What You Need to Know about Your Work-in-Progress Status

It’s Friday and you’ve survived another week, maybe even another month. Sometimes you wonder how much longer you can keep at it, how much longer you can grind your way through the hard work we call life.

And some days, the hard work defeats us, owns us, and we become less than – less of a wife, less of a mother, less of a daughter of the King, less than we truly desire to be.

We’re tempted then to blame the weariness, the dead weight we’ve been dragging for so long, on our hectic lives.

I’m just too busy.

The phrase slips into my mind so easily, yet I know it’s only a half-truth. Yes, I’ve been busy, but not just with the family schedule. My mind has been busy, too – busy with worries, thoughts, plans, dreams, and even dissatisfaction.

We’re weary women, you and me, and we long for some space to smooth down our frayed edges and quiet our souls, yet we’ve somehow lost the way.

If I’m honest, I have to admit that my biggest problem isn’t my hectic schedule, though. No – the biggest problem is that when my schedule is crazy, my perfectionism and need to control kicks into overdrive. I’m tempted to think if I just work harder and longer, then I can keep myself afloat. 

If I just do everything right….

Unfortunately, I’m not perfect and neither are you. No matter how hard we try, we’re bound to fail at something along the way.

And fail, I have.

I’ve been a grumpy mama and a distracted wife. I’ve offended others in my haste and frustration. I’ve neglected to connect to the only Power Source who can really keep me going in the tough times. I’ve been trying way too hard to do something I cannot possibly do on my own, and boy, is it painful!

Why do we do this to ourselves, my sisters in Christ?  Why do we expect the impossible rather than resting in what we already know to be true?

~I’m sharing three of my favorite truths to fight against the pull perfectionism over at my friend Kaylene’s blog today. It would make my day if you’d hop on over there to find out what you really need to know about your work-in-progress status (and how to get a freebie)!

Sometimes you wonder how much longer you can grind your way through the hard work we call life. You feel too busy, like you're always failing at one thing or another. What you really need to know are these 3 truths about your work-in-progress status.

 

 

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

 

 

How to Persevere in Life

Every once in a while we have those brave moments when we openly share our struggles with others because we are so very desperate to overcome.

I shared previously about my fat girl insecurities, and then again earlier this year about setting some personal goals for myself, especially learning how to persevere in this weight loss journey (this isn’t a post just about weight loss, so hang in there).

Yesterday I stepped on the scale for a weight check, hopeful yet worried. I haven’t been able to work out consistently for the last few weeks because a summer cold flared up my asthma. So, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

After taking a deep breath, I looked down to see The Number.

And promptly burst into tears.

How to Persevere in Life, overcoming, weight loss journey, facing discouragement, persevere in spite of obstacles, how to persevere in weight loss, how to be an overcomer

It’s not quite what you might be imagining because these were happy tears, thankful tears.  Tears that meant I really could persevere at this weight loss journey in spite of frequent obstacles.

The Number was the one I had been waiting on, the one that put me under a major weight-loss marker, the one that more than solidified my twenty-plus pound loss thus far.

Seeing that number provided positive proof that the lies I used to believe were just that – lies meant to keep me enslaved.

So when I saw the Number my heart just filled up to overflowing with gratitude. I was grateful for a God who never gives up on me, one who continues to work in my life to free me from myself and my own sin.

See, it’s really not just about the weight for me. It’s about knowing my Father is looking out for me, helping me along the way.  It’s about believing that I can persevere because He’ll help me!

I can lose weight.

I can choose to eat healthy foods.

I can live a healthy lifestyle.

I can get back on track over and over again, after obstacles get in my way.

I can do all of this and more, not by own might, but by the strength that comes from abiding in my Father God.

I can persevere.

How to Persevere in Life

Yes, remember that word from earlier this year that I didn’t really want?  Well, the Father is showing me in a multitude of ways that I can persevere despite incredible difficulty. I know how to persevere because of the power of Christ in me.

Even more, I can persevere because of His faithfulness.

The best part is that all of those things are true for you, too, my sisters in Christ.  If you have that personal relationship with Christ, then you have the power of Christ in you to finish your race well.

Recent world events might have you fearing for the future.

Life circumstances may be weighing you down.

A loved one may have betrayed you in the worst possible way.

Your family may be struggling just to survive.

But it doesn’t have to remain that way, friends.

We are capable of living victoriously even in the darkest of times because of the great Hope we have in an All-powerful God.  

It’s a Hope that never fails, a Hope that remains steadfast and true.

A Hope that tells us we are not alone.

