Wednesday, May 17, 2017

He Already Knows



I adore how God always has the perfect way of reminding me that He already knows every single moment of my life. He has known since before He wove me together in my mother's womb and before He breathed air into my lungs. I know this, and yet, still I fret and worry and need His reminders sometimes.

As I have spent the last couple of weeks praying over something, I have waited anxiously to see what the outcome would be. And then today, God orchestrated a sweet divine appointment like only He can, and reminded me that no matter the outcome, He has it all under control.

A woman crossed my path today and in the first moments of our conversation, she revealed to me that she had recently lost a baby to stillbirth. Immediately my heart leapt as we connected through our shared stories and the peace I felt in that moment was indescribable. That little God-ordained appointment was just the peace and reminder that my nervous heart needed. He had that unexpected moment in His hand and He has everything else in His hand right there with it. 

He has already written the years, the days, and the moments. He knows what is to come and He has a perfect plan woven into all of it. Just as He perfectly orchestrated this meeting between this newly bereaved mother and myself, He perfectly orchestrates every moment of our lives and we need only to trust in Him and that perfect plan.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. ~Isaiah 43:2

Friend, I don't know what you are worried about today, but I do know this: God's got it. He's got you. Read those words from Isaiah and remember that He is there with you every single step of the way, whatever you are going through. He is fighting for you and advocating for you. He loves you. He cherishes you. Cling to that truth, friend. Hold on to the promise that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him. You are loved.
post signature

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Hold Your Head High


"Shame has no place here."

Those words penetrated my heart this morning. Over and over God poured them into my soul.

Shame is a destroyer. It detracts from the truth of God's mercy and grace. It causes you to forget your value and worth as a child of the Most High King. 

I know shame well. We are more than acquaintances unfortunately. I first met shame in my own life and got to know it very well. Now, in working with sexual assault survivors, I have continued to encounter shame over and over again. 

The funny thing about shame is that usually you can only see the true identity of shame when it is occupying someone else. It's easy for me to look into the faces of survivors and tell them that they have nothing to be ashamed of. But when shame inhabits your own heart, it is much more difficult to see the truth. When shame is there speaking directly to your own heart, it is hard to silence it.

One thing I see in my work with survivors is that shame is much stronger if it has visited before for the same reasons. These survivors are thrown straight into the pits of shame and despair if this is not the first time they have experienced abuse. Their mind immediately walks with shame into the paths of: "What is wrong with me? There must be something wrong with me that has caused this to happen more than once."

Not only do they walk down that path with shame, but they hold its hand and cling to it because they so desperately want to make sense of their storm that they will cling to this false belief in order to feel some comfort or control.

Friend, I have been there. More than I would like to admit. I have clung to shame. I have worn it like a badge that I worked hard to earn.

But hear me right now, friend: Shame is a liar.

And as a child of God, shame has no place here.

The truth is that we live in a fallen world. We live in a world of fallen people and we will have to walk through some hard, hard things. We will wonder why it's happening and shame will tell us that it is all our fault even when it isn't. Shame does not belong in your heart. It has no place there.

Shame will keep us from confiding in those closest to us. Shame causes us to hide our hurts and our struggles and our fears. But God tells us to share those things. He tells us to bear one another's burdens.

Whatever shame is telling you today, let it go. Call shame the liar that it is. Whatever shame is causing you to hide from the body of believers that God has placed alongside you, break those barriers and speak your heart. If shame is causing you to hang your head, lift your eyes. Hold your head high in the knowledge of your identity as a beloved child of God. He sees your heart. He sees your hurts and your struggles and your fears. Let Him in.
post signature

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

No Longer Controlled by Calories

I joined most of the country today and hunted down a Starbucks that was not out of the ingredients for the Unicorn Frappuccino with my oldest daughter. We were ecstatic that the second one we went to had the ingredients as we had been looking forward to trying it all day.

And then I started seeing people sharing things all over social media talking about how bad it was because of the calorie content or the carbohydrate content, etc. I totally get if you can't have something because of a health condition. I totally get if you don't want to try it because you personally don't want to consume the ingredients. But please don't ever caption your photo by saying no one should be drinking it.

You get to make that choice for you and for your kids. But in my house, we don't count calories because for ten years I was a slave to them. Even just two years ago that drink would have terrified me and even trying the smallest sip would have sent me into a drastic tailspin of over exercising to cleanse my body of the calories. I also still have many friends in the trenches of that battle that can see your comments on my page.

I don't want to shame you for not wanting to drink it because of whatever reason, but I also ask that you not shame people who do try it. Because while I'm no longer controlled by calories, you never know who might be in that place. While you're sitting there thinking how bad it is, it's a huge victory for our family that I can happily pick one up and drink it without feeling guilty. 

