Friday, January 4, 2019


First, I am not an expert on prayer. I've read a few books on prayer and I pray. That is the extent of my knowledge. It's pretty basic even though one of the books was pretty heady.

Second, I am stubborn. Like to a fault. I work on this. Some days I do better than others. Some days I should not have human contact.

Third, I tend to hold things inside longer than is reasonable or healthy. I've pretty much suppressed most of my emotions for a few years now. Almost eight to be exact. Things happen throughout a lifetime and then one final blow happens and it's enough to make the whole house of cards fold in on itself. And sometimes the straw that breaks the camels back is enough to believe it is never going to be healed.

But I've been learning something slowly (hello learning curve): God can handle my big girl, and whiny two-year-old, emotions. As a matter of fact, He would prefer I take them to Him than keep the internal dialogue in my head and heart going.

It's easy to read that we can pray about everything but it's a lot harder to do. I mean does God really care if I'm having a bad hair day and I don't feel like I can leave the house without being judged? Shockingly, yes. Because if I don't feel good about who I am in any given moment, it's because I've forgotten whose I am and I am attempting to find my worth in the wrong things. Like approval.

I'll be honest. A lot of times my prayers sound more like a honey-do list. I see the list, physically because I've written it out, so I don't forget to pray about things. This means I see, visually, which ones have been answered and which ones seem to have gone out into cyberspace never to be heard from again. This makes me want to retreat, not pray more. Why? Because I hear all the comments that still haunt my heart. Some personal favorites include: You can't let that bother you and, the ever-popular, you should be over that by now. Those are closely followed by comments regarding what we are and are not allowed to pray about.

See, when you hear those kinds of things, eventually you suffer spiritually and your prayer life all but dies. Why? Because like it or not, we attribute human behavior to our very holy God. Not saying it's right, just saying it happens.

And sometimes, as Andi Andrew wrote in Fake or Follower, we'd prefer to sit in our poopy diaper than do something about what's wrong, like praying. And sometimes I think what God knows about our hearts is what we know about a toddler in a poopy diaper. Trying to wrestle them to the ground is not worth the fight, tears, or mess. Sometimes it's better to let them sit a minute in it until they become so uncomfortable, they submit. And when it takes longer, the ensuing rash will teach that lesson all by itself.

But here's something exciting. As much as I've thought my prayer life is a monologue, I am finding out it's more of a dialogue than I realized.

Jesus promised that when He left the earth the Father would send the Spirit to teach us and remind us everything He has said to us. The key to making this work is being rooted in Scripture. Why? Because if we don't recognize Scripture, the Spirit will be speaking a language we don't know and therefore can't recognize as His voice.

So how does this work?

We pray. (or in some cases speak at God) We tell Him everything that is wrong and exactly what we would prefer He does about it, as well as how we feel about it. But, in the middle of our speech, the Spirit starts to remind us of the truth. And that truth is what ultimately sets us free. Free from our negativity, free from our hurt, free from our bad, poopy diaper attitudes.

Granted, we could keep it all to ourselves and say that God knows what we need so why do we have to pray about it if He's going to do what He wants anyway?

I am so glad you asked!

Because if we don't take it to God, as much as we think our internal dialogue/temper tantrum won't affect us, that right there is like opening to the door to our heart, inviting the enemy to stick his foot in to hold it open, and handing him the shovel so he can find a place to put a root of bitterness.

True story because I've been living it. I might pray regularly about some things, but other things have been off limits. Not good.

I know how hard it is to pray. I know that when I say the same things over and over and over again and I don't see an answer or any movement, it's easier to give up. But I also know that faith doesn't mean seeing, it means trusting.

Prayer is such a gift to us. It's why Jesus taught us how to do it. He knew how much we would need it and how beneficial it was going to be to our souls. And it's high time we stopped trying to white-knuckle our prayers when we're too afraid to do it because the words just aren't coming or because we've given up. We absolutely must start sharing what our realities look like so that we can lean on one another's faith and prayers until we can catch our breath and start again ourselves. Hopefully next time with a partner.

