Archive - 2015

More of You by Jennifer Shock
A Thousand Generations
Moment of Impact
Pray For Me
No Exclusions
Check Our Motive
Don’t Drink the Water
Thanks for Everything
Children of Light
Give and Take

More of You by Jennifer Shock

Today, you get to get a glimpse into the heart of one of my favorite people to serve beside, Jennifer Shock.  Jennifer and I have studied the Bible together and led multiple discussion groups throughout the last several years.  We have prayed for one another during times of longing, tried to encourage each other during loss, and celebrated like crazy when we get to watch the Lord answer our prayers.  She inspires me to live in the full victory of Jesus, even when circumstances feel hard.  I hope a little of her encouragement washes over you as well. 🙂 -Angie


If there is one thing I’m sure of, it’s that there isn’t enough of me to go around.   It’s easy to feel imprisoned by my own deficiency.  Perhaps that’s why learning about the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the context of “living beyond myself” appeals to me so much.  Living by the Spirit means living in victory!  I’m in a season of life in which I greatly desire to live victoriously.  I want to say YES to God, instead of (as Pastor Rob King of Vineyard Cincinnati said in a recent message)  “No thanks, I’d like to go around the mountain again.”


I don’t want to quench the Spirit by saying no; I want to invite Him to “exert His full influence” in my life.


Part of saying yes to God is inviting Him to fill me with His Holy Spirit.  But if I don’t make any room for the Spirit, I’m going to have a problem.  There is both not enough of me and too much of me.  Not enough of me to fulfill His purpose for my life, too much of me that focuses on things of this world.  Not enough of me to lay my life down in loving and serving others, too much of me that is consumed with what I want for myself.


When I pour out these weaknesses to God, room opens up in me to be filled with the Spirit.





God created us to be full, to be satisfied – with Him.  


He will give me everything I need,


to do the big things and the little things.





Even though I gave my life to Jesus when I was twelve years old, it’s only been in the last five years or so that I’ve begun to really understand the absolute depth of my need for God, the absolute brokenness I live in if I’m trying to live of myself instead of Him.  He has shown me “from what I have been saved.”

I’ve been saved from a life of striving, of competing, of yearning, of loneliness, of emptiness, of endless wondering what it’s all about, of total terror of the grave.




Oh thank you, Jesus, that you rescued me from that life, from myself!  You not only rescued me, you gave me your Holy Spirit and promised that He would live in me always.  I know that as I continue to invite you to be sovereign in every single area of my life, you will show me how to keep in step with the Spirit.  You will ask more of me than what I can do on my own, just so you can invite me to ask for more of you.



A Thousand Generations

Today would have been my mom’s 58th birthday. There were many years I longed for an emotional connection with my mom.  For the past few years, there was sadness because of her death. Today, I am thankful to God for parting the waters and allowing there to be women who have walked in front of and beside me.  May I never forget to build pillars of appreciation to them and God.

Week three of Seamless invites us to study Moses, Joshua, and the Promised Land. While I have gone through the book of Joshua with a fine-toothed comb a few times, the Lord always allows something to stand out to me freshly, each time I read it. God never disappoints to bring something to the surface when we ask him to.

Joshua 4:1-7

4 When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” 4 Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. 5 And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

What stood out to me…

Because of the faith of Moses, the previous generation had witnessed the Red Sea part; now, because of Joshua’s faith, the Jordan River had stopped flowing downstream so the Israelites could cross.

Millions of people came out of Egypt in the exodus and just two were coming into the Promised Land because of their faithfulness: Joshua and Caleb. They were the only two people to bear witness to the Lord’s hand of deliverance at the Red Sea and the Jordan River.

As Joshua asked a member from each tribe to set up a stone in the river, it wasn’t so they would remember how impressed they were at Joshua’s obedience.

He was giving them a physical representation of what the Lord had done for them so they would not forget what they had witnessed at the hand of God.

My great-grandpa’s Bible is on a shelf in our living room. Littered with his own notes and interpretations, I wonder how many times his hands rested on its pages as he and great-grandma prayed for my family. This one Book physically represents a lifetime of God’s faithfulness to a man and his family and deliverance in many tumultuous times. The restoration to our family through the Lord could not have happened by man, but by God alone.

