Memorable Posts of 2017

As we prepare the new year and the many possibilities awaiting us, I invite us to reexplore five handpicked articles from Gracefully Overcoming. 

  1. The Most Humbling Worship Offering {Romans 12:1}
  2. The Shepherd Who Protects {From “Summer Psalms ’17” series}
  3. Finding Captivating Love
  4. Alone with God {From our “Meeting the Thessalonians” Study}
  5. Learning About His Love {From our “Meeting the Thessalonians” Study}

While I excluded the “Inspiring Women” post, every one of those posts seemed memorable or life impacting (at the very least). Each delivered some home hitting message, that influenced me as I poured out my soul in words. Here are just three from that meaningful series.

  1. Praise Before Panic
  2. Strength in the Fight {My Testimony}
  3. That One Compliment

There are soo many things that we can learn from. In 2018, my hope is for us to become more of a heartfelt community of Jesus followers and lovers.

My hope is. . .

to share more genuine words – helping us to draw near to the Lord and keep picking up our Bibles, but to weigh my words (Prov. 15:28) as well.

Don’t forget to pick up your eight week journal for our newest study! {It’s only $6.25 on Amazon} Starting January 15th, we will be studying the Timothys and Titus – using a brand new journal for our time together. Every ounce of support we receive, helps keep this blog running. And, we are so thankful for you all!

In Christ,

Signature

Advertisements

Honest in Community {Inspiring Women}

Hi friends! For the months of May/June, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan.

I don’t even know where to start. Perhaps, you can relate. I wholeheartedly believe in the truth we will look at today. I firmly believe we, as the Church, need to be honest with one another. So this is what I attempt to do, but it doesn’t always work out the way I hoped. This, I know. Why do I keep doing it? I wholeheartedly believe in trusting my Lord Jesus and obeying what He teaches us in His Word. Today, our truth is found in Ephesians 4:25 –

Stop lying to each other; tell the truth, for we are parts of each other and when we lie to each other we are hurting ourselves (TLB).

We are the family of God, Church. Yet for some compelling reason, we are busy fiddling with less important things that overshadow our priority for His Church – our spiritual family. Shouldn’t expressing honesty within our spiritual family be a given? I love this translation of the Scripture. When we don’t obey God in this, we are hurting ourselves. We need to love one another, and use our honesty as a way to do this.

We are urged to draw near to God in James 4:8. There is a lot of distance between church family members. It’s rare to see an Act 2 friendship, where there is gut-wrenching honesty and closeness. This closeness, this community, is no stranger to my blog posts. As you all know, this community is one I crave. But, it will not exist – unless we begin to express honesty in our conversations with one another.

I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given – to simply be honest. While honesty brings a multitude of emotions, which is no easy task to handle, it is better than the option of running away. We have been given such a precious gift in our relationships with one another. Let’s take the time to cherish the Christian community we have been given.

As Ecclesiastes reminds us, we desperately need one another. We don’t know how fierce of a battle someone is facing, unless they share. I have been doing loads of “sharing” on Facebook. While I may not get “likes” or “comments,” I firmly believe I am doing my part in sharing honesty like this one –

Screenshot_2017-06-24-00-55-29-2

I am obeying God. What others do with the content of sheer honesty is up to them, but I am joyfully, gratefully, and sorrowfully giving this over to God and being honest in how well (or unwell) I am doing – with my Summer. I am absolutely resolving to honor God, by sharing. I am not going to lie and pretend things are all sunshine and roses, unless (of course) they are.

When we share our honesty with one another, as the Church, we are giving God ample room to work in and through us. If we want to see God’s power in action, it is time to put away the lies and hurting ourselves by doing so.

In Christ,

Signature

Life Gets Hard

For most of my life, I have lived with little outside support for my close knit family. We have always endured some challenging season in our lives. We each have our own unique set of complications. While Jesus promises to be there for us and help us through it all, I just hope for more emotional and spiritual support from those who are choosing to follow Him. I want to see Christ’s bride, the Church, step up and love others… the moment they need it.

How have you faced your own “low support” challenging days?