I don't know what your prayer life looks like, I know mine. And the best way to describe it right now is rattling dry bones. And I'm okay with that. I've been getting better over the last 7 months and I know that soon those bones will be covered in flesh and have new life breathed into them. And once they do, they'll start dancing again like they did, once upon a time.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Better Than A Hot Fudge Sundae

Throughout November, I will be sharing the verse(s) that are listed on the Adoration printable by Sara Hagerty. I will be showing how I use these verses to journal a prayer and allow God to speak truth over me, reminding me of the hope of the Gospel. My desire is that as you see how God uses His Word to speak to me exactly where I am and meet me with His open arms to remind me that He sees me, knows me, and loves me deeply, that you will not only grab hold of that truth for yourself but allow Him to do the same in your heart and mind.

Psalm 63:5-7

You satisfy me as with rich food; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips. When I think 
of You as I lie on my bed, I meditate during the night watches because 
You are my helper; I will rejoice in the shadow of Your wings.

Lord, I know that You are infinitely more filling than anything I can consume no matter how good whatever I am about to eat tastes. And I also know that replacing You with food is going to leave me hungrier and less satisfied than eating all my favorite things. Help me to keep my thoughts more on You than anything that is worldly and only gives temporary relief or escape from what I am trying to avoid or refusing to deal with. Help me to believe that the closer I get to You, the safer I will be. Show me how to replace the lie that if You see all the ugliness, fear, worry, anxiety, and stress in my heart that You will abandon me to myself. Nothing about You implies rejection because Your great love is available to any who choose to receive it.

You can learn more about Adoration here.


I have mentioned Sara Hagerty and the practice of Adoration several times on this blog. I have shared how it has had a tremendous impact on my faith, my mind, my emotions, and so much more.

The month of November is one usually filled with gratitude challenges. Well, my gratitude is for this. And so each day, or at least Monday through Friday, I am going to share the verse of the day from the Adoration printable and what I journal/pray about. 

Doing this has opened my eyes to who God is, what He desires for me, things He's trying to say that I don't necessarily hear with all the noise of the world and my circumstances, and the truth that my heart desperately needs. I can't even explain how it happens but there is something about writing out Scripture in your own handwriting and then responding to it that is indescribable. 

Please, if you have thought about doing this, join me for this month. See what it does for your perception of God, your faith, your belief, your heart, and your mind. He promises His word won't return void, so the time spent has a guaranteed return on investment. 

As a bonus, if you are on Instagram, find Sara here and then watch the Instagram TV video she has answering two questions about Adoration. Her words are so wise and will help you see things that perhaps you aren't even aware of in your own life. They certainly nailed me.

November 1, 2018

Romans 8:26

In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, 
because we do not know what to pray for as we should, 
but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings.

Lord, even when I am speechless or clueless about what to say, ask for, or explain as if you don't already know, you are already listening for and hearing the cries of my heart. You know what I need and what I would ask for if I were able to comprehend all that you know. But since such knowledge is too great for me, the gift of Your Spirit intercedes on my behalf, reminds me of everything You've said (assuming I don't turn a deaf ear in the stubbornness of my heart), and leads me on the way I should go. Thank you for not just working on my behalf but giving me a clear picture of what that looks like.

Disclaimer: I will likely have two up today, this is from yesterday. You know me, Type A rule follower that had to make sure I wouldn't get in trouble. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Book Review ~ Famous In Heaven and at Home

The Proverbs 31 Woman. We either love her or hate her depending upon how we feel about ourselves at any given moment. She's either a hero or a villain that cheers us on in the great cloud of witnesses or the condemning voice that sounds suspiciously like our own. But like it or not, she's in Scripture for a reason.

I could list more ways than you have time to wade through on why you should read this book. I could give you example after example of how the words of wisdom borne from experience in this book have changed my life and the life of my family for the better. But I won't. I'll encourage you to buy this book for yourself and maybe a friend or two or ten and go through it together for accountability.

What I do want to do is highlight the set up of the book and one way it opened my eyes to something I did not know about my own walk with God. Something that was so transformative, that on the off chance you don't get this book, you still need to know and do this. Trust me.

