2013 - a look back.

2013 has flown by in some ways and in others it seemed like it would. never. end.

Either way I have been extremely, extremely blessed this year and I praise God for it all.

This year I was faced with the choice to stay or move and I chose to move and was blessed with one incredible church family I would have never known existed. They are so precious and probably have no idea how much they encourage me to walk closer with Jesus and live life.

This year I also faced one of the biggest tests of my faith yet. I was pierced with questions and anxiety like you wouldn't believe and I wasn't sure I was gonna make it out. By the grace of God, I stand. Hallelujah.

I learned to love a little better, smile a little more, never underestimate the power of a hug, that "awkwardness" can actually be a good thing, that no one is perfect and it's a filthy lie from Satan to expect perfection from yourself or others when Jesus is that perfect for us. I learned that some of the sweetest times can be the most chill, and that it's totally okay to go see a movie twice in theaters because you liked it (hello, Frozen!).

I have been cradled by my Abba this year and nourished by Him. Seriously, there are times this year that I can only say I kept moving forward because He was there pushing me on.

There were days where the only verse I could repeat to myself over and over again was Isaiah 30:15,

"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength..."

And so I would go forth in trust and quietness because that's all I could do.

God is faithful to lead us out and though I don't understand how that works or what that may look like in your life or even in mine, I know He will. That's faith for today and let's pray faith for 2014. To God be the glory. Amen.


Burning Sky - Book Review

Willa Obenchain is one frustrating, beautiful, fearful, courageous woman. I found myself a lot in her as I read Burning Sky.

Willa is caught up in two worlds. One she is running from, the other she is running towards. Both collide and drama ensues.

After discovering her parents home, she clearly figures out that they aren't there and begins a journey that ends with so much more than just finding the destination of her parents.

I had a hard time putting this book down. It's definitely a page turner. I think women will particularly like this book because Willa is a woman we can all identify with. She's afraid to love, yet she longs to be loved so much. She's courageous and willing to sacrifice her comforts for those she loves (though it takes her a while to get around to understanding the love part... but you'll ha
ve to read the book to figure that out. ;) ).

Pick up a copy and get to reading. Cheers!

*Note: I received a free copy of this book for the exchange of a review. All views expressed are mine.


The daddy wound unopened; opened.

My dad was never present in my life. Not my earthly dad at least. I don't talk about it too much. I don't like playing the victim, seeing it as the problem it has been in my life.

But yesterday that changed.

A person I deemed trustworthy proved not to be and the words he spoke stung like a dagger in my already wounded heart.

I went to more people I trusted, to be comforted by a woman and let down by more words spoken from a man. The message spoken to my fragile heart?

I can always trust the women better than the men.

And my life has been filled with many, many times where this has shown. It wasn't a friend's mother who came behind and exploited my womanly figure, it was a friend's father. A father.

Ah, and people wonder why I can't make decisions, simple, "insignificant" decisions, and be confident in them. Every choice is met with a question, "Are you pleased, Daddy?" "Is this right, Papa?" "Are you mad?" "Do You love me?"

To believe that I am accepted merely because of the sacrifice Jesus made is one of the greatest battles I will ever face and yet it is also one of the most life changing truths I will ever hear or know.

Not being able to work my way into the Kingdom is both a freedom and a struggle. Struggling because my whole life has been filled with attempts to earn a father who loves me only to realize I do in fact have a Father who loves me.


This Christmas time has been filled with anything but warm fuzzies. My entire year has been filled with anything but warm fuzzies. But He is making me slowly, but surely into His child. His child.

So the daddy wound unopened, was opened yesterday and it hurts like you wouldn't believe and it's scary because I don't know who to trust and the fear can sometimes paralyze me into wondering what to do, but I have a Heavenly Father who sees and knows and understands completely and He will help me. That's grace for today.



I'm not nearly as confident as people perceive me and I'm neither as humble as people perceive and I wish sometimes I could change both in me but for now I'm as I am.

I'm supposed to have it all figured out, right? This path I'm walking should be straight and narrow and uncomplicated? Hmm... it seems more crooked, dark, scary, and much, much more complicated than it should be.

But I have an adventurers heart that wanders from time-to-time and takes risks because as long as they're not sin, it's okay, right?

3 days ago I was as happy and ecstatic as a girl could be. 3 days ago I was comfortable, confident, and peppy. Today? Not today. Today I'm confused, lonely, panic-y. My heart is racing and my mind won't shut up. I have this problem with over thinking things and questioning every. move. I. make. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

Today I'm reminding myself and you that God will take care of us. He will calm the quaking, fearful heart. Maybe not instantly, but He will calm it. That's my hope for today. And tomorrow.  And forever.

Lord, please bring Your peace to us. 


Love is risky, and scary, and...

Love is risky. Love is scary.

Loving God and loving others and inviting others into your life to love you. All of it is so. super. scary.

But we don't tell people that usually, do we? Naw. 'Cause love in the movies says it's always perfect, always beautiful, never messy, never hard, never unsure, never confused, never awkward, never... fill-in-the-blank.

But that love isn't real. That love is false.

True love is laying down your life. True Love laid down His life on a cross for you and for me.

It blows my mind. Why? Because I'm such a selfish, immature, sometimes annoying person.

But I follow this True Love in laying down my life (or at least attempting to) and learning to give selflessly to Him and to others. I get it wrong a lot more than I get it right, but I'm blessed to have a gracious Savior.


John Piper quote

"Take the Kingdom violently (Matt. 11:12). Be brutal. Hold the promise of Christ before your eyes. Hold it. Hold it! Don't let it go! Keep holding it! How long? As long as it takes. Fight! For Christ's sake, fight till you win! If an electric garage door were about to crush your child you would hold it up with all your might and holler for help, and hold it and hold it and hold it and hold it. More is at stake, Jesus said, in the habit of lust (Matt. 5:29)." - Piper


Thanksgiving Rest

I went to bed guilty.

I should stay up and sort this out, right, LORD? That's what You want me to do, right?

But the thoughts swirling and the heart racing and the anxiety filling was too much for this frail body.
And it was in my weakness that I saw His strength.

I do not slumber. I do not sleep. I AM will take care of you.

