Posts

Live Your Faith in the Busy…

This weeks post comes from an article I ready this week from Rachel Wojo at Dayspring.

I have been sharing this thought the past few weeks on my Facebook LIVE Morning Minutes. We really need to take time and stop each day to be filled so we can do what we are called to do in life. Read Rachel’s post below and share your thoughts below.

 

Managing_A_Busy_Life

 

While we often think of summer as relaxed and enjoyable, fall boasts of structured schedules and activities. With school, work, and projects in full swing, the daily demands can be high. While the return to routine is a seasonal necessity of life, it’s easy to slip into an overload mode without realizing it. How can we enjoy having a full plate without feeling overwhelmed? Today I wanted to share 3 tips for managing a busy life.

 

When our hearts are at peace, our schedules will follow.

It’s easy to be tempted to rush through daily tasks without first spending time alone with God, especially when the appointment calendar is calling. I’ve found that when I fail to spend at least a few moments talking to God in prayer and reading his Word at the beginning of the day, then my day feels bumpy, choppy, and rushed. God may call us to lead a busy, full life as his servants, but he doesn’t call us to skip over our time with him. Keeping my heart at peace with him provides a peaceful attitude, even when the daily demands are high.  John 14:27 is a beautiful verse to memorize and use as a reminder that we can be at peace even when circumstances are unsettling or schedules are jam-packed.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)

 

When we remember that eternal issues matter most, we will choose our “yes’s” wisely.

If people-pleasing is a part of your DNA like it is mine, then sometimes saying “yes” one too many times becomes the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’ll find myself stressed and pressured, unable to smile or take the time to greet someone kindly. Choosing to say “yes” carefully can help tremendously when life is hustling.

The following two questions can help us choose our activities and appointments carefully. The first question is: Will this activity or appointment have lasting impact? And the second: Is this a one-time or long-term commitment? It’s easy to look at one week of the calendar and feel like “That works with our schedule.” But then when looking at a full month of that same activity, it becomes overwhelming and stressful. Asking the Lord for guidance as we make daily calendaring decisions is a wonderful way to help us remember that ultimately we desire his will and not our own. I love what 1 John 2:17 says:

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:17 (ESV)

 

When we enjoy making plans and maintaining beauty, we are following God’s plan of order.

When my children were much younger, maintaining a daily home routine made life more enjoyable for me. A few years passed before I realized that this routine was part of God’s divine design for life. Take a look at this beautiful verse:

Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD of hosts is his name: Jeremiah 31:35 (ESV)

He gave a fixed order to beauty so that it could be enjoyed routinely. The creative God we serve loves to see us enjoy daily life. As my husband and I sat by the ocean a few weeks ago, he said, “I know I said this last year, but imagine how long these waves have been turning. For thousands of years, the water has been rolling onto this beach.” And yet sometimes the waves roll in faster than others. Sometimes we enjoy a slower pace, but sometimes the waves toss a little faster. Regardless of the speed of the waves, one of the ways I’ve discovered to enjoy maintaining order is using a planner. Using stamps, pens and fun stickers in my planner provides a practical and inspirational way to pattern after my Creator.

 

While God may have called you to a busy life or even a busy season, he didn’t call you to do it alone. So, when your schedule starts to speed up, don’t forget to lean on Him for the strength and guidance to tackle what lies ahead. Choose one or two tips from the list above and commit to implement them in your life over the upcoming months. You might be really surprised at how He can transform what looks like a crazy, hectic day into many peace-filled, beautiful moments.

 

2016-08-16_1604For more on Rachel visit her website at: http://rachelwojo.com/

Comparison Highjacks Contentment…

I recently read this post from Girlfriends in God and felt it was an important message to share today with you. I thought about writing my own spin on the topic and decided this one was so perfect for each of us here that I would share their post with y’all! Enjoy, be sure to comment below.

 

A picture of a group of friends having fun in the city

“I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
Psalm 139:14

We live in a culture of constant comparison. Someone tweets that they just had lunch at a fab restaurant; you had canned tuna and raw carrots. Not even baby carrots but a big ole carrot out of the bag.

Someone posts an Instagram of a gaggle of friends dressed in Lilly Pulitzer pink lunching by the lake, and you’re reading about it dressed in sweats, trudging down the grocery aisle with a snotty-nosed kid pawing at the cereal displays.

You pull up Facebook and read about Barb’s vacation in Paris, and you’re happy for her . . . sorta.

A woman looks at Pinterest boards, and comes away with her greatest fears confirmed: her kids look shabby, her house looks dumpy, and her clothes look frumpy.

Social media accentuates the culture of comparison by sending the false message that your monotonous tedious boring existence is a poor excuse for living compared to others whose lives are awesomely exciting all the time. Secretly you hope your husband never stumbles across Pinterest to realize what a loser of a wife he really has. Mercy!