We can learn how to persevere by saying “I can because He did.”

How Persevering Leads to Overcoming

Earlier this year, I wanted a word that sounded a little less like hard work and a little more like a mountaintop experience. To me the word persevere meant “get ready because more trials are coming down the line!”  But to my Lord and Savior it meant, “get ready to see the work I’m doing in you and wait hopefully for victory!”

I failed to realize then how close the connection is between persevering and living the victorious life because truly, one leads to the other!  When we learn how to persevere, we are learning to live in victory, to claim our very own Promised Land right here on Earth.

When we persevere, we develop the character we need to be the overcomer God meant us to be from the very beginning!

When God asks us to persevere in a life situation, it can sometimes feel like we're being sentenced to suffer.  However, according to scripture, persevering has some pretty fantastic benefits!  persevere in life, persevere in hard times, bible verses about persevering, persevering in faith, christian persevering

Listen to what the Scripture has to say about persevering, friends!

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”                              Rom. 5:3-5 (NASB)

Are you low-down and desperate for real hope today, friends? Are you stuck on a plateau, believing the lie that you’ll never find your way forward?  Have you wasted so many years that changing now seems downright impossible?

Read it again. “[H]ope does not disappoint.”  Hope is never wasted, no matter what the enemy tells you.

Lift your head and see the Hope before you.

Persevere and watch His mighty hand at work!

Jen :)

Related Posts:

Goal-setting is no easy task, especially if you don't know how or where to begin. To plan for success, follow these 5 methods for setting goals that are rooted in faith. Bonus - one important resource to help you plan goals with grace! 5 Methods for Setting Goals Rooted in Faith

If I get up with this long list of "must do's" each day, I'll be worn out and discouraged before lunch. Focus on this simple way to meet your goals instead! One Simple Way to Meet Your Goals from Being Confident of This

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing with: Make Your Home Sing Mondays, Tell it To Me TuesdaysTell His Story, A Little R and R,  WholeHearted WednesdayGrace and Truth, Faith Filled Friday, Saturday Soiree and Social Media Share

 

The Superwoman Myth Resolved

In the first half of The Superwoman Myth, we discussed how the players of self and others contribute to this myth of womanly perfection.  Today, we finish with the final player.

The final contributor in the saga of the Superwoman Myth  is Satan.

He is the great deceiver and he loves that we fall prey to the myth!

What better way to convince us we are failures than to give us an unattainable goal?

He waits on the sidelines while we struggle and agonize over our own weaknesses, while we look around at all of the women who seem to be living out their faith so much better than we are.

I'm sure you've fallen prey to the lie of the Superwoman Myth before - you know, how you need to do it all and do it all well?!  Learn how to put those lies right in their place with this final freeing truth. The Superwoman Resolved

Debunking the Superwoman Myth

It is then that he strikes – in the middle of that doubt and fear that we’re not good enough, maybe even that we’ll never be good enough.  He knows that if he can get us to focus on our failures, we’ll take our eyes off of Christ.

1 Peter 5:8 warns,

“Be alert and of sober mind.

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion

looking for someone to devour.”

But Satan is a liar.

The Father proclaims that we don’t have to be perfect because

Christ.

was.

perfect.

for us.

Amen?!  God knows that we are human and that because of sin we are flawed, but the Good News?  He chose to love us anyway!

Romans 5:8 testifies,

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:

while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

When God looks at you, He already sees perfection because of the sacrifice of His Son. That work is already complete!

So, how do we become the best version of ourselves (the one we were created to be), without crossing over into the abyss of worry and guilt that Satan wants us trapped in?

How do we show ourselves grace and avoid falling prey to the Superwoman Myth?

The answer lies in Christ.

I'm sure you've fallen prey to the lie of the Superwoman Myth before - you know, how you need to do it all and do it all well?!  Learn how to put those lies right in their place with this final freeing truth. The Superwoman Resolved

 

We can become the best version of ourselves by abiding in Him, by spending time in His word and in His presence.

It really is that simple.

It’s not in the details of our living, but in the attitude and mindset behind the way we live that matters to the Lord. 

When we realize that He purposefully created us with a unique role to fill, we can stop looking down on His creation (self), stop looking around at everyone else, and instead focus on Him and His love for us.

When we relax in His gracious love, we allow Him to do the work necessary to develop Christ-likeness in us.  We can be at peace with ourselves knowing that He will continue the work in us and that our Father God already loves us anyway, no matter what!

…………………………………………

Now, let’s take a peek back at that one personality flaw we chose during part 1 of the Superwoman Myth.  Let me ask you some questions in relation to your flaw.

