Recommended Reading

“I cannot live without books.”
-Thomas Jefferson
 
‘Tis the back-to-school season. I love shopping for school supplies and organizing binders, but most importantly, I love books.
 
My fondness for reading was suspended until after graduating from pharmacy school. Reading for pleasure became a new hobby once I was no longer forced to study physics and racemic isomers. 
 
In honor of back to school I determined to share with you the books that have made a positive impact on my life and my family. This same list will be permanently available under the “Resource” tab. 
 

Inspiration:

Parenting: General


Parenting Girls:

Parenting Boys:

Parenting the Strong-Willed Child:


The Power of Prayer:

Marriage:

Daily Devotion:

 
Let’s keep the list going. What are your favorite books on family, parenting, marriage, and spiritual growth? Please share in the comment field below. 
 
Happy reading!
 
~April 

What Text Message Do You Desire from God?

What text message from God would you want to receive?
At times, I feel suffocated by technology. The need to return text messages, phone calls, and emails in a timely manner overwhelms me. Finding balance in returning communication and family time it is an honest struggle.
God does not share that problem. He is not suffocated by our constant prayers and messages for help. He is never overwhelmed by communication. In fact God specializes in communication; “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1, NIV).
God sent us His Word (another name for Jesus) and text messages in the beginning of time, long before technology was created. All of God’s text messages are bound in a reference book called the Bible.
Last night I decided to write out all the text messages underlined in my Bible. These messages given directly by God have encouraged me in throughout the various stages of life, marriage, and parenting.  This will be a long range project, but here are a handful of text messages to jump start your weekend:
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  (Joshua 7:1)
Is there anything too hard for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14)
God himself will provide (Genesis 22:8)
Do not be afraid, for I am with you. (Genesis 26:24)
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised to you. (Genesis 28:15-16)
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good. (Genesis 50:20)
God heard…He remembered…He was concerned. (Exodus 2:24-25)
I AM who I AM. (Exodus 3:14)
The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still. (Exodus 14:14)
I am the Lord who heals you. (Exodus 15:26)
The Lord relented. (Exodus 32:14)
My Presence with go with you and I will give you rest. (Exodus 33:14)
Is the Lord’s arms too short? (Numbers 11:23)
The Lord your God is going before you, He will fight for you. (Deuteronomy 1:30)
The Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession. (Deuteronomy 14:2)
The Lord your God is God; He is a faithful God. (Deuteronomy 7:9)
For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the works of your hands, and your joy may be complete. (Deuteronomy 16:15).
My prayer is that these text messages from God will speak to you in a profound way.
Blessings,
~April
Connect with me:
Email redchairmoments@gmail.com

Holding Hands

By April Dawn White

hands-407389_1280 (1)pixabay

“He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters.” (Psalm 18:16, NLT)

I have spent the past three months chronicling God as our anchor of hope in Hebrews 6:19. I have recorded what to do when the anchor moves, how to cling to hope and how to get a better grip.

This week God reminded me that while I am doing all I can to hold onto Him, God is holding on to me by His mighty right hand!

“My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” (Psalm 63:8, ESV)

April 2015 marks two very monumental moments in my life:

  1. Rachel’s 10th birthday!
  2. Delivery from depression!

“Save us and help us with your right hand that those you love may be delivered.” (Psalm 60:5, NIV)

After my first pregnancy, I fell into a deep depression. For over two years I struggled and pleaded with God. The pages of my Bible (especially Psalms and Isaiah) are crinkled from tears.

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

(Psalm 40:2, NIV)

Highlighted, underlined, and circled are the phrases: you hold me by my right hand.  These inspired words from God written by Isaiah and David captured my hearts cry. I was falling to pieces and needed someone’s strong hand. I needed God’s hand.

 “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.” (Psalm 41:10, HCSB)

After my first pregnancy, a blanket of darkness covered me like fog. I faked smiles at work, but God knew better. My sweet first born had a broken mommy. My husband didn’t know what to do. I cried and prayed.

“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the heart-401499_1280sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:9-10, ESV)

 Falling into the abyss I cried out to God.

