Seeking Support

Living with Anxiety ~ Part 3

I chose to title this series “Living with Anxiety” because it is possible to live with it. I still have some bad days and the odd panic attack (read my tips on dealing with a panic attack here). But I am living! I live a full life and I know God made me just the way I am. This disease is part of being in a broken body in a broken world. One day He will return to make that all right, but for now, I’ve learned the importance of seeking support. And not just seeking any support, but seeking the RIGHT support!

Seeking Support Living with Anxiety Part 3 Pinterest graphic with friends on a mountain

This post may contain affiliate links. Through not added cost to you, I may a small commission on your purchase. For more information, please see my disclosure statement.

“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

Revelation 21:3-5

Seeking Support

I was ashamed and embarrassed for so long about what I was going through. I really believed there was something wrong with me. Looking back, I wish I had advocated for myself more. But, that’s what anxiety and depression do. A normal thought is not normal, it’s twisted and obscured.

As I said last week in my Living with Anxiety series “Jesus & Medication”, my first episode of depression was when I was in Bible School. I believe it all stemmed from my anxiety, but I did not get the help I needed. Mental health was thought to be a weakness. It wasn’t Jesus and medication, or Jesus and counseling; It was just Jesus. I tried so hard, I really did. My roommates were amazing, but they were in their early 20’s like me. They weren’t equipped to deal with someone going through what I was going through. They prayed for me a lot and I do believe that’s what helped me get through that year.

But, what I needed was some professional help whether that be a doctor or a counselor or whatever. Even a mentor who recognized what was going on. Maybe I wouldn’t have struggled for as long as I did if I had got help the first time around. But, I’m stubborn and I just plowed through it.

Seeking the Right Support

Obviously, at Bible School, I didn’t receive the right support that I needed at that time. It’s no one’s fault, I didn’t ask either. During my second major depressive episode 4 or 5 years later, I FINALLY got to the point where I knew I needed to ask for help. I was completely broke, so I couldn’t afford anything. Our church hosted a group once a week from an organization that provided counseling and guidance services to people who couldn’t afford it. I worked up the courage to finally stop in there one afternoon. I broke down in tears. The lady I met with was so kind and compassionate on me.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t one of the counselors who met with people on a regular basis. So, I got paired up with another lady there. This did not end up being the right fit for me at all! She basically told me I wasn’t eating and was throwing up all the time because my appetite was changing, as it does when you’re in your 20’s. I was feeling so anxious because I was making some major life decisions with where I was working. Once I figured that out, everything would be fine. It was far from fine.

The Right Fit

If someone is not listening to you or even validating the feelings you are having, it is not the right support. I felt like I had no other options, so I continued going to see her until I finally decided to move back home with my parents to BC to get some real help. I hadn’t told her as I moved in kind of a whirl wind, but I remember her phoning me the week I moved home to see if I was coming in that week and how I was doing. She was shocked that I decided to move back home, what about my boyfriend? What about my job? There’s so much I wish I had said to her, but I think at that moment she finally got how serious I had been in what I was going through.

The youth pastor at my parent’s church put us in touch with a lovely, amazing counselor when I got home. I didn’t want to go, I think my Mom even drove me there for my first appointment. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made (along with marrying my husband!) Finally, someone was listening to me and validating what I was going through. And she was a Christian and helped me walk through seeing that anxiety and depression is not a weakness in my faith, but a weakness in my body. If you aren’t 100% happy with your doctor or realtor or whatever, you get a second opinion, right? The same goes for counselors; find one that truly fits what you need to get healthy.

Reach Out…

I am always here if you feel like you need to chat with someone! Please reach out if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or afraid. I am not a counselor, but I am more than willing to walk with you, cry with you and advocate for you. Please do not let things get too far. Your life is worth far more than that, you deserve to live a full life. Christ came so we can live life abundantly (John 10:10). You can contact me here through my about page, leave a comment below or email me at caroline@lilymags.com. I want to be part of your tribe! I want to be in your corner, your biggest cheerleader, your prayer warrior!

Living with Anxiety 4 Part Series in Seeking Support

The Wonders of what God has Done

I was so honoured when Liz from My Messy Desk contacted me to share Lily’s birth story for her series on The Wonders of what God has Done.

Our sweet little preemie miracle in The Wonders of What God has Done
Our sweet little preemie miracle

Liz is a blogger, writer, crafter, mother and encourager… just a few of my favourite things as well! She’s all about overcoming messes, making memories and becoming masterpieces.

“I believe life is messy. I know mine is…and I’m not just talking about my craft room. But I also know that through Jesus we have the power to overcome those MESSES. I believe we can either allow our MEMORIES (the good, the bad, and the ugly) to keep us stuck or use them to catapult us along the journey of becoming just who God designed us to be. And believe me, He created each of us with unique gifts and traits suited to shout His glory in our own special way. We are all God’s MASTERPIECES.”

Liz ~ My Messy Desk

Please check out Lily’s preemie story of the Wonders of What God has Done. I pray it will be an encouragement to you of Who God is and what He can do ❤️

http://www.creativeinspirationsatmymessydesk.com/a-premies-story-the-wonder-of-what-god-has-done/

First family picture in the Wonders of what God has  Done
First family picture

Book Review ~ Shame Off You

Shame Off You from Hiding to Healing by Denise Pass

In this vulnerable, raw and honest book, Shame Off You, Denise Pass walks us through going from hiding to healing in our shame. She uses the phrase “Shame Off You” instead of “Shame On You” that we so often use.

Denise really makes you think about shame and how it effects so many aspects of our lives. Shame is a vicious cycle that goes through condemnation, comparison, crisis and commitment. However, there is a better way, a Biblical way to work through shame; Revelation, reflection, repentance and restoration.

This post may contain affiliate links. Through no added cost to you, I may receive a small commission. For more information please see my disclosure statement. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

Denise Pass Author of Shame Off You

Picture of Author Denise Pass in Book Review ~ Shame Off You

Shame is an assault on the core of who we are. It assassinates our character, minimizes our worth, and dashes our hope. Like Adam and Eve, we often hide shame, but hiding never heals it. Left unattended, shame can develop into a crippling reality that paralyzes us. Like an infectious disease, shame impacts everyone . . . but not all shame is bad.

Shame can either be an oppressive and powerful tool of worldly condemnation or a source of conviction that God uses to bring his people back to himself. Having the discernment to know the difference and recognize shame in its many forms can change the course of one’s life.

In a transparently honest style, Denise Pass shares of her experience dealing with shame after learning that her former husband was a sexual offender. Having lived through the aftermath, she leads you into God’s Word where you will see for yourself that God is bigger than your pain, shame, mistakes, and limitations.

Shame Off You (available from Abingdon Press) shares how freedom can be found in choosing to break the cycle of shame by learning from the past, developing healthy thinking patterns, silencing lies, and overcoming the traps of vanity and other people’s opinions.

Interview with Denise

Q: Can you start us off by sharing a little bit of your own story?

I did not realize just how significant of an impact shame had on my life until I started writing this book. I don’t think I recognized all I was experiencing in my life as shame. Shame affected me in profound ways—from worrying to the point of obsession about what others thought of me to shame from my past, present and in the future. Shame was pervasively impacting all of life: how I related to others, processed my perception of myself and responded in social situations. Shame was snuffing out my hope and life, and it felt like I had no way out.

Then in 2007, God revealed to me my (then) husband was a sex offender and some of our children were his victims. This revelation crushed us, and the ensuing shame was crippling. I had waited for marriage and married a Christian man. We were that homeschool family. It did not seem possible. But it was. Through that devastating season, my children and I drew nearer to God, reading the Bible through and clinging to His precious promises. I continued to home educate, and we put one foot in front of the other. Through a five-year long court battle. Through tragic new revelations. Through sorrow up on sorrow and financial woes. God was our God through all of it and the lessons we learned as shame lost its grip on our souls were priceless.

