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What should my quiet time look like?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Episode #7 (Season 2)

Whether you realize it or not, we all have expectations and pictures of what the “perfect” quiet time looks like. Though we certainly need to be careful not to give in to the paralysis of perfectionism, it is typically helpful to have some guidelines in place to evaluate how effective our time with God is. Listen in to this 15 minute episode to receive some helpful guard rails to keep your quiet times on track.


  • How we define a “quiet time”
  • The importance of both hearing from the Lord and speaking to Him within your quiet time
  • Specific elements given to help incorporate both this hearing and speaking into your time with God
  • Three ways to approach the intake of God’s Word
  • Three ways to communicate with God during your quiet time
  • Quiet time ruts we may get into that keep up from experiencing God more fully



You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.


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My heart on the presidential election and the image of the church

My heart has been incredibly heavy this week over the state of our nation. I have friends and family on all sides of every issue and I can’t stand to be on social media right now. So much of the back and forth—the hate, the pride, the lashing out—is disappointing, at best. I’ve been fairly quiet online as I process where to go from here.

Lord, what is my part? What actions can I take? How am I supposed to pray?

This I do know: I am a Christian and an ambassador for Christ, not primarily of a political party or certain candidate. I am the brand of Christ. When people look at me, they are to see and feel something that is supernatural and special. Not because of who I am, but because (whether they can identify it or not) they see Christ in me. Everything I say or don’t say, do or don’t do is a reflection of Christ and I long to reflect Him well.

Everyday Love Images.009

I wish I was better at this. There are so many days and moments that I fail to reflect the glory of God to the people around me. And yet God is to be glorified through all His people—the church. I long for His good and gracious character to be made known. I want souls to see their utter need for Christ. And none of this can happen if Christians don’t look like Christ.

Lately it seems our reflection of Him has been covered in mud.

Everyday Love Images.010

So—starting with me—I’m praying for a revival of a renewed repentance and deep humility among the church. I’m asking God to show me if there is any wicked way within me and lead me toward repentance. Today, I choose to focus primarily on my own actions and attitudes and —by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit—I will follow the example of Christ down the road of counting others more significant than myself.


I sin — Grant that I may
never cease grieving because of it,
never be content with myself,
never think I can reach a point of perfection.
Kill my envy, command my tongue,
trample down self.
Give me grace to be holy, kind, gentle, pure,
to live for thee and not for self,
to copy thy words, acts, spirit,
to be transformed into thy likeness,
to be consecrated wholly to thee,
to live entirely to thy glory.

. . .

O God, the Eternal All, help me to know that
all things are shadows, but thou art substance,
all things are quicksands, but thou art mountain,
all things are shifting, but thou art anchor,
all things are ignorance, but thou art wisdom.

—Valley of Vision, Purification



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What We Desperately Need for the New Year

Over the years you may have chosen, or seen others choose their “word” for the year. One word which sums up a focus, a hope, a plan for a bigger, better new year. I love this time of year and all the promise of a fresh start and new beginnings, but as I look forward to the new year the thought of one word seems inadequate to encapsulate my hopes for those 365 days ahead of me.

It’s a significant step to dream big, to set goals, to move forward. Yet, I think it’s even more important to recognize that without the work of God in and around me, my goal-setting, year-planning, and one-word-choosing are a waste.

My focus and self-effort can move me forward for a while. Only a work of God produces permanent transformation.

And you and I are desperate for transformation. Not just for salvation, but for day-to-day living. For the eating habits we long to change. For the envious, hate-filled, or lustful thoughts we want to escape. For the harsh words and rage we desire to relinquish.

Or maybe that’s just me?

Let’s not run into our new year plans until we recognize our desperate need for Jesus. Let’s pause all our monthly planning until we’ve pursued God to reveal His purpose for our moments. Let’s be willing to cast aside our personal goals if they don’t bring us closer to His glorious perfection.

Because we desperately need a work of God more than we need a word to cling to. Chose your word, but look to the Word as your only hope.

Let’s search the heart of our heavenly, loving Father. Let’s beg Him for a glimpse of His good and glorious plan for our lives, the year ahead, and our moments hereafter. Then let’s trust Him to do a powerful work in our hearts this year.

May we look back at this time next year and see a year filled with a renewal of our motivations, and a revolution in our hearts.

What supernatural work do you need God to do in your life?

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10 Resources for Everyday Prayer

Man, this was a good one. We could have chatted for hours on prayer, yet we packed a punch with these 38 minutes on everyday prayer. I hope you can carve out some time to listen in!

(Short on time? Click the setting icon “cog” on the bottom right of the video viewer. There will be several settings that pop up. Look for the “speed” option and take your pick on how fast you would like to watch!) Can’t see the video? Click here.

Resources for Everyday Prayer

Here is a list of the many resources we shared about during our conversation. Check them out! (Many of these are Amazon affiliate links.)

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Perspective and Tips on Planning

Once we know what we are called to do, a good next step is putting feet to that calling. I chatted with Kat Lee and Amy Andrews last week about our struggles and successes with planning and implementing our plans.

