3 Steps to Get God’s Peace {Printable & GiveAway}

WhenWorryComes

When life gets overwhelming, do you ever feel like you might suffocate under everything you need to do? 

Does worry ever weave it’s way into your heart and consume your thoughts with concern?

If I’m not careful, worry can wear me out and make me want to quit… just about everything!

In my Encouragement for Today devotion  today, I shared about one of my melting points from a few years ago. And how I took my husband’s advice to write down everything on my plate so I could ask God what needed to be cut back.

I listed my commitments and concerns, deadlines and dates on my calendar with every appointment, event, conference call and meeting I could think of for the next six months.

And I prayed: Please God, show me where I need to make changes.

I assumed the Holy Spirit would suggest adjustments in my schedule, but that’s not what happened. God didn’t tell me to make cut backs at work or in ministry. He didn’t show me our family had too many activities. He didn’t challenge me to take a sabbatical, although I was hoping He would.

Jesus showed me it was worry not my workload that was making me weary. 

You see, without realizing it I was spending as much time thinking and worrying about concerns, commitments, circumstances and deadlines as I did working on them.

It was not only how I spent my time, but how I spent my thoughts that left me depleted.

But it wasn’t until I brought it all to God, and wrote it all out, that I recognized what was happening. I wonder if that’s why Peter tells us: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

The apostle Paul tells us the same thing, and shows us how:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and A him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)

But it’s not easy. Honestly, our natural tendency is to take control. And we have an enemy who suggests we do. His whispers sound something like this:  “Don’t be calm about anything; instead worry about everything. Tell God what He should do. Then take control if He doesn’t listen. And your concerns will consume your heart, eroding your peace with worry and doubt!

But we don’t have to listen to the lies. Instead let’s listen to God’s promises, and take these 3 steps to get God’s peace:

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CLICK HERE to Download “3 Steps to Get God’s Peace”

 If you can’t see the image displayed, click here to go to view it on my website.

ENTER TO WIN
Click “Share Your Thoughts” and do just that on my blog today. Your comment will be your entry into my “Heart-and-Soul Spa” gift-pack GIVEAWAY that includes my A Confident Heart Devotional book, my favorite prayer journal from DaySpring and a $10 Bath & Body Works gift card! {If you are reading this via email, join us on my blog to enter to win!}

When My Sunday Heart Dreads the Monday Hurry {a promise & a prayer}

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7, NLT

WhenWorryComes

As I look at the week ahead, Lord, my mind is crowded with thoughts and things.
Competing thoughts fight for my attention; cutting in front of each other to be first in line.
Too many things on my to-do list that feel urgent; tempting me to neglect what is most important.

Jesus, I want You to be first in line, leading my days and decisions.
When concerns consume me and worry comes, hel[ me pause and tell You what I need and
thank YOU for what You have already done. I long for Your peace to surpass my understanding,
and for Your promises to guard my heart and my mind as I live in {and follow after} You.
In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

How God Answered A Not-So-Small Prayer In A Really Big Way { + a GIVEAWAY}

When Laura Sobiech and I planned time to talk about her memoir, “Fly a Little Higher,”
we had no idea God had already connected our lives in the most unexpected way.

What unfolded just two days before our interview left us both in tears and in awe of God. 

If you’re reading this via email CLICK HERE to watch a short video that will give your heart a huge dose of HOPE and encouragement! I promise, you do not want to miss it!!

It’s been two weeks since Laura, Andrew and I talked via SKYPE and
I’m still undone by God’s grace, mercy, kindness and sovereignty.  

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FALH Target edition cover TARGET Holiday Book Club Pick: Laura’s memoir, FLY A LITTLE HIGHER: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way” is the Target Holiday Book Club Pick! And it is the perfect gift for your self and those you love! This exclusive edition created for Target is signed by Laura and includes special bonus materials: an in-depth Q&A with Laura, discussion questions for readers, small groups and families, and really powerful devotionals in the back!

ORDER a copy for yourself and a few friends for Christmas.

DOWNLOAD  Chapter One for FREE

ENTER TO WIN
What part of today’s videos impacted you most? CLICK “Share Your Thoughts” and do just that. Each comment will be entered to win one of the 5 copies of “Fly A Little Higher.”

