Thriving in Grace and Joy | | God gives us a healthy dose of grace to help us move forward during sanctification instead of becoming discouraged. Joy is good medicine.

Thriving in Grace and Joy

Have you ever gotten discouraged after finding out someone’s negative opinion of you? God sees us as a work in progress whether people do or not, but some days I have wanted to crawl into a hole never to emerge. On second thought, I change it to “banishing” myself to a secluded self-sustaining farm…near the beach. What about my family? Oh, right. One of my family members is what got me started on this subject. Let me tell you a story…

“Mama, I’m a tiger,” my then three-year-old son declared one Sunday morning while clutching his tiny, stuffed tiger, Stripers. He loves Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and sometimes would play in that land of make-believe, complete with Tigie’s clone, Stripers.

But it was what he said next that surprised me. “Mama, you’re not a mama-tiger, you’re a dinosaur.” I laughed along with the rest of us as he continued to declare other family members as the animal he viewed them. He said his baby sister was a sheep, and his Daddy was a zebra. (My husband, Justin’s salt-and-pepper hair comes to mind. Hah!) He named almost all of his family members, giving us all a good chuckle before church.

I wanted to banish myself to a secluded self-sustaining farm…near the beach.

I can’t believe I’m about to tell you this. Later, while pondering my son’s choice of animal for me, I recalled a recent memory. I caught my reflection in the bathroom mirror while my son wreaked havoc as he “washed” his hands. It was dinosaur-like—as in angry dinosaur. I can only imagine you’re picturing me with this ridiculous face. I looked comical enough to dispel some of the anger I was feeling at the time.

God knew I had been trying to love my son during his year-long potty training stubbornness instead of getting impatient with him. I had been trying to make a practice of putting off anger; the change was slow coming. I mean, my son said I was a dinosaur. I told my friends I was convinced God had given this kid to me for my sanctification. Seriously, though, I didn’t want the prolonged transformation of sanctification to dip me into discouragement.

I was convinced God had given this kid to me for my sanctification.twitter

Discouragement can stop the course of spiritual growth in us as much as anything. I think it’s good to allow God to bring change to our hearts as we apply the Word, but He also gives us a healthy dose of grace. God is ever merciful.

Proverbs 17:22 NASB A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

The Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon refers to the word “broken” from Proverbs 17:22 as an afflicted, sad spirit. I love how the KJV says a “merry” heart. A merry heart keeps us from getting discouraged.

A merry heart keeps us from getting discouraged.twitter

Thriving in Grace and Joy | | God gives us a healthy dose of grace to help us move forward during sanctification instead of becoming discouraged. Joy is good medicine.

During the interim of stretched patience, I realized I had made a negative impression on my son, but it didn’t have to be lasting. I decided the next time I was tempted to lose my cool with him, it was better to remember my ludicrous, roaring expression as a way to move forward. I could give myself grace, put off anger, and flip the hand-washing-drudgery into fun. I could play one of our favorite invented song games with him instead of roaring out commands.

Since my son likes animals so much, we pretend to be a different animal while singing the alphabet song as we wash his hands. One day he asked me to be a fox. It is hilarious when we pretend to be the stealthy, sly fox singing the alphabet. I don’t think we have ever gotten through the entire alphabet without busting a gut.

I’m not trying to say to laugh at our sin, or refuse to deal with it. I’m not suggesting to wink at our weaknesses, or “frustrate the grace of God.” I’m telling you today that we can give ourselves grace and move forward in the joy of the Lord while God’s preparing His spotless Church to meet Him one day at His coming (Ephesians 5:27).

That, to me, is thriving.

Let’s give ourselves grace and move forward in the joy of the Lord.twitter

Comedy DVD Giveaway

In honor of this message, I’m hosting a giveaway of Christian comedian Tim Hawkins newest DVD, Just About Enough. My husband and I had to sell our tickets to a local show of his when I was near the due date with baby number four last. I have precipitous labor, and I was concerned I wouldn’t have made it to the hospital in time. (As a matter of fact, she was my fastest. 1 hour, 41-minute labor. We were only in the hospital room 9 MINUTES before she was born. Adrenaline rush, anyone?) So I thought it would be fun to have this giveaway because that means that my husband had to buy me the DVD to “preview the giveaway package.” Don’t worry, the winner will receive an unopened one.

Giveaway Dates

Tuesday, March 7 – Sunday, March 19

Update: the giveaway has now ended.

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Satire: What Kind of Christmas Decorator Are You?

People fall into different categories concerning Christmas, markedly shown by their decorating alone. If you celebrate Christmas (I certainly hope so), you are probably already squirming in your chair wondering which category you fall into.

Good. 😉

Eager Elves Category

People in the Eager Elves category begin to celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving has even arrived. They begin listening to Christmas music, making out their lists, and begin decorating their house in mid-November. I have heard of these weird elves…I mean people. Don’t worry, they are just deceived by the Stuffmarts of this world putting out red and green merchandise in the middle of October. The only explanation for these people is that they must be extremely organized.