Did God create you?

In His wisdom, did God create your personality this way?

Consider this:  Does God create by accident?  Does He create things that are inherently bad? (Think back to the days of Eden.)

No!

Therefore, we can safely assume that the things we dislike most about ourselves are characteristics God intentionally gave to us or allowed us to have.

And …

In their purest, God-given form, those personality “flaws” are not bad. 

Yes, personality “flaws” can certainly lead us to sin, but in and of themselves, they are pure, God-given traits meant for our benefit.  He give us these traits,  perhaps to teach us, maybe even to teach others, and in the process, to bring Him glory.

So, now how do you see your “flaw?”

Is it possible that with Christ’s help your flaw can become the thing of beauty He intends it to be?

I believe so.

That’s why my life verse is Philippians 1:6.

“Being confident in this; he who began a good work in you

will carry it until the day of completion in Christ Jesus.”

My sisters in Christ,

                     don’t

                             fall

                                   for

                               the Superwoman Myth.

Don’t believe the lies from self, others, or Satan.

Instead, listen to the voice of your Creator God, the Father who lavishes His love on you!

I'm sure you've fallen prey to the lie of the Superwoman Myth before - you know, how you need to do it all and do it all well?!  Learn how to put those lies right in their place with this final freeing truth. The Superwoman Resolved

He doesn’t ask us to be superwomen.

Instead He just wants us to be the women He created us to be.

Work-in-progress women.

Jen :)

Sharing with: Tell His Story, Grace and Truth

 

On Raising Daughters: Beauty Queen or Brainiac?

“Please, Mommy, please!” She begged with round eyes and crinkled nose.  Her most fervent desire? To sign up for the local beauty pageant and wear a fancy dress.

It’s one aspect of mothering a daughter that I never anticipated….as a mother of mostly boys.

It’s true that daughters are different, and therefore, we worry about different things – teaching modesty and authenticity, teaching beauty that comes from within, teaching God-derived confidence and mothering skills, and a million other things I might never have considered teaching specifically to our boys.

It’s also true that one can find all sorts of conflicting advice about what is best for little girls.

Let them be princesses!

No, let them be tom-boys!  

Teach them the joy of femininity!

No, teach them to seek equality!  

We all want to raise strong daughters, but what does that really mean? Should we teach them the strength of femininity or of brain power?  Should we teach them to be princesses or tomboys?  Mothers everywhere tend to disagree on this issue. Perhaps the answer is less complicated than we have been led to believe!  Beauty Queen or Brainiac from Being Confident of This

 

When so many different opinions exist, how can we know the best advice to follow?  Which way is right?

Should we let our little girl participate in the beauty pageant or not?

 Join me over at Kaylene Yoder’s place as I share about what kind of daughters we should be raising and how to love our daughters best!

Meet you there!

Jen :)

Sharing with: Tell It To Me Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Titus 2sdays, A Little R&R Wednesdays, #TellHisStory, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Grace and Truth, Faith Filled Fridays

How Sanctification Gives Us Hope ~ So Great a Salvation Series

It’s likely you’ve heard the admonition to “preach the gospel to yourself.” But do you have a practical, systematic way for doing that? What do you say when you preach the gospel to yourself?

The gospel message about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection has the ability to enrich us and make us wealthy in mind and spirit, word and deed (see Colossians 3:16). Yet if we have little grasp on how to effectively let it, we miss out on the power it holds.

Preaching the gospel to ourselves means allowing our thinking, emotions, and responses to daily be shaped by the truth of the gospel.

In this series, we hope to give you practical help in preaching the gospel to yourself. We’ve pulled key gospel concepts and compiled them into a list of words, such as justification, redemption, and sanctification. Don’t let the big words scare you because we’ve explained them!

We’ve also summarized each of these powerful truths in a useable way.

We hope this series will deepen your grasp on the gospel and give you verbiage for what to say when you preach the gospel to yourself.

So-Great-a-Salvation, preaching-the-gospel-to-yourself, gospel series, sanctification, justification, reconciliation, adoption

How to use this series:

To begin, read my post below. Then visit each of the links for more gospel words. Take notes while you visit! You may want to bookmark this page because you’ll probably want to come back here often.

Gospel Words:

Justification by Arabah

Sanctification by Jen

Redemption by Rebekah

Reconciliation by Kathy

Regeneration by Marci

Atonement by Leah

Adoption by Kerry

Consecration by Kimberly

Sanctification

In the Old Testament, there is little mention of the word sanctification. In fact, the NIV doesn’t use that particular word at all, while the NASB mentions of sanctification refer to only a single Hebrew word “qadash” (kaw-dash’).

