Book Review: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

one thousand gifts

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

My Personal Review ~ 5 stars ~

Truly a worthwhile read! This book surprised me and moved me. I am in love with Ann Voskamp’s writing style … it is poetic, deep, and rich. It reaches in and takes a hold of me at a soul-deep level. Oh, it was beautiful – pulling at deep, deep parts of me. Making me strive to understand, and also feel like maybe I could just let go and rest in God’s goodness and love.

Could it be that, that which seems to oppose the will of God actually is used of Him to accomplish the will of God? ~ Ann Voskamp

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are is bittersweet, and triumphant, and marvelously revealing. My heart wept for the tragedy endured, yet exulted for the glory, and freedom, and love discovered! Ann Voskamp is very honest and vulnerable, sharing openly from her heart. I get a glimpse into this life of a farmer’s wife and a mother of six. This woman who has faced raw heartbreak and hardship, and struggles against anxiety and listlessness.

In the messy, Jesus whispers, “What do you want?” and in the ugly, I cry, “I want to see – see You in these faces.” He speaks soft, “Seek My face.” ~ Ann Voskamp

I loved reading about the day-to-day experiences and getting a look at Ann’s relationship with God as she cries out, grows, wrestles, surrenders, and rests in the security of Christ. I loved the triumph, the bittersweet, the struggle, the hope, and the glorious beauty.

When I choose – and it is a choice – to crush joy with bitterness, am I not purposefully choosing to take the way of the Prince of Darkness? ~ Ann Voskamp

This is a thought-provoking book that changed me. And I pray that I live in this change. I am so thankful to my God, and to Ann Voskamp for sharing her testimony.

What a book. I just really loved it and highly recommend. Such deep content. If you struggle with fear … depression … ingratitude … One-Thousand Gifts will challenge you and lift your heart.

I am a child in His arms and His breath falls warm upon my face and what I feel for this daughter He feels for me, and the gifts, all these gifts I keep counting, they are His love gifts and they’re slowly waking me up to the tenderest, fiercest Love of all. ~ Ann Voskamp

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Books for the Fearful Heart

Happy Saturday, readers!

Today I’m excited to share with you some books specifically addressing fear that have really impacted me. I have a heart and mind that tend to fret and be fearful, and are often within the iron grip of anxiety – and it’s taken me a long time to learn some of the lessons these books teach.

If any of you out there can relate, I wholeheartedly recommend these Christian Living books to you. First get out your Bible, then purpose copies of these books. And prepare to go on a journey.

Face your fears. Grow in faith. Lean on your heavenly Father. Find joy.

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Breaking the Fear Cycle: How to Find Peace for Your Anxious Heart by Maria Furlough

(I haven’t finished this book yet, but so far it’s been phenomenal. I believe God is using what Maria went through to impact my life here and now.)

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Fearless: Building a Faith That Overcomes Your Fear by Cheri Fuller

(Read my review HERE)

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Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back?: Facing Life With Courage, Not Comforters by Martha Bolton and Christin Ditchfield

(Read my review HERE)

So there are just three books, besides God’s Holy Word, that have helped me in my battle against fear and anxiety (and even depression). I hope you will find the courage to acknowledge your own fearful heart and find help.

You don’t have to live within anxiety’s clutches.

God has so much more for you! If you could just surrender to Him! ❤

***

As a parting note, I’m going to change my blogging schedule back to posting here on Lady Grace just once a week – Saturdays. I have some things coming up in life and I’m realizing I’m not going to have time for everything. So I have to cut back a little. I hope you all will keep joining me here on Saturdays!

And also check out my other blog: Between the Pages of This Bookish Life. I post there on Thursdays and share my Youtube videos on Mondays. This coming Monday’s video has to do with love & romance!

I’m an INFJ – Embracing Your God-Given Personality

My fellow bloggers, writers, and avid readers, shall we talk about our quiet, deep-feeling, word-loving personality. Or is it just mine? 😉

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But really, I’ve noticed a lot of writers/bloggers are introverts. I myself am an INFJ according to the tests I’ve done. The advocate, the defender, or the guardian. Supposedly, people with INFJ personalities are “rare”. I don’t know if I quite believe it, but I will admit that I do often feel like no one understands me.

I’m different.

No one else is quite like me.

I get lonely.

I feel crazy.

I have the fear, deep down, that I’ll never quite belong anywhere.

I can share a lot, but I never really, really share my heart because I’m afraid no one would understand.

For a girl who longs for deep, intimate connections and community, it’s a terrible thing to feel so separate from other people.

I think the loneliness and fear have driven me to try to understand myself. Then I would feel guilty for researching “myself”—like I’m enamored with me, haha.

But, actually, I’ve heard that INFJ’s just have a hunger to understand their personality and the personalities of others. I want to know why I feel, react, and think certain ways. I want to understand why other people do what they do and say what they say.

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And when I read things about the INFJ personality and think, Hey, that’s what I do. Maybe that’s why I behave this way and feel such-and-such—then I feel more okay with being me.

And you know what? It IS okay that I’m me! It’s more than okay.

It’s perfect.

God, in His infinite wisdom, created me just the way I am with exactly the personality I have. He made me introverted, bookish, relational, a dreamer, a deep thinker, a writer, and a deep feeler. He created me this way, and therefore He understands me, even when I think nobody does. Even when I can’t understand myself.

Psalm 139:1-6 & 13-16

Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

Genesis 1:26-28

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

1 Corinthians 13:12

Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord,

***

When I do research and study my personality and just be myself, I think it is a very good thing. Because isn’t it most honoring to the Creator when I embrace who He made me to be? When I glorify Him with the specific and unique gifts, abilities, talents, and personality He gave me?

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So … what does it mean to be an INFJ?

