Be the Example: Guest Blog by Audria Torian

AudriapictureMy name is Audria Torian and I am a military spouse and mom to four rambunctious children, ranging in age from 14 to 2!  Although I am a stay-at-home mom, I rarely seem to stay at home.  I have had the privilege to watch my children grow and mature right before my very eyes .  Over the years, I feel as if God speaks to me most clearly through them.  Sometimes I have listened and sometimes I have stubbornly closed my ears!  Through them, I have received a glimpse of the depth of God’s love for me.

The past year or so, I have been looking at some of the things that we say as parents or have heard as children growing up.  Some of these things parents say in an effort to help their children but upon further inspection, they are really misguiding them.  You’ve heard some of them:  “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you!” or “Children should be seen and not heard!” and my personal favorite, “Don’t do as I do.  Do as I say!”  I’ve already taken a closer look at sticks and stones a while back.  Today I want to focus on “Don’t do as I do. Do as I say!”  What does God’s Word say about it?  What message do our kids get from it?

As Christians, we are called to a higher standard, to be examples to those we encounter.  We are walking testaments to the power of the Father in our lives.  What does our life say about us?  When we speak, do our words ring true because our lives back them up?  Or do our words ring hollow, falling on deaf ears because our actions have spoken more loudly?

Our children are our most receptive audience and are taking in everything we say and do.  To say to them to do as we say when our behaviors tell them something else is to simply waste our breath.  There have been times when I was sure that my kids were not paying attention to a conversation that I was having with someone else, only to find out days later that they had heard every word!  Amazing how they can’t hear me telling them to clean their rooms but can hear every word in a phone conversation!  So I’ve learned to be conscious of what I talk about and how I talk to others.  Titus 2:7 states “In everything set them an example by doing what is good and in your teaching show integrity, seriousness” (NIV).  Paul even encouraged Timothy to not let other, more seasoned people look down on him because of his age but to “set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity”.  One time I listened as my then nine-year old daughter spoke to her dad and was furious with the tone with which she spoke to him.  As soon as I was about to read her the riot act, I heard clearly in my spirit the question “Where do you think she got that from?”  Talk about getting stopped cold!  I had to apologize to her and to my husband because I knew that she had heard me speak to her father that way and thought that it was okay since I had done it.  We are called to be examples so that we don’t cause someone else to stumble and so that we can draw people to Christ!  Who should we walk more upright before than our children, those that God entrusted to us?

Jesus said that “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Our children are the fruit of our actions and behaviors!  What we have done or have not done helps to create their story, shaping their view of us and of God.  Would you want to serve a God who says it’s okay for your parents to curse because they are adults but not for you because you are a child?  We must be the example that guides them, leads them, strengthens them so that in times of tests and trials, they can withstand the fiery darts that the Enemy is bound to direct at them.  To do that, we have to be sure to stay deep in His Word, hiding it in our hearts.   But our children are not the only ones who learn from our example.  To those of us who have accepted Christ, there are children of the faith that look to us for guidance and direction.  We should be able to say “Do as I do AS I follow Christ!”

Audria Torian is a military wife married to Joseph Torian for 15 years and have 4 kids: JT (14), Autumn (10), Josiah (4) and Amaris (2). Being able to stay at home with her kids has been the greatest privilege and one of her greatest joys!  She attends Second Calvary Baptist Church in Norfolk, VA where she continues to study the Word of God and listens for His voice to lead her.

Torianfamily

Perfect Peace: Guest Blog by Susan Tuttle

Susan Tuttle is one of my favorite people. She is a fiction writer and seriously loves the Lord — you get that whenever you read something coming from her keyboard. Susan is one of my cyber critique partners. She blesses me with her spiritual gift of encouragement, and everything she says and does is filtered through an extremely kind heart. One of these days, we may actually get to meet in person and exchange PHYSICAL HUGS for the first time!

Susan attended the American Christian Fiction Writers’ conference for the first time this year, held in Dallas, Texas. For those of you who don’t write Christian fiction, this is the Holy Grail of conferences. It is a big deal! I asked for Susan’s perspective on she saw God working through this important event in her life.

