by Sharon Jaynes
Kathi Lipp is the queen of showing us how to de-clutter our lives. And if there was ever an area I needed to de-clutter in my heart, it was in the area of shame. I wonder if you can relate.
One morning I sat on my back porch, wrapped in my fuzzy worn robe—the one that’s twenty years old but I just can’t seem to get rid of. The birch tree leaves shivered in the cool morning crispness and the gerbera daisies that had been sleeping beneath the soil through the winter months, stretched their faces to the sun . . . just a bit higher than the day before.
Then I heard him. The rooster.
ER-er-ER-er-ERRRR. I’m not sure where he lives, but it’s within earshot.
ER-er-ER-er-ERRRR. I thought of Peter. I thought of me. I thought of you.
You know the story. At the dinner table, on the night before Jesus went to the cross, He had a chat with his friend Peter. He referred to Peter in his pre-disciple-days name—Simon.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
Don’t you know Jesus thought…sure you are, buddy?
“I tell you, Peter,” Jesus said, “before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
A few hours later, Peter did just that. Denied that he even knew Jesus. Three times. And then the rooster crowed. ER-er-ER-er ERRRR.
And Peter went outside and wept bitterly. He cried and cried and cried.
The next morning, the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered his failure.
And the next morning the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered his failure.
And the next, and the next, and the next.
With every cock-a-doodle-doo came a fresh reminder. First thing in the morning.
Have you ever been there? I have.
I have failed. I have cried and cried and cried. I have remembered.
Shame has poked drain holes in my Spirit-filled confidence and I have hidden behind the wall with Peter…behind the bush with Eve.
And even though I had asked God to forgive me, and I knew that He had, the rooster still crowed in my heart, and I remembered my failure all over again.
Like a trapeze artist who takes hold of the second bar, but refuses to let go of the first, I have hung—dangling over “life to the full.”
Not quite letting go of the life that’s “less than” in order to soar fully and free as God intended.
And God calls to me…Let go. Move forward. Live bold. It’s the only way.
And Paul tells me how… Here’s what I do… I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Forgetting what lies behind and reaching for what lies ahead… (Philippians 3:12,13)
And I see it clearly. For me and for you.
When we finally take hold of, grasp, and make our own all that Jesus has already taken hold of for us and placed in us, we begin to experience life to the full—the faith we’ve always longed for.
But taking hold is not enough. We’ve got to let go.
Let go of shame-filled ponderings and and take hold of grace-filled pardon.
Let go of crippling bitterness and take hold of radical forgiveness
Let go of weak-kneed worry and take hold of sure-footed confidence.
Let go of insecurity and take hold of your true identity as a child of God.
Let go of preoccupation with self-doubt and take hold of God’s power-filled promises.
Let go of comparison and take hold of your God-fashioned uniqueness.
Let go of the lies that hold you hostage and take hold of the truth that sets you free.
Let go of paralyzing doubt and take hold of fleet-footed faith that’s ready to dance to the daring rhythm of God’s drum.
I get excited thinking about it and I’m ready. God has placed lavish promises in the safety deposit box of my heart and fashioned a cross-shaped key just for me…just for you. And letting go of shame and taking hold of grace is where it all begins.
What did Jesus have to say about Peter’s failure? Three strikes, you’re out? Not hardly.
After his resurrection, Jesus pulled Peter aside…
“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
Jesus removed the shroud of shame hanging from Peter’s guilt weary shoulders, and called him to get back to the ministry to which he was called. And He does the same for me and for you.
Take hold of grace.
But the rooster still crows.
The question is, what will we remember when it does?
Not the sin…but the grace.
Oh friend, don’t let the enemy accuse you of what God has already forgiven you of?
Don’t let him fool you into thinking that the cross was not enough.
Don’t let him clutter your heart with shame and condemnation that God wants to sweep out the door.
Take hold of what Jesus has already taken hold of for you.
And He asks…
“Daughter, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord, you know that I do.”
Feed my sheep.
Is God calling you to de-clutter your heart and let go of something in your life? If so, leave a comment and we’ll pick……. and give away …. free copies of Sharon’s book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For.
