Thursday, January 28, 2016

Spending Time with God

When I was growing up, I saw my dad get up every morning and read his Bible faithfully, and my mom would read her Bible in the afternoons and evenings. As a child, I saw that reading the Bible seemed to be an important habit to have, but it seemed like something that only grown-ups did. In Sunday school, I remember a friend talking about reading her Bible at home, but we were in fourth grade. I couldn't believe she did that on her own! I can remember learning about the all elusive quiet time in middle school youth group. Our youth minister (I'm looking at you, Tim Nussbaumer) highly emphasized that in order to walk with God and have a genuine relationship with Christ, we needed to daily spend time with Him in His word. We received journals and tools that would help us ask the right questions as we were encouraged to dig deeper on our own and to discuss the Word with others.

{Beautiful watercolor print by Ruth Simons of Gracelaced}

It wasn't until late middle school and early high school when I really began to spend time in the Word on my own. Through reading the Word on my own and coming to it with a hungry appetite, the Lord began to use the Holy Spirit to teach me about my genuine need for Christ and my desperation for His guidance and forgiveness of my sins daily, not just to save me once and for all for an eternity with Him in heaven. Romans is still my favorite book of the New Testament because of the many ways that the Lord spoke to me through the apostle Paul as I learned to spend time with Him.

I am a creature of habit- I need routine and love to make lists and check off my to-do's. The challenge for me is to keep my time with God fresh instead of another thing that I check off of my list for that day. One thing that I have a hard time forgetting not to neglect is the power of prayer when I approach the Word of God. Hebrews tells us that His word is living and active- that means that He can speak to me in any way He chooses when I come to Him, should I choose to listen. It is really easy for me to approach my time with God as a nonchalant thing that I just need to "get done" instead of remembering that His word is the bread of life that gives me the strength I need for each day. Lately, I've tried to begin my time with the Lord in prayer, asking Him to quiet my nearly always racing mind and to help me hear His voice above my worries, fears, and lies of the enemy. Back in the fall, Rory and I went to see The War Room. This movie challenged us greatly and helped us to remember the value of intentional prayer and time with God. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. It not only teaches us to remember the importance of prayer and Bible reading, but also to realize that God is in control, no matter what.

"We fail in our duty to study God's word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy." - R.C. Sproul

What Works for Me

  • Going to bed on time the night before so that I can get up without a big fight the next morning. 
  • Using a tablet or computer instead of my phone to read She Reads Truth. (I don't always do this, but it really helps when I do.)
  • Praying before I get started so that my mind and heart are not as distracted. It's a real struggle, y'all.
  • Listening to praise and worship music before, during, or after. It depends on the difficulty of the text I'm reading whether or not I include music, and sometimes I listen to an instrumental Pandora station. 
  • Having an accountability partner or just someone I talk with about what I'm reading. Right now that's my husband and a friend at work. 


My Quiet Time Routine

  • Make a list of ten things I am grateful for or take ten looks at Christ.
  • Pray and ask the Lord to quiet my mind. 
  • Do my chronological Bible reading of the day and make notes of what I think the Lord is trying to show me or things that stick out to me.
  • Do my She Reads Truth reading-this is whatever plan they're currently doing; right now we're in Genesis.
  • Pray for my needs of the day- each day of the week is dedicated to a different area of my life/people I want to pray for, there are some that I pray for daily. 
Every Day Tools
  • My Bible. Duh. I'm super old school in that I really don't like to read the Bible on a screen. I want to hold it in my hands and be able underline, circle, and make notes. My sweet husband bought me an ESV Journaling Bible a few months ago, and I absolutely love it. 
  • She Reads Truth: an incredible (free!!!) online resource for women with amazing reading plans. SRT also has a sister (brother?) website called He Reads Truth, so it is fun to talk with Rory about what he reads because they are on the same reading schedule.
  • Give Me Jesus journal: I absolutely love journaling and writing the Word. It helps me to process and write things down, even if I don't go back and read them for quite some time. My friend Gretchen created this journal to help women enjoy getting in the Word, and it is a tool I've used for about two years now. I absolutely love it. 
  • Val Marie Prayer Journal: This journal is amazing; it is so well organized and easy to use. Each month, you write down your prayer needs for the world, our nation, your spouse and kids, and then there are blank spaces for you to fill in your own needs. What I love is the section for answered prayers, because it is so neat to see how the Lord works as we come to Him with our needs and trust Him to provide for us. 
  • Prayer Calendar: This tool has greatly helped me, as there is a specific Scripture to pray each day for my husband, kids, and myself. If you're single, you can pray for your future husband or another male figure in your life. I don't have kids yet, but I use that section to pray for my kids at school and girls who used to be in small groups I led in the past. My sweet friend Ms. Suzanne created this tool, and I love it. Go here to download the Scripture prayers; it's on the right side of the site.

