Ouch! Just writing the title of this post kind of stung. I hate feeling like I’m not enough, like I don’t measure up. In today’s picture perfect society, the pressure to be enough is almost crushing. To have the cutest Instagram pictures, newest shoes, the most friendships.
We let the world put so many standards on our lives, and I don’t know about you, but it leaves me feeling like I can’t keep up – like I’m a failure. It's hard to accept the fact that we as human beings can never achieve perfection, but if we could just get past the blinding wall of pride and self-reliance, life would be so much sweeter.
Let me give you some hope. JESUS IS ENOUGH! In fact, He is more than enough. He is perfection in its truest and most real form. Out of His great goodness, He wants to fill you up.
I like to think about it like this: if being enough was a cup, I could pour myself out all I wanted to, and it still would not even come close to filling up the cup. But if instead, I pour myself out at the feet of Jesus, His goodness would fill my cup to overflow.
As a recovering perfectionist, this is so comforting and so freeing to me!!! I don’t have to waste my life away trying to achieve the unobtainable. Instead, I can rest in the freedom that Jesus Christ declares me His own. I don’t have to have everything planned out, because my Father already does.
I’m able to go about each day chasing His glory instead of my own.
It no longer matters what my peers think of me because I know with absolute certainty what He feels about me. He says I am loved, redeemed, cherished, forgiven, chosen, and beautiful in His sight.
And let me tell you, loved one, He says these things about you too.
Choose to take Him at His word. Believe in the power of Christ’s sacrifice. Submit yourself to His perfect plan and let yours go.
1 John 3:1 says,
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are! How incredible is His love!!!! He not only gives it to us, but He LAVISHES it on us!!! He calls you His child!!!! His beloved son or daughter!!! That is who you are!!! You can place your identity in the fact that your Father loves you and will never ever stop doing so!!!!! I hope you realize how cherished and adored you are today & everyday.
Kaylee Grace Snider - Kaylee is a vivacious 16 year old who loves Jesus and all those she comes into contact. Find more of Kaylee's writing here or follow her adventures here.
As I was asked to write for By Faith She, I began praying about what direction I should go. The words no one wants to hear crept into my life almost a year ago and since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, I knew I needed to share my story!
Back in November of last year I received a call that came with an overwhelming diagnosis that changed my life from that moment forward. “Cancer” is all I could hear on the other end of the phone. I was forty-one years old and scared to the core! From the very beginning, I heard Jesus asking, “Do you trust Me?” To be honest, that was a hard question to answer because I felt as if Jesus had walked away from me. That sounds so crazy now, but during the diagnosis I felt alone.
As my doctors created a battle plan, my daily life began to consist of tests, doctor visits, blood work, chemo and ultimately surgery. During the process, I lost my hair. We all know that back in the Bible days your hair was your glory and of course it’s still an important attribute for women still today. Yet again, the Lord kept asking, “Do you trust Me?”
Throughout this process there have been many days that it’s just been me and Jesus. I have learned now more than ever to let go of things I cannot control and let Him move in my life. It hasn’t been easy, but when I really came to understand that He was the one that created me and He knows what’s best in my life, I was able to surrender and lay it all at His feet.
I was raised in the ministry and I thought I had given every area of my life to Jesus, but I learned quickly He didn’t really have all of me. Did he cause this cancer? Nope! But, I do believe He allowed it so I could reconnect to Him and go deeper in my faith.
Placing all my trust in Jesus and giving Him all my fears has truly changed my heart and my life. I have moved from simply loving Jesus to being crazy, madly in love with Him!
My hair is slowly coming back in and I am now a blonde, which is a hair color I have never had before! This journey has taught me how to be intentional with what I fuel my body with too. I used to eat whatever my flesh desired, but have seen the benefits of feeding it with whole foods that make God’s temple thrive. In the process, I have now lost 30 pounds. I am so thankful that the Lord has changed me from the inside out!
