First Grade Proposal

The following is a real conversation between myself & my Daughter

 

J: “Mom, you know Daniel that’s in my class?”

Me: “Yes, what about him?”

J: “Today at lunch he asked me to be his girlfriend and he gave me a ring.”


 

We were driving home from dance class the other day when my 7 year old daughter dropped this bombshell on me.

 

Inner me: WHAT?! No! Absolutely not! You are in first grade. No boyfriends… EVER!

Me: “Oh he did? What did you tell him?” (As I pushed the instant FREAK OUT mode down a little bit)

J: “Well, I told him I would have to ask my mom.”

Inner me: Thank You Lord! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Me: “Well that was a very smart thing to say. What do you think I am going to say?”

J: “Ummm… probably no.”

Inner Me: “You bet I’m going to say no…”

Me: “Yup. You’re right. Why do you think Daddy & I will say that?”

J: “Ummm… because I’m not old enough.”

Me: “Yup. What do you think about it?”

Inner Me: “Please agree! Please remember the things we’ve talked about even if it was only in a brief conversation!”

J: “Yeah, I don’t think I’m old enough. Maybe when I’m like 16.”

Inner me: Dancing a celebratory victory dance

Me: “Do you know why you’re probably not old enough?”

J: Shrugs

Me: “Well, why do you think people have boyfriends?”

J: Shrugs

Inner Me: “Lord PLEASE help me out with this one. Seriously, I could bungle this without your help!”

Me: “Well, when you like a boy as more than just a friend you may want a boyfriend. Like if you’re thinking about him a lot and you want to hold hands and things. But really God made the boyfriend/girlfriend/dating thing to help us figure out who we are supposed to marry. Do you think you’ll be ready to get married in the next 5 years?”

J: Laughs “No! I’ll only be in 6th grade!”

Me: “You’re right. You won’t be ready to think about getting married anytime soon. Boyfriends are a pretty serious thing. I think it would be best if we waited a while until you think about having a boyfriend. You should probably just tell Daniel that you’re not old enough to have a boyfriend but that you two can just be friends. How does that sound?”

J: “Yeah. That’s what I’m going to do.”


 

I have to tell you that during this short conversation I felt like I should smile, cry, stop the car, laugh, & call my husband all at the same time. I mean REALLY? She’s 7.

Jimmy and I haven’t really sat down and planned out our specific rules about boyfriends and dating yet. (Did I mention she’s only 7…) We’ve been more concerned with spelling lists & making sure we remember to get snacks for the class on our assigned snack day. Boyfriends? Rings? Ha! That seemed laughable. Until now.

The more I’ve thought about it over the past week the more I’ve realized how unprepared I was for that conversation. I know that as parents we agree that there will be no boyfriends until our girls are older, but what age? What about dates? Group dates? Movie dates?

If I created rules going off of my personal dating experiences in High School I would lock them in their rooms until they were 18 and tell them stories about boys only wanting one thing. (Ok, we WILL be having those talks… Jimmy says it’s mandatory)

My 7 year old is a lot more like Jimmy than me though. Their personalities are so alike and Jimmy didn’t date. I was his first real girlfriend and we started dating our freshman year of college. (Now this is not counting the girl from church that was his girlfriend for like 2 weeks and they only saw each other at church… He says that doesn’t count)

After some discussion Jimmy and I have decided to wait to set specific rules. We are just going to continue having clear, biblically intentional conversations about boyfriends & dating and we’ll take each event as they come. In the mean time I’ll be reading, praying & asking God to prepare me for what lies ahead.

I just never thought I’d be dealing with boyfriends and rings in first grade. Wow! I guess God’s just trying to keep me on my toes!


 

10 minutes later I found myself thinking about that ring.

Me: “Hey, what did you do with that ring?”

J: “Oh! At recess the girl that sits next to me saw it and said that it looked just like the one that she brought to school and put in her box on her desk but it disappeared. So I gave it to her. We think Daniel took it from her box.”

Inner Me: “Little hoodlum…”

Me: Laughs “Well it sounds like it all turned out ok then.”

