Submitted by Sherry Shepherd on Fri, 04/05/2019 - 00:00
I have a confession. Sometimes, I pray ugly prayers. You know those type of prayers that just lay every emotion out before the Lord? They aren’t pretty. They aren’t eloquent. They are certainly not focused on God’s attributes. They are focused on me and my need. They are real and ugly. I admit that more times than not, I pray these types of prayers.
I don’t know your situation, but I have days that are difficult. I have pain that doesn’t let up. I have problems that seem to never resolve. I have emotional tears in my heart that feel as real today as they did when they happened. I have dreams and desires that go unrealized.Why?
Because I am human and as said human, I am always falling short.
Submitted by Suzi Ciliberti on Mon, 04/01/2019 - 12:16
I'm a parent of two beautiful young ladies. My oldest is studying to be a family counselor. My youngest is an RN, working in administration, overseeing the functions of an entire department of a hospital.
I am very proud of them and their achievements. I love who they are as sweet caring people and I admire the way they have worked hard to get ahead in life. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
Desiring to raise our girls in a Christian home, we taught them that God’s Word says for children to obey their parents. We had consequences when they didn’t. Obedience seemed easier for our oldest. Our younger wasn’t mean, vindictive, or overly devious in her actions, but she was openly rebellious when it came to following rules.
Submitted by Sherry Shepherd on Fri, 03/08/2019 - 00:00
Have you ever thought as you were starting your day that you just felt tired of the daily grind? Maybe you just don’t feel like doing anything. Your mind aimlessly wonders, and you can’t concentrate. You are tired of letting out the dogs, doing the dishes, washing the clothes, helping the kids with homework, driving to work. Maybe you wonder what the point is. Even if you do all the chores, work, and errands of today, tomorrow, there will be new ones. Right?
You just want to escape to an island, plant your toes in the sand and listen to the waves crash against the beach... and do … absolutely nothing. Burnout strikes us all. At one point or another, each of us experiences periods in life that feel like either nothing is happening, or life is boring, or the same ole’ issues, problems, challenges or obstacles are weighing us down.
Submitted by Suzi Ciliberti on Mon, 03/04/2019 - 16:12
Every family has a legacy. What we do in this life will mark the lives we touch. How well we live will influence how well we die. May God help us all to learn that the legacies that we are left and that we leave are not the monies or the things that are left behind but the memories, the love, and the lessons that are left within.
Submitted by Susan Greenwood on Thu, 02/28/2019 - 10:03
When I was eight-ish years old, a neighbor friend and I gathered a bunch of rocks, painted them, and sold them door to door for a quarter. We did surprisingly well...well enough to buy some candy from Pauley’s Grocery Store.
I don’t know why I love rocks. I don’t know their appeal. I just know that when I see one with unique characteristics and hidden qualities, I have to pick it up.
Submitted by Sherry Shepherd on Fri, 02/22/2019 - 00:00
You know those nights when you are sound asleep and one of your children yells for you? Startled you jump out of bed and go running towards the noise. Because that’s what moms do. You don’t think and you don’t question. You just go. I can think of a lot of incidents like that. However, one stands out to me—partly now because we can look back on it and laugh.
Submitted by SeanaScott on Tue, 02/05/2019 - 00:00
A winter storm whirled through our neighborhood toward the beginning of Fall. Ice hardened leaves into bowls, and snow filled them. Fresh powder blanketed our lawn. I pushed back my living room curtains for a wider view and heard a loud cracking sound. Then a thud.
The early arrival of snow placed too much weight on branches full of leaves, causing them to fall—some on power lines. So, we lived by the heat of our fireplace for a day while work crews fixed the connections.
Our power outage taught me that the flow of a season is important. Every season has a purpose and prepares creation for the pressures of the next season.
Just like maple trees, we too live our best when we embrace the season we are in without rushing to carry the weight of the next season.
Submitted by Suzi Ciliberti on Mon, 02/04/2019 - 13:58
This past Sunday, I heard the best sermon I have ever heard on the importance of placing our faith in the character of God. If you would like to hear the sermon, go to http://www.hillsdalebiblechurch.org/sermons . (You might want to wait a few days since it may not be posted yet; he just preached it yesterday.)