"He will not let you fall.
    Your guardian will not fall asleep.
Indeed, the Guardian of Israel never rests or sleeps." - Psalm 121:3-4

So my Protector, my Guardian let me sleep and I woke up and His Word came again in one form: rest. "Rest in Me.", He said.

But isn't it so backwards from the world? The world that says figure your life out before you leave high school and hop into college. Know who you'll marry, when you'll marry, be sure you marry. Get a good job, a great job, one that pays a lot of money. Figure. it. out.

But I can't. You see, all I know is Jesus. All I know is that He'll take care of me and if I don't understand the trials it's okay. It's okay. Ah, but my heart and mind play tug of war. Is it okay? Yes. Yes, it is.

I choose to give thanks to the God who knows it all and has it all figured out. That's why I can be okay when I'm not, because He always is. Is it easy? No. Do I get it right every day? Definitely not. But today is Thanksgiving and I choose in His grace to be thankful for these times where He reminds me that I can't do it. That only He can and He will strengthen me to get through the trials. I choose to participate in Thanksgiving rest in Christ Jesus, my Savior. Amen. Thank You, LORD.


Thanks... when it's hard.

I'm not sure if y'all are aware or not, but Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Quickly.

Everybody is gearing up for turkey or tamales (shout out to all my Hispanic brothers and sisters! :) ), family time, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade (people still watch that. Yes, I am one of those people.), movies, and of course the lovely Christmas season.

I've read and seen SO many posts on thankfulness. So. many.

But can I be honest? (Imma be honest, anyway.) I don't feel very thankful right now.

I know, I know. I should be. I know. I know I'm blessed with so many things and I'm writing them down because Ann Voskamp wrote a nice little book on it and I can't get it out of my head, but dude. I'm still not feeling the thanks. The joy. Am I the only one?

Surely not.

So what do we do when we're not thankful?

Continue giving thanks.

I know it sounds crazy, but it's what we gotta do. Just like when you think you can't take another step and then by the grace of God you do, so we must rest in our Savior even in the seasons where thanks is hard to spit out. I can think of a lot of other things I could do. But how will they benefit my life? Others lives? My relationship with God?

Friend, if this season is hard on you, I feel you. I may not understand exactly what you're going through but our Savior Jesus Christ does. I'm not gonna sit here and say that you're gonna feel any better after you give the thanks to God Almighty for your shoes, shirt, working body, life... but I will say that I know He will intervene and eventually work the emotional stuff out. We need to trust Him more. Lord, help us trust You more.

Life is tough. God knows. Lay it down. Give Him the thanks.


The Prodigal - Book Review

When I read books, a lot of times it's to escape from reality.

This is not one of those books.

Brennan Manning and Greg Garrett hit you at home with the story in The Prodigal.

Jack Chisholm finds himself in a pretty big mess after Jack cheats on his wife and it becomes big public news. The authors take you on a journey on his effort to redeem himself and the realization that only God can redeem our brokenness.

One of my favorite lines from the book is this,
"Better the battered soul who lives his life on a voyage of discovery than the timid soul who never finds out who he is."
I think we can get a lot from that.

The Prodigal is a beautiful story of redemption and coming home. It's a story of how the people of God help the children of God make it through difficult times. It's a story of a God who remains faithful to a faithless and broken people. It's a story of beautiful redemption in the midst of ugliness and pain.

Pick up a copy. It's a good read.

*Note: I received a free copy of this book for the exchange of a review.


Thursday thoughts.

I have pimples on my face and my hair is pulled back in a ponytail with today's makeup nearly gone.

I'm a mess.

My life isn't perfect (incase the name of my blog didn't clue you in ;) ) and today I've cried two or three times unexpectedly.

I started sobbing because I felt misunderstood and yesterday was crazy and today wasn't much better.

I've asked questions that haven't been answered yet... or maybe I'm not listening to His answers.
God, help me hear.

I've longed to live less by my emotions and more by His truth but I'm still struggling.
Jesus, help me to believe.

I'm in desperate need of His grace.

Some days I have to pray and sing really loudly, not just in my head, to remind myself how real I am and how real He is.

So this is life. Full of struggles. Hopes, dreams, fears, doubts, love, hate, evil, good.

And God wins.

Oh, sweet Jesus, You finished the war on the cross. Give us strength to walk through these trials and struggles and endure till the end that we may see Your lovely face. Amen.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." ::Psalm 34:18::


His Treasure - Book Review (and a giveaway!)

His Treasure is a beautifully written devotional by Sheri Rose Shepherd that is written from the view of our Heavenly Father to His daughters. Each day is filled with so much truth and the design of each page is gorgeous!

One thing I really like about this devotional is how everything can be focused on Him. His treasure, His hope, His identity, His sight, etc. I think that's very important. I also like how each devotional is short and concise. It's good for all of those on-the-go ladies (holla!).

Girls, if you struggle with grasping the way the Lord views you (don't we all?) then I would suggest you grab you a copy of this book.

For one of you, you can have it for FREE! ^_^ As part of the giveaway just enter your name and email address in the comments below and tell me why you'd like a copy of this devotional. Giveaway ends Friday and winner will be notified by Monday.

*Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers for the exchange of a review. All views expressed are mine.


Who is your first love? {Guest Post}

I am super humbled to be writing for More Precious tonight. Here's a taste of what I wrote:

Who is your first love? Who do you spend the most time thinking about, praying for, hoping in?
The answers to these questions are so very important. Your eternity is at stake. Your whole life is at stake… or rather true, everlasting life is at stake. I say that not to scare you, but to be real with you, sister.
We can answer those questions with a few different answers. Myself. My boyfriend. My friends. My best friend. But those people were never meant to satisfy the deepest longings of your heart.
I really think the Lord took my hands and helped me write this. Read the rest here.


Letting go and life... they're both hard!

Letting go is hard. Especially when you don't want to.

Living is hard. Especially when it means all you get is a step-by-step view and not a glimpse at the glories He is revealing in you and around you.

But that's life.

Letting go and living in hard places.

The hard places grow you. They teach you to be thankful, to love, to sacrifice, to empty yourself, to pray, to look around, to breathe. They teach you to laugh a little longer, cry a little harder, sing a little louder, and smile a whole lot more. They show you that life is not about you (I know, this one hurts so much), that Jesus will transform your life, and His arms of grace will hold you still.