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“The Best Laid Plans…” Five Minute Friday

I’m joining up with the #FMFPARTY Five Minute Friday group again this week! If you haven’t heard of Five Minute Friday go check out Kate Motaung’s page about it over at katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday. Blogging for Five Minutes on Friday about a specified “Prompt Topic” I have to say that only typing about a topic for 5 minutes is a HUGE stretch for me, but I’m really enjoying it.

This week the prompt is “Plan”. I’m excited to get started! So here we go…


If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “The best laid plans of mice & men often go awry.” You know the basis of my life.

I am a planner. I love lists & preparing for upcoming events. I used to be a wedding planner (that’s another post entirely in and of itself!) & I loved the entire planning process from beginning to end.

The thing is, my plans for my life & the lives of my family DO often go awry. I’m not a foolish person. I don’t just jump at every opportunity that comes up. I’m a detailed planner. When I graduated High School I “planned” to get a business degree then own my own bakery, definitely NOT what ended up happening. So why do some of my “plans” come up short?

They don’t work out when they are MY plans & not God’s.

James 4:12-15

” Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.”  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”

When I get an idea or start to make a plan of action I need to step back and really evaluate WHOSE plan it is. Am I coming up with this all on my own or have I truly been guided by The Lord?

This blog is a great example of that. I felt God calling me to write. Now, he originally called me to write a book (and I am), but when I got stuck in the process and was about to give up on it He pointed me toward blogging. I questioned & doubted whether it was me or God that came up with that, but after lots of prayer & searching for His answer, He has begun to open my eyes to His plan for it all.

Well, my five minutes are up! This five minute thing is CRAZY! I could probably go on forever… Hmmm… I think I’m already coming up with my next post! I’ve been inspired!

How have the “plans” you’ve made on your own changed? I would love to hear how God has moved in your life!

Let’s Be Friends.

I’ve never been good at friendships.

I’m not saying that I’m not a good friend. I’m kind, I try to listen, when I’m out with friends I have fun. I’m just not good at starting or continuing a friendship. Sometimes I don’t neglect to contact a friend and say “Hey! Let’s get together!”. It’s not that I don’t want to do it, there’s just something that stops me.

So what hinders me? I worry about what others will think about me. A real friendship means that you have to open yourself up. “Surface” friendships, where you don’t get very deep and can just exchange pleasantries, are easy. Deep, meaningful friendships happen when you open yourself up to one another. You have to let that person in. That scares me.

I worry about people judging me. I worry that they will find out things about me that will turn them off. I worry that they will find out that my entire bedroom floor is currently covered with clothes. I worry that they will find out that sometimes I am rude. Sometimes when others are talking I’m not listening very well because I am distracted.

I worry that people will find out these things and will no longer think highly of me.

I would say my best friend is definitely my husband. Obviously, it is a good thing for him to be a best friend. Other than Jesus Christ, my relationship with my husband should be the next closest relationship that I have on this earth. It’s good for our marriage and good for our family. My husband sees me in my best and worst moments and still loves me in spite of it all. I think that is one of the reasons that he is my best friend. If I snap at him in a moment of frustration or bawl my head off because I’ve had a hard day, I know he’ll still be there and love me just the same.

Will a friend do that? That’s the heart of my personal struggle.

Lately God has been speaking to me about my problem with connecting with people. I have a lot of surface friendships but I am very weary of opening myself up to something deeper.

Eccelsiastes 4:9-10

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

To me, this is one of the reasons we are not supposed to live life alone. We CAN do things alone, but that doesn’t mean that is the best way to do it. I mean, having two arms DOES make most tasks more manageable. There are so many things in life that we can’t physically do alone.

When I read the first part of Ecclesiastes 4:10, it says that if either fall down the other can help him up. How many times do we “fall down” in our Christian walk? Every day! Every day I make mistakes, I sin. WE are sinners, and so we are going to “fall down” at some point. Having a friend, doesn’t just keep us accountable, but it also reminds us that we are not alone when we do fall. A close friend can be there to help support you in Christian Fellowship.

