Overwhelmed

Overwhelmed

 

It’s been a trying night.

I’m not sure why I don’t just expect nights like these. As though it’s completely out of the norm for me to become this way. 

No matter how many times I end up this way, it feels as though it’s the first time. 

Every time.

Overwhelmed. Yes, completely. Both physically and emotionally.

The feeling as though the entire weight of the world is literally balancing it’s enormous sphereness on my shoulders. The feeling of all the minuscule things conglomerating together into a big massive blob of…well, too much.

Too much.

How can God just dole out a big helping of too much? And why? Don’t I already have enough on my plate?

That whole saying of “God will never give you more than you can handle” is for lack of a better term- crap.

After a night like tonight and many others even worse that I’ve experienced, I can tell you for sure that God does give me more than I can handle.

It hasn’t been anything huge. Tonight. Screaming children. Running through the store children. The need to get back on a budget. Broke down car. Broken sander. Yada, yada, yada. I won’t bore you with all my little things. 

I ran into a friend at the store. Lack of shower and all, I did the unthinkable- I said something to her. She recognized me! We chatted about this and that and then I went back to wrangling screaming and running children.

God gives us MORE than we can handle.

I can’t take it. And sometimes, frankly, it’s not cool. Me and God have a chat.

Here’s the kicker…

God gives us MORE than we can handle so that we will have no choice but to depend on Him. It’s too much for us but not for Him.

“Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Struggling hard? Yep that’s me!

Carrying heavy loads? Me, me! It feels like the world. Can I let go now? 

I want rest. I will trade this burden the size of Oklahoma any day for a lighter one.

Thank you Jesus that you see me like this. You meet me right here in the messy and jacked up. I’m saying uncle now and turning it over to you. I want to be overwhelmed by you.

So I pray tonight for peace. I ask for any who are with me feeling this overwhelmed with the world on their shoulders, Lord that you will come to them. Meet them right where they are. Comfort them with your love. Give them rest. Take our burdens, no matter how large or small. We want your rest. We want you Jesus.

Amen.

10 Things I’ve Learned About Prayer

10 Things Ive Learned

 

I am not an expert on prayer. In fact, you’ll find me to be a member of the PWA. (You’ll find out about that later) But you know, it’s not hard to open the Bible and find pretty clear instructions on how we should pray.

Communication with God

God created prayer as a means for His people to connect with Him. It is literally just talking with him. Sometimes it’s just connecting with him spirit to spirit. It is a means to form relationship with God.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. – Psalms 145:18

necessary

To have a relationship with Christ, we have to pray. To praise him, thank him, ask for his forgiveness, ask for guidance, and to intercede for others. It would be practically impossible to walk with God and not pray to him.

commanded to pray

It’s mentioned over and over  in the Bible that we are to pray. It’s obviously very important to God!

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.- Romans 12:12

Physical requirement

If you’re thinking what the heck is she talking about, think bowing your head or kneeling. It most certainly helps us to be humble and to show respect to the Lord. The fact of the matter is, prayer is not physical, it is spiritual.

Jesus hung from the cross and was unable to be in the perfect posture for praying. He called out to his Father and the Lord heard him. How we are standing or holding our head will not make our prayers more righteous if we are truly connecting with the spirit of God. While those things can often help reflect our inner thoughts and humble us before Him, they are not requirements for praying to the Father.

fancy words

You don’t have to be a poet or a scholar of the King James Version of the Bible to pray. For many years I was discouraged from praying because I never knew “the right words” to pray. I lacked biblical language (still do) and I thought it made my prayers less important. The Bible says that we aren’t to worry about fancy words or long sentences. Whew, that’s a relief! I’m not good at that anyways!

When you pray, don’t pour out a flood of empty words, as the Gentiles do. They think that by saying many words they’ll be heard. – Matthew 6:7

know what to pray

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. Hallelujah! Have you ever been in a situation where a situation was so bad that you didn’t even know where to start to pray? Like your head might explode! According to the Lord’s will, the Spirit prays for us!

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. – Romans 8:26

never stop

When our prayer life dies out, so does our relationship with God. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 clearly  states- Never stop praying.  That seems pretty clear enough. I love this by C H Spurgeon.

