A Heart of Worship

In case any of you out there are struggling with this, I wanted to share something that God has put on my heart recently. And, honestly, once I have faced it and dealt with it in my life, I’ve felt wonderful peace and freedom! BECAUSE I’M LEARNING THAT IT IS SOOOOOOO MUCH BETTER TO PLEASE GOD THAN PEOPLE, NO MATTER WHAT IT COSTS YOU. 

I’ve been helping with singing and playing the piano in church for a long time. And it had just kind of become something I did every Sunday. I saw it as a “duty.” I would have severe anxiety about “performing” well (performing, by the way, is the complete OPPOSITE of worship), and some days I would even attempt to help lead worship when I still had un-repented sin and bitterness in my heart toward other people.

Um, hello: anxiety + bitterness ≠ a heart of worship.

WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. On so many levels. I’m not making excuses for any of this at all! I’m just being real and telling it like it is. I’m so grateful for God’s grace in revealing that for what it is – sin – and changing my heart. After talking it out and praying about it a bunch with my hubs, I decided to step away from helping lead worship at church. Instead we want to focus on attending church together and growing our marriage. Worshiping God together. It was really a hard decision to make, and I had a lot of doubts because I love singing harmony, and I love playing the piano. It was a decision that cost me. It hurt. It felt like I was letting people down.

BUT, Y’ALL. The peace that came from doing what God was telling me to do completely eclipsed the feeling that I might be letting people down. I’ve been able to take a step back and re-evaluate what worship is.

And it’s not singing harmony and playing keys.

Worship is un-distracted, complete, and total surrender of your heart in praise to the One True King.

This might seem like a rabbit trail coming up but I promise it ties in, so bear with me: so the youth group at church started a “read through the Bible in a year” program, and I’m miserably behind – like they’re probably in Matthew already and I’m still in Exodus – but anyways, I’ve been taking my time and poring over/journaling what God is showing me. I stumbled across something incredible about worship in the book of Exodus that I don’t think I would have found if I hadn’t started back at the beginning of the Bible this year. Exodus isn’t exactly where I would’ve expected to have an epiphany about worship haha.

Look at Exodus 10:24-26

Finally, Pharaoh called for Moses. “Go and worship the LORD,’ he said. “But leave your flocks and herds here. You may even take your little ones with you.”

“No,” Moses said, “you must provide us with animals for sacrifices and burnt offerings to the LORD our God. All our livestock must go with us, too.


We must choose our sacrifices for the LORD our God from among these animals. And we won’t know how we are to worship the LORD until we get there.”

I was reading this with a heavy heart about what was going on, but that quote literally made me laugh out loud. “Not a hoof can be left behind.”

I know that nowadays worshipping God looks much different. God loved us so much that He sent His beloved son Jesus (the PERFECT sacrifice) to die for our sins, and we are no longer bound by the laws of the Old Testament. As Christians we are no longer required to sacrifice animals. Hallelujah thank you Jesus.

But I think what Moses says in those verses is completely applicable to us today – it’s in the Bible for a reason; it was put there to teach us something. You see, Moses didn’t want to leave anything behind when he led the Israelites to worship. He wanted to be completely prepared for what God was going to show them through worship. How guilty are we – and by “we” I mean “me” – of leaving stuff behind. Not bringing it all before God so that we can worship in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24).

Keep in mind the background here – the Israelites are enslaved by the Egyptian ruler, Pharaoh. God sends plagues on the entire nation of Egypt because of Pharaoh’s hard-heartedness in not letting the Israelites go to worship God completely. Water was turned to blood, swarms of frogs, flies, and gnats were sent, livestock died, crops were wiped out by hail and locusts, and God sent darkness “so thick you could feel it” to wake Pharaoh up to what God was commanding. He kept sending hardship upon hardship, and yet Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go to worship God in completeness – men, women, children, livestock, the cat, the dog… you get the picture.

Just like Pharaoh hardened his heart and grasped for control over how the Israelites went to worship, I think we often grasp for control and keep back areas of our heart when WE go to worship. We go to worship God, but we are not humble. We go to worship God, but have unconfessed and un-repented sin. We go to worship God, but not completely. We put our fears, anxieties, and our sins on the back burner, instead of laying them on the altar.