Here's one thing I know...that drink has more calories than I used to consume in about four days and I enjoyed every sip of it. That's a celebration in our home. So make the choice that's best for you and your family, and we'll keep celebrating victories over here.

Today this drink was another small reminder of God's sovereignty in my life and the beauty of His presence in my eating disorder recovery and I am thankful every day for each of those reminders.
post signature

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Celebrating Easter: A Call to Purpose

"Uncomfortable" - it's a word I have used often lately because it is a word that God has deeply pressed upon my heart over the last year or so. Each time He has pulled my heart a certain way and I've responded with, "But God are you sure? That will be hard. People won't understand. There will be adversity," and on and on and on, He has constantly reminded me that not once did He call me to live a comfortable life. I have a quote on my Facebook page that I think perfectly sums up the lesson He has been teaching me for the last year:

"I do not believe Jesus died for us so that we could live comfortable lives behind walls, indifferent to the suffering of others."
-Tim Breene, CEO, World Relief

Oh that hits my heart every single time that I read it because that statement is packed with so much truth. And what better day to remind ourselves of that truth and have our hearts convicted of that truth than on Easter Sunday. Let's talk for a minute, church. Sure, this is a fun day packed with celebration. We are celebrating the risen Savior. But if you are celebrating simply to show off your new clothes at church or have fun with Easter egg hunts or take the staple "family church photo," you're celebrating for the wrong reasons. Don't get me wrong, we bought new dresses and hunted eggs and took photos, and we do every year. They're not bad things to do, but they can't be all there is to this day. There has to be some soul searching.

Jesus died for you because He loves you. He redeemed you because He loved you. But He also died for you and redeemed you so that you could live out a calling to a life of purpose. Now I don't know what that purpose is for your life because that's between you and God, but if you have given your heart and your life over to Him, then He has a higher calling for your life. You have a calling beyond keeping up with the Joneses and simply doing whatever makes you happy. If you claim to be a follower of Christ then you are called to kingdom work. And friend, that often means we will be uncomfortable.

I'd love to tell you that I have this down pat. But I am writing this post today because my own heart was convicted as well. So how do we thank Jesus for the beautiful gift that we celebrate today? We put everything on the table for Him. We bring to Him a willingness to sacrifice anything to live out His purpose for our life. We sacrifice our comfort, our families, ourselves for the sake of the Gospel.

Our family just finished the steps to start doing our part for children in foster care in Alabama because after a year in prayer, we have no doubt that God is calling our family to serve in this way. We are overwhelmed by the support we have received from friends and family. We understand that many don't understand why we would want to do that or question our decision to involve our family in this ministry. But friend, please hear me out on this...what a gift God has given our family in this calling. Our daughters will get to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ lived out in our living room everyday with the opportunity to love these children and their birth families. They will see what it's like to love someone when it's difficult; to exercise patience when it's the hardest; to serve when it would be easiest to look away and sit in our comfortable lives. And we will have a constant reminder of his goodness and His forgiveness and His grace. What a gift.

I couldn't do that. I would get too attached.

Friend, that was exactly my thought when God started laying this on our hearts. But oh how those children are worthy of that attachment. How worthy these children of God are to have people who love them and believe in them and who love and believe in their birth parents. This is the ministry and the path that God has unquestionably called our family to and He has shattered every obstacle that came along the way.

I don't know what God is calling you to today, but as Easter Sunday draws to a close, I would encourage you to ask Him. Seek His heart and His calling on your life. He died because He loves us and He redeemed us because He loves us. We thank Him with our lives. We thank Him with our "yes." We thank Him with our "I'll go." This Easter, let's lay down the idea of a prosperity Gospel and embrace the message of laying down your life and serving however He calls. Embrace your life of purpose and be willing to lay everything down for the One who gave everything for you. 



post signature

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Leap of Faith

"Take a Leap of Faith." We've all heard that phrase, but have you ever stopped to actually think about it? What does it mean to "take a leap of faith" or "step out in faith?" What does that actually look like when it's put into practice?

As I really spent time reflecting on that phrase, I realized that it's something that is often much easier to tell other people than it is to tell ourselves, or even tell those that we are closest to such as our children or spouse. Why is that? Because to step out in faith almost always involves sacrifice and discomfort. It's never the easy way out. It's hard to tell ourselves or those we are closest to that they need to make a sacrifice that we may see as unnecessary or to do something that will be uncomfortable at times. 

But here's the thing, friend: God didn't call us to be comfortable and He did call us to sacrifice. He called us to be willing to sacrifice everything for Him. Everything. He's called us to sacrifice our friends, our family, our comfort, control, acceptance; everything. He will call us to do things that will cause difficult times for ourselves, for our family, and for our friends. He will call us to things in life that may mean that we lose popularity or cause us to be outright disliked by some. He will call us to things in life that we have no control over once we enter into the calling. He will call us to things that other people won't understand and may even think we are crazy for doing. But ultimately, He is calling us to choose Him and to choose to glorify Him over everything else.

