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Seeds of Devotion
By Julia Attaway

Respond, Don't React

To love others as Christ loved me, I need to respond instead of react to their behavior. 

My 18-year old–who has never been an easy child–was exceptionally irrational and argumentative the other day. After a bit of back-and-forth, it was clear that my powers of persuasion were no match for his ability to aggravate.

On the brink of saying something I knew I’d regret I took a deep breath, mentally stepped back, and said my go-to prayer in these situations: Holy Spirit, guide my words.

5 Tips to Make Advent More Meaningful Through Devotion

Contrary to what you hear and see, it’s a season of devotion, not decoration.

’Tis the season: Advent. Contrary to what you hear and see, it’s a season of devotion, not decoration. Herewith, my personal five-point guide on how to use this month to prepare for a frenzy-free Christmas.

1. Make Your List
Brainstorm gift ideas for Jesus, considering what he wants most. Best bet: the time-tested trio of golden forgiveness, sweet-smelling humility and the balm of a contrite heart.

12 Things I’ve Learned About Faith the Hard Way

Here's one example: When I get upset, pride is usually present.

1.   God calls me to respond to others, not react to them.

2.   When I get upset, pride is usually present.

3.   Righteous anger is almost always tainted by some measure of unrighteous indignation.

4.   No matter how tempting it is to say something in righteous anger, it’s better to keep quiet until I have dealt with the unrighteous indignation.

Nose Above Water

When life's waves are high and choppy, it’s the prayers of others that keep us afloat.

I’ve been in another part of the country for nearly three weeks, dealing with a family emergency. Andrew’s back home with the kids, several of whom are struggling mightily with my absence. He’s doing a great job, but it’s hard work.

“I feel like my nose is just barely above water,” he texted.

Looking for the Light

It’s in the tough times that faith, hope and charity are most visible.

I’ve been helping someone with a serious problem lately, one that involves a mix of mental and physical health. It’s scary. It’s intense. It’s confusing. I’m in territory I’ve never travelled before, in a place I don’t want to visit.

A Good Measure

A kindness in the laundry room brings scripture to life.

I went down to the laundry room today with two huge IKEA bags full of dirty darks. As I stepped off of the elevator into the basement, a young mother emerged looking harried, with a crying toddler and a preschooler in tow.

An older man–I guessed her father–was picking up goldfish crackers that had scattered all over the floor.

Do the Right Thing

Do you let others' behavior distract you from fixing a problem?

A friend of mine works for an elected official, and the other day she told me she’s been working on a problem brought to her office by a constituent with an extremely challenging personality.

No matter what how much time my friend puts in the issue, the constituent complains loudly–and publicly–that nothing is happening.

Living with Uncertainty

There are times when not-knowing is the cross we’re asked to carry.

I read an article the other day about how to determine God’s will. It was good, suggesting we should search scripture, pray and seek counsel. Something about it niggled at my brain, though.

Have You Said You're Sorry Today?

Reconciling yourself to others requires only two simple words.

One of my closest friends is Jewish, and as Yom Kippur–the day of fasting and atonement–approached last week she sent me a link to a great blog post called How to Say You’re Sorry.

Are You a Slave of God?

Or are you looking for some loopholes?

On Saturday as I walked home from the farmer’s market, I stopped in a church to pray. I put my big bag of apples and chard and Kabocha squash on a pew and smiled at the thought of ten minutes of unexpected quiet time.

Almost without thinking I said silently, “Jesus, I am here to be with you. I want to be your slave.”

Julia Attaway is a freelance writer, homeschooler and mother of five. She is the editor of Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood, a book of devotions for first-time moms. She lives in New York.

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