Here are a few quotes from INFJ (“The Advocate”) of 16Personalities:

“INFJs indeed share a unique combination of traits: though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in.” (Introduction)

“INFJs find it easy to make connections with others, and have a talent for warm, sensitive language, speaking in human terms, rather than with pure logic and fact. It makes sense that their friends and colleagues will come to think of them as quiet Extraverted types, but they would all do well to remember that INFJs need time alone to decompress and recharge, and to not become too alarmed when they suddenly withdraw.” (Introduction)

“This becomes especially apparent when INFJs find themselves up against conflict and criticism – their sensitivity forces them to do everything they can to evade these seemingly personal attacks, but when the circumstances are unavoidable, they can fight back in highly irrational, unhelpful ways.” (Introduction)

“INFJs like to know that they are taking concrete steps towards their goals, and if routine tasks feel like they are getting in the way, or worse yet, there is no goal at all, they will feel restless and disappointed.” (Strengths and Weaknesses)

“When it comes to romantic relationships, INFJs take the process of finding a partner seriously. Not ones for casual encounters, people with the INFJ personality type instead look for depth and meaning in their relationships. INFJs will take the time necessary to find someone they truly connect with (Romantic Relationships)

“There is a running theme with INFJs, and that is a yearning for authenticity and sincerity – in their activities, their romantic relationships, and their friendships. … Rather, INFJs seek out people who share their passions, interests and ideologies, people with whom they can explore philosophies and subjects that they believe are truly meaningful.” (Friends)

“First and foremost, INFJs need to find meaning in their work, to know that they are helping and connecting with people (Career Paths)

“INFJs often pursue expressive careers such as writing, elegant communicators that they are, and author many popular blogs, stories and screenplays. Music, photography, design and art are viable options too, and they all can focus on deeper themes of personal growth, morality and spirituality.” (Career Paths)

Quotes and Stuff from my INFJ Pinterest Board (these were all found on Pinterest):

Being an introvert doesn’t always mean we’re shy, insecure, can’t talk, timid, scared of our own shadow, and friendless.

It may mean we’re quiet, socially-awkward (but not socially-inept), cautious, very sensitive, and a little different.

What I’m trying to say is: you don’t have to change my personality in order for me to be who I need to be and do what I need to do.

I believe why I was insecure as a person is not because that’s how I was made, but rather because I was afraid to be who I was truly made to be.

Even because many people made me feel like I had to change my personality in order to be right.

Why are you so quiet? {Um … ? I’ve been talking, haven’t I? I enjoy listening also, you know. Or, I just don’t have much that I feel needs to be said right now.}

Why don’t you talk more? {Well, I try, but you either interrupt, talk over me, stare blankly in response, or don’t notice I spoke up at all.}

Why are you always so sad? {I’m not! I’m just not as bubbly and expressive and loud as you are. That’s allowed, isn’t it?}

You’re turning red. {*wants to melt into the ground* I KNOW quite well that I’m blushing … can you please just act normal and move on with the conversation? Please?}

SHE TALKED! YOU CAN TALK?? {Do you think I’m weird? Are you not accepting me? *freaks out and overthinks everything* Now I feel stupid and probably won’t say anything else for the rest of the evening.} 

Everyone HAS to participate! {Even if I’m quaking in terror and feel on the verge of passing out?? HAVE MERCY!}

You’re too quiet; you need to talk louder. {I feel like I’m shouting! *feels desperate*}

Shy people are just really selfish. {*heart shrivels up inside chest*}

Desperately shy, I battled headaches and stomachaches every time I went to youth group, Bible study, casual Ultimate Frisbee games, a friend’s house, church, etc., etc., year after year after year (even though I liked these things).

Critically insecure, I kept silent during Bible study (which I loved … filled with people I really liked) even when my mind and heart had thoughts to offer and questions to pose.

Occasionally, I was filled with such passion and boldness, and actually spoke up.

But most times, I felt so wrong and uncertain of being myself that I kept quiet when I wanted to speak. I hung back when I wanted to join. I blushed painfully when people talked to and tried to involve me (though I yearned for deep connection!). I felt guilt over silly things. I hid parts of my heart even from my closest friends and family.

Being an INFJ didn’t make me that way. But perhaps because the INFJ personality isn’t as common as some, I had a hard time accepting myself.

I called myself stupid. A failure. Ugly. Fat. Unwanted. Dumb. Unable. Too awkward. Not good enough. Unacceptable.

Idiot. You idiot! I’m so sick of you.

That’s what I said to myself. I bought into the Enemy’s lies and I fed them to myself.

And it held me back from doing all that God has called me to. It kept me from all that God wanted to give me. It kept me from being fully who God created me to be.

I was very, very insecure, and shy, and fearful.

Even up until this last year of 2017, I struggled. (And it will be something I have to continue fighting, I’m sure!) For a large part of my life, I didn’t realize how insecure I truly was. This past fall, I came face to face with what I really thought of myself.

I was sick of being me because, deep down, I thought of myself as stupid and not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not out-going enough. Not doing enough. Not confident and independent enough. Not smart enough.

I didn’t truly grasp my real worth in Christ, and so I looked to other people to define my worth. If they accepted me, I would feel okay with myself. If they rejected me, I told myself I was stupid. If someone said something that might have been questioning my worth, I internally freaked out and fell apart because I felt I had no worth apart from their validation.

I sort of kept this all inside, and it affected me in ways I didn’t realize.

I’m changing now.

But I’m not becoming less of an introvert – my personality is not becoming less INFJ. I’m not becoming less of a deep thinker and deep feeler. I’m still quiet, and sensitive, and very self-aware.

I’m blossoming as an INFJ, because I cried out to the Lord with all my heart and He filled me with His love. I believe He says: I WANT YOU. I LOVE YOU. I CREATED YOU. I DELIGHT IN YOU. I CHOSE YOU. Now I know that I can embrace who I am. Because that’s exactly who God fearfully and wonderfully made me to be.

