Fear. He really is a Liar.

My struggle with depression and anxiety hit a peak this summer.  In conjunction with my physical health (and issues I am dealing with) and circumstances which were deeply disappointing, I found myself in a pit of despair and after fighting it off for some time, I just let it wash over me.

But here’s the thing.  Most of my anxiety was driven by fear.  My anxiety really amps up my depression, so being able to look back and see that fear was driving it all made me understand so much m ore clearly that Fear really is a liar.

We love the new song by Zach Williams.  When it comes on the radio, most of us in my family chime in and sing along.  In fact, we’ve taken to resorting to quoting it when we catch our kids telling half-truths.  {Only because, being the wise parents we are, we interchange our kids’ name with the word “fear.”  t usually contributes to some honesty, so it has proven effective.}

It is hard for me to admit to depression.  I am a bootstrap kind of girl who can get her head on straight, think positive and “just keep swimming.”

Notice anything there?  Yeah, me too.  It’s a bit much about doing too much myself and NOT putting my faith in God.  It’s a vicious cycle and it always takes me to a place of exhaustion, stress, and yes, depression.

All these positive vibes, uplifting self talks, and meaningful mantras are really just empty because they keep fueling me to attempt to live my life in my own strength and do things my own way.  I fail every time.  Every. Single. Time. 

My pit of despair is really just a tool that God uses to speak to me.  When I’m too tired of trying to do everything all by myself, can’t lift my head, and want to give up on everything – I can finally hear HIS voice.  Y’all.  I am so hard-headed and so hard hearted sometimes, it is utterly shameful.

But God.  He is just patient and faithful.  My word for 2018 is “Joy” and now I am seeing why He spoke that to me.  It’s because He wants me to stop trying so darn hard to do everything all myself an rest in His strength and stand in His grace.  Fear is a liar.  Jesus is the Truth.

Whatever you are facing in your life – that impossible circumstance, that endless struggle, the ongoing disappointments and those overwhelming feelings of failure, the growing darkness – if you feel like you can’t take one more step, or one more breath.  Remember this:  fear is a liar and Truth can change everything!

           The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7/365 at                 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your call is free and confidential.
Worried someone you know might be suicidal? You can #BeThe1To help. Here are 5 steps to #BeThe1To help someone in crisis 
http://bit.ly/2wQnayB

Glitches, Delays & Interruptions! Oh My!

I’ve had several things simmering on my blogging “stove” – percolating in my blogging “pot” – and have run into lots of glitches, delays & interruptions!  With school having started, I knew I would have more time to think, prepare and craft my blog posts.

And then our internet went out.  For a whole week!  It was a random thing – 3 different techs were at our house and found numerous reasons for the issues we were having – and finally, it got fixed!  It was interesting NOT having internet.  I could have done just fine without our phone or cable TV, but the internet (especially WiFi) saves my phone battery and I found myself charging my phone throughout the day!

I do believe that glitches, delays & interruptions are Providential.  Not always, but probably more often than I’d like to think.  I am a DOER, and when I can’t do, it makes me feel a lot of things I’d rather not feel.

Between my health issues cropping up over the past year, some financial obstacles, and technology glitches – I’ve come to realize how much my self-worth really relies on my ability to DO “all the things.”  And how NOT doing all the things makes me feel useless, worthless, less than, etc.

It is an ugly spot to find myself.  It is an ugly place to be.

Where all the other voices try to tell me who I am and what I am worth.  And when I am not hearing His Voice, it is so easy to fall prey to the vicious lies, threats, and insults.  To feel weighed down by the chains of inadequacy, regret, and failure.

But the truth is this:  When I don’t listen to His Voice, when I don’t rest in His Word, and when I won’t Be Still – I do fail.  I find myself scraping the bottom of the self-sufficiency barrel and coming up empty.

Because Y’all:  I. Got. Nothing.

