9

Trusting Through The Tears

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For we walk by faith, not by sight. -2 Corinthians 5:7 (NJKV)

We just received the news. It’s not good. Not on one account but two.

We sit on our couch and offer words of encouragement to one another.

“God will provide.”

“We’ll be okay.”

“We can make this work.”

“Things will change, but we’ll be stronger in the end.”

“God has never failed us before. He isn’t about to start now.”

We hug and kiss and he leaves to go blow up tanks with the boys.

I retreat to the kitchen to make dinner. I crank the praise music and I trust.

I really do.

And yet the tears come.

Today I have the honor of guest posting at Pressing In and Pressing On! To continue reading this post on Starla’s wonderfully encouraging blog, CLICK HERE.

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 hope and a future. –Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

52

Feeling Weak, Writing Strong

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We’ve all heard the expression, “That’s easier said than done.”

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I write about saving money so that you can stretch the paycheck, get out of debt, or save for a financial goal that is important to you.

You know that I write often about how this life can be really, really hard, but that we can live with peace and hope because we know our God and He is always, always good.

I often share about my blessings because counting them reminds me of their abundance even when I forget.

When you read the words that I write, do you find yourself thinking, “That’s easy for her to say”? Continue reading →

16

How Obedience Sets Us Free

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My family and I recently spent a challenging week out of state in order for me to attend a Christian education training seminar.

It was 4 days and nights of intensive workshops, study, testing, and among other things, Bible recitation.

On top of long days, lots of homework, fighting a cold, and restless nights in a hotel bed, we were required to memorize this passage: Continue reading →

12

5 Promises for the Graduate

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Dear Graduate,

Congratulations on your achievement!

I don’t doubt that you have worked long and hard for this day and that you have anticipated the moment of your graduation with fervor, awe, exhaustion, and perhaps a bit of trepidation.

I don’t know what plans you have.

You might have the perfect internship lined up, perhaps you are already working at your dream job, or maybe you have no idea what tomorrow holds in terms of your future career.

Whatever circumstances you find yourself in, there is one thing I can promise you.

The future is uncertain. Continue reading →

6

Tricky, Beautiful Relationships

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Relationships can be a tricky thing. They can be difficult and messy. They can cause us heartache and pain.

If we’ve been hurt in ministry, we can tend to pull back from the church as a whole.

When friendships have caused us heartache, we often choose to retreat.

Family lets us down and we learn to keep those closest to us at arm’s length.

We retreat to our safe corners, we set our fists in a defensive stance, and we harden our hearts because the pain…?

Well, the truth is that it hurts.

Self-preservation and the avoidance of pain are natural responses. Healthy relationships and proper boundaries are a good thing. But we must also take great care to tread cautiously when it comes to putting up walls that are intended to keep the hard things at a distance.

You see, growth happens as a result of difficulties.

We will hurt others and others will hurt us. But it is in the working out of our misunderstandings that we learn from one another.

It is in the humility of an apology that we learn to consider the perspective of another, whether we agree with them or not.

It is in offering true forgiveness, deserved or not, that we live out the forgiveness of Christ on the cross.

Extending mercy, even when it is really, really hard, reminds us of how much mercy God has poured out on us through His Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus is all about relationships.

He put himself out there no matter the cost. He was ridiculed and scorned. He was misunderstood and rejected. He hung on a cross and died, not because it was comfortable, but because it was necessary.

For love.

For you.

For me.

Friends, there is nothing wrong with using wisdom and discernment in relationships to protect ourselves from those that would cause us unnecessary harm. But, let us also remember that relationships are beautiful – even the really hard ones.

Let us protect our hearts but not harden them. 

Let us build healthy boundaries but not walls that keep others out.

Let us resolve not to keep others at an arm’s length because when we let them in, our hearts can be changed.

For our good.

For their benefit.

For His glory.

We will hurt others and they will hurt us. We will fail. We will fall.

The key is picking ourselves up out of the dirt, dusting off the hurt, and trying again.

Because it is in the trying that lives are touched. It is in the challenge that we are changed. It is in the loving that we find true love.

And we can’t love if we don’t let others into the depth of our hearts.

“You will know that you are my disciples when you love one another.”

-John 13:35

This post was shared on A Proverbs 31 Wife & the SDG Gathering.

20

Not A Typical Mother’s Day

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Last Mother’s Day wasn’t spent in the typical way of previous years.

