Today I am joining the ladies over at She Reads Truth for a little devotional link up. Our scripture today comes from Psalm 130. So, here goes!
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.
Many of the Psalms are about temporary circumstances that the Psalmists are crying out to the Lord for. This one, however, is not about any outward temporary circumstance. It is about an inward cry of the heart. The Psalmist here, is deeply aware of his sin. And because of that, he is crying out to the Lord, pleading for mercy.
The Psalmist does not plead without hope. He knows that there is no one who could cry out to God, and earn forgiveness. So he hopes in the word of the Lord. The word that has promised a savior. He waits as a watchman waits for the sun to rise. Watchmen wait with surety. They know, that while they need to be on guard and alert during the evening, that eventually the sun will rise. It always does.
Just as confidently, the psalmist turns to the word of the Lord, and his promise of redemption for the people of Israel. He cries out for mercy, knowing that the Lord, in his graciousness offers it, in the soon to be coming Christ.
Today, our waiting looks a little different. If we are in Christ, we can ask for mercy, and it will be granted, because we are His. But today we also wait with certainty, knowing that he will come again. He will return for his people. Today, we can hope in the word of the Lord, that still offers us plentiful redemption. His grace is sufficient to cover our sin. But that’s not all. He has promised us one more thing; an eternity with no more pain, no more suffering, no more sin. An eternity with Him.
Where is your hope today? In the Lord, or in your circumstances changing? In his grace, or in your efforts? In his word, or in the world?
Let’s be a waiting people, who hope in the Lord and his word!
I have two daughters in middle school. Someone pour me a glass of wine. Seriously! Actually, my girls are pretty awesome middle schoolers, and for the most part, they have chosen some pretty awesome middle school friends. However, even these sweeties get caught up in some girl drama. So, here are some things I want my girls to know about being a good friend. We talk about most of these regularly, as they come up in specific situations, but I wanted to have them written down for the girls!
1. Think about how you are treating others, more than how they are treating you.
The middle school years can cause otherwise normal, healthy people, to become overly egocentric. Being a good friend means you are thinking more about how you can love others than how they are loving you. If everyone does this, then everyone is being loved, cared for, and thought about. When we shift our focus from, “how am I treating you?”, to “how are you treating me?”, we get all huffy and bent out of shape over all of the ways our friends fall short. When we focus on, “how can I love you?”, we are more attentive, thoughtful and quick to offer grace.
2. Don’t stir the pot with drama.
There is always one, sometimes two, girls who bring on the drama in every group. I do my best to tell my girls often, “don’t be that girl”. Drama is really about bringing attention to yourself, and feeling like you are in control of others, in some way. It is usually based on hyper-emotions, quasi-true information, and a whole lot of misinterpreted junk. Drama is never helpful. Ever. Take it from someone who was a whole-lot-o-drama in the past. Drama comes from a place of deep insecurity, and can be toxic. Do your best to diffuse drama when you see it. Speak truth bravely, and don’t be manipulated by it.
3. Be mindful of manipulation.
Girls can do this in such covert ways, it should really be considered an art. But, it isn’t Christ like. It isn’t helpful. It isn’t part of being a good friend. Manipulation is about holding something over someone in a way that shows you are in control. Witholding friendship, turning others against someone, threatening to tell someone’s secrets, are just a few of the games girls play. They say, ”I am in charge here, so you better, grovel, ask forgiveness, or do what I want, or else”. Again, I say, “don’t be that girl!”. Be the girl who keeps her friend’s secrets, who quickly reconciles, and who includes others, not excludes them. God is not manipulative, and Jesus never held anything over our heads. Be the type of girl who offers friends safety and security, instead of constant mind games!
4. Forgive freely. Don’t make people work for your forgiveness.
Not forgiving is about holding power over someone, in the same way manipulation is. Friendships aren’t about power, they are about encouragement. Christ freely forgives, and so should we. It doesn’t mean we don’t get hurt, and it doesn’t mean we don’t draw boundaries. But, being a good friend means making it easy for your friends to admit they were wrong. Chances are you will need to be forgiven also, so, offer to others what you would hope they would offer to you.