Sharon Jaynes has penned a passel of books and loves linking arms with women all around the world through the written and spoken word. In her brand new book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold, she reveals the most common reasons we get stuck in a mediocre faith. By sitting fireside with Moses at the burning bush and looking at his four arguments with God, you’ll discover how to let go of all that holds you hostage to a life that’s less than what God intended, move forward into life to the full that Jesus promised, and live bold with mountain moving faith that is filled with expectancy. To learn more about Sharon’s ministry visit www.sharonjaynes.com. To learn more about Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold, visit www.takeholdthebook.com.
by Bethany of Kathi’s Clutter Free Academy Team
When I make the choice to control the clutter, I find freedom waiting in the living room. A lot of family life happens in the living room, and I want to make it a point to spend a lot of time in there with my hubby and three kids. But I can only do this well if I keep the clutter from sucking the life out of the living room. Our living room needs to be a place where we connect and laugh together, not trip over junk and shift piles of books to find a spot on the couch.
Here’s what I know: The kids won’t remember if the pillows, couch and rug coordinate but they will remember the tickle fights. Guests won’t remember if clean floors or dust bunnies greeted them when they crossed the threshold of your living room but they will remember your kind hospitality. Why? Because these are the things that actually matter, not sparkling floors and not throw pillows.
Contain clutter and gain freedom to live—really live—in your living room.
Here are seven ideas to get you started.
1. Dance Party
Turn up the volume on some of your favorite tunes and dance until you drop. Learn a line dance together and hilarity will follow.
2. Indoor Picnic
Spread out a blanket on the living room floor and break out the picnic foods, whether it’s 95 degrees or raining outside! Bonus: Dinner is easy peasy!
3. Game Night
Choose a night and invite a few friends over for pizza and games. The invitation and the fun are all that matter. Enjoy your guests. Repeat.
4. Lightsaber Fight
It just doesn’t get much better than a lightsaber fight. Get ready to watch the force in action—everyone is a kid with a lightsaber in hand. For extra fun, make it as dark as possible to stay safe and then record it. Everyone loves to see the action over and over again.
5. Coffee Shop
Make (or buy) a batch of cookies or muffins. Set out books, magazines, and candles. Brew your favorite cup and turn up some background music. Relish the blissful sips of clutter free life with family or friends!
We have a little putting mat that we bring into the living room now and then because…well, why not? Make a game of it and see who can sink the best out of ten putts. Winner gets to choose the snack.
7. Date Night Movie Night
After the kids are in bed, break out an appetizer extravaganza, whether its from your grocer’s frozen section or an exotic array of cheeses and fruit. You pick the food, fancy or fun, and hubby gets to choose the movie.
• What’s your favorite way to live — really live — in your living room?
• How does becoming clutter-free make it easier to enjoy life in your living room?
While you’re at it, how do you connect with your kids? Each of them has a different personality and each has different needs to feel loved. With 21 Ways to Connect to Your Kids, you’ll learn each of his/her personality traits and how to use that information to create real connection.
LEARN MORE >>>
“If God can do this for me, He can do it for anyone.”
“What if you gave up on your dream today, and tomorrow was the day that it came true.”
“Never let your dreams die!”
You’ve been working so hard – maybe it’s a business, a ministry, a relationship – and you realize it’s not happening. You keep praying and hustling and for some reason, some unknown reason, the thing that you knew was supposed to happen, the thing you felt in your bones was God’s will for your life, is not happening.
I’ve felt this several times.
- The job as manager of a bridal boutique when I was in my early 20’s.
- My first marriage.
- A radio show. (For two different major ministries.)
Oh there are many more. But these three? I remember where I was standing, what I was wearing, who I was with when that particular dream died.
One of these dreams was killed for me. It was a long painful death that caused me a lot of hurt and heartbreak. And the other two? I had to be the one to let it go – to make the decision that these particular dreams were over and it was time to move on.
Those were some of the hardest decisions of my life.
I was past the point of being sensible. Others saw that my dream was not going to happen. But I had those voices inside my head (and later, on Facebook) that told me differently.
