Be small

“For you died and your life is now hidden in Christ.” Colossians 3:3

Recently, God asked a question of me and it took me awhile to answer…but I think I’m becoming more and more OK with the answers.

I heard the Lord say, “Are you OK with being small?”

After coming back from the Teach Them Diligently conference I was ready to quit blogging all together. I met so many wonderful bloggers there and it was a HUGE blessing. But, I found myself wondering what I have to offer anyone. And, God reminded me that His ways are not my ways.

And I heard the words, “Are you OK with being small?

He reminded me that He calls me to bloom where I am planted, He chooses the location. I am obedient.

He reminded me that Jesus told His disciples that the last would be first. He washed their feet.

At the time, this lesson was personal for me in regard to blogging…am I OK with sharing the message God has given me here on my blog if I never gain another follower? Am I OK with being who God created me to be for an audience of One?

 

One Year in the Psalms

 

One Year in the Psalms

So many of you have been enjoying the Write the Word posts we’ve been doing!

Write the Word. Pray the Word.

Here are the resources I’ve shared thus far:

Ephesians

Psalm 119

Philippians

The Last Days of Jesus from Matthew

James

Now, I have a larger plan that will actually include 365 + 10 days! A whole year PLUS more in the Psalms! (The reason it is more days than 365 is because I tried to break up the readings into either complete chapters OR where it made sense to split them up.

This newest Write the Word plan to spend One Year in the Psalms is FREE for subscribers!

Subscriber FreebieOne Year in the Psalms COVER

Here’s how to get the plan:

Subscribe to His Mercy is New. Go here to subscribe! 

The next time a blog post or email comes from His Mercy Is New, check the BOTTOM OF THE EMAIL for “FREEBIES” and this resource will be listed there as one of your SUBSCRIBER FREEBIES!

Subscribe here to receive this and other freebies from His Mercy is New!

 

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” Proverbs 13:12

Without hope we can literally become sick. Heartsick. Sick in our minds and souls. Tis sickness can lead to discouragement, depression, hopelessness. But how do we find hope? Where do we look for it? How do we gain it? How do we fill our hearts and minds with the hope of Christ? We may know in our heads that Christ alone is our source of hope…but how do we get our hearts to believe it, too?

““Hope, as you will find, is a skill that takes practice.” Edward Welch

Hope takes practice.

Hope takes faith.

Hope takes work.

Hope must be an active word in our vocabulary. Hope is not passive. Hope doesn’t arrive on our front doorstep. Hope must be invited in. Hope must be welcomed. Hope must be practiced.

You may be wondering what I mean by “practicing hope” and this is a valid question. It sounds odd or maybe you’ve never considered before that we can be proactive and intentional about filling our lives with hope and joy.

I have some favorite ways to practice hope, but you may think of others, too!

8 Ways to Practice Hope

I wanted to share with you 8 of my favorite ways to practice hope!

1. Pray often. Pray without ceasing. When you don’t know what to pray, say the Name of Jesus. Pray God’s Word.

2. Remind yourself of who you are in Christ. He delights in you! You are His child. You are chosen. You are loved. You are forgiven. You have the hope of eternity.

3. Confide in a friend. Do not suffer alone. Send out a plea for help by text. Let others walk alongside you in your trials.

4. Go outside. Nature can be therapeutic. Take a walk. Thank God for His beautiful creation.

5. Count your blessings. Actually NAME them. Write them down. Create a gratitude journal and add to it daily. Count your blessings one by one…

6. Praise. Did you know that when we worship and praise our Father the enemy flees? Praise silences the enemy and here is another way to proactively fight the hopelessness in our lives! Turn up the praise music! Have a dance party!

7. Do not neglect fellowship through the Body of Christ. As hard as it can be when we are down and out, we must not forsake the assembling of believers. We were made for relationships. Allow others to encourage your heart…and you can be an encouragement as well! Allow others to lift you up in prayer…and when you intercede for others that also helps to take your mind off of your own problems.