I know I’ve been guilty.

Remember – not even a hoof is to be left behind 😉

Oh, and maybe, just maybe, God puts us in difficult situations, and presents us with hard choices, and maybe even causes us some pain so that we might come to the realization that our heart is not in the right place and we aren’t worshiping like we should. Just some food for thought.


P.S. I’m not saying that stepping away from leading worship is the right thing for everyone! I just know what God was telling me, and I’ve been blessed by just following His voice and being able to worship in the congregation. I’ve also been blessed by a community worship night called “The Living Room” that meets in an old warehouse in my town. Bo and I and a couple friends went for the first time last night right after I got off of work at the hospital, and I was super blessed by it – just being able to worship the Lord without being up on stage was so refreshing and I felt God’s presence in such a powerful way. Until I hear God telling me to worship differently, I am completely content. ❤


Welcome 2018

Happy New Year!

My last post was about Ireland (what an awesome trip!) and there were a bunch of pretty photos…  sorry I don’t have any good photos for this post! As I mentioned at the very end of the Ireland post, I was planning on going on a mission trip to Haiti, and I was able to go this past November! As I was very busy on that trip, I didn’t get many photos, but I did make a video with everyone’s photos from the trip with one of my favorite songs to show at church and to family and friends back home. You can view it by clicking the link below 🙂


What a great experience to be able to use some of my nursing skills in Haiti. It was such a blessing to me! And I pray it was for the team and the people that we served. I know that Haiti is somewhere I will continue to return to. What lovely people. It really was a wonderful trip.

I was reading back through my New Years post from last year. I think that my goal of taking every opportunity to explore was definitely met! I was blessed with some great travel opportunities in 2017. My other goals were to work on being kind to those closest to me, and being generous in as many areas as possible. There have been some great improvements in my life in these areas, and with God’s grace I know I will continue to grow.

Some highlights of 2017:
– Feeling so much better physically than the previous year!
– Hiking weekend celebration with friends for my 25th birthday
– Speaking at the Strength & Dignity youth girl’s event
– Traveling to Ireland and Haiti
– Best book: The Lucky Few (sweet and very wise; I know I want to adopt one day, and this book inspired me to trust that God has a plan for that desire!)
– Best movie: Wonder Woman (girl power!)
– Getting our first real Christmas tree

So here’s to a new year and new goals! (I just love new things, don’t you?)

Goals for 2018:
– Drink more water and do something to stay active EVERY day
– Take time to do things that help me relax and unwind (without feeling guilty about spending time on myself!)
– Read 10 books this year
– Be open to making new friends, but focus on maintaining the relationships that I have already been blessed with
– De-clutter and organize
– Start recycling
– Read my Bible every day, even if it’s just a couple of verses
– Make a conscious effort to be persistent in prayer.



Ireland Vacation

Last month we had an amazing trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland, and I posted some photos on Facebook for family and friends but I also wanted to write about it a little bit, too. It was a wonderful adventure that Bo and I got to do together with some of my family. So many great memories!

We flew into Dublin, then traveled to Galway and spent several days there. It was a busy, touristy little town with lots of shops and a pretty beach. We went on a couple of day trips, which was a lot of fun. The first was to the Cliffs of Moher, which was definitely a highlight for me! It was quite a drive through the countryside to get there. We hiked seven or eight miles along the cliffs… and it was unbelievably beautiful. On the second day trip, we took a ferry out to one of the Aran Islands called Inis Mor. We took a little buggy ride through the rolling countryside, soaking up the views of the endless stone walls, ancient churches, and crumbling cemeteries, and ended up at the Dun Aengus fortress, which was spectacular. Here are several of my best photos:


The City of Galway


The Cliffs of Moher


Dun Aengus Fortress

From Galway we traveled into the country and stayed at Ballynahinch Castle in Connemara. The grounds were gorgeous, and I can safely say it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It was so relaxing to just go out on walks around the beautiful grounds. Bo and I got to spend a lot of time together just walking and talking, which was so good for us… I already want to go back! Bo also got to shoot skeet with a world-renowned coach, Shane Bisgood. Looking back on these photos, pictures just don’t do justice for how lush and green everything was:


Ballynahinch Castle Hotel


Momma and ducklings on the water


The most beautiful hydrangeas


Mossy woods


The old estate


Bo and his shooting instructor, Shane Bisgood

We said goodbye to Connemara and traveled up to Northern Ireland to visit family. My favorite hike that we did apart from the Cliffs of Moher on the first leg of the trip was to see Kinbane Castle. We also walked the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, which was terrifying… but this is a year of facing my fears and… I DID IT! I don’t have very good photos of the bridge, there were too many tourists, but it was a good time and good memories!


Kinbane Castle


The beautiful ruins


My sister and two cousins were a little braver than I was!


Anxiously waiting in line to cross the rope bridge


I’ll never forget how beautiful and emerald green the water was!

To end this post, I would like to share a little bit about a spiritual experience that I had, not to make myself sound special but to remind other Christians to get out of their comfort zones, because THAT is where God works in our lives the most.

To give some context, I got to visit the town square in Coleraine, which was the “seat,” if you will, of the 1859 Ulster Revival. This revival was a huge movement of God in Ireland that changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. There are reports even to this day of God doing miraculous works of healing in this very place where so many years ago revival was going on. My family in Northern Ireland attends a church that regularly meets in this town square to pray for anyone who comes and asks – it is an amazing ministry. They wanted me to go and receive prayer for my health, given my recent diagnosis of arthritis. I’m ashamed to say that I was so out of my comfort zone – going somewhere public and actually sitting there and asking strangers to pray for my healing – that I simply didn’t want to do it. Long story short I ended up going, and I’m really glad that I did.

Without getting too deeply personal, when I received prayer at the Coleraine town square, God gently reminded me that healing isn’t always physical. As those sweet church ladies started to pray over me, God began to reveal to me that there were areas of my life that were broken and needed fixing. I was reminded that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. I realized that there were some situations in my life where I needed to show forgiveness to people. I realized there was guilt that I was carrying that I needed to get rid of. Tears fell as I realized that He truly was doing a work of healing in my heart. It was a landmark day in my Christian walk.

Never be too proud to ask for prayer – lesson learned.

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothes yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (Colossians 3:12-15)


P.S. I am excited to say that I am going on a medical mission trip to Haiti in November!


Chicago Adventures

Went to Chicago for my sister’s wedding and enjoyed being with family this past weekend. I got to meet my youngest niece (14 weeks) and my youngest cousin (14 months) – double score! It was an adventure taking the trains and exploring a bit, and we even got to eat some Chicago style deep dish pizza from Giordano’s (which was to die for)! Although the crowds of a big city are not really my favorite thing, that Chicago skyline is undeniably beautiful. I played tourist and took some photos – these are my three favorites of the city.


I came back to work after a week off and have had an incredibly hard couple of days back at the hospital. Being a nurse is indescribably difficult some days. An unexpected death, while next door unhappy patients and family members wonder why you took so long getting to them. A terminal diagnosis just given in one room, all the while a patient who is perfectly capable is on their call light complaining and wanting repositioned in another room. Some days it really wears my spirit out, on top of my body not feeling super great lately. I was thinking all these things and the verses came to mind Ephesians 6:12-13, and it reminds me that every day is a battle, some days we just feel it more than others.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.


Speaking [of] Adventures…

This year has been all about challenging myself and getting out of my comfort zone and doing what God wants me to do. Last week I went on a pretty big adventure, or at least it was for me! I actually spoke… that’s right, SPOKE in front of a group at a church event. For me, that was way outside of my comfort zone! My voice was shaky, and I had to look at my notes while I was talking so I didn’t lose my train of thought, but you know what? Afterwards, I had so many girls come up to me and say they really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it! Public speaking terrifies me, but I’m trying my best to live out the advice from my last blog post that “God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called,” and so far, it has been a huge blessing in my life!

