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2017 Ain’t Over Yet!

Let me tell you, my 2017 was HARD! But you know what? It’s okay. I’m not running from it. A young lady in the store said to me, “I can’t wait for the year to be over!” Is that your sentiment too? Y’all, 2017 ain’t over yet. If your year was hard, I want you to rejoice and celebrate because you are here. You are an overcomer. You still stand. So while we are still in 2017, give God a shout of PRAISE that you made it!

 

Have you seen them? My social media feeds have been FULL of them; all the promises that 2018 claims to hold.

 

It’s Your Year

 

Strong, Healthier, Wiser

 

The Year You Finally Go For It

 

The Year You Say Yes To More Happiness, Friends, and Love

 

Your Year To Sparkle

 

[bctt tweet=”Cute memes filled with sparkle, shine and happy don’t always translate into days filled with peace, progress, productivity and joy.” username=”inspiredfully”] And while the start of a new year may be a welcomed invitation for a do over, it can also induce fear, anxiety and failure. So let me tell you right now, I am praying for you. I pray you aren’t feeling pressured with the end of 2017 chomping at the bit. Yes, the close of the year is fast approaching. In fact, including today there are just 4 days left in this year. If the thought of that makes your pulse quicken, PAUSE. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths. Remember that the Lord created the world and every thing in it in a mere six days. So here’s the plan for FINISHING 2017 In 3 Easy Steps.

 

Step 1: No Condemnation

 

Conviction is from God. Condemnation is from the devil. The enemy of your soul wants you to accept his lies as truth. He wants to sow seeds of doubt, discouragement and dissolution. But God wants HIS truth to liberate you. And the TRUTH says, Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2).

 

Step 2: Focused Reflection

 

Grab a pen and spend a few quiet moments of focused reflection. One of the hallmarks of successful people is to review their year. So let’s close out 2017 by gaining insight through purposeful reflection. Then use that wisdom as a springboard for launching into 2018. Did you have ONE WORD for 2017? Reflect on how that word manifested this year. Then answer the following questions:

 

What great accomplishment did God perform through me this year?

 

What new thing did I learn this year?

 

What one thing would I have done differently?

 

What was my biggest challenge?

 

What caught me by surprise this year?

 

What was my biggest lesson learned?

 

In what ways did I grow emotionally and spiritually?

 

How am I different this year than last year?

 

For what am I most grateful for this year?

 

What was one key relationship from this year?

 

What is one thing from this year that I need to let go of?

 

 

So what if you find this year did not go as planned? Well, you’ve had an opportunity then for scripture to come alive in your life. The Word says a man’s heart plans his way but it is the Lord that directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9). Remember, no condemnation. Celebrate the successes you did have. You made it this far and that is evidence enough that a miracle has taken place. You are a walking, talking miracle.

 

Step 3: Prayer

 

How sweet it is to commune with God in prayer. As you pour your heart out to God, He will pour into you. As you reflect on 2017, thank Him. Thank Him that you lived to see another year. Thank Him specifically for the myriad of ways he provided for you in 2017. Thank Him for protecting you in 2017. Thank Him for prospering you. Thank Him for being your healer, redeemer and way maker all year long. Ask Him for insight, revelation, and direction. Ask Him for the discipline, courage and fortitude to carry out what He whispers to your heart.

 

Set your heart on making these last few days of the year count BIG. And you know what? I know that you can do it. You will not look at these last four days and be overwhelmed. You will not use these last four days to condemn yourself for whatever happened the other 361 days of 2017. Through focused reflection and prayer you will be firmly established to conclude this year in a way that honors God and honors yourself. You WILL have a strong finish to your 2017. It ain’t over yet!

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Chasing Community, Salt & Light, Grace & Truth, Faith N Friends

 

(First appeared on Inspired Life December 28, 2016 but revised and updated)

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The Dream of You: A candid chat with Jo Saxton

You ever have God do a 1-2 on you? I’m talking about a time you walked into something expecting one thing, to have Him completely turn it around and do another?

This happened to me when I picked up a copy of The Dream of You by author, speaker and leader Jo Saxton. I went into the book thinking, “Oh this will be a nice read” and I left the book changed. I left the book with my identity renewed. I left the book with a NEW NAME!