While often we can look strong, looks can be deceiving. In our lives, we choose to not dwell upon the whose of our lives. Who isn’t there for us? We choose to dwell upon the God Almighty that promises to dwell with us.

The Kind of Friend

While we do this, I know what kind of friend I want to be. While I cannot change what others do, I can choose what I do.

I can choose to be that friend who sends off a text or message into the world of cyberspace, to allow a hurting soul to know that they are not alone.

I can choose to pray for my friends, and let them know that I am thinking of them.

I can choose to do a lot of things differently, based on my experiences (or lackthereof) with people.

… And, often, I do choose to act differently.

The Temptation

While it is tempting to call others out, I am reminded that the Holy Spirit comforts and convicts (see John 14:24, 16:8). While my family faces a new position in our roller coaster ride, I can be assured of one thing – the Holy Spirit is the One who leads and will offer us His eternal comfort that can soothe even the most broken soul.

The Jesus We Come to Know

While the Holy Spirit comforts us, He may be convicting others. While it is possible others may never know what we endure or face, as we live our lives without deep community, Jesus knows and cares deeply about what we face.

Jesus cares, and He is listening to our petitions.

Jesus listens to our petitions, and He is drawing us near.

Jesus is going to work all things out for His ultimate good.

The Relationship Factor

While that is a good plan, sometimes, we all just need someone to come beside us and say “you know what, I am so sorry this is going on. Can I come sit with you? Can I make a run to the grocery store for you?”

While others stand aside as spectators in our lives, they get to see how Jesus uses this for His glory – to unite us to Himself. While others stand on the sidelines, we get the joy of seeing how God can teach us and spur us on toward whatever is next in our lives.

Perhaps if we all faced these “low support” seasons, we would be more compassionate towards those around us. Perhaps, we would have more patience for those who are enduring rough seasons. Perhaps, we would have more grace than judgment to offer. There are a lot of “perhaps” we could list.

In whatever season you find yourself, be gentle with those around you (see Eph. 4:2; Gal. 5:22-23). While we know it’s impossible to know others’ struggles fully, we are called to be there for them. They need you (see Gen. 2:18; Gal. 6:2).

As I conclude today’s message, I invite you to join me in fasting and praying for my mom – as she has an important procedure this Wednesday morning (July 20th).

Grace Leads: A Devotional Series on the Power of God’s Grace {{As an Amazon affiliate, one way you can support this blog is through using the above link. If you find yourself on Amazon, consider using the above link.}}

For the Love of December (And, the Sale of “Grace Leads”)

I am thinking about taking a hiatus. Until the beginning of 2016. So if you begin missing me, friends, consider picking up a copy of “Grace Leads” to support this blog.

Your Support is Important!

Your support of the work God leads me to do, is how this blog continues on. Without your support, I can’t afford to do certain things – like have my own domain (which makes it easier to find my blog) or avoid plastering ads all over Gracefully Overcoming like others have to do, in order to keep their blogs up and running.

The BIG Sale

Consider purchasing this Bible study, for you or a friend.

Grace Leads is on SALE for the Kindle Edition, for the next month. While I am away, you get to play… Grace Leads can be YOURS for the low price of $2.99.

And, just for you all…

Grace Leads, in print, is now available for $6.50. Order a copy or two for those you love this Christmas season!

Blog: Next Few Weeks

In the next few weeks, my hope is to simply catch up on posts – so each thing I post is extremely intentional. I don’t want to risk choosing to keep a schedule, over making sure the devotions are intentional and lead us to the truth on the most personal level.

 The goal is, and has always been, to strike the heart with the Gospel and truths of Jesus Christ.

Let’s be intentional, as we walk through each day of our lives. The only post that will continue this month – is “Choosing Jesus”. I want to continue to become a person of greater spiritual discipline where I am choosing Jesus on an increasing basis. I want to see more of Jesus in my life, my community, and to allow Him to pore over each area of my life.

Want more of Gracefully Overcoming this month, there are plenty of posts here to keep one occupied. Here are a few options.

Book Reviews

Godly Living

Trials

Grace Leads, Your Sampler

Ohh yeah, and if you want a sneak peak of “Grace Leads”. Click here for your glimpse into the world of this study on the amazing grace of our loving God!

