen to Christian music.

Christian music is another subtle way Christian moms can help teach their kiddos about God. I love music and have it on in the car, while I’m working and often in the kitchen as well. My kids notice it in the car the most. Without necessarily realizing it, Christian music lets them soak up the message and promise God’s love and faithfulness.

Christian radio is a great source, but I also love having my own playlist with a wide variety of Christian music. You can find the Families with Grace Playlist on Spotify with nearly 11 hours of contemporary Christian music. I keep adding to it, because it’s the playlist I listen to most often myself!

Get into God’s Word together.

Spending time together in God’s Word is important. I know my own faith walk is strongest when I’m in God’s Word. You can do this in a variety of ways. Of course, you can read the Bible together. Here are some of our favorites:

“The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones is our favorite from when our kids were younger. It’s perfect for preschoolers through early elementary, but it also speaks to my heart just as much as it does to the kiddos!

The Jesus Storybook Bible is great for Christian moms to use for their preschool through early elementary children.

“The Action Bible: God’s Redemptive Story” is a comic book style Bible. It is perfect for more visual kiddos or those who love graphic novels. This Bible works really well for my 9-year-old who is dyslexic and prefers the shorter lines of text in graphic novels.

A comic book style illustrated Bible can be a great option for children who enjoy graphic novels.

“Hands-On Bible” is a great option for third grade to fifth graders. It’s the New Living Translation, but it also has lots of additional content designed to engage kiddos as they are reading.

The Hands-On Bible is a great option for upper elementary kiddos.

“NIV True Images: The Bible for Teen Girls” is the Bible my daughter is currently using and enjoying. She’s now 13, but she got this Bible when she was 12. It’s an NIV Bible with various pull-outs of text targeted to teen girls to help them go deeper.

The True Images Bible for Teen Girls is a

Because my son is only 9, I don’t have a favorite for teen boys or a gender neutral version. However, this “NIV Bible for Teen Guys” looks really similar to what my daughter has, just geared more for males. There is also the gender neutral “NIV Teen Study Bible.”

Along with reading the Bible together, take time to talk about what you’ve read. Mention relevant Bible lessons when your kiddos are struggling with something. For example, if one of my kids is afraid and stressed out at bedtime, I often remind them of my favorite Bible verse from Isaiah 41:10 (NIV), “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I have shared with both of my kiddos stories of how this verse has gotten me through various situations in life.

Try a devotion book.

This goes right along with being in God’s word together. There are a couple of ways this can work. You can read through a devotion book together as a family or read through a book separately and discuss it. Even if this isn’t something you do every day, give it a try.

We always go through a family devotion book together at Christmastime. We use “A Family Christmas,” which is a series of two five-minute Christmas devotion books for busy families I wrote because I couldn’t find one I liked very much for our family. “A Family Christmas Volume One” is ideal for families with preschool through early elementary children. “A Family Christmas Volume Two” works well for families with upper elementary through teens.

"A Family Christmas" devotion book volume 1 is ideal for families with children in preschool through early elementary.
A Family Christmas devotion book, volume 2, is ideal for families with upper elementary through teenage kiddos.

Try a journal and devotion book combo that get you into and talking about God’s Word through writing. My daughter and I published a faith-based mother and daughter shared journal last year called “Connecting with Grace.” It’s great for moms and daughters to get to know each other even better and share about everything from boys to school to faith and more.

Connecting with grace is a faith-based mother and daughter shared journal.

Another great option for moms and daughters is a devotion book from Stacey Pardoe and her tween daughter Bekah. “Girl to Girl” has 60 mother and daughter devotions designed to help moms and daughters deepen their faith and grow their relationships.

Girl to Girl is a devotion book for Christian moms and daughters to use together.

Go to church.

I know there can be many feelings around going to church. Unfortunately, some Christians don’t show the love of God as they are supposed to. But, being at church is important. The Bible tells us to meet together with fellow believers. Find a Bible-believing and preaching church for your entire family to get involved and grow in your spiritual walks together.

My husband and I pour so much into our children; however, having other Christians who pour into them as well is important. They hear other perspectives besides our own. And sometimes kiddos listen better to people other than their parents.

Prayers for your children: Part 2

7 More prayers parents can pray for their children

Prayers for your children: Part 2

As Christian moms and dads, we have a responsibility to our children in so many ways from teaching them and caring for them to praying for them. In fact, prayers for your children is one of the most important tools you have as a parent.