“You and God can do anything.”
“Don’t give up on your dream!”
“With God, all things are possible.”
So I kept willing my dreams to stay on life support instead of letting them die with the dignity that they (and I) deserved.
Because even though everything is possible with God, it doesn’t mean God gives you every possibility.
Oh, I say I want God more than anything else. I know all the right things to say. But I want God through my dream. I want God to do what I want God to do, and give me my dreams so I can point to Him and say “Only God.”
But God promised his presence – not my presents.
So how do you let a dream die? Something that you’ve prayer for, prepared for, and invested in? How do you say goodbye? Here are some hard steps I’ve needed to wrestle through:
1 Acknowledge that it was important to you. This is not a time to be the fox with the grapes who said, “They probably were sour anyway.” So many times we try to explain away disappointment instead of feeling out way through it. It is good and right to grieve a dream that will never happen. It is important to acknowledge this was important to you. And then, there is a process of letting go. For me, this process involves praying, reading God’s word, talking with trusted people (my close circle of friends, my husband, my pastor,) and honestly, crying.
Looking at the five stages of grief that we go through when someone close to us dies, I think it’s interesting and helpful to note that we must go through those five stages when a dream dies.
1. Denial – refusing to let the dream die
2. Anger – Feelings of injustice that the dream is being taken away
3. Bargaining – Trying to make deals with God to get the dream back
4. Depression – Mourning the loss of the dream
5. Acceptance – Moving on and making room for a new dream.
But I believe for those of us who know God, there is a 6th step to grief.
6. Hope – We get to hope for better things. Yes, a dream has died, it is worth grieving. But when our faith is made real? We get to experience real hope.
If a dream is worth dreaming, it’s worth properly grieving.
2. Spend some time wrestling with God. It might be worth examining whether there was a reason God is withholding this particular dream. Is there something in my life that God is trying to get me to pay attention to? Is there sin that needs to be resolved? Or my favorite – has the dream become an idol. (Ugh – the ugly mirror.) Psalm 139:23 says “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” That is a bold verse to pray, but in order to have true breakthrough and understanding of what God is up to in our lives, we must be willing to confess every part we try to hide from God.
3. Understand that there is more than one way for a dream to happen. Maybe the dream isn’t dead – maybe the method is. Maybe you have been working, trying and striving, and God is saying, “Wait.” Maybe, this is not the right time, the right method, or the right person. The dream is alive, but the way is different.
4. Pay close attention to the other things God is doing in your life. Ten years ago, I wrote down 50 dreams I wanted to pray over and commit to God. 34 of those dreams have come to fruition. There are seven that I am still praying over. The other nine? I’ve come to understand that they are not part of God’s plan for my life.
And that is just fine with me.
When you see the other areas where God is moving and growing you, it’s easier to give up the things that no longer matter, that are no longer important. It’s so much easier to let a dream die when you have a record of all the great things He has done.
5. Make Room for God to give you a new dream. Just because the dream is dead, doesn’t mean the dreamer is. And the author of our lives? He is alive and waiting for you to take part in His amazing plan for your life.
Pray that God would give you the desires of His heart, so that when you dream, you can live bigger than even you can imagine.
Dream boldly. Great things have been accomplished because God’s people dared to dream boldly. But listen carefully. Is God doing something new in your life that you need to make room for?
What dream have you had to let die?
Many women find it easy to pray for the concerns and well-being of others. But when it comes to praying for themselves, it’s another story. If you are letting go of a dream and want to pray through your grief (which I highly recommend) Praying God’s Word for Your Life is a great tool to walk you through the experience.
In this book, I give you simple strategies that will:
· create a habit of praying with renewed boldness
· generate the desire for consistency in her prayer life
· provide proper expectations to see her prayers fulfilled in God’s ultimate plan for her life.
This post was previously posted two days before Mother’s Day last year. Here it is again to give you an early start!
How to Have a Great Mother’s Day
I’ve seen a huge number of articles on surviving Mother’s Day. All well-intentioned, but they just all came too late- the Friday before Mother’s Day is not enough time to put healthy thinking and guidelines into place.
