Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

Resetting Expectations

A Birthday Party Story

Picture this. Your daughter has a birthday party coming up. Their 3rd birthday, and you want to make it as special as possible.

To prepare, you plan a month in advance for this birthday party. You even ask your birthday girl what she wants for the cupcakes and decorations. Things are going so well!

Shopping

Finally, it is time to shop and bake. You take your birthday girl to the store to buy decorations and party favors for her friends. Don’t forget the special, helium-inflated birthday balloons, matching the party theme.

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Your cart is so full, you wonder how over-the-top this party is getting. Your fears are confirmed, when the checkout lady literally says to you, “You are overdoing this, Mom.”

You know she’s right, but don’t want to admit it to a total stranger.

Party Favors and Cupcakes

The week of, you, the birthday girl, and her siblings, all work together to put the party favor bags together. The excitement on their faces is so inspiring, more for the candy than anything else, you know these are perfect for your guests.

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Two days before the party, you bake the cupcakes. The night before, you make the extra cupcake decorations, so they are ready for the morning of, when you freshly frost and decorate them.

You place them in the fridge, and you feel a sigh of relief and accomplishment.

Decorating

Last but not least, you stay up until midnight, with your tired husband, decorating. You start to pull out all of the decorations you purchased with the birthday girl, and your husband gives a sigh and intense eye-roll.

It takes hours to perfectly decorate with the party signage, party favors, streamers, balloons, even a large, plastic mural background for pictures and added scenery for effect.

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The Perfect Party

Finally, you’re done. Perfectly planned, purchased, and executed birthday party plan. You slip into bed, relieved, and happily anticipating the next morning.

You can’t wait to see the look on your birthday girl’s face when she beholds all your work for her party. You hope she feels as special as you know she is.

The Twist

Then it hits. The screaming, vomiting, and complete misery from – guess who? The birthday girl herself.

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The stomach flu or some similar, awful virus has hit your house, literally hours before the party is supposed to start.

You have to break it to your precious, birthday girl that her party is cancelled and now she has to spend her birthday sleeping and drinking water – no cupcakes.

Reality Stings Sometimes

As you might have guessed, this happened to me and my family last week for one of our daughter’s birthday. Let me tell you, it has been a rough week for all of us.

However, somehow God used this atrocious sickness to change something in my mind and heart.

As her mom, I was not only buying and doing things for her to make her feel special, but to show off to our guests, “Hey, look at me and what I can do? I’m such a great mom, aren’t I?”

My Aching Heart

Wow, that was a slap in the face and a prick in my heart. In my heart, I had let pride and the fear of insignificance drive me to spend more money, time, and energy than necessary.

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Also, I realized I was justifying my behavior with a false sense of what my daughter actually expected and wanted for her party.

I knew exactly what she wanted. We had planned it together, and the plan itself was pretty simple.

In my own prideful heart, I was making her party about me. How selfish is that?

The Real Party

Now, tonight is the night before her party. We have rescheduled it for tomorrow.

Most of the decorations we left up from decorating last week, but not all have stayed on the wall. The cupcakes are done and decorated, but I let my daughters help me, instead of pushing them away, and doing it alone.

For my daughter’s sake, and for my own good, I laid down my expectations of attention, glory and honor from my efforts as her mom. God is teaching me to be content in the simple, not frantic in the complex.

Finally, the party did not go according to my perfect little plan. To be honest, I’m glad it didn’t. I had more prepared and done last week, so I can just relax and enjoy my daughter growing up.

God’s plan is always better than my plan. If I am not careful, I will trade fear and anxiety for peace and joy in the Lord.

Which will you choose today, your finite plan or God’s perfect plan?

Scripture

These verses really helped change my expectations this week. I hope they help you, too.

Proverbs 3:5-12 ESV

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“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”

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Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

Habit Reflections

I have been doing a study lately, called “Habits” by Life Church, on the YouVersion Bible app.

Habits Devotional

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Though it is a short, well written devotional, it is so convicting! A sword of the Spirit piercing right through my heart.

Yes, I did choose to read this on purpose, because I know I needed to hear truth about my habits from God’s Word.