I claim my worth in Christ.

If anyone tries to tell me I’m less-than, I say: Go talk to my Father. No one can tell me what my value is except for Him. And He says I was worth it all.

To add to that incredible reality, He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Just as I am.

He can use my quietness, my deep feelings, my sensitivity, my self-awareness, my love of writing, my social awkwardness, my passion, my strong opinions in powerful ways. He can use me in huge ways, even when I’m still rather terrified to speak in front of crowds, but can chatter passionately to small, intimate groups.

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Listen …

WE ARE ALL UNIQUE.

And that is radiantly beautiful! In appearance, in personality, in gifts, in talents, in passions, in dreams, in strengths, we are different. And that is exactly how it’s supposed to be.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14

12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.

Instead of trying to change each other, why not complement and enhance and edify and uplift one another?

1 Corinthians 12:15-31

15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?

20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

The next chapter in 1 Corinthians goes on to talk about how we are nothing without love.

You may never find me laughing and joking in front of huge crowds. But as I grow in security in Christ’s love for me, I find the courage and ability to share deeply from my heart with individuals, be vulnerable, pray over friends in need, and lead small Bible study groups – as has always been my desire!

It is God who changes my heart and grows me, and uses my personality for His glory and our good. He created me and He knows me. And when I know He accepts and wants me, I can walk forth in joy and security and boldness and love, even as an INFJ! 😉

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 I used to be frightened that my physical appearance would change people’s opinion of me – I’m not beautiful enough. I used to be terrified to go places – I’m probably not wanted or welcome.

But, slowly, slowly, I’m throwing that mindset off.

God loves me. God wants me.

He made me, so who are you to say there’s a problem with what He’s created? I am His child and the world is His, so I have as much a right to be here as anyone else. (I’m okay. Do you hear that, heart of mine? Stop seizing up in my chest and let me breathe and walk normally!)

I realize that there are, indeed, people in the world who do truly love and want me. They don’t care if my hair is a bit messy, my clothes aren’t the latest style, I have zits on my face, or I’ve gained a few pounds. They look at me and they see me—my heart—who they adore.

This is so beautiful!

I have a hard time claiming people’s love for myself, but I speak it because there are people who have proven their love for me. And they are worthy of my trust.

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So. BE YOU. Don’t mock or refuse to accept God’s beautiful design and creativity. Be who the wise Creator made you to be. And know you are richly and completely loved. By your Heavenly Father. And, most likely, by many people … You’ve just blinded yourself to their affection for you.

God is good. His design is good. His creation is good.

DO YOU HAVE THE INFJ PERSONALITY? CAN YOU RELATE? WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

ARE YOU A DIFFERENT PERSONALITY? WHAT ARE SOME THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF THAT YOU FEEL ARE MISUNDERSTOOD? TELL ME SOME UNIQUE THINGS ABOUT YOU AND HOW GOD HAS USED THEM!

Paths and Provisions

Good morning, beautiful readers!

I’m going to share a little bit of my heart with you today. To be honest, this isn’t the easiest thing to share. It’s something that’s caused me no small amount of shame, anxiety, insecurity, and troubled thoughts. But it’s been on my mind a lot lately … so I thought perhaps it was God prompting me to share.

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

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 through Christ Jesus.

This post is going to be about work, money, jobs, independence, responsibility, and trusting God to provide. That sort of thing.

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I never was very career-minded. In fact, I tend to be a dreamer – I believe it’s part of my personality as an INFJ. From a young age, I loved reading and writing—all things books, really—and by ten-years-old, decided that I wanted to be a published author when I grew up. So I pursued writing. I wrote all the time. I filled up numerous journals and notebooks, and even took to typing out my stories and thoughts on the computer. I had stacks and stacks of handwritten stories and many documents saved onto the computer.

I did some babysitting here and there once I turned twelve. At around fifteen-years-old, I got a sort-of summer nanny job. Once I week I took care of a little baby (perhaps six months old?) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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It was around that time that my mom, my siblings, and I started cleaning our church once a week. We did that for a couple years.

At sixteen, I got my first “real” job. It was at Dairy Queen. They needed good workers, someone from my youth group recommended me, and so I was like, “Sure, why not? It’s probably a good time to start working part-time.” I hadn’t been actively searching for a job, but I was eager enough to accept the position.

Working at a fast-food restaurant turned out to be a rather intimidating experience for shy, insecure, introverted, teenage me. My voice was always too soft, even though I felt like I was shouting. All the details I was expected to learn overwhelmed me (though I actually caught on quickly enough). I felt uncomfortable wearing the required black slacks and stuffing my thick, waist-length hair up beneath a baseball cap. But, I did learn some things! And for that, I am thankful. It wasn’t horrible, but it was very stressful for me. Three mornings a week I skipped breakfast (because my stomach hurt from anxiety/stress) and hurried off to work. Around lunch time, I would start feeling tired and dragging, so I’d reluctantly drink a glass of soda (I’m kind of a health nut, so I disliked the idea of drinking a sugary drink three times a week!). Then I’d get home, probably eat a late lunch, and sit down and put my feet up because my legs and feet ached so badly. And then do some schoolwork.

I cleaned bathrooms (which caused some serious anxiety for my germ-freak self, especially at that time, ha!), spilled a strawberry sundae on my shirt when I was carrying two full trays into the dining area, fumbled through drive-through duty for the first time when the manager abruptly put the headset on me, and messed up a few times as I went through the general learning process of doing something new. I blushed and stuttered when boys flirted with me now and then. I got yelled at and grumbled at a few times, and my super-sensitive self blinked back tears and was sure my manager and the restaurant owner rather resented me.