So imagine my delight when I was offered the opportunity to interview this powerful woman of God. I have been following Jo for some time. Can I be honest with ya’ll though and tell you what first drew me to her….ok lean in and let me whisper it to you…Here it is…I was overcome with emotion to see her brown face being prominently displayed with authority, grace and power in an arena where there few. I rejoiced that she was in this place of influence to break barriers and to build bridges because indeed we are one family in the body of Christ. Since then I’ve just grown to love her. She shares the gospel in a way that is funny, candid and approachable. So without further ado, let’s hear from Jo as we talk about her new book, The Dream of You.

Jo, I’m so excited to be holding a copy of The Dream of You in my hands. Tell us, what prompted you to write this book?

When I spoke at conferences or in coaching sessions I met many women wrestling in their faith. They loved God, they sought to be faithful, but they could never get past their past. Or they were confused about who they were and their place in a rapidly changing world. A number of women felt they had lost their voice, some felt they never had it to lose. They were stuck and God has so much more for them! I wanted to put something into people’s hands that showed them that God can rewrite our stories. I want to help them rediscover God’s dream for their lives and His vision for their purpose, so they can live in freedom.

Break it down for us…What does “The Dream of You” mean?

The Dream of You is God’s vision for your identity and purpose. It’s about how God made you, your personality, your gifts and celebrates them. It’s about the voice and the contribution he’s given you to share in your world.

When I got my copy and read the back cover, it asked a poignant question.  It said are you ready? In the tiny phrase was packed so much. What keeps women from being ready to embrace their authentic God identity?

I think our life experiences and relationships have a profound impact on our lives. We grow up surrounded by definitions and expectations on what makes us valuable as women, on our potential and purpose. We’re told how we need to look, and how we should think, what we should do with our lives. Even our wider culture has multiple (and often conflicting) opinions about our womanhood. All these leave an imprint on us. It’s hard to embrace what God says about you when the voices for your culture, relationships and experiences are so loud.

How does the view we hold of ourselves impact our relationships?

We human beings never live beyond what we believe about ourselves, so the view we have has a critical role in how we live, including our relationships. So for example if we believe we are inadequate and unworthy of love, it can affect us in a number of ways. We feel that love has to be earned, so work harder, try harder, do more  – and yet still feel insecure. In addition – we might also not recognize when we are being mistreated or taken advantage of, because we accept the treatment think we deserve. So it’s vital we embrace our God defined worth and value!

What would you say are some major issues, or “Giants” as you refer to them in the book that distort our God identity? 

Comparison is one of the giants we’ll need to learn to slay in every season of our lives. We compare our bodies, our families, our talents. Comparison towers over us, intimidating us, making us feel small and that our God given design is somehow insufficient for life.

The experience known in popular culture The Impostor Syndrome  (where regardless of how qualified and experienced you are in work or life you feel like a fake about to be exposed and ridiculed) is a huge giant we need to slay. God did not get it wrong when He made us. He is not embarrassed by our gifts or good qualities – he created them! But these distortions have the power to hold us back and wreak havoc over our identity and purpose.

Can you share with us a time when you did not embrace the dream of you?

I was single throughout my twenties when my friends were getting married and starting families. I’d bought the lie that my value was determined by my marital status,  and it had an erosive effect on my heart. I was defined by disappointment. It took a long time to embrace God’s dream for my life because I wanted someone else’s!

In the book you talk a lot about names and knowing your name. So tell us what’s in a name.

In the Bible a name often spoke of someone’s, character, their personality and potential. It might be a comment on a person’s relationship with God.  All in all, a given name declared a person’s identity and it was definitive. Today, our birth names certainly define us, but I’ve seen that other labels or names we’re given- “The strong one”, the rebel, the good girl, the fat one, the ugly duckling’ can shape us too. It’s essential that we exchange these old names for the name God speaks over every inch of our lives.

You also discuss a want for daddy. Can you share a bit on how knowing whose we are impacts how we see ourselves?

When my kids are facing a tough time at school, one of the things I’ll say is “remember you’re a Saxton”. It’s a shorthand way of summarizing who we are as a family – our values.  Being a Saxton means we look out for the marginalized kid in class, it means we work hard but that trying our best is enough. It means we have fun and are a bit goofy. Its means that we are fearfully and wonderfully made; and so are the people around us. It means we advocate for ourselves and that we serve and follow Jesus. It also means that we are not alone, we belong and are part of something bigger. When we know whose we are, it indicates who we are, are values and what we are living for. And it’s a reminder that we are not alone; we belong.

I’m a women’s ministry leader so can you talk to the women in leadership for a minute. How is our ability to lead effectively impacted if we do not have an accurate vision of ourselves?

