Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life


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The Best Gift You Can Give

The very act of slowing down to be present is a gift to yourself and to the people you love.

I almost missed a significant conversation with my 18 year old son because of Downton Abby. (Can you believe it?) The only television show I watch all week was about to start, and we’d already been talking 10 minutes. So I said, “Well, I’ll let you go. Was there anything else you wanted to say?”

His answer surprised me.

He said, “My week wasn’t the greatest. Now that school started, I have loads of work, and you know David Bowie died.” Continue reading

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Pressing on Towards Your Dreams

Perseverance

Have you ever been tempted to chicken out on a goal that proved harder to achieve than you expected? I can’t count the number of times I’ve taken on a new project, only to drop it because it takes longer than I thought. Luckily, I don’t have to go far to find a hero who inspires me in the perseverance department. He sleeps next to me every night!

When we moved to Turkey 14 years ago, my husband dreamed of being able to preach in Turkish. He loved studying and sharing God’s word. However, after a year of full-time language study and several years working with a private tutor, Jose still struggled to participate in simple conversations.

One day his dream hit rock bottom.

A neighbor jokingly asked, “What’s wrong with you? You’ve been here five years. How come you still don’t speak Turkish?

The man didn’t mean to be unkind, but we were crushed.

Amazingly, Jose didn’t give up. He continued to devote an hour each day to language study. He labored to read the Turkish newspaper. He studied grammar and watched television programs. Day in and day out, he made small improvements.

Most importantly, he continued to enjoy people. Even when he could hardly talk, people loved my husband for his warm smile and gentle manner. Years passed.

Today Jose is a proficient Turkish speaker. He can preach. He doesn’t speak perfectly, but he communicates God’s Word with passion.

It’s a miracle of grace and a lesson in perseverance.

Perseverance isn’t a popular word in our “get it now” culture, but we need to cultivate it.

Maybe you’re seeking to persevere through a difficult spot in your marriage or a stormy relationship with a child. Perhaps you’re trying to lose weight. You may be trying to complete a degree, learn to play the guitar, write a book, or grow your blog. You might be on an uphill quest to de-clutter your house.

All these pursuits require faithfulness in little things over the long haul, but I get discouraged when I don’t see fruit right away. When I encounter obstacles, I’m tempted to bail out and abandon my goal. How do we keep going?

3 Ways to Press on Towards Our Goals (And 8 questions to ask before giving up.)

Enjoy the Process

Sometimes we focus so much on accomplishing our dreams, that they drive us. We lose our joy. We take ourselves too seriously. We forget about enjoying the journey.

Ask yourself: 

  • What can I enjoy today?
  • What can I thank God for?
  • What areas of life can I take joy in while I work to achieve my dream?

Keep Perspective

When we’re pursuing a goal, it’s easy to lose the global picture. Our happiness becomes all about achieving it, and we forget that God is taking us through a process. It’s helpful to step back and seek His perspective.

Ask yourself: 

  • What is God doing in me as I work towards my goal?
  • What is my goal anyway? (Realizing that your end-goal is God might be a game-changer.)

Press On

Persistence is a series of small steps in the same direction. God looks for faithfulness in the little things.

Ask yourself: 

  • What step can I take today toward my goal?
  • What can I do in 15 minutes?
  • What can I do tomorrow?

If God has given you a goal, don’t give up. Seek Him for grace to enjoy your journey. He’ll renew your perspective and give you the power to press on.

Now it’s your turn: Do you have any goals or dreams? Ever feel like giving up? How do you keep going?

I link up with these communities: Holly Barrett’s #TestimonyTuesdayKelly Balarie’s #RaRalinkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee’s #TellHisStory,  Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart, and Grace & Truth.

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Photo Credit: Melika


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Celebrating 51: What I Wish I’d Known at 31

Today I’m celebrating my 51st birthday. While my sweet husband makes me a pancake breakfast, I’m giving myself a birthday present. Instead of writing a Five Minute Friday devotional post like usual, I’m going to spend some extra minutes getting into God’s Word so it can get into me.

Here’s a re-print of a post I wrote last  year in case you missed it. Please do leave a comment about your favorite life hack.
birthday2

As I celebrate my 50th birthday today, I remember my 30’s when I was in the trenches with my babies and hanging on for dear life. I thought fifty meant I’d be living easy, and I was partly right. Some things have gotten easier now that the baby phase is over, but I had no idea back then about the fireworks that would result from the haywire hormones of teens and a fifty year old mom in the same house! (Luckily my sweet kids are gracious and kind to put up with their mother.)

Today I continue celebrating joyful, hopeful fifty with the list I started Monday.

30 things I wish I’d known in my 30’s:

Continue reading


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When You Get a Wake-Up Call from God

 

When a simple headache suddenly became life-threatening, God gave me a wake-up call. Here are four ways to make the most of each day.When a simple headache suddenly became life-threatening, God gave me a wake-up call.

I was in the kitchen making lunch, when I realized I’d had the same nagging headache all morning. Absent mindedly I reached into the cabinet for some pain reliever and poured a glass of water. For some reason, the pill didn’t go down. When I coughed, it came back up and lodged in my windpipe. I couldn’t breathe. I tried coughing it out, but that pill didn’t budge. Continue reading


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Real Rest for Tired Superwomen

Real Rest

Do you ever wake up on Monday morning to start a new week even more tired than you were the Friday before? It happens to me all the time. My son must feel the same way because every Tuesday morning at breakfast he prays, “Oh God, thank you that it’s not Monday anymore!”

God planned for the Sabbath to be a day of rest, but I often fill my Sundays with housework, chores, and errands, so that I sabotage the Sabbath God intends for me. God ordained a healthy rhythm of work and rest, so that we could be refueled, but we refuse that rest in so many ways: we fill our days with back-to-back activities, we work at night from home, and we stay up late, all in an effort to get more done.

My word for 2015 is REST. I want to learn from Jesus how to take a real rest.

Continue reading


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Slowing Down to Find Joy in the Ordinary

Betsy de Cruz fearfully made momWhen my kids were little, the daily routine of diapers, fixing meals, and getting up nights to feed the baby or settle my toddler made me feel like I was on a treadmill. Worn out and weary, I’d wonder what happened to the abundant, joyful life I read about in the Bible.

Paul’s word to “Rejoice in the Lord always” sounded irrelevant. What was joy anyway? Was that like pie in the sky by and by? Maybe joy was for heaven? Half the time I was just trying to survive now without losing my mind!

Today my kids are older, but the challenge remains: how to move beyond survival into a more joyful life? We women carpool kids, hold down jobs, cook, clean, make sure the kids to do their homework, and teach Sunday school.  How do we get off the treadmill?

 

I’m writing for Fearfully Made Mom today. Come on over to read the rest of this post.

Linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday.


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When Complaints Crowd Out Contentment

portion and cupMy heart lurched as I stared at the 15 year old pick-up, complete with cobwebs, that was supposed to take my family of 4 from Austin, Texas to Washington D.C. and back.

“You.Have.Got.To.Be.Kidding.” I whispered to God.

“Are you crazy?” I silently asked my husband. Continue reading