Perhaps everyone feels this way, but my first job was really stressful for me! Not because it was actually so horrible, but because every little thing seemed magnified and overwhelming in my mind.

I only worked there about three and half months before turning in my notice so I could go live in my “home state” (place I was born) with my relatives for a month, and then just put all my focus back on school work and writing.

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So really … that was my only official job.

My family moved out of state the next year (2014). About a year later, July of 2015 (I think), I moved back for a couple months with my older brother. Then moved back in with my family. Then the next year, April 2016, my older brother and I drove to my “home state” and I ended up staying there for 9-ish months.

I’d planned to stay permanently, but just wasn’t really finding my place there. And I missed my family. Especially when some of my six younger siblings would write me letters saying how much they missed me, and how I was the best big sister, and how they wished I would come home. It nearly wrenched my heart out, haha! My anxiety had already worsened in the last couple years of moving around, but that year it was pretty bad and I also struggled with some depression. It definitely wasn’t all bad, though! My aunt & uncle, grandparents, and cousins loved on me, and I got to meet new people and experience neat things. But when my older brother and I flew back home in January 2017 for a late family Christmas, I ended up staying. My parents bought my brother and I plane tickets out there for my mom’s Christmas present (*smiles*), but they never bought me a return ticket like they said they would, so I’ll just blame it on that, haha. Summer of 2017 was spent, almost to the very last hour, remodeling the house my parents bought and everything having to do with that.

Anyway. Since my brief time at Dairy Queen, I’ve written up a resume, filled out many applications, gone to multiple interviews, and almost got at least three different jobs (two of them were at libraries! *smiles*). For various reasons, I didn’t end up getting them.

And now I’m here. Twenty-one. No job. No car. Unsure of where my path is winding.

Luke 12:6-7

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

I did buy a car while I was living in my “home state”. But it was not fit to drive the many miles home, so I have it no longer. And I’ve been blessed with many babysitting and cleaning jobs during my “unemployed” years!

Nevertheless, I feel this sense of shame and this feeling that I’m wrong. I feel both “behind” in life, and trapped because I didn’t get started at the “right time”. Sometimes it feels like I’m struggling to keep my head above the waves of doubt, fear, and a lack of confidence.

…I never gave much thought to jobs and careers. (Though I did take a couple college classes in my last year of high school.) I was too busy thinking other deep thoughts (haha). I did expect to get a job. But I’m a dreamer, and my head and heart were filled with ideas and plans and passions for writing novels, starting blogs, doing Bible studies, connecting deeply with people, touching lives, and impacting the world. Not to mention, I’d always expected to get married young. My mom had. My grandmother had. My great-grandmother had. Most of my friends and cousins got married between the ages of eighteen to twenty-one-years-old.

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So in all my plans and ponderings, I’d seen myself being married at eighteen or nineteen. At least by twenty-one! (Ha!) I saw myself loving and serving my husband and raising children with him to know the Lord. I saw myself running my household—cooking, cleaning, baking, homeschooling, etc.—and writing stories as an adored hobby. And sharing my book collection with other avid readers. To this day, I still often picture myself doing these things, and also keeping up this blog and opening up my home to people – making meals for friends and starting Bible studies for teens and single adults. I dream of joyfully keeping a home and ministering to people from it.

Proverbs 12:4

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,

Proverbs 31:10-13, 15, 17, 20-22, & 24-31

10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.

And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.

17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.

20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Titus 2:4-5

that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands,

1 Corinthians 11:3

But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

That’s obviously not to be. Not right now, anyway. I’m in a different season of life right now. And I struggle to figure it out! I don’t believe my dreams were bad or wrong, and I still have hope for them! But right now, I have to find out how to live as I should as a Christian, unmarried adult woman in America.

Psalm 84:3-5

Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You. Selah

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.

 

Should I have done things differently? Should I have stifled my dreams? Should I have tried harder to find jobs? Not moved around so much (as an adult, that is. I didn’t have much of a choice when my family moved!)?

I don’t know. People make me feel like I should have, like I did something wrong. Like I’m lazy and irresponsible and immature.

And it’s hard. It’s hard to think of people thinking badly of me. It causes all sorts of anxiety. (Yes, I struggle with insecurity, being a people-pleaser, and a lack of confidence. You probably know that if you’ve read this blog! I’m not trying to whine, just be honest. And I’m learning! God is teaching me to find my confidence in Him.)

Have I done things wrong? Yes. Am I imperfect? Without a doubt. Have I not managed my time wisely some years? Absolutely. Could I have done things differently? Probably so.

But I did what I did.

That’s what happened.

That’s how life went.

And God used all those years to teach and grow me, and do things in my life and the lives of those around me.

It’s not wasted.

Even if I made mistakes and messed things up and took forever to learn certain lessons … He was with me even then. He was working in my life.

The past is the past.

I can’t change it.

It may or may not have put me “behind” in this life as I learn more of what it means to live as an adult.

But, do I trust God? Do I trust Him to provide me with a job, and a car, and a ministry, and everything I need in His timing?

Philippians 4:19

19 And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Do I trust that He is able, even if I haven’t been technically employed for a long while? Do I trust that He can redeem past mistakes and errors?

Joel 2:25-27

25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.
27 Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
I am the Lord your God
And there is no other.
My people shall never be put to shame.

Do I trust that He can use, is using, me now, even while I don’t have a job?

Philippians 4:10-13

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Do I trust Him, even when people talk negatively about me?

Even when people make me feel worthless and stupid?

Make me feel like I’m unwanted and not belonging anywhere?

They don’t know my story. That don’t know the anxiety and depression and other health issues I’ve dealt with, and how that’s hindered me. They don’t know my heart. They don’t know that I desire and I’m trying to love and serve God and people in the ways I know best! They don’t know how I strive to fill my days with some sort of purpose … cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, helping out with the children, seeking God in prayer and His Word, helping a little with teaching school, and writing these blog posts. Driving the older kids places. Editing my stories. Grocery shopping. Organizing and sorting through things. Trying to encourage people and start being a mentor-of-sorts to my younger sisters.

