Creation Praises God Whatever the Season … We Can Too

I have a love/hate relationship with fall. I love the beauty, cool temps, the fresh feel of the air. I hate the sense of “shutting down” and the thought of what’s coming next—winter. But this year I’m really trying to accept, with open hands, each day as a gift from the Lord. And I think this perspective, from three years ago, can help me. Maybe it will help you too.
Yesterday I took a walk at a park near home. I started out on the paved path . . .

But then I headed out on the wetlands loop, all gravel and hilly.
Harder to travel, but worthwhile. I found gold!

And I found beauty among ashes . . .

If we will look, it’s easy to see the creation worshiping the Creator . . .

As we are meant to do.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.–Isaiah 61:3

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.–Matthew 5:15-16

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.–Romans 12:1-2

Scriptures from the New International Version.


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Positively Strong-Willed

I have a strong-willed child and I’m so thankful that I do. Not that it’s easy, as any parent with a strong-willed child will attest. But there are some definite positives to raising a child with a strong will.


I remember talking with my daughter when she was around seven. Her strong will had been rearing its defiant head more than usual that day. Now it was bedtime, a time to reflect on the day. I recall saying something like this to my girl.

“You have something called a strong will and that can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you use it.”

She nodded and looked down. She knew we’d had a bad day just as much as I did.

“When you use it to disobey, even when you know what’s right, it’s the wrong way to use it. But when your friends ask you to do something you know you shouldn’t and you tell them no, then that’s a good way to use it. Do you understand?”

Another nod.

“I’m glad you have a strong will. I know you’ll use it the right way most of the time. We all make mistakes and wish we did things differently sometimes. Remember that I’ll always love you, no matter what.”

That little girl is now almost twenty and has used her strong will in the best ways possible most of the time. She’s her own person, to be sure, and isn’t afraid to take the road less traveled if she believes it’s the right one for her. She isn’t easily bent by peer pressure.

Here are a few tips for parenting your strong-willed child:

  • Don’t try to squelch your child’s strong will. Be thankful for it and try to channel it in positive directions. As your little one grows older, it can be a huge asset in helping him stand up for what’s right and stand against what’s wrong. Peer pressure evaporates when a strong-willed child says no. And their example helps weaker friends make good decisions.
  • Tell your child about this amazing gift called strong will that God placed inside her. Make sure you keep your comments positive. I sometimes referred to it as a super-power!
  • Remind your child how God would have him use his strong will. Thiscomes in handy when your child disobeys. He can be just as determined to make good choices with that stubborn will as well as bad.
  • Give choices when possible. This gives your child the ability to make her own decisions, yet stay within the boundaries you’ve set.
  • Pray for him to learn submission when necessary. A child can’t always get his way. Try to empathize with him when he has to submit. “I know you feel frustrated that you can’t do it your way this time. But there’s a reason we have to do it this way.” Then give the explanation. Or, “I can see you’re disappointed (or angry, or whatever). I’m sorry. But I really need your help with this.” Give consistent consequences (i.e. time out, loss of privileges, etc.) for noncompliance. If there has been a particular ongoing battle, you may want to give positive consequences for compliance (extra screen time, a special treat, an extra book at bedtime). Whatever you decide to do, stay strong and consistent.

Most of all, pray for yourself as you raise this child. As parents, we always need wisdom and God is glad to give it when we ask (James 1:5). Ask Him to give you eyes to see the good in your child and that you’d be able to guide his strong will in positive ways. I know you’ll find a delightful child lurking behind all those “No’s!”

Do you have a strong-willed child? How do you know? What tips can you give for raising such a child?

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One Author’s Journey: Interview With Michelle S. Lazurek


Michelle S. Lazurek Author, Speaker, Bible Teacher

Michelle S. Lazurek
Author, Speaker, Bible Teacher

Michelle and I met at her children’s preschool in 2009, where I was substitute teaching.   Introducing herself as one of the students’ parents we quickly became friends when I discovered her passion to follow God’s lead toward a writing career. Being a newbie to the business myself, we encouraged one another in our writing and I’m proud to introduce her to you today;  a student, who now, far surpasses the teacher. 

1. For my readers who don’t know you, will you tell them a little about yourself? 

I am a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife and mother. I’ve been in ministry for over fifteen years. I’m married to my wonderful husband Joe for fifteen years and have two children, Caleb and Leah.

2. How did you become a writer?

I’ve often said that I didn’t choose writing; writing chose me. In 2009, while attending a women’s retreat, I felt God impress upon my heart to write a book. I had never written anything before in my life. I was terrified! I prayed and asked God what he wanted me to write about, and I began to notice in the gospel of John how many times John referred to himself as “the disciple ‘Whom Jesus loved.” As I researched, I found no one had written anything about that topic. That’s when my first book “Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved” was born. I’ve been writing ever since.

3. What difficulties have you experienced as a pastor’s wife, and how did you handle those difficulties?

When you are in a position of power, there will always be people who try to take advantage of that power. It’s especially tough when you are in a place of spiritual power. The enemy will always seek to knock you down, using the same people who praise with you on a Sunday morning. Besides loneliness—that’s the hardest part about being a pastor’s wife—those within your congregation who don’t treat you with the same level of mutual respect because they believe things should be handled or organized differently. 

4. You have two new children’s books that have just been released. Tell me what they are about.

When my daughter was four years old, she would spend hours parading in front of my husband, twirling around in her princess dresses and asking “Daddy, Am I Beautiful?” I realized in that moment that is the cry of every young girl’s heart—to be told by her father she is beautiful. My book explores the concept of self-esteem from a young girl’s perspective and teaches them that it is not what’s on the outside that makes you beautiful, but what’s on the inside. Mommy Am I Strong? is written for boys and explores the concept of their self-esteem. Boys want to be seen as strong and use their strength to prove their worth. This book teaches that true strength comes from the inside, not on the outside. 

5. What lesson would you like young girls and boys take away from your children’s books?

Society is tough to raise Christian men and women in, especially for women. In this overly sexualized world, we tend to teach girls that their value in life comes from exploiting their bodies for others’ pleasure. I want girls to feel they are more than that. I want them to come away with the confidence that their worth does not come from their body type, but from God’s approval of them just as they are. With the increasing popularity of superheroes, boys are taught early that their worth comes from their strength I want young boys to believe that even someone with a disability can be strong because of their ability to display humility and grace in the face of trials. 

6. What are some upcoming projects? 

I have a non-fiction book on hospitality titled An Invitation to the Table: Embracing the Gift of Hospitality that releases in spring of 2016.

Michelle S. Lazurek is a pastor’s wife, a mother, an author, and a speaker. A member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, she has been published in numerous places such as Charisma Magazine and Movieguide Magazine. Her newest book An Invitation to the Table explores hospitality and discipleship. For more information, Please visit her website at 

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