Changing Your Outlook (in Christ)

horse in sunshine

Riding has been my passion since I was 8 years old. It is what I have lived, breathed, and dreamed of at times, and the Lord has always provided a way for me to be around horses–to which I am incredibly thankful. Riding has affected my life in such a knitted way that many of my experiences riding affect who I am outside of the arena.  A few months ago, something changed with my riding that has deepened my love for Christ and trickled into the rest of my life.  When you get on the horse, the horse looks, listens, and responds to what you want her to do or where to go, how fast, straight, and energetic you want her to be. Riding can be like a dance between two partners. The rider leads the way and the horse responds. It can be something beautiful…but if the rider is […]

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Misconception of Perfection

mercies verse

I constantly find myself feeling that life would be better, joyful, even perfect if I just had a bigger or better house, car, calendar, meal plan, fill-in-the-blank.  If I could just be better at controlling my emotions, being slow to speak, and being patient with my kids,  I would be much more happy and joyful. I would finally feel content.  If you’re anything like me, I so often seek to find contentment in my circumstances, not in God. No matter the season; student, single, married, full-time job or full-time stay-at-home parent, kids, no kids, it’s easy to focus on the lack in our circumstances and ourselves, instead of the blessings. We see what we wish would change and put our hope in that change of circumstances instead of in Jesus Himself.  So if true, lasting joy cannot be found in our circumstances, but only in Jesus, how do we find […]

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Figuring out God’s will for my life

girl in sun

About a month ago, I found myself at a retreat/formational program about discernment with 70+ strangers in Kansas City. All of the other attendees were either college students, 50+ adults with children, grandchildren, and spouses, or consecrated religious women and priests. At first, I was overwhelmed by the fact there was no one else present who was in my same stage of life. This feeling of isolation quickly turned to freedom from comparison and distraction, allowing me to enter more fully into the experience Jesus was crafting.  I came into the week with a litany of questions to “discern”. This list included but was not limited to: Am I supposed to continue living in College Station?  Should I move to Washington DC or Denver? (I’m a sucker for mountains and museums) Am I called to marriage or single life? How long do we think it might take to answer question […]

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“I’m not depressed, but…”

woman on bed

In the beginning, when the world grinded to a halt and everyone stayed home, I received a huge dose of validation as a stay-at-home mom.  Suddenly people were realizing exactly what I do every day, and how demanding it is.  After several weeks, we all settled into a new routine and got used to the new norm.  The good feelings of validation wore off, and I started to feel the struggle. But I’m a stay-at-home mom.  It’s literally in the name.  I’m supposed to have the stay-at-home thing down.   DOWNWARD SPIRAL Initially, it wasn’t too different from our day-to-day.  The biggest change was we were no longer going out.  We were no longer having play-dates.  We were no longer doing our activities.  You see, “stay-at-home” is a misnomer.  We actually go out a lot.  So we, like everyone else, were stuck at home and feeling the struggle.  However, now I […]

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For those without fathers or with insufficient fathers

silhouette of man throwing girl in air

Since last fall, I have seen a counselor to deal with some lingering guilt about my mother’s death I still carry with me.  In the first session, I let her know I grew up as an only child of a single parent, and no, we did not need to deal with my “daddy issues,” as I have done all the reflecting and processing about that throughout my adolescent years. I’m in a good place about it – I’ve forgiven him, I don’t think about him at all, and I have no issues with seeing God as Father. I’m good with where I’m at with this part of my identity, and I feel made new in Christ. Fast forward six months to a session where I share with her that I think our work in terms of my grief is complete, insofar as it can be in my current life stage. […]

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Smashing Work Idols

Too often, I live as if circumstances dictate joy. Here’s a prime example: recently, my husband Brad and I were praying before Community Group and he surprised me by asking God to send us with joy. My initial thought was ugly: “Ugh. Joy? I’m not feeling joy right now.” Realizing this, I knew I had let that day’s circumstances dictate my joy, not the Lord. So, I repented and joined Brad in asking the Spirit to bear joy in us.  I think it’s worth noting that when I repented, I didn’t “feel joy” immediately afterward… and I think that’s okay. Joy isn’t just a feeling. It is a work of God in us. It is the gladness of heart in knowing God (1 Peter 1:8), abiding in Christ (John 15:5), and being filled with the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). And sometimes, it will involve praying and waiting with expectancy for […]

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The Butterfly Effect: Building Trust in Society

butterfly

Last summer, I penciled in my journal, “Build trust in society.” We know healthy relationships require authentic and reciprocated trust. We know healthy communities are the sum of healthy relationships. With this in mind, when the fabric of our society feels like it is tearing apart, what would it look like to build trust in society? What would it look like to increase, instead of decrease, the trust we have in one another and in our leaders? Many of us came  out of 2020 feeling fragile and worn thin. For many of us, the year held both much beauty and also great loss. We witnessed death brought by covid, and we experienced a hundred smaller losses in our reality of normal. For many of us, we took a look at the fabric of our systems and found it to be frayed and hurtful to people of color. For many of […]

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Desire a Better Home

aerial photography of rural

Over the past year, there have been some of the all-time highest levels of home improvement sales in America. People have been staying home more due to the pandemic and, out of both desire and necessity, putting more money into their homes. We’re seeking more space, more comfort, and better aesthetics for the spaces we inhabit for so much of our lives in this season. Basically, the general population is finally experiencing what stay-at-home moms like myself have been feeling for years!  Okay, I’m (sort of) joking. But as long as I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, I’ve craved for ways to make my home more comfortable, more organized, and more functional (though my execution is lacking!). After all, like so many people this year, my home is where I spend most of my life.  After our fourth daughter was born, my husband and I started talking about selling our house […]

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When The Lost Are Found

man carrying boy while standing and smiling near pine trees

Several years back, my husband informed me that he didn’t want to be a Christian anymore and was tired of trying to do the right thing. His explanation reminded me of the prodigal son in the Luke 15 parable. The Lost Son In this parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, Jesus tells a story of a man with two sons. The younger of the two asks for his inheritance and leaves his father’s home. He wastes all the money he received, leaving him poor and hungry. The son decides to head home, hoping that maybe his father will allow him to work as a servant.  Much to his surprise when he returns, his father runs to greet him with open arms. The father is delighted to see his son one again, and is quick to give him fancy clothing and jewelry. The father even calls for a special […]

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Like Apples of Gold

apple picking

I recently came across Proverbs 25:11 anew when a friend suggested it as a theme for a women’s night. Intrigued, I began to study it more in depth in one of my favorite ways—reading it in different Bible translations. I’ve personally found this a great way for me to reflect and meditate on a piece of scripture. Here is Proverbs 25:11 in a number of translations: Like apples of gold in settings of silver, is a word spoken at the proper time. (NASB) Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given. (NIV) A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. (NKJV) Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. (NLT) Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken at the right time. (AMP) I love the imagery this verse evokes, comparing a word […]

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