Abide In Me-Refresh Your Soul Week 2

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

We are refreshed when we abide. 

What does that even mean? Simply this: tenaciously clinging  to Him. In the moments you feel like giving up, you want to crawl back under the covers and wish the day away, you want to “numb out” sitting in front of the computer, fill the pain with food, or watch TV, He calls, quietly, “Abide in Me.” 

It is in our own strength we fall.

Our BEST as women is when we are holding fast, holding desperately, to Him.

When we realize how poor we are, we can come before Him and ask Him to fill us, refresh us, give us something to pour out onto the precious people we love.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

When we mess up, we shouldn’t berate ourselves for the sin we committed, the angry word spoken, the rolling of the eyes, the exhausted sigh. That’s not the root problem.  The root problem is: we departed from the Source of true life, presuming we could manage on our own.

Instead of feeling bad about failure, instead of voicing our grief in this way, “Sorry Lord I messed up, I’ll do better next time“, what we must say is, “Sorry Lord I left your side. Help ME!”

The most spiritual prayer for ourselves we can pray is two words, “help me.”

The problem isn’t failure, but instead, failure to rely on the Source of refreshment.

We should be compelled to come to the Lord desperate for His power and work in our lives, to refresh our souls, begging Him to give us what we lack. Choosing moment by moment to trust in His unfailing love and resting in His power for each decision, each word spoken, each task completed. We can do it on our own for a while, but in the end we feel exhausted, stressed, and depleted.

Andrew Murray speaks to this in his book, Abide with Christ, “…unspeakable danger of our giving ourselves to work for God, and to bear fruit, with but little of the true abiding, the wholehearted losing of ourselves in Christ and His life.”

He gives to the hungry, the poured out, the poor in spirit.

He gives.

Live in the truth of your “poorness”, don’t pretend it is anything else than what it is, give up the illusion of your own strength.

Begin today, this moment, to say this, “In this moment of exhaustion, of weariness, I cleave to You. Help Me!”

I am slowly learning to do this moment by moment in my day, and it, HE, is making all the difference.


Beginning With Intention














The new year begins as it always does; crisp and new, free from mistakes, full of possibility. Imaginations run wild. Will this be the year? Will we finally make that change? Will we stick with our goals and finally do that thing we have always wanted to do?

 As the swirl of lists circulate and goals are set and promises made, I want to encourage you to stop.
I’m sharing more thoughts on living intentionally and creating space to breathe  today at MomHeart! I hope you will join me there!

Refresh Your Soul Week 1- Praising and Reflecting

As I have been studying and praying through this series, it is clear to me it will not fit into one day a week. All the Lord is showing me on how to refresh is going to take 2 days a week! On Mondays, we will have a time of refreshing in the Word and then Tuesdays will be intentionally looking at our lives and build an action plan.

So here we go….

Today we are going to be intentional about offering praise to the Lord and reflecting on 2012, the good and the bad. 

I encourage you to find a quiet spot. 

You are going to need:

  • 30 minutes of quiet
  • Your Bible, turned to Psalm 66
  • A pen and a journal
  • a candle
  • quiet music
  • something yummy to drink {these last 3 are optional, but I think they enhance the experience!}

1. Take some time to read Psalm 66. Write down any words or thoughts.

The best way to stop focusing on my exhaustion and weariness of soul, my trying circumstances, my pain, is to focus on worship and praise of God. He is worthy to be praised and adored, and my soul cannot help but be lifted and refreshed when I spend time praising Him.

When we don’t turn our eyes on Him, our eyes automatically turn to our self. Charles Spurgeon says this, “He who makes little of God makes much of himself. They who forget adoration fall into adulation. The eyes must see something, and if they admire not God, they will flatter self.”

I find his statement true in my own life. Take a moment to intentionally turn our eyes off of your problems and choose instead to focus on praising Him.

Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; Sing the glory of His name; Make His praise glorious. Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your works!’”

All the earth will worship You, All will sing praises to You; They will sing praises to Your name.

2. Take a few quiet moments and speak to God about His wonderful works. His many blessings. His awesome character. Write them down.

3.Now, let’s take a few moments and reflect on this past year.

How has God been faithful to you this last year? What are some things that show His goodness and love to you? Often, we are too busy or “forget to remember”. Remembering can greatly fortify our souls and bless our hearts as we look at what He has done.

“Come and see the works of God, Who is awesome in His deeds, toward the sons of men.

4. Spend some time reflecting on what great things God did in 2012, for you, your marriage, your family.

Write down all the things that come to your mind, big or small. 

The psalmist in Psaln 66 remembers the faithfulness of the Lord when he led the Israelites through the Red Sea in verse 6, “He turned the sea into dry land; They passed through the river on foot; There let us rejoice in Him!”

