When I became a mom, I was blown away by how different momming was from the expectations in my head.
I was told that I would have “sleepless nights”, but I thought oh, I’ll lose a couple of hours of sleep. Then my children came and I realized that sleepless nights can literally mean, sleepless nights. No sleep. Nada. Zilch.
There were days when I would have a sleepless night hangover, functioning only with mass amounts of coffee and looking like a zombie straight out of the Walking Dead. (I’ve never watched that show, but I’ve seen the title picture and it looks just like I did.)
Marriage, let’s get for real here. NOBODY told me that it would be this hard. So. Much. Giving. I mean, it’s an everyday thing.
Why did everyone make it seem like it would be like playing house in 3rd grade? I was super bossy back then. I always got my way.
Marriage is nothing like playing house in 3rd grade. I will testify right now.
What about work? Friends? Heck, the cashier at grocery store? Every time I think I’ve pegged a cashier at the store as grumpy, they turn out like Mary Poppins! And the Mary Poppins of the world, end up like Oscar the Grouch.
Like judging a book by its cover, what we expect out of a situation or person may not always turn out like we thought. Some expectations may be positive (I expect my friend to meet me for coffee) and some may be negative (I expect there to be bad weather because the forecast included thunderstorms), but most involve something that we want or don’t want to happen.
When we don’t get what we want, we get frustrated.
Unmet expectations can lead to our biggest disappointments. Whether realistic or unrealistic, the expectation that is never fulfilled by man may lead to hurt, pain, and negative emotions.
But let me tell you, there is hope. The definition of hope is this:
hope (n) – a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
The word hope appears 129 times in the Bible. This tells me that God wants us to know that we can have expectation about what He says in the Bible. He will never leave those expectations unmet.
The biblical definition of hope is, confident expectation. There aren’t too many things in life that we can be confident in, but Jesus Christ is one of them.
Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. – Proverbs 3:6
I’m learning that no matter what the expectations of circumstances, pray. Submit it to God. Ask Him for guidance and then expect Him to reveal His will for you.
Sometimes I literally open my hands and raise them to the Lord as if to hand it over to Him.
The outcome is sometimes not what I wanted, but when you have turned it over to the Lord, you can be confident that this is His will for you.
In those moments when I feel like things didn’t go my way and I might be feeling frustrated, I try remember that He is my hope. That He is for me and not against me and that whatever the reason for the outcome or even the journey that gets us to the outcome, that He will strengthen me within it.
He will strengthen me within it.
Let down can become my lift off!
Remember how deep and how wide His love for you is!
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. – Ephesians 3:17-18
He will strengthen YOU within your circumstances. Trust Him. He will keep you strong even when the world may let you down.
Each and every October/Novemberish after the time change, I feel winter set in with its cloak of darkness. It happens so fast and it catches me off guard every. single. time. It’s only 4:30pm, how can it feel like midnight?! I spend days, even weeks wishing it were spring. I feel the need to ditch this premature middle-of-the-night feeling and enjoy the bike-riding-til-8:00pm feeling instead. I have a lot of trouble accepting the season.
How true is this same analogy with the seasons of life that we journey through? When I find myself elbow-deep in the sink with dishes that never end or at Kroger making a scene because I won’t let my 4 year-old eat a grape that she found on the floor, I tend to be fully aware of the season that I’m currently in. I notice the college student buying yogurt. She’s buying yogurt all by herself without a little person telling her they hate that kind or that they want M&Ms instead.
She is in a different season.
Or maybe I notice the mom with older children. She can leave her younger kids with the older while she and the husband go on a date. Built-in babysitters. A different season.
Then there’s the friend who has this great job making a impact in the community and doing what she loves. Oh how I wish I were there. But that’s not my season. That’s her’s.
Just as winter turns to spring, the landscape of our circumstances change. The stark darkness of our night duty with baby transition to sleeping like a baby. Seasons of struggle become the very moments that our hearts will long for. Not because of the things we struggle with, but because of how we can look back and see the good within them. Each one hand-picked by the Creator for us to experience. He will never put us into a place that we are not meant to be.