After meditating on it I came to realize what a game changer it can be in our lives and in the lives of our children. We need to quit asking the questions the world asks and start asking the questions of life in a more Biblical way.
Submitted by Sherry Shepherd on Fri, 02/01/2019 - 00:00
I miss being young and naïve. Thinking and imagining what life would be like when I “grew up.” I miss that young self-centeredness that makes you feel invincible—like you could change the world. I miss that excitement for life and the belief that lasting love was going to be my story as it was my parents and grandparents. The belief that forever means forever for everyone and that honesty, trust and goodness are traits in everyone. I miss not knowing what I know now and what I didn’t know then. I miss believing that love is out there for me and that sweetness of youth that allows one to believe that all things are possible. I miss when I thought that I was smarter, wiser and more gifted than my parents. I miss those days of coming home after school to music playing and my mom cooking in the kitchen and her being able to remember everything I said. I miss the easy days of friends and church and instant companionship. I miss planning how life was going to turn out and thinking that if I just stuck to the plan, ...well that the plan would work out.
Submitted by Suzi Ciliberti on Mon, 01/21/2019 - 09:04
Waiting is the hardest thing I am ever asked to do. If I am waiting for something good, then it is difficult because I am so excited and can hardly wait for the party or the present or the event to happen. If I am waiting for something bad it seems even harder. I don’t want it. Yet, I know it is coming so I just want it to happen already. How good are you at waiting?
Submitted by Susan Greenwood on Thu, 01/17/2019 - 10:18
One of my favorite Bible lessons I did with our church teens a few years ago involved Pictionary.
I gave them random Biblical stories to draw, which became quite comical. Most of them were pretty easy; but, it was all part of getting them to the final image. For the finale’ we had a draw-off and told them to draw, “God.”
Submitted by Sarah Bowler on Mon, 01/14/2019 - 22:11
In my ninth-grade P.E. class, we wrote down positive attributes for each of our classmates. My teacher assigned two of us—me and one other student—to compile the responses. Combing through the answers, I was surprised to find some people described as “shy.” I chose to leave it off.
I am an introvert, but I hate the word shy. Honestly, I am not even sure I like the way “quiet” is often used. Both tend to have pejorative meanings in American society. Our culture tends to worship the extroverted ideal, doesn’t it?
Submitted by Sherry Shepherd on Fri, 01/11/2019 - 00:00
As I got home from work last night, I happened to notice that many of the surrounding apartments still had their Christmas lights lit. Around the complex, balconies shone and flashed with various colors and types of lights.
Submitted by Suzi Ciliberti on Mon, 01/07/2019 - 13:01
Have you set some New Year Resolutions? How long will you persevere before giving up and returning to the old habits? If you are like me, you have a life time of unfulfilled resolutions and only a few that you actually accomplished. I think often that life is a journey. And when you set out on a journey the one thing that you know for sure is that there will be a period of waiting. There is no, “Beam me up Scotty!” We are all slowly traveling toward our Heavenly destination. And no matter how impatient we are to get there. Even as we progress toward our destination we have a waiting that happens before we finally get there.
Submitted by Susan Greenwood on Thu, 01/03/2019 - 00:00
As a mom and former children’s ministry director, I know the joy of seeing kids excited about Jesus. I’ve also been at it long enough to know the heartbreak of seeing former students walk away entirely as they got older.
Mark Batterson, a mega church pastor in DC, said this in his book, All In, “My greatest concern as a pastor is that people can go to church every week of their lives and never go all in with Jesus Christ. They can follow the rules but never follow Christ. I’m afraid we’ve cheapened the gospel by allowing people to buy in without selling out.” (p. 20)
I think this is especially dangerous for children.
Heartprints features a panel of Christian leaders who recognize the significance of teaching children the truth of God’s word. Our goal is to come alongside Children’s Ministry Leaders, workers and their families to aid and encourage them in their faith journey with God’s children as they “tell the next generation about the LORD’s praiseworthy acts, about his strength and the amazing things he has done (Psalm 78:4).”