May 20, 2017
I did something new this week. I went back to school.
Evidently my brain was due for a workout since, “I used to know this….” has been the catch-phrase of the week.
It’s no secret one of my favorite quotes is by a wise man, CS Lewis. He said: “You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” I’m glad God is in the business of new, aren’t you?
Have you felt a tug on your heart to step out in faith and reach for a new dream?
If you’re struggling to find answers I’ve got one for you. Head to the Word.
I say that because there’s this lie we believe about the Bible, the lie that we’ve been there, done that, heard that verse before. We know it. We’ve read it. We’re good. Notice the past tense? Have you ever had those thoughts? Yeah, me too. But those thoughts rob us like a thief in the night.
We’re not good. We’re far from good. Transformation comes from renewing our mind through the Word. You’re right, that’s in the Word and we’ve heard it before. Yet with every delicate page turned there’s something new to learn. We grow. We see things our eyes didn’t see before, because before is when we glazed over that one word that makes all the difference in what we need for today.
Have you read the passage about a place called Gethsemane? Me too. But this time it touched me so deeply. The weight of His Jesus’ sorrow is beyond our comprehension. Jesus knew what He would endure. The weight of our awful, horrific, devastating sin put upon the One who knew no sin. To be crushed beneath the weight like olives in a press. Aren’t we thankful for mercy and grace? He took our place.
Then there’s the way Jesus prayed: “He fell with His face to the ground.” I’ve read those words before yet the picture was missing. We’ve seen images of Jesus on His knees in the garden looking up to the Father, but evidently Jesus face down in the dirt isn’t picture worthy. This posture of prayer is a thing of beauty, a position of reverence and total submission. As He lies face to the ground, He asks the Father if the cup could be taken away.
Jesus’ prayer doesn’t end there though, it’s what comes next that teaches us the difference between what we want and what we should want…
“…Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39b
That’s key. Jesus prayed this prayer not once, not twice, but three times presenting the same request, yet in all those times He never wavered in submitting to the Father’s will over His own.
Am I prepared to accept God’s will over my own?
What God allows to happen in my life often times looks very different than what I would choose, but I’m still learning and He knows the big picture. My big picture is smaller than a speck of dust compared to the infinite grandeur of a picture God has designed. I need to trust the writing of my story to Him. He knows all.
Let’s not believe the lie that we’ve learned everything we need to know. Trying to depend on dusty knowledge will leave us stale and thirsty. It may serve us well for a time, but the well will run dry. Keep learning and stay fresh in the Word.
I’m thankful for this new journey at Liberty U. I know God led me to this place because I’m still not exactly sure how I got there. Boom. You’re back in school. What? I know, I said that earlier. But really, what?
Don’t lose sight of your big dreams and pray God’s will be done. He’s already made a Way.
Have these words touched you in some way? What dreams are you reaching for?
August 24, 2016
Have you ever felt your faith was being attacked? How did you react?
Today I welcome my friend and inspirational writer/blogger, Abby McDonald, for a visit here on Walking deeper. Abby and I met through a writing course and I’ve been so inspired by her words. I know you will be, too. Check out this encouraging guest post…
I looked at the words typed across my screen in disbelief, not knowing what to do. Should I ignore the person? Block them? My spirit stirred and I felt shaken, stumbling for my footing.
Sure it was social media and I couldn’t see the other person’s face. But it felt very personal. This guy was attacking my faith, something as vital to me as breathing. I remembered the words of Peter to the church and decided to answer his question.
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15 NIV
In a few sentences, this person was asking me to prove the existence of God. While I knew I couldn’t do this in 100 character tweets, I shared what I could. I told about answered prayers that couldn’t be explained. Things which couldn’t be justified by logic, reason and even doctors.
But no matter what I said, it wasn’t enough. More questions came pouring into my Twitter feed and when I brought up my testimony, another user decided to jump in.
If I was shaken before, at this point I was ready to retreat. An insult was hurled at the part of my story I hold most sacred, and I felt certain there was a spiritual battle taking place right there on my screen.
I stepped away from the phone and made my kids lunch, trying to put the comments out of my mind. But no matter how I tried to busy myself, the conversation kept circling through my head.
Then, God brought a verse to mind. At first, I dismissed it.
Scripture won’t satisfy their questions. They’ll come up with some sort of retort and it will only get worse.
But Paul’s words kept repeating themselves. They were the answer to the exact issue I was having explaining my testimony, my faith. Things which could only be explained using spiritual terms.
“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV
It was plain and simple, but I hesitated.