While I pray daily for my children, I sometimes can get stuck in a bit of a prayer rut. I can find myself praying for my kids in the same ways or about immediate needs of theirs. However, I want to be intentional about praying for all aspects of their lives and their futures.

So, I am continuing with two weeks of prayers for my kids. And I’d love for you to join me on this journey of intentional prayers for your children. Today is part two of the prayers. Prayers for your children part 1 includes seven Bible verses and prayers just like this post does. You can pray them in any order. Combine them to end up with two weeks of intentional prayers for your children!

Why we should keep praying for our children

As we are continuing on with prayers for our children, I want to encourage you to keep going and keep praying. In my life, discouragement is one of the tools Satan uses most to get to me. Through the years, I have learned the best way to combat that is with prayer. I talk to God when I’m feeling discouraged about what I’m doing and whether it’s even worth it. I’m honest with Him and ask for help, wisdom and discernment.

And sometimes we can even feel discouraged in our prayer lives. I have prayed for situations and people so many times and am not able to see God at work. Yet, through faith and what His Word tells me, I know He is working even when I cannot see. So I mustn’t give up and neither should you!

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

Colossians 4:2 (NIV)

The Bible constantly reminds us to pray without stopping. As we continue on with intentional prayers for our children this week, may we devote ourselves to prayer, be watchful and be thankful that God is working all the time.

Their mental health

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

God, I ask that you be at work in my children’s minds. Lord, help them with their mental health. Cast out any anxiety, fear and self-doubt they have. Replace it with goodness and strength that comes from you. Fill my children with your peace and calmness so they may live fully in your power and love. Protect them from any influence that brings harm to their mental wellbeing. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Their relationship with God

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5 (NIV)

Father, be with my children. Open their hearts and minds fully to you. If they do not know you as personal savior, help them to come to know you as personal savior. And if they do know you, Lord, strengthen and deepen their faith. Help them to stay connected to you in spite of all they have going on and the temptations in the world. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Their relationship with siblings

“Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.”

1 John 2:10 (NIV)

God, grow my children’s relationships with one another. Help them to love each other and treat each other with kindness. Give them grace and compassion for one another. Build their relationship with each other so that they may be friends as well as siblings. Lord, keep hard feelings from growing and festering among them. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Their relationship with parents

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
   and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
    and a chain to adorn your neck.”

Proverbs 1:8-9 (NIV)

Father, I ask that you help my children to have a good relationship with my spouse and me. Lord, give us wisdom as we parent them to be the kind of parents they need to raise them according to your will and plan for their lives. Help both our children and us to show grace, love and compassion to one another. Keep us close as they grow. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Their physical health

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

3 John 1:2 (NIV)

God, please be with my children physically. Meet their physical needs and help them to remain healthy in every way. Lord, let their bones continue to grow strong and their bodies function well. Help them to enjoy good health. And if they do have health struggles, Father, help us to turn to you and remember that you are always in control and always good. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

A prayer for your children's safety: Father, protect my children. Keep them safe when they are with me and safe when they are without me. Put a hedge of protection around them to protect them from the evil one and his schemes. Keep them safe in every way, everywhere they are. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Their safety

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NIV)

Father, protect my children. Keep them safe when they are with me and safe when they are without me. Put a hedge of protection around them to protect them from the evil one and his schemes. Keep them safe in every way, everywhere they are. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Their future

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

God, give my children wisdom and discernment as they grow and decide the path for their lives. Help them to seek and find your will and plan for them. Lord, renew and refresh their minds so they can be open to what you have for them. Open and close the right doors for them according to your will and plan. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Find prayer cards with these prayers for your children on Etsy

How to connect with God in the middle of raising a family

5 Ideas for busy Christian moms to connect with God

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Finding ways to connect with God can be challenging for anyone. But Christian moms in the thick of raising children can really struggle to find ways to connect spiritually with God. We are pulled in multiple directions at the same time, our thoughts are often interrupted and quiet time can be nearly nonexistent (especially for moms of littles!).

But finding ways to connect with God is important not only for our own spiritual walk but also for our spiritual leadership for our children. I want to demonstrate what a real-life relationship with God looks like to my kids. And I know the more in-tune I am with God, the better mom I am.

The struggle is certainly real, though. Being nearly 13 years into motherhood, I’ve had times where I felt more distant from God in the everyday pressures and busyness of raising children. I never got away from Him, but finding time to spend with Him has been difficult at times in my life.