Normal Celebrators Category

The day after Thanksgiving is the day these celebrators can begin thinking about Christmas because well, Thanksgiving is over…duh. The weekend of Black Friday the Christmas decorations begin to be pulled out and awesomesauce Christmas music is the background for the family putting up the lights and tree. The only explanation for these people is that they must be extremely, um, normal. My family falls into this category, of course.

Procrastinator Decorator Category

Some people are just procrastinators…er… really busy. They wait til Christmas Adam to put up their decorations. (Christmas Adam is the day before Christmas Eve. Adam came before Eve. It works nicely that way.) Since they have put up their adornments so late in the year, they automatically procrastinate…I mean give themselves an extension of removing them at the end of January instead of at the end of December. The only explanation for these people is that they must be extremely, um, busy.

Christmas Olympics Category

A narrow percentage of folks really knock it out of the park; they fall into the “Christmas is everyday” mindset. Their symptoms are characterized by keeping their decorations out all year round. Have you ever passed someone’s house at night in May and seen their Christmas lights up, some even still lit? These are the people who own the Christmas stores open all year round and started the “Christmas in July” cliché. Don’t worry, it’s just their wishful thinking that if they do these things everyone else will, too. The only explanation for these people is that they must be in some sort of Christmas Olympics.

*Edited from a post published from the archives.

Every once in awhile I like to post something just for fun. I don’t know about you, but I could use some more laughter in my life! Question: Which category do you fit into?

4 Results of Having a Spirit of Excellence

In case you missed it, you can check out 4 Results of Having a Spirit of Excellence at my friend, Kela’s. Did you know one of those results is that people will reward and promote you? I learned quite a lot while studying some chapters in Daniel, and I don’t want you to miss out! So go ahead and hop over to Kela’s and let me know what you think when you’re done reading!

There’s still a chance for you to take my READER’S SURVEY! Thank you to those who have let me know your thoughts. I’m thrilled to know how I can serve you better! Note: If you said yes to giving an endorsement, but didn’t already write it in, please enter the survey again and only fill out #10.

*This post may be linked with RaRaLinkup, TellHisStory, HeartEncouragementThursday, FreshMarketFriday, Grace&Truth, and more.

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springboard for stress

A Springboard for Stressful Moments

Welcome back, friends! I have a couple of announcements, but before I get to that I’m sharing a tip that will act like a springboard to take you out of stressful moments.

If we had a “stress pressure” cuff like we have a blood pressure cuff, some of us might find we have “high stress pressure.” Some days, stress levels just go through the roof. Sometimes sleep and time with God get replaced or short-changed while trying to accomplish what we need to do that is unique to our life season. Add family or relationship problems, too much on the calendar, and maybe even some sniffles, and we are “in the red.”

But there’s a verse I’ve read a million times that I am looking at through a new lens. I think being thankful is a balm for anxiety. Check out this verse:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6 ESV

Philippians 4:6

The counsel is not to be anxious, but in all that we are dealing with to pray, letting our requests be made known to God. When I was looking at this verse recently, those two words “with thanksgiving” stood out to me. Why is that little prepositional phrase so important?

  1. Being thankful helps us remember our Source. Almost every verse in the Bible that says to give thanks follows with wording that tells us who to give thanks to: God. It shifts our focus from what we are thankful for to who we are thankful to. Being thankful for things and people is good, but connecting that same thankfulness to the Giver is even better! 🙂
  2. Being thankful has a way of reminding us that God has taken care of us before, and if He’s taken care of us before, He’s going to do it again! That makes me breathe a sigh of relief. All we need to do is ask (Matthew 7:7a), and thank Him for the answers in faith.

God doesn’t want us to be twisted up in stress like a tangled mess of string. Let thankfulness be a springboard to take you out of anxious moments. Doing this blows my tension away, and all that remains is a gentle breeze of peace. This seems to be a good practice whether or not it’s a stressful day!

On to the Announcements

Happy Thanksgiving, U.S.A. friends!


God recently laid it on my heart to take a blog and social media breather that started a few days ago and will go for probably several more. Not that I would disappear completely, but scale way back. I’ve been here before, and it’s not much easier. At first, I gave mental assent. 🙂

God, You are so right! I need this right now!

Then I talked myself out of it, listing all the reasons why it shouldn’t happen.

I keep reading about making a schedule for posting online as a blogger. How can I build the habit if I’m being inconsistent? My people need to know I’m with them! What if they think I’m off my rocker? I’m going to “get behind!” What if the social media channel algorithms bump me out of view? I. Can’t. Breathe. 

(Anyone have an inhaler?)

I can relate to the turkey above. He’s trying to get out of it, but dying is inevitable. I have to take up my cross daily (Luke 9:23) even with social media. God knows what I need!

While I’m getting some air, will you take an anonymous survey so I can serve you better? It will take you less than 5 minutes!


What do you do to avoid or alleviate anxiety when it looks like you’re starting to get “high stress” pressure?

God doesn’t want us to be twisted up in stress, but shows us how to springboard out of it! [Tweet this]

*Turkey photo used with permission via the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Photo was altered with text overlay. **This post may be linked up.

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