3 Ways to Be Honest With YourSelf

 

Have you ever had one of those eye opening moments that grabbed your attention?  One of those moments God used to show you a deeper meaning to what is really going on in your life?

The other day as I was reading my Bible study No Other gods by Kelly Minter, I noticed something moving in the corner of the room.  As I looked closer I realized IT WAS A MOUSE!  I had a moment of fear come over me.  How long has this mouse been there?  Were there more?  And then my fear came true, I saw 5 more sightings of the mice scurrying across my kitchen floor!

What I had been reading in my Bible study only moments before, was about being fruitful and multiplying.  And then it hit me.  Is it possible that we can allow the wrong things in our lives to create bad fruit and multiply in our lives, like the mice?

When someone has an infestation of mice, no one says, ‘It’s ok, they can just live here.’  Or, ‘It’s totally normal for the mice to be here.’  Or just pretend they’re not there.  That would be considered crazy and insane, right?

The same goes for our spiritual lives as well.  Why would we allow for crazy cycles of brokenness to perpetuate in our lives and label them as normal or pretend they’re not there?  This is just as crazy as not setting a mouse trap or calling the exterminator.

Unless we step into places of honesty, we can never be fruitful and multiply the way God intended.

3 Ways to Be Honest With Yourself:

 1.  Acknowledge-  We can never learn how to be honest with ourselves when we are trying to pretend we’re something we’re not.  Or when we put labels of normalcy on things that are dysfunctional.  The sooner we live in the honesty of God’s truth, the better we will be able to start growing the fruit in our lives that God intended.  Whatever is going on in your life, be gentle with yourself.  Honesty can be hard, because it often can reveal things in our past we’re not proud of, things we’ve been in denial about, or poor choices we’ve made.

Acknowledgement is the first step in being honest with yourself, one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Click To Tweet

“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.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

2.  Accept-  One prayer I have learned to depend on, is the Serenity prayer.  God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference.  Learning to accept the things we cannot control will open a whole new set of doors that allows you to be free from your burdens and circumstances and step into more places of honesty.  Having the courage to change the things that you can, like what you’re exposing yourself to, can free you from the lies that perpetuate crazy cycles.  Seeking wisdom in God’s word will help you discern what’s His truth and what isn’t helping you step into acceptance of your situation.

3.  Abide- “I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit for apart from me you can do nothing” John 15:5.  The more we are honest with ourselves and our situations, the clearer we can hear and discern the voice of God.  When we abide in Him, in His word, we can see His fruit growing in our lives.  There will be joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Learning to abide helps us stay in places of honesty and recognize when there is either stagnant growth or bad fruit growing in our lives and giving ourselves the gift of honesty to say out loud, 'Lord I messed up, I've gotten off track, I need your help.' Click To Tweet

God’s will, will never ask us to lie, hide or go against His will.  Honesty begins with putting a boundary on the craziness of our situations or lives and being open and willing to acknowledge and accept what we can’t control, so we can abide in God’s greatest promises.

Being honest with ourselves, doesn’t allow hidden places of our hearts to stay in places of darkness.  Staying in places of honesty allows for God’s freedom to overflow in abundance in our lives.

The next day after setting the mouse traps, I got up to finish my Bible study.  This time, I did not see one mouse nor did one mouse get caught in the trap.  And then the doubt and the questioning set in, ‘did I really see the mice?’  Just  because I can’t see the mice doesn’t mean they’re not there.

This is what the enemy does to us so many times, ‘Did God really say?’ or ‘Did that really happen?’

Be careful of the enemy’s tactics to twist and deceive.  Don’t allow him to knock you off course and dismantle your confidence.  Stay strong, stay close to God’s words and stay in your places of honesty.  You won’t regret it.

Are you able to stay in places of honesty?

How has honesty allowed you to gain more freedom?

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5 Ways to Make a Killer Instagram Feed

This post will be a little different than my others posts.  I have asked my friend Becky Nutall, to do a guest post on a topic I’ve been interested especially since she has such a creative eye and is a photographer extradoinaire!

Have you ever wondered why some instagram feeds are so much more eye appealing and attention grabbing than others?  Why some instagram feeds can draw you in and keep you scrolling through their feed more than others?  What makes an instagram feed more attractive than the other?

Five Ways to Make a Killer Instagram Feed:

1. Pick an Aesthetic
Settle on a cohesive aesthetic that is seen throughout all of your photos. When you stick to an aesthetic, it will give you freedom to post content that might not necessarily flow; ie. food, travel, fashion, mom life, etc. When the color scheme and lighting are consistent with your aesthetic, you are going to have an Instagram profile that causes people to stop and scroll awhile. You might choose bright & minimal, dark & moody or colorful & vivid. Whichever aesthetic you choose, make sure it is appealing to YOU and to your eye. Don’t just copy another feed. By all means, be inspired, but find your own style. Doing this will make sure your feed stays consistent and scrollable.

