If Only I Could Remember...

Does anyone else find it nearly impossible to remember anything? I was on a walk this afternoon because (praise God) it’s 66 degrees and the sun is out! During that hour, I thoroughly analyzed at least three different areas of my life and briefly had a few other thoughts I gave attention to. Sitting here now just a few hours later, I am struggling to even remember the topic or train of thought, much less the details and/or clarity I received.

My point: I suck at remembering. And my guess is that you may struggle as well.

This is no wonder with all of the distractions and urgent matters constantly flooding our minds. You know - social media, to-do lists, expectations, schedules, relationships, personal desires and everything else that begs for our attention. As soon as I wake up, it’s often like I tap into this movie reel where every picture draws me into a different scene in my life, and every scene requires something specific from me. Does this happen to you?

How can we hold all of these thoughts in our mind? Thankfully, there are systems, apps, and practical tools to help navigate and alleviate the stress from just about each of these areas. Most of this is simply information we need to navigate our day to day, which is highly important. Even more weighty though are the stories of our lives - the real, heart things. The moments that make us who we are, the continual moments of becoming. I cannot afford to dismiss one part of my story. It’s who I am. And how I got there is just as important. If only I could remember.

In the Bible, there’s a constant theme of remembering. I recently read through the book of Deuteronomy and was deeply moved by the emphasis on the story of God delivering His people. Before entering into the promise land, they are reminded multiple times of their history - the journey that had now positioned them to move forward and take hold of a promise. You see, there is such power in remembering. Throughout the psalms, David cries out in great agony over the reality of his circumstances and emotions. Yet, in his writing we see that by the end of his emotional expressions, he comes back to proclaiming who God has been to him. We read his meditations on how God has delivered him, comforted him, and been his safety in times of distress. Remembering invites thankfulness, and thankfulness cannot yield anything less than hope. This is displayed in David’s life, time and time again, and I personally have experienced this as a reality in my own life as well.

So how do we remember our own journey?

About two years ago, I found myself complaining often about my inability to recall information from memory. So, I started praying for my memory to improve. Literally, I added it to my list of daily declarations where I would say multiple times out loud “I have a great memory!” (You have full permission to lol at me). After several months with no improvement, I began asking God to show me what to do. He started speaking to me about journaling. I have journaled since the

beginning of my walk with God, because every good Christian should do that, right? Well, the Lord began to show me that while I had somewhat developed this practice in my life, I was only focused on the crisis and mountain top moments. As I looked back in all of my writings, there was so much missing. The everyday, average moments seemed nonexistent in my life, yet as I began to dig deep, I realized those days had brought me so far. Those walks with God had taught me lessons that had built the foundation I was standing upon. The minor frustrations, simple joys, and seemingly insignificant revelations were small deposits that I never knew would add up to something so wonderful.

You see, not only did Moses call the Israelites to remember their story of deliverance, but He reminds them of the covenant God had made with them AND the directions He had given for a fruitful life. Personally, I have found these directions, promises, and encouragements from God buried within my day to day. As I walk with God, it’s the little treasures that I am collecting that have began developing a story of great value. The beauty of this is that it’s not just for me. My life (and yours as well) is a story of victory that the world is longing to read. In every story, the climax is only possible because there was a road that lead us to that point. If we neglect our process, we have no story to share.

I want to pause here for those that are thinking “My whole life is one of pain, why should I go back and remember?” This is even of more value for you. First of all, I guarantee there are simple moments for which you can choose to be thankful. In the midst of all hell, the God of breakthrough is more powerful and is available to you. So, what an opportunity to write down your story, day by day. You will have a testimony of deliverance that will be hope for another soul to cling to.

Thankfully, on my walk today my iPhone was nearby. When I got to my car, I wrote down the whispers I heard from God and the thoughts I was processing. I know that today (the most normal and uneventful day), a good deposit was made that will bear fruit in the garden of my life. My story continues.

Now, if only I will remember my process of becoming, my life can be a seed of hope for others.