{via
Taste and See Challenge

My sweet friend Gretchen, owner and creator of Life Lived Beautifully, has challenged her readers to get into the word every day this year and to hide God's word in our hearts by memorizing James. Memorizing James was already one of my goals this year, and then a couple weeks ago, an answer to prayer came when she posted a weekly schedule for memorizing the book, along with phone lock screens, too! I challenge you to hide God's word in your heart and jump on board with us, even if you'll be a little behind. I've found already that as I am working towards this goal of memorizing James with a sweet coworker and my mama, my mind has been so much clear. It's incredible what God's word does!

Well, there you have it, friends. It is a passion of mine to encourage others to love God's word so that we can be equipped to share His good news and also to have clear minds and pure hearts. Today, if you leave a comment below, you will be entered to win a prayer journal and a Give Me Jesus journal! The random winner will be announced on Monday. Just share with me things that have worked for you, things that are a challenge for you, or questions about anything shared above! I'm looking forward to reading your insights!

Journeying with you, 

Jessica

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday Ten: Cheap Date Ideas

It's really easy to get into a "Let's watch Netflix and eat junk food tonight" kind of rut. And certainly no one is bashing Netflix in these parts! But sometimes, you just want do something different. Here are a few ideas that are cheap, easy, and fun!



1. Fort Night

This activity can be so fun, because you get to work with your significant other (hereby referred to as your S.O.) on a fun project. It can be fun to figure out a strategy, and then after you've made your fort, watch some movies and eat some pizza!

2. Homemade Pizza Night

Speaking of pizza, head to the grocery store, buy a pizza crust (or make one at home) some pizza sauce, and some ingredients, and get creative!

3. Themed Movie Weekend

Last weekend, we went to see The Martian on Friday night, and then on Saturday we watched Interstellar via Prime. Hence, Space Weekend! We are lame. But it was fun, so don't judge.

4. Read a Book

So Rory and I have yet to finish an actual book that we've started reading together, but we are getting there. We did, however, read through the book of James in the Bible (very slowly) when we first got married, and that was so nice. Whether you read a book together or read different books and discuss them together, reading is fun because it sparks conversations you might not have had otherwise.

5. Coloring Night

Pour your adult beverage of choice, put on some Pandora, and sharpen those colored pencils. Adult coloring books are all the rage now, and it can be so calming. Plus it's fun to just sit, chillax, and chat.



6. Take a Hike

Getting outdoors is great, especially if you have a job where you have to sit for a long time. Conquering a mountain (or small hill) with your S.O. can be a blast!

7. Explore Your Own Hometown

Go to your local square or downtown and take a peak into a few local businesses. It can be super fun!

8. Dinner at Home

Each of you can choose what part of dinner you'd like to focus on; for instance, Ror makes this incredible salmon and risotto with mushrooms and asparagus, and I can make a mean cookie cake. Getting in the kitchen together is super fun.

9. Do Something Outdoorsy/Adventurey

Depending on the season and where you live, this date could manifest itself in myriad ways- hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, tubing, swimming, skiing- get creative and just have fun!

10. Take a Sunday Drive

Channel your inner old person here if you are a young whippersnapper. Driving through neighborhoods you want to live in or just want to know more about can be oh so fun. Just don't always look up how much the homes cost; depending on your budget you might get depressed! Seriously though, "window shopping" and "browsing" through neighborhoods can be a blast when you're looking for a home of your own.

There you have it, friends! Share the love and let me know- what are some of your favorite cheap dates?

Monday, January 25, 2016

#sistersofinfluence: Lyndsey Lovern

Friends, today I get to introduce to a dear, dear friend. Lyndsey and I have known each other for almost ten years now. We met at the very beginning of freshman year in college at UGA. She and I both were a part of the BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries) and were in the same small group. Our sophomore year we lived together in a teeny dorm room, and one summer we lived in a little bitty apartment in Five Points. We've been on many a road trip, she knows my family and I know hers. She came to visit me in Mexico during her spring break of nursing school, and she's prayed over me countless times. If this woman is a part of your life, you are blessed. She is a gem, and I love her dearly as my own sister.