8. Get in the Word. Stay in the Word. Pray the Word. Memorize the Word. Meditate on the Word. His Word gives life to us. Do not neglect the gift of His Word.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

Friends, we must learn to fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. For the JOY set before Christ, He endured the cross. Can you imagine? With joy he faced the cross…for you and for me. This passage tells us how to gain hope: CONSIDER HIM who endured such opposition from sinners, SO THAT you will not grow weary and lose heart.

When we lose heart, we become hopeless. To not lose heart, we must practice hope. We must set our hearts and minds on things above and not on earthly things.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2

God’s Word is full of admonition and encouragement for where to fix our mind and thoughts. When we meditate on God’s Word, when we fix our hearts and minds on the things of God, what we are doing is practicing hope. And this act of practicing hope is essential to our abundant life in Christ.

The Problem with Sharing

I was thinking the other day about some ironies of being an introvert. So I began jotting them down in this blog post. Please feel free to add your own items to this list in the comments! I’m sure I missed a few!

Introvert Problems…

I love being alone, but I often still feel lonely. When I get up in the morning, there is nothing I want more than to get a cup of coffee, grab my Bible and a good book and sit on my back porch. I could stay here for hours. Yet, I must get on with my life. Sometimes when I get up from that spot with God, I am lonely for adult interaction. I realize God is always with me, but sometimes I want to know that someone else cares, too.

I dislike the phone, but sometimes wish someone would text me out of the blue just to see how I’m doing. If you call me on the phone, there is a 1 in 4 chance I may not answer it. I may be homeschoooling. Or I may immediately wonder what I’ve done wrong, so I avoid answering. Or I may just not know what to say. However, as I go about my day, I get lonely when I don’t hear from people. Probably why I love social media! I love sending and receiving texts of encouragement, even just a “hey, how is your day going?” kind of text.

I dislike big crowds for hours on end and having to be “on” yet I crave time with a good friend over coffee. I think that because I have announced my introverted-ness by sharing awesome articles I read online, people may think that I don’t care to be invited places. Usually I share these articles because it feels good to be understood and I have gone most of my life feeling misunderstood. I read an article and I’m like, “WOW, someone else gets it!”

I love social media but I have wondered if because I’m so active on there folks think I must have tons of friends in real life. Social media is often my outlet on a bad day. An escape when I need some adult interaction. A way to share and encourage others. God has given me an online ministry in this place. And yes, I am very busy. But most of that is with homeschooling and teaching 40 piano students. I wonder if I don’t get invited places because I’m unlikeable or because I’ve said “I’m an introvert and love being alone” one too many times! LOL!

As one with an online ministry of encouragement, I often feel encouragement-starved myself. I realize that this can be God’s way of nudging me to be more intentional about relationships in real life. Friendship seems to be hard for me, well any relationship. ha! But sometimes when I try to think about the last time someone said some encouraging words to me to build me up, I come up blank. I don’t say that to guilt anyone reading this that is a friend in real life. I obviously don’t do a good job of this either! I struggle with this in my own home!

As I struggle through these things, I am reminded that Jesus is a FRIEND to sinners. He is my friend. I have the constant presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. I have His Word to lift me up. I have Him to give me strength when I feel weak.

Yet, God also gave us people. Relationships. Friendships. How can we serve and love others if no one is there? Navigating just how to be more intentional with people has been hard for me. I’m in a small group that I adore. I mean, I love these people. Yet, often, I only see them on Sunday nights and that’s it. I don’t need hundreds of people checking in with me, but a handful

 

Praying the Scriptures through Advent (for Katie Horner)

praying-the-scriptures-through-advent

It all started with a study on Philippians chapter 4. During a very dark time in my life, the Lord began a work in my heart that took me through periods of depression and taught me to pray His word.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Did you catch that powerful truth right there in this little passage? Don’t be anxious, instead pray. And, when you pray, God fills you with His peace.

Wow. That was a truth that unlocked pieces of my heart and began a powerful journey with the Lord in praying His Word. Prayer brings peace. I know we can all use a little more of that in our lives!

We know that God’s Word is powerful. We know that prayer brings peace. So, when we pair those powerful 2 components together, God can truly work miracles in our hearts. This isn’t a formula, though, it is just my desperate heart before the Lord longing for the peace that only Jesus can bring, despite what our circumstances may be. Praying the Scriptures is a tool with which my broken heart can be drawn closer to Jesus.