“I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall, when God grabbed and held me. God’s my strength, he’s also my song, and now he’s my salvation. Hear the shouts; hear the triumph songs in the camp of the saved?  “The hand of God has turned the tide! The hand of God is raised in victory! The hand of God has turned the tide!”(Psalm 118:16, Message)

The shock of another pregnancy angered me. Tears of anger not joy filled my broken heart. I had not mentally recovered from the first pregnancy, eighteen months earlier. I was mad at God.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

“Lord, I cannot go through this again. You have to do it all!” I pleaded.

Your arm is endowed with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.” (Psalm 89:13, NIV)

Every morning and night I cried out to the Lord, reading through Psalms, praying for deliverance and journaling my misery. Slowly, God began to restore my heart. Slowly Heholding-hands-baby shoes 918990_1920 pixabay tenderly attended to me.

“I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.”(Psalm 119:147, NIV)

The fog began to lift.

“Put your hand out and steady me since I’ve chosen to live by your counsel.”(Psalm 119:175, Message)

Slowly God pulled me up from the abyss and place a smile on my heart.

“I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened. He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip. He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God. More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God.” (Psalm 40:1-3, Message)

God and His word alone delivered me from depression!

“It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.” (Psalm 44:3, NIV)

Our daughter was born two years and two months after our first child. I experienced no depression after this pregnancy!

“He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me.” (Psalm 16:19, NLT)

When I sense the dark fog rolling in, I run to these verses. I run to the warped and crinkled pages of my Bible. With one hand I grab hold of the anchor of hope found in God’s word. With the other hand, my right hand, I squeeze the mighty right hand of God.

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” (Psalm 73:23, 28 NIV)

Now I can see that God allowed me to battle with depression for two years to see His hand move in a mighty way.

“Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things!” (Psalm 118:15, NLT)Old Bible by Pixabay

God allowed me to experience this to help others. I can see past the fake smiles and speak a word of encouragement to others.

“The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”  (Psalm 147:11, NIV)

In April 2015, we will celebrate the goodness of the Lord. Not only did God deliver us a healthy baby girl, but He also delivered me from a long battle with depression. My nick name for Rachel is “Rae Rae.” She is my ray of sunshine. Through her, God reminded me that the sun is always shining even behind the densest fog.

 “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8, ESV) *

 ~April

*Psalm 16:8 was my verse for 2012.

P.S. As a Pharmacist, I understand the great benefits of counseling and medication in the treatment of depression. If you are struggling with feelings of depression, talk to your pastor, counselor, and/or physician. I sought God and God alone delivered me.

“Slowly God pulled me up from the abyss and place a smile on my heart.”

 

“Now I can see that God allowed me to battle with depression for two years to see His hand move in a mighty way.”

 

“When I sense the dark fog rolling in, I run to the warped and crinkled pages of my Bible.

With one hand I grab hold of the anchor of hope found in God’s word.

With the other hand, my right hand, I squeeze the mighty right hand of God.”

 

He Will Do It

“The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:24, NIV)
        Who wrote the majority of the Bible? The answer may surprise you: Moses. God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and commissioned Moses on a new adventure. God appointed Moses to return to Egypt, confront the Pharaoh, and lead God’s people out of slavery. Forty years prior to his encounter with the Almighty, Moses was a tended his Father-in-Laws sheep.  Now he would use that same shepherd staff to lead God’s people to freedom. At the burning bush, Moses stood before the Lord and tried to convince God to pick someone else for the job. He repeatedly argued with God about his new assignment. At one time Moses said “O Lord, I have never been eloquent…I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10, NIV). 
            The man, who argued with God about his vocabulary and oration skills, subsequently authored five books and one Psalm. Moses penned 125,139 words, the largest volume of words recorded in the Bible. Thus reminding us that God equips those He calls. 
            While driving the kids to school, I asked “Who do you think wrote the majority of the Bible?” They responded with David, Paul, and Luke.  I shared with the kids how cool it was that God used Moses in this way. This was a guy who claimed to not be good with words, yet God provided what Moses needed to get the task done. In the Christian vocabulary, we call that being equipped. God not only equipped Moses, but He proved to be faithful. Soon after I shared this with the children, this verse was read over the airways of the Spirit FM radio station:
“The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:24, NIV).
            The dynamic truth of God equipping the called goes beyond the Old Testament. This truth is for all believers here and now. What is God calling you to do? Have you felt God nudging toward something new? What is the one thing God has laid upon your heart to do, that you haven’t done yet? Are you like Moses, arguing with God?
Whatever God has called you to do, He is faithful, and He will do it!
P.S. In case you are curious who else wrote the majority of the Bible the authors listed as follows:
Moses: 5 books, 1 Psalm; 125,139 words
Ezra: 3 books; 43,618 words
Luke: 2 books; 37,932 words
Jeremiah: 2 books; 35,306 words
Paul: 13 books; 32,408 words
The word count is based on the original languages.
* This information was researched and documented by Jeffery and Laura Kranz at www.overviewbible.com
~April 
“We have this hope and an anchor for our soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19, NIV)

