If we were honest with ourselves, how equipped do we feel to hide God's Word away in our hearts? Do we think we have what it takes to teach our families their way around the Bible? One woman and author, Abby Boldt Messner, decided she needed something more to help her in these important tasks. From Terrace Park, Ohio, Abby has found the perfect way to root her beliefs more deeply into her own heart and her children's hearts. I had the absolute pleasure to interview this unique woman of bravery recently and she’s a story to follow.
Abby has written two books: 10 Big Words—10 Word Bible Verses for Teens and 10 Big Words—10 Word Conversations with God. Abby’s inspiration stems from a curiosity about God’s word. She’s determined to reveal its simplicity and applicability to people of all ages.
Writing has always been a staple for Abby. “It makes me not feel so small.” She enjoys the perspective it brings her. “It can create a hill that I can step over out of what I thought was an impossible mountain.” With all of her writing projects, she knows that ultimately, it’s successful if she’s found benefit, and beyond that, it’s blessed if others do as well.
Her most established work, 10 Big Words—10 Word Verses for Teens is a compilation of ten word Bible verses for easy memorization. This book was originally not a book at all! Growing up, there was little talk of Jesus in Abby’s world. However, when her kids came along, she was inspired to seek out the Creator of her little miracles. Abby and her husband began attending Horizon Church where they began to understand the grace of Jesus. But Abby noticed something as she volunteered for the church: Other kids and families seemed to know the Bible cover to cover while she struggled to find her way around. Abby wanted a solution and to give her own kids access to the Word in a way that made sense to them. While contemplating how best to provide her and her family truth, she stumbled upon a Bible memorization tactic from Lysa Terkurst. Lysa had been encouraging her own daughter for years with Bible verses that were only ten words long. Short, powerful, and easy to memorize. It was the perfect thing for Abby
Abby started her ten word Bible verse list and at first kept it within the home. After a time, it dawned on her that other families were probably struggling in similar ways to ingrain God’s word into their hearts and minds. At this time, Abby had enough verses and content for a book to be born. Enter 10 Big Words—10 Word Bible Verses for Teens in 2014.
Soon, Abby’s heart grew for more knowledge about prayer and a simple way to pass along that knowledge. 10 Big Words—10 Word Conversations with God, made it’s way into print in 2016. Following the structure of 10 Big Words—10 Word Bible Verses for Teens, Conversations with God is packed with life-giving yet simple prayers for all people at any stage in their spiritual walk.
Abby’s 10 Big Word books are bought by Horizon Church and distributed to every incoming 5th and 6th grader. They are also available to everyone online at tenbigwords.com.
Consistent with Abby’s curiosity comes a whole new project. Lately, Abby has been thinking about why we have certain stigmas associated with people different than us; Specifically, stigma against individuals with tattoos.
On a family trip to Kings Island, Abby’s husband challenged her to ask these people their stories. Abby got creative and came up with a way to do just that. Abby says, “It’s easy to just look away. I don’t want to be that person. I want to engage.” So, Abby created business cards inviting people to share their stories and the stories of their tattoos on tenbigwords.com. Her hope is that she will compile enough essay submissions to create a book. Ultimately, Abby hopes to gain a better understanding of people different from her. She says, “This will change me.”
Abby invites every person to follow her discoveries (or even add to them!) through the tattoo project on her website: tenbigwords.com
Abby’s closing words from our interview were for every woman to “just share” about whatever is happening in their life and to not hide within themselves. She’s passionate about connecting and creating understanding between believers and nonbelievers alike.
Abby's 10 Big Words books are an amazing resource for family devotions and are precious gifts for the kids or any believer. Follow Abby Boldt Messner on Twitter to keep in touch with her newest endeavors to connect to the Lord and everyone she meets.
The words scroll across the main screen of my mind almost every day. They have done so since before my child was born, when I was put on bed rest before reaching my third trimester. Mothers make many sacrifices during pregnancy—from minor ones like giving up drinking alcohol, to major ones like suffering from sickness for months. And everyone knows that raising a child is demanding and tiring. But what imprinted this phrase on my mind most deeply was neither childbearing nor child-rearing; rather, the most dramatic sacrifice seemed to be the act of giving birth itself.