But a month? A month I can work with.
So I’m putting a note on my calendar for April 10th to remind myself to read this article, and put a plan into place to make sure I’m well-taken care of for Mother’s day. It all some down to having a plan in place. Here are my three steps:
1. Plan Something
If you do not belong to a “planning family” (in other words, your kids are too young, or too unaware to plan anything, and this isn’t your husband’s strong suit,) make sure you plan something
yourself – whether it’s for yourself or your own mom, mother-in-law, or stepmom. There is nothing worse than sitting around on Mother’s Day, scrolling through your Facebook wall, looking at all the posts of well wishes from adoring husbands and cute kids.
Plan something and get off of Facebook. On Mother’s Day, Facebook is not your friend.
Get out of the house. go to the movies. Go on a hike (far enough away that you are out of cell range.) Go out with a friend, go out with your husband.
We celebrated on Friday night – which was great. We had most of our kids there, we had kabobs, it was lovely. But Sunday? Let’s just say I should have planned a hike. Next year – I’ll know better.
2. Order something.
Whether it’s flowers or a great book from Amazon, have a package ready to be ripped into for Mother’s Day, even if it’s for yourself. We ordered Shari’s Berries this year and boy – everyone was glad we did. We had more fun with strawberry pic with everyone (and they were so delish. I may have eaten more than my fair share. But it’s Mother’s Day.) I’m placing an order for next year. These turned our time together into a celebration.
3. Ask Something
Not every gift needs to be a surprise. Ask your kids to do something they are talented at to contribute to your celebration. My boys bought gifts (Jer can always be relied on to bring flowers, and Justen always shows up with a book he knows I’ll love,) but the girls contributed talents – Kimber made the cake, and Amanda did henna tattoos for each of us. Utterly unique, utterly special. Make your special request far in advance. Your child will be flattered you asked, and you’ll get to brag on your kiddos.
Be intentional. No one wants a martyr mom on Mother’s Day. Be sure to celebrate you.
I can’t wait!
This Spring I’ll be hanging out with over 6,000 moms from 40 states at the National Hearts at Home conference in Peoria, Illinois! It is the premier event for moms and I’d love for you to join the fun!
Women come to Hearts at Home conferences from all over the United States.
In addition to the fabulous keynote sessions by Duck Dynasty’s Missy Robertson and Hearts at Home founder, Jill Savage, there are dozens of workshops offered to design your day to meet your needs as a mom.
No matter if your kids are 2, 22, or 42, Hearts at Home is for YOU!
If you like a good deal, you’ll want to register by April 4 so you can save $30 on your registration for the National Conference!
It’s gonna be a blast! I’d love to meet you at Hearts at Home!
Are you going to be there?
Today I wanted to tell you about a new program from a good friend Shari Braendel. You may remember her from the podcast this past summer when we discussed your biggest fashion questions.
She has just launched a new resource for women who are looking to combine their passion for fashion to reach others for Jesus – the Christian Image Consultant Online Academy by Shari Braendel of Fashion Meets Faith!
The Christian Image Consultant Online Academy is a members-based online community for women who are feeling the call on their lives to share the love of Christ through the message of inner and outer beauty.
The Academy will give you the opportunity to be trained by the #1 Christian fashion consultant in the world, learn all the tips and tricks to enhancing the appearance of your God-given body, and teach you how to share that message with others – whether through event speaking, personal shopping, image consulting – or any avenue that you can dream of!
I am so enthusiastic about what the Christian Image Consultant Online Academy has to offer that I wanted to share it with you.
Become a part of the academy by clicking here.
I’m sure you’ll find Shari’s Christian Image Consultant Online Academy to be an incredible resource and an amazing new adventure in your walk with the Lord! Check out her video with more information.
In the spirit of full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, which means that I will receive a commission if you decide to purchase the Christian Image Consultant Online Academy. I only recommend products & systems that I trust, so I know you’ll be in good hands!
