Things I’ve Gained Through Quarantine

Here we are. Again.

Eight months into this pandemic, and we are back on temporary lockdown. Can’t go here, can’t do this, you can do this but with these restrictions, etc, etc, etc. In some ways, 2020 has felt like one big “NO.” It is insane to me how the span of eight months can feel like an eternity. But if we are thinking in terms of actual eternity, eight months is merely the blink of an eye, an almost invisible blip on the radar. 

It goes without saying that, for almost everyone, this has been a year of loss. Some have experienced significant loss: the death of a loved one(s), job loss, financial hardship, marital strife or even divorce, or the loss of absolutely every earthly possession they own in the wildfires that ravaged our region. Many others have taken on incredible amounts of stress as they work the front lines of this pandemic (shout out to ALL healthcare workers, law enforcement, firefighters…you’re the real heroes), or try to navigate the challenges of working from home while also trying to homeschool their children (for anyone in this position, you da real MVPs). And almost everyone has taken on the burden of navigating the loss of relationships, connection with others, and the feeling of isolation that comes with having our everyday lives come to a screeching halt.

It can be easy to toss around Scripture during times of stress, loss, and grief. The Scripture below is no exception, but it truly is one of my favorites in the Bible:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am humble and gentle in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)

Stop for just a second. Read that again. What blows my mind is that Jesus desires to trade our heavy burdens for his light one. That He wants to exchange our trash for his treasure…if we would just come to Him. He promises rest. I don’t know about you, but I could sure use a healthy dose of that after this year.

Because of all this, it’s a little comical that I felt like the Lord was prompting me to write this post about things I’ve gained in quarantine. It is so easy for us all to revert to all the things we’ve lost this year…but what about the things we’ve gained? When I look back on 2020, am I going to remember all the hardships and inconveniences? Probably, yes. But even more so, I want it to be burned into my memory the things the Lord has revealed to me this year, both about Himself and about myself. I want to focus on the steps forward that I’ve made and view this year as pivotal in my walk with the Lord, not as a year to be forgotten or written off.

 

Gain #1: Perspective
  • Social media has taken the world by storm, even prior to COVID-19 and even more so after. While it can be used as an incredibly powerful tool to keep us connected to our family, friends and communities, ask yourself: is it draining you? Are you constantly comparing your life to others or dealing with discontentment based on the squares of other people’s so-called “life”? Are you going down rabbit trails and finding yourself wracked with anxiety? Fasting doesn’t necessarily mean abstaining from food and drink. Maybe it’s time to disconnect from the virtual world that we are immersed in and get back to basics. My phone has become an “escape” (dare I say…idol?) during this pandemic and I have been convicted on more than one occasion to set it aside and engage in what is right in front of me rather than what’s on a screen.
  • I have felt numerous times over the course of the past eight months that this pandemic is absolutely a tool that God is using to encourage His people to press “pause;” to slow down, to rest, and to lean into Him. Not just lean in, but rely on Him. A MAJOR reset. I have longed so many times in my adult life for things to slow down; to be able to off-load things from my plate, to spend more time at home with my family, to just breathe. Yeah, it’s not always easy working from home full-time with a toddler. I am wracked with mom guilt a lot because she has above-average screen time as I try to juggle several things at once (like everyone else). No, I don’t get a lot of alone time. BUT, I’m home with her. I’m here. And even if I don’t feel present all the time, I get to be the one to be here for everything. And this is time I will never get back.
Gain #2: Self-Awareness
  • The ironic thing is, now that life is moving at a much slower pace, I find myself trying to constantly replace (or fill) the slowness. I feel restless, sometimes borderline impulsive. Like I need to disrupt my newfound peace and quiet to feel “productive”. Why? Why can’t I just soak in the peace that I have been craving for so long (and that God has graciously gifted me with)? 
  • As an introvert and a homebody, my tendency is to isolate myself and to go inward, particularly when I’m struggling with my mental health. To stay in my bubble, safe and unbothered. That’s dangerous, because being in your own head all the time is unhealthy. The Lord recently made it very clear that I need to be more intentional with my intentionality: seek people out, seek out opportunities to connect and stay connected, and be present.
  • Reading my Bible is similar to exercising; I never regret doing it, and I always feel amazing afterward. Why, then, are these things SO difficult for me to stick with? Particularly with this extra time on my hands? Let’s be honest, I am not that busy. This just tells me that I have some serious re-prioritizing to do.
  • In the same breath, I’ve realized that I’m done riding the shame spiral. Done putting unrealistic expectations on myself, done feeling like a failure when I don’t meet these unrealistic expectations, done putting myself in a box. A dear friend (you know who you are) recently pointed out to me that I like to proclaim things about myself and write them off as “truth”. That I resign myself to “facts” about what I can or can’t do, or that I am/am not passionate about something because deep down, I’m afraid to be a child at something and to risk failure. Annnnd…mic drop.
Gain #3: Appreciation
  • I have been clinically diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This means that my brain literally never stops thinking, analyzing, worrying, etc. My therapist asked me once to think about when (if ever) I last experienced boredom. As the mother of a toddler, a serial overachieving perfectionist, and someone who used to base their productivity on how many boxes they could check off on their completely unrealistic to-do list, this was a completely foreign concept to me. For the first time in years, there are days during this pandemic where I have actually experienced boredom! It actually makes me feel triumphant when I start to feel bored, because this means that I am taking control of my mental illness rather than it taking control of me.
  • In contrast to my first bullet point, I am actually incredibly grateful for technology and the benefits it has given me during this time. I have transitioned to working from home full-time with virtually zero interruption and have been incredibly fortunate to remain employed; I am able to communicate and stay connected to those dearest to me; and I have even completed an inductive Zoom Bible study!
  • Finally, I am eternally grateful for the gift of time. Time with my daughter, time with my husband, time with Jesus. Time to breathe, time to explore hobbies I forgot I loved and passions I forgot I had. Time to focus on actual self-care (not just pampering and fluff): taking care of my mental, physical and spiritual health.