Though my own labor was short and free of complications, yet I emerged from the experience astounded. Why, after going through such an agonizing—and yes, laborious—process once, would anyone choose to go through it again?! Suddenly I beheld the entire world with new eyes: every person who ever lived, in all of human history (apart from our first parents), entered into the world by this process, from a mother who endured this pain.
In fact, until very recently in our country—and even now in the less developed nations of the world—childbirth carried with it not just the inevitability of pain and discomfort for the mother (which we have the option of numbing to some degree with modern medicine), but the tremendous possibility of death. There is a Filipino proverb that says, “A woman giving birth has her one foot in the grave.” Countless women have made the ultimate sacrifice of motherhood: giving up their very lives for their children.
From the beginning God made woman to be a Lifegiver. And Adam called his wife’s name Eve [Life], because she was the mother of all living (Gen. 3:20). God gave her, and her daughters after her, the ability to give life with her body—to bear a child in her womb, and nurse it at her breasts. The giving of a mother’s life may, or may not, result in her physical death, but either way her sacrifices are real—she must daily die to herself for the sake of her child. The call to such selflessness, even with its manifold rewards, at times seems unbearable. Loss of sleep leaves one mother physically drained and emotionally unstable; her child’s medical problems cause fear and uncertainty to grip another; and without anything more dramatic, a mother may simply feel the constraints of her baby’s feeding and sleeping schedule on her marriage, work, and social life. In my own experience, seven weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with my premature infant threatened to destroy every vestige of strength and happiness in my soul. What I learned (yet again) in those dark days was that the life-giving mother must possess her own source of life to fill her as she pours herself out. She must be revived by drinking from the ever-flowing Fountain of Life, and beholding the sacrifice He made by spilling His blood on the cross to give us life.
As Lifegivers we are called to imitate that Savior who, “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2)—I knew the joy (the ecstasy even!) of holding my precious babe when the agony of labor I had endured was past. And I continue to hope in God’s goodness when the trials of motherhood loom large, knowing that the life Jesus gives is sufficient, and that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
Finally, the apostle Paul taught that women will be “saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control” (I Tim. 2:15). Author and teacher Barbara Mouser offers an exposition of these verses that has convicted as well as encouraged me:
Paul prescribes four spiritual virtues for the lifegiving woman…[which] answer the perennial challenges of the lifegiver in her years of pregnancy or child rearing. Faith quiets worry. Love refutes selfishness. Sanctity answers worldly distractions. Self-restraint tames the temper even as it rallies the listless spirit. If a woman perseveres in these virtues through the lifegiving years not only will she be saved from numerous incidental calamities, she will gain the sanctified character that is the goal of the godly woman. (Five Aspects of Woman, Vol 1, p. 196, emphasis mine)
“Motherhood is sacrifice,” then, becomes much more than a mantra for a 3 a.m. feeding, or resignation at having to change my diet for my nursing infant. It encapsulates for me the essence of the Lifegiver—her identification with her Savior, her calling to imitate His selfless love, the goal of her sanctification, and her hope of eternal life.
In Deuteronomy, God instructs us to surround ourselves with His words. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 it says "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."
What better way to bring God's word into your home than with beautifully designed pieces?
Live with Heart & Soul wants to equip our readers to bring God's word into their homes with this beautifully designed watercolor printable poster of Psalm 15! Click below to download it now, completely free!
1. For full size, print on Legal size paper
2. Click the image to download
3. Right click on the full-size image that opens
4. Select "Save As"
5. Choose where to store the file (i.e. My Documents or Desktop)
We hope these words will be a blessing and an encouragement!
Main Point of the book
Why it matters
Teaching your children to exhibit traits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control, and wisdom. This list is just a summary, but it hits the high points.
Teach the positive, don’t just chastise the negative. When we chastise our children for wrong behavior without explaining to them what the right behavior is to do instead, it exasperates them because they are not creative or mature enough to know what perfect behavior looks like. They cannot escape because they genuinely don’t know what a better way to act would be.
When we are faced with disobedience or any other form of misbehavior, we must instruct our kids to exhibit the positive trait, not just stop doing the negative.
