Right now, I’m experiencing the post Easter hangover that so many of us, with less than perfect families, are experiencing.
• I spent way too much money on Easter baskets no one in my family really liked. (I was tempted to ask them for the candy back, but I resisted.)
• The NINE DOLLARS worth of strawberries I bought on Thursday were rotted when I went to cut them on Sunday.
• When we texted our second oldest “Where are you?” to find out where he was for our 1:00 lunch, his response? “For what?”
Maybe you had some of your own crazy going on:
• Your kids didn’t say thank you for the toys your in-laws brought over.
• You cooked all day Saturday and half of Sunday, and someone had the nerve to ask you why there wasn’t any artichoke dip.
• Your brother got drunk and obnoxious. At EASTER.
If your Easter didn’t go according to plan, let me just remind you of this:
New life isn’t just about eternity. It’s about Mondays too.
Luke 1:78 “A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful.” GWT
We don’t have to leave the new life in God until next Easter. We get to celebrate each and every new day, each and every day.
God loves a do-over.
Go into today with new hope for what God can do.
Go into today forgetting the perfect Easter that every other family had (and by the way, stick with the friends who share about their kids saying a “grown-up word” when there was nothing in their little orange plastic egg. Those are the friends you need for a lifetime.)
Go into today knowing what we celebrated yesterday: a Christ that cherishes you enough to give you everything he had so he could be in relationship with you forever.
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase Scripture memorization? I used to associate that with “Super Christians.”
I’d look at my friends who regularly memorize God’s Word and think:
I’ll never be able to do that.
I’m just not disciplined enough.
I can barely remember my important phone numbers.
I’ll just stick to prayer. I can do that one.
Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? You’re not alone.
A few years ago, motivated by anxiety and desperate reliance on the Lord, I finally gave scripture memorization try. Let me tell you — memorizing Scripture has transformed my spiritual life and relationship with the Lord! I learned by trial and error, but once I settled into a grove, I realized that Scripture memorization was all about a simple three-step process:
1. Choose a line or passage that is MEANINGFUL TO YOU.
Why is it so natural for us to memorize our favorite songs? Because something in the lyrics resonates with us. If you turn on the radio and try to memorize the first song you hear, you’ll probably struggle. In the same way, it will be difficult to memorize a random piece of Scripture. All of God’s Word is precious, but choosing a piece of Scripture that sticks out to you will be most effective for memorizing.
During this difficult season in my life, I found comfort in Psalm 23, so that was the piece I chose to memorize.
2. Write it down with pen and paper.
Okay, call me old school, but there is research behind memory and the physical act of writing something down in your own handwriting. It really does help with the memorization process!
3. Recite chunks of your handwritten passage out loud to yourself.
The key here is repetition and speaking out loud. Again, there is research about memorization and auditory recitation. You only need 5 minutes before bed to recite your passage. Add a little more each night until you’ve memorized the entire scripture, including the reference.
I’m convinced that after your first successful memorization you’ll be hooked! You’ll see that despite the message of the little voice inside your head, you CAN memorize scripture, and you’ll reap the benefits of hiding God’s word in your heart, as it influences your every day life.
Pick a passage that resonates with you and start memorizing tonight!
“You word is a lamp upon my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105
Kelsee Keitel is a graduate student, writer and speaker, living in Indianapolis, IN, with her newlywed husband. She is passionate about cultivating sisterhood through vulnerability and introducing young women to the freedom and abundance of life in following Christ. When Kelsee is not snuggled up with a book and sipping tea, she can be found experimenting in the kitchen or chatting with her mom.
You can read more about Kelsee’s ministry, Detangled&Free, over at kelseekeitel.com or connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.
I have an overwhelmed heart. It’s not because my calendar is crammed full of responsibilities, social gatherings or obligations though.
I’m overwhelmed with the mundane.
• Overwhelmed with two toddlers who need my attention for what feels like every minute of the day.
• Overwhelmed that the moment all the laundry gets folded and put away it’s time to start all over.
• Overwhelmed by the dishes that never seem to be done. The day-in-and-day-out responsibilities never end.
And it makes me weary.
This is a unique sense of being overwhelmed, one less talked about. But it is a reality for all.
Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling undone by the mundane. I mean, mundane is better than a crisis, right? Of course. Yes.
But our feelings – of being overwhelmed from the day-to-day grind – are still valid. It’s real and a daily struggle for many of us. So what do we do with our beat-down hearts?