{Elissa Ewald Photography}
Tell us about yourself. Who are you?
I am a truly small town, southern girl, who God decided to give a heart and affinity for big cities. With that said I live with my husband Will, in Peoplestown, a small half neighbor, half hood in Atlanta (it's close to Turner Field). We attend Renovation Church and I couldn't be more grateful for the awesome community of believers around us. I am also a mother baby nurse at Emory Midtown, but I am excited to say that with God's grace I will graduate in May with my Doctorate to become a Nurse Practitioner- thats right, thats Dr. Lyndsey ;)


How did you come to know the Lord?
Well so here comes the small town part of my story... I grew up in a fairly small Southern Baptist Church , in a small town- West Point, GA. My parents both love Jesus and God was really gracious to meet me at a very early age. I excepted Jesus into my heart in Kindergarten and pretty much "grew up in church". In middle school I would say I realized knowing Jesus was not about religion but a relationship and I think because middle school can be quite dramatic and your peers are the most important people in your life, and because, well I wasn't that cool, I clung to Jesus as my literal best friend. I also was able to go on my first mission trip to Mexico around that same time and this was God's good way of helping me realize that the world was bigger than my small town and I was called by Him to love Him and others more than myself. I attended UGA with Jessica for my undergrad and it was in college I learned about community and the power of God's word. He gave me a passion for His word and some training in how to read and study it when I worked at this camp called Maranook, my freshmen year. He taught me about true christian community and what living the gospel out in relationships looks like through campus ministries like BCM and Athen's Pbjs. Athen's Pbjs is a homeless ministry some friends and I started our Sophomore year. God really used that season of being friends with college students and homeless people at the same time to teach me that we are all the same at the foot of the cross. He also placed deep in me this passion to live and serve the poor always, hence why I think my half neighbor, half hood, is the coolest - ( a dream come true). I am no better than any of my neighbors - I just know God who rescued me out of darkness and revealed himself to me that I may know him and have Joy, maybe one day my neighbor will know Him too!


What do you think it means to be a woman of influence right where you are?
I must confess right now while working and being in school, most days I feel lucky if I am able to keep my house livable and love my husband, but I think being a women of influence right were I am means letting others into that. I've talked about our neighborhood , but I think really practicing letting my neighbors in even when I don't have a plan is chance for them to see how God truly keeps our family together. The children in our neighborhood do not care if I have a fun activity planned or not they just want to be inside. The moms in our neighborhood do not care if I have children or not they just want someone to acknowledge them. On that same note I am a YoungLives leader. It's Young Life's ministry for teen moms, and I think the same concept holds true for these young girls. I don't have to have a grand hang out plan, influence looks like believing God is big enough to reveal himself when I simply include them in daily life, grocery store runs, helping me make dinner, and riding in the car.


Hangin out in Florida for a BCM Ride for Christ trip.

How does the Lord allow you to shine His light through your job as a nurse?
OOOH I love being a nurse. Patients love when you love your job. I think I get to share Jesus the most at work when i'm enjoying my job. We hear this all the time, but gratefulness really does lead to Joy. When I am able to put aside feeling tired or frustrated by the health care system and instead be grateful that God made my career one of serving others while they are sick and tired, Jesus gets to shine and its a good day :) I have worked on every unit within the Emory system and practiced all types of medicine , so I will share right now, with the mommy and babies I enjoy seeing families being formed. Getting to teach a new mom how to feed and swaddle her baby for the first time makes me feel really thankful and makes me aware of the miracle of life. I want to be on the same team with the GOD that makes babies and families !


What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?
Romans 12: 9- 21  "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."


With my little kiddies in Chihuahua!


What is one truth you want others to remember and cling to?
Ephesians 36: 26- 28 " 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God." 

- We are his people and he is our God. Oh how I need that heart of flesh!! Its a process , but you are his people and he is your God , through the process! Oh and stay in COMMUNITY. Community is really important! Community makes the process easier :)

What is the best piece of marriage advice you've been given?
Kiss a lot :) Say I love you and I'm sorry a lot ! Love Jesus most and let Him help you love each other. 

And last but not least: coffee or tea?
Coffee - the day starts with coffee. I mean I read the bible different with a good cup of coffee ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Real Talk with My Husband

Well friends, today I get to let my most favorite person take the reins of this little blog space. He's my husband, best friend, and the best man I know. When we had been together for a while, I asked the Lord why He gave me Rory, and He told me "To show you My love for you." And friends, Ror shows me the Lord's love in so many ways-little and not-so-little- every single day. He gives so much grace. I know him pretty well, but I asked him to share some of his own thoughts today so you,too can get a glimpse into his awesomeness. :)

{Elissa Ewald Photography}

When and how did you come to know the Lord and begin to follow Him?

