Tag Archives: guest post

Remembering the Gift – A Deeper Waters Guest Post

Recently my friend Denise Hughes reached out to me and asked if I wanted to participate in her study of the book of James over at her Deeper Waters site. It is always an honor to be asked by fellow writers that I esteem to join in their ministry and so I happily said yes.

We each had to choose a set of verses in James to study further and write on. I knew immediately which verses I wanted or should I say needed to write on.

James 1: 19-25 specifically addresses anger. This has long been a struggle for me. My temper has caused hurt and pain and I continue to have the opportunity to practice a different response.

It just so happened that I learned from one of those opportunities recently and I am sharing my heart over at the Deeper Waters site this morning. I would love if you would join me over there and I encourage you to sign up for the daily emails and keep walking through the book of James with us!

Happy Monday!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Deeper Waters website

#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“!

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