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 11.59.52 PM SUBSCRIBE to MY YouTube CHANNEL and you’ll  be the first to know when the rest of Andrew’s conversation with Laura is ready for viewing. PLUS I’ve made all of Laura’s interview segments really easy to find in their own section on my front page.  After her Q&A with Andrew, I got to ask Laura how she balanced her own loss and grief while guiding and supporting Zach through his cancer journey. She was also planning a wedding for her oldest daughter and loving on her other children and husband. I’ve never met anyone like Laura. Her faith and courage are rare. Her insights come from a humble, wise heart that has been broken and made whole by the love of Christ. Be sure you don’t miss the next segments coming up.

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{together} for Good

Have you ever wondered how God could work all things together for good in your life? Maybe you’re in a situation that feels impossible, a marriage that is unraveling, a job environment that is unhealthy and all you can see is HARD.

In my Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion today, I share how I wrestled with this in the midst of very difficult circumstances during and after our daughter’s adoption, and the ways God showed me HOW He was working things for “good” in unexpected ways.

If you hopped over from my devotion, I’m so glad you stopped by! As promised, here are a few photos that tell part of the story of us bringing our beautiful girl home. {And there’s special giveaway at the end of this post.}

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All I could see were the hard parts. Everything we would have to give up: sleep, money, comfort, familiarity, others’ approval. All the hard things we would have to navigate: huge expenses and significant changes.

What if our sons resented us for re-arranging their lives forever? What if our parents and extended family didn’t approve? What if we exhausted our time, emotions and money only to end up with broken hearts and an empty bank account? How could God work all that together for good?

I could not see how. I could only see “hard.” Yet we knew God was calling our family to adopt a severely malnourished baby girl from Ethiopia. And in October 2009 we brought Aster home.

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Was it hard? Yes. Even more than I imagined.

But as I trace God’s hand over the past five years since we brought Aster home, I see Him working countless things {together} for good. Most of all, I see a handwritten love letter sent to our little girl from her Heavenly Father, written on every page of our adoption story.

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I see God working the hard things together for good. Despite our inadequacy, sadness and fear of the unknown when Aster was diagnosed with a speech disorder, global developmental delays, low muscle tone and sensory processing disorder, I now see God working it all for good.

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I see God working the overwhelming things together for good.  A year of sleepless nights brought out servant-hearted compassion in our teenage sons when they saw their dad struggling with depression caused by sleep-deprivation. I’ll never forget the night they decided to take turns sleeping on a mattress in their sister’s room to relieve her anxiety and give us back our desperately needed sleep.

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I see God working even the embarrassing things together for good. Like the day I had a meltdown in my car and a stranger tapped on my window to see if I was okay. And that same afternoon, I ran out of gas on my way to get my youngest son at basketball which mean my oldest son, who had a new cast on his broken foot, had to push our car off the road. I see awesome stories for them to tell their children about me one day.

When my reality doesn’t look or feel like “good” to me, I ask God to help me see how. How he is keeping his promise that “in all things [He] works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Roman 8:28).

What I’ve discovered is this: God is always working things together for good, but not just for our good. Sometimes we are part of His working things together for someone else’s good. 

You see, I believe Jesus heard a mother in Africa praying for her baby. A mother who was living in the middle of “hard” like I’d never imagined. A mother who couldn’t see how she could give her little girl the nurture and nutrition she needed.

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Hagere: Aster’s birth-mother feeding her during our visit.

Aster 5.1.09And when God heard that mama’s prayers, He tapped on the heart of a family in North Carolina who loved Him and were called according to His purpose. I also believe God saw an orphanage in Ethiopia searching for a forever family to provide unconditional love and medical care for a 6-month old, 8 pound baby with pneumonia.

So Jesus went back to that family in North Carolina who had been asking God to reveal Himself to them and through them, knowing this little girl would be an answer to that prayer.

And that’s when God started working the hard, impossible, and overwhelming things {together} for good.

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Is there a relationship or situation in your life where all you see is hard? Have you asked God how He can work some part of it together for good?

I don’t know about you, but some days I need a tangible reminder that He can. A visual that prompts me to pray and helps me remember how He does, like the beautiful bead necklace I’m wearing below made from repurposed bullets found in the rubble of Ethiopian soil.

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Each time I look at it, I remember how God answered a desperate mother’s prayers for her baby and filled my family’s longing to experience more of Him. Only He could know how much we needed the gift of a little girl to light up our world, and to remind us that He indeed can work even the hardest things {together} for good.