5. Encourage other’s strengths, don’t point out their weaknesses.
Be the girl, who is confident in who others have made her, to call out a friend for all of the things she does well. Point out her hidden talents, cheer for her when she makes the team, and congratulate her on an opportunity that maybe you wish you had been given. Speak life to your friends, and avoid being overly critical. Most likely, your friends are more than aware of all of the places where they fall short. Encourage them in the ways God has gifted them. We are all good at something, and your friends successes don’t have to mean your failures. They can be your successes as well!
Be a good listener. Take mental note of what your friends say, and offer constructive feedback. As you get older, this will become easier, but you have to start somewhere. Are you someone who actually hears what her friends are saying, or are you too focused on yourself to get any thing?
7. Be “for” your friends. Choose them. Be on their side.
When someone is talking badly about your friends, stick up for them. Don’t join in, just so you can feel cool for the moment. Be the girl who has her friend’s back. Also, part of being “for” your friends is wanting what’s best for them. If you know a friend is in trouble, or is doing something potentially dangerous, love them enough to tell someone who can help. Even when it is hard, be the friend who looks out for her peeps well being.
8. Say hard things, gently.
Sometimes our friends need to hear the truth. However, when the truth is dripping with sarcasm and cutting words, it isn’t all that palatable. Be the girl who can speak the truth with grace, in a way that makes your friends want to chew on it for a while. Pointing things out in a snotty, I-know-better-than-you kind of way, is not helpful.
9. Protect their name.
Wherever you go, make sure that you are always mindful of how you speak about your friends. Make sure that you are never the one running your friend’s names in through mud! Talk about them in great ways when they aren’t there. Tell others about all of their awesome qualities, and leave when the conversation goes in another direction.
10. Pray for them.
When you listen, you will know how to pray. When you are thinking through how to love them, instead of how they love you, you will know how to pray. When you spend your time with them, you will see areas of need, so you can pray. Ultimately, it is God alone who brings about lasting change, so commit to praying for and with your friends. Battle for them when they can’t battle themselves and battle with them when they can.
11. Don’t let boys get in the way.
Seriously girls. When you get a boyfriend don’t forget your friends. When your friend gets a boyfriend, don’t take it personally when she wants to spend some time with them. If you like a boy, but he doesn’t like you, but does like your friend, let it go. He wasn’t yours to stake your claim on. Don’t ditch the girls for any guy. Remember if he is worth keeping, you won’t have to.
12. When you are wrong, say you are sorry.
You will be wrong. You will do something to hurt your friend’s feelings. When you do, admit it, and apologize with sincerity. Sometimes, you won’t be sure if you are wrong. For the sake of unity, let your friend know that you value them, and that you are sorry if you have done something to hurt them. Be a big girl, and be honest with your shortcomings.
13. Pursue Jesus, together.
Pick friends who want to know Jesus as much as you do. The way they do that, might not look exactly like the way you do, but hopefully it will be their desire. If you are both pursuing the Lord, do so in a way that is mutually encouraging. Maybe read the same part of the bible together. Or, you could chat once a week about what God is teaching you. Find some way, no matter how young you are, to make your relationships with God a part of your common ground. If you have a friend who doesn’t know the Lord, pray for them, and openly share with them. Be there when they have questions, even if your answer is, “I don’t know, but maybe we can find out together”. Starting this young, will build a firm foundation for your relationships with other ladies, later on in your life.
14. Serve one another, and serve others together.
Do things that are helpful, thoughtful and needed for your friends. If there is someone in your class, neighborhood or general circle of people, who is in need, serve them with your friends. You really get to know people, when you work along side of them. Be a part of what God is doing in your area, with your friends. And be the girl, who thinks about how she can serve her own friends!
15. Friends won’t be perfect, but they are worth it.
Your friends will let you down. They will hurt you, tell a secret of yours, or go after a boy you like. No friend is perfect. But, a good friendship is worth working for. It will require an investment of your time and patience. It will be messy, fun, and everything in between. Fight for your friendships. Work through hard stuff, so that you can continue to grow together. Pray for understanding. Friendship will cost you something, but you will be abundantly blessed by a strong, healthy friendship. So, don’t give up on people too quickly. Put in the time and energy to make your friendships great. Be that girl!
