Playground Missions: Changing the World One Juice Box at a Time

By | Featured Posts | 7 Comments

Playground missions

Note from Kat: This post is from my good friend and monthly contributor, Liz Griffin.

My husband and I were a year into planting a church in Seattle when my daughter was born. Of course, I was thrilled to be a mom and have this little blonde baby to spend my days with. Who wouldn’t? I was prepared for sleepless nights and days spent in yoga pants, but there were some aspects of the motherhood transition I wasn’t as prepared for.

As someone who had been doing ministry for years, it took some getting used to seeing how motherhood aligned with my passion for church planting and discipleship.

I was able to schedule in a few meetings with girls during naps, but most of the time I was at the library story hour or pushing a swing at a playground.

While the journey had some ups and downs, I am more convinced than ever that raising kids offers a massive opportunity to show the love of Jesus to an entire demographic I previously had no access to.

My kid’s friends.

This summer two things happened that showed me what an impact my parents had on kids that I played with when I was little. In June I was talking to a friend that I had known since elementary school, but really got close to in high school. She had come from a broken home and my parents always invited her over after school. She joined us for countless meals and weekend hang outs.

While we were catching up she told me about her new book club. The group was currently reading a book called The Most Important Place on Earth. I have never read it but it is about the significant role of the home. One of their first discussion questions was to share about a place that made them feel valuable and important. “You know what I said?”, she asked me. “ I told them it was your parents house. I always felt loved and safe there.”.

Fast forward to August. A guy who is in our college ministry at our church went on a mission trip to Russia. While there he visited the church that my parents started when we lived there in the 90s. He brought back a gift for me from my friend Natasha. To my amazement she packed a silver box with some of my favorite goodies from Russia. I poured over all the yummy foods I haven’t had in years and the sweet tokens of a city that I love so much.

Mostly, I was amazed at her story. When I lived there Natasha was just a neighborhood girl that I played with. We’d go to the market, meet at the park after school and my mother invited her in for tea on several occasions. It was always accompanied with an invitation to church. In 1995 my family moved back to Texas. Fast forward almost twenty years. Natasha went through some challenging situations over the years and eventually – a decade later – came to our church.  She is now living her life fully for Jesus and a pillar in our church there.

That is me in the center and Natasha on my right. I know, I know. I look so good here. (That is me in the center and Natasha on my right. I know, I know. I look so good here.)

These stories have confirmed what I have already been coming to understand on my own journey into motherhood. As parents we not only shape our own children, but the children around them.

While this looks different as our kids grown up and reach different ages, there are some simple things we can do to be missional no matter your kids age.

1. Pray. Most of us mom’s pray for our kids, but what an opportunity to get to pray for their friends. The kids in their classes, on their soccer team or down the street. A simple way to sow the Kingdom into their generation. Who knows, you may be the only person who is praying for them!

2. Make our homes available. Growing up my house was always filled with my friends. No, we didn’t have a pool or fancy media rooms. You know what we had? A nurturing and fun environment. My friends loved being at my house. There was always an open door policy. Several times in high school I would come home and find my friends over just hanging out with my parents. You never outgrow the need for parent figures.

3. Invite them to church. Let’s get real here, okay? I have enough trouble getting my own kids to church on time and the thought of going out of my way to pick up another little person seems pretty stressful. But, how worth it for them to have the chance to learn more about Jesus. Hopefully their entire family goes – but if not – set the timer on your iPhone and leave in time to swing by and pick up a friend.

It may not seem like it when we are punching straws into Capri Suns on play dates or  helping break up a fight over an American Girl doll. But, we have a BIG opportunity to impact an entire generation. Libraries, parks, our living rooms – an open mission field that is ripe for the harvest.

What ways have you found motherhood to be missional? Any thoughts or ideas? Share here in the comments!

20130218-193106.jpg Elizabeth is a church planter, speaker, writer and naptime abolitionist. She lives in Texas with her husband and two kids. Her other hobbies include wasting time on social media, trying to remember where she parked her car & browsing Pinterest for DIY projects she will never actually make. You can visit her at Lark & Bloom or on Twitter @thelizgriffin.