But he invites me to Rest because HE calls me His Beloved.  And when I rest in Him, I remember this.  I remember His Love for me.  I remember that His Mercies are new every morning.  That He is faithful to me because He loves me.

I do nothing to earn His love.  I am not worthy of His love, and when I stop doing, He clothes me in His Grace and shows me His Glory.

If you are in a place that feels dark and oppressive and impossible – God is bigger than impossible.  If you find yourself running into obstacles in your life, stop and see if He is calling you to be quiet and still with Him.  Stop and check yourself.

He is not just Redeemer, but Restorer.  Not just Savior, but Sanctifier.  Not just Forgiving, but Freedom.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

Just a reminder to listen to the voice of Truth.  The voice of Freedom.

Rolling in the Deep

I am a big fan of Adele’s music.  She’s got a hip vibe that I really like and sings with a lot of sass.  My dad has most – if not all – of her CDs, which is saying a lot where he’s concerned.  My kids even enjoy it – it’s like you KNOW she means what she sings.  At least that’s how she comes across, especially when she sings “Rolling in the Deep”.  Lady can WAIL!

The past couple of weeks – school ending, work schedules changing, temperatures rising rapidly – oh my goodness, things have been rough.  Choppy.  Uncomfortable.  Exhausting.  Combine that with not sleeping well, unsettled kids, and a rumbling preteen – and it has NOT. BEEN. FUN.

I always have high hopes for summer.  I really do.  I make plans – which are quickly derailed – and it gets discouraging.  But I haven’t given up!  I have dug in my heels and focused on my goals and decided that I was going to just take one step at a time, adjusting my pace as needed.  I didn’t have all my supplies to have my kids’ summer binders ready for our first full week of summer, but they still got started on their workbooks, albeit things have been mainly one-step-forward-two-steps-back.

Curly just doesn’t even want to THINK about schoolwork.  At. All.  She wants to be on the phone, or on her tablet listening to music.  I have been a little indulgent, but we have continued to move to a more structured schedule with each passing day, so she is slowly adjusting.

KitKat did a couple days’ work with much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Lots of groaning and crying.  She doesn’t want to work either but is quite vocal about it while she’s sitting at the table and figures if SHE has to work, then MOM has to work with her.  I’m still wrangling her situation out…

Little Man – well, I don’t have to say “workbook” more than once and he is flying through his pages.  In fact, he’s far ahead of where he “should” be and I am already looking for printable resources to boost his work through the summer.  He will do 10 pages if I let him, when I’ve only asked him to do 4 at a time.  He doesn’t need help per se, but has to be redirected to READ THE DIRECTIONS before starting…

Needless to say, I know for a fact that I was NOT called to be a school teacher!

But that hasn’t been my main challenge.  I have been battling some dark moments for more than a couple of weeks, and I had hoped with an easier work schedule and “Summertime fun” that things would have eased up.  But they didn’t.  They got worse.  They got hard.  They got deep.

I have been wrestling some monsters in my life.  It has been ugly.  I have been taken under a couple of times.  I have lost my footing.  I have regained my wobbly pace one step at a time.  This particular time of year – the annual remembering of my abortion – usually brings some emotional tension with it, but I find that even that is being overshadowed by my current wrestling.

I am reminded of Jacob who wrestled with an angel (Genesis 32) and I feel as though I am fighting with all my might for a Blessing.  I have some dry, cracked desert places in my life and I want these dry bones to come alive.  I may come out of this wounded in a new way, like Jacob was, but I do know that by His wounds I am healed.  I am holding out for some healing and some restoration.  And I know He goes into the deepest dark with me.

How do people go through life without the hope of Christ?  I mean, even in the dark when I FEEL alone, I am not because HIS WORD says He is with me.  But living life with an idea that God does not exist or that he is detached from us – even when I have felt it in recent moments – I am comforted by His endless pursuit and dogged determination to have a relationship with me.  Frail, weak, and broken as I am.  So thankful for Him.  So very thankful.