Qadash mostly described objects which were “set apart” for use by God. These were not ordinary objects meant for everyday use, but special items such as those used in the tabernacle by the priests (ceremonial items, the ark of the covenant, etc.). Thus, qadash refers to the uncommon, those things or people (mainly priests) set apart strictly for the Lord.

In the New Testament, however, we see a different sort of sanctification. Two Greek words are used by both the NIV and NASB: hagiazo (hag-ee-ad’-zo),  the verb form which means to make holy or to sanctify, and hagiasmos  (hag-ee-as-mos’), the noun form which means sanctification or holiness.  Both words also relate to hagios (hag’-ee-os), the adjective form used to describe us as Christians.

In essence, to sanctify means to make holy.  However, the New Testament version of making holy describes a process, the process by which the common (mankind) is set apart and made uncommon!

Big gospel words like sanctification can be slightly intimidating.  Read here to find out why sanctification is so important and how it gives us great hope for today!

 

Sanctification broken down into 3 P-words:

  1. Position – In Christ, we are considered sanctified before the Lord. We are already perfect, already uncommon, already complete because of Christ’s blood covering over us. When the Father looks at us, He sees not the work that still needs to be done; instead, He sees only the blood of his perfect Son. The work of positional sanctification takes place the moment we accept God’s free gift of forgiveness through His Son’s death on the cross in payment for our sins. So, for those of us who are in Christ, positional sanctification is in the past – it’s a work already accomplished.
  2. Progress – Although we are positionally perfect in Christ, realistically we know that sin keeps us from perfection. Thus, progressive sanctification refers to the process of growing in Christ-likeness. It is the present and continuing form of sanctification, that work in progress that I speak of so often here.  As we grow in Christ-likeness, His image reflected in us becomes more and more clear!
  3. Perfection – There is also a future component to sanctification. One day, when life on this earth ends for us, we will be made complete in Christ.  At that point in time, the work in progress will be finished!  Sin will mar us no more. We will bear the Father’s image perfectly, and the view God has of us on behalf of His Son will match our true character! Just imagine – no more struggling to do right, no more guilt, no more frustration with self!

How-Sanctification-Gives-Us-Hope, sanctification, set-apart, identity in Christ, preach-the-gospel-to-yourself-series, gospel words,

How sanctification applies to everyday life: 

Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

While we know our position in Christ is secure, we recognize the need for continuing change, for progress.  We know we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that we allow the Lord to mold us into His image.

Therefore, sanctification is a combination of our willingness to follow Christ in obedience and His powerful work in our lives to free us from sin.  According to the verses above from Romans, we offer our bodies and minds; God transforms them. The evidence of the sanctification process in us? The fruit of the Spirit. :)

This quote from J. I. Packer defines it well.

“God’s method of sanctification is neither activism (self-reliant activity) nor apathy (God-reliant passivity), but God-dependent effort (2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 3:10-14; Heb. 12:14).”

The worst thing we can possibly do as Christians is to relegate our Redeemer to the work of salvation, yet bar Him from the work of sanctification.

If we trust Christ for eternity, but not for the day to day, then we limit His power! We fail to find freedom and the abundant life He has planned for us.

My friends, the power of Christ in us is real. His promise to make us into new creations is not just for some distant future when we become complete in Him, but it’s for today! Right now! Moment by moment.

Our Savior came to free us from sin, not just from the guilt of sin, but from the chains of sin itself.

This is the goal of sanctification – freeing us to become whom He meant us to be from the very beginning – His image bearers.

Perfect.

Holy.

Set-apart.

Uncommon.

So we can claim the promise of my life verse, Phil. 1:6, which perfectly sums up the 3 P-words of sanctification. (Key verse to memorize!)

“[B]eing confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (emphasis mine)

He began the work (position); He carries it on (progress); He promises completion (perfection).

I’ve been reminded of this truth often this winter. There comes a time in the Midwest when the landscape becomes a palette of brownish gray dead things.  The grass is dead. The trees are dead. And unless there is fresh snow, the roads become ugly gray muck.

At some point, it seems as if spring will never come.

But as I looked out our window the other day, I noticed a tree that was budding.  Even beneath the snow, you could see the slight redness of the buds. Although the tree looked dead, important work was taking place beneath the surface of what I first saw.

Growth.

And in several weeks, we will see the fully glory of that work when all of nature bursts forth in colorful re-birth.

Spring.

New Life.