In training your children, you have to require them to identify the behavior that was incorrect, ask for forgiveness and then they have to practice doing the correct behavior. It takes a little extra time to recreate the scenario, but it is worth it to give your child the chance to succeed in proper behavior.
What not to do
What should obedience look like?
When is it appropriate to discipline your child?
TV. Radio. Movies. Magazines. They send constant messages to us and to our families. They aim to define for us how we should look, what we should wear, who we should worship, how we should live almost every aspect of our lives. Whether we like it or not, we are bombarded from all angles with messages that don't honor God or people. How can we censor ourselves?
At risk of sounding like a Debbie-Downer, I will transition quickly to the silver lining, the glimmer of hope. Here are some excellent resources to help you guard your family.
1. Plugged In is a great place to start. Brought to you by the cultural experts at Focus on the Family, Plugged In offers reviews that evaluate books, movies, tv shows, music and even video games from a Biblical perspective. As conscientious moms, we evaluate the media we and our kids consume using the basic standards like MPAA ratings, opting for G, PG or PG 13 only, but even then the standards have become intolerably loose.
Plugged In's reviews take a structures approach starting with positive elements, spiritual content and sexual content. After briefly summarizing a movie's stance/content that speak to those three areas, reviews move on to discuss violent content, language, drug/alcohol content and conclude with a summary of other negative elements.
Plugged In also summarizes the level of caution with an easy-to-read guide broken down for Kids, Teens & Adults.
Plugged In is a phenomenal resource to get an honest, in depth preview of movies, music and other media before committing to watching/listening to it. They also do a great job of keeping up with current releases, including movies that are still in theaters.
Check Plugged In before your next visit to the theatre:
2. VidAngel is the answer for women who wish "they would just leave out the bad stuff!" Using VidAngel, you can literally choose exactly which questionable elements you want to watch and which elements you want to have removed from your movies. Many companies have tried (and failed) to wriggle movies out of the tight grip of the major productions companies so they could edit out the offensive content, but VidAngel has managed.
These companies are so powerful that they have actually succeeded in making it illegal to edit movies before selling them, and even before displaying them. That's why VidAngel is so clever! They sell you the movie before it gets edited, and they technically allow you to do the editing yourself. After you finished watching it, you can sell it back for 90% of the purchase price, so it works out the same as if you rented it.
Whether you want to edit out slightly scary elements before allowing your little ones to watch a rated G movie, or you want to avoid being bombarded with offensive language during PG-13 or R-rated movies, you can finally take control with VidAngel.
A new season has arrived and, for many, that comes with a sense of revitalization and renewed purpose, direction and drive. By making it a goal this year to spend a little time each morning in reflection, meditation and prayer, you can stay grounded amid the chaos moms call everyday life. Good moms need to have their wits about them when they are raising raising children, and with how busy things are during the day, it's easy to lose track of your true priorities.
Recipe for a great morning
The easiest way to get a little extra time to yourself is to wake up 10-20 minutes before everyone else so you have peace and quiet and your attention isn't owed to anyone else. Open in prayer so that you can eliminate distractions in your mind. Meditate on one thing that you have learned in the last day or week. Or maybe you haven't learned the lesson yet, and you are continually running up against an insurmountable problem. Consider this: if the same thing continues to go wrong over and over, there might be something you are doing unwittingly, or perhaps you haven't learned how to handle a particular situation correctly. Meditation is a great way to get clarity on these types of issues. After meditation, write down and read through the things that you are doing well. This is a time for affirmations. You are doing so many things well! Why not encourage yourself with those things daily? Finally, take some time to write notes.
Whether you are a blogger or you keep a journal, take just a few minutes to jot down some thoughts and ideas that you've come up with. Taking notes helps you keep your mind from wandering to things you may not want to take your meditation time to dwell on. Additionally, studies support the idea that note-takers will make stronger connections between related pieces of information. (Foos, Mora, & Tkacz, 1994) It doesn't have to be long, but you will find that getting the words out will make you feel ready for the day.
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Cornel Warren, Managing Editor of Live with Heart & Soul, shares her heart as she reaches Christian women with timeless, beautiful content to encourage and inspire their walks with God, themselves and those around them.