Faith E Women

act justly, love mercy, walk humbly

Good morning Quotes

Confession. I am tired. Tired with a big, fat capital T. The kind of tired that a 10,000 hour nap wouldn’t even begin to touch.

TIRED.

I am a mom of two wild boys (4 years and 2 years old). I work full time and have class two nights a week with homework and studying to do. I spend a lot of my week running solo. My husband works two jobs so a lot of the household chores and management fall on my shoulders.

It can be a lot to say the least. Some days I take it all in stride and others, not so much.

What is the difference then? What makes or breaks my stride?

Renewal.

In this season of life, I have to be extra intentional about seeking it out, about cultivating it into my day to day. So, with spring on the horizon (at least theoretically!), we are going to spend a few posts chatting renewal.

And for me, renewal comes when I refocus. Renewal comes when I put first things first. When I put Him at the center and let everything else fall into place…that, that right there is the game changer between me taking things in stride and me riding the hot mess express.

So what does that look like for me? I don’t claim to be a genius or perfect at it, but here are a few things I started to make habits that have helped bring renewal….

  • Before I open my eyes in the morning, I pray. For the day, for His presence to be felt, for His eyes and heart for the people and work I will encounter.
  • On the way to work, I pray with my boys for their days.
  • Turning off the radio. This gives me time to think, pray, and just be with Him without the constant ear pollution.
  • Disconnecting from the phone and leaving the TV off.
  • Worship music always – while I am at work, while I am doing housework, while I am putting my boys to sleep – it helps remind me that everything I do is an act of worship.
  • Getting in the Word daily – listening to it, reading it, hearing pastors preach it.

Most importantly, renewal comes best when I remember where my strength comes from. It doesn’t come from the latest self-care craze, over-indulgence, a bottle of wine, or a girls night out.

Renewal comes when I turn back to Him. It is just that simple. 

Matthew 11:28-30// “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”


 

 

So now we’re two months into the new year. How are your resolutions looking? I smirk and smile as I write this, because I imagine there are a few of you laughing at the misery your resolutions caused you before you threw them out the window. And I imagine there are others of you who are rocking your resolutions and kudos to you! Keep going.

I will say I made three resolutions and two of them are going well. One of them is a HUGE struggle but such is life. I haven’t thrown in the towel, but I have found myself discouraged and I decided I needed a “resolution reset.” If I identified this area of my life as something that needed to become a priority, I best not throw it out the window, right?

Maybe I just need a reset—a change in the way I view a needed discipline in my life. How about you?? Do you need a resolution reset? Or did you totally forget you had some resolutions and you just need a resolution reminder? For those of you that need a little reset, lets hear some truth for the course ahead:

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

Be mindful of the work inside of you. Enjoy the process. Scripture even tells us to expect it to be painful. I think sometimes we’re afraid to fail, so we avoid things that might be hard or might not turn out well. But here’s some more truth for that course, too:

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Hear that? Power AND discipline. Not fear, but the ability to do what lies ahead. So go on. Recall and reset those resolutions with God’s truth in your hearts. You got this!

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Short and sweet today…BUT, if you are looking for a new devotional to add to your quiet time, I would HIGHLY recommend Annie F. Downs’ 100 Days to Brave. I am 50 days in and I have to say, this is the first time I have stuck with a devotional book of this style. I know, I am terrible :).

I love AFD and have been a long time fan so I went in thinking I’d probably like 100 Days. Truth is, I LOVE it. I love her practical words of advice and inclusion of Bible verses. Each day reads like you are sitting with a friend, just talking life. It’s an easy read and incredibly relateable.

I also love how she covers bravery outside of the “normal” context of bravery (i.e. being courageous in a tough or scary circumstance). She applies bravery to relationships, work, and change. They are short devotions that carry a punch and really, truly, have made me think about some things that I hadn’t thought about before…I mean, do YOU have a life thesis statement? Me either…until now, thanks to this devotional!

Highly encourage you to check it out and explore what bravery means a woman of Jesus. You won’t regret it! Happy Wednesday!

When I first started reflecting on biblical love at the start of the month, I couldn’t help but notice that John emphasized what it doesn’t look like. As I spend time in 1 Corinthians 13, I’m finding that Paul’s focus is remarkably similar. Speaking to a people new in their faith, he hoped to encourage them towards a Christ-like love, not a self-seeking image of a “perfect” believer.

Whether we are twenty-two or eighty-two, I think its prudent to take a humble position of being “new” in our faith, too: always seeking wisdom, Godly examples, scriptural truths. Though I don’t think we need to be intimidated by Paul’s message here. I don’t want to approach verses 4-7 as a checklist.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Don’t get me wrong—I LOOOOVE checklists. But I also get hung up on performance and accomplishment, being helpful and using my time wisely. Why? Because I’m self-seeking. And that leads to pride, which makes me boast, and that dishonors others. Yikes.

