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Hey friends! My last set of printable love notes got a lot of good feedback, so I thought I'd draw up a new set for you!

Make sure to share these with your teacher and mommy friends!

To get your printables, just go HERE or click the image below!


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



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Printable Love Notes 2

Bible printable coloring page
I'm turning 39 (wow!) this Saturday and yet it's my very first time observing the season of Lent. I grew up in a Baptist-ish tradition. My dad was a Southern Baptist pastor who joined the Navy as a chaplain. We attended some Southern Baptist churches growing up, but because we were often part of military chapels, my upbringing was rather ecumenical: "The hanging of the greens," advent candles, stations of the cross, dunkings, sprinklings, wafers, and loaves of bread--a denominational potluck. I even got to be in a Gospel choir at one chapel (and never could quite sway in the right rhythm).

But somehow Lent, and most of the traditions of the church calendar, never seemed important to me. Although my church now is by no means traditional, in recent years we've come to see the value of orienting our year around the rhythms of some of the church calendar.  Even as a mother, I know the power of simple routines and daily rhythms in the lives of my children (just visit our home when the children and I have missed our daily rest time!).

We have been observing the Advent season the last few years, and now this year, we're preparing for Easter with a season of Lent. If Lent is new to you too, it's a tradition of observing a season of repentance, prayer, and fasting in the 40 days (not counting the Sundays) from Ash Wednesday to resurrection Sunday.

What better preparation for celebrating God's grace poured out than to first take a look at the "sin that so easily entangles" that necessitates that grace in the first place (Hebrews 12:1)? 

As a church, we have been asking ourselves what God would have us to die to, so that we can experience more of the treasure that is Jesus and the life that He offers.
"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8 ESV)
I won't share here what I'm "giving up" for Lent, but I will share the questions I have been asking myself that led to those choices: 
  • What do I reach for when I feel needy?
  • What fills my mind and keeps me from being self-controlled, sober-minded, and prayerful? (See 1 Peter 4:7)
  • What keeps me out of the Word? What am I "eating" instead of the "words of life" from the "bread of life" (John 6:35; John 6:68)?
  • What gives me a little boost of joy, but is short-lived, causing me to have to go back for more. (For example: checking the mirror, social media scrolling, eating, shopping, gossipping, boasting in myself, controlling my environment, working for the attention of others, planning my future.)
  • What motivates my reaching for these things? Am I looking to feel important? Distracted? Validated? Entertained? How am I trying to fill a need that only Jesus can fill?
My pastor posed the question this way: where in my life is the most chaos and brokenness? That is likely an area where dying needs to happen.
We desperately need to hear from God about these matters. Only the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, can peel back the complicated layers of our thoughts and intentions.
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)
There is a principle at work in the Scriptures and seen in our Savior's life: there is no life without a dying. To have the life God intends for me, something in me must die. 
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." (John 12:24-25 ESV)
Any season can be a season of dying and resurrection, but sometimes it helps to have something, like Lent, on the calendar to remind our idol-prone hearts. I know I have needed it.

Whether you observe Lent this season or not, I know that Jesus longs to give you abundant life, but it first requires you to be willing to follow Him into death. I'm praying you would let Him lead you there today.

Jesus has gone before you. He is trustworthy, and His grace makes following Him possible.

And that's good news!

Today's printable Bible verse coloring page is from John 12:24-25a. You can download your page HERE or by clicking on the image below.*


Bible coloring page

PRAYING the Word
Jesus, without even realizing it, I am entangled again in sin. I have run after things that are rubbish compared to the surpassing worth of knowing You. Give me a heart that knows that true value of things, and a distaste for the empty things the world offers. Show me the things in me that need to die. May I have confidence in your great mercy and hope in your steadfast love. Prepare my heart to celebrate the resurrection this year.

*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



If you like this, you can get these posts in your inbox by signing up HERE

My first lent + John 12:24-25a Bible Coloring Page

printable Bible verse coloring page


"And as he [Jesus] was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth." And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions." Mark 10:17-22

A couple of weeks ago, I fussed at my girls when they interrupted my attempt at some work in the middle of the day. This is a battle I fight periodically--to make a happy marriage of my ideas, my ambitions, and what I think God has called me to do, with this other amazing calling to be a mom and wife. There is also the struggle not to make this "good thing" become the thing that is better to me than my Jesus. So tricky . . . 

My husband commented on my poor attitude and then I saw it for what it was.

I told my girls (after shedding a few tears),  "I'm sorry I fussed at you."