5.Now, as painful as it might me, take moments to reflect on hard things. The painful, broken things God used or is still using to refine you.

For you have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid an oppresive burden upon our loins. You made men ride over our heads; We went through fire and water, Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.”

Spend  time thanking God for what He has done and asking Him to continue to heal painful spots. Also ask Him to continue to teach you to trust in Him as you refresh you soul this year.

6.Lastly, share {if you want} with us the things God has done, the joyous and the heart-breaking. Let’s praise Him together for the good things, and see His hand together in the hard things.

“Come and hear, all who fear God, And I will tell of what He has done for my soul.”

Here are mine….

His works in my life in 2012:

  • allowed me to grow deeper in my walk with Him
  • brought a deepening of close friendships which have been a balm to my soul
  • Dave and I started instituting “at home” date night which has renewed our marriage
  • our family took several village trips interior, which were life-giving as we did ministry together as a family {you can read about our most recent one here and here}
  • the kids and I took a soul-refreshing trip back to the States, and I was able to spend time resting and hanging out with family {and drinking Starbucks!}
  • several wonderful things that I am not at liberty to share via the Internet

The hard things that God used {is using} to refine me:

  • the devastation of learning family secrets, which led to the blessing of meeting my wonderful brother and deep reconciliation with my family, learning the hard way that brokenness is a gift
  • continual pain and exhaustion due to Lupus, that God continues to use in my life to show me how weak I am and how much I need Him in my life.
  • experiencing severe burnout, which left me spent, through which God is continuing to show me how to rest in Him
  • near constant power outages and the constant yelping of the neighbor’s dog, which I wish I could say have grown me immensely and I am so spiritual I even thank God for the disruptions. But honestly? I am not there. I can survive them, but I am not to the point where I would say I am thankful for them. I pray I might continue to choose here.
 Now it is your turn.

Motherhood Really Does Matter

As I talk about needing refreshment as we begin the new year, one way it comes in a form of this beautiful video. This video is such a balm to my soul and I hope it is to yours as well. It is inspiring to see older women encouraging younger moms in their job as mom. It makes my heart happy, and it refreshes my soul.

So, please enjoy this video from Sally Clarkson….

One Mom Heart to Another – Sally Clarkson from Allan Spiers on Vimeo.

To read more about Sally’s heart for mothers and her vision for the next generation, please read her post here.  Thank you Sally!


Refresh Your Soul Series 2013

The electricity grinds to a stop again. The dog next door yelps endlessly, the blaring m@sque somehow still has it’s electricity, and the heat without fans leaves me a melty puddle on the floor.  The scheduled power outages are no problem, the ones I know are coming. It is these never ending, sneak-up-behind-you-in-the-middle-of-the-hot-day-ones that wear me down. Just a few hours before, in the cool pre-dawn, fans were going, and coffee was piping hot, I was refreshed and feeling spiritual. Now, with kids arguing about the nothing they-think-is-the-end-all-something, the laundry is piled high and stinky, ugly words bubble up from deep inside of me and threaten to unleash on the next waiting victim. I am pooped.

My soul is weary.  It needs refreshing {maybe yours does too?}. Not just the kind of refreshing which involves pedicures and long lengthy luncheons, or my ultimate fantasy right now, sipping a Starbucks walking down the aisles of Target {hey, I am easy to please!}. No, it needs something more than a passing moment to truly refresh. A little pampering can certainly be part of it, but I need more.

The new year has begun, and all things are new and the year holds scads of possibilities. Will you join me in a series to refresh your soul as we take on the year?

 A little space to pause, think intentionally, and renew and refresh some of our habits.

Beginning next Monday, and continuing through the month of January let’s find true refreshment in Him and in setting up some simple habits. 

Week 1- Creating Space To Breathe/Refreshing Your Quiet Time

Week 2-Planning for Refreshement/Refreshing Your Habits

Week 3-Refreshing Your Space/Delighting in God’s Beauty

Week 4- Refreshing Your Mothering/Letting Go of Distractions

I am all about simple and do-able {who has time for more?!}, so each week there will be a devotional, a challenge, and some  action points.

I hope you will join me for a time of refreshing.

Tell me: What area in your life needs refreshing?

Transitioning From Summer To School


Goodbye lemonade and splashing in the pool. Hello sharpened pencils, clean sheets of notebook paper, and the fresh air of cooler weather.  The reality of school looms ahead, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  Say goodbye to summer and welcome the newness of school with fun and excitement.

If you are anything like me, if it is going to happen, it needs to be simple.

Join me today at Roo Mag for simple and fun ideas for back to school, and come share your ideas too!

Thanks for visiting! I invite you to subscribe to Grace Full Mama here.