 

I guess what it boils down to is this: we have a choice. Every day, the stress of this year (or life in general) threatens to swallow us whole. And let’s be honest: some days we give in. We let doubt, fear, anxiety, worry, apathy, shame, guilt, and pride creep in and settle in the places where Jesus has been working so hard this year to clean house. It’s there that the enemy wants to keep us, focusing on all the things that have gone wrong this year and the uncertainty of what is to come.

But guess what? Jesus always has the final say. And He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it. Stay the course, friend. 

Much love,

Ali

 

About Ali Gadbaugh: Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Ali is a homebody who counts coffee, her husband and daughter, and Jesus as a few of her favorite things. She likes to add a little sarcasm and humor to life, and is passionate about growing and deepening her relationship with her Savior.

 

“He Will” – An Advent Bible Study

Preparing for Christmas

There are trees to decorate, lights to hang, stockings to stuff, cookies to bake, gifts to buy, and special meals to cook. In all of the excitement, rushing, and overwhelm we may wonder what the fuss and hustle is really about. Many of us long to soak in the real reason we celebrate.
For centuries, Christians around the world have set aside the four weeks before Christmas to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. We call this Advent (meaning “the arrival” or “coming”), and embrace it as a season of anticipation for both the birth of Christ and the glory of God still to come – A time to ready our hearts and honor God’s gift to us in our Savior, Jesus.

About the “He Will” Advent Bible Study

We hope you’ll experience this Christmas season with a fresh and renewed perspective as you participate in this four-week study either individually or with a group. Expect the following as you journey through the first two chapters of Luke using the “He Will” Advent Bible Study:
  • A guided plan organized by week rather than day so you can use your own judgement and schedule your time accordingly.
  • Dig deep and glean new revelation from this well-known gospel story.
  • Better understand the prophesies, context, and events surrounding Christ’s coming.
  • Discover and cling to the character traits of God revealed in both the Old and New Testament.
  • Utilize an inductive study method by making observations, marking key words, and interpreting  the text.
  • Remember that in His great love and mercy, God has given the gift of salvation, just as He promised.

 

The Bible is for Everyone

We believe that the Bible is for everyone. You don’t need to be a scholar to start growing! Our heart’s desire is that this guide would be a useful tool for you, and we hope you will learn some new things and practice studying the Bible for yourself. While it’s suitable for both individuals and groups, we strongly recommend asking others to learn alongside you. Invite some friends and meet each week to discuss new revelations about the text and our amazing God.

Join Us

While November 29 is the official start of Advent this year, go ahead and start a week early (November 22) if you want/need to be finished by Christmas. We simply hope you’ll come alongside us as we prepare our hearts to celebrate what amazing things the Lord has done.
Be sure to subscribe on our website to receive free printable scripture cards containing key verses from this study, check us out on social media for a short IGTV video to encourage your learning, and listen to our “He Will” podcast with special tips and guidance after you finish Week One. 
With great love and affection for our sisters in Christ, 
Authors Eryn Kesler, Mary Straker, and the team at Arise Ministries Collective
Get your copy of the He Will Advent Study by clicking here or on the image below.

