When Mama died in September 2015, my relationship with the Lord changed. I'd been a Christian since I was a kid but it wasn't until I was in a pit of depression and longing for my mother did I really come to realize why He died on the cross for me- for my sin, absolutely yes, but also for my pain. My hurt. My sorrow.
God reached right down from Heaven and lifted me up. He got me out of the bed on the days it seemed impossible. He gave me joy in mourning. Comfort in sadness. Purpose in pain. His Word and His promises spoke right to my heart. He gave me a peace that passeth all understanding.
What was I going to do with this joy? With this testimony of hope and restoration that can only be found through Him?
Well, I was going to tell others all about it. Podcasts. Blog posts. IG photos of sunsets inscribed with scriptures.
People are hurting. Lonely. Living in hell- going to hell. Bondage. Addiction. Affliction. Depression. They need to know the Way, the Truth, the Life. I was put here to tell them. I mourned a mama, a daddy, a step-daddy. I watched a positive pregnancy test turn negative. I knew heartache. Dysfunction. And it was all part of a greater plan- a testimony.
Because God was there every step of the way. Lifting. Sharpening. Comforting. Restoring. And people needed to know. They needed to know if I could get through it, they could get through it.
But one day I woke up, after being so on fire for the Lord and what He had done in my life- and nothing.
I skipped that morning in the prayer closet. I just wasn't in the mood to study that day. I skipped the next morning, too. And the next. I went for a walk down the country road with my Spaniel. I didn't talk aloud to God as I usually did. Instead, I just talked to the dog about every rock and weed he sniffed.
I went to church. I didn't take notes.
I fell asleep without praying.
The Bible stayed shut. The notepad empty from weeks before.
Oh, but great things still happened. Answered prayers. God-ordained opportunities. And I mumbled a, "Thank you, Lord." instead of lifting my hands and truly praising His name. I just didn't feel it anymore. God was still good, I knew it, but the honeymoon seemed to be over. The butterflies had flown.
Fizzle. It had all fizzled.
Why do we do this, sisters? How can we be so on fire for our God one minute and bored with it all the next? As if our spirituality is related to our feelings? Aren't we to love and praise and obey even when we don't feel like it? Action is what matters. Not feelings or emotions. Feelings and emotions are fickle.
We can't give Satan credit for everything. Lord knows I don't want to be one of those Christians casting the devil out of every doorknob- but are we too stupid to see this is what pleases him?
The fizzle tickles Satan. The fizzle and the smolder. And eventually- weak rings of smoke are all that is left of what once was a raging fire. And he loves it. He revels in it. He likes when we are indifferent. Apathetic. Stagnant. Lukewarm. Bored with the story of the greatest sacrifice of all time- the sacrifice that sets captives free.
He likes when we aren't in the mood to pull out the NIV. Or talk to our Maker. Or when we fall asleep or eat the food without praying. When we can't find the time to study, but we find the time for a Golden Girls marathon.
I don't know about you, but God has been too good to me. He deserves more than being kept in a Sunday morning box. He deserves the blog posts and the IG pictures of stars and Psalms and hands raised to Heaven and shouting His goodness from every keyboard and every stage. He deserves that and so much more.
I refuse the fizzle and the smolder and to become nothing but a pile of ashes.
Refuse it with me. Rebuke it.
Fan the flame again.
Susannah B. Lewis, follow her on Facebook here
Follow By Faith She on Facebook here
Tears, anger, and doubt matched the onslaught of rain pelting my vehicle as I drove toward the airport. A girls’ weekend away was upon me. While most females find joy and longing at the thought of getting away, I had only angst.
“Why, Lord, why?” I cried.
“Why am I not enough for _____________.”
“Why do I alienate myself in the midst of a group of fun-loving, precious Jesus girls?”
“Why am I choosing death, instead of life and peace?”
“Why do I want to bail on a weekend which I know will be so good for my heart and soul?"