Social media breeds instant comparison at the click of a button. Comparing who has more “Facebook friends,” “re-tweets,” “followers” and “re-pins” is maddening. The age-old comparisons of appearance, accomplishments, possessions, and position are still around. Technology has simply magnified the access to other people’s lives, even though you’re only seeing what others want you to see.

Then there’s Christmas letters. Photo cards of friends and family with letters detailing every wonderful milestone of the previous year. We read them and think, “My life stinks!” That letter doesn’t tell about Brian getting suspended from school for cussing in the classroom, Megan getting caught lying about studying at a friend’s house, Brie’s on-going battle with depression, Dad’s loss of a major account, or Mom’s twenty-pound weight gain. Just the highlights. Only the good stuff. We read it and say, “good for them.” All the while thinking, “what’s wrong with me?”

Comparison is the devil’s tool that he uses to undermine your confidence and kills contentment like nothing ever will. It magnifies insecurities and fosters a self-absorbed pre-occupation of your inadequacies. As one pastor said, “One of the main reasons we struggle with insecurity is that we’re comparing our behind-the-scenes with everybody else’s highlight reel.”

Comparison sullies the canvas upon which God longs to display His greatest work. Nothing will rob you of your confidence in Christ like comparison. The measuring stick will get you stuck every time.

I love what Jesus said when Peter asked about John’s future. (Yes, he was comparing his future with John’s) “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” (John 21:22) In other words, “It’s none of your business! Stop comparing!”

Have you ever wondered why Jesus picked such a ragtag bunch of blundering blubbering misfits to be his disciples? Even though they stumbled their way through much of the gospels, once they were filled with the Holy Spirit, this uneducated, unrefined, untrained bunch of unruly fishermen changed the world. A few days after Pentecost, the Jewish Supreme Court questioned Peter and John about their persistence in preaching the gospel and their audacity to heal a beggar lame from birth.

The dynamic duo preached a mini-sermon that struck the religious rulers to the core. But here’s my favorite part of the entire scenario: When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

The Sanhedrin leaders were mystified at how this bunch of scrappy saw-toothed misfits could wax so eloquently. Then they had an ah-ha moment. They realized the men had been with Jesus. That explained everything.

That’s what I want people to say about me! She’s an unschooled ordinary girl. How does she do what she does? Oh, I get it. She’s been with Jesus! Can you think of any better accolade? I sure can’t.

Let go of the tendency to compare and take hold of your uniquely fashioned, pre-ordained, God-given talents and abilities. You are specifically equipped by God to do everything He has called you to do and to go through. Including being the mom your kids need.

Then when the world questions how you do what you do, they’ll say, “Oh I get it…she’s been with Jesus.”

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, help me not to compare myself with others, but to celebrate the way You created me! I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know this full well. Now, help me to remember it!

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Think of all the ways you compared your life with others during the past five days.

Think of all the ways that others compared their lives to your life during the past five days. (You don’t think they did? Oh sister, they did. Believe me.)

Cain compared himself to his brother Abel. What did God have to say about that? Read Genesis 4:6-7.

Read Psalm 139:13-16. Spend some time thanking God for the unique way He created YOU!

 

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion came from my latest book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold. Just as a trapeze artist who grabs hold of a second bar, but refuses to let go of the first, we can get stuck in our faith when we refuse to let go of all that holds us back. It’s time to let go of all that holds us hostage to a “less than” life…and that includes comparing ourselves to others. Let’s take hold of all that Jesus has already taken hold of for us and placed in us! Check it out at www.takeholdthebook.com where you can download a free chapter and watch a video book trailer. The book also comes with a Bible study guide. Make sure and sign up for my weekly blog to learn when the free on-line Bible study will begin in the fall.

 

 

Called to Love

This morning as I sat on the screened porch in my rocker with a cup of coffee the Lord softly spoke to me on a topic once again. So instead of just agreeing with Him I decided perhaps since He has mentioned it a few times it was meant to write instead of just agree.

a cup of coffee and a flower on a wooden texture background tone

As women of God we sometimes find our selves caught up in our own little world at home, the same pew or chair at church and talking to the same people each week. Why?

Why is it we are missing the big picture or perhaps the snapshot right in front of us?

What about that new woman that came to church this morning? What about the widowed woman sitting alone in service? What about the woman weeping during worship?

Have you taken the time to get out of your own little click, group or comfort zone and say hello to her? Why not?

Proverbs 31:20 tells us:

“She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.”

Proverbs 31:26

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”

Then in Titus 2 we are told to mentor and be that example for the younger women. Meaning those younger in the Lord not necessarily in age.