HOW TO PRAY THE SCRIPTURES

Now before you run off all scared because you have no idea what “praying the Scriptures” means…let me reassure you, if I can pray God’s Word, so can you!

For me, there are times when I have no words…and that’s when His Word gives me words to pray.

There are times I don’t know WHAT to say… and that’s when His Word gives me the words to pray.

There are times I have no idea what God’s will is… and that’s when His Word gives me the words to pray.

There isn’t one magical way to do this: I read a passage of Scripture, I speak it aloud to God, I rephrase it into my own words, I add in the names of my children or family members.  Just take the words of God and make them your prayer. Re-phrase if you like, but you don’t have to!

Let me give you an example. I love praying the Psalms. Many times you can find me praying, “Show me your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in You truth and guide me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.” Psalm 25:4-5. “You are my shepherd, I shall not want. You lead me beside quiet waters, You restore my soul.” Psalm 23:1, 3. “I will bless you at all times, Lord, Your praise shall continually be on my lips. My soul will boast in You alone, Father. I seek You and You hear me, You deliver me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:1,2,4.

We know that God’s Word is powerful. We know that prayer brings peace. So, when we pair those powerful two components together, God can truly work miracles in our hearts.

In fact, I first learned about praying God’s Word when the Lord took me through those periods of depression and taught me to pray His word. I believe that this simple activity is what sustained me during those darkest moments.

HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO ADVENT?

Maybe you’re like us and December gets crazy on the calendar. Spend a few moments each morning with God and His Word before you go out into the craziness of the season.

Or here’s a way to incorporate praying the scriptures with your family: Light a candle at the dinner table, read one verse of Scripture, discuss and pray. It doesn’t have to be difficult or long. Sometimes the most powerful lessons are not in the longest sermons!

Or maybe you’d like to spend a few minutes before bed reading and praying God’s Word together with your family. Or in the morning for a devotional time. Whatever fits this season for your family…with a little bit of intention, you can make it happen.

LIGHT OF THE WORLD: PRAYING THE SCRIPTURES THROUGH ADVENT

I have put together 31 verses, each one pertaining to LIGHT, from the Bible. I have written very short, little devotions for each day and put it together in an ebook called Jesus, Light of the World: Praying the Scriptures Through Advent. It is currently on sale for $5.00.

Find more resources for praying God’s Word and writing the Word. 

jesus-light-of-the-world-cover

January Favorite Things

What I am loving in the New Year…

It’s barely 2 weeks into the new year and the goals have been  stated, the new routines are forming, and here are a few things I’m loving…

Smoothies

Smoothies are by far the easiest way for me to get in several servings of FRUITS and VEGGIES. I can always tell I have more energy when I’m having a daily smoothie! I have had this blender for years now and *love it.*

Here’s what I toss into the blender for my smoothies, and without measuring, which would feed a few of us:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 big handfuls spinach
  • small handful frozen strawberries
  • small handful frozen blueberries or any frozen fruit
  • greek yogurt
  • orange juice (half my household likes MILK in their smoothies, I prefer the citrus taste)

Water

I am drinking a GALLON of water everyday! I’m feeling GOOD!

My Journaling Bible

I have a renewed love for my Bible at the beginning of this year. I think it must be reading the book Women of the Word and realizing just what a treasure we have in those pages! And the journaling Bible just provides so much room in the margins for note taking and prayers and such…

Bullet Journal

Super uber simple, I followed Edie’s methods in her free video found here.  So. I was NOT going to jump on the bullet journal band wagon. I wasn’t going to do it! Til I was at a goal setting workshop with the amazing Dr. Edie of LifeinGrace blog and she pretty much convinced me. {grin} She has a free video you can sign up to receive in your email and it goes over exactly how she does it. Her ideas are so simple that we can all benefit from it!

Essential oils

I also have a growing and somewhat renewed love for my oils. I have been using Young Living oils for a little over a year now. I can tell such a difference in these oils and the ones I used to use. My mood and overall emotional well being is more STABLE, I’m using their fruit juice supplement and have more ENERGY, our house is generally very WELL. I taught my first class on DITCHING THE TOXINS via video on facebook. I am just loving it all!