With Hope,

Ally Smith

Quarterly Reads | Join Us!

You asked for a book club and we’re delivering our
4 favorite reads for the next quarter (4 months). We started this at the beginning of the year and got amazing feedback that you all loved it! So here we go again!

Let’s be real, we all want to read thought-provoking, life-changing books, but we don’t always have the time to find them. So to help us all out and save us a trip to Barnes & Noble for hopeless browsing.

Every four months we will continue to release 4 books to read at your own pace and feel encouraged, challenged, and championed by. We’ll keep up with you and post quotes on our Instagram to keep the conversation going.


1. Atomic Habits by James Clear

An easy and proven way to build good habits and break bad ones.

2. The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus by Brennan Manning

This book brings you to a deep understanding of the nature of God.

3. Everybody Always Brand by Bob Goff

This book shows what it means to love without inhibition, insecurity, or restriction.

4. The Last Arrow by Erwin McManus

This book is a roadmap to a life that defies odds and alters destinies. Imagine living the life you were convinced was only a dream.


Freedom is Costly

Ever since I started passionately pursuing a relationship with Jesus at the age of eighteen, I’d say I’ve been pretty open with God—telling Him all about my shortcomings, failures, successes, hopes and dreams. However, about two or so years ago, a new depth of relationship was brought to my attention. It felt like for months on end I kept hearing stories and testimonies of people receiving breakthrough in areas of their lives that they had been bound in for years. Curious, I started asking questions. These questions led to me hearing stories that left my jaw dropped in amazement. I had no clue that breakthrough and freedom of this sort was even possible. Hungry, I began crying out for this sort of freedom to flood my own life.


If my history with God has taught me anything, it is that He is faithful to answer prayers that align with His will for our lives, and His will for our lives is that we be a people who are fully—and I mean fully—free.


And if there is anything that seeing this audacious prayer answered has taught me, it is that Freedom is costly.


Huh? FREE-dom? Costly?


Yes, very.


Uprooting years of lies, repairing a fractured lense, confronting hurts that you swore you were past, and addressing wounds that never properly healed isn’t a light feat. It demands persistence to continue moving forward when in the middle of the journey you have a hard time remembering why you even started down this road in the first place.


When I asked Jesus to take me on this journey of becoming free, I had no clue what it would require of me. I had no clue that it would demand surrendering a victim-mentality so I could pick up a weightier perspective of victory. Or that it meant taking the lid off a can of worms, that for years, I denied existed. I had no clue it would mean stepping out in faith with zero idea of how God was going to come through. That I would have to humble myself and apologize when my pride craved being right. Or that I would sew countless tears in faith that eventually joy would be mine to reap.


If I am being totally honest, I am so not on the other side of this journey. I am still walking this road. It seems like there is always something being brought to my attention that requires some sort of surrender. The further I continue down this road, the more clearly I am able to see God for who He is—kind, so very patient, steadfast, undaunted, full of compassion, and always ready to shower me in love.


The most challenging part of this freedom walk has been confronting my own brokenness. But at the same time, the best part of this freedom walk has been confronting my own brokenness. Because it has been in these moments of confrontation that I don’t receive what I anticipate. My flesh expects punishment, condemnation, and to feel exposed. What I’ve encountered has been anything but that. In these moments of bare exposure I have continually been met by a God that covers me, heals me, loves me and nurses me back to health. It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4), His still, small voice that silences our accusers (John 8:7), and His arms that embrace that parts of our hearts that so often wander away from Him (Luke 15:20).


I am convinced that in the middle of our brokenness is something precious—a deep and profound encounter with the goodness of God that sets us free. Facing your pain, expecting rejection, but receiving love instead is one of the greatest gifts that our brokenness has to offer.


Whether you are miles ahead of me on this journey, just getting started, or had no clue this road was even an available to you—I pray that today you are filled with a surge of courage to carry on in your freedom walk, and that with each step you’d be met by perfect love and find that life abundant is yours for the taking.

