Category Archives: Guest post

#ReadItPrayIt

ReadItPrayIt

It is a joy for me to share with you a guest post today and a fun product that I know you will love! I met Kimberly through blogging and in person this past October at Allume! She has such a sweet heart for God’s Word and she has designed a product that is available on Etsy and it is the perfect way to dive into scripture even more! Thanks so much for being here Kimberly!

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Over the last few years, my little ones and I have been discovering the Word of God together. It started when my kids were young and I realized they had the ability to memorize Bible verses. As they got a bit older, I began to incorporate the scriptures we were learning into the prayers.

To help us along I created a set of 3×5 cards. On the front of the card it says “Read It”. That’s where the memory verse is printed. On the back of the card it say “Pray It”. There you’ll find the verse turned into a prayer. The topics cover such things like God’s protection (to prevent fear), courage (to make new friends at school), and thankfulness (to help them appreciate what they have).

We don’t just use these cards for scripture memorization. Here are a handful of other ways we’ve used them:

  • As a mini devotional. We read the Bible verse on the front of the card. Sometimes we look it up in another translation or read about it in a commentary to get a better sense of the context in which it was written. Then we talk about what the verse means. Once we are done, we close our time with the prayer that’s on the back of the card.
  • On the go as a pick me up. My kids like to keep a set in the their backpack or on hand in their room. They can go straight to the scripture that speaks to their situation, find encouragement, and pray. I like to keep a set in my purse or in my car. When I have a moment to spare, I pull them out, read them, meditate on them, and pray.
  • As prayers at bedtime. The cards guide us to pray about different topics each evening so that our prayers don’t become as predictable as our bedtime routine. Praying the many promises God has set out in His word acquaints us with who He is and what He desires to do in our life.

It’s been so amazing to see the spiritual growth of my children over the years and it is all because the Word of God has been planted in their heart through scripture memorization and prayer.

The cards I mentioned above are free to download on my blog, however, if you prefer the convenience of receiving these cards professionally printed, trimmed, and delivered to your mailbox, you can purchase them in my Etsy shop. Choose from a variety of topics or purchase the Starter Set that includes all 48 cards shared on my site.

In my shop you will also find NEW scripture cards available in 3 month, 6 month, and 1 Year subscriptions. They are available in the form of a digital download or printed product. The first set ships in August.

Kimberly

Kimberly Amici is a writer, designer, and community builder whose desire is for hearts to be healed, minds to be renewed, and women to be connected in fellowship just as God intended. She is known for her creativity, strong faith, and commitment to living life with purpose and passion. She is the co-founder and managing editor at Circles of Faith and a writer at Faith Gateway. She also blogs at Living in the Sweet Spot. Kimberly lives with her husband Carl and their three children in the NYC suburbs.

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Unconventional Friendships – An (in)Courage Guest Post!

Incourage Friendship Post

Just under 6 short years ago a website was born who’s heart and mission it was to encourage women, gather them together, and equip them to serve well where God had planted them. That site is (in)courage and was one of the first community sites that I started reading after I started blogging myself.

Each morning a post would fill my inbox that gave me hope, brought me laughter and helped me feel like I wasn’t alone. You see making friends hasn’t ever been easy for me. I tend to isolate. And so having a little piece of friendship in my inbox each morning was such a  gift.

And so today it is with excitement and honor that I get to share a little of my journey to some “unconventional” friendships on the (in)courage site. I would love to have you join me there. While some of my dearest friendships have come in an unexpected way, it has reminded me that God can and will use any situation to gather His daughters together!

Because God knew my secret longings for friendship, and He provided it in the most unconventional way…(<====Click to Tweet)

And if you haven’t already been receiving the emails from (in)courage every day – sign up here so that you too can receive these free daily emails of encouragement in your inbox! You will be glad that you did! 🙂

Making Time to Be Intentional in Your Prayer Life

As I write this post I am sitting in a beautiful rental home that our extended family gathered in over Christmas. The fireplace is flickering and warming the room, the sun is shining and right now I have some time to reflect by myself.

Battle Lake 3

It is easy to see God’s beauty in a place like this. The frozen lake glimmers with light from the sunset, the Christmas lights offer a warmth and glow to the home. It is perfect. And when things are perfect…well, I can find it hard to take time to be intentional with my prayer time with God.

Battle Lake 1

Do you struggle with that too?