Now, my four oldest are all in college and walking with God, and my youngest son who I adopted from Russia is still home educated by the grace of God. And me? God brought a precious man into my life who I call my Kinsman Redeemer. There’s more about him (my “Bo”—short for Boaz) in the book.

Q: At its root, what is shame, and why is it so detrimental to us?

There are many roots underlying what we call shame.  Shame is the broad term used, but there are so many things interwoven in our culture that we accept as “normal.” Shame is an accusation on our soul that says we are not enough. News flash—we are not enough—but God is. He is our righteousness and removes all of our sin and shame. Shame is peer pressure and the fear of man—we would not have shame if we did not have an audience. Shame is a label or box that imprisons our souls and steals our joy. Shame is detrimental because it gives us a false identity and keeps us from living the abundant life Jesus promises, distracting us from the mission we have been called to.

Book Cover in Book Review ~ Shame Off You by Denise Pass

Q: What are some of the most common underlying sources of shame? Is shame always caused by a sin a person commits him/herself?

Shame is a head game that we do to ourselves most of the time, but there is also plenty of social shaming that goes on—shunning and people condemning one another. While sin invites shame into our lives as a natural consequence, shame is prevalent within our culture. We come by it naturally and so we don’t question it. Expectations cause shame to rise when we don’t meet them. Comparison. Pride. These are huge contributors to the game of shame. The presence of shame in our lives is ultimately a spiritual matter. We feel the truth behind the statement that we are not enough. We accept this condemnation, but it can become our vindication. We are not enough. That’s ok, because Christ is our Righteousness. The enemy of our souls is always accusing us, but our Savior is always interceding for us.  

Q: Shame typically surrounds a situation the public is aware of, at least in the mind of the person walking through it. How can the church community be more supportive of a member suffering with shame?

Great question. We would not have shame if we did not have an audience. It is this fear of man and focus on self that makes us feel so very exposed as we seek acceptance and to snuff out rejection. In my situation, I felt like the church did not know how to handle sex abuse situations, so they didn’t. I was told to be silent. The shame culture thrives in silence. However, being able to talk about it in a God-honoring way and having support instead of isolation would take the sting out of shame and turn it on its head. When we protect the violator and silence the victims, we are propagating and promoting shame.

Q: In what ways do we intentionally or unintentionally heap shame on others?

We live in a society of labels. People try to define one another by false identities based on their performance—good or bad, or their status in this life. When we move away from our identity being in Christ, we find that our identity falls short. Shame was introduced to man in the garden of Eden. We left perfection and chose an insecure, shame-filled culture, instead. Discontent with our lot, comparison and the fear or man have robbed us confidence and plagued us with shame in all of life. Shame is also used as a tool of power by people who seek to subject others, shaming them into submission. And again, shame is in our culture, so it is fairly invisible. We just accept it as part of life, which can cause us to unintentionally continue in the shame culture.


Buy the Book


Q: How is Shame Off You set up and designed to be used?

Shame Off You is the story of a girl who shrunk her shame. It is a guide for recognizing the shame all around us and how to rid ourselves of shame biblically. There is a biblical lens of Truth, Humility and Grace that we view shame through, as well as Cycles of Shame and Redemption, a Shame Spectrum and Shame Quiz so we can evaluate how shame is impacting our lives. There is also a resource guide in the back of the book that covers 40 different common shames we might encounter along with Scriptures to combat that shame.

Shame Off You systematically covers everything from feeling shunned and rejected, to being shy, to worrying about what others thought or said about me to traumatic shame that paralyzes us.

Q: What are the steps to overcoming shame?

Shame distracts us from the mission of God and keeps us from living on mission for Christ. It causes us to focus on self and limits our worth. It hurts our relationship with God and others and causes us to live defeated, discouraged lives. It has to be dealt with. Recognizing shame’s presence is necessary to be able to deal with it effectively.

From recognition, we need to discern whether we are dealing with condemnation or conviction. Condemnation is based on works whereas Conviction is based on relationship. Once we know what we are dealing with, we need to consult God’s word and use a biblical filter to evaluate our shame and then let it go. We defeat shame not by mere words. And hiding shame does not heal it. We have to face shame and deal with it biblically to be set free. We don’t get rid of shame because it humbles us—but because it prevents us from living the abundant life Christ promises, reaching those around us.

About the author

Denise Pass, author of Shame Off You, is an award-winning CCM recording artist and singer-songwriter, accomplished writer/blogger, speaker and worship leader at women’s conferences as well as a worship leader on staff at her home church. After a crushing discovery of her former husband’s hidden life and surviving a painful divorce, she now shares an inspirational message through her ministry, Seeing Deep Ministries, about seeing the deeper truth in God’s word when life hurts.

Denise also founded and directed a home educational co-op for 12 years and engaged in many educational pursuits, including forming and directing a classical children’s choir. A graduate from the University of Maryland, Denise now resides in Virginia, with her “Kinsman Redeemer” husband and five children.

Learn more about Shame Off You at https://shameoffyou.life/the-book. You can also find out more about Denise Pass at DenisePass.com. She can also be found on Facebook (Denise Pass – Author/Speaker/ Worship Leader) and Twitter (@TheDenisePass).

Win a copy of Shame Off You by Denise Pass in Book Review ~ Shame Off You
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Living with Anxiety ~ First Panic Attacks

Living with Anxiety ~ 4 Part Series

Part 1 ~ First Panic Attacks

Welcome to my 4 Part Series on Living with Anxiety. This is a hard part of my story and my walk with God to share, but I feel like it is important. It’s important to end the stigma there is especially in the church, and to encourage others who may be going through something similar and let them know they are not alone. I’ve written a bit about my anxiety before (Fighting a Panic Attack ~ 4 Practical Tips) but my hope and prayer for this Living with Anxiety series are that it will help all of us be a little more compassionate to ourselves and to others whether we struggle with anxiety or know someone who does. Here is Part 1 ~ First Panic Attacks

Living with Anxiety 4 Part Series

This post may contain affiliate links. Through no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission. For more information please see my Disclosure Statement.

Prayer

I just feel like it’s important to start this whole thing off with prayer.

Father God, thank you for loving us just exactly where we are and for who we are. You created each of us in Your own image and said “It is good.” I pray that the words I type here today will bless another heart. I pray that You guide me and give me the words and keep anything out that is not beneficial. In Your precious Name, Amen.

Winter Camping

Ok, let’s get started. I clearly remember my very first panic attack. I was in grade six or seven, so around 12 years old. Of course, I didn’t realize or know it was a panic attack at the time. I just knew I was terrified and thought I was going to die.

I was winter camping with the girls group from my church. Usually, it was just the boys group that got to go, but my friends and I wanted to go so badly! Finally, after much begging (I think they finally just got sick of us asking) they said if we found a female leader to go with us, we could come. We asked the French teacher at our school, who was really outdoorsy, and she agreed to take us! Needless to say, we were super excited!!

The day finally came and we were all set to go. We got there in the late afternoon and started looking for a good place in the snow to set up camp. We weren’t sleeping in tents, just right in the snow. Our group decided to build something like an igloo to help keep us warm for the night. Most of the guys just dug out a clearing in the snow and covered it with a tarp. After having supper and s’ mores around the campfire, we headed to bed later that night. That’s when it happened.

