The Reason I Write

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It’s simple, really. I do this writing thing for a reason. This blog is not a haphazard journal of random thoughts or a disheveled version of my personal life. Writing is a purposeful activity that brings me joy.

Yet I don’t write for me. I just get to benefit from my words. You may think that sounds cocky or irreverent, like I’m worshiping my own work. But, really, it’s a humble expression of the God’s-honest truth.

I write so that you will know you’re not alone in your struggles. I write so that you will know love and hope in a tangible way. I write so that you will know the truth of the goodness of God. Not for applause or acclaim. I simply want you to experience one minute, heck, even one second, of God’s grace. Believe me, I couldn’t write a single word without it. Thankfully, I don’t ever have to.

I have a message that can’t be contained. It has to be shared. And after I share it, I am blessed because I didn’t keep it all to myself. However, if I don’t share the truth nestled down deep inside of me, then I am not fully living. The truth sets us free, right? So, if I don’t offer you a taste of the free life, then I’m just hoarding my own freedom. How could I live with myself?

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As we all know, freedom doesn’t come without sacrifice. My pain on a page for the world to read, that’s sacrifice. But the glory that God gets through just one person finding hope through my struggles is worth the cost. Isn’t that what life is all about?

Sure, I experience healing from getting my thoughts onto paper. Sometimes, I can’t even talk about my hurt, but strangely, I can always seem to write about it. Once my authentic work is out there, peace follows in the knowing that someone will hopefully identify with it.

The thing is, even when my writing might seem a bit too vulnerable, my heart feels freer once I let the scary feelings out. Fear of judgement is quickly overshadowed by the undeniable presence of God’s love and faithfulness found in my story. These truths never fail to jump up from the page and surprise me. Closing my eyes in fear doesn’t remove His light of love.  

That, dear friends, is my reason for writing. To share the messy, unconventional, irrational grace that God has woven into my very ordinary and completely flawed life. To remind myself as I remind you that God has never left me and He never, ever will.

Why do you write?

Photo credit: Priscilla Westra
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Morality 101

Morals are the undercurrent that push us towards or pull us away from certain behaviors.

Morals are the undercurrent that push us towards or pull us away from certain behaviors. Without morals, we would be aimless in our pursuit for right living and a selfless existence. In fact, many people are walking around this way today because they have chosen to ignore the morals instilled in them at a young age.

The thing is, noone can ever say that they don’t know the difference between right and wrong. Ignorance on the subject of morality doesn’t exist in my opinion. We all have within us an inherent sense of good and bad. Even people who are born into a family built on lies and shady decisions know when they’re acting foolishly or not.

Children learn to have morals from the adults in their life. I don’t believe that there is such a thing as “good” morals or “bad” morals. You either live by a respectable code of conduct (morals) or you don’t. I liken morality to integrity. What you do when noone is looking gives us a good picture of what our level of morality is.

Morality is different than ethics. Ethics are what we do in public out of obligation to a contract we signed upon starting a new job or school. They are a list of rules that we agree to follow in order to function in a certain environment in a positive and healthy way. They are not morals. Now, morals can contribute to our ethical stance for sure. If we believe deep down that bullying is wrong because God made everyone in His image no matter their race, age, sex, or abilities, then we will more likely stand up against this type of behavior in our work/school environment.

Our morals push us to not just say we are for or against something, but rather, to act in agreement with our words.

Morals last after we punch our time card at 5:00pm on Friday and stay with us as we dive into the activities on the weekend. Do we all mess up and do things from time to time that are inconsistent with our morals? Heck yeah we do. But people who are guided by that God-given inner compass (some say conscience), are known for their reputable nature and not for their uncommon and out-of-character choices.

I was taught that lying is always wrong and honesty is always right. This is not a Christian teaching; it’s a morality thing. My Christian faith feeds this truth-seeking mindset, of course, but other religions also ascribe to this principle.

Morality should be a black and white issue but, in today’s “get rich quick by stepping on others” mentality, it has become very grey. Sleeping our way to the top because we deserve the promotion is an example of grey. Sacrificing our dignity on the altar of entitlement is a common thing these days. Assuming something instead of asking first is another way that morality takes a backseat to selfish gain. Honor always asks and is therefore a mark of morality.