In a world determined to convince us of our need for self-preservation, the Word of God reminds us to resolve to pass on the belief in the faithfulness of a good Father….for a thousand generations.


Moment of Impact

It has been such fun to journey alongside 200 women at Vineyard Cincinnati as we ask God to speak to us individually.  Just as exciting to me is to hear what He is saying to others around me!  Not doing a specific study right now?  No problem.  Each post I’ll include the Scriptures to read as a launching point.

Not working your way through the Seamless study guide?  No worries. You can do a little pre-reading in Genesis 7 and 8.

What stood out to me….

Chicken enchiladas with chips and salsa was what I ate for dinner a few hours before the nurse called to tell me my mom had died.
I remember the look in the doctor's eyes when she told me my pregnancy was not viable.
"Law and Order" was on the TV and the walls in our house were still painted peach the moment I learned my childhood best friend had been tragically killed in an accident.
Two tears rolled down my grandma’s cheek when I showed her pictures of her family as she lay in hospice, unable to speak.

The initial impact of these events is vivid to me, yet for all of the grief and poignancy of the following weeks, all the other details seem to be blurry.

The storms in life can begin in an instant and are often fierce. The moment of impact leaves images burned in our minds and scars on our hearts.

While Noah had a bit of a heads-up concerning the impending rain, he didn’t actually grasp the concept of what God was telling him. There had never been a flood before, and some scholars argue there had never even been rain. He was planning for something his mind could not envision.

The rain was finished in 40 days. Noah and his family did not exit the ark for almost an entire year after the rain stopped. As the days lingered between impact and exit, Noah was in a continual process of waiting and trying. I try to imagine how Noah felt as his naive expectations of what the flood would be became a sober reality.


I wonder what went through Noah’s head when, after 220+ days on the boat, they could finally see the first mountain top.

Was Noah disappointed 47 days after the view of the mountain when the dove still returned to him with no place to land?

Did the people cry tears of joy 2 weeks later when the dove went out and did not return?

How was it waiting the next 2.5 months before the Lord commanded them to come out of the ark?


When the downpours of life stop, we are often unprepared for the difficulty in the waiting that follows, as the drying of our tears is a process.

While Noah knew of the 40 days, I can’t seem to find anything indicating he was prepared for the following 8+ months. However we also don’t see mention of Noah scrambling for answers, flipping out because it was taking longer than he thought. He waited and he tried. Waited and tried again.

How can we recognize and surrender our self-imposed expectation of the timeline of healing and trust in the ultimate Healer to be in process with us?  God hasn’t forgotten or forsaken us. He is patient and working as we take steps to survey the land. Can we hold loosely to the forecast and replace our assumptions with trust in Him?

October 6, 2011, the fall after my mom died, her birthday was so difficult. I was sad for all the birthdays we wouldn’t have together and all of the ones wasted in years before. I’m pretty sure I sat in sweatpants with no makeup and wallowed in my well-deserved sadness.

Last year, my phone rang about 10 am on October 6. It was my dad “just calling to check on me.”  And I had to ask him why.  I didn’t wake up and remember it was her birthday.

Life has gone on, the waters of grief have rescinded surrounding my mom’s death, and I didn’t even recognize it happening. The process was so hard in the moment, I was caught off guard by how far He had brought me in my daily walk.  God has been and still is so good to heal me.

Do I still think about my mom, my grandma, my unborn child, and my friend?  Absolutely.  Cry, almost dial their phone numbers, and see them in my dreams?  Yep, often.  But I am no longer drowning.

One of the very first storms in all of creation was healed by a slow, almost unnoticeable process.

Those of us in the middle of a hurricane-like storm right now, hold on tight and know the healing process is happening, whether we physically recognize it or not.

Feeling like the rain stopped but your eyes are barely above the water?  Ask for more of His grace and celebrate when the water is down to your shoulders.  God will dry will you off.

For the lucky experiencing the calm reflection of the sun in far off waters, seek after Jesus with all the energy within.  We will need to remember the life-vest keeping us afloat so we aren’t left scrambling when the clouds begin to roll in.  