Psalm 84:10-12

10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.

12 Lord of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!

 

I have’t always done well. I haven’t always strove to have a helpful and serving attitude toward my family. I haven’t always been thankful. I haven’t always tried my best and done everything as unto the Lord.

I know there are people who deal with anxiety, depression, different health issues, and all sorts of things and still have done better than me in life. They’ve had their steady job for years. They have a car. They have a house. They know where they’re going in life.

I’m not trying to justify everything about myself, and my life, and my choices. I think I tend to try to paint everything in as positive a light as possible, perhaps because I hope there will be someone out there who believes in me. I list out all these things and ramble on so, maybe because I’m trying to convince myself that I’m okay.

poppy-3137588_1920(found on pixabay.com)

That I haven’t ruined my life. That I’m not a failure.

But I can’t find that confidence in other people. And I certainly can’t find it in myself.

2 Corinthians 10:7

Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s.

I must find it in God.

I can only find it in God.

Because, you know what? Loved by Him is my identity. And He is worthy of my trust. He is so able to work everything out for His glory and my good. He can redeem my past mistakes. He is still working on me, and He does not forsake me. Sometimes I look back and think, “Oh my, I’m making this ever a process!” But He is ever faithful! Sanctification is a process! ❤

Romans 8:8

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

And I am an individual person with my own, unique story. I need to stop comparing. Stop trying to measure up. Stop trying to take everything into my hands and think I have to control and take care of it all.

2 Corinthians 9:8

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

My faithful Provider is taking care of me.

Do I deserve it? Of course not. But He chose me. He wants me. He delights in me. Because I’m His daughter now. And I need to hold onto faith that He will lead me on the path that He has for me and provide for me along the way. I need to grow in faith that He will give me His strength to take the steps needed, even when I’m anxious, tired, not feeling well, or worried I’ll lose my purpose and not be impacting people for His kingdom if I work at a fast-food restaurant serving people unhealthy food, (haha, I seriously worry about this all the time. I have the INFJ personality, and I try to find purpose and meaning in EVERYTHING. It can be exhausting, yes.)

So, He can do ANYTHING! He can do things beyond my wildest dreams and hopes! He uses MY WEAKNESS to display HIS STRENGTH. He has been pursuing me and taking care of me since the beginning of my life – since before!

Ephesians 3:20-21

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

I trust Him.

My friends, I am so imperfect! But my God is so perfect. Look to Him, not me. And I hope, if you can relate to me in this, that this post was an encouragement to you and blessed your heart. God loves you, precious soul. He’s taking care of you. You can trust Him with your life. Every detail. Surrender your plans and let Him lead.

2 Corinthians 9:10-15

10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Much love,

Lady Grace ❤

Philippians 4:1

Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

 

the journey

Hello, lovely readers! How are you doing this fine Saturday?

It’s actually Friday right now, as I write this. I just sat down with a snack and my laptop after a morning/afternoon of “weekly cleaning”. I have a bit of an idea for the topic of this post, but I’m not entirely sure what all I’m going to write. We’ll see how this goes. I’m trying to stay on my blogging schedule! 😉

flower-3139424_1920(picture found on pixabay.com)

So, I’m a writer. Thus, it might not surprise you that I journal my prayers. I haven’t always done this, but I started my first prayer journal at around eleven or twelve-years-old. Journaling my prayers was sporadic from there on out. In the year of 2014, February 25th to be exact, I started writing down my prayers in a new journal—a pretty blue one that I received from a cousin for my seventeenth birthday. That was a year of a lot of seeking on my part.

Jeremiah 29:13

13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I set you apart;

This song pretty much sums up the passion burning in my heart:

“I know that I am far from perfect
But through You the cross still says I’m worth it
So take this beating in my heart and
Come and finish what You started
When they see me, let them see You
‘Cause I just wanna be different,”

But anyway. For a span of a couple months, I wrote and wrote and wrote in that journal. I prayed for a more intimate walk with Jesus Christ. I prayed for my friends and acquaintances at youth group and Bible study. I prayed a lot for my brothers in Christ that year—I think because one of my friends had a heart to see them grow into men of God and that influenced me. I prayed for singers I knew of who were going through personal loss. I prayed for my family. I prayed for authors I loved. I prayed for friends who were entering romantic relationships. I prayed for growth and blessing in my parent’s marriage. I prayed for deepened faith. I prayed for healing and I prayed for forgiveness. I prayed for my grandma who’d lost beloved family members. I prayed for boys I was interested in. I prayed for my future husband. I prayed for the strength to surrender my deep desire for marriage and babies. I prayed about my story, Silver Rose, asking for God’s guidance and wisdom concerning that—for His will to be done and glory be brought to Him!

DSC_0053(My blue prayer journal!)

I don’t recall why, but I stopped writing down my prayers in that blue journal for awhile. 2015 and 2016 were kind of rough years for me. I went through some depression and feeling lost. I started writing in a different journal (which I’d received as a graduation gift from some dear friends), and recorded my prayers there periodically.

At the end of 2017, I picked up my blue journal again, which was a little over halfway filled. I’ve started writing down my prayers again often, and it’s been a joy! It helps me keep focused on praying and it truly is a sweet time with the Lord.

Psalm 84:1-4

How lovely is Your tabernacle,
Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You.

Psalm 63:1

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.

So, all that to say, I finished my blue prayer journal! It’s all filled up with prayers from my heart! (And also a few letters to my future husband). It’s certainly a treasure to me.

Sometimes I read through it from the beginning and marvel at the prayers that God answered! The places He’s grown me. The ways He has spoken to my heart.