What we chat about:

  • Why is planning important?
  • Is planning Biblical?
  • Finding a rhythm for planning and implementing those plans.
  • Looking at practical ways to how to take big plans and take them in smaller chunks.
  • Assigning projects to blocks of time.
  • How to use digital calendar alongside a paper planner.
  • The two types of people: “thinkers” and “doers”
  • Plus, LOADS of random planning tips!

(Short on time? Click the setting icon “cog” on the bottom right of the video viewer. There will be several settings that pop up. Look for the “speed” option and take your pick on how fast you would like to watch!) Can’t see the video? Click here. 

Resources for Planning

What would you add to the planning conversation?

(The next “blab” will be on prayer, and is scheduled for Wednesday the 30th. Click here to subscribe!)

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How to Balance Conflicting Callings

Though it was the end of a very long day, trailing several marathon weeks, I walked out of leading Bible study ready to take on everyday life again. Hours of preparation preceded that quick and precious hour I had sans kiddos. I’d prepared a Bible study, prayed for hearts to be tender and the Spirit to speak, then guided a Word-centric discussion with a small group of women.

I should have walked out of that room as exhausted as I wandered in. Yet, I was ready to take on all the remaining tasks for the week. The typically dreaded bedtime routines, meal planning, and untamable laundry became less daunting. Additionally, my desire to connect with and love on my husband and children increased.

This is how I know I am in God’s will: when I leave that activity energized and excited to return to my callings of a wife, a mother, and a disciple of Christ.

Every woman has many callings.

As a Christian, you and I are called to many endeavors. First and foremost, we are all CALLED to walk intimately with Christ. We are each CALLED to be a part of a local church body and CALLED to use our time, vocation, and resources toward missional living — making Jesus known to those around us. If you are married, you are CALLED to be a wife and all that entails. If you have children, you are CALLED to the role and responsibilities of mom.

This seems like quite a bit already, doesn’t it? Yet most of us have seeds of another calling or two planted within our hearts. There are goals and dreams that keep us up at night, topics and ideas we can talk for hours about. These, too, can be callings — God-given passions and pursuits that we must steward — but they are often either sorely neglected or end up hijacking the place and priority of our primary CALLINGS.

I first felt this “clash of the callings” after the CALLING of motherhood had become overwhelming. My “Big C” CALLINGS and “little c” callings haven’t changed in the four years since I wrote that blog post. I certainly don’t feel as if I have every iron wrinkled out, however, I’ve come a long way in finding a synergy between the two. Fulfilling the God-given “little c” longings of my heart (which sometimes seem to pull me away from my precious everyday moments) have proven to fuel the “Big C” priorities of my life.

How to find your calling in life.

I spent some time last week chatting with Kat Lee and Stacey Thacker (two of my favorite people and incredibly wise women) about calling. We used a new platform called Blab, and it was a ton of fun. You can watch the chat below, as we talk about how to balance our CALLING with our calling.

(Short on time? Click the setting icon “cog” on the bottom right of the video viewer. There will be several settings that pop up. Look for the “speed” option and take your pick on how fast you would like to watch!) Can’t see the video? Click here.

(I’ll be chatting again this Thursday, September 17, this time on planning. Kat Lee will be jumping in again, along with Amy AndrewsHead on over to Blab and follow me to be notified of when the discussion begins!)

What are your thoughts on all this talk on calling? Do you resonate with this struggle? What experience and perspective can you add to the conversation? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Resources to Help Find Your Calling

Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence (Read Reviews)
StrengthsFinder 2.0 (Read Reviews)
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*Some links in post are affiliate links. I may get a small commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. 

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The Everyday Woman

I get into trouble when I try to be everything.

The constant pressure of my “you-should” ideals squeeze every ounce of joy out of my moments. The toxic “not-enough” thoughts leave me emotionally unstable. The oppressive “ought-to” expectations of others paralyze my decision-making ability. The ability to recognize these threats have come the hard way and falling into each of these pitfalls brings a humility and a clarity — a vision of living my moments in freedom from the should’s, the not-enough’s, and the ought-to’s.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV)

I am promised abundant living, in Christ. Not paralyzed living. Not terrified living. Not guilt-ridden living. Abundant living. If you are in Christ, you are promised this life too. 

abundant living in christ

Everyday Christian living isn’t meant to be confusing and crippling, but you and I make it such when we set our sights on being Ms./Mrs. Everything. Instead of attempting to reach the illusive Superwoman-status, we must direct our efforts toward Spirit-led obedience in our simple everyday moments: working and watching, cooking and cleaning, teaching and training, sleeping and stirring. Because the promised abundant life is cultivated best when we are living out the everyday life God has planned specifically for each of us to live. 

The Everyday Woman Series

In the weeks to come, I’d like to process the areas of everyday life together. Some of these areas you may feel successful in, whereas in others you may feel like a flailing fish out of water. I have my own areas of everyday life in which I thrive, while others leave me in tears of frustration. 