I came to know the Lord at a young age, similar story to most who grew up in the church.  I have had many good seasons and many complacent seasons in my walk with the Lord but have always been lucky to have many good friends and mentors investing in me along the way.


How do you think the Lord allows you to give Him glory in your job?

I think the main thing we can do to give glory to God is to do our jobs well.  I think being excellent at what you do is a great way to give God glory, especially if you are remembering to rely on him in all things!  I think another big factor that can give God glory is the kind of atmosphere you create.  Does the attitude in the room change when you are in the room (for better or worse)?  Do people enjoy being around you?  How do you handle disagreements and conflict?  Do you stress others out with your stress?  I think how we handle ourselves in a work environment can show people how Jesus has transformed us.


What have you learned about yourself and the Lord in six months of marriage?

I have definitely learned about taking life day by day.  When you begin to just coast through the weeks it is easy to become complacent in everything.  I am learning that marriage takes focus and effort each day in order to be a good spouse.  Marriage has been a great blessing because it is a tiny glimpse of our relationship with Jesus.  It provides tangible examples of how I should be relating and investing in God and how he is responding to me.  For example, when things are hard or frustrating at work, it is easy for me to look past it because I know in a few short hours I will get to see my wife.  But in a greater scope of things, that can remind me that Christ is always with me and I can take joy in that now.  Little ways that Jess shows me love always point me towards Christ and little ways I show Jess love can ultimately make me more like Christ.




What advice would you give to men still waiting to find a wife?

Sign up for for online dating and ask out the first girl who sends you a wink. :)  In all seriousness, I don’t have any good dating advice...I was never very good at dating.  As I got older though, even just in being friends with females, it became easier and easier for me to identify what I was and was not looking for.  I could see personality types that although were enjoyable in friendship were probably not ideal for marriage.  Obviously differences are good in marriage, but there are certain things you should never compromise on.  The longer you are single the easier it becomes to look past red flags. You can easily get desperate and excuse red flags that you should not excuse.


What advice would you give to women still waiting on a husband?

I would say the best advice I could give women would be to learn how to be content where you are.  It is very easy to fall into a trap of thinking that once you find someone and are married you will be fully happy and all of your problems will melt away.  That is not the case, and my wife can confirm that I am not even close to awesome enough to make her happy and solve her problems.  Learn how to be whole without a spouse and when you find a husband who is whole without you it will be a great and freeing relationship.  It takes a lot of pressure off of the other person to try and make you happy.  If you are not happy where you are now, you are not going to be happy when you are married.  


{Elissa Ewald Photography}


Describe your perfect day.

I love Saturdays with the wife.  I think the perfect day starts with sleeping in, not too late but at least nothing scheduled that makes you get out of bed.  Next would be brunch, eating in or eating out...no preference.  If the weather is nice I like to be outside for some of the day.  This could include taking our dog Bailey to the park or going to some arts and crafts fair downtown.  After a nice relaxing afternoon, there is not much better than a movie on the couch with cheap Chinese or pizza and popcorn.


And last but not least: coffee or tea?

Tea - Coffee smells great but leaves a bad aftertaste that no amount of gum can get rid of.  Tea is clean and wholesome.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tuesday Ten: The Best Freezer to Slow Cooker Meals

I don't know about y'all, but cooking is something that I truly enjoy. However, sometimes when I get home I just lack the motivation and energy necessary to make a great home-cooked meal. A friend in our small group mentioned that she had done a day's worth of meal prep or a month or two worth of meals and that a couple months later, they were still eating! When you have just two adults in your household, the meals can truly last for quite some time; the recipes are usually for a family of four. The slow cooker is so wonderful for winter time, as it is so wonderful to have a warm and hearty meal to enjoy.

A shopping cart full of meal prep materials...and People magazine, duh.