20151010_125038_HDR(2015)

I relate still, so much, with the seventeen-year-old me.

Blue Prayer Journal: February 25th, 2014

I want to be set-apart for You, Lord. I want a relationship with You that is beyond any human relationship. I want to shine for You wherever I go. I want to know without a doubt that I can run to You when my heart is broken. I want my life to brim with meaning – I want to live in obedience and love with abandon.

However, life has a way of pulling me down. Satan has a way of whispering lie after lie into my ears in vicious attack. I get weary of a “every-day-is-the-same” life. I get weary. I don’t want to try anymore.

But, Lord, I do believe there’s something greater. And that’s why I’ve started this prayer journal, and have been trying recently to read my Bible more. I’m striving for a life in the center of Your will, Lord, so I plead that You will give me the strength, because I certainly can’t do it on my own!

Yes, I relate to her. But I also see how different I am from the me then. Different in subtle ways, that I might not realize at a brief thought. But as read through my prayers then, I realize …

My God has been so faithful to me.

He has answered my prayers. –My heart’s desire to know Him more. He has grown me and drawn me nearer to Him!

John 10:10

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

God has carried me through years of overwhelming anxiety. The days when I thought for sure my mom and siblings had gotten in a car accident because they were a few minutes late. The nights where I tried to stifle the gut-wrenching sobs that came from a place of unexplainable grief and fear squeezing my soul. The frightening hours of questioning everything I knew. The long, intense moments of drowning in a mistrust of God. The feeling of yawning emptiness inside. The disappearance of my passions, my desires, my excitement for life, my hope. The fear of death, the fear of disease, the fear of the unknown, the fear of not being wanted.

I feared the end of this life, but I was too scared to live.

Anxiety/depression is still a very real struggle for me. Some days I battle it all day. But I fight. Because I know my God fights for me. Because I know the victory is His, and I am His. So the victory is mine.

2 Thessalonians 3:3

But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

10491171_506556402807978_2598662001276211571_n(The year of 2014 shortly before my family moved. I painted my little sister’s toes and mine the same sparkly pink. *grins*)

My friends, I have found my hope again. As I deal with anxiety/depression, it’s becoming more and more natural to turn to God – my Protector – right away. And even though I’m still trying to find physical healing and get help for this mental struggle, I do find victory! I don’t know how to explain it.

God didn’t take the struggle away. But I feel He’s stepped right into the midst of it. When I surrender and open up my heart to Him, it’s like He lovingly says, “I’m right here, daughter. I have you. No matter what happens, you are going to be alright.”

Psalm 43:5

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

Oh, He is good!

So, so faithful. It was just a week or two ago that I felt like I was within the clutches of despair bordering on terror. So I started praying. And as I prayed God’s truth over myself and reminded myself of all that I am in Him, tears welled up in my eyes and the sweetness of it swept over me. Peace descended on me.

I am His.

His daughter. His princess. His bride. And no one can take that away from me. He chose me. No one can take His love from me. No one can take me from Him. I am loved. I am secure.

Isaiah 54:4

For your Maker is your husband,
The Lord of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.

Isaiah 62:5

And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So shall your God rejoice over you.

I’m not perfect. In fact, I’m so imperfect that sometimes it terrifies me! But then I have to remind myself that I’m His and secure in Him. And He is growing me … what a beautiful thing! He is completing the work He began in me. In my weakness, HE IS STRONG.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Reading through my prayer journal shows me God’s hand in my life. It encourages me when I doubt that I have changed/grown.

And it reminds me that God doesn’t see time as we do. Sometimes I look back and feel as though I’ve wasted my whole life. I’ve done nothing. I’ve been nothing. I’ve not impacted or made a difference for anyone. It’s all meaningless.

But all those years God was pursuing me. Working on me. Helping me through my struggles. Preparing me! Who knows … perhaps for amazing things He yet has in store for this earthly life of mine.

KODAK Digital Still Camera(Me and baby brother in 2014)

DSC_0210(2016)

Perhaps I’ll have the beautiful role of a wife and mother someday! Maybe I’ll get to publish my fantasy novel, and other stories. Perhaps I’ll get more followers on my blogs or Youtube channel and it can be my main ministry.

And right now I have the chance to touch the lives of my siblings and parents! And friends. I can take small steps to start mentoring younger sisters in the faith. I’m thinking about starting a small Bible study for older teens.

And I’m excited. Whatever God wants to do in and through me, I have faith that He can do it! Daily, I’m striving to surrender my passions, dreams, gifts, hopes, desires, ideas, and personality – myself! – to Him.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Ephesians 2:10

1For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

I want my life to make much of His holy and good Name.

And so I seek Him and wait in expectation. ❤

Blue Prayer Journal: February 8th, 2018

Gracious Father, to end this prayer journal, I want to first thank You for how far You’ve brought me since I started it! I still struggle, but I can see how You’ve grown me and assured me of Your love … and that is beautiful. ❤ I love You, Lord! Show me how to love You, and Your people, well!

Now it’s your turn! After that rather lengthily amount of rambling about my journal (I’m impressed if you made it through!), I’d like to hear your thoughts.

HAVE YOU EVER USED A PRAYER JOURNAL?

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS GOD HAS WORKED IN YOUR LIFE?

DO YOU KNOW THAT GOD CAN STEP INTO THE MIDST OF YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLES AND FEARS, AND USE YOUR PASSIONS AND GIFTS FOR HIS KINGDOM? ❤

Life, Anxiety, & Reading 1 Corinthians

Hello, dear friends! Once again, I’m on a bad posting schedule. I am on vacation right now, so I suppose I have a right to take a break from blogging this time. Perhaps? 😉

I’ve been having a lovely time, and thankful for the small but beautiful ways I’m seeing God’s hand in my life during this trip. Been praying a lot … and it’s been a comfort as I strive to just follow where God leads. Let go. Hold on. Push myself. Just be. Try to step into His plan for my day, and try to see blessing and opportunity where I might be tempted to see only trial and burden.

life(found on pixabay.com)

I admit, I have had a few days where I’ve given into disappointment and despair, and not had the best attitude. Today was one of those days. I was struggling with anxiety and just feeling kind of tired out of life.

