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John the Baptist came before. He prepared the way for Jesus. He was not the one but pointed the way to the One who was coming to take away sin. John preached of repentance and baptism. He came eating bugs and honey and clothed in animal hide. He was not adorned in fancy robes and tassels telling of his position, rather wearing what God had provided and adorned.

John taught repentance to all who came out to the desert to see him. When the Pharisees and the Sadducees - the religious leaders of the time, those leading the synagogues and teaching God's people - came to see him, he tells them to bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3: 8).

Repentance is an important factor in being in relation with God and bearing his fruit - doing his will. Lacking repentance builds blockages that only asking for forgiveness can tear down. Repentance comes when we are willing to lay down pride and accept responsibility and turn to God.

Communication with God is like a stream, rushing through its path, free flowing and following the grooves of the earth, while our sin and unrepentance is that of a dam, blocking the water's flow. With each new dam, our communication is coming to a standstill, while our hearts are hardened from God and our prayers hindered (1 Peter 3:7).

In order to bear fruit, we must search our hearts and be open to repenting and hearing God.

We must be full of humility to confess our failures and short comings and whatever leads us in to sin. Without humility, our relationship with God can turn in to an elephant in the living room sort of thing, where issues are not addressed and we distance ourselves from his love and grace and mercy, cutting ourselves off from communing with him, our life blood. Our ears close off to the still small voice of the Spirit and our hearts reject his promptings.

We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of  (Romans 3:23) but He is faithful and just to forgive if we turn and confess every unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Jesus died for our sins, paying our debt before we breathed our first breath. When we trust in Jesus, we are washed as white as snow, though repentance is still needed.

Praying that whatever your state of communing with God is, that you would take a moment to ask if there is anything that needs to be confessed and forgiven. Praying that your heart would be open to the leading and discipline and grace that is poured out and that you would be strengthened and renewed and refreshed.

Praying that God's kindness would lead you to repentance (Romans 2:4) and that his favor would be your desire. Praying that your prayers would not be hindered but rather powerful and effective as you surrender yourself to God. Praying that you would be obedient in his leading and that you would bear fruit, whatever exciting adventures God has in store for you.

Here's to repentance and bearing fruit.   

We are the church. The church runs through our veins and is nonexistent without us. We are one. Of one body. When she rejoices, we rejoice. When she mourns, we mourn. We are the church. And the church needs healing.

Build Your Kingdom by Rend Collective is the perfect little anthem for this. have a listen.

To see the captive hearts released
The hurt, the sick, the poor at peace
We lay down our lives for Heaven's cause
We are Your church
We pray: revive this earth

For the church to heal, the body, each member, each branch that has been grafted in and marked in the Book of Life, must be healed. Physical healing, for some. For others, the mind. And still others the spiritual. In order to move forward, we must go back to the tears and anger and disappointments and cover them by the blood of Jesus, with his healing through the power of the Spirit of God.

A collision of the mind, body and soul has to occur and our clenched fists must find rest in the open hand position, as we receive the grace we profess with our mouths. We must be made aware of the festering wounds stirring inside our souls. The ones that bind us in anger and despair and full of self hate. The ones we allow to steal our joy and block out the sound of God singing over us. The ones that the enemy uses to close our eyes and ears to God. The ones that make us ineffective and keep us down in the pit.

The church needs faith that it can be healed. Faith in a God who sees and in a God who heals and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to trust and rely on God to heal, not being so reliant on doctors or time or the body to heal (yes, those are great things) but trusting in God as the ultimate healer - who uses doctors and time and the body to heal us. It is being the one who goes back to thank God after all has been said and done, reminiscent of the leper who returns to give thanks.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

We must be a church knitted together in humility, knowing it the humiliation will not last forever. We must be a church that gets low and dirty, crawling among crowds of people just to touch the tip of Jesus' clothes, believing it will heal. That fervent and desperate and full of faith. We must leave our worry at his feet, believing his ways are truly better than our own, because he cares for us.

