5 Ways to Encourage Your Brothers

1. Pray for them.

Make it a point to ask each of your brothers for specific prayer requests from time to time, and then write those things down and pray for them regularly. I recommend praying for each of your brothers on a daily basis.

In addition to praying for them faithfully, be sure to follow up and ask them how it’s going in the specific area you’re praying about for them. There may be something new or different, and if so, make a note of it and start praying about that.

You will be amazed to see God answer your prayers for your brothers! I can’t count all the specific answers and provisions God has given for things I’ve prayed for my brothers over the past year. It’s so awesome to see Him working in their lives, and my faith has been built incredibly through praying very specifically for things in their lives and seeing God answer and provide!

2. Write them notes.

This one is so fun! You can use Scripture verses, or point out things in their character, or just tell them how glad you are to have them for a brother! I often end my notes with something like, “I’m so blessed to be your little sis!”, “You’re such an incredible man!”, or “I’m so proud of you, bro!”.

3. Learn their love languages.

I wrote a guest post here on this topic. Learning about love languages and applying that knowledge has revolutionized my relationships with my brothers. I’m still working on consciously speaking their love languages on a regular basis, but it’s definitely a practical way to make them feel loved.

4. Take interest in their lives and the things they like.

Your brothers will often feel cared about to the extent that they can tell you truly care about them. If you are thinking of something else entirely and giving an absentminded “hmm” as they tell you something, they will likely notice. If you are always too busy to talk or do stuff together, they won’t want to keep “bothering” you. Girls, our brothers are smart, and they know if we truly care to hear their 10 minute recount of the football game they just watched, or if we wish they would just go fly a kite already!

To my shame, I have been guilty of brushing off my brothers and not taking interest in them far too many times, but it is something I am working on. I want them to know that I ALWAYS want to hear about whatever they want to tell me. I want to be the kind of sister that they know is available to do things with them if at all possible. This includes when it is an inconvenient time, or when the activity is not my favorite.

5. Treat them like men.

My post on “Nurturing Your Brothers’ Manhood” goes in-depth into this topic. I am passionate about girls treating brothers like men! You have more power than you realize over your brothers. What are you doing about it?

Maybe the Lord has convicted your heart about an area you need to work on in your brother/sister relationships. I am cheering you on as you strive to be the sweetest, kindest, sister your brothers could every hope for!

much love,

Allison

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Obeying the Voice of God

“….and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because that Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, and My commandments, My statues, and My laws.” (Gen. 26:24-25)

  1. In order to OBEY God’s voice, Abraham had to be in the habit of LISTENING to God’s voice. He didn’t just one day wake up and think, “I want to hear from God today”. He had developed a lifelong habit of listening for the voice of God.

We don’t all of a sudden hear God’s voice when we have never been in the habit of listening for it before.

  1.  In order to HEAR God’s voice, Abraham had to KNOW God’s voice. This is really incredible! Abraham had learned to discern the voice of God from the conflicting voices of culture and his own heart.

We can’t discern God’s voice from other voices if we have not learned to know His voice.

Just like a child in a room of hundreds of voices, with their eyes shut, would know their father’s voice, so it is with us. As we get to know our Heavenly father better, and listen to Him on a daily basis, we come to hear His voice clearly. 

May we, His redeemed children, be constantly craving to hear, know, listen to, and obey the voice of God!

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20 Top Books for Singles

Hey friends! I am popping in to say hey from the very remote land of Alaska! One thing I have been doing ALOT these days (during hours spent traveling Canadian roads and the Alaskan highway in between concerts) is reading! I absolutely love reading, and it’s one of my main avenues to grow + learn. I definitely encourage others to read, and because we’ve been talking about singleness here on the blog recently, I thought I would compile a list of some titles for singles!

Most of these books are favorites of mine, and I also gathered a few that come highly recommended by siblings or close friends. Click each title to see more about it/purchase.

{For Guys}

Spiritual Leadership

My brothers and dad say “Spiritual Leadership” is fantastic! Denver just recently finished reading it, and he said it was one of the best books he has ever read.