 

The Chart That Has Added Years To My Life and Peace To My Home

By | Be Productive, Becoming A Patient Mother, Featured Posts | 25 Comments

inspiredtoaction-our-great-summer-chart

Our Great Summer Chart

It’s about that time during the summer when the allure of long, lazy, free days has drowned beneath the sound of “I’m boooored!” And “she’s touching me!” “He’s looked at me funny!” Or “Mama! Make the girls stop dressing me up as a butler!”

Ok…maybe that’s just how it is at my house.

Somehow, after a few weeks of unscripted days, crazy things start to happen. Ever so slowly, chores they’ve done all year long are forgotten and I begin to to have to remind them. Often. Until one day I realize I’m practically nagging them to tidy their rooms, pick their stuff up or even brush their teeth in the morning.

Not wanting to be a nagging mom, I recently decided it was time to bring a bit more order to our days.

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 7.10.53 AM

The Chart

The idea I came up with is one I’ve used before, but I kicked it up a notch this time, so that I pretty much removed myself from the circle of reminding – and my kids (so far) are taking on the responsibility of doing what needs to be done AND helping each other get things done. (Not always as perfectly as it may sound…)

I made a full page spreadsheet, color coded, organized by time of day and complete with bubbles for every child to fill in after they have completed each activity.

I like to keep things light hearted and simple. Obviously.

I’m not really a Type A organized person, I am actually a lazy Type B who tries to automate anything unpleasant.

Fortunately, the kids LOVE the new chart. They have even added their own things to it and enjoy checking off all the tasks at the end of the day.
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Note: If you read the chart, you saw something called a house hunt. I am not training my children in the real estate trade. A house hunt is when they take about 5 minutes and run around the house finding all. the. things. they have randomly left throughout the day.

The Special Sauce

The secret sauce that makes it all work well, isn’t just my children’s OCD love of filling in the little bubble or their competetive nature. I gave them an added incentive called Friday Funday.

Each Friday Funday we do something fun and special and only those who have completed their chart get to participate.

Now, at this point, I’m just trusting they’ll all be diligent and get their work done. If one of them can’t participate in Friday Funday, that will be a very sad day, but I’m sure a good lesson in responsibility.

This last Friday we went swimming (we hadn’t gone all week, so it was a treat), got ice cream cones and watched a movie.

This Friday there’s talk of making icecream and roller skating. They have as much fun dreaming up fun things to do as they do actually doing them.

And all week long, they are inspired to get their work done so that they can join in on Friday Funday.

Download the Printable

Here is a copy of my printable for you to edit as you need to for your family. Let me know if you have any trouble with the link! It is an excel file. If you don’t have excel and would rather just copy the list and create your own, here is the same form on Google Drive (but I don’t know if it will be downloadable for you.)

I hope you enjoy it and that it helps your summer run smoothly!

Join the Discussion

Are you needing some structure to your summer? What tips and tricks can you share with us? Do you have any questions about the chart?
Click here to leave a comment!

Our Favorite Family Tradition and a Video To Watch With Your Kids and a Giveaway

By | Featured Posts | 83 Comments

Don’t forget to sign up for the free parenting webinar I’m hosting tomorrow with parenting expert Amy McCready. I use her parenting tips ALL the time. Join us! Click here to RSVP.

The 5 Year Old Trip Tradition

Today, I thought I’d tell you about a fun tradition we have in our family. When one of our children turns 5, they get to go on a trip, just them and Mommy or Daddy.

This weekend was my son’s 5 Year Old Trip and he and my husband went to Florida. My son decided after seeing the movie Dolphin Tale that he wanted to meet Winter, the dolphin. So that’s what they did. I have to say, I’m a wee bit jealous of that picture of my husband, son and Winter. I’ve NEVER pet a dolphin…so cool.

I love this tradition because, with 3 kids, one on one time isn’t always easy to come by. So being able to spend an entire weekend just absorbed in conversation with one child is incredibly precious.

Random travel tip for music fans: Whenever I go on a big trip, I often will pick one album to listen to while we travel. Sometimes it’s just something I do, sometimes I subject my whole family to the incessant repeat button. The fun thing is that it creates a whole new level of memories for that vacation.

A Fun Video To Watch With Your Kids

Speaking of music that you won’t mind putting on repeat (see what I did there?), I feel that it is my public service to let you know that you do not need to suffer through annoying children’s music.

I did that for one too many years of my children’s preschool years. If only someone had shown me the light, my ears wouldn’t be scarred and Barney songs wouldn’t torture my sensitive musical sensibilities.