Meet my sweet writer sister and friend, Susan!

 

So this year I went to the ACFW conference. I was a First Timer—got my little brown ribbon to add to my tag and everything. It was an amazing time, even for this introvert.

See, for many of us, going into a situation where there are seven hundred people who you don’t know, appointments with editors and agents, classes and meal times with open-seating…it’s all very intimidating. Yet I have to tell you, if God is calling you to jump out of your comfort zone, He will catch you.

For me that jump was the ACFW conference, and I took a verse with me: You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:3-5 And God fulfilled that verse in so many ways.

But first I had to do my part. That whole, “mind steadfast on Him” thing? That part was up to me. So I began each day in the prayer room. I reminded myself that I can do nothing apart from Him, but I can do ALL things THROUGH Him. That to everything there is a season. And that my steps are ordered by Him.

As a result, I entered each appointment with a blanket of peace. When I walked into the dining hall, it didn’t matter that it was a sea of unknown faces. I ***gasp***sat with people I didn’t know! In the hallways I said “hello” as I passed people. In the elevators I struck up conversations. And in every breath of every moment, God covered me with His peace.

He’d asked me to go and blessed my obedience.

And that’s the point I’ve finally gotten to. I desire obedience more than I fear the situation He’s called me into, because I know He will meet me in the middle of each calling and give me His perfect peace.

If you’re on the fence about something God is calling you to, jump. Just do it. He’s got huge arms and He loves you, no way He’s letting you fall.

And if it’s the ACFW conference, let me give you a little push: GO! The people who help make this conference happen bathe it in prayer. God’s presence is so strong, everyone is so kind, there is a wealth of information, and—as an added bonus—you can talk about imaginary people all you want without one person thinking you’re crazy!

 

Susan Tuttle is a homeschooling mom of three who is crazy about coffee, dark chocolate, and words—both reading and writing them. Combine that love of words with her passion for leading women to a life-changing encounter with Christ, and you’ll find her crafting Inspirational Contemporary Romance stories laced with humor, love, and healing transformations. When not cheering on her Ironman hubby Doug, chasing the family dog, or tackling complex math problems to teach her kids (yes, even the second-grader), you can catch Susan at her blog, Steps. http://stepsusan.blogspot.com/

 

A Challenge to Love: Guest Blog by Shelley Foushee

I Corinthians 13:4 says,  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

You’ve probably heard this verse in just about every wedding you’ve ever attended. It was definitely in my wedding. Hi, I’m Shelley Foushee and I just wanted to share how this verse really impacted my life.

Every year as my New Year’s resolution I challenge myself with doing something I’ve never done. Usually this is a physical challenge like learning to play golf, mowing grass with a tractor, running in a half-marathon, but in 2009 my challenge was to love as I am instructed in I Corinthians 13:4.

You would think that compared to some physical challenges this would be easy.

Loving as Jesus does includes every single person with whom we come in contact. You know: your kids, husband, extended family. Not to mention teachers, sales clerks, or the “friendemy” who puts you down at every turn.

As I went through the year I had some stumbling blocks thrown in my way and was tempted to cry “uncle.”

But as I focused on what God wanted me to do with others, I realized how thankful I am that God doesn’t give up on me. He never shakes His head in disappointment when I let Him down, or withdraws from me when I don’t act like He wants. I became much more conscious of my own shortcomings. With this awareness, it became easier to show compassion. Not to overreact when situations were out of my control. To show forgiveness without keeping a record of wrong-doings. To take joy in the smallest things.

It was like a beautiful sunshiney day, after it’s rained for a week! God worked on my heart in a way that changed me. God is good every day. I just needed to take the time to notice.

Here’s my challenge to you. Try loving everyone everyday like Christ loves you. I promise you will be the one who is the most blessed.

My name is Shelley Foushee. I’ve been married for 16 years to Wes. We have two Awesome Children — Jessee (14 years) and Faith (12 years). I accepted Christ when I was 7 years old but I spend everyday of my life searching to know Him better.