You are restless. Life doesn't look like you envisioned it. You keep thinking if only I had a different job, or a different spouse, or a different child, or a different ___________. Right now, the proverbial grass on the other side of the fence looks to be your favorite shade of green.
But what if? What if the job doesn’t improve, the spouse doesn’t change, the kid doesn’t wise up, the ______________ doesn’t change? Then what? Do we live in neutral or in a “woe is me” state or just give up?
God didn’t create us and put us in this time-period, in this location, in this situation for us to give up! As Christ-followers, we have the power of the living God inside of us!
In fact, Romans 8:37 reminds us that we are MORE than conquerors through Christ. But in reality, many of us are living as the conquered. We’re continuously striving, grumbling, complaining, and are down-right grouchy.
Goodness. We need to shake this Eeyore mentality of woe is me... my life is so wretched... my situation is so hard...etc. etc. etc. Wake up, O Sleeper! This life isn't about me, nor is it about you. It's about God and His glory.
That hard place you are all grumbly about? That's God's invitation to test Him, to try Him at His Word! He's inviting you to get up! Throw off the shroud of winter! Allow spring to bloom in your soul!
You know Philippians 4:13, “I can do ALL things through Him who gives me strength.” Have you glanced back two verses? Check it out?
“…for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. “ Philippians 4:11
Content. Wow! Paul learned to be content in whatever situation. Do you know what content in this context means? It means independent of external circumstances. No matter what situation presented itself, Paul was at peace. He unwaveringly believed whatever hard situation - beatings, imprisonment, ship-wrecked, etc. - was before him; it was God’s will for him to make the most of it. That, my friend, allowed him to boast “I can do ALL things through Him who gives me strength.”
That’s the secret, dear one. Contentment. Peace. Right where you are, whether in a stressful job, or a loveless marriage, or a terrible parenting situation, or _____________. Like Paul, we must learn -- get in the habit of -- to be content.
I wish I could take your hand into mine, look into your eyes, and speak this to your soul, "You, dear one, were made for hard things. Because of Jesus, your life should exceed the normal humdrum existence.
Bloom, Jesus Girl!
Bloom in that hard spot! Let God's resurrection power soften the soil of your precious heart with hope and joy and peace!"
When the marriage is hard, press in to God's promises. When the job is frustrating, press in to His life-giving Word. When the parenting is hair-pulling, press in to His peace and long-suffering. When the _____________ is tough, press in to Jesus.
Press in. Learn to be content. Like Paul, unwaveringly believe that whatever hard situation is before you; it is God’s will for you to make the most of it.
For me, when I'm in those hard places, I repeatedly pray, "Your will, not mine, Lord. Your will, not mine. Change my heart to beat like Yours." Here are some verses I press into in those hard places:
Marriage - Ephesians 4:32, 1 Peter 3:1-4, 1 Corinthians 7:16, Ephesians 5:22, 31-33,
Parenting - Ephesians 4:32, Ephesians 6:4, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Malachi 4:6
Job - Colossians 3:23, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Ephesians 6:6, Titus 2:10-11
People - Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:12-17, Galatians 6:1, 1 Peter 3:9
Situation - Psalm 56:3, Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 15:13, Exodus 14:14
Dear one, I don't know your situation, but if God hasn't closed the door, you are probably exactly where you are supposed to be. May you learn to be content so that you can thrive! I'm cheering you on as you press in and bloom in the midst of this hard situation. <3
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials,
for we know that they help us develop endurance.
And endurance develops strength of character,
and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment.
For we know how dearly God loves us,
because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Other great posts to help you push thru the hard
Self - When You're the Lost Sheep
Marriage - Winning at Marriage
Parenting - The Best Kind of Parenting
Situation - Confrontation. the Dreaded Word
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, deep talks, lively laughter, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
Untruths Which Can Unhinge Your Faith Series - Part 1
The conversation began hesitantly as one of the women asked, “How do you minister to a mom whose child has chosen to take his/her own life.” A collective moan arose from the circle of women as each of us wrestled with the weightiness of this topic.