I can relate so well to the story of the Red Sea in Exodus 14. As the Israelites saw the Egyptians approaching and then saw how vast the Red Sea was, they were frightened! But God was speaking the same thing then as He has been to me on this journey…”Do you trust Me?”. With God on our side, He stands between us and the enemy and we never fight our battles alone! I’m telling you He is crazy in love with you and when the “Red Sea” comes in your life do you turn back or do you let Jesus part the waters for you to walk through?
My journey continues. The surgeon was able to get all of the cancer…Praise Jesus, but I am still undergoing precautionary radiation. Days can be so long and hard, but I know God is my Healer and my Poppa and I must continue to “trust” Him as He has asked me to do.
So, I leave you with this...will you let Him change you from the inside out? What He can do for you, which he has done enough already on the cross, is amazing!! I am very blessed and claim healing, and will claim healing for you and your “Red Sea”.
Hello, my name is Jennifer Williams. I grew up as a child of a kids pastor. I have been in church since I was a baby, and grew to know the love of who Jesus is. I am a wife of an amazing man that God placed in my life eight years ago after going through a divorce that I never would of expected. God turned it around and placed my soul mate in my life and showed me again that He was in control. I have 3 kids...2 from my first marriage, a son that is 23, a daughter that is 21, and now a bonus daughter that is 16. Also God has blessed me with my first grandchild! His name is Landon and wow what a HUGE blessing He is!! I love being a Grammy and know that God knew I needed him at this appointed time! For fun I like to spend my time with family and travel as well. I LOVE ministry and love helping others. My desire in life is to pray with people and see transformation in their walk with Christ, and to see people be healed!
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
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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.
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Who shall teach the next generation about God, His truths, and His offer of salvation?
Psalm 145:4 says, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” This current generation bears the responsibility of teaching the faith to the next generation and that means you and I have a vital role to play (Titus 2:2-5). We live in a broken world with broken homes and broken people who are desperately in need of a Savior. Our future depends on the next generation. Will the next generation choose to follow the Lord and His ways? Their morals, beliefs, and ideals will guide the course of this nation and the world in the years to come. Therefore, we must take every opportunity to invest in the future by sharing our faith and the principles found in God’s Word.
The family bears the primary responsibility of teaching the next generation God’s ways. “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Mom and Dad have the privilege and task of teaching the next generation about matters of faith with a determined diligence.
When are the best teachable moments? According to Deuteronomy 6:6-7, when you are in your home, when you travel from place to place, at bedtime, and in the morning. Endless opportunities exist to instruct the next generation. In fact, “… The influence of Mom and Dad ... are two to three times more influential than any church program.”1
Understanding the current generation and cultural influences can be advantageous when identifying practical life lessons. An eye-opening resource that presents generational tendencies is iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy-and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood by Jean M. Twenge, PhD. “Born in 1995 and later, they grew up with cell phones, had an Instagram page before they started high school, and do not remember a time before the Internet.”2
Twenge utilized extensive research to compile a list of ten distinctives for iGens. Three characteristics identified that are relevant to this blog include: Insecure, Irreligious, and Indefinite.3
Insecurity can be impacted by an increase in Internet time and a decrease in personal interaction.4 Social media presents perfect images and messages of the worldly success. Teaching concerning identity and security in Jesus Christ is needed to confront the mixed messages of culture.
This generation has also been described as irreligious. “… More iGen’ers are being raised in non-religious households, and more iGen teens have decided not to belong to a religion anymore.”5 The purpose and value of participating in a local church must be demonstrated and conveyed to the next generation.
Indefinite refers to the blurred lines of sexuality.6 IGens must be taught God’s plan for sexuality and the family. Being informed about generational tendencies enables us to target instruction and impact beliefs.
Finally, it is the Word of God that must be taught to the next generation. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word … I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). We must be aggressive and intentional in our teaching. The future depends on our faithfulness to God’s Word and to passing our faith to the next generation.
