Roots

I took these photos in the spring with full intentions of writing a beautiful post about ROOTS, faith, and growing.

Buuttt.... you see all those tiny growing plants in the pictures?
Some had good roots in place, some were just cuttings hoping to shoot out some roots... all of them are now dead.

ALL of them. Even the ones my sweet kids gave me for mother's day. Every. Last. One of them. Dead.

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Like us, right? Dead in our sins and trespasses... completely hopeless in our pursuit of greatness and perfection... a mess on the inside, trying to keep it together on the outside, even though we know deep down that we are what we are... 
BUT GOD...

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ..... For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,"
Ephesians 2:5-6,8

Y'all, we planted, we watered, we watched our little plants grow, then we watched them die, and I'm so glad life got in the way and I never got around to writing that original post! One dramatic event or emotion after another over the course of the last several months has left me SO grateful that, no matter how rooted I am in the Giver of faith, I am not in the position, nor is it my role, to grow myself. Because, if I'm honest, my faith would be as dead as my plants are if it was my role to do the growing.

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And that's where I want to encourage you today. Because I know you're weary, too. I know you've worked hard, and I know some days you're closer to the end of your rope than you would ever openly confess. I know that days, weeks, maybe months pass and you don't see the inside of your Bible or utter a word to your Father. I know some days it's hard to climb out of bed, be a wife, or the mama your children need. And I know some days you feel resistant to growth of any kind, because how can we grow when we're stuck in a dark hole of loneliness, anxiety, depression, overwhelm...?

"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth."
1 Corinthians 3:5-7

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Friends, God is the Giver of growth. Not you or I... Our faith is a gift, and so is our growth, our sanctification. If you're climbing a mountain today, and you can't see the top or what lies on the other side, please grasp onto this promise with all that is in you, "that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6) Be encouraged, you cannot stop Him from growing you, pursuing you, and molding you into His image.

And today, I'm praying this scripture for both of us as we look toward the Light that is shining in our darkness and growing us despite our resistant hearts:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)

Everyday Mercies is for ME

One morning about two years ago, I woke up in a hole and I couldn't find my way out.

I called it depression and so did my doctor. Eventually God picked me up and pulled me out of that hole, but where I found myself at that point was in a MESS of... well... mess!

Totally disorganized and trying to get back on track in His Word, my prayer life, teaching and learning with my kids... and to be honest, I was just struggling in the mess that depression left in its tracks.

Chris handed me a Spiritual Growth Journal he had purchased years ago, and I looked through it thinking I NEEDED that kind of accountability and organization as I sought the Lord's guidance in getting my faith and growth habits back on track.

Buttt... I needed it to work for me, and that specific journal was a little too intense and overwhelming.

I needed something with calming colors and a minimalist design that wouldn't overwhelm my eyes when I opened the cover. Something that wouldn't feel like growing in my faith was a chore that I could never complete, but instead something led by my God who will complete His good work in me.

After a few days of trying to make it work, but never actually writing one single word in it, I told Chris, "I can't use this, but I'm inspired by it. I'm thinking I should create something like it that won't freak me out... you know, something pretty and mom-ish. Maybe something I can use with the kids!"

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I started writing things down and working on some ideas that day... The more I worked on it the more excited I got about the idea of being organized and having a record of how God would grow me over the time I used this whatever-it-was that I had begun. I kept adding things and pages that I needed for myself as I walked through the mess I was still surrounded by. I began searching God's word for scriptures to pray weekly over my family, and asking myself questions about my mission and purpose as a Christian mom of two wild kids. I found myself being led through my mess and into the mercy of God every day.

You see, Everyday Mercies is for me.

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It's been the title of this blog since Mercy came home from the NICU but it's not named after her - it is named for the mercy God shows us every new day through His Word and the time we spend in prayer, in fellowship, and in walking with Him daily.

His mercies truly are new every morning.

And as I worked on the journal, it became evident that this project wasn't just for me... Everyday Mercies is for you too.