The idea for this event all started at one of our Bible study get-togethers a couple of months ago. Our Bible study has been meeting for over a year now, and as we have gotten to know one another better, we found that there were a lot of things that we all wished someone had sat us down and talked to us about when we were younger. So we decided to make a night of it, and speak candidly to the young girls from our different churches about those topics!

We decided to call the night “Strength & Dignity” and our theme verse was Proverbs 31:25, “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” We just wanted to have a fun night to minister to younger women and speak into their lives what God had laid on our hearts to talk about. We covered a lot of topics, including popularity, purity, friendships, and modesty.  We had a time of worship at the end and then split into smaller groups to finish out the night. The girls each got a beautiful t-shirt with our theme verse to take home and tell their friends about. We had pretty decorations, a little goody bag full of stuff for each girl, and a craft… The girl’s faces just lit up! It was an awesome time and they all had so much fun.

Afterwards we got so many comments about how much they loved having a time to just talk about girl’s topics without all the boys around. So many came up to us with hugs and smiles and said how much they wanted to do it all again. All of us left with this great feeling that it had all come together just how God had planned it to, and that we had reached a lot of girls for Christ. It was awesome to be able to get to know those thirty girls that came and talk about our struggles and teach them in a way that was relevant and applicable to their lives. I can’t wait to start planning our next event! I want to share what I spoke about with you all. I’ve paraphrased it just a little bit, and cleaned up my terrible grammar, but here you go! I hope that you’ll enjoy reading this, and if you have any young women in your life, that maybe you’ll share it with them!

“Self Image and Modesty: What You Really Need to Know”

Talking about modesty was like my least favorite thing growing up. Trust me. I get it. I’ve been there. But I want you to know that I don’t think modesty is about certain rules and regulations. It’s not about how tight your shirt can or can’t be, or what length of shorts is acceptable. It’s not about how to look like a “Christian girl.” I don’t think that’s Biblical, and I don’t think that mentality is effective in young girls’ lives. So I’m going to take a different approach to talking about modesty. You see, I think that when your view of yourself aligns with how God sees you, that all these other ideas of modesty, how you should act, how you should dress, and so on, naturally fall into place.

I want to share with you a little bit of my own journey. I’ve always been flat chested. I guess the nice way to say that is that I have a “boyish figure.” As a teen, I would look at the photos of girls in fashion magazines and wish that BAM – my body would suddenly turn into what  I was seeing on those pages. But let’s face it, that didn’t happen. And it rarely does for most of us girls. As I got older and even into my college years, those thoughts stuck around. There have even been times even in the recent past that I’ve thought about getting surgery to fix the situation – ahem, a boob job. I hope that’s not too shocking to anyone. But I figure that if it’s been a struggle for me, that it’s been a struggle for someone out there, too. But maybe your desire to change yourself goes even deeper than that. Maybe you try to change your physical appearance through extreme dieting or excessive workouts. Or maybe you struggle with thoughts of suicide, self-harm, or addiction. I don’t know what your struggle is, but I do want you to know that you are not alone. Many of us have shared in your struggles and we want to talk with you and minister to you.

But back to my topic. As I said, even into my twenties I still had these nagging feelings I couldn’t get rid of: “I just don’t look good in a bathing suit because I’m flat as a pancake,” “She has such a better figure than I do,” “I feel like less of a woman because of my shape.” I could bore you with a long list of these negative thoughts, but I’ll stop there. I want you all to know that God has really worked on my heart and I’ve come around. He has given me the grace to realize something: those thoughts that had taken up so much of my days as a teen and even in college and the beginning of my married life; those negative feelings about myself that caused me so much heartache and self-hatred and shame… all of those thoughts and feelings are lies from Satan, every one of them!

Satan is real. I don’t think we talk about that in our churches enough. Satan is described in the Bible as one who tempts us and deceives us, and Jesus himself calls Satan the “Father of lies” (John 8:44). Lying to us is right up Satan’s alley, and he is really good at twisting our thoughts and causing us to see ourselves negatively instead of how Jesus sees us – valued and loved. Why does Satan do that, especially to young women and girls? I mean, just think about it: if you’ve been around church at all you’ve heard the story of creation and the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. If you’re familiar with the story, you know that Satan has been busy lying to us ladies since the beginning of time! He lied to Eve and told her that she was “not enough” and that she needed more in her life. More knowledge, more power, more influence.