I’ve noticed that for women in leadership one of our biggest battles is in the mind. If we don’t have an accurate vision of ourselves, it will drastically limit our leadership. We second guess our dreams and visions, we minimize our ideas. We fear our leadership passion and goals – just in case we’re too proud. What kingdom dreams remain unleashed because we’ve felt too insecure to run with them? NGO’s that haven’t been started. Community initiatives that never began, businesses that didn’t start. Conversations that would heal our families that remained unspoken. What are we missing out on?

Another thing that happens is that we fail to set boundaries and we exhaust ourselves and resent our tiredness. Then we feel ashamed of our resentment. We work hard to make amends, failing to set boundaries and the cycle starts again….

We live, love and lead from the inside out. So we need to be aware of what is happening on the inside – (our heart and minds) because it will shape how we lead.

Once we’ve come into alignment with the dream of who God says we are, how do we keep from sliding back into the mold of our old broken identity?

It can take a lot of work to break the old molds!

Since it’s God’s dream – it’s important to keep investing in your relationship with God.  Pray about these things, find verses from the Bible that speak to who God says you are and digest them daily, spend time in worship, spend time in Christian community.

Next, I would suggest you surround yourself with life giving people – the kind of people who will encourage your True identity, who will celebrate your real voice and purpose with you. You need people who will speak the truth in love to you when you are holding tightly onto lies. Build those kinds of relationships.

For some of the things we are dealing with we might need some professional help. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to visit a doctor if you are struggling in your mental health with anxiety or depression. Arrange to see a qualified therapist or counselor if there are issues to unpack that need specific attention. This is not a sign of failure – it’s one of COURAGE!

And for those of us aware that aligning with God’s dream impacts our calling and purpose, begin to dream with Him, but also begin to take practical steps. Talk to friends about what you can do to live into your purpose more fully, and be accountable for those steps you plan to take.

Any final thoughts for the people…

It’s not too late for a new beginning. God is making all things new, and that includes you. Your history, your story is not beyond the reach of his love and transformative power. Your broken identities are not too much for the Cross. Yes it may take time to live a new way when the old was has defined you for years, but it’s worth it. Let go of your broken identities, and live the life you were made for.

Whoo! Thanks Jo, that was awesome. I’m inspired to walk in my God given identity and to pursue my purpose with passion.

So friends, go ahead and pre-order your copy TODAY by CLICKING HERE. I KNOW this book has the power to transform your life. I’m excited to journey with you as you unpack The Dream of You so let’s keep the conversation going. Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

As always it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

Jo Saxton is an author, speaker, leadership coach, church planter and visionary, who empowers women, challenges societal stereotypes and helps people discover who they truly are, by seeing themselves the way God sees them. 

Born to Nigerian parents and raised in London, Jo brings a multi-cultural and international perspective to leadership. She has served on staff in multiple churches in the United Kingdom and the United States. Jo is currently the Chair of the Board for 3DM, a non-profit organization that equips churches in discipleship and mission, on the advisory board for Today’s Christian Woman, and co-hosts the popular podcast Lead Stories: Tales of Leadership in Life with Steph O’Brien.

A sought-after speaker, Jo has spoken at colleges/universities, churches and acclaimed national conferences including: Q, IF: Conference, Catalyst and faith-based gatherings across the U.S., U.K. and Australia. Notably, Jo Saxton has also been featured at the esteemed National Day of Prayer.

Her message challenges listeners to:

  • Engage in missional living and discipleship.
  • Empower women to lean into their leadership and influence.
  • Equip leaders to lead from the inside out and reframe their vision and purpose.

Jo is the author of two well-received books; More than Enchanting: Breaking Through Barriers to Influence Your World, and High Heels and Holiness: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Living Life Well. More than Enchanting discusses the central role of women in the church and society and High Heels and Holiness is a discipleship guide for young adult women. 

On January 23, 2018, Jo will release her much-anticipated new book The Dream of You: Let Go of Broken Identities and Live the Life You Were Made For through publisher WaterBrook & Multnomah (imprints of Penguin Random House). The book aims to help readers confront their past, break through stifling perceptions, and live authentically.Jo and her husband, Chris, live in Minneapolis with their two daughters.

Reject The Orphan Spirit

“You know my name. You know my name. You know my name. And oh how you tell me that I am your own. “ ~Tasha Cobbs Leonard

 

This refrain played over and over and over in my head. I recently attended a prayer brunch hosted by Sha’Meca Oliver of Pneuma Breathe Ministries and while there the singers flowed right into this song and it gripped my heart and hasn’t let me go since.