They teach you that seasons come and go. There will be days when you're lonely and days your heart is filled to overflowing and that either way we can choose to be thankful and joyful in our Savior because circumstances do not determine who He is and they definitely don't sway Him or change Him. Hallelujah! This is cause for praise.

Life is hard and letting go is hard, but if He's beckoning you to let go today, do it. He only has your best in mind and what will bring the most glory to His name. He'll take care of you. Don't worry your pretty little head. Rest, child, in the arms of the God who loves you.


Forever Friday - Book Review

Huck is a carefree, independent, do-what-she-wants-when-she-wants kind of woman. Gabe is a masculine, hurt, hopeless romantic wondering whether love will ever exist for him again. The two meet and sparks fly while trials are encountered. Can their love survive the tests?

Forever Friday is a beautiful story of these two characters as well as Adam (but you'll have to read the book to find out more about him). I found this book very hard to put down. All women want a man like Gabe. He writes poetry... whaaat?! Swoon. I found myself a lot in Huck, though. She doesn't look to a man to complete her (because they can't), she lives her life well, and she has a personality that I adore. The way she and Gabe go back and forth in their conversations is cute and charming.

Timothy Lewis is a wonderful writer and if this book is any indication of how his other books are to be written then I will quickly be adding more of his little treasures to my collection.

For all you hopeless romantics, this book is a must read. There are many twists and turns, laughs and tears. You will have a hard time putting it down and those 288 pages will seem like nothing once you get started. :)

*Note: I received a free copy of this book for the exchange of a review. All views expressed are mine.


Worth, value, and thanks

November is the month of thanks.

It's when everybody on Facebook starts listing what they're thankful for. People seem happier, more joyful when this time of year rolls around (mainly in the South we're just so thankful that 100 degree weather is finally over for a few months! ;) ).

Well the other night as I poured out my heart, I found a dislike that has dictated a lot of my life... a lot of my thanks. I found quite a few dislikes actually, but one in particular stood high above the others. You ready for it? ...

My size.

Yup. Self-centered Tara. It's a place of pain. I remember as a child growing up larger than everybody else because I used food to "fill up" my love tank... problem was food was never meant to do that and I learned that later in life but that's another post for another day. I remember the fat jokes people told. The comments people made. They stuck well. I remember my third grade teacher coming up and jokingly saying, "When's the baby due?" and I remember well the time that guy I liked came over and said, "You know the reason why I and other guys like you? Because you have big hips and a big butt."

Awesome. Let's put that one in love note, right? Ha!

So each time I look in the mirror I remember those words. I remember those jokes. I remember that I never want to look that way again. I exercise as much as necessary, and eat healthy. I wouldn't say I'm obsessive about it at all, but I am body conscious.

Do you know what the Lord told me to do with all this? Lay it down. Seriously. He told me to let it go.

Do you know what I did Sunday night? I cried and asked for help. Then, I wrote these words,

"Thank You for my healthy, working body. Thank You for my curves."

Wait, did I really just do that?! Yeah. Did it feel weird? Duh! Am I glad I wrote it, prayed it, and am still thinking on it? Yes. Because He has used that to remind me how blessed I am, how loved I am, and how unique He has made me. He is using this to show me that my worth comes from a much more stable, much more solid place than whether my pants size is in a single digit or not. (Which it isn't and no, I will not tell you what it is. ;P )

Our place of worth is found in the arms of Christ.

That place is only made possible by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and it's only found through Him. We need to stop going to people, food, clothing sizes, and numbers on a scale to label ourselves. Go find the Truth! You are a blood bought child of God and you are precious to Him. Let His love draw you closer, deeper into His arms.

Let's stop the comparison game, okay? You're loved as you are. :)


Jesus On Every Page - Book Review

Okay, so it normally never takes me a month or more to read a book... but this book is one that you must take your time on.

I've been blessed with an amazing Sunday school teacher, who for the past few months (and really ever since I've known her), has spoken on Jesus in the Old Testament. Naturally, when I saw this book and read what it was about I knew I had to pick it up.

David Murray takes you on a journey of seeing the Bible as one great story of our beautiful Savior. He does a fantastic job of showing you Christ in many different Books of the Bible (including Song of Solomon... chapter 16. That happened to be one of my favorite parts). While Christ may not be mentioned by name in these Books, it is hard to deny that He is most definitely there.

I think it's odd how completely blind we are to the fact that Jesus isn't just in the Gospels. He's in Genesis, He's in the Psalms, He's all over the Bible!! However, I am thankful for this book which God is using to open eyes (which includes mine).

This book is roughly 200 pages and is a somewhat dense read. It's not really a sit down with a cup of coffee and relax kind of book. It's more of an intense study to finding the One that brings life to us. God has used this book to increase my thirst for Him and to really seek to see Christ in everything in the Word. I would suggest reading with your Bible in hand, a pen, and probably a highlighter too. I would also strongly suggest opening any time you spend reading this book in prayer because it will be difficult understand without the help of the Holy Spirit.

Great book for anybody wanting to study the Old Testament and find even more of our Savior.

*Note: I received this book for free in exchange for a review.


My "Other Half"

About two years ago I met a guy that I went to church with. We became friends and started talking; soon, I started liking him. After about three months of talking he asked me out. I accepted and we started dating.
My days were quickly filled with thinking about him, hanging out with him, going on dates with him, talking on the phone with him, etc. My whole life began revolving around this person. I still read my Bible, went to church, prayed, but my focus was not centered and set on Jesus Christ...

Today I'm guest posting on the lovely Yelena's blog. Read the rest here.


I'll be single for You

There are things the Lord speaks specifically to us that is meant for us and no one else (or maybe the better way to put that is no one around you currently).

For me that's being single.

Several years ago the Lord showed me that being single for Him is a gift. However, at times that gift has felt like anything but. To deny your flesh its wants is to pick up a sword and swing. The battle is tough, but Christ in us has won the victory.

So, the past few weeks I've been battling back and forth with my heart, mind, and soul. They have tugged on each other so much that at times all I could do was collapse on my floor and pray.