As I strained to see through the swishing of my windshield wipers, a flashback scampered across the path in my mind.
I was probably 7 or 8 years old. I had just left my best friend’s house who lived across the creek from me. We always had the best of times together, laughing, playing, dreaming, very Anne of Green Gables-ish. Her mother always had snacks waiting for us, and her father always greeted me with, “Tammy Ammy from Miami!”
I loved being there with them, with her.
However, this day was different. It was her birthday. I can’t remember why — possibly having to share her with others, not being the center of her time, a comment made, etc. — but the next memory I have is of me leaning over the concrete bridge of the creek, crying.
While laughter and frivolity had been the mood of the party, I abruptly left, mad and confused and hurt. Thoughts of “I’m not enough.” started to germinate in my mind as I watched the creek rush by thru my tear-stained eyes.
“I’m not enough.”
Wait a minute!
Isn’t that the thought that had trampled across my adult mind just a minute ago?!?
Is that lie really from as far back as my childhood?!?
Is this ridiculous tug of war between “Should I stay or should I go” this weekend from that day, so long ago?
If you know my testimony, you know I've been radically changed by praying God's Word to transform my mind. Since it has worked miracles in the past, the only way to heal from this "I am not enough" lie is to take it to the Healer.
Transform My Mind 101
If I was going to make it to the girls weekend away, transforming my mind was required. I needed another visit to the class "Transform My Mind 101." Because of Jesus, I can debunk the maxim “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” by speaking truth, instead of lies, to myself.
1. Give Thanks in All Circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
As painful as the memory was, it needed to be exposed so I could begin to heal.
“Lord, thank you for this painful insight. Help me eradicate this strangling weed of a lie from my thoughts and replace it with your life-giving truth.”
2. Acknowledge the Truth (1 Timothy 2:4)
This lie from my past was stealing my current day joy.
“My eyes are continually toward the Lord,
for He will pluck my feet out of the snare.”
“Lord, I shift my eyes from my fear of "I am not enough" onto You. Only You can pluck my feet from this snare from my past. Your Word is Truth, therefore place my feet on the path toward life and peace.
3. I Am Not A Prisoner of My Past (Galatians 5:1)
Dropping the shackles of this lie was necessary to really live in the present.
Weeping may last for the night
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
Holy Spirit, I’m tired of weeping over things from my past. Put a spirit of gladness in me. May I shout for joy because of Your goodness and grace in my life today.
4. Replace My Faulty Thinking with Truth (Matthew 7:24)
My current thought pattern was sucking the life out of me. Transforming those thoughts into God's thoughts about me was necessary.
Thus says the Lord,
“Do not call to mind the former things,
or ponder things of the past.
Behold I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert.”
"Jesus, pave a roadway in this wilderness of feeling "I’m not enough." Forge a river in this desert of loneliness and despair. Create something new as I choose not to bring to mind former lies of being not enough and replace it with rivers of truth which spring forth to bring new life and growth."
Rivers of truth such:
I am chosen (Ephesians 1:4)
I am loved (Ephesians 1:4)
I am adopted into God's family (Ephesians 1:5)
I am redeemed (Ephesians 1:7)
I am forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)
I am included (Ephesians 1:11)
5. Choose Joy! (Philippians 4:8)
Done are the days of angst. I WILL choose joy!
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
"Father, May this weekend find me waiting on You and gaining new strength not to flee, not go to bed early, not to retreat, but to join in whatever is happening around me. May I mount up like an eagle and soar. In You, I will run and not get tired. In Your strength, I will walk and not become weary."
6. Anticipate Victory!
Instead of dreading the upcoming weekend, I will look forward with joy and anticipation to pave the way to victory!
...be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
so that you may prove what the will of God is,
that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
"Transform my mind. May I choose to walk this weekend in what is good and acceptable and perfect. In the mighty, death-defying name of Jesus, Amen."