Each day is set up in 5 sections. #P31Goal, #P31Authority, #P31Encouragement, #P31Prayer, and #P31Practice. Nothing in this book is condemning. It's encouragement from start to finish in all the ways you would want a dear friend to spur you on to good works and not grow weary. It's a desire from the heart of the author to build women up into their God-given purpose which overflows every aspect of our lives and every title we will ever hold. 

And once you start, you will want to continue. You will see the small changes in perspective that are having a hundredfold return. And then you will get to day 8. And on day 8, the 'practice' is to read an article on When I read this article, I thought, oh, that's easy. Umm, no.

I will be honest. I took the 'easy' way out. I didn't write a prayer like the article or Michelle suggested, I wrote down the statements in each of the seven areas outlined. It seemed easy and simple. It appeared to be non-threatening. Until I wrote the first one. I wrote sixteen total words. Sixteen. That's less than two dozen. And I felt like I just put a gun in someone else's hand and pointed it straight at my heart. Because those sixteen words opened my eyes to exactly how I viewed God.

When Jesus taught us how to pray, He used the words thy will be done. Those aren't easy words to say when we really, desperately want a particular outcome. But the phrase in these prayers, well, let's just say it opens up every possibility because nothing is being withheld to achieve the goal. And as I wrote them each time, I was forced to accept that it wasn't just me it could have an impact on, but every person I loved. And I realized that my view of God was severely distorted.

Jesus tells us that if our father's who are evil know how to give us good gifts, then how much more our Father in heaven. But in writing those prayers, I realized I didn't accept that as truth. I believed that what I was writing was, in fact, an invitation to bring punishment, and severe punishment at that, to get me to learn the lessons I was stubbornly refusing. Was it a call to obedience? Sure. But was it God's grace to help me see that His intentions were not my worst nightmares? Absolutely.

Each day in this book was important. I've gone through it three times and I know I'll go through it at least a dozen more. It's an absolute treasure if it's used for the purpose for which it was intended: to keep us chasing after Christ as hard as we can.

This book is available on Amazon and is well worth the investment of time and money. Michelle's heart is evident in everything she's written and everything she does. Do yourself a favor and order it. Not only will you notice a difference in your life, but you'll see one in the lives of those you are called to influence. 

You can find out more at SheWorksHisWay

Michelle's other book can be found here

You can also find inspiration from SheWorksHisWay on Facebook and Instagram

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Book Review ~ A Simplified Life

When I bought this book I had no idea, no idea whatsoever, how such simple, obvious suggestions (that had never crossed my mind) could so drastically change and improve my life.

Emily Ley's book, A Simplified Life: tactical tools for intentional living, revolutionized the way I saw my day. The amount of time I would spend trying to make decisions about basic things, things that really shouldn't take up as much mental space and energy as they did, was unbelievable. And with just a couple of small tweaks to my thought process, my headspace was freed to handle other things with significantly more peace and grace.

The book is broken down into 10 areas with suggestions on how to pare them down to their most basic forms and then create a system that lets you decided how best to maintain what you and your family actually need. The way I saw what was this.....what is the bare bottom minimum that is both practical and functional.......what do I want it to look like........what am I currently doing that's extra that just needs to go? I mean seriously.

Because I think it's important for you to read the book yourself and let it inspire you as it did me, I will tell you one thing, one tiny little thing that has made such an enormous impact it's almost ridiculous. 

Every week I write my grocery list on Tuesday because I get groceries on Wednesday. That said, I would always take my husband's schedule and see how many days he would be home for dinner, what nights would be 'off' because of practice or other commitments, and go from there. But trying to figure out what I would make, deciding what to cook, always took forever. She suggested writing some 'go to' meals. I took it one step further and created categories of all the things I make. The pastas, soups, Mexican dishes, chicken dishes, etc all on one paper. Now, I look at the paper, pick however many I need, and build my list around that. Seriously. Plus, seeing them all and having a rough estimate of the time it will take to make them lets me know what's realistic for each night. So simple, but never once thought to do it.