When God told me that part of His plan for my life was that "undivided devotion" that Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 7 (verse 35), I was alright with that. I was excited! Now that I'm older and watch friends date and get married I have to ask myself- am I still excited to be single for the cause of the Kingdom?

I have asked myself that question several times and here's the answer:

While at times it's discouraging and painful and scary, I know He is equipping me for the task He has in mind. Though I have a small idea of what that looks like, He sees the big picture and I bet it's far better than I could imagine.

My prayer tonight is simple but heartfelt: I'll be single for You if it means being in Your will.

That's it.

What's He speaking to you that you need to give in to? You never know how 1 month or 5 years down the road He will use that very thing to advance His kingdom, change your life, and use you to change others. Submit.


Empty me of me

I can be so selfish sometimes.

Exercising for hours to keep myself from being fat while there are babies everywhere starving for food (and love).

Praying for a new _______ fill the blank when there are mothers-to-be crying tears for their child who died before they even got to name them.

Crying tears because I didn't get my way again and there are people everywhere seeking direction for the way (Jesus!).

To recognize these issues in my life is a good thing. To recognize these issues in other people's lives is another good thing. What's not good is pretending that neither exist and neither are important. To pretend these issues don't exist is to say that you don't think you're important or other people. As a child of the King my life matters. As people made in the image of God, so does theirs.

That's the problem with being selfish. We forget that the world doesn't revolve around us and that other people matter too. We forget that God has a plan for each of us and sometimes (most of the time) His plan includes other people working together to find His heartbeat.

At the end day one thing remains true for all people; believers and non-believers alike. We need Jesus Christ. Every moment of every day.

Because just like the babies that are starving need Jesus to send someone to provide them with food, I need Jesus to help me see myself as the fearfully and wonderfully made daughter of God that I am.

I need to be emptied of myself. Emptied of my petty pride. Emptied of the word "mine". What do I have that God hasn't blessed me with? How I live with tightly clenched hands holding to His gifts instead of His hands.

So I open my hands and I open my heart before a God who understands the courage it takes to do both and I pray:

 "Lord, empty me of me."


Word Vomit...? Yes.

I'm on my knees again.

Funny how the place I need to be most is the place I most dislike to be.

Because I'm an "independent" woman, having been raised to do what I can do and attempt the things I'm not sure I can. Because when I failed, crying wasn't an option, getting up and trying again was my way.

But sometimes you can't do things. Sometimes you fail and all you can do is cry out in prayer to the LORD. What then?

Sometimes I base my worth and whether God is pleased with me based on how much I got done in a day. If the to-do list is still just as long as it was when I first began the day, somehow it seems like God is frowning.

What if, regardless of how much we did or didn't get done today, God was still pleased? What if we learned the secret to doing all things- big, small, indifferent- for His glory?

Colossians 3:23-24,
"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."

I'm a  firm believer that if it were impossible to do all things to glorify Christ, then this verse wouldn't be in the Bible. Our problem is we want to get everything done and then some, all in our own strength. We can't do anything apart from Jesus. He told us that! So why in the world do we think that we can do anything without Him?

I gotta be real with y'all and let you know that I've been getting sidetracked and distracted a lot the past few weeks. It's been on again, off again, on again, with the distraction train. It's hard to build friendships that are centered on Christ and stay centered on Christ. It's hard to roll out of bed in the morning to go to work when you're battling the lies of deception. It's hard to tell someone you love the things that will probably hurt them most... but might change their lives.

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:18

Will join with me in praying for the LORD to help us see the unseen and do things that last eternally?

thank You for the trials in our lives that remind us to come to You because on our own we can do nothing. Thank You for granting us favor in the eyes of the Father because of Your sacrifice on the cross. Let us passionately take up our crosses, denying our flesh, and follow You today into the unknown. Help us see the unseen and form relationships that will last beyond this earth. Thank you for another sweet day to be in Your presence.

Be a good steward of your time today. Glorify Christ.


Examine Your Faith - Book Review

Examine Your Faith: finding truth in a world of lies* by Pamela Christian is a work of art.

To be honest I was both excited and scared to read this book. Pamela is very up front that you'll be uncomfortable at some point while you're reading the book, but, as she pointed out, if you don't examine what you believe now, you'll be forced to do so later.

Pam takes you through the 6 major religions of the world and respectfully shares what each belief system of those religions are, where they originated from, etc. I found that section of the book especially helpful. She follows up with sharing several testimonies of people who started out in one of the major 6 religions and later comes to know the One True God.

I have been both challenged and encouraged while reading this book. I was encouraged to see how solid the Christian faith is. I was challenged because you are still forced to ask questions that you aren't comfortable with and continue seeking Him despite the hard things.

Highly, highly recommend to everyone. Very insightful, easy to understand, and eternally- it matters.

*The first e-book I've ever read. Holla! (I'll stick with paperbacks though. ;) )

**I received a free e-book for the exchange of a review. All opinions and views expressed in this review are mine.


I'm In Love With A Church Girl (Trailer)

Happy Friday, ladies and gents! Wanted to share this movie trailer with y'all. Looks like a great movie, doesn't it?! Leave me a comment if you go and see it. Would love to hear what you think! Have a blessed weekend! <3


A Note Of Encouragement

Following Jesus requires sacrifice. Some are easier than others but all are necessary. I think sometimes we need the reminder that Jesus is worth it. That He won't give us anything too hard to handle with Him by our side. That He is enough.

But there will be days where He doesn't seem enough and life gets you down. There will be days where your pants fit too tight, everybody seems to be "hating", and all you want to do is stop. Don't.

We must learn to live by His truth regardless of our feelings.

Easy? No way. Important? Very much so.

Learning to live with His agenda in mind regardless of what's going on around you is not easy but I believe our Heavenly Father provides everything we need for every situation we go through. I believe that living life to His glory and for His kingdom is far more satisfying and blesses us more than we probably will ever know this side of Heaven.

Baby, drink deeply of His grace. Hold on. Know that He's been pursuing you and holding on to you all your life. You are loved. Keep pressing on because He will get you through. <3


Don't Be Ashamed Of Your Story - Monday Reflections

We all have a story. All of us are at some point in that story. Some of us are grieving, others are joyful. Some of us are praising, others are complaining. Some of us are struggling and some have just gotten out of a struggle.