And instead of "It's okay Mom, you're normally so sweet," one said, "It's okay, we're getting used to it."

Ugh. 

A blow to my self-righteousness. I resist these blows, trying to deflect them on other people or maybe my body chemistry. Everything in me wants to justify myself. I can quickly list all the reasons I can't possibly have a good attitude or exercise a larger measure of patience. 

The rich young man in the Mark 10 passage above seems to want justification from Jesus too. "Why yes, son, you have been extremely good. I'm impressed and you have my approval" . . . is what he longs to hear, but isn't how Jesus responds.

That approval would have made the man momentarily happy, but would leave him enslaved to his love of money. 

Jesus just loves him too much for that.

Jesus gently ask the man to do something painful that cuts to the heart of his identity, so that he can come and follow Jesus in freedom. 

In the same way, Jesus loves you and me too much to leave us in our sin and idolatry, our striving for empty things to fill up our hole-ridden purses. 
"You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes." Haggai 1:6
But this process of setting us free will be just as painful for us as it was for the rich young man. Our sense of our own goodness has to go. Ouch.

As we walk with Jesus, He confronts our idols, using circumstances, various trials, and basically "all things" to conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:28-29). It reminds me of this passage in Hebrews:
"For they disciplined us [referring to earthly fathers] for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." [Heb 12:10-11 ESV]
Like the Edward Mote hymn, My Hope is Built, so beautifully expresses, Jesus breaks down our sandcastle foundations and replaces them with a towering palace built on Himself alone.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

When I needlessly fuss at my children or bicker with my husband, or muddle up my friendships, I'm finding there is great freedom in simple humility. And isn't that the only appropriate response for a child of God living under His great grace? I don't do humility well, but I'm learning from Jesus:
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Philippians 2:5-8 [ESV]
Humility helps me accept correction from others. Humility helps me to overlook what I perceive is an offense (Proverbs 19:11). Humility helps me apologize when I'm wrong. Humility helps me listen to my business clients and meet their needs without feeling like I always have to be right or in control. 

There is a lightness to humility. There is a confidence that comes from resting in the mercy of Jesus alone. 

Sin is more harmful than we imagine, and has a greater grip on us than we like to admit. But, because of this, the Gospel is also better news than we realize, and God is more gracious and compassionate than we understand.

That's good news friends.

Today's printable Bible verse coloring page is from Mark 10:18b. You can download your page HERE or by clicking on the image below!*
Mark 10:19 words of Jesus printable Bible verse

PRAYING the Word
Thank you God that you are slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love to a sinner like me. Thank you that by grace, you are transforming my mind to be like yours. Keep my lowly and humble, unafraid to look at my sin, so that I can repent and find grace and receive mercy. Thank you that I can approach you with confidence because of your great love, bringing nothing but my contrite heart. (See Psalm 86:15; Hebrews 4:16; Psalm 51:17)

QUESTIONS to consider:

1. How is the truth that "no one is good but God alone" actually good news?
2. In what ways do you try to justify yourself before God?
3. How would an attitude of humility serve you well in your relationships with others and with the God who loves you?


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



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No one is good + Mark 10:18 Bible verse coloring page

I've been wanting to create something like this for a while, and I'm finally getting to share it with you today!

Who in your life makes your community a better place? Your kids' teachers, your dentist, your garbage collectors, your police men and women, your first reponders, your local pregnancy care volunteers, your local refugee resettlement workers, your pastors, your neighbors who help you shovel your driveway when it snows?

I hope we followers of Jesus are leading in our communities in whatever areas God has called us to affect change and pray for His Kindgom come, His will be done (Matthew 6:10). 

Here's a little tool to help encourage those in your community who make it a better place!


You can download your printable thank you cards HERE!


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



If you like this, you can get these posts in your inbox by signing up HERE

Printable community helpers thank you cards

"cloud of witnesses" printable Bible verse coloring page
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, 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, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)

My dad bought our family several missionary biographies for Christmas, and the girls chose to start with Amy Carmichael's story (we are reading this one--a great series for kids). Amy is an Irish women with a heart for bringing the hope of the Gospel to poor and neglected women. We just found out that Amy's poor health has send her back home instead of on her way to work with Hudson Taylor's China Inland Mission, to which she had clearly heard God's call. Little does she know that she will end up in India, working among the very people God has equipped her to reach with His love.

One benefit of reading Christian biographies is the opportunity to see a person's life from start to finish, to realize as you read about the struggles and confusion in Chapter 4, that God is preparing for something in Chapter 15.