Sure I cry out to Him when things are rough. I know all to well the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness…of trying to make sense of the hard and ugly places that life has taken us at times. God becomes my 1-800-helpline as I demand changes and results.

But this week, surrounded by family and beauty…all my wants and desires are met, and so my quiet time with God is pushed aside.

This isn’t how I want to live my days though. Seeking after God only when I have a need. No I want to develop a relationship with Him that is one of intentional seeking of His plan and purpose for my life. A relationship built on faith and trust and one that comes with an intentional seeking of His face each and every day.

Several months ago I was invited to participate in a 40 day prayer journey. A friend was starting Mark Batterson’s 40 Day Prayer Circle Challenge and she asked if we were interested in keeping each other accountable through it. I had heard encouraging things from others that had gone through it so I joined in.

I bought the audio book so that I could listen to the devotionals in the morning. In one of the first days Mark encouraged us to get a prayer journal and to start writing out our prayers. He said that when we write out the prayers, big and small, we can then go back and see how God had answered our prayers.

And so began my 40 day prayer journey. I am sharing more about my prayer journey over at Christen’s site for her 21 Day Prayer Challenge. Will you join me over there?!

God Creates Us

Adoption Awareness

It is an honor to have my friend Kristin here today. She and I were both on the God-sized Dream Team together and she also is a writer at the GSD website! Kristin recently launched a new e-book called Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & Family. It is a beautiful story filled with God’s redemption and Kristin’s transparency. I am so excited that she has agreed to share a little of her story here today!

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“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)

God surprised me over and over again in the best ways throughout Cate’s adoption process, but one of the biggest visible surprises was Cate herself. With an Iranian birth father, we expected her to have olive-toned skin.

Instead people debate whether she looks most like Greg or me. We both have blue eyes; she has gorgeous brown eyes that soak up details. She’s always had defined eyes, which seem to have come from her birth father who we’ve never met. Cate tans well and has always had dark hair. It’s lightened some in recent years, making it closer to her birth mom’s hair color.

When people comment on how she looks like me, I pause for a moment because I want to tell them her story, our story. We may not share DNA, but I’m raising a mini-me who was meant to be my daughter.

The similarities go beyond looks. Cate and I are both stereotypical first-borns. She is stubborn, tells detailed stories, likes crafts, loves her friends, wants to have a plan, and has perfectionist tendencies – just like me.

And yet she’s not like me, especially as a child. She’s not afraid of most new things, speaking in front of people doesn’t scare her, she laughs easily, and she wants to play sports. I’m more adventurous as an adult than I ever was as a kid. She makes me proud the way she faces life.

I welcome the similarities because I didn’t expect them with adoption. Maybe it’s our common dark brown hair that prompts people to say she looks like me. Perhaps it’s the skin tone. But it could be the way she responds like me. She likes to make her friends cards, especially when they’re sad or sick. She likes to help me in the kitchen. She likes to take (and plan!) road trips. And each night before she goes to bed, she asks me what we’re doing the next day.

Sometimes I catch myself scolding her for behavior that’s just like mine. Ouch. I see my weaknesses in her and cringe, not because she disappoints me but because I disappoint myself and I know she’s watching. We both get cranky when we’re tired and have been known to break when our plans break.

I watch her live and laugh and write and play and imagine and worry and ponder and plan. And I know that even in my imperfect perfectionist-leaning mothering ways, this girl is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

God knew when I cried out to him to become pregnant that we would have this story. God knew he was going to make us a family through adoption – through THIS adoption. God knew her brown eyes because he created them. He created every single one of her eye lashes and every hair on her head. He knew how she would laugh and that her stories would be long. He knew how we would fit together.

She’s taught me nurture trumps nature because biologically speaking she wasn’t created within me. But I know without a doubt she was created to be my daughter. I understand her. I yearned for her. I learn from her every day. Her story is my story because through it God rescued my heart. (<====Click to Tweet)

His works are indeed wonderful.

Kristin Hill Taylor

Kristin Hill Taylor tells about the two adoption processes that followed a hard season of infertility in “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family,” which is available at Amazon. She believes in taking road trips, living in community, and seeking God as the author of every story – many of which she shares at www.kristinhilltaylor.com. She lives in Murray, Kentucky, with her college sweetheart husband and their two kids.