Hope.

As I contemplated these things, the Lord reminded me of how often this scenario plays out in my own spiritual landscape.  At times, it seems my progress is stunted – there is too much “deadness” about me, too much sin.  I see only gray and become easily overwhelmed and discouraged.

But beneath the surface, He is doing important work in me. I may not see all of the fruits of sanctification yet, but they will come! And when they do, they will be glorious to behold!

So, the next time you feel overwhelmed by your own sin, stuck in a rut, doomed to failure – preach the gospel truth of sanctification to yourself.

“I am God’s work in progress. As such, I aim not for perfection but for imperfect progress (growth and transformation), only by the power of Christ in me. In the meantime, I trust His promise to carry that work to completion.”

This, my friends, this is the hope of sanctification.

Jen :)

Sharing with: Grace and Truth, Wholehearted Wednesdays, The Homemaking Party, Wholehearted Wednesdays, A Little R and R

Reader Favorites ~ 2014

I’m so thankful for you, my faithful readers, my sisters in Christ (and let’s not forget the brothers, too).  You have made this space a friendly zone for sharing my most personal writings, and 2014 was just the year for it.  All year long, the Father has been challenging me to “Take Courage.” and having encouraging readers certainly helps me to do just that!

Often this space is mostly for me, a place to share what is on my heart, what I want to write about and hear about. But today I want to share YOUR favorites from 2014.  If you haven’t read these top posts before, just click on the individual pictures. Perhaps you’ll find a new favorite. :)

reader favorites 2014, Being Confident of This blog, top posts of 2014, number one posts, grace for the work-in-progress woman

Most time in the #1 spot:

marriage, Christian marriage, how to love an unloving spouse, feeling unloved, want to feel loved, loving a difficult spouse

“I’ll be honest. As a busy mom of four, I wrestle with this idea that God should be my sole supply. After all, God cannot help with the bedtime routine or sweep the kitchen or sign permissions slips or pay the bills, at least not in a physical sense.  I wrestle, too, with feelings of disappointment and unkind thoughts toward a husband whom I truly wish to respect.

So, how can I demonstrate love for my husband even when he’s not demonstrating love for me?”

Most comments in 2014:

confidence, fat girl insecurities, insecure, overweight, fat, trying to lose weight, obese, heavy, healthy body image, health

“I’ll never forget the first time I heard the word aimed at me.  He spewed it out like vomit, his eyes filled with disgust. “Fat,”  the boy accused me, and I believed it even though I wasn’t anywhere near “fat” back then.

I always was a…”

Runner-up for most comments in 2014:

That New Girl: Finding Confidence

confidence, finding confidence, that new girl, no condemnation, identity, loving yourself, identity in Christ, self-acceptance, imperfect progress

“Sin temporarily hijacks our child-of-God identity, the world teaches us that we will never be enough, and the pride and insecurity of self often confirms the lies. But the truth, sisters, the amazing truth is that we don’t have to be enough because He is already everything for us. It’s this Christ-confidence that sets us free!”

Most comments of all (even though it’s from 2013):

marriage, imperfect progress, perfectionism, grace, through my grace-colored glasses, work in progress

“Last night I had a little run-in with Perfectionism again.  He just won’t leave me alone.

He follows me wherever I go, pointing out flaws in my house-keeping, my parenting, my marriage relationship, even my walk with the Lord… He whispers lies to me: “you’ll never change” or “you’re never going to be good enough” or “why even bother anymore.”

I’ve been enslaved by his words before, but last night was different…”

The Top 5 written in 2014:

#1

big list of energetic indoor fun, high-energy kids, boys with energy, stuck indoors, cabin fever, school break, I'm bored, kids bored, get energy out

Are the kids driving you crazy? Do your boys have too much energy to stay cooped up indoors? Need a cure for cabin fever?  Is the weather outside frightful?  This huge list of ideas for expending pent-up energy while stuck indoors will help you stay sane!

#2

7 ways to teach bible verses to kids, teaching bible verses to kids, memory verse, preschool, toddler, children, homeschool, church, creative ways to learn memory verses, scripture

For moms, dads, Sunday School teachers, homeschooling families, Children’s Church leaders and anyone else who works with little ones – here’s how to help them hide the Word away in their hearts.

#3

dollar store deals, cheap homeschool supplies, early childhood education, preschool, toddler, preschooling with dollar store deals, what to buy at the dollar store for homeschool

This isn’t just a list of what to buy for the littles at the dollar store. It’s also a list of how to use the items you buy!  Great deals + great activities=happy learners.