Usually, the hubby and kids attempt to make sure I don’t cook and that I certainly don’t do any dishes. We go to church and possibly attend lunch with the church family afterwards. Then, weather permitting, we celebrate the day in the great outdoors. If it happens to rain, we might go for a drive or make other special plans.

Not last Mother’s Day. Last Mother’s Day, I stayed home with Teen1 while Teen2 and Hubby went to church. I was caring for Teen1 as he was recovering from minor surgery just two days before.

As I sat with him on the couch watching WallE, I thought about what a typical Mother’s Day looks like. While the focus wasn’t on celebrating me that year, I was doing exactly what I was called to do. I was being a mom.

Watching him lie there, my thoughts drifted to other moms who weren’t having a typical Mother’s Day. Continue reading →

8

A Letter to the Daughter I Never Had

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While I have been blessed with two amazing young boys, I haven’t had the privilege of bringing a daughter into this world.

I have an unborn child in heaven and I’ve always thought that she is a girl, but I can’t be certain of that. If that baby was a girl born from my womb, this letter is a portion of the truths I would have taught her as she grew up.

Some of you reading this know that I love and care for you deeply as well as your daughter. This letter is full of the things that I want your daughter to know because she means so much to me.

Some of you are my nieces, my cousins, and my sisters. This letter contains truths that will help you to find joy and freedom in who (and whose) you are. I pray that you will let these words into your life and change you because you are dearly loved.

Most of you reading this, I will probably never meet on this side of heaven. Though I don’t know you, I care deeply for you and for your daughter. It is for this reason that I have written this letter and that I am sharing it with you today.

Perhaps you feel as though you have failed your daughter as a parent, but I am here to tell you that it is never too late. The only thing bigger than the mistakes we have made in the past is not living to correct them for the future.

To the mother who feels she hasn’t taught her daughter well, this letter is for you. God gave you the daughter He did for a reason. He doesn’t make mistakes. Let Him hold you up where you fall short.

To the mothers of daughters everywhere, ponder these truths in your own life. Live them out for her by your example. Teach them to her that her life might be blessed.

To the Daughter I Never Had (and to Yours),

I am honored to be guest posting in a series called 30 Days of Love from a Mother’s Heart.

You can finish reading this post at Kaylene Yoder’s blog. She is a dear blogging friend with a heart for encouraging women to pursue wisdom and grace. To continue reading this letter, click here.

This post was shared at Awed BodyCornerstone ConfessionsJennifer Dukes LeeEmbracing His WillSoul SurvivalWomen with IntentionA Little R&R, & A Look at the Book.

39

Home

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It was one of those interrupted moments in life where God’s plans intercepted with ours.

We had spent the day in the big city in a neighboring town with more amenities than we are accustomed to. The grandparents were visiting, so we went to catch a movie, enjoy a meal, and do a little shopping.

The last stop on the list was our coveted treat at Dairy Queen before our more than an hour drive back home.

It was then that she crossed the street and stopped my husband from completing his turn to ask where the nearest park was so that she could pitch her tent to sleep for the night.

She wasn’t an old, homeless woman but a young traveler. Continue reading →

28

Praying with Resurrection Faith

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As Easter was approaching this year, many of our Bible reading, thoughts, and discussions centered around the resurrection power that God has over what is the seeming finality of death.

Many of us find hope in the truth that because of Christ’s sacrifice, death truly has no sting for those who are in Him.

It is never something we look forward to facing, however.

This year these ideas permeated our thoughts in a deeper way than ever before. You see, we are facing what is possibly an impending death of sorts. Continue reading →

6

Growing In The Faith

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“Grow, dear friends, but grow, I beseech you, in God’s way, which is the only true way.”

-Hannah Smith

In Peter’s first epistle, he opens his letter by encouraging us in the living hope that we have in Jesus Christ and the incorruptible inheritance that is reserved in heaven for us.

He reminds us that we are called to live holy lives as a result of the redemption that was purchased for us by the precious blood of Jesus Christ on the cross.

He reminds us that we have been born again of incorruptible seed through the word of God which lives and abides forever. Continue reading →

40

Imperfect Me

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I wrote this poem a few years ago after watching Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ for the first time.

While I was moved more than I can even begin to express by the portrayal of Christ’s incredible sacrifice, I was also struck by Peter’s agony at the cross.

I cannot imagine how distraught he must have been to realize that even after Jesus warned him about what he would do, Peter still denied that he knew Christ. (See Mark 14:29-31 & Luke 22:54-62).

As you read the words below, consider them not only from Peter’s perspective but from ours as well. Continue reading →

29

The Gift

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Have you ever been given a gift that has profoundly changed your life?