We must have humility in knowing we are broken and cannot save ourselves and are in need of a Savior in every aspect of our lives, including the ones that have yet to surface and become known in our finite minds. We must learn to be transparent with those around us and be prayerful for ourselves and others.

Praying that as a tree in winter, whose glory and splendor and beauty has fallen to the ground, and now stands bare and open for all to see its branches and peeling bark and holes, the church would stand bare. That each member would be transparent and open in order to accept the healing that is offered through the blood of Jesus. Praying that as the tree is waiting its time in preparation for spring, for its renewal and blooms, that the church would go through its process in revival of faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit's miraculous works, as healing pulses its veins. 

Here's to the church and the healing of many. 

I came across healing prayer at a women's retreat several years ago. It was the first time I really encountered God. Me and God. Not something that was revealed through bible study or through another person but through prayer. A vision.

Prayer is the communication language with God, though the Spirit will intercede for us where words fail. Prayer is powerful and integral in relationship. It heals and restores and cultivates faith. It is an intimate practice of all who take part, in private or community, with the Creator. There are so many ways to commune with God. Prayers are memorized and recited. Scriptures are prayed. Our petitions and joy and grief come to life off our tongues. And each has its own time and place to orchestrate and play its melody.

This healing prayer is my "go to" prayer when something is bothering me or there is an issue that is reoccurring. It never ceases to amaze me the way God reveals himself through it and the beauty and restoration that emerges out of it. I tried to Google the prayer to find its origins but I was at a loss for who wrote it, so this is what I took away from the retreat and how God has revealed it to me.

I have heard of people being healed physical and emotionally from it. From molestation to marriage issues to not feeling worthy or accepted to undiagnosed bleeding. If there is a feeling or a deep rooted issue that you would healed, this is it. I have lead others through this without a feeling in mind or asking for healing for myself and God showed me something that was lingering and healed it, too. That is the kind of God we serve, who knows us better than we know our own infinite selves, who knew us before we were born.

Here are the steps to walk you through the prayer.
Make sure you have enough time to go through this and are free from distractions / interruptions, asking the Spirit to lead.

If you are facilitating, you can have the person or group raise a hand as they go through each question to signal they are finished or say done. A question can be talked through if you are going through it with someone to get clarity if something comes up before moving on to the next step, as long as they are okay with sharing. This is a very intimate time of prayer.

I like to start by praying verses to clear and focus my mind on God, decluttering thoughts, such as: 

Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ - 1 Corinthians 10:5

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Each question is being asked to God. You have to quiet yourself to hear the response. I promise he will answer (Jeremiah 33:3).

1. Is there anyone I need to forgive? Is there sin I need to repent of? 
           If a name comes to mind to forgive, write it down and pray how to reconcile, do so in your                  heart now. If you need to repent, do so now. This is crucial in the process to be reconciled to               God and others. 

2. What is the emotion am I feeling?         If you do not know what exactly is ailing you, ask God to reveal the words or issue at hand.

3. When was the first time I felt this?         A memory of the first time you felt whatever emotion / situation will be revealed to you. (i.e. the           first time you were angry, lied to, etc.)

4. What is the lie?        A lie is buried beneath the feelings that you have believed, whether known or unknown. 

5. What is the truth?
      The truth will be revealed. This is where the healing takes place, whatever God has in store for           you. It may be a truth through scripture or other means.

Here is a simple 5x7 printout if you would like to have it handy as you go through it. Click to print.

Praying you have eyes to see and ears to hear. Praying you can see through the eyes in to the Spirit and not focus on what the world sees, for the world has missed Him. Praying that both eyes would be focused on the Spirit to see the things of God, for one cannot focus each eye on different things at once, lest your eyes grow cross and seeing becomes unbearable.

Praying you would receive healing from the Lord as you seek him and that you would hear his heart for you, as you enter in to forgiveness and repentance. Praying you would be healed and show others the way.

Here's to healing and renewing. 

I have been wrestling lately. Wrestling with God. Seeking and praying and fasting and reading. Wrestling with the Church in context of America; not sure what wrestling looks like when I can hardly crawl and lacking in skill set and just learning how to stretch muscles in rhythms that are natural to the body.