Go gather your kids and watch this video with them (the music starts at 2:09) Yancy, is super cool (multi-colored hair, for the win!), loves Jesus and makes great music for kids.

Yancy and friends have created a new collection of songs that are sure to warm the hearts of preschool kids and their parents too. You’ll find lots of singalong fun including songs to celebrate some of the most special days of the year including Valentine’s, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Birthdays. Plus, a song about missions to encourage us to “Go into all the world”. Whether at home, church or in the family minivan these songs will help you and your kids to have a praise party!

(Email and RSS readers, click here to watch the video!)

Also? She made this video JUST FOR YOU, the Inspired To Action community of moms!

Listen and Enjoy

(Music starts at 2:09)

I watched this with my kids yesterday and we all walked around singing Brand New Day. Kids music that is fun, has a great message AND is enjoyable to listen to…?

It’s like the trifecta of motherhood.

Giveaway!

Apparently, I posted the wrong video link earlier…then, of course, my internet went out. I just put the the right video (should be Brand New Day…enjoy!

Check out Yancy’s music at her fun website.

Yancy is also giving away a CD/DVD combo here today! To enter, just leave a comment telling us where you would take your child on a special trip if you could go anywhere in the country. Click here to comment!

Here are the other stops in Yancy’s Blog Tour.
Monday April 30
Impress Your Kids
Tuesday May 1
Mama Hall
Wednesday May 2
God Centered Mom
Thursday May 3
Homeschool Creations
Friday May 4
ModSquad
Saturday May 5
When You Rise
Sunday May 6
4tunate
Monday May 7
Inspired To Action
Tuesday May 8
Home With the Boys
Wednesday May 9
1+1+1=1
Thursday May 10
Muthering Heights
Friday May 11
MOB Society
Saturday May 12
I Can Teach My Child

5 Things I Don’t Want You To Know About Me – And Why I’m Telling You Anyway

By | Featured Posts, Get Inspired | 38 Comments

My Mom Confessions

  • My minivan is a mess. You could clothe and feed a small nation with the junk inside.
  • I tend to lecture my kids.
  • I rarely floss.
  • I “check” my iPhone too much.
  • I have been known to hush my kids so I can work on a post about how to be a great mom.

We’ll just let the terrible irony of that last one sink in…

Too Much Information?

Why am I telling you this? Because its so easy to believe the lie that we are alone. That we are the only ones who don’t “get” it. That we need to be perfect. That we need to have it all together. That our shortcomings make us failures.

Come On Now…

The TRUTH? The truth is that what He *IS* doing in our lives is always greater than what we are *not* doing.

Marinate in that for a minute.

What He has done, what He is doing and what He is going to do matters more than our mistakes.

That is the Gospel.

God sees us as good not by the work of our hands, but through the sacrifice of Jesus.

The Price of Perceived Perfection

One of my favorite song lyrics says, “In the absence of martyrs, there’s the presence of thieves…”

When no one is willing to sacrifice on behalf of others, there is room for the liar to come in, steal truth and replace it with lies.

If I’m not willing to show that I’ve been broken and that I’m fully in need of grace, others (including my children) might believe that they need to be perfect or that they don’t measure up.

It’s hard to tell our story. It’s hard to face it, embrace it and let grace redeem it. It’s painful, it’s humbling, it takes effort. But if we’re willing to step out, we can be the light that exposes the liar and the thief.

It Stops With Us

Our children will carry on the story that starts with us. If we hide our failure or pain, if we avoid the challenge it takes to change….then our children will face the same thieves we did.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not ok with that.

We MUST to stand in front of the fire and forge the weapons we need to fight. Weapons of humility and faith. It’s hard, it hurts, it’s a choice and a battle…

But it can change the course of generations to come.
…it can CHANGE the course of generations to come.
…it can change the COURSE of generations to come.
…it can change the course of GENERATIONS to come.

Let the mama bear in you rise up and roar loud. Sometimes fighting for our children means we battle ourselves first.

The Hard Part

My challenge for you today:
1. Right now confess your need for God to do His work.
2. Today identify and list 3 areas He’s working on.
3. Contact someone today who can keep you accountable to change.