Guest Post by Sherri Wilson Johnson
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being on Kathi’s ministry team, it’s that a clutter free life is the way to go! To be honest, I’ve learned a lot more than just one thing, but that’s got to be the most important concept I’ve learned. When your life is free of clutter, you can become a world changer.
In 2015, I kicked a lot of clutter out of my house and my life and as a result became much freer. I applied Kathi’s principles and increased my business and even got up the courage to become an Indie author, self-publishing five of my Christian romances.
There are many things that are important to me, including the Lord, my family, friends, my church and my clients. I support Stop Hunger Now through my church because I can’t stand to think of people going hungry, and Compassion International because I love to see children being educated and their families being released from the cycle of poverty. That’s a carryover from my homeschooling days.
As a writer and entrepreneur, I work hard and when I’m able to take a vacation, I believe the only way to relax is in clutter free style. Our vacation in 2015 came two weeks after our son’s wedding, the wedding which jumpstarted our empty nest. I was ready to sit back, relax, read some books, work on my upcoming novel…and eat some ice cream. And that’s what I did!
We visited Cedar Key, Florida, the setting of my fifth book, Secrets Among the Cedars. Cedar Key is on the Gulf coast of Florida, down below the Suwannee River. It’s not your typical beach resort. It’s a nature coast with scrubby pines and marshes, lots of dolphins, and the most gorgeous sunsets you will ever see. Only about 700 people live there and everyone you meet is super friendly. It’s a great place to declutter your mind and your schedule.
In Secrets Among the Cedars, my heroine, Kathryn, is in Cedar Key to search for a murder weapon, but she doesn’t forget to eat plenty of the ice cream found in one of the local waterfront shops. Salted caramel turned out to be her favorite and it turned out to be mine too.
With warm weather approaching, I’m going to have to take a break from my 95% no sugar diet and indulge in some more of that great ice cream. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it back to Cedar Key this year or not, so I went searching for some homemade recipes. I pinned a few yummy looking ones to my Pinterest board and I found a super simple one at the Girl in the Kitchen blog. I hope you’ll join me in making some!
I’m giving away one print copy of Secrets Among the Cedars! Please leave a comment below telling me where your favorite place is to vacation and what your favorite treat is to eat when you’re there. Must have at least ten people to constitute the giveaway. Continental U.S. residents only. Winner will be chosen Friday, April 8th.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
Some secrets are better left buried…or are they?
Kathryn Bellamy is the Assistant D.A. for Perkins County, Georgia. After detectives fail to retrieve a missing murder weapon, she travels to Cedar Key, Florida to find it herself. She finds more than she ever bargained for when she meets Phil Tagliaferro, a former defense attorney.
Phil is drawn to help Kathryn when he learns she’s receiving threats—until he finds out their pasts are connected and his association with her could mean death for them both. Kathryn won’t leave Cedar Key until she has unearthed the secrets…and the murder weapon, but she can’t do that without Phil.
Secrets Among the Cedars brings two people from opposite sides of a case together with one goal in mind: Justice. What else will they find in the process?
Secrets Among the Cedars is available on Amazon in print and ebook!
Sherri Wilson Johnson writes Inspirational Historical Romance and Contemporary Romantic Suspense, and she’s a speaker and virtual assistant to authors and speakers. She lives in Georgia with her husband and her Chihuahua, Posey, and they are empty-nesters. Sherri loves spending time with family, vacationing at the beach, curling up with a good book and working on her current work-in-progress.
You can find out more about Sherri at her website: www.sherriwilsonjohnson.com
Salted Caramel ice cream photo credit
According to US Small Business Association, over half of all businesses are based out of the owner’s home. However, not all of those businesses are healthy, life-giving enterprises. What does it take to build a healthy home-based business? Give yourself a check-up with these 7 Vital Signs of a Healthy Home-Based Business:
- What is my ‘Why’?
- Does it connect to one of my passions?
- How would it effect me if I could no longer do this work?
- How does my work make me feel?
- Am I frustrated or fulfilled by my work?
- Do I have both long-term and short-term goals?
- Are they written down and placed where I see them often?
- Do I make big goals or easily attainable goals?