So do you sit in the same place every Sunday morning, talk to the same people each week or possibly ignore that woman sitting alone? Have you moved someone out of the way because that was “Your seat?”

random-acts-of-kindness-day1

It is TIME women of God to be the ones reaching out, showing compassion and letting that woman know she is loved and welcome. Remember we are the church, the church is not the building it is the people. It is TIME women of God to stop being so self focused we miss the opportunities God is placing in front of us, to be that woman of God…HE wants us to be.

 

When Doors Don’t Open

I love to share awesome things with our Cafe’ so here is an article I read this month that really seemed to be a great one to share with everyone. The timing may be perfect with summer rapidly approaching us and with the heat rising tempers seem to do the same. We find ourselves on a shorter fuse sometimes and we need that little reminder to stop and think just how what we say, do or how we act will impact those in our lives.

I truly pray you enjoy today’s post, be sure to share below if it resonated with you!

 

Two young female friends laugh and eat chocolate outdoors

 

Today’s Truth: I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5

Friend to Friend

The morning had been hectic and they were running late because the baby needed a last minute diaper change. Tara needed to get all three kiddos loaded up and to the car pool location quickly, but for some strange reason the back doors of her van would not open. She tried her clicker. She tried the key. She tried jiggling the lock.

Anxiousness started to well up in her heart.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” She grumbled loudly while trying to open the back doors of her minivan. “This is NOT what I need right now!”

The kids began to sense the tension and take on the stress for their own.

“What’s wrong, mommy?”

“The back doors aren’t opening and we’re gonna be late! That’s what’s wrong!”

Pressed for time and strongly annoyed, Tara told the kids to get in through the front door and had them crawl back to settle into their car seats. As she started the car she was aware of her agitation and didn’t like it.

Taking a deep breath, Tara began to recognize the stress for what it was. She remembered the Bible verse that is written on the chalkboard in their kitchen. Spoken from the lips of Jesus Himself, the words flooded her heart…

2Peter-Jude-Dec18In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Yes. They were having trouble getting a few doors open, but it was nothing that Jesus couldn’t help her handle. Calmed and cooled by the red-lettered love, Tara made an empowered decision … and a very cool minivan ministry moment followed that went something like this:

“Okay, guys! Here we go!” Tara began. “That was a bit stressful and I’m sorry for raising my voice. I’m not sure why the doors didn’t open, but we aren’t going to let it mess up our day. We can choose to let this situation get the best of us, or we can get the best of the situation by asking God to bring peace to our anxiousness. Remember the verse on the kitchen chalkboard? Jesus said that in this world we’re going to have trouble. Sometimes doors don’t open, but He’ll help us! Jesus told us to “take heart” because He has overcome the world.”

Then, from the back of the van her eight-year-old theologian son piped up and joined the sacred conversation.

“Yeah! And Jesus said that He’ll never leave us or forsake us. God is always with us, mom!”

From. The. Lips. Of. A. Child.

God is always with us.

What began as a chaotic and stressful drive to school became a celebration of the presence of God. It was a devotion-on-wheels that began with a door that wouldn’t open. A beautiful memory that started with stress but was changed by the grace of Jesus, our Overcomer.

Sometimes doors don’t open for us. We don’t always get the position we want, the response we want, the admiration we want, or the health we want. But with every closed door comes an opportunity of response. When Tara invited God into her frustration and opened her heart to His presence the tension transitioned to peace.

A few minutes after the “stuck door debacle” they arrived at the carpool line to pick up the other children. Tara figured she’d try again. She pressed the button to unlock the back doors, and this time they opened with no resistance.

A smile spread across her face as this thought danced in Tara’s mind. If the back doors had opened a few moments earlier, we would’ve lost the opportunity to celebrate God’s peace and our time of sacred conversation would never have happened.

With that in mind she thanked God for the doors that didn’t open as she drove the kids to school.

I don’t always respond perfectly in stressful situations. And Tara readily admits that she doesn’t either. But when we choose to turn our frustrations and disappointments over to God He gives us the grace we need to experience His peace in the midst of pressure.

Let’s Pray

Lord, Thank You for reminding me that You are dependable, available, and willing to help at all times. Please guide me toward Your grace when I grumble. Teach me to turn to You when I’m stressed so that others would see Your joy and peace in me.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read Psalm 37. What verses in the chapter resonate with your heart today? What doors are not opening in your life that have you frustrated? Grab your journal and a pen and write a prayer of response. Not a journal girl? No worries. Swing over to my blog or Facebook page and write it there!

Thank you for this great message from our friends at Girlfriends In God:

More from the Girlfriends

I Want It ALL is now available! This new book by Gwen Smith will help narrow the gap between average ordinary living and the not-so-ordinary promises of God found in His Word. We are meant to be women of impact who expect great things and move in the power and grace of Jesus. That’s the message of I Want It ALL. Order yours today from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook.com or your favorite retailer.