Recently sitting on my counter was a copy of Relevant magazine, a young child whose arm was bandaged and stopped before the elbow looking back at me on the cover. Anything but light reading before bed but had me searching the pages for the corresponding article.

Children and women and men dying for their faith. Martyrdom in Nigeria. Sitting in my overflowing home and thinking about the 13 year old boy who was castrated and in bandages but asking for prayers for his faith to increase, and the husband, whose wife went to be with the Lord after being told they must convert to Muslim or be killed, as he lay in the hospital recovering from the wounds after being left for dead but comforted for Jesus said there would be trouble, and the lady who watched her sister get shot to death and forced to marry the man behind the gun but managed to escape, it is hard to comprehend it all. He could be my friend. He could be my relative. She could be my child. This could be meThese are God's children. Keep them tucked in your prayers as you slip both hands in your shirt as you dress and as you guide  your child's legs in his pants. 

As I sit well fed and comfortable, not a need unmet, having attended a church service this week, others are fighting the good fight of faith. Others are losing their loved ones, their moms and dads and babies to hate, their own arms and limbs cut off, while I feast. While I celebrate birthdays and hear of goals to be made and holidays to be planned, their faith is being refined in the most holy of ways.

There is a time for everything under heaven. A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to weep and a time to laugh. And this is a time to refine. The words of Paul, taken from Psalms, echoing in my head: for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

This is real faith. This is what it all boils down to. Do we really believe? 

Is this what America needs to witness to be reconciled to its first love? To see the suffering and perseverance of real faith? To follow in their example and know we are more than conquerors through Jesus? To truly know the Savior we claim on Sundays, yet fail to fully seek him the rest of the week?

Is this what we need to witness to truly repent and turn from our sinful ways?

With Everything by Hillsong is a beautiful song and prayer for the Church. Have a listen.

Open our eyes,
To see the things
That make Your heart cry,
To be the church
That You would desire.
Light to be seen.

Praying that your faith would continue to be formed and shaped and molded. Praying we would stop the enslavement of our cell phones and iPads and turn our hearts to him. That we would stop living for empty, self seeking pleasure and American dreams and turn to him. That we would stop seeking monetary gains and politics and turn to him.

Here's to wresting and faith. 

Happy November! We are getting our sewing needles and thread out this month for craft night. We are cutting and hand sewing these simple but so pretty heart ornaments. A similar tutorial can be found here for the general idea of construction.

Fabric: scraps are perfect
Needle + Thread / sewing machine
Cotton balls / stuffing
Embellishments: buttons, ribbon, bows, beads, etc.

Hearts are my favorite shape and can be found doodled on nearly any paper that comes in contact with my pen. Hearts are a symbol of love and a word used to say how much you like something. They can represent the center of an object or the soul and often tied to feelings depicting what we are all about.

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45) and this month our prayer is to speak hope in to the hearts of those who are hurting. Hearts of hope.

 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

Hope that only comes from believing in Jesus. That can be held on to during the most crucial points in our lives and in the most blissful. Hope that turns the mourning in to dancing and puts a new song in our mouth. It is the hope that does not make everything okay but that never gives up. That restores and renews. The hope that changes everything.

When we hope in Jesus, our lives change in ways only God can imagine, as idols fall and the cross is continually picked up, with new eyes to see the landscapes of a gifted life worth living despite circumstances.  Hope that reveals patience during trials and develops a conversational life of prayer.

Praying that your heart would be full of hope as you trust in Jesus and that it would be interrupted with hope if it has yet to be and that you would in turn bless someone else. Praying that you would find peace in the midst of life and comfort in the quiet to rest and refreshment in the beauty of things hoped for.

We are using these tags (1.5" x 1.5") to attach to the ornaments as we give them away. Click to print. 
For more info on Pocket Blessings, click here. If you are hosting a Pocket Blessings in your community, feel free to email with any questions or any way we can be of service.