- Do I use my goals as filters for my decisions?
- In my line of work, what does success look like?
- What is my process from the beginning to the identified success?
- Am I flexible and willing to change the way I do things?
- Are there areas in which I could be more efficient?
- Do I have a business plan and budget?
- Do I follow said budget?
- Am I paying bills and filing taxes on time?
- Do I need outside help with financial issues?
- Am I using credit responsibly?
- Are my clients pleased with my products and/or services?
- Do clients refer me to others?
- Do I have a way for clients to evaluate my work?
- Where can I improve my process or product to make sure that my client is completely satisfied with the work I do?
- How does my work contribute to family life?
- How is my work a detriment to family life?
- Do I need to ease up on what I commit to?
- What are my kids learning through my work?
- How can I involve them more?
- How does my spouse or significant other feel about my work?
- Does my work drain me or energize me to be with my family?
- What are my top strengths?
- What is my strategy for investing in my own professional growth?
- Where can I find resources that will help me grow?
- What conference might I attend this year?
- What book(s) might help me take my work to the next level?
- Am I willing to network?
- Am I willing to be coached on maximizing my strengths and working around my weaknesses?
Make a quarterly appointment with yourself to run though this check-up!
What other “vital signs” of a healthy home-based business would you add?
As someone who is constantly working to keep on clutter, I have to say that office supplies and kitchen gadgets are my Clutter Free Kryptonite.
So giving other decluttering warriors a list of office supplies to get is a bit like publishing the Girl Scout Cookie menu at a Weight Watcher’s meeting.
But, as you know, I’m not about living an austere minimalist life. I’m all about having the tools you need to get the stuff done in life that you are designed to do. So with that in mind, here is my list of must haves for your home office (but do yourself a favor and stay out of the accessory aisle at Office Max. That just leads to regret and despair the next day.)
- Colored Stapler
I got this idea from Cheri Gregory, a long-time teacher who has a red stapler in her classroom, so whenever a student is looking for the stapler, all Cheri has to do is say “Look for the red!”
I of course, do not have a red stapler (because as a redhead, I’ve had a life-long aversion to red and pink…) so my stapler is aqua blue and it makes me happy every time I see it. And office supplies that make you happy, are a must.
- Wireless Headset for Phone
“How cute…” you think to yourself. “She still uses a real phone – just like Carol on the Brady Bunch…” Yes- I still use a real, wired into the wall, phone. (I do radio interviews, and they insist on having a land line.) But, I also have a wireless headset so that I can walk around, clean my desk, take notes on my computer, do laundry, and pretty much, keep being awesome while I’m talking on that phone.
- Coffee Warmer
My coffee warmer is responsible for most of my great ideas. I love this low-tech gadget because it keeps me supplied in warm coffee, without having to go up and down to the microwave ever fifteen minutes. (And you know that every time you get up from your thinking place, the potential of losing a brilliant idea triples.)
- Amazon Echo
This is like having a personal assistant at your desk. I love my Echo (her name is Alexa,) because she is just sitting there, waiting for me to tell her what to do (that’s the dream, right?)
The list of what I use Alexa for keeps growing:
• Creating shopping lists (“Hey Alexa, add cat food to my shopping list.”)
• Adding items to my to-do list (“Hey Alexa, add go to dry-cleaners to my to-do list.”)
• Playing music
• Checking the weather
• Setting a timer for 15 minutes to focus my time
• Setting a reminder
• Reordering things on Amazon
If you’re not familiar with the Echo, check it out on Amazon!
- Wall Calendar
Yes- I have a perfectly good calendar on my computer. Why would I need one on my wall? It’s all about saying no.When I have a visual reminder of what my month – and next month – already look like time-wise, it helps me to not over-commit my time and energy. Plus, it’s a great reminder to pray for my upcoming work and projects.
Because of my color-coding, I can quickly see when I’m working too much, when I’m not spending enough tie with Roger, and more. It helps me insure that my life is in balance every single day of my busy month.
So what are your office must haves? Tell me in the comments below so I can test-drive a few and report back in a later blog post.