My Top Five Books When I Need Encouragement

Let's face it; life is difficult. I have been told that one of my gifts is the gift of encouragement. But, sometimes I find myself giving it; however, not often receiving it. So, what's a girl like me to do when I face difficult life struggles? Whether they be financial, parental, marital, educational, or relational, five books have become my go-to resources for encouragement.

Here we go...

1.

When going through the issues of life, it can be so easy to make a phone call to a friend or run to the bookshelf to find the answers to our problems or even to make us feel better. But, we often miss or skip past the most important book on the shelf--the Bible. This is my #1 go to when I am down or discouraged. The Bible is literally a book full of problems and solutions. With the biggest problem being that God is holy and we're not. We are sinners separated from a holy God. The good news is God provides a solution through His Son, Jesus the Christ for those that believe and put their trust in Him through repentance and faith.

The Bible is all sufficient, inerrant, and trustworthy to turn you from your 'stinkin thinkin' and refocus your mind and heart from self toward Christ. My soul always feels revived, refreshed, and refocused to fight the good fight of faith after bathing myself in the scriptures.

Unfortunately today, all Bibles are not created equal. So you must be careful when selecting one to study, memorize, and meditate on. I personally like bibles that have no study notes, titles, or subtitles because it forces me to do the work. I am able to dig deeper and have an inductive study every time I read God's Word. However, for those days that I don't have time to study on my own I love the John MacArthur Study Bible. The hard work is already done and I can sit back and reap the benefits of a great Bible teacher. However, I always remind people to remember the study notes are not inspired. Only the Word of God is. So make sure you still do your due diligence as a Christian to study the Word of God on your own as a Berean (Acts 17:11).

 

 

2.

The second book I often turn to is Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges. This book has been a lifesaver in my darkest of days. Times that I just don't understand what God is doing or even why or how long. The author goes into personal stories of his pain and heartbreak. He then exhorts the reader on how God uses these very pain points to draw us near to Him. While I may not personally understand my trials, I can trust the Lord to know that He's God and I'm not. That's good enough for me :)

 

 

3.

A book that I have fallen in love with is by Ruth Chou Simons titled Gracelaced. It has been a balm for this weary soul many of days. It is cleverly designed to reflect on the seasons of our heart: Winter - Resting in God's Character, Spring - Rehearsing the Truth, Summer - Responding in Faith, Fall - Remembering God's Provisions.

I have read most seasons with tears as Ruth is such a gifted author and artist who brings the beauty of our pain together with God's Word along with a gorgeous painted piece of artwork for our enjoyment. This combination can't help but to uplift the soul and look toward God through our suffering.

One of my favorite quotes from this book is, "And if not He is still good". Not to mention that the book also doubles as a guided devotional. She prompts you to dig deeper and answer thought-provoking and soul-searching questions. I have gifted this book to many hurting women.

 

 

4.

My next book is a precious gem that was gifted to me by a dear friend during one of the most difficult trials of my life. The book is called Contentment by Lydia Brownback. It is labeled as an on-the-go devotional. I really enjoy small reads like this as a busy mom. They are quick, easy, and cut straight to the heart. Most importantly, Lydia points out how we can find real contentment in whatever situation the Lord places us in. She also shows how every situation isn't just happenstance, but sovereignly designed by our Creator. This book helped me to find pure joy and contentment in the midst of my trials.

Enjoy this brief quote from the book, "Contentment in the valleys comes when we stop fighting so hard to climb out. God is the one who leads us into the valleys, and he will lead us back out in His time."

 

 

5.

Since a lot of my struggles can come from striving to be a godly wife and mother, an excellent book that addresses these challenges is by Kimm Crandall titled, Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood. The foreward is by Elyse Fitzpatrick and was published by Tim Challies' publishing company, Cruciform Press.

Kimm hits dead on a lot of our struggles as moms, from comparing ourselves to others, meeting false expectations from ourselves or others, and how we think our performance dictates our worth. She challenges us to look to the gospel. I can't hear that enough as a mom aiming to please the Lord, but who falls short every day.