The Bible says,
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.. – Ecclesiastes 3:1
If you’re familiar with this scripture, then you know that it goes into a long list of things that have a specific time. The good and the bad. Like the scenes at Kroger and the potty training victories. The trips to the store to buy yogurt alone and the times when the crew drags along with you.
It also says,
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. – Acts 1:7
This tells me that even though we have no idea what’s coming up or why we’re here and someone else is there, that God is in control. It’s a part of His grander plan.
Let’s embrace the place where God has us. Let’s find the purpose in our season. Right. Now.
If we are busy focusing our sights on where we aren’t, how can we truly be present where we are? What is in front of you right now that you might be missing?
Sister, nothing brings greater joy than contentment. Seasons are temporary. As fleeting as the wind.
Accept the season. Whatever it may be. Know that Jesus Christ works in the mundane and the messy. He makes all things new and reveals His purpose if you just take joy in the season that you are in.
My heart aches. My spirit is low with unworthiness. I’ve held it in for days. I’ve held it together so that not a soul sees how I truly feel. I’ve gotten good at wearing a mask. It’s like a costume party every day. Sometimes I grow tired of being someone else on the outside.
Why do the little things bother me so much? My rational side knows the silliness of it all, but my heart still aches with the feelings of low self-worth.
What will be the trigger today? Will I make it through without a single tear?
It was a good day. I even felt joy while I took a walk and the sun shined down on me. Almost out of the woods I see thething that causes my anxiety today. I try shaking it off. I remind myself that it doesn’t matter.
That I am loved.
I hug my daughter and give her a tickle hoping that her giggle makes it all better. For a brief moment, I forget about the thing that made me feel this way.
The dishes are piled high. I make my way to the sink. As I scrape the pot with my fingernail in an attempt to remove the stubborn stuck-on food, the resistance is all it takes to remind me of the thing. The tears begin to well up and my inside begins to show outside. I don’t want to let it out because it makes no sense that something so simple can cause me such hurt. If I even say the words out loud, I may seem crazy. As the tears start to roll down my face, I blame it all on the pot and its stupid macaroni leftovers. I try very hard to keep them inside, but each one fights its way out despite my efforts.
Why do I question my value based on worldly circumstances?
The voice of truth echoes in my head with Psalm 139.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. – Psalm 139: 13-14
There is a silent battle over what I will believe in this moment. I give into the lie and I let out a big, fat, ugly cry. I feel…
Sometimes letting it out and being honest with ourselves is the best way to heal. I have my moment. My mascara (which claims to be waterproof) runs and my feelings turn me into a raccoon. I breathe deeply and then there are short breaths like a 5 year-old after a tantrum.
Then, the tears are through and I have nothing left.
After all the messiness is over, I feel a new thing. It’s as though I have been crying on the shoulder of Jesus Himself. I feel mercy in my soul. I have chose to listen to the lie, diving right in, and yet the arms of Jesus are wrapping me up in mercy when I deserve justice.
The sunshine in the morning washes over me in a tidal wave of grace. It becomes impossible to feel anything but joy.
Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning. – Psalm 30:5
Grace and mercy have stepped in to remind me that I am loved.
UNBELOVED NO MORE.
The name Amy means beloved. It makes sense that the enemy would try to steal that designation.
I prayed this over myself. I am going to need this prayer for days to come. If you ever struggle with feelings of low self-worth, I think you should pray this prayer too!
I ask forgiveness that I have given into the lies instead of declaring Your Truth. I renounce unbelief. Your word says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. That I am not rejected, but accepted. That I am beloved. I am the apple of Your eye. I am of great worth and value. I break any agreements that I have made with the devil allowing the spirits of rejection, fear, insecurity, shame, and unforgiveness to manifest. I command all negative spirits to go in the name of Jesus. Help me to resist the enemy and his unloving thoughts.
I thank you for your mercy and grace. I thank you for taking my sin and shame with you to the cross. Heal and renew my mind, Lord. I am surrounded with favor and grace. I lack nothing because of You. I ask for You to supernaturally help me to overcome negative thoughts about myself and ask you to take authority over my mind, mouth, and actions.