Hemmed In On Every Side

You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
(Psalm 139:5, ESV)
On Saturday, my daughter and I made a quilted kite. In the past, Rachel has made smaller and quicker projects such as pillows and pillowcases. However, this was her first quilted project and her first major project. Here are the steps she learned:
1.      Select fabric
2.      Iron
3.      Cut fabric into a 2.5 inch square (60 squares total)
4.      Sew two squares together with seam allowance, right sides together
5.      Iron again
6.      Repeat steps 4 & 5 until each square is sewn to another, creating strips
7.      Iron again (sigh)
8.      Sew strips together
9.      Iron (double sigh)
10.  Attach batting and backing material
11.  Select, cut, iron, and sew binding
12.  Finish binding by hand stitching with a blind stitch
Time passed quickly, and we watched the entire first season of the Cosby Show while sewing. Rachel’s desire for the project began to waiver when I taught her how to finish the binding by using a blind stitch.  A blind stitch is a hand stitch, where you place the needle under the binding fabric, behind the previous stitch, and sew a small almost invisible stitch.

 

 
As I demonstrated the blind stitch, the Psalmist’s words flowed through my mind: “You hem me in behind and before, and lay your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5, ESV). Seven and a half hours later we proudly displayed our finished artwork.  
Each time I gaze upon our kites, I think about being “hemmed in behind and before” according to Psalm 139:5. This Psalm details God’s intimate knowledge of our being, because He hand knit us together.
I believe we are blind to most of the hemming God does in our lives. We are unaware of all the ways He protects us on every side.

 

 
This morning God brought the concept of being “hemmed in” full circle in my personal life. My Bible study reading today included Psalm 139:5! “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.”
Last week, I shared about feeling stretched thin during a time of great trial in our lives. I felt hard pressed on every side (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).  God reminded me to look up to Him for strength. God showed me that He has a panoramic view of our circumstances. (See post titled Taffy Generation and Panoramic View).
But today, God brought it all full circle! I love the way God works! I love watching how He uses our real life trials, His Holy Word, and quilted kites to teach me a life lesson.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NIV)
Today’s Bible study reminded me of my secure position in Christ. While, I might feel hard pressed on every side, the truth is I am surrounded by God on every side. Look at these treasures:
·         The Lord took care of them on every side. (2 Chronicles 32:22, NIV)
·         I made you, I will carry you, I will sustain you, and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4, NIV)
·         You are all around me on every side; You protect me with your power. (Psalm 139:5, GNT)
·         The Lord encamps around those who fear Him. (Psalm 34:7, NIV)
·         The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him. (Psalm 32:10, NIV)
This morning, I studied 2 Chronicles 32:22 in different translations. Here are a few of my favorites of what God does on every side.
·         Guided them on every side. (2 Chronicles 32:22, NASB)
·         Gave them rest on every side. (2 Chronicles 32:22, HCSB)
·         Protected them on every side. (2 Chronicles 32:22, Darby)
·         Gave them treasures on every side. (2 Chronicles 32:22, DRA)
 Dear friend, I do not know what you are up against. Do you feel hard pressed on every side? Do you feel surrounded by difficult circumstances on every side? If you are a child of God, rest in the treasure of protection because God has you hemmed in and surrounded on every side. 
~April 
Hebrews 6:19

 