It’s time to talk goals again. God is really working out the idea of being intentional, while letting him lead. I am holding these open-handedly, and praying that he would give me wisdom to pursue his things, not my own!
So, let’s take a look at last month’s goals.
1) Memorize Psalm 16 and 23.
No, I didn’t even memorize one of these! I memorized the first 5 verses of Psalm 16. Pretty lame, I know!
I halfway accomplished this one. This book was amazingly good! I really think that everyone who works should read it. This really helped my perspective shift about the purpose of work, the Christian’s role in work, and how to work as unto the Lord in any and every field. I absolutely recommend this book! The other book, I just couldn’t get into, so I quit reading it!
Choose 2 graduate classes for recertification, and fill out my school’s reimbursement form. I need this to keep up my teaching certification.
Yes! I am registering for them this week, once registration opens!
Yep! I did all 28 days. I skipped two while on a school overnight trip, but made them up when I got back! It was great!
Write three blog posts each week, including a Speak Life Link-up.
Yep! Did this one too! Some weeks, I barely got there, but I did in fact meet this goal!
Go on a Valentine’s Date with the hubs and have a family night each week!
We went on a great date, and had some form of family night/dinner/games each week!
My 5 goals for the first 6 months of this year are to whole-heartedly pursue Christ, to engage intentionally with my family, to be a good steward of all that God has given me, to be a part of children everywhere receiving an excellent education, and to use my words, both spoken and written, to point others to Christ. All of the below goals will find their why’s in one of these bigger goals!
1) Finish memorizing Psalm 16 and start on Psalm 23. I would also love to start on John 15:1-7. We will see! (Whole heartedly pursue Christ)
2) Take each daughter out on a separate date. (Engage intentionally with my family)
3) Stick to a good exercise plan. I have made one below. Check it out and use it if you can. It’s a free printable, with working links. (Be a good steward of all that God has given me)
5) Meet with head of school in India via Skype, and once again with teachers from a local school for refugees here in Bangkok. (Being part of every student having access to a solid education)
6) Buy plane tickets to America. (I just need to get this one done!)
7) Send notes of encouragement via email, Treat, or hand delivery. (Using my words to encourage and point others to Christ.)
8) Send in one guest post to a blog I love. (Using my words to encourage and point others to Christ.)
As promised, here is the printable for this month. A few things you should know before starting this. I am not a personal trainer, this is just what I am using, so do it at your own risk! Also, there are yoga videos in this plan. I like yoga as an exercise, and chose videos that don’t have any of the spiritual/meditative types of things going on. There is breathing, and stretching. That is about it! Also, I live in Bangkok. It’s tropical here, all year long, so swimming is my cardio option of choice. You can swap out swimming for a run in those spots. I added my smoothies and 2 bottles of water, so that I could keep track of those as well. I will circle each day that I have them!
To download the PDF, click the link below.
*this post contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase after clicking one of the links, I get a small amount of money, at NO extra cost to you!
This month was a pretty informative one, so I am joining Emily sharing what I learned!
1.Being Inspired is not always necessary! Read the post and find out what I mean!
2. I can do 28 days of Pilates! Finding a workout groove here has been hard. I haven’t really done anything consistently. But, this month, I did the 28 days of Pilates challenge with Robin at The Balanced Life Online, and loved it! She is running another program that is a lot more comprehensive, on March 16th. Check it out, and sign up!
3. You can stop getting FB notifications with one simple click. So, I did not know this until yesterday, but apparently, you don’t have to get notified every time one of the 45,898 friends of your friend say, “congratulations”, on their baby or engagement. All you do is go to the little world on the top right hand corner, where the numbers pop up showing notifications. When you hover over the top right hand corner, an X appears. Click it, and you will stop receiving any further notifications. My world is forever changed!