Panic in the Night

I had a hard time falling to sleep. It seemed like all the other girls were out in no time. We squished in side by side in this snow bank basically. I started getting really hot and sweaty, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I HAD to get out of there, I was in a panic. So, I wiggled out and pulled out my sleeping bag. I was having a hard time breathing, almost like I was hyperventilating, I seriously thought I was going to die. It was so scary, but I was also really embarrassed about it for some reason. I never did go wake anyone up to help me. I ended up sleeping out under the stars in my sleeping bag trying to calm myself by regulating my breathing. By morning I was freezing.

My Dad happened to be one of the leaders on that trip. I didn’t know exactly where he was sleeping or I probably would have gone and got him in the night. I just remember going to him in the morning in tears and told him I didn’t feel good. My body felt just completely wiped out. We were supposed to ski the entire next day, I spent the day in the Lodge and in our van trying to get some sleep. Everyone kept asking if I was alright. I was ashamed to admit that I wasn’t really sick, I just freaked out during the night for no apparent reason. I’d just say I was fine, my stomach was bothering me.

My First Panic Attacks in Living with Anxiety

Second Panic Attack

My second panic attack came a few years later. I was in grade 12, so 17 years old or so. We were on a phys-ed class overnight hiking trip. Everything had been great, the hike up to the lake we were camping at was amazing. We had to backpack everything in and out, so it was a tough hike, but we were having a lot of fun.

When we got there, we all set up our tents. I was sharing a tent with one of my girlfriends, we got it set up no problem. The second night, after we had supper and were starting to get ready for bed, 2 of our guy friends realized that they set up their tent right in a gully that was now flowing with water after it had rained a bit that day (I’m not sure how they didn’t notice that before!) Their tent flooded. We had more room in our tent, so they crashed with us. I ended up squished up against the side of the tent.

Another Panic in the Night

Again, I couldn’t fall asleep. Then I just panicked. I was shivering and sweating and I HAD to get out of that tent! This time I did end up waking up my girlfriend. We were camping in bear country, so we couldn’t go anywhere on our own. When we got out, I had to go to the bathroom, like right now! We were in the middle of nowhere, so no outhouses or anything. We had to dig a hole to use for the toilet. We were supposed to go out from camp a little way, but I couldn’t make it that far. So, there I went, just 10 feet or so down the path from our tents.

I felt a bit better after that but still slept very fitfully that night. I think I made one of our guy friends switch spots with me so I could be in the middle of the tent rather than up against the wall. The next day, we were hiking back down. I felt so incredibly drained and tired, but we had to go. Telling our leaders I was sick seemed like the easiest thing to do and I stayed near that back of the pack with the “slower” hikers. I was so glad to finally get home that day. Again, I felt so embarrassed.

The Worst Part

Not knowing what was happening was the worst part of it all. I didn’t talk about it to anyone, I felt like I was weak or there was something wrong with me. I didn’t want to admit that to anyone! So, I just ignored it and continued on with life. Little did I know that would come to bite me in the butt in the next few years!

If you or someone you know is struggling with Anxiety or any other mental health issue, please reach out for help! I am happy to point you in the right direction for any resources you may need. Here is a quick quiz from WebMd about some of the Facts of Anxiety, what it is and when it might be becoming a problem: What’s Worrying You? The Facts About Anxiety.

Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of Living with Anxiety ~ Jesus & Medication

3 Reflections from Psalm 139

This passage used to freak me out. It gives me so much comfort now, but when I was wrestling with God still, it gave me no comfort at all. Where was I supposed to go to get away from God? If God could always find me, how was I supposed to hide the ugly parts of my life? These are the thoughts that would run through my head as I used to read this passage. But, no more! Praise the Lord! Here are 3 reflections from Psalm 139 that God has given me.

This post may contain affiliate links. Through no added cost to you, I may receive a small commission. For more information please see my Disclosure Statement.

3 Reflections from Psalm 139

He’s a Loving Father

When God seeks me and finds me, He does so as a loving Father, not as a Judge. You know how little kids hide under a blanket and think no one can see them? My girls still do this all the time. As soon as Daddy is home, they want to hide so they sit on the couch with a blanket over their heads! Of course, as adults, we play along and pretend we can’t see them and search everywhere for them.

Well, when God sees us, even if we are trying to hide our heads or our ugly parts of life, God doesn’t see the blanket, He sees me covered in Jesus’ blood. He sees me as loved and forgiven. God meets us where we are, we don’t have to be “cleaned up” before He’ll have a relationship with us. He wants us right now, as we are. He doesn’t see our sin, He sees His Son.

Woman hiding under blanket in 3 Reflections from Psalm 139
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

Enclosed me Behind and Before

Isn’t this such a comfort? He encloses us in behind and before. In other words, He goes before us and He takes care of everything that is behind us! Praise the Lord!! Reading this passage I immediately thought of the Israelites in the desert after they left Egypt. The Lord was a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night leading them to the promised land. When they went to cross the Red Sea with the Egyptians hot on their tail, He moved behind them in the pillar of cloud to confuse and block the Egyptians from catching them.

How great that He promises to do the same for us. He promises to be with us no matter what. He will go before us to prepare the way, and He will go behind us to block the attacks of our enemies!

“The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”

Exodus 13:21-22

“The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel, and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night.”

Exodus 14:19-20

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Being a mother of a preemie, this part of Psalm 139 is especially near and dear to me. You can read all about Lily’s birth story in my post My Preemie Miracle. One of the miracles of having a preemie is you get to watch part of the growth process that would normally happen in the womb in the outside world. My sister in law and I were originally due 1 day apart, so when Lily came 11 weeks early, we would look at her and think this is exactly what her cousin was doing inside the womb.

Lily was born needing assistance breathing, we got to see her grow out of that and breath on her own. She was not able to breast feed right away as preemies use more calories trying to eat than they can take in. It just tires them out too much. It was so amazing when she got to the point of actually being able to nurse! She also had a hole in her heart that we got to see close up. We wouldn’t have seen any of this in the womb.

Fearfully & Wonderfully made black and white mother and child hands in 3 Reflections from Psalm 139

Our bodies are amazingly made. The way everything works together is unbelievable. I just remember watching Lily and wondering how anyone can look at a living, breathing baby, especially a preemie, and not believe God made them and knit them together in their mother’s womb!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my 3 reflections from Psalm 139. I’d love to hear some of your reflections on this passage! Drop a comment below or email me at caroline@lilymags.com

Taming the Tantrums

Picture of child on swing with quote "Let me love you a little more, before you're not little anymore" from Taming the Tantrums

I have a three-year-old and a four-year-old. I know my share fair share of tantrums. I’m no expert, but I feel like I am slowly learning about taming the tantrums. Some days it still feels like one tantrum after another, other days are much better.

My youngest daughter can be especially challenging at times. Last week, we were shopping at the mall, both girls had to go to the bathroom. So the three of us girls went together. Maggie has a thing with wet clothing, she can’t wear anything with even a drop of liquid on it. She thought her pants got wet (which they did) and refused to put them on, in a public bathroom. She was tired and ended up having a HUGE meltdown which ended in her hitting me and trying to bite me. We both left the bathroom in tears. It is definitely not my proudest moment as a mom.

I wrote a post a while ago about How to Stop Arguing with your Toddler and while that works well during the meltdowns, I was desperate for something to tame the tantrums… in a dream world, something to make them disappear altogether. I dream of a tantrum fairy who just flutters in and takes the tantrums before they even start. But, she’s three, so I know that’s not going to happen!

How many of you have heard something along the lines of you can’t give anything without filling up your own cup first? I have learned this to be especially true in two ways during this season in life.

