I love August. This month usually breezes past us, which is good since those fluttering calendar pages are about the only breeze many of us get. But along with the warm temperatures, August also gives us a glimpse of the fall.

summer grasses and sky

I can hear the marching band practicing at the local high school. The evenings turn cooler. The mountains here in Virginia are lush and green and the weedy undergrowth is fading into fall colors. I enjoy these simple pleasures, and then my mind wanders.

Autumn deadlines, family responsibilities, travel schedules, busy college football weekends, etc.

Like clouds before a summer thunderstorm, these concerns accumulate and darken my mind. Before long I’m fretting and dreading, longing for the beginning of summer when my schedule was lighter. Then I’m grumbling and complaining, and forgetting an important lesson from the Apostle Paul.

phil 4-11

He learned to be content—trained his mind to come back to a state of peacefulness—because it didn’t come naturally to him. And it doesn’t come naturally to us, especially with our frantic schedules and so many troubling world events.

As we say goodbye to the long, lazy days of August and we prepare for hectic schedules and new routines, let’s remember these three tips for weathering the end-of-summer blues.

Spot the storm clouds of discontent

We may not always see them coming, but we sure know when they settle over us. For me, it begins with my mind racing with more “to-do’s” than I can keep up with. Before long I’m forgetting things, snapping at people, feeling overwhelmed, etc.

When I feel my stress level rising, I give myself a quick time-out and

Rain down concerns to the Lord

I confess the stress I’m feeling and tell Him how life is overwhelming me right now. I then grab a notepad and begin writing down the things I need to do. The simple act of making a list somehow frees my brain from having to keep up with so many tasks. Because I’m a visual person, seeing a list of tasks makes them seem less ominous.

Then I pray, mentally releasing my to-do list and lifting up those who are suffering. I acknowledge that I need His guidance and His strength to make it through the day, and I

Let His promises shine on the situation

I remember promises from His Word that remind me that He’s the One who’s ultimately in control (Prov 19:21), that He will never leave me (Heb 13:5b), and that I can do all things through Him (Phil 4:13).

Speaking these promises aloud is not only a confession of my faith, but also an encouragement to my soul. So instead of grumbling and complaining, I speak words that bring life and perspective. Words that shine His light and bring a refreshing breeze of His Spirit.

Email Author    |    Website About Susan Stilwell

Susan Stilwell is a wife to Steve, mom to Scott and Sarah. After that, she writes, teaches, blogs and speaks. If you want to see her get really excited, ask her about her travels to Israel! One of Susan’s favorite things to do is to chat over coffee. And don’t forget your smartphone and laptop — this former programmer is full of helpful hints! You can connect with Susan on her websiteTwitter, or Facebook.

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When Martha Learns to be Mary

Sometimes it’s hard to keep my mouth shut.

My brain is always working, spewing out thoughts and feelings. When my brain isn’t in conversational overdrive, activity is the name of the game. Doing and productivity push me to want to conquer my never-ending tasks.

Sometimes the better thing is to be still. The better thing is to listen rather than jibber on. The better thing is to step away from the pressure of my day and enter in to sacred secrecy with God.

Jesus said to a frantic and frazzled Martha–the one I know–the one trying to get it all done and get it all right:

… you are worried and upset over all these details!

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Go Your Way Til The End

Oh friends … tell me I am not alone today.

I struggle so much with my purpose here.  With why I do what I do all day long … elbow deep in diapers and dishwater, I am overwhelmed.

And then-I read things like this.

Daniel 12:13.

 As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.

The knowledge of, the security of where we are headed should utterly transform how we live while we are waiting.

How do we “go our way?”

Every thought, breath, word, and deed … every dirty dish, massive laundry load, floor mopping, toddler wrestling match, slow count to ten before I engage, should be tempered by the truth of the gospel.

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Pure and Wholesome Music and Educational Videos for your Baby or Toddler

Thumbnail image for Pure and Wholesome Music and Educational Videos for your Baby or Toddler

Susan, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom, here to let you moms with babies or toddlers know about an app that offers pure, wholesome music and educational videos. This post is sponsored… which as you may know is extremely rare here on 5 Minutes for Faith.

wholesome music app for your baby

Baby’s Brilliant is an app designed specifically to soothe and engage babies and toddlers with musical and educational videos. Unlike sites like YouTube which contain inappropriate videos and are loaded with ads, Baby’s Brilliant only includes pure and wholesome content.

They have specifically selected and recorded many religious songs for parents to share with their little ones.

For parents with multiple children of various ages, this app can help engage your baby or toddler for a little while during your busy dinner preparation time or when you’re focused on helping with homework.

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How to Pursue Peace

In the post “Pursuing Peace” we talked about how the peace of God within us requires that we take action. We also discussed that true peace from God is not just a state of mind or a demeanor, but it is also an example we live out that will draw others to Him. So, that being the case…

How can we pursue peace? What actions can we take in our everyday lives in pursuit of peace?

Peace 1

1. Do your part. This means not getting even, controlling anger and not reacting. It also means choosing relationship over being right.

Peace 2

2.

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Giving Thanks to The Giver

grateful

I am usually not good at reading the Old Testament. I guess it intimidates me more than anything. Seeing God’s wrath is intimidating but it is also important to learn about. It’s a characteristic of our God because He is just. His justice points back to the cross and all He is given to us in Jesus Christ, God’s precious son, sacrificing himself for our sins.

Seeking my desire to know and grow closer to God, in a way that wasn’t as comfortable,  led me to start reading 1 Samuel.

In 1 Samuel Chapter 2, I marveled at Hannah’s wonderful prayer of thanksgiving to God.

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Star-Gazer

Star Catcher MJG

 

Pulling back the curtain that night I answered the moons call. Captivated by the darkness before midnight, it’s star lit magnificence, I stood in silence. The moon is magical and I imagine the God cord of my heart pulling, drawing me to pay attention.

In all my days doing sometimes, it’s hard to hear. The typical sounds of a life at home with children can drown out any thoughts I have of finding time to just be with God. Whether it’s water running in the kitchen sink or a squabble between my tweens brewing in the next room, my focus rarely remains inward…in that space I like to be, to hear from God.

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Formula for Success

photo 3(51)

In the early years of marriage when the care of babies and young children kept me busy and often tired, I struggled to maintain a consistent daily schedule to read my Bible and spend time with the Lord in quiet conversation and prayer. I heard many, many messages and multiple formulas on the subject and was attempting to read my Bible through in a year, but was regularly falling behind and constantly experiencing guilt and discouragement.

Until I heard a lady in my Sunday school class share that she had just completed reading her entire Bible from cover to cover. She had five children and two were under the age of two, and she joyfully exclaimed, “It took me two whole years, but I read every word – cover to cover!”

Her praise report became a tremendous blessing in my life.

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