Undone by the mundane
We engage our minds to bolster our hearts.
Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on things that are true, lovely, excellent and praiseworthy. So, what if in the middle of unloading the dishwasher for the umpteenth time this week, we think about what is praiseworthy about getting to unload a full dishwasher?
For example, as I’m putting away dishes, I praise Jesus for the simple fact that I have dishes to put away. Also, a dishwasher full of dishes is an indication that we ate well that week and no one is hungry.
Or when I’m folding my kids’ laundry that only seems to multiply, I think about what’s lovely about all of those clothes. My kids have never been in want for clothes that fit. They have warm clothes when it’s cold and cool clothes when it’s hot.
Shifting our mind to think on these things places a new song in our heart. It’s one of gratitude, awareness and renewal. In doing so, gradually the mundane begins to melt away, and you feel overwhelmed in a completely new way. You’re overwhelmed with thankfulness.
This isn’t an easy practice to start, I know. It’s hard when our hearts are tired. But it is worth it, friend!
Pick one mundane activity this week, something you despise even and consider Philippians 4:8 in light of that activity. How can you turn your mind toward things that are true and pure about that activity to bolster your heart?
Try it for one week with one activity, and I promise you will see change in your mundane.
(As for me, I have linens to move from the washer to the dryer. I’m choosing to think about how wonderful it is to have fresh-smelling bed sheets.)
One Small Win: Identify one activity this week you dread and begin thinking about what is pure, lovely or admirable about that activity. Then, pay attention to how God begins changing your heart toward that mundane act!
Kate Hollimon delights in helping women learn their God-given purpose while growing in Christ through the study of scripture. Kate is a speaker and blogger who designed the Live Your Purpose Workshop Live Your Purpose Workshop to help women discover their purpose to glorify God. Kate is married to her husband Matthew of seven years and together they have two kiddos – a boy and a girl – and are in the thick of sippy cups, potty training, temper tantrums and peanut butter and jellies. You can connect with Kate at www.katehollimon.com.
We all struggle with identity—who we are, why we are, and what we have to offer. About the time we start to feel good about ourselves, something happens to leave us fully aware of what we lack. A harsh word. A wounded relationship. A mistake, misstep or failure. Then, in spite of our best efforts to get over it and move on, we end up ‘hoarding’ people and stuff at an effort to make ourselves feel more secure.
When it comes to this epidemic of misplaced identity, few people have earned the right to be heard like my friend Michele Cushatt. Michele knows what it’s like to lose her footing and wonder who she is. But she also know what it’s like to push through the darkness, to cry out to God for mercy, and to discover the miracle of a God who delivers exactly what she needs most of all.
I’m a hoarder. Not in the sense of the reality television show, thank heavens. I can’t watch that horror for even five minutes without developing hives.
No, you will not find piles of junk or garbage or trinkets clogging my house from floor to ceiling. I’m quite the opposite. A neat freak to the core. I like it that way.
But when it comes to food, I tend to stockpile. Perhaps it’s because I’m a foodie at heart. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am the primary chef for a large and chronically hungry family. That means planning and preparing meals takes up a large chunk of each day. Not to mention multiple two-shopping-cart trips to the grocery store.
Helloooooooo, second mortgage.
Or maybe my food hoarding has nothing to do with those things at all. Perhaps, at root, it’s more about fear.
When it comes to food, I like the safety of stocking up. Not that I eat it; I simply need it nearby. Just in case. This urge to guard against hunger only increased after multiple surgeries that compromised my ability to eat normally. I’m afraid of starving without the resources to be fed. Feeding tubes and no food by mouth for months at a time will do that to a girl.
My chronic hunger goes beyond food, however. There’s a soul hunger I find myself equally compulsive to satisfy.
A hunger for approval from those I love.
A longing for meaningful relationships.
A need to know I’m doing a good job and pleasing those I most respect.
A desire for my life to count and to capture the attention of the Creator.
Although the cure for this hunger may not be as obvious as grocery store runs and cooking marathons, the fallout can be far more dangerous.
John 4 tells of a woman who understood starvation of the soul. A Samaritan with a sordid history, she met the Savior one day while drawing water from the community well. What began as a daily chore turned into a life-changing encounter.
“Will you give me a drink?” This was the first thing Jesus said to the woman (John 4:7).