All of us have a story that will be or is worth telling.

What I've learned and continue to be reminded of is that God knows our mistakes, He sees our failures and yet His plan isn't ruined by what we do. Read that again. His plan isn't ruined by what we do. Sure, we can make a simple path into a much more difficult one (are the Israelites coming to anybody else's mind?), but He still has a plan.

Some of you have, like me, looked back over the past few years of your story and grimaced. You may still do that when you look at your present. You see the failures, the mistakes, the ugly. We are far too self-centered. Instead we should redirect our focus to His hand of grace over and on our lives. Those mistakes and pains- have they brought you closer to God? Has He used those things to teach you lessons? Have you become better and wiser for them? PRAISE GOD. You can be disappointed in what you've done but you can't be disappointed with what God is doing because when He's done you will be a beautiful masterpiece of holiness. Not perfect this side of Heaven, but made new in the blood of the Lamb.

So don't be ashamed of your story. You can dislike things you've done in the past, but you can just as well praise God for how He has used those things to make you better. He uses even the bad for good. Thank You, Lord!


Trials and thanks

I woke up this morning with discouragement pitted deep within my stomach.

Discouragement is not of God. Resist it.

I get out of bed and start praying because I can do nothing on my own and know how much I need Him. These trials are mere reminders. Little gifts of grace.

As I am praying the Lord reminds me of how much I have to be thankful for. How many times have I complained this week? this month? this year? TOO much.

I get saddened and even more discouraged but why should the mistakes of my past dictate the promises and hopes for the future?

So I write:
Lord, there is so much to be thankful for in this day. Help me to find those things and thank You for them.

I've gone through this day seeking to be a little more thankful to my Beloved, my Savior. Have I failed? Yes. Did I thank Him more today than yesterday? That remains to be seen. However, step-by-step I am seeking to praise Him in the little things as well as the big in each day.

Lord Jesus, help me.

What are you thankful for? Have you complained more than you've thanked the Lord? How can you move towards thankfulness and away from complaints?


The Governess of Highland Hall - Book Review

The Governess of Highland Hall is a charming story of a young missionary woman named Julia who finds herself as a governess at Highland Hall. There she meets a man named William who happens to run Highland. Sparks fly, troubles are encountered and faith is tested.

Carrie Turansky does a wonderful job on this page turning, keeps-you-interested- until-the-very-end, novel. I really  couldn't put it down! Carrie brings a Downton Abbey feel to the book while bringing faith into the picture and allowing her characters to take you on their personal journeys of trusting the Lord.

Every character is easy to love (well, almost every one of them... Katherine takes a little longer to love as well as Lady Gatewood) and each bond that forms between the characters will leave you hungry for more.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait for a second one to come out! Be sure to grab this book October 15th at your nearest book store. You won't regret it!

*I received this book for free for the exchange of a review. 


September Favorites

Here are some posts I found really encouraging and thought provoking during the month of September. Hope y'all do as well.

When Life's Hard Breathe In - This guy is one of my new favorite bloggers. He is so real with his struggles and in it God is being glorified. Loved this post he wrote.

Jesus Is Not Your Sin-manager - I think we've all forgotten from time to time that Jesus didn't die just to manage our sin but to kill it. This post is super convicting and filled with truth.

12 Ways Sin Helps Us Understand The Bible - Gotta admit when I first read this I wasn't sure where David was going with it but after reading through it I thought it was really good.

How Long Must This Go On, Lord? - Very informative and relevant message to anybody suffering through something.

How To Offer And Receive Criticism - This was super helpful to me because I don't react (and as the writer points out, not many people do) well to criticism, let alone how to give it. This post is extremely helpful.

With that we say goodbye to September and hello to October. Cheers!



"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:7 (emphasis mine)

In the midst of tragedy and suffering He (God Almighty) is guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus - our great Savior and Provider.

Could it be that maybe even when we don't feel that peace that it is still present? Is it a matter of the will on whether we feel it and trust Him? But can we say that even when we don't feel the peace that it is yet still present?

Yes. We can. His promises are true and they are sure.

Maybe it's after the storm, after the rain has fallen so greatly on us that we can see His peace and His presence have been there all along and that His grace never left us.

So, if life is hard right now and the peace is a struggle to find, keep holding on. Pray "I trust You, Jesus." as many times as it takes for your heart to become in line with the God who sees you and His plan.

He will never leave us. Hallelujah!

 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” - Deuteronomy 31:6


Write a Letter to Iran’s President for Pastor Saeed.

I've been following Pastor Saeed's story since I first heard it. I pray daily (or try to) for him and his family. For his faith, his courage, and his endurance in Christ to remain.

This week is a big week because the Iranian President is coming to the U.S. to possibly meet with our President and speak on United Nations affairs. Prayers over that are appreciated.

The main reason I'm writing this is to ask you to pray daily for Pastor Saeed and go to this website and be a part of the campaign to free him from the Iranian prison he is in. You can write a letter from the website that will be sent to the Iranian President along with many other letters.

Make your voice heard for this brother of ours. God bless you.


Hang In There

Sometimes life isn't always happy. Sometimes finding the joy is the biggest battle you'll face today.

Because 13 people are dead after a shooting. And yesterday you had food in your teeth and nobody told you and you wish you didn't care so much about what you look like and other people's opinions of you and that you could just be content with the Lord and His love but He knows and you know... it's a fight.

His grace flows. His love pours.

The fears ring loud in your ear and He says, "Be still.". But you're scared and so you move and with each step you take you realize that He is still with you. Enveloping you with His presence and it's sweet.

His grace flows more. His love pours more.

So life isn't always happy or joyful and sometimes you'll cry yourself to sleep, but hang in there, sweetie, because we have hope. Always. Who is this hope? "Christ in you, the hope of glory."


Frisbee, Grace, And Encouragement - Monday Reflections

Last night as I was getting ready to go to sleep I started thinking about the day I had just had. I played Frisbee with some cool people for a couple hours which prompted this post somewhat. Hope you get something out of it.

I think the Church works a lot like a good game of Frisbee (I know, I know. Stay with me, though. I believe God helped me see this).