Encouragement for moms of littles

When I had a toddler and baby and was getting almost no sleep at night, my brain could focus only on survival — and even that was iffy some days! During that phase of my life, I learned God knew exactly where I was and what my struggles were. Just because I was running low on time to read my Bible and pray for longer times, He knew right where I was. I was honoring and serving Him in taking care of the children He blessed me with.

Also during this time I was reminded of God’s grace. He knew my capacity and saw my struggle. I still remember a Sunday morning sermon from this time in my life. Well, I don’t remember the sermon itself. I got distracted by a verse that my pastor read from Isaiah.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)

Our Father knows how difficult it is for moms with littles. He gently leads us. I didn’t need to feel guilty; I could just rest in Him. If you’re in that phase of life right now, know God isn’t angry with you when you don’t have as much time to spend with Him as you once did. Through the years, you will learn new ways to connect with Him — and that’s OK! In fact, that’s what this post is all about.

1. Utilize alone time in the bathroom.

My kids are now both in school all day, and I still struggle with finding alone time! That’s in part because my husband and I work from home together, but I know I’m not alone in this challenge. The most consistent alone time I have is when I’m in the shower and getting ready for the day. So, I use that time to connect with God.

It sounds weird to talk about getting spiritual in the bathroom, but it works. Even before I had children, I found that praying in the shower works well for me because I have no distractions or interruptions. I am performing a sort of mindless task and can focus on God more easily; I still continue to do that.

I usually spend about 10 minutes drying my hair on low with a diffuser (the joys of curly hair!). So, that’s when I read my devotion book and Bible then pray over requests on my prayer list I maintain in a free app on my phone.

I don’t shower every morning. If I do my hair turns to cotton candy! Plus, I also shower at night sometimes. So on those mornings, I start praying while I’m brushing my teeth. That may sound a bit silly, but it works for me to associate prayer with part of my routine.

More recently I’ve started listening to sermons while I’m getting ready. It started during the season of Lent and has continued. My absolute favorite is Sarah Jakes Roberts. She preaches the Word in such a relatable way. My daughter first discovered her. I checked her out to make sure she was OK for my 12-year-old and found that I love her just as much. She encourages me in my spiritual walk and connecting with God.

2. Connect with God in the car.

Another great time time to connect with God is in the car. This is true especially if you get alone time in the car. I’m at a phase of motherhood where that happens more regularly now as I’m driving to pick up the kids from school and such. I have used this time to listen to Sarah Jakes Roberts’ sermons, but what I do mostly is listen to Christian music.

Music is powerful and connects me with God more easily than anything else. Listening to Christian music helps me to focus on Him and reminds me of His presence. I maintain a Families with Grace playlist on Spotify that I usually listen to in the car (and while I work). Christian radio also works. And I continue the music with my kiddos in the car as well.

If you do happen to find yourself alone in the car, it can also be a great time to talk with God (eyes open, of course!). I’ve done that before, but more often I use car time for praise and worship music.

3. Get up early (or stay up late).

When my kids were little and at home all the time, I’d get up early to have quiet time with God before the day started. This was past the earlier days I mentioned with a toddler, a baby and minimal sleep. Having 15 minutes to read my devotion book and Bible and pray got my day started off well. It was often my only quiet time in the day.

If you aren’t a morning person, consider doing this at night before bedtime if you can. If your kids still take naps, use part of naptime to connect with God. Find something that works for you and your schedule, even if it isn’t every single day. Connecting with God isn’t an all or nothing activity. Small ways you connect with Him add up and help you grow spiritually.

4. Utilize resources to get into the Word.

This is my 2022 devotion book that I’m really enjoying.

I’ve been in church my entire life and have heard more times than I can count the importance of regularly getting into God’s Word. I agree completely, but what I don’t often hear is what that looks like and how to make that happen.

Honestly, if I pick up my Bible and just start reading at random, I don’t always get a lot out of it. My mind can start wandering even as I’m going through the words. I can struggle to connect what I’m reading to my own life.

For that reason, I most enjoy using a devotion book along with my Bible reading. I’ve used a variety of them through the years and do a different once each year. My 2022 devotion book is “Not Without You” by Natasha D. Frazier. (It’s free on Kindle Unlimited!) Each entry is relatively short, but packs a punch. It includes a focus verse but also additional verses for reading.