Unashamedly,

Amie Ahrns


How To Feel Less Busy Even When You’re Really, Really Busy

Raise your hand if the phrase “I’ve just been so busy lately” has come out of your mouth in the last month. Once? Twice? Every week for the last year? In the age of entrepreneurship and technology, being busy has become a way of life. Even though many of us would say that we value rest and that we realize the negative implications of a nonstop lifestyle, cutting back doesn’t seem feasible. It’s 2019- where hustle gets promoted and rest gets the cold shoulder. Where, maybe even subconsciously, burnout gets more celebrated than healthy self care. Where “I’ll be there for you” gets replaced with “I’m too busy.” Where “Family First” gets replaced with “I’m too busy.” Where “I’m going to create this healthy habit” gets replaced with “I’m too busy.” Where “Jesus is my number one priority” gets replaced with, you guessed it, “I’m too busy.”

At some point, we become so attached to our nonstop, busy lifestyle that it becomes a safe place.


This blog isn’t really about cutting back or about saying no. At this point, we probably all know what we need to do to realign our priorities. Most of us are either in a season where being busy seems necessary (school, setting ourselves up for the future, proving ourselves at work, etc.), OR we have purposefully built the busy lifestyle we have and are not ready to give that up. Either way, I believe that even in seasons where we are really, really busy, there are still ways to intentionally create more time. The “busy” label doesn’t have to define our lives.

1. STOP SAYING “I AM BUSY.”

I’m convinced that if the modern worker removed the phrase “I’m busy” out of their vocabulary, they would have the time to do most of the things they said they were too busy for!

It’s more than just a phrase. When we say “I am busy” over and over and over again, we are teaching our brains to set that mode as our default. Being busy (and complaining about it) becomes a habit. It becomes normalized. As a result, we become uncomfortable with time itself. When we don’t have it, we complain about it. When we have it, we panic and attempt to fill it.

This week, I challenge you to make a note of every single time the word “busy” comes out of your mouth. For that matter, count every time that you consciously think it.


After you’ve tallied up your busy remarks, begin to evaluate the root of why you keep saying it. Is it because you are actually upset about how your time is being filled up? If so, recognize that and change something. Or, could the root be something else? Could it be that you say it because you want people to acknowledge your accomplishments? Or that you feel obligated to justify your time to someone else? Could it be that you have a problem simply saying “no”? If you want to change it, change it. If you don’t want to change it, I challenge you to at least stop talking about it so much!

2. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR LIMITED DOWN TIME

Do you have 3 hours on a Sunday morning to spare? An entire Saturday? 15 minutes on the car ride to work? It honestly doesn’t matter that much. The reality is, if you are in a busy season, minutes become about quality over quantity. Rather than spending any spare moment you have thinking about your to do list or complaining about your busyness (seriously if this point has not been adequately made please go re-read the last point), it’s important to take advantage of every single minute. Take this time to get refreshed.


Getting refreshed looks different for every person. It doesn’t necessarily mean lying on a couch and binge-watching Netflix (although if this is your best method- more power to ya!) For me, getting refreshed looks like going on a run, playing a sport, or going to the top of a mountain for a beautiful view. If I only have 15 minutes to get refreshed, I will listen to a worship song, read a few pages out of a good book, or rewatch a few scenes from any episode of “The Office” for a quick laugh.

It doesn’t really matter what you do, it just matters that you are intentional with your down time.

3. BATCH WORK

With the all-consuming world of technology being a part of our day-to-day lives, we have become increasingly bad at focusing on one thing at a time. Our attention is always being pulled in several different directions, making it difficult to actually get any big task done in an efficient manner.


Has this scenario ever happened to you?

*opens computer to respond to the seemingly never-ending emails

*sends one part of an email

*sees Instagram notification, checks Instagram

*writes another portion of email

*stares off into the distance

*opens Facebook on a different tab

*gets caught in the abyss of Facebook

*gets mad at Facebook for being Facebook

*remembers how much you have to get done

*returns to email

*leaves to get coffee to try to stay focused in order to finish the emails

Guilty? Me too.