Here is an example of my feed from my photography business @bschwartz. This profile lends to a bright, soft color palette with clean backgrounds and consistent lighting.

2. Shoot for your Aesthetic

Having professional photos or at least professional looking photos is important. I always encourage bloggers to learn a few tricks for photographing their own content. Here are a few tips to capture great photos;

• Keep your backgrounds clean and neutral.
• Always shoot in natural bright, daytime light. Photos taken in
bad lighting typically result in blurry, grainy and/or out of
focus images.
• Wipe off your phone camera lens. You would not believe how
much clearer your photos will be with a clean lens!
• There is also a time and a place to hire a photographer. When you do so; plan, plan, plan. Have several weeks if not months of content planned out that you can shoot for. This makes it possible to get the most for your money.

3. Edit for your Aesthetic
My personal Instagram account @nuttallhomestead is similar to my work account since it is what is appealing to my eye (as I mentioned above). Here I give myself a bit more freedom to bring in darker tones and more contrast. My @nuttallhomestead account still lends to bright whites, clean backgrounds and natural lighting.

My personal account is a mix of images shot on my film, digital, or iPhone camera. A large majority of the photos are iPhone shots that, I grab of my family on the go.  Everything I shoot on my iPhone I edit on my phone.
To help you curate a scroll worthy feed and have it flow naturally, you must have a consistent approach to how you edit your images. The two apps that I recommend are Lightroom and VSCO.

I personally use the Lightroom app since it works best with my style.
VSCO is a great option if you would like to edit your feed more towards the dark & moodier side.
Aside from those two, there are hundreds of photo editing apps out there, so find the one you like best, and then stick to it.

Here are few quick editing tips that I apply to almost every image I post;
• Brightness: I always pump up the brightness to give may images a clean crisp look.
• Contrast: I use sparingly but just enough to give my images a good pop and make my darks dark.
• Warmth: I always bring the warmth down and slightly desaturate the blues and teals in my photos.

4. Curate for your Aesthetic
Look at your feed as a whole, not just individual photos. Your grid should tell a story of you and your brand. The wedding venue I own @clayvenues is consistent with the tips I have given above, but is warmer in its color palette.
A viewers first impression of you and your brand is when they click your name and those first 15 images pop up.

Are you telling them to stay and scroll, or are you scaring them off with a disjointed feed? If your first 15 posts are not appealing to the eye, they will most likely click back and find somewhere less hectic to scroll. I know this is all a tall order, but below are a few tips to help make it more simple.


The hardest part of making your Instagram feed look cohesive is figuring out how to make each individual post look good beside the others. The best way to curate your feed, is to preview it in a grid app before you post to IG. My favorite app for this is called Plann, it allows you to upload images and then move them around to find the most appealing order.

My favorite feeds have blank space, clean backgrounds and they avoid redundancy in their posting. An example of something you would avoid while utilizing Plann, would be posting two selfies in a row or posting two selfies on top of each other. This is the beauty of Plann, you can upload all of your “to be posted images” and move them around until they fit just right.

5. Last but not least, remember to have fun, share what you love, share what brings you joy and share your life in a beautiful way. People will follow along with the story when you are passionate and have a cohesive feed.

About Becky:  I am a fine art film wedding photographer. My husband and I live in Colorado Springs with our one year old son, Clayton, and pup, Stella.
  I had the privilege of attending Brooks Institute of Photography, where I received a bachelors of art in professional photography. I have captured hundreds of weddings over the past 14 yearsWhen I am not shooting weddings, I have been busy with our newest venture of starting Clay Venues, a modern event space in Colorado Springs.
  I love to workout, bike with my family and spend time on our back patio.

I would love to connect with you all and see your beautiful Instagram profiles grow.
www.bschwarzphotography.com
@bschwartz
 @nuttallhomestead
 @clayvenues

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What Is The Number One Scam of The Week?

@ThePrayingWoman

Don’t Be Fooled

Don’t know if you have been up to date with the current scams going on out there, but every week hackers and scam artists are crafting ever so creative new ways to scam us all. 

It seems every week I get a phone call from the IRS saying they have a warrant for my arrest for unpaid taxes.  Or I get an email phishing for personal information impersonating my bank or fake profile friend requests on Facebook. 

The hacking and scam attempts have become so heightened to the point the IT Security team at my work sends me a scam of the week email with the new bad guys’ scams. 

Just like these online predators, the enemy likes to invade when we least expect it. 

With all the new technology and security measures in place, the little thieves in waiting learn how to adapt and discover different ways to break the boundaries of security to rob us of our identities and take everything they can get at our expense! 

I appreciate my work emails warning me of the ever-evolving and lingering scams waiting to attack and invade my bank accounts.  Their message is know before the scam.  If it weren’t for them warning me I may fall victim to even more scams. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all warned about the scams and tricks of Satan before the attack? 

