Archive for Uncategorized

One little phrase that has helped me so much

I recently shared with a friend a tiny phrase that has been “revolutionary” to me. It’s pretty much changed my outlook on everything.

Although I’ve read this phrase many times before, somehow the truth of it took root several years ago and gave me such comfort and encouragement that God is aware of every detail of my life and I can trust Him and obey His Word with confidence.  It has helped me so much and I want to share it with you today.

"The Judge is at the door."

“The Judge is at the door.”

It’s in the book of James, chapter 5, after a lengthy discussion about what genuine faith looks like, and after multiple warnings against using our tongues to sin, chapter 5 gives us this encouragement to be patient with others and to stop grumbling:

You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

Behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

Do not grumble, so that you may not be judged. Don’t assume the position of Judge by badmouthing people in your heart or under your breath or you’ll be judged–oh and by the way, the Lord is listening –He is standing at the door–and will act soon. So, watch your own words and don’t sin by complaining about others. This will give you less to answer for.

Here’s a mom-example:

Have you ever entered a room only to overhear the tail end of a “gripe-fest”? When the kids see mom, they stop, because mom has expectations and “griping” isn’t tolerated. Mom’s the “judge” in the house -and just her physical presence is reminder enough that bickering is off limits and she’ll punish those who disobey the family rules and injure others with their words.

This is the picture we have here.

The judge is standing at the door.

  • So no more complaining. Watch your words. Be careful of your heart, because Jesus will judge you and them.
  • No more two-faced speech, blessing God and cursing men because God is aware and will act.
  • No need to set the record straight or seek revenge, because Jesus is near and He will judge.

Even our unspoken words and the discontentment that lives in our hearts are known and seen by the Judge.  Motives are clearly seen as well. This realization should make us do some self examination.

This has helped me to ask,

  • Am I being obedient with my speech?
  • Do my words show the marks of a person with genuine faith?
  • Are my words laced with wisdom and goodness to everyone I come into contact with?
  • Am I justifying sinful speech because I feel I have a good reason to complain?
  • Am I living with the realization that God is near and real, or am I living as though He’s inconsequential and my action/words won’t have consequences?

When others lack integrity of speech, it can be tempting to complain in our hearts about their failures and recite their wrong doings over and over again in our mind. But this is unnecessary because their words have nothing to do with us, and everything to do with them–and God will judge them.

We don’t need to worry about injustices or past hurts because God sees and knows all of it and will judge righteously on our behalf.

For those of you who have been hurt by people who should have known better and who will never on earth apologize or admit fault because of their own pride, God will judge them. We can take comfort in the fact that He’ll do a just job of judging and we can give up that grudge and stop holding vengeance over that person’s head. God is God and He’ll do what is right.

“The judge is standing at the door” is also a reminder that we live for an audience of One. 

It’s an encouragement to speak with integrity because Jesus commands it. It propels us to love the unworthy and unlovely because God commands it.

Instead of murmuring about the difficult people in our lives, we are given the opportunity to practice patience with those who sin against us. God’s not done with them, and He’s actively teaching me through their undesirable action, to see if I’m going to obey and trust His word and leave the judgement to Him.

The judge is standing at the door– He expects me to obey. Isn’t this what genuine faith is all about? Living in the reality that God is really real and that He has expectations for my life? When I claim to be His follower, I am bowing my will and desires to His better path and plan? 

There’s comfort knowing that He’s in control, good, just, and He will judge.

Why the internet is wearing me down, and what I’m doing about it.

I have to be honest. This year, I’ve grown tired of the online world. I’m increasingly aware of the “rudiments of the world” that seem to stick into my heart and mind by what I see on Facebook, the news, and other social media and it’s wearing me down.

Before you think I’ve been indulging in smut online, let me tell you that I am not talking about overtly horrible stuff. We are super careful about what types of media enter our home. (Honestly, not all rated-G movies make it into our home, and I’m not kidding.)