Miraculously, the storm outside my vehicle subsided as calm and peace flooded my heart and mind. A joyful and fully engaged mindset replaced the dark "Woe is me." mentality. As I pulled up to the airport, I chose to greet my friend with love and expectation rather than with a dismal Eeyore-type disposition.
Only God. Only God can transform and renew a mind like mine. Returning to the class "Transform My Mind 101" equipped me to overcome my social anxiety. I'm sure this lie of "I'm not enough." will slither back into my thoughts, but I will remember and utilize the lessons I learned in that class.
P.S. The girls' weekend has come and gone. Because of Jesus, I was fully and joyfully present all weekend. Looking back, I have no regrets. I could weep at God's kindness. He comforted the crying girl on the bridge by whispering, "In Jesus, you are enough." and set her adult mind on the path of life and peace all because she chose to transform her mind.
To Him be all glory and praise.
How about you, dear reader? Do you have an area of your life that paralyzes you and renders you useless? Try my one step solution! The same power that rescued me from a concrete bridge can and will rescue you! Cry out to Him to be transformed and set free! <3
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
Follow us on Facebook here.
Audra's pick -
Secret Keeper Girl/The Beginner's Bible Devo - Laura's pick
We have a bit of an age gap with our kids. We have a tween daughter and a three year old son. So I am recommending two different devotionals based on age. For an older child, we love Secret Keeper Girl. They also have a boy version called Born To Be Brave. I will never forget the first Secret Keeper Girl LIVE event I took my daughter to! It was filled with bright colors, funky clothes, fun worship and speakers that spoke truth from Scripture right to her heart! I quickly went to research their resources and found several that we have loved! For our three year old, we love the Beginner's Bible Devotional. It's a great way to introduce Bible stories into their little hearts.
The Jesus Storybook Bible - Rebecca's pick
The Jesus Storybook Bible is what we started all of our children on. It tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible. At the center of the Story is a baby, the child upon whom everything will depend. Every story whispers his name. From Noah to Moses to the great King David---every story points to him. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle---the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the Story unfolds, children will pick up the clues and piece together the puzzle.
What I especially love about this beautifully written and illustrated Bible is that it is also the PERFECT Bible for new believers. Parents can learn as their children are learning! It is a Bible for everyone and produces many "aha!" moments as it clearly connects the dots of Scripture into one seamless story. And, it makes a perfect gift, too!
Kingdom Quest - Tammy's pick
You want your kids to be wise and make wise decisions? This study takes the guess work out of equipping our children on how to be wise and prayerfully make wise decisions. Each session offers a key to wise living, applicable verses, great discussion questions, and even a fun quiz for kids to see where they stand in that week's topic. We love it! It is offered in three different age appropriate levels. You can go as quickly or as slowly as you want. We choose to do a chapter a week, three days a week.
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing - Noel's pick
Being a momma to 4 kiddos under 6, we use a variety of resources. This devotional is written by the author of the Jesus Storybook Bible that Rebecca recommended. It is beautifully written and illustrated. It’s always sparked some great conversations.
Our oldest, Zoë, has been talking our ears off lately. It’s both beautiful and exhausting. Sometimes all I want to do is nod and say “mmm-hmm” or just smile while I try and think through my Costco grocery list before the littlest one realizes he’s not buckled in the cart and tries some wild escapade.
This morning after our Bible reading,
Noble said, “But if you believe in Jesus you won’t die. Because heaven is our true home.”
Zoë: “Will we keep breathing in heaven?”
I responded, “Your body dies, but your soul never dies and lives forever in heaven with God. We get a new body, and every breath we breathe will be praising Jesus the King.”
Zoë: “I think that already happened to Nana.”
Later while strategically hitting up every snack sample in Costco, Zoë asked: “How do we gaze upon His beauty?”