Then, in a spirit of boldness I addressed the scripture to the other user and waited. And waited. Nothing. No response or rebuttal.
At first, I was confused. Where was this person’s argumentative retort? Where was the question?
The next morning, I remembered the sword. Instead of trying to fight with logic, reason and facts, I had gone to the Word.
And the Word isn’t a dead weight that goes limp when we use it in our defense. It is living and active, able to divide soul and spirit. The same Word Jesus used when he defeated Satan in the wilderness, speaking truth unchanging in its power and application.
I don’t know what happened to the people who questioned me that day. I pray a seed was planted and the Spirit softens their hearts toward the truth. But I learned one thing.
There is a time to use logic and facts. Apologetics exists for a reason and has turned many toward the one true God.
But where logic fails, the Word of God stands. Its power goes beyond anything we can explain with our own reasoning. Tweet
Use it. Memorize it. And when your feet falter, its unwavering authority will give you a firm place to stand.
Abby McDonald is a mom, wife and writer who desires to show women the hope of Christ can be found in the middle of life’s messes. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, you can find her writing about her adventures on her blog, Fearfully Made Mom. You can connect with Abby on her blog, on Twitter or Facebook.
March 24, 2016
I’m a faker-baker.
I buy cake mixes in colorful packages, add oil, eggs, and poof, oven-ready batter.
Cookies? Same thing. I’m usually buying what the dough-boy is selling.
I used to feel inadequate for my lack of skills in the from-scratch department. It felt like a cheater, like that woman in the commercial dousing herself in flour, as if. Oh the guilt of depriving my family of the infamous Proverbs 31 woman. I’m sure she baked from scratch.
Truth is, I don’t love baking, I don’t even like it. Is it okay to say that out loud? Aren’t women supposed to bake scrumptious delights?
Maybe you have mad baking skills but you struggle in other areas, like parenting, gardening, balancing work and home, putting together an outfit minus the sweats…
Before we pull a muscle reaching for that bar we’ve raised too high (way too high) let’s remember, we are more than adequate in Christ. His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in our weakness. I’m not sure if that refers to baking or gardening, but no matter what, His grace is sufficient.
Aren’t we glad our worth isn’t measured by crafts, skills, or whether we’re first or last in the parent-pick-up line?
It’s okay if we bake cakes from colorful boxes. Do what brings joy.
Finding joy in everyday moments opens our eyes to God’s amazing gifts.
We don’t need to pretend we’re someone we are not. Let’s just be us. Let’s use the true gifts we’ve been given. A less-stressed us will bless our family and friends.
Speaking of friends, how about those friends who seem to have it all-together? We know comparison is the thief of joy, so instead of comparing ourselves to others let’s do this:
Let’s compare our old self to our new self. Let’s be thankful in how far we’ve come and how much we’ve grown. For me, it may not show in my baking skills but rather in what I’ve learned.
Baking the easy way doesn’t make me less of a woman and my family still loves what comes out of my oven.
I have gifts, you have gifts. Praise God they are not all the same. How boring would that be?
God is faithful, we’re a work-in-progress, and I’m so glad growth isn’t measured in sugar cookies.
How about you? Have you struggled with feeling less-than too?
Sister, when we start feeling those feelings rise up, let’s shut off the oven and let them fall flat.
I’m peeling off the label I plastered across on my own forehead. I’m not a faker-baker.
I’m a God’s girl who doesn’t love baking and that’s okay.
What label will you peel off today?
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
February 6, 2016
Today I welcome my new friend Katie Axelson to the blog. I first met Katie through a writer’s community, Tribe Writers, and invited her to guest post on Walking Deeper. I read her ebook, Jesus Shoes: Following His Footsteps Through the Latin American Mission Field, and it’s a-ma-zing. Check out her bio at the end of her post and learn how you can grab your free copy. Thank you Katie, for inspiring us to live a story worth telling.
I cursed the cross once.
I’m not proud of it but it happened.
The month we lived in Ecuador my friends and I picked up a new favorite hobby: hiking volcanoes.
I didn’t hate it.
But neither did I love it.
It stretched me, grew me, and challenged me.
And I don’t just mean physically.
That’s how I ended up cursing the cross.
We were told the volcano would take forty-five minutes to hike. Oh and you could do it in heels.
We skipped the heels but used that time estimate when we planned our day.
The bus schedule left little margin for error and time adjustments.
Forty-five minutes into the hike we figured we were getting close.
SURELY we HAD to be getting close.
Spoiler alert: we weren’t even close.