A gift so generous, appreciated, and unexpected that nothing will ever be the same as a result?

A gift that makes you wonder what you could have possibly done to deserve it?

A gift that you wish you could somehow repay but you know is impossible?

A gift of such value that there just aren’t words to express your gratitude? Continue reading →

22

The Gift of Time

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When he takes the time to read your book because he’s your Pastor and he wants to encourage you in your ministry.

When he spends hours working on your blog even though he is trying to keep his business afloat because he’s your husband and he believes in your message and because he loves you.

When he flies across several states to visit you and your family even though it’s expensive and he has to take time off of work because he is your daddy and he loves you.

When he asks if you have time to play your favorite games with him because he is your teenage son and he still loves spending time with you because you’re his mom. Continue reading →

18

A Letter To My Daddy On His Birthday

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Dear Daddy,

This birthday marks a milestone for you.

I’m sure you’re looking back over the years and taking stock of the life you’ve lived.

I imagine you thinking forward to what lies ahead of you.

But I hope you’ll take a moment to look at where you are. Right now.

To think about who you have allowed God to help you become. Because I really, really love that man, and I thank God each and every day for the work He’s done in your life.

Continue reading →

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The Heart Behind Our Words

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A Letter To The Lonely On Valentine’s Day

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snow-heartDear Lonely Heart,

I know this is the loneliest day of the year for you.

Your co-workers’ desks are littered with chocolate wrappers and every time a flower delivery comes through the door, your heart hurts just a little because you know that bouquet isn’t for you.

You know that you will spend the evening eating take-out with your only company being the latest sitcom and your lazy cat.

You dread going to work on Monday knowing that you will be regaled with tales of how the lovebirds in the office spent their romantic evenings.

While the rest of the world celebrates the loves of their lives, you feel so utterly alone. Continue reading →

4

From Walking to Standing {The Walking Series – Part 4}

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I hope that you have been able to read the first 3 installments of this series. If not, you can find Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.

We have been discussing themes such as walking worthy of our calling, how a new life demands a new lifestyle, and Biblical traits such as unity, love, wisdom, and godly submission.

As we conclude this series with Ephesians Chapter 6, we move from an action of walking to that of standing. (To read Ephesians Chapter 6 in its entirety, click here.)

I almost ended this series with the conclusion of Ephesians Chapter 5 because Chapter 6 doesn’t even use the word walk. Instead, the message is that of standing. I think this is important because how we stand in Christ will affect how we walk in Christ. Continue reading →

12

Walking In Love, Light, & Wisdom {The Walking Series – Part 3}

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Welcome to the 3rd installment of The Walking Series. If you’re just joining us, you can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

So far, we have discussed the idea that we need to walk worthy of our calling. If we are to be salt and light in this world, we need to know what that looks like in a practical sense.

We have looked at the truths of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ with respect to our position with God and how we can impact the world for Christ as a result. (Ephesians Chapters 1-3)

We have considered putting off the old man, putting on the new man, renewing our minds, and my Pastor’s thoughts that “a new life demands a new lifestyle”.

We have examined Biblical behaviors such as kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness for the growth and edification of the body of Christ. (Ephesians Chapter 4)

Today, we continue walking through the book of Ephesians in Chapter 5 which begins with a reminder that we should be imitators of Christ by walking in love in the same way that He has “loved us and given Himself for us”. Continue reading →

10

A New Lifestyle {The Walking Series – Part 2}

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red-shoes2I recently posted an introduction to this The Walking Series. If you missed my post, How Then Should We Walk?, you can click here to read it. Go ahead, we’ll wait for ya.

Welcome back! Today, we are going to continue with Ephesians Chapter 4. (Click here to read it in its entirety.)

We left off last time with verses 1-3 where we looked at walking worthy of our calling “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

We were encouraged with the reminder that God is the one who does the work in us. We simply need to be a willing vessel for the power of the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. (Phil. 1:6) Continue reading →

28

How Then Should We Walk? {The Walking Series Intro}

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Our Pastor recently finished preaching through the book of Ephesians. As I listened, the idea of our Christian walks was at the forefront, especially during Chapters 4-6. I felt compelled to do a series on walking because we so often hear about the need to “walk our talk.”

Jesus said that we believers are light and salt to the world. (Matthew 5:13-16) How can we be a Christ-like example to the world if we do not know in what manner we are to walk?

That is what I would like us to look at during this series. Would you join me? Continue reading →

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