So what’s going on?

peonies

I think it’s pretty much the unintentional exposure to insults, foul language, derogatory talk, and constant cynicism, even within the Christian community. It’s like the Lord said that if you disagree with someone elses’s political standing then by all means–fire away your best insults and put downs in a public forum. And that’s just the language.

I’m tired of seeing things that contradict scripture brazenly posted by the people of God. I just am and I’ll leave it at that. I’m not saying that we all don’t have sin issues, we do. I do. But sin should be a source of remorse, not something shared for likes and public comment as though God thinks this is no big deal.

Are we too quick to be enamored with the world, with our stuff, other people, and our selves as though these sources are the well-spring of good gifts that come from God alone? Do we stay longer at the table of temporal delights because we believe they’ll deliver something we need like love, worth, happiness, or status?

Have we forgotten that every perfect gift is from above, from the faithful Father who never once changed in His aggressive, searching, seeking love for us?

Why do we go elsewhere again?

We’ve made big of sharing our story and we’re forgetful of the old, old story of Jesus and His redemptive, trans-formative love.

I don’t want to sound like the grouchy old lady, so I will just say that what I see affects me, so I shouldn’t  be at all surprised that this has taken a toll.

We all become like what we behold.

Your co-worker’s negativity drains you. Toxic people zap the life out of you. Print media in the grocery story. The fear-mongering news coverage. Podcasts. Cynical memes. Controversy, discord, feuds. It all changes you.

Thankfully, we know from scripture that something else changes us as well: looking into the mirror of God’s word.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Cor. 3:18

All this to say, a quick “devotional time” is not going to be any match for the drip, drip, drip of this world on the outside and the sin that lurks in our own hearts on the inside.

Not only do we need to be intentional about immersing ourselves in God’s word for cleansing and clarity, but we need to do more than just read. We need to cultivate our love for the Lord so that devotions aren’t just devotions, but that our lives are devoted. 

Devoted lives are driven by love for the Lord. They say no to worthless things and make time for the most important thing.

Maybe for you, you’re not sensitive to visual negativity. Maybe your weak spot is somewhere else. But whatever is slowing you down, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets us and let us run this long distance race with endurance, fixing our eyes on Christ for our inspiration, acceptance, and example.

Are you tired of the noise, too? Looking for a few good summer tools for personal Bible study and growth? If so, I hope you’ll find this list helpful as you seek to know Him more and more. Most of these are free, except for the books, so you should be able to benefit from many of these great resources.

Bible Study/Podcast: If you’re looking for a free, EXCELLENT, inductive Bible study, I highly recommend Jen Wilkin’s Hebrews study. Jen is a gifted Bible teacher, and a serious student of the Word, and that’s SO very evident as you hear her weekly podcast. I’m so thankful she is faithfully using her spiritual gifts for the benefit of the church.

Dramatized Audio Bible: If  you have young children, listening to a dramatized audio Bible as you work is a great way to fill your mind with Scripture.

Daily Audio Devotional for Kids: Kids4Truth has an excellent, simple daily devotional or biographical vignette for kids. (Some adults like them, too. ;))

20 Years of Elisabeth Elliot Newsletters: Did you know the Elisabeth Elliot’s Newletter Archive is online? Very interesting and encouraging to read.

How to Study the Word: resource page I can’t tell you how many times women have told me they study the Bible, then go on to basically say they read a commentary. I don’t have to discuss why this is dangerous. No man’s words about the Bible should replace your reading of the Bible. This page has many lessons about studying the Bible, the inductive Bible study method, etc. I also posted about the Immersion Bible Study method here.

Radio: There are many radio lessons to learn about Christian women at the bottom of this page.

Book: The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges. If my kids remember one thing about me, I hope it’s that I was a mom who loved God and who was devoted to Him. This book has helped me to see God as worthy of my devotion and praise, and has helped me to not seek only external change, but change based on love for God and hatred of sin.

