You Are Valuable to God: How to Walk in Your New Identity

Before Christ, I was a slave to sin and to this world. My life lacked purpose and meaning, and I was on the road to death rather than life. I desperately needed a Savior – Jesus Christ – to rescue me.

It’s such a simple concept, yet I feel that over the years the enemy has distorted this message. Many of us are walking around holding on to the labels of who we used to be (sinners, slaves, etc.) instead of stepping into who God intends for us to be.

Yes, before Christ I was incapable of anything resembling righteousness… but the key word here is “was.” I was incapable. I was living for my own pleasure instead of living for God. And I was doomed to death as the result of my sin. But in Christ, these things are no longer true.

 

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Holiday Joy or Holiday Stress? 4 Practical Ways to Choose Joy This Christmas | alyssajhoward.com

Holiday Joy or Holiday Stress: 4 Practical Ways to Choose Joy This Christmas

Christmas is quickly approaching and life is getting busier… and much more stressful. As the mom of two little ones, I fully understand how crazy life can be around the holidays. There is so much to remember! I have a mental checklist of things to do that seems to be growing every day rather than shrinking. Needless to say, my holiday joy has turned into holiday stress. It’s exhausting, to say the least! Continue Reading

3 Reasons Why Holidays and Celebrations Are Important

The holiday season has officially arrived! Christmas music is everywhere, decorations are being hung, celebrations are being planned, and the weather is as unpredictable as ever (and very cold!)

This particular holiday season gives me great joy. My girls are finally old enough to really understand what’s happening – especially my oldest. She is so excited to be a part of everything from decorating the Christmas tree to watching Christmas movies. And both of my girls shout for joy when they see Christmas lights on the neighbors’ houses! Yes indeed, this year will be the best Christmas yet for the young Howard family. Continue Reading

When the Storms of Life Come: How Secure Are My Roots? | alyssajhoward.com

When the Storms of Life Come: How Secure Are My Roots?

We recently had a windstorm sweep through our area. And this was no ordinary windstorm. With gusts as high as 70mph, this storm (which lasted several hours) brought great devastation to our area. Tens of thousands were without power, homes were destroyed, and there were even a few reported deaths.

 

Living in the Pacific Northwest, we have trees… lots and lots of large pine trees… everywhere. Throughout the storm, my family watched outside our front window as these enormous trees swayed in the mighty wind. We witnessed one of our neighbor’s trees bend and sway until it finally broke in half taking power lines down with it.

The aftermath of the storm was even worse. Without power the next morning, we woke up in a freezing cold house and decided to take a drive to escape the cold. Trees were everywhere. These enormous trees were completely uprooted during the storm and they destroyed everything in their path.

 

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Be Thankful in All Things: 8 Verses About What It Means to be Thankful

On this very special week of Thanksgiving, I can’t help but reflect on my life. (I think it’s something we all tend to do this time of year.) Throughout the year, it’s easy to get caught up in busyness. It’s too easy to focus on life’s struggles and forget life’s blessings. But this is why I LOVE Thanksgiving. It reminds us to have a thankful heart.

 

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Daniel: A Lesson in Courage, Humility, and Respect | alyssajhoward.com

Daniel: A Lesson in Courage, Humility, and Respect

What comes to mind when you think of Daniel? I remember learning about Daniel as a child. He was a godly man who refused to compromise his standards. Even when faced with death in the lions’ den, he refused to stop praying. He stood up for his faith in a pagan land, and that took a great amount of courage.

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered a side of Daniel that made me question what it means to stand up for my faith.

 

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Brothers and Sisters in Christ: How to Keep Peace in the Family of God

When my youngest was born, her older sister wasn’t too happy. She certainly had moments when she was intrigued by this new little person, but a new sister meant that life would never be the same. She now had to share everything… mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, time, attention, toys, etc. This new sibling brought a lot of big changes to her world.

For the first couple of years, my oldest struggled to adjust. Her younger sibling cried a lot and needed a lot of my attention. I knew that one day she would see the benefit of having a younger sister. They would grow up together, be each other’s best friend, laugh with one another, and lean on each other through tough times.

As a mother, I would think about the day when they would be bridesmaids in each other’s weddings or when they would call each other as adults for advice. Isn’t this what we all want for our kids?

 

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Living for the Future Rather Than the Here and Now: 5 Reasons to Have an Eternal Perspective | alyssajhoward.com

Living for the Future Rather Than the Here and Now: 5 Reasons to Have an Eternal Perspective

Ever since I was a little girl, life has been all about the future. When I was younger, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. As a high school student, I planned for college. Once in college, I prepared for my future career. Then I got married and had children of my own. At this stage of life, I’m not only thinking about my own future, but I am now preparing my daughters for their future.

 

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Am I a Disappointment to God? | alyssajhoward.com

Am I a Disappointment to God?

God is faithful. He never disappoints. He keeps His promises, even when we don’t keep ours. We can rely on Him in every circumstance. But people… we have the tendency to let each other down.

As a mom, I desire to never disappoint my girls. I never want their hopes to be shattered. I want to be faithful and to keep my word. Unfortunately, I will let them down. I will lose my temper. I will say one thing and do another. And I will disappoint them. It’s a fact of life.

So what happens when we disappoint God? Is He angry with us? Does He want to give up on us?