The tragic death of a child is one thing, but when one’s child chooses to take his/her own life and commit suicide? Unfathomable. We quietly leaned in as she shared the mom’s sorrow. The “What ifs?” The “Whys?” We all grappled with what we’d say if we were in the same situation ministering to a mom with a shattered heart. Providentially, two untruths (lies) sifted to the surface and became the focal points of our discussion.
Lie #1 - Suicide is an unpardonable (unforgivable) sin.
This lie about "those who commit suicide are damned to hell forever" has pretty much planted itself as truth in the mind of many Bible believers. The evil one does not want us to know the truth, especially when grappling with life’s tough questions. How slimy of him to plant the lie that suicide is unforgivable.
- It empties the grieving of any hope of a glorious resurrection of the lost loved one.
- It causes us to question God and His goodness if there is no hope of seeing a loved one again because they chose to commit suicide.
- It creates a chasm between God and us in our thoughts and beliefs when we need to be leaning into Him most.
1. Truth exposes the lie.
Scripture states in Matthew 12:3, "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven."
To the point, the only sin committed by humanity which will not be forgiven is to reject Christ as Lord and Savior. Henry Morris states, “The unforgivable sin of speaking against the Holy Spirit has been interpreted in various ways, but the true meaning cannot contradict other Scripture. It is unequivocally clear that the one unforgivable sin is permanently rejecting Christ.”
Yes, I believe suicide breaks the heart of God just like lust and envy and pride and gluttony does. But the act of taking one’s life does not permanently separate us from Him, only rejecting Christ as Lord does.
When Jesus was dying on the cross, He stated one of my favorite, full of hope sayings, “It is finished!” John 19:30 Because of that statement, God forgives my sins and your sins if we call Him Lord even if we choose to commit suicide.
By faith, I believe Christ’s death on the cross paid for all our sins including suicide.
2. Hope replaces the lie.
Renowned pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay lost their son, Matthew, to suicide in 2013. Kay said, “Matthew’s body was buried in brokenness, but will be raised in strength.” That’s hope, my friend. That’s truth found in 1 Corinthians 15:43:
Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength.
By faith, I believe Christ rising from the dead on the third day promises a glorious resurrection for those of us who call Christ Lord, despite our sin, because of the cross.
3. Jesus defeated the lie!
I want to show you a nugget from my morning reading of Christ's death in Matthew 27:52. After Christ gave up His spirit in verse 50, look at the cool events God orchestrated to show He kicked death in the teeth:
- The veil in the temple separating man from God was torn from top to bottom.
- The earth shook and the rocks split.
- The tombs were opened.
Yes, you read that correctly! The graves were opened. You know which ones: The ones of the saints, those who believed but died. Not all of them, but just enough to show God’s power over death!
I bet those raised again were sinners just like you and me with a myriad of physical and emotional issues. I don’t know nor do I claim that one might have committed suicide. All I’m pointing out here is God’s love for all of mankind and His power over death. The day Jesus died, God raised a group of believers to live again, just like Lazarus.
Remember my post about the demon-possessed man? Jesus crossed a sea to rescue one deranged, out of his mind, senseless man. That shows the heart of our Savior. Even those whose minds are sick are precious in His sight, including those who choose to end their life with suicide.
He is the God of hope who does not change nor does He lie Hebrews 6:17-19.
The only unforgivable sin is denying Jesus as Lord. The tragic choice of suicide has not nor will it ever separate us from the love of God. Remember 1 Corinthians 15:43. That is hope you can bank on, my friend. How kind He truly is.
Next week, I’ll uncover the other lie we discussed that day, Lie #2 - God never gives you more than you can handle.
How about you? What has been your thinking on suicide and eternal life? Do you know the only one who can give your life meaning and hope? Oh, friend, Jesus loves you and longs to have a relationship with you. If you don’t know Him personally or if you have questions, we would love to talk with you. Please send us a private Facebook message or feel free to comment here.
