“Pray-cessing” through Competent Mistakes

Hi Friend. We have “Exhaled” through week 1.

Have you taken a minute to try a little “Square Breathing”? I love it. When I start to get a little anxious or feel that “Error Terror” start creeping in I just take a quick minute to breath. Let’s give it a go!

This week we’re reading about making “competent mistakes”. I don’t know about you, but when I read in Cheri’s Chapter 2, “I was more terrified of nothing than I was of failure.” And she goes on to say, “Doing nothing is worse-far worse-than making a mistake”.

Seriously! You mean I need to do something and take the chance of ….FAILING!!

I love Amy’s words on page 27, “Change and growth happen on the inside for a long time before anything exhibits on the outside.” She says a second later, “We can set aside our fear of trying to change by understanding that failure isn’t the worst thing that can happen. It’s a part of growth.”

For me, acceptance that failure is just a part of life and part of growth, I also have to find acceptance with the wave of feelings that come with change.

Cheri addresses our feelings on page 35. If you’re not there yet it’s okay, but I don’t want you to miss what she says here. Cheri writes, “What if your feelings are telling you about the state of your heart after you gave the best you had? After you opened yourself up? After you were bravely vulnerable?”

But here’s the real doozie, “Feeling bad while you’re learning something new doesn’t mean you did bad. Often, it’s a signal that you’re getting really good at making competent mistakes.” (Cheri Gregory, “Exhale”)

Wow! Boy have I needed that tid bit of info for awhile! But really how freeing it is to open up and be vulnerable, to learn and grow no matter where we are in life. And sister, we can do it all with the strength of Jesus!

I love the word Amy and Cheri introduce in the book, “Pray-cess” If you haven’t found it yet, there is an amazing glossary in the back of the book. On page 224 is the definition of “Pray-cess”.

I’m spending some time this week “Pray-cessing” over giving myself permission to fail and not quit.

Romans 8:31 reminds me, ” What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

My question for today:

How do you see your life changing when you hand your mistakes over to God and trust Him to take care of them and you?

Let’s “pray-cess” over this question. I’d love for you to share your thoughts in today’s comments.

I will have a drawing each Friday for a fun give away. Be sure to comment to be entered in the drawing for a set of thirty-one Bible verse cards from the Grit ‘N’ Grace Girls Etsy Store!

Each Friday I will post the links to the “Grit ‘N’ Grace” Episodes. Amy and Cheri give us a great resources to add to our tool boxes. Click the links below! If you haven’t listened to Amy and Cheri, you are going to fall in love and learn so much!

Day 2: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode136/

Day 3: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode111/

Day 4: https://gritngracegirls.com/episode127/

Before you go, Amy and Cheri ask us to “Write a prayer to ask God to do His work in you until its completed. As Him for clarity and strenth for the difficult truths” I’ve shared my prayer below, feel free to share yours or any prayer requests you have in the comments. I’d love to pray for you!

Heavenly Father, Your word tells me that the good work you have started in me will be carried out to completion. I ask for your spiritual wisdom and insight so I may grow in your knowledge. I pray my heart be flooded with light so I can understand the confident hope you have given me. Father, when I feel weak and not enough let me remember “Your grace is sufficient and your power is made perfect in my weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9a). Lord you are my strength and my defense when I feel I am stuck or when I feel responsible for everyone. Be with me as I pray-cess through and make the necessary changes that I have so needed to make. In your son’s holy name, Amen.

Three Action Steps To Your Calling

Phil 1 6

Do you ever wonder what God is calling you to do? Have you ever thought that you even have a “calling”?  The word calling by Christians often implies someone that is being “called” by God to serve him in a position as a leader in a church setting.  A pastor, a women’s ministry leader, a worship leader, or a children’s minister to name a few.

But what if I told you that God has a special “calling” just for you.  One he started even before you came into this world.  Actually he has had several “callings” for you in different seasons of your life and there are more to come! Super exciting right!

Look at these famous Bible characters who God called and equipped with all they need and he made sure to get them to the finish.