Growing up, my toes were slipped in to pink jellies in hot California summers and covered in black clogs for church (they were comfy) and orange sneakers to run across the play ground. High school had me sporting another pink shoe, this time a pair of Converse and these days comfy, grandma flats (as my sister lovingly calls them) are my favorite. I have always had shoes and more than one pair at that. And that seemed normal. Nothing to question or think twice about.

Until I heard of jiggers and learned the detriment they caused little feet worlds over, as Sole Hope spanned my computer screen a few years ago. It's simplistic message and need, coupled with  the heart and story behind it broke my heart.

I rang in my birthday that year with their Party with a Purpose. Friends and family came over, jeans and milk cartons in hand, ready to trace and cut shoe patterns for children who knew the pain of jiggers first hand, burrowing deep in to their feet.

It was humbling seeing everyone so focused and willing to help. And the next day, the scissor cutters could hardly move their fingers but they said it was all okay in the name of Jesus. Sweet sarcasm, sweet friends. That being said, fifteen minute station rotations is recommended to get the full experience, just in case your party goers are amazing, hard worker ,enthusiasts like mine.

Meeting Drew, one of the co-founders, at the Allume Conference brought Sole Hope to another level this year. Witnessing first hand his passion and heart driving the movement as he spoke about what it is all about and how we can partner with them was humbling still.

He stood on a chair in a crowded room. Raffle participants waiting in a lounge filled with sweet delicacies to see if they were the winner of an overflowing gift basket or the IPad, all generously donated. His words were real. His heart on his sleeve. To help the children. To be Christ overseas through giving and support. The raffle prizes seemed hollow and empty in the context of his heart and message.

This month the 10 for 10 program was launched: a way to ensure each that pair of shoes cut will be fully funded to completion - from sewing and all construction, which takes place in Africa, to finding ten toes to protect from jiggers. With just $10 a month, you can ensure a pair of feet have something to slip into, to run in, keeping them safe from burrowing jiggers.

There are lots of other ways to use your resources to assist them: donating common medical supplies, purchasing items from their Amazon Wish list, be a voice of hope by letting others know about what is going on, shopping their store and of course praying for them.  

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24

I am not affiliated with Sole Hope or anything of the sorts. Just someone who believes God is using them to do his beautiful work. Praying you would seek a way to be of service to them, whatever it looks like for you. Praying you would do something.

Here's to being of service and spurring one another on.

The Allume conference has came and past. A whirlwind of take offs and landings, business cards and name badges, roommates and chocolates, speakers and an out pouring of encouragement.

When God calls you to the other side of the country, leaving your three children and traveling alone for the first time, it is quite an adventure and a constant reminder of his provision; Jehovah - Jireh. An entire exercise in trust, something God has been working on in me this year.

Trusting God to lead and for me to follow.

Trusting that whatever God had for me during this time, it would be just what he had planned.

Trusting that everything would be secure on the home front.

Trusting that I would make my flights and find the connections, despite my lack of direction and the playing of musical gates with the airlines as they decided which one was now best.

Trusting I would make it on the correct shuttle to the hotel and not on the one that stood waiting long before I was there.

Trusting my rotating roommates would be genuine and not on the creeper side.

And God came through. My husband rocked the home; complete with Chick-fil-a and night feedings. I made each flight, even though one was overbooked and my seat was TBD and I was the final person to board. The shuttle came on time, despite a delayed flight. My roommates were the sweetest women, more than I could have imagined. And peace lavishly covered each day and hour.

The speakers were authentic and held beautiful incites and truths but it was the conversations with women from across the US (and Canada) that sewed the conference together so eloquently, along with those on the planes and streets. The way God brought each one together at just the right moment. One Spirit lead conversation after another with threads only God could sew. Another reason to stand in awe and wonder at him. Life's trials and journey's exchanged; meeting one another as words formed pictures of days past, now redeemed and hemmed in hope and sent with encouragement. Seeing glimpses of the Masterpiece coming together this side of eternity.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways submit to him,    
    and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

This verse has been embedded in this year and a constant encouragement throughout the days for I could never understand it all.