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, deep talks, lively laughter, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
I sat in the waiting room, at moments shaking, at other moments thinking I was going to be sick at my stomach...waiting. I had to wait over an hour. I was in a room full of women, all of us waiting for the results. Silence. I read Psalm 121 over and over and over until I thought, “Ok, just memorize it.” So I began to just memorize it.
Fear. Worry. Gripped by its icy, bony fingers.
What is your deepest fear?
“Fear, you say? Christians aren’t gripped by worry or fear.” We read verses such as Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness,” and we march boldly into tomorrow with no worries.
Or we could be honest.
We worry about money, death, our children, fear something happening to our children, our marriage, our job security, our aging parents...or health issues as we sit in a waiting room, gripped by fear, powerless to do anything about the impending outcome.
When the inevitable worries and fears come, and our world is shaken to the core, what do we do?
Jesus calls us to an unbelievable faith. If we are a Christ follower, then we must follow the ways of Christ. I know this sounds like a statement that would get a “Well, duh!” reaction from my middle school students, but think about it. Christ calls us to a simple life: we want to complicate it.
So here goes:
● First, I must be ok with the unknown.
As a Christ follower, I must admit and live by faith in Christ. This means that some days, most days, every day, I have no idea what will happen next. I must be ok with that.
This requires lots of prayer. “Lord, I cannot do this. Help me with my unbelief (Mark 9:24). You are a Sovereign God, and your ways are not my ways. Teach me to have faith that starts childlike but will grow as you lead me and I continue to trust in you and you alone. God, when I start to lean towards my understanding of things and trust in myself and my own power, please jerk me back to you. That jerking may hurt, but help me, God. I am desperate.”
● Second, I must accept that I am part of a large master plan.
“Father, I am a glorious piece of a larger plan that is beautiful. Help my issue with pride, that makes everything about me. Nothing is about me. It’s all about you. Help me to be find contentment in that.”
● Third, I must be grateful.
That’s where my waiting room story picks back up.
Ladies came and went from the waiting room, all of us waiting for our name to be called, like some ominous lottery. And then someone spoke.
Light, casual conversation began. “I am so nervous that I can’t even speak,” I thought.
But as I was reading Psalm 121 over and over, the obvious began to kick in. “Why do I even continue to read this yet not trust in it as truth? God, help me. Free me, Lord for I am in bondage.”
“It’s not about you. Speak. Open your mouth. Are these ladies believers? Do they know the hope in Christ?”
So I began to speak. Weather, flu, schools, “I am a teacher”, and then God “lobbed me a softball”, an accurate reference to this moment as stated by my pastor Rodney Alexander.
The conversation turned to deeper matters. God allowed me opportunities to speak of His goodness, that attitude of gratitude that I am compelled to have, God’s ability to heal physically at any moment, all sorts of small tidbits of peace. I always walk away from these moments feeling that I never said enough, but remember, piece of a beautiful puzzle.
Something wonderful happened in that moment, besides the obvious golden opportunity to speak life and peace: I was no longer nervous. I realized that there was no way I could control the results that were coming any minute, but I could control what I did right now.
God is calling us to follow Him in every moment, every second. Those moments add up to a lifetime of following, blindly, obediently, trusting in a Sovereign, good God. The focus is off of me and on my King. Therein is peace.
The rest of the story: I was clear. The patient right before me was not.
I am grateful, trusting in the good and the bad to an Omnipotent God Who loves me.
“What time I am afraid, I will (by His will over mine, moment by moment, second by second) trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3
Kathy McBroom is a middle school English teacher who resides in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, ten minutes south of Louisville. Her husband Robert is the Missions’ and Assimilation Pastor at Little Flock Baptist Church. She is an author, blogger, bible teacher and has recently begun “Manic Monday” a group which can be found on Facebook. She and Robert have two daughters, Rachel and Hannah, who are also teachers. You can check out more of Kathy's great writing on her blog.
