4 Reasons to Have Hope When You're Hurting This Holiday Season

4 Reasons to Have Hope When You're Hurting This Holiday Season

I love the holidays with all those picture-perfect moments and photo-worthy family gatherings. I love thinking about and planning for the fun activities and festive meals we’ll participate in. Most of all, I love savoring the birth of the Savior - Christmas is such a wonderful time to reflect and think about all that Jesus did on my behalf.

But maybe you’re not eager for the holidays this year because you’re hurting. Maybe a recent loss - or a loss associated with either Thanksgiving or Christmas - has dampened your joy, and you’re not really sure how to feel happy when, inside, you’re still suffering deeply.

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Wash His Feet, Day 2: Pray for Him Faithfully

Wash His Feet, Day 2:  Pray for Him Faithfully

Welcome back to the Wash His Feet challenge! Yesterday’s post was all about being thankful for your husband. Today’s is similar: pray for him faithfully!

While we’re developing the habit of thanking God for our husbands, we also need to cultivate the custom of praying for them every day. The Lord has laid a tremendous task on our husbands’ shoulders. They are to love their wives as Christ loves His bride (if you’ve ever been tempted to think that husbands have it easy compared to wives’ command to submit, I encourage you to re-evaluate your thinking!); provide for their families; and raise their children in the admonition of the Lord without exasperating them. Those are some very tall orders, and they need prayer to accomplish them!

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Wash His Feet, Day 1: Thank God for Him

Wash His Feet, Day 1:  Thank God for Him

Truth time: how often do you thank the Lord for your husband? For some of us, thanking God for our spouses comes easily. We’re married to a great guy, who, for the most part, is lovable and easy to get along with. For others, being thankful is a bit more of a challenge. Sadly, it’s often easier to focus on what we don’t appreciate in our spouses than to dwell on the things that we do. But my hope is that this Wash His Feet challenge will help all of us learn to appreciate more the men that God has given us.

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Wash His Feet: 31 Days of Serving Your Spouse (Introduction)

Wash His Feet: 31 Days of Serving Your Spouse (Introduction)

One of my greatest joys as a blogger is getting to pray for my readers. I love it when people reach out to me with prayer requests, because praying for them is something I can do no matter how far away they live!

And as more and more prayer requests come in, I’m noticing a trend.

By far, the topic that people most often request prayer about is for their marriages.

And it really should be no surprise. Marriage, as wonderful as it can be, is the union of two sinners (read: selfish people) trying to live in harmony with one another. It’s naturally going to provide all of us ample opportunity to for refinement in areas we probably didn’t even know were an issue!

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How to Preach Truth to Yourself During A Hallway

How to Preach Truth to Yourself During A Hallway

“How are things going?” I asked a friend who was walking through a very dark hallway.

“I’m surviving because I’m preaching truth to myself during this valley,” she replied.

Her response both encouraged and challenged me. I was thrilled to hear that she was taking measures to find her hope in the Lord, but I was also convicted about the way I handle my own struggles. When I’m hurting, how often do I forget to remind myself of the truths in God’s Word? Do I even know how to preach truth to myself?

Maybe you’ve wondered the same things. You know you should be dwelling on God’s faithfulness and preaching truth to yourself, but how do you go about doing it?

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4 Good Things I Don't Do (Plus 4 Best Things I Do!)

4 Good Things I Don't Do (Plus 4 Best Things I Do!)

Between my faith, marriage, parenting, homeschooling, blogging, and hobbies, I have a lot going on in life.  In order to make room for these valued things, however, there are a lot of good things that I've chosen to give up in order to make them possible.

Each one of us will have to make decisions between good things and best things - unfortunately, we simply can't do everything or take up every opportunity that comes our way.  While my list of "good vs. best" won't look identical to yours, here are 4 good things I'm currently opting not to do and 4 best things I find valuable enough to include in my day!

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4 Ways to Pour from An Empty Vessel

4 Ways to Pour from An Empty Vessel

Everywhere I look these days, I see people promoting this thing called self care.  And I don't disagree that taking care of our bodies - which comprise the temple of the Holy Spirit, after all! - is a bad thing.

But we're also commanded to be selfless, to put others first, and to be giving.  So, while I think that self care (or temple maintenance, as I prefer to view it) can be a good thing if not overdone, there are going to be times when we have nothing left of ourselves to give, and yet giving of ourselves is exactly what we need to do. 

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3 Ways We Can Find Comfort in the Hallway

3 Ways We Can Find Comfort in the Hallway

I don't know too many people who love to wait or who eagerly welcome difficulties in life.  And I've shared before about my dislike of hallways.  But as my faith has matured, I've also come to realize that we can have hope and encouragement even during seasons of waiting.

If you're facing difficult circumstances or are waiting for something, there are 3 ways to find comfort in the hallway.

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The Hallway Hymn List

The Hallway Hymn List

Our church congregation sings a mix of both hymns and worship songs, and I've been greatly blessed by both.  Because the two seem so different to my musician's ear, however, I've always kept the two separate in my mind.  And since I shared my Hallway Playlist in my last post, today I get to share about my most beloved hymns!

There are SO MANY excellent hymns of the faith that it was difficult to select just a few to share here!  Several of these I've grown to love after playing them on the piano.  It's funny how that happens.

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The Hallway Playlist

The Hallway Playlist

Do you love listening to music?  Even though I'm a musician by training, I actually don't listen to a lot of music.  It's not that I don't love it, and it's not that I don't have enough access to CDs or Youtube.  I think it's just that in the business of this season of raising spark plugs, I just don't usually think about turning it on.