A Scam of the Week email would be nice right?

These scams remind me of the Bible verse, “Watch out for false prophets.  They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”  Matthew 7:15

Imagine a wolf lurking around wearing a sheep’s costume.  I know this isn’t possible, but just think for a moment what does a wolf gain by pretending to be a sheep?  His next meal. 

“For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”  2 Corinthians 11:14

To read the rest of this article visit theprayingwoman.com.  

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Have You Ever Been a Holy Mess? Interview with Michelle Rabon’s New Book: Holy Mess

 

Have you ever just felt like your life was a mess?  Or maybe even a Hot Mess?  But a Holy Mess?  That’s a whole other level!  Just reading the title makes me relate!

What if our Holy Messes were apart of God’s Holy Purpose for us?

What if God’s Holy Purpose could not be carried out in us if we didn’t have our Messes?

Our messes are God’s platform to carry out His greatest plans.  He doesn’t need us to do this, He WANTS US to carry out His plans.  He could have chosen to live anywhere in the world but He chose to reside in our hearts.

I want to introduce you to Michelle Rabon the author of a Holy Mess.  She actually wrote “Holy Mess” as both a traditional book with a coordinating Bible study. The benefit of the book is to help women find freedom from the messes of their life through Christ and walk forward in faith. It will help women see that God meets us in the midst of every mess we will face in this life and He will walk us through it all.

So let’s get started!

Heather:  What is the story behind Holy Mess?  What drove you to write this book?

Michelle:  I never set out to write a book in all honesty. I accepted Christ at the age of 19, but it took until my late 20s to really understand what it meant to be a woman radically changed by the Gospel. I know God saved me and changed me, but I didn’t know how I was supposed to live that out. 

From the time I was 19 to my late 20s, I was married, had three children, lost my father, brother, mother in law and had two miscarriages. There was a lot of life, a lot of hurt and little understanding of how the Gospel could meet me in the midst of it all. Holy Mess really is 10 years of hard fought lessons in one book. Everything God has used to teach me about what the Gospel really means for our lives every day. 

I wrote the idea on a piece of paper three years ago. I knew that all I walked through was not without reason and it was meant to be shared. The desire of my heart and the burden God placed on my heart was to help other women see the power of the Gospel for every area of her life. 

Heather: What does it mean to be a woman who is radically changed by the gospel?  

Michelle:  Being a woman who is radically changed by the gospel is a reflection of the power of what Christ can do in a woman’s life. When we accept the gift of salvation and surrender our lives to God because of Christ,  who went to a cross on our behalf – God begins to shape us into His holy daughters. Our perfection isn’t required because He meets us in the midst of our messes. 

When we are radically changed we are moved from our old way to a new way, a new life. A life of abundance and hope. It does not mean God is offering us a perfect life, but He says I will meet you in it. He says I am with you every step, and He will be faithful to bring the holy to His radically changed daughters.

Heather:  What was your favorite and least favorite part of the process of the Holy mess?  

Michelle:  My favorite part of the process was learning so much about the women of the Bible. There is so much that God will teach us through the people in the pages of Scripture. Their stories resonate with us because they are like you and I, just a few hundred years between us. 

My least favorite, having to walk out what God was teaching me, every word I wrote I lived out first before it found its way onto a page. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it. 

Heather:  If there is one take away message you can share from the Holy mess what would that be?  

Michelle:  That if God can change the women of the Bible then He can change you, and when He changes you, He will walk this life with you. 

 

Michelle is a wife and mom of three who is learning to embrace the messiness of life and walk in the grace of God. When she isn’t chasing or homeschooling her little ones, she is writing, drinking coffee, and serving women in her local church. You can find her at Displayinggrace.com, Instagram @displayinggrace and Facebook @displaygrace

All book information is at www.holymessbook.com

 


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In Him,

10 Bible Verses That Will Give You More Courage

10 Courageous Bible Verses

 

Have you ever been stuck in a rut or the same pattern that keeps repeating over and over?  You wonder how do I get off this treadmill that leads to the land of nowhere?

Sometimes I tend to blame my situation or circumstances of why I can’t move forward or get off that treadmill when I realize I AM the stumbling block.  I’m the one trying to do things my own way, with my own strength, forgetting to rely on God for HIS Courage to get me through.

When you feel yourself getting into a rut or running on the treadmill keep these verses near and hide them in your hearts, so we don’t keep trusting in our own strength but in God’s strength.  When we refer to the ONE who is the PROVIDER of COURAGE we will always have an endless supply.

Here are 10 Bible Verses That Will Give You More Courage:

What is Courage?  The Bible defines courage as as the ability to do something brave out of a motivation of the heart.  Courage wouldn’t be courage if we weren’t taking risks towards growth that scared us.  In reality, courage helps build our character for what God has in store for us, helps strengthen us and helps us learn how to draw closer and depend on
God.

