Posts tagged christianity
Why God Must Be at the Center of Our Quest for Identity

Growing up, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about my identity. I didn’t sit at home and ponder why I was the way I was. I didn’t spend much time contemplating my decisions or trying to be a certain way. I was just me. For the most part, I really liked who I was. But as an adult, I began to process my identity more and more. Why did I act a certain way? Why did people say hurtful things about me? Why did that situation bother me so much? Why was I the way I was? What was my identity?

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Unrefined, but Loved, Creation in Progress

There are dozens of versions of me I imagined as a child. Research scientist, doctor, gymnast, and a dozen more before I graduated high school. Even when I thought I had figured things out in college, my path changed again. The older I got, the more reality hit, and the more I worried I would see myself as a disappointment. I wasn't in med school. I wasn’t on my way to six figures. I didnt know how to reconcile the dreams I had as a kid with the reality of my desires and abilities as an adult. How could I look at myself in the mirror if I just became "this?” Who would care about the girl who does "that" for a living?

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It is Christ Who Knows Me

Before opening up my phone to find out this month’s topic, I found myself talking to my sweet friend Julia about where we find our worth/affirmation. We were discussing times we strived to get the approval of those we felt reflected the Lord through their lives most. Leaders, friends, you name it.  We came to this common realization that we felt like we had been letting down the Lord when the leaders in our circle weren’t calling out the good things we did or the kind people we are. It was as if the people we admired had the authority to judge us in the same way our God does, but not because God said so. We had given them this power.

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The Miracle that Changed Everything: A Car Wreck Survival Story

“I distinctly remember my hands turning the wheel to the right and my car was resisting and still going straight. Next thing I knew, my car was over a cliff and the last thing I saw was a stream of water below me before I tightly closed my eyes.” Have you ever lived through an experience you cannot find the words to explain? Born and raised Montana girl, Chaeney Latimer survived this deadly car wreck of 2010 completely unscathed — a miracle merely unexplainable. Despite the ways this accident defied all laws of gravity and science, one thing remains true: Chaeney’s life was not destined to end that day. After finishing her sophomore year of college, Chaeney packed all of her belongings into her red Toyota Cobalt and set her sights on home.

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A Prayer for Peace

Having peace is really important. So here’s a prayer I often pray that gives me peace: “Dear God, Thank you so much for this day! Thank you so much for all the love and grace you give to me. Even in the darkest moments and the times where I just want to give up, you’re still there, continuing to love, encourage and support me. I will forever love you! Thank you for never making me feel looked down on, judged, unloved, and forgotten. Even if I have some of those feelings on earth, I know you would never think that about me. Thank you for filling my heart with joy, peace, love, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gratefulness, and thankfulness!”

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The Day I Traded Peace for Panic, and How I Got it Back

My heart was racing. I couldn’t catch my breath. What was happening? Was I having a heart attack? I’m in my thirties, and I’m a runner —certainly my heart is fine. But why can’t I breathe? I took my phone into the closet and frantically searched Google for the signs of a heart attack. What I found made me feel better and worse all at the same time. Thankfully, I was not having a heart attack! Unfortunately, I was having a panic attack. I had never experienced this before. I laid on the floor and focused on breathing in deep, trying to get this horrible feeling to pass.  Life was so out of control. We had just made our second big move in three years. Starting over again. New friends. New jobs. New places. I was just beginning to feel settled in our last town, and now I needed to start all over.

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Why Applause Doesn’t Make You Somebody

In a recent episode of America’s Got Talent, Paul Potts, the first winner of Britain’s Got Talent, talked about the impact winning had on his life. He said, “I walked onto that stage a nobody and left it as somebody.”  The crowd erupted in applause, and the judges nodded in agreement — but my heart broke. I wanted to reach through the screen and tell Mr. Potts he was a somebody long before he walked on the stage of Britain’s Got Talent. Perhaps, he was not well known. Maybe he wasn’t asked to sing for the queen or to perform all over the world. Likely, only a handful of people knew he could sing and appreciated the gift he had been given. But, he was not a nobody.

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I Am All He Says I Am

If I were to treat others the way I treat myself, I wouldn’t be the nicest person. I am so hard on myself as I am sure most people can relate to. I don’t take compliments from others well and I am even more so challenged in the area of complimenting myself. It is so much harder for me to look inward than it is for me to look into the hearts of others. I love telling people how wonderfully made they are. I’d even say I have more recently developed a sixth sense of seeing people through God’s eyes. To look at people and ask God to show me who they are growing into is one of my favorite pastimes.

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I Love Myself, That's What Matters

Self-love is something I've struggled with. I struggle with comparison. I'm always comparing myself to others. I think that's brought me down a lot of times, and it's made me feel insecure. Another big thing for me is feeling judged — it's never fun to feel like you're constantly being judged by others. In these situations, it has really helped me to remember God loves me.

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Messy Bun Ambition

We live in a sweatpants and messy bun generation, and I don’t exactly dislike it. We search for comfort and the cozy feeling of the hygge lifestyle. I’ve been known to brag about how many sherpa-lined socks and cute animal pajama pants I have. These days, embracing and striving for comfort is just as much a sign of a successful life as getting the dream job. It seems if you can afford the luxury of doing absolutely nothing, you’ve made it somehow. My super soft, sloth PJ pants are a prized possession, but I’ve seen the dark side of comfort. The desire to spend a few hours doing nothing is a powerful one, and that desire will always win unless you fight it.