FBTB EarringsENTER TO WIN To celebrate how Jesus takes the hard and heart-breaking realities of life and works them together for good, Proverbs 31 Ministries is partnering with Fashion & Compassion to create a beautiful jewelry line from repurposed bullets found in the rubble of Ethiopian soil. “SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS” under this post and you’ll be entered to win. 

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The From Bullets to Blessings Collection is handcrafted from Ethiopian bullets, dug out of rubble, and assembled by vulnerable and rescued women throughout Mexico and Charlotte, NC. CLICK HERE to find out more about the collection and the women who create these pieces. It’s a beautiful picture of God working the hard things together for good in their lives through Fashion & Compassion.

how to start your week {a promise & a prayer}

 

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Lord, whatever this week holds, whatever You give me to do ~big or small~
whether I do them well or not, please help me do each assignment
You give me with great {LOVE}

In Jesus’ name, amen.

“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

When You Have a Burden But Don’t Want to Be One

AskingForPrayer

My email was supposed to be a prayer request, but it started out sounding more like an apology. Although we needed friends to pray, I was hesitant to ask because I didn’t want my request to be a burden for anyone.

A few years ago my husband J.J. was having health problems and needed to have a liver biopsy. His doctor told us it was  precautionary, so we weren’t sure if it would end up being anything serious in the end. And that made me hesitant to tell people about it. Yet I knew I didn’t want to walk through it alone or in my own strength.

Fifteen minutes after I sent my email, several friends started telling me they were praying. Not only did my friends pray – they thanked me for sharing what was going on and for letting them be there for me.

For someone who hates to impose on others, I need to remember that asking for prayer isn’t about putting burdens on my friends. Asking for prayer is about letting our friends walk by our side down a path that we were  never intended to walk alone. {today’s post is a partial excerpt from my #AConfidentHeart #Devotional book}

Is it hard to ask others to pray for you?

Let’s stretch ourselves today and let others walk beside us  in prayer by sharing a burden and then praying for one another. Briefly share one things we can pray for you by clicking “Share Your Heart” below this post. Then  leave a prayer or say “I’ve prayed for you” under the request left before yours. Ready.Set.Pray.

a “Let God Love You” {prayer} & giveaway

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Today I wanted to share with you a “LetGodLoveYou” Prayer written by my sweet and amazing friend Sheila Mangum.

“Lord, you are GREAT and most worthy to be praised. (Psalm 145:3) There is NONE like You. (Jeremiah 10:6) You are the God who sees. (Genesis 16:13) You see Your daughter in desperate need of Your love and attention. (Psalm 121:1-8) Your heart yearns for her wholeness. (John 5:5-7) Your desire is for her heart to explode with Your love. Your love is safe for her. It will not wound. (Psalm 147:3)

Your love heals and delivers. It will NOT leave. (Deuteronomy 31:8) Father, stoop down this minute and give Your daughter the attention she needs today. (Psalm 18:35) She feels alone. She feels weak. Therefore, fill her days with laughter, love, and beauty. (Proverbs 17:22) Strengthen her spirit to receive Your healing love. Even if she feels like running from you, chase her down. Prove to Your daughter You are faithful no matter what! (2 Timothy 2:13)

Give her encouragement when she expects it the least. (1 John 4:19) Give her mercy when she feels the least to deserve it. (Ephesians 2:4) Give her whispers of love into her heart. (Psalm 73:26) Let her taste and see that You are good. She is fortunate because YOU are Faithful and True! (Revelation 19:11) “O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the woman who trusts and takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8 (AMP) Father, wipe her tears today and love her BIG. (Revelation 21:4)

Friend, let’s Let God Love US as we RETURN TO OUR FIRST LOVE today. (Revelation 2:4) In the Mighty Name of Jesus we have prayed. Amen and Amen!


Enter To Win A PRAYER JOURNAL {Our giveaway is over, but I would still love to hear from you!}
 –  CLICK “Share Your Thoughts” below this post and do just that to enter. Isn’t Sheila’s prayer such a gift!? {If reading this via email, CLICK HERE to go to my blog and enter.}

Enter to WIN the “LET GOD LOVE YOU” gift pack {Our giveaway is over, but I would still love to hear from you!} – Did you hear about the VALENTINES giveaway we’ve created just for YOU?!  When you share today’s graphic above, and others like it, you can enter to win: a $50 Gift Card to Amazon or Target {your choice}, plus 2 signed copies of my new Confident Heart Devotional Book and an 8×10 Scripture Graphic from Emily Burger Designs!