While my intentions are good, I’m forgetting to extend love along the way. As Leanne wrote last October about walking humbly, “I don’t want a life of checkmarks … I want a life marked by His grace and love extended to those around me.”

The way I love should lead others to Christ. I want it to be unmistakable who my God is. Will you pray for me in this? I’ll do the same for you.

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art workshop

Truth be told I have more questions than answers today … well that’s probably true most days … but this is Valentine’s Day and I’ve been thinking of how we truly love those around us.  Especially those without a saving faith in Jesus Christ. The ones whose behavior isn’t always lovely; they’ve heard that Jesus loves them, but they can’t quite believe it could be true about them.  

Yesterday in our Wednesday morning Bible Study, we wrapped up our study of 1 Thessalonians and the last four verses of Chapter 5 caught me.

Brethren, pray for us.

Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.

I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Although these passages are directed to believers about fellow believers, I think we can pull some application from these short verses in how we interact with ALL the people in our lives.  

First, we pray.  Pray for opportunities, pray for soft hearts and open minds, ask for gentleness and patience, for the power of the Holy Spirit to be at work, for the Word of God to be received, for hope to be restored …

Then, we extent kindness.  It goes a long way to simply be nice and offer a smile.  I can’t say this strongly enough .. if we are not kind, (and yes, that includes our social media posts) we’ve lost them already!  

Next, we share the scriptures.  The truth of God’s Word is necessary in loving others well.  But, let’s be honest, the truth of scripture can sting a little, so again, please be kind. I’m in no way implying that we water down the truth, I’m simply suggesting we consider our method of delivery.

And, we give the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Extending grace to others is the least we can do when we truly understand the measure of grace given us.  Let’s not take offense when non-believers don’t act like believers. Grace shouldn’t expect that.

Any thoughts on really living this out?  I’m all ears – because I know that we need each other to do this well!

Valentine's Day Price Cut

I have been in numerous conversations lately (both in person and online) that were just not going anywhere…or, at the very least, anywhere I wanted to go, should go, or needed to go. Conversations where I really had to decide…should I keep speaking? Speak up? Or is it time to bow out?

Can you relate?

I’m pretty sure many of you would say yes. In society today, conversations seem to be so hard at times. There are so many, countless even, conversations we find ourselves in where we are faced with this choice.

Do we continue?

Do we speak up? If we speak up, what should we say?

Would speaking up be helpful or meaningful? Or is it adding to the noise?

Is this a time to speak? Or a time to shut it down?

As many of you know, the 2019 simulcast of the IF:Gathering was this past weekend. As a member of the planning team for my local IF, I tuned in. HOLY MOLY. It was powerful.

The book of the Bible in focus this year was Proverbs and that is where I have been landing for my devotions. And, when it comes to words, there’s a lot to be said.

Now, I am not here pretending to know how to walk this out perfectly or even saying I do it well. I am here to point to truth and here is some to consider about our words…

Proverbs 12:18 (NIV) //The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) // A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 15:4 (NIV) // The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 16:24 (NIV) // Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

…and those are just a few from Proverbs!

Our words matter deeply. What we say, text, type, DM, Snap, etc….carries a power that we often are not fully aware of or even acknowledge. Or, even worse, sometimes we flat out ignore it and say whatever our sinful little hearts desire. As Hannah Brencher, author and founder of World Needs More Love Letters says, “My words could either be balm or venom. I get the choice daily.”

That’s it. We get a choice. A huge part of that is the decision of whether or not to speak. There are times where our voice is powerful, necessary, encouraging, and healing. And there are times where it is the opposite, where speaking up is diminishing, hurtful, and destructive.

Short and sweet, my prayer for us all is discernment, the courage, and the strength.

Discernment to know the differences.

Courage to speak life where death is creeping in.

Strength to shut our mouths when silence needs to reign.

Because sometimes, the best option is silence. Sometimes, the loudest message is sending no message at all. For there is a time for everything…

It is February…aka the month of LOVE.

Whether you love it or hate it, this month is all about candy, flowers, hearts, red, pink, and good ol’ LOVE.

To celebrate love, we are going to spend some time explore the infamous 1 Corinthians 13 (verses 4-13 to be exact) passage.

In case you are not sure what passage we are referencing, here’s the one…

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Join us as we explore this passage and happy month of LOVE to you!

Watercolor Heart Print - Free!! | this heart of mine

Aaaand it’s February. The first thing that comes to mind for me, aside from another cold month, is LOVE. Something to celebrate, something to give, but most importantly, something to be grateful for.