Praying whatever you are holding in your hands that you would give it to the Lord. That you would trust he is working out everything for your good and know there is nothing you can do to slow it down or speed it up or work out. He is in control of even the smallest of things because he truly cares for you - his child. Praying your eyes would be opened to the areas where trust is lacking and that you would jump in with both feet covered in faith and radiating in his peace.

Here's to more trust and adventures. 

Happy October! Another month and Another craft. We are excited to make these fun, little signs. A few popsicle sticks, glue and stamps and you have a cute way to encourage someone.

Signs are a perfect way to label something. They tell you exactly what the contents are and what is expected to be inside. For some, comments and descriptions of others easily roll off the tongue. Peace maker. Encourager. Holy roller. Some you expect and still others you could never fathom. Words attached to you by someone without your approval. And sometimes it sticks. Other times it bounces.

You know, the woman with the gap between her teeth, who always seems to get lip stick on it.
And the other one, who is just a little too friendly and loves wearing pink shoes.
No, it's the one who always talks about her dog, has really frizzy hair and kind of chunky.

And the opinions of the Proverbs 31 Woman is always an interested topic.

She is the epitome of what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus.
She is not a real person.
How does she do it all? She does too much.

Commentaries and bible studies go on about it. About her. Her character and wisdom and family and work life all simplified in to twenty two verses, overflowing with goodness and purpose and drive and fear of the Lord. And how we can be like her. How you can be like her in your everyday life, doing your everyday tasks because face it, she is pretty fabulous and those labels would look great on you, too.

But you are you and in true Dr. Seuss fashion, there is no one YOUER than YOU. And you are pretty awesome, my friend, no matter how awesome someone else is.

So our hope with this craft is to dissolve the labels that others have given us, whether good or bad and will hold up ones that God has given each of us. Ones that encourage and ring truth to our souls. That allows each inhale to be our breath alone and for that to be sufficient.

Praying that you would focus on who God says you are and not what others have labeled you. Praying you would see the beauty in yourself and the way you were so carefully made.

Here is a simple picture tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions. I have been in to a neutral pallet lately and loving the simplicity but the sky is the limit to the design. I am quite sure glitter will make it to craft night, along with some paint to liven them up.

More info on Pocket Blessings here

Happy crafting!

It was the first fire in our new apartment. We enjoyed hot cider and music as the flames danced over the logs, warming the small living room. As it died out, my husband, then boyfriend, discussed whether or not to close the flue on the fireplace. Having no idea on what the flue was, I had little to say on the matter and headed to bed after it was decided to close it.

Hours later, we woke startled to smoke alarms blaring. Jumping out of bed, my husband opened the door to our room, where nothing could be seen but clouds of smoke filling the hall way. Immediately he disappeared in to it, while I lay in bed trying to process the whole matter wondering if our apartment was up in flames and whether or not he was okay and what I should do.

Returning moments later, he let me know there was no fire, just smoke. Everywhere. Hard to breath, eye stinging, thick smoke covering everything. Windows and doors were opened and a sweet neighbor ran over letting us know he was a paramedic and asking if we were okay. We were in shock but okay we responded, as we turned on fans and stood on our patio in the wee hours of the night, smoke pouring out, with thankful hearts for the lack of flames and filled with new knowledge: always keep the flue open, even if the fire is out, for the smoke cannot be seen immediately or contained and comes before a fire.

And fires burn. They move in unpredictable ways, consuming anything in its path, only to acquire more.

Following Jesus is similar in its unpredictability and drawing others as the faith develops. There is something so contagious and exciting seeing someone passionate about Jesus and the life that he has redeemed. The way that it draws you nearer to him and you want the desires of his heart become those of yours.

Set a fire by Will Reagan is such a beautiful prayer for this passion and fire in our souls. Have a listen.

Set a fire down in my soul
That I can't contain that I can't control
I want more of You, God

It is not about comparing our walks with each other or what has God has done for this person or that person but thanking him for those blessings and testimonies and taking them as stones of remembrance of what he has been faithful to complete. 