Esther, the beautiful Jewish girl who became queen and saved her people and herself from being killed.  God made sure she had courage and confidence at just the right time to save His people.

Noah, built the Ark when God called him.  It was a huge job.  God gave him the skills and energy to accomplish the job.

Moses, OMG, lead God’s people out of Egypt! And did you know that he hated public speaking!  God gave him this amazing ability to lead and speak.

So how do we figure out this “calling” thing for our lives you ask?  Well friend, we start by scooting in real close to Jesus.  Just like God called and equipped so many more people we read about in our Bibles, He will do the same for us.  “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” (Psalm 37:23).  When we are in God’s word daily, learning and growing to be more like him, he will direct us to our special assignment He has just for us.

John 10:3-4 reminds us, “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” Which leads me to the second action step to know our “calling”, pray scripture.

Sometimes, well I’ll speak for myself here, I get caught up telling God what I want when I pray instead of asking nicely, praying for God’s will in my life.  When we pray God’s word back to him, we stay focused on His will, not our selfish agendas.  When we pray scriptures in search of our “Jesus Jobs” we will know God’s voice and we will follow it where He leads.

Here are three Psalms to pray for God’s guidance for your calling:

Psalm 43_3Psalm 143_8Psalm 25 3 4

Finally, we must obey.  Yeah I said it, obey the calling.  We might not think that what we hear God calling us to do is really for us, it’s too hard, too time consuming, not in the right geographical area, so on and so forth, but I promise you if God made the call, its right. Have no fear, Hebrews 13:21 is here to settle your soul, “may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”

So this brings me back to our verse today, Philippians 1:6, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (NLT) We must have confidence friend, not only in God but in ourselves as we go out with our callings.

I am throwing Hebrews 10:35-36 into my memory verses “ So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” (NLT)

And I remember when the going gets tough in my calling, Philippians 4:13, “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” (NLT)

Friend, I hope you will join me in late August and September for the study of “Exhale” where we will learn more about our “Calling” and Losing Who We’re Not, Loving Who We Are, and Living Our One Life Well”.

You can order the book and study guide at this link: Exhale Book

Watch for more information on the Exhale Book Study coming soon!

And the Winner of Last Month’s Give Away is:

Julie McElwee!!!! 

Until next time,

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

 

 

 

I Love You but You Are Driving Me Crazy

 

gensis 2 23 24

According to Weddingwire June is the third most popular month for weddings in the past two years.  I just attended the wedding of one of my nephews in a beautiful mid-west, quaint farm setting.  During one of the dances, the DJ asked couples to keep dancing if they had been married for a specific number of years.  He kept going until one couple remained on the dance floor.  It just so happened to be my parents, the grandparents of the groom, left alone, swaying to the music. My parents have been married fifty-eight years!  The DJ asked my nephew and his new bride to accompany my parents in the center of the dance floor.  He then proceeded to ask my parents what advice they had for the newly married couple to get them to fifty -eight years of wedded bliss.  My mom answered first, “Just hang in there!” My dad, the quiet guy he is agreed.

This past winter, I participated in a Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study where we studied Karen Ehman’s book, “Keep Showing Up, How to Stay Crazy in Love When Your Love Drives You Crazy”.  Chapter One starts out, “Why is this so hard? I can’t do this anymore! I cried out to God as I sat crossed-legged on the bedroom floor of our very first apartment, my eyes stingy with hot, salty tears”

Now, those of you reading this who know me well, and those of you who don’t are going to find out super quick, I won’t be giving you advice on marital bliss.  You see, I have sat feeling exactly like Karen Ehman not once, or twice, but well I am not proud to say three times.  She is exactly right.  Marriage isn’t easy.  You have to, as my mom said to my nephew, “just hang in there”, and as Karen says, “Keep Showing Up”.

We find the  “Mr. or Mrs. right”, fall in love, and have expectations of the “perfect” life together.  Our “happily ever after”.  Then just like that, you are living with who? Who is this person who doesn’t pick up after themselves, makes snide comments, doesn’t appreciate your cooking, forgets your birthday, and argues with you.  What? A disagreement?  We never had a single tiff while we were dating! You thought getting married and living with the person of your dreams was going to be, well… dreamy, not a nightmare on some days.