Batch work simply means this: complete tasks that are similar at the same time. Rather than jumping between sending one email, posting a graphic, making a phone call, and then sending another email, combine all of your similar work into one part of your day. Grab a coffee, turn your phone off, and take 45 minutes to respond to all of your emails at once. Do not move on to anything else until you are done. This will save A LOT of time in the long run (and it will feel so satisfying to cross off that many emails from your to-do list, giving you more momentum!)

4. PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE

The more distracted we are, especially when it comes to our phones, the busier we feel. There are two primary reasons for this. The first is that we can’t focus on our task at hand, making it take much longer than it should. The second is that we feel like we have to be available to everyone at every given point in time. If someone texts us, we have to respond right away. If someone posts a picture, we have to see it right away. If _____, we have to ____ right away, no matter what should be occupying our current attention. Put down your phone, focus on the task at hand, and respond when you can. If you have to, put your phone on Do Not Disturb or Airplane Mode. I promise that everything will still be at your fingertips after you finish your more important task.


As a caveat, I one billion percent recommend taking Instagram notifications off of your phone. Seeing a “like” or “comment” pop up every few minutes after posting will take your attention every time your phone lights up, cause you to open your app far more than you should, and, if you aren’t already convinced, will drain your phone battery way faster.

5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP

Everyone goes through seasons of busyness, stress, and exhaustion. While it’s not healthy to permanently reside in that state, it is inevitable at times. During seasons like this, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be straightforward. Ask your family to give you grace as you are unable to give as much to them. Ask your roommates to make you dinner while they make theirs. Ask your friend to pick you up coffee on their way home from work. If it makes you feel better, offer to pay for theirs too! And just remember, eventually they will be in that season and you can help them too.



Do you have any other tips on ways to be less busy even when you’re really, really busy? Let us know!


Mid-life(ish), unMarried, and Making the Most of it: Lessons I’ve Learned Being Single

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My name is Shelley Jones and I am one of Ebie’s closest friends and am honored to share a piece of my heart on Fearless Co.’s blog today. Since writing my first blog three years ago on being single, I’ve gone deep into the heart of finding wholeness, courage, and healing in the areas of loneliness and the unfulfilled desire for a husband. I’ve shed enough tears to fill all the mason jars on Pinterest. I’ve snotted into my pillow, woken up with blowfish eyes, journaled like a castaway, and gone to the batting cages just to hit something that wouldn’t hit back. But through it all, I’ve experienced breakthrough upon breakthrough from a faithful God (and the unrelenting support from award-winning friends). While our journeys are our own, this blog is my attempt to tell you you’re not alone. If there’s hope and healing for messy old me, there’s hope and healing for you. God WILL redeem every area you give Him access to.

Here are the most valuable lessons I have come to learn having lived single for the good majority of my 34ish years. Through much fire, they have become like priceless gold, and yet I am aware that there is still much more to refine in me. Single or not, male or female, I pray you’re inspired toward wholeness, truth, and trust.

1. Life doesn’t finally begin when I get married.

For years I believed that my life calling, God’s plan for me, would only be launched after I met my husband. I sat by and twiddled my thumbs waiting for the day when I would really and finally be used in full by God for His purposes. That twiddling lasted over a decade, people. Talk about sore thumbs. I was still seeking God, growing, and even serving Him and others. But it was a casual and complacent pursuit. Thank God for ripping me out of that rut and lifting me out from under the stifling and common misconception that, “Once I get married, THEN I will…” Life is here and now, ladies and gentlemen. Your destiny is here and now. Stop idly waiting by, imagining the day when you’ll finally be primed for His purposes.