Fires  shines out of the freedom that comes with truly accepting yourself as God has made you and moving towards the person you are to become through him. It is the hours and days turning in to a lifetime full of following the Spirit. 

Praying you would long for more of God, for more of the desires of his heart. Praying that as you navigate the waters as a follower of Christ that you would see the passions that God has placed within you and that you would seek God in those areas. That you God would reveal to you how to use your giftedness to further his kingdom, instead of using them to tear it down.

Praying that you would be set ablaze in hope and live in the freedom of the Spirit.

Here's to fires starting. 

Some of my favorite summer memories are those spent under the stars in the back of my dad's truck bed, nestled in between blankets, next to my little sister. Conversations of boys and life leaving our lips with our backs to ground and our eyes fixed on the sky. Searching for shooting stars and satellites and constellations in our little part of the world, with the sound of my fourth grade teacher echoing the billions and billions of stars our galaxy is made up from.

Stars that have since burst, though we can still see their illumination from our position. And the planets lining up amongst them. Planets with different measurements for days and numerous moons and extreme temperatures and unlivable landscapes.

It is no wonder the ancients worshipped the sky and stars and all things grandiose; but heart wrenching to think they lacked the worship of the One who created the marvelous.

As my husband and I stood outside among others a few months back, singing along as Phil Wickham belted out worship to the God of the earth and everything encompassing it, it was hard to not stand in awe of God, especially as At Your Name played out. Have a listen

Lord of all the earth
We shout Your Name, shout Your Name
Filling up the skies
With endless praise, endless praise

Seeing the sky filled with God's creation, as the sun had set and the moon rose to its given space, and remembering how small we are, yet how important we are to God. Each person in the audience. Each person watching the scene from a distance.

The God who has a vision. The God who has a plan set in motion since he spoke it in to motion before we ever stepped foot on this soil. The God who pursues. The God who sees life in the highest regard. Who sees you as the most important thing.

That is the God we worship. Lest we forget. Lest we forget.

And when the speakers turned off and the lights went out in the middle of a song, there was still a song to be sung. As voices continued and the song kept going, it was a beautiful reminder that nothing can stop us from worshipping but ourselves.  God will always be there to worship and we can sing along, should we choose, even when the stage goes dark.

Praying your light would shine so brightly that though your body fails and your last breath exhales, your memory still illuminates the minds of those around you, guiding them towards Jesus. Praying that worship would come off your lips as your mouth opens as you go about your day. Praying you would know how much you are treasured and loved by the God of the universe. You are important to him, even if others have told you otherwise. Even if you cannot wrap it around your head. You are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who makes things for his good and perfect purpose

Here's to stars and night skies and worship. 
As we launch the 2015/ 2016 year for Pocket Blessings, I am super excited to introduce you to the newest crafting members coming alongside us with their inspiration and talents. They are super sweet and super crafty and it is a blessing to have on the team.

We have been busy meeting and planning and praying about what God has in store for this year and we are excited to be apart of his plan. And of course, to get our crafting on and meet new friends along the way. 

This month we are decorating glass baby food jars with fall paraphernalia. They are cute and small and just the perfect size to add a tea light to. We layered: fabric cut to fit, pretty metallic fake leaves, twine, ribbon, buttons and lots of hot glue to jazz up the jars.

They are also a great reminder of the simple truth: to be the light + to shine.

Shine because our light has come. Because Jesus came in to the world to show us the way in to his. And now we are called to reflect him. To stand for what he stood for. To live and love as he did.

Reflecting Jesus is different for everyone but looks the same in essence. Everyone has a different skill set and different influence but are called to do the same thing: be like him. 

Whether it is caring for patients at a hospital or teaching children in school or taking care of your own littles, love looks the same. To come along side and listen and serve and teach the truth.

Praying you would reflect Jesus as you go about your days and that you would be a constant source of encouragement and love to others, pointing them to Jesus. Praying you would truly shine. 