When we need to depend on God.

  1.   “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

This Bible verse is hanging in my bedroom above my bed.  I love how I can physically see this verse and be reminded of it’s power.  We don’t have to fear or be afraid when God is holding our hands.

2.  “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise— in God, I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”  Psalm 56:3-4

In my experience, displaced trust causes more fear.  When we put the trust in ourselves we will always fall short and fail.  We don’t have to be afraid when our trust is placed in God our PROTECTOR who is able to keep us safe.

3. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27

I love how before Jesus left this earth, he gives encouragement we don’t have to be afraid.  We can receive a peace that’s not of this world when we focus our hearts on HIM and not our circumstances.

When God’s courage strengthens us.

4.  “Wait for the LORD;  be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”  Psalm 27:14

God uses EVERYTHING we go through for HIS GLORY and HIS PLANS.  He uses our circumstances, our trials, burdens, our struggles to strengthen us and build our COURAGE so he can use us for what He has in store for us, if WE LET HIM.  When we patiently WAIT for what he has for us we will see HIS glorious plans unfold within our lives.

5.  “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.”  Psalm 31:24

God never says what we go through isn’t going to be hard.  He left instructions in how to strengthen the courage he gives us.  Courage needs strength in order for it to be courage.  When we depend and seek God for our strength we will have all the courage we need.  We can trust his courage is enough and all we will ever need.

6.  “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”  Ephesians 6:10

We can rest in God’s mighty power for our strength and courage.  We don’t have to use our own strength to go through what we’re going through.  Nothing in this world can compare or even come close to be being more powerful that God’s power and strength.

When God’s Courage motivates us to accomplish His will for us.

7.  “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

We don’t have to be discouraged.  Whatever work we we do, when we do it for the Lord, it will never be in vain.  We can stand firm even when don’t like our circumstances and trust he will use them for something greater.  The assignments God has for us can’t be messed up by the circumstances of our past (@OhSheNoble).  God made us with flaws and all.  He made us all with a specific purpose.

Our flaws don't disqualify us from HIS plans our disobedience does. Click To Tweet

8.  “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:7

Don’t miss out on the journey God has for you, because of fear-filled thoughts and discouraging doubts.  God didn’t create us to live in a world of defeat but be victorious in His strength and courage.  Embrace who you are in how God made you, flaws and all and allow HIM to use them as a platform for HIS strength.

We can trust in His plans.

9.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

We can trust God’s plans are the best plans.

10.  “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9

Whatever you're going through, DON'T GIVE UP! God's Courage is Strong Enough to Get you Through! #dontgiveup #choose #courage #brave #choosegrittyClick To Tweet

When you feel the tug of defeat weighing on your heart, refer to these verses.  And Remember…………

How God use situations of adversity like David when he defeated Goliath.  A young boy was an unlikely choice to defeat a giant, but God used David’s skill and God’s courage to defeat a giant 4 times his size.

Remember how God used a storm to show Peter, when we step out of the boat in obedience to God’s calling we see miracles happen (walking on water).

Resting in God’s endless supply of Courage will his greatest accomplishments to arise in US!  God’s strength is ENOUGH!

Do you need more courage?

What makes your courage stronger?

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Need a reminder to Be strong and Courageous?  Here’s a FREE Downloadable printable bookmark.  Just Download and Print! Just Click on this link: We need to know we are not alone.

Be Strong and Courageous Bookmark

Need ways to make your courage stronger?  Here are 3 ways that may help!  Click Here.  


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When Unconditional Love is the Outcome

Have you ever had to swallow some hard truth?  A truth so hard to grasp you didn’t want to hold onto it?

When we truthfully sit with hard questions to examine our hearts to search for anything ruminating in the spaces that belong to God–we discover the fears, doubts, worries and anxieties holding us back from the ultimate outcome of receiving His love.

Have you ever been in a place of desperation or despair, wondering are God’s promises and miracles even for real?  When I get to these places of doubt or disappointment I have to take a step back and see what am I holding onto and where am I really placing my hope?

Honestly I’ve been afraid of the truth of what might never will be.  I’ve had to process what’s really God’s will verses my will and ask do they align with one another?

I’ve had to give A LOT of fears and doubts over to God over the years and Trust He know what’s best.  Believe what He has for me is better.  But when you’re in the daily grind and the cycles of brokenness continually perpetuate overtime, you feel like you’re just running on the treadmill and get weary and tired.

3 Ways to Allow Love to Be in the Outcome-

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?  Who may live on your holy mountain?” Psalm 15:1

1. Sit with the Truth by Asking Hard Questions–  Where are we dwelling in pretend world or reality?  Where are we putting our hope and trust?  What do God’s Promises and Miracles mean to me?  Am I really committing to God or tweaking his plan to fit my own conveniences?  Is my way to do things more important than my obedience to God?  Truthfully answering these questions helps empty our hearts of anything getting in the way of receiving God’s love.