As we breathe without ceasing, so must we pray without ceasing. As there is no attainment in life, of health, or of strength, or of muscular vigor which can place a man beyond the necessity of breathing, so no condition of spiritual growth or advance in grace will allow a man to dispense with prayer. – Charles Spurgeon, 1872 Sermon no. 1039

always hears

Even when we don’t see results, know that God always hears your prayers.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.” – Psalm 145:18-19

The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. – Proverbs 15:29

great power

One of the most powerful tools that we have as children of God is prayer. We are ordinary people who serve and extraordinary God. We cannot do the things that He can. Because we submit our sins, needs, and requests to Him, we turn them over to His mighty power. Prayer is HUGE!

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. – James 5:16

doesnt have to be perfect

God has never called us to be perfect. In fact, God Loves Imperfection. If you are communicating with God spirit to spirit, praising, repenting, requesting, you are doing it right. The more that you do it, the better that you’ll get at it. It brings God such great joy when his children humble themselves with their imperfect prayers to talk with him.

book of the year

I got the opportunity to read a GREAT resource on prayer. I wanted to share with you about it. It’s from my favorite Christian author, Max Lucado. It’s all in the video below. I edited the very living daylights out of it because I have come to realize that every other word that I say is “um”.

Please forgive me if you feel like you’re going nuts. 🙂 And PLEASE leave a comment below with anything that YOU would add to the list above.


Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer, Before Amen, Max Lucado
You can get Max’s book Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer at Family Christian. It is currently only $9.99!

I was provided with a copy of Before Amen by Family Christian. All opinions expressed at 100% my own!

Does Godly Romance Exist?

Does Godly Romance

Is true romance dead?

You know what I’m talking about. The kinda stuff that we see in the movies. The candlelight and flowers, sweep-you-off-your-feet, knock-your-socks-off kinda romance.

What about chivalry? Ha! Haven’t heard that word in a while. The word, which basically means respect, is not something that we hear of happening much anymore.

Too often in our culture, the dating scene and sometimes even the committed can lack in these areas.

Has a man who sends a girl flowers and opens the door for her without an ulterior motive become the minority? It seems that way!

There is such a thing as godly romance you know. That’s called old fashioned these days. Respect, saving yourself for marriage, and prayerfully considering if a husband/wife is God’s choice for you. Not always the norm!

What if you’ve already made bad choices in the past? Are you damaged goods?

Absolutely not!

God can and WILL redeem your past. All that matters is what you do with your future.

As believers, we should strive to stick to the values that we so strongly believe in. That isn’t an easy feat in today’s society. Have faith and courage, even if it means you’re the weird one. Hey, being old fashioned means you’re unique and completely unexpected. A change from an impending one night stand and fly-by-night romance.

It means that you’re allowing God to guide.

old fashioned

I’m still reeling from a movie that I was invited to screen. Guess what it’s called….

Old Fashioned. Teehee.

This film was made to touch on the very things that I just mentioned.

Old Fashioned is a faith-based love story about a former frat boy who comes to know Jesus and it changes the way he looks at dating and romance. He meets a free-spirited girl who is quite the opposite. In our modern-day dating scene, they attempt an old fashioned courtship.

My honest opinion? One of the best faith-based movies that I’ve seen in a long time.

This film was a refreshing taste of what love and romance can truly be if God is guiding it. I love that it stayed realistic by addressing common pitfalls like partying, pornography, and sex before marriage without glorifying those things. In fact, this film highlights how God’s grace covers our mistakes and makes us new.

<a href="http://gatheringgrain.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/old-things-are-passed-away pharmacie viagra sans ordonnance.png”>old things are passed away;

I enjoyed this movie a lot y’all. Even hubby liked it! We laughed, got teary, got angry, and felt connected with the characters. And it even had good acting too! I can’t say that about all Christian movies. There were moments that were a little slow, but what happened next always made up for it.

This would be a fantastic movie for a youth group to see! It would be perfect for singles, and those who are dating, too! And honestly, for anyone wanting to see a true and pure love story.

It hits theaters February 14th, 2015. Valentine’s Day, how fitting! Check it out at OldFashionedMovie.com.

You can find it at a theater near you here. It is at limit theaters, about 200 across the nation. It’s going to be competing with a certain well-known, less-than-Christian film, Fifty Shades of Grey. Let’s support truth instead of a false idea of romance!