This is how we get Monday started around here. As I’ve mentioned before, this blog isn’t called “Inspired To Think About It.” Who’s in? Click here to join the discussion.

How To Be a Good Mom On a Bad Day

By | Featured Posts | 117 Comments


I had looked forward to Friday all week. A day off with the kids…I imagined we’d go hiking, read books, watch a movie, play games and just have a fun spontaneous day.

Instead, this ugly old ogre of a woman showed up at our house. Sadly, that woman was me. For various insignificant and inexcusable reasons, I started the day off on the wrong foot and stayed there.

I felt utterly introverted. I didn’t want anyone to talk to me, look at me or breathe in my general direction. Solitary confinement sounded dreamy. A trip to one of those “vow of silence” monasteries would have been ideal. (I may have even Googled to find one nearby.True story.)

Instead, it was me and 3 kids. All. Day. Long. And they were talkative. And energetic. And talkative. And energetic. And talkative.

Unfortunately, talking and listening were both scraping the bottom of my wish list.

What is a grumpy mama to do?

I’d like to say I prayed and opened my eyes with renewed vision and focus. But that would be lying.

I knew it was gonna be a blue collar day. If I was going to survive without adding to my kids future therapy bill, it was going to take nonstop prayer and a lot of work.

If you’ve ever had one of those grumpy days, you know what I’m talking about.

So, I came up with a battle plan, and in case you ever find yourself in the midst of a grumpy day, I thought I’d share it with you.

1. Warn Them

I made it very clear that Mommy wasn’t in a good mood and I needed their help and obedience if we were going to have a good day. In retrospect, I should have asked them to pray for me. I didn’t, but I’m writing it down so I’ll remember if I ever have a day like that again. (I hope not!)

2. Only life threatening misbehavior warranted my correction.

I let them run around screaming outside. They shot each other with water guns. They tracked water into the kitchen. They left the door open. A lot. They bickered. And…I did nothing. I sat outside watching them, headphones on, journal and Bible in hand.

My theory was that I’d rather upset the neighbors than my children. I was in a nitpicky mood and I knew my words, should I let them flood out of my mouth, would not be a blessing. So, unless I saw them doing something that warranted a call to 911, I kept my mouth shut.

3. I Let Them Fend for Themselves.

They argued. They came to me. I told them it was in their best interest that they figure it out themselves. And guess what? They did! While my response wasn’t ideal, it did allow my kids to rise up and problem solve to a greater level than they would have otherwise. I even saw them “parenting” one another; reminding each other of the rules so that they wouldn’t awake the grumpy ogre woman.

4. I Sacrificed Ideals for the Sake of Survival.

I am pretty strict about limiting my kids screen time. On Friday, my idealistic self and my grumpy self were ready to combine to create a firestorm of “No.” No TV. No video games. No computer. No nothing. Ever.

Yeah, that wouldn’t have been helpful.

Instead, I let them watch a lot more TV/video games than I normally do. I figured it was better than yelling at them.

5. I Declared Ultimatums.

If they wanted to play together, they had to work together and get along. Arguing meant they had to go to their rooms. They knew I wasn’t messing around, so they worked out their differences quietly.

6. No Media for Mommy.

I was grumpy and I knew media wouldn’t fix me so I chose to stay offline until my attitude had improved. I limited myself to music, my Bible and my journal. I was ready to throw down my bad attitude and Facebook wasn’t going to help.

It was so good to spend the day just reading the Word, writing on paperand getting input from no one but God.

7. I Found a Distraction.

Toward the end of the day we headed to the bookstore. The kids played more video games on the display tablets (oh yes they did), then they read books or I read to them. As sad as it is, I knew I would be kinder and more patient with my children in public than if I was lying on the couch at home.

8. Get Healthy

A lot of times our grumpiness is physical. I wanted to do whatever I could to make myself feel better. I ate protein, took my vitamins, drank water and if I could have, I would have taken a nap.

Let’s Keep It Real

I realize that if this post is the first one you’ve read on Inspired to Action, I might sound like an awful mom. I’m okay with that. I’ll happily sacrifice a bit of mommy pride if these ideas help another mom and her kids through a grumpy day.

Have you ever had grumpy day? How did you deal with it? Click here to join the discussion!

6 Ways to Get a Workout WITH Your Kids

By | Featured Posts | 29 Comments

Don’t Give Up On Your Resolutions

The biggest obstacle for moms of young children, when it comes to exercise, is that we just don’t have time.

