I am actually going to take the whole month of July off so I can spend time with my kiddos.
However, I wanted to leave you all with a special gift to celebrate the launch of my latest Bible Study Worship is this.
When you order my new book Worship is this. (release date is July 1, 2015!) you will receive the entire 7 Week Living for Today Video Teaching course along with your purchase! All materials used in this challenge will be available to you for immediate access in the back of the kindle book!
Don’t have a kindle?No worries! You can read your kindle books via the cloud and gain instant access here. Or you can purchase the “7 Week Living for Today Challenge” separately here.
To celebrate this launch we are also doing a fun giveaway for the month of July!
Here are the items from my Etsy shop that you can enter to win below:
I am going through a season in life where I am scaling down quite a bit of things. Not only does this require trust in God, but it also requires letting go of some things that are good, but are not God’s best for me.
The other day I got this really great deal on a dresser I had my eye on at Target. On clearance the dresser was almost $100 off the original price.
Just before I spotted this clearance dresser, I was thinking to myself how I still needed to finish up my daughters’ room, and one of the things I needed was a new dresser for my youngest daughter. When I saw this dresser on clearance my heart almost skipped a beat. It was at a price where I didn’t need to budget or wait in order to make my purchase, in fact, it was below the “threshold” my husband and I have set where we need to consult each other before we make a purchase. But I still told him about it and he said to go ahead and buy it.
I was in such a great place in that moment. My heart was incredibly thankful, and I was especially thankful for the fact that I felt like something was finally coming together after several weeks, and months, where it kind of felt like nothing was coming together and everything felt like it was crumbling and falling away.
So, as you can imagine, as I opened the box to find that a piece of the dresser was broken, I kind of had a melt down. I couldn’t help but wonder how something that seemed like the right purchase could have a broken piece.
Everything you thought you were put on this earth to do will probably start falling away, and when you do finally get that light at the end of the tunnel where you save $100 on a dresser you have been looking at for over 6, months you might begin to think things are on an uptick, and maybe, just maybe, you ARE headed in the right direction.
But then a bump in the road comes and here you are questioning every choice that you have made, and maybe you are even wishing you could go back to your “Egypt” where maybe you were a slave but at least you knew what your purpose was in this life, it was to be a slave. At least you had a title, and some direction in life.
Maybe you are in a season where you feel like you are just wandering around in the desert. Your needs are being provided for, but maybe it’s a little boring, dull, and not as exciting.
We can think about the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years. They had a lot to overcome, but they needed to overcome them in order to move forward.
Even though the generation that was freed from Egypt didn’t make it into the promised land, at least they paved the way for the next generation. If they didn’t leave then their children would’ve still been slaves.
Life is full of roadblocks, even if you are on the right path and God is leading you into the wilderness.
That’s a long time, and when our dreams seem big (kind of like Abraham looking up into the sky and seeing the stars knowing that his descendants will exceed even that) then maybe the promise isn’t just for you.
I think that’s a great way to gauge where we are headed in life. If our focus is on protecting ourselves and only adding to our pleasures or store house, then maybe our “promise” isn’t from God at all.
God dreams big, but we can’t be discouraged when we are required to walk the process before that dream is fulfilled, or if that dream won’t be fulfilled in our lifetime.
This life isn’t about us, it’s about the salvation of the entire world.
So maybe you thought your past was everything you ever wanted. It was exciting but lacked the evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit.
Maybe one day you woke up and realized what you were doing was wrong, so you walked away because you knew in your heart that God wants more for you, and your future generations.
Maybe you want those “feel good” feelings back, but you know they are wrong.
Or, maybe you want that old broken down, slave lifestyle and mindset back because it made you feel special or important. It gave you a purpose.
I remember growing up only wanting “something to do”, it really didn’t matter what I had to do that day, as long as it was something.
But now, we need to wake up every morning realizing the responsibility that lies on our shoulders. Then we need to live this life like it is the treasure that it is, one that will last forever.
If we are at a point where we don’t want to move forward anymore then maybe we are believing that what we left behind was better than what lies ahead.
If you look at the Bible, God always showed up in people’s lives when they were simply doing ordinary things.
David was tending his sheep before he was anointed King.
Esther was just being a Queen when she had to have the courage to approach the King.
Mary (mother of Jesus) was doing chores when the angel appeared to her and said she was going to be the mother of the Messiah.
While the widow was gathering sticks to cook her last meal for her and her son, Elijah shows up!
Paul, while on the road to Damascus, saw Jesus and would never be the same again.
The woman at the well who was just drawing water met Jesus for the first time and had a conversation with him.
I could go on and on about how God just shows up in the Bible, to ordinary people doing ordinary things.
My husband said to me the other day: Small things can have big results.
The desires of my heart are changing, or maybe they are just finally getting aligned with God’s perfect will for my life.
It’s kind of scary because for awhile my ambition was my vision for the future, it directed my steps.
It’s difficult sharing this because the world, and even the church, will tell you to pursue something totally different than what I am saying. But there is an unsettled part of my heart that simply can’t continue doing what I’ve always done, or think the way I’ve always thought.
God can show up anywhere, and whenever I am able to realize a fruit of the Spirit within me, that’s when I know He is there with me.
I remember homeschooling my kids when it wasn’t the norm, and I was OK with being different in that sense because I knew it was God’s will for my life at the time.
Even now, choosing to put my children in public school doesn’t seem to be the norm since homeschooling is becoming more popular. I really had to ask God what He was up to when I felt led to put my children in public school, especially the timing of all of it.
But with every change, and with every decision our family makes that the outside world just can’t understand, I have to trust God more than I trust their opinions.