You have 5, 6, 7, or 10 people tossing the Frisbee of encouragement towards our Savior back and forth. One person may not understand something that God has helped you understand so you encourage them with His wisdom revealed to you. Another person may have something to add that benefits our brother or sister and so the game* is going well. Then, a person who is going through a tough time falls into sin- i.e. drops the Frisbee- and now they feel like they can't possibly keep going after that mess up. I think this is when God picks up the Frisbee and says, "Okay, child. You messed up but My grace is more. Keep going." and with that He tosses the Frisbee for His children to catch and the encouragement keeps going. Grace pours down and encouragement flows.

What am I saying? Even when we "drop" or mess up, God picks us up. Even when we're failing, He provides people to walk alongside us because God knows we can't do it alone.

Oh, thank You, precious Father, that even we fail You, You still show grace and provide for us.

*To be sure, I am not saying following Christ is a game because it's not. This is just a parable of sorts.


God Distorted - Book Review

I've been reading God Distorted for about 2 months (off and on) and let me just start off by telling you this book is a blessing from the Lord. He has been using it to unveil parts of my heart that have been broken and in need of healing from growing up without a father active in my life. (But God the Father has been active in my life since before I was born. :) )

John Bishop tells the story of himself as a child and what growing up without a father did to his image of God the Heavenly Father. He then goes on to share his testimony of how God has helped him to get through his fears, anxieties, and hurts and how healing has come.

John is a very real and very personal author and I love that about his writing. He doesn't sugarcoat a lot and isn't afraid of stating the truth knowing that it will hurt. He includes a study guide at the back of the book that is full of Scriptures to go with many of the questions and for me I found that quite helpful and encouraging. We need to go to Truth in order to be set free from anything and God's Word is truth.

I'm not going to say that my distorted view of God is completely fixed because I think that would be a lie. I still struggle with understanding God's love for me at times and seeing Him as my caring and loving Father God, but this book definitely has gotten the ball rolling in the right direction and by God's grace I will see Him as He is (probably not ever 100% accurate this side of Heaven but definitely a lot better... it's a growing process).

This book was a dense read for me so I would say don't read through it quickly but rather slowly and let God speak to you and reveal the hurts that need healing to you. For me there were times I had to intentionally put it down and journal or just pray and that's totally okay.

One thing I got out of this book and hope you do as well is to see that God has a purpose in our pain whether it be living without an earthly father present, being abused, or just not having a very good family life. God will use that for your good and His glory. There is purpose in your pain.

*Note: I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for reviewing purposes.


The Weak Win (But Not On Their Own)

In Judges 7 there is a pretty awesome (and true, might I add) story. The story is of the 300 men and Gideon and how the Lord delivers them from the Midianites.

There are many interesting and encouraging things in this chapter but in verse 2 a really interesting thing is spoken by the Lord. He tells Gideon that He (God) cannot deliver them from the Midianites with as many men as he (Gideon) has. Why? Because then Israel will boast in their strength and not God's strength.
Don’t we do that? And doesn’t God sometimes allow us to get so “stuck” in certain trials that we know only He can deliver us?

I’m prone to pride, y’all. I don’t think it’s just me but I can for sure tell you that it’s a problem that’s a daily battle so I definitely understand what God is saying here to Gideon about the pride of Israel. Moving on…
In verses 3-8 the Lord dwindles down this army with Gideon until there are only 300 men left. Guess how God chose them? He told Gideon that anyone who drank water like a dog- lapping with their tongues- they are the ones that God will use to deliver Israel from the Midianites.
Does that sound crazy to anyone else? Yeah. But don’t you kind of love it? God didn’t choose the strongest, the coolest (if you saw someone lapping water like a dog, would you think they were cool? I didn’t think so.), or shall we say the most qualified (according to the world’s standards) but He saw something in them. Maybe it was their willingness because verse 3 tells us that those who were afraid were told to leave and go home. Maybe they showed signs of humility so God could count on them to give Him the glory for the victory He allowed (all victory belongs to the Lord anyway. Check out Genesis 14:20). Or maybe the most obvious reason was (it's most obvious because it is stated in the text) God knew in their weakness HE is still strong. Woo! Powerful.

This encourages me because I know I’m not the most qualified person ever. I mess up every single day and struggle with things I should probably be “done” struggling over. But even in my failures Jesus has saved me. Even in my sin God chose me. Even in the trials He helps me. And why is that? Because He is my strength, salvation, and Rock. He alone deserves the glory because He alone is holy.
God fulfilled His Word and handed the Midianites into Israel’s hands. With 300 men they defeated many. What made the difference? The Lord.

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
I don't know your struggles but God does. Trust Him. Know that in your weakness God is still strong.


When "That Awkward Moment" Really Wasn't That Awkward...

Sometimes I try too hard. Especially when I'm around people that I want so badly to like me.

In the past those attempts have proved unsuccessful and yet still I try so hard.

I had somewhat of an awkward moment with some friends earlier this week... or so I thought. I went around the house moping for a while, then I journaled some to the Lord and then I asked for help getting over it. Hours later I come home to find a message, "Hey, what are you doing tomorrow?"


I tend to overreact to rejection or in this case perceived rejection. I know that nobody enjoys to be rejected and that when it hits it hurts. I try to put on a facade but God sees right through that.

I'm so afraid of being hurt that I allow it to hold me back. This living by faith I talked about? Yeah, it's even harder to do when you're afraid of being hurt and rejected by others.

Does that mean I just sit and do nothing? Wait until the pain won't come? The tears stop flowing? My life looks perfect? None of those things will happen. The pain won't always be there, but it will come back at times. The tears will stop flowing until something else causes them to fall, and my life will never be or look perfect this side of Heaven so it's time to come to peace with that.

Maybe you fear rejection or think you can't do anything right, like you are always messing something up. God is not mad at you or disappointed in you because you fail. He knows we're going to fail at times, He knows we're going to misinterpret things at times, and He's there to pick us up and help us understand when we're confused. Sometimes He just reminds us, "I am with you." and that is enough.

I think because we expect perfection from ourselves and others we are more prone to being let down. Maybe we should move from moment to moment trusting God to do what He wills in the everyday. Maybe your "awkward moments" will turn around with a, "Hey, what are you doing tomorrow?"