 

 

As an author, I love to write, but I like to read even more. I tend to grab a good book and curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee when I need a little pick me up. What about you? What do you do when you're down in the dumps. What are some of your favorite books?

If you are still looking for other great books about encouragement, then check out my newest book Goodbye Workplace. Hello Family! It will give you the motivation to stay the course as an at-home-mom or encourage, equip, and enlighten you to leave to the workplace if you're a working mom. Click here to get it now!

 

 

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For His Glory,

~Tia

Are You a Mean Mommy?

This past Sunday I was accused of being a mean mommy…

Our pastor was expositing the book of Titus on Sunday night. Specifically, Titus 2:4, “That [the older women] admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.” Our 6-year old son turned to me and said, “You need to learn that.” I said, “Learn what?” He said, “How to love your children.” In utter shock and disbelief, I asked him why he didn’t believe I loved him. He said, “Because, you’re a mean mommy to me and Mercy.” When we got home I asked our son to please define his terms of what he thought a mean mommy was. He said, “You’re mean because, you make me clean my room, you discipline me, and you tell me no when I want a snack.”

Both, elated and saddened at his false perception of love.

I explained to him, “I must teach you responsibility in order to bring you up to maturity. I can’t allow you to be lazy and not clean up after yourself. That is why you must clean your room” (Prov. 6:6).

I informed him of the biblical necessity of godly discipline and how not disciplining is actually a form of hatred. I stated, “Therefore, I must discipline you if I truly love you and believe God’s Word (Proverbs 25:17, Hebrews 12:5-11).

Lastly, I advised him that when I tell him no for snacks, I am teaching him self-control (Proverbs 25:8). He must learn self-control and how to say no to himself and accept no from others.

I explained to him what loving your children really means and my role and responsibility as a godly mother.

This teaching moment was a sobering reminder of how easily our children can become victims of the world and its ideologies instead of victors of the Word of God.

The world says you’re a bad, unloving parent if you tell your child(ren) no, enforce rules and responsibilities, and dare to discipline.

God’s Word says we must teach our children self-control, responsibility, and wisdom. Without it, our children will grow up and be out of control, irresponsible, and foolish.

Hmmm . . . looks a lot like what we see all around us in our culture today. As Christians, let us be counter-cultural and raise our children according to God’s Word and shine light on a dark and dying world.  

Let us be more concerned about pleasing God over our children or the world. Your children may still be too young or immature to truly understand your wisdom in raising them to become godly offspring. One thing I can most certainly attest to is that one day our children will rise up and call us blessed (Proverbs 31:28). I have been a blessed recipient of this blessing from both of my two older children. The key is that we only need to be faithful and trust God and His instructions no matter how it feels or what it looks like in the moment.

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” - 2 Corinthians 4:18

What about you? Are you a “mean mommy” or were you raised by one?

For His Glory!

~Tia

Walking Away From it All

Young woman walking away alone on a forest path

"Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ"  

Philippians 3:8 

On May 13, 2011, I walked away from my career, high salary, and lavish lifestyle. Each year I try to reflect on the goodness of God and what I would have missed had I still been working outside the home. However, when I really sit and think about it, I realize that I didn't walk away from it all on that day. I walked away from it all fifteen years ago when I left my husband and children on the altar to pursue my desires and dreams. 

The key word I want to emphasize here is "all". So, what does "all" mean anyway? Well, it depends on your worldview. To the world, "all" could mean big houses, nice cars, big salaries, yachts, luxury travel, fine jewelry, etc. To the Christian, "all" might look a little different (or at least it should). For the Christian, "all" could mean the Lord, our spouse, children, dad and mom, siblings, church family, and of course our bibles. Do you see how completely different these two views are? One view is based completely on the material and the other view is based on relationships and the spiritual. 

Once upon a time, my worldview was completely skewed, and I too had a love for the material things of this world and was willing to sacrifice anything to obtain them. But, after the Lord removed the scales from my eyes, I could clearly see that I had it all wrong. My "all" was right before me. My "all" was the Lord, my husband, children, family, and friends. These relationships were completely out of order and suffered as a result of my selfishness and blindness. 