I have found that if a person is to have any influence over your life, then it is best that they also have understanding, and clear direction in their own life.
If they don’t have a clear direction for their life, or if their advice is trying to make you conform to what they believe, then that is actually a case of the blind leading the blind.
I think as a culture, Christians are truly more bent on making people conform to the standard they have set, and the lifestyle they believe makes us a Christian, rather than helping us to grow into the person God created us to be.
I think one of the biggest wake up calls for me recently was having to start over in just about every area of my life.
From attending a different church, to my husband starting a new job, to completely redirecting my focus here online. I realized that this is a fresh start for me, and I want to strive for the things of God, and not anything else.
Everyone has a limit on time and the amount of emotional energy they can give to those around them.
Maybe it’s time we all assess our lives, and invest in the things that God has placed right in front of us instead of looking outside our homes in order to find that purpose.
I don’t think pursuit of God’s purpose for our life is wrong, but I do believe we are all subject to selfish ambition, and maybe God’s purpose for our life isn’t one we have to pursue because it’s right under our nose.
The desires of my heart are truly changing, and I still need to make changes in my life to reflect my new heart, but I am thankful that God is with me every step of the way.
I remember being a teen mom and looking at all the parenting magazines I could get my hands on, and imagining myself in the commercials I had seen with the perfect mom and the perfect family. All I could think about was how my life needed to look like that in order for me to be a good mom, and for my daughter to have a good life.
If I could use one word to describe how successful I was at building a lifestyle that reflected the ideas I had floating around in my head about what life was supposed to look like for me as a mom, it would be: disappointing.
I think with dreamers that is the downfall, the unrealistic expectations we put on life and maybe even those around us. I have personally had to learn how to put those unrealistic expectations aside and just enjoy the life that is right in front of me.
Definition of idealistic: unrealistically aiming for perfection.
In fact I feel a heavy burden by anyone that still has that mindset of perfection. It’s really difficult to be around them simply because my utopian life is not a reality, and it never will be. It can easily cause resentment and anger within me. I think it is especially difficult when it comes to my faith and there is this pressure to maintain a certain image as a Christian, or to accomplish certain tasks in order to “measure up.”
When my husband was diagnosed with a rare disease that has no cure, my idealism went down the drain with that one. For a long time I felt it was difficult to be a “dreamer” again. I was cautious not to get caught up in the feelings and the experiences that made me feel good or important.
Right now my heart wants to get lost in the possibilities of tomorrow, but my peace is found in the reality of today because that’s all that is guaranteed to me.
Maybe being a dreamer isn’t about the future at all, maybe it’s about what you can do right now that will make a difference for future generations to come.
Planting seeds is only done one step at a time. Investing into the people we run into today, and loving the imperfect life we have right now, then we will find peace and we WILL be living the dream because our lives will be fruitful.
It was about 10 years ago. Our family was struggling. My husband and I were faithfully watching a TV preacher every week. I had reluctantly started watching after my husband revealed to me that he had been watching church on TV. He said I might like what this TV preacher had to say.
I was livid thinking about the fact that he would turn to Christianity, he knew how I felt about Christians, and JESUS.
So when a flyer came in the mail advertising a local church that was starting a new series on parenting, I decided to save the flyer and pray about attending. My husband and I were already thinking about finding a church so it seemed like the right timing.
Our then 7 year old daughter was having major disobedience issues. I was 9 months pregnant with our third, and my son was a mere 16 months old. My marriage was literally hanging on by a thread.
When I think back to that flyer and that stage of life we were in 10 years ago I can remember the exact feeling that drew me to that church, it was HOPE.
This May is our 10 year anniversary of being a family that has been actively pursuing a life that honors Jesus, and who has been attending church on a regular basis.
As I remember why I started going to church in the first place it puts so much into perspective. Life is hard. The enemy wants to destroy everything, and everyone. I have personally been struggling with my own insecurities and doubts once again.
I have been discouraged, and it’s been difficult for me to draw close to God.
It’s been 10 years since I stepped foot inside the very first church I had ever belonged to. I think about how broken and messed up life was back then, and I was still able to draw near to God.
In the past 10 years life hasn’t been easy and it has been full of ups and downs. My faith, hope, and lovehas all been tested.
In the midst of feeling like my security had been ripped out from underneath me, my temptations were strongest, and my doubt in God almost unbearable.
The last 10 years of my journey have not been perfect but they have been consistently moving forward.
Even through the sin, temptations, anger, and uncertainty, my life has been transformed.
That’s why I know that when God’s word says that these three things are eternal, faith, hope, and love, I know it’s true.
Along the way I have been hurt and disappointed by many people inside and outside the church. But that path has just drawn me closer to God.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that discernment is knowing God’s character, and it is speaking truth and life to other people.
People turn to JESUS, and the church, because they are looking for something different, they are looking for a life that is better.
Our goal is to draw them closer to Jesus, and we can only do this through faith, hope, and love.
I think one of the hardest stories for me to reconcile in the Bible is the one about King David. God said that David was a man after His own heart, and yet David was an adulterer and a murderer, among other things.
But in reading this story through the context of God’s character, I realize that God never approved of David’s behavior, but David’s behavior never stopped God from loving him.
This is a huge revelation for me because I think a lot of us stay away from church and God because of offenses made towards us, or because the offenses we have made towards God.
But I started going to church because I knew that even though God didn’t approve of my lifestyle, and the choices that I had made, He still loved me.
I continue to go to church because even though it’s not perfect, and I know that God doesn’t approve of some things, I am always growing in my love for others and my Hope in Jesus, not people!
So today I resolve to continue drawing closer to God because I know He still loves me, and I know JESUS is my only HOPE to being righteous and holy.