Devotion to God, then, is the mainspring of godly character. And this devotion is the only motivation for Christian behavior that is pleasing to God…

It is sad that many Christians do not have this aura of godliness about them. They may be very talented and personable, or very busy in the Lord’s work, or even apparently successful in some avenues of Christian service, and still not be godly. Why? Because they are not devoted to God. They may be devoted to a vision, or to a ministry, or to their own reputation as Christians, but not to God. ~Jerry Bridges

Book: None But Him by Jen Wilkin talks about how God is different from us and discusses his attributes.

Book: The God Who Satisfies: How Jesus Seeks, Saves, and Satisfies Samaritan Women – Like Us Rebekah gave this to me and I highly recommend it.

What are your plans for summer Bible study at home? Do you have other resources to share with me? Feel free to inbox me, comment on FB or below and tell us what you’re doing.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Advice from Elisabeth Elliot

We all have them. Bad days. Unexpected problems. Things we didn’t sign up for. Things that are totally out of our control.

Maybe it is financial hardship or a loss of a job. Maybe someone who should be doing good to you is doing you harm.

A friend betrays you or a parent hurts you deeply. A child becomes terminally ill. A church member betrays you. A spouse walks out for good.

In all these things our hearts rise up in opposition to the crisis. We wonder if God sees, knows, or even cares.

advice

I love this quote by Elisabeth Elliot who had her life turned upside down by the murder of her husband, missionary Jim Elliot, by the very people he was on mission to help. Speared through by the Auca Indians.

In an instant, her world changed. Her husband was gone and she found herself a widow. Her children were fatherless. She was in a strange land, and she had two choices:

to see God as a loving, wise Father who always does what is best for her  or

to chose the path of bitterness and resentment toward God.

Hear what Elisabeth says:

“Lord, You have assigned my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure’ (Ps16:5). I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become much easier,directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.”

We need the same mindset when things seem all wrong. A life of faith is a life of trust.

The Bible shows us many examples of sisters in Christ who faced hard times and chose to walk in faith, knowing that God would do what was right for them: Sarah, Abigail, Hannah and Mary to name a few. They welcomed and walked the hard path through faith. The surrendered their life to His plans.

  • Sarah packed up her life and followed her husband Abraham to their “new home.”  Problem was,  Abraham had no idea where he was taking her.  Only God knew where that would be.
  • Abigail lived with a drunken fool, but was godly enough to protect her household from King David’s anger at Nabal’s rudeness and insolence.
  • Hannah felt the pain of barrenness. She longed and prayed for children while living under the provoking taunting of her husband’s “other wife” who had no problem having children.
  • Mary  risked her reputation and many misunderstandings when she agreed to be the mother of the Savior, Jesus.

“It is in our acceptance of what is given that God gives Himself.”  ~Elisabeth Elliot, These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?

When trials come, they open wide the dark corners of our hearts and reveal the true us. Our words and actions show what is really reigning: the “fruit” of the spirit of the “fruit” of the flesh.

The spirit filled life will produce the same works and attitudes of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life is flowing through our life, enabling us to walk as He walked. We will respond to life’s problems with trust and obedience. Our lives and testimonies will be characterized by loving others, joyful countenances, the peace of God, gentleness and kindness to all people.

When sin reigns, we will exhibit the characteristics of the fallen nature: anger, bitterness, unforgiving spirit, desire to rule others, jealousy, envy, manipulation and the list goes on and on.

We are living under the gracious hand of our Heavenly Father. How can we doubt Him? In child-like faith, we accept whatever He chooses to give knowing that though it looks bad and sometimes is hard, it’s for our own good and His glory.

If you are discouraged today and fearful, remember the God who loves you and is in control, and pray for faith to trust Him.

MORE FROM ELISABETH ELLIOT:

Keep a Quiet Heart

A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael

 

 

*Post contains Affiliate Links to Amazon.com at no cost to you. I earn a small percentage when you buy via this link. Thanks for supporting this blog.

