Here is a downloadable memory verse song for Exodus 15:2.
Click the play button to listen to the song or click on the Free Download button to have a downloadable link sent to your email address.
I don’t know how it happened, but 2016 seems to have snuck up on me. 2015 feels like it was a whirlwind, it blew in and blew out before I even realized it. This year feels different though, like it’s a year to pause and breathe for a spell.
Revelation 21:5 is the verse that seems to be sticking in my mind as I think about this new year. We can’t always anticipate what the new year will bring, but a new year is a blessing. It’s the opportunity to begin again. Maybe 2015 wasn’t a good year for you. Maybe it was a year of heartbreak and disappointment. Maybe you feel like you let yourself down or didn’t live up to your own expectations.
May 2016 be a year of grace and peace. May you speak kindly to your soul. Show yourself the compassion that you show to others.
This year, I’m focusing more on satisfaction rather than success.
I want to practice the art of contentment over the trap of comparison.
Gratitude over greed.
Peace over the pursuit of power and influence.
I want to invest in the things that matter and the things that will last. The world will try to tell you that “this is all there is” and that you’ll find happiness if you lose 20 lbs or if you wear the right designer or obtain whatever status symbol represents those who have “made it” in your circle of influence (a book deal, a promotion, a new job, a spouse, a child, a position). I hate to tell you, but you can obtain all of these “good” things and still feel empty.
Our worth doesn’t come from our accomplishments. It comes from who we are and WHOSE we are. We’re not more valuable because we look a certain way or because we can check off more items from our bucket list. We have value because were are fearfully and wonderfully made …and no amount of success (or failure) can change that.
Last year, I made a published a list of my goals for 2015. While I accomplished several items from my list, I didn’t do it perfectly. Life has a way of interrupting our perfectly made plans.
This year, my theme is grace.
I will write because I believe it was what I was created to do…not because it’s a stepping stone to a career or to success.
I will make music and art because I feel that it’s what I was made to do…even though financially it offers me little.
I will say “no” to the things that rob the time and energy from the things I feel called to do.
I will take care of myself and my family and will not offer either on the altar of the American dream.
So…I may not be the perfect blogger. I may not follow the rules required for success…because success isn’t really my goal anymore.
I want to be faithful. I want to be true. I want to be content with what I have and the opportunities I have been given.
“Behold, I am making all things new.”
Sometimes, I feel like a failure.
Maybe I’m the only one, but I doubt it.
So often, I look around my life at all the things that are left undone – the dishes in the sink, the laundry piled in the corner, that little squish around the middle of my waistline. That’s when I hear the whisper:
You can’t do anything well. Look at all of the ways you’re failing. Why can’t you be like so-and-so?
So, I slump down on my couch. I look around at the juice stains on my sofa and the remains of spilled baby food on my carpet. I feel the weight in my heart get heavier.
You’re. Not. Good. Enough.
This is the lie that has followed me for years. It pushed me to run when I should have walked. It challenged me to overstretch and overextend myself physically, mentally, and even spiritually. It set up others in my life as competition rather than community.
It’s a dangerous lie.
You see, when we give in to the belief that we’re not good enough, then eventually we stop trying. We never finish that book proposal. We give up on the exercise program. We push our big dreams to the back of our closet because we feel like we’re not worthy of them.
It stops us in our tracks. It makes us fearful to move forward. We’re afraid that the rest of the world will discover what we already know: I’m not perfect. I can’t do it all.
In our beautiful world of curated images, it’s easy to hide the things that are damaged and broken. We don’t want to put that on display for the world to see or (heaven-forbid) comment on. So, we go on believing that perhaps maybe we’re the only one who struggles. That somehow, we’re abnormal if we can’t maintain a perfect house, a perfect body, and raise perfect children. After all, everyone else seems to have it all together.
The truth is that we can’t do it all. I sure know that I can’t. I had a friend write a comment on a Facebook post a few months ago asking “Is there anything you can’t do?” I wanted to laugh and say “Oh sister, where do I begin?”
Here’s the thing about mom guilt, fear, and shame: they slow you down, they wear you down, and eventually they’ll convince you to stop trying. They’ll tell you that you’re wasting your time and energy. They’ll do everything in their power to convince you to give up.
I’m fully convinced they’re a tool of the enemy, and my prayer is that you’ll see them for what they are – lies, straight from the father of lies.
What could you accomplish if you stepped out in faith? What if you brought your broken, imperfect mess of a life to the God who loves you and made you (squishy middle and all) – straight into the throne room of the creator of the universe and asked Him to make something beautiful out of the mess?
God is not afraid of your shortcomings. Time and again he’s taken the scared (Moses), the unlikely (David), and the unloved (Leah) and brought about amazing things. He sees. He knows. He loves you in spite of it all.
He has a way of turning the frightened (Gideon) into a mighty warrior.