#4

Saving money on kid's clothes, clothing budget, frugal, stewardship, single income family, clothing budget, tight budget, saving money, frugal living

This is part one of two posts on how to save money when buying clothes for a large family.  With three boys and one girl in the house, our tight budget really gets stretched when it comes to purchasing clothes and shoes for the kids. Over the years, I’ve learned quite a few tricks for working within our small clothing budget to make the most of it.

#5

keeping Christ in Christmas, kid friendly advent free printables, The Christmas Adventure Box, family advent activity, homeschool, church, AWANA, youth group, easy advent, flexible advent, advent fun

Kid-friendly Advent with Free Printables!  I created these as a companion to the Christmas ADVENTure Box that we do each year as an advent activity with our children. Our boys especially love the adventure aspect of it.  It’s an easy, flexible way to keep Christ in Christmas!

Thanks for making 2014 a great year for Being Confident of This!  And even though this isn’t a reader favorite (yet!), I want to leave you with one last post as you head into the new year. It’s close to my heart and really sums up what this year has been about for us.

Courage to Face a Giant

courage quote, fail or succeed, take courage in the Lord, be strong and courageous, facing a giant

Take Courage in the new year, my sisters!

Jen :)

Sharing with: The Pin-it Party, Grace and Truth,

Because ~ We’ve Been Falsely Accused

Today I was falsely accused.

And it stung.

It’s happened before but this wound pierced especially deep because I knew.  I knew I was innocent.

I knew the accusations had more to do with the other person’s heart condition than any imagined offense on my part.  In fact, I knew I had been gracious, kind, and patient in spite of the circumstances.

To do right…and be falsely accused.

Have you been there before, my sisters?

I’m certain you have because even when no one else is accusing us, our Enemy is!  That’s even one of his names, the accuser.

Being falsely accused is one of the most difficult injustices to bear. However, as Christians we are guaranteed a Defender. Read on to find out how... christian women|identity in Christ|overcoming past|overcoming guilt|encouragement|women of faith|bible study|devotional thought

So often we find ourselves in need of a defender because we’ve been falsely accused, and we’re just hoping someone will stand in our defense.

Sometimes we look to friends or family members. Sometimes we look to brothers and sisters in Christ.

But only One can faithfully defend us.

I’m learning more and more to hear the Defender’s voice. I’m waiting more patiently for Him to fight on my behalf.  I can trust Him to go to battle for me rather than feeling the need to defend myself because

He has chosen me.

He has redeemed me.

He has declared, “No more condemnation” over me.

He says the same about you, too, my sisters. You, His beloved ones.

So, today I’m clinging to this promise:

 

Being falsely accused is one of the most difficult injustices to bear. However, as Christians we are guaranteed a Defender. Read on to find out how... christian women|identity in Christ|overcoming past|overcoming guilt|encouragement|women of faith|bible study|devotional thought

 

Yes, we’ve been falsely accused, but praise the Lord, we have a Defender!

His name is Jesus.

He speaks Truth over us.

The Enemy shudders at His name.

And nothing,

nothing can separate us from His love!

Jen :)

I’m joining in with my Five Minute Friday sisters again this week (albeit a little late).  We gather together at Kate’s blog and write on a one-word prompt for five frenzied minutes – no planning, no over-thinking, no editing.  It’s fun and frightening all at the same time.  This week’s word is “because.” Come join us!

And if you enjoyed what is written above, you’ll certainly enjoy this perspective from Jennifer Dukes Lee.

Also sharing with Grace and Truth

Greater Is He Who Is in Monday Morning

It’s Monday morning, that dreaded day of the week.

That day when we realize it’s back to work, back to “real” life, back to dirty dishes and school schedules and all The Things that so easily weigh us down.

But this Monday morning I sit before the computer with a big smile on my face. Why?

It’s not because of the school schedules or the housework that is waiting or even the awkwardness between my husband and I before he left for work this morning.  It’s not even because this Monday morning started out oh-so-fantastic: quite the opposite, in fact.

It’s because I recognize the Enemy at work, his attempt to gain back the ground he lost on Sunday.  We talked last week about verses that pack a punch and the reality of spiritual warfare.

Have you ever noticed, my friends, how unbelievably difficult a Monday seems after an incredibly encouraging Sunday?

It’s no coincidence that the reality of a Monday morning so often dampens our Sunday fire!