10 Helpful Lists to Remember from the Bible

Are you a list person? I tend to live my life by paper lists. Right now I have a grocery list, a wedding list, a thank-you card reminder list, a priority list, a hospitality list, a prayer list, and a vacation list in my planner. I write these things down so I can know where I want to go, remember to do what must be done, and ultimately, live by my ideals.

lists

The Bible has some very helpful “life lists” for us as well. They give us guidelines and boundaries.  They give us a vision for the future and cover almost every situation .They tell us when we are out of step with God’s will.

I shared one of these lists with a lady I recently counseled. She wanted help with a relational problem in her family and asked me for a book recommendation on the subject. After listening to her story, I shared one of my Life Lists with her. She didn’t need better communication skills and she didn’t need another how-to book. She simply needed to put into practice the simple truths of scripture. “Be ye kind…let no unwholesome speech come out of your mouth…love one another fervently…”

I’ve found this true in my own family.  No marriage book will strengthen our marriage if I blurt hurtful things to my husband or disrespect him.

A seminar won’t help interpersonal problems if you’ve held a grudge over someone’s head, dwelling on their offenses when Scripture commands us to forgive.

No mentor will help you become a gracious, thriving ministry wife if you are unloving or resentful to even just one of the people in your congregation. Loving others is not optional.

Lists help us gauge where we are headed and can help us anticipate outcomes and consequences. Wisdom would dictate that we take this seriously.

Here are 10 Lists that will help you and give you direction as you seek to grow in Christ-likeness.

If you want direction and an example of a life well lived, this list tells you the good deeds that qualify an older widow for church support:

having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work. 1 Timothy 5:10

And if you want to know whether you are qualified to mentor others or if the mentor you are choosing is a wise choice, consider this:

teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Titus 2:3

If you want to know if your attitude is right toward another person:

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Eph. 4:31,32

If you want to know if your actions and attitude are Spirit led:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.… Gal. 2:22,23

If you want to know if your actions are wrong, carnal, or fleshly:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.… Gal. 2:19-21

If you need to evaluate whether your love for another person is self-centered or Biblical:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Cor 13:4-7

If you need to identify and stop your wrong behavior:

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity,passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice,slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Col.3:5-10

If you want to know what your daily wardrobe should look like:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts,kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Col. 3:12-14

If you need to know true wisdom vs earthly wisdom:

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.

 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish.For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. James 3:13-17

If you want to know how to grow in godliness:

For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.  2 Peter 5:7

Of course, there are many more. And let’s not forget that there are things we should never keep lists of:

  • the offenses of others against us
  • the failures that are behind, former things
  • worries about tomorrow

If you are struggling with one of these areas, write out these lists as a reminder and post it where you can see it often. It helps so much!

 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

When Life’s Hard, Remember These 4 Truths.

Life can be hard, let’s face it. It rarely ends up looking like we pictured or planned.

Our loved ones get cancer, children rebel, loved ones die, relationships fail. People who should nurture us end up scarring us. The evening news is maddening and terrifying.

How do you keep a godly perspective while walking this sometimes terrifying, discouraging, and uncertain path?

gate

A friend shared these reminders with me and I wanted to pass them along to you as they were a great comfort to me.

During times of trials, remember:

1. I am here by God’s appointment. 

He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this difficult place; in that I will rest. (Ps. 130:6,7)

2. I am in His care.

He will keep me in his love and give me all that I need in this trial to behave as His child. (Is. 41:10)

3. I am under His training.

He will make the testing a blessing, teaching me the lessons He intends for me to learn, and working in me the grace He intends to give. (James 1: 12)

4. I am here for His purpose.

In His time He will bring me through. He will not abandon me. (Rom. 8:28)

Isn’t it wonderful to know that we never walk alone? That our life is not spinning out of control, and that God is indeed Lord of All?

 

An Unexpected Pathway to Blessing

There are days when I feel truly blessed. Like the days I wake up with no knee pain and plenty of Starbuck’s coffee. When my children are all super cooperative and the house is in order.

I think my idea of “blessing” is sometimes pretty shallow.