Okay. Where’s the purpose? What’s the big picture? I can’t see what’s going on, so therefore I assume nothing’s going on. I don’t want to try anymore, Lord.

But it’s then when we need to renew our minds with God’s Word and prayer, right? Pressing into Him, and also having fellowship with other believers. And finding some way to serve.

Sometimes nothing helps anxiety, and you just have to kind of ride it out. But today wasn’t so bad, I suppose. Tonight I’m actually starting to perk up and life feels okay. 🙂

I’m currently reading through 1 Corinthians, so I thought I would share some verses that stuck out to me. To do something purposeful tonight, you know. And I’ll schedule this post for tomorrow, so I’m actually following my supposed blogging schedule for Lady Grace, haha. Tuesdays and Saturdays, it’s supposed to be!

Anyway. Without further ado …

1 Corinthians 1:22-25

22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1 Corinthians 3:5-7

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.

1 Corinthians 3:11

11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:21-23

21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. 23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

1 Corinthians 6:12-13

12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Corinthians 8:8-9

But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.

But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:23-26

23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.

25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 11:11-12

11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.

I got the idea from someone to meditate, throughout the whole day, on one verse you read. So I picked 1 Corinthians 10:31. And I think I’m going to make a point to meditate on it the rest of this vacation. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

What a good reminder. What a way to find purpose and joy in each day and moment – even in the trials. Do all for His glory, my dear readers! ❤

Book Review: Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back? by Martha Bolton and Christin Ditchfield

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Can I Just Hide In Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back: Facing Life With Courage, Not Comforters by Martha Bolton and Christin Ditchfield

My Personal Review ~ 4.5 stars ~

This was a great Christian Living read! Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back? by Martha Bolton and Christin Ditchfield speaks to real struggles with frankness, applicable ideas, hope, and a generous dash of humor. These ladies know how I feel! *smiles* After just finishing Fearless by Cheri Fuller, this book felt like the perfect companion read. It addressed fear and anxiety – talked about facing life with courage and prayer – like Fearless, but was a bit of a lighter read and had me almost laughing out loud many a time!

Basically, Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back? helps you to be upfront with yourself, face your fears, and ask yourself if you’re going to keep hiding, or live the abundant life God has called you too. Honestly, people like myself, who struggle with fear, anxiety, depression, or listlessness, need books like this! I very much recommend. It’ll get you laughing while taking a look at your heart.

What did I learn? Run to God as soon as the fear/hopelessness hits! Pray continuously. Live life! Laugh! Walk by the Spirit. Sometimes I think we just take ourselves too seriously. God didn’t mean for us to live in bondage (whatever that may be), but to be FREE, walking by His Spirit. Trusting Him. With all that we are.

Easy to read, humorous, real, and heartfelt, Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back?: Facing Life with Courage, Not Comforters has the potential to help a lot of women realize they don’t have to hide anymore. God has it all under control. They’re alive and breathing, and He has a plan! I thoroughly enjoyed.

I received a copy of Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back? from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.

** Originally posted on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life June 18th, 2017 **

Book Review: Fearless by Cheri Fuller

fearless

Fearless: Building Faith that Overcomes Your Fear by Cheri Fuller

My Personal Review ~ 5 stars ~

Those who struggle with fearfulness/anxiety, I highly recommend you read Fearless: Building a Faith That Overcomes Your Fear by Cheri Fuller. Not only does this book speak, with understanding, directly to your struggles, it provides practical ways to deal with them, insightful stories, and almost every page breathes the reality of God’s protection and all-knowing-ness and perfect plan into your heart.

It was easy enough to read, each chapter teaching and forcing you to take a look at your life and your fears. You discover that many people face the same struggles … see how they dealt with them … see how fear often is just our own imagination ruining our chances for an abundant life.

I learned lots of doable ways to manage my fear and anxiety – I’ve even been putting some of them into practice! And with good results, I must say. Prayer was a big thing that Fearless focused on. Just what I needed!

For all the encouragement and tips it gives, this book ultimately challenges us with this – Are you going to trust God with your day, your life, your salvation, your eternity … this moment? I finishedFearless with an desire inside to be just that. Fearless! Have the courage to do all the things I’ve been scared to do – all the things God’s calling me to. And I left with this incredible peace that, no matter what happens, God is ALWAYS. And heaven awaits.

Wow. Great book. I should have read it sooner!

To Be Complete

My friends, I have been on a journey of rediscovering my joy and passion. In the past couple years, I’ve struggled a lot … but life is coming back to me! I’m learning to put my faith in my Lord. Find my hope in my Heavenly Father.

It isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be really hard work! Some days you feel like you’re taking two steps back for every one forward. But I am growing – and oh, isn’t that a lovely thing? ^_^

If you are feeling frightened and hopeless like I was when I wrote the post below (last year), then I want you to know you’re not alone. God is faithful to bring us out of the valleys in time. There is hope in front of you. And heaven is His promise for His children.

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Some days, I just want to go home. I’m talking about my home in heaven.

Because some days are simply hard.

I’m incredibly blessed in many ways – not lacking in food, or shelter, or material things. I have a family whom I love very much. And dear friends, whom I can at least keep in touch with online. But that’s not to say that I haven’t had a share of emotional and mental trials.

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I’ve had days of emotional pain, fear, anxiety, loneliness, and hopelessness. Where my deepest fears and hurts seem magnified into life-sized foes. When, after an exhausting battle with irrational terror, I just want to curl up in a dark corner and fade away in non-existence.

