The new year has arrived! A blank slate that’s practically bursting at the seams with opportunity. A space in time where much can happen and change is imminent. The word new itself implies a look at the future. You can’t go backwards to achieve anything new. Isaiah 43:19 says…
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
Though we step into 2017 with our own resolutions and plans, God has already begun His work in us.
Our wilderness is all the things that held us back in 2016.
My wilderness is the lack of keeping balance in my life. Saying yes when I should say no. Not being excessive here and doing more there. My wilderness is speaking negativity over myself instead of the truth that I know from God’s Word. I am thankful that God is already making a pathway in that wilderness.
It seems that every year I notice people all around me get a word for the new year. A word to meditate on. To take action with as they walk out the new year. The last couple of years I have waited patiently (mostly) asking the Lord to give me a word, too. As January 1st came this year, I prayed that God would reveal one for me.
January 7th and nothing.
My husband and I have been examining things that we can work on for the new year. Many things that need realignment in our lives have come up. Eating healthier, finances, family time, putting God above the things of this world.
I told my husband that day how I wanted a word. As we chatted about all the things that we wanted to realign, BOOM. It hit me. I had already been given something. Maybe not in word form, but in the form of desires that God had placed in both our hearts.
The word that best describes the realignment that the Lord has placed on our hearts is balance. What a great word for 2017!
It’s not for the faint of heart. The full reality of it all doesn’t truly sink in until it starts getting hard. Am I right?
The up all nights. The never-ending laundry. The homework. The busted knees. Diapers. Back-talk. Hunger every 2.5 minutes. Whining. Hitting. Biting. It’s sounds worse than it is, but I’m making a point.
There’s one thing you may not truly prepare for.
The picky eater.
I mean, I never once joked with an expecting mother “just wait til little Johnny becomes a pickyeater and refuses to eat anything green or good for him”. (why do we always use little Johnny for examples?)
I don’t remember being warned about this.
So here I sit. After a couple of dreadful hours in a stand off with my 4 year-old who wouldn’t even eat two bites (TWO BITES) of an all beef hot dog because she prefers the ones made out of a medley of leftover meat pieces from anything but beef itself.
I gave up after two hours. It ended in tears. Not her’s. Mine. There was ketchup, time out, bribing, threatening, raising of voices, wooden spoons, and pleading involved.
All of it got me nowhere.
This was lunch. Dinner is impending and then we get to do it all over again.
I could feed her peanut butter and jelly or fake filler franks for the rest of her growing up. I just don’t want to do that. I really do care about her health and what goes into her body. Hence the overwhelming and exhausting knock down, drag out mealtime dramas.
I feel like a failure because of her eating habits. I see moms with kids who eat green bell peppers, avocado, green beans, and broccoli BECAUSE THEY LIKE IT, not because they were forced. #pickyeaterparentinggoals
So there’s that. My for real moment for you today as I Google methods of respectable manipulation to coerce my 4 year-old into eating a real beef hot dog. Or grilled cheese. Or even a chicken nugget. We’ve decided that we don’t like those either apparently.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy every moment with my little picky eater and I love her dearly. She’s one of the two lights of my life. I know God works major miracles. He has cured people of cancer. He’s even brought people back from the dead. I have no doubt that He can help me through this!
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
Oh we have trouble and I need the peace! But He has overcome the world so I can overcome picky eating! Can I get an amen?
Each and every October/Novemberish after the time change, I feel winter set in with its cloak of darkness. It happens so fast and it catches me off guard every. single. time. It’s only 4:30pm, how can it feel like midnight?! I spend days, even weeks wishing it were spring. I feel the need to ditch this premature middle-of-the-night feeling and enjoy the bike-riding-til-8:00pm feeling instead. I have a lot of trouble accepting the season.
How true is this same analogy with the seasons of life that we journey through? When I find myself elbow-deep in the sink with dishes that never end or at Kroger making a scene because I won’t let my 4 year-old eat a grape that she found on the floor, I tend to be fully aware of the season that I’m currently in. I notice the college student buying yogurt. She’s buying yogurt all by herself without a little person telling her they hate that kind or that they want M&Ms instead.