Yes, all of those things are good things and the Lord does bless us with all that we have, but I’m studying Acts right now and learning about a less obvious way that God blesses us.

path

In chapter 3, Peter and John are on their way to the temple to pray and they meet the lame man who was asking for money by the Beautiful Gate. They performed the first miracle of the church era with these familiar words spoken to the paralytic:

“I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (Acts. 3:6)

Physical healing. What a blessing. People are taking note as a crowd begins to form to see this once beggar–now fully whole, walking-leaping-praising God man.

Peter was quick to give glory to God as he addressed the crowd and explain what just happened:

“Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power of piety we have made him to walk.

(Amazingly instructive verses. AS IF we did any of this ourselves. Look to the Lord! A good truth to remember as we work for the Lord.)

Peter then explains that the man was healed because of his faith in the risen Jesus Christ and how to be truly blessed. (Hint: it’s not the health or healing. It’s not the money.)

  • Repent and turn back to your God through faith in Jesus. That is the path of blessing.
  • Repent and receive times of refreshing and the promised Holy Spirit.
  • Repent and stop going your own way. Rather, “You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.” (v.22)

“God, having raised up his servant, {Jesus} sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” (vs. 26)

What? Bless me by turning me from my wickedness? That’s rather unexpected, especially in a culture that promotes the health and wealth gospel.

Did it ever occur to you that your biggest blessing today might be the supernatural enablement to stop being wicked by the power of the Holy Spirit?

  • To hold your tongue when you feel like giving a piece of your mind?
  • To choose to bless when you know others are choosing to curse you?
  • To choose to love when it’s not reciprocated?
  • To humble yourself when pride reigns all around?
  • To serve where nobody else wants to?

Sometimes wickedness is so ingrained in us that we don’t see it for what it is. We believe that we’re born this way so we’ll stay this way, or reason that because I was brought up this way, that’s just who I am.

You were created to bear God’s image.

What does this mean? It means to look like Him, to love what He loves and hate what He hates. To represent Him well.

Wickedness is a defamation of who we were created to be and misrepresents God to others on this earth.

Every time we believe Satan’s lie that living life on our terms is the way of empowerment and happiness, we’re rejecting this pathway of blessing and not bearing His image well.

Every time we quench the Holy Spirit and neglect His prompting because we’re too proud to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, we’re admitting that we don’t see holiness and sanctification as a blessing. We’re actually confessing that living life apart from God’s Word and directives is what we believe will make us happiest and bring blessing.

From the smallest child to the oldest adult, every time we choose sin we’re showing that we are still under the delusion of the old Serpent who whispers to all ages, “THIS will make you happy. “

This week, I’m praying that God will remind me daily that His way is best and that true blessing comes when we submit ourselves to His Word and forsake wickedness.

If you find yourself in the midst of a hard situation this week and you are struggling to see the blessing of God in your life, perhaps every time you fight against the flesh and choose obedience instead of wickedness, you’ll recognize how blessed you truly are to have the empowerment of the Spirit and the opportunity to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

Praying for you, my friends. So very thankful for this community of women. If you need prayer support or encouragement from God’s Word, I would be honored to pray for you. Feel free to email me at joyfilledmama@gmail.com and I will answer as soon as I can.

Hello? Hello? Yes, I’m still here.

Hey guys. It’s been a while since I’ve written and I feel like I’m out of the blogging loop lately. We just got two of our kids back to college, we’re getting ready for school, caring for sweet Little B,  and we’re gearing up for house renovations.

IMG_1732

IMG_0918

I was talking to a friend about how many transitions we’ve had in the past five years. I’ve realized that I get emotionally tired during transition times and that being self aware is not one of my strengths.  I’m super intuitive when it comes to caring for everyone else, but not when it comes to me. (Case in point: I was getting read for a dinner party last week when I realized that I had a headache. It was 5 pm and I hadn’t eaten all day. That.) Sometimes you need to plan for self-care.  Physically, I need to plan rest. Emotionally, I need solitude, even for just an hour. And spiritually, I need to take in God’s Word in slow, careful amounts, meditating and ruminating over the truths in them. I really appreciated this article 10 Ways To Overcome Spiritual Weariness.