After gathering my thoughts from such a breathtaking question, I answered, “It means that God is majestic and holy and too wonderful to comprehend and awesome and good and perfect. When we see Him as that we want to spend our lives knowing Him because there is no one else like Him.”
Zoë: “It is hard to understand why life passes through so quickly.”
My thoughts exactly, Sweet Pea. Only I was lamenting how fleeting these days are when all 3 of my babes can fit in the front of the cart, and they lean over for hugs and kisses or head butts. Alternatively, they rest their heads on my shoulder, and I feel their little arms around my neck while I try and push a heavy cart with a big ole pregnant belly.
And we’re having conversations like these.
And all three of them are talking in my ear at the same time. Or they are pestering each other by covering up the letters on the handlebar. Don’t ask. It’s maddening.
However, I was overwhelmed with gratitude this morning for this season. I love having all my babies close and the togetherness all day long (don’t hear perfect harmony) even in the midst of being at the end of my rope as Zoë so honestly and insightfully said about me on Mother’s Day: “You’re good at being slow to anger even though sometimes you’re fast to anger.”
Yup, because Mommy needs Jesus too.
You shall teach them diligently to your children,
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,
and when you walk by the way,
and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Isn’t this what Scripture means when it says to teach God’s words to your children when:
- you sit (in the car in rush hour traffic) and
- walk (up and down the grocery aisles) and
- lie down (but not in your own bed because your 5-year-old still has too much to say at the end of the day) and
- rise (before the sun because everyone in your house is staging a coup against sleep).
Even when you think they’re not listening and you feel every thought you’re trying to share is interrupted by some catastrophe, they catch little drips at a time that become impressed on their tender hearts and will one day overflow. That’s what I’m striving for anyway in all the ordinary, mundane rhythm of life.
So here’s to keeping those babies close and entrusting their hearts to God.
Noel McKenna is a wife and a mommy who blends a pile high stack of books on CD and outdoor play with a whole lot of Jesus into her journey through motherhood. She and her husband, Nathan, have been married for 8 years and juggle this leg of their lives with grace and humor. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram for more of her beautifully honest glimpses into this life she now lives.
Follow us on Facebook here.
Well, my late night social media confession that I almost erased within four minutes of posting has been read by 78,652 people and counting. Ninety-seven percent of them are women. That’s enough women to fill up an entire stadium. Can you imagine?
A post that almost didn’t survive the “delete” key found its way to the Facebook pages of tens of thousands of women. Never in my wildest imagination did I believe it would get this much attention.
According to our Facebook insights, there have been 808 comments made on all the shares. One commenter said, “I go through life everyday asking myself, ‘What’s wrong with me, and why can’t I make/have friends that stay?’” Many more of the commenters said that my confession made them cry. They confessed that they, too, are experiencing a season of friendlessness just as I described. They ache to have a friend yet stuff this desire down deeply so that the world will not know.
I think that my blog post brought it all back to the surface.
By Faith She has never been about numbers nor do we ever want to be about numbers. However, the numbers have told us something. The numbers have told us that we don’t need to bury this ache any longer because we are not in this season alone. So many more feel this way, too. A stadium full of women feel this way.
As the blog spread and the numbers climbed, I found myself burdened for all the women who, by sharing their own confessions, risked a bit of vulnerability. I applaud your transparency as I know how hard it is to divulge the hidden things of the heart on social media. By sharing with us, you told thousands of other women that you are in this battle with them. And sometimes, knowing you aren’t alone, is comfort enough.
The numbers tell us something else, too. The numbers tell us that we need to do a better job of reaching out to one another. Women need women. Women need relationships because we were designed to be relational. The mutual ache in our hearts is a clear indication of this fact.
So, what has been my takeaway?
The almost-deleted post that touched a stadium-full of women is challenging me to be a better friend. I need to show and tell those who already love me and lift me up that I appreciate them more often. I need to schedule time to sit on their couches and search out their silverware drawers. Also, I need to keep my eyes open wide for the women around me who need a friend. I don’t want anyone to feel lonely…not on my watch. I want to walk across the room, sit in a different seat, embrace in a hug, and extend an invitation more often. For my introverted self, this can be a challenge. But, it's a challenge worth pursuing.