2. Loneliness, insecurities, and coping mechanisms won’t miraculously disappear once a ring is on my finger.

There’s an age-old, fairy tale idea that continues to deceive us all: meet the man or woman of your dreams and ride off into that orange glow to a place called Happily Ever After. All pain, brokenness, and brittle areas miraculously heal the moment you say, “I do.” That is truly a beautiful picture…painted by a clueless fool with his head in the silvery clouds. Ask any married person if all their problems went away at the altar, or if instead, their broken areas got magnified once they were in an intimate and vulnerable relationship. Ask them if they’ve ever felt lonely even though their spouse lay right next to them. Lace up your boots, single comrades, and treat this time of solitude as an opportunity to let God illuminate and heal your insecurities, pride, fears from hurts, walls from abuse, and your need for those nasty coping mechanisms (e.g., shutting down, depression, anger, sexual sin, on and on). It’s dirty work, like surgery on a battlefield. It’s painful and gut-wrenching to choose to trust Him and walk that road of wholeness, but it will undoubtedly save you a lot of heartache later on. Ditch the baggage now for the sake of yourself and your future spouse and children, but most importantly ditch the baggage simply to deepen that rich intimacy with God.

3. Jealousy, bitterness, and rejection are sure signs that my worth is wrapped up in the wrong things or people.

I could write a novel on this one. I’ll title it FrankenShelley: Nightmare of a Friend. The Goliath in my life boldly walked on scene this past year. At the cue of a best friend’s relationship and engagement, I began to feel things, say things, and think things on par with a schizophrenic lunatic. I was overcome with jealousy. “Why does she get what I’ve waited so long for?” I was bitter, sharp-tongued, and most definitely not the friend I desperately wanted to be. I found it difficult to celebrate her joys. Funny thing, I had come face to face with that exact same giant over a decade ago with another engaged best friend. Talk about a bridesmaid from hell. (I have some hilarious and cringeworthy stories.) Foolishly, I refused to lop its head off then. I simply sang that sinful giant to sleep, and it lay dormant for ten solid years, waking up stronger than ever one year ago. It took me being utterly fed up with how I was acting last year to do something about it. I was determined to not take this warped flaw any further into my future. I would fight it once and for all. Well, that “once and for all” took about 9 months of praying, intensely seeking God, speaking His Word over myself, confronting the lies, asking forgiveness time and time again from a most merciful friend, and fasting like a holy madwoman. And thank you, Jesus, Goliath’s head rolled in January! Through those character-refining months, God clearly revealed that my reactions of jealousy and bitterness were just the fruit of me being rooted in ill-founded worth. My worth was in the idea of being loved by a man. My worth was in the concept of marriage. My worth was in something I didn’t yet have. So without those things in my life, I was, by my own definition, worthless. Perfect transition to number 4…

4. Finding my worth in any man, woman, position, title, status, or thing other than God alone is the most fragile foundation I could ever build upon.

I have lived long enough and face-planted into the mud a handful of times to learn this most valuable life lesson. Nothing–no person or thing–is strong enough to be your source of worth, your foundation upon which you build your life. People and the love they give us should be wonderful reminders OF our value. They shouldn’t BE our value. Seek your identity in the way someone treats you, or the things they say or don’t say about you, or the job/ministry title you have, or the number of followers you have on social media, and you’ll be seeking forever. You will never be fulfilled in worth until you meet Worth Himself and have Him repeatedly speak it over you until you actually believe Him. Worthy is the Lamb. We are worthy by sheer fact and faith that He is and He loves. For more on this topic, read this blog from a few years back.

5. Co-dependent friendships are subtly alluring and a dangerous substitute.

Did I mention I was a pro at face-planting? I’m surprised I don’t have a flat forehead from this lesson learned.

I’m not talking about healthy, balanced friendships here. Those are a gift to us along the journey. But treat any gift with even the slightest obsession, and it quickly turns idolatrous, clingy, and sour. Since going through this murky mess a few years back, I’ve become keenly aware anytime I start being co-dependent or idolatrous toward a friend. And in the same way, I’ve recognized that exact tendency in a number of single people around me, especially women in my opinion. It’s subtle and requires a heart check, ladies. We blanket our girl (and even guy) friendships with God, but often leave Him out of the true center. Out of loneliness, we use our friends to fill that void instead of seeking deep companionship in Jesus. It may look like a Godly, selfless, friendship, but I challenge you to have the Holy Spirit check your heart. How much physical and emotional affection are you giving to and craving from them? Are you using them to soothe the ache? Do you hold them with a tight grip? Do you get jealous over their relationships? Always remember that every friendship and relationship should be humbly held with an open hand, a gift given by God. We were never designed to worship the Creator’s creation.