She is in a different season.
Or maybe I notice the mom with older children. She can leave her younger kids with the older while she and the husband go on a date. Built-in babysitters. A different season.
Then there’s the friend who has this great job making a impact in the community and doing what she loves. Oh how I wish I were there. But that’s not my season. That’s her’s.
Just as winter turns to spring, the landscape of our circumstances change. The stark darkness of our night duty with baby transition to sleeping like a baby. Seasons of struggle become the very moments that our hearts will long for. Not because of the things we struggle with, but because of how we can look back and see the good within them. Each one hand-picked by the Creator for us to experience. He will never put us into a place that we are not meant to be.
The Bible says,
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.. – Ecclesiastes 3:1
If you’re familiar with this scripture, then you know that it goes into a long list of things that have a specific time. The good and the bad. Like the scenes at Kroger and the potty training victories. The trips to the store to buy yogurt alone and the times when the crew drags along with you.
It also says,
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. – Acts 1:7
This tells me that even though we have no idea what’s coming up or why we’re here and someone else is there, that God is in control. It’s a part of His grander plan.
Let’s embrace the place where God has us. Let’s find the purpose in our season. Right. Now.
If we are busy focusing our sights on where we aren’t, how can we truly be present where we are? What is in front of you right now that you might be missing?
Sister, nothing brings greater joy than contentment. Seasons are temporary. As fleeting as the wind.
Accept the season. Whatever it may be. Know that Jesus Christ works in the mundane and the messy. He makes all things new and reveals His purpose if you just take joy in the season that you are in.
My heart aches. My spirit is low with unworthiness. I’ve held it in for days. I’ve held it together so that not a soul sees how I truly feel. I’ve gotten good at wearing a mask. It’s like a costume party every day. Sometimes I grow tired of being someone else on the outside.
Why do the little things bother me so much? My rational side knows the silliness of it all, but my heart still aches with the feelings of low self-worth.
What will be the trigger today? Will I make it through without a single tear?
It was a good day. I even felt joy while I took a walk and the sun shined down on me. Almost out of the woods I see thething that causes my anxiety today. I try shaking it off. I remind myself that it doesn’t matter.
That I am loved.
I hug my daughter and give her a tickle hoping that her giggle makes it all better. For a brief moment, I forget about the thing that made me feel this way.
The dishes are piled high. I make my way to the sink. As I scrape the pot with my fingernail in an attempt to remove the stubborn stuck-on food, the resistance is all it takes to remind me of the thing. The tears begin to well up and my inside begins to show outside. I don’t want to let it out because it makes no sense that something so simple can cause me such hurt. If I even say the words out loud, I may seem crazy. As the tears start to roll down my face, I blame it all on the pot and its stupid macaroni leftovers. I try very hard to keep them inside, but each one fights its way out despite my efforts.
Why do I question my value based on worldly circumstances?
The voice of truth echoes in my head with Psalm 139.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. – Psalm 139: 13-14
There is a silent battle over what I will believe in this moment. I give into the lie and I let out a big, fat, ugly cry. I feel…
Sometimes letting it out and being honest with ourselves is the best way to heal. I have my moment. My mascara (which claims to be waterproof) runs and my feelings turn me into a raccoon. I breathe deeply and then there are short breaths like a 5 year-old after a tantrum.
Then, the tears are through and I have nothing left.
After all the messiness is over, I feel a new thing. It’s as though I have been crying on the shoulder of Jesus Himself. I feel mercy in my soul. I have chose to listen to the lie, diving right in, and yet the arms of Jesus are wrapping me up in mercy when I deserve justice.
The sunshine in the morning washes over me in a tidal wave of grace. It becomes impossible to feel anything but joy.
Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning. – Psalm 30:5
Grace and mercy have stepped in to remind me that I am loved.
UNBELOVED NO MORE.
The name Amy means beloved. It makes sense that the enemy would try to steal that designation.
I prayed this over myself. I am going to need this prayer for days to come. If you ever struggle with feelings of low self-worth, I think you should pray this prayer too!