Under His Wings

Eagle 1

I received a small plaque as a wedding shower gift with a picture of an eagle and a Bible verse on it.  The familiar Isaiah 40:31 “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” 

I hung it on a small nail right above the light switch in our bedroom in our old house. For 13 years I would see that plaque as I entered and exited the bedroom and that verse would eventually became one of great comfort to me.

I am not a very patient person by nature. Alright if we are being honest, I am not a patient person AT ALL. In fact when I would pray for patience God would give me plenty of opportunities to “practice” and I pretty much failed every time. I have since stopped praying for patience! 😉

So waiting on the Lord wasn’t something that came easily to me.

And because I also struggle with control, I often take life, and the lives of those around me in my own hands. If everyone would just listen to all my wisdom, things would be so much easier wouldn’t it? ahem…clearly God has had some tough work to do with the likes of me!

My husband and I married at a young age. Pregnant with a son at 21, we were ill equipped to be husband and wife, and even more so, parents. I had a “white picket fence” idea of of what marriage and motherhood should look like and when things started to get difficult I didn’t know what to do.

I had what I thought was a “relationship” with God, and a belief that Jesus had died for my sins, but the way that I invested in that relationship was by crying out to God when things were tough, and begging Him to fix the problem (aka my husband – because clearly I was a saint). I didn’t praise Him for the good things, I didn’t spend time in His Word…I just called on His 1-800-CRISIS line when it suited me.

Have you ever been there? So self-righteous and sure that you are in the right, so quick to point fingers and control? Hard headed and stubborn? No – it’s just me?

I am honored to be sharing this full post over at Katie’s blog today. She is doing a series on the Psalms and it was a blessing to study and reflect on Psalm 91.

Psalm Series

Photo Credit: Carl Chapman

Lessons I Learned from My Daughter

Mess 1

My only daughter is a bit of a hoarder.

She is three and fiercely independent, and apparently has a problem sharing her things. She will make piles with all of her favorite toys in the middle of her room, add a bag of chips and her new beach towel and she is set and her room is off limits!

I will “encourage” her to go and clean her room. And since we are all friends here and I am sharing a bit of my reality…she doesn’t listen to a word that I say. She instead will “encourage” me to clean it for her. Ahem – it is a time of training for both of us.

She is holding tightly to those things that she thinks she can control, testing boundaries and seeking to find her place in our family.

And I realize that I am no different in my Father/Daughter relationship with God.

I did the whole “accepted Jesus in my heart” prayer when I was a pre-teen. I heard a woman’s story of redemption, and her call to pray a simple prayer. I said the prayer with expectation but didn’t feel a change.

I figured I must have done it wrong. So each time I had the opportunity to say that prayer, I did…I assumed that at some point it would “take.”

My teenage and early adult years weren’t easy – whose are really?! But I didn’t have a relationship with God because I didn’t feel worthy. My life was always such a mess.

God wants us right in the middle of our mess because it’s the perfect place for Him to shine through our imperfections.

I walked through life knowing I was a hypocrite.

So I worked really hard at trying to “get it together”. Instead of embracing the failures as opportunities for growth and thanking God for the grace He gives me, I tried to just be better, do better, act better…because maybe then I would earn the right to be one of His.

That merry-go-round is exhausting isn’t it?!

It has been an honor to be a part of the Rhinestone Jesus launch team and today I had the opportunity to share a “Yes in my mess” guest post! You can read the rest of this post over at Kristen Welch’s blog “We Are That Family“!

Why Our Individual Stories Matter

Journal 1

The word “blog” was something I hadn’t even heard of until early 2008. My husband and I had tickets to attend a Selah/Point of Grace concert and we heard that the lead singer of Selah wasn’t going to be able to attend. His wife was carrying a baby that was “incompatible with life” and she was due to deliver the same week as the concert.

The radio station gave the name of Angie Smith’s blog, and asked us to pray.

I wasn’t even sure what I would find on this blog, but I wanted to read more about this family. So that night, while using my incredibly slow dial up internet service, I logged on and found myself engrossed in a story I hadn’t expected.

Here was a woman, who had made a choice to carry a baby they were being told wouldn’t survive, and she was praising God in the middle of it.

I was heartbroken for her and yet inspired by her faith. My own prayer life changed as I found myself praying for Angie and her family. I watched as a community of strangers left comments and encouragement, offered up prayers and showered them with love.

Until that time I didn’t know that community could be formed online.