About the “He Will” Co-Authors

Eryn Kesler has been married to Matt for 20 years – the best thing that’s ever happened to her. She’s mom to 5 amazing kids, a recovering over-scheduler, and a wedding & portrait photographer in Brush Prairie, Washington.
Mary Straker is wife to her loving husband, Derek, and a stay-at-home mama to three sweet and busy little girls. She has been changed by the study of Scripture, and longs for other women to abide with God through the treasure of His Word. Mary lives in Ridgefield, Washington. 

 

Living As Light

 

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light  (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” – Ephesians 5:11-14, NIV, emphasis added)

 

We bought our house in the dead of Winter. Abandoned for a year, the inspection was done without electricity and water. There was a leak in the roof, filthy toilets, a bullseye target painted on the window, and remnants of someone who’d used it as shelter during the time it sat vacant. We hoped and prayed everything would work when we made an offer and called it our own a few days before Christmas.

But sheer angst was what we experienced several days later.

Winters in the Pacific Northwest are dark and dreary, so we were excited to see the sun finally peek through the clouds while unpacking. It was the light that unleashed what was hidden. Thousands upon thousands of beetles scurried out from under the cedar shakes on our south-facing home to bathe in the warm sun. Once gray in color, our new house looked black. It was absolutely covered in insects. 

I took the window screens off and hundreds dropped out. Even the attic vents were full of the pesky bugs. More beetles tucked themselves under the shingles than I knew what to do with. Years of no one dealing with the pests made for a breeding haven and I was completely overwhelmed. There were times that I stayed inside on sunny days to pretend they weren’t there, and even thought about cancelling plans with friends so they wouldn’t see my infested home.

When ignoring the problem no longer worked, online tutorials and articles helped me decide how to overcome my new arch-enemy. The plan for victory meant keeping a pressure-washer always ready with a special soap and water mixture.  Spraying them with the sudsy solution was tiresome and tedious, but it worked! The beetles dwindled in number and what began in anguish ended in anticipation. I rushed home on sunny days just to deal with my pests and get rid of them for good.

If you’re anything like me, you may not always want to expose things that are hidden. Like the beetles that lived under my shingles, It may seem easier to pretend they aren’t there than go through the hard work, exposure, and even embarrassment of dealing with them and admitting they’re a problem. 

The same is true for sin. Only when it’s exposed and known can we truly surrender it to the Lord and be cleansed from it. The pesky, debilitating, and loathsome problem of sin can only be reconciled in the light. 

I believe we are living in a time of sin-reckoning, Sisters. I believe this current pandemic, racial tension, and national discord is exposing both personal and corporate footholds. They are bringing to light weaknesses in our character and revealing values inconsistent with Gospel truth. They are uncovering idolatry and the darkest places of our heart. They are unveiling the filth that lurks under the surface. 

And I believe the same is true for the Church at large. God’s bride has been hiding sin in the shadows. Covering it. Justifying it. Perhaps even unaware of it. The Light of God in all His radiant perfection and glory exposes things we may not have wanted to see –  In ourselves, our neighbors, our systems, our communities, our leaders, and those we love. 

But there is beauty in the revelation of sin – If we humbly acknowledge it and repent from it. The apostle Paul tells us that everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.”

Imagine for a moment what the world would look like if we, daughters of Christ, fully surrendered our sin and walked in the light of the Lord (Ephesians 5:11)? If we let Him refine and cleanse that which has been exposed? We would illuminate our homes, workplaces, and nation for His glory! 

Oh Sisters, may we boldly ask the Lord to reveal our offences and humbly repent of them. May we bravely plea in the same manner as David: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24). May we reflect His image “in all goodness, righteousness and truth” (Ephesians 5:11). May we be examples of confession and reconciliation for all the world to see and “live as children of the light” (v.11) for His pleasure. May we stop trying to hide our fear of being exposed (John 3:19-20) and fully surrender to our great God’s mercy. May we hold fast to the truth that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (John 1:9).

May we let Him consume us. Refine us. Cleanse us. Purify us. All for His glory and His Kingdom. Amen.

 

About Lisa: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, teacher, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. She is the Director of Arise Ministries Collective in the Pactific Northwest.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.

 

 

 

Podcast 031 – “Seeking First: Mission and Singleness” || The In-Between Series With Jess and Amanda ||

Wow! We’ve made it to the last podcast in The In-Between series, friends! We are so thankful for you listening in and joining us as we explore what it looks like to seek the kingdom first in singleness or whatever season you’re in. 

In this last podcast, we discuss the core issues of our hearts in a waiting season: Our desires, our faith and our identity in Christ as disciples. We hope this conversation will exhort and empower you to fully step into the mission God has before you – Regardless of where you are right now. It’s exciting to look at the purpose of our lives with eternal vision and we hope this will encourage you to do just that.