No matter what devotion book you pick, make sure it is focused on the Bible and encourages you to read from the Bible regularly. I enjoy having my devotion book on my Kindle and use the Kindle app on my phone along with the YouVersion Bible app to read. I love it’s all portable, so if I end up getting behind or not having a chance to read during my usual time, I can read anywhere I am when I am able to.

5. Have a verse of the day.

Reading your Bible and delving into God’s Word is important to help you connect with God and grow in your spiritual walk. Along with that, I’ve found having a verse of the day is helpful. Right now, I’m using a flip calendar on my desk that a friend gave me. It’s all about walking by faith and each day has a Bible verse or encouraging spiritual statement. It’s simple and I really like it.

Scripture cards are also a great way to focus on a verse a day. You can put them in an envelope or attach them with a ring binder clip and rotate through them to keep yourself encouraged and focused on God’s Word each day.

Bible verses about faith and trust

10 Bible verses and 3 songs to encourage you on your faith journey

God and I go way back. Honestly, I can’t remember a time in my life without Him, and I’m so thankful for that. Though I’ve been a Christian for decades, I still have times of wavering faith and trust. I have never turned my back on God. However, in hard times I have wondered how much I could truly trust Him. I’ve questioned whether my faith was strong enough.

And each time, I learned that I can trust Him completely. I can ask God for help with strengthening my faith when it starts getting shaky. If I can turn my eyes to look at Him instead of looking around me, my faith and trust are made stronger.

Just like with any relationship, our relationship with God is a day-by-day thing. I don’t mean that as in we need to doubt our salvation, but I do mean that in the way we choose each day (and sometimes each moment) to live in line with God or not. It’s our choice to make Him a big part of our lives or keep Him tucked away in a small corner of our lives.

A couple of things help me most when my faith and trust in God get shaky: Bible verses and music. I’m encouraged to realized that God clearly knew we’d have moments of weakness and doubt. He knew that we’d struggle with faith and trust. So He packed His Word full of verses to encourage us on our faith journey. God knows our weaknesses as humans, and He loves us anyway. He gives us the tools we need along the way. It’s just up to us to utilize them.

Bible verses about faith and trust

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

I love this reminder of what just a teeny, tiny amount of faith can do! Have you seen a mustard seed? They are 0.1 inch in diameter! That’s tiny. Jesus is telling us here that even if our faith is small, it is still powerful. Can our faith be big? Of course! But even when it isn’t, it is still powerful.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

I struggle with confidence in myself. And sometimes that can influence the confidence I have in God. I can slip into a negative attitude like, “I know God can fix this, but I don’t think He will.” I don’t usually utter those words aloud, but God hears them in my heart. This verse, though, convicts my heart. Faith is being confident in the God we serve. I can’t be confident in myself and that I’ll always come out on top, but I can be confident God knows what He’s doing and will come out on top. I am assured and can be hopeful that no matter what life brings, God is there with me. What better description of faith is there?!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Faith and trust really do go hand-in-hand. If we have faith in God and Who He is, then we can trust He will always be with us. Not only does this verse remind us we can have faith and trust in God, but it also tells us God is a God of hope. Trusting in Him will bring us joy and peace. And, finally, it reminds us that the power of the Holy Spirit can fill our hearts to overflowing with hope.

“‘Go,’ said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.” – Mark 10:52 (NIV)

This is one example of many in the New Testament where Jesus heals someone based on their faith. They truly believe in Him and His power. He sees our hearts and knows our faith. Does this mean we will always get what we want? No. Does it mean we will always be healed on earth? Also, no. But it does mean that God sees you and will reward your faith. It also means our faith is about following Jesus. Instead of running off to live his life in a way he’d only previously imagined, the former blind man immediately followed Jesus. He knew where his blessing and healing had come from. We, too, know where our blessings come from and can put our faith in Him!

“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.” – Psalm 119:30 (NIV)

Faithfulness is a way of life we can choose. We choose faith even when our faith is shaken and wavering. Sometimes when we go through the acts of faithfulness, it grows our faith. I have had times when my heart just wasn’t into worshipping God. Yet, I found myself drawn along in worship with other believers and before I knew it, God blessed my heart and encouraged me. Living the life we know God has called us lead will draw us closer to Him, even when we are resistant or out of sorts.