The bottom line to this Morality 101 lesson is simple:

 Be a decent human being. Decency can’t be misunderstood. It does the right thing even when it’s inconvenient or hard. Because living with morals isn’t about taking the easy road. It’s about taking the high road. Every time. 

❤ LOVE and BLESSINGS ❤

Harmony 

Some of us blogging buddies are committed to writing more weekly on our blogs! We have a variety of topics we’ll be writing about! To check out these awesome chicks and where their writing is taking them, click on their blog links below!

Aimme at mamacentric.com
Abbie at grumblinggrace.com
Emily at emilyfisk.com
Gloryanna at onlyaseason.com 

The Mom She Needs

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Happy Tuesday, friends! I am over on Her View From Home again today with a piece about postpartum depression. I share my story of dealing with it for a little while after my first daughter’s birth. I hope you will take a peek into my life for a minute and read about my experience. Many moms struggle with this and I want to be a voice of freedom for them to also share their very personal experiences. Life (and all of it’s moments) is meant to be shared, right? Thank you for checking it out HERE.

Here’s a sneak peek:

She came home. Only to scream ugly comments to me that poke at the very identity of who I am. She said she wished I was never her mother. Doesn’t she know? I ache every single day because I AM her mother. The truth that she is a gift that I barely received is something I carry with me everywhere I go. It is a part of who I am.

 

To read more, click here! For more Her View From Home posts, click on the HVFH category in the drop down menu. I generally write about motherhood, faith, and grief along with other amazing mommy writers. Thanks!

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You Can’t Control But You Can Trust

She just needed to apply some truth salve to her beaten down soul.

I wrote a piece for Her View From Home yesterday and would love for you to check it out! It’s about being unable to control our lives and how that doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, I think it’s a fearless way to live when we choose to trust God to take care of us instead of try to do everything on our own.

Here’s a teaser for ya:

Anxiety doesn’t care if you think you have it all together. It comes at you hard and is determined to knock you out. Then it sits on top of you as you’re sprawled out on the mat and holds you there while raising brutish fists in victory. Anxiety is a beast.

While navigating my new, chaotic frame of mind, I started to realize that I was letting this brute control me. My decisions were becoming too safe and comfortable and the longing in me to be fearless and free was screaming for my attention.

But, how can we be fearless in the face of so much uncertainty?

If you want to know how I found freedom, click here to check out the rest of the article!

Also, my other Her View From Home pieces are here and here. This website has been such a wonderful platform for me to write about things that are really important to me. Go browse around….I promise you’ll be blessed! Thanks so much!

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You Can’t Control But You Can Trust

A Four-Letter-Word Christians Should Be Talking About More

I am so excited to have my new friend, Gloryanna Boge, guest post today! She writes for Only A Season about motherhood, marriage, and faith. I believe, in one way or another, that we can all relate to the sensitive topic she addresses.  Prepare to be encouraged through her authenticity and blessed by her truth filled words. Please like, share, or comment to show her some love! Thanks, friends!

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Sweat trickled from my brow as I dabbed my chin to try and keep my makeup from smearing. I had worn my favorite bright pink dress, with “cork” heeled shoes. I wore Adidas perfume religiously during my teenage years. I went to my favorite church camp every summer for three years in a row during my middle schools days. Of course camp was during the hottest days of the year. Meetings took place outside. If we’re all being honest, camp was about seeing that boy you had a huge crush on, wearing that pink dress, and what little makeup I wore was all about impressions.

I think back to those times when I would sit outside under a huge tent and listen to the pastor talk about pleasing God. I remember when the messages hit my heart hard and crying and praying and going to bed feeling the love of God wash over me. Then there were the nights when the pastor would talk about how to please God and what seemed like “rules” we had to follow in order to feel his love. I remember a particular night when the pastor talked about idols in our life and for us to “take a good hard look” at ourselves and what we were worshipping as idols instead of focusing on God. As a 13 year old girl who had eyes for the boy sitting in front of her, idols was a topic that seemed ridiculous. No one worshipped statues anymore.

I’m gonna be honest here and say that the word “idol” is not one that I use often these days as a 30 year old, and most times, I associate those crazy people in the Bible who worshipped an actual object made out of, what was it, gold? And since we’re being honest, I tend to get glossy-eyed when I hear pastors talk about “modern day” idols and how we need to be on alert against the enemy or something like that. Idol was a four letter word that was rarely used in my “Christian” vocabulary.