 

Scripture References

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28 (NIV)

The Parable of the Persistent Widow – Luke 18:1-8 

Proverbs 31

 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with youi always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21 (NIV)

“And he said to them: ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” Matthew 4:19 (ESV)

“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15 (NIV)

Hebrews 11

 

Seeking First: 5 Ways To Keep Our Eyes On the Mission

Seek Opportunity: Ask the Lord to help you see ways to step into Kingdom purpose/mission. Recognize that as a follower of Christ, you’ve already been called to the work of the Great Commission – Even in the in-between.

Seek Scripture: Does what you want/feel like you should do align with God’s Holy Word?

Seek Counsel: What do your Christ-following friends and family members have to say about your gifts, talents, and opportunities?

Seek Identity: Is your identity and the way you feel about yourself circumstantial, or rooted in who Christ says you are. Take the time to truly flesh this out, friends. If we put our identity in things we shouldn’t, that will translate into how we see our purpose here on earth. Ask God to help you understand where your true identity lies. 

Seek Christ First: When we align with Christ, His desires will become our desires. When we know who God is in Scripture and through prayer and communion with Him, we can trust that He is faithful to provide. His promises are true even if we try something and fail.

 

Quotes, Articles, Songs and Resources to Help

 

Thank you again for joining us in this series, listeners and friends. We would love to connect with you if you have questions or thoughts on these issues – To hear some of your own story and even join you in prayer. Leave us a comment here or on social media so we can reach out and get in touch.

We may feel in-between many times in life, singleness included – But we are not lost in the mission God has for us.

“Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)

 

About Our Co-Hosts

Originally from the Bay Area, Jessica currently lives in Portland, Oregon. Jessica obtained her undergrad from Biola University in Psychology and her master’s in Counseling Psychology from California State East Bay, and since that time has been a recruiting coordinator with a large banking company. An extroverted introvert, Jessica has a huge heart pull towards facilitating Christ-honoring and truth-filled discussions with women of all ages in the church. It’s her deep desire to seek the welfare of the city through her hope-filled heart with the abilities and gifts God has generously given her.

 

 

 

Amanda works as cardiac ICU nurse and moved to Portland three years ago. She has a heart to see the great commission carried out in the city and around the world. Her heart is for encouraging the Church in the written word of God and the great joy on the other side of obedience in our walk with the Lord.

 

 

 

 

Podcast 030-
“Stagnant In the Wilderness”
|| The In-Between Series With Jess and Amanda ||

Hello again, friends! Thank you for joining us for our second episode in the three part series we’re calling The In-Between. We are so happy to have you alongside us!

We’re starting this next podcast with the librarian approved textbook dictionary definition of stagnation before digging into stories of waiting we hear in the Bible. We hope and pray that each one of us listening or reading learns to wait well – To not be lukewarm, but abiding and fiery hot in pursuit of the Lord. How awesome it is to be able to have deep, lasting hope from God, in whatever waiting season we are in.

 

Scripture References

The Book of Daniel – We challenge you to read through Daniel and highlight the actions and reactions he has while waiting. Compare Daniel’s responses to your own. 

“It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fools; his also is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 7:2-6 (ESV)

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20 (NIV)

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12 (ESV)

“Because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel.” Colossians 1:4-5 (NIV) 

“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25 (NIV)

“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)

“That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” 1 Timothy 4:10 (NIV)

“All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” 1 John 3:3 (NIV)

“For the law made nothing perfect, and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 7:19 (NIV)

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19 NIV

 

5 “Asks” To Help You Wait Well

Ask God to give you a spirit of gratitude – For Him to help you be thankful for your trials, even when you’re in the middle of them.

Ask yourself what you’re learning in life right now? What is your particular trial or season of waiting teaching you? 

Ask what is instead of what if? Consider making a list to keep track of all the things that are currently in front of you and the realities of your life help you thrive in the present rather than the could have beens.

Ask yourself how you can renew your mind with Scripture that speaks to how God promises purpose, perspective, and promise for the pain.

Ask God what it looks to like abide in hope? Search your own heart to determine you can move forward in this process. How can you bear good fruit in the abiding in Christ?

 

Quotes, Articles, Songs and Resources to Help

We wanted to offer some resources that we have found helpful for us in times of stagnation. Here are some songs, books, and journals that we hope can be an encouragement for you.

 

We look forward to having you join us again for the next podcast in our series about vision for the mission God has for us.

Let’s use this time for his glory, let’s take hold of the promises he has for us as we hold onto hope.