However, there have been a few songs that have really ministered to me, especially during seasons of struggles (or hallways, as I like to refer to them).  Today, I'm sharing a few of my favorites and why these specific ones have impacted me. 

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Should You Do A 90-Day Bible Reading Plan? Things to Consider Before You Begin!

Should You Do A 90-Day Bible Reading Plan?  Things to Consider Before You Begin!

Although I've read through my Bible numerous ways, until recently, I'd never ventured to a 90-day Bible reading plan.  It usually takes me 1-2 years (sometimes even 3, if I'm in a busy season of life) to read through the entirety of God's Word, so the idea of consuming it in a mere 3 months was a bit daunting.

After some consideration, I finally committed to the challenge this past February.  It was extremely difficult to keep up with the daily reading portions, but by the end of April, I had successfully finished my very first 90-Day Bible Reading Plan.  

I learned so much from this exercise that I felt I should share some of my takeaways in the hopes that my experience will help you decide whether or not you would benefit from reading your Bible in 90 days, too.

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10 Ways to Pray When You Don't Know What to Pray For

10 Ways to Pray When You Don't Know What to Pray For

Last week, a friend shared with me about a very difficult situation she was facing, so I asked, "how would you like me to pray?" 

"I'm not exactly sure," she responded.  "It's hard to know what would be best."

After my friend left, I thought about her situation and others like it.  Sometimes, it's not clear how we should be praying.  We know we need to pray, but what do we do when we don't know what we should pray for?

It's in those times that I have to go back to God's Word to learn what to do.  The Bible offers at least 10 ways to pray when we don't know what to pray for.

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3 Things to Consider When You Feel Like A Lousy Christian

3 Things to Consider When You Feel Like A Lousy Christian

I was truly looking forward to Easter.  Jon and I planned to send out newsletters to our various email lists.  We planned to attend our church's sunrise service.  We envisioned a detailed Passover lunch just like we've done the past several years.  I thought it would be fun to take beautiful family photos.

But life happened.  Jon, Wing Man, and I were still battling headcolds we'd contracted the week before.  The warmer weather brought with it my annual headaches that I suffer from every Spring.  There were no newsletters, photos, egg hunts, or special church services. 

In fact, I felt like a pretty lousy Christian for not being able to better celebrate the Risen Savior.

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3 Ways to Remember to Pray for Someone

3 Ways to Remember to Pray for Someone

If you're like me, you welcome the opportunity to pray for people.  But perhaps, also like me, you need a few built-in reminders to keep others' prayer requests at the front of your mind.

Whenever someone asks me to pray, I try to lift him or her up in prayer before I let them know that I'll be praying.  That way, I know I've prayed for them at least once.  But my heart really is to pray for them multiple times.  And I've found three fairly easy ways to remember to pray for them over and over.

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To the Wife Watching Her Husband Slowly Abandoning the Faith

To the Wife Watching Her Husband Slowly Abandoning the Faith

Most Christian wives enter into marriage with excitement, eagerly looking forward to the promise of a beautiful life of faith and devotion to God, strengthened by a strong, believing husband. 

Maybe you were one of them.

Many of us have gotten to enjoy the growing faith and iron-sharpening-iron we envisioned, but for others, sadly, that's not always how the story ends.

While true believers will grow in their faith and deepen their walk with Christ, some wives are facing a completely different, scary reality. 

And maybe you're one of them.

Maybe, instead of seeing your husband's faith blossom, you're watching him slowly abandon the faith.

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How to Read Revelation with Enjoyment

How to Read Revelation with Enjoyment

Revelation has long been one of my favorite books in the Bible.  But it wasn't until very recently that I learned just how rare that makes me - many people find Revelation too gruesome, too weird, and too difficult to enjoy.

While I definitely understand these aversions to the last book of the Bible, there are at least three things we can keep in mind in order to read Revelation with enjoyment as well.

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Why I Gave Up Social Media: One Year Later

Why I Gave Up Social Media:  One Year Later

Last February, I made the difficult decision to give up social media for personal use.  I had many reasons for doing so, and even though I felt it was a good step to take, I was nervous.  Would I feel completely alienated from everyone?  Would I miss important updates from friends with whom I was only connected on Facebook?  Would eliminating my personal accounts give me the peace of mind I hoped it would?

It's been a year since I gave it up, and I'm pleased to report that the world didn't end without me.  :)  In all seriousness, though, I learned several valuable lessons from my social media hiatus.

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Are Christians Looking at the "Rocks in A Jar" Analogy All Wrong?

Are Christians Looking at the "Rocks in A Jar" Analogy All Wrong?

The first time I heard the "rocks in a jar" analogy, I was intrigued.  The idea of prioritizing my goals and obligations made complete sense.  It was certainly true that unless I put my "big rocks" in my life's jar first, I would never be able to fit in the pebbles, sand, and water as well.  And so, for a long time, I was quite content with the standard "rocks in a jar" analogy.

As I've grown older and my spiritual walk has deepened, however, I've begun to wonder if we as believers are looking at our rocks in the wrong light. 

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Should Christians Approach Goal-Setting With A Different Motivation?

Should Christians Approach Goal-Setting With A Different Motivation?

Toward the end of 2016, I was almost dreading the start of another year.  It wasn't that the closing year had been bad; in fact, it had been a really good one.  But I was worried about goal-setting, or, more accurately, goal-failing.

It happened every year:  I would heroically set goals in January - new habits I wanted to develop, besetting sins I hoped to conquer - only to have reality set in around the end of February when I hadn't made any progress.  Ultimately, with feelings of frustration and failure, I'd throw up my hands and give up on accomplishing any of my goals for that particular year.

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