 

It just continues to stir what’s been in my heart for weeks.

 

He knows my name because I share His name. Because I believe in Him, I have received His name and have become His own child.

 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

 

Can ya’ll give a shout of praise right there with me? Not only does He know MY name but He knows YOURS too! And not only that but He calls you His own.

 

He’s your Daddy and He loves you with an everlasting love.

 

“WHO’S YOUR DADDY?”

 

[bctt tweet=”Your Daddy is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and as such YOU are royalty.” username=”inspiredfully”]

You’ve been adopted.

 

REJECT THE ORPHAN SPIRIT

 

You are no orphan. Remember…you’ve been adopted.

 

And in this adoption you are no Cinderella. You have all rights, love, privilege and access.  You are an heir to a rich inheritance. From our natural parents we can inherit debt. We can inherit a family history of poor health and even inherit addictions.

 

When we don’t have an accurate vision of who we are and the inheritance we lay claim to we may pine after what others have. We may inadvertently turn into Mean Girl like Cinderella’s step sisters, holding malice in our hearts for our sisters. We may covet what they have. If we don’t have an accurate vision of who we are we don’t even approach our Daddy right. We come to him as an orphan. We pray orphan type, edited, small prayers. Get this in your spirit, we are NOT orphans, we are heirs.

 

[bctt tweet=”Do not pray orphan prayers.” username=”inspiredfully”]

 

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will. Ephesians 1:4-5

 

Praise be to God that as daughters of the King and joint heirs with Jesus we inherit the keys to the Kingdom. As daughters of the King we are entitled to all the benefits and blessings therein.

 

You are not an orphan

You are a daughter of the King

You are a joint heir with Jesus

You are LOVED

 

Receive this truth.

 

Pray with me….

 

Abba,

I belong to you. Father thank you for loving me with an everlasting love. Thank you for being my Daddy, for adopting me, for knowing me by name and for calling me your own. You’ve given me a most beautiful inheritance. I am called a child of God. I am your daughter and your spirit has been sent to my heart. I am led by the spirit and my spirit bears witness that I am your own. I am a joint heir with Jesus and walk in the truth of who you say I am. May I always operate from the position of power and authority you’ve granted me.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Chasing Community, Salt & Light, Grace & Truth, Faith N Friends

 

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20 Things About God That You Can Bank On

In the face of what seemed like a mountain range of insurmountable issues and tasks, I desperately held on. I held on to the Word hidden in my heart. I held on to the promises God has declared for me and for my family. And though I felt I was hanging on by a thread, that thread was like ultra strong spider silk. Fiercely clinging, hands getting raw and blisters forming, the silk was a life LINE that fed right to the VINE.

 

So friends I want to encourage you. When facing the issues of life, here are 20 things about God that you can bank on:

 

Day and night Dwell On God’s unending love for you for He says nothing can separate you from His love.

 

Know that you are never alone. God always Looks In On you (Psalm 139:2-4).

 

Hold On to God’s unchanging hand (Deut 20:30) becasue He won’t let you go.

 

God is listening and watching. He has His Eye On you (Psalm 34:15).

 

Feast On God’s word and you will be transformed (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

 

A diet rich in the Word is surefire thing to Grow On (1 Peter 2:2).

 

You will Power On when the Holy Spirit has come upon you so operate in your power (Acts 1:8)!

 

His Word is your bread and His Spirit your water to Live On.

 

When He tells you Get A Move On He’s expecting you to obey and will bless your obedience (Genesis 12,13).

 

God’s promises are YES and AMEN and that’s a promise you can Bank On (2 Corinthians 1:20).

 

God places us in community so that we love, bless, encourage and Cheer On one another.

 

Got worries? God wants you to Cast On Him anything that concerns you (1 peter 5:7).

 

Safely on God’s wings you will Carry On (Deuteronomy 32:11).

 

You can keep your mind right when you Think On things that are lovely and true (Philippians 4:8).

 

When you remain steadfast and Hang On you will receive your blessing (James 1:12).

 

Stand On the solid rock of Christ and you won’t waver (pslam 62:6-9).

 

Abiding in Him is the only way to Get A Handle On your emotions. He wants you to bear good fruit.

 

He wants you to Get The Goods On what’s to come. He said before He does a new thing, He will tell you of it (Isaiah 42:9).

 

How good is to know you have His Sign On in the Lamb’s Book of Life?