1Mark A. Holmen, Building Faith at Home: Why Faith at Home Must Be Your Church’s #1 Priority (Ventura: Regal Books, 2007), 25.
2Jean M. Twenge, PhD, iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy-and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood (New York: Atria Books, 2017), 2.
Stephanie Edge is a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. She served in Women’s Ministry in Jackson, TN for sixteen years. Stephanie graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity. She also completed a Masters of Theology and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Stephanie currently is an Associate Professor at Union University and teaches adjunct for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She has a passion for teaching God’s Word and is a member of Englewood Baptist Church.
Back to School Time! As each new school year approaches, I find my wishes and dreams are sky high! Yet I often find myself deflated months later in the middle of crazy schedules, overcommitments, self-inflicted sleepless nights, and longing for the next blissful season. Am I the only mom that feels like I’m failing because my checklist of draining items outweighs the life-giving details? This year I resolve to be different.
This year I will be the peace.
As we roll into this new school year and have a clean slate to start fresh, I am challenging myself to be the “Peace” to my family. Not to be the peacemaker, or the person spouting about peace, but to actually be the peace and calming influence in my home.
This will look like me
- listening to my kids work things out rather than trying to problem solve for them.
- saying “no” to good things, to allow my family to get more rest or more time together.
- setting aside stuff I want to do for myself until a later time.
- having my kids plan a day of family fun that they want to do.
- planning school supply shopping earlier, or online, so I'm not all stressed out and yelling.
- stopping myself from spewing worry and frustration from my mouth because I am nervous about my kids starting school.
Here are the top 5 ways I will be the peace in my home at the start of this school year.
1. I will be excited about the endless possibilities of this new school year.
I will not allow my fears and worries transfer onto my children. Any concerns I have over the new school year, I will take to the Lord rather than speak them out loud for my children to hear.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
II Timothy 1:7 NKJV
2. I will speak words of life over my children
I will speak only life-giving words about the new school year. I will encourage my children to speak to God about their own back to school butterflies.
“Don’t worry about anything,
but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God.”
Philippians 4:6 HCSB
3. I will Say “No” to excess.
I will say “No” to the things that add too much to my plate. “No” to the things that don’t give me life. “No” to the invites for good things that will have me forego great family times. I will let these last weeks and days before school starts be intentional and not chaotic.
“God’s curse blights the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
He gives proud skeptics a cold shoulder,
but if you’re down on your luck,
he’s right there to help.
Wise living gets rewarded with honor;
stupid living gets the booby prize.”
Proverbs 3:33-35 MSG
4. In the words of Elsa, I will “let it go!”
If I forgot to order the personalized backpack in the perfect color, I will let it go.
If I am almost done with summer and my bucket list hasn’t even been touched, I will let the guilt go.
If I am upset that my child didn’t get in a class with their best friend, I will let it go.
I will let go of the back to school clothes shopping. I will instead turn it into a fun September activity together rather than a knockdown, drag-out stress-ball of time for back to school. (Honestly, the weather is still as hot as anything, and they won’t wear the cute fall clothes for a few months anyway!)
This is an opportunity to choose peace over being frazzled.
“And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Colossians 3:17 HCSB
5. I will be there.
Once school starts, I will just be there for my child without overloading my schedule. Those first few weeks of school can be difficult for kids. They may not know anyone in their class, get a teacher they don’t like, struggle with remembering their new schedule, or are just plain tired.
I will not be on the phone at school pick up. I will hug them. I will sit down for family dinners. I will share about my day, inviting them to share about theirs. I know they will talk when they are ready, but I will make sure I am there for them to have the opportunity to talk.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB
My prayer is to find a way to let some things go and make a choice to be an influence of peace in my home this back to school season.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13 NASB
Denise Slater - I’m a mom to 12 year old triplets and a wife to a college professor. We both have relocated to Tennessee by way of Michigan (Go Blue!), Missouri and Arkansas, which means we have lots of family to visit during the summer. We are blessed to travel quite often during the summer as my husband’s job during this time can be done anywhere with a modem.