Six Ways to Diffuse Depression
The Glad Game. Have you ever heard of it? It took place in a cranky aunt's home located in a town of hard-hearted people. Seems almost impossible, doesn't it? But a very determined little orphan girl wasn't deterred. She introduced the game to any who would listen by saying, "No matter how bleak the situation, you can always find something to be glad about."
Everyone, from the town recluse to the orphan's aunt, was eventually affected by "The Glad Game." All because of one little orphan named Pollyanna. "The Glad Game" changed the fictitious town, yet more importantly, it changed the author, Eleanor H. Porter, who penned the story. She was quoted, “Oh yes, my relationship with Pollyanna is personal. She got me thru my childhood.”
When the dark blanket of depression descends, a Pollyanna approach to life is the farthest thing from our mind. But should it be? Should we find something positive even in the bleakest of circumstances?
Like we discussed in part 1, bouts of depression can swoop down upon us unaware! But we who suffer from depression are not without hope! We don’t always have to resort to the pill bottle or the counselor’s couch to see the light of day. While there are benefits to those, we can choose to play Pollyanna’s “The Glad Game” but rename it as “The Thankfulness Game.”
My friend, it is healthy and good to be actively engaged In overcoming depression.
Thankfulness. What's so powerful about being thankful? Dr. Daniel Amen, a clinical psychiatrist, scanned a woman’s brain two times, first when she was thankful, then when she was fearful. For the first scan, she dwelt on everything for which she was thankful. For the second scan, she meditated on all her fears of things which could go wrong.
The difference between the thankful brain and the non-thankful brain scans was stunning.
Her thankful brain lit up the areas of motor skill and thought coordination. This result makes sense. When we’re thankful, it adds a spring to our step and infuses hope into any situation and gives us the drive to push thru the hard things in life.
Proverbs 17:22 declares: "A joyful heart is good medicine!"
Her non-thankful brain showed a decrease in the areas of motor skill and thought coordination. Think about it, when we are fearful or down, our thoughts and actions become jumbled as if we’re walking through sludge. We're stunted from thriving.
Like Proverbs 17:22 warns: "A broken spirit dries up the bones."
Science proves the Bible!
Dr. Amen's brain scans prove Proverbs 17:22! Positive thoughts/thankful thoughts release endorphins - happy chemicals - which are stronger than morphine! "Being grateful for the wonderful things in your life literally helps you. . . “ (Dr. Daniel G. Amen, Making a Good Brain Great, p. 151) Read more about this in part one.
My friend, this is good news! Thankfulness can help heal a bout of depression!
Here are 6 ways we can play “The Thankfulness Game”?
1. Three things
When I'm in "the pit of despair," I make myself think of three things I'm thankful for. Why? Thankfulness is good medicine. I might be in my car or in my bed with the covers pulled over my head. No matter where I am, I can always mentally choose thankful thoughts of glee to sweep away the dark thoughts of "woe is me."
2. Thankfulness Journal
I have notebooks here, there, and everywhere to remind me to write thankful thoughts. It's not only fun, it’s life-giving to look back over the lists and see the faithful hand of God. Research shows the benefit of keeping a running list of thankful things:
“10 weeks later…participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25 percent happier than the hassled group.” (Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. Huffington Post)
3. Thankfulness Pinterest Board
Growing up, the sweet lady across the street kept a scrapbook full of her favorite pictures and quotes. I used to spend hours during the dark days of winter looking thru them next to a crackling fire with a warm mug of cocoa at my side.
Pinterest is a modern day version of her scrapbook. Start a thankfulness board on Pinterest and pin thankfulness thoughts and verses which inspire you. Simply type in "thankfulness quotes" or "Thankful verses" in your search engine search bar and then click images. Pin one or two a day. Check it regularly.
4. Thankfulness Screensavers
Speaking of thankfulness quotes or verses images, save a pretty one as your screensaver. Each time you pick up your phone or power on your computer, it will remind you to be thankful.