In Jesus name,
If this is something that you need to pray to Jesus over yourself, I have made a PRINTABLE PRAYER that I would love for you to download, print out, and refer to when you’re feeling unworthy! Click here to download that!
I also made this phone wallpaper so that I see this truth every time that I look at my phone. You can download this Phone Wallpaper here. Just save it to your pictures and make it your wallpaper in settings!
Have you seen War Room yet? It was in theaters for a looooong time and I am so glad that it was. Quite possibly one of the best Christian films of all time, it seems to have spurred a new awakening to prayer.
The bible says:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12
Prayer is the center of our very relationship with the Father. One of the most important things that I’ve learned about prayer is that our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (Eph. 6:12) The way to fight the wars of this world is with prayer.
That’s why I was so excited to see War Room come out in theaters! What a powerful message it conveyed. What an awakening it seemed to reveal among Christians. You don’t have to have all the answers or figure it all out.
He will listen to you.
There are countless verses about prayer in the Bible. It is an important weapon against evil and Jesus wanted us to know that!
When War Room came out, the first thing I did was try to figure out where I could make a “war room”. I couldn’t think of a place. Our closet is pretty big, but honestly, it’s never clean enough to count on it as a usable space. And I loved the movie, but there is no way I can empty out my closet like the lady did on the movie! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED her space and all her notes and verses. I just don’t have the space to put the things that belong in my closet.
I just want to encourage you in that if you don’t have the “perfect” place for a war room, do not fret. A war room or prayer closet can be anywhere where you can go to be alone with God. It could be your bedroom after the kids go to bed. It could be your back porch.
Long commute anyone?
For years, my husband told me that he was having trouble finding good alone time with God. I finally asked him what he does with his commute. He drives about 45 minutes each way to work. He said he listened to podcasts and the Daily Audio Bible. That’s great! But how perfect is a long car ride. It’s like being in a silent bubble for 45 straight minutes. God can use that! The best thing is that it’s built in time. No need to make room in your day.
His war room became his car.
Use what you have, but make it intentional. Go to WAR with the evil forces and storm the gates of hell with prayer.
And guess what?! War Room is available to pre-buy right now! It comes out December 22nd!!
Watch the trailer below and go ahead and pre-buy your copy for just $14.99 at Family Christian!
With your pre-buy purchase you will get a FREE devotional journal along with it! Now is the time!
$25 Family Christian Certificate GIVEAWAY!
Who wants to win $25 to spend at Family Christian online or in-store? Simply leave a comment on this post!
This giveaway will end on Wednesday, December 23rd at 11:59pm CT. I will use And the Winner is plugin to choose a winner after the giveaway ends.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Family Christian. All opinions are 100% my own.
We’re driving down the road on the way to school when my 4 year old yells out, “Momma! Turn on “there is no such thing as impossible”!”. She does it on the way home from school too. On the way to church and on the way back.
I think she may like that song…
It’s a good thing I do too! I saw it performed live at the Dove Awards last month. Building 429 ROCKED THE HOUSE opening the show with it! Loved every minute of it.
See for yourself:
Another one of my girls’ favorites is “Start A Fire” by Unspoken. They have created hand motions for that song.
And then there’s my absolute favorite from the Outcry Tour, “Even So Come” by Passion featuring Kristian Stanfill. It’s so amazing.
If you listen to Christian radio, you’ve probably heard all of these. I love the radio, but sometimes I just want to have all my favorite songs in one place where I can turn them on whenever. Or be forced by a 4 year old to play what she wants.
That’s why I love the Wow Hits cds! I picked up the Wow Hits 2016 from Family Christian the other day. It has every one of those songs I mentioned and SO MANY MORE. I don’t think that it has a single song that I don’t like. It comes with 2 cds with a total of 33 hits.