We rounded a corner of the trail and saw the cross—the destination, the top of the volcano—still further away than we’d already come.
That’s when I said a naughty word.
It wasn’t meant at Jesus. Though His name might have come out with it.
It was in frustration. In desperation. In exhaustion
And that’s where Jesus always meets us: in frustration, desperation, and exhaustion. tweet
It’s in those moments when nothing but the naughty words come, those moments when we don’t think we can take another step, those moments when we’re done.
When we’ve been lied to.
We’re ready to call it quits, turn around, and go back to where we came from.
Those moments are just plain hard.
But I learned a long time ago that hard journeys are better traveled in pairs.
So my hiking buddy and I started to laugh.
First at my naughty reaction to the beautiful symbol of our redemption.
Then at how muddy our tennis shoes were—because after all, this hike supposedly could be done in heels.
The time constraints of the day faded away as we looked around at the picturesque scenery.
Yes, something good was indeed happening.
Both around us and within us.
We were walking in, breathing in, and dwelling in His presence.
He was walking along side us—giving us the strength to put one foot in front of the other.
He was walking before us—guiding us, leading us to the top.
He was walking behind us—pushing us upward closer to Him.
He was walking within us—allowing us to see what He sees.
And He was offering us more grace, love, and mercy that we could have ever imagined.
Even to the missionary who says dirty words.
Even to the son afraid to come home.
Even to the daughter too exhausted to lift her head.
He reaches out His hand, lifts it for her, and holds it gently to His chest.
He takes the angry words, swallows them, and transforms them into love flowing from His eyes.
Let Him love you—even if you don’t want to be loved.
Even if you don’t think you deserve (or need) the kind of love He’s offering.
Let Him offer grace—even if you think you have to earn it.
Let Him offer freedom—freedom to dance, to sing, to hike, and to laugh.
Let Him be both the destination and the journey partner.
We eventually made it to the top of the volcano (and back down again).
Our mud-caked clothing recovered, our sore legs strengthened, and our hearts refreshed.
It was worth every step, every slip, every missed bus, and every foul word.
Because it reminded us that He is indeed faithful.
What in your life reminds you of His faithfulness?
God calls Katie His daughter and lets her earn a living as a writer, editor, and speaker. She’s striving to live a story worth telling and in 2014 that story took her around the world as a missionary. She used those stories to write a book called Jesus Shoes: Following His Footsteps Through the Latin American Mission Field. It’s available for free at KatieAxelson.com. You can also find Katie on all of the miscellaneous social media sites (@KatieAxelson).
August 24, 2015
I’m glad you’re here.
Whether you are new to this blog, or are already a subscriber,
I wanted to share my heart with you today.
Walking Deeper is all about encouraging, equipping, and engaging women to walk deeper in faith, and in relationship with Jesus Christ. Walking Deeper is about community.
We are finding encouragement through God’s Word, and using our spiritual gifts and talents to make a difference in the world.
We all have a sphere of influence. God places us where we are for a reason.
God knows us personally, and He is calling us to know Him.
I typically write blog posts two or three times weekly, sharing about common joys and challenges we women face every day. I encourage your comments, because you may share what someone else needs to here.
I blog about:
- Spiritual encouragement for family life, work life, and just plain life
- Ways to overcome the overwhelming through God’s Word
- Difficult seasons and circumstances, and how God carries us through
- Relevant ways to apply truth to our every-day lives
- Encouraging ways to use spiritual gifts to share God’s truth with others
On the About page, you’ll find info and pictures of ministry life, home life, and links to blog posts most popular with Walking Deeper readers.
You can check it out by clicking here
May you be blessed beyond measure, and if you have some time, let’s do coffee.
April 17, 2015
*The written version will be posted soon. Please take a listen to the audio version of this post. Leave a comment, and let me know what you think. Blessings!
March 26, 2015
Do you sew?
I would love to say that I do, but truth be told, I’ve only made one outfit . Ever.
My first experience with patterns and fabric was in a 4-H sewing club. We called ourselves The Darkroom Darners. Interesting name, isn’t it? I don’t believe darners do their best work in the dark, but when it comes to sewing, being in the dark pretty much sums it up for me.
My first pattern was a simple pant and matching vest. I can remember meticulously pinning the pattern to the fabric, a hideous gray that did nothing for my complexion. Of course, I was all of about twelve years old, and doubt that crossed my mind.
My garment almost complete, the final touch was sewing ruby-red piping onto the vest. To my horror, the fabric began to unravel. My mom rescued my garment from an otherwise catastrophic end. By doubling up the piping, she was able to stop the unraveling, saving it from becoming a mere pile of threads without form. My pattern had become a wearable garment.