The second section of verse 10 says, “But pity anyone who falls and has no one to ehlp them up.”

Why should we pity them? Because, unfortunately, they have chosen to not surround themselves with people who would help. This is where I am.

God has been working on me that I need to be in closer fellowship with other women. As women, we need to be better about creating & working on close friendships.


So what does that mean? Am i going to pick up the phone tomorrow and suddenly have a new best friend? No, but there are some things that God has placed upon my heart to focus on. God wants me to work on making some of my “surface” friendships, true friendships.

First, God is calling me to step out in faith.

Yes, I am scared to open myself up to others, but my fear is not an excuse to disobey what God has called me to do. My emotions cannot determine whether or not I follow through. I have to trust that He is guiding me toward women who will care about me in spite of my faults.

Now, just because I step out in faith & obey what God has asked me to do does not mean that He has promised it will be smooth sailing. Relationships require people. People have baggage. Baggage causes problems. Even though there may be some bumps, I need to continue following God in the direction that He wants me to go.

Secondly, God has opened my eyes to the receiving end of friendship.

Friendships require us to open up and share our struggles with one another, but when a friend is opening up and sharing we must remember to listen without judgment.

One of the reasons that I struggle with connecting is because I worry about what others are going to think of me. What do we see on tv and social media? Cat fights & gossip. We see women tearing each other down & being applauded for their actions. Why are many of us weary of opening ourselves up to other women? This is why.

Matthew 7:3

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

If we want close relationships we have to take it upon ourselves to stop silently (or for some, publicly) judging each other. Opening ourselves up is only the first step. We then have to listen & support each other without judgment or condemnation.


I am going to be working on developing closer Christian friendships, and I challenge you to do the same. I actually have someone that God has brought into my life hat I am going to call this week to get together and have lunch. I’m nervous, but excited to see what God has for this new friendship.

If you don’t have any issues with developing genuine, close Christian friendships with other women, look around you. Is there somewhat in your social circle that doesn’t seem to make connections easily? Ask God to show you someone that He wants you to connect & fellowship with.

I would love to hear what God is saying to you. Please let me know in the comments or follow me on facebook or twitter and let me know!

This was posted in the Grace & Truth Linkup & the Faith & Fellowship Blog Hop

Surprise! Free Printable!

So I’ve been stuck at home the past couple of days due to the snow storm that came through Friday Night & all day Saturday. Crazy! I was SO NOT expecting that!

I’ve organized the towel closet, published my 2nd post in the Ruth Study Series (Check out “Loss”), had a dance party with my girls in the kitchen, and done UMPTEEN loads of laundry. I decided I needed to get a little creative this afternoon. So…

Since the weather has snow bounded me… You get something FREE!

That’s right! I created an 8×10 printable from a verse I used in my latest post on Ruth and I’m making it available for you!

Psalm 9  8by10 printable

I love Psalm 9:9! Feel free to Pin, Save, Share, & Print! It’s created to fit in an 8×10 frame so enjoy!

Do you have a favorite verse that you would like to see as a free printable on Made To Bloom? Comment below & let me know! I love this kind of stuff!

Shout Aloud & Sing For Joy!

This past Saturday was an incredibly warm & beautiful February day!
Usually at this point in February we’re hunkered down in our home keeping warm. I’ll admit it. After the festivities of Christmas & New Years are over, I’m basically ready for Spring. So I was thanking God for a nice warm day so that I could recharge on sunshine and make it a few more months until Spring arrives.

I opened all of the windows in the house, turned on my Gungor Pandora station & cleaned my poor neglected kitchen. Sun streaming in, fresh air rejuvenating the house (and me), I stood at the kitchen sink & watched my daughters and husband playing in our backyard. I couldn’t help but smile.

It was then that I really started listening to the song that was playing. I became completely overwhelmed with love & thankfulness. Everything that I have, our home, our daughters, my husband, even my job have all been desires that I have prayed for, sometimes even pleaded God for.