Jess and Amanda

 

About Our Co-Hosts

Originally from the Bay Area, Jessica currently lives in Portland, Oregon. Jessica obtained her undergrad from Biola University in Psychology and her master’s in Counseling Psychology from California State East Bay, and since that time has been a recruiting coordinator with a large banking company. An extroverted introvert, Jessica has a huge heart pull towards facilitating Christ-honoring and truth-filled discussions with women of all ages in the church. It’s her deep desire to seek the welfare of the city through her hope-filled heart with the abilities and gifts God has generously given her.

 

 

 

Amanda works as cardiac ICU nurse and moved to Portland three years ago. She has a heart to see the great commission carried out in the city and around the world. Her heart is for encouraging the Church in the written word of God and the great joy on the other side of obedience in our walk with the Lord.

 

 

 

Podcast 029 –
“Seeking Contentment In Singleness”
|| The In-Between Series with Jess and Amanda ||

Welcome friends,

What do you do when you’re dissatisfied with life? Like you’re in a ditch and can’t get out or feel like staying in the pit you’re in? Portland millennials Amanda and Jess have experienced this, too, and want to encourage other single women to find true contentment in Christ. Listen along as they share personal stories, insight, and wisdom in this first episode of the three part series they’re calling, In Between.  

 

Scripture References

“And I am not saying this because I feel neglected, for I have learned to be satisfied with what I have. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.” Philippians 4:11-13 GNT

“This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NLT

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139: 23-24 NIV

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Ephesians 1:3-4 NIV

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 NIV

 

Steps to Finding Contentment

  1. Begin on your knees. Ask the Father what’s going on deep in your heart and in your mind. Ask Him to show you if there are deeply embedded roots of sin that are causing poor fruit/discontentment to grow. Ask Him for vision and to reveal Truth from his Word that will replace lies of the world and from the enemy. Ask Him to humble you to hear and respond to what He has to say.
  2. Focus on the Word. Take time to meditate on Scripture. Memorize passages for recall when you’re feeling discontent or discouraged. Print the resources below and put them up around your home or tuck them in your wallet. Make sure you’re staying in the Word, and consider joining a study or group to hold you accountable.
  3. Ask For Insight. Talk to trusted friends, mentors or parents and ask them if they see patterns that contribute to your state of discontent. Invite others to come alongside you in the journey. Be willing to share your struggles and receive their words of wisdom/encouragement.
  4. Practice Thankfulness. Make lists of things you’re thankful for each day. You may want to keep a journal and record prayers of gratitude. These remind us of the good things God has for us in our lives when we’re struggling to see it.
  5. Consider Others. While it’s important to understand, acknowledge, and deal with personal trauma, loneliness, and disappointment, too much time focusing on the self can leave us bound to discontent. Begin looking for opportunities to volunteer and share your gifts/resources with others. Pray for people, bring a meal to someone, and find places to serve. Make plans and engage in the community around you.

 

Quotes, Articles, Songs and Resources to Help

Sometimes we need a little outside encouragement finding contentment in Christ. Amanda and Jess shared some songs and articles they found helpful, along with suggestions for clinging to the Word of Christ through meditation and memorization. Click on the links below for direct access to these resources.

There are free printable scripture cards available from us here at Arise (a gift from artist Anna DeRoos of She Letters Truth – Just tap the images below for the printable PDF) as well as some for purchase through The Daily Grace Company.

We don’t always get to choose our situation, but we do get to choose how we think about it, how we shape our hearts in it, and how we come to God in it. 

Pursuing contentment right alongside you,

Jess and Amanda

 

About Our Hosts:

Originally from the Bay Area, Jessica currently lives in Portland, Oregon. Jessica obtained her undergrad from Biola University in Psychology and her master’s in Counseling Psychology from California State East Bay, and since that time has been a recruiting coordinator with a large banking company. An extroverted introvert, Jessica has a huge heart pull towards facilitating Christ-honoring and truth-filled discussions with women of all ages in the church. It’s her deep desire to seek the welfare of the city through her hope-filled heart with the abilities and gifts God has generously given her.

 

 

 

Amanda works as cardiac ICU nurse and moved to Portland three years ago. She has a heart to see the great commission carried out in the city and around the world. Her heart is for encouraging the Church in the written word of God and the great joy on the other side of obedience in our walk with the Lord.

Not Sure What Bible Study To Do This Fall? 11 Ideas to Get You Started

It’s the time of year when individuals, small groups and churches commit to Bible study curriculum for the upcoming Fall season, but finding theologically sound resources to accommodate a particular timeline, group dynamic/need, or topic can be difficult. We know many of you might be studying alone at home or with kids around while social distancing and supervising school. We want to help!