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Does Ambition Lead to Success?

I grew up believing ambition led to success. In school, if I studied and did the work, I would get an A. In sports, if I practiced hard, I was rewarded with more playing time. When I worked my first job, hard work equaled higher pay, more hours, and the admiration of my boss and coworkers. My achiever personality thrives in that environment! I can finish a project in record speed. When I set a goal, I don’t stop until that goal is completed. I love making lists and checking things off. (I’m one of those crazy people who writes something I just did on the list, just so I can cross it off…don’t laugh, I’m know I’m not the only one!)

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Driven by Heavenly Thinking

I used to buy into my own lies that if I wanted a particular path in life too much, I would become too focused on myself and my desires to be a participant in the highs and lows of the lives of the people I cared about. I told myself in order to pursue my dreams of being a fashion designer in the buzzing hub of New York City, I would certainly have to give up friendships and family ties and my fantasy of being a mother to babies with chub rolls galore. I thought, in order to make it big, I had no choice but to toss out every other element that fueled the joy in my life in order to collect enough stored up energy to put nothing short of 100% of me into my life’s work.

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Leaving Apathy Behind

Getting caught up on the stress of life produces a wide range of terrible emotions. I get scared I'll never catch up. I get sad that I might never feel like I'm enough. But I think the worst thing I often feel in those moments is nothing. Apathy is a frequent opponent of joy. It's also one of my favorite modes of survival. Just a few days ago, I noticed I get frustrated a lot less than I used to. I used to cry when my son woke me up at 3 a.m. for the third night in a row. I used to contemplate the meaning of my life and get a little snippy with God. At face value, the level of calm I've managed to reach seems like a positive change. However, after a few minutes of thought, I realized I hadn't matured in my ability to process.

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Sharing the Joy in Your Heart

Don't take joy for granted, but keep growing your relationship with God and you will have more and more joy throughout your life. Of course, following God doesn't mean you're going to live the perfect life. You're still going to go through tough times and hard struggles, but at least you're not doing it alone. Share your joy and blessings with others, because you don't know how much that could change their day.

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How to Find Joy in Every Season

In those early parenting years, I experienced God’s strength and grace to operate on torturously few hours of sleep — and yet, I was able to because God’s grace flowed through me. I was able to love a screaming child after he had bit me, slapped me, and screamed bloody murder just because I was trying to wipe the dirt off his face. That was God’s love flowing through me. I think the key to finding joy in the difficult moments is not a guilt trip that “you better enjoy these moments because someday you’ll miss them.” All that ever did was make me feel bad — and real joy doesn’t make you feel bad.

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Contented Joy

I didn't begin to understand the joy that can be found in contentment until life got real. Dealing with the stress of taking care of a home and family, raising a gorgeous boy with special needs, and reaching a clinical level of anxiety, all had a way of changing my perspective. Living in my real, grown-up life, I yearn for contentment. I still have goals. I'm still striving to live the life God has prepared for me, but my greatest accomplishment is feeling the blessing of every second.

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Grateful in Love

"I'm sorry you have to love me." These words have fallen from both mine and my spouse's lips more than once. Nothing makes you feel more challenged and more inadequate than taking on the responsibility of jumping into a lifelong commitment with someone. I never saw life coming when we fell for each other. It all looked like bliss. But Disney lied, y'all! Being in love is hard, and I have yet to meet my fairy godmother or get my animals to talk back to me. Feeling love is simple but living that love is a lesson in humility, compassion, patience, and growth.

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Choosing to Be Grateful

I woke up crabby this week. Nothing was really wrong, but nothing seemed right either. I just wanted to sit on the couch and do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. Have you ever had one of those days? Where you just feel blah. You can’t really put words to it, but you just know that you don’t feel right. If I’m not careful, those types of days can take me down a dangerous rabbit hole of emotions. Suddenly things that were a little annoying are world shattering. Emotions I had been keeping successfully at bay, are right on the edge of eruption. Tiny failures become gigantic roadblocks. Missed opportunities feel like throw-in the-towel, it’s-never-going-to-get-better, why-do-I-even-bother-trying, do-I even-have-a-purpose-on-this-earth moments.

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Whatever You Do, Give Thanks

It's 6 a.m. and you start bargaining in your head. If you just dry shampoo your hair, you can get 15 more minutes. If you skip the makeup, you might even make it 30. You're desperately tired and already planning your nap for after work/school/mom-life. Dark circles and puffy eyes are your badge of honor — telling the world you try every day, and you've got the sleep deprivation to show it. It's in those moments you may thank the sweet Lord for the invention of concealer. Does this look like anyone else's life? Is it just me that's running on fumes?

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Finding Fatherly Love Amidst Heartache

When I was a little girl, my dad had a wife who hurt me deeply with piercing words of my worthlessness for years. Even though I only spent a few months with her each year as I was growing up, she had one of the greatest impacts on my heart and self-image as a child. She hurt my heart deeply. She convinced me I was lacking value — that I would never be as good as her daughter, that I was a liar and a waste of space. Each day my dad would leave for work in the summer, I felt abandoned. I felt left behind.

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