For more info about Pocket Blessings and how you can start your own, click here.

I was talking with my husband about big picture / calling / God things, my favorite topic of choice, when I told him I felt like I was beating a dead horse in regards to this writing thing. It is the same underlying message in each post, written differently in essence. But God keeps leading me to share. And how some days I do not want to give the time and effort to beat that dead horse.

I said it once. Isn't that enough? And that one post back there was pretty good, God; there is nothing like the Holy Spirit leading the writing but would rather not right now.

But my husband reminded me that is what God has called him to do as a pastor. Share the Gospel. A simple message that weaves throughout the centuries and has been told and shared in millions of ways since and we are all called to share it in some form or another.

Because God loves you, he sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross for your sin. He rose on the third day and ascended up to heaven. Now, come follow him. Eternity is at your fingertips.

It is that simple.       

But simple things need simple illustrations like mustard seeds and fishes and prodigal sons to get the points across. To relate to the now.

And we need reminders of the truths because we forget. We need encouragement when the storms are raging.

And so for now, I sit and pray and offer some words as a sacrifice of praise. As an act of obedience and knowing that someone, somewhere needs some refreshment.

Because you are doing great things, my friend. God is using you in ways you never will imagine to accomplish things you will never comprehend in this lifetime.

Because God is a God of purpose and plans and the writer of the Big Picture. And with Him, nothing is dead. Nothing is too dried or withered or past expiration for God to restore and renew and refresh.

And that is worth pressing on and finishing the race. That is worth playing the part in this story because a time is coming when everyone will answer to him about how we spent our time and used our recourses. Jesus paid it all for me and for you and the least we can do is be obedient to his leading, which is for our own good. I know, imagine that.

Jesus Paid it All by Kristian Stanfill fits perfectly here. One of my favorites. Have a listen.

Jesus paid it all,

All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead.

Praying that whatever you are called to do, that you would do it all for the glory of God, despite afflictions or discouragement or qualifications. Praying you would see the bigger picture and that you would continue to be encouraged and have the endurance to keep doing what God has called you to do. 

Praying you would praise Jesus for paying your debt and that would be the motivation for you to fulfill your calling. Praying you would see glimpses of how God is using you in the here and now and that you would be able to see it in others, revealing to them their parts in the story.

Here's to endurance and keeping on. 
Growing up, I never understood the plaque lovingly given to my mama by my aunt: when mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy, and Mama's reluctance about it. Essentially, it is a little like calling the kettle black and goes along with the old adage I learned from my grandfather in law a few years back: happy wife, happy life.

The core truth is the enormous impact we have as mamas and wives in our home. We have the ability to set the tone. For fun and learning or anger and condemnation.

Proverbs has a few things to say about what it is like to live with a wife who chooses the latter (and it even says it twice):

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. Proverbs 21:9 + Proverbs 25:24

A quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof. Proverbs 19:13 + Proverbs 27:15

No mama or wife wants to be described as quarrelsome but as days progress and seasons change, it can be easy to get stuck in routine and for complaining to become a go to language, so I thought I would share my "go tos" when things get a little tough.


Being a prayerful wife and or mama is like going to war for to defend your country and a way to keep God at the center of your home. Prayer is powerful and the way to combat spiritual warfare, to bring about a servants heart in yourself and others, and a means to be in relation with the God of the universe constantly.

In the midst of a disagreement with your spouse or child, taking time to invite God in to the situation is life changing. It gives new perspective and renews the heart and mind. It is hard to be bitter in the presence of a powerful God and a great reminder of his sovereignty overall.

Having someone praying for you throughout the day is a powerful weapon, as well. Being able to text a friend or spouse during a rough patch is encouraging for both parties involved, witnessing the need and the response.


Taking a break throughout the day to read scripture brings God's word to life, even if it is just a moment. Instead of reaching for Facebook or other social media, open your bible to see what God has to say, if only for a few verses.

Having a set time through the day to study scripture is key to growing in your faith and trust in God, allowing you to reflect him during the harder times.  