5. Thankfulness Sharing
Social media has enough negativity. There are others out there who need the thankfulness treasures you are unearthing. Like a flower girl casting pedals, share a thankfulness quote or verse on your social media page regularly.
6. Thankfulness Accountability Partner
I have a couple of precious friends I make (yes, I have learned I need to bully my flesh.) myself tell when I'm under a cloud of depression. They know when I tell them I am down-hearted, they are to point me to what is true and good and beautiful. They even sometimes make me tell them three things I'm thankful for and check in during the day to be sure I'm not wallowing in my pit of despair.
Life is hard. Dark days descend without notice. But God is good. He's given us a remedy for depression: a thankful heart. A cheerful heart. A glad heart. Pollyanna was right, “there is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it.”
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."
How about you, my friend? What are some tricks of the trade you use to help fight the dark thoughts? Perhaps you're in the throes of a dark period. I'm sorry. That's hard. Let me know as I'd love to pray with you. But also, I challenge you to pick one of the 6 remedies listed above and faithfully implement them into your day. You can do this! I'm cheering you on!
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.
This is my story of how I came to know Jesus as a child and then again as a woman. I would LOVE to hear yours! If you don’t know Him personally or if you have questions, we would love to talk with you. Please send us a private Facebook message or feel free to comment here.
You know those iconic small stain-glass windowed churches nestled in rolling hills? I was blessed to grow up in such a church in upstate New York. A myriad of memories flood my mind as I think back to my growing years in that church. Such memories as being baptized in a nearby very cold creek and yearly Easter sunrise services held in the back field followed by a yummy breakfast.
The most important memory, however, involves summer camp. Every summer the church members made sure we kids went off to church camp for a week. Amidst the greased pig contest and polar bear swimming club, my heart softened and permanently declared an eternal relationship with the Lover of my soul, Jesus.
I remember stepping outside that night after my decision to trust Jesus as my Savior. I looked up at the starry expanse spread like a canopy above me. I was overcome that the Creator of the starry realm loved me. Little ole me. I felt like Maria in the Sound of Music just singing and spinning with a soaring spirit. I was so filled with joy I could burst! I felt sure Jesus and I could conquer anything that came my way.
Years slowly slipped away and that night at camp became a definite but distant memory. My adult faith roller-coastered from joy-filled to joyless. Soon, my cup of joy was depleted. While I was active in my local church and wearing my joyful Jesus girl mask so skillfully, deep down I was miserable.
Miserable looks different for each of us but for me, it was as if a toddler had taken paint and splattered it over a beautiful masterpiece. There was splattered paint of anger, depression, and abusive and erratic behavior. I staggered from the high of Sunday morning worship to the deep valley of despair by Sunday afternoon. I was on and off anti-depressants and sleeping pills. My marriage was rocky, and my children trembled in fear at my sudden rage.
Something needed to change.
The joy I experienced that night years ago seemed so elusive now, possible for others but not for me. When I looked at much of what was wrong with my life - my marriage, my parenting, my friendships - I realized I was the common denominator. I had lost the joy of my salvation. I was the Titanic headed for the iceberg.
I needed to change.
I was in the midst of a Beth Moore study. I had always been in awe of her vibrant, radical faith and wanted it, but thought she was blessed with something special, something that was not obtainable for the average follower of Christ. But during one session, it finally clicked! Christ’s abundant life is a promise for all believers, including me!
The smoldering ember of my faith caught a flicker of air and started to burn!
Like a marathon runner, I began to train my flabby spiritual self hardcore. Instead of just a Sunday morning accessory, my Bible became my constant companion and lifeline. I asked the Lord, “Change me. I am willing to do whatever it takes to have the abundant life You promised in John 10:10.”
The Four Steps I Took to Turn My Titanic Self from Destruction:
1. Developed a Personal Bible Study Time
I was as inconsistent as an unreliable car with my quiet time. So, I determined to get up each morning before my family and spend time with the Lord. When my rebellious flesh wanted to stay in bed a little bit longer; I would pray Psalm 42:1-2,
“As the deer pants for the water, help me long for You.”