It wasn’t until one restless night when I felt the Lord tugging on my heart. I couldn’t sleep. I was tossing. Turning. And you know what I was thinking about at 3:00 A.M? My blog. I was thinking about all these topics I should write about. I was thinking about how I needed to be on social media more but then my stomach started to turn because social media is draining. I felt like I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. I was focusing all my energy on this hobby I call writing, and losing my peace in the process. Yet, I kept coming back for more. I kept returning to this empty well, searching to be satisfied. Then that tug on my heart became pretty clear.

Those moments of nodding off in church when the word “idol” came up had bolted me awake in the middle of the night. My blog, which initially started out as a means to encourage others in their relationship with Christ, had become an idol to me.

I’m not here to throw fire and brimstone. All I can do is share with you how I was choking the life out of something that I initially gave to the Lord. Satan had taken something good and was twisting it for his purpose. It started when I quit waking up early for my quiet time with the Lord. This was a result of me staying up late working on the back end logistics of my blog. Instead of taking a few minutes during lunch to pray or read a devotional, I was flipping through all the social media on my phone trying to promote my blog and build blogging relationships. Not to mention times I was messing with my phone while my son was crawling about waiting to play. Then it got worse. Instead of spending time with my husband after our son went to bed and the dishes were done, I would whip out my laptop to research a plugin I needed for my blog. Some of my other relationships started to suffer because of the time I was spending with my blog.

Do you see the picture here? Slowly, God became smaller in my life as my blog became the image in my forefront. The image I was pressing towards to make bigger. After all, part of the definition of idol is an “image” of worship. If you dig deep into its etymology, you will find that “mental image” is part of its meaning.

All I was focusing on was this image of myself as a blogger and where it was taking me. God wasn’t a big part of that picture anymore. Until recently. Until that night at 3:00 AM when I made the decision to give my writing back to the Lord.

I think what bothered me the most about this revelation was how easily I let it happen. How easily I let down my guard down. To keep myself guarded and reminded of His truth, I have made the conscientious decision to speak out loud God’s Word anytime I feel like I am losing balance in my faith.

When I feel like I am not being my authentic self, I speak His Word about being a Child of God and holding on to my child-like faith in him.

When I feel like my blog isn’t growing enough or I let social media affect my peace, I speak His Word finding favor with men for God’s glory. Not mine. I remind myself that life is not about likes. I don’t need others to validate my work. God will do that in a way that is best for me.

I speak His Word out loud to keep His image in front of me. To keep myself from letting idols creep up into my life.

I encourage you to take a step back and look at what is robbing you of peace in your life. Is it something that you have inadvertently turned into an idol? Yes, say it. Idol. It’s not some vague word that doesn’t apply anymore. It’s a word that we need to talk about more often. A word that we need to guard our hearts against.

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Gloryanna is a teacher turned SAHM whose identity is found in her relationship with Christ. She is married to her high school sweetheart who insists that dirty clothes can be left on the floor. Gloryanna writes to encourage others in their walk with Christ, no matter what season you’re going through. If you want to be encouraged, you can follow her writing at Only a Season. You can also catch snippets of her faith and scribbles on Twitter, FacebookInstagram and Bloglovin‘.

 

I Need You and You Need Me

I have never known life without a safety net.

I was saved at the age of five and raised in a loving, Christian home. My parents were worship pastors so I lived in the front pews of our church. I honestly loved it. I never had a problem with being there early or staying late. In fact I liked it because I was the cool kid who had special access to the building. I knew the secret alarm codes to get me in the back door!

My parents’ friends were like a second set of parents to me. They would come to my school choral concerts and cheer me on. My best friends were from my youth group. They walked through adolescence with me and provided a safe place for me to grow in my faith. They were my people because they understood the tension between living like the world and living like Christ. To this day, I’m grateful for their positive impact on my life.

I say all of this to provide you with a backdrop for my story: I have never known life without a safety net. What is a safety net? Merriam Webster Dictionary says it’s something that provides security against misfortune or difficulty. This is a good thing.