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” – Romans 10:17 (NIV)

I’ve been going to church my entire life. I cannot begin to tell you ever sermon I’ve heard preached or Sunday School lesson I’ve sat through. But, they have all impacted me. They have served to grow and strengthen my faith. This verse plainly tells us that faith comes from hearing the message, which is the word of Christ. Keep on reading God’s Word, meeting with His people and listening to music that focuses on Him to keep your faith in tact.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” – Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

The peace in this verse is like that talked about in Philippians 4:7. It is God’s peace that is beyond our understanding. When we trust in God, no matter how dire the circumstance is, He can give us peace that doesn’t make any sense. He can bring us comfort and assurance through every moment.

“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” – Psalm 9:10 (NIV)

This is a good verse to remember for those times you feel like giving up. I love the reminder to trust in God and in HIs name because He has never left me. Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past helps me have faith and trust in Him even more in the present.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” – Psalms 56:3-4 (NIV)

My all-time favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 41:10, which reminds me that God is always with me and I don’t have to be afraid. These verses takes that even a step further. Not only can we trust in God when we’re afraid and have Him give us peace, but we can rest assured there is nothing of eternal consequence others can do to us. We sometimes need to hear the perspective that God is so much bigger than the hard times we go through.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Trusting in God looks like letting go of trying to make sense of things. If we are leaning on His understanding, then we are not leaning on our own. Faith and trust often don’t make a lot of logical sense. As we choose to follow God, we can decide He knows what He’s doing more than we can understand. Many times later on we are able to look back and see why He did things that didn’t makes sense at the time.

Faith and trust through music

When we are struggling with our faith and trust in God, remembering His past faithfulness is helpful. One lesson I have learned is God won’t ever leave me hanging. He has proven time and again that He’s right there with me every step of the way.

A couple of newer songs have recently really spoken this message to me. The first is “Yes He Can” by Cain. I love the message and reminder from this trio that God has always been there in the past and will be now.

Another song that speaks to my heart in so many ways is Bethel Music’s “Goodness of God.” It reminds us how God has always been faithful and so good. It’s one of my favorite songs!

Finally, Andrew Peterson has a song called “Faith to Be Strong” that has been out since 2000 and still inspires and uplifts me. I remember this song really touching my heart after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Sometimes more than anything, we just need to ask God for faith. Our Heavenly Father knows our faith and trust in Him can waver. He is ready to help us with both. It’s OK to be honest with Him about our feelings and ask for help!

Bible verses for when you feel like giving up

12 Bible verses to encourage and uplift you when you feel like giving up (With a free printable!)

One of the things I struggle most with is discouragement. Not only am I hard on myself, but I can easily get down on myself and start thinking that what I’m doing isn’t making a difference. I feel ready to give up on the task before me. Being completely honest, I’ve felt like giving up on this blog before. Every single time I start questioning whether I’m using my time wisely by pouring so much of myself into this, God reassures me that I am. Sometimes through music, sometimes through others, sometimes through a devotional and sometimes through His Word.

Turning to God and His Word is always the best place to start when you are feeling like giving up. But, I don’t always do that first. Through the years, I’ve learned to turn to Him sooner; however, it’s not always my first stop. I kind of like to wallow in self-pity a bit. So to help keep myself on track, I decided to look up some Bible verses for when you feel like giving up. I wanted to remind myself that God is for me, and He has a purpose for me. And so, I’m sharing those verses with you today.

Let them be a reminder to you (and to me!) that God is with us. He is for us and always has a plan for our good. His Holy Spirit will strengthen us each step of the way. If we are breathing, we have purpose. If the journey is difficult, we are growing. God is on the move, even when He feels far away.

Download a PDF with all 12 verses for free!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” — Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

What if you give up the day before God has a big move planned? How sad that would be! God’s timing is always right. Sometimes we just have to keep waiting and working until it is time for harvest. This verse reminds us that we will be blessed if we don’t give up.

“Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” — Hebrews 12:3 (NIV)

If anyone had reason to give up, it was Jesus. He was beaten and punished while being completely innocent. Jesus is the Son of God and perfect, but He was also fully human. I have to think He was tempted to give up at times in His ministry. But He didn’t. He endured and pressed on to complete His purpose so that we might be saved. Our goal is to be like Jesus, so let us continue on even when we feel like giving up.