I am excited to have my friend Jaclyn on the blog today! She and I went to high school together but live in different states now. Thanks to social media, I read a small part of her story when she shared a post not too long ago. I knew I wanted her to guest blog for us because she has a story women can resonate with...body image. I am thankful for her transparency and I pray it can help someone today! Please know you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need prayer!
When I was little, how much I weighed or what size pants I wore was never brought up. Who cared??
I was never called fat, always an average size. Because I started tumbling at the age of five and always stayed busy with some form of athletic sport, my bottom half was always on the larger size compared to my waist. It was in high school when I started to pay more attention to my weight and size. The models in clothing ads were much thinner than me (and of course taller, too). I was 5'1" and wore a size 6. I was no where near fat but the BMI chart said I was overweight.
After high school, I was determined to not gain the "Freshman 15." I wanted the opposite. I was going to be thin like society said I should be. Being an average size 6 was not good enough, and there the obsession began. I was obsessed with looking at myself in the mirror and judging my flaws around my waist, hips and thighs. I would turn this way and that way, suck in my stomach and would wish I was a size 0 or 2. Working out and eating low fat and fat-free was not doing the trick anymore.
There had to be something else.
That's when I started purging my food. It was wrong, but I justified it because I didn't do it all the time and not every meal. The truth of the matter was I was bulimic. I became more obsessed when I started working at a local gym part-time. I would get there an hour before the gym opened to workout and then stay after my shift to workout some more. It was working. By the end of the summer, I was a size 0/2. Just what I wanted. My friends were concerned. My family wondered. I just denied anything and said I had been working out a lot, which was true, but I kept the bulimia a secret.
When I moved to Louisville, Kentucky and my workouts became less and my eating habits were lax, I had to purge even more. It happened at every meal and then eventually became everything I ate. I would be in tears in the bathroom because it hurt to purge my food. In my apartment, I would cry while looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself I needed to stop. But I couldn't. I was gaining weight. I had to keep throwing up. I was now a size 4 and extremely unhealthy.
This went on for over 6 years. It wasn't until I met the man who is now my husband that I revealed my secret. When we started dating, I told him who I really was. I was bulimic. He was a smoker so we made a pact to face the things that were taking over our lives head on. I needed more than just his help to get me out of the pit. I needed prayers and God's help. I emailed my friend and family and confessed my secret and begged them for prayers to help me. It was a slow recovery, and I went through a lot of changes. I gained more weight, and my metabolism was gone. My body was hanging onto everything in fear it was going to go without food. My teeth were ruined, my esophagus scarred and I was no longer "thin", but I was getting better. It was a very long road to recovery but I had God on my side along with friends and family who cared about me. Prayers and God's love and grace were my strength and I realized that “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
It has taken years for my metabolism to begin to fully function like it should, which in turn caused me to struggle with my weight. Now I'm finally at a place where I no longer look at the number on the scale or my pant size. It's all about how I feel. Yes, I still look in the mirror and want to lose some inches, I'm human, but my ultimate goal is to just be healthy.
Now that I have kids, especially a daughter, I hope I can instill good healthy habits in them. I want them to see me eating whole foods and exercising because I want to be healthy, not skinny. Because of society and the pressures we put on ourselves, I can only pray that my kids don't go down the road I traveled. God made us all different, yet beautiful in His eyes. We just need to see the beauty within us.
I’m Jaclyn and from a really small town called Calvert City in Kentucky. I accepted Christ and was baptized when I was eighteen, after graduating high school. I moved to Louisville when I was twenty and never left! I married my best friend in 2006 and my last name changed for the 4th and final time. We have two amazing kiddos; Jackson who is eight and Evelyn who is four. They are full of life and keep us on our toes. I am the office manager for a local eye company called VisionFirst. Life is hard and marriage is hard but I am thankful for the love and grace that God gives us.