Here are some on the cd:
“Greater” Mercy Me
“I Am Not Alone” Kari Jobe
“Drops in the Ocean” Hawk Nelson
“Who I Am” Blanca
“King of My Heart” Love & The Outcome
That’s just a taste, there’s so much more. You can get Wow Hits 2016 at Family Christian! The regular version is $14.99 or you can get the Deluxe version for $18.99.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Family Christian. All opinions expressed are 100% my own!
Thanks to Family Christian, I will once again be attending the DOVE AWARDS this year! It was an experience that I will never forget last year. This year I can only assume that it will top what I’ve already seen. It will be ONE WEEK from today on October 13th. I am beyond stoked and you should prepare your news feeds!
The Christian artists work so hard putting out fabulous music that encourages us each and every day. I am thankful to be able to attend this award show where many of them will be recognized for that hard work.
Erica Campbell and Sadie Robertson will be hosting and it is sure to be a night of music, fun, and Jesus.
Some of my favorites who will be performing are:
I Am They
There is also going to be an opportunity for those who have VIP passes to SING IN THE CHOIR with Casting Crowns, oh my goodness.
The show is already SOLD OUT so it should be a very packed house. Check out all the latest news about who is performing, presenting, and nominated at the Dove Awards here.
Our pastor has been preaching on the book of Exodus for quite a while. It’s been a 13-week message covering many different lessons learned through the story of the Israelites.
I find that I can relate to so many parts of the Exodus story. One of the greatest biblical figures of all time, Moses for instance. Moses argued with God about his inadequacy. Sounds like me…
But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” – Exodus 4:10
Ahem, hello. Hi, yes me too. Not a good speaker. That’s me.
I relate to the fact that Moses didn’t consider himself good enough for the job God was calling him to do.
What I love about this story most is what God says next…
Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord?12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”- Exodus 4:11-12
God says that HE made his very mouth! He didn’t intend to make Moses do it alone. He said that he would tell him everything he needed to say. Even still, there was a”but”…
But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” – Exodus 4:13
God doesn’t care about our “buts”. God turns our “buts” into “yes sirs”. He takes our discouragements and turns them into courage.
He told Moses that He would be there the whole way, even giving him help from his brother, Aaron.
I can also relate to the Israelites. They worried constantly, didn’t they?
Will there be enough food? Can we trust that we’ll find our way? Even though God has done miracles for us before, can He really do more?
At the end of our pastor’s sermon series, the big question of why was answered. Why did the Israelites go through all they went through? Why did God choose a people that would rebel and continuously lead them back to Himself even though they worshiped other gods?
I couldn’t help but think it was a simple answer. But it’s the answer to anything and everything that God does. And the answer why we should do everything that we do.
For God’s GLORY.
When we live our lives like Christ.
When we stop feeling inadequate, as if God can’t use us.
When we stop our worry and simply trust.
When we leave Egypt and the wilderness in the dust.
Only then can we enter our Promised Land where our exodus will finally end.
How the review of this book and the end of our pastor’s sermon lined up so well is beyond me. God had this planned the whole time. Family Christian gave me a chance to read Max Lucado’s newest book, Glory Days. You know I’m a Max fanatic. This book didn’t disappoint. (It’s pretty too!)
Glory Days is full of subject matter for the very things that I mentioned above. If you find yourself as a wandering, worrying Israelite, you will find encouragement among the pages of this book.
Ever studied the book of Joshua before? No worries if you haven’t. Just read this book! Max Lucado breaks down the many stories of Joshua and the leading of his people with God’s help. My favorite chapter of this one is Chapter 13- You Be You. The entire book is jam-packed with wisdom. It’s all about learning to live out our inheritance!
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The leaves on the tree across the street began to fall a couple of weeks ago. The green grass fades into the background as reds, golds, oranges, and browns now cover the ground in its place. I feel that first crisp chill in the air as summer is winding down. The world becomes a little more visible as the trees become transparent without their thick covering of leaves.
My how the world around us changes with a simple switch of the season.
It’s harvest time again.
Fall is the time of year when we transition from the harsh heat of the summer to the welcoming cool breezes of autumn. The cozy colors fall make their debut. Campfires fill their air with their smokey, warm goodness. Piles of leaves begin to form in front and backyards followed by cheerful giggles of children jumping into the piles.