“And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.” — 2 Thessalonians 3:13 (NIV)
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” — Psalm 28:7 (NIV)

I combined these two Bible verses for when you feel like giving up, because they go together. When I think about the command to not get tired of doing what is good, I know I can’t do that fully on my own. It’s less that I’m tempted to sin and more that I just plain get tired and weary. My burdens grow heavy and I get overwhelmed. But, verses like Psalm 28:7 remind me that I don’t have to do it on my own. God is with me. He is my strength and my shield. If I trust in Him, then He will help me. That is, indeed, something for which to praise Him!

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” — Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

This is my all-time favorite Bible verse. I’ve already shared it in six previous blog posts, in fact. But I have to share it again. When I feel like giving up, it isn’t necessarily that I’m afraid. So for this, I cling to the second sentence of this verse. God says He will make us stronger, help us and hold us up. I love to imagine myself snugly in the palm of God’s hand feeling strong, loved and protected. And when I do that, then I no longer feel like giving up.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 3:14 (NIV)

Who doesn’t like a prize? This Bible verse reminds us that if we continue working toward the goals and purposes that God has for our lives, then He will reward us. He is not some miserly boss who wants us to work hard for meager pay. Jesus told us He went to prepare a place for us in heaven. That is the greatest prize and reward we have to look forward to.

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 1:6b (NIV)

The tasks God has given you to do He has given you for a purpose. Those tasks may seem small, like day-to-day care for our families. Or they may seem big, like running a ministry. But no matter what, God began a good work in you. He won’t stop now. He will continue His good work in you until it’s complete and you are with Him completely. We don’t have to give up when we know that we aren’t walking alone on our journey.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Being strong and courageous is sometimes more than we can manage on our own. Our strength and courage falter and we want to throw in the proverbial towel. But, we can rest in knowing that God is always with us and will always be with us wherever we go. We don’t have to be afraid or discouraged, both of which are two good pals with giving up!

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” — Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV)

I couldn’t narrow this one down to just a single verse. This whole section is full of encouragement. When we feel like giving up, we are weary and weak. Those feeling don’t make us lesser than. In fact, even the youngest and strongest get weary and fall. But, trusting and hoping in the Lord will strengthen us. He replenishes our strength. And, here’s what I really love. In true God fashion, these verses promise not only that He will give us strength, but He’ll give us strength beyond what we ask for. We will be able to keep going and not get weary. In God, we can soar like eagles.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” — Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

Nobody feels like giving up when they are energetic and on top of the world. So, I had to include Matthew 11:28 with the Bible verses for when you feel like giving up. Maybe instead of giving up, what you really need is a break. Run to Jesus. He will catch you, hold you and give you the rest you need. Then you will be renewed to keep going.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” — Colossians 3:32 (NIV)

If I’m working on something just for myself, I am much more tempted to quit. But if I’m doing something for my husband or children, I’ll keep going even when it’s uncomfortable and exhausting. (Remember the days of having a newborn? Talk about exhaustion!) So if I think about how all the work of my hands is actually for God, then I am incredibly motivated to keep going. I want to give Him my very best since He has given me everything.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” — Hebrews 12:1-2a (NIV)

Who do you know or have you known that was a person of God? Someone who you knew was so in love with God that He radiated through them and all they did? Those people are examples for us. None of them were perfect. Not a one! But, we can still look to them for encouragement. I like to think of my grandparents and uncle hanging out in heaven and rooting for me to keep going on the journey God has for me. Regardless, I know that Jesus is rooting for each and every one of us:

Go, go, go! You can do this! You’ve got this! Here, take the Holy Spirit! He’ll help you! Keep going! I can’t wait until you get to the finish line and I can throw my arms around you! Go, go, go!

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God is good, even when life isn’t fair

A look at God’s goodness on difficult days

I first wrote this post about how God is good back in June of 2014 when my kiddos were toddler and preschool age. Remembering that God is good is always timely. Considering this post talks about them both being sick is even more timely for me right now since they are again both sick at the same time. Thankfully right now they are just dealing with head colds and don’t need nearly as much help at 9 and 12 as they did at 17 months and 4 years!

About two years ago my son came down with a virus. Considering the dude is 17 months old, I might be exaggerating. It was actually last Friday, but since my daughter has since come down with the same virus and it lasts about a week, time is passing a bit slowly for me right now.

