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.

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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.”

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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?

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

The Fiercest Faith for Family

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:8 ESV

If this is true, and it is God’s truth, why aren’t more families living this out? Why aren’t more families restored, rather than torn apart?

The term family comes to mean many different things, these days. Sadly, for many people reading this, it carries the weight of your baggage – hurts from your past and bondage in your present.

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I called this post the fiercest faith, because it takes a fighting faith in Jesus Christ to combat the lies of Satan, trying to destroy your family.

These lies come in many ugly faces, but the most common is the lie, “Forgiveness must be earned. They don’t deserve forgiveness. They must pay for what they’ve done!”

This one lie has ripped apart so many families, the Devil ran out of room in his imaginary tally book of victories.

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However, it’s not too late to fight! If you are experiencing turmoil in your family, in any form or capacity, take up the armor of God and fight the real enemy here – the Devil. Your family member, whether Christian or not, is worth your love, and ultimately, your forgiveness.

Break the bondage, break the chains!

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”

Ephesians 6:10–13 ESV

Take action today! Don’t wait another second, call, text, SnapChat, whatever! Exercise your fierce faith today to save your family NOW!

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“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,”

Ephesians 6:14–18 ESV
Posted in Living BOLD

A World Without Jesus…

Have you ever imagined a world without Jesus? Not Him, not His Word, not His Holy Spirit, and not His Heavenly Father? Have you really taken time to ponder what all would be missing?

I can tell you this much, it scares me to death how much of our life here on earth, and our promised eternal life with our Savior (as believers in Jesus Christ), would be missing.

Vital aspects of our universe: the breath of life, a designed universe, designed humanity, etc.

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I could go on and on, but can you imagine it? Pure and utter chaos – darkness, the absence of life itself, nothingness.

Yet, we don’t have to live that stark reality, because of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, Creator, Sustainer, Healer, and Sovereign King.

So some of you may ask, “Why is our world still so messed up if Jesus does exist?” My answer to you would be this:

“Humanity thought we could do better on our own. We think we can do our lives better without Jesus, and we have screwed up big time.”

BOLD & Beautiful

Below, I have listed various challenges. Pick one that is doable for you, and one that takes you out of your comfort zone. Comment below with your results…we are in this together.

Live BOLD!!!

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“If we took the time to ask ourselves why were are so selfish, and focus more on God, we wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with.”

BOLD & Beautiful

WEEKLY CHALLENGE:

Here is a small taste of what it means to give up our selfishness for God.

  1. Give up your favorite activity for God this week – TV, eating dessert, whatever it may be – give it up for 3-7 days.
  2. In place of doing your favorite activity, pick an activity focused on God – praying, praising God, reading Scripture (books of Psalms, John, Titus, etc. are good ones to start with).

SUPER CHALLENGE:

Fasting from distractions in your life, that take your attention away from God isn’t too difficult, but here is the super challenge.

  1. If you haven’t already, find and commit to attending a church, at least 3 weeks in row.
  2. If you already have a church, find a prayer/accountability partner, to encourage you in your faith.
  3. If you already have that in place, pray and ask God where in your church could you be serving Him?

ULTIMATE CHALLENGE:

For frequent church goers, the super challenge may be something they do already. Now, let’s step it up to the next level.

  1. Share the gospel with someone, anyone.
  2. Invite someone to church.
  3. Show generosity to someone in need.
  4. Forgive that person who hurt you the most, and tell them your forgive them.

**Post your results in the comments below, I want to hear from you! Let’s encourage each other in our walk – let’s be BOLD!!

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith, The Bible

To Fear or Not to Fear…

Are you tired of drowning in fear? Fear of anything…of dying, losing the ones you love, being broke financially, and of countless other things? Read on, and break the cycle of fear!

You are not alone. Many, many people, including myself, live in fear on a day-to-day basis. From personal experience, I feel like I am fighting a battle, to fear or not to fear, 24/7.

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You may ask, “How can you be a Christian, yet you live in fear so much of the time?” The answer – because the Devil uses fear to trap us in his clutches.

Fear is the opposite of faith – it is considered the absence or suppression of faith (my own definition). If you are afraid, you are not trusting God will….you fill in the blank.

The following passage is from Paul’s second letter to Timothy, his mentee:

“5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1:5–7 ESV

Paul is reminding Timothy of his own “sincere faith,” not piddly, little, wimpy faith – sincere means “honest”, “pure” and “true” (Mish, Frederick C. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition).

The Devil likes to make us think our faith isn’t good enough – so we give into the deception that we need to be afraid of what we lack, instead of having faith in God to provide it.

If we would stop focusing on the lousiness of our sinful selves, and more on the incredible, omnipotent (all-powerful) God, we wouldn’t need to live in fear of anything.

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Fear comes from doubt in God’s ability to take care of us, our needs, and our desires. I am as guilty of this as anyone. I struggle to let God have full reign over my life, and not take control myself.

This is the ultimate deception – do we really have any control in the first place? We like to think so, but I dare to say we have none. God is all-powerful, and we are simply along for the ride, to give Him all the glory He deserves.

That my sound selfish to most of you, but the reality is, He’s God, and He deserves everything we are and everything we possess, because everything is a gift from God.

“4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. “

Ephesians 2:4–10 ESV
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When you understand God’s gifts of life, salvation, of grace and mercy, of provision and care for us – then you will be firm in your faith, to escape the Devil’s snare of fear – and live victoriously, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen!!

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

Why Keep it to Yourself?

Are you one of those people that hold in your emotions or what you’re really going through? Do you even make yourself stressed beyond belief, and sometimes physically ill or have headaches, etc.? You’re not alone.

So many times in my life, like today for example, have been consumed by emotions: anxiety over anything and everything, sadness over perceived failure in some way, and fear of losing those I care about most because I believe I will never be enough for them to stay.

How long will you or I go on believing these lies from the pit of Hell? Why would we rather believe these lies about ourselves than seek out and believe God’s truth about us?

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“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

2 Corinthians 4:7–11 ESV

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.”

Psalm 139:14 ESV
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“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 5:6–11 ESV

These are incredible truths from God’s Word about us! God tells us that we are wonderfully made in His image, not just any image, His. We are not alone in our sufferings – Jesus suffered for us and with us, and we are also glorified with him in eternity.

Can you picture it – eternity?

I am in such awe when I think about it – perfection forever – can you picture it? What do you picture?