6. Settling may be a quick “fix” and an easier route, but it is actually a most unfulfilling and broken route.

Waiting is hard. Waiting well is even harder. When we give up hope on a fulfilled dream and settle for making that promise come to pass in our own way, we invite heartbreak through our door and sabotage the timely and purposeful work of God in our lives. We go back to dating people that treat us with little or no respect. We give our bodies over like cheap candy. We say, “Just this once.” We convince ourselves that our sin isn’t wrong. “It’s not that bad. At least I’m not doing this or doing that.” Take heed. The moment you start making excuses for your actions or for people never meant to be in your life is the moment you warmly welcome compromise into your home. And compromise is a sly little devil that coaxes you further and further into darkness without you realizing it. Stand strong, live in the light, know your worth, keep your standards high, respect others as well as yourself, believe in the good promises of a good Father, stay accountable, resist temptation, and stay the course! You will reap a harvest in due season.

7. Beware the lure of idolizing the idea of marriage.

There is a danger in living unsatisfied. Like Eve, we all fall prey to the lie that we are missing out. “If only I were married, then I would be fulfilled.” “If only I had more money, then I would be satisfied.” “If only I could have a baby, then our marriage would be complete.” If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Dissatisfaction is no devil when it leads you to the foot of the cross and forces you to cling to Satisfaction Himself. But intensely focus on that “one thing” that will supposedly “make it all better in life,” and you’ll find that dissatisfaction has quickly shape-shifted into your idol.

8. Learn now the art of swallowing pride, staying teachable, and giving of myself.

Take yourself to the nearest bakery and order a heaping helping of Humble Pie a la mode. Marriage (or any relationship) is not an opportunity to lord over each other. Jesus calls us to unity, to oneness, to service, to love. Do we get it perfect every time? One glance at my life and you’ll get your answer: nah bro. But there are few things more beautiful than a soft and teachable heart, someone eager to change and grow, someone who seeks to put others first, not out of obligation or self-righteousness but simply out of a heart that loves God. We love because He first loved us. Train yourself in the love-driven art of sacrificially giving of your time, your will, your desires, your service, and your finances. Practice eating that pie now. It’ll taste better with each bite. (The other alternative is someone shoving it down your throat later in life. And no one likes whipped cream in their eye.)

9. Practice vulnerable communication and conflict resolution.

I’ve always heard that a lack of communication kills marriages. People don’t know how to talk it out, express themselves, not blame shift, not argue in a fit of rage, not back down from their defenses, not storm out or shut down. They don’t seek resolution or remain vulnerable when it’s painful. I didn’t grow up with a family that had “family meetings.” We didn’t chit-chat about the state of affairs going on in our hearts. I was not well-versed in expressing my feelings. “Cat got your tongue, Shelley?” “Why, yes. Yes it does.” I was awful at opening up. But through time, determination, and being part of a secondary family that is SO keen on communication, I have learned to love and appreciate it. While I may not see eye-to-eye with someone, we resolve it until there is no bitterness remaining, no rock unturned, no hurt or fear or misunderstanding unspoken. Pull those cat paws off your tongue and routinely practice communication and resolution. You’ll find your relationships will be deeper, more personal, richer, and more wholehearted (let alone cat free, thank God).