 

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Walking Hand in Hand with Our Father We Find Everything We Need

I love holding hands with my toddlers. Their hands feel so small in my hand. When they hold my hand, I feel needed and loved. I get to protect them and keep them close. I get to lead them where I need them to go and keep them from wandering off. And I know that they sense this protection as well. They desire to be close to me when faced with new situations. They want to feel safe, and they feel safest when they are at my side.

 

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The Proverbs 31 Man: Wisdom for the Modern Husband

Proverbs 31 is often seen as a standard of living for the Christian wife. If I’m completely honest, I must admit that I find the list of attributes to be quite daunting. It is certainly something that many Christian women strive for in their homes, but no woman can be the “proverbs 31 woman” every moment of every day. Believe me. I’ve tried, and it’s hard.

Even then, I love this chapter of God’s Word. It gives me something to work towards as a wife and mother. But I have to ask myself one question: is there such as thing as the proverbs 31 man?

 

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3 Ways We Have Been Equipped By God to Patiently Endure Life’s Struggles

Toddlers aren’t exactly the most patient human beings. Some are probably more patient than others, but overall patience isn’t typically a trait used to describe an average 3-year-old. My daughter has been in the habit lately of asking demanding repeatedly her request until she gets what she wants.

She will ask for some water – she will watch me as I grab a cup out of the cupboard and fill it with water – the whole time asking over and over again for some water. It’s as if she’s worried I will somehow forget what I’m doing in the middle of getting it for her and she won’t get her water. (Please tell me I’m not the only mother with a toddler like this!)

 

Most of us don’t enjoy being patient. Quite honestly, it’s no fun having to wait for things. As adults we may not outwardly whine as much as a 3-year-old trying to get her way, but we often feel it on the inside. We know what we want, and we want it now.

 

3 Ways We Have Been Equipped By God to Patiently Endure Life's Struggles | alyssajhoward.com

 

Merriam-Webster has some interesting definitions for the word patient:

  • bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
  • manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
  • not hasty or impetuous
  • steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity
  • able or willing to bear

 

While reading these definitions, certain phrases stick out to me. True patience is calm. It doesn’t complain. It isn’t controlled by our emotions. And it is not only able, but willing to endure in all circumstances. Have I mentioned that patience is hard?

 

In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.2 Corinthians 6:4 (NLT)

This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.Revelation 14:12 (NLT)

 

God calls His people to patiently endure trials, temptations, and hardships of every kind.

 


Why?
Because He wants the best for us. He desires that we grow in character and learn to lean on Him. He desires to be with us in eternity.
Asking us to patiently endure life’s trials may seem like an impossible task. It’s definitely something I struggle with on a daily basis. But God doesn’t leave us empty handed.

 

  • God has given us each other. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. As we live out our faith, we can rely on one another for strength, guidance, and prayer.

 

Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.2 Corinthians 1:6 (NLT)

 

  • God has given us His Word. The Bible reveals God’s ultimate plan for salvation and redemption. As we patiently endure, it gives us hope and encouragement that the world simply cannot offer.

 

…And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.Romans 15:4 (NLT)

 

  • We have the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He made a promise to send a “helper.” As believers, we have God’s Holy Spirit living inside of us. He convicts us, equips us, encourages us, guides us, and gives us the strength we need to patiently endure the trials of this world.

 

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

 

As a Christian, it’s hard not to behave like my toddlers. I struggle with patience. I whine and complain to God when things aren’t going as planned, but He is teaching me how to wait on Him. He is teaching me to trust that He is moving in my life, even when I want to remind Him of my needs repeatedly the way my 3-year-old does.

 

Even when I’m being impatient with Him, God is always faithful to be patient with me.

 

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Now We Live with Great Expectation: Relying on a Hope That Will Never Disappoint

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines hope as “the feeling of wanting something to happen and thinking that it could happen : a feeling that something good will happen or be true.”

When it comes to our children, our health, and our safety, we hope for the best because we know that the best doesn’t always happen. We hope because we know that this life is uncertain and can change at a moment’s notice. We hope…

 

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Why Reputation Matters When It Comes to Christian Ministry | alyssajhoward.com

Why Reputation Matters When It Comes to Christian Ministry

I’ve heard it said that we should guard our reputation because in the end, it’s all we have. One wrong move and our reputation could be destroyed. But in some ways, Christians are taught to disregard reputation. We are told that we will be hated and persecuted, and that we should stand up for truth and not be ashamed of it.

 

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Praying for a Baby: A Story of Refinement | alyssajhoward.com

Praying for a Baby: A Story of Refinement

A big thank you to my amazing mother for sharing her heart in this guest post. I knew for most of my life that my parents longed for another baby. I remember the journey well, and I can honestly say that my entire family grew in the process. Thank you, Jesus, for refining each member of my family as we learned to seek You first in all things.

 


 

I was a young mother, marrying my husband at the tender age of 19 years old.  Our family was started immediately with a baby girl born 1 month after our first wedding anniversary, and a baby boy to join her 17 months later.  What more could I ask for?  Two perfect healthy children, relatively easy pregnancies, I was content.  My husband and I also had another daughter from his previous marriage that was 5 years old when we started our own little family.  Life was busy and full.

 

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