And then in February of that same year my husband and I had a miscarriage.  I was really struggling with the loss, even though it was early in the pregnancy, and I needed a way to process everything.

I had journaled as a teenager and thought that maybe this blog thing might help me. And so my first family blog was born.

I had 4 readers, literally 4. My parents and my grandparents. 🙂

Initially, I was writing for me….finding a way to work out my faith in this grief process I was going through.

The writing was healing for me and while I didn’t have an audience of 10,000….I was so encouraged by the community that I had seen form online that I kept going.

Then somehow I stumbled onto a few more blogs and “met” other women who were dealing with pregnancy loss and infertility struggles. I was not alone. And while none of us had the same story, I recognized that each individual story mattered.  (<=== Click to Tweet)

I am sharing the rest of the story over at Laura Rath’s blog today – will you join me over there?!

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Original Photo Credit: Walt Stoneburner modified by Kristin Smith

 

Hardships & Hopelessness

Family Pic 2

I had the incredible honor of sharing a part of my story over at Wifessionals today. I have always been so impressed by Kaitlyn’s heart for women. She has a genuine desire to help others, whether it is to grow their blog, promote their business or encourage them with stories of life and faith. When she asked me to share a bit of my story with you I was humbled at the opportunity. My hope is that this will touch someone in a similar situation and show that even in the darkest of times there is hope!

2011 – 2012 were difficult years for my family.  Here is a brief timeline – My husband had moved to a neighboring state for a new job we felt led to take, I was pregnant with our 4th child, we finally moved back together as a family after 8 months apart and then in the next 6 months both found ourselves unemployed and facing the real possibility of bankruptcy and foreclosure!

I went from feeling clearly that we were doing what God had called us to do, to completely doubting His voice and His plan.

It was a very dark time for me. Have you been there?

Have you ever found yourself in a place that you couldn’t have imagined you’d be and wonder why God had forgotten you?

I know that isn’t the “pretty” scenario I’d like to be able to portray to you, but apparently I am a little stubborn {ahem} and often times I have to learn my faith lessons backwards. So in an effort to keep it real I wanted to share about this time because in the end, I think you will be able to see the hope that sprang forth.

It was one thing for my husband to lose his job, that was scary yes but when my 13 year position was “outsourced” only 6 weeks later, well any thread of hope I had left was completely shredded.

I’d love to have you join me over at Kaitlyn’s blog to read the rest of my story! And if you blog there is a link up to share your own story as well!

God Works in Mysterious Ways – A Guest Post from my Grandpa!

I am so excited about sharing this post here. Below is a letter that my grandpa wrote and sent to several members of our family.  He has such a beautiful way on integrating family history with God’s truth.  I have asked for permission before sharing this but out of respect for him, will not be posting this on Facebook. I know you will be blessed by the wisdom he has to share!

September 22, 2013

Dear Family,

I am writing this to demonstrate that sometimes something one would consider to be a very unfortunate situation at the time later turns out to be a blessing. Without what happened to my Father, things would be very different today for all of us.

You see, my Dad was born in 1889 with a deformed left hip.  The ball and socket in his left hip were only partially formed. It was basically bone on bone. Doctors who have seen X-rays of his hip have wondered how he could walk at all. This was, of course, long before hip replacement surgery. As a result his left leg was shorter than his right leg. When he purchased a new pair of shoes, he would take them to our local shoemaker to have the left heel and sole built up so he could walk better.  He always used a cane when walking long distances, and in later years he seldom walked without some pain.  One could say:  “How unfortunate that God would allow him to be born that way!”  But there is more to the story.

Because Dad had this physical problem, he was unable to work in his father’s fields and follow in his father’s footsteps as a farmer in Sweden.  Instead, he left home at age 15 and began working in various machine shops, the last being a watch factory in Sweden.  (I still have the watch he purchased at that factory.)  He learned great mechanical skills in these shops and factories that he would later put to use here in America.

Thus this so-called unfortunate situation led to Dad’s emigration to America in 1909, his eventually starting an automobile garage and sales agency in Chisago City, MN in 1916, marrying and raising a family.  Now we are his descendants and also Americans, with all the blessings we have in this great country. Who knows what the outcome might have been if he had remained in Sweden as a farmer there.

I see the hand of God in all of this.  We can never fully understand His plans for us or for our lives.  Instead we must trust that He will always be with us, even during times that give us cause to question.

Love, 

Dad, Grandpa, & Great-Grandpa

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