10. Don’t build a doctrine out of dashed hopes.

It’s okay to feel the ache of a desire unfulfilled but not okay to hunker down and make camp in hopelessness. Hold onto your hope, hang tight to your promise. Cling steadfastly to a Father that loves you relentlessly and unconditionally. Let’s face it, if there is air in your lungs you will be bruised in life, maybe even crushed under the weight of disappointment. You lost someone you love. That father or teacher or friend you trusted mishandled you. You were ridiculed and demeaned, abused and neglected. You waited ages to see a dream come to pass, and it appears to be a rotting seed in the ground, a mockery. Tragedy struck and you’ve never been the same. We shake our fists at God, at our parents, at this world, and vow to never be hurt again. One hope dashed and we give up hope altogether. Do I dare invite you to hope again? With everything in me, YES. Hope takes courage. Hope says, “I refuse to let this world harden me. I choose to be open, loving, trusting, and trustworthy.” She generously reminds you of the goodness of God. Why would we suffocate her when she’s the only one that can usher us back into joy and wholehearted living?

11. Loneliness is a gift.

Any painful or broken area of your life is a gift in disguise, my friends. You have two options. You can react to your loneliness (or any other hurt, for that matter) with depression, anger, settling, coping mechanisms, etc. or you can let the overwhelming weight of it drop you to your knees before Jesus. After years of struggling with crushing loneliness, I finally realized that it can always lead me to my God’s arms. I once turned to other people and things to cope but nothing satisfied. When I started to turn to Jesus in my loneliness, draw into His love, look Him in the eye, and expose my tearful heart, I encountered the most beautiful transformative power. Him alone. And that’s when my perspective shifted drastically. Anything in this world that draws me closer to Him, my first love, is a gift no matter how serrating it may be. He, of all people, knows what the deepest of all pain feels like. He not only sympathizes with me but freely offers Himself as Healer. There is no greater gift than Jesus Himself. Find gratitude in the things that draw you to Him.

12. God is not withholding and playing a cruel joke on me.

This was the lie of all lies that was unearthed in my heart last year. God was cruel and He was withholding from me. I could believe all day that He was good to others, but to me personally, He came up short. I mean, He knew the deepest desire of my heart was to be married, a desire I’ve had for well over a decade now. He knew I would lose my parents and have to grieve that process without a spouse to comfort me. He knew all my friends would get married around me and I’d be left wide-eyed and heartbroken. He knew and yet He withheld. Or so I believed. At the end of 2016, I broke in half like an oil tanker and sunk into a sea of anger and bitterness. I kicked and screamed at God like a selfish child in a feeble attempt to punish Him beyond the most punishable cross. I had believed a lie about God for so long and desperately needed truth. I went on a 21-day fast and pleaded for God to set me free in my thinking, to give me eternal perspective, to open my eyes to His goodness. And He did. He always does. Our God stands outside of time, far beyond its limitations. And we run around in its constraints, tapping our watches, and demanding God fill our need. And when the secondhand laps back around, we stomp our feet and curse Him. Do we not realize He is sovereign? Do we so easily forget that eternity rests in the palm of His hand? Are we so vain to imagine that our ways, our wants, our plans for our own lives even hold a candle to His brilliance? Every good and perfect gift has already been handed to me from the Father in the form of His Son. Can I not trust that He will rightly guide my life according to His plan? Can I not trust that “perfect timing” is Perfection’s specialty? The pressure is off. For the first time in my life I’m untethered, free to fly in the simple trust that He’s got me.

Well folks, my hands are cramping but my heart is full. If you made it this far, you deserve an award. I trust my journey may be of some comfort and strength to others out there. Remember, you’re NOT alone.

Unashamed + Loved,

 

Shelley Jones

 


The Fear of What Other People Think

 
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PRISON. That is where you’ll be if you live your life enslaved to what other people think. I say enslaved because that is exactly what you are- a slave to their opinions. And listen to me loud and clear- YOU HAD A PURPOSE BEFORE ANYBODY HAD AN OPINION. We live in a time where every second of our lives are plastered onto some app or social media platform, inviting comments and counting the amount of likes the world thinks we deserve. Do you realize how exhausting it is to live our lives in constant wonder of what people think of us? Ain’t NOBODY got time for that. We’ve got a lifetime of freedom and adventure waiting for us, unhindered by people’s opinions!