Below is a list of options we think will help women better understand the Word, the character of God, and the purpose He has for our lives. Each one varies in terms of time commitment, depth of study, and suitability for group/independent learning, so we tried to provide some helpful notes to guide your decision. This list is not at all exhaustive, but we hope it will serve as a launching point for upcoming studies. You can find more of our suggestions by linking to last year’s ideas here.

If you do choose to use one of the resources listed below, click directly on the image or title to view and purchase the resource from Amazon. We earn a small commission if you do, and every little bit helps us minister to women.

You can find more of our suggested books, studies, Bibles, and even resources for children by clicking here.

 

Bible Study for Busy Mama’s: Thirty Days 1 Corinthians 13 

  • Author: Pam Forster
  • Timeline: 30 Days
  • Homework: 5-15 minutes per day with options to go deeper
  • Video: No
  • Additional Insight: This is a great way for anyone (you don’t have to be a mom or even particularly busy to glean from these studies), but ideal for women homeschooling/supervising remote learning this Fall. This study is geared towards moms with little ones at home and includes activities/suggestions for involving them in what you’re learning. For more in this series, click here.

 

Matchless: The Life and Love of Jesus

  • Author: Angie Smith
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes, but not necessary
  • Additional Insight: This study has just been released, so none of us on the Arise team has had a chance to finish it, yet. That said, we absolutely loved Angie’s other study, Seamless, so have faith that this one will be theologically sound and a great resource as well.

 

 

Jude: Contending for the Faith in Today’s Culture

  • Author: Jackie Hill Perry
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 1-3 hours per week
  • Video – Yes. Not necessary, but strongly suggested. Each episode is 8-20 minutes long and can be rented or purchased from Lifeway.
  • Additional Insight: A teen version of this study is also available.

 

 

 

Lord, Teach Me to Pray in 28 Days

  • Author: Kay Arthur
  • Timeline: 28 Days /4 Weeks
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: No
  • Additional Insights: This is an all-time favorite for a few of us on the Arise team. It’s a great independent study, but also has questions in the back for use with a group. We strongly recommend this one, and love doing it alongside others for accountability.

 

 

Living Victoriously in Difficult Times

  • Author: Kay Arthur, Bob & Diane Vereen
  • Timeline: 6 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 1 hour per week (see Additional Insights below)
  • Video: No
  • Additional Insights: This is designed to be completed as a group with all of the work/discussion taking place together over a 40 minute period together. We suggest allowing more time to go through the study in a group format (at least 75-90) OR asking participants to complete the 40 minutes of content individually before coming together to discuss. This study is also suitable for independent use.

 

I Am Found: Quitting the Game of Hide and Seek with God and Others

  • Author: Laura Dingman
  • Timeline: 6  Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2 hours per week
  • Video: No
  • Additional Insights: This is a topical study about issues surrounding shame and identity. It’s less of an in-depth Bible study, but uses Scripture to lead women on a journey toward healing and surrender. It’s suitable for individual use or study with a trusted group of women.

 

 

All Things New: A Study on 2 Corinthians

  • Author: Kelly Minter
  • Timeline: 8 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes – Helpful, but not necessary.

 

 

 

 

What Matters Most: A Study of Philippians

  • Author: Karen Ehman
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

 

 

 

 

Illuminated Bible Journals  (ESV)

  • Author: Published by Crossway
  • Timeline: Varies depending on which book you choose to study
  • Additional Insight: These Bible journals are amazing! Scripture is printed on one side, with lined pages on the other for your observations and notes. There are large margins for marking the text and recording insights. We suggest reading about Inductive Bible Study and printing our downloadable resources to help you work through the text. The book of James would be a great place to start, but journals for each book of the Bible are available.

 

We also love Precept Upon Precept and Bible Study Fellowship classes. These are facilitated by trained instructors all over Canada and the USA. Click on the links below to find one near you.

 

Podcast 028 – “Unexpected Homeschool Mom – Strategies to Help you Thrive” with Angie Forrester

Whether fully homeschooling, supervising online learning, or doing a model that integrates both, we want to help you thrive. Join Lisa DaSilva and longtime homeschool mother of 5 Angie Forrester as they talk through some strategies and offer Christ-centered perspective.

Find more conversations about Covid-19 education options along with helpful tips and resources in previous podcasts in our Unexpected Homeschool Mom series by clicking here and here.