She hesitated, confused by His crossing of gender and racial barriers by speaking to her. He was a Jew, she a Samaritan. Two cultures that mixed as well as oil and water. And yet He had spoken to her, had asked her for a drink. She questioned why:
“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (v. 9).
He responded in riddle, encouraging her to think beyond the physical well and physical water:
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water . . . Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:10, 13–14).
His riddle must have perplexed her as it perplexes me. Living water? Water that never needs to be replenished? Thirst that never comes back? That’s quite a promise.
And yet promise it He did. According to John, the woman had five husbands and was living with a man she wasn’t married to. We don’t know much about her story, but it’s safe to assume she’d been “hoarding” relationships because her heart was desperate to be fed.
I don’t have a history of five husbands, but I know what it’s like to find my filling in lesser places. In my hunger of heart and soul, I’ve been known to compromise what is right and good to find a scrap of attention I desperately needed. The problem is the things I thought would satisfy made me even thirstier than before.
Have you ever been there? Do you know the desperation that can lead you to find satisfaction in a temporary well? And it’s not always other people that pull us from the living water. At times it’s money. Or food. Or success. Or awards. Or the next promotion. Or the drive to be perfect.
We’ve become experts at quenching our thirst with lesser loves. But like addicts who always need a bigger hit, we find nothing ever satisfies.
We need a different kind of well with a different kind of water.
And, thank the Lord in heaven, we have one.
He offers to quench our every thirst and feed our hungry souls, day after day. He is not turned off by our need, nor annoyed by our regular walks to the well of His presence. He knows before we do exactly what our souls crave.
And He promises to dish out a feast that can’t possibly compare to any other fare.
Pulling from her experiences of raising children from trauma, a personal life-threatening illness, and the devastating identity crises that came to her family as a result, Michele creates safe spaces for honest conversations around the tensions between real faith and real life.
The words of Michele’s most recent book—I Am: A 60-day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is—were penned during her long and grueling recovery from a third diagnosis of cancer during which she was permanently altered physically, emotionally and spiritually. In it, she speaks with raw honesty and hard-earned insight about our current identity epidemic and the reasons why our best self-help and self-esteem tools aren’t enough to heal our deepest wounds.
Michele and the love of her life, Troy, live in the mountains of Colorado with their six children, ages 9 to 24. She enjoys a good novel, a long run, and a kitchen table filled with people. Learn more about Michele at michelecushatt.com.
Description of I Am
From the moment a woman wakes until she falls, exhausted, on her pillow, one question plagues her at every turn:
Am I enough?
The pressure to do more, be more has never been more intense. Online marketing. Self-help books. Movies, magazines and gym memberships. Even church attendance and social media streams have become a means of comparing ourselves to impossible standards. Am I pretty enough? Hip enough? Spiritual enough?
We fear the answer is “No.”
When a brutal bout with cancer changed how she looked, talked, and lived, Michele Cushatt embarked on a soul-deep journey to rediscover herself. The typical self-esteem strategies and positivity plans weren’t enough. Instead, she needed a new foundation, one that wouldn’t prove flimsy when faced with the onslaught of day-to-day life.
With raw personal stories, rock-solid biblical teaching, and radical truths on which to rebuild your life, I Am will help you:
- End the barrage of negative self-talk with an empowering new narrative.
- Refuse to ride the rollercoaster of others’ opinions and start believing what God’s says about you.
- Stop agonizing over past regrets and failures and make peace with God’s sovereign plan for your life.
- Leave insecurity behind as you exchange temporary fixes for an identity established on God’s unchanging affection.
I Am reminds us that our value isn’t found in our talents, achievements, relationships, or appearance. It is instead found in a God who chose us, sent us, and promised to be with us—forever.
I had failed.
My failure felt huge, as if someone had come into our backyard with a backhoe and dug a hole as large as our house. And now I was sitting by the hole—broken, beaten down, discouraged—trying to fill this huge hole back up with one teaspoon of dirt at a time.
For me, this feeling of having failed big time—so big that I couldn’t imagine any hope of repair—happened in my coaching business.
Have you felt failure?
Maybe you’ve felt this way, too.
- Maybe you felt defeated in a relationship with someone you loved. Now you are no longer speaking.
- Maybe you’re blaming yourself for your child’s poor choices.
- Maybe you tried something new at work only to have it backfire.