Pattern. What does it mean? According to Merriam-Webster:
something designed or used as a model for making things
a reliable sample of traits, acts, tendencies, or other observable characteristics of a person, group, or institution
How important is it in life to follow a pattern, and what or whose pattern exactly are we following?
Conforming to the pattern of this world can cause our lives to unravel, much like the material of my first ever attempt at fashion. And who wants to turn into a clump of frayed threads without form?
There are several references in the Bible about following a pattern.
God’s instruction to Moses in making the Tabernacle was one of them:
“Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.” Exodus 25:9
How about Noah? I’m sure he was thankful God gave him a pattern for the ark. Imagine how the ark might have turned out without God’s specific instructions of size, shape, depth, width, and construction. Right down to the last cubit.
Beginning to see a pattern here?
God never does anything haphazardly, and He doesn’t want us to either. He always provides a pattern. His Word.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:13
Life without a pattern is like a clump of frayed threads without form.
We have a pattern of sound teaching, a pattern established through Jesus who not only shows us the way, but is The Way. He is our pattern.
When we Follow Him, He will bind our unraveling, so we may be a new creation according to His pattern; we are cut from the same cloth, a garment of praise.
March 21, 2015
Does this look like spring to you?
Emerald leaves swishing to and fro, dancing on soft breezes against a clear blue backdrop. Buzzing bees on bright yellow blooms, soaking in sunlit warmth.
Wait a minute, the caption doesn’t exactly fit, does it?
Try this one:
Snowy-white, bare-treed, chill–to-the-bone freezing, with a side order of wind-chill.
Actually, I think this image is quite beautiful, but I wouldn’t call it spring. Would you?
Here’s the image more fitting of the first caption.
It feels warmer, doesn’t it? The colors vibrant and full of life.
But this image of spring isn’t any more spring than the other. You see the other, as wintery as it appears, was taken on the second day of spring.
The weather may attempt to fool us, wrapping our spring in a wintery coat. Yet we know what is true. The calendar says it’s spring. Seasons change regardless of weather conditions.
The seasons of life may not look or feel the way we think they should either. Our rainy season may feel dry, our spring may feel wintery.
Our feelings, like the weather, can attempt to fool us into thinking we’re in the wrong season. Let’s not allow our feelings to override truth.
Deep down, underneath what may feel barren and gray, is new growth, green, and waiting to flourish. Seeds of promise waiting to bloom.
When we allow the weather condition of our circumstances to dictate our season, we risk keeping frozen what God wants to bloom in us.
Spiritual seasons are filled with lessons, and treasures, and growth.
Ponder these things in your heart:
- Life is not about living for the next season, it’s about blooming in the season we are in. He will lead us into the next season in its time.
- Our purpose is not only for our tomorrow, it’s a powerful part of our today.
- Unlike the calendar, God determines the length of our spiritual seasons.
- Every season, whether long or short, fruitful or fruitless, in the valley or on the mountain top, are all for His purposes. God is teaching, pruning, and equipping. No experience is ever wasted. He works it all together for good.
- Spiritual growth can take place even when our emotions dictate otherwise.
- Whether at the end of a season or just beginning, He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is faithful and His promises are true in every season. Trust in Him, because He cares for you.
“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart…” Ecclesiastes 3:11a (NIV)
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18 (ESV)
What is God teaching you in your current season?
(Snowy image courgesy of Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® All rights reserved worldwide.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
August 6, 2014
A few weeks ago, my friend Julie invited me to participate in a thing called a Blog Hop. I had never participated in one before, but what a cool experience! Here’s how it works: I answer four questions about writing on my blog, then introduce you to a few of my friends whose blogs I’ve been following for a few years now. They all have a heart for Jesus, and their blogs are awesome and very different from one another. Be sure to check them out; you’ll be blessed!