August Faves

Here's a few posts from the month of August that have inspired and encouraged me. I hope they do the same for you. Feel free to drop a link in the comments to one or two of your favorite reads this month. :)

Breaking Up With Your Ideal Self by Allie Marie Smith - know a girl? Love her enough to share this.

Where I Left My Heart - I just really like Gennean's blog. ^_^

Food, Weight, And The Gospel - This is part 3 but the links to parts 1 and 2 are listed in the post.

The Simplified Life - The heart of this blogger is beautiful.

Who Do You Believe? - We've all struggled with lies vs. truth and this is an excellent post about it.

When You Don't Feel Like Doing The Great Commission - really enjoyed her authenticity and willingness to share her struggles. Oh, and "the fact train"? Yeah, love it!

And now we can say bye to August and hello to September. Here's to a new month (and can we all thank God it's football time!? ;) ) and to new journey's with the Lord!


Walking By Faith

Following Jesus is hard.

If someone told you otherwise they were lying. Following Jesus is hard and it's a fight. You will wrestle more in this life because of it but guess what? It will be worth it in the end.

2 Corinthians 5:7 says, "And we walk by faith, not by sight."

That verse is something I've been praying for a while and asking God's help in living that way because on my own I'm helpless and hopeless. God has been answering that prayer for a couple of months in various ways.

One thing I love to do is worship God through song. Music has always been something I've loved. I can sing all day and when I began living for Christ worship music then became a passion of mine. I've since learned that it's also an awesome tool for fighting against Satan's attacks but that's an entirely different blog post.

A few weeks back I was reading an Amy Carmichael devotional where she said there are times that God will ask us to live out what we sing. I read it and thought, Wow. That's good! and then moved on, but last night that quote entered my mind. I've been asking God for help being bold and courageous but unknowingly (or maybe partially I knew) I've been choosing my own comfortable ways. I haven't been living by faith. So last night I was challenged to do something I knew I needed to do. Before preaching began at church we had worship time through song. God knew the song my heart needed and He let it play. I sang the words and as I sang His gentle voice said,

"Will you really, child? Obey Me."

I knew exactly what He was telling me to do and so I began praying for boldness, for the words to speak, for His Spirit to empower me. And you know what? He provided! I stood before several people and did exactly what He told me to do. I was scared. I thought about turning around, but He helped me step up, step forward and speak life to people who need it (and we all need Him).

Maybe we shouldn't be so afraid. God is for us. Who can be against us? No one. We read all these amazing stories of God working through people and saving/changing lives and allowing these men and women of God to be apart and we always think, Yeah, I want to do that, God! The thing is, we can't do it but He can. We must be willing and then we must do what He says. Maybe Katie Davis, Jim Elliot, John Piper, Amy Carmichael and __________ (insert name) aren't that able to do these things for the Lord* (because God alone supplies us with everything we have.), maybe it's just that they're willing.

I'm learning more and more what it means and looks like to rely on Him. I'm learning to live by faith.

*I in no way am disrespecting these brothers and sisters in Christ. I'm encouraged by their lives of faith! My point is just to remind you that we all have ministries the Lord wants to move in and through, we just need to be available.


Who Understands Me?! - Monday Reflections

I like to be understood. I want to be understood. I want people to know me; to "get" me. I mean really, who doesn't, right? But as I was spending some time with friends over the weekend and pondering different things in my life I began to wonder, how bad do I want people to know and understand God?


Yeah, that one hurts.

Many times I make such an effort to make sure people get where I'm coming from and the thought doesn't really cross my mind that maybe they don't know the LORD or maybe understand Him and His life-changing ways (though we can never fully understand His ways, we can get a better grasp on them as He allows).

So my conscious challenge to myself and to you is: 1. ask yourself whether you're living to make sure everybody understands and knows you or whether you're living to make sure everybody knows the God who made you. and 2. I challenge you to rest in who you are in Christ, letting Him define you and let that be what you desire others to understand- that only Christ can reveal our true identity.

Happy Monday, y'all! :)


All In - Book Review

"When are we going to realize that indecision is a decision."

And so Mark Batterson dives into a 170 page book on going "all in" for Christ.

Mark Batterson does an excellent job of stopping and making you think with his easy to read writing style. He takes every day situations and reminds us that with God truly all things are possible.

Each chapter has at least one story of someone who has gone all in for Christ and has been blessed because of their obedience to the Lord. Mark does a wonderful job of driving home how important it is that we live for eternity regardless of the difficulties and challenges it presents here on earth because as he states on page 155-156, "When everything is said and done, our only regret will be whatever we did not give back to God." YES.

As I read this book I was deeply challenged by statements like,  "We focus on what Jesus asked him to give up (talking about the rich young ruler in Matthew 19) but fail to consider what He offered up in exchange." (pg. 27) "You cannot be the hands and feet of Jesus if you're sitting on your butt." (pg. 77) I don't want to be half-way with Christ. I want to be all in.

I've read two Mark Batterson books (well, I skimmed The Circle Maker) and while I agree with most of what he says (sometimes our opinions differ) and I respect him as a brother in Christ, his writing style doesn't speak to me as much as it may someone else. Hence why I gave the book 3 stars. It just wasn't a favorite, but that in no way means it won't be one of yours. God may use it to change your life! Or your perspective... which may change your life.

Included in the back is a list of all 70 resolutions of Jonathan Edwards. I really like that the author included this because it shows yet another example of someone who really went all in for Christ and modeled it in his actions and words.

If you like upbeat, encouraging yet challenging books then I recommend you pick up a copy of All In.

*Note: I received a free copy of this book for the exchange of a review.


Enduring Despite Your Circumstances

We all sat around the room and opened our Bibles. 

Our Sunday school teacher opened her mouth and began to read Psalm 1. 

We read with our eyes.

"Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.           

Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction." (emphasis mine)

Then she asked us, "What does the word prosper mean?" 

We all sat there quietly thinking and finally the Lord gave me a response,
"Enduring despite your circumstances." 

She looked at me, said thank you for responding and went on with her lesson.

I listened but I was pretty intently focused on what the Lord had just spoken to me. You see, that response came from a place deep within me. It came from the sweat and tears I've shed in the months past. It came from the grace of God. She didn't know, nor did anybody else (except God), how meaningful those words He gave me to speak were. 