Over the course of two years, there were hiccups, distractions, both significant and insignificant obstacles that threw me completely off course, and if you'll remember - finishing is not my strong suit, so most of the time I assumed this project would remain half-finished until the end of time.

But God... right?
By His unending grace and mercy, He faithfully led me through each ordeal the world and my head threw in my path to stop this journal in its tracks - and here we are, y'all! 
Because of His everyday mercies, this journal is being used by other moms like you and me - struggling, disorganized, distracted, but growing by His grace, learning His promises, practicing His Truths.
...and that is very humbling and very awesome.

Thank you for supporting this journal and supporting each other!

Everyday Mercies: faith planner and journal for moms

Everyday Mercies: faith planner and journal for moms

You know that feeling when you send your kids off to overnight summer camp for the first time...?
You know the one I'm talking about... the feeling as you wave goodbye, and a tear wells up in your eye because you know how very much you'll miss them, but you can't wait to see how they blossom while they're away...?

Yes!
THAT feeling!
Soak it in for a minute...

 

 

 

Ok ok, it's true - I don't personally know that feeling, because my kids are three and five and have never been to overnight summer camp... but I'm imagining it's similar to the feeling I had when I left my personal copy of this beautiful book with my amazing photographer and stunning friend Alli of Alli Cheatwood Photography.

...I knew that what would blossom from it's time away would be more than perfect, and OH was I right!

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Make 2018 a Gospel Centered year + a BIG announcement!

We've always been a little scattered and disorganized in our morning God-space, obviously complicating the whole process and making it entirely too difficult to stay. on. task. This year, we have a plan! I'm sharing just a few tips and resources that I know will simplify our God-space and deepen our time with Him each day... read on to hear more, and stick around to the end, because I've got a little announcement to make! 

1. Find a Gospel-centered devotional

I'm one day in, so I can't say a whole lot about this devotional I'm reading this year... I can say that, historically, I have not been successful at staying on task with devotionals, and essentially gave up trying years ago... until Chris, Jane, Jessica, Isabel, and more, and more, and more friends just kept talking about this one. I stole Chris's copy and the inside cover did it for me... I'm in!

"Mornings can be tough. Sometimes, a hearty breakfast and strong cup of coffee just aren't enough.....Paul David Tripp wants to energize you with the most potent encouragement imaginable: the gospel. Forget "behavior modification" or feel-good aphorisms.....what we really need is an encounter with the living God...." -New Morning Mercies

Y'all, I'm determined to finish this, and I'm excited about it! Click the cover below to take a look!


2. Find a Gospel-centered children's Bible

Devotionals and books about the Bible are AWESOME, but don't let those resources take priority over His actual Word: the Bible. I'm still reading through the Gospel of John, but another way I'll be digging into His word is through a solid, Gospel-centered children's Bible. Specifically, we'll be reading The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible. There is so much I love about this Bible. It's laid out in 52 stories that point straight to the Gospel, with a discussion question, and short explanation for each story. The stories are perfectly worded for young listeners, and SO adorably illustrated! AND since the scripture references are included, you can read the Word right along with your toddlers and preschoolers. We’ll be reading one story a week, and I am really looking forward to the learning that will happen throughout the days of each week as we repeat and dive into the same stories in the BIG Bible and this children’s Bible. Check it out!

More Gospel centered children's Bibles and other resources:


3. Find a Gospel-Centered Bible reading plan for your young readers

True... We don't have young readers... but we DO have two of these on our book shelf waiting for two young readers to fill their pages with notes and questions! 

What I love so much about this book is that it actually teaches kids from a very young age how to read the Bible, and takes them on an exploration from Genesis to Revelation. It's a simple guided tour through Scripture, with daily reading prompts, thought-provoking questions, and space for writing each day. And on Sunday, there's space for kids to take sermon notes! Which I think is awesome! Anyway... I'm excited for my kids to put this book to use in the future, but it's so good I had to go ahead and share with y'all now!

More Gospel-centered devotional material for young readers (and pre-readers!)


Last but not least: Plan ahead and stay on task!