Created for Work

This one comes highly recommended by my brother Josh. He is one of the hardest working, most productive men I know, and when I asked him for his top book recommendations, he said this one is super.

Her Knight in Shining Armor

My brothers highly recommend this book for guys! The have all (except Hudson) read and learned from it.

{For Girls}

Answering the Guy Questions

“Answering the Guys Questions” is excellent! If you, as a girl, would like practical tips and Biblical advice on “guy questions”, then this is the book for you! Chels and I have both been very encouraged by this book, and we would encourage young womenn who wants to be an encouragement and blessing to her brothers in Christ to read it.

Sacred Singleness

Girls! This book is incredible! I just finished it, and it challenged and encouraged me so much. I don’t even know how to describe the fresh, honest perspective Leslie gives on the topic of singleness for women! She got married young, and loves Godly marriage, but the book is full of Biblical wisdom and a lot of testimonies from single young women of all ages. I would encourage EVERY SINGLE YOUNG WOMAN to read this book! Whether you are 15 or 35, I promise you will be challenged and encouraged.

Lies Women Believe

“Lies Women Believe” really impacted my life when I was about 16. Nancy Leigh Demoss is a wise older women with sound, Biblical advice on womanhood.

{For Guys + Girls}

singleness + preparing for marriage:

Passion and Purity

Everything from Elisabeth Elliot is good! This book is no exception, and guys and girls alike will be encouraged by her candid talk about her and Jim’s relationship and the need for Biblical purity no matter how strong the desires.

It Takes a Gentleman and a Lady

Guys and gals who want to prepare for an excellent marriage should read this book. It is short, simple, and so easy to read. If you aren’t a big reader, this is a great one for you. And if you want have an excellent marriage someday, Eric will challenge you in the nittiest, grittiest ways of how to prepare.

money:

Total Money Makeover

I believe every single should learn to manage money well, and this books lays a practical foundation for learning to do just that.

The Legacy Journey

In this book, Dave Ramsey gives a great overview of money from a Biblical perspective. It’s one of my favorite books on money.

the Christian life:

Finishing Strong

My father highly recommends this book.

Be Complete

This is a recommendation from my deep-thinking brother Taylor.

biographies:

A Chance to Die

I have always loved the legacy of Amy Carmichael, and this books tells her story beautiful, intertwined with Elisabeth Elliot’s wisdom. It is probably my top favorite biography of all time.

The Journals of Jim Elliot

Chels recommends this one!

The Heavenly Man

This book isn’t easy to read, but every Christian should do so at some point anyways. It tells a gripping story of dedication to Christ at a HIGH cost that most of us pampered + sheltered Americans can’t even imagine. And yet through it all, Brother Yen remains joyful, thankful, and dedicated to His Savior.

The Hiding Place

Corrie Ten Boom’s biography is a gripping account of courage, endurance, and forgiveness.

people skills:

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

My brother Josh highly recommends this one!

25 Ways to Win with People

Who doesn’t want to win with people?!

the Gospel + Witnessing:

The Bravehearted Gospel

Eric Ludy is bold + Biblical. You will be challenged by this book.

Will Our Generation Speak?

A dear friend, Grace Mally, wrote this book that gives dozens of stories and tips on witnessing, as well as a battle cry for our generation to engage in the fight for the souls of men!

………………………………………………………………………………………..

Happy reading! Do you have any recommendations of favorite titles you’ve read recently? I’m always on the lookout for new finds!

-Allison

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Best of June

       

June was a humdinger of a month! Full, full days and good, good times.

There were babies to be held (my sweet friend’s newest little one was born just in time for me to meet little Kelly before leaving for the summer.)

And then there was a proposal to help with. Yes, I have always been very close to my sweet brother Mitchell and I was honored to help with the beautiful woodland proposal he planned for my equally beautiful now future-sis-in-love, Bryn. About exactly one year and two months after a memorable car ride home from church in which Mitchell told me he was praying about this sweet girl………..I was running around, drizzling chocolate on cheesecake, strewing a woodland path with rose petals, and finally hiding in the weeds to video Mitchell asking Bryn to marry him. Maybe I’ll write out the whole story sometime……yes?

