An easier parenting solution to the try hard life

As is normal in most families, or at least this is what I tell myself, we face seasons where peace seems a lofty wish. Siblings bicker more than normal, and we see hints of deeper heart issues needing to be addressed.

I have a stack of index cards filled with verses for such occasions. I’ve been known to pull out a card, read the verse, discuss with the kids, even have them write it several times. But they are getting older, and these methods don’t have the same effect as they did when they were younger. And this leads to me seeking control in an area I have no control.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember I posted a picture of a verse I’d written on the chalkboard in our mudroom.

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3

We gathered for a family meeting recently to discuss any issues we each feel weighing on us. A theme I’ve seen is what feels like a lack of love, which creates fights and hurtful words to be tossed about. After we each shared our thoughts, we prayed and went about our day.

I felt discouraged honestly. God brought to mind my favorite parenting book by Paul David Tripp titled Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family. In his book he reminds us that God never tasked parents with the job of heart change. That is God’s job and absolutely 100% impossible for us.

The harder we try to change a person’s heart, the more discouraged we find ourselves. Only God can change a heart. In his book, Tripp tells us our role is to reflect the Savior and point our kids to their need for a Savior over and over and over again. Not in a preachy, Bible-beating way, but in a way that shows our deep love for them.

As I remembered my role in the lives of my kids, I opened up my lesson for the day with Community Bible Study. This year I’m a core group leader for our local CBS. We are currently in the book of Philippians. In the commentary that day the theme was “Christ – The Supreme Model” from Philippians 2:1-11. This sentence jumped off the page, “The letter reflects Paul’s deep concern about their lack of love and unity, but instead of exhorting them to try harder to be more loving, he directs their attention to Christ as the perfect example of living.”

Well, about an hour prior Steve and I sat our kids down telling them how they needed to try harder to love each other better. Yet, here I sat at my kitchen table hearing the Holy Spirit gently reminding me of a better way. Not only was God showing me that telling my kids to try harder was useless, He was reminding me for myself as well.

Out of my love for Jesus and my kids, I was caught in a try hard cycle. Again. It’s a weakness of mine. I see a problem and want to fix it right away. So I get to work. But when it’s matters of the heart, I simply wear myself out until My Savior whispers me away and gently pulls me back into Him.

He’s so kind like that. He hears my cry, and He responds. He reminds me of how He loves my kids more than I do. They are His not mine. I’ve been tasked to steward this job well in Him, but I’m not responsible for the results.

There’s freedom in understanding this. When I walk in this understanding, fear can’t have its way in my parenting. Parenting from fear and frustration never ends well.

I’ll need this reminder again. But for today I’m grateful I can rest in my Savior. His grace is available in our hardest parenting moments. We simply need to reach out and accept what He’s offering us. He won’t force us. He’s too gentle for that.

 

 

 

 

 

When the tears flow and you don’t know why, but then, you do.

Have you ever begun to cry and you can’t explain why exactly? Maybe you see something in nature that creates awe-induced tears. Or maybe like me, you sing during worship and find tears streaming though nothing happened or even went through your head. Sometimes His glory alone is all it takes to set free the tears waiting for their release.

No guilt in life, no fear in death. This is the power of Christ in me.”

These words grip me. The first time I heard this song, I knew I wanted it sung at my funeral one day. I know, sounds a bit morbid to plan for death, but the reality is death comes to us all. And on that day, I don’t want people wondering what songs I wanted, what I would share. So I wrote it down for my family. I’m a planner to the extreme at times.

There is a line that produces tears every time I hear this song.

This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.

It’s that “scorned by the ones He came to save” that punches my gut. I’m the scorner. I’m not so special though. Many of us share a similar story.

I never understood grace. I heard Bible stories. I prayed. I “believed” in a Creator God. I even believed Jesus was God’s Son. But I didn’t understand grace.

So in my rebellious pride, I scorned Him. I lived life my way, on my own terms, doing all the good works to balance those scales in an effort to earn my way there. I stayed away from Him because deep in my heart, I knew. Yes, I knew. I knew no matter how “good” I tried to be, I wasn’t good all the time. So I told God I’d come back toward Him when I could get my act together.