Reading the life stories of saints who have gone before is one way to surround ourselves with that "great cloud of witnesses" available to us. Hudson Taylor. George Mueller. Adoniram Judson. C.S. Lewis. Elizabeth Elliot. Hannah Hurnard. Who would you add to this list?

They are in addition to the "great cloud of witnesses" from the Bible summarized for us in Hebrews 11:
whose faith and hope were more real than their circumstances
whose God was bigger than their enemies
whose reward was worth the cost
whose desires were bigger than this broken world
who trusted in God, not themselves, for their righteousness
who believed, even when God's timelines of promise was much farther out than was desirable
who despite many, and sometimes monumental, failures, were commended by God for their faith

We're not the first Jesus-follower to live this life of death and resurrection, of suffering and struggle. 
You'll hear your voice in the Psalmist's cries and complaints. You'll see your broken way in the life stories of the faithful saints now in eternity. 

I just started reading a collection of Puritan prayers called "TheValley of Vision" compiled by Arthur Bennet (this article gives a good explanation of how the book came about) to help me pray "meatier" prayers. What surprises me is that these prayers aren't antiquated or stuffy; they're passionate and spirit-filled; they're densely theological, but poetic. The publisher's website posts a daily prayer if you'd like to try them. 

What do the cloud of witnesses have to say to you, their sister or brother? The writers of Hebrews says that Adam’s son Abel, "through his faith, though he died, still speaks" (11:4).

What is it that you need to hear from the multitude who have tried God and found Him faithful and good?

Today's printable Bible verse coloring page is from Hebrews 12:1. You can download your page HERE or by clicking on the image below!*


Bible verse coloring page "great cloud of witnesses" Hebrews 12:1

PRAYING the Word
Thank you Father that I am not alone! I have the constant warmth of your Spirit, I have my church family, and I have a cloud of witnesses surrounding me, encouraging me to throw of my sin, fix my eyes on Jesus, and run with endurance this race you've laid out for me. Help me avail myself of these great resources You have provided.  


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



If you like this, you can get these posts in your inbox by signing up HERE

Surrounded by witnesses + a Hebrews 12:1 Bible verse coloring page

"Then he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. 7 Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of 'Grace, grace to it!'" 8 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 9 "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. 10 For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. "These seven are the eyes of the LORD, which range through the whole earth." [Zechariah 4:6-10 ESV]

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day here in the States. We're remembering the great task Dr. King felt called and equipped by God to do, the task that demanded his all. The right man in the right place at the right time. 

I learned this week (from this account) that Dr. King was in Memphis when he was murdered only because there had just been a violent protest there. City sanitation workers were fed up of working conditions that were both sub-human and dangerous. Dr. King's policy was to always go back and stage a peaceful protest once there had been a violent one. 

The night before his murder, he gave a speech at the Mason Temple in Memphis. Behind him, emblazened on a sign, was today's coloring page verse: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, Saith the LORD of HOSTS" (see image below).


This verse is from Zechariah 4, an account of a vision of Zechariah, the prophet, containing a message for another man--Zerubbael--who was given the God-sized task of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem after the exile. 

There was opposition to the project and much of the work probably seemed like "the day of small things," far removed from the glorious day the "top stone" would be set in place (4:10).

No wonder those in the middle of the Civil Rights movement found hope here.

Don't you think we can find hope here too, no matter the bigness or smallness of our calling?

Hope that accomplishment rests on the work of the Spirit, not our own strength.
Hope that mountains turn into plains before the LORD.
Hope that God, the Lord of hosts, with an army at His command, has His eyes on us (and the whole earth).
Hope that even small things can be built into SOMEthing bigger.

Between the days of small things and the day of the top stone, faithful work in the Spirit and unrelenting hope in the Lord of hosts will be required of us.

I need the reminder today that my task depends on my Jesus, not on me. He is up to it, though I am not. He is committed when I am ready to give up. 

Today's printable Bible verse coloring page is from Zechariah 4:6(b). You can download your page HERE or by clicking on the image below!*

PRAYING the Word
We put all our hope in the power of your Spirit to do what you have called us to. We put no confidence in our flesh and our own abilities (Philippians 3:3; Psalm 71:5). Thank you that you are always faithful, always strong, always with us.

QUESTIONS to consider:

1. Do you feel like everything depends on you and what you can do? How does that feel?
2. Do you act as if everything depends on you? How has that worked out for you?
2. What do you need to hope in God for today?