That begs the question: why is lying to us women so important to Satan? Why do all young women seem to have this universal struggle of feeling inadequate, ashamed of our appearance, and feeling dissatisfied with the qualities God has gifted us with? I think it’s because Satan is waging war on us young women. I know that sounds weird, but I really believe it’s true. One of the things we’ve talked about in our Bible study is how real spiritual warfare is. Spiritual warfare, if you’ve never heard of that before, means that Satan is attacking us Christians. He is doing his best to distract us from our purpose on this earth, which is loving God and loving others. Every one of us is susceptible to Satan’s schemes and tricks – boys and girls, young and old, seasoned Christians and new Christians. But I think that us young women are one of his prime targets because Satan knows how much influence young women can have for good in this world, and he does everything he can to distract us from our God-given purpose!

Just as I said a minute ago, God created ALL of us, both guys and girls, with this purpose: to love God and to love others. However, I want you to know that God created women to reflect certain aspects of Himself that men cannot. It took both man AND woman to make God’s creation complete. Don’t believe me? Go back and read Genesis 1 and 2, those very first couple of chapters in the Bible. I’m going to paraphrase here, but just listen to this amazing story of the creation of humanity from Genesis chapters 1 and 2:”Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. So the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”

You see, God created mankind to rule over this world that He created, and to reflect His own character – the Bible says that humans are “image bearers” of God. But just creating man was not enough, God decided. In order to completely paint this beautiful picture of all of God’s characteristics, creation required another kind of human being – a woman – in order for God to be fully satisfied with his creation. Adam and Eve were happy and blessed by God. They were perfect for each other, and they had this perfect relationship with their Creator as they ruled over a perfect, beautiful, and sinless world.

However, Satan was, and continues to be crafty. He twisted Eve’s thoughts and convinced her that what God had created her to be was “not enough.” He attacked her self-image. He convinced her that she needed more in her life. She listened to Satan’s lies, and our world fell into sin and was forever changed. Let me interject here that you are not alone in falling into temptation. Eve, that perfect woman that God created at the beginning of the world was tempted and fell into sin! But does that mean that God did not use her for His incredible purpose? Absolutely not. We are all alive and kicking today because of Eve. Even though she messed up, she is the ancestor of each and every one of us! I think that is a pretty awesome thought.

The Bible is FULL of incredible examples of women who used their lives in beautiful and powerful ways to honor God. And let me tell you, God used some of the most unlikely people to accomplish some pretty incredible things in the Bible. If your head is not in that book, you are truly missing out! Did you know that in Jesus’ family tree, there are prostitutes and adulterers – women that have ROYALLY messed up. Women that even by today’s standards are filthy! Trust me, there is nothing new under the sun. That stuff was around in Bible times too. The Bible is not just a prim and proper book of rules on how we should live. There’s some crazy stuff in there that just reinforces how God uses people despite our sin and our messes to accomplish His plan and His purpose. I’m so glad He does that, aren’t you?

You see, none of us are perfect. But Satan whispers in our ears and tries to get us to focus on those imperfections instead of on how much God loves us. He tries to get us to a point where we think we are beyond help and cannot be used by God. Those lies that Satan whispers tell us that we are not pretty enough, we are not smart enough, we are not popular enough. Those lies tell us that chasing boyfriends, sex outside of being married, beautiful clothes, clear skin, a perfect body – that THESE are the things that will make us feel fulfilled and make us feel valued and desired. But please listen to me. I am speaking to you as a sister: those things will NOT make you happy! When we listen to Satan’s lies about these things, we begin to travel down a dangerous and lonely road that does NOT lead to happiness. Instead, it leads us down a path of constant comparison to other women, emptiness, and a lack of fulfillment and purpose. And that is exactly the powerless place where Satan wants us!