Now, don’t get me wrong, what can be better than traveling, laughing, sharing in a hobby or a mutually loved cause with the one you love.  But we do, and I speak from my own experience here, have to manage our expectations of what it really means to say “I do” in front of God and our friends and families.  It means it isn’t going to be easy everyday and we are going to need Jesus to help us to “Keep Showing Up.” (And the wise words of Karen Ehman!)

psalm 46 1

My first two marriages, I didn’t keep showing up.  I quit showing up on my first marriage due to abuse and for my safety I needed to leave. My second marriage ended sadly because of addiction and because I had turned away, forgetting about God’s love, grace, and forgiveness.

Don’t get me wrong here, I didn’t go into my other marriages wanting or thinking they were going to end in divorce, not at all.  I grew up in a household with exemplary examples of wedded couples who kept showing up for each other through thick and thin.  Both sets of my grandparents had been married well over fifty years and as I mentioned, my parents have been married fifty-eight years.  I know for a fact, it hasn’t been and wasn’t always wedded bliss for any of them, but they kept showing up for each other.  Through The Great Depression, various wars (at home and abroad), sickness, loss of jobs, loss of children, life.  Hard, messy, tough, life.  The married couples in my life kept showing up, kept loving, kept honoring, kept serving, and kept praying for one another. Those are the examples I had and had intended to follow.

Today, I truly believe that God broke many chains and I am free from so many lies of the evil one. He brought this amazing, some days sandpaperish man (When you read Karen’s book Chapter 2 tells you all about the “Sandpaper Spouse”!)  into my life for me to love, honor, and cherish for the rest of my life! Today I don’t believe and react to the lies I was once listening to. As John 8:44 reminds us, “He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Friend, we don’t have to listen to the lies Satan tells us about our marriages and our spouses. The simple truth is, some days it is hard to see this I get it, but our spouses are not the enemy.  Satan loves to spin webs of lies, its his job and it is our job not to get tangled and stuck in them. (I promised I wouldn’t give marriage advice, I learned all this from the book, emoji happy face!)

If you are crazy in love with your spouse, which I pray you are and if you are not I will pray for things to change in your relationship, then “Keep Showing Up” is a must have tool to add to your marriage tool kit.  A few others I have in mine now and use constantly are my bible (several versions) and another wonderful book by Sharon Jaynes “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe”.  Sharon shares how to use scripture to pray for your husband literally from head to toe!

I am a super sap when it comes to weddings.  I will be the first to admit I quickly get caught up in all the sparkle, romance, pomp and circumstance, and cake of course! And I don’t think any of that is a bad thing as long as we as family and friends of the bride and groom continue to stand by their sides through all the ups and downs life is going to throw their way,  We don’t need to be a bunch of Debbie Downers when called upon as Christians to share  marital advice with young couples. We need to be honest with them and lead them to Jesus when life starts to turn the wedded bliss in a wedded blister!

I’d love to hear from you.  What do you do to Keep Showing Up in your marriage.  When you comment in the blog today you will be signed up to win a copy of Karen’s book “Keep Showing Up” and Sharon Jaynes’ book “Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe”.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

In the Meantime,

Look Up, Let Go, Live Joy!

 

Only Four Days To Exhale!

Exhale book 4 days

Hi Friends,

Happy Friday and its time to say good-bye to May!  Do you know what that means, only 4 days until the launch of Amy Carroll’s and Cheri Gregory’s book, Exhale!

Check out the website Exhale Book, while you’re there, take the “Love Who You Are Personality Quiz”.  I did and found out I’m a Connector.  More about that later.  I’d love to hear what personality type you are, share in the comments.

When you join me for the Exhale study in July we will delve deeper into the quiz and the results.

Freebies

Pre-Order today for these AMAZING Free Bonuses!