All at once I remembered

  • Being told that my then boyfriend & I would never last because no one finds their future husband their first semester of college.
  • Crying & confiding to a close group of women at church on our anniversary because another pregnancy test had come up negative.
  • Crying & praying with my husband after our 2nd appointment when we found out that although I was pregnant I also was in a very early stage of cervical cancer.
  • Receiving a clean bill of health from my surprised doctor as I held my infant daughter in my arms.
  • Celebrating with my husband after he was offered his first (and current) teaching position.
  • Finally purchasing our home that was NOT a fixer upper.
  • Informing my surprised husband that I was indeed pregnant again.

As I stood there, my eyes welling up with thankful tears, I raised my hands high and praised the Lord for everything He has done for me. It continued to build up inside of me until I finally had to fully give in and kneel on my kitchen floor, crying & praising God.

Now I must interrupt this awesome picture with what happened next because it’s pretty common for things in our life to have an “and then…” turn in the story.

AND THEN…My husband came in the house, walked in the kitchen and immediately assumed that I had injured myself somehow while cleaning. This serious, heartfelt moment of worship ended in tears & laughter after he calmed down and I explained that I was just fine… MORE than fine.

After I got up and cleaned my face off I started to think again about all of the awesome things God has done. Not just in my life but in the lives of others, of everyone. We are told to count our blessings and be thankful, but how often are we truly overwhelmed by all that he has done & is doing in our lives. I know that sometimes my prayers of thanksgiving, although genuine, are maybe not a deeply set as they should be. I feel that he deserves more than a prayer list of the items & people that I am thankful for. He DESERVES to be honored. He DESERVES to be praised for the Awesome and Holy God that He is.

“Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
    for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”
                                        -Isaiah 12:6

I came across this verse and I absolutely love it! I feel like it completely describes the feeling of being overwhelmed with who God is & what he has done for us.

Through all of the storms and trials of my life He has been there. He has shown up in doctors offices, living rooms, classrooms, & parking lots. He has answered prayers, comforted me, & healed me. Most of all, through his son Jesus Christ, He has forgiven me and is helping me grow one day at a time. He is awesome & He deserves all of my praise.

I would love to hear what God has done for you!
Leave a comment below, or email me your story!

9 Tips For a More Intentional Prayer Life

Prayer has been a major struggle for me in my walk with Christ.

Some weeks I am so good about remembering to turn to Him. I am in a constant prayerful conversation with God and it makes day to day life easier.

Other weeks, I slack. I forget to turn to God in times of need and instead I turn to my own understanding. I tell others I will pray for them and then soon forget to follow through. Those weeks are very difficult.

For the past year I’ve been trying to figure out how I can be more intentional with my conversations with God. I have come up with some ways to not only set aside time for Intentional Prayer, but also some times that I can just take advantage of time that could otherwise be wasted. I have combined all of these little “tips” here. Read through and take what you can, or what you need. I don’t do ALL of these everyday, but I’ve found ways to remind myself to continue my ongoing “conversation” with God.

1. Wake up 15 minutes earlier.
I am putting this as #1 because although this is the hardest thing for me to apply (I am NOT a morning person), it has been the best. I am not a morning devotion person because, as I said, I am NOT a morning person.  I DO like praying in the morning though. I wake up, get out of bed, go sit at my makeup table & pray. I pray for myself, my family, the people I will come in contact with, & the day in general. That’s it. I feel so much more confident about the day when I start it this way.

2. Post an up to date prayer list on your bathroom mirror.
The next thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth, which doesn’t take much brain power, so I go through a couple of specific prayer requests while brushing. Personally, I reserve this time for some specific people in my life. My mirror prayer list doesn’t change much.

3. Laminate a prayer list to put up in your shower.
This works for me because I only share my shower with my husband and we share all of our prayer concerns with each other. If you share your shower with your siblings or parents you may or may not like this option. You could make this specific prayer (like mine) or more general. This list could just say, “Parents, Siblings, Friends, Teachers…”. Something that general may not be as odd to put up in a shared space but could still prompt you to remember to pray for them.