My answer-  I think we try to fit God into a box of what we want, demand he does them and then get frustrated when what we ask for doesn’t happen.  I think we can stand on sides of God’s promises and miracles.  One side is doubt and we dwell outside of his miracles thinking they are not for us and will never happen.  The other side of God’s promises/miracles lies entitlement, we want his Promises and Miracles NOW.  And when they don’t happen when we want them to, we become disappointed.  Click here if you missed last month’s post Why we should let go of the miracle.

Are we truly living in his promises and what he's able to do or putting our own expectations on what God can do? Click To Tweet

When we put our hope and trust in God’s outcome, love is always the outcome.  Any other outcome we put our trust in will only be temporary and leads to disappointment every time.

2.  Peel back the labels.  Just because we label or call ourselves Christians or believers doesn’t mean that is the fail safe for our relationship with God.  Labels aren’t our identity or our truth– our identity in Christ is.  We like to claim things over lives and believe we safely fall within this realm of ‘I’m a Christian’ so I’m safe, when in reality we hide behind the labels of false-images, status and accomplishments all the time.

Instead of hiding behind the labels, we need to stand in front of them and say ‘I’m broken and I need Jesus.’  So many of us (me included) want to stay safely protected behind these labels clinging to them like they’re the gospel.  When in reality, we’re clinging to what is comfortable in fear of being shamed, not accepted or condemned for who we really are.

Are we more concerned with our own comforts or God’s glory?

What are we really holding on to?

“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.”  Jonah 2:8

3.  Love Anyway, Embrace the process.  Just because we don’t like our circumstances doesn’t mean we’re defeated or God doesn’t love us.  Any outcome where love is the choice gives power for change.  How do we do this?

When we choose to love knowing we will endure pain but God will use it for his greater good.  When we pray for our enemy, hearts and perspectives change.  When we accept the things we cannot change and surrender them to God, outcomes change.  When reside in what God has for us and accept his plans are good enough, we receive his everlasting grace.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Is God’s grace enough?  When I truly live under the umbrella of God’s truth and grace–Freedom becomes My Reality.  I can CONFIDENTLY say, ‘I’m Free, no chains or anchors here.”  In order to live under the banner of truth and live in the reality of it, we have to release any false pretenses, perceptions, images, identities, labels, disillusioned fears, anxieties, worries, doubts (that’s a lot to release), when we do WE ARE NO LONGER SLAVES TO OUR FEARS and THE ENEMY LOSES ALL POWER OVER US.

The reality is what we’re praying for may never happen the way we want it.  Or maybe what we go through is part of God’s plan to prepare us what we’ve asked for.  We have to release the OUTCOME to God and say, “I’m OK with YOUR OUTCOME God, what YOU have for ME is ENOUGH.”

When we CHOOSE God’s OUTCOME and ALLOW GOD’S OUTCOME for our LIVES, we can trust God’s Love will ALWAYS be apart of the OUTCOME.  In God’s Plans, LOVE is ALWAYS the OUTCOME.

When we choose and accept God’s outcome, we are choosing a life of pain.  No one willingly signs up for this type of life.  We will have trials and heartaches that seem out of control and unbearable.  It is a life that requires complete surrender and dependence on God BUT will be the most eternally rewarding.

Where we receive God's love

Please rest on these nuggets of truth when you’re in situations of relentless turmoil and need to make more room for God’s love in your life.

God’s will, will never take you where His grace cannot protect you.

Every one of God’s plans will have his love in the outcome.

There is freedom and peace when we live under the banner of truth, when we are truthful and honest with ourselves.

We will no longer be slaves to fear when we accept God’s plans and His grace as enough.

We will always regret playing it safe by choosing comfort.  We will Never Regret pursing and following the Will of God.

God’s love ALWAYS Prevails.  

I pray and hope this is a safe place to leave your comments and start a conversation where no one has to fear being judged or condemned.

What is your number one struggle you cling to and haven’t released to God?

Do you trust God’s Outcome is enough for you?

Have you peeled back the labels to see what’s really underneath them?

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I would love to hear from you!  Leave Your Comments Below.   ​In Him,

In case you missed it here is last month’s post Why We Should Let Go of the Miracle


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7 Christian Blogs Worth Following

7 Blogs worth following

I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to follow blogs, nonetheless read them!”  I was the same way.  But now that I’ve entered into the blogging world, every week I’m blown away by the content some of these women write!  They pour their hearts and souls into their writing, to be able to come alongside someone who needs encouragement or point people back to Jesus.

I promise you, following these blogs will be well worth your time.  If you’re a wife, mom, daughter, sister or just a woman who has struggles, I promise one of these blogs will encourage you and meet you right where you are.