Our habits don’t just happen – they are triggered by a desire or need we seek to meet.

Habit Loop

Today’s devotional talked about the habit loop: cue, routine, and reward.

For example, you sit down to watch TV at night (cue), grab a tasty snack (routine), and your body feels better from positive chemicals released in your body (reward).

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Ouch!! So convicting! This has been a constant struggle for me to break this habit.

Since our bodies store more fat from food we eat at night, and the food keeps me awake, I’ve been reminding myself of a different reward. Better sleep!

However, when I get the snack craving, mint gum works for me. It actually tricks my body into thinking I’m not hungry.

Also, sometimes you think you are hungry, you are really just tired or thirsty – same chemical in the body is so confusing sometimes!

Scriptures to Reflect

1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

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James 1:12-25 ESV

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.

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But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

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But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.

For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV

…to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Psalms 26:2 NIV

Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;

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Be Encouraged

Know you are not alone in having bad habits to break. Don’t be afraid to make the first step, just because you might mess up. Get back up, and try again. God is faithful to help you and give you a way out, to resist temptation.

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Remember, life isn’t just the here and now – with Jesus, it’s forever.

Helps put your life in perspective and ask yourself,

“Will this affect my eternity?

Will this still matter to me later in life?”

Be wise with the time you have in this life – don’t waste it.

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

ONLY FOR THE LADIES: PMS

Yes, this post is just for the ladies, so if you’re not a lady, click out now. Thanks!

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PMS

Guess what time of the month it is? Not quite that, but the grr factor has begun.

You guessed it, the dreaded PMS – yes not everyone has this, but something changes in me every month, and it’s not roses and cupcakes I’m communicating, not by a long shot!

I don’t try to be crabby, or snap at people, but it seems to come out that way anyway. No matter how hard I try to be nice during this time, it seems to fail miserably, and ending with a stick of dynamite….KA-BOOM!!

Living Differently

So, as daughters of the King, as women of God, how do we combat this desire in us to do or say evil?

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Evil? Isn’t that a bit extreme? Not at all. Our sinful desires come from our sinful flesh, which is evil. Many times, we underestimate the roll our sinful flesh has on our thoughts, words, and physical wellbeing and actions.

Steps of Action

Here’s what I suggest:

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  1. Take a step back. Breathe, pray, and give yourself space. The more chaos around you, the more likely the explosion is to occur.
  2. Communicate clearly what you need. When you need space, especially during this time, communicate that. Not as the other person’s fault, but as your need.
  3. Limit making big or important decisions during this time. It is hard to think clearly, be patient, or be kind – and when working with others, you need all three.
  4. Rest and exercise. I feel like a hypocrite writing this, because I’ve been resting way more than exercising. The better your body feels, the better you will feel, and hopefully less angry or anxious.
  5. Last but not least, read your Bible. If you don’t have one, check out the YouVersion free Bible app website. Reading God’s Word gives me peace, relaxes me, and gives me hope things will be okay, because He’s got it taken care of.

Choose a step, and try it. Choose another, and try it. Find out what helps you the most.

Prayer

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From one Jesus sister to another, I hope this helps! Praying for you, too!

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

Call to Action: Use Your Voice

My Voice

So I realized something today. I haven’t been using my voice.

I have been letting my insecurities and doubts and fears keep me from sharing my heart and letting my voice be heard; not letting my light shine, for the good of others.

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Anyone else struggle the same way? You have so much to say, but are too afraid to say it?

The Struggle

Just last night, I was monologuing to my husband (I do this a lot, but he is so gracious to let me verbally process). At some point in the conversation, I asked him,

“Will there ever be a time when we don’t struggle?

Why is life so full when we try to keep it simple and slow paced?

Why is life so hard?”

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The struggle is real. The struggle is constant. The struggle is exhausting. The struggle is depressing.

Steadfastness Develops

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. …

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Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

(James 1:2-8, 12 ESV)

Scripture Reflection

Can I get an Amen on that one? This is my life right now! So much struggle, trial, testing and battering my faith from all sides.

Yet, I feel this inner strength I never had before.