The term actually conjures up a scene of an acrobat walking a tightrope. We’ve all seen this circus act play out whether in person or on television. Will he make it across? What if he falls? How does he do that anyways? The answer is simple: He knows that there is a net to catch him if he loses his balance.

Growing up with the knowledge that there was always someone I could go to when life became hard did not make me less able to handle my problems. It trained me to live from a place of dependency instead of self-sufficiency. We need each other. God made us this way. Some examples that come to mind: Abraham and Sarah. Mary and Martha. David and Jonathan.

The world in all of its self-promoted glory tries to tell those of us who grew up surrounded by love from our family, friends, and church that we need to be independent. The enemy lies to us and says that being cushioned from the blows of this world as a child actually leads to fearful adults. But I am a proud product of a sheltered (GASP!) childhood and I have never been more certain that this is exactly what prepared me for the bumpy road of adulthood. It equipped me for the uncertainty that this world offers.

It is completely un-biblical to believe that you don’t need others walking through life with you. The Bible even says, Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

Are you believing the lie that you have to do everything on your own? Do you have people in your life to help you up when you trip and fall? Are you depending on Christ or on yourself?

God wants us to live the abundant life! But we have to live in the context of community in order to do it.

Expose Yourself

Value yourself enough to only expose yourself to the good stuff.

Expose means to uncover, to reveal.

What are you exposing yourself to on a regular basis? Are they things that feed your soul and nourish your mind? Or do they deplete you and cast a negative spin on life?

Here are three things that I try to expose myself to as often as I can:

Positive People (godly friends, mentors, workout buddies, accountability partners)

Empowering Reading Material (the Bible, articles from women who are living their best life, leadership books)

Uplifting and Fun Music (K-Love, Bethel Worship, 90’s boy bands-yeah, I said it.)

What do these things uncover or reveal to me?

That I value myself enough to make my spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health a priority. 

If I choose to expose myself to negative people, discouraging resources, and hopeless, draining music, I’m setting myself up for a bad day (or life.)

What about you? Are you paying attention to what you’re being exposed to? What are some things you should probably dismiss from your life because of the unhealthy effects they have on you?

I challenge you to take a good, hard look at the people you allow to speak into your life. Are they lifting you up or stepping on you to get ahead? Go through your bookshelf and toss out the stuff that is only making you wish for a different (fill in the blank). Now there is room to add some encouraging reads to your list. Evaluate your musical tastes. Sad love songs and angry anthems are fine every once in a while but if they are taking up most of the space on your iPod, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

Remember, what goes in always comes out. Value yourself enough to only expose yourself to the good stuff.

Cause, baby, YOU’RE WORTH IT.  

Go Ahead and Give Yourself Some Grace

life is not an emergency

It’s Monday. Give yourself some extra grace today, friends. 
Sip your coffee just a little bit longer. Linger in the shower for an additional minute or two. Drive the long way to work so you can hear that song on the radio all the way ’til the end. 
Don’t rush. Don’t break out in a sweat over a few extra moments of self care. These things are necessary in the long run.
Life is not an emergency. It’s meant to be savored and enjoyed. Every second counts. 
So be good to yourself. Others will take notice of your appreciation of the good things in life. 
And, maybe, they will go a little bit easier on themselves too. Grace is contagious that way, after all. 

 

 

Saturday Spotlight 6

Saturday

Since Saturday is my designated day to take a break from blogging and highlight an article elsewhere, I’m directing you wonderful peeps to a fun article on FOX NEWS. It’s a short piece on a NYC pizza eatery that has come up with an “out of the box” idea. It’s a super neat concept and there’s a great reason behind it as well! I mean, who doesn’t love all things pizza? 🙂 Check out what crazy thing Vinnie’s Pizzeria is doing here.

 

For more Saturday Spotlight news, go HERE.

 

How I Started to Love Motherhood Again

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Today I was published on the amazing site, HerViewFromHome, with a piece on motherhood. I wanted to be real about my struggles as a mom while encouraging all the different types of moms out there to keep on going.

It Will Be Worth It.

Please hop over and check it out! Mother’s Day is right around the corner and this may be just the encouragement you need to see your amazing job as a mother with brand new eyes. We mama’s need to stick together and hold each other up, right? I got your back. 🙂

Here’s the link to my article again: How I Started to Love Motherhood Again

Thanks friends!

photo credit: via photopin (license)