“We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

While the festivities of Valentine’s Day are not likely to include thoughts of our heavenly Father’s love for us, lets make a moment to remember this great love. A love that started before we were made. A love that is undeserved and underestimated. A love that is unconditional.

Before I even recognize my own sin, His love is there. Before I even think to beg for forgiveness, His love is there. Before I even truly understand the depth of His love, it is right there.

If I want to reflect God’s love for me, I, too, must love. I’m commanded to, rather, as John reminds us:

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another…if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:11-12).

A song comes to mind as I’m processing all this love…and it’s not biblical…but it sure is catchy 🙂 In their song Love Ain’t, Eli Young Band sings “I may not know what love is girl but I know what love ain’t”.

While at times I fail to fully grasp how GREAT God’s love IS, my heart seems to fully convict me of what God‘s love AIN’T. It ain’t the love of a seamless day, a clean house, the right school, a great outfit, the perfect party. John reminds us of this, too:

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17).

While there’s SO MUCH MORE that God’s Word has to teach us about love, this month I’m going to emphasize these things which I know it is and those which I know it ain’t. Won’t you join me?

Lord, help me to exhibit love that has an eternal purpose. A love that is sacrificial and genuine, when it’s easy AND when it’s hard—enabled by you because I couldn’t possibly muster up the desire to do it on my own. Because of your Spirit’s work in me, I can experience your love and I am grateful. I love you, Lord. Amen.cae336c95984516aa56f4c537cfab534

I love IF. I have been a longtime supporter and attendee of this gathering because I love everything it stands for, the women that speak at the gathering, and the community the gathering creates. There is something incredibly energizing about being a part of women mobilizing on the behalf of Jesus and His kingdom. I am getting excited just thinking about it!

As someone who loves reading words, writing words, and speaking words, I am actually finding it hard to put into words just how much this gathering has meant to me and how much it has challenged me in my faith. With our 2019 IF:Billings event just around the corner, we thought we’d take some blog space to share about IF and what it means to us. With words escaping me, I will try to share what IF means to me.

When I think about why I cherish IF, the greatest thing that comes to mind is the fiery, challenging words that the speakers never fail to deliver. Every single gathering I have attended, I have heard things that have cut me in the best way possible. Hard things. Challenging things. Encouraging things. Things that I needed to hear to break through complacency.  Things that call me up and call me out.

One of those things in particular comes from an IF: Gathering favorite, Jill Briscoe. If you haven’t heard Jill speak or aren’t familiar with her, sister, you are missing out! Jill is the grandmother figure we all need in our lives, a strong woman of faith whose walk speaks to a life well-lived. As a younger woman, I deeply cherish and look up to women like her who serve as strong and lovely examples of godly womanhood. She says words that are worth a repeat.

Words like these…

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These words are a few IF:Gatherings old, but still continue to be one of my favorite quotables because, in the moment, were the exact words I needed (and still do!) to hear.

I struggle a lot with my “calling”, the mission I am put on earth to do. As a working mom of two, it can be hard for me to see what I do as kingdom work…and sometimes I just wish I was called to “more”. I know that sounds icky, so let me explain. I look at missionaries, social activists, people in the trenches and think that they are the ones doing the real work,  exciting work, the work that is making a difference. I discount what I am doing and, as a result, get complacent, moody, and whiny. That’s why I needed to hear Jill so badly. Jill’s words (and her whole talk) spoke a renewed focus and spark to me. I am where I am for a reason. Just because it isn’t on a visible and global level doesn’t negate the importance of my current status. I am placed there for a reason, by God, on purpose.

I have been “sent” and, therefore, I have an obligation. For as long as I am there, I am to unpack. For me, that means settle in. Get comfortable. Get involved. Know who is around me. Put myself out there. It does not mean whine, complain, fight, or try to find the quickest way out. Unpack.

Her words also challenge me to give it my all because it matters. My obedience, dedication, and joy I put in to it…it matters and matters deeply. There is an end game and I need to give my efforts to it until I am called somewhere else. I may not like where I am at, but that does not free me from my mission in the moment.

Go. Unpack. Give what I’ve got. It’s kingdom work.

 

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I love the fresh feeling of a year unwritten, the anticipation of what lies ahead. There is something to be said about the newness that comes with January 1.

Rather than inundate you with my love of new years and resolutions and all the stereotypical rah-rah that comes with this time of year, I am going to keep this post simple and rest it in what matters most this time of year…and all year long.

Let’s start this year strong in truth…so, here are some passages about beginnings, His timing, and His promises.

Ecclesiastes 3:11//He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Jeremiah 29:11//”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Revelation 21:4-5//He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

Isaiah 43:18-19//”Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Lamentations 3:22-24//Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”

Happy New Year, sisters. May 2019 be full of Him.