7 Christian Blogs Worth Following

1. Susan Call–  I met Susan at a Speak Up Conference almost 4 years ago.  She is author of the book A Search for Purple Cows:  A story of Hope.  Susan faithfully writes on her blog weekly providing readers with life application content they can relate to.  Some of her content includes what to do when you feel like you’re not enough, when you’re not appreciated, when you’re stuck to name a few.  She’s written for Guideposts magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul and speaks at writers conferences.  Follow her blog at www.susancall.com.  

2. Misty Phillip–  By His Grace:  Seek Jesus, Study the Word, Grow in Grace.  I’ve connected with Misty through blogging/writing groups.  Misty has a heart for connecting with other women through her blog, her podcast By His Grace podcast where she interviews other women who have gone through tragedy and tell their story of hope in Jesus.  Misty has recently launched two new books The Struggle is Real:  But so is God and Dear Wife (a wife like me contributor).  Misty has so many platforms to connect women and point people to Jesus.  You won’t be disappointed when you visit her blog www.mistyphillip.com.

3. Sarah Geringer:  Finding Peace in God’s Word-  Sara’s blog focuses on finding peace in the storms and busyness of life. Helps give practical faith-based tips when one feels overwhelmed, helping equip others in their spiritual growth despite adversity.  I love Sara’s truth, honesty and practical tips.  When she writes I feel like she’s speaking directly to me.  She’s also not afraid to write about bold topics that need to be addressed.  Make sure you visit her blog and check out her devotionals she’s written at www.sarahgeringer.com.

4. Jessica Brodie:  Shining the Light –  Jessica is an Christian author, blogger, journalist, editor and writing coach.  She writes uplifting, faith-filled, encouraging messages on her blog bi-weekly!  Her blog will come alongside you right where you are giving you the encouragement you need when you need it.  Jessica has published two Christian Fiction books, “The Memory Garden,” and “Where There’s Smoke,” among other magazine and newspaper publications.  She also has uplifting Scripture graphics and quotes on her Facebook page-Author Jessica Brodie.  To read more about Jessica and her books visit http://www.jessicabrodie.com.

5. Lori Schumaker:  Encouraging Women to Meet the Challenges of Life With the Hope of Christ.  I’ve connected with Lori through mutual writing groups and friends.  Her hope is for those who visit her blog to feel equipped, encouraged and loved!  She loves to help others find freedom and joy in their identity in Christ.

One thing I love about Lori is how much she writes about prayer!  You can tell she has a heart for helping others and a passion for Christ.  Lori is author of the book Surrendered Hearts:  an Adoptions story of Love, Loss and learning how to trust.  She definitely helps the broken hearted be ushered towards the Healer.  Visit her blog at www.lorischumaker.com.

6. Karen ‘Girl’ Friday:  Hope is Among Us.  I’ve connected with Karen via blogging/writers groups.  She has an amazing blog that has won a couple of awards for her writing.  She has published articles in magazines, is a contributing writer for A Wife Like Me and the book Dear Wife: 10 Minute Invitations to Practice Connection With Your Husband.  She is passionate about mentoring women and discipleship that helps followers of Christ live with authentic faith in real life. Her vision and mission in life is for everyone to know Jesus more and make Him known in their lives.  To read more about Karen visit her blog www.karengirlfriday.com.  

7. Jessie Synan:  Freelance Writer and Digital Marketer.  I follow Jessie’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds because she has great content to help Christian bloggers not only with their websites but also their social media accounts/feeds.  She has a Facebook group I belong to called Faithful Influencers on Social Media that helps bloggers encourage one another, but also receive helpful tips from Jessie how to increase traffic to your blog through social and how to engage with your readers better.  I learn so much from her and the other bloggers in this group.  To connect with Jessie or read more about her visit on of her social media platforms or visit her blog at www.jessiesynan.com.

What bloggers do you follow?  And Why?

What type of blogs do you like to read?

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I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below! In Him, 

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Here Are My Top 5 Favorite Bible Studies and Teachers

I will never forget the first Bible study I ever attended, 8 years ago, was Daniel by Beth Moore.  I know what you’re thinking.  That’s a pretty intense study for someone who had never done a Bible study before.  You’re right.  I don’t recommend jumping into the end of times or a book of prophecy for newbies.  However, looking back the book of Daniel ignited something deeper in me–a yearning and desire to learn more, because of everything I lacked.

Before starting the study I had heard of the Bible teacher Beth Moore, but didn’t know much about her.  After completing the study she had such a fervent spirit of teaching the Bible I knew I had to learn from her again and my journey had just began.

If you are thinking about joining a Bible study, DO IT!  Don’t let your excuses outweigh the reward of joining a study {of course only if it’s the right season for you.}.  Also don’t sit in those chairs too long, eventually God will be stirring in your heart to lead a study–follow his guidance an prompting, you will never regret it!