As I prayed about how to respond, this idea came to my mind:
When a friend comes to mind,
I will STOP what I’m doing.
I will DROP what’s in my hands.
I will pick up the phone and TEXT them with this simple message:
“Hey Friend, you are on my mind today and you are loved. Okay, that’s all. Carry on.”
I want to do this because at the root of this ache in our hearts is the longing to be thought of. To be wanted. To be remembered.
Will a simple text empty out a stadium full of women? Probably not. But, I know that the random “I’m thinking of you” texts that I occasionally receive breathe life into me by saying to my heart, “Somebody cares.”
If the Lord lays someone on my heart, I will no longer dismiss it as a stray thought. I will text them and tell them. And, I challenge you to do the same.
They’re on our hearts for a reason. We need to let them know.
If you say yes, do it now. Right now, text the first woman who comes to your mind. Or, scroll through your contacts and pick out several. Then, because I know that in reality there are actually many more stadiums full of women who NEED to know that they are NOT ALONE either, please share my original post here. It’s one of those blogs that need to stay in newsfeeds so that it can continue to pull women together. Together where we belong.
When you do these two things, comment #stopdropandtext on our Facebook post and your name will be entered in a drawing for a felt letterboard (just like in the photo) that will inspire many more messages that you can share with your friends. *Make sure to like our Facebook page so that you can see the video drawing on Wednesday, August 29.
First, I am a child of God. And, like a child, I am always learning and growing. The more I know Him, the more I love Him. Second, I am a wife to a good man. Missions is his thing while teaching women to love God’s Word is mine. Third, I am a mama to three plus a sweet cockapoo who thinks he’s #4. My children are my ongoing sanctification. Fourth, I am a passionate advocate of all things healthy & natural and a dreamer/designer. Old friends call me Becky, newer ones call me Rebecca, and the most intimate ones call me Beck. You can just call me friend.
Follow us on Facebook here.
“It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you.”
This was a letter, from Paul to the Galatians many years ago, but how do these words still apply to our lives today?
The word zealous means, full of zeal, devoted or diligent. What are you full of zeal for? What are you devoted to and diligent about?
Here, in The Bible, Paul says, it’s good to be zealous, if you’re zealous about the right things.
Does your life show devotion to Jesus today? Do you have passion to share with the world what He’s done for you? Or are there other things in your life that you spend your time and energy on?
And how does a busy women even apply this passion for Jesus to her everyday life?
You know me. I love practical. So here are a couple of helpful tips for sharing your passion for Jesus in the day to day!
1. It begins with developing passion for Him. You can’t share passion about something you don’t know. You must spend time with Him often. Pray, Read His Word. To know Him is to Love Him! Spend time allowing God to fill you with His Holy Spirit!
2. Change the way you speak! I’m not talking about cursing or inappropriate language here, although that’s not the best example for sharing Christ😉. I’m talking about being intentional with your words. Begin adding God into your conversations. When someone asks you how you are, tell them God is good. Here is how He’s blessed me today. This isn’t being fake. True, everyday isn’t the best day of your life. BUT! Everyday, we do have blessings and things to be thankful for! Share these things with others.
3. Love others where they are! It’s important to challenge people to take steps toward Jesus, but it’s equally important to let them know you love them (because Jesus loves them) right where are.
I’m praying that your zeal for Jesus will shine through you today and light up the darkness around you!
Audra and her husband Jordan are called to ministry and he is the senior pastor at their church. They have two beautiful children who bring them tons of joy, lots of laughs, and on occasion, new grey hair. She is a former teacher who still loves to teach, enjoys cooking and baking, and has a passion to lead other women to know Jesus and live out their faith in Him.