The good news is that neither kid has been hit super hard with this virus, just enough to make them tired, a bit grumpy and clingy. It could be way worse. However, it’s also highly contagious. Somehow they shared their germs with my mom who hasn’t seen them in more than a week. Fortunately no one else has come down with it. We’re staying in and missing out on a good week of activities to keep our germs to ourselves. Maybe by this weekend we’ll be all clear of contagions. I can’t wait. Sick kids aren’t super fun, but being sick isn’t super fun, so I don’t blame them.

The exhausting everyday moments of parenthood

Last evening, though, my son was feeling better but still grumpy. He started getting back into things he hasn’t in weeks, like the dog’s water dish, over and over again. Then he was climbing on the table. He wanted to simultaneously be in my lap and on the floor. My daughter wanted to play. Her ideas were having me mimic her dance moves. I was tired. It had been a long day. It was the kind of day that lasted longer than my patience. I debated about loading everyone in the car in their pajamas just to go for a ride. I didn’t care where, I just needed to be out of the house and not have someone hanging off of me.

It was also raining. My husband had recently repaired a gutter and went outside to check on it. Lucky duck, I thought. At least he got to get out of the house. (My son might not have been the only grumpy one!) He came back in and said he had something neat to show our daughter. She slipped on shoes with her nightgown. I scooped up the baby and we went out, too. It was raining, but we have a covered patio. The “neat thing” my husband had to show off was an intricate spider web. My son couldn’t care less, I didn’t care much and my daughter thought it was pretty cool. However, we were out of the house! We sat on the patio, listening to the rain on the metal roof for a little while. It was the change of scenery that I think we all needed.

Finding joy in the simple things

Sometimes it’s the simple parts in life that make it so good. I wouldn’t say that this has been an overall great week. It hasn’t be horrible and could definitely have been worse, but it also could certainly have been better. My daughter is missing out on her first experience with Vacation Bible School thanks to being sick. She has literally been counting down the days for a month and was looking forward to having me be with her leading around the preschoolers. I was looking forward to her having fun and learning more about God. She is so very interested in God and Bible stories right now. She has a love for Him that makes my heart burst. I don’t want to quash that. I want to encourage and nurture that. And I thought VBS would be one way to do that.

However, God had different ideas. I’d be lying if I said I understood completely or knew what He was thinking. I don’t. In fact, I’ve cried about it this week a couple of times. I’ve prayed about it. As soon as my son got sick, I prayed that somehow my daughter and I wouldn’t so we could still go. I firmly believe God heard my prayer; He just said no. Sometimes “no” is a hard answer to hear. I think I’m more disappointed than my daughter is. But, I do know that always God has a plan. God is good and always in control. I can trust Him even when hardships — whether small or big — don’t make sense.

I’ve learned that lesson time and again, even when I doubt. I’ve learned that in living with a chronic illness when I’ve not understood reasons for suffering. And I’ve learned that when proverbial doors not only closed on me but slammed shut in my face and smashed some fingers in the process. God doesn’t always make sense.

In my humanity, I sometimes get mad about it. Sometimes my feelings get hurt. Sometimes I get so frustrated that in trying to do the right thing and making choices God has led me to make that I still can get punched in the face with a hardship. It’s not always fair. But, God never said life would be fair and therein lies the rub. Therein lies the difficulty.

God is good

However, I have learned that even when life doesn’t make sense, God does make sense. I have told my daughter time and again that she doesn’t always need to understand why my husband and I ask her to do something, she just needs to do it because we said so. (Trust me, the girl wants us to explain everything all the time and sometimes she just needs to trust us.) Just like I’d never lead my children astray, just like I have valid reasons for disciplining them when they do something wrong, so God does the same for me. At the end of the long, hard day — even through my hurt, frustration and tears — all I have left (all I really had to begin with) is to trust God and lean fully on Him.

I can look back now other major hardships in my life and see how God worked them for my good. I can look back at other hard times and still not understand them, but I trust that just like I look out for my children, He is looking out for me. My toddler and preschooler can’t understand as much as I do at age 35. I can’t understand as much as God does as the maker of the universe and creator of everything in it. I just have to trust in One Who loves me more than I can fathom.

And so even in small hardships like having temporarily sick kiddos who are missing out on things they were looking forward to, I can trust. I can know that God really does work all things to the good of those who love Him even when little things (and big things!) don’t make sense.

While I wouldn’t mind a bit of a break in the craziness of life this week, I am working to be thankful in all circumstances at all times. Because God is good all the time. He is ever faithful.