There seems to be an overwhelming feeling of thanksgiving during the harvest months. Besides the obvious holiday, smells of apple cider and pumpkin spice always bring about a heightened sense of nostalgia.
Reminds me of this verse:
The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. – Matthew 9:37
What if we adopted a new nostalgia during the fall season? What is we used this time of year to share Jesus with others out of the abundance in our hearts? Jesus told his disciples that there is a large harvest of potential believers out there, but the laborers to go and bring them into the Kingdom are few. It’s like an entire apple orchard brimming with an abundance of apples and no one to pick them. It’s exciting to me to think that Jesus could use me as His laborer. What a special harvest that I could reap!
Gathering Grain is all about abundance. Abundance of love, life, prayer, and blessings.
Let’s pray that as we enter into this new season that God shows us where we need to reap, but also where we should sow.
The first day of fall is Wednesday, September 23rd!
If you LOVE the pillow wraps in my pictures above like I do, Family Christian is the place to get them! I am in love with their new home decor products. Those adorable pillow wraps are only $6.90! You can find them at your local store or online!
My favorite is my new Grace & Gratitude lumbar pillow. It has brought a cozy and warm feeling to my chair. They have so much more than pillows, though! Head to Family Christian and take a look around!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Family Christian Stores. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.
If I only had a dime for every time that I heard someone tell me that “it’s going to be ok”. I would be filthy rich and I really would be doing alright wouldn’t I? It’s easier said than done. That person on the other side of your personal trial declaring that everything is going to end up fine. Thanks person. If only you were where I was.
I once offered to make a friend’s wedding cake. I had made one before. It just totally stressed me out so I didn’t make them often. So why did I offer to make this one? I think that it must be because I’m a glutton for punishment.
I was ahead of schedule with this cake the week of the wedding. So much, in fact, that I questioned why I ever hesitated to do more wedding cakes. The day of the wedding came and I was whipping buttercream and frosting those bad boys like a pro. I was feeling so confident.
Then it came time to roll out the fondant and over each tier. Mind you, this is my least favorite part of making a cake. I was kneading. I was rolling. I was ripping. Wait, I was WHAT?! The fondant melts, rips, and falls apart as if I’ve just been plucked from my kitchen and placed in a sauna to make this cake. I had not even considered the simmering 92 degree heat that day having an effect on the fondant.
My heart is racing. There are only TWO hours until I have to deliver this cake and it isn’t covered in fondant. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if I was going to live to see another day at the rate of which my mental meltdown was happening. I was now on the floor screaming the phrase “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO” over and over with tears running down my face. My husband walks in, grabs my shoulders, and proclaims “EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK!”.
He then tells me that he is going to the store to purchase new fondant and that we are going to get this done together.
I want to make a point here. Here I am in the present looking back on this cake story and thinking about how truly awful that day was. Horrific, just terrible. But do you know something? Everything was ok.
I made it through.
I thought life itself was over that day. God has a way of taking end-of-the-world moments and turning them into good, doesn’t He? It’s not always something we see in the midst of the storm, but that we look back from a place of resolution and see. Times are hard. Trials are rough, but Jesus calms the waves. When we come out on the other side of that trial we see where Jesus’s hand was.
Like for instance, the day I made this cake. After my crisis ended and I was able to deliver the cake (covered in fondant- hubby to the rescue!), not a single person had any idea that it was different fondant and that I had such a hard time. The cake was a hit and tasted wonderful! I see how God got me through those last couple of hours. I see now that He wanted me to go through that in order to look back on it now and know that even in the roughest times, He got me through. I obviously didn’t have the strength or mental state to get through it on my own.
This goes for any trial or tribulation that you may go through. Job loss, financial troubles, health problems, marital problems, you name it. It can seem so dark at times with no way out. God pulls us through these very situations so that we can see how He has rescued us and then remember it for the next storm.