The scriptures are full of broken and messed-up people. People who fail. People who make mistakes. People who are imperfect. Why do we read their stories thousands of years later?
Because God. Stepped. In.
Don’t let the enemy tell you that you’re worthless. Don’t listen to the whispers that tell you to give up. Take the next step, even if it’s hard. Do the right thing, and if you fail, which you inevitably will along the way, get back up. Dust off those shaking knees and keep moving.
You are enough.
Not because you’re perfect, but because the One who made you is, and scripture promises that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6).
Walk on, weary sister. Lift up your head. Fix your eyes on the Father. Do your best. Don’t stop trying.
We’re all failures. We all fall short. But God is bigger than our shortcomings. He takes broken things and makes them beautiful again.
So, here I sit, it’s after midnight. The kids are in bed. My house is still a mess. My hair is still unwashed, and there are a thousand different things begging for my time and attention. I know that when the morning comes I’ll have a choice to make: Listen to the lie that says “I’m not good enough and I should give up” or keep putting one unsteady foot in front of the other. I may never BE the best (and that’s OK), but I can DO my best and present it as an offering. This is my prayer:
You made me. You know me. You see when I sit and when I rise. You who formed the mountains also saw my inmost being. You know all the days planned for me before even one of them came to be. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that full well. Take these broken things and make them beautiful. Help me to see with your eyes. May I come to know what is truly important and what is only temporary. I am far from perfect, but I am willing. Help me to make the right choices, to pursue the right things. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. I am precious to you. Grant me the grace to see myself the way that you see me. Grant me the faith to walk where you lead and the strength to follow. In my weakness, Lord, show your strength.
Whoa. How is it already 2015? The last year seems to have flown right by for my family. It was certainly a busy one. My husband graduated with a Master’s degree in Counseling, our third son was born, and my oldest started elementary school.
Yet here we sit, at the beginning of another new year. It’s a good time to look back on the previous year and be thankful for the blessings and attentive to the things that need to change in the year to come.
With the coming of a new year, comes a parade of resolutions. By definition, a resolution is “a firm decision to do or not do something.”
I’m not putting down resolutions. They’re a great starting point, but on their own, they’re not necessarily helpful. I can decide to do or not do something. I can “want to” with all my heart, but unless I have a plan in place, come February 1st, most of my ambitious resolutions will have dissolved.
That’s why this year, I’m not making resolutions. I’m making a plan. Without a plan, I know that my goals will fall short. My goals are a road map that will help me get to where I want to be by the end of the year.
I know myself well enough to know that if I try to fly by the seat of my pants, then the hard things will be left undone and all I’ll have to show at the close the year, will be a bit more clutter and a handful of regrets.
You’ve probably heard this before, but the best goals are ones that are “SMART.” –
For me, part of making attainable goals is to build in some accountability. My sharing my goals, I’m giving people permission to call me out if I’m not living up to the standards I’ve set.
The good thing about goals is that it helps put a plan into motion. Rather than just saying “This is what I want to do” A written goal will help you take your “want to” into “how to.”
If you later on discover that a goal is not particularly realistic for this season, feel free to adjust it as needed. You’re not graded on how well you do. The purpose is to be intentional in growing in specific areas. Even baby steps are a step in the right direction.
You can do it! I’m including a downloadable/printable handout to help you set some S.M.A.R.T goals for the new year! (Just right click and save the image below)
What are some goals you’ve set for the new year, and how are you going to be intentional about attaining them?
My dad posted this on his Facebook page this morning and I thought it was a great reminder during this Christmas season! It helps me remember the true gift of Christmas:
|This post contains affiliate links to help you find the products I mention in the post.|
I’ve never claimed to be a particularly crafty person. Don’t get me wrong. I love to create things, but they don’t always turn out well (ahem . . . the newborn hat I tried to knit ended up being large enough for a giant man).
Anyhow. Those days are over. I have found my crafty calling. Etched glass.
It looks phenomenal and uber impressive, but it is seriously one of the easiest things in the world to do! You can have the project completed from start to finish in under 10 minutes, and it is super affordable too (chances are, you probably have half of the supplies in your house right now).
So . . . what do you need?
I don’t know what it is about these last few weeks, but it seems like everywhere I turn, I’m surrounded by “stuff.”
The boys room is overflowing with toys, costumes, and clothes strewn all over the floor.
My bedroom features piles and piles of plain ole stuff: papers that need to be discarded, summer clothes that still haven’t made it out to the storage shed, and books that have been propped up against a wall – waiting for months to be read.
|This is my “Quick! Someone’s coming over, let’s cram everything into a corner of my bedroom” pile.
(Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who does this . . .)
It feels suffocating.
So, I sit and wonder – how did it get to this point? What can I do to address this problem? Why do I feel compelled to ignore the growing stacks of “stuff” that refuse to go away on their own?