2. Studied and Applied God's Word
I dug deep into James 3:13-18 and into the Proverbs, like Proverbs 29:11, longing to be counted among the wise instead of the fool who is controlled by anger. My constant prayer was:
“Make me wise, Lord. Help my tongue speak words of life, not death. Allow my hands to be hands of healing, not hurting.”
3. Really Fell in Love with Jesus
I asked the Lord to help me fall deeply in love with and trust Jesus. With a renewed hunger, I studied the four gospels and every account of Jesus’s interaction with everyday people. With new eyes, I saw His love and compassion and miraculous healing of EVERY kind of sickness and disease. I prayed,
“Help my unbelief! Help me know you love me as deeply as those You walked with all those years ago."
4. Claimed Resurrection Power
I understood Christ's power to overcome death was available to me as a believer, yet I let that power lie dormant. I knew the only way to overcome my angry, depressed, abusive self was to pray Christ's death-defeating power over myself and my weaknesses. My steady prayer was:
"I'm weak and helpless to change myself. Lord, please help me believe Your resurrection power can save me from myself!”
And slowly, unlike the Titanic, I veered around the iceberg and started to feel a change in me.
- I started having joy which lasted longer than a worship service.
- I was experiencing peace that no pill or brownie or latest purchase could bring.
- I began to love being a wife and a momma and a friend.
I. Am. Changed! (Happy dance!)
Finally, I am experiencing the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10! All because the same power that raised Jesus from the grave is still available to us today! I just needed to receive it and believe it! Life has not become a bed of roses since my radical transformation. But now the joy of the Lord is my strength! His strength makes me strong where I am weak!
Just like that night long ago, the Creator of the starry host still loves little ole me. Just as important, Jesus and I CAN conquer anything that comes my way. When given the chance, I tell all who will listen,
"Jesus saves, not only from the literal hell, but also from the hell inside of ourselves!"
That is the victory of the empty tomb, my friend. That is the victory guaranteed to each person who humbles themselves, confesses their sin, and accepts Jesus as Lord.
Oh my friend, it's NOT too late! You are NOT too far gone! The victory of the empty tomb is possible for you, also. If He can save me from a Titanic-like existence, He can do the same for you!
May you believe it and walk and flourish in the power of Christ's empty tomb this Easter and beyond!
Too much time on my hands!” the 80’s singer crooned. And the week I wrote this post certainly felt like it! The first four days of snow-magedden were a snowy blur full of dishes and wet clothes and the excitement of being snowed-in.
But day 5 was different. The realization of not accomplishing much dawned on me. We have had time together, yes. But the children were not always in my company.
With a day full of canceled obligations and no expectations beyond providing food and comfort, what in the world was I going to do with too much time on my hands?
- I could binge watch some TV series.
- I could mindlessly scroll social media.
- I could...
The “I’m bored, what should I do?” possibilities were endless.
However, what if I looked at this downtime as a gift, as a small pocket of time to better myself and my home.
The Psalmist begs of the Lord,
“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. (Psalm 90:12) Teach in the Hebrew is the word “yada” meaning to know, to discern, to acknowledge. Using the definition for "yada," we could rewrite the first part by saying, "Help me know how brief my life truly is."
James 4:14 tells us how long life is: “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.”
I don’t know how many days I have left until I run into Jesus’s arms, but I want those days (including snowed-in days) to be productive for the Kingdom and my betterment. Scripture lights the way.
Woven into the rich tapestry of Titus 2's “how to live” section is the charge for women to be workers at home. Simply put, this means when I am at home I need to be productive and be intentional to make it a haven for my family and others.
Let's admit it: worker at home is not the latest Pinterest craze or hashtag on Twitter or Instagram. So, what does it look like? Scripture again comes to our rescue! Look at some of the words used to describe a "worker at home" woman, Ms. Proverbs 31:
vs. 15 - she plans her day,
vs. 17 - she’s energetic, hard-working, and strong
vs. 19 - her hands are busy
vs. 27 - she is not lazy or idle.