I went shopping back in early November and spent less than $200 at the store, probably about 2-2.5 hours in the kitchen, and then we had about 12 meals. We were able to make many meals out of a few of them because the servings were so generous. This time around it took me about 3 hours- but those hours in the kitchen prepping are so worth it! When it is time to make a meal, I simply take it down from the freezer and then put it in the slow cooker the next morning and voila! It's like magic. So easy. If you've got questions, let me know! Some of these recipes are not necessarily freezer to crockpot, but I prepared what was needed and then froze them anyway. So far it has worked out just fine! You'll also want to have some easy sides such as rice, barley, or roasted veggies on hand for certain meals. We've been trying to eat clean during the week (and then kind of eat whatever on the weekend, within reason) so I bought mostly organic ingredients. For us, we eat out about twice a week- once on date night and after church on Sunday. So when you supplement the freezer meals with a couple nights out and an oven pizza here or there- you've got some pretty good longevity! Pinterest is a real pal, but these are some of our favorites and some that we are looking forward to enjoying in the near future.

Meatball Veggie Soup before

1. Meatball Vegetable Soup

2. Lemon Pepper Chicken

3. Balsamic Beef Roast with Carrots

4. Sausage Spinach Tomato Soup

5. Chicken Chili

Meatball Veggie Soup...after :)

6. Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

7. Chicken Teriyaki

8. Clean Eating Jambalaya

9. Lime Shredded Pork

10. Beef Fajitas

Monday, January 18, 2016

#sistersofinfluence: Sarah Thompson

Friends, I have so enjoyed this series! Today, I have the joy of introducing you to my sweet friend Sarah. Sarah and I met at Watkinsville First Baptist Church in the Singles Young Adult Sunday school class. We have a lot in common- we're teachers and love Jesus; what else do you need? Sarah is a steadfast friend with a kind heart. I'm so excited to welcome her to the blog today!


Tell us about yourself. Who are you?
My name is Sarah Thompson. I am a 20-something elementary teacher, graduate student at UGA, and member at Watkinsville FBC. As a Tennessee transplant, Georgia is now my “home away from home”! I love Athens and am grateful to be a part of this community.

How did you come to know the Lord?
I am one of those kids who grew up in the church, and came to know the Lord as my Savior at an early age. But it wasn’t until late high school and into college that I really began to grow in my faith and understand what it means to follow the Lord. People throughout the years have invested so much into helping me to learn in my walk with Christ.

What do you think it means to be a woman of influence right where you are?

Being a woman of influence means being faithful with the opportunities the Lord has given you. We all have wonderfully different personalities, passions, and gifts. Choosing to use them well in the “here and now,” in whatever capacity the Lord has provided, encourages others to do the same. Women can be great examples to others by staying committed to the tasks He has given you (whatever that may be!) and by looking for opportunities to serve others well.  

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How does the Lord allow you to shine His light through teaching second grade?

Teachers have such wonderful chances to show Christ every day. I love meeting the practical needs of the precious ones in my classroom. But even more than that, learning to meet children where they are and being able to love them regardless is one of the biggest blessings (and sometimes struggles!) of leading a group of kiddos. Teachers can’t just “check out” when life gets messy, and it’s a huge reminder of the faithful, steadfast love the Lord shows to me each and every day.  

What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?

The passage I seem to come back to over and over is Proverbs 3:5-6. It says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Those two verses alone are packed with enough truth to keep me learning for years to come.



What is one truth you want others to remember and cling to?

The Father knows and loves you, wherever you are! Look to Him for your identity and security. Knowing who we are as daughters in Christ frees us to better serve and love others because our confidence is ultimately in Him and not in others.

And last but not least: coffee or tea?

Coffee. Forever and always. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tuesday Ten: Teacher Wish List

At Downtown Academy, we have needs just like any other school. We teach some incredible kiddos who would love to have access to some great resources and materials that will help them learn better. I often have friends and family ask about what we need at our school and ways to contribute or get involved. I've compiled a little wish list here because as the saying goes "You have not because you ask not." I mean, last year y'all came together to donate over $700 so that my class could go to the Lecrae concert! If you would like to be a part of meeting a need, please leave a note in the comments below letting me know what you would like to contribute, or if you'd rather, email me at jmathisen@downtownministries.org. Thank you in advance for your generosity!



Books
No Talking by Andrew Clements
There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom iLouis Sachar
The BFG by Roald Dahl
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan



Materials

multiplication/addition/subtraction flashcards (one set of each)
BIG erasers
Crayola markers



Needs

Kroger/Publix/Walmart/Target gift cards for snacks/breakfast items
Each one of these items except for number 9 would need to be a class set of 13. 



Monday, January 11, 2016

#sistersofinfluence: Stasia Skelton


Tell us about yourself. Who are you?