I ask forgiveness that I have given into the lies instead of declaring Your Truth. I renounce unbelief. Your word says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. That I am not rejected, but accepted. That I am beloved. I am the apple of Your eye. I am of great worth and value. I break any agreements that I have made with the devil allowing the spirits of rejection, fear, insecurity, shame, and unforgiveness to manifest. I command all negative spirits to go in the name of Jesus. Help me to resist the enemy and his unloving thoughts.
I thank you for your mercy and grace. I thank you for taking my sin and shame with you to the cross. Heal and renew my mind, Lord. I am surrounded with favor and grace. I lack nothing because of You. I ask for You to supernaturally help me to overcome negative thoughts about myself and ask you to take authority over my mind, mouth, and actions.
In Jesus name,
If this is something that you need to pray to Jesus over yourself, I have made a PRINTABLE PRAYER that I would love for you to download, print out, and refer to when you’re feeling unworthy! Click here to download that!
I also made this phone wallpaper so that I see this truth every time that I look at my phone. You can download this Phone Wallpaper here. Just save it to your pictures and make it your wallpaper in settings!
Have you seen War Room yet? It was in theaters for a looooong time and I am so glad that it was. Quite possibly one of the best Christian films of all time, it seems to have spurred a new awakening to prayer.
The bible says:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12
Prayer is the center of our very relationship with the Father. One of the most important things that I’ve learned about prayer is that our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (Eph. 6:12) The way to fight the wars of this world is with prayer.
That’s why I was so excited to see War Room come out in theaters! What a powerful message it conveyed. What an awakening it seemed to reveal among Christians. You don’t have to have all the answers or figure it all out.
He will listen to you.
There are countless verses about prayer in the Bible. It is an important weapon against evil and Jesus wanted us to know that!
When War Room came out, the first thing I did was try to figure out where I could make a “war room”. I couldn’t think of a place. Our closet is pretty big, but honestly, it’s never clean enough to count on it as a usable space. And I loved the movie, but there is no way I can empty out my closet like the lady did on the movie! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED her space and all her notes and verses. I just don’t have the space to put the things that belong in my closet.
I just want to encourage you in that if you don’t have the “perfect” place for a war room, do not fret. A war room or prayer closet can be anywhere where you can go to be alone with God. It could be your bedroom after the kids go to bed. It could be your back porch.
Long commute anyone?
For years, my husband told me that he was having trouble finding good alone time with God. I finally asked him what he does with his commute. He drives about 45 minutes each way to work. He said he listened to podcasts and the Daily Audio Bible. That’s great! But how perfect is a long car ride. It’s like being in a silent bubble for 45 straight minutes. God can use that! The best thing is that it’s built in time. No need to make room in your day.
His war room became his car.
Use what you have, but make it intentional. Go to WAR with the evil forces and storm the gates of hell with prayer.
And guess what?! War Room is available to pre-buy right now! It comes out December 22nd!!
Watch the trailer below and go ahead and pre-buy your copy for just $14.99 at Family Christian!
With your pre-buy purchase you will get a FREE devotional journal along with it! Now is the time!
$25 Family Christian Certificate GIVEAWAY!
Who wants to win $25 to spend at Family Christian online or in-store? Simply leave a comment on this post!
This giveaway will end on Wednesday, December 23rd at 11:59pm CT. I will use And the Winner is plugin to choose a winner after the giveaway ends.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Family Christian. All opinions are 100% my own.
We’re driving down the road on the way to school when my 4 year old yells out, “Momma! Turn on “there is no such thing as impossible”!”. She does it on the way home from school too. On the way to church and on the way back.
I think she may like that song…
It’s a good thing I do too! I saw it performed live at the Dove Awards last month. Building 429 ROCKED THE HOUSE opening the show with it! Loved every minute of it.
See for yourself:
Another one of my girls’ favorites is “Start A Fire” by Unspoken. They have created hand motions for that song.
And then there’s my absolute favorite from the Outcry Tour, “Even So Come” by Passion featuring Kristian Stanfill. It’s so amazing.
If you listen to Christian radio, you’ve probably heard all of these. I love the radio, but sometimes I just want to have all my favorite songs in one place where I can turn them on whenever. Or be forced by a 4 year old to play what she wants.