I truly hope that you will go see Old Fashioned and that it will bless you like it blessed me! Watch the trailer below.

I was provided with tickets to the screening by Family Christian. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

My FIRST Winter Jam 2015

Winter Jam

Every single year I hear the commercials on the radio. I drool as the commercials play clips of songs by the artists that will play. I get excited to hear about Winter Jam that comes to Nashville, TN each year.

And then I don’t go. 

Usually because of a schedule thing or because I don’t want to brave the crowd. And let’s face it, I’m getting old and concerts are getting louder than they once were.

NOT THIS YEAR! I am going to Winter Jam 2015!

This is one of the biggest collections of Christian Artists in one venue that brings folks from all over to worship together and rock out to glorify God. Each year gets better and better with new and different bands and singers.

francesca

This year features:

  • Skillet
  • Jeremy Camp
  • Francesca Battistelli
  • Building 429
  • Family Force 5
  • Newsong
  • For King and Country
  • Blanca
  • About A Mile
  • Veridia
  • Speaker Tony Nolan

skillet

I am most excited about seeing Skillet, Francesca Battistelli, Building 429, and For King and Country! I love all of the rest as well, but these are my faves. Skillet has been a favorite of mine for a few years now and For King and Country is another that I am slowly starting to love.

John 330

Found this verse on the Winter Jam 2015 site. Reminds me that it’s not about me, but about Him! That I can brave the crowds and the loud music to enjoy a few hours praising God with others who love Him. 

The Winter Jam Tour 2015 comes to Nashville on February 8th. Be sure to follow me as I’ll be updating across all my social media sites while I’m there!

Wondering if the tour is coming near you? Check out the Winter Jam site for dates and cities.

I am incredibly excited to have my tickets to Winter Jam sponsored by Family Christian. Thank you!

God Loves Imperfection

God loves imperfection

I’ve been trying for far too long.

Year after year. Month after month. Day after day. Even moment after moment

I try.

I give it my all. I waste my precious and fleeting time on it.

When I wake up, I attempt it. Before I go to bed I attempt it.

When I was in school, it’s what I aimed for. When I became a woman, I thought it’s what I needed to do.

When I became a mom I thought it necessary.

The fact of the matter is, I’m giving up. I am officially throwing in the towel. I’m folding, conceding, and I surrender.

I will never be perfect. There I said it.

Whew. That’s a hard pill to swallow. Kinda like a gigantic horse pill for the psyche. 

But it must be done.

You see, God has told me that I don’t have to try anymore.

He wants me to know that He loves me right where I am at. He wants you to know the same.

He loves you when your sink is full of dishes. He loves you when your toilet is disgusting (but for real though, I need to clean mine). He loves you  when you spend too much money. He loves you when you skip church to sleep in. He loves you when you avoid people at the grocery store because you need a shower. He loves you when you go weeks with a stale fry stuck to your car’s floorboard. He loves you when you forget to pray. He loves you when you ignore Him.

He loves you in your imperfection.

Why in the world? Why would God love me when I am so jacked up? I mean, I don’t always get to my devotional and my bed sometimes goes days without being made.

For God's power

2 Corinthians 12:9 says this:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God loves us in our imperfection because that’s when He can make us better.

How can we improve if we are already perfect? There’s no room to grow if we have reached the top. 

Our entire existence on this earth is to be spent trying to be more like Jesus. Since we will never be just like him, God will have our entire lives to make improvements, tweak us, and mold us into His image.

Every mistake, every sin, every flaw is an opportunity for God to work in us for His glory.

We are not made to be perfect. If that were true, God would have made us robots. A bunch of perfect and flawless robots walking around with empty sinks, clean toilets, and always at church without fail. Would God really be needed with perfection like that?

And what about Jesus? Why would Jesus need to be sent to earth to be an example for a bunch of robots?

He chose to die for completely helpless, flawed, and undeserving human beings. That’s us! And how grateful I am that he did.

As I grow in my walk with the Lord I realize that I don’t have to try for perfection. Doing my best is as close to that as I will ever get. God loves my imperfection. He loves to make me better.

I love to let Him.

I pray today that if you feel the pull to always try for perfection that you will let it go. If only for a moment of freedom. Let the power of Christ rest in your weakness. He will be glorified when you trust in Him. God bless you!