*Saved by Grace
*Wife to Andrew
*Mama to Bailey Drew and Jameson
*Jack of all trades… master of none.  
*Writer… mainly over at Our Life on a Budget
*All about being wise with the stuffs God has given us.

How did you come to know the Lord?

Can I just say a little aside here?  Telling our testimonies… not only is that a powerful thing, but a great reminder.  Take a minute to think of your own testimony.  Isn't it incredible how God found you? Whether you were raised in a Christian home and came to know the Lord at three years old, struggled through some crazy trials and came to know the Lord later or anywhere in between  
God.Found.You.
Rest in that for a moment.

Back to my story.
I would not say I grew up in a Christian home.  My parents would have probably said they were… but we were just Church hoppers… and we ended up in some places that were definitely not Biblical. In the midst of our church hopping, I went through some things and witnessed some things that made me feel completely alone.  
One time when I was about ten we ended up at a church that really proclaimed the Gospel.  I had never really heard the Gospel and what it could mean to me.  One Sunday, a Sunday School teacher shared that Jesus could be our best friend forever and all we had to do was ask and commit to serve Him for the rest of our lives.  A best friend, someone that will never leave me.  Some of the events of my childhood left me desperate for this!  So right then and there I prayed.  I asked God to be my best friend.  At the time I did not fully understand all the details, but the Lord protected me and grew me in Him over time. In hind sight, I am thankful for the rough experiences, because with out them I would not have been so desperate for the Lord.
Since then God guided me to groups and people and churches that have poured into me. I went on Mission trips to various places and discovered the joy of sharing the Gospel. That has since transferred also to my everyday life. My prayer is that moment by moment I am resting in the Gospel and that will impact the world around me.


What do you think it means to be a person of influence right where you are?

Two things come to mind.
1) Focus on the things that really matter.
2) Intentionally live the Gospel in those things.

So right now whether I am being wife, mom, friend, preschool teacher or some combination of the above, I will strive to do it while resting in grace and sharing grace with those around me!

What is the best piece of marriage advice you've been given?


Serve together.
I have talked to many wives that say they have nothing to talk about with their husbands… and to be honest we have been there before.  But if there is one thing I have noticed it is when we are serving together we have plenty to talk about.  We grow in the Lord individually and together.  

What does it mean to you to be a mom who encourages her children to love the Lord?

photo credit

By continually pointing them to Grace and not the law.  The law is only there to break us and show our unbelievable need for Grace.
It is easy to give a list of commands- do this, don't do that- and mommy, daddy and God will be happy with you.  It is harder to explain to them that anything we do that is not rooted in the life, death and resurrection of Christ is just moralism.  To instead use our lack of want and ability to obey to point us back to the cross.  Trust me, when my child is acting up in a restaurant, I want to say, "Just be good."  But the thing is we aren't good and with each interaction I strive to convey that and use that to show the need for Christ.  


What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?

I have been resting in Galatians for the past couple of months and I keep coming back to Galatians 5:13
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
The amazing Grace God gives us leads us to incredible freedom, and in turn incredible opportunity.  My prayer is that we would use that opportunity to point the world to Christ!


What is one truth you want others to remember and cling to?

Serve God where you are right now! It is so easy to get caught up in where you have been or where you are going and miss the opportunity of today!


And last but not least: coffee or tea?

Coffee.  I like tea, but our 2 year old daughter already knows how to make coffee (not that I let her do it… yet) and pretends to drink coffee with me in the mornings!  So clearly I must drink more coffee :)


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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Currently: January



Hello, dear friends! I trust that you welcomed the New Year with joy. Personally, I have quite high hopes for this year. There is so much that I am expecting the Lord to do and redeem in and through me. It is going to be a wild ride! After the blur that was December, here's what's going on around these parts:

Resolving: I've made a very detailed list of my goals, the reasons behind them, and action steps to make them happen using my PowerSheets, but I have also resolved to hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.
Reading: Right now I am reading Boundaries, but I just finished Grace for the Good Girl. It was one that I had been working on for several months on and off, but I loved it.
Organizing: There are many places where my life could stand a bit more tidy and a little less free-for-all. I'm hoping to get some things organized in my closet this month.
Loving: The weather is soooo cold, and I am loving layering up in my leggings, over-sized tee, and cozy socks each night for bed.
Craving: The past couple days I have been ravenous. I don't know what's up y'all. I'm craving all kinds of things that aren't good for me; most likely that's because it's the New Year and I don't want to do the right thing!

What are you up to these days?

Linking up with Anne and Jenna today!

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