If you need a little get up and go this morning, check out Adele:

Oxygen Mask

My last post shared the fact that I was having some difficulties here at the blog.  I had to step away from it for awhile because I could NOT. FIGURE. IT. OUT.  It was so frustrating.  I finally had my blog looking the way I wanted and then little things wouldn’t work.  Some of that is MY lack of knowledge, but some was just a mix of other issues.

Well, I had to change up the look of the blog again – but finally got the link situation figured out.  It wasn’t major, but I had to change themes.  It’s kinda like having to change to a new coffeemaker.  Which for me can be a good thing. =)

And it just so happened that school ended and we were thrown into our summer schedule all at once.  Whew.  We have had miscommunication and missteps already.  I wanted our first day home to be relaxing-spend-the-day-in-pajamas, but it did NOT turn out that way and it was really just the beginning of several days that piled up all over one another.

Change is not always easy.  It is not always comfortable.  It is not without problems and obstacles.  And our change has been full of all kinds of surprises.  But we will get there.

I have spent some time viewing a couple of different webinars for moms and was reminded how much I need to put on my oxygen mask.  I am not talking about spa days and manicures – I am talking about digging down deep and getting my roots what they need.  Getting Nourished.  and Being Enough.

One thing I restarted was my prayer journal.  So of course, difficult times only got MORE difficult.  I have been committed to reading one chapter of Hebrews every morning and sometimes 2 or 3 mornings in a row.  I am finding some wonderful Scriptures that are both convicting and uplifting.  I have been Bible Journaling, too, and it has really been refreshing.  These are just a couple of verses I LOVE so much…  Hope they give you some oxygen too!

For me, my oxygen means getting into the Word every day.  When I don’t – I shrivel up and wither away at the slightest pressure.  These verses remind me of Who fights for me.

It’s All in the Details – The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

So this post is going to be short & sweet.  The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is on sale TODAY.  Keep reading below to see some of my favorite categories – and exactly what is included in this bundle and click any of the graphics to visit the site and order your bundle.  Earlybird e-reader package expires at 11:59 pm tomorrow night!

This creativity bundle just makes my heart go pitter-patter.  The beautifully done printable journals, coloring books, and photography advice are the kinds of things that help me unwind and relax.  I can print off the coloring pages for myself and my girls – who love to use my glitter gel pens and markers along with me – and the Bible verse/Bible journaling books in this category are AWESOME!!!

This FAITH category includes some great little e-books to read for encouragement, a study of Proverbs for kids, another book on the topic of Bible journaling, and includes a couple of e-courses that you can take at your own pace!

The Motherhood category alone is worth far more than the purchase price of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!  It includes 2 webinars and the Mom Conference complete package, as well as parenting workbooks and e-books to read when on the days when you wonder if you’re even a good mom.  (Oh, am I the only one who wonders???)

I love my printables!  I find so much sanity in using them in a variety of ways around my home and for my own mental stability.  This category also includes an ebook about creating a paperless home using Evernote (eek!), an ebook for building a homemaking binder, and another ebook about Bullet Journaling!  Good stuff here!

Now, these are just MY favorite categories.  There are so many other resources in this package – and don’t forget the bonuses that are available with your purchase of the bundle!  click the button below to learn more!

 

When Will He Be Enough?

I find it interesting to go back and read through old journals and notebooks I have kept in previous phases of my life.  I don’t keep many around because sometimes there are things I don’t want anyone else to stumble upon – my journals tend to be the dumping grounds for whatever “junk” is lying around in my heart and writing is cathartic for me – but some I have kept because they have documented specific points in time that are meaningful and show growth, even when it was painful.

When God gave me the word “Enough” for 2017 I was not surprised.  When I was praying over a word from him, and Enough was brought to mind, I knew it was for more than just one purpose.  The word holds significance for me in several areas – my self-worth, my trust in Him, and more just to name a few.