Filling My Cup

Taming the Tantrums with verse from Romans 15:13

I know each and every day, I need my strength to deal with whatever life throws my way. I need my cup to be full, I need Jesus!

The last month or so, I’ve been getting up earlier than my kiddos so I can spend some time in the Word and prayer. I find that time I spend with Jesus is so refreshing, it fills my cup so to say. My day seems to go MUCH better when I take those first moments of my day to be filled with the Lord. It improves my mood as well, which makes me a better mom.

I am NOT a morning person. I would sleep till noon if I could, but I know I need this time. Some mornings, I just want to crawl back into bed. I’ve put my phone with my alarm on the other side of the room so I have to get up!!

Filling Her Cup

How does this relate to my daughter and taming the tantrums? The key is time. I notice on the days I spend focused, one on one time with her, the better she acts. When I fill her cup, she’s in a better mood.

I’m not saying this as a quick fix. It isn’t. It’s hard some days to want to invest that one on one time with her, especially when she’s being so miserable. But I know how much she needs this.

Taming the Tantrums picture of girl on swing with quote "Let me love you a little more, before you're not little anymore"

Her favourite thing right now is being pushed on the swing. She will ask everyone and anyone to push her. She loves going high, asking over and over to push her higher and higher than ever. It’s pretty cute. How hard is it for me to take 15-20 minutes out of my day to go and push her in the swing?

I recently started reading the book “Whole Brain Child” by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. I love that it talks about connecting with the child to the right and left sides of the brain. But again, a lot of it was what to do during the tantrum. I find spending quality time with her bites the tantrums in the bud taming the tantrums before they start happening.

Taming the Tantrums

Time is the way to tame the tantrums. Spending time with God tames my tantrums, and spending time with my daughter tames her tantrums. I need that time with God to be able to spend the time with Maggie; otherwise, I have nothing to give.

What are some ways you spend time to fill your own cup? How do you fill your kids’ cups? I’d love to hear!!

Child screaming with caption Taming the Tantrum

Why Perfect Love Drives out Fear

Title Why Perfect Love Drives out Fear
Picture of the word Love on brick by wooden wall

If you’re a momma, especially of young girls like I am, you’ve likely heard of the Disney movie Frozen. Who can forget the amazing Idina Menzel belting out “Let it Go!” I dare you not to get that song stuck in your head!! The whole movie is about fear and love and what affect that has on a person (ok, it’s really about a princess who falls in love with the ice harvester after the snowman plays matchmaker, but I’m talking on a deeper level.) The movie can be used to show why perfect love drives out fear. Maybe I watch too many movies with my kids because I wrote another post Getting Through the Scary parts of Life off of one of the Barbie movies!!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, through no added cost to you, I may get a small commission. For more information you can visit our disclosure statement.

Perfect Love Drives out Fear


“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

1 John 4:18

The Bible says that perfect love drives out fear. The opposite of fear is not safety, or comfort, or not being scared. The opposite of fear is love. Fear paralyzes, love frees! There is absolutely no fear in love, if there was, it wouldn’t be perfect love.

What does Frozen have to do with it?

If you’ve seen the movie, and you probably have, you know Grand Pabbie is the wise old troll that Anna sees after being struck by Elsa’s powers, twice. The first time, when they are both girls and their parents are still alive, Grand Pabbie tells the King and Queen that fear will be Elsa’s enemy. We can see this throughout the movie as she fears people knowing her powers. When they do find out about her powers, she runs off fearing they’ll think she’s a monster.

The second time Anna sees Grand Pabbie, Elsa has struck her in the heart with her icy power. Grand Pabbie tells her that “only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.” I won’t give away the ending, but lets just say that Anna sacrifices herself to shows her true love for her sister in the end. That’s when Elsa finally realizes how to end the eternal winter her fear has brought on, it’s with love.

Picture of frozen rose with Disney Frozen's quote "Only an Act of true love can thaw a frozen heart" in why perfect loves drives out fear

See where I’m going here? Love, perfect love drives out fear every time.

Love is an Action Word

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

1 John 3:18

I listened to a podcast by Ruth Soukup of Do it Scared during my workout this morning titled “Why Action is the Antidote of Fear.” We see this word ACTION when it comes to overcoming fear. (If you want to get motivated to start something, you have to listen to her podcasts!)

Grand Pabbie says in Frozen that only an ACT of true love can thaw the frozen heart. Love is an action, it’s a verb not a noun. We can say we love all we want, but if our actions aren’t showing that, is it really love? I can tell my kids or my husband a million times that I love them, but unless I show them through my actions, would they really know or believe me?

We see the ultimate act of love in Christ on the cross. He sacrificed Himself to show us how much He loves us. That’s an act of true love! He died to be able to have a relationship with us and continue to show us how much He loves us. If we live in this truth, how can there be fear? God is for us! God is with us! He loves us and wants what is best for us. As we lived soaked and saturated in His love, fear will start to disappear, it will thaw away like a frozen heart.

” What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”

Romans 8:31-32
Why perfect love drives out fear

She Dreams by Tiffany Bluhm

She Dreams by Tiffany Bluhm book cover

A Book Review of “She Dreams” by Tiffany Bluhm

When I was little I was a daydreamer. Even into my teens and early twenties you would often find me off in my own world. I had dreams of being an Olympic athlete, being a neurosurgeon, traveling and getting married and becoming a mother. While I’ve never won a gold medal at the Olympics or cut into someone’s head, I am living my dream as a wife and mother.

She Dreams by Tiffany Bluhm book cover

But when did we stop dreaming? I’m talking big God size dreams. In this book “She Dreams” Tiffany looks more into this and encourages us to dream again.

This post may contain affiliate links. Through no added cost to you, I may receive a small commission. I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and opinion. For full details, please see our Disclosure Statement.

Why Don’t I dream?

Isn’t it easy as Mother’s to get bogged down with the nitty-gritty of everyday life? Our days seem mundane with laundry, grocery shopping, dishes, making meals, driving kids around… you get my point. I don’t dream like I used to. I have ideas and things I’d like to do, but not those big dreams of “I can do anything!” But not Olympic size dreams anymore.

She dreams quote

Even with this blog, I have goals I’ve set and things I’d like to accomplish, but where is that big pie in the sky dream of what this blog can be?

Maybe I don’t want to say out loud what I’d really like to do with this blog for fear of “jinxing” myself. Maybe I’m afraid to fail or afraid to succeed. I do have big dreams for this blog, but I’m scared to admit it. I’m probably afraid because I’ve had big dreams before only to see them crumble before me. But, that doesn’t mean God isn’t with me through it all.

“If I don’t let my past stay exactly where it belongs, which is behind me, then I can perpetuate the cycle of defeat and feel inadequate to move forward toward my God-sized dream.”

Moses Dreams

Tiffany uses the story of Moses to encourage us to dream big and bold. We all run into roadblocks and discouragements along the way, but God is with us and working through all of those hard times.

“God doesn’t always work in the way that seems the best to us. If God does not lead you along the shortest path to your goal, don’t complain or resist. Follow Him willingly and trust Him to lead you safely around unseen obstacles. He can see the end of your journey from the beginning, and he knows the safest and best route.”

“Some of us feel we don’t know how things will work out, therefore, we shouldn’t give it a go.”

I’ve never read the story of Moses as a story of a dreamer. So it was really interesting to look at the story of the Exodus from a different perspective. To be honest, I did find it a bit hard to follow where Tiffany was going through parts of the story, but the overall theme is the same and inspiring… She Dreams.