The exact details of my failure aren’t important. Let’s just say they involve regretting a large financial investment, hurting from many misunderstandings, and feeling totally discarded. As if all of a sudden, my work and I didn’t matter any more.
A failure too big?
As I processed the pain and loss, I began to change my thoughts about this event, which originally felt like a failure “too big to fix.”
Changing my perspective on “success” and “failure” actually helped me to gain more momentum than if the “failure” had never happened.
For years, I wrongly believed success in business meant I would reach a point when I no longer “failed”.
Do you feel this way about parenting, work or relationships? Are you just waiting for the day when you make your last mistake?
Here are a few new ways I’ve learned to look at failure from studying high achievers.
- They accept making mistakes is a natural part of succeeding.
- They learn from their mistakes.
- They do not allow the fear of failure to hold them back.
God never stopped working in my failure
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably way too hard on yourself when you make a mistake.
Maybe you feel like you’re sitting by a huge hole. A failure of your own that feels too big to fix! Trying to fill it back up with a teaspoon.
God honors the smallest thing we do. It’s as if He comes in behind us and throws in shovelfuls of dirt when we aren’t even looking. Over time, the hole fills back up.
One Small Win: Today, let go of putting so much pressure on yourself by expecting a “failure-free” life. Instead, accept when you make mistakes or even fail, God still works.
Success isn’t all “up to you.”
Watch and be astounded at what I will do. For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.” Habakkuk 1:5
How does it change things for you to realize that failure is a necessary part of success?
Mary Lou Caskey trains Christian coaches and communicators to influence hearts through the power of story. If you want to become a transformative story-teller, click here to connect with Mary Lou and get her free quiz, “Is It the Best Time to Share a Personal Story?”
I struggle with bitterness.
It’s not something I love to admit, but it’s my reality.
Struggling with the same issue over and over is like being drawn into the warm glow of a campfire only to realize you’ve actually stepped into a raging inferno – again. It’s ugly. It’s exhausting. And it’s overwhelming.
Holding my bitterness captive
When God brought my struggle with bitterness to light in my early 20s, I took hold of a simple, yet powerful way to combat it: a notecard with a Bible verse written on it.
I know, I know, this seems too simple to have any type of impact. But let me share with you how it helped me hold my bitterness captive.
In my mid-20s, several of my friends married. They found their Prince Charming’s and set off into the sunset. I sludged away at work and the single life. It wasn’t where I wanted to be.
I had yet another friend get engaged, and I was asked to be an honorary bridesmaid (yes, not a real bridesmaid, but a JV bridesmaid). I was still honored to have been asked, so I agreed. One of my other single girlfriends and I fulfilled our bridesmaid responsibilities together for our mutual friend. However, over the course of our friend’s engagement, I noticed my friend’s snide remarks and expressing her desire for the wedding to be over. She was cold, calloused, and angry. In other words, she was bitter.
And it made me sad.
The ravaging of bitterness
I had an up-close-and-personal view of bitterness and how it ravaged her. And I knew I didn’t want that to be me.
It was after this I claimed scripture over this sin in my life.
Enter the notecard with a verse written on it.
When faced with circumstances that caused my bitterness to rear its ugly head, I took a notecard and wrote a scripture on the notecard that specifically pertained to my struggle. Then I carried it on me. Literally. I folded the card and kept it in my back pocket. And whenever those ugly feelings of bitterness seeped up, I whipped out my notecard and read the verse over and over.
And you know what happened?
As those words permeated my heart and mind, bitterness began to erode. Suddenly, my bitter heart was now one defined by joy and peace because of the transforming power of scripture.
One Small Win: If you’re stuck in the overwhelm of bitterness – or any other sin that seems impossible to overcome – get your pen and notecard, then find the Bible verse that will be your battle cry. When those moments of temptation arise, divert your eyes and heart to the notecard with truth written on it. Soak up the truth and walk in it!
So, what’s your struggle? Grab a pen, notecard and your Bible and take your first step toward claiming victory!
Here are a few scripture recommendations if you need to let go, move forward or live boldly!
Kate Hollimon delights in helping women learn their God-given purpose while growing in Christ through the study of scripture. Kate is a speaker and blogger who designed the Live Your Purpose Workshop to help women discover their purpose to glorify God. Kate is married to her husband Matthew of seven years and together they have two kiddos – a boy and a girl – and are in the thick of sippy cups, potty training, temper tantrums and peanut butter and jellies. Connect with Kate at www.katehollimon.com.