As I was cleaning up this blog, I came across some old posts.  And I do mean OLD posts.  Back when I was blogging as “The Queen Mommy” at wordpress.com.  (serious flashback!) Whew!  Still, the word ENOUGH came at me like an animated gif…

Post 1 is here.  (Can I tell you that not much has changed since that post…  other than no more math class)

Post 2 is here.

These posts were written about 6 1/2 years ago.  A lot in my life has changed since then.   And I also see that some things have not changed at all.

I am still  learning some of the same lessons the hard way.  I am still entrapped by certain lies about God and about myself that I need to let go of so I can be free of my discontentment.

I am discovering a couple of rules on my journey in life.  If I stick to these rules, I find great contentment and peace.

Rule #1:  GOD IS ALWAYS ENOUGH.

Rule #2:  I am “Enough” to where and what He calls me.  If I am not, see Rule #1. 

I am all about independence and self-reliance.  It is both a strength and weakness.  I like to shoulder my load and carry my weight.  I expect many other people to do the same.  HOWEVER, I am not always the one who determines what my load is or what weight I should be carrying.

Sometimes I take on more than I should.  More than I am called to take on.  And I suffer for it.  And so do the people around me.  When my independence becomes more important to the things He has called me to in my life, I become bitter and discontented and angry and it ravages my soul, leaving me dry and dusty and unable to be who I am meant to be.

ENOUGH.

This word holds layers of meaning for me.  I am glad it is the word God brought to my heart for this year.  I hope I can learn the lessons He wants to bring to my heart and life.

Do you have a word or phrase for 2017?  How does it hold meaning for you?  Have you seen God working the word into your life?

Grace. Salt. Light.

Well, our pastor’s sermon Sunday morning stomped all over my toes.  And it was about Grace.

You would think that a blog with the word “Grace” in the title should have a handle on that whole Grace thing, right?

Well, think again.  Cuz the truth is – I am constantly looking for Grace in my life.  It isn’t that God doesn’t abundantly pour it out on me.  It’s how I take it in.  And then share it with people.

Or don’t.

Cuz as much as I KNOW about Grace – and as much as I have experienced GRACE – I am not saturated with it to the point that when I am squeezed it comes flooding out.

sigh.

And that’s why I am looking for Grace and Glory in my life.  but not just looking.  I have come to realize how hardened I have become by life.  Cuz it’s just plain unfair.

No, really.  Life is hard.  Promised promotions are handed to someone else.  Other promises are just flat broken.  Timelines stretch out, and then nerves are stretched thin.  Tires go flat.  Again and again.  Kids have meltdowns.  Moms have meltdowns.  Bills get bigger.  And more get added on.  Loved ones suffer.  Loved ones die.

Life is hard.  Am I right?

But God is good.  And you know what – HOPE, my word for 2016 – solely rests on that knowledge.

GOD. IS. GOOD.

And when I am reminded that Grace comes from God – even when I hide my Light, or lose some saltiness – God has vast reserves of Grace to replenish me.  Always hoping to shine through me, and season others through me, and bring GRACE to others..

When I fail to stand strong in my faith, I was reminded this morning that I can still stand in the gap for others.  And pray that God strengthens me and that I will grow in strength in Him so he can use me.  Not just to stand in a gap.  But to draw others to Him.

 

When the Battle Rages Fierce

There are enough passages in Scripture to make it very clear that life is hard.  And being a believer does NOT exclude you from those hard things.  Christianity does NOT promise ease or exemption from every hard thing in life.  Instead, we are constantly reminded that although it is hard, we have a GOOD, GOOD FATHER.  When the battle rages fierce – and it absolutely will – not only is He good, but He is protective.  He provides His own suit of armor, fashioned to fit each one of us uniquely and individually.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought

{Sidebar – you should know that I wrote the above text several weeks ago.  And it sat here.  As my laptop died.  As we experienced 2 flat tires over a 6 week period on Tuesday nights, right before my Bible study of The Armor of God.  as we discovered that my husband’s injuries, although not life threatening, were causing him some new symptoms, which are still being investigated.  As the respiratory disaster worked its way through our house.  You know.  NORMAL for us here…}

I was feeling knocked down, dragged out, spit-on-my-neck beaten for many of these days.