She Dreams

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. It’s so important for us to dream again. I’ve been challenged to let myself dream again. I know you would be inspired by this book too. You can get it here from Amazon, or you can also enter to win a free book here through a Rafflecopter giveaway. You only have until May 14th, 2019 to enter this draw, so enter soon! **Draw is now closed**

She Dreams book tour give away image

More for Mom – Living your Whole and Holy Life by Kristin Funston ~ A Book Review

More For Moms ~ Livivng Your Whole and Holy Life by Kristin Funston book cover

So I just finished reading Kristin Funston’s book More for Mom- Living Your Whole and Holy Life (you can get it on Amazon here) and boy did I enjoy it!! This is a must read for any mom. You really feel like you get to know Kristin, having a cup of coffee or tea together, as she walks through the book with you.

More For Moms ~ Livivng Your Whole and Holy Life by Kristin Funston book cover

This post may contain affiliate links. Through no added cost to you, I may receive a small commission. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. You can get more information from our disclosure statement.

Whole & Holy

As you read through this book, Kristen really has a focus on us “work-hard” moms being whole and holy. This concept of being whole and holy is brought up in pretty much every chapter. Of course, we can only have this through Christ and Kristen weaves that into the book with many scripture references.

I was reminded of a lot that Alisa Keeton had to say in The Wellness Revelation which I read last month. Having a whole life, living wholeheartedly; this is what Christ desires for us.

Revelation Wellness By Alisa Keeton

“We need our brains to create muscle memory of what whole and holy thoughts feel like.”

“According to Psalm 24:1, God has claimed the world and everything in it. Let’s stop letting the world claim us and remember who we belong to.”

More for Mom Friendships

I have to admit, Chapter 4 was a very convicting chapter for me to read. Since I became a Mom, I feel like I’ve let a lot of my friendships slide. I haven’t made a great effort in being a friend, constantly putting my family first.

“To have a friend we have to be a friend. To have relationship, we have to give relationship. All types of relationships. This is what we are called to do in Christ.”

Kristen talks about how we steal other people’s joy or peace or happiness when we aren’t a friend. We steal their peace when they’re scrambling to look for someone to watch their kids and we don’t offer until the last moment. We steal their joy or happiness of having fellowship when we don’t make emotional space for them.

Guilty, guilty, guilty.

I’ve been convicted to be more open to people in general; convicted to be a better friend to the friends I already have.

My hope and prayer is that you all know I am here as a friend for you. I don’t just blog for myself. I blog for you; to connect with you, encourage you and journey with you in faith, family and motherhood.

Fasting

I was reminded again of how fasting is so good for both our physical and spiritual selves. I wrote a post, 6 Things I Learned Fasting when I did a fast while I was reading The Wellness Revelation and was amazed at some of the lessons I learned. These were not the lessons I thought I’d learn from fasting, but I was rejuvenated physically and spiritually.

Kristin reminds of the importance of fasting and that it’s something we aught to be doing. I need to be doing another fast! I hope you will join me, if you feel led to of course! Let me know how it goes!

So much More for Mom

There is so much more I could talk about with this book! From praying scripture to dreaming big again, Kristin covers it all. But, I want you to read it and experience yourself, so I’m going to finish off here. Let me leave with this quote from the book:

“I think the good moms are the ones who follow their dreams, work hard at whatever they do, love their people well, and give Jesus all the credit and glory along the way. These are the moms who are doing the thing day in and day out and doing it well.”

About the Author

With a passion for writing, Kristin Funston encourages women in a way that is relatable and practical, with a healthy dose of humor. She has a master’s degree in Communication Studies from Mexico State University. Kristin is a member and employee of Hope Presbyterian Church and works as the Marriage and Family Coordinator and a leader in the women’s ministry. She is also a regular contributor to multiple blogs including The Better Mom, City Moms blog, TODAY Parenting and Scary Mommy. Funston resides outside of Memphis, TN with her husband and three daughters.


Head shot of Kristin Funston, author of More for Mom ~ Living Your Whole and Holy Life

Let me know what you think of the book, be sure to pick it up here! Happy reading!

Holy of Holies- The Power of the Veil being Torn

Holy of Holies ~ The Power of the Veil being Torn

“Take me in to the Holy of Holies. Take me in by the blood of the Lamb. Take me in to the Holy of Holies. Take the coal, touch my lips, here I am.” Kutless ~ Strong Tower ~ Take Me In

Theatre curtain- take me into the holy of holies

One of my favourite parts of any worship service (in my case, usually Sunday mornings) is the singing. I find I connect on such a deep level with God through worship in song. I love singing, always have (my husband bugs me that I’d make life a musical if I could!) maybe that’s why.

Anyway, with this Easter season coming up, this song has really been on my heart and mind lately.

This post may contain affiliate links. Through no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission.

Holy of Holies

What exactly is the Holy of Holies? The Holy of Holies is the innermost place of the tabernacle. The tabernacle is the tent the Israelites traveled with while they were wandering in the desert. Once the temple was built, the Holy of Holies was still the innermost part. It was the actual dwelling place of God, surrounded by a thick curtain so no one could see God’s face. God is so Holy, we can’t even stand before Him on our own. This inner place is called the Holy of Holies because it is the holiest possible place to be, God’s presence!

The Day of Atonement

Once a year, on the day of atonement, the high priest went in to the Holy of Holies to make atonement for Israel’s sins (see Leviticus 16). Of course he couldn’t just waltz right on in there. There was a whole list of things he had to do first to make himself “clean enough” to go into the Holy of Holies and enter God’s presence.

Each and every year, the Jews had been atoning for their sins on the Day of Atonement. The high priest went in to the inner most part of the temple and offered sacrifices. It was a continual thing, never done once and for all.

The Veil Around the Holy of Holies is Torn

Fast forward a few thousand years to the night of the crucifixion. As Jesus breathed His last breath, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mark 15:38). This curtain was massive. I imagine it being like the giant red curtain in theatres. There is no way anyone could reach the top of it, yet alone tear it from top to bottom. It happened because Jesus was the final high priest. He is the final atoning sacrifice for our sins. God ripped the veil from the top because through Christ, we an come into His presence.

Isaiah 53:5

His death allows us into the Holy of Holies! As we discussed on Day 5 of my Free 5 Day Devotional on the Book of Esther (if you haven’t signed up for it yet, sign up here), Jesus came to fulfill all the festivals like He fulfilled the Festival of Purim in the book of Esther. At the crucifixion, He also fulfills the Day of Atonement! We no longer have to make sacrifices each year, we can come directly into God’s presence with confidence because of Jesus’ death.

Happy Easter ~ Let’s Celebrate in the Holy of Holies

Isn’t this an amazing gift?!? The gift of God’s presence. He loves us so much, He couldn’t stand being apart from us! He tore down that veil to bring us into fellowship with Him. Praise the Lord!

I pray that as you go into this Easter season, you know how much God loves you. He died for you to bring you into His presence, His holy presence. May we truly celebrate this amazing gift and amazing grace together.

What is your favourite thing about Easter?

Holy of Holies- The power of the Veil being Torn

The Wellness Revelation

Loose What Weighs You Down so you can Love God, Yourself & Others

I recently went through The Wellness Revelation book and program as part of a group my sister was leading. It has seriously been an eye opening experience for me, especially in terms of how and what I eat. I never considered how eating can be a way to worship the Lord and be a form of self-care for myself. Food has always just been food for me, something to eat and enjoy. Now, I’m seeing it more as fuel for my body to keep going.

Wellness Revelation- Lose what weighs your down so you can love God, yourself & others.

I started off on this Revelation Wellness journey thinking I would get some motivation and change in my mindset when it comes to exercise. With this being a “fitness journey” this is what I was expecting. Well, I was wrong! Doesn’t God always work in unexpected ways? You’d think I’d know that by now, but thankfully God is gracious and keeps reminding me.