After you leave a comment to enter to win the prayer journal “CLICK HERE” to find out how you can WIN all that “Let God Love YOU” good stuff! 

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#AConfidentHeart #Devotional #LetGodLoveYou

Praying for Our Boys

EncourageOneAnother

I noticed something different as soon as Andrew walked in the door. One evening, not so long ago, my 16-year old came home from working-out at the Y and told me a custodian had stopped him in the hallway and said he “looked like a champion” after working out. Andrew said he felt like giving the guy a hug because it made him feel good someone noticed his hard work lifting weights. Then he felt kind of awkard so he just told him “thanks” and kept walking.

But, when he got to the exit door, Andrew decided to drop his bag and run back to thank the guy for encouraging him.

The next morning as we were heading out the door for school, Andrew was still thinking about what had happened. He said he was tired of thinking about himself all the time and he’d decided any time he gets a sense in his heart that he needs to encourage someone, he’s going to follow through.

I did everything I could to hold back the tears. And with his permission I want to share why.

We have been on a hard part of Andrew’s journey this past year. A journey filled with doubts and hard questions about God, compounded by frustration and uncertainties about his purpose in life.

A journey that has broken my heart and brought me to my knees.

And while praying for my son, I’ve heard wisdom that could only come from his Heavenly Father.

  • Wisdom told me not to react, but to listen closely as Andrew vented words that were hard to hear.
  • Wisdom told me to keep my mouth shut, and let my actions speak louder than my emotions.
  • Wisdom helped me breathe deep and look for ways to affirm unique gifts I’d seen in Andrew that he could no longer see in himself.

I have admired Andrew’s natural tendency to notice and encourage others for years. But it had disappeared. So, I’d been praying 1 Thessalonians 5:11 for him, asking Jesus to help this boy I love remember what brings him joy and purpose.

And God had answered, using the kindness of a stranger to stir up that life-giving gift in my son. That day, a ray of hope broke through the clouds. And each day it gets a little brighter as I stay on my knees and in God’s word on my son’s behalf.

Parenting is hard. It can leave a mama feeling worn out and weary from the battle for the hearts of her children.

If that is you, please keep reading and enter today’s special giveaway. I’m excited to introduce you to my new friend, Brooke McGlothlin.  Brooke knows what it’s like to want to wave the white flag and give up the fight but she also knows God has called mothers to get in the battle. So how do we do that in the most effective way? By coming alongside them in prayer.

Praying-for-Boys.CoverBrooke just released a new book, Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most, And I love it! So I’m giving away a copy today!

From fun boy mom humor, to insightful biblical wisdom, Brooke helps mothers of boys discover their value and power as praying moms. In Praying for Boys Brooke teaches us to discover delight in the chaos of raising boys, and helps us have more peace in our hearts and homes. {Disclaimer: If you have a daughter, don’t worry I’ve got another friend whose written a book for you and I’ll be giving away one soon!}

But if you are a mom of boys, I want to tell you a little more because this book is a praying-boy-mom’s treasure chest!

Praying for Boys will:

  • Help you stop hovering, and start covering.
  • Give you permission to wave the white flag, while empowering you with the tools you need to keep going.
  • Help you recognize your value and power as a praying mom.
  • Overcome feelings of failure, and walk in confidence as a mom.

My favorite part is that Brooke includes over 200 topically-organized, Scripture-based prayer prompts for 21 areas in which boys struggle the most.

Brook McGlothinBrooke McGlothlin is Co-founder of Raising Boys Ministries, where moms and dads come to discover delight in the chaos of raising boys. You can find her writing about fighting for the hearts of her sons at the MOB Society blog.  Brooke is also a homeschooling mom to her two boys and happily married to the man she’s had a crush on since the third grade.

 

ENTER TO WIN: Click “Share Your Thoughts” below this post and tell me about the boys you pray for.

I’ll choose a winner Sunday night, and announce it on my blog Monday, along with the 5 winners that will be picked from Wednesday’s Giveaway.