4. Getting a care package (or multiple) from America rocks my world!
Seriously, our friend Stephanie from back home sent us two huge boxes of awesome, and we were sooooooooooooooooo thankful! We have enough Nutella and Cheez-its to keep us busy for a while!
5. When a Mexican place becomes an option within walking distance of my school, I will likely eat there multiple times in a week. Or maybe multiple times in a day! One opened near my school. I have gone 5 times in the last week. I am so happy to have a cheap option that is not Thai!
6.You can get your haircut on the side of the road, by a lady wearing this really cool blue wig!
7. When you are rich, you get tables reserved for you in Bangkok.
8. I learned that the mix of Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, with Shakira and Usher is worlds better than the original Voice cast. They were hilarious this week, and I am super excited about this season!!! This performance was amazing, and taught me that I love them all singing together!
Also, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I taught my daughters a few things about falling in love, and finding the right guy!
What have you learned this month? Check out what everyone else is learning over at Chatting at the Sky.
This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase I get a portion of it, at no extra cost to you!
Hey everyone! I don’t do this often, but this is a great deal on something I already love. I use treat.com to send cards to friends and family, and think they are more than fabulous (thanks Ashley!). Today, and today only, you can get personalized thank you notes for 40% off. This is perfect for new moms, brides, missionaries, or anyone who likes to have thank you notes on hand! So, hurry up and check out these goodies peeps! Here is the info you need:
For one day only, you can save 40% on all Tiny Prints thank you notes.
Tiny Prints has a huge collection of custom stationery to choose from. You can choose the text, the font, add photos, and completely customize the cards in a style that is uniquely you.
To take advantage of this offer, which is only valid TODAY, just follow these simple steps.
1. Visit Tiny Prints Thank You Cards page.
2. Choose from any of their 400+ designs.
3. Customize it by adding photos, selecting your font(s), and adding the text you want.
4. When you checkout, use the code GIVETHANKS40 to save 40% of your entire order.
So, hurry up people…..go get your cards!!!!
This post contains affiliate links. All that means is when you make a purchase I get a few cents….at no extra cost to you!
Tonight I am feeling uninspired. For an ENFP like me, that equals a feeling of complete blah-ness. Yes, that is an official feeling, look it up. But God is teaching me a few things about this type of feeling. You see, my normal response to these blah seasons is to distract myself in some meaningless way. I pass the time, until I am once again feeling inspired. However, God is teaching me about him being my chosen portion, not my feelings of inspiration, or lack there of. And then I read the passage in John about the woman at the well. Jesus told her that if she only knew who she was standing in front of, she would ask for living water. Water that would never again leave her thirsty. But I keep running to the old, broken cisterns, the distractions that continually leave me middle-of-the-desert, kind of thirsty.
Lately though, God is teaching me to walk forward, in spite of how I feel. To be faithful, to do the work he has called me to, when all I want to do is watch 5 hours of Dance Moms. He is teaching me to honor him in the mundane tasks, that are quite honestly, the opposite of inspiring. But mostly, he is teaching me that he is the never ending well of my deepest inspiration. He is the living water, that leaves me constantly feeling full and alive. His grace never runs out, and his mercies continue to present themselves new every morning. He is far more worthy of praise than I could ever give, and his glory is by far the most clearly inspiring picture I have ever laid eyes on.
I just need to continue to lay eyes on it. When I do, the world around me doesn’t change, but my vision does. And if I am being honest, I haven’t consistently been laying eyes on him. I have glanced, even stared for a while. But I haven’t locked my eyes in. They haven’t been fixed. They have been unstable. Distracted.
So, despite my lack of “inspiration” today, I am praying that He would bring my eyes back to him. I am working on fixing them, when all I want to do is dart my glance in every other direction. Tonight, tomorrow, this week, my prayer is that my inspiration will be found, in laying hold of the glory of God.
I promise to write some stuff on this blog soon! But for now, head on over to And Babies Don’t Keep to check out this guest post!
Last summer my husband and I moved our daughters across the world, to live Bangkok, Thailand. My husband works with a missions organization, and his work requires traveling regularly to India. We moved to Bangkok because of it’s central location, easy access in and out, and decent living conditions. While I have always loved adventure, and we have had a heart for missions since before we were married, I am not sure that I was fully prepared for how hard moving would be.