Whether you’re a mom, a single woman, an empty nester, or a newlywed, you are an everyday woman made in the image of God. You are an extraordinary masterpiece with layers of beauty and strength. A necessary piece of a God-sized puzzle, and our unique everyday pieces fit together to create a display the image of Christ to the world around us.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey as the everyday woman you already are. I invite you to come and share your thoughts and ideas, your successes and failures. 

What areas of life do you have a good handle on? What do you need help in most?

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When You Don’t Know Where To Begin

My blogging journey began on May 4, 2010, four days shy of my third-born’s 1 month milestone. I sat excitedly in front of the computer screen with baby Michael peacefully napping in my lap and I began to write. I had no idea what I was doing (nor the can I was opening,) yet even in my cluelessness I became a writer that hot Florida day. In the small step of starting something I began my journey towards a dream I didn’t even know existed.

I quickly found that I immensely enjoyed and desperately desired the processing that came with getting my words on a screen. There was much to learn (and still more) on the mechanics of writing, but communicating my thoughts, heart, and lessons learned became a natural and needed outlet. The outlet of blogging soon became more than just a hobby. It became a ministry, a job, and eventually an avenue to traditional publishing.

Five years later (having just submitted over 75,000 Bible study manuscript words) I sit in front of the screen a bit word-dry (as my friend Stacey calls it) and again unsure of exactly what to write and what looms around the corner. My sweet Michael no longer fits in my lap for a peaceful nap, out my window is the lush and rolling bluegrass hills of Kentucky instead of the flat palm tree laden sands of Florida, but this I do know: I’m called to be here, in front of this screen.

I still dream of being influential (and admitting this dream still scares me). Though I know see that influence isn’t just for a few. God has given us each our own platform — whether big or small — to steward for His glory. There are loads of big ideas in this head of mine for all I might attempt in my little corner of the web, yet I quickly get overwhelmed with the details and dedication needed to make it all happen. But tonight I’m reminded that I don’t need to conquer the world in an hour (nor is it mine to try). I simply need to start small and follow God’s lead as I did five years ago.

And so, I’ll quietly write one blog post and see where He takes me next.

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Hope for The Weariness

My motherhood journey’s been a weary one. I’ve been sleep-deprived, emotionally exhausted, and physically worn-out. Yet my weariness doesn’t end there.

Maybe your’s doesn’t either?

I’ve carried a spiritual weariness with me for years. It’s a persistent burden and no matter how hard I try to get out from under its crushing weight, I find myself defeated underneath it.

This weight is a self-imposed set of motherhood ideals, super-great ideas, and the incredible examples of other Christian women. It’s the burden of the should’s.

Good things. Great women. But not the ideas or ideals God has intended for me.

There is a great, familiar passage in the gospel of Matthew, where Jesus addresses the burdened. We weary mommas can gather much hope from these words.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

When Jesus addressed the “heavy laden” here, He is referring to those who have been placed under the burden of religious legalism. People who were trying to carry around their “yoke” of extra-Biblical should’s. Rules originally intended to help people know God and honor Him with their lives, but these should’s quickly became burdensome; no one can follow ever rule.

Only Jesus upholds every ideal. And this is why he commands us to come to Him, learn from Him, and take HIS light and easy yoke.


I’m no agrarian, but I do know that a yoke is used with cattle, so they can pull together in the same direction. When we yoke ourselves to every great Pinterest board, every parenting book, and every “perfect” mom we see around us, we are placing ourselves under a burden of should’s not intended for us.

Our intended yoke is to be side-by-side with Jesus—the perfectly capable one—who is able to bear the load. The command we need to follow is to come, learn from Him, and take up His yoke.

This is our only should.

So, ladies, let’s stop attaching ourselves to every great idea that comes along. Let’s quit pinning every good blog post to our “To Do” board and wishing for what other mom’s have. Instead, let’s focus on being with God so we can discern better what His yoke is that we are supposed to take up.

Let’s let other moms be what God has called them to be, and learn to admire and encourage them without taking on their should’s. Because when we are in sync with Jesus and His specific will for our lives, motherhood (and life) becomes much less wearisome.

Who’s yoke are you carrying? Have you experienced the burden of carrying another mom’s yoke yourself? How do you experience rest for your weary-momma soul amidst all the should’s? Let’s chat in the comments.


I’m so excited to share with you about a new book that is perfect for weary moms! It’s been called “a life-raft in print form” and it’s written by my friends Stacey Thacker and Brooke McGlothlin. Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess can be purchased wherever books are sold. I encourage you to grab it today, keep your receipt, and then head over to the launch page where you can find out about their amazing bonuses with purchase! You can get three free videos from Stacey and Brooke that take the concepts found in the book even deeper by purchasing just one copy!

Affiliate links present.


Free Prayer Printable!

I’m over at the Flourish blog today, sharing Seven Powerful Prayers for My Husband. Aaaaand … there is a free printable!

Hop on over and check it out if you have a moment today!

Seven Powerful Prayers for My Husband PIN

What are your favorite verses to pray for the ones you love?