On that day of salvation, I still didn’t understand His grace. Paul David Tripp says it well in his book, Parenting. He discusses God’s past grace, present grace, and future grace. You see I believed in the past and future grace. I didn’t understand that His present grace is what gave me the ability to grow and change moment by moment as I walked in His Spirit. It took me years after my salvation to begin to understand this.

Now when I hear lines about Jesus, sometimes the tears simply fall. I can’t explain why. All I know is He didn’t simply save me from hell, He continues to save me from myself every single day. His love overwhelms me.

“Here in the death of Christ I live.”

May grace never become commonplace.

No guilt in life because He’s washed me clean. Every single sin I’ve ever committed, He’s cleansed. I can live guilt free now. No fear in death because I know I will one day step through that paper thin veil that separates my physical life today with my eternal life.

I can live without proving my worth. I can stop trying. And so can you.

When the song begins this section, my heart begins to race. I feel the excitement shooting through my veins.

“There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ”
Here is where I land, on these words that cause my heart to ascend into my throat threatening to break right free.
“Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.”
Lord, tenderize our hearts. Give us a fresh heart, fresh eyes, a new appreciation for the depths you went for us. May we see it continues every second of every day. Shine through us so the whole world can see You. Lord, we love you so much. Help us love you more today than we did yesterday. Amen.

 

Books I’ve Read in 2019 – Part 2

In August I posted a list of the books I’d read in 2019 to that point. Some I’d actually started in 2018 and merely completed in 2019. You can see that post here.

Also, I share a great deal on Instagram about the books I read. Sometimes in my feed, sometimes in my Stories. If you are interested in books, I invite you to follow along on IG!

Between that post and the end of 2019, I read 15 more books.

I’ve never set reading goals before because I love to read and don’t need a goal to keep me reading. However, this year I am working towards a goal, one I offered my kids as well. I shared on my personal FB page as well as Instagram.

Basically, I offered $100 for 100 books read by the end of 2020. Or $10 gift card for 12 books by the end of the year. It can be a variety of audio and physical books, below grade level or on grade level. I believe there is value in all of it. To help us keep moving toward our goal, we broke down our yearly goal to weekly goals of 2 books a week. Each person who meets their weekly goal earns additional screen time or an ice cream or something small like that. We are notorious for starting strong with new systems and giving up within a few weeks, so I hope not this time around.

I’m using Everyday Reading’s reading log to give us a visual tracker. It’s a fun one! And speaking of this reading log and Everyday Reading, which I just discovered on Instagram, I’m stunned by how much some people read. I was proud of my 30 books this year, but others read 100s of books!!! Some over 200 in one year!

Nonfiction

Simply Tuesday

First, I’m an @emilypfreeman fan through and through. Somehow she always writes exactly what I’m pondering and processing, and the Lord aligns the timing of when I read/listen to divinely meet me.

I listened to this one through Christianaudio as they offer one free audiobook a month. Such a great deal!!

The only thing I wish is that it was Emily herself reading the audio. If you listen to #thenextrightthing podcast you understand this.

I listened while on a social media fast, which was lovely. I journaled so much through this book.

As I sat in my car at #chickfila waiting for Jacob to get off work, the audio stopped and I wondered what happened. The book was over, yet I wasn’t ready for it to end. I was convinced my audio was missing a few chapters. So I went online to find the table of contents. It was true, the end had arrived.

But that’s what Emily Freeman does, writes beautiful words in a way to lead you exploring on your own. She doesn’t instruct you, she is a co-journeyer (is that a word?).

Her books have this invisible thread from one to another. Each leads to the next so gracefully.

Skip College

 

This was a surprisingly insightful read. Even if you are a big college degree supporter, I recommend this book. It was a fast read, full of ideas to ponder and consider. As I have one launching in 2 years, I’m glad I read this one.

“Tens of millions of Americans owe a combined $1.5 trillion in debt for student loans. Much of this staggering expense has been unnecessary; attending college is more of a tradition — a cultural rite of passage than a necessary step towards a successful career, justifying its steep cost.

As countless entrepreneurs and creative hustlers have shown, there is a path to success outside of the institutions of so-called higher learning. Allow us to show you the way.”