Show Notes

Strategies to Foster Success
  • Have a Family Meeting
  • Make a PlanHere’s an basic idea of how much time it will take to get through school based on age: 1st-3rd – about 2.5 hours  (this time is very parent lead); 4th-6th – about 3.5 to 4 hours (this time is about half parent lead and the rest student lead); Jr High & High School – about 6 hours (this time is mostly student lead with tutors or online support as needed)
  • Create a School Area and Practical Structures 
  • Actively Engage and Be Interested in Your Student’s Learning
  • Have Fun and Make Memories
  • Give (and accept) Grace
  • Make Christ the Center
Scripture References

John 14:27 (NLT) “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

Philippians 4:6–7 (NKJV) “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 

Genral Resources and Links

For updates on State Law requirements:  https://hslda.org/

Exodus Books is Angie’s favorite homeschool bookstore. It’s small and family owned, so if you have any questions they are very helpful in working out what will be the best fit for your family.
Charlotte Mason Resources and Links:

Wild and Free: Charlotte Mason inspired podcasts & content bundles. They also have small nature groups that gather around the country to enhance your homeschool experience.

Sonlight: Rich literature and hands-on science.
My Father’s World: Similar to Sonlight, and in the past have been a little more affordable.
Beautiful Feet: History book collections that teach through the power of story.
Ambleside: A free resource.
Classical Education Resources and Links:
Classical Conversations: Nationwide local communities with weekly classes.
Logos Online School: Classical Christian School with classes online.
Calvert Academy: Offers online classes or box set resources.
“Box Set” Classroom Links and Resources:
Abeka – Online or boxed curriculum options
Closing Thoughts

Our hope and prayer is that you would cling to the hope in Christ as you navigate this season of life at home. May these suggestions and resources bring calm and clarity, and may you rest in the unwavering truth that you truly are the very best teacher your children have.

With great expectation as you embrace this hard holy work,

Angie and Lisa

 

Meet Our Guests

About Angie Forrester: A northwest native, Angie enjoys spending her time cultivating gardens and young minds including her five “free-range” children.  She has been a home educator for 9 years, working alongside other mamas to build community for homeschool families.  As a lifelong learner you may find her reciting Latin, reading aloud to her children, or applying National Park stickers to her water bottle from her most recent adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Lisa Da Silva: Lisa has never (ever) officially homeschooled her children, and is increasingly thankful that her kids are young adults with schools that are pulling off remote learning with great success. She is passionate about education and loved being a public school teacher before starting a family. She is honored to be the Director of Arise Ministries Collective, and longs to see women transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is willing and ready to come alongside all the mamas with children unexpectedly at home during this season.

 

 

Podcast 027 – “Unexpected Homeschool Mom: Options & Encouragement for this Holy Hard Work” with Angie Forrester

Commit your work to the Lordand your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 (ESV)

What will my family do for school this Fall? How will my kids handle remote learning? Online classes? Is traditional homeschool a viable option? What about community learning pods or other alternative models? How do we even decide and what should we look for moving forward? Can I really do this?

We hope you’ll join host Lisa DaSilva and longtime homeschool mother of five Angie Forrester as they talk through some of these questions in an effort to relieve anxiety and bring God glory heading into uncertain times this Fall.  

Listen to the conversation and find Christ-centered encouragement, hope, and practical ideas, then scroll down for resources in our Show Notes.

You can find more helpful tips, strategies, suggested books and resources in an earlier podcast with Angie Forrester by clicking here.

Show Notes
Questions to Guide Your Decisions
  1. What does the Bible say? Does scripture align with and support your options?
  2. How is the Holy Spirit prompting or leading you?
  3. What do your Christian mentors/wise people in your life think?
  4. What are your personal preferences? What are the preferences of your spouse? Your children?
  5. What doors are open to you? What options are available?
Genral Resources and Links

For updates on State Law requirements:  https://hslda.org/

Exodus Books is Angie’s favorite homeschool bookstore. It’s small and family owned, so if you have any questions they are very helpful in working out what will be the best fit for your family.
Charlotte Mason Resources and Links:

Wild and Free: Charlotte Mason inspired podcasts & content bundles. They also have small nature groups that gather around the country to enhance your homeschool experience.

Sonlight: Rich literature and hands-on science.
My Father’s World: Similar to Sonlight, and in the past have been a little more affordable.
Beautiful Feet: History book collections that teach through the power of story.
Ambleside: A free resource.
Classical Education Resources and Links:
Classical Conversations: Nationwide local communities with weekly classes.
Logos Online School: Classical Christian School with classes online.
Calvert Academy: Offers online classes or box set resources.
“Box Set” Classroom Links and Resources:
Abeka – Online or boxed curriculum options
Scripture References
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (ESV)

 

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)

 

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV)

Commit your work to the Lordand your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 (ESV)

 

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (ESV)

Closing Thoughts

Our hope and prayer is that you would cling to the hope in Christ as you navigate this season of life at home. May these suggestions and resources bring calm and clarity, and may you rest in the unwavering truth that you truly are the very best teacher your children have.