When you are getting ready to move overseas there is a lot of talk about culture shock, and adjusting to your new environment. While all of that was on some level real and true for our family, the biggest, and by far hardest part of this move has been leaving behind community. We had lived in the same place for the last 13 years. We had a church body we loved, and community that was real, biblical and our family in every aspect of the word.
To read the rest head on over to Kristi’s at And Babies Don’t Keep
In July of last year, my husband and I moved our family across the world, from South Carolina to Bangkok, Thailand. While he has been travelling doing missions work for years, God made it clear last year, that we as a family would need to move in order for him to be more effective in this ministry.
So, we packed up our lives, got rid of most of what we owned, and said a whole bunch of really sad good-byes. We prepared for culture shock, but couldn’t quite prepare for how badly we would miss the sweet relationships we had at home.
In light of the last 7 months, I am thankful for some of the ways we have been shown love since our move. It is still really difficult to be away from our family and community, but these are some things that have made this transition a little easier.
To read the rest, head on over to
Here are some photos from the last week or two….
Layla and Maya both had soccer tournaments. Esteban went to Maya’s, I went to Layla’s and got lots of sun! She played really well and had a great time!
I love watching these two and their sister chats. They usually involve boys, friends, and food! This sweet relationship is one God has repaired and grown in amazing ways, and we are so thankful!
This sign says that this table is reserved…..for someone rich. Obviously! Ummm?!?!? I don’t think we could get away with this in the States!
Just a guy, and his dog, on a wheely suitcase, going for a walk, on a Friday night, downtown Bangkok. #totesnormal
Maya swam in a relay meet with her school team. She was the only 11 year old on the 18 and under team, and did an amazing job! Her team came in third in two races!
This is a shrine outside of the school where Maya’s meet was held. I had to take a picture of all of the little idols lined up. Bangkok is full of shrines like this one.
I went with the 8th graders from our school on a 3 day trip. On the last day we went to an amusement park, with a fun little log flume ride. In case you were wondering what this is a picture of, the sign on the post says, “Bewere Slippy”. I think, they mean beware, slippery?
Esteban and I enjoyed a nice little evening out this Valentine’s Day. Here is our “groupie” for the night!
On Saturday, I went with Mandy to get pedicures and a little bite to eat. This is the place where I get my awesome fresh squeezed juices. Don’t they do such a cute job with their presentation?
The only actual post I wrote this week was 15 Things I Want my Daughters to Know about Love, Marriage and Finding the Right Guy.
Also…here are some posts worth reading from the web!
Lovers Gonna Love-Lark and Bloom
Some Encouragement-Jami Nato
Speak Life-Aleesha Blessed
Notes from IF:Gathering Day 1-Sheworships.com
Hope you have a wonderful Sunday, I am off to the pool!
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to write this little list out for my girls, and for all of those not yet married’s out there. Here are my 15 tips about love, marriage, and finding that perfect guy!
1. Don’t follow your heart, follow Jesus. “Follow your heart” is common advice people give in terms of relationships and love. But your heart can be wrong, in fact, scripture says it usually is, so don’t follow your heart. Follow Jesus. Know his word, and what he says about Godly character, and go with that, not your heart!
2. Let him do the work, but be kind and responsive when he does. Let the guy be the one to ask you out, talk to your parents and plan the date, but don’t play games. If he is putting forth the effort, and you like him, then respond in a way that will encourage him. Don’t be the girl who just messes with a guy’s head, especially if he is really making the effort to do things well!
3. Nothing and no one is perfect. He might seem like the perfect prince charming, but I can assure you he isn’t. And you aren’t the perfect little princess either. Both of you are flawed. You will hurt each other, make mistakes and say silly things. That is okay. Know that in Christ, we are complete, so that as we grow more into his image, our relationships will be stronger, but they won’t be perfect!
4. Love will cost you something. It always does. It might cost you the city you live in. It will cost you time, some frustration, and some giving up of your independence. If it doesn’t require something of you and of him, then it isn’t really love.