IMG_1696

And although transitions are hard for me, it’s really exciting to see how God goes before, directs, and helps our hearts at these times. And can I just say that Peter is amazing during these times? He’s so wise about what needs to be done, what should be let go, what is primary vs. the peripheral. I’m so thankful for him!

Sometimes I really start to question what God is doing and if this is all going to work out in the end, and lately, everything that God has been pointing me to in my devotions, readings, and sermons can be boiled down to these 3 things:

1. The destination is not for me to choose. I go along for the ride and trust God.

2. The outcomes are not as important as faithfulness along the journey.

3. Sin is a daily companion that must be crushed. To overlook it in our own lives is to actually sow a crop that we don’t want to flourish.

I’ve been seriously overwhelmed by the news lately. Have you? It feels hopeless, doesn’t it? I recently read that nearly 400 pastors were “outed” in this Ashley Madison leak and can I just say that it is God’s mercy on them that they were exposed? And it was God’s watch care over His church that allowed such disgrace to be addressed?

And while we’re all wondering how these people could possibly be serving God and living such a double life, let’s remember our own propensity to sin and fear the consequences of it all the more.

I talked to my kids a little about it and explained that the fear of God is supposed to be our motivation not to sin. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” But honestly, because we can’t see God, sometimes we don’t respect him as we should. I told them that oftentimes, when I am tempted to sin, I think about the affect it would have on their father or them. I try to think about the look in their eyes. And then I came across this piece by Sarah Mae, What I Know About Cheating and Consequences, which expressed my thoughts exactly (and more beautifully than I could.)

This world is broken, and eternity looks better and better every day, doesn’t it? Key take-a-way from the nightly news? People need the Lord in a desperate way!

I tend to freeze up when I hear horrible news. OR I clean like a mad woman. I don’t know why. Does anyone else do this? Because I tend to be an Idealist, the enormity of the mess of this world makes me want to give up, which of course is crazy.

We can’t do everything but we can do something.

You can start right where you are, small. Start with you. Make sure your life is a life of integrity. Is your public life a true mirror of your private life? (Ask your family. They’ll tell you.) If not, this is the very definition of hypocrisy.

This article, The importance of What We Do In Secret is helpful. Then, be a light wherever you are. Do good, be kind, promote righteousness, and share the gospel.

What about you? Does the news make you want to shut down?

It’s been fun keeping up with your pictures on Instagram and Facebook and seeing what you’ve been up to. And I’m really enjoying Periscope right now. (I’m I’m @joyfilleddays if you want to find me.) Scopes I like: MacKenzie @BOLDturquoise and BoldTurquoise.com, @JessAConnolly from Naptime Diaries and of course, my friend, Ruth from Gracelaced.com @gracelaced.

What have you been reading and loving right now?

Happy end of the summer, you guys! Enjoy your weekend!

My Favorite Summer Make-Up Products

First up: My daughter Emily arrived safely in Switzerland!! Thanks so much for praying for her trip. My mom-heart can’t take those cross-Atlantic flights!

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite summer products. I’ve always loved looking through my sisters’ make-up bags and seeing what they use, so I figured it would be fun to share my bag of tricks with you. I use a mix of drug store products and salon products, and if I find something that works I am cultishly loyal to it (some things I’ve used since High School.)

For summer, my routine is pretty basic. If I use anything, it’s a tinted moisturizer, some lip gloss, and mascara.

IMG_8879.JPG

I’ve always used St. Ives Apricot scrub but I found this one that has mint and smells better, Acne Free Energizing Wash. It’s cheap, like $4 and lasts forever. I exfoliate, pat my skin dry, then use St. Ives Timeless Skin (which gets horrible reviews of Beautypedia.com for some reason, but works great on my skin!) plus a little L’Oreal True Match foundation and mix it together for a hydrated coverage. I hate heavy foundation and find this mixture gives me just the right sheerness.