At around my Addison’s age, there I am as the witch in the middle, next to Heath and my best childhood friend, Marki.


My mom and dad on their wedding day, 1981.


Ashlyn is our only child lucky enough to have met my Grandma Carol.


Pray For Me

We have made it through the entire book of Ephesians.  I pray we are even a sliver more like Jesus than we were when we started.  The Word of God may not change, but it certainly changes us!

If you haven’t had a chance to pick up either Seamless or Living Beyond Yourself, grab your copy online or come join the Women’s Community at Vineyard Cincinnati.  Either way, sign up for email notifications and we can discuss how God is changing us through these studies.

I’m grateful for taking this journey alongside Kristan.  While I felt called to work through the two studies above, I’ll also being following along with her through the book of Acts.  I’ve had a sneak peak at her first week and I promise you’ll want to follow along too!

Ephesians‬ ‭6:18-24‬ ‭NIV

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you. Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.”

What stood out to me…

In elementary school when I would receive all A’s on a report card, I was supposed to call my out-of-town grandparents to share the good news. I loathed this experience. In my mind, I had done what I was supposed to do, and to receive praise for it seemed insulting.

Because of my immaturity, I assumed my progress was solely of my own doing. I wasn’t able to recognize the work of others to keep me fed, clothed, and healthy as factors in my success.

As a child, I didn’t realize my attitude of taking care of things on my own was actually robbing those around me from experiencing joy through my experiences.

The apostle Paul had grown in maturity in the Holy Spirit and his connection enabled him to do what would have been impossible on his own. He has been beaten and imprisoned while spreading the Gospel. From prison, his mission becomes to encourage groups of believers and mentor others.

In his maturity, Paul recognizes what he is called to do can not be accomplished on his own; it is through the power of the Holy Spirit. In asking others to pray also for him, Paul gives others a chance to be a part of what God is doing in him and through him for the Kingdom.

It can be easy for many of us to help stir up others. We can spend our entire day encouraging, helping, and praying for others.

Let us not forget to give others the opportunity to walk out the Gospel by going to the Father on our behalf as well.


Father, thank you for the opportunity to walk beside Kristan and pray for her.  It has been a blessing for you to share words of encouragement for her through me and to get to see your faithfulness to those. 

Protect me from myself when my pride threatens my vision to see the need to include others in my journey.  In every moment, may I remember my partnership with the Holy Spirit living inside of me and the fact You intended life to be in community. 



No Exclusions

The last 10 weeks working our way through Ephesians has flown by.  It has been fun to chat with so many people both online and in person about what God has revealed to each of us as we have dug deeper.  My trust in the character of the Father is deeper now than it was when we started together.  My prayer is you are different too. 🙂

It has been so much fun on this journey with Kristan and others, so I wanted this next season to be an adventure along side others as well.  Since I love the Women’s Community at Vineyard Cincinnati and they are studying both Seamless by Angie Smith and Living Beyond Yourself by Beth Moore, I am going to dive into those as well.

I’m not exactly sure if I’ll keep the same schedule, so make sure you sign up on the right to receive an email with any new posts.  Then pick up one of the studies above, grab your Bible, and believe we won’t look the same at the end of this time together.

Ephesians‬ ‭6:10-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

What stood out to me…

In high school, I was betrayed by an ex-boyfriend with a lie that would ultimately tear my best friend at the time and I apart. As I stood in the kitchen at my grandma’s house and begged her to let me transfer schools, I couldn’t imagine at the time anything being more devastating.

Fast forward a few years to college. I was planning a wedding, working 30+ hours per week, and finishing my degree in education. I felt overwhelmed and wondered how I would manage to keep it all together.

More years than I want to count later, our family has endured the exhaustion of newborn babies, the heartbreak of miscarriage, and the inexplicable grief as we have buried several loved ones.

Life happens, and it doesn’t matter what stage we are in.  Many of us would love to go back a decade or two and tell our younger selves we didn’t even know what stress is yet, but at the time, we wouldn’t have believed the older versions we have become.