I don’t think it’s a sin to take a break, kick back, and breathe. But this list convicts me of days passed without doing anything other than eating and looking at a screen.
What do I do when I don’t know what to do.
A. Make a List - brainstorm - dream.
- What do I want to accomplish?
- What things do I want to learn?
- What tasks should I complete?
B. Itemize your to-do list in the order of importance.
- What's doable today?
- What can I start today to make a dent in the mess?
- What materials do I need to complete these tasks?
C. Just do it!
1. Baby Steps
- break the task into small tasks makes it more doable (ex. pantry - clean one shelf at a time.)
- make sure you make yourself complete the task.
2. Build-in a Reward
- I like to work in 30-minute increments, and then reward myself for 15 minutes and repeat.
- I use a timer to keep track of my time.
3. Find Something to Listen to While you Work
- podcasts ( A few of my favorites: Revive Our Hearts, Read-Aloud Revival, THM podcasts)
- audiobooks (A couple of my favorites: Lamplighter Theatre, Jim Weiss)
- Occasionally, I need to tell someone what I'm hoping to accomplish. (Ahem.)
- I have them ask me about my task later in the day.
- It keeps me focused and on track when I know someone is going to ask me about my task.
Some Suggestions for What to Do when I Don't Know What to Do
1. Learn something new
- A couple of my goals this year include learning to knit and growing berries. I’m a visual learner, so YouTube "how to" videos work well.
- What's something you want to learn to do?
2. Clean a much-needed area I’ve been putting off.
- My pantry was in desperate need of purging.
- What area of your home needs cleaning or decluttering?
- Your testimony. You never know when you’ll get to share it! Audra wrote an excellent post found here.
- thank you notes to people who has touched your life
- encouragement notes to those who need a kind word.
4. Do a Puzzle or Play a Game (not on a screen).
- we played lots of card and board games during the snowed in days.
- we completed a 1000 piece puzzle left on a side table to work on a little bit at a time.
5. Cook or bake a new recipe you’ve always wanted to try
- We tried our hand at empanadas and soft pretzels.
- What recipes have you wanted to try?
6. Get outside
- do some yard work (God-given exercise!)
- walk - enjoy the beauty of whatever season it is!
7. Read a book you've always wanted to read but haven't had the time.
- for pleasure
- for spiritual growth
- for academic growth
Now that the snow has melted and the hustle and bustle of everyday life has returned, I'm so glad I was able to check some deeds off my to-do list. My pantry is clean, the 1000 piece puzzle is complete, and the back porch is shoveled. I think the Proverbs 31 woman would be impressed!
God’s WORD translation of Proverbs 6:6 cracks me up, “Consider the ant, you lazy bum. Watch its ways, and become wise.” May we not be known as lazy bums, but as active ants for the glory of the Lord and our good.
How about you? What do you do when you don't know what to do? I'd love to hear about some of your tips or accomplishments!
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
How to THRIVE in Your Wedding Vows Series
“Grow old with me! The best is yet to be.” I loved this sappy, secular sentiment so much I put it on the back of our wedding program. To me, it reflected the longing of the human heart: undying love, "till death, do us part," you and me against the world forever.
"Till death do us part" is the finishing touch to the traditional wedding vow. It's every couple's dreamy end goal, growing old together, weathering life's circumstances side by side. But, some days the finish line seems so far away. To top it off, society tells us if we get tired of our spouse, it's ok to step away from our promise "till death do us part."
But "till death do us part." provides us with an endpoint to focus on when feelings come and go like waves on the beach. It's commitment. It’s resolved. It’s unmovable.
In fact, the commitment of "until death do us part" is living and loving well like Jesus.
Loving Like Jesus Loved
While Jesus never married, He did choose 12 men to do life with for three years. Three years might seem like a cakewalk compared to the length of our marriage, but those three years were filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows. Just like marriage.