Things that once shook me up or make me freak out, don’t get a rise out of me anymore. I’m able to show more grace, because I am more secure in the love and trustworthiness of God than I have been, for a long time.

Really?

You may be asking, really? Is that even possible? Yes it’s possible, but it takes time.

This is coming from a mama of five, miscarried one of them, and the other four are 5 yrs old and under. Trust me, the comments never end.

Again, this is coming from a woman who struggles with anxiety and depression after having said kids, but has probably struggled with it for much longer. I wish I could go back and tell me teenage self, “Don’t be so afraid to get help and admit you are struggling.”

People Need People

We are all human. This is not an excuse for our sin, it is the reason we sin, because we were born sinful, after the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).

One thing I’ve learned through all of this – everyone struggles with something (or many things). We need friends and family who can help and support us through these rough times. We can’t do it alone, no matter how many times we may try (ME!).

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Challenge:

Here’s your challenge: Share one struggle with someone you trust, someone who’s been there. It might be asking a lot of some of you, but we need people we can count on, especially Jesus.

But if you really don’t have anyone to talk to, God is always there, first and foremost. No excuses, be brave and use your voice!

You will be surprised how much weight will be lifted off your shoulders!

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Don’t let your fear keep you from freedom. Don’t let your voice be silenced – you have something important to say. That something could be the life changing something someone else needs to hear.

Let your voice be heard!

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith, Uncategorized

New Year, New Hope

Goodbye 2019!

I don’t know about you, but I am glad 2019 is over!

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all bad, but has been a huge struggle for me.

This year, I published my first book (The Miscarriage Project), launched my new business brand, Bold and Beautiful. My husband graduated with his MA, and honestly, forgot this until I was reminded, because this year has been so full – the good, the bad, and the ugly!

This year I struggled. This has been the hardest year in terms of dealing with anxiety. I don’t know which is worse, the anxiety or the depression. Either your’e too sad and sluggish to get out of bed, or you’re too jittery and scared to go to bed. It’s a toss up.

Just within 2019, we lost so many people. In our church congregation, there were 12 funerals. I lost my one and only college roommate to cancer, and one of our college brother-floor guys committed suicide, both just before Thanksgiving. One grandma-in-law died in August, and the other, was admitted to the nursing home 2 days before Christmas. Not to mention all of the miscarriages, (of people I know), experienced this year.

This was a sad, sad year people. Tears well up in my eyes as think about the preceding paragraph. So much loss.

Hello 2020!

However, every new year brings a fresh new season of hope.

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In 2020, I hope to:

  1. Beat anxiety and depression, as I gradually go off my meds.
  2. Invest in my personal and spiritual health.
  3. Be more intentional making “breathing room” in my and my families lives and schedules.
  4. Publish 1-2 more books this year.
  5. Not avoid what God has me to do, but boldly charge ahead to fulfill the call.
  6. Fully grieve those I’ve lost.

For myself, I know I have so many goals and hopes for this new year, and probably by next December, I will have forgotten them. Although, if I press on, be consistent, and remind myself what I’m aiming for, then I will stay focused on the prize ahead.

God, please help me to have a more calm and peaceful year. Give me eyes to see those I am to help, and give me strength to say no to those things that will steal my time, joy, and family time. Sustain me every moment with your love, peace, comfort, and joy. Protect me as I follow you, and watch over my family. Give me the boldness to follow your calling for my life this year. In Jesus name, Amen.

Posted in Living BOLD, My Books, My Faith

Book Release Party ~ Reflections

Hooray! My first ever book release party is in the books!

Thank you Erin for helping me set up my display!! It looked great!!

Thank You

First, I want to give a special thank you and shout out to Eric and Kristen Meeter, owners of Pressed Studio + Store in downtown Spencer. You both were an amazing couple to work with, and am so thankful for your wisdom, guidance, and hospitality.

Second, I want to thank Bri Schubert, owner of Bri Lifestyle Photography, for capturing the evening on film. Those pictures to come later, but so thankful for her willingness to be a part of the night.

with Bri Schubert

Last but not least, I want to thank my friends and family, as well as everyone else who was in attendance. As the author, I was so blessed to see the faces of those who the book will be impacting and I pray it is a blessing to each and everyone who reads it.