 

Not only will God bless you but His favor will surround you as with a shield and that’s the Icing On the cake.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

I’m happy to partner with these friends sharing the Good News Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Chasing Community, Salt & LightGrace & Truth, Faith N Friends

The Vision Whisperer

People talk and though our ears work, we don’t HEAR them.

 

People walk right by us, all day, every day, yet we don’t SEE them.

 

We consume food without taking our time to savor its goodness.

 

We touch the screen on our phones and tablets more than we reach out to touch each other.

 

We don’t breathe deeply enough to let the nose do its knowing.

 

OUR SENSES ARE DULL.

 

Our senses are a precious gift from God given so we could commune with His creation and get to know more about His as our Creator. Our senses provide a current or rely through which we can connect with the Father. Yet we’ve become dull. A heavy diet of media, self and non-food foods have robbed us of sharp acuity.

 

For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them. Matthew 13:15

 

God has a GREAT assignment for each person in the earth. [bctt tweet=”God wants to download the PLAN for moving in our assignment, but it requires us to have sharp senses so that we catch the vision. ” username=”inspiredfully”]

As the VISION WHISPERER, God may illuminate a thought, His thought by placing a picture in your mind (see it).

 

“It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.”

Joel 2:28

 

You may hear a conversation, music or even a preached word and your ear perk up at that ONE WORD. Will you move on it by asking God for insight and further revelation? Or with dull hear, will you just brush it to the side. God is constantly uses our senses to invite us to see Him and to hear from Him. Being engrafted to the vine, you are knitted to receive from the Father. Donning the helmet of salvation you have the surety of who you are and whose you are. Having the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), your thoughts are transformed and His will for your life becomes your will.
So are you watching? He’s given you eyes to see.

 

Are you listening? He’s given you ears to hear.

 

He’s the VISION WHISPERER.

 

He wants to do a new thing and before it happens, He will tell you of it (Isaiah 42:9).

 

Be watching.

 

 

Be listening.

 

 

Receive the vision and GO! Just as He dispatched the disciples, He’s dispatching you. Catch the and run with it!

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to partner with these friends sharing the Good News Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Chasing Community, Grace & Truth

Everything In It’s Time (But Procrastination’s Not Allowed)

Ecclesiastes 3:1….

Yup. You know the verse. If you’ve been a Believer for any length of time you can probably even quote verses 1-8.

Even if you’re a non-believer, you know the often used phrase, “There’s a time and place for everything”. Even nature pays tribute to this universal law. There is day and night, the change of seasons, sowing and reaping; indeed everything happens in it’s time.

Last year this time I was knee deep in the trenches of writing my first book. My whole life I’ve known I would be a published author, though I didn’t know when that would happen, how it would happen or what the book would be about. In fact, I had several books in the works that were shelved so the book Purposeful Parenting could come forth. Though I thought the other books were important and quite frankly more exciting for me to write about and would have wider customer appeal, God said Purposeful Parenting is what was NEEDED for this time and season. By observing what’s happening in our world today, it is evident that we are a people loved deprived. Our spiritual and emotional malnourishment has caused us to act out as a cry for love and attention. So this book was needed in THIS season so that adults can heal themselves. By healing ourselves we can then give children the love they need and deserve. So while this wasn’t necessarily the book I had in mind for this season, this IS the book’s time. 

Let us be mindful friends to walk IN TIME and in sync with The Father. If we are out of sync, out of alignment, out of communion, out of fellowship, out of order, we’ll be moving out of time. This can cause us to lose time, miss time, and waste time and ain’t nobody got time for that. 

I used to belabor time. With the exception of walking fast, I tend to take my time doing things. I take time to choose a phone provider, I take time when selecting clothing for my family and goodness knows you don’t want to go to a restaurant with me when you’re hungry because I take forever to make up my mind.  And I can be that way with God too. When the Holy Spirit speaks for me to do something I can be slow to obey. I’ve even used the excuse of “waiting on God in prayer”  until He called me out and said, ” Please stop lying. You’re not waiting on me I’m waiting on YOU!” 

So gone are the days of d-r-a-w-i-n-g things out F O R E V E R….. and in are the days of swift obedience. 

Has God given you a vision? Put some action to it! Yes the Word does say that the vision is for an appointed time but it also says it will certainly come it will not delay. Since it will not wait for you, you better catch up.
What do you need to put action to today? The Bible says faith without works is dead, so add some WORK to your faith. In addition to fervent prayer, do at least one purposeful action toward making your God vision a reality. The manifestation of the dream will require discipline and diligence. 

Are you disciplined?

Are you diligent? 

For me to take Purposeful Parenting from concept to reality took strategy, discipline and diligence. 