But today I smile in the face of everyday difficulty and Monday-morning rude awakenings because my Redeemer lives, and the battle belongs to Him!  Before I could be swayed by doubts this morning, here is the goodness He had in store for me:

It's Monday again. You might still be tired from last week, or maybe you were ready for a fresh start but then all The Things happened at the same time and now you're a mess.  You can still experience victory today, friend! Don't miss this pep talk on the secret to overcoming and a Monday morning victory! For moms, wives, and other weary women.

A reminder from my GREAT blogging friends that we are not powerless in the struggle, neither are we alone.

This beautiful prayer by Jennifer Dukes Lee, that we might keep “in step” with Him as we step into Mondays. Go read it!

This verse from Ann Voskamp, a reminder to put one foot in front of the other, to keep climbing, to persevere. Take a look for yourself at His faithfulness.

This song from Mercy Me, the song I’ve been playing on repeat either aloud or in my head ever since I received a bad-news-wake-up-call last week.  It reminds me that He who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world. It gives me impossible hope in the God who specializes in the impossible.

 

I smile because He knows my name, He knows my pain, He knows my weakness, and He knows exactly what I need to hear on a Monday morning.

It’s like a secret message, just for me,

just for a beloved daughter,

just for my broken heart,

just for my wounded spirit.

But no, it’s for you, too, my sisters in Christ!

Just because He loves us!

Because He who is in YOU is greater than he who is in the world, friend, don’t you forget it.

He who is in you is greater than, yes, even Monday mornings.

The Enemy is prowling, but our Lord is on guard, you can be certain of that.  And His witnesses proclaim His goodness for all of who feel the sting of the fiery darts this morning. He is faithful!

Ephesians 3

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father,

15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,

18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,

to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,

according to his power that is at work within us,

21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Why must Monday mornings be so incredibly difficult?  Maybe you were up and at 'em, ready for a fresh start, or maybe you're still in bed. Either way, your victory is on the line!

Father, I thank you for being in the midst of even the smallest things, like Monday mornings.  I thank you for faithful voices to remind us of Who you are, Almighty Lord, Highest Authority, One True God, yet also, the Lover of our souls.  We need not be afraid, for the battle belongs to You and the victory is ours to share!  Strengthen us as we wait patiently for victory, Lord.  It is coming.

It is coming.

Carry that secret with you today.

Jen :)

Greater is He Who, spiritual warfare, spiritual battle, Satan, God, struggle, encouragement

Sharing with:

Mom’s The Word, Whole Hearted Home, A Little R & R, Jennifer Dukes Lee

My Fat Girl Insecurities

I’ll never forget the first time I heard the word aimed at me.

He spewed it out like vomit, his eyes filled with disgust. “Fat,”  the boy accused me, and I believed it even though I wasn’t anywhere near “fat” back then.

I always was a strong girl, a tom-boy with a hearty appetite, a girl who loved sports and climbing trees and running races.

My feminine side appeared on occasion, though, and like every other girl, I wanted to be pretty, to be liked.  I never saw my body as much of a hindrance to those desires until that day, the day he called me fat in front of the whole lunch table.

I acted like I didn’t care about the word, but my eyes burned and so did my face.

I stuffed the word way deep down inside of my junior high self and tried so hard not to hear it anymore.

Not long after that, I remember surpassing my own mother’s weight on our bathroom scales and shame nearly smothered me.  How could I, at thirteen years old, weigh more than my mom?  It didn’t seem fair, somehow.

For much of my life, I struggled with my fat girl insecurities. I learned early on that I would never be the skinny girl.  But I'm learning that I'm not the sum of my insecurities, that my worth comes from Christ alone!

 

During my high school years, I finally resigned myself to the fact that I just wasn’t built to be tiny.

I would never be a size 2-4-6 girl.  My healthy hangout would be the 10-12-14 range.

But my legs were built thick and strong for soccer, volleyball, softball, and basketball, so I called a sort of truce with myself.  I ignored the word within me and began to find things I actually liked about my body.

I liked my blue eyes and  long, dark hair.  I liked my smile. I even began to like some of my curves.  I liked my brain (it’s a good one!) and my athletic abilities.

So the word remained hidden for the most part, only whispering to the surface when my friends were all asked to attend banquet (missionary kid date night) and I sat at home by myself or when we tried on clothes at the second-hand shops in town, shops filled with clothes from China and other countries where my size seemed non-existent.

Nevertheless, by junior year, I was growing in the confidence that comes from Christ alone and the word bothered me less and less. I thought I had won the battle, defeated the Enemy.

When I met my husband a few years later, I never felt more beautiful.  Even though I couldn’t call myself thin, I knew I was healthy, and I was alive in Christ.  He was tall, dark, and handsome, and he loved the Lord and he loved me.