My Goals for The Revelation Wellness Journey

I started out with 4 specific goals.

  • Have more energy
  • Improve my mood
  • Lose some tummy weight
  • Have compassion on myself.

While I do believe I reached most of those goals (not that I’m there, it’s a work in progress!), I really thought it would be through exercising more. However, God taught me a lot more through food. In week 2, we were challenged to fasting (You can read my post on that in my post 6 Things I learned While Fasting). It was a really special 24 hours for me. My biggest realization was that I am able to say “No” to food.

I’ve always struggled with self control in the eating area. It never used to be an issue for me when I was younger. I had a high metabolism and was super active. But that has changed as I have gotten older. Lately, I’m always “rewarding” myself with treats. I’m potty training my 3 year old right now. If she pees on the potty, she gets a treat, and so does Mommy, because potty training is hard! I’ve seen that I am able to reset my mindset in this and realize I don’t need to use food as a reward.

Picture of apple with quote from The Wellness Revelation book.

Living Wholeheartedly

I love that this 8 week program focuses on living wholeheartedly. It’s not just about losing weight. It’s not just about what we eat. We have to take care of the body as a whole. A lot of times we can become selfish and prideful. We either swing to one side of the pendulum or the other. We either over-eat, sit on the couch and neglect our bodies, or we work out and diet like crazy becoming obsessed with our bodies. I loved this view of treating the body as a whole. It’s about lining out whole lives up with God’s plan for our lives. It’s about giving Him access to every part of our lives.

What’s Missing?

I worked in the fitness industry in my 20’s. I had a diploma in Fitness and Exercise Management and managed a women’s gym for a few years. It was heartbreaking to see some women there every day of the week obsessing about gaining a pound. It was also heartbreaking when people would sign up for a membership and then just not show up. They knew their health was important, that’s why they signed up, there was just no follow through. They were stuck in their old habits. I also hated all the roller coaster rides people went through. They’d lose a bunch of weight only to gain it all back again. It was depressing. Something was missing.

A relationship with Christ was missing. Knowing there is something more to your life than your body and your looks is what was missing. I’m not saying every person who goes to the gym and tries to work out is not following Christ, I’m just saying that we need to have our priorities in order. Christ always needs to be at the top and He wants to heal not just our bodies, but out minds, souls and whole lives!

Join The Revelation Wellness Journey

If you are interested in learning more about The Wellness Revelation, check out the book! It’s available on Amazon, just follow this link. Or if you are looking to join more of an accountability group to go through this journey with a facilitator, you can get in touch with my sister Rachel. You can check out her Facebook page Reclamation Fitness or email her at reclamationfitness11@gmail.com. The book is amazing, most importantly though, I found doing along with a group to be super helpful. We had weekly chats and emails; we could talk about what we were learning and where we were struggling. It was that extra bit of accountability, and Lord knows I need that!!

Revelation Wellness Book

Let me leave you with a quote from The Wellness Revelation book. Its from Week 6, Attend to Matters of the Heart. You can find it on page 167 “Today I will be kind. I will speak only kind words about myself and others. I will entertain only kind thoughts about myself and others. I will eat food that is kind to my body. I will go to the gym and move my body as an act of kindness. I am kind because my King is kind… I am on the kindness diet! I have learned to be kind to myself because God is always so kind to me.”

How to Have it All by Imani Ackerman ~ Book Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and opinions. Everything expressed in this article is my own. This post may contain affiliate links. Through no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission. For all the details please see our Disclosure Statement.

Book Review of How to Have it All by Imani Ackerman

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I enjoy a good book. I could sit on a beach and read all day. Now that I have kids I don’t get as much time to read, but I still read when I can. I was very excited when the opportunity came up to read and do a review of Imani Ackerman’s book How to Have it All: The Secrets of a Proverbs 31 Woman.

Ah, Proverbs 31! The ultimate of all ultimate lists of a what a Christian woman strives to be. There are entire ministries, books, Bible studies etc. dedicated to this one chapter in the Bible. It paints a beautiful picture, it really does; a hard working, respected woman. She runs her own household and her own business. She’s a great mom, wife, daughter and friend. She would probably have a million followers on Instagram of women who want to be just like her. Imani refers to her as “Martha Stewart + Beyonce + Oprah with more kids than Angelina Jolie and a husband who rivals Barak Obama in administration. And she loves God!” (pg14)

How to Have it All by Imani Ackerma on Kindle reader

But, there’s the problem. It’s so easy to look at her as this picture of perfection that we want to be. So, what do we do? We do all the things she does. We get up earlier than the dawn, we work with our hands (and we’ll make ourselves enjoy it because, after all, she does!) we start trying to make our own clothing for crying out loud! All because of the Proverbs 31 Woman.

Is this what God intended when He included this book in His Word? I don’t think so. Comparison and jealousy are not of God. “I think God wants to use this woman to inspire us to be all that He has made us to be.” (pg 25) “Proverbs 31 is not a formula for how to redeem your past. God did not put this chapter in the Bible to give us a recipe for successful women that would prove the world wrong for the way they hurt us, abused us, used us and cast us aside. God did not put this chapter in the Bible to show us how we could make our lives better than it was before… We are going to dig even deeper into the purpose for this Scripture and how it can help us see the things God has for us come to fruition.” (pg33-36)

Did you know this passage is actually an acrostic poem in Hebrew? Each verse starts with a letter of the alphabet. It’s not even about a specific woman, but a woman this mother thinks her son should marry. “She lists one quality of this woman for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.” (pg 32).

Proverbs 31 Woman

I learned so much from reading this book (and if you know me, you know I like myself a good book!!) I can’t encourage you enough to read this book. Especially if you are one of those women, like me, who tend to read Proverbs 31 as a “to do” or checklist of things to do to be a godly woman. You can purchase How to Have it All for just $9.99 on Amazon. It’s worth every penny in my opinion! It’s great to read on your own, or with some girlfriends in a Bible Study or Book Club. Imani has some very thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter. The chapters are short, so you could easily do 2 or 3 a week.

6 Things I Learned Fasting

6 Things I learned Fasting

I’ve been doing a new wellness program called The Wellness Revelation (more on that in another post!) The other week was about bondage and how we are often slaves to our food. We don’t eat to fuel, we eat to try to fill a void. Anyway, we were challenged to fast. I’ve never done an actual fast before and I didn’t think I was going to do one this time either. I just thought “I don’t feel called to this.” Well, I was wrong. Throughout the week, many signs pointed to me fasting. Here are the 6 things I learned Fasting.

So, I decided to go ahead and do it and see what God wanted to show me! It seems fitting seeing as I’ve been working through writing my devotional on the book of Esther. The first few chapters of the book are full of praying and fasting. **Sign up here to get on the list to receive your very own copy of my 5 Day Esther Devotional for FREE**

Free Book of Esther Devotional Sign up

Things I learned while fasting

1. It’s hard to do with kids! I wasn’t eating, but my kids still had to eat! They aren’t quite old enough to fend for themselves. Smelling their food was so tempting! I almost caved a couple times. The chicken nuggets they had for lunch smelled so good! I almost gave in and broke my fast to eat one, but God helped me resist temptation.

2. I realized how much I eat just because I think I “deserve” it. A cookie here, sure I earned it doing all that laundry. I went for a walk today, I can have those chips! Or I made it through another day and the girls are safely in bed, I’d love some chocolate, thank you!

I almost ate that chicken nugget because it had been a long morning with sick kids spent at the walk in clinic. I earned that nugget. Often, I use food as a reward for myself.