Exercising regularly

Ouch. Yep. It’s the beginning of a new year, of course I am exercising. LOL! But I feel so.much.better. I told my husband that weight lifting and walking/jogging 3-4 times a week leaves me feeling empowered. Like I really CAN do hard things. Maybe I’m not a wimp after all. And, handling stress is something I actually can do when I’m exercising. My body needs it.

Live videos for inspiration

Are any of you enjoying  live videos from your favorite bloggers and online authors as much as I am?? Some of my favorites:

Edie Wadsworth of LifeinGrace blog, she also leads the essential oil group I’m in, she does videos and classes online and also does AMAZING videos and talks in our business building group. She has done a goal setting workshop, a talk on living out of LOVE and not fear, how to grow your business and more. If you want to join our Young Living team, please send me a message.

Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom – I’ve done a few of her courses which are video based but I also have loved her periscopes and facebook live videos through 2016 as she talked about her year of rest.

The Essential Oils I Use Every Single Day

These little bottles of oils are amazing. They have improved my life and my mood so much that I have to share! Have you ever wondered what all the hype was about? What in the world do people even do with these oils? Well, I’m here to tell you how I personally use them each and everyday!

**In this video I discuss a household cleaner and some other items for detoxifying your home. I will be sharing those in a blog post coming next week! A Part 2 for this post! 

Oils in the Morning

  • Frankincense – there are so many amazing benefits to using frankincense on a regular basis. I mean, they brought it to the baby Jesus, right?? It is so good for your skin so I mix it in with my face lotion everyday. It is also good for helping to maintain low stress levels.
  • Dragon Time – this is the 2nd type of female/hormone oil that I use. I have been using progessence (explained in my night time oils) for 1 year and 2 months now. It has changed my female life. I had terrible cycles all through my life. The progessence helped with every single physical symptom. No more cramps, cycle cut in half, amazing. Well, the Dragon Time has been recently added to my routine to try to help with the extreme moods that come right before my cycle. I’ve been using it 3 months and it does seem to be helping! I rub 2 drops onto my stomach every morning and then 1 drop on the back of my neck.
  • Joy – joy is my happy smell. I rub it on my chest and neck every morning and am reminded to CHOOSE JOY and GRATITUDE.
  • Helichrysm – I’ve only been using this oil for about week! I got it FREE with my monthly order from Young Living! It’s an expensive oil so I wouldn’t typically have bought it, but it’s supposed to be good for scars as well as things like ringing ears, etc. I’m using it on a spot on my face that I’m hoping will disappear. 🙂 I will keep y’all posted!

 

Oils Throughout the Day

  • Thieves – this is our immunity blend and also happens to smell wonderful. We use it even when we aren’t sick because I like to be proactive with my oils and not just reactive! We are rarely sick in our home so I figure it must be helping!
  • Orange in my Diffuser – orange makes me happy. So I use orange nearly everyday, usually in combination with one other thing. I do orange & lavender, orange & peppermint, orange and ANYTHING is amazing. 🙂 I have my diffuser running all day in our main living area.
  • Grapefruit – I love grapefruit in my water! Anything citrus is usually my favorite.
  • Allergy blend – LLP is the allergy bomb. Actually we use it for ANY congestion and sniffles, ear pain, etc.
  • Focus Blend for my son – I mix Vetiver and Cedarwood to help my son focus well during our homeschool day!

Oils Before Bed

  • Progessence – The progessence is what I mentioned above that has helped my cycles so much. Pretty much the miracle oil. 😉 I put 2 drops on the inside of each ankle at night before bed.
  • Cedarwood – this is an oil that can be used for several things, but I use it to help me sleep at night! I have it in a roller bottle mixed with Lavender and I roll it on the bottoms of my feet.
  • Lavender – the calming, swiss army knife of oils! If you don’t know what oil to use in a certain instance, use lavender. I use it at night to help me get good rest.
  • Stress Away – I put this in my diffuser at night because my husband doesn’t care for the smell of Cedarwood in the diffuser. 🙂 Stress away has a vanilla-y type smell.