So today, I wanted to share a few ways to exercise WITH your kids: 

1. Mailbox Racing

 Our current favorite family exercise is mailbox racing.

If your kids are old enough to ride in a jogging stroller or run, then mailbox racing is a great way to have fun with your kids and get good exercise at the same time.

So what is it?

It might have another name, but  my son and I named it “Mailbox Racing” while we were logging miles for his kids marathon. All you do is challenge one another to race to the next mailbox on your street. Then you walk to the following mailbox, then race to the next one and so one. Alternate racing and walking between mailboxes.

Because youre alternating between sprinting and walking, it can be a really good workout. When my son was in a jogging stroller he’d yell, “Faster Mama! Faster!” Two year olds can be brutal training coaches.

Now that he’s old enough to run, we play Lightning McQueen vs. Chick Hicks.

2. Wii Boxing

If you have a Wii, the boxing game on Wii Sports can be a great workout. Especially if you’re trying to outbox 3 kids in a row. Just don’t break stuff…particularly if you’re visiting family…and they have a lovely candle set right in the middle of the living room.(Sorry Aunt Di.)

3. Tag

Kids love tag. Tag is a great workout. Exercise problem solved.
Playing Tag Football
Bonus: Your kids will think you’re awesome (times infinity plus one of what anyone else says) for playing tag with them.

4. Nike Training App

I recently downloaded the Nike Training App (iPhone) and l-o-v-e it. It has several great workouts focusing on different muscle groups. It also has 15 minute workouts from top notch athletes that are short, effective and inspiring.

I especially like that I don’t have to watch a video while doing it. The app talks me through each segment and if I’m not sure what to do on a certain move, I can watch a video tutorial.  So, I can workout in the living room while my kids watch a show.

I can also listen to my own music or audio book while using the app, which helps your sanity if your kids happen to be watching DORA! THE!  EXPLORER! (girl needs to find her inside voice.)

5. Register for a 5k

Don’t underestimate yourself. If you can walk through the grocery store for an hour with small children, you can do a 5k. The great thing about registering for one is that none of us wants to be the last one across the finish line. (Although, last one across the finish line is light years ahead of those on the couch.) So we work harder than we normally would because we have a goal ahead of us.

ALC Health Expo 5K Run

Also, once the 5k arrives, the atmosphere is electric, you FEEL like an athlete. (Because you are…) And it’s easy to catch the racing bug.

6. Secret Weapon

I couldn’t write a fitness post without sharing about my beloved chin up bar.

Don’t be impressed. I started out by just pathetically hanging on it. Slowly, I was able to pull myself up  a little bit until I was eventually able to do a chin up. It has really helped my posture and is easy to do while I’m cooking dinner, doing dishes, or playing Candy Land.

So, my chin up bar is my “secret weapon” to staying fit because it’s simple, I can do it anytime and it has great results.

What could be your secret weapon?

  • Maybe a pair of hand weights in the kitchen or bathroom sink?
  • An exercise mat in front of the TV?
  • Doing squats while you check email on your phone?
  • Jumping jacks before every snack?

Find something fun and simple that you can always do regardless off weather, time of day or the craziness of your schedule. It will keep you inspired and moving in the direction of a stronger body and healthier you.

And You?

You all shared some wonderful parenting resources in this post, I’d love to hear what exercise resources have helped you? Click here to share!

(And don’t forget to sign up for the FREE parenting webinar next Wednesday! Learn more and sign up here.)

The Miracle of Community Can Inspire Us To Action

By | Featured Posts | 12 Comments

Dear God, You Rock - Amen.
(Note from Kat: This is a guest post from my dear friend Amanda.)

I finally (joyfully) got to meet Kat at the Relevant Conference this year. I was honored to be at the #hellomornings meet-up that early Friday morning. It was, without a doubt, the highlight of my weekend. To feel God in the middle of those women and to know that same God was in the middle of every tired mama who rolled out of bed that morning was more than my little heart could handle. I felt pressed to the floor with His goodness!

After I peeled myself off the ground, I talked to Kat about how amazing it is that God can use something invisible like the internet to do His will. Kat doesn’t have a book, she doesn’t have weekly meetings and wear a microphone to speak to us. Yet, her ebook and website have mobilized over 2000 women these last 3 months to get up early, read their Bibles and even exercise! (Seriously, 3 things we fight the most against! And Kat has us up doing it every morning!)