It seems Paul knew we would all experience adversity. He doesn’t list any exclusions for age or stage of life, just the statement we would in fact have our struggles.  When we did, we would need to be reminded of next steps to take; steps to push forward and move ahead with grace and mercy.

A few weeks ago, Kristan reminded us on her blog: “whenever you see the word ‘therefore,’ it is your job to figure out what it is “there for.” Everything in verses 13-20 of Ephesians 6 is a rubric to remind us of our assignment in our current struggles.

No endeavor is too small, no battle is insignificant.

Whatever we face today, there is a Christ-centered action we can take to protect our mind and hearts and move forward.






For Monday, read our final entry, Ephesians 6:18-24

Check Our Motive

Often I need to experience something more than once to really begin to soak in the truth.  A few weeks ago I wrote about what I was learning regarding motive, and today it was reinforced differently.  Paul seems pretty adamant in Ephesians to get his point across about how important the motive of our heart is and not just our outward action.  Just like any parent, the Father knew He would have to repeat Himself a bazillion times throughout His Word to have a prayer of catching our attention.  Today He did. 🙂

Ephesians‬ ‭6:1-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.”

What stood out to me…

A few weeks ago as I was dragging the day’s plethora of dance and school items out of the van, I noticed a weird cream inside the back-seat cupholder. Further investigation revealed sunscreen was not only in the cupholder, but in perfectly formed squiggles across a few seats and arm rests as well.

imageAfter confronting the girls, it was apparent no one would budge easily. They were both adamant they had not done it and someone must have broken into the car. At this point, their big brown eyes had their dad convinced of innocence, however this mamma has been around the block too many times.

I gave my best mom speech, kissed them goodnight, and waited. Within 10 minutes a little voice came from one of the bedrooms and confessed not only her mistake, but the sin of lying as well.  While I was still disappointed with the choice to not tell the truth, the parent in me was actually proud.

My child’s intention shifted from self-protection to selfless confession.

Motive is everything.

Had I manipulated the girls by consequence into confessing (which I’ll admit I’m not always above when needed), I wouldn’t have necessarily been as proud. It would have just been a means to an end of gathering information for me, and self-serving to avoid harsher punishment for the kids. But by letting her submit with dignity on her own, the heart of my daughter had pure intentions.

Luke 15 shares the parable of the prodigal son. When the son demands his inheritance from the father, the father does not exert his authority over the son, rather watching the young man leave the family property. Many years later, when the son has used the last of the money, he humbly returns home to ask for a job from his family. To the son’s surprise, the father throws a lavish feast in his honor to welcome him back.

We could guess the father was still sad and disappointed from the years lost to the son’s self-serving impulses, however he celebrated the change in the son’s motive of his heart.

A 180 degree turn from conceited to humble.

The Lord can exert Himself over us at any time. Yet He gives us free will.

No matter what we are dealing with: small situations like smearing sunscreen in the van or a child who has turned away from his family, the Lord’s desire for the end result is submission to Jesus.

Whatever is happening in our lives and in those close to us, may we continually check to make sure not only our actions, but our motives line up with the character of God in His Word.



Don’t Drink the Water

Ephesians‬ ‭5:21-33‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

What stood out to me…


As I become more sensitive to believing my first thoughts in the morning might be from God, I try to pause and ask Him if there is something He is trying to bring to my attention.

A few weeks ago, I woke up early in the morning, before I would normally wake up and immediately thought, “only drink water today.”

The longer I lay in bed, the more I think about the smell of peppermint creamer and the fact I had enough energy the night before to have the coffee pot ready. All I had to do was go down and press the button. Oh well. It will save until tomorrow and with no caffeine to drink, I’ll just eat 30 Hershey kisses for the boost.:)

As I lay there up too early and see the VERY busy day ahead of me, I decide I would only have water. Did I get why I was saying no to everything else? No, I didn’t. But I realized it wasn’t going to hurt anything (and I could go through the day not hurting anyone!) to believe it was God and take the risk. Best case scenario, I obeyed what He asked. Worst case, I drank water all day and had a caffeine headache for apparently no reason.