5. The kind of man he is while he is dating you, is the kind of man he will be when he marries you. If he doesn’t call back, doesn’t make an effort, and plays video games all day while you are dating, don’t expect a brand new man once you are married. If he looks at other women, let’s you do all of the work, or doesn’t make you a priority while you are dating, then don’t expect Mr. Wonderful once you are married!
6. If he doesn’t make you want to be more like Jesus, then this isn’t the guy for you. He won’t be perfect, but, if the way he lives his life makes you want to know Jesus more, than this guy is a keeper. If he is constantly challenging your faith in a way that causes you to doubt, be discouraged or isn’t honoring to God, then he isn’t all about your sanctification, and isn’t worth marrying!
7. If he is worth your time, he won’t make you choose between him and your friends. Once you are married, he is your priority. However, a man worth keeping is one that knows you need other women in your life. While friendships and time together might look different, a man worth spending your time with, is one who will encourage you to have healthy female relationships, not someone who wants you to ditch your girls to hang out with him.
8. The guy you really want, is one that gently lets you know when you are being ridiculous, without making you feel guilt or shame. You need someone who can call you out sometimes, but you want a guy who does it in a way that actually makes you want to change. If you are constantly feeling shamed, or guilty, then this isn’t someone who is speaking life, and that won’t point you back to Christ. Can he be honest with you, without making you feel like a complete loser? If so, he’s a keeper!
9. If he doesn’t want to get to know your family, kick him to the curb! Since this is mostly for my daughters….this is an obvious one! Yes, you will leave your family and cleave to him, but, your family will always be part of your life. If he doesn’t want to be invested in them, then this will be a constant battle you will fight for the duration of your marriage!
10. He won’t complete you, make you happy all of the time, or be the answers to your loneliness. Only Christ can do and be these things. Pursue him. Allow him to make you new, not complete. Be conformed more into his image, and pray that God would do the same for your guy. He isn’t your answer, Christ is.
11. Pick someone you have fun with. At some point, the ooey-gooey-so-in-love stage will fade a little. Will you still like him after that? After 12 years with my husband I am still very much in love, but it looks a lot different then it did when we were 18! Pick a guy that you enjoy being with. Someone who you can really be friends with, talk to, or just “hang with”. If it is only physical, or all about the butterflies, what will you do 6 or 7 years down the road?
12. A guy worth loving will work hard to provide. He won’t be lazy. He won’t be playing video games all night. He will want to work to provide for his family. He will be willing to serve in the church. He will not be above helping out at home. He will be willing to serve, and not just expect you to serve. (Just a side note…if he is a complete mess on his own, at his house, just know, he will be that way when he lives with you too!)
13. Choose a guy who is willing to say he is sorry when he is wrong, and who makes you feel comfortable doing the same. This one is self explanatory. If he never says he is sorry, or makes it hard for you to say you are sorry, then this relationship is not going to go well.
14. It doesn’t matter if you are exactly the same, or complete opposites, just pick someone who is committed to being more like Christ. I have seen relationships work with all kinds of people. On the flip side, relationships fail, with all kinds of people, as well. If you are both committed to Christ, and being more like him, you will work around your similarities and differences.
15. This man will be the leader of your home and family. Choose someone who is willing to lead, and someone you are willing to follow. Does he inspire you to live out your calling? Does he spend time in the word? Is he committed to prayer, the local body, and the kingdom of God? Does he love you well? This is the person to whom you are tethering your life to forever. Is he someone you trust with your finances? Your possessions? Your children? Find someone who you can answer yes to in all of these areas, and you’ve got yourself a winner.
Remember, no one is perfect. You are both going to grow, change, and life is going to happen. You will be both hurt and overjoyed by the person you choose to marry. You are both very much in process, and that is okay. Seek God in your relationships. Ask him to grow you into a woman after his own heart, and to prepare your husband to lead well, as he too, pursues Christ.
And always remember, if your momma don’t like him, get rid of him fast! (That’s just for my girls, of course!)