Reflection

As I reflect on the events of last night’s book release party, I find myself both joyous and thankful, as well as resistant and distant to God. Let me explain why.

The Due Date

As some of you know, yesterday was not only the book release party, but it was also my son’s due date, three years ago. Some asked if I did this on purpose, but I myself didn’t realize it until after the event had been scheduled.

When I realized the common date, I felt this sense of awe and deep sadness. What a better way to honor his memory, on his due date anniversary, than to share his story, our story, to those who need it most.

As a grieving mom, I am so thankful for the growth and healing that has taken place since then.

Vulnerable to Resentment

Yet, there is still part of me that is vulnerable, angry, and resentful. Just because I published a book about my experience, does not mean I stopped struggling with these feelings.

No matter how much I’ve already written about our miscarriage, it still stings. No matter how many times I’ve poured my heart and soul out, sharing with someone, there is still a somberness that remains. Can anybody relate?

Have in Common

As I was talking to several women and couples at the signing, I began to see a pattern among their experiences.

Not so Comforting Words

First, words from others can be more hurtful than helpful. If you haven’t been through it, don’t pretend to understand. Don’t try to fix it – because let’s face it, you’re not God – and you can’t.

Never assume it’s anyone’s fault but Satan, the deviser of evil, destruction, death, and despair. Who are you to know the true reason a baby dies? Who are you to yoke someone in despair, with an impossibly heavy burden?

Husbands

From many women I’ve talked to, several have made comments about their husbands or significant other’s reaction to the miscarriage.

Sadly, many say their husband dismisses it and disregards the wife’s feelings about the loss of their child.

After talking to my husband on several occasions, I have some compassion for these dads. My husband explained he didn’t get a chance to bond with our son. As such, his grieving looked much different than mine, and lasted much less time.

However, I urge husbands to have compassion on your wives. Don’t push her away because you are afraid to be vulnerable with her, or to seem weak. She needs to see you are hurting, so she knows she isn’t alone. You are the father, you are the only one she can truly share this baby with, and the loss of them.

A Success

To be honest, I have struggled for weeks with anxiety and worrying about this release party. Not because of anything circumstantial, but simply because of my inner struggle.

Yesterday, I was finally about to put that to rest. Those who attending the party blessed me with their stories and support. I am truly thankful for the treasure God produced out of our tragedy.

*I dedicate the party and this post to our son. We love you Sweetheart!*

Posted in Living BOLD

Challenge to Live by Faith

Too many times, we are running away in fear, when we have just the sword in our hand we need to claim victory over sin, death, and the Devil. Stand firm in your faith in Jesus Christ, and don’t look back.

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When looking at your life, how many unproductive things are in it that are fear based? How many truly stem from a firm faith and boldness in Jesus Christ?

Not This Way

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Don’t be deceived – busyness, stress, fear, sin slavery, and striving all of the time, isn’t what God wants for you.

BOLD & Beautiful

Don’t let the enemy deceive you into thinking you are doing “good” things and that’s enough.

God commands rest for a reason. We aren’t our best selves if we don’t rest, but resting in Him and His Holy Word.

Rebellion

What is God commanding you to change, but you refuse?

What is God begging you to give up, but you won’t?

Who is God showing you to impact, that you are ignoring?

What is God giving you that you have rejected?

Who are you?

Everything was made by and for Jesus Christ, for His holy glory – not yours.

BOLD & Beautiful
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When we refuse to obey God, we are rebelling.

We are acting as enemies of God, who have no inheritance or part in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Who are you to ignore the God of the universe?

Who are you to pretend you have control over your life?

Today, I challenge you to let go, and let God.

Let go of the passions and sins that enslave us, and cling to Jesus, who frees us from it all.

Posted in Living BOLD

Number Your Days: Use Your Time Wisely

I wanted to share a recent insight I learned from my devotional reading today.

Frequently, I use the free Bible app, since it has devotionals and other easy to use features that enhance my Bible reading time and understanding.

Today, I continued reading the plan Breathing Room, by Sandra Stanley, and a quote in the devotional struck me:

Knowing that your time is limited forces you to limit what you do with your time.