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!


Scripture is from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



If you like this, you can get these posts in your inbox by signing up HERE!


Not by might + Zechariah 4:6 Bible Verse Coloring Page


Hello again friends! As I explained in my last post, I took the month of December off in an attempt to celebrate the great event that is the birth of our Immanuel.

And as best as we could, we did just that. We did most of the things I had hoped we'd doWe were able to read some of our advent devotional (ahem . . . some, but it was great). We crafted with friends. I made hot chocolate (they hated it, by the way). We watched movies and let the kids stay up late. I napped and generally tried to cease from my striving.

There was deep joy, but in some ways it was also dark.

One of my daughters struggled with some anxiety. There was an unsuccessful attempt (the second one) to get her cavities filled. A mild encounter with the stomach bug led to further anxiety and a bitter cursing of Adam and Eve for sending our world into such sin and sickness (at least she was somewhat theologically sound). It's hard to see your child suffer and not be able to reason her out of her fears. Anxious people can be very stubborn. 

We dealt with lying and general siblings-stuck-together-in-the-house squabbling. My kids' sin and my own sinful responses to them can weigh me down.

And for whatever reason or reasons, likely a combination of the weather and the state of my own heart, I settled into a bit of a depression that still lingers. 

I don't know if you've ever felt it--I'm sure many of you have. I describe it like this: low, heavy, tired, emotionally thin, easily hurt, clumsy, forgetful, unfocused, unmotivated, stuck, sluggish, sad. Some days I needed my husband to take over in the evenings (today is one of those day actually).

I felt prompted to share my struggle with friends on social media. I figured, why share sweet moments in my life and not the bitter ones? I was surprised by a near-immediate flood of responses from friends who felt the same way. That simple step of naming my suffering and then sharing it without shame brought great relief.

I also started reading a book called "Depression: Looking up from the stubborn darkness" by Edward T. Welch. I've dealt with feelings of depression some in the past. In fact, it's somewhat of a family trait handed down from great-grandma, who sadly spent time in a mental institute. 

I've found Welch's book really insightful. He explains things much more thoroughly than I do, but I'll share a few truths from his book along with some I'm trying to hold onto during this season.

1. You are not alone. What a relief when someone else says, "Oh yes, me too." Welch writes: 
"Don’t think that your case is unique. This popular lie questions God’s care: all sufferers are tempted to believe that their suffering is unique. This lie immediately renders all counsel irrelevant because no one understands and no advice applies. The result is that the aloneness you already experience is now an established fact, and you are given ever more permission to despair."
2. Don't minimize or compare your suffering. As we began to pray better as a church this past year, our pastor encouraged us not to compare or minimize our form of suffering. If we compare ours to another's, we'll never dare to ask God or anyone else for help or prayer. Someone else's suffering is always worse. We forget that God cares like an attentive father and is present in suffering.

3. My choice is either to look inward or cry out to God. Welch (again) writes, 
"Your decision is between calling out to the Lord or not. This is the choice that has confronted those in misery throughout history. Listen to the prophet Hosea, who wrote these words on behalf of the Lord: 'They do not cry out to me from their hearts but wail upon their beds' (Hosea 7:14). You can sit in silence or cry to the Lord. You can cry on your bed or cry to the Lord. These are the two choices."
What will I do with my suffering? Try to figure it out? Try harder? Distract myself? Isolate myself? Or will I humble myself and cry out to my God, while letting those who care about me into my struggles?

Welch suggests praying and reading through the Psalms as a model of "crying out" while looking to God for hope.

3. Separate feelings from faith. How you feel on any given day is a complicated web of factors and influences--other people (and their sin), spiritual influences (good and evil), your body and its intricate workings, and your own sin.

Welch writes, "Feelings don’t define faith. Instead, faith is simply turning to the Lord."

I find that as I turn my eyes to the Lord and fix my eyes on Jesus, my feelings often do change and come in line with the truth, but not always, and not consistently. 

Freeing myself from the pressure to change how I'm feelings is one way to let Jesus bear the burdens that I can't bear (see Matthew 11:28-30). 

I'm also doing some little things to lift my spirits. I'm attempting to get back into exercise habits (Fitness Blender is my favorite, if anything exercise-related could be my favorite). I'm trying to get us all outside at least once a day for what little sun there is. I'm trying to do things I love (like drawing, playing music, and reading).

As I ask for God's help, (surprise!) He helps. I forget that He is like that. Helpful. Attentive. Good. 