 
And I didn’t necessarily have TIME to write the book, I had to MAKE time. 

I had to rise early, stay up late, turn off all social media, and FOCUS, all the while managing my crazy busy life. 

When you commit to using your time in ways that honor God, He is faithful to bless you. He will make all grace about toward you (2 Corinthians 9:8). I know this to be a fact. The vision is for an appointed time.

Now is YOUR time. God needs you to get to work. The world needs your gift. When you have seen the events happening in our world, haven’t you wondered, “What can I do?” Well you can start where you are with what you have. 

Now is the time!
As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!
Be sure to pick up your copy of Purposeful Parenting today, because we’ve all been a child or know a child. Parenting is not just a role, it’s part of who you are. 
Happy to partner with these friends sharing the Good News Chasing Community, Mommy Moments

What Do You Hunger and Thirst For?

Eat.

Drink.

Snack.

Repeat.

 

We are consumption machines. And our consumption isn’t merely limited to food. Relationships, media, nearly anything can be used to whet out appetites.

 

But what do you hunger and thirst for?

 

While it is comforting to find fulfillment in people and things, divulging in those things alone still leaves me longing. Because truth me told, after a while people can get on my nerves and people can let me down if I misplace my expectations. And things…well, they too lose their luster after a while. The once shiny isn’t so glossy anymore.

 

It is only in Christ and in His Word that my hunger and thirst are satisfied. To feed my innermost mental, spiritual and emotional needs I have to feast on His word.

[bctt tweet=”God’s Word is LOVE and it is LIFE.” username=”inspiredfully”]

 

And in doing life, situations can be hard. Feelings like abandonment, rejection and disappointment can seemingly be prevailing forces. This is precisely why we have to hungrily digest that Word and hide it in our hearts.

 

[bctt tweet=”When doubt and discouragement come knocking, saturate yourself in TRUTH.” username=”inspiredfully”]

 

My reliance of the Word is an absolute necessity which is why I was delighted when fellow blogger, Nylse of LifeNotes invited me to be part of her Women of the Word Series. CLICK HERE to find out HOW I dig into the Word. Yup, join us now over at Nylse’s place and you’ll hear how I first got into the word, my study methods and more…

 

LifeNotes: Women of the Word

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired to Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News: Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Chasing Community, Grace & Truth

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Self-Care: Principles For Daily Living

Mama holding her baby while trying to get her teeth cleaned at the dentist.

2 little ones in the room while mamas trying to get a pelvic exam.

Breaking up a sibling squabble right in the middle of your morning devotions.

 

 

Yes, the struggle for self-care is real! But it is critically necessary. Several times this week I’ve been asked how I manage to find time for self-care as a busy entrepreneur, wife, mom, author and ministry leader. To answer that I’m reposting this as it contains my tried and true recipe for self-care.

 

“I like these shoes and can truly use them but I’ll leave them here.”

“Lord, I’d love to have 5 minutes alone to sip coffee and people watch.”

“I’ll skip going on the trip because I’m “sacrificing” for my family.”

 

These are all things I’ve done contrary to self-care. In my mind at the time, I was making necessary sacrifices for my family. But what I did instead was institute a self-imposed suffering. Somehow my mind created a situation in which martyrdom equated holiness. Somehow my mind believed if I denied myself anything pleasurable that was exclusively for me, that I was closer to God.

 

Oh how the mind plays wicked tricks. But oh, how grateful I am that God strategically placed me in several uncomfortable situations to bring this to my attention so we could address the issue. One evening I stood in the Aerosoles shoe store, engaged in a spiritual battle over giving myself permission to purchase a pair of shoes. When I left that store, I literally felt as if I’d been in a fight. That was immediately followed by an interaction the following morning where someone wanted to assist me in being able to attend our upcoming Women’s Retreat. My answer to the shoes and the offer for help were a flat out NO! My self-chatter was “a good mom doesn’t run off and leave her kids to attend a retreat”. “A good mother and wife uses her money wisely and scores the best deals from the thrift store” (mind you the shoes at Aerosoles were on sales for $29.99 with some extra % off and I had the money to purchase them).

 

But God…

 

Through those two incidents and examining past behavior, He revealed to my why I was denying myself and the TRUE reasons were less than honorable. I was no better than the Pharisees.

 

Today I am free of that self-imposed suffering, and even gave myself permission last summer to take a much needed vacation, just me & hubby for the first time in eleven years. I now know and embrace that self-care is ESSENTIAL.