On days when I’m super tired or my skin looks dull, I love Maybelline’s Master Prime. It’s a pinkish illuminator and I put it on my cheek bones, nose, and anywhere else that I need some “glow.”

I’ve also discovered that nude eyeliner can make tired eyes look a little more alive, so I picked up this inexpensive NYC eyeliner at Walmart and it does the trick. I apply it on the inside of my bottom lid. I don’t typically wear eye liner in the summer. If I do, I just swipe brown eyeshadow on the top and bottom lids to give a little definition.

My sister Amy got me started on this cream blush from Mary Kay. I use the color Sheer Bliss. It’s transparent and natural looking.

My most expensive beauty trick is this Matrix Oil Wonders. It cuts your blow drying time WAY down, which is a blessing for people with super thick hair.

Also, not pictured but WAY up there in the indispensible department is my ELF Chubby Stick lip gloss in the color Sangria. I get mine at Target for a dollar and it’s sheer and makes my lips super soft. My kids all use mine which is why I couldn’t find it for the picture.

 

That’s about it. Does your beauty routine change in summer? What are your favorite drugstore products?

The Good Stuff for Your Weekend

Some family news:

Matthew is a high school senior and is graduating this May. He takes his ACT this Saturday. He’s working quite a bit to pay for college and is still applying. Pray for him?

boat

Rebekah is graduating from Bob Jones University this May. We’re so thankful for the experiences she’s had there. She can’t wait to come home for the summer because who doesn’t love New England, 😉 but she’s also been offered a job on campus for next year as she continues her education. She also has a boy down there that she thinks is pretty great, so…

Emily is getting ready to travel this summer with the Musical Missions Team!

15655_377721729078828_582739605503176934_n

She’ll be singing and playing her violin in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Slovakia. We’re having a fund raising yard sale and a pie bake sale the last Saturday of April. We’ve already got pie orders galore and my mom and I will be elbow deep in rolling crusts for apple pies. So fun to be helping support my Emmy! Emmy also has a boy who she thinks is pretty great who just got an internship to do cancer research this summer, so they’ll both be busy as they are apart for the summer. :) 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Here are a few good things for you. Enjoy!

Good Articles::

To the Well-Intentioned but Ignorant Parent of Teens.  You need to know and care about these social media outlets that you have no idea your teens are using. #livebroadcastingyourwholelife. Yeah, that.

A Clean House and A Wasted Life. We’re artsy over here and we like projects. Projects=temporary messes, so yeah, I loved this article.

Good Food::

Best Pound Cake Ever. Made this for Easter and will be making it again this week. Recipe via Southern Living.

You have to try this delish Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake that my friend Janelle made for Easter. I ate every morsel. Yum.

This is my favorite ever coffee. Prepared in the French Press, it’s like heaven.

Books I loved::

I read a lot and publishers send me advanced copies to read and review. Honestly, not many make the “raving” department. These did.

Everyday Grace: Infusing All Your Relationships With the Love of Jesus written by Jessica Thompson, Elyse Fitzpatrick’s daughter, so…

There is so much to love about this book. I shared quite a few quotes on FB. It is great for wherever you are right now because relationships are all around us. Our relationships with our husband, kids, and friends can either be healthy or idolatrous. This book helps you sort that out. Run thee to get it!

Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves by Trillia Newbell addresses all of the ways fear creeps in and paralyzes our hearts and how trusting Christ implicitly helps replace fear.

Look and Live: Behold the Soul-Thrilling, Sin-Destroying Glory of Christ. This is a book that was life changing for me. It’s about the glory of God. I’m still processing it and Matt is now reading it, but basically, if you feel that your worship is anemic, or that your love for God is sub-par, perhaps it’s because you don’t have a full grasp of the majesty and glory of God. As with many current books, I can’t recommend this one without reservation, because we are coming from different philosophies, but if you are a discerning reader you’ll benefit immensely from it. I really appreciated this book!