Stay tuned for more posts in the next few days as we count down to the Big Launch!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as part of Amy Carroll’s and Cheri Gregory’s “Exhale” Launch Team.  The opinions expressed here are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Irritable…Discontent…Restless… Help Is Not Hidden

Isaiah 46_4

Friend, It is so easy in our ever so busy lives today to get irritable, discontent, and restless, so much that we can start to spin out of control. Maybe not just start to spin but whirl like crazy.

God’s Word is living and breathing! It fills my soul and brings me peace and calm when I start to twirl and whirl in this world.  Meditating and praying Isaiah 46:4 can take me from the crazy of a Tilt-a-Whirl to a front porch swing in a matter of minutes.

Heavenly Father,

I know that you have created me and you are with me until my hair is gray, and grayer than it already is!  I have witnessed you carry me through other turmoils and I know you will carry me through today, hour by hour; minute by minute.  Father, thank you for your life sustaining Word, love, grace, and forgiveness.  I have faith that in your time, Father, you will rescue me from the whirling and twirling I am feeling right now.  In the meantime, I will keep my eyes laser focused on you.  My ears and heart open to hear your word.  And I will rise up and go on with the God assignments you have already planned for me today, living and breathing your word and truth.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

I Found Peace In My Soul Praying For My Son’s

Isaiah 43 2 3

Time really does fly by when you are having fun, well and even when you are walking in the valleys.  It was just yesterday I was eating a Jumbo Jack from Jack In The Box and two tacos in labor, ready to deliver this amazing baby boy I had waited what seemed like forever to arrive.  That was twenty-one years ago.

Now that baby boy is grown and out on his own, working and making plans to move across country,  So many days I stop to think, “This isn’t the plan I had for you sweet child twenty-one years ago.” I had plans for you to grow up and go off to college, find a beautiful girl, of course she had pledged Pi Beta Phi like your mom, and you would live happily ever after.  Christmas’ would be spent at my home, decorating the tree, listening to the sound track of “The Nut Cracker”, while smells of mulled cider and cinnamon filled the air.

But alas, God has a different plan and path.  Many days I want to question God or yell and scream, “why is your plan for my son not matching up with mine?”  In my heart of hearts, I know why, God’s Will isn’t my will.  I am sure when I took off to Texas at age 23 my mom and dad might have been feeling like I am today, “This isn’t the plan, God, we had for our middle daughter.”

They had a strong faith in our heavenly father then and I have a strong faith in Him now, which is why I know, even as hard and frustrating as it can be at times, I hold on to God’s truth and believe He knows what is best for my baby, better than I do.

Proverbs 3_5-6

I also know that his dad and I raised him with Jesus in his heart and the seeds are planted there even though today he is making choices that are so far from what Jesus teaches us.  But the more I nag, the more I am just a clanging gong in his still growing and developing, trying to figure out who he is brain. Then that brain just tunes me out. As Proverbs 25:24 reminds us, “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome mom.” (okay, so I changed wife to mom here, but you get the point).

If you have ever watched the television show, The Goldbergs, you will totally understand where I am coming from here.  The mom, Beverly Goldberg played by actress Wendi McLendon-Covey, is a totally helicopter, smothering, over – the – top sparkling, loving, doting mom.  She would go to the ends of the earth for her children.  However,Erica, Barry, and Adam, her children usually see her as meddling, bothersome, and smothering.  When I start in on him and how I disagree with the “adult choices he feels he is making for his life” he wants nothing to do with me, feels I am over bearing and smothering, and turns away, as the Goldberg children do on television.

So what’s a mom of a young adult son to do?  A mom who has a big faith in her savior, Jesus?  Well, she prays.  Don’t get me wrong, I have learned this lesson the hard way, trying my way first, worrying.  Trust me, fretting gets you no where.  Now prayer, specific prayer, gets you every where!

Phil 4 6

When I started specifically praying to release my child over to God’s care, praying for God to secure his protection, praying that he would have a sound mind, and praying he would  break down ungodly strongholds, things started to change.  Not so much with him, but within me.

The nights of lying awake in bed worrying about what he ate for the day and did he have everything he needed drifted away.  Tears of sadness for parenting mistakes and guilt washed away.  Relief, forgiveness, and grace flooded my soul.