4. Pray for people you Text or Call.
Have you ever just said a quick little prayer for someone you were texting? Prayer can be quick & still meaningful. Lately when I have to text or call someone I say a quick prayer for them as I hit “send” or “call”. It usually goes something like this, “Lord, I pray that you continue to watch over ______. Give her strength for whatever she is doing today. Amen”

5. Prayer Apps
Since we’re talking about your cell phone. Do you have an app for that? Now, this is actually one thing that I don’t have yet. I’m about to get a smart phone (I’ve been a hold out because I am a cell phone abuser… I break things) and I am definitely going to put a prayer app on my phone so I can be reminded to stop and pray for specific things. If a friend is having surgery I want to have a reminder to pray for her before it happens, not after I see on facebook that she is in the recovery room… ooops!

6. Remember to write down & save prayer requests.
This has been the hardest for me to do. I am HORRIBLE at remembering prayer requests. Again, this is why I will be getting a prayer app when I get a smart phone. The app isn’t going to instantly solve my problem though, I have to remember to type it into the app. For now I’ve been keeping a cute little notebook in my purse so I can jot down who & what to pray for. Once I started writing them down I actually realized that I was leaving out a lot of people! Between Sunday Morning Church, my Junior High girls class, my adult small group, Youth Group on Wednesday Nights, and working in the church office full time I have accumulated quite a list. I’m so glad I started writing it all down!

7. Keep a prayer journal.

This is something I have done for quite a while. I have seen prayers answered through my prayer journal. I can track my personal growth as I turn the pages. I love it. It is more than a diary. It is my heart on paper. It is my love song to God. I write down everything from frustrations, anger, worries, concerns, praise, & thanksgiving. I write down the verses I am reading for future reference, I doodle, & I write. Find a notebook that you really like. If you like it, you’ll use it. Find a great pen, one that feels good in your hand and writes easily. There are no guidelines for a prayer journal, just like there are no guidelines to personal prayer. Just do it.

8. Pray every time you wash your hands.
I know this may sound silly, but I send up a prayer of thanks to God every time I wash my hands. I like short prayers because they work with my ADD short attention span. I find something to give thanks to God for each time. Sometimes it’s for huge things, sometimes it’s little things. It doesn’t matter. I believe that prayer is a conversation & a relationship building between you and God. It can’t all be “Gimme, Gimme”, you need to thank him for the things He does for you.

9. Find a Prayer Partner.
One of the best ways to stay intentional about your prayer life is to have an accountability partner. This prayer partner can help in many ways. This can be a person that you exchange personal prayer requests with, that you pray with, or even send each other little reminders throughout the day seeing if you have each taken some time to pray. I love the idea of accountability partners, especially in prayer. There is something so wonderful about believers coming together to lift each other up to The Lord.

So, there you go! 9 tips help you be more intentional with your prayer life. Take them & figure out what works for you.

Let me know what works. Do you have anything to add? Have you found something that you would like to recommend to others? Comment below and let me know!

Good vs. Godly Men

So it’s been a rough few days. Nothing bad has happened. No one in our family is sick. *THANK YOU LORD! I SO APPRECIATE THAT!* I have just felt overwhelmed & frustrated.

There’s a lot going on right now. Church events, School events, birthdays, baby showers, etc… My mind just feels like it’s swimming with everything that is coming up. I feel like I can’t get ahead of everything and because of that I feel extremely frustrated.

This all came to a head last night. I could not just relax and let go. After the girls went to bed I found myself crying to my husband about it all. I finally said to him,

“The worst part of it all is that I KNOW I should give it all to God but I haven’t been! My prayers lately have been hollow and empty. I pray for everyone & everything except myself and my frustrations!”

Now, before I continue I have to say that what he said to me COMPLETELY explains the main reason I knew I was supposed to marry him. Forget my puppy love for him, his blonde hair, his blue eyes, the fact that he’s a great cook… THIS is why I married him.

He said, “Let’s pray about it now… Together.”