...and now that announcement. One last resource we'll be using to simplify and stay on task in our God-space this year:

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This is a faith planner and journal for moms that has everything you'll need to stay accountable and on task as you and your children focus your hearts on GROWTH this year! Much, much more to come, I just could not hold this in for one more second! This is a project I have prayed over, created, recreated, scrapped all-together and picked back up because I just believe in it SO much. It has been in the works for over a year now, and I am so excited to be so close to having this project in my hands and available to moms like me, who need a little help staying on task. I could go on for days, y'all. And I will, trust me... I am just SO thrilled to be sharing this with you now, and can't wait to show you bits and pieces of it as it comes more and more together! Just this little blurb for now, but don't worry, I'll be updating every step, and when it's finally available for preorder, we'll go ahead and have a BIG party!

Thanks for hanging around y'all, and be sure to subscribe below to receive posts and updates via email!

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Why I'm not making a New Year's Resolution

I like the idea of a New Year's Resolution...

I really do. I've made them in past years, the whole "new year, new you" thing appeals to me because, let's be honest, I'm a mess. Sometimes it even starts to sound a little like faith, right? Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what lies ahead (Phil 3:13)... the old is gone, the new has come (2 Cor 5:17). And I mean, I like those verses, but... something feels... off. As much as I like the idea of making a New Years resolution... ehh... I just can't this year.

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I cannot bring myself to do it.

And here's the best explanation I've come up with:

I know that I'm going to fail.

...and quickly, too. Probably within the first couple of weeks.

Some of that has to do with me being the real-life Halfway Herbert... but a lot of it has to do with the mess my head-space is these days.

Oh, but not just my head-space.
There's also my living space, my marriage space, parenting space, God space, and most other spaces I occupy on a daily basis.

Sheesh... it's just messy, y'all.

I mean check out my "work space" up there... the shark is eating the mermaid, which is cool I guess, but... there are about twenty pillows involved and that's where I'm supposed to sit, so...

I want you to understand what's happening: these very words you're reading right now... I'm typing them while sitting on a shark that is eating a mermaid. Also, here's our Christmas card in case you didn't get one (fyi, nobody got one. because these are gingerbread people.)

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So, you see, there's just too much mess in all my spaces to add a super important goal that I know I'll fail within a matter of days, thus piling "failure" on top of all. this. mess.

And that's why I will not make a New Year's Resolution in 2018

I think there's a better way, anyway.

Why pick just one major goal for one upcoming year and why wait until January 1? Why not decide to go on a journey? Like an Every Year's Quest, taking baby steps to becoming the mom, the wife, the person you were created to be?

For me, that has to look like overhauling and simplifying EV.ER.Y space in my life. I'll write about simplifying my spaces here and there, because I think doing that will keep me somewhat accountable, and I’m telling you that now because I think that will also keep me somewhat accountable… I need all the help I can get, y’all.

But not only for accountability… also for sharing ideas and hearing ideas from you. I truly believe that simplifying our spaces (both emotional and physical) will open up so much space for God to fill with Himself and do His sanctifying clean-up of the messes we inevitably create around ourselves as mamas and wives.

And y’all, so much more than any Resolution in 2018, we need more. of. Him.

Mamas, wives, women

...if you’re with me, moving past our resolutions and into His glory has to be where we start.
Because if you look back at those verses I quoted in my intro, and if you read them in their context, I think you’ll see they aren’t about reaching some personal goal or leaving some bad habit in the past.

They are about the redeeming work of Christ in our lives.
LOOK:

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” -Phil 3:12-14 (but read the whole chapter, really)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;” -2 Corinthians 5:17&18 (again, just read the whole chapter)

Christ Jesus has made me His own.
All this is from God.
Let that sink in for a little bit.

Friends, let’s not make resolutions that we are bound to fail this New Year. Let’s put our hands in His and let’s let Him lead us through our clutter and our mess and into His splendid glory, into His everyday mercies, into His love overflowing and never failing.

And come back tomorrow, because I have something to share.