A 21-Day Facebook Fast

Comparison

As a blogger, social media is a huge part of my life. I use it for so many things. In my personal life, it helps me keep up with friends and family who I may not otherwise see on a daily basis. I’ve been known to use it when I need a pick me up. Somebody is always sharing a funny video. I can use it to ask for a quick prayer request. I have some fantastic prayer warriors on Facebook.

I love Pinterest for ideas to make me feel crafty. And of course, for the recipes.

And who can forget, Twitter? The part of social media that I pretend to have figured out that I may never truly understand.

It’s all become an every day part of our lives. Which can be a great thing!  …Or it can drive a little thing called comparison. Scrolling through the newsfeed feeling inadequate because Suzy Somebody has her whole family in a perfect pose while they have ice cream at the best ice cream place in town. Or perhaps having to take a picture with friends during EVERY SINGLE visit just so you can tag them in your picture on Facebook or Instagram. Since when do you have to take a picture with a friend to make it count? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, but where is your heart?

 Is it waiting on approval?

A recent study claims that Facebook users mainly use it for 2 primary purposes: 1) the need to belong and 2) the need for self-presentation. Can we really argue with that? I will not argue that when I post a selfie that I took the time to find the one that gets me in the best light at the very best angle. I will not argue that I want to feel like I belong on social media channels. But what does this mean? It means that I put too much value on what others think.

Have you ever heard the quote, “don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”? Well I’m going to take that to a different level.

Don't

This has all been on my heart lately. I have days when I am completely fine and having a great day only to scroll through my Facebook feed and end up feeling down. It’s not that I’m not thrilled for all the amazing things happening to my friends and family, but sometimes I find that my comparison monster likes to rear its ugly head and within moments I have unconsciously been brought down. The devil knows that I have issues with looking for approval and comparing myself to others. He relishes when I scroll through Facebook to find these things.

This is something that I have been praying about. In the meantime I’m trying to take action against the things that might cause me to stumble. 

Watch

As Christ followers, we are to do the thing that others might not. It’s not easy missing out on things. Not going the same path that many others take. In my case, I feel the Lord calling me take a drastic measure. One that will take a stand against one of my temptations where comparison can lurk.

A

My church is starting 21 days of prayer and fasting starting January 1st. I’ve been contemplating on what I could do to really honor God. Facebook has slowly risen to the top of my heart as a way to honor God with fasting. 

It may not seem like a drastic measure to some, but I find that it’s just enough to remove my focus from Him sometimes. I scroll through Facebook and post on there way more than I should throughout the day. This will probably prove to be quite the challenge!

For the next 21 days I plan to stay off of my personal Facebook. I will still be posting on my blog page, but personally I want to drop off the radar. Put this to the test. I’ve never gone longer than a couple of weeks! While on my Facebook fast, I hope to pray more for God to remove this spirit of comparison from me. I want to accept the approval of God and be completely content with it. Not to look to others as a means for measurement. 

I have no doubt that God can help me overcome.

As moms, I think social media is harmful in the comparison department. You see the perfect photos of the perfect house. Kids dressed in clean clothes that were homemade for them. Comparison in the pinterest moms who are crafty. It’s a whole new meaning to keeping up with the Jones. It is harmful to self esteem. Makes us feel like we are failing in comparison. When reality is one picture or craft doesn’t show us the whole picture. 

Leslie

What about you? Do you feel that social media affects your mood or self-esteem? Do you find yourself making comparisons? I’d love for you to weigh in below! 

For those who may be interested in fasting Facebook with me. Here are some tips:

  • Remove the Facebook app and Messenger apps from your phone and other devices.
  • Change your Facebook password to something crazy and email it to yourself (Or a spouse). The only way to login when you decide to end your fast will be to access that email. My husband has done this and it worked for him!
  • Focus the time that you would be on Facebook onto reading the Bible or doing a study. 
  • Create Facebook statuses for when you do return that might encourage others and brighten their day.
  • Read and encouraging book instead.
  • Go for a walk!
  • Enjoy time with family instead.

Just Be Loved

beloved

Have you ever researched what your name means? I didn’t for a long time for fear of finding out that it might mean “harry goat” or something. It’s actually quite interesting to find out what the origins and variations are.

I never gave the meaning of Amy much credence until somewhat recently. My name means “Beloved”.

Dearly beloved or beloved.