My family is so often the first thing on my mind. While some might think that's great and exactly how it should be, you're wrong. If Jesus isn't first in my mind, my priorities are off. If He isn't the reason for every decision I make, then I'm wrong. And oh how I hate to admit how often I am wrong. But for me, my family is the one thing that often holds me back from jumping headfirst into whatever God is calling me to because I worry about how my family will be affected or I worry about how extended family will react or judge or that they will disapprove.

But God has been working and wrestling with my heart for weeks now as He calls our family into a ministry that is truly a family ministry that affects all of us drastically. He has confirmed this calling for us over and over again but in the back of my mind I've wondered why He chose our family for a ministry that so many would run from. Yet, over and over again He has answered the why and continually shown us the beauty and the wonderful picture of His grace and redemption that will be played out right before our eyes. And then as clearly as He could, He spoke a harsh but much needed truth to my heart this week.

I'm calling you to put everything on the table. 

That control you cling so tightly to? Lay it down.

Your comfort of living the white picket fence American dream life? Lay it down.

The schedule you're accustomed to? Lay it down.

Your marriage, your kids, your home, your friends, your family, your community, your life...I'm calling you to put all of it on the table for My kingdom.

Y'all that was a hard reality for me to swallow. But when He spoke that truth to my heart and I finally grabbed hold, a peace washed over my heart and the excitement began to overflow. 

You're going to sacrifice. It will be hard. There will be plenty of people who won't understand or won't approve. Some of those closest to you will try to talk you into walking away.

But wait until you see what I am going to do. Wait until you see the love and compassion and understanding that I will grow in your daughter's hearts. Just wait.

Maybe God is calling you to something lately and you're scared. Be brave anyway.

Maybe you don't have the money or the resources and you're having a hard time trusting that He will provide. Trust Him anyway.

Maybe you know that people won't approve or understand what you are doing. Do it anyway and pray that God will change their hearts. But even if He doesn't, keep going anyway.

Maybe you're afraid of the sacrifice or of being uncomfortable. Sacrifice and get uncomfortable anyway.

He has called all of us to be willing to sacrifice everything. That's hard. But remember His promise that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him. We just have to trust, put it all on the table, and be willing to say "yes" to whatever He call us to. 


post signature

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir: It's Ladybug! *Review* and {Giveaway}

Ladybug & Cat Noir are back in this delightful DVD for more action-packed, miraculous adventures that are sure to captivate your little ones. Ladybug and Cat Noir are two heroes who are the only hope in this DVD as Paris is threatened by super villains. 

Marinette and Adrien seemingly lead normal lives as young students trying to balance school, family, friends, and every day life challenges. However, in reality, they are balancing all of these normal kid things with the roles of being superheroes. 

This fantastic DVD will be available on April 11, 2017 from a collaboration between Shot! Kids and ZAG. My girls loved all six episodes on the DVD and I love anytime that they have female superheroes to watch. Your kids are sure to love this DVD that is packed with the following episodes:
  • Princess Fragrance
  • Gamer
  • Reflekta
  • The Puppeteer
  • Antibug
  • Volpina

Official Trailer:

AND a Ladybug paper doll while supplies last. You have the opportunity to win a copy of Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir: It's Ladybug on the widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*Must be 18 years or older to enter and a resident of the United States. This giveaway is in no way associated with any social media platform. Winner will be notified via email and must respond to that email within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway winner will be notified within 48 hours of the giveaway close.

post signature

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Gospel of Mark Review and {Giveaway}

New on DVD today is The Gospel of Mark from Lionsgate, produced by The Lumo Project. With Easter right around the corner, this DVD is the perfect gift. This film presents the book of Mark through a unique, word-for-word narrative as the scenes are played out before you on the screen. You are literally watching the Gospel of Mark unfold before you as it is read aloud which was different from anything I have ever watched (This is the second installment of the Gospel film series so now I have to order The Gospel of John so that I can enjoy it as well). The film was shot on location in Morocco and was given the Dove Family Friendly Seal for 12+. You can also enjoy plenty of entertaining and intriguing bonus features on the DVD.


Brent and I watched this film together and I really loved how straightforward it is with how it presents the scripture. Since it is a straight narrative, there are no added Hollywood embellishments to the script. Instead, the "script" is word-for-word from the Bible with a great cast and scenery. This film offers a depiction of Mark that you won't forget and that you will want to watch again and again. In fact, I think it is probably one of Brent's favorites now.

You have the opportunity to win your own copy of The Gospel of Mark DVD by entering in the giveaway widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Giveaway open to US residents only. This giveaway is in no way associated with or sponsored by any social media platform. I received this product in exchange for an honest review.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for The Lumo Project. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.




post signature