3. I am blessed to be tempted by food. One thing the book said about fasting was to consider those in developing countries who have no food. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from. As I smelled those delicious nuggets, I realized just how lucky I am to be tempted to eat the food. So many people don’t have food to be tempted by!

4. I prayed, a lot. Not just for the strength to not eat the nugget, but also for people and situations around me. I prayed for my kids while they were eating breakfast and I was sipping water and tea. I prayed for the poor as I realized how lucky we are to have so much food. When I was tempted to eat something, my mind would shift to God and why I was fasting and prompt me to have a conversation with him. It was really nice.

6 Things I Learned Fasting- praying in sunset

5. I am able to resist temptation. Sure giving in would have been easier, but I am able to say no. Before, I would be craving and just say “oh what the heck, I can just eat it!” Those add up and I didn’t even realize how much I was eating in a day. Now that I know I went a whole day saying “No,” I know I can say no to even the small things everyday. It might seem like a small thing, but for me, it was a big thing to work through.

6. At the end of the day I really thought I’d be stuffing my face with food because I was so hungry. But I didn’t. I was hungry, but not like I thought I would be. I learned that it really is Christ who sustains me and not food. Food is good and necessary to fuel our bodies, but it is Christ who gives us real life!

If you’ve ever thought of fasting, I challenge you to give it a try. I really did feel dependent and very close to God that day. Pray about it and if God puts it on your heart, don’t be afraid to try it. If you do, let me know how it went and what you learned! I’d love to hear it!!

6 Things I learned Fasting

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Devotional on the book of Esther

Have you read the book of Esther before? The whole thing, from beginning to end? Esther is one of my favourite books of the Bible. There’s so many things at play in this book. So I thought, how about doing a devotional on the book of Esther for you all?!?

I’ve never written devotionals before, but there is just so much in this book that jumps out and grabs you. I could’ve written for hours! But I chose to keep it to a 5 day devotional series so I’m not a nuisance in your inbox for the next 50 years 😊

The Book of Esther

I am so excited to release this to you in a few weeks! (UPDATE: Released as of March 1, 2019!!) If you are already on my email list, you will be the first to receive it. If not, what are you waiting for?!? Sign up now so you don’t miss out!!

The overall theme to Esther (one of them at least) is the contrast between the lives of the guys with big egos vs the lives of guys who are humble. Through this 5 day study, we will look at things such as being an exile in a foreign land, what happens when our pride takes over, and looking at the question of does God need us for His purposes to be fulfilled. So much to cover!

Like I said I am thrilled to be able to share this with you all in the coming weeks. You do not want to miss out on this!

I hope and pray you can learn and glean as much from this book of the Bible as I did while praying through and writing this devotional.

Free devotional on the book of Esther

Don’t forget to sign up for our email list! You can be one of the FIRST to get your hands on a FREE copy of my devotional on the Book of Esther.

What are You Worth?

My kids are sick… both of them, but especially Lily. She’s got a chest infection and is on antibiotics and an inhaler. Last night as I was laying in bed, trying to fall asleep, listening to her cough, I was just overcome with how much I wanted to just take it away from her. I would take the cough and sniffles in a heart beat for her. That’s how much I love and value her, that’s how much she’s worth to me. What are you worth?

I was at church a few weeks ago, and the worship leader was talking about what our value is. Value is usually determined by how much someone is willing pay for an item. There are somethings I’ll spend a little more money on (I’m usually pretty frugal) because I value them more. Like I said, I highly value my daughter, my family in general. I would do anything for them. So, what are you worth?

Ultimate Sacrifice

You are worth so much, Christ paid His life for you!! His actual, physical life. And not just any death, a humiliating death on the cross. He literally took our place and gave his life for us. That’s how much you are worth to Him!

"But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" Romans 5:8

When Lily was born (check out her preemie story here) I was struck by just how big of a sacrifice this is. There I was, lying naked for all to see. I had my arms stretched out for IV’s and blood pressure cuffs. I was literally about to sacrifice my body for my daughter. In the next couple minutes they would start cutting me open to get my daughter out and save both of our lives. I know, it’s not an exact analogy, but that’s what was going on in my head as I was laying there. This was the biggest sacrifice I’ve ever made for someone.

And Christ’s sacrifice for us is so much more! I hope and pray you know how much He loves you and how much you are worth to Him. I pray that He is the one you look to when you are trying to figure out what your worth is. If you’re feeling down on yourself, feeling like you can’t keep up or live up to expectations, remember your worth! Remember what Christ paid for you and live in light of that! You are so loved and treasured.

Moving Forward

I wonder what our lives would look like if we really believed how much we are worth. We can have so much confidence and self worth in Christ. If we knew or understood how much Christ paid for us, I think we would all just live in so much more joy and happiness and thanksgiving! I want to live like that! And I can because of Christ’s sacrifice!

"Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living." Job 28:13

What are your thoughts on this? How do you think your life would look if you truly knew how much Christ thinks you are worth and valued? Would it look different?

What are You Worth?
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Finding Joy in Cleaning Up

Joy

This year, I chose the word “JOY” as my word of the year ( Word of the Year 2019.) Well, it’s only a week in and I feel like the word is jumping out all over the place! Seriously, I’m seeing it everywhere; books I’m reading, shows I’m watching, random Facebook posts. It’s EVERYWHERE!! It’s like God said “Ok, you chose to word Joy, now I’m going to show it to you all over the place!! But, finding joy in cleaning up was not something I expected!

My Top 2019 Resolution- Word of the Year is Joy

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Recently, I started watching the Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” What an eye opener! The very first episode the husband is more bothered by the clutter and mess than the wife. The thing that keeps coming up in the show is, when looking at items of clothing, or collectables, or books, to ask yourself “Does it spark Joy?”

My husband and I have different expectations when it comes to being clean and tidy. It’s opposite of the “typical” gender roles. Pete likes things much more clean and organized than I would do for myself. Believe me, we’ve had our fair share of fights over the state of the kitchen (he’s usually right, but don’t tell him that!!) I just honestly sometimes don’t notice how chaotic it’s gotten, I guess I got used to it living on my own before we got married. And sometimes at the end of the day running after 2 toddlers, dishes are the LAST thing I want to do! Pete has told me multiple times, that getting rid of clutter would help decrease some of my stress. I always just sort of brushed it off. Honestly, until I watched this Netflix show, I never really understood how much it stressed him out.

In that first episode, the husband says that his family is not getting the best of him because he’s always stressed out about the clutter. Wow. I feel like I’ve been putting Pete through the same thing.

Finding Joy in Cleaning Up

We are moving next month into a smaller place than we have now. Now is the PERFECT time to start de-cluttering and finding joy in it at the same time (seeing as Joy is my word of the year!) Yesterday, I went through the majority of my clothes. Each item I looked at and asked if it brought me joy. I have a garbage bag to bring to the thrift store. There were things I was just holding on to for no real reason! If the only items I have in my closet are things that bring me joy, I’ll be able to feel joyful in what I’m wearing every day rather than being overwhelmed by choices and not knowing what to wear. The next thing I want to tackle is books!

Finding Joy in Cleaning - mopping the kitchen

I never considered how keeping a tidy, uncluttered house would bring joy to our family. But, I can see it now. Sparking joy in my husband and having him less stressed will help me in finding joy in tidying up. Bringing him joy brings me joy! Not having as much “stuff” makes it easier to keep things clean. So, unless something brings me joy, why keep it? We have a coffee table downstairs that was my family’s when I was growing up, so I have a sentimental attachment. I asked myself last night, does it bring me joy? Not really.. I told Pete to sell it!