Now, don’t forget!

This deal is JUST for the month of December, so get yours, today!

signature_v8l23y6i46np7sh2bg

IIWK15: I Fight for Support

Yesterday, I spoke on a very important topic – understanding invisible illness. Essentially, that sums up what Invisible Illness week is all about – raising awareness to help others (doctors and loved ones, alike) understand the struggles of those who face invisible illnesses.

It is important for us to understand others’ pain, and be there for them. It isn’t enough to simply understand their suffering. We need to put that knowledge, that understanding, into action. This is where support comes in.

You may not consider what you have to offer as adequate. I understand that as an outsider to others’ suffering. I also want to encourage you “as an insider” to step up and find ways to support your loved ones – anyway. Because they need you! Your actions aren’t a waste. They desperately need you – to continue fighting and being encouraged!

The Bible talks about faith without works is dead (see James 2:14-26). Useless. Likewise, our understanding of our loved ones’ suffering is useless if we do nothing to support them.

Part Two – Support

These are very practical ways to be involved. In these suggestions, In addition to offering prayer and spiritual support, I am choosing to include: checking on our friends, sending them a card, or a gift.

Pray for Them

Begin making it a daily commitment to pray for your friend and their struggles. Begin asking them for specific ways you can pray for them. Then as part of your prayer support, check with them every week to see how they are doing – and what else they need prayer for. If they are a Christian (and you are), pray about if God would have you visit them in their home for a small Bible study (one-on-one).

Use Technology

Technology makes it ridiculously easy to get connected with people. Most of us, have a phone (meaning texting or phone calls) or a social media/email account. Use these things to be there for your friends. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Go directly to them.

The Fears –

Maybe, you fear they will complain for the bulk of the conversation. You are only providing an opportunity to show them you are there for them in a tangible way! Don’t over-think it. If you know they are on social media, and often, just consider using it to check on them. Show them you are there for them.

The Joys –

They will appreciate their relationship with you, when they see you care. Use their love language, to show them support. They will feel loved. They will feel comforted. They will feel supported in the most amazing ways.

What to Say?

I always wonder about this one too. What am I supposed to say? The initiation to gain entrance into their world counts. You are showing them that you care. In yesterday’s post, I address what kind of questions we can ask sufferers. A few more suggestions include: asking them how they are doing, if they have read or watched anything good lately, and just begin a conversation. Asking questions are your friend. Don’t assume. Just let God lead you. Asking questions is a great conversation starter.

Support – Giving Gifts

First, there is sending a card in the mail. It doesn’t need to be extravagant. It’s just a method of letting them know you care and brightening their day. Here’s an example of what you could say…  “Hey __________________, I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you. I wanted to let you know that though I don’t say it often, I deeply care for you. I don’t know what to say sometimes, but I am here.” Something like that. My example might be more personal, than you would write (I am always socially awkward anyway, so might as well say what I feel, right?).

Second, give them a gift. With invisible illness, it can be hard to know what to get someone. I have some ideas to share. Tangible ways to show them you care.

  • A lamp. I am thinking practically. Maybe, they don’t have access to an overhead light in their bedroom. A lamp would help them to move around in their bedroom, when perhaps their vision isn’t the best, and without falling on their face.
  • A blanket. Think about it. People with invisible illness(es) face times of resting. More time than you would ever dream of. Gifting something like a blanket is something would bring a smile to their face – not just for a moment, but many moments.
  • A gift card. This is itself is a blessing, but you can take it a step further – to be more involved in their gift. Handpicking something declares “I love you. I care for you. I am here for you.” Maybe if they take supplements for their condition, offer to buy them their next month’s supply. Many gift ideas for this one. Here’s one in particular- Perhaps, offering to take them on a mini shopping spree. You could give them a gift card, and then offer to buy them lunch (or skip lunch) and go straight for their favorite store.

    If you are tight money-wise, consider making them a gift or performing a service for them (clean house, run errands, take their crazy kids for an afternoon, make them dinner if their food restrictions aren’t crazy long, etc). This speaks volumes, too!