Pursuing God

Recently, my friend Brenda sat across my kitchen table and said to me, “April you recently wrote about God pursuing us. Perhaps you should write about pursuing God.” I’ve pondered that thought for several days and here is what I’ve come up with.  I don’t have 1-2-3 formula to share. I don’t have a 10 step plan to becoming a victorious Christian. I’m neither a theologian nor a bible scholar. I’ve never taken a single religion class in my life.  All I have is my story of how I’m trying to follow God, mess and all.
I grew up in a Christian home and we were at church every time the doors were open. I began following God as a child of nine and thought that “being good” was good enough. Fast forward twenty-five years when our family began attending a local church. I was still recovering from a two year battle with depression, our kids were preschoolers and I felt lonely. I began to pray for God to send me some friends my age with kids.
God answered that prayer with an invitation to join four other women for a book club/bible study. I knew once I sat around the kitchen table of that drafty farm house, drinking coffee, and making new friends (some with kids) that God was about to change me.
It was there among those women that I turned a corner with my walk with the Lord.
One of my new friends was much younger than I, yet she possessed a peace and understanding of God that I wanted and craved, but I didn’t know how to get there. Every year, she would ask God for provide her with a verse for the coming year. That was a novel concept to me, but a concept I quickly embraced.
All my life God had been pursuing me. But in that old farm house I began to fully pursue God!
I knew of God, but I wanted to know God personally. I wanted God to know my thoughts -oh wait, he already does.  But, I wanted to know His thoughts. I wanted God as my BFF. He had already proved himself mighty by slowly and tenderly pulling me out of a battle with depression a few years earlier. However, I knew I needed to be around others. I needed to talk it out.  Meeting these women provided a platform for me to share and understand what God was doing in my heart and their heart too.
Slowly, I began to read the bible and not just “a verse a day to keep the devil away.” I would read long passages beginning in Matthew and ask God to show me what he wants me to know. I began praying for others. I know that sounds basic, but up until this time, I was so “me” focused that I never considered what other people may need. The previous battle with depression left me weak and weary and had left my heart scarred. But God was about to heal all that!  God began to show me that He would my battle scars as a platform to help and understand others. During that time I also began to turn off the television and other noise making nonsense in my life. An amazing thing happens when you do this…you can hear God more clearly.
I also took a step of faith and attended a women’s retreat. As an introvert, large groups or people cause me to feel uncomfortable. I prefer small groups and deep discussion rather than superficial small talk. I hate small talk. Small talk is fake and plastic and meaningless. I want authentic talk. I want to hold real conversations with real people, who may look perfect on the outside, but is honest and vulnerable enough to tell me their life is a mess. I can relate to a mess. I cannot relate fake. I don’t have margin in my life to not be authentic. I know double negatives are not proper grammar, but you get my point. I cannot relate to fake and I don’t have time to relate to fake. (Hence, one of the many reasons, I no longer view television. Besides I have enough reality drama in my life I don’t need to add to it.)
It was at that women’s retreat nearly six years ago that God showed me I had been anointed, transformed, and redeemed.* This was powerful and life changing event in my life. I knew I had been transformed and redeemed when I began following God as a little girl, but the idea of being anointed was a radical concept. This was a concept that a recovering depressed girl with two preschoolers needed to hear. Somehow God knew that I struggle with being a mom…oh wait He does! God chose me to be who I am, at this season of life, doing what I’m doing. Wow!
After this retreat, I began to purposefully set aside time to spend with the Lord. I began to set my alarm for thirty minutes earlier and began a true quiet time of reading, praying, journaling, and reflecting. At first, it was not easy. Most days, I am awake by 5:00 am and sometimes I can sleep in until 6:00 am. God has shown me that if I commit to make a coffee date with him every morning. He will commit to showing up. He has never stood me up! Every night, as I dump out the used coffee grounds and prepare a fresh pot of coffee for the next morning, I pray:
 “Lord, I thank you that “your mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23).  I thank you for a new batch of blessings and mercy every day. Lord, thank you that I don’t have to drink left over coffee nor live on left over mercies. I thank you in advance for what you will do tomorrow. Amen.”
God used each woman from our initial bible study to help me grow in different areas. The five of us possess a unique personality and approaches to life. We each possess our own differences and struggles. We didn’t sit around drinking designer coffee planning posh Pinterest parties. We shared life and we prayed for one another.  These were real women with real issues. We shared about marriage struggles, future spouses, broken relationships, and wayward children, loss of jobs, and illness. Yet, through it all God used each one of these women and the lessons shared to catapult my faith to where I am today.
I still don’t have all the answers. I still have not taken a religion class. All I know is this:
Jesus me this I know, for the bible tells me so.
~April Dawn White
www.redchairmoments.blogspot.com
* The bible study taught during this retreat was titled Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed by Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore, and Kay Arthur.

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