Little Book of Hygee

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this sweet read! I listened through Overdrive. I first read an article about Norwegians’ love of winter. This spurred me on to read this book. I’m now creating my own little hygee in my home.

“Why are Danes the happiest people in the world? The answer, says Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, is Hygge. Loosely translated, Hygge?pronounced Hoo-ga?is a sense of comfort, togetherness, and well-being. “Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience,” Wiking explains. “It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe.”‘

 

Fiction

Water from my Heart

Absolutely loved it. The 3rd of his books I’ve read and I think he’s my favorite fiction writer as of right now. When you read this, do NOT skip the epilogue. Best part of the entire book.

Where the Crawdads Sing

The writing was out of this world, but it took me half the book to decide to keep reading. I felt it was a slow read, but for some reason I couldn’t put it down, which was quite odd. The further into the book I journeyed, the more I liked it. When I finished, I was glad I did and counted it one of my favorite reads of the year. It was a different kind of book for me to be sure.

“Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.”

The Mountain Between Us

Another Charles Martin book I fell in love with. Hard to put down. His books keep you turning the page. I loved everything about this story. I did hear the movie is not true to the book and lacked the purity the book portrayed. No surprise with Hollywood!

 

A Ring of Endless Light

I didn’t love this one. I intended to read to my boys and found myself grateful I didn’t. Much about death and teenage love that I didn’t care to focus on.

 

Send Down the Rain

Again, Charles Martin. Simply fantastic. I have never disliked one of his books to this point.

 

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (childrens)

I can’t believe I’d never read this book. I read it aloud to one of my boys and we thoroughly enjoyed it. So funny and fun to read!!

 

Last Christmas in Paris

I absolutely adored this book. It’s set during WWI, which I’ve read little of. It was written as letters written back and forth. But what I really enjoyed was the Audible version. There are simply some books that are best enjoyed as a listen, and this was one of those for me. The narration was superb!!!

Noel Street

I’m a big fan of Richard Paul Evans. I read nearly all of his Christmas books. It’s easy reading, which is what I enjoy during the Christmas season. I don’t mind the predictability one bit.

 

A Redbird Christmas

This was a really sweet, light read. Perfect for a Christmas book.

Little House in the Big Woods (childrens)

I’ve read this one a couple of times and like it more with each read.

A Night Divided (young adult/childrens)

This would be on my must read list for sure. It was an amazing read aloud. But I would’ve enjoyed it even without my boys listening.

It’s 1961, the Berlin Wall went up overnight. Britain, America, and France controlled the western half of Germany and 1/2 of Berlin. Russia controlled the east. A family ends up physically separated.

This passage right before the wall went up trapping the Germans in the east got my attention.
“At first it didn’t matter much to us. Most people shopped, worked, or visited just as they always had, and crossing the border wasn’t much more difficult than crossing the street. But Russia’s promises of a better life under Communism weren’t happening. As the west repaired its war damages, ours remained like unhealed scars. Their shops were full, and ours constantly faced shortages. They were growing stronger, while we leaned on Russia like a crutch, pretending to be every bit as strong.”

Between Two Shores

I didn’t love this like I did Mark of the King. I struggled with the characters and it didn’t keep me turning the pages like the first book I read by Jocelyn Green. But you may love it and I will continue reading her books as I love her style and historical fiction is my favorite.

Here’s to more reading!!!

One thing I’m happy about with my year of reading is more fiction! I lean towards nonfiction as I love to learn and grow. But fiction is simply good for my soul.

I’ll be posting my upcoming 2020 reading list on Instagram so check there for what I plan to read in the coming weeks.

 

PS. This post includes affiliate links. When you purchase through links on my site, you help cover the costs to run this blog. I greatly appreciate your support!!

PSS. If you don’t currently have and Audible account, I highly recommend it. Through Audible I’ve found some of my favorite books. Some narrators are simply out of this world and the books come to life in ways they wouldn’t otherwise.

This is real love

I posted on Instagram over the weekend this:

“This is always what I envisioned when I wrote and created #seekingchristmas. Though my boys were ages 1-6 at the time, my desire was to have traditions centered around the true meaning of Christmas that they’d never outgrow. To have teens racing through the house seeking Jesus.

Today I saw it come to fruition.