AMEN HALLELUJAH PRAISE THE LORD!

You see, my husband isn’t a “Good Man”, he’s a “Godly Man”. As a husband he is the spiritual leader of our home. He looks out for our physical & spiritual well being. He cares about my relationship with Jesus Christ and takes an active role in my spiritual growth.

We sat together last night and prayed. We asked God for peace, guidance, & strength. We thanked Him for the blessings He has given us & for the plans he has for us that we don’t even know about yet. As my husband prayed over me I cried and felt The Lord remind me that He has given me a partner to share my burdens with.


The problem is when I was a teenager “Godly Man” was not at the top of my priority list when it came to “Qualities of my Future Husband”.

By 17 I had an ongoing mental list of qualities that were important to me in a future husband.
1. MUST be smart
2. MUST be creative
3. MUST love music
4. MUST have a sense of humor
5. MUST be driven & be hard working
6. SHOULD be a Christian

That’s right… I put SHOULD be a Christian. I can honestly say that whether my husband knew Jesus Christ as his Savior & Lord really seemed more like an added bonus than a necessity. Looking back it really should have been my main priority. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache if it had been important to me when I started dating.

I’ve had some girls ask me how to know who to date or marry. I like to share this bit of advice that I got after I was already dating my husband. I wish I had gotten it sooner.

“Run as fast as you can toward Jesus Christ. Run the race described in Hebrews 12:1. Make Jesus your priority and focus. As you are running, look around you and see who is there. Who is running with you toward Jesus Christ? Those are the people to surround yourself with. Those are your best friends, accountability partners, & dating prospects.”

A person does not know what REAL love is unless he or she has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord & Savior. The love of Christ is what REAL love is. The love of Christ is forgiving, full of grace, full of mercy, and never ending. He gave everything, he gave his life for us. If you don’t know Him, then you don’t know what love should look like.

A “Godly Man” will not only love you and treat you the way that Jesus would treat you, but he will also invest in your relationship with Christ. If he is truly a follower of Jesus Christ, he will want to find a wife who has a relationship with Christ. 2 Corinthians 6:14 calls us to not be “yoked together with unbelievers”. In order to be the spiritual head of your household he has to lead & help you grow.

I am so thankful that God put my husband and I on the same college campus. I am thankful that He arranged for us to be introduced to each other. I am thankful that my in-laws raised him in a Godly Christian Home. I can’t imagine what our marriage would be like without OUR faith & OUR trust in The Lord.

What do you think? Do you have an example of a Godly man in your life that you would like to share? Please feel free to leave a comment below, I would love you hear from you!

This post has been shared on the Grace & Truth Linkup!

Rest… Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That! …But I Should!

So I’m sitting in a condo, out of town, away from home, away from work, away from kids, away from distractions. It’s CRAZY quiet because my husband and our friends that we came here with are at their conference.

I am alone with coffee and quiet.

I know that God has provided this time for me to rest. I NEVER get time like this. SERIOUSLY! This is a GIFT!

So why am I so restless? Why can’t I sit here and soak this up? Why do I feel like I need to get up and do something?

I am realizing that I DON’T KNOW HOW TO REST!

Do you rest? Do you ever take time to not do anything and just sit and reflect upon the things that God has done and is doing in your life?

We are called to rest. God talks about rest OFTEN in His Word. I mean… even God stopped and took the time to rest and He was the all powerful, almighty creator of EVERYTHING!

Made To Bloom

Made To Bloom

After God created the Heavens & the Earth he took a day to rest. GOD TOOK A WHOLE DAY TO REST… I have problems taking 30 minutes to rest!

I look around me and we all are GO, GO, GO! No one stops. Even those of us that are Christians and know that God called for us to take times to rest! We fill our hours with activities that are, when you look at them, “Good” activities. We work hard at work/school. We help our families, friends, & neighbors. We serve in church with different ministries. We volunteer with community organizations.

These are all inherently “Good” things, but even “Good” things can be used to fill up our time and distract us from the things that God wants of us and for us.