That’s why I love the Wow Hits cds! I picked up the Wow Hits 2016 from Family Christian the other day. It has every one of those songs I mentioned and SO MANY MORE. I don’t think that it has a single song that I don’t like. It comes with 2 cds with a total of 33 hits.
Here are some on the cd:
“Greater” Mercy Me
“I Am Not Alone” Kari Jobe
“Drops in the Ocean” Hawk Nelson
“Who I Am” Blanca
“King of My Heart” Love & The Outcome
That’s just a taste, there’s so much more. You can get Wow Hits 2016 at Family Christian! The regular version is $14.99 or you can get the Deluxe version for $18.99.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Family Christian. All opinions expressed are 100% my own!
Thanks to Family Christian, I will once again be attending the DOVE AWARDS this year! It was an experience that I will never forget last year. This year I can only assume that it will top what I’ve already seen. It will be ONE WEEK from today on October 13th. I am beyond stoked and you should prepare your news feeds!
The Christian artists work so hard putting out fabulous music that encourages us each and every day. I am thankful to be able to attend this award show where many of them will be recognized for that hard work.
Erica Campbell and Sadie Robertson will be hosting and it is sure to be a night of music, fun, and Jesus.
Some of my favorites who will be performing are:
I Am They
There is also going to be an opportunity for those who have VIP passes to SING IN THE CHOIR with Casting Crowns, oh my goodness.
The show is already SOLD OUT so it should be a very packed house. Check out all the latest news about who is performing, presenting, and nominated at the Dove Awards here.
Our pastor has been preaching on the book of Exodus for quite a while. It’s been a 13-week message covering many different lessons learned through the story of the Israelites.
I find that I can relate to so many parts of the Exodus story. One of the greatest biblical figures of all time, Moses for instance. Moses argued with God about his inadequacy. Sounds like me…
But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” – Exodus 4:10
Ahem, hello. Hi, yes me too. Not a good speaker. That’s me.
I relate to the fact that Moses didn’t consider himself good enough for the job God was calling him to do.
What I love about this story most is what God says next…
Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord?12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”- Exodus 4:11-12
God says that HE made his very mouth! He didn’t intend to make Moses do it alone. He said that he would tell him everything he needed to say. Even still, there was a”but”…
But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” – Exodus 4:13
God doesn’t care about our “buts”. God turns our “buts” into “yes sirs”. He takes our discouragements and turns them into courage.
He told Moses that He would be there the whole way, even giving him help from his brother, Aaron.
I can also relate to the Israelites. They worried constantly, didn’t they?
Will there be enough food? Can we trust that we’ll find our way? Even though God has done miracles for us before, can He really do more?
At the end of our pastor’s sermon series, the big question of why was answered. Why did the Israelites go through all they went through? Why did God choose a people that would rebel and continuously lead them back to Himself even though they worshiped other gods?
I couldn’t help but think it was a simple answer. But it’s the answer to anything and everything that God does. And the answer why we should do everything that we do.
For God’s GLORY.
When we live our lives like Christ.
When we stop feeling inadequate, as if God can’t use us.
When we stop our worry and simply trust.
When we leave Egypt and the wilderness in the dust.
Only then can we enter our Promised Land where our exodus will finally end.
How the review of this book and the end of our pastor’s sermon lined up so well is beyond me. God had this planned the whole time. Family Christian gave me a chance to read Max Lucado’s newest book, Glory Days. You know I’m a Max fanatic. This book didn’t disappoint. (It’s pretty too!)
Glory Days is full of subject matter for the very things that I mentioned above. If you find yourself as a wandering, worrying Israelite, you will find encouragement among the pages of this book.
Ever studied the book of Joshua before? No worries if you haven’t. Just read this book! Max Lucado breaks down the many stories of Joshua and the leading of his people with God’s help. My favorite chapter of this one is Chapter 13- You Be You. The entire book is jam-packed with wisdom. It’s all about learning to live out our inheritance!
Win A $10 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate
The leaves on the tree across the street began to fall a couple of weeks ago. The green grass fades into the background as reds, golds, oranges, and browns now cover the ground in its place. I feel that first crisp chill in the air as summer is winding down. The world becomes a little more visible as the trees become transparent without their thick covering of leaves.