Christmas magic doesn’t leave when they get older, it actually becomes sweeter. Well, maybe slightly more violent and wilder, but I treasure it all up in my heart still.

One of my favorite aspects of Seeking Christmas is its flexibility. It can be spread over 7 days. Or all in one day. Today we did ours as a scavenger hunt, all 7 days at once. We each took turns reading the scripture that tells the Christmas story. For the first time every member of our family could read aloud !! Praise Jesus and vision therapy!!”

After the race to find all 7 ornaments concluded, we lined up the ornaments and took turns reading the scriptures on the back. I typically read from the NIV or HCSB Bibles. But for this Steve’s Bible, which is an NLT version, was nearby. I had the final reading from 1 John 4:9-10.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

This is real love.

That line struck me. I wanted to continue revisiting it. I woke thinking of it. This is real love.

It’s what we want. To be known and loved. It’s what we fear. Never finding true love. Losing love. It’s what we want to hold onto. But until we grab onto Jesus, we’ve not tasted real love. And once we have, we know the difference in the love of this world and the love of a Father who sent His son on a death mission.

As we concluded Seeking Christmas as a family, I asked the boys, “Tell me why Jesus was born that Christmas day.”

“To die.”

Blunt. Doesn’t sound warm and Christmasy. Doesn’t sound full of cheer and joy. Doesn’t sound like a Hallmark movie and hot cocoa.

But it’s true. He was born to die. Until we understand that, we fail to see the power and fullness of the Christmas message.

If I had to tie up the entire story of the Bible in one word, that word would be love. From the beginning it was love and til the very end, it’s about love. His great love for us and His call for us to love Him back with our whole hearts. When we love Him, we are able to love others.

Real love.

Sit in those words and let it wash over you. You see, often the people in this world will fail us, they may not love us like we want. We may try and try and never hear the words we want from the people we think we should hear them from. But.

He gives us real love. No one can take it away. We will never lose His love. His love we keep at a distance at times because it’s so pure it frightens us. Run to His love. Let Him lavish it on you. Don’t be afraid. He is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, & Prince of Peace. He is good always. His love is faithful. He will never leave us for forsake us.

His love is real.

Merry Christmas.

 

I’m giving myself permission to be unbusy

Get Unbusy

I made a decision, or a choice rather, to be unbusy. Not only to be unbusy, but to be unrushed as well. I can be less rushed when I’m less busy, to be sure. Something had to change. I needed more margin.

I watch our culture wear the busy badge with pride. And for what? To win the most exhausted award?

There are elements to busy we can’t control. But many, and you know it’s true, many we bring on ourselves. I know I do!

I don’t have to say yes to every invite. I don’t have to say yes to every request. I don’t have to fill up the calendar with all the “shoulds”. I am not a victim to the time monster. I don’t have to be slave to the obligations others think I should.

And I certainly don’t have to say yes to every request my children make.

Clear the calendar, leave margin

Part of homeschooling my 10th grader is teaching him how to be responsible for his time. High school for homeschool looks more like college than high school. He works during the day many times. His classes are once a week at various locations. He works independently through the week in preparation. But that means he must use his time wisely. He doesn’t always.

I find myself telling him to look forward first. What do you see in the week ahead? How can you plan now to execute that well? Similar to what I shared in the last post about starting with the ending. I tell him to do now what he can so he has margin for the pop-ups that are unplanned.

In the same way, I want to plan my life in this season to give God margin in my life to pop-up what He will.

I can fill up a calendar with the best of them. I can run until I can run no more. But I’m 43 now. I find I’m craving more simplicity than ever before.

Seasons exist for everything.

The people in front of me are greater than any task on my list. I’m finding that my 40s has brought less pressure than my 30s. I don’t care so much about what people think. I don’t have to be the best at everything I do.

I’ve sensed God drawing me back to my home. He’s been drawing me back into a quietness I can’t fully explain.

He quieted my businesses without much explanation. They didn’t stop, they simply hushed their haste.

Earlier this fall I had a week of extreme anxiety flare-ups. It had been over a year since I struggled with anxiety. My eyes opened to a racing heart. Through the day catching a breath grew more and more difficult. Only someone who struggles with anxiety can understand the physically scary feeling of your chest clamping down.