I personally have an issue with finishing a project or event and then jumping right in and looking at what’s next.

Scripture tells us in Genesis 2 that God finished what he was working on and then STOPPED. Not permanently, but for a day. He rested.

When we have finished a project, event, game, season, even a day or week. We should take some time to rest and reflect. We should thank God for the things he has done. Thank Him for what he is doing at that moment. Ask Him what he wants us to do differently in the future. Then we should rest & listen.

We can’t expect to hear an answer from The Lord if we don’t take the time to stop, quiet our minds, and listen.

I am really writing this as a lecture to myself.

My ADD mind is making a list of things that I should do right now.
1. Write another blog after this one.
2. Study for my Sunday School Class.
3. Work on writing a chapter of my book.
4. Do my nails because they look gross.
5. Pull out my agenda calendar and fill out the February month of events.

But I’m not going to.
It’s going to be hard, but I’m going to sit here, drink my coffee, read a devotional or two, and rest.

Do you think I should set a timer? 

Just Kidding!
Maybe…

Do you set aside time to rest? What does rest look like to you? Leave a comment below and tell me about it.

A New Generation of Addicts

When I think of an addict, I get a picture in my head of a person sitting on the floor in the fetal position. She’s rocking back & forth with a wile look in her eye.

She is jumpy and her eye makeup is running because she has been wiping away the tears. She needs something desperately, and feels like she can’t live without it.

It’s scary & sad.


Is this you when you can’t find your cell phone?

You may have chuckled a little to yourself just now, but unfortunately I’m not joking.

Our Youth Group goes to this amazing church camp for a week each summer. It is the most fun, energy filled, youth centered, & Jesus focused week. Seriously, the week after camp we all tend to get homesick… for camp! That’s how much we love it there.

The camp doesn’t have a lot of rules, but one of the BIGGIES is… no cell phones. No Joke, if a camp counselor sees a Youth with their phone in the middle of camp they will take it away & it will be mailed back home at the Youth’s expense. I agree with the rule. Too often we are too caught up in what is going on in the world and we can’t focus on what God is trying to tell us.

So when we go over camp rules a few weeks before we leave each year it always amazes/scares me to see the reactions from some of the Youth (mainly girls) who have not been to camp before.

They Freak Out. I mean REALLY freak out. One year, a few days before camp, a girl told me she was already having anxiety attacks just THINKING about being away from her cell phone for a week.

Cell phones have become a crutch to way too many teens & adults. (Don’t worry, I know it’s not just teens) The next time you’re out somewhere eating look around and see how many people are on their cell phones. Now, how many of those on cell phones are sitting with other people? Talk about a quiet meal…


So… Are you addicted to your cell phone?
1. Do you constantly check your phone even when it hasn

2. Do get a panicked feeling when you reach in your pocket/purse & can’t find your phone?

3. Do you put off schoolwork, sleep, or other responsibilities to be on the phone?

4. Do you feel depressed when you haven’t been on your phone?

Maybe you need to take a serious look at your NEED for your phone.

A phone can be very important. When in an emergency it can honestly be a lifesaver, but be careful of how much you depend on your phone. Is it what makes you happy? Is your social media & texting how you feel appreciated & loved. Do you spend more time on your phone that with actual people… talking… not on the phone? Are you spending more time on your phone than reading your bible? Praying? Spending time with God?

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”  Exodus 20:2-3 (NIV)

Has your phone become your addiction?

If so, take it to God. Confess that you have put it before him & other things. Ask him for help with this temptation.

Maybe you need to talk to your parents about setting up some specific rules about cell phone use.

And Guess What…
There’s An App For That!

No Joke! I found out while researching this that there are actually apps that are supposed to help you with your cell phone addiction.

1. PAUSE
For iPhone
Pause Description:
It might not be a drug, but a digital based addiction can still keep you away from your real life.

2. BreakFree
For Android
BreakFree Description:
BreakFree is the best Android app for monitoring and taking control of your smartphone usage habits and your digital life. It helps you check your addiction levels and also helps you unplug and disconnect from your smartphone. With BreakFree you can focus on what’s important.

