All tagged Encouragement

How to Be Transformed & Renew Your Mind

For a long time I was anything, but...Battle Ready.

I argued with my husband, then self-condemned myself for how handled things.

I considered my dreams and then counted all the reasons why I wasn't good enough.

I hoped to bless others, then got tired and did nothing.

I wanted to be a person of impact, yet felt afraid to look like an embarrassment.

I read God's Word and either forgot it, or thought I was unworthy of receiving it.

I knew God was with me in my mind, but discounted it in my heart.

I desired to be free of man's opinions, but always felt ruled by them.

Are you like I was? Or, are you Battle Ready? Are you empowered with the right thoughts for the hard times you may be dealing with?

What Are You Waiting For?

Being in community with many women in waiting, in tandem with my own seasons of waiting, I
have learned how we handle the wait says so much about what we believe to be true about God.

I have seen some resign their lives to the sidelines, while others bravely live fully in the midst of the wait.

What are you waiting for?


A spouse? (or an improved version of the one you have ;)
A child?
A job?
Healing?
A house?
A much deserved promotion?
Graduation?
Weight loss?
A dream?


Not many of us would describe seasons of waiting as joyful or peaceful. Instead we feel torn between our world that is and the world we so desperately long for—believing that once the wait is over life will be fulfilled, easier.

For the Days You Don't Feel Like an Award Winner

This past summer I wrote half of a book.

My husband was gracious enough to spend his days off from teaching to watch our kids so that I could park myself in quiet spaces around our city and write. It was glorious, it was rejuvenating, and it was amazing the words I could crank out when my writing hours expanded beyond 7-9 pm.

But here’s the thing: unless you are a New York Times Bestseller, or unless you have a bomb social media platform, or unless your first book called Here Goes Nothing far exceeds everyone’s expectations in sales – there is no guarantee that the second book you wrote half of will receive a contract.

Going through the publishing process with a prestigious company the first time around only confirmed that I am a tiny fish in an extremely large ocean of talented people. But - neither naively nor pessimistically - I decided to try for a second book contract anyway.

And I was told no.

When Jesus Doesn't Call You On The Phone

I remember sitting in a room full of swiveling chairs, approaching my final semester of college and wondering, What’s next, Lord?

It can be an exciting question to ask, full of awe at a world exploding with options of places and peoples. But it can also be a question filled with anxieties:

No, seriously, WHAT’S NEXT, LORD?!

As my husband and I stood in front of a room of college seniors in their own swivel chairs a week and a half ago, I understood what a blessing six years of post-college-graduation hindsight can be. It’s easy to look back now and say that God faithfully led us from one thing to the next, mercifully opening and closing different doors for us.

But it wasn’t always easy when we were standing in the hallway staring at Doors 1, 2, and 3, and being forced to pick one. Or feeling like there were no doors to choose from at all.

When You Don’t Know the Moral Of the Story

“Do you have any advice to give me as I write about living in an inner city neighborhood?" I asked one of our mentors.

He went over important precautions, and then he ended with this: “Most of the time, writers want to know the moral of the story. But when you live in a distressed neighborhood, things will happen and you won’t be able to explain why. And that’s okay.”

I was impressed by his ability to capture the dilemma of what it’s like to digest your life in real time on the Internet.

Be a Church that Welcomes Other People's Kids

While there is a difference in how deeply connected we feel to our own kids compared to others, there shouldn’t be a difference in how we welcome or commit to supporting all the children within our church’s walls.

Choosing to see my son and daughter’s faces on other children also teaches me deep sympathy. Knowing how much I love my children helps me realize how much “other people’s kids” are loved too, how much their parents wish for their child’s protection and wellbeing.

Don't Waste Your Life {an exhortation for the overachiever}

More than the busy of my calendar, what’s made me really fatigued is the unrest of my soul.

I have been working hard. I have always held the bar high for the condition of my home, what I feed my family, how my children dress and behave, and our education. 

But I have never felt that I measure up.

Always evaluating, always striving. Always squeezing in one more thing. Harping on myself for spending money on myself or our home, even though it wasn’t a poor financial choice. Wondering what more I can do for starving children, sex trafficking, natural disasters, the poor in our community. Feeling constantly guilty about something.

Never resting in His grace.

Small Surrenders {Guest Post}

Wow. This is hard to write.

My sister sent me an email: “You know how we had that conversation about how it’s harder to surrender in the smaller things of life than in the bigger things? No pressure, but would you like to write a blog post about that?”

YES! I shrieked like a little girl in my heart, but then felt utter panic: What do I know about surrender in the little things? I fail at this every day. Every. Day.

I Wish I Would Have Cheered Her On

I hate admitting when I am jealous of someone, because it’s more than admitting an emotion.

It’s admitting I’m discontent and insecure. It’s showing I don’t trust God’s direction and purpose and timing in my own life. It’s saying, “What You have entrusted me with is not enough, Lord!”

What I Needed to Hear {and Read} as a Young Girl

Girls still worry about stuff, some of the same stuff I did when I was younger. Girls still need to hear and read stuff, some of the same stuff I did when I was younger too.

I needed to hear that my purpose was not to try to become somebody else. I needed to be encouraged to think about who God made me to be as a unique person. I needed to be spurred on to think about what I like to do and how I could use that as an act of worship. I needed to be cheered on towards a personal relationship with God.

{Overwhelmed}

In January, I mentioned that instead of focusing on New Year’s Resolutions, I was focusing on one word throughout the year. The word I chose was “Overwhelmed." At that time we were already thinking about this move, and I was looking at my calendar thinking, “Another baby, my first book, and moving out of state. What the heck.”

Stand By Me

We don’t live, work, or perform for other people’s praise. Not even for the praise of other Christians.

But sometimes we let the voices of the world become louder than the Voice of Truth in our lives. Sometimes we need the fresh breath of the Spirit's encouragement to wash over us and block out the lies and discouragement we are fed all too often. Sometimes we need to be nudged in the right direction.

Truth is always found in Scripture. But also in the wise voices of the Body surrounding us as well. As the Body, we support each other's work. As the Body, we don't have to go it alone. As the Body, we stand by each other. 

You Can’t, You Aren’t, You Won’t {The Burden of Discouragement}

The goal was to clear my head.

From the things others had said to me. From the things others had said about me. From the things I was saying to myself, about myself.

But maybe that day, I needed to realize that I couldn’t run from my thoughts.

From my own or from others’. Maybe I needed to face them, to acknowledge them. To recognize the burden of restlessness, anxiousness, of discouragement those thoughts placed on my heart.

Because maybe I can’t “cast my cares on Him” if I don't first acknowledge that "my cares" are there. If I only try to run from them and pretend they don’t exist. Pretend that everything's okay.

I Want You to Like Me

Jesus’ actions made Him a likeable person when He lived on Earth. He loved the unlovable. He fed the hungry. He healed the sick. His sacrificial love and compassion drew crowds of people to Him.

But how much do you think people liked it when He claimed to be God? How much do you think people liked it when He said that the only way to get into heaven was to believe in Him? How much do you think people liked it when He said to “sell your possessions and give to the poor?”

Dear Graduate, It’s Not About You

Graduate, it’s not about you.

It’s not about your grades. Your awards. Your trophies. Your popularity. Your beauty. Your degree. Your job. Your money. Your stuff. It’s not about a lot of the things that the world around you tries to make it about. Especially not at the cost of “taking down” the people around you.

Am I Enough?

And I have come to believe that one of the greatest acts of worship is simply this:

Gratitude.

The ability, like Job, to say "Thank you, Lord, for what you have given me. Whether you give or take away, may Your name be praised."