Like her book Grace, Not Perfection, this book is filled with wisdom. Wisdom from a wife, mom, and entrepreneur who figured out some things that she now wants all of us to benefit from. This book isn't rocket science, it's real life, easy to follow suggestions, given with love and logic. And I can tell you that I have benefitted from it tremendously. I know you will, too.

You can find out more about Emily Ley here.

You can find A Simplified Life wherever books are sold, including Target

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Book Review ~ Grace, Not Perfection

Grace, Not Perfection is Emily Ley's first book. I got this book for myself a couple of Christmas's ago when it was relatively new but hadn't read it until recently. To say it's a game changer is an understatement.

A couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with my mom. While I don't remember our exact words, I shared that I didn't fully understand how much of a perfectionist I am until a sermon at church. Apparently, this was amusing to her because it had been evident for most of my life. When I asked for specific examples she didn't have any one thing to point out, nor did she see it as a negative trait. In fact, her words were actually encouraging saying that I know what I like.

And yes, I do know what I like. The problem lies in the fact that not everyone else agrees with my standard which causes a great deal of tension. And so as I read this book I had to start asking the tough questions. Questions like Is it really better for me to do it all and do it my way and run myself into the ground OR Is it better for me to accept help and accept that help graciously in the way it is given? Not easy questions to answer because there are those things that are cringe-worthy if they aren't done right, or at least what I would view as right.

But what about the things that aren't cringe-worthy? What about the things that matter that I'm actually not a perfectionist about? Am I willing to accept help with those? Am I willing to accept a standard of grace, not perfection in the way someone else lovingly helped instead of doing it all myself? If someone folds the towels differently, does the laundry in a different order, or creatively loads the dishwasher? (Scratch that last one, that is on my cringe-worthy list.)

Honestly, the jury is still out. Old habits die hard and it would appear that I have a terrible habit of resurrecting the flesh that Jesus is trying to crucify. 

But this book! Not only did it help me to see a lot of these things in myself, but it's also helped me identify their roots and most importantly the harm it is doing in the relationships that matter most by remaining stubborn.

I can't recommend this book enough simply for the awareness it brings. Knowledge is God's grace given to help us make better choices in the way we show His love and become His hands and feet to those whom we live in close proximity.

FYI, I underlined a lot in this book. Truth bombs that I knew I needed to think about and pray through. And the one that probably blew my perspective wide open was this: If you run yourself ragged caring for everyone but yourself while expecting perfection from your hands, body, and mind, you're in for a rough collision with reality. True story.

Maybe it's time to step off the roller coaster and realize that the specific and special way God is using us isn't so much in doing grand things of epic proportions measured on a worldly scale, but in doing grand things of epic proportions measured in the way we impact the hearts of those we love the most. And this book helped me see a lot of that. My guess is that it will help you, too.

You can find more about Emily Ley here

You can find Grace, Not Perfection wherever books are sold, including Target

Monday, October 15, 2018

Book Review ~ 30 Days to Understanding the Bible

In 1988 Max Anders first wrote 30 Days to Understanding the Bible. So why rewrite and re-release it? Because we need it.

It saddens me to think of the number of people I personally know that do not read the Bible. And I will grant you that until late in 2005, I had not personally read the only one I ever owned and got from my 8th-grade confirmation. Yes, I went to church. But I hadn't thought about reading the Bible for myself by myself, ever.

But why? Why do so many people avoid it? 

I guess that people avoid it for the same reasons I always did.

First, the assumption that God is going to condemn through His Word.

Second, the belief that it will be like reading Shakespeare.

Third, the expectation that it won't be understandable. 

None of which are true. 

This book gives bite-size chunks, meant to be read and reviewed in 15 minutes a day that will give a solid foundation of Scripture. That basis not only increases the understanding of the over-arching story but increases confidence to dive further in without hesitation. 

The book releases on October 23 and would be a great addition to a personal library or as a gift to someone who wants to read the Bible but feels overwhelmed on how and where to start. As an added bonus, there is a free 5 chapter download available through Thomas Nelson that will allow you to preview and see what an incredible resource this book is. 

To learn more about Max Anders, click to visit his webpage

To learn more about the book and available resources, visit Thomas Nelson's webpage. 

To order, shop online at Target, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, or your favorite book retailer.