And then I conceived our firstborn not long after our summer wedding and I found myself alone in our country home. My parents and siblings had returned to the mission field, and my husband kept busy with classes and work and ministry.

I grew depressed.

I used my pregnancy as justification for eating anything and everything I wanted.  

Instead of filling myself with Christ, I filled myself with food.

I had already gained about 20 lbs. before our wedding because like any girl in love, I spent all of my free time with my soon-to-be husband, not realizing I was failing to take care of my body.  By the time our sweet son was born, I had gained about 80-100 lbs. (give or take) in a little more than a year.

I can’t really be certain because at some point, I quit weighing myself.

I just gave up.

For much of my life, I struggled with my fat girl insecurities. I learned early on that I would never be the skinny girl.  But I'm learning that I'm not the sum of my insecurities, that my worth comes from Christ alone!

Then, one year our church offered a First Place for Christ class, focusing on putting Christ first in all areas but especially in the areas of nutrition and wellness.  It was just what I needed.

The idea that my body had been purchased at a price convicted me.

I knew I needed to quit filling my God-sized hole with food.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,

who is in you,whom you have received from God?

You are not your own; you were bought at a price.

Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Since then, I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of healthy eating and exercise… and fallen right off again. And back on, and then off, and back on, and so forth.  Healthy living will probably be a lifelong struggle for me, my personal thorn in the flesh. It’s been a lesson in perservering, overcoming obstacles. :)

In the meantime, I’ve birthed three more children, including a set of twins, my body changing with each pregnancy.  My weight and health are still a work-in-progress, and I’m okay with that.

The word still haunts me on occasion, it does.  It sneaks up on me when I walk at the gym or play soccer with my kids.  Occasionally, I hear it faintly in my ear when I look in the mirror, tempting me to give up, quit fighting, resign myself to the word.

Fat.

But I recognize the Enemy for who he is and even more, I know the power of Christ within me.

I know the Father promises to never give up on me, but to complete the work He started (Phil. 1:6).  I know that man considers the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. I trust in my new creation status.  I believe His Word when He calls me “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He says the same thing about you, too, my sisters in Christ!

We are not the sum of our insecurities, for we were created for more than this!

We’ve talked before about how insecurities keep us fearful, and that’s just how the Enemy wants us to feel – alone, afraid, unworthy.  My sisters, our God is greater than he who is in the world.  He is greater than our deepest shame and insecurities.  Our God loves us, pursues us, redeems us, and calls us His beloved.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

Nothing can separate us from His love, not even our layers of fat. :)

We are daughters of the One True King, and the value He has placed on our lives is the blood, the life force, of His one and only Son.

Let us then live as children of the Light!

Jen :)

Also sharing this post with: Cornerstone Confessions

The Loft is open, come on up!

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

#TheLoft

UPDATE: The Loft is now hosted by Leah Adams.

Now it’s time to link up!

This Week’s Topic: “Greatest Insecurity” (We are going vulnerable here, asking you to share your greatest insecurity. How do you recognize it when it creeps up? What does insecurity sound like to you? What do you do to silence it? Any scriptures that help you fight it?)


Next Week’s Topic: “Something Funny” (Laughter is good medicine and after this week’s topic, we all need a belly laugh. Or as one co-host put it, we need to spit in our coffee. Tell us a funny story, share a funny quote, post a funny picture or video, crack a funny joke. Just be careful with that coffee because this is going to be good :) )

Add Your Link Here:

Also sharing this post with: Cornerstone Confessions, Jennifer Dukes Lee, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Wholehearted Home, Teaching What is Good, Sew Crafty AngelMessy Marriage, Missional Women, My Freshly Brewed LifeBeauty Through ImperfectionsRich Faith Rising, Beautiful Ashes, Grace & Truth Christian Living

Verdict on Your Value Series Wrap-up

Each Thursday for the last few weeks, we have been talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. This Thursday is the final installment of our Verdict on Value series.  If you missed previous posts, be sure to check the schedule listed at the bottom!

Verdict on Value

 

Haven’t we had a rich time over the past six weeks with fellow sisters and the Word of God?! As we wrap up our Thursday series today, we have a final word of encouragement and video to share with you. Please click here to view the video and thank you so much for being a part of this series!

Be sure to catch all of the previous posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th – Kathy from Free to Fly

April 3rd – Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th – Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th – Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free mini Bible study printable)

April 24th – Jen from Being Confident of This ( Confidence)

May 1st – Leah from The Point (Ministry Insecurity)

May 8th – Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place