Throughout the day, I felt more focused than normal. And by mid day, when I really wanted my toddler-nap-time Diet Coke, I started thinking about how I wanted to need Him more than I needed anything else.

By the end of the day I started praying “cleanse me,oh God”.

These thoughts or prayers weren’t in my head or heart before this particular day.


Sometimes, when we catch ourselves trying to understand the big dreams God has placed in our hearts, we can catch ourselves wondering if our thoughts are too crazy to be real. If He asks for something minute, we struggle to justify why it would be important to God. In between the large and tiny God-thoughts, we often get stuck attempting to prove our thoughts were from the Lord and not just a made-up scenario in our heads.


I often wonder if we get so caught up in the cycle of trying to figure out God, we forget the character of God.  He sees every last thought in us, yet He still wants us.


When we submit our dreams, hopes, questions, and general reflections to the Lord, we are declaring we understand it isn't about us or making sense of anything. It is all about Him, and not wanting to miss out on the adventure or lessons he wants us to be a part of.

By the end of my water day, I was driving and sitting at a stop light I had the thought “If I can trust you with a little, I can trust you with more. If you will obey Me in the small, I can trust you to obey Me in the big.”

Do I know for sure that God told me to only drink water for that day? No. But I know I felt His presence more as my intention was to be obedient to Him.

I had to say no to everything but water for a day as an act of submission.

As we react out of perceived obedience, it opens our hands a little more to receive more of God.

We are finite creatures. We don’t have infinite time, infinite health. Our patience doesn’t go on and on without effort. There is work to be done in us and we generally have to say no to something in order to say yes to something else.

I’m not sure what He may be asking you to submit to Him. But we can believe whatever thoughts we may have had as we woke this morning or anything standing out to you as you read this is worth paying attention to.

What will we submit to Him today in order to open our hands to receive more?

Thanks for Everything

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

What stood out to me…

The more time I spend in God’s Word, and in prayer, the more I am understanding about God’s character. God is solidifying inside me how much I can trust in His goodness, faithfulness, and unyielding love.


The flipside of the coin is, the more time I spend  in His Word, the more I realize there are questions I will never be able to answer.


– If God loves everyone so much, why are there people still dying of starvation?

– If God has such a strong heart for children, why are there so many parents waking up today to hear their child has to battle cancer?

-If God loves me so much, why would He not choose to take this situation away from me?


In the midst of tough situations and everything going on in the world, Paul’s challenge in Ephesians 5:20 has me pause:


always giving thanks to God the Father for everything,


“Father, you couldn’t possibly mean everything.

How could thankfulness be part of the response to the horrible plight of so many people?”


As Paul is penning the letter to the believers in Ephesus, it is important to remember he is likely in prison. Not a modern-day, American prison; He likely was on a dirt floor, with little to no clothing, no climate control and daily beatings from the guards.


Yet he still says always give thanks because of Jesus.


Our six year old Addison was just diagnosed this past week with Celiac Disease. This momma’s heart is sad for all the changes Addison (and our family) will endure. As an adult, I can handle the fact we won’t be getting our favorite Stan’s Donuts every birthday and first day of school. But my kids, they are disheartened at the loss of a tradition.


As the parent, I know we will make new traditions.  We will make special breakfasts for all those occasions or find a specialty bakery to do something for us. I am already anticipating my first trip to the specialty shop and the excitement on Addison’s face when she sees all of the treats inside the bakery case.


In the middle of difficult situations, it is important to realize God didn’t give us our disappointment and He is even sad too.  We can remember how much He loves us.  He wants us to be vulnerable and cast our burdens, sadness, anger upon Him and then thank Him for His faithfulness to not forsake us.




God’s Word is without a single blemish. The Lord doesn’t make mistakes and there isn’t a clause excluding certain parts based on our circumstances.


Because of Jesus, we get to tell Him the truth about how we feel. We get to ask for freedom from the hurt and then rest in the assurance God is anticipating the good things He wants to give us on the other side of the glass.