Thanks Julie for the invite! Here goes:
- What am I writing or working on? Currently, my main focus is blogging. I love sharing encouragement and truth with women through the Word of God. I’m also 27,000 or so words, into a Christian fiction manuscript entitled “Uncommon Threads.” I’ve been writing this novel for the past couple of years, walking away from it for a bit, then returning to it as if reuniting with an old friend. My non-fiction heart’s passion, is to encourage and inspire women to emerge, to use their gifts in whatever God calls them to do for His glory. A few titles I’m working on are “Emerge~Being More Than Just Another Faith in the Crowd” and “Emerge~Finding Your Voice in a Noisy World.” You get the picture. Of course all of these are subject to change, but that is our prerogative as women, isn’t it? 😉
- How does my work differ from others of its genre? This question used to stump me; then I realized why. The enemy has a cunning way of trying to convince us it’s time to waive the white flag before we’ve even begun. Those lies whispered into our ears, “you might as well give up now, someone else has already written that book.” Another you may recognize, “why would anyone want to read your writing? Who do you think you are?” Sound familiar? So I suppose my answer to the question of what makes my writing different, is simply because my voice is different. God created each one of us, giving us a unique voice and calling. He doesn’t make mistakes, and He doesn’t waste time; He created us and He created time. He will direct my steps as to what He wants to say through my writing, and when He wants to say it. Whatever comes through on the page will be as unique as I am. Of course, I have to be willing. I have to work hard at it, and keep plugging away or else my voice will go from unique to antique!
- Why do I write what I do? I used to think life was getting in the way of my writing; then I realized it’s life that inspires my writing. At times my life looks like a reality TV show, so why not share lessons learned? I truly believe life is meant to be lived intentionally. As life shifts between oceans of joy and valleys of trial, we are called to glorify God and love and encourage others through our stories.
- How does my writing process work? Prayer and staying in the Word is key. I may be totally brain-blank one moment, then in an instant, a message begins formulating. I went through many dry spells, as all writers do. There was one spell in particular that was so dry, I prayed hard for a breakthrough. I hadn’t written in weeks, and I missed it terribly. In my prayer, I asked God to show me if He had truly called me to write. If I wasn’t meant to be a writer, I didn’t want to waste another moment, thus missing His plan for my life. I prayed for His will, and if I began to write again, I would know it was from Him because I had nothing more to give. Shortly after, I wrote about that; probably to encourage one of his other kids going through the same doubt. OK, back to the question: I seem to do my best writing at night when it’s quiet. That’s not to say I haven’t written in the daytime as well, but I seem to crank out more when crickets are chirping. I guess in a way it’s like sharing His light in the dark. Originally, I was going to name my blog “She Writes at Night” but that was already taken! I have notepads of ideas laying around; snippets of book titles and scriptures with intriguing messages. I could honestly improve on developing a more disciplined writing process. Right now, it’s a bit free-spirited in form. Can you relate?
Well, those are the deep and thoughtful answers I know you were all waiting on with bated breathe 😉
Now it’s time to introduce you to a few of my blogging friends. Their writing has blessed me as I trust it will bless you!
Tiffany Locke has been a pilots wife for over 20 years. She has four children, three at home and one at college. She plays the role of single mom 3 to 4 days a week while her husband takes off to fly . Tiffany is a Bible study teacher who shares her passion for women’s ministry. She is able to give you a fresh prescriptive on being a pilot’s wife, as well as just trying to find the right shoe that God has for you to wear. Her blog is “These are the Shoes of our Lives.” Which is also the title of a bible study that she is currently working on. You can visit Tiffany’s blog at www.tiffanylocke.com.
I met Tiffany a few years ago, and our families attend the same church. We meet regularly as writing accountability partners and are both members of the Compel writer’s training through Proverbs 31. Tiffany is funny, thoughtful, generous, and loves writing in local coffee shops. She has a heart for reaching women through teaching God’s Word.
Joyce Harris, also known as The Herbal Gourmet, is a certified tea and herb specialist, plus a retired nursery business owner, whose goal is to share her experience and information on the use of the herbs, including tea, that God has provided in our world; she loves to inspire others so they may pass this information and their blessings on to others. She currently writes a blog about tea, the uses of herbs, and gourmet gardening with a hint of blessing and inspiration at www.herbalblessing.blogspot.com and does local presentations and demonstrations for groups of all sizes.
Joyce is an amazing woman with many talents. I met Joyce through church, and have had the pleasure of getting to know her over the past couple of years. Her compassionate spirit, heart of gold, and love for God shines through as she serves and writes what God places on her heart.
Michelle Spanos is married to her best friend. Mom to 3. Grandmother to 2. Homeschooler, home manager, moment maker, pallet designer, beautiful mess. Her words are a wonderful mix of humor and just plain living life this side of Heaven.
I’ve known Michelle for many years, and met her (you guessed it!) through church. I had the privilege of being Sunday School teacher to both her sons, and enjoy seeing her sweet daughter when they stop by the church office. Michelle is creative, caring, and adventurous as you will see when you read her blog www.thusfarwithgod.blogspot.com.
Thanks for stopping by, and happy hopping!
Love In Him,
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