In the months past He has proved that prospering is not having a fancy house, nice clothes, a cool car, a cute boyfriend, or endless numbers of friends. It doesn't matter how cool, nice, or fancy your life is. What matters is are you following His way? Are you living life like the one who really prospers?

Maybe God is giving you a word right now. Are you listening? The Bible says when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. Are you near? In that moment on a Sunday morning, He helped me prep my heart to listen for His voice. How's your heart? Are you prospering or is your life looking more like chaff which the wind blows away? He'll help you if your life is like that. Cry out to Him.

Father, give us Your Word and open our ears to hear it. Help us to endure all the trials we go through, knowing that You are the One who causes us to prosper. Help us to live our lives like Christ lived His- all to glorify You. Thank You for Your Son and thank You for the grace we have now. 
In the name of Jesus,


Coming Back Stronger

The darkness will lift.
Jesus will come.
Hope will flood the soul and tears of thankfulness will flow.

I know this because God has shown up in my life time and time again (as He has these past couple of days).

You may not see it now. You may not feel His presence, but O child, He is here with us.
So keep singing.
Keep praying.
Keep seeking after Him.

Because He is faithful and does not lie.

I can't tell you why life so hard for you right now. Why these trials keep coming. But I can give you His words and pray they will be enough to quiet your soul:

"Jesus answered"It was neither that this man sinnednor his parents ; but it was so that theworks of God might be displayed in him." - John 9:3

Jesus was speaking of healing this man so that God's power may be displayed. Maybe the trials you're going through right now are so that His mighty hand may be displayed and He alone receive the glory for what He alone does.

Lord, receive our praise. Help us to trust You for you do not lie and are completely trustworthy. Forgive us when we forget that and help us to believe You at Your Word because You are our Almighty, Faithful and True Creator. Thank You for Your grace that sustains us through each trial. Hold us still, Father, in Your arms. Remove anything that resists You and help us to submit, regardless of what that entails. 



When It's Better To Wait...

I got some ice-cream at Micky D's today (because they know what to do when it comes to ice-cream cones! Anybody feelin' me on that one?!) and while I was there what I'm writing here came to mind.

When I got there the ice-cream machine wasn't ready yet. It needed to chill a little longer to be ice-cream. I told the girl there I'd wait (yeah, I really wanted some... haha!), but she thought maybe the machine was ready. She checked it and it came out like water. Not cool enough yet.

I sat and waited for about 10 minutes.
10 minutes or so later I got some.
Was it worth it? YES!
Why? Because I got a chocolate dipped cone that wasn't watery and was the right consistency.

My encouragement to you is this: sometimes you're going through trials that you don't think you'll ever come through. Sometimes God seems so far away and you wonder if He even cares (1 Peter 5:7... yes, He does.).


If there's nothing else to do but wait on Him, do it. Why? Because maybe not today or tomorrow or even the next month, but in Heaven when you hear His words, "Well done, My good and faithful servant." you'll be glad that you waited. It will be worth it.

Also, in case you were concerned, God does not leave us to try and wait on our own. His grace supplies us with all the strength we need to wait (Future Grace by John Piper has, by God's grace, helped me to grasp this a lot better). He, indeed, is holding on to us.

"Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord." - Psalm 27:14 AMP

Oh, Lord Jesus, help us to wait and trust you.


Blown Away By His Grace

This week has been a week of processing God's grace over my life and wow! Y'all, isn't it beautiful how even though God knows how unworthy we are He still sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us?!

This week I was really comforted by Philippians 1:6,

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

I really don't need to say anything more but thank You, Jesus!!


Drawing Nearer When It's Dark

Sometimes life is crazy and it's a fight to believe the words He's spoken over you all your life and you know them to be true yet there seems to be a veil that tries to hide them from your eyes and you pray, "Lord, open my eyes."

and yet the emotions that flood over your despairing soul threaten to take you down and all the while you hear His voice, however small it may sound, and He says, "Keep walking with Me."

You say okay because who else will you go to? You know He, the Great I Am, is the only One who has the Word of Life. HE IS THE WORD OF LIFE.

So you pray for faith over doubt and belief over unbelief.

He knows you. He knows you. He knows you.

"There isn’t any temptation that you have experienced which is unusual for humans. God, who faithfully keeps his promises, will not allow you to be tempted beyond your power to resist. But when you are tempted, he will also give you the ability to endure the temptation as your way of escape." - 1 Corinthians 10:13

He knows we're just humans and we fight to understand His ways which we will never fully understand and we cry when He seems so far away from us. Still He says, "Draw near."

It's dark. Near sounds so far away but in faith you say, "Yes, Lord, nearer to You I will draw. Even in the dark. Lord, help me to praise Your name."

Today is another day to rely on Him. Even in the dark. Even when there's pain like you've never felt before. This test will pass. Blessed be Your name, O Lord.


I Want To Be Bold

I pray for boldness. I want to be bold for the Kingdom of God. I want to do the things that Jesus did for the glory of the LORD.

Yet so many times He provides opportunities for me to bold and I shrink back. I tell Him it's too hard. I can't do it. I'm scared.

How big is our God? How much do we really trust Him?

Last week I had several opportunities to be bold. By His grace I was able to rise up and accept those opportunities. Because I knew He was with me I wasn't really afraid at all. I knew what He wanted to do He would. I decided to obey and let Him work as He willed.

You know what? It wasn't bad at all. Some people were receptive and some people weren't. Either way, I did what I was supposed to do. Since then I've contemplated how many times the Lord has asked me to do something but because of my preconceived notions in thinking that I'd mess up or look stupid or not do a good enough job I didn't rise up to the occasion and missed out on the way He would bless me and others through my obedience.

Are we just asking God for the things we believe we can do? Are we just accepting the "easy" things while neglecting to take up our crosses and follow Him wherever He leads us? Hmmm. Doesn't He tell us we can do all things through Christ because HE gives us strength?

Lord, give us boldness to follow You. Help us to accept every opportunity You want us to and trust You to do what You will in each situation. Forgive us for how we have failed you in the past. Thank You for Your grace.

“I have commanded you, ‘Be strong and courageous! Don’t tremble or be terrified, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’" - Joshua 1:9