P1020690 (Kat, Amanda and Lara)

This miracle of community has inspired me to action, too. Not just in getting up early and taking a shower before my kids. I decided to write one of those invisible ebooks, too. My ebook, Truth in the Tinsel is an Advent experience for you and your children. It’s about giving your kids the first 24 days of December and pointing their eyes and hearts not to an elf on a shelf, or Christmas wishes and candy canes, but to the Truth. To the miracle of Jesus’ birth.

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I wrote it quickly, printed it out and brought it to Relevant. It was like something hot and alive in my bag. I felt nervous that someone would see it…but also more nervous that I wouldn’t be able to share it at all. I felt like maybe I had missed out and this ebook opportunity would pass me by. And that maybe I couldn’t help parents make this year the Christmas that impacted their children for eternity.

But with a little encouragement from some fabulous Relevant sisters, I announced the book. And in one day I had 500 fans on the Truth in the Tinsel Facebook page. In less than 2 weeks, there were 900. The book went live on Black Friday and now 1800+ people have joined the Facebook page to say they are going to use December to impress God’s greatest gift on their kids’ hearts!

This is certainly not a testimony to me or my bloggy prowess. No one has even started the book yet! They don’t even know if it’s good yet! (Ha!) The point here is that God uses us. He uses plain, normal, regular old people to accomplish His will!

In 1 Corinthians 20:27-30, Paul talks about this same thing, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”

God of the Impossible

Is there something in your life that seems impossible? Something you can’t do alone? Something you feel you need to, want to, have to do? Do you feel weak, foolish or lowly? Guess what? That means you are right where you need to be to see the righteousness, holiness and redemption from God.

God will use to accomplish His will. He takes the invisible and makes big visible miracles happen! Will you ask Him to use you today? To take your weakness and add it to His power?

Another Note From Kat

I just wanted to jump in and say that Amanda is the real deal. She is truly amazing at finding creative ways to impress the Word of God on her children.

Confession: I don’t like crafts much. Ok. At all. But my kids do and I know that by tying together activities and the Christmas story, my children will gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of the season. Amanda even has shorter/simpler variations for extremely craft challenged people like me. All that to say, I don’t let just anyone take over my blog for a day…only people I admire who are talking about something I plan to do. Well, I’m off to the craft store now…

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Amanda is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at OhAmanda.com and Impress Your Kids and is the author of Truth in the Tinsel. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!

photo source: wootang01e

Guest Post: Taking Action In Dark Days

By | Featured Posts | 31 Comments

Photo credit

(Note from Kat: Today’s post is from my sweet friend, Katie Orr. She is truly a woman of the Word. She has organized all of our Maximize Your Mornings Challenge Bible Studies and has inspired many to study and memorize scripture. I love her honesty and hope in today’s post.)

I’ve had some dark days lately. This cloud has followed me, off and on, for a few years now. While I feel as if I am just now realizing the depths of the darkness, God has been faithful to bring me hope through His Word.

I love the honesty of the psalmists. There are deep emotions communicated in this God-breathed book of the Bible; it makes me feel normal or at least glad I’m not alone in my craziness.

There is much to be learned from these men of God, as they walked through depression, betrayal and deep, deep hurt. While I haven’t experienced betrayal or enemies chasing after my physical destruction, my soul has it’s own enemies. As I follow the example of the psalmists, here are three actions I have found helpful:

Taking my emotions to the Lord.

For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead. Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled…Answer me quickly, O Lord ! My spirit fails!
Psalm 143:3-4, 7

David was honest. He didn’t pretend to have it all together. I can be oh-so-guilty of this. Sometimes it’s because I don’t the energy to go into it all. Other times I am too prideful to admit my defeat.

God knows my heart. He already knows my grief, my struggles, my darkness. He is not surprised when I confess that I have yelled at my kids, again. He is not sitting on go, ready to desert me if I can’t get my act together. He is not looking at me, wondering why I can’t be happy.

He knows. He loves me anyway.

Telling my emotions what is true.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
Psalm 42:5

Did you notice how David talks to himself? “Hope in God!” He does it again in verse 11, and the very next chapter in verse 5.