Want to know the recipe for disaster? Trying to be someone that we are not. Want to know the recipe for being fearless? Walking with confidence in who you were created to be. Being authentic will always speaks what words can not. And as far as I’m concerned, women who changed the world were never intimidated by the thoughts of others. Let us be people who sprint so passionately after the things of God that we don’t have time to even consider the thoughts that others have toward us. Let us be people who never stop dancing with the truth that we were created for such a time as this! By being the people God created you to be, you are inviting others to do the same. And that my friends is an anthem worth singing about!

We overcome this fear by ingraining into our spirits what God says about us. You can be confident in the fact that Jesus went to the cross for YOU. This confidence allows us to live in our calling without fearing what other people think about us. We won’t have to share every detail of our lives on social media because we will feel confident in ourselves and rely on the affirmation of God. Another important aspect of overcoming this fear is to transform the way you think about other people. Often, the way we think about others reflects something deep in our hearts that needs to be addressed. When we think about others through a lens of grace, we allow the same for ourselves.

Eager and Hopeful Living

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“Live a life eager and hopeful, every day” I heard Him say as I was driving recently.

I started to think about my life, what this might look like on a daily basis. I have a tendency to live by my to do lists, going from one to the next, finding so much accomplishment in crossing things off that list. In the midst of this, especially in this season of motherhood, where life can feel routine and mundane often, I feel a new call to live in eager expectation of every day, to find Him in new ways. From driving my kids to school, to washing my floors and doing dishes, in playdates and at coffee with friends, and at the grocery store and everything in between. These are the altars we are building to Him, the tiny moments that are building our lives.  We look and long for the mountain top, but I hear Him saying “It’s right here, today, don’t miss all of the goodness I have tucked away in today.” We are all called to so many stunning things in life, ones that are far bigger than anything we can even imagine, moments that will be seen by many and millions that will never be seen by anyone other than Him. I’m full of expectation and excitement for every single way that He will use me, the big and beautiful ones, but also friends, in the million moments in between those. These are holy moments, sacred spaces for our hearts to find Him in.

He’s redefining a radical life in my heart, not about what I am ‘doing’ and ‘producing’, but mainly about my heart posture, and living my life eager and hopeful each day. I’m growing in my ability to see Him in my days, in every crack and conversation. May we learn how to build our alters, every day, to the King of Kings, no matter what your daily life looks like, praying that you would wake up eager to find Him, expectant that He IS using you!

The search for greatness will never be satisfied by looking around. He’s crowned you with beauty, with a calling and a destiny, with gifts and passions since before you were born, and I believe the Father is wanting to show us who we are each and every moment of our life. Where you are today, the moments that are making up your days are no mistake, there is purpose and beauty He is wanting to reveal. The enemy wants nothing more than to get us out of our present, but this is where Jesus is asking for our full attention, so He can do what only He can do.

Expectant means to be eager and hopeful that something is about to happen; may we be the ones known for living a life of contentment, yet eager every day to see Him, to find Him, to share Him, and watch the miraculous unfold in the most unexpected places.

With Confidence,

Sarah Little


Quarterly Reads | Join Us!

You asked for a book club and we’re delivering our
4 favorite reads for the next quarter (4 months).

Let’s be real, we all want to read thought-provoking, life-changing books, but we don’t always have the time to find them. So to help us all out and save us a trip to Barnes & Noble for hopeless browsing.

Every four months we will release 4 books to read at your own pace and feel encouraged, challenged, and championed by. We’ll keep up with you and post quotes on our Instagram to keep the conversation going.

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1. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

Get ready to slow down and recognize the power of settling in to a restful life.

2. Adamant by Lisa Bevere

Re-establish your identity and recognize the uniqueness that you bring into this world.

3. Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

For the business minded reader looking to be inspired by practical tips & bringing the power of story into every aspect of your brand.

4. It’s Not Supposed To Be That Way by Lysa TerKeurst

Learn how to come out of the fire of disappointment stronger than when you entered and trust again.