I get all fired up when I hear “preachers” saying God wants me to be happy, healthy, and wealthy. “You deserve more, better,” they say. “Just set your mind to something and go for it. God is for you. He will give you what you desire if you love and obey Him enough. Have faith, and life will go well for you.”

Problem is, these are half-truths—shadows of Scripture. Sound bites that are close enough to sound right and are highly motivational, but in actuality, hold devastating implications. When life doesn’t go our way we wonder what we did wrong or what we didn’t do enough of to get God to act on our behalf. And when life is peachy-keen, our need for God dissipates. We turn Christianity into a formula to be figured out and followed.

Fact is, we are not promised smooth sailing. We are not guaranteed to bypass the difficult storms of life just because we are Christians. And the presence of a squall does not mean God is upset with us. I’ve found the opposite to be true in my life. The trials I’ve faced have proved God to be lovingly present, tenderly purposeful, and powerfully able to use all things for my good. I’ve learned that being a Christian doesn’t give me some force-field bubble that protects me from harm. But having the hope of Christ within me—knowing and holding onto all He has done for me and all that He will do—brings a deep-down peace that no positive-thinking prosperity message can provide.

I’ll say it again: walking with God is not a formula to be found out and followed. Abundant life with Jesus is a journey of continually drawing near to His presence while holding fast to the gospel—our anchor of truth. All who are in Christ possess the treasure of hope. It’s a noun, not a verb. But don’t always experience the hope-filled abundant life because we either don’t truly know the gospel or we forget.

We often want to measure growth with external charts and checkboxes, but I believe true spiritual growth cannot be evaluated simply by our deeds. Actions can be modified. Attitudes can be mimicked. But holding fast to hope cannot be faked.

If our view of God is big, the reality of our hope will be big, too.

God, I confess the places where I have not trusted in Your promises. Help me to see that You are steadfast and sure. Open my eyes to see You more and more each day.

hope in god

This is an excerpt from my Everyday Hope Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!  study, an easy to use, four-week Bible study. Designed for women who are pressed for time, yet crave depth from their Bible study, Everyday Hope Full Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase. Thanks for your support!  offers a relevant and lasting approach for reading and understanding Scripture. In as few as 15 minutes a day, discover how to hold fast to His promises amidst feelings of hopelessness.

2016 has already found me in a funk.

Crabby. Tired. Discouraged. Defeated. Stuck.

I think some of it is a result of two weeks of no schedule and little order. It’s been a GREAT two weeks. Though we missed not being with family during Christmas, it was truly perfect to have our little family alone yet together as we continue to create our own Christmas traditions. But there has been a ton of laziness and trying to get back into get-it-done mode has been harder than usual.

Most people feel a sense of newness, excitement, and motivation for the new year ahead. That is usually me: recharged with motivation and a deep hope for change, growth, and all the possibilities a new year holds. But this year, instead of hope I feel pressure. Dread. Overwhelm.

And feeling overwhelmed robs me of everyday hope. My mind turns to all that is undone and not right in my life and I begin to feel as if I must act NOW, and fix it all as soon as possible. But before I even attempt a step in the right direction, the sheer volume of all the areas that need work brings a crushing blow to any fire for change that was present.

Read more to the kids, be more patient, figure out a better laundry and chore system, write more blog posts, promote my new studies without being self-centered and pushy, keep my husband a priority, coordinate church ministry details, love and disciple the women God has placed in my life . . . the list goes on and the ideals and goals and resolutions for 2016 are already off to a really bad start.

Some may want to make the case that I have too much on my plate. I take that very full plate to the Lord almost daily, asking Him what I can/should let go of. My husband and I have regular conversations about it and for now, I fully trust it is how it should be.

As I step back from it all, the problem is not any specific item on the plate, or even the multitude of responsibilities piled high. The overwhelm stems from the weight of something different. The dread and discouragement comes not from the daily responsibilities or the resolutions for development. The paralysis stems from taking my eyes off the Gospel of Christ.

Because, it doesn’t take long for me to suffocate under the pressure of not being enough for every person and capable enough for every job. I will never be completely capable. I will never be perfectly prepared. I am not organized enough or kind enough or wise enough or savvy enough to do all God has called me to do. I am weak, selfish, and all-too under qualified for what God has called me to.

But what I keep forgetting to preach to myself is this: I don’t need to be fully qualified, perfectly caring, or altogether strong. Christ is all those things, and more, on my behalf.

The role the Gospel plays in our everyday life

This is the hope of the Gospel: I am not enough, but Jesus is. I am weak, He is strong. I am messed-up, fed-up, and marked-up with the weight of all my imperfections. But in Christ, there is freedom, forgiveness, and hope for my future. All of which is independant of my behavior and performance.

My prayer is that this post will encourage others who are feeling as I am. But, honestly, this is a selfish post. A self-preaching post. A post to affirm what I know to be true but often struggle to believe.

Though I am not commanded to have hope as if it were a verb, I am to hold fast to hope. I cannot hold on to something I don’t realize is there. So we must regularly take a good, hearty look at the hope we have in Christ. It is from this position, standing on the foundation of God’s grace and with a firm belief that I am justified before Him, that I can hold fast to my treasured hope.

The gospel is my everything. My only hope.

{God, keep me in continual clinging to your grace. Through Christ alone I have a living, heavenly hope. For that I am eternally grateful.}

Everyday Hope study excerpt

On a scale of 1 to 10, where is your grip on the hope of the Gospel today?

Everyday Hope Online Study Sign Up

Dive into Everyday Hope with me! Every Saturday in January I’ll be posting an Everyday Hope teaching video and link up here on the blog. So grab a copy of the study, a friend or two, and sign up here for the study group.

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.)

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!)

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. 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.

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.

*Some links in post are affiliate links. I may get a small commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. 

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?

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.