Here are My Top 5 Favorite Bible Studies and Teachers:

1. Beth Moore-  It’s so hard to pick which are my favorite studies, because she’s done so many of them.  My most favorite are James and Children of the Day (1 & 2 Thessalonias).  I’ve also completed her Esther study and Entrusted (2 Timothy).  If you are looking for in-depth material that’s rich with biblical knowledge and personal application, Beth is a good place to start.  She can be very intense {but so can I} so I relate to her.  Her videos can be long, but her studies are great to do with a group.

2.  Priscilla Shirer-  If you never had a chance to do one of Priscilla’s Bible studies order one now!  I love her passionate teaching style how she relates real life to the biblical and has so many rich #truthbombs that resonate with my life and what I’m going through.  It’s like she’s speaking right to you and meeting you right where you are at any given time.  I just finished Gideon and have completed Fervent, Jonah and the Armor of God.

I started Discerning the Voice of God but have not finished it yet.  And I would love to complete her Awaken devotional and The One in a Million Study one day.  My son has started reading her Prince Warrior series as well You will not be disappointed when completing her study.  Your passion for more will be ignited.

3.  Lysa Teurkerst-  I also like Lysa’s teaching style, which is a down to earth, gentle hearted style.  Lysa doesn’t have per say books of the Bible studies but Life studies that she uses biblical application.  This can be less overwhelming for someone starting out trying a Bible study for the first time, because it’s not as intimidating as completing an entire chapter of the Bible.  My favorite studies I have completed by Lysa are Finding I AM and My Best Yes.

I LOVE Bible studies that cover a topic of the Bible like the 7 I AM statements Lysa covered in the book of John.  I loved how she made short videos with rich biblical content in Israel!  The Best Yes was also so good for me, because the majority of my whole life I was a people-pleaser and said yes before really thinking things through.  This book gave me the confidence to say NO and stick to it.

4.  Kelly Minter-  Kelly’s style is also down to earth and very intimate like you’re sitting on her couch (hence the name Living Room Series she completes).  Every time I complete a Bible study, it’s like God placed that exact Bible study in my hands and the exact right timing.  It’s like God knows what you need (LOL).  Why am I surprised every time?

I love how Kelly personalizes her studies with her own style of including recipes (which cooking is her passion), her music (because she’s a songwriter), and her journeys she takes to the Amazon.  My favorite studies I’ve completed by Kelly are What Love Is and Nehemiah and I’ve read her book Where the River Runs and started the Hannah (tween) Bible study with my daughter.

5.  Moody Publishers Authors Erica Wiggenhorn and Kim Erickson-  Up until this point I’ve recommended Lifeway authors only.  There are soooo many great Bible study teachers out there from other publishers and moody publishers does a great job publishing great women studies as well.  I’m a little biased, about these two authors because they are my friends.  I first met Erica and Kim 8 years ago in AZ when I lived there.

Ever since then we have prayed for one another and cheered each other on in our ventures.  It’s so exciting to see their work published and for women to be learning about Jesus through them!  Both of their studies following along a book of the Bible and has lots of biblical and life application.  Please check out their work on the their websites at Erica Wiggenhorn and Kim Erickson.

Bottom line we reap what we sow, we grow when we allow God to use our time and weakness for His greater plans.  Each study we complete he will use to equip us for what He has store for us in our lives.  Check your local church for their Bible studies, join one on-line or host one in your home!

What is your favorite Bible study and/or teacher?

What are you studying?

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Here are the Top 3 Prayer Posts on My Blog

 

I hope you read last week’s post The Top 5 Most Googled and Viewed Posts on my Blog.  I was really surprised what people want to know, what they’re searching for and where they were spending the most time on the blog.

This week I wanted to focus on the top Prayer posts since these posts were one of the top searches and shared the most on social media.

Prayer has been ever evolving in my life.  There’s been times I’ve been distant in my prayer life and times I’ve had such a passion for prayer I can’t imagine it not being a part of every single moment of my day.  But there is a recent revelation about prayer that has impacted my life tremendously I would like to share with you.

Whatever you’re going through in your life.  Whatever trial, struggle or burden you’re carrying, what if these things are God answering a prayer you prayed before?  What if the things we go through is God preparing, equipping us for what we have prayed for?

Top 3 Prayer Posts on my Blog:

  1.  Living on a Prayer- When you read the title of this post I bet the first thing that comes to your mind is Bon Jovi’s hit song, ‘Living on a Prayer.’  It’s a song about struggle trying to make ends meet, the people in the song have to keep going and hold on to what they got.  They are walking a fine line between making it or not and they are living moment by moment–living on a prayer.  Click on link to read more.

Imagine if we lived life like that?  Every moment of every day was dependant upon our prayers?

Or each moment was dependant on God for every breath, every step, every need of our day?

