Two new spiritual favorites

The last couple of years, I’ve shared some of my favorite things with you guys on here.  I’ve shared favorite products, favorite foods, favorite recipes and all sorts of things.  Today I share perhaps some of the most important favorites that I’ve come across lately: some new-to-me items that have helped me in my faith walk.

The first is a devotion book for moms, especially moms of little ones.  I’ve been looking for something like this for a while.  I knew that I needed encouragement.  I know that my devotion time and prayer time are vital to not only my relationship with God but also to my fulfilling my role as a Godly mother.  I am a better mother when I am in sync with God.  I had been using a general devotion book from my church, but it just wasn’t encouraging my mother’s heart.  I did a bit of research before Christmas and found two devotion books that piqued my interest.  My husband bought both of them for my Kindle (another relatively recent favorite item!).  One was just not that great.  While its message was OK, its writing was so poor that I just couldn’t get past it.  I struggle with that as a writer.

Image from http://jenhatmaker.com/books.htm

The other one, though, was incredibly encouraging, challenging, well-written and helpful (how’s that for a slew of adjectives?!).  Jen Hatmaker’s “Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to Lighten Your Mother Load” has been a blessing to me.  I enjoyed it so much that some days I read two entries and I’ve actually started back through it a second time and am finding it just as much a blessing and encouragement.  It avoids being too preachy and is just real about motherhood and God.  It challenges me as a mom and a Christian while not making me feel like a heel for sometimes getting so frustrated and overwhelmed with motherhood.  The other positive is that each entry is relatively short.  I’d say they take no more than five minutes to read which then leaves me time to talk to God.  Reading much more than that, and I’d have to set my alarm clock even earlier to get my quiet time in before the troops are up and at them.  Trust me, even for a morning person like I am, it’s hard to get up any earlier than I do.

I like Hatmaker’s slightly sarcastic, honest accounts of motherhood.  She’s honest and real while still being encouraging.  She has a very down-to-earth writing style that is clear, concise and easy to follow.  I’d highly recommend it, which is why I decided it’s about time for me to blog about it.  I will tell you that even going through it a second time, I still getting just as much out of it as I did before.  Check it out!

The second spiritual item to share is a free one.  (Doesn’t get much better than free!)  I’ve also been looking for a series of family devotionals.  My 4-year-old is incredibly in to Bible stories.  And she’s a smart, intuitive girl who really wants to learn more about God and Who He is.  I love that!  Of course I want to encourage that.  Since we’ve been struggling to get to church lately thanks to sicknesses and crazy bad weather, I wanted to find more than just her children’s Bible that we read.  I came across Families Alive online and have been very impressed with its free resources.

In order to access the resources, you do have to register with the site and give them your e-mail address, but I’ve had no issues with spam as a result.  It’s more than worth the registration, I think.  The lessons are divided up into different categories with multiple chapters.  There is an online “book” story for each week that you can either read aloud or have the site read to you.  I use our Chromecast to put it on the TV and then read it.  Each lesson also has all kinds of great downloads.  There are activities to do as an introduction to the lesson, follow-up questions for various ages (including preK, which is great for us), follow-up activities and worksheets by age.  So far my daughter has loved everything we’ve done and my husband and I have enjoyed them, too.  I’d say they take us around 20 minutes total with all the activities.  If you’re interested in finding some great Biblical educational resources, check this out.  It really is good stuff!

I’m always looking for more ways to encourage my spirit and that of my family.  What are some of your favorites that I should try?

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