You may not necessarily have a desire for a lavish lifestyle, but instead have a desire to work outside of the home for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons may include: adult interaction, finances, validation of using your degree, etc. Keep my word choice in mind as I said "have a desire to work outside of the home". There are those who must work outside the home; however, their desire is to be at home. Then there are those who work outside the home and lack the desire to be at home. As I've stated before, I personally have friends in both positions. Therefore, my aim is not to judge or tear down, but to build up and edify those who are in both predicaments.  

Let's start with the adult interaction concern. Moms have told me they are concerned about not having any adult interaction if they come home. There are a plethora of co-ops and "mommy groups" that we can get involved in for play dates and such. We just need to seek them out. There may also be some moms from church, or our neighborhood that we can interact with. I have found that talking with other moms from the neighborhood is an excellent evangelism opportunity as well. 

I can personally relate to and understand the lack of financial resources being a concern when thinking about coming home. It is no easy feat; but with prayer, commitment and sacrifice staying home is possible. Matthew 6:25-33, reminds us not to be worried about the things we will eat, drink or our clothing. But instead, we are commanded to seek first the kingdom of God and He will add all those things to us. We tend to fret and worry, forgetting that we are to seek Him regarding our financial concerns. I have story after story of how God delivered our family from financial setbacks, hospital bills, and loss of income. While, I could easily go back to work full-time to solve any financial problems, it is so rewarding to see the personal hand of God work in our lives as He provides. It's a real faith builder. 

Lastly, I have talked to a lot of moms who felt like they would be wasting their degree(s) if they came home. I personally don't believe that God wastes anything. God has a strange way of using our former education and experience in the workplace to help us in the home. For instance, I have a friend who was a nurse before coming home and now she is able to care for her children with the utmost compassion and treat them medically if the need should arise (I find myself calling her often for advice for my kiddos too). I also have multiple friends who were teachers before coming home and they have been blessed to teach their children at home so patiently and with confidence. 

For myself, I went to school for business and used to be in management, so the Lord has allowed me to use my former education and training in keeping my home well managed. In the end the Apostle Paul says it so well, "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8). Even if we have degrees we can't use, sometimes we have to count it as a loss. Having our children gain Christ is the highest degree we can obtain. 

Let us remember why we do what we do. We are not just having children to raise them and send them off in marriage so they can live happily ever after. God allows us to have children so we can raise up godly offspring (Malachi 2:15). Our job here on earth is to make disciples. For us mamas, the best mission field we have is right in our homes discipling our children. Ted Tripp says, “Recognizing that God has called you to function as his agent defines your task as a parent. Our culture has reduced parenting to providing care. Parents often see the task in these narrow terms. The child must have food, clothes, a bed, and some quality time. In sharp contrast to such a weak view, God has called you to a more profound task than being only a care-provider. You shepherd your child in God's behalf. The task God has given you is not one that can be conveniently scheduled. It is a pervasive task. Training and shepherding are going on whenever you are with your children. Whether waking, walking, talking or resting, you must be involved in helping your child to understand life, himself, and his needs from a biblical perspective (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).” 

As I reflect back to May 13, 2011, I didn't leave "all" that day.  I actually "came home to all"! What about you, will you join me? 

For His Glory!

~Tia

A New Beginning

New beginning

How exciting as we begin a new chapter in our lives with the launch of Goodbyeworkplace.com! We are hopeful this website and resources will prove to be a blessing to you and your family.

It was three years ago when I initially started blogging. I immediately fell in love with the women the Lord placed in my path through that particular medium. It proved to be a helpful method to spread inspiration and hope. Today, we pray we can continue that goal; but not just with my voice, but the voice of many moms who have paved the way before you.

We will share our stories, struggles, and strategies with you as we began our journey to come home. Our prayer is that you will be inspired and hopeful to do the same. 

If you are interested in being a contributor, please contact me at tia@goodbyeworkplace.com for more information. 

May we strive to know God and make Him known!

Many Blessings,

~Tia