John 16:33 says, I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. God never says that tribulations are easy. He says that we are going to have tribulation (or terrible experiences making a wedding cake). But the very same God that overcame the world through his son, Jesus is here to help you get through your stuff. Can I get an Amen to that?
You, my friend, will get through it.
By the way, if you’re ever considering, oh I don’t know, offering to make a wedding cake for a friend in 92 degree heat: be sure that you do a trial run to see if your fondant is going to hold up in that heat. Or even better, opt for no fondant. Ummm kay?
I read another Max Lucado book. (No real surprise there, eh?) It’s so good. Talk about tribulations. This book is called You’ll Get Through This and I think it’s one of my favorites of his. Full of stories of trials throughout the Bible, Max Lucado does a great job reminding the reader of ways that God does and can turn evil to good.
This book is encouraging, especially for those currently going through their own storms. The first time I read this book I was struggling with some serious things and it comforted me. It really did.
The one thing that he says over and over in this book is this:
You’ll get through this.
It won’t be painless.
It won’t be quick.
But God will use this mess for good.
Don’t be foolish or naive.
But don’t despair either.
With God’s help, you’ll get through this.
I may have despaired just a teensy bit in that cake trial. Ok, maybe more like a whole lot. We don’t have to despair. God has got this. We can lean on the promises that we find all throughout the Bible.
I’m celebrating a birthday that is bringing a whole new decade along with it. The big 3-0! I started to jot down a few things that I’ve learned and thought that maybe someone could benefit from my wisdom (or lack there of). There are many things I wish I would’ve known when I was younger, but I’m thankful for everything that has lead me to know what I do now.
1. Life as a kid was easy. Come on, don’t you remember thinking it was the end of the world when you couldn’t go to a friend’s house or go skating on Friday night because you got a D on an assignment? Or what about that bag of gummy sharks at the candy store you wanted, but couldn’t afford because you blew your allowance on some other gummy candy earlier in the week. These were our biggest problems. Need I say more?
2. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Yeah, yeah. Textbook, I know. (Pun intended) Give a person time before you decide what you think they are. You wouldn’t want that same book to be judging you by your cover. Give people a chance. I have found that prejudging a person before truly knowing them can lead to a complete misrepresentation of who that person really is.
3. It always gets better. Though I’ve been through some pretty rough times in my 30 years, I have learned that anger, pain, frustration, and struggles always get better. It just takes time. You may never forget the things that happened, but with time the direct effect lessens. Every day is a new day to begin again.
4. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Believe me, if there was a money tree, I would have found it. Budgeting and making sure to live within your means is one of the most important parts of life.
5. Change your atmosphere. Don’t let your atmosphere change you. Don’t become someone else because of who or what you’re around. Be a light to where you go and shine bright.
6. Floss. Yes, I went there. I am preaching to myself, even as I enter my thirties. No one likes gingivitis breath. Floss daily, just do it. (And I’ll try to remember too)
7. Live in the moment. Though I know this, it’s still one of the hardest things to live out. I’m a think-aheader so being present can be hard. If you can learn to live within the now, you can truly make the most of your memories. You’ll also gain a new perspective when you pay attention to what’s in front of you right now.
8. Love wins. I have been known to act in revenge and hate when met with the same. But the ultimate win is when you show love to someone who doesn’t deserve it.
9. Don’t diet. With what I’ve experienced in these 30 years, I am firm in the fact that diets will never work long term. Adapt your eating habits to a plan for eating that includes everything you like and keep it all in moderation. Life is too short to deprive yourself of the good stuff.
10. Say no. People pleasing can be destructive. Say no when you don’t want to say yes so that when you say yes, it means more. No does not mean never, it simply means not right now.
11. Be in pictures. Don’t go through life stepping out of pictures because of x,y,z. Take pictures, document your adventures, and make memories. Don’t look back and wish you had taken more pictures with so & so. Do it now!
12. Your childhood shapes you. Like it or not, how you are raised and what your family was like will shape what your future family will become. Whether by good example and striving to take on those characteristics or by bad and the want to do it the opposite. It shapes the person you become. Remember this as you raise children of your own.