Much prayer later, it seemed quieter in my soul. Nothing changed in my circumstances, but a deeper peace took a position.

In the weeks that followed I can only say that I began sensing Him calling me to a season of rest. A season of simply being. A season of producing less, achieving less, consuming less.

I feel this call toward home. Simply living and living simply.

It reminds me of the first couple of years after I began staying at home after leaving my full time job. I began discovering the joy of being in my home, making a home, and creating a different kind of life. It was a brand new season and something I’d never had the ability to do before.

Do you ever sense God shifting your season? How does that make you feel? Uncomfortable? Nervous? Excited? A little of every feel?

For me I used to be someone who had to understand it all. I wanted to know all the whys. As I’m aging, I find myself needing less understanding from God. He’s God. He’s the Potter and I’m the clay. He’s careful with His children. When He shifts my seasons or calls me closer to home or to a less busy life, I can trust Him.

These days I’m working hard to keep my calendar mostly open. This is intentional. I’m leaving space for God to fill. I’m leaving space for my soul to breathe. I’m leaving space to say yes to anything God desires to bring my way. In the process I’m trusting in a season of rest. I don’t know what the future holds or what God has for me around the next turn, so when I sense Him inviting me to slowly rest, I say yes, Lord.

 

 

What God Really Promises vs What We Think He Promises

A need for control

Confession: I have a control issue.

I want to know what’s ahead. I want to follow a well-laid plan with diligence. I want to live by checklists and benchmarks.

And quite honestly, I want life to be perfect. Put simply, I want Heaven on Earth.

As I wrote these words, God brought to mind this portion of scripture from Luke 17:21 “For you see, the kingdom of God is among you.” The kingdom is here and now, He is among us. We are called to live by faith.

A life lived by faith is unable to see all the steps ahead aligned just perfectly.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.

When Fear Threatens My Faith

I live by systems and organization. In predictable areas of life, this serves me well. But in areas that require true faith, I find the more my fear grows, the tighter my cling to my ideals and desires.

Fear creates overreactions. Fear speaks lies. Fear uses language such as “what if”. And fear, at the end of the day, simply leads me down a path of attempting to control outcomes.

This is pointless, useless, and exhausting.

Fear never stops attempting to drive us. We don’t have to allow fear room in our lives. But we must recognize fear when it appears.

If we knew how everything worked out, would faith be required?

See, we don’t know how our futures will unfold. But we have our faith in a sure, steady God who gives us an entire book of promises.

Are we standing on His promises? Or are we holding hands with our fear?

What God does not promise.

  • life will be easy
  • life will be pain free
  • life will be look like IG
  • life won’t be filled with setbacks and heartbreaks
  • life won’t give us more than we have the strength to handle
  • life won’t break us
  • life won’t weary us

What does God actually promise?

  • when life is not easy, He’s holding us up with His righteous right hand.
    • “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
  • when life is painful, He is our Comforter.
    • He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 1 Corinthians 1:4
  • when life isn’t perfect, we wait for the perfection He’s creating for us. It’s not here. It’s in eternity.
    • “And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”’ Revelation 21:5
  • when life sets us back or breaks our heart, He supplies fresh mercy every day.

    • “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;
          great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
  • when life gives us more than we can handle, He gives us grace to handle it when we need it.
    • “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Cor. 12:19
  • when life breaks us, He heals us.
    • “But He was wounded for our transgressions,
      He was  bruised for our iniquities;
      The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
      And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
  • when life wears us out, He restores our souls. He carries our burdens.
    • “He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3
    • “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” Psalm 68:19

Listen the the right Source

Don’t listen to the enemy. He tries to tell you God’s not good. God is good always. We live in a fallen, broken world. Jesus told us we’d face many troubles. And He told us to take heart because He overcame the world. Our only job is to remain in Him.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33


As you know, I am pretty passionate about keeping God’s Word before us. In a world filled with messages opposed to truth, it takes intention on our part to fix our eyes on Jesus. I’m adding a little at a time to my shop to offer you more ways to fill your home with truth, beauty, and goodness. On your next coffee break, take a moment to step inside and check out what we’ve been working on!

Here’s a tiny peek.

 

When I Need a Spiritual Recharge Do I Remain or Flee?