These were men Jesus lived day in and day out with. He knew their good, bad, and ugly. Knowing what we know about this motley crew, I love what He prayed in one of His final prayers leading up to His crucifixion.
“During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me;
I guarded them so that not one was lost,
except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.” John 17:12
What stands out to you in this verse?
Two things stand out to me:
1. By the power of the name you gave me.
What a strong, death-defying name is the name of Jesus! When the last drop of hope has drained from a situation, all we have to do is say His name. No matter the marital situation, calling on His name renews hope and the strength to stick to loving our spouse well even on the hardest of days.
2. I protected… I guarded.
Both of these words — protected and guarded — come from a form of the word “kept.” meaning to attend to carefully, To take care of, Focused, Purposeful. Jesus chose to take care of those in His care to the end. Likewise, our spouse's heart is in our care. On those hard marital days, looking to Jesus's example enables us to love our spouse with focus and purpose.
A few examples of Jesus protecting and guarding His motley crew:
Judas - betrayer
Jesus washed his feet knowing He was going to betray Him soon.
He called him friend as Judas walked up to betray him.
Knowing what He knew about Judas (betrayer), He still chose to take care of Judas well to the end.
Thomas - doubter
Jesus washed His feet knowing he’d doubt His resurrection.
He invited Thomas to touch his scars when he declared doubt of Jesus’s bodily resurrection.
Even when Thomas doubted, He lovingly invited Thomas to make his faith sight. He chose to take care of Thomas well to the end.
Peter - denier
He washed his feet knowing he’d soon deny Him three times.
Jesus warned him, but Peter denied Him anyway.
After He rose from the dead, Jesus sought Peter at the water's edge. He fed him a warm breakfast and gently realigned him for even greater service. He chose to take care of Peter well to the end.
Jesus protected and guarded Judas, Thomas, and Peter. By following His example, we can live with the mindset of “till death do us part.” despite our spouse's brokenness.
The Ultimate Finish Line
"Till death do us part" is the ultimate finish line. If we outlive our spouse or step into Glory first, we want to look back at our marital life and know we cared for them well.
So, how do we get to the finish line? The wedding vows show us how to protect and guard our spouse:
To have and to hold - the physical beauty and necessity of sex inside of marriage, the ultimate picture of oneness.
For better or worse - the pressing in and respecting our man even on the worst days.
For richer or poorer - the one-minded mentality when it comes to money and marriage. What’s yours is mine. What’s mine is yours.
For sickness and in health - the patient, long-suffering kind of love whether our spouse is physically or mentally or emotionally unwell.
To love and cherish - the purposeful 1 Corinthians 13 approach to loving our spouse well.
Intentionally living our wedding vows guides us across God's finish line.
When I think of God's finish line, I think of the passage in Scripture where the master tells the faithful servant, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." That to me would be the ultimate prize we could receive for choosing to thrive in our wedding vows.
I don’t know about you, but this series on the wedding vows has renewed my commitment to love my spouse well. I love acrostics. To help me run across the finish line, I am choosing to C.O.M.M.I.T. to thrive in my wedding vows.
C - compassionate - be kind-hearted in my words and actions.
O - optimistic - believe the best of my spouse.
M - mediator - pray for my spouse.
M - mindful of my own humanity - looking at the log in my own eye rather than dwelling on the speck in my spouse’s life.
I - intentional. Purposely pouring life into my marriage.
T - true to my word. Choosing to thrive in my “I do.”
Lock arms with me, my sister. May God find us both faithful to C.O.M.M.I.T. to thrive in our wedding vows "till death do us part." I am praying this blessing from Jude over you and me. <3
24Now to him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Wedding Vows Series
I Do? Who Knew? - Part 1
Heat Up Your "To Have and to Hold" - Part 2
Winning Solution in "For Better or For Worse" - Part 3
Do not Grow Weary "in Sickness and In Health" - Part 4
Content in "For Richer or Poorer" - Part 5
Love AND Cherish no Matter What? - Part 6
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.