Blogging Break Until the New Year

Friends, I usually take blogging breaks around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this year I’ve decided to take a longer break that encompasses the entire holiday season.

Not only will this help take the pressure off during an already busy time of year, but it will also allow me to give myself grace in the continued time I need to recover from some health problems I’ve had the past couple of months. Don’t worry, nothing too serious, but I’ve had to cut way back on the amount of time and mental energy I can give to writing projects.

I’m sure you’ll understand—after all, we’ve all had life situations that require us to take breaks, haven’t we? So thank you so much for understanding, and I pray that God blesses your entire Thanksgiving and Christmas season with blessings beyond measure. I’ll see you again here in the new year! (In the meantime, please feel free to check out the November and December archives for refreshment and encouragement. Hope they bless you!)

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you . . .” 3 John 1:2 NIV

*How will you take the pressure off in your life during the upcoming holidays?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out Nov. 1st. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by bjimmy934Creative Commons License

Live the Moments

8479559443_6ab58e2e01_zIf you’re like me at times, you may be rushing through life at such a frenetic pace that you miss some of the treasures along the way. Sometimes I need to slow down so I don’t whiz by the moments of my life, and other times I just need to be more aware of them, more deliberate in experiencing them.

I love what author and minister Frederick Buechner has to say about being more mindful of the moments of our lives in his book Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation. See if they strike a chord with you as they did with me:

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because, in the last analysis, all moments are key moments and life itself is grace.”

I wonder what key moments I’ve missed because I wasn’t listening to my life. Do you, like me, need to listen to your life more? Need to remember that each day is a gift of grace? Let’s notice more of our lives from now on, let’s live the moments.

“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NKJV

*When has an ordinary moment turned into more for you?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter comes out tomorrow. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by JGSpotOn, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: The Prayer of an Imperfect Vessel

6013255406_1b697baa36_z“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

Do you ever feel unworthy to be used by God? I feel like this quite often—when I mess up and sin, when I see areas of my life that aren’t all God designed them to be, or when I struggle with my thoughts, attitudes, or emotions. At times like these I wonder how can God use me?

The good news is that God uses imperfect vessels. He created us. He knows we will sin and fall short of his very best desires for us (Romans 3:23). But he loves us, forgives us, cleanses us, and then uses us for his purposes and glory (John 3:16, 1 John 1:9, 2 Corinthians 4:7, and 1 Peter 4:10).

So for all of us imperfect vessels out there, here’s a simple prayer we can freely pray. Hope it helps express your heart, too!

Father, thank you for loving me. Thank you for using me even though I’m not perfect. Protect me from the evil one, the one who wants me to feel too unworthy to serve you. Help me be ever ready to do whatever you want me to do. Yes, Lord, use me in spite of my failures and sin. Shine through me in spite of me. I will indeed give you all the glory, and I will remember that I am loved!

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

*What else can we do to battle feelings of unworthiness?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by avrenim_acceber, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Covered

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Anyone anywhere covered by a blanket of snow right now? Here in our corner of the nation’s breadbasket, we got a little snow earlier this week but haven’t really seen much of the white stuff this winter. However, I know some regions of the country have been hit hard with heavy snowfalls in recent days and weeks. And they’ve been the kind of heavy snows that can be hard to dig out of.

Of course, there are those of us who may be covered by other things today. Even weightier than snow. Some are covered by the burdens of grief, debt, pain, fear, or broken relationships while others of us in happier seasons are feeling blanketed with joy, excitement, gratitude, renewed strength, or love.

Whatever our differing situations, whatever we’re covered with today, isn’t it good to know that we can all be covered with the love of God? That because Jesus shed his own blood to pay the price for our sins, we can all be covered with forgiveness and salvation if we’ll only call on him? Isn’t it good to know we can all be covered by his grace, covered with the hope he gives?

Yes, we can all be blanketed with the peace that can only be found in the Lord. And that’s something that weighs light. Something we’ll never want to dig out from under.

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” Psalm 32:1

*When have you felt blanketed by the peace of God?

*My photo from a previous winter.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

Midweek Morsel: God’s Throne of Grace

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I have a tendency to approach God at times like He is a disapproving parent or some other harsh authority figure—a boss or a teacher, etc. I forget how much he loves me. I feel like he’s thinking instead of all my faults.

As a result, instead of running into his open arms with the abandon of a dearly loved child as I pray, I enter his presence with eyes downcast, weighed down by a load of guilt and feelings of failure.

But when that happens, I have it all wrong. This is how scripture tells us we can approach God:

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

What will we find at God’s throne? Grace, mercy, help. God wants us to approach him with confidence so he can freely give us his unconditional love. So let’s lift up our heads and eagerly run to the One who loves us like no other.

*How can we remind ourselves of God’s great love, mercy, and grace?

*Flickr photo by adwriter, Creative Commons License

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Be sure to enter the “Back At It” Giveaway. See post for details!