I love the surprise that my name means something that I tend to have struggles with. Beloved.

Be. Loved.

I think God might just be trying to tell me something. My own struggles with accepting love stems mainly from self-love, mostly. Which in the scheme of things doesn’t mean a hill of beans compared to the love that God has for me. So why is it so hard?

This is a path that I am walking out with help of God’s mighty grace. Learning to love yourself how you are right now takes BIG grace. It takes BIG mercy and even BIGGER strength. 

Just be loved. Accept it. Be loved by your husband. By your children. By your coworkers. By your friends. By your parents. By yourself.

By God.

The LORD your God among you is powerful— he will save and he will take joyful delight in you. In his love he will renew you with his love; he will celebrate with singing because of you. – Zephaniah 3:17

Be Loved

 I recently got the pleasure of listening to Christy Nockel’s CD Into the Glorious. God knew that I needed to listen to this one. I am a big fan of her’s. We use some of her songs on our worship team at church so I’m familiar with many. In fact, one of my favorites is on this CD- “Waiting Here For You” is so good.

Some new ones on this CD that I had never heard that I now love are, “Sing Along”, “Wonderful”, and “Into the Glorious”.  But they are ALL so good.

After turning on this album, God lead me to track #5 which is called “Be Loved”. There were tears. It speaks to my struggle.

Be loved. Beloved. That is what my name MEANS! I mean, God places just what we need in our path at the right time. This song washed over me like a refreshing river of truth.

If you can relate at all to my struggle, this whole album is so good for you. Highly recommended!

Christy Nockels

Track List:

Ever Lifting
For Your Splendor
Wonderful
Into the Glorious
Be Loved
Waiting Here for You
Sing Along
Love Can Build a Bridge
Your Love is Moving
Hearing is in Your Hands
Already All I Need
How I Love You

You can grab a copy of Christy Nockels’ album Into The Glorious at Family Christian for $11.99. You can also get the whole MP3 album for $9.99.

How about a giveaway so you can get a copy?!

$10 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate Giveaway

$10 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate

I was provided with Christy Nockels album for review purposes by Family Christian. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

This giveaway will end on Monday, December 29th at 11:59pm CT. I will contact the winner on December 30th and they will have 24 hours to respond. If I have not heard from them, I will name a new winner.

Veggie Tales Beauty and the Beet $9.99!

Family Night

Sometimes we just simply play Uno all night whilst sipping hot cocoa by the fireplace. Sometimes we make a trip to the dollar store and let the girls pick out a special toy. As the parents, we are just full of surprises aren’t we? You never know what kinda fun we have in store for family night!

However, it’s likely that on any given family night at our house you’ll find us soaking in a flick. Movies always seem to bring us all together. Not only literally, because we are literally in one place, but also emotionally. Feeling what the characters are feeling, witnessing the twists of the plot at the same time, and even cringing at the bad guys at the same time. 

And then sometimes….

Beauty and the Beat 2

You just want to watch Veggie Tales. We were so excited to finally watch Beauty and the Beet (thanks to Family Christian!) for the first time the other night! We waited and waited for it to come out and then when it finally did, we were too busy to find time to watch it. Not anymore!

Unconditional love

This movie has a fantastic message of unconditional love. Using the known Beauty and the Beast story, the Veggie Tales transform it into a story that God loves each of us just as we are, and that we should love others the same.

 

Bring it On

As a mom, I loved that it was just 45 minutes long. With 2 girls under 8 it’s hard sometimes to keep their attention and this was the perfect amount of time to entertain them. Kelly Pickler did a fantastic job as Mirabelle. She added a nice country twang to the movie. And we always love their silly, yet catchy Veggie Tales tunes! We LOVED the new silly song called “Mac and Cheese” about how Larry’s great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great (forgot how many greats) invented Macaroni and Cheese. 

My daughter Addie said that she “liked it a lot”. Her favorite parts where when they sung on stage! My youngest said that she “loved” it. That’s high praise from a 3 year old I’d say!

Beauty and the Beet is on sale right now through December 24th for only $9.99! That is a great price! Grab it before the sale ends.

Family Christian has options available for getting it by Christmas. Be sure to check out the Shipping Info in the product description. 

Watch the trailer:

Beauty and the Beat was provided for review purposes by Family Christian. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.