After much prayer and thought about the future of my blog – Encouraging Words from Jean Matthew Hall – I’ve concluded that I need to stop writing new posts. I have become seriously involved with my Word Weavers International online critique group, with the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and with Write2Ignite for Christian Writers of Children’s and YA Literature. The time I spent blogging here will be devoted to those organizations. I’ll also be posting more to Face Book at Jean Matthew Hall and Jean Matthew Hall Author.
I will continue to send out my monthly newsletter where you can keep abreast on my prayer needs and writing adventure. You can sign up for that at the top of the sidebar.
I will keep my posts alive on this site under the Blog Archive tab. You can search by using the Categories in the sidebar. I’ll also transfer some of the posts to the Writers tab.
Thank you, my faithful followers. I believe God is going to use this change of focus for our good and His glory.
By clicking on the Menu tabs above I hope you’ll find bushels of useful information.
Whether you are a fellow writer, a fellow parent or grandparent, or a fellow teacher there’s something here for you. Please let me know if you would like to see other information here. Take a tour, please.
My blog will keep you updated about
The Blessings of Fall (the first book) is scheduled for release in September, 2019. I’m scheduling school visits and book signings at this time. If you would like for me to share with your school or store (near Louisville, KY or Charlotte, NC) please email me. Just click on the CONTACT tab above.
I relish your input so, please, leave comments on my blog posts or email me.
Rich blessings to you all!
Over the past few months I’ve experienced an avalanche of emotions–most of them negative. I’ve been afraid, stressed, distressed, lonely, confused, worried, sad, angry, hesitant, even paralyzed at times. But I’ve found the secret to coping with those emotions and keeping them in check—or at least in balance.
I’ve found the secret to digging out from under that avalanche. IT’S GOD’S WORD.
Read it. Print it on cards and stick it around your house and in your car. Carry it in your purse or pocket. Sing it. Memorize it. Doodle it. Paint it. Recite as you fall asleep at night.
Here are some verses that have helped me lately. I hope they will do the same for you. These are from the NIV. I plan to post them one at a time on my Face Book Story.
Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
2 Samuel 22:3
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
When my days seem to be filled with distress I try to fill my heart with God’s Word. For me there’s no better way to keep my heart tuned in to it than through spiritual music.
Shane & Shane’s performance of “I Will Wait for You – Psalm 130” reminds me of the peace I have in the Lord. Find a quiet place to listen and worship.
I was recently introduced to the blog Smart Parent Advice by Ryan and Cristin Howard. They offer sound, practical (I do mean PRACTICAL) advice for parents of young children.
Cristin’s post “Fun Activities to Promote Math Skills” contains fun and effective math activities for toddlers and preschoolers. Activities that don’t require a “curriculum.” Please check it out below.
Time for honest confession here. I know this post is longer than my usual blog posts. But I hope it speaks to someone in cyberspace.
I’ve been writing for publication for almost 15 years. God has given me little bits of publication and I am grateful. But, for those years I have agonized over needing more.
I keep telling God and others that I don’t want any glory for my writing. I say I only want to glorify Him. And I truly mean it! But, over and over again I have internal battles with my desire to succeed at this and everything I attempt.
I’ve also had another spiritual battle for most of my adult life. Pride. I have tried to call it by other names. I’ve reminded myself 1,000 times that God’s Word tells us to humble ourselves. I keep trying. But I have struggled with it for probably 35 years. A couple of years ago I thought this war had been won. VICTORY!
The past few months I’ve been battling my need to succeed again. I reprimand myself. I repent. I beg God to help me overcome this tremendous dread of failure that I possess. It’s a spiritual, emotional, mental, and even physical battle for me. It rages for a few weeks or months. Then I get it under control and feel at peace for six or eight months.
Then the Enemy breaks through the lines and the battle rages again.
Will I ever learn?
I’ve been playing the wrong game!
A few weeks ago, I participated in an online writer’s conference. I really didn’t hear anything I had not heard several times before. Until a speaker delivered a class on branding. I almost decided no to watch and listen. Just the word “branding” makes me feel ill. And the speaker was a person I didn’t care to listen to. But I decided to do it anyway.
I’m truly glad I did for two reasons.
One of the speaker’s points was that I should know which game I’m playing. Huh? He explained that we play two kinds of games for fun and relaxation. One type has as its objective winning. Being the last one standing, taking all the toys. The second type has as its objective surviving. Staying alive until the game is over.
It hit me that, with writing and publication, I’ve been playing the wrong game. I have been unaware that I play to win! I want and need to succeed by winning the prize of publication. If I don’t get the trophy I crash emotionally. I’m devastated because not winning is the equivalent of failing. And I have NEVER been okay with failing at anything. I asked myself, “Why?” God twisted His mouth and looked at me sideways. “You know why. Pride.”
I’ve been a Christian for 50 years and I never fully internalized that my fear of failure and my need to succeed were the result of pride.
God wants me to play to survive, to last, to continue faithfully to write and seek publication. Success for me shouldn’t mean publication. Success for me should mean finishing the game with integrity.
You might be thinking, “Duh! She didn’t know that?”
Well, yes, I think I knew it in my head some of the time, but, I guess, not in my heart.
When the speaker gave this analogy, the Holy Spirit turned a floodlight on in my head and my heart. I think—
I think this is a turning point for me. I hope so because I’m so desperately fed up with my repeated struggles.
Thank goodness that desperation is the path to God and His wisdom.
Another beautiful YouTube video. A song about Christ and His true love for us.
Take a moment to thank Him for the unimaginable sacrifice made by God–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Heaven’s temporary loss was truly our eternal gain.
Teaching Kids How to Think
My oldest child would have been 51 this year had he continued to live on this earth. He’s in heaven, and his age is eternal. So, I’ve been parenting and grandparenting a long time.
I wanted to teach my three children some important things:
I’m sad to say that it never occurred to me to teach them HOW to think. I worked very hard on instructing them in WHAT they should think. I drilled the truth of God’s Word into their minds and hearts That wasn’t a bad thing. My daughter is in her 30s. My son will turn 50 this year. I see that they can pull out of their hearts and minds those truths that we taught them.
But there were periods in their adult lives when they CHOSE not to live according to those truths. I believe it was partially because we are all rebellious by nature. And that, secondly, I failed to teach them HOW to think their way through choices.
They knew what Mama and Daddy had told them. They knew what the Bible and their Sunday School teacher had taught them. But we failed to teach them how to line their choices up and choose the best ones.
I failed to teach them how to APPLY those truths in their daily lives.
Now, as a grandparent, I am aware of how important it is to teach my grandkids not only the truth, but to rationalize for them why those truths are good and important. I encourage them to make small, insignificant choices for themselves. Hopefully, they’ll be able to apply those choice-making skills to the big decisions in life.
What would I have done differently with my three children?
I’m not a psychologist. Just a conscientious mom, grand-mom, and teacher. Please, learn from my mistakes.
Let your children make some bad choices before they are old enough to make tragic choices that can destroy their lives. Support them through the consequences, but don’t bail them out. Help them learn whatever lessons those consequences can teach them.