Resources I Use with My Oils

Carrier Oil – I love using ROLLER BOTTLES on my oils because I can add my own blends and also add a carrier oil to DILUTE the oil and make it last longer! It also goes on much easier with the roller top. This fractionated coconut oil is what I’ve been using as my carrier oil for the last year.

Roller Bottles – The BEST roller bottle tops are the stainless ones from Young Living that fit directly onto a YL bottle. The roller ball is stainless and it so much smoother than the plastic or anything else I’ve found. You can get a package of 10 for 9.95 I believe. (You get at least one in your starter kit!) I have ordered these pretty roller bottles as gifts for Christmas! They are very pretty.

Diffusers – I have multiple Young Living diffusers in my home and love them. I also have a few from Amazon that have worked really well too! I have this one, which has lasted more than a year so far. We had this one and loved it as well!  And  yet one more we’ve had for over a year and it’s still going strong! (WHY YES, I love diffusers and have them in every bedroom and our living areas!! I believe in the power of aromatherapy that much!)

Starter Kit

The starter kit is *the* best deal if you want to get more than one oil! You get 11 amazing oils, a DIFFUSER, some samples, a roller tops, some small sample bottles you can share with friends…it’s amazing.

Go here if you’d like to sign up and join our team! Our team is blessed to have Dr. Edie Wadsworth as our leader, it has been so fascinating to learn about oils from a doctor’s perspective. When you join our team, you get added to her facebook group just for our team members. We have lots of classes, videos, you can ask questions, etc.

Freebies for January

If you join in January with the purchase of a starter kit, you will get 2 amazing freebies!

FREE Peace & Calming and FREE Dryer Balls!

Go here to sign up with our team and order your premium starter kit!

**To receive the free Peace & Calming you must order the Dewdrop diffuser.

Stay tuned for another post coming next week where I talk more about using essential oils and a few simple products to DETOXIFY your home! 

Craving Connection

We all have a God-given longing within us for meaningful and authentic relationships. We were created with that longing because God desires relationship with His children. He created us for intimacy. But, getting to that place can be difficult for many of us. I have struggled with friendship over the years. That is probably why I love this new book, Craving Connection, from the (In)Courage writers so much.

This book discusses improving our connections with God, with friends and with our communities. Each day there is a suggestion for engaging those around you, a 3-4 page devotional, connection questions, a prayer and a challenge.

Simple challenges like “text a friend and tell her how much you appreciate her.”

How could your life be different after prayerfully and intentionally connecting with God, friends, and your community?

Craving Connection is a journey where (in)courage writers share real-life stories, practical Scripture application, and connection challenges that will encourage you to find out!

Craving Connection Devotional Kit

Along with the new book, the Illustrated Faith devotional kit for this month goes along with the new book!! It is BEAUTIFUL. Such pretty colors, fonts and flowers!

The new kit is also called Craving Connection

My Unboxing Video

 

Craving Connection Video from (In)Courage

Find the Book & Illustrated Faith Kit

You can find the book AND the devotional kit at Dayspring! 

1 & 2 Thessalonians: Write the Word. Pray the Word.

1st and 2nd Thessalonians square

I finally have a new Write the Word plan up for you!! I can’t believe how many requests I’ve gotten to KEEP MAKING these Scripture writing plans! I love it when you tell me what is helpful for you! <3

1st & 2nd Thesslonians made a great plan that will take you about a month if you follow this plan!

{You can find Psalm 119, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, James, 1 & 2 Peter, Last Days of Jesus and a Women of the Word plans ALL on this page!}

But why write the Word? Why do we write things down? 

What is “write the word” or a “scripture writing plan?” You can read all about it and watch a video where I explain more by going to this page. 

We write things down that we want to remember.

Why wouldn’t we want to write down the most important Words there are?

His Word is life to us — write it down!

His Word is a treasure — treat it as such!

His Word is comfort to us — allow Him to comfort you as you write.

His Word is conviction to us through His Holy Spirit — soften your heart as you write. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life as you write and pray His Word.

Write the Word 1 and 2 Thessalonians PDF

Write the Word 1 and 2 Thessalonians