Sandra Stanley, author of Breathing Room
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Stanley is referring to make time for what is important, knowing that your time is limited, and precious. She recommends making “breathing room” in various ways, so you can enjoy your life as a benefit of honoring God’s holy Sabbath.

Below are the Scripture Stanley referenced, to accompany her devotional:

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Psalms 90:12
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Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:15-17

Personally, I highly recommend this devotional. It contains scrumptious and nutritious food for thought, that is sure to grow your faith.

Happy reading and observe your restful Sabbath day!

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

Speechless to Help

I am writing tonight with no agenda, no hidden meaning, just writing to write.

I am speechless.

You may ask why that is, and I’ll tell you. Too much emotional stress paralyzes our speech.

It is so hard for me to watch my friends and family struggle!! I feel powerless to help them fully and completely, like I so badly want to!

Why can’t I push past this desire to be involved in someone else’s problem?

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Who’s the real Savior?

Many times, I have to remind myself, I am NOT the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, and He alone, is.

BOLD & Beautiful

Our desire for control and absolute leadership, blinds us to our need for Jesus. When we rely on ourselves instead of Him, we are committing idolatry – putting ourselves on God’s throne.

BOLD & Beautiful

Who, me?

Ask yourself, how many times have you worried today? It’s because you are trying to control something that you have no power to do so.

How many times have you gotten frustrated or upset, because things didn’t go your way or how you thought it should be handled?

It’s because you are valuing yourself and your opinions above everyone else’s.

Pride alert! Pride alert! Pride alert!

Only when we fully submit to Jesus and His guidelines, for the most abundant life we can have in His universe, then we find purpose, contentment, and peace.

Finding Peace

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“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;

do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:5-9 ESV

The goal is not to save someone,

but lead them to the real Savior, who can.

BOLD & Beautiful
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Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

Most of my life, I have been afraid of something or someone.

Now, I know there is a name for this…anxiety.

Fear has held me captive far too many times. I am so afraid of failure, disappointment, danger, or worse – being abandoned.

BOLD & Beautiful

Breathing Room

During my time with God today, I came across an inspiring devotional reading. It is called, Breathing Room, by Sandra Stanley. The following quote, from her devotional, really struck me:

Fear whispers the lies that we’re being left out and left behind, so we load our calendars and drain our bank accounts. Fear steals our breathing room. But do you know the most repeated command in the entire Bible? Do not be afraid. God tell us that we don’t have to let fear bully us around. He offers us a surprising simple way to overcome it.

Sandra Stanley, Author of Breathing Room

My Response

Wow, that was a sucker punch to my gut! I have wasted so much time doing things just because I was afraid of “being left out or left behind.”

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

From now on, I want to change that. No more avoiding potentially uncomfortable or flattering social circumstances, because I don’t feel good enough to go, or put together enough to make a good impression.

Who cares? I wish I didn’t care so much what people think of me. I wish only what God thinks mattered.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Psalms 23:1-3 ESV

…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 ESV

Sandra Stanley also points out, in her quote earlier on, the most repeated command in the Bible is do not be afraid.

Fear in the Bible

In the garden of Eden, Eve was afraid she was missing out on something God was keeping from her.

Sarah was afraid people looked down on her, because she couldn’t have children, so she compromised, putting her marriage with Abraham in jeopardy.

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Peter was afraid the crowd at Jesus’ trial would kill him too, so he denied Jesus three times.

Thomas was so afraid of being disappointed, he didn’t believe Jesus had risen from the dead.

Even some of the Pharisees believed Jesus was the Son of God, but kept quiet, for fear of losing their position.

They needed to be reminded not to be afraid, and so do we. When we follow Jesus Christ, the Savior and the creator of the universe, we can be confident we are in good hands.

BOLD & Beautiful

Weekly Challenge

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This week, my challenge for you is to write down everything you are afraid of.

Once you’ve completed your list, cross out any fears that seem insignificant to you, or can be easily overcome.

Lastly, look up Scriptures related to the items left on your list, and related to fear.Which is greater, your fears or God’s reassurance to you in His Word?