Here’s the deal: In general, we all have more than we need. We have more than enough clothing and shoes. More than enough home decor. Our children have WAY more toys than any one child could possibly play with.
And then Christmas rolls around, and I think to myself – I don’t want to bring more stuff into an already stuffed house.
I think my life/house would be better off if I cut the clutter. If I SERIOUSLY took the time to go through the closets, the garage, my strategically placed piles, and asked myself these three questions:
I’ve joked with my husband that if we ever move again, I’m donating everything and starting from scratch again. (After moving/packing four times in the first five years of marriage, I was done with the ole putting “stuff” into boxes routine.)
Soooooo . . . .all that to say. That I’ve been feeling convicted that I’m allowing “stuff” to crowd out the more important things. A cluttered home makes me feel cluttered mentally. My kids don’t have room to play on their floors due to all of the toys on the floor.
It’s all. too. much.
I’m tired of it.
SO, here’s what I plan to do.
For Christmas, we’re not going hog-wild with the giving of “stuff” because #1) We already have an abundance #2) That’s not really what Christmas is all about #3) There are better ways to spend our resources.
My boys will be receiving
1) Something they want (a fun toy or game)
2) Something they need
3) Something to wear
4) Something to read
Santa will be contributing three fun “toys” for Christmas morning.
As far as the stuff that’s currently taking up residence in my home, I am planning a strategic room-by-room purge.
I consider you my friends. Thanks for letting my spew my mental “stuff” all over the interwebs. I think life will be better all around if I can learn how to be intentional with our time, possessions, and talents.
When it comes down to it – stuff can help or it can hinder. It can be a blessing or a burden. It can rule you or you can rule it. The stuff itself is neutral – it’s what you do with it that makes the difference.
This Christmas, I want to be intentional about enjoying the people around my tree and not just the stuff under it.
Have I mentioned how much I love Christmas?
I love the sights, the smells, the sounds of the holiday season.
The other day, the boys and I were listening to some Christmas tunes online and I heard the classic song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and it got me thinking – I’m sure glad that Jesus isn’t like Santa Claus.
Don’t get me wrong. Santa can be fun. We love leaving cookies and milk and spreading oats and glitter on the lawn for the reindeer. We hang up our stockings and watch Christmas movies featuring the big red guy, but we obviously know that Christmas is not about him. The original Santa Claus (St. Nicholas) did the things he did because of the true meaning of Christmas – the gift of the Savior (and he did it all without the aid of magical reindeer or hard-working elves).
For whatever reason that night, the song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” really caught my attention, and it made me grateful.
You better watch out. You better not cry.
“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” John 11: 33
You better not pout
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
I’m telling you why – Santa Claus is coming to town.
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” – Acts 1:11
He’s making a list. He’s checking it twice
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:8-12
Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake
“I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.” Psalm 3:5
He knows if you’ve been bad or good,
“God, You know my foolishness, and my guilty acts are not hidden from You.” Psalm 69:5
So be good for goodness sake.
“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20
Santa’s a busy man he has no time to play
“Indeed, the hairs of your head are all counted. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows!” Luke 12:7
He’s got millions of stockings to fill on Christmas day.
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
I don’t know about you, but I’d take compassion, grace, and abundant life over a stocking full of candy canes any ole day.
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a “bash Santa” post. We do the Santa thing in our house, but we always talk about the “whys” of Christmas. Why did Saint Nicholas feel compelled to help those in need? Why do we celebrate Christmas as a family in the first place?
Why did God send a baby to be born in a stable and worshiped by some ordinary shepherds? The Christmas story itself is magical and meaningful, and the best part of all – it will never break, it will never be outgrown. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. The gift of God’s love and grace in the form of a tiny infant. It’s a gift we could never earn on our own, and a gift that was freely given to us even when we didn’t deserve it. We deserved coal, but we received compassion.
He’s the reason why Christmas means so much to me.
As a single-income family, we’ve had to learn how to stretch a dollar. I know a lot of a families struggle and want to learn how to get the most bang for their buck!
Crystal Paine from the popular blog “Money Saving Mom” is hosting a class on how to cut your grocery expenses: Grocery University.
To celebrate the launch, she’s offering the class for 50% off, but only until Midnight eastern.
For only $4.97 you get:
*A comprehensive saving strategy
*139 minutes of audio
*A 40 page workbook
*BONUS: Rock Bottom Price Database PDF
If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s possible to shrink your grocery bill (even if you’re already using coupons, etc), I’d recommend giving Grocery University a try.
. . . and the best part – if you decide you don’t like it, they’ll give you your money back as part of their 60 day guarantee.
I know, that my family could benefit from saving money, so I wanted to pass on the opportunity to you,
There are only a few hours left to take advantage of the 50% off discount!
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