Praying God’s word over my child has brought me peace.  Are there times I still worry and disagree with my son’s choices, you bet.  But I quickly look up, let go, and live joy.  As 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 reminds us, “Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.  

Some days are hard, the days I feel I am in the valley I can lift my eyes and know my God sees me there.  I can pray continually His words and he hears my cries.  On the days I am on the top of the mountain, I thank God for putting me there.  No matter where  I land, I  give Jesus the praise and glory for all things, thanking him for the blessings in my life, especially one beautiful child, well now handsome 21 year old son.

Here are a few of the scriptures I have been praying over my son.

I have used a fabulous little book by Stormie Omartian, “The Power of a Praying Parent”.  A friend of mine at the gym where I work out gave it to me a few years ago and it has been the little gift that keeps on giving.

The first being the scripture I opened this blog entry with, Isaiah 43:2-3a:  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God,the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

I pray, Heavenly father I know you will be with my my son when the waters pass through and I know you will keep him safe as he passes  through deep waters of big decisions.  Father as he walks through difficult situations keep the flames of trouble from setting ablaze, for you are the Lord God, the Holy One.

Prayer format based on Stormie Omartian’s book “The Power of a Praying Parent”

To Release My Child Into God’s Hands:

Psalm 103:17-18:  “But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.”  

Heavenly Father, Today in Jesus’ name I give (name of child) to You.  I know in my heart that only You know what is best for him (her), and what his (her) needs are.  I hand him (her)  over to You to care for and protect.  I come to you Lord, to devote time each day  to pray for all areas of my child’s life, and I ask that You guide those prayers in the direction of your Will.  I thank you and praise you God for helping me to raise my amazing child.  Amen.

1 John 4:16: : “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them”

Dear God, I pray today that (name of child) feel loved and accepted by people in his (her) life that will guide him (her) to good not evil.  I pray, Father, that you will fill my child with your Holy Spirit and love, and I pray he (she) will totally understand how complete and unconditional Your love is.  I pray that You, Father, remove any lies the enemy has placed in my child to believe otherwise.  Lord I pray that you will manifest Your love to my child today in a super real way that he (she) feels and knows Your presence.  I pray for that love to be returned to You by my child.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Today I can say, “It is well with my soul.”  Thank you Jesus.

Here is a link to purchase that great little book by Stormie Omartian.

Power of a Praying Parent

“Exhale” Be Who God Planned You To Be!

Exhale book Cover

Do you struggle with knowing the identity you want for yourself and the one God planned for you?  Are you tired of pleasing others and always trying to meet their expectations for you instead of following the path God has for you? Are you ready to “Lose who you’re not, Love who you are, and Live your one life well”?

Then this is the book for you my friend.

In their Co-Authored book, “Exhale”, Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory  walk with you on a journey with Jesus to help you find, through biblical principals, the person God created you to be and love her deeply.

Reading “Exhale” is like having two friends come along side you, hooking elbows, and skipping along a path of beautiful treasures.  Gems of  Jesus’ love and truth shining brightly for you to grab hold of as you journey with Amy and Cheri to take the steps they too have taken and continue to practice, to live their one lives well. They share genuine battles they have faced and overcome, as they have at times had to stop skipping and trudge through the messy to get to the place God was leading them.  Like true friends, Amy and Cheri don’t sugar coat this pilgrimage, friend, after all, they are the Grit ‘N’ Grace Girls.(Check out their podcast, amazing!)

Each chapter concludes with a practical principle to help you practice what you have learned and each section concludes with a “Quick Reference Guide” to summarize the unit.  Super handy for girls on a mission to finding their true selves.

“Exhale” is a book you will want to keep handy to refer back to as you take this journey to “Losing Who You’re Not, Loving Who You Are, Living Your One Life Well”.  It is jam packed with scripture and prayers for daily study to help you stay on the path God has so meticulously and perfectly planned just for you, no one else.

“Exhale” is launching June 4, 2019 at a book seller near you!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as part of Amy Carroll’s and Cheri Gregory’s “Exhale” Launch Team.  The opinions expressed here are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”