2.  Breaking the cycle of Prayerlessness-  Do we depend on God for our needs?  Prayer is our lifeline to God.  No prayer, no relationship.  Maybe you’ve been praying a prayer for a long time and wondered is God listening or even care?  How long have you prayed for your request?

Do you pray for your request regularly, over a period of time?  Our prayers don’t change God’s heart, they change our hearts.  We don’t know when God will answer our prayers but don’t give up, that’s exactly what the enemy wants us to do.  Keep Praying!  Click on link to read more.

3.  5 P’s to Pray Over Your Marriage- Marriage is one of the biggest blessings in life, yet 40%-50% of marriages end up in divorce.  If marriage is such a blessing, then why do so many marriages fail?

I think there are many factors at play–a person’s background and upbringing, parents who had a loving successful marriage, children, poor role models, trials, dysfunctional habits.  But I think one of the most important factors that help couples STAY together is PRAYER.  Click on link to read more {Also a FREE Printable!}.

These top posts remind me how important it is to depend on God, stay near to him to prevent broken cycles of prayer and how important it is to pray for our relationships.  I personally need to stay accountable and be disciplined and intentional in my prayer life or it doesn’t happen.

I hope and pray these posts can be a reminder to make prayer a priority in all of our lives, to be intentional, to allow God’s plans to be the greater purpose in our lives.

We can't go through what we go through without the power of prayer in our lives. Click To Tweet
'When you are walking in your purpose. People can see it.' #quote #RachelHollis Girl Wash Your Face #LiveoutyourpurposeClick To Tweet

How has Prayer Been Most Effective in Your Life?

In what ways do you struggle with Prayer?

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Top 5 Most Googled and Viewed Posts on My Blog

 

What would you like to know more about?

See what people want to know when they come visit my blog!

In the month of June, I’m celebrating my 6th year {blogiversary}, I will be posting Top 5 posts of my favorite things, blog posts and other exciting things!  Make sure to follow along!

What do people really want to know?  According to blogging.org there are over 152 million bloggers total in the world.  That’s a lot of bloggers!  So how does anyone find their voice when their swimming in a sea of people who want to be noticed?

By knowing what readers want to read about and by connecting with them.

I’ve started using google analytics, a tool that helps me discover what people want to know.  I’ve discovered in 2018, people from South Africa, Canada, Singapore, China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and New Zealand have visited my blog at one time. This is so encouraging knowing there are readers in non-chrisitan countries reading content about Jesus.

I can also see stats of how many views, what people are interested in and what they want to know by their searches on my blog.

Here are the Top 5 Most Google Searches that Bring People to My Blog:

People want to know,

  1. Who is the most kind person in the Bible?
  2. My name.  People actually google who is Heather Gillis?
  3. What to pray when you don’t know what to pray for?
  4. Ways God equips us
  5. Why we should pray for our neighbor?

Knowing this information, is sooooo encouraging to know people want to know who is kind, how God prepares us and why we should pray for others!  What’s even more amazing is how God uses this blog to help point people to him by searching my name and these topics.  I’m so honored that my blog even pops up in these searches when people are seeking information on these topics!

Here are the top posts people have spent the most time.

Top 5 Most Viewed Posts on My Blog:

7 Kindest People in the Bible – Free Printable

Why It’s Important to Pursue Life with Grit–  Free Printable

5 Ways God Equips us From Victim to Victor

Have you Ever Felt Like an Imposter?

3 Ways to Pray for Your Family with Confidence–  Free Printable

It’s so good to know that these are the topics and pages people want to read about.  This shows people want to learn more about being kind, how to pursue life with more courage, how to pursue victorious living, be real and genuine and how to pray!  Most of these post also include a free printable bookmark, to keep as a reminder of the message.  Knowing this information gives me a better idea of what topics people are the most interested in.  Here are the most shared posts.

Top 5 Posts with the Most Social Media Shares

  1. 5 P’s to Pray Over Your Marriage–  Free Printable and Bible Reading Plan
  2. 3 Ways to Pray for Your Family With Confidence –Free Printable
  3. How to Break the Cycle of Prayerlessness
  4. The Message and the Miracle
  5. Have You Ever Felt Like an Imposter?

Ironically the majority of the most shared posts are about prayer, which is so encouraging!  As I grow as a blogger and learning how to enter into the sea of other bloggers, I hope and pray God uses this blog to point others to Jesus.

My goal is to reach people who otherwise wouldn’t go to church, been hurt by the church or God, and who have struggles.  My mission is to help those with these past hurts and struggles pursue life with more grit and courage to fully live out and embrace the purpose God has for them.  When we do, I promise we won’t regret it.

When we embrace our struggles and allow them to be used for God’s plans we truly embrace His purpose for us.  I pray my blog will continue to be a resource to help during tough times and provide encouragement when you need it most.

What topics would you like to know more about?

What is your favorite blogpost?

Did you enjoy this blogpost? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE E-Book The Jericho Prayer and a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.

I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!

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