My how the world around us changes with a simple switch of the season.
It’s harvest time again.
Fall is the time of year when we transition from the harsh heat of the summer to the welcoming cool breezes of autumn. The cozy colors fall make their debut. Campfires fill their air with their smokey, warm goodness. Piles of leaves begin to form in front and backyards followed by cheerful giggles of children jumping into the piles.
There seems to be an overwhelming feeling of thanksgiving during the harvest months. Besides the obvious holiday, smells of apple cider and pumpkin spice always bring about a heightened sense of nostalgia.
Reminds me of this verse:
The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. – Matthew 9:37
What if we adopted a new nostalgia during the fall season? What is we used this time of year to share Jesus with others out of the abundance in our hearts? Jesus told his disciples that there is a large harvest of potential believers out there, but the laborers to go and bring them into the Kingdom are few. It’s like an entire apple orchard brimming with an abundance of apples and no one to pick them. It’s exciting to me to think that Jesus could use me as His laborer. What a special harvest that I could reap!
Gathering Grain is all about abundance. Abundance of love, life, prayer, and blessings.
Let’s pray that as we enter into this new season that God shows us where we need to reap, but also where we should sow.
The first day of fall is Wednesday, September 23rd!
If you LOVE the pillow wraps in my pictures above like I do, Family Christian is the place to get them! I am in love with their new home decor products. Those adorable pillow wraps are only $6.90! You can find them at your local store or online!
My favorite is my new Grace & Gratitude lumbar pillow. It has brought a cozy and warm feeling to my chair. They have so much more than pillows, though! Head to Family Christian and take a look around!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Family Christian Stores. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.
I’ve been reflecting on the change that takes place when God happens to us.
We spend our life making a life. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not, but you have to admit that it’s a lot of work.
It’s as though we are building a house.
What we learn to believe becomes our foundation. We add on walls and a roof unpacking our experiences into the closets and cabinets. We may be really great at keeping it clean or sometimes, it may be a complete mess.
What we build is who we become.
He comes to demo your comfortable home and build it as a temple for Him. Not all of it will be lost, but God through the Holy Spirit will sort through the rubble of it all deciding what needs to stay and what needs to go.
Even the unmaking is a process. We don’t become broken overnight. There is so much beauty within a broken soul.
The power of surrender.
The promise to become whole.
The only thing left is Him.
He pulls down the veil of curtains of shame and sin and hangs up endless flowing drapes of grace and mercy. He removes the failing roof to exchange it for His word which protects from all spiritual elements. He tears down our walls to replace them with faith, salvation, righteousness, and truth. He uses a jack hammer to break up our deeply embedded foundation and installs a new solid one based on the Son He sent to die in our place.
Though we may continue to try to build up our walls again, the master carpenter never tires of helping us demo our weak building to construct a rock solid temple for which He can dwell.
We truly have to lose ourselves to find out who He is.
I was thrilled to get a copy of Nichole Nordeman’s newest cd, The Unmaking thanks to Family Christian. I’ve had this one in my car for a couple of weeks and I find that it calms my soul. Her voice is like an angel.
This cd is SO good. The whole thing is a great anthem for women. Each and every one is so incredibly good and the lyrics are so deep. The song Name is SO good. I love the lyrics…
You are still a promise
The heartbeat of God
You may have forgotten
But He has not
You are not your ashes
You are a flame
Do not ask the shadows
The Light of the world knows
Knows your name
I love the song The Unmaking. Another one is Something Out of Me. There is a good mix of slow and fast songs on this cd which makes for a great variety.
Family Christian has The Unmaking right now for $7.99! Or….you could WIN it with my giveaway!
Nichole Nordeman’s The Unmaking CD Giveaway
THIS GIVEAWAY HAS BEEN EXTENDED!
This giveaway will end Sunday, September 25th at 11:59pm CT. I will contact the winner on Monday, September 21st and they will have 24 hours to respond. If I have not heard from them, I will name a new winner. US entries only.
I was provided with a copy of The Unmaking for review purposes by Family Christian. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.