13. Forgive. Give grace. I’m not just talking about praying over your dinner. Others will disappoint you. You will disappoint yourself. Learn to give grace in order to release yourself of the baggage that unforgiveness can pile on. Grace is one gift that Jesus gave us that we can also give others.
14. Surround yourself with those that love you. Life isn’t easy. It will bring many trials and it was never meant to be lived alone. It’s always good to have friends who will be there for you at a moment’s notice. It’s good to be the same for someone else, too.
15. Music heals. Sometimes saying words or hearing someone’s advice just won’t do. There is power in music. In my teenage years, music helped me cope with situations when I couldn’t express my thoughts. To this day, worship music has become one of the best ways for me to decompress.
16. Save, save, save. Save a little, if not a lot, at all times. You may feel a little sting at first, but you will thank yourself later. A little financial discipline will go a long way. It’s the easiest way to plan for an emergency, or perhaps a cruise. 😉
17. Shop around. Don’t buy the first one you see. Make sure that same thing isn’t cheaper elsewhere. Stores bank on convenience, yet it’s not always convenient to spend 25% more to save time. This is especially true on big ticket items.
18. Don’t believe everything that you hear (or see). Truth will always be proven in one way or another. Discern what you believe before you jump into something.
19. Mistakes are lessons in disguise. Hindsight is 20/20 eh? In the middle and after a mistake it can be hard to see, but down the road we learn from them. Just like a child who touches a hot pan feels the consequences of his action, he learns to not touch a hot pan again. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes that make you smarter and teach you a lesson.
20. Be joyful. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Always be joyful”. While the always part isn’t easy, try to find the joy in things, people, and places. Laugh at stupid and silly things. Don’t always take things seriously and find joy in the mundane.
21. Don’t make hasty decisions. In the wake of emotion or impulse, it’s easy to go with first thought. Take the time to weigh the options and formulate pros and cons for your decision. This makes regret less likely and boosts confidence in yourself.
22. Cheaper isn’t always better. While I am a diehard frugal freak, I have most definitely learned that buying things because they are cheaper doesn’t mean they are better. You don’t want to purchase a cheaper version only to have it break or simply not work and then have to buy another. Then you may have just as well bought the more expensive version in the first place.
23. Follow your gut. Hearts can be mislead by fleshy emotion. Most often, I go with my gut feeling. I have learned that this is often the Holy Spirit giving you a nudge even when it may seem hard or inconvenient.
24. Pray without ceasing. At any given moment, there is a reason to pray. From thanksgiving, to praise, to petitions. God wants us to come to Him for every need and praying keeps us in that relationship with Him.
25. God first. It’s hard to imagine putting anything before our family, our friends, our husband, our wife, our children, or even ourselves. Living our life for God and by His Word means that all those other things will fall into place just right. Putting God first means your time, your money, your faith, your friends, etc. Seek Him first and everything else will fall into place.
26. Slow down. Life is fast-paced and it only gets faster the older you get. Find the time to slow down and rest when you get a chance. You do not always have to be doing something.
27. A parent’s music from their childhood will always be weird to their kids. When I was young, my parents would play their oldies and think they were the most awesome tunes ever to hit the airwaves.I would think, “uuuummmm, THIS was cool?” I thought my Nsync and Nirvana would never be this way to my kids, but they don’t understand it. I think this theory will carry on for generations to come.
28. Be an encouragement. The bible says that sweet words are like honey. Speaking encouragement over people can change their entire day. This also goes for yourself. Find the good in everyone and tell them about it. P.S.- tell your parents that their music is awesome.
29. The best way to get social is to get off social media. While Facebook can be fun (and addicting), it’s real relationships in real life that make a true difference. Balance is key. Don’t let the life in front of you be overlooked by the one in your hand or at your fingertips.
30. THIRTY IS STILL YOUNG. This last year leading to thirty has been full of the realization that I can still consider this a young age. There is more life left in this body of mine. More years to enjoy God’s creation and love. And more years to fulfill my purpose. I will embrace it and try to live by the very things that I have learned within them.