I only got to watch 3 of the 7 videos related to the Bible study.  We are still without a 2nd car.  My very incredibly helpful in-laws are still carting me back & forth to work and picking up kids from school.  Car accidents have looooong lasting effects – let me tell you.

But I am feeling the undergirding of God’s people.  I have 2 friends who have come alongside me and given me a breath of fresh air.  By helping me laugh, by helping me get my brain on a little straighter, and by being just a really good friend to me.  I am so thankful for each of these ladies I cannot even tell you.

And to top that, my mother-in-law came to stay with Little Man while Curly had a dr appointment one day last week, and when I walked in – my house was beautifully neat!  It was such a blessing to my heart.  I just kinda floated around the house the rest of the day (as I tackled stacks of dishes and piles of laundry) and was so blessed.

It helped me catch my breath, and although the battle still remains fierce, God has blown a fresh breeze into my life and I am getting my battle gear on.  The enemy loves to do nothing more than completely disarm us – and he is a crafty enemy who knows where and when to strike.

But I have a Father who shields and protects me.  And when I am still before Him, He fights the battle for me…

Daily Bible Journaling. Sort of.

Just to be clear, I have included amazon links in this post.  That means if you click them and decide to buy the recommended item – I will receive a small referral commission.  Feel free to browse at your convenience – and know that I appreciate any purchases you choose to make via Grace & Glory!

So I referenced a new hobby in my last post – and then life got crazy and I didn’t get to do it for a few days.  I was actually participating in it on a daily basis and really enjoying it.  For me, Daily Bible Journaling has been taking less than 10 minutes of my time on a regular basis and if I wanted to embellish it to a larger degree, I can.  That’s where the artsy part comes in.

What I love about this Daily Bible Journaling is that it really focuses on the Scripture.

Well, for ME, it helps me to focus on the Scripture.  There are several places to find a monthly plan and I will include those links below.

I’m also including some pictures so you can get an idea of how simple it can be.  I have seen some really amazing artistic examples in some of my FB groups, so you can get as creative as you would like to be.

Here are the supplies you need:

And that is really all you need.  Where you can get creative is by using colored gel pens (including these on amazon), washi tape, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, primer & paints, and more.

Depending on the type of notebook you select, you can either keep it strictly to writing – or you can use an art journal with heavier paper, to allow for a vast array of artistic expression.

20160213_201058.pngI am finding that I enjoy this particular habit of Daily Bible Journaling because I can use my good study Bible (that I just discovered hidden away last week!) and don’t have to commit to a journaling Bible just yet.  And it really only takes a few minutes.  But the few minutes I spend focusing on writing out the Scriptures is a really beneficial discipline.  For example, I can tell that i have missed a few days of the Daily Bible Journaling this week because I have not been focusing on the Word like I should and my nerves are frayed.

So as I wrap up this post, I’ll be grabbing my new glitter gel pens and writing out today’s passage.

Here’s where you can find suggested Daily Bible Journaling Scriptures:

  • Sweet Blessings – this is the one I am actually using
  • Heidi St John – I love this lady’s blog & podcasts!
  • His Mercy is New – these are printables for praying the Scriptures, but you can obviously use them to journal as well…

20160213_204739.pngThere are other sites as well if you do a google search, but I think these 3 resources are really good ones.

FYI – I used a variety of pens to do mine.  This particular one is done in all glitter ink.  It is quite shimmery and pretty and I liked the outcome.  But you can use a black pen and highlighters to add color and depth if you want.  It is really up to you and your style and preferences.  The MAIN thing is to focus on the MAIN thing:  SCRIPTURE!!!