There was a lot of work to do before leaving on Summer tour- packing at home, errands and office work and team meetings and other projects at work. I loved hiring Chels to help with a big organizing project one day. She is the last word in anything organization related!

As you can guess, ten people don’t leave for seven weeks without a considerable amount of packing! And you don’t lose a lead band member, stage manager, and music practice coordinator without a little pain + hard work, so June also included some long hours of work in transitioning to “Bontrager Family Singers” sans Mitchell.

Right before leaving, there was an epic sibling road trip to be taken. This was a wonderful last memory of our “single sibling band” as we usher in a new era. The “married brothers” one.:) (We missed Josh, but he had other commitments at home, including spending time with his fiance before leaving on tour.)

And after leaving on Tour, there have been early quiet mornings in the bus, many concerts, new beauty of varied skies and waters, good memories of bus life, lots of concerts, laundry, and thousands of miles traveled.

There was also the accomplishment, at last, of a lovely sista coffee date with Liz at a random Canadian Starbucks.

And sprinkled throughout were some of the sweetest memories (of the year to date) with friends and siblings. A few I already mentioned, but there were really too many to count.

And there it is…….a little bit o’ June.

-Allison

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So You’re Single?: Five Ways to Grow + Flourish as a Single

Ever wondered what you should be doing right now, TODAY, as a single? What are practical ways to grown, learn, and prepare for the future, no matter what it holds?

Here are five key things that I believe every single young adult (guy or girl) should do:

Develop a strong, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you are going to be a strong force for the Kingdom of God, you have to first have a strong relationship with Him.

If you are going to be an excellent employee, friend, daughter, brother, missionary, pastor, or anything else, a strong relationship with the Lord is the best foundation you could have.

If you are going to have a strong marriage, you have to have  a strong relationship with Christ.

“Build a strong discipline of seeking Christ daily. Learn to listen and be attentive to His leading. Fast and pray. Memorize Scripture.” (Cassidy, 19, engaged)

Spend time with your siblings.

(If you don’t live in the same community as your family, find a family you can “adopt.”) Spend time with them. Build relationships. Someday, you will look back fondly these memories.

“Spend TONS of time with your siblings, cause one day you’ll wake up and realize that the seasons are changing- and you can NEVER relive yesterday. I don’t regret a single minute that I’ve spend with my siblings.” (Mitchell, 24, engaged)

Embrace mentorship.

This is a season in which your growth as a person may be directly related to the level that you invite mentorship and accountability into your life. In my experience, it is very easy as a single person to get stuck in our ruts. Sometimes without the nurturing of a parent (as when we were kids) or the perspective of a spouse (as we’ll have when we’re married), we can grow more and more selfish and engrained in bad habits.

I personally have chosen to invite my parents’ advice and mentorship. I have friends who either live far from their parents or have non-Christian parents. Many of them have sought out a Godly mentor in their church or area that can be that voice of wisdom from a few years ahead in the journey.

Learn communication skills.

At work, at home, at church, in your friendships- learn to become a better communicator. Good communicators aren’t just good at talking- they’re good at listening. These skills will be valuable to you for life. If you get married, are a single missionary, work an 8-5 job, are a pastor or pastor’s wife, etc, much of your success will depend on effective communication.

“Learn the art of effectively communicating and listening while you’re single.” (John, 26, dating)

Get a vision for something bigger than yourself.

This is something that I cannot stress enough! If you want to be content, fulfilled, and joyful as a single person you must get busy serving others! Sometime the discontentment problem is actually a boredom problem. Maybe you aren’t actually bored, but if your life isn’t brimful as an active servant of Jesus Christ, being His hands and feet to the world, then you will have a very hard time being satisfied.

“Single life is such an adventure! It just gets better and better, and I’m absolutely lovin’ it! God is just so good and following Him is THE BEST!” (Priscilla, 32, single)

Did one of these especially stick out that you want to work on? What else have you done to build a solid foundation as a single?

-Allison

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