 

Principles For Self Care

 

 

Embrace The Now Moment

Jesus reminds us that tomorrow has enough cares of its own. The past is behind me and the future to TBD thus THIS MOMENT is where grace abounds. God is in the now moment and I want to be where He is so I am purposeful to embrace the beauty and majesty present in THIS moment. For more on embracing the now moment, please watch this video.

 

Calm and Peace

“In the event of an emergency, put on your oxygen mask first”. We’ve heard this popular flight attendant statement often. I now know this to be true for me. If I do things that bring me a sense of calm and peace, I am able to let that calm and peace then flow and permeate my home. For each of us what brings calm and peace may look very different. Using my favorite body wash and lighting my favorite candles brings calm. Quiet time with God in the early morning while it’s still dark outside brings calm and peace for me. Even sitting outside in the direct sun if only for a few minutes revitalizes me.

 

tree in bloom

 

Relationship

I’ve always treasured friendship so for me spending time with my friends is good medicine. Sharing a smile, a laugh, hopes, dreams, disappointments, questions, it’s the sharing and opening of hearts that makes my heart merry.

 

Love my ladies

A merry heart does good like medicine. Proverbs 17:22

 

Limit External Stimuli

I am diligent in guarding what my eyes see and what my ears hear. To protect my mind I have to keep my thoughts on that which is noble, just, and true and of good report. This is not to say I am unaware of what is going on around me but it is my goal to feed myself that which nourishes the mind and spirit. As a result, I limit TV, social media, magazine, shopping, and certain types of music. In order for things to grow healthy, they have to be in an environment conducive to growth and to grow my mind, my relationship with Christ, self and others; I have to feed myself TRUTH.

 

The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! Matthew 6:21-22

 

Pay close attention to what you hear Mark 4:24

 

Pleasure Activities

What do you enjoying doing? I like reading, writing, scrapbooking, travel, the beach and finding new recipes. These little things are pleasurable to me and I actually need to be a little more intentional about creating time to do some of these things.

 

 laptop

 

Beach

Honor The Temple

Caring for others requires me to not only be mentally stable but physically well also. As the mother of 6 children ages 13 and under (including 4 boys) I want to be able to keep pace with them. I want to give piggyback rides, run alongside someone’s bike as they’re learning to ride, and play tag. In caring for my family, my ministry and myself I have to rise early and sometimes go to bed late so I have to ensure I’m getting proper rest. I want my heart and body strong and conditioned to go the distance, which requires exercise. And all of the above can only happen if I honor my temple and fuel my body with the proper nutrients by eating fresh, whole foods.

IMG_6702

Time Alone

I have a constant barrage of stimuli. SIX children talking to me all at once, congestion on the road as I drive them to school, a go-between, peacemaker and playmate to the youngest two who are not in school yet, fielding emails, texts and calls from those I’m called to serve, helping hubby locate an important document that’s gone missing, writing for my next speaking engagement and the list goes on. After all that stimuli, I need to give my brain an opportunity to file and categorize all the information that’s been flying past me throughout the day. And stealing away for time alone is how I do that. Jesus himself went aside for prayer and reflection. Even in this I have to do what’s conducive to my current life. So while I’d love to steal away to a remote beach for 7 days straight, that’s not the most practical for my life right now. But God has shown me how to embrace even the smallest alone moment. A stroll down my long driveway to my mailbox is one of the sweetest times for me. I breathe deeply and take slow, deliberate steps and woosah.

 

And you know what I’ve come to learn? If I don’t practice self-care, if I don’t accept Christ’s invitation to enter into His rest, I’ve actually taken His place in my life. When I continue to trudge forward operating in my own strength and might and do not sufficiently nurture my mind, my body and my spirit, I’m say without directly saying, “I am all sufficient. I am all powerful. I can do all things.”

I, I, I.

[bctt tweet=”We run the risk of idol worship when we do not enter into His rest.” username=”inspiredfully”]

 

 

DSCN3762

 

I implore you; if you don’t currently have a self-care regime, please implement one. If you are going to be effective in serving and caring for others you must care for yourself. I used to hear that and think it was cliché but now I know it to be the truth. It is crucial for my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

 

What things do you do for self-care?

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired to Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Chasing Community, Grace & Truth

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Connecting With the Heart

Love, Joy, Peace

 

Malice, Anger, Envy

 

They all spring forth from the heart.

 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

 

From the heart our emotions flow. They can either course gently like that of a stream or crash violently like a torrent of raging rapids. And this rush of emotion isn’t isolated to adults. Children can experience intense emotions.  So how do we reach theirs heart so that loves flows freely from them?