Disclaimer: I am in NO WAY endorsing either of these apps. I do NOT own either of them nor am I being paid to mention them. I ONLY give them as an option that teens should discuss with their parents as a possibility.

Take a step back. Put the phone down. Go find something to do without it. Maybe even have a REAL conversation with someone.

I would love to hear from you! Do you struggle with this? Do your teens struggle with it? Leave a comment below.

When you don’t feel God

Have you ever felt far away from God?

I was listening to the radio on my way to work the other day and the two morning DJ’s started talking about feeling like God isn’t there, like “God where are you?”. One of the DJ’s said he felt like that sometimes & the other said that he has never felt that way. So I had to ask myself, “Have I ever felt that way, and if so why? What can be done about that?”

First let me say that YES, I have felt like that. I have felt distant from God in good times and bad times. It creeps up on me. Everything seems to be going fine and then all of the sudden (or at least it FEELS all of the sudden) I feel like I’ve lost that close relationship with God and I can’t feel his presence. The feeling is awful! It’s lonely & empty.

So I ask YOU again. Have you ever felt far away from God?

If you honestly have never felt distant or far away from God then FANTASTIC! I’m so glad that you have never in your Christian walk felt this way. It is something that I wish none of us would ever experience because of how awful it feels.

If you have felt that way know that you are not alone. (And I mean that in more ways than one!) There are many Christians who have walked through difficult valleys in their life and felt alone and out of the presence of God.

The problem with saying “I don’t feel that God is with me” is the key word in that statement. FEEL. You may not FEEL God with you or around you, but that does not mean he isn’t there. He is ALWAYS there.

When Jesus Christ, God’s Holy Son, died for our sins as the perfect sacrifice, God not only created a way for us to go to Heaven but he also sent the Holy Spirit to be a messenger or presence in us. The Holy Spirit reminds us of Jesus Christ’s teachings.

This Holy Trinity of God, The Son (Jesus Christ), and The Holy Spirit means that:

1. God created us, loves us, & sent His one and only Son to die for our sins.

2. Jesus Christ died for our sins & if we accept that he is The Son of God, confess we are sinners, ask Christ to forgive us our sins, & to come into our hearts & lives we can have everlasting life through him. Jesus promised to guide us through his teachings, God’s Word.

3. The Holy Spirit was sent to be the presence of God & The Son that helps guide us. When we do FEEL God’s presence we are FEELING God through The Holy Spirit.

In John 14:25 & 26, Jesus is talking to the disciples about what will happen when he is gone. He has just said that those who love Him will obey Him. Those who do not love Him will not obey His teachings. Then he says,


All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all the things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

You are NEVER alone!

Ok, so now you KNOW… but, sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes just KNOWING you’re not alone doesn’t change the fact that you FEEL alone. So how did we get to feeling this way? How can we change it?

First you have to ask yourself, “Am I being a good friend?”

I’m not talking about a good friend to your BFF, your classmates, or even your siblings. Are you being a good friend to Jesus?

Think of how you would grade yourself.
Are you spending time with God? (prayer, church, reading your bible, worship…)
Are you listening to God (obeying his teachings, having a quiet time in prayer & quieting your mind to be open to him…)
Are you talking to God?
Are you thanking Him for the Blessings he gives you? (Home, Family, Food, Extras that aren’t NEEDS…)
Do you need to ask forgiveness for something, but haven’t?

It all comes back to our RELATIONSHIP with God. A healthy relationship comes from two individuals doing their part. God loves you & promised to listen and take care of you. So are you doing your part?

Sometimes when we FEEL distant from God it’s because we have been slowly slipping away and suddenly realized that there is an ocean between us.

So jump in & start improving your relationship with him. Pray even though it’s hard, read even though you think it might be boring, go to church to worship The Lord & be in fellowship with other believers. Share with close friends & family members what you are feeling.

Keep reminding yourself… I AM NOT ALONE! HE IS ALWAYS WITH ME!

I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment below.