With great expectation as you embrace this hard holy work,

Angie and Lisa

 

Meet Our Guests

About Angie Forrester: A northwest native, Angie enjoys spending her time cultivating gardens and young minds including her five “free-range” children.  She has been a home educator for 9 years, working alongside other mamas to build community for homeschool families.  As a lifelong learner you may find her reciting Latin, reading aloud to her children, or applying National Park stickers to her water bottle from her most recent adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Lisa Da Silva: Lisa has never (ever) officially homeschooled her children, and is increasingly thankful that her kids are young adults with schools that are pulling off remote learning with great success. She is passionate about education and loved being a public school teacher before starting a family. She is honored to be the Director of Arise Ministries Collective, and longs to see women transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is willing and ready to come alongside all the mamas with children unexpectedly at home during this season.

Podcast 026 – “Let’s Talk About It: Race, White Privilege, BLM and More” with Vickie Hunter

What is white privilege and why do some white people struggle with the idea? Does saying and believing black lives matter mean you’re supporting or advocating for the BLM foundation or are anti-police? How can we engage in healthy conversation about racism and racial discrimination, and what are some steps we can take toward change and reconciliation?

In this episode of the Arise Ministries Collective Podcast, guest Vickie Hunter joins Lisa DaSilva to work through a few of the heavy topics surrounding race in America. We hope you’ll take time to quiet your heart, join in their conversation, and be part of gospel-centered healing.

 

Scripture References 

Micah 6:8

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?”

Colossians 2:8

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

Luke 10:47

“And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Psalm 139:23-24

 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
  And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!”

Psalm 19:14 

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

Genesis 1:27

So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.”

Galatians 3:28

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

 

Noteworthy Quotes

“White privilege is a built in advantage because of the color of your skin…  It also means you’re exempt from certain disadvantages.”

“When we all win, we all win.”

Concerning giving up privilege: “Think about the gospel itself – It is such a paradox. How do we gain our life? We have to lose it. To truly live, we have to die. To really be strong in the Lord, we have to boast about our weakness…  You think you’re going to be losing something or give up something, and you’re really not.”

Concerning Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter: “You love your children, but if one falls and skins his knee, that’s the one you’re running to – To tend to them at that moment. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your other children. It just means that one is hurting at that moment and needs some help. We’re crying out that we need help.”

“If we have a friend, or a brother or a sister in Christ and they’re hurting, there are certain ways to respond. By denying their pain, ignoring their pain, or saying, ‘Well, I don’t feel pain,” doesn’t mean that they are not in pain.”

“God knows your heart more than you know your own heart.”

“When we love the way that we should, we all win.”

“I don’t know the person or people who founded the BLM organization. I do know that the saying Blacks lives matter is a Christian worldview though. Christians are not borrowing this slogan from the world. The world borrowed this truth from the Christian worldview.” – Preston Perry via Twitter

“Every man shows himself to be a skillful teacher of justice for his own advantage.” – John Calvin

 

Next Steps
  • Pray: Ask the Lord to reveal areas of blindness and to uncover biases. Take time to process with an open heart and mind.
  • Study Scripture: Use this resource as a launching point to understand justice and kindness from God’s perspective. The Bible is packed with stories about God’s response to justice and His expectation of ours. 
  • Investigate: Read and listen to a variety of perspectives concerning history, systemic racism, and the human experience. Talk to your black friends and be open to genuinely learning from their responses. Consider reading some of the books in our previously published article about justice and empathy.
  • Vote: Research candidates and platforms on your ballot. Judges, local constituents, city council members, and many others play a big role in influencing policy and change. Know who you’re voting for and what they stand for.
  • Talk About It: Regularly talk about race, biases, assumptions, injustice, and current events in your homes and with your children.
  • Arise: Ask, “How can I affect and influence systemic change?” and move into action. This may mean writing letters, signing petitions, participating in a peaceful protest, and supporting organizations that align with your Biblical worldview and work toward racial justice. The & Campaign is a great place to start.

 

About Our Guest: Vickie Hunter is a Jesus-loving empty nester and mama to one adult son. She has lived on Long Island, NY her entire life but loves to travel. Her last major trip was to Israel where she had the amazing opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Vickie has attended Island Christian Church for the past 25 years and has served as their Office Manager for the last 15. She is a mentor to many young women in her church and community who affectionately refer to her as “Auntie.”

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