 

[bctt tweet=”Connection is the KEY to unlocking the hearts of children.” username=”inspiredfully”]

 

When we reach out to children with gentleness and humility we create an atmosphere ripe for connection. And connection is an essential part of the human experience. Research Professor, Dr. Brene Brown says,

 

“We are hardwired to connect with others, it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives and without it there is suffering.”

 

Jesus was a Master at connection. We see Him do it time and time again. He’d ask a question as a way to gently invite people into a dialogue with Him. We see Him ask the Samaritan woman for a drink. We see Him ask His disciples why they were afraid.  He asks Peter who do you say I am.  He even asks the Father why He’d been forsaken.

 

Children must know we care and caring is found in connection. Connectedness occurs when we purposefully seek to engage in their world. Connectedness is about doing life together.  Doing life together not just a popular hashtag for marriage but is a powerful illustration of engaging and connecting with the hearts of children.

 

Just as readily as we’d dispense rules and expectations, we ought to be even more vigilant about engaging with them around the things that are important to them. Do you know who they eat lunch with at school, what they’re afraid of, what makes them smile the most? Do you know what they’d do with a million dollars, where they’d travel if they could visit any place on the planet and what one thing has caused them the deepest hurt?

 

Perhaps you have a child that is forthcoming and readily shares with you.  No matter your child’s temperament, the onus is on you to be PURPOSEFUL in connecting hearts with the children in your circle of influence. And while it’s necessary, it isn’t always easy to carry out.

 

Enter the Kai Kai Brai Shared Journal to help you along the journey.

 

 

Shared journaling is an effective strategy for connecting hearts. And the benefits of journaling are immeasurable. From increased intellectual ability to enhanced emotional intelligence, writing down our thoughts and feelings is an activity that yields a high return. Journaling is a stress reliever, confidence booster and self-esteem builder. In journaling you have an opportunity to confirm identity, self worth, and value. It is a safe place for your child to share with you. From what made them smile today to their deepest fears, a shared journal gives them a trusted place for connection.

 

In my book Purposeful Parenting, the chapter on Connecing With the Heart ends by advising the parent to begin a shared journal. And my go to journal of choice is the Kai Kai Brai Shared Journal. This journal is perfect for mom & daughter, mom & son and also for trusted adult & child. Not always sure where or how to begin journaling? This journal has already figured that out for you. With journaling prompts, fill in the blanks, about us info and more, you don’t have to feel like the topics are forced but have a smooth entry way into getting the child to open up.  And the journals are perfect for children of any age. They are beautifully designed and durable too!

 

 

The creator of the journal and I are both so passionate about you connecting hearts with children that she’s made a special offer available to you. And for the creator this is not just a business venture. This mom of 3 is committed to showing children love in ways they can perceive and receive and she’s taken up the call to help others purposefully connect with children. When you order your journal, enter the coupon code Parenting10 to receive 10% off your purchase.

 

The journey of Purposeful Parenting calls for us to be intentional, to be PURPOSEFUL in our interactions with children. Just think, if every child knew in their heads and felt in their hearts, unconditional love from caring adults…

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News Mommy Moments, Purposeful Faith, Chasing Community, Grace and Truth

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Beware of These Three Signs

Superwoman

 

Wonder Woman

 

Storm

 

Somehow the world has come to believe that we really are SUPER women. And we’ve bought into the lie. “I’m every woman, it’s all in me.” I can be assertive in the boardroom, passionate in the bedroom, gentle and patient with my children, slay on the runway, slice and dice in the kitchen, all at the same time with a smile on my face. And in the meantime in between time, I don’t require self-care because I don’t have time for ME while I’m tending to everyone and taking care of everything.

 

We’ll I’m come by today to shed the light of truth on this situation here and now. I pray this frees someone today for whom the Son sets free is free indeed!

 

The ability to do all and to be every woman because “It’s all in me” comes at a price.

 

Have exhaustion and weariness become your standard mode of operating? Have you been pouring out pouring out and pouring out some more until you’ve got nothing left?

 

To give and to serve are dear to the heart of God.

 

Repeatedly Jesus gave and served. But we also see Him break away from the crowds to reflect, restore and refresh so that He could then reengage from a place of power and strength.

 

Have you embraced self-care as part of your wellness routine? Are you exhibiting these three signs that indicate self-care is sorely overdue?

 

Join me over at TiffyTalks to continue reading.