Many of us in our Bible study group will tell you that we have been down that road. Maybe some of you out there are currently on that road. But I want you to know, sister, that YOU are valuable to God. No matter how you’ve messed up, no matter how unworthy of forgiveness you feel, no matter what horrible stuff someone may have done TO you in this sin-filled world, God loves you, and it is in JESUS that we can find our value and our worth. It is when we give it all over to him – our insecurities, our sins, our addictions, our MESS – that we get to experience what He created us for: a beautiful life of loving God and loving others. When we enter into that relationship with Him and are living in a way that honors God, we get to experience true beauty in our lives.

Let me bring it all together with a couple more examples from my own life – I think that real-life application is what helps us the most, don’t you? Like I said at the beginning of this talk, I had been so caught up in the fact that I didn’t have big boobs. It sounds so goofy when I say that now… like, how could I have let something that seems so shallow to be that big of a deal to me? But it was. Because Satan knew how to twist my thoughts! But there was much more about myself that I was unhappy with. I had horrible cystic acne on my face growing up. I was so embarrassed and caught up in that that I would actually stay home from places. I thought that I was ugly and undeserving of being around others. I went through a period of major depression. I let something like zits cause me so much agony and heartache that I actually lost sight as a teen of God’s purpose for my life! I hated that I was not athletic, I hated that I was shy, the list goes on.

If you’re struggling with self-image, please just know that you are valued by God. You are His beautiful creation. You don’t have to dress to impress. You don’t have to find your worth in boys. You don’t have to do stuff to get a boy to like you. You don’t have to have a perfect body or clear skin to have a purpose in your life. You are enough because Jesus loves you. It’s as simple as that. Satan tries to get us young women to focus on what we don’t like about ourselves, so that we focus on “me, me, me” instead of “God, God, God.” He wants us to focus on those insecurities, instead of focusing on our hope and security in Jesus!

God has given each one of us different gifts – whether it’s good looks and beautiful smile, school smarts, an awesome sense of humor, a servants’ heart, athletic ability, a loving and caring nature, the gift of public speaking, a heart for children, a desire to adopt one day, a heart to help the elderly, a desire to serve in missions, a longing to be a mom… Whatever it may be, remember this: God has given us those gifts to SERVE and make an IMPACT on those around us. None of us girls are perfect, but if we get focused on those imperfections we are not fulfilling our purpose on this earth.

You see, Jesus, God’s Son, came to earth because He loved us so, so much. Can you picture that with me? He saw us, through space and time, and loved each of us so much that He willingly came down to earth from heaven and gave his life for us. Even though we are all sinners and live in a fallen world, He saw value in us you guys! We are precious in His sight! Worth loving, worth fighting for, and worth dying for. He died and paid for our past, present, and future sins so that we might be Forgiven. Made pure. Beautiful. Beloved. Redeemed. Confident. Influential. Impactful. Gracious. Compassionate. Kind.

Apart from Jesus’ amazing work on the cross, we are lost. We are the opposite of those things. But because of Jesus, we can be all of those things and more! I challenge you, don’t listen to the lies from Satan about not being enough. Listen to the love of Jesus that you are valuable and BEAUTIFUL in his sight! I’m actually going to take it one step further. If you hate yourself and are constantly down on yourself, you are actually NOT being pleasing to God. Really let that sink in. I’ll say it again: when you think negatively about yourself, and focus on what you hate about yourself instead of focusing on what God created you to be, you aren’t honoring Jesus! You are His creation, His beloved daughter! If you understand that, sister, it will radically change your perspective!

To close, I want to share some verses that have helped me along the way to understand how precious women are to God. These verses explain what it means to be beautiful. If you can feel the heaviness of Satan attacking your spirit, if you’re going through times when you doubt that you are valuable to God and you can feel the reality of spiritual warfare, please, PLEASE get with a Godly friend or mentor. Pray it out! Battle back by reading God’s promises to us in scripture. Satan is powerful, but he is no match for a woman who is living in God’s power!

Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

1 Samuel 16:7 “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Timothy 3:10 “Women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.”