When I invite God in

I needed a spiritual recharge. I sat at my desk, opened my palms, and prayed. I confess I don’t always do this before I sit to write or work. I asked Him to fill me, direct me, flow through me. I opened my hands in surrender and postured myself to receive from Him while releasing my own tight grip.

When He reveals what’s dead

When I opened my computer, it failed to respond. I clicked harder. No response. I had literally just unplugged it from the charging station. The picture appeared on the screen with the red battery and disconnected charger. I walked upstairs to where it rested charging all night to find the cord hanging from the socket. It appeared connected, but it wasn’t fully. A dead battery resulted.

spiritual recharge

 

I brought my charger downstairs, plugged it in, and removed it immediately. I wanted to test something. Would a few second charge do any good at all? My computer fired right up. The battery showed 4%.

What’s Needed Most

And that is when God showed me a picture of how easy it is to be fooled into thinking we are relying on Him fully, when in reality we often come for a quick charge to receive just enough then off we go.

I plugged my computer into the source and allowed a full charge.

I need Him every second of every day.

Yet I strive away in my own strength, running on a weak battery, failing to see power is freely available to me.

My independent spirit is an affront to God. It’s my pride showing up in the form of self-sufficiency. It’s me receiving from Him the gifts and strengths He’s placed in me and working yet failing to stop and recharge in Him.

I want to learn to live a life that is a constant flow of Him. One in which I truly live every minute aware of Him, turning my eyes toward Him, seeking Him, thanking Him.

The busier life is lived, the greater the struggle this becomes.

The more distractions I allow, the less inclined I am to even hear Him speak.

If I stay in constant motion, I might catch a few whispers but I can guarantee I miss much of what He has to say to me. I’m too busy.

Our busy culture is a great threat to our spiritual growth and development. The danger is we often don’t realize what is happening in our own souls. Our charge is weak, but because we can function, we fail to see the great power we’ve bypassed.

The simple secret

My Thursday night small group gathered. We each take a short passage of scripture and share insights the Lord reveals to us. In John chapter 15 Jesus tells us He is the true vine and that His father is the gardener. He instructs us to remain in Him and He will remain in us and that apart from Him we can bear no fruit.

In the first 10 verses of chapter 15, Jesus says ‘remain in Me’ ‘remain in my love’ or some form of ‘remain’ 7 times. The ESV uses ‘abide in me’.

I believe Jesus wants us to understand this concept. He desires we remain in Him. Not grab a quick charge and dart away. But remain. It’s easier for me to pull away from Him than it is to tuck in tight.

Remain. Abide.

The fight is in remaining.  The temptation is to run to distraction, to busy, to entertainment, to purpose, to anything other than Jesus.

Yet, it’s clear, we are instructed to remain.

Remain is a choice. We can remain or we can flee. When we flee, parts of our soul begin to die.

Maybe it’s time to begin the practice of disconnecting from sources that suck from us and offer nothing in the form of restoration. And let’s simply remain in Him.

Maybe it’s as simple as pausing everything, getting down onto our knees, and humbly approaching God. It’s simply seeking Him and nothing else.

God, we come to you in awe of who you are. You are supreme, you are King. You are Lord. You hold the world in your hands. You knit us together. You know the number of hairs on my head. You know all. Nothing is beyond you. You are full truth, full wisdom. My joy is complete in you.


One way to help us remain

I have to keep God’s Word before me always and everywhere. In this culture and climate, it’s too easy to become distracted and off-course. To fall into the traps the enemy sets for our feet. Sometimes it’s a simple reminder, a word, a phrase, that prompts me to stop and consider Him. To let out a deep breath and exhale my cares of this world and inhale of His Spirit.

I created an Abide tea towel to remind us that apart from Him we can bear no fruit. We can try and end up running ourselves into the ground. Inside we will decay. Yet when we surrender to His love and make the choice to abide, remain, in Him, everything shifts. We blossom and produce what’s impossible on our own. Even when our physical world shakes, we remain strong in Him.

I invite you to browse my shops. Because I’m a one gal shop right now, it takes me some time to update all the platforms. Etsy is updated first, next my shop right here on the blog. Coming soon, you can find me on Amazon Handmade!