A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea. Peter read this to us all at bed time and it was a riveting and eye opening story about the oppression of the North Korean people and the desperation that drives them to flee the dictatorship. We couldn’t wait for the next chapter. (caveat: it needed very mild editing in our estimation for our youngest.)

 Good Products::

 

We have two cats and we love them both dearly. But we don’t love when they have accidents. This “Pet Odor Eliminator & Pet Urine Cleaner” works. Not at all glamorous, but you have to keep your home clean and fresh.

You all know how much I love my Ninja chopper. My girls use it daily to make smoothies and I use it for everything. The last time I made my Chai Tea Mix I scratched the plastic bowl all up and it looks horrible. We tried this Black & Decker PS1000B 3-Cup Ergo Chopper  and it seems like it’s comparable. It is less expensive than the Ninja and so far so good on the chopping. (For all of you kitchen tool connoisseurs out there, be warned that I am not one to spend big money on kitchen stuff. If I were going to spend money in the kitchen it would be on nice pans, but that’s about it. Apart from my KitchenAid  Mixer which I couldn’t live without, I don’t really need expensive kitchen stuff. That said, I make most of my stuff from scratch, and cook several meals a day and it all comes out okay in the end. 😉 )

I’m in the market for a small, cross-body purse that will hold just a few things: keys, phone, iPod, wallet, lipstick. I am considering a Vera Bradley or a Bagallini, but wanted to ask if you had any favorites you could recommend.

Have a great weekend.

(*Post contains affiliate links. )

 

 

You Delivered Us, And We Will Honor You

I want to take a moment to thank you all for praying for our sweet Addy. Her surgery is over, and we’re still in awe of God’s answers to our prayers. He alone is to be praised and we give Him all the glory. This is one of those stories that we’ll repeat to our children and grandchildren.

Addy’s surgery updates are here, for those of you who didn’t see it.

Psalm 5015

Monday was a blur. We were attached to our phone and computer for updates all day. I drank some tea and ate a few bites, but for the most part, I had no appetite and time just stood still.

My day can basically be summed up in two words: fervent prayer. I begged God for mercy for Addy and my sister. I couldn’t stand the thought of Addy being paralyzed after she’d come so far by learning to walk and run with all the cousins. I wanted to see her running on Rye Beach with us this summer. And I certainly could not stand the thought of my sister losing another child. It was something I couldn’t accept.

At some point in the day I remember wrestling inside: “What is it that makes prayer effective? Is it the fervency? The faith behind it? The consistency? And what makes me think that God will grant this prayer of mine? I’m such a wretched being. He knows my weakness. I’m afraid to ask and be disappointed, so I am basically double minded.”

Then I had this picture in my mind. It was of one of my children asking Peter for something they wanted. One child was begging. It was pretty annoying. It was an insistent begging. A will-filled, I want it my way demand. I thought of those mentioned in scripture who thought they would be heard for their “vain repetitions.” I knew that wasn’t right.

Then I though of a lisping child, who went to a father because He knew the father was good and kind. The request was spoken imperfectly. The words weren’t right, but he knew where to turn for help. THIS was right. I’m praying to God because I know that He is my Good Father. My prayers have little to do with me or my ability at all. My prayers are directed to Him because of who He is. My faith in His goodness and steadfast loves drives me to Him for help.

After this, I pretty much was at peace. The wild emotions stopped, and I was able to rest in God’s goodness, no matter the outcome.

Happily, the answer coming back “Granted in Full” and we were brought to our knees again, this time in thanksgiving and joy. I’m so happy that our sweet Addy will walk and run and live. God is good and we’re certainly rejoicing in Him.

God is good even when life is hard. I mentioned to a friend that trials make us sane. They re calibrate our hearts and minds. They pull away the blinders and distractions that hinder us from realizing how truly dependent we are for everything on God. When we go throughout our day, barely giving a thought to the God who sustains, that is the definition of insanity. Reality is this: We need God. We depend on Him for life, breath, and being whether we know it or not. Trials are a great gift, causing us to see clearly who we are and Who God is.