This is why I must cling to scripture. Without truth embedded on my heart, my heart has no choice but to despair. If the truth of God’s character is not ingrained into the crevasses of this mommy-brain, I will forget that I am not alone.

I must tell my emotions what is true. Though I feel lost and trapped, my Savior is coming.

He is my salvation.
He is praise-worthy.
He is my God.

Trusting in God by running to Him.

In Psalm 143, David confidently expressed the depths of his despair to the God whom He knew would deliver him. David communicated his trust in God by running to Him as his only hope.

  • He ran to God for affirmation:

    Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Psalm 143:8

  • He ran to God for direction:

    Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul…Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!

  • He ran to God for protection and rest:

    Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord! I have fled to you for refuge! Psalm 143:8-10

I certainly don’t have this figured out. I struggle. Daily. But God, in His great and glorious grace has given me what I’ve need, through the truth in His word.

Do you struggle with dark days? What Bible verses have you found that have brought comfort to your soul? What actions do you take when the dark cloud looms? Let’s share…

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Note: A reminder that registration for the Maximize Your Mornings Fall Challenge ends this Friday (9/2) at midnight EST.

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Katie OrrPastor’s wife and mother of three, Katie Orr loves to teach God’s Word. Longing to equip others to walk with the Lord for a lifetime, Katie has taught small group Bible studies for over thirteen years. She served on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for seven years before God called their family to pastoral ministry. She blogs about devotion to that which is eternal at LivingDevotionally.com and is the creator of DoNotDepart.com, where you can receive encouragement and tools to abide in God’s Word. Follow her on Twitter at @KatieOrr22.

Please Read This!!! A Chance To Help Michelle

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Did you know…?

UPDATE: In just a matter of hours you all DID IT!! Michelle just bought her ticket. You all rock!! I love this community! And, yes, I am yelling!!! 🙂

Did you know that the Maximize Your Mornings Challenge (aka #hellomornings) was all Michelle’s idea? She read my ebook and started the challenge on her blog last Fall.

It was such a hit, we moved it over here and Michelle has spent a LOT of time writing posts, encouraging everyone on Twitter, managing the administrative details of the challenge and answering lots and lots of questions.

Michelle is the reason over 200 women gather each morning on Twitter and Facebook to pray for one another, share verses and be encouraged. She is the reason many of you have been inspired by #hellomornings and have taken up the challenge to get up for your children instead of to them.

Here’s The Deal

Last night tickets to a blog conference called Relevant went on sale. And Michelle didn’t buy one because she didn’t have a sponsor.

I Say WE Sponsor Her

Why?

Because she has TRULY invested in us and this is a great opportunity for us to invest in her to send her to an event that will equip and inspire her to become an even better steward in this social media space.

Because some of the other AC’s and I already have our tickets and it will be a WONDERFUL opportunity for us to meet together and pray together face to face and make plans to serve you better through this blog and the MYM (#hellomornings) Challenge.

So If You’ve Been Inspired, Here’s Your Chance to Take Action

If any of the ebooks or calendars I’ve given out have been a blessing for you and you’ve been looking for a way to give back…

If you have a heart to see the families changed through women who are challenged, encouraged and equipped to spend time with God in the mornings…

If you happen to have a spare dollar lying (or is it laying?) under a cushion of a couch…

Would you consider being a blessing to Michelle and clicking that donate button below?

She’s been an incredible blessing to my life and I know to many of your lives as well.

Here’s a simple way we can say thank you.

Update: WE DID IT!! Michelle just bought her ticket!!! You all rock!!

The Key To Living a Balanced Life

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Photo credit

People talk about living a balanced life as if it is a constant state. As if “achieving” balance is something we do once and we’re set. 

But really, balance is NOT a constant state. Rather, it is a continuous series of small adjustments. 

The more we practice the art of balance the smaller those adjustments become until they are almost imperceptible. But they are always there.

When we drive down the road, it might look like we’re driving in a straight line, but it’s actually lots of small corrections that keep us in the middle of the road.

So when we pursue balance in our lives it is vital that we realize that at any point in time something will be slightly off. If we expect perfection and balance nirvana, we’re destined for discouragement. 

But if we remember that life is ever-changing we can be more content with the fact that we must be ever-changing as well. 

What area of your life tends to throw you off balance the fastest?