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Let me interject here really quick that these verses are NOT saying that wearing cute clothes and doing your hair up is bad in and of itself. These verses are saying that those things should not be our focus… that is NOT where our true beauty is found! It is a life that reflects Christ that is truly beautiful to God. That leads me to our last verse:


Thanks for reading.


He Qualifies the Called

So one of my New Year’s resolutions was to go on more adventures… And we went on a great one for my 25th birthday! We hiked several trails in the Boxley Valley area and stayed at a beautiful cabin near Jasper, AR that overlooks Steel Creek Valley. We got to see a herd of elk, we talked around the campfire, ate some great food, took in the breathtaking views, explored the rock formations and waterfalls… I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend with a better group of people. I took my camera along and here are some pics from the trip:

I’m not in the greatest of shape, and hiking is challenging for me still even though my arthritis is much improved from six months ago. I’ve found that stopping and taking photos is a great way to take little breaks while hiking. Haha! I may be at the back of the pack, but it’s teaching me to take the time to enjoy and document the amazing details along the way that I might otherwise skip over.

That reminds me of something…

Last night we just finished up our young women’s Bible study series called “Unashamed” by Christine Caine. I wanted to share one of the closing thoughts, because it spoke to me in a big way:

It is so important that we do not allow the words and actions of others, or for that matter, even our own self-talk, to define us or limit our potential. God does not ever call the qualified. He qualifies the called.

It’s a process, but I am learning to let go of what I think about myself, and just go with it and be used by God! God uses all of my limits, my imperfections, my flaws, for His glory and for my good. Even things like being the slowest hiker EVER can end up being a positive (photos and memories I might otherwise have missed out on). I’m reminded that when we stop focusing on our own shortcomings and instead focus on serving God and others, that is when things fall into place and we can begin to see the big picture of the good life that He has for us! I’m so thankful for that reminder and for that wonderful weekend enjoying the beauty of the outdoors. What a great way to kick off my 25th birthday year!


The Power of Words

Do you ever have days where you just feel discouraged? Today is one of those days, so bear with me. Despite physical therapy and medication, my knee and elbows are still painful and swollen from the arthritis some days, and increasingly so this past week. I’ve been fighting some kind of cold every couple of weeks, which makes it hard to have the energy to get much else done besides work and keeping up with household stuff. I’ll make a little progress with PT, and then it feels like I take two steps backwards. Praying for energy and to stay healthy even though I’m around so many germs at work. Praying for wisdom as well, because Bo and I are beginning to think that working on a med surg floor may not be the best thing for me physically long-term.

Despite all of that, there have been some exciting things happening. I have to remember that even with the physical stuff going on, there’s a bigger picture and God is so, so good. I’m preaching to the choir here… It’s easy to lose focus on God’s goodness when we are dealing with aches and pain. Thankfully, we’ve started up with a young women’s Bible study again after being on break since Christmas. We’re doing Christine Caine’s “Unashamed” study (reading the book and doing a weekly DVD session in one another’s homes). It’s such an encouragement and reminder of God’s faithfulness to be around a small group of women my own age.  To hear everyone’s struggles, victories, prayer requests, and words of encouragement to each other is just such a priceless gift.

That brings me to something that has been on my heart to share: the power our words have to build up or tear down. Here are five verses that I’ve copied into my journal on what the Bible says about our words:

  • Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
  • Ephesians 4:29 “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
  • James 1:26 “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.”
  • Proverbs 16:24 “Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Encourage one another and build one another up.”

This reminder is for everyone reading and myself as well: is there anyone around you who is discouraged? Anyone who needs a reminder that they are loved? That they matter? Anyone at all who is struggling? It’s our job as followers of Christ to build one another up. If we allow God to be in control of our words, there is such incredible POWER to overturn what the devil is doing to discourage and beat down those around us. Like Proverbs says, our words are  “sweet to the soul and healthy for the body”of the person we are speaking to. That’s amazing! I’ve found that when I’m feeling down and discouraged, the best antidote for that is to do my best to be an encouragement to others. So that’s going to be my goal today, and I hope that this is food for thought for those reading!