Marie Kondo

This lady is amazing! She even has her own YouTube channel with tons of tips including how to properly fold your laundry. I’ve been doing it wrong all along! the amount of room I saved in my drawers yesterday was amazing. And I can see everything without having to pull everything out. That brings me joy!

She also has a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I’ve downloaded it as an audio book and can’t wait to start listening to it!

I’d love for you to join me on this journey of finding joy in cleaning up. You can help keep me accountable! Does having a tidy house bring you joy? Are you less stressed out with a clean place to live?

Finding Joy in Cleaning Up - organized pantry
[social_warfare ]

Word of the Year 2019

My Top 2019 Resolution- Word of the Year is Joy

New Years Resolutions

Do you set New Years Resolutions? I’m not a big resolution setting person, but I’m going to share my Word of the Year 2019 with you today!

I used to work in a few different gyms. January 1st was always the busiest day of the entire year. I would always laugh. What made January 1st different than any other day of the year? Why do we wait until a new year to set a resolution? By the 3rd week of January things would always die down and the majority of people started would quit coming in. So I’ve always found resolutions kind of silly because no one really keeps them!

Last year, I decided to make a bit of a resolution. I resolved to make God more prominent in my life and to actually believe in Him and what He says. 2018 was another rough year for us and I was really finding myself worrying and doubting too much and not believing God was who He said He was. So I started making conscious decisions to believe in Him and choose to trust Him.

I also really want to make sure my girls know who Christ is and how much He loves them. If I’m doubting and worrying so much, what does that show them? They can choose when they are older what they believe, but I at least want them to know Christ and be able to model my faith in Him to them.

What is a Word of the Year

So that brings me to this year! What is my top 2019 resolution? I have heard a lot of people lately talking about choosing a word for the year. The website My One Word describes choosing a word as “My One Word” is an experiment designed to move you beyond this cycle. The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD.” So this year, for my word of the year 2019, I have chosen JOY.

“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Choose Joy

I wrote about Joy as part of my Advent series. Week 2: The Secret to Joy this Christmas. Joy is something I feel has been lacking in my life recently. I find myself being grumpy a lot more than being joyful, yelling at my kids a lot more than I’d like to, not appreciating my husband as much as I should. I find myself focusing more on circumstances than on the One who walks through it all with me.

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11

So, this year I am choosing joy. I am choosing Christ and the joy He brings. I already have the joy within me as a fruit of His spirit, now I just need to let that overflow into my life rather than looking elsewhere.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 & 23

“A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

So what is your word for 2019? What are you choosing this year? I’d love to hear from you and we can keep each other accountable!!

Word of the Year 2019

Happy New Year from my family to yours! Thank you for sharing so much of 2018 with me and I look forward to all 2019 has in store.

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Love Came Down at Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!! What a day to celebrate how love came down at Christmas.

I pray you have a Christmas full of love and light! God is love and love came down at Christmastime through His son, Jesus Christ.

 

I’ll be taking a bit of a hiatus until the New Year to spend time with my family, other than a few posts I have scheduled. I’ll “see” you all in 2019!

Looking to get your own Bible this Christmas season? Want to know more about this Jesus who came to show us all love? Please, don’t be shy, I’d love to talk more about it. You can contact me directly through my About Me section. Another great place to start is to get your own Bible (I recommend this Easy to Read Bible you can get from Amazon. Look for the section called “John”. This is a great to place to start learning more about Christ.

Indescribable Peace This Christmas

Indescribable Peace

Welcome to week 3 of my Advent series, Indescribable Peace this Christmas! I realize I went a little bit out of the traditional order doing Joy last week and Peace this week, but I’m sure there’s some reason God had me write it in the order I did, even if it was just for reminding myself to choose joy last week!

My Story of Indescribable Peace

Our oldest daughter, Lily, was born 11 weeks early (you can read her miracle birth story in my blog post here).  We spent 10 long weeks in the hospital with her before we could finally take her home. We ended up taking her home on Christmas Eve of 2014. To this day, no other Christmas present has been able to top that. I don’t think it ever will.

Indescribable peace with our little miracle baby, Lily
Pete and I holding Lily for the first time

Anyway, as you can probably imagine this was the most stressful thing Pete and I had ever been through. From not knowing if she was going to survive birth or come out breathing, to suspected brain damage, to continual eye exams due to her prematurity, to her stopping breathing and turning blue one night. It was, quite frankly at times, a nightmare I just wanted to wake up from.

But the weird thing is, through this entire journey I felt this indescribable peace. This deep sense of peace that couldn’t be shaken. This sense of peace that no mater what happened, she would be OK and we would be OK. That this whole thing was something larger than ourselves.  It really is inexplicable, because I don’t think I could ever do it justice to explain this deep feeling of peace.

Phillipians 4:7

Where can we find this Indescribable Peace?

This peace can only come from one place; knowing that God is in control and we are not. He’s not just in control, He’s in control and He cares about us. He’s not plotting or planning bad things to happen. Bad things happen sometimes, like our daughter being born WAY earlier than we thought, but He is right there to walk through the whole thing with us and He wants to do the same with you!

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. ~Psalm 23:4

Friends, if I could wish for one thing for you this Christmas, I hope you find this peace within you. Christmas is not supposed to be about the hustle and bustle, or Santa and Rudolph. It’s not about the concerts and cookies, parties or presents. Christmas is about that little bitty baby laying in a manger, who grew into a man that chose to die on the cross for us to bring us peace. Because no matter what, He is with us!

Indescribable Peace

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Hope this Christmas
~ The Secret to Joy this Christmas

The Secret to Joy this Christmas

It’s the second week of Advent! This week in my Advent series, we’ll be focusing on Joy! This has been a very convicting post to write as joy is something I still struggle to find day in and day out. I don’t find joy in doing the laundry or washing the dishes. So, there has to be something more, right?!? What is the secret to Joy this Christmas?

What is Joy?

What does joy look like? Pure, unadulterated joy. Here’s a picture of my daughters playing together this summer… this to me is joy.

What pure, unadultered joy looks like ~ my girls playing together

Why do we call it unadulterated? Adultery in a marriage is cheating on your spouse. Adultery in the Bible is seeking idols or other gods besides the One True God. So how do we commit adultery on Joy? Committing adultery on Joy is when we look somewhere other than Christ for our Joy.

The Secret

We look to all sorts of other places to try and find joy.

  • Marriages
  • Likes and followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest
  • Our Children
  • Being accepted by others
  • Having a successful career

These are all things that can definitely bring us feelings of joy. But feelings don’t last, they change. I want to know that joy that is in my heart and doesn’t change based on circumstances. What’s the secret to finding that Joy?

Jesus.

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23) Joy is in us because Christ lives in us. My girls like when we sing the song I’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in my Heart, the end of the chorus says joy is down in our heart TO STAY. It’s there, it can’t be taken away because it comes from Christ in us!

The Secret to JOY this Christmas
The Secret to Joy this Christmas

Finding Joy

How do we find joy, how do we choose joy? We look to Christ. That is part of the beauty of Christmas; Christ came down to earth to restore our relationship with God. Because of this, we can have the Holy Spirit living in us and experience Joy every day. Joy that doesn’t change when things aren’t going as we had planned. Joy in the midst of sorrow.

Satan will do anything to steal our joy, to take our focus off Christ and try to find our joy elsewhere. We are so much less effective when we aren’t joyful, at least I know I am. It says in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Notice how Jesus says He wants to have life abundantly? That includes joy. He wants us to have an abundance of joy!

So, this Christmas I choose Joy. This Christmas I choose Christ. This Christmas I celebrate Christ’s birth that has given this unending Joy down in my heart TO STAY! What will you choose this Christmas?

JOY!

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