For Thursday, September 3, read Ephesians 5:21-33

Children of Light

I often look at a situation and think, “How would someone ever handle that without hope in Jesus?”  Not only is it important for me to be able to look to Jesus in my daily life, it is critical to have people surrounding us to point us toward Him.  I want to see all His promises for me fulfilled, but when the pursuit gets tough, sometimes I need someone to hold my hand and remind me what His promises are.  The light of Jesus in Kristan has pushed me these last few years to run after Bigger for my life.  If you haven’t subscribed to her blog or bought her book, Bigger, I would encourage you to do it today.

Ephesians‬ ‭5:8-14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.””

What stood out to me…

These last two weeks have been chaotic in the Roehm house. We’ve had a couple unexpected health issues creep up and have required much of our attention. Pair those with the beginning of a new school/dance schedule and me working from home to get Women’s Community kicked off for the fall and my type-A, needs-everything-completely-in-order brain, can start to feel defeated.

While our health issues could be WAY, WAY worse, and the rest is a list of what I like to call “first world problems,” in the moments when I feel overwhelmed, my head goes into overdrive.

Even though only one item actually needs focus and completion by the next day, I’ll tell Jason everything on my mental to-do list for the next 2 months. This only makes things worse.

These moments are more than just manic bursts of words, they are hard on my heart. Often I can feel the ridiculousness of my rant, yet somehow am unable to make the choice to stop it. There seems to be dark fog over the part of my brain controlling all reason.

But  the days when I am willing to recognize His Spirit’s presence in the everyday moments, even in the midst of tough circumstances, those are good days.

I’ve learned evil sees our most vulnerable situations and convinces us we can’t handle what life throws our way. When doubts creep in, it can be easy to begin to feel crushed and forget His promise to us in Romans 8:31:

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”


Being children of the light means we don’t have to be owned by the circumstances life throws our way. We can admit we don’t understand our current situation, be sad, or even angry, and still proclaim His goodness.

The world throws enough curve-balls to give any of us the temptation to walk through life frustrated with God.

Instead, can we choose to let His light shine in the midst of our darkest times?


For Monday, August 31, read Ephesians 5:15-20


Give and Take

Ephesians‬ ‭5:1-7‬ ‭MSG‬‬

“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

Don’t allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices, or bullying greed. Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect.

You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God. Don’t let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. Don’t even hang around people like that.”


What stood out to me…

I love the idea of fairness and identify with the idea professor Adam Grant describes as being a matcher.

In his book Give & Take, Adam describes a matcher this way:

“Few of us act like givers or takers, adopting a third style instead. We become matchers, striving to preserve an equal balance of giving and getting. Matchers operate on the principle of fairness: when they help others, they protect themselves by seeking reciprocity. If you’re a matcher, you believe in tit for tat, and your relationships are governed by even exchanges of favors.”


I try very hard to not be a taker and want to fall on the side of having a giving heart, I know I naturally gravitate toward having a bend toward fairness.

While the idea of returning favors can be helpful in society, in the Kingdom of God, there is no room for a give-and-take relationship.




His love is extravagant. God gives his goodness freely.




But for some reason, I can’t wrap my head around it. The matcher in me wants to fall into the habit of trying to serve God based on what He has done for me. Even worse, I sometimes find myself subconsciously placing expectations on God, thinking He “owes” me because of my obedience.


While I know neither of these scenarios is true to the heart of God's Kingdom, if I'm not careful, my societal habits can rob me of receiving what He fully has for me.


We are very much a work in progress, trying to remind ourselves God is not in a matching relationship with us. When we can recognize this mindset creeping in (or one of our close friends gently calls it out for us), we can replace our misplaced thoughts towards God by trying a few things:

-immediately repent

-write down what we are thankful for in the moment

-remind ourselves what He is asking us to grow in (there is always something)

-give ourselves grace for being in process, because we always are


This week in particular, I am feeling peace from Him in the midst of a bit of chaos. I am surrendering my belief of earning His love by being diligent to study His word.  I am choosing to trust the truth:  He is giving peace because it is His promise to me simply as His child.


Where do you have misplaced expectations on yourself or of God?  This week, can we repent and choose to believe, love, and give freely, without preformed assumptions?


For Thursday, August 27, read Ephesians 5:8-14


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