I’ve experienced being thrust into confusing and difficult times … where hope is dashed … And my joy in life suddenly wanes. One day I wake up and realize I can’t see a future for myself.

Even after the intense hurt diminishes, I’m still left with a frustrating listlessness. A lack of excitement for life.

I feel purposeless. What is the point of my life? I feel hopeless. I can’t change things. I can’t make it better.

Sometimes I struggle to trust God. God, do You really, really care? I mean, how could someone like me have Your love? You who created galaxies and conquered death and reign for eternity. There are so many people who serve You so much better than I do.

Do You really see me, God, down here, afraid of everything?

Other days, I think I get a glimpse of His glory, and suddenly my soul longs for heaven, the place it was surely created for!

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There, I will know and be fully known. There, I will know that I am utterly and completely loved. There, my doubts, fears, and struggles will be entirely gone. There, I will see Jesus face to face! There, I will run to His arms and feel love, security, and peace. –And awe. Awe for my King.

There, I will be complete.

And here on earth, where the heart is burdened, it sounds particularly beautiful, the thought of being complete. The thought of resting in Jesus’ presence. Of praising His holy name in abandon.

For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.

2 Corinthians 5:4

But, I suppose there’s still work for me to do here. And as hopeless and bleak as I sometimes feel my future is, God must have a plan. Because I’m still here. The world is still turning.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

So. I need to choose to trust God. To surrender to Him. Even in the hurt and the fear, I need to reach out and cling to Him, where He’s waiting for me.

Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:7-8

I must stop letting the darkness surround me and the Enemy’s lies cloud my thinking. Deep down, I know I’m letting darkness win when I stay in the hopeless place, afraid. Afraid of life. Afraid to reach out to the Lord.

No more. Because Satan does not claim the victory. I do. Through Jesus Christ and His awesome sacrifice and love! Because I am a Daughter of Light. And I can take my God’s Word and speak truth over myself.

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 62:8

For You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord shall enlighten my darkness.

2 Samuel 22:29

Speak truth! Always, always, speak truth. Cling to hope. Dive into love with abandon. God is love. And He loves me. He loves you. Even when we don’t believe it, He loves us absolutely, unconditionally.

My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.

Psalm 62:5

My dear friends, if you understand how I feel, if you’re afraid, if you’re feeling hopeless, please don’t struggle alone. I’m here for you, a sister in Christ. Let me know if you want me to pray for you, or if you need someone to talk to.

Speak truth, brothers and sisters. Live for Jesus. And look forward to heaven. –Where we will be complete.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

1 Peter 1:3-4

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

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** Originally published on Between the Pages of This Bookish Life, April 15th, 2016 **

Isolation or Worship?

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There are difficulties in this life. We struggle. Some days are harder than others. We each deal with things in our life that have the potential to drag us down.

  • Trying to live up to the word’s standard of beauty.
  • Thinking you’re only as valuable as you are beautiful.
  • Living with the unmet desire to be married.
  • Living with the unmet desire to be a mother.
  • Facing anxiety, fear, and depression.
  • Battling temptations and shame.
  • Feeling worthless.
  • Feeling purposeless.

Those times when God feels so far away, and you feel so alone and downtrodden by the world … I understand. It can be hard.

So what does a woman do in those situations?

I’ve learned a valuable secret. It’s called …

Worship.

During a time when I was battling with intense anxiety and despair, I went outside and stood beside a lake. I opened my Bible to Psalm Eight and turned my gaze heavenward, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth…”

I read that whole Psalm aloud. And this curious feeling came – the quieting of my soul; the stilling of my troubled thoughts. I think the Enemy’s voice was drowned out by my worship of the Most High God.

Another thing I did was pray. One night, when my heart was seizing up within my chest and all my fear suddenly looming over me; I prayed out loud. About my terror of the moment – and anything and everything – for over an hour. I just kept praying and praying, because I felt secure in that. The darkness seemed to recede. The peace of God (it could have only come from Him!) descended on me. I prayed myself to sleep.

Hebrews 4:16

16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Don’t underestimate the power of prayer. The power of Jesus’ name. The power of His Word.

Those are your weapons with which to fight in this battle. Oh, my friends, it truly helped me. I can’t explain to you the peace I felt in those moments.

Here’s another tip …

Community.

So often, in our struggles, we isolate ourselves. I’m here to tell you, DO NOT ISOLATE YOURSELF! Now is the time to open up, my dear. Open up to God. Open up to family. To friends.

I was away from home at that time, but I sobbed over the phone to my mom, and her voice – her presence over the phone – was like a lifeline.

My friends, you wouldn’t believe how freeing it is to share your burdens. To let people speak truth over you and pray for you.

We need each other. To isolate yourself in your struggles is the worst thing you could do.

So find someone to talk to. A trusted family member or friend. And if you don’t have anyone, please contact me. Let me pray for you and be there for you in what ways I can.

Most importantly, you’ve got to let yourself open up to God. Go to Him. Pour out your heart. Surrender to Him. Trust Him.

So open up to people. And open up to God.

And then … worship.

I know every situation is different, and sometimes all you can do is lay there, curled up on the floor, and beg God to hold you. And He will. I truly believe He will, and does.

But worship is healing. Worship fights a battle for you. Worship draws you closer to God.

Romans 12:12

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Galatians 5:22

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…”

Philippians 4:4-8

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Choose worship. In down times, in dark times, choose to worship. Opening up the Word of God and pouring out praises to your Creator, the Creator, is a powerful thing.

The Enemy can’t stand in the way of that.

Run to your Heavenly Father, and cry out, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!”

Don’t isolate yourself.

Have a prayer time.

Worship.

Heal & be at Peace

Psalm 103:1-6 & 11-18

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.