Let's rehearse his goodness, especially in whatever suffering we are wading in. If you don't know where to start, join me in praying through some Psalms. You may feel the writer's confidence and hope . . . or you may not. That's okay. Let God move you, heal you, and comfort you as He works through His Spirit.

Can I share one more beautiful thing that has come out of this? As my daughter struggled under the weight of her own anxiety, I was able to share my reading in Psalms with her. It was a simple moment, but I have found her reading her new Bible several times on her own since. 
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 [ESV]
God never wastes your struggles. What a comfort you will be to someone one day when you say, "Oh yes, me too!"

Today's printable Bible verse coloring page is from Psalm 3:3. You can download your page HERE in English or HERE in Spanish or by clicking on the images below!*



PRAYING the Word
"O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me."  [Psalm 3:1-5 ESV]


*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!



If you like this, you can get these posts in your inbox by signing up HERE

The one who lifts my head + Psalm 3:3 Spanish and English coloring pages

Eek! It's been another year of blogging and I'm excited to share this last post! 

So I mentioned that I am taking December off. I did this last year on the advice of another business owner and it was such a blessing. We need the time to rest and fully celebrate this great thing that God has done for us (and all of humanity). 

I am not a baker and I don't go all-out with Christmas decorating. My son is in the throw-everything-on-the-floor stage, so just keeping him out of the Christmas tree is going to occupy my next month. But when I'm not doing damage control, here are a few simple activities I'd like to try with my kids (links below):



A. Bitty beanie ornaments (from Pinterest)





F. Three-ingredient hot chocolate. We make it this way with Almond or lactose-free milk because the packets have milk in them (and 3/5 of us are lactose-intolerant). Add some peppermint if you want to change it up!



I.  Counting the Days, Lighting the Candles:  A Christmas Advent Devotional by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson (a mother-daughter team). We're trying this one out this year, but there are a lot of options our there for advent devotionals like The Truth in Tinsel, or this free printable one that coordinates with the Jesus Storybook Bible (and uses pictures from that story Bible). And here's a pretty free printable advent calendar with Bible verses.

Can I leave with something encouraging? These are the "4 G's"  in "Everyday Church" by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis. Here they are:
1. God is great – so we don’t have to be in control
2. God is glorious – so we don’t have to fear others
3. God is good – so we don’t have to look elsewhere
4. God is gracious – so we don’t have to prove ourselves
Does someone in your life need to be encouraged in one of these areas? Can your load be lightened today by believing one of these truths?

The good news of Jesus is good news for us, and good news for everyone, but Chester and Timmis argue in their book that we have to ask God to show us how Jesus is good news. 

Is she anxious? She need to know that God is in control. 

Is he looking for the perfect relationship? He needs to know that God is the only one who fills and only He is unfailingly good.

Are they working hard to prove that they've got it together? They need to know that God's grace has already been offered to them, so there's nothing to prove to Him (and His opinion is what matters).

Let's slow down and ask the Holy Spirit to speak the truth to our own pain points and to the pain points of others. Let's ask God to empower us to speak words that are both sweet and salty (Colossians 4:5-6). 




these cards are from the "MISSION" set in the shop

Happy advent!

Simple and fun things I want to try with my kids this advent

 

I just love books and how God uses them to change me. I have to admit I'm not always great at finishing them, but I have great expectations!

Here is a collection of books I'd like to read this coming year:


A. The Green Ember by SD Smith (comes highly recommended by the Read-Aloud Revival's Sarah Makenzie). This one is to read with the girls.

B. Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles that Can Radically Change your Family by Paul David Tripp (author of my favorite marriage book)




F. New Morning Mercies:  A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul David Tripp (actually, I already bought this one and started! It's solid.)



I. John Adams by David McCulough (because I'm terrible at history)

Have you read any of these and do you recommend them?

Any good fiction recommendations to round out my list? I love books that take me away from the pace of my real life. It seems to help my anxiety. I read two classic Anthony Trollope novels (think very slow-cooker novel pace) this past year and enjoyed them. You can get some of them free for the Kindle on Amazon (and you don't need a Kindle to read them--you can download the Kindle app)! Or . . . just check your local library. 

If you're looking for a can't-put-this-book-down read, my friend, Sydney Betts, has written two novels set in Native American culture and they are FABULOUS, a breath of fresh air in the world of Christian fiction! She's working on publishing the third now, and I can't wait to read it. You can find them here.



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on my Christmas wish list: books!