If you do not have a chance to read, listening to scripture is a great option, too. The YouVersion Bible App has an audio portion that reads the bible to you, perfect to listen to in the car or while you do dishes. SeedsFamily Worship puts scripture put to songs, which I love to listen to anytime but really comes in handy on harder days.

Sing praise songs

When worship starts, it is hard to stay angry or mad. Being able to change your focus from the situation to God makes everything seem a little smaller and keeps God in perspective. 

Praying for you, whether your home is brimming with peace of filled with discontentment, that you would encounter God throughout your day and that it would change the ambience of your home. Praying that God would show you ways to make your home a haven and that you would diligently out in work to make it so, whether by picking up extra chores or not perusing a disagreement. Praying you would cloth yourself with strength and peace and mercy and strength as you serve your family and that you would be able to pour it out on them.

Here's to mamas and setting the tone. 

This morning I am excited to be apart of the Imperfect Mom Confessionals Series hosted by Jenn at Busy Being Blessed. Mamas and writers from around the web are coming together to speak Truth about mamahood from its joys to the trials and how Jesus comes to rescue always. 

Too often in life, especially in parenting, our best feet are put forward along with perfectly set smiles and the appearance that everything is grandeur. But the more life happens and the deeper with Jesus I get, the more I see the imperfections of people and it almost hurts to see those with their perfectly painted smiles when deep down it is easy to see they are truly breaking. Facades are not a life but a lack there of and this series is about getting real.

So here is a little bit more of what mamahood and all its imperfections has taught me so far.

Embracing the imperfection as a mom is the place in mamahood where transformation takes place and dependence on God deepens. Mamahood is the piecing together of a puzzle. Each piece giving us a bigger picture of Jesus. Of his grace and mercy and love. With each passing season and newly formed stories, our reflection grows closer to his.

My soul has stretched along with my skin, revealing more depth and wisdom. It has exposed every flaw, every sin, every negative, bad part in me that I never knew existed, yet grown me closer to Christ. It has changed me in ways I could never have imagined and I am only four years in.

Mamahood has pushed me to binge eating chocolate chips in the cupboard during tantrums and bouts of crying; praying, God help me and help me stop eating these things. I never understood stress eating prior.

Read the rest over here and be sure to follow the series as other bloggers share their thoughts and stories. 

There is also a Pinterest Board full of great encouragement + resources for mamas. Have a look =)

When the Israelites took for granted being God's chosen people, eventually God's plan was revealed that salvation was to be offered to the gentiles - those not born in to the covenant -  which in turn caused the Israelites to be jealous.

Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! Romans 11:11-12

It is interesting how jealousy is used here to turn the Israelites back to God. Some of the Israelites did not feel as special now that grace was offered to the rest of the world but through seeing this grace played out through others, they longed to have what they may have walked away from prior.

It is similar to watching toddlers play. There is always one toy everyone wants to play with. It may have been sitting on the ground most of the day but once someone picks it up, all eyes lock and all hearts crave it. Some things just look more desirable in the hands of others.

But God is a jealous God. Jealous for us. He wants us all of us. Setting things in front of choosing God makes his jealousy burn. Choosing time with the television or a book or a friend or child or husband or work over him is what idolatry is all about. Putting things higher than God. Making other things priorities before God, your first love.

And God loves us. He graciously unravels our hearts and knits them in to what we were made for. He unravels our hurts and anxieties and fears and hopes and failures and turns them in to the miraculous.

Have a listen to How He Loves Us by Jesus Culture.

He is jealous for me
Love's like a hurricane, and I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy

Praying you would be surrounded with those who are passionate about Jesus and can drive you to the point of godly jealously, truly wanting to have a deep and passionate relationship with God, drawing you nearer to God and in turn, drawing others to Christ. Praying you would be able to spur each other on and that you would see God's compassion and mercy and love for you.  

Praying you would see how much you are truly loved and how beautiful you are. Praying you would see glimpses of God in others and yourself as you go about your days and that your relationship with Christ would be the most desirable thing in your life.

Here's to jealousy and God and love.