Put On Your Oxygen Mask First!

I am thrilled to have my dear friend, Clare from Peak 313, guest posting today! She shares some wisdom from her heart, and I know you will love her as much as I do! Here is a picture of the two of us at the Relevant conference {now Allume} last year.

Here is Clare:

I was flying Friday to Savannah and heard the same spiel that every flight attendant/plane recording says…

“In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you….. If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.”

Watch the video as I talk about what I want to encourage you with, today!

Clare and her husband and 2 children live in Northeast Ohio. She has her bachelor’s degree in business management and left a promising career to be a stay-at-home mom to her children. She is a certified fitness instructor and teaches pilates and group fitness classes at her church and local university. Clare’s passion (outside of raising and nurturing her children and home) is motivating women of all ages and stages of life to live well physically, emotionally and spiritually. Visit her at Peak313!

The Eternal Spring

And let me not lay my pipe too short of the fountain, never touching the eternal spring, never drawing down water from above. Valley of Vision

I am the Vine you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
The Source for our lives will make all the difference in how our lives are lived day to day.  It’s true, we can succeed and even do well for days, weeks, even years on our own muster.  But to truly be successful?  To keep on enduring without burning out?  To keep on loving when there is not love left to give?  That takes drawing eternal water from the Eternal Source. I mentioned that I wanted to make this a summer of one thing.  And this is why.
As mamas we don’t want to give our children a cheap imitation of Christ’s love, we want to give them the real thing. We want them to see Jesus in and through us each and every day.  We can only do this when we spend time with Him, allow Him to love on us, allow Him to heal our hurts, forgive our sins.  We need to drink from that beautiful Living Water {His Word}, drink in His grace, His love, His light, in order that we may continue to serve and love our families.
Join me today at The Better Mom  for the rest!
Thanks for visiting! I invite you to subscribe to Grace Full Mama here.

Using Words To Love {Guest Post}

*Today’s post is written by my sweet friend, Megan. I am always challenged and inspired to know God and His Word more whenever I read her words. I hope you enjoy her writing as much as I do!*
Half of the year has passed, and I’m still striving to pursue love. A love that stretches beyond myself, beyond my own capabilities. Loving with a love that is deeper than my own, “…to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…” Ephesians 3:19, and then extend it to others.
A very practical way to love others is through my use of words. This is an area that the Lord is teaching me and refining me in right now (and I am definitely still “in progress”). Why, when, and how to use my words…and how my tone is just as important as my choice of words.
As a parent, this is certainly an area of testing, isn’t it? Our words easily fly out of our mouth without being checked at the door. Our tone and volume can escalate in the blink of an eye. And this can occur right after singing praises or praying to God. Why is this? As James so aptly states, “…from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way” (3:10).
I don’t want my speech to be marred by ugliness. I want it to be life-giving and refreshing and encouraging. “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24.
I want my words to be fitting to the situation and the hearer“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29. I confess, I am very familiar with this verse, but to my shame, often times my speech does not reflect my familiarity with it. This ought not to be! And I am not fooled into thinking that I’m the only one who struggles with taming my tongue; I am not alone in this battle, “If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well…but no one can tame the tongue.” James 3:2,8.
So, what ought I to do? How can I speak words of life, joy, peace, and love in my day-to-day life? How can I be better prepared for the times when I am unaware that the temptation to speak otherwise is just one slip of the tongue away? How might my hearers (most often, my husband and children) be recipients of grace through my words? By spending plenty of time with the Word – Jesus! He is the perfect, life-giving, and most holy speaker that ever was or will be! I can learn from Him. I can sit as His feet and allow Him to teach me how to use words purposefully and appropriately, carefully and gracefully. As well as, looking to Him for the discernment to know when it is prudent and beneficial to simply remain silent. I can drench myself in His Word so deeply that, as Sinclair Ferguson describes, “I cannot speak with any other accent.” “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you” so that “with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16.
What a wonder it would be for the heart of my hearers to relate to my words in the same way that the Psalmist described God’s Word, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103. May their response be this way because, and only because, my words are adorned withGod’s own words and it leaves them with the lingering fragrance of His grace and a longing for more of Him. And all this for the glory of my King!
His Word changes my words, because His Word changes my heart. O Lord, help me to love You and others by using my words according to Your purpose and for Your glory.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14.
*Thank you Megan!*
Here is just a little about dear Megan:
Megan is just a normal girl with an amazing God. She is passionate about God’s Word and seeks to live her life in such a way that causes her name to fade into the background while Jesus’ Name is magnified and lifted high. She also enjoys fresh flowers, rainbow sprinkles, and spending time with her family. She blogs at The Kirkwoods.
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