Fix Your Eyes on Jesus 

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus 

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus: My Biggest Takeaway from the Book of Colossians 

by Baylee Dunn

On December 30th, 1998, I entered the world under the most bizarre of circumstances. I had an anoxic stroke, losing all of the blood flow and oxygenation to my brain. This stroke resulted in a condition known as Optic Nerve Atrophy. In non-medical terms, this means that I have no peripheral vision, limited depth perception, difficulty in color perception, and a hard time with visual processing. Basically, my brain and my eyes do not like to communicate with one another. Therefore, since they are at odds, my physical vision is deeply affected. 

For a long while, I viewed this difference in my physical abilities as a hindrance, a struggle that was all too real. As a child, it took me quite a while to realize that I was created any differently than my peers. As a teenager, I concluded that I was, indeed, different than those around me in terms of my visual abilities. As a result, I spent some time angry – angry at the circumstances, angry at myself for being unable to change them, and angry at God for creating what I then perceived to be a broken thing.

Why me, Lord?” I would wonder aloud. “How am I supposed to function when I cannot see anything to the left or to the right without turning my head?”

I would question, almost daily. 

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

That is until I came across this passage of scripture, Colossians 3:2-4, which reads,

“2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” 

When I read this passage, I understood that perhaps, my physical eyesight would never have to be perfect to see and experience the glory of the Lord. I realized that what I once viewed as my greatest hindrance was actually the greatest way to inform others of the goodness of God. It is in our broken places that the Lord’s love and His light shine the brightest through us. 

Friend, I want to encourage you today to take your struggle to the Lord – whatever it may be. Lay it down at his feet. He loves you, He cares for your every need, and He is holding you close to His heart. In Him, your broken pieces are made whole and your darkness is exposed to light. The chains that are holding you down will break if you only say His name. Set your eyes on Heaven. It is truly the best view. 

Be Blessed, 

Baylee

Colossians 3:2-4

Colossians 3:2-4

Wow! Isn’t Baylee amazing? I am so grateful to have her on my team!! You will be hearing from her here regularly. She has a lot of wisdom for a young woman, and I love that I get to mentor her.

Have subscribed to the By His Grace Podcast?

By His Grace Podcast

By His Grace Podcast

For more encouragement be sure to subscribe to the By His Grace podcast. Subscribe here Check out this fun recent episode I did with my friend Stephanie Pletka on living your best life! Listen here.

The Struggle is Real: But so is God

The Struggle is Real: But so is God

If you are struggling with all that is happening in our world today friend, be sure to check out my Bible study The Struggle is Real: But so is God.

Grab a copy today at Amazon!

Much Love,
Misty

Beauty in the Broken

Beauty in the Broken

Beauty in the Broken

By Jodi Rosser

Each broken piece showed me.  Each crack and sliver revealed to me.  I was completely broken and crushed just like this clay pot.

There is something powerful about doing something physically for how you feel emotionally.

As I purposefully smashed this piece of pottery with a hammer, I remember my heart being shattered into a million pieces just months before.  My entire world had been turned upside down by one word: divorce.

Maybe your one word is different.  Maybe it is cancer or miscarriage.  Perhaps it is infertility or addiction.  As I looked at the pile of pieces on the floor, I did not think this clay pot could be salvaged.  It was broken beyond repair.

Have you ever felt like that?  As you look at the broken pieces of your life, you just cannot see how anything good can come from it.  You honestly have lost all hope.

Hope is an important ingredient as you look at your broken pieces.

Maybe you don’t see hope as you stare at another negative pregnancy test.  Maybe you don’t see hope as you are raising your kids as a single parent. Maybe you don’t see hope as you drive to another chemo appointment. 

I know I did not see hope as I stared at the shattered pieces in my hands.  As I began to glue the broken pieces back together and place a candle inside of the clay pot, I was surprised by what I saw.  The light captivated me.  It was shining brilliantly through the slivers and cracks in my clay pot.  

What if God’s light shined the brightest through our cracks and broken places? Click To Tweet

MistyPhillip.com

What if God’s light shined the brightest through our cracks and broken places?

You see, a pot with no cracks, chips, or broken places does not allow much light through it.  However, if a pot has many cracks and broken places but still shines brightly for Jesus despite those circumstances, then that is a beautiful thing.

Could our brokenness actually help us to be a stronger light?

Friends, what if we changed our view on brokenness?  I want to encourage you today to see the beauty in the broken!

  • I see beauty in a woman who perseveres in the middle of her brokenness.
  • I see beauty when God is faithful to guide and comfort a broken heart.
  • I see beauty when a broken story is shared with another hurting heart and it unleashes hope.

Just like this piece of pottery, your cracks and broken pieces are beautiful when placed in the hands of Jesus. 

Jesus is the one who gives us Hope. Click To Tweet

Jesus is the one who gives us Hope.

If you feel like your brokenness has disqualified you, let me encourage you today with this truth: your brokenness qualifies you even more.  Your broken story is the very ingredient God can use to help another heart.

Who better to help someone through an addiction then someone who has experienced freedom from addiction? Who better to comfort someone grieving the loss of a loved one then someone who has experienced comfort during their loss? Who better to offer hope to someone who is walking through a divorce then someone who has walked that same path?

We spread hope when we honestly share our broken stories!  As we come along side others and walk through the pain, we can encourage and offer support to those grieving and hurting.

As we share God’s faithfulness in our broken story, it will unleash hope into their broken story.

I don’t know about you, but I want to unleash hope!  Hope that our brokenness has a purpose. Hope that God can use our broken story to encourage another hurting heart. Hope that God can turn my tears into my testimony!

Can you see it? The brilliant light shining through your cracks and slivers.  The reminder of God’s faithfulness.  The hope spreading through your broken story.  

Friends, I pray we can remember the beauty in the broken. 

Jodi Rosser is a writer and speaks to a steadily growing audience through her podcast, Depth, and her blog, Heartbreak to Strength. Having walked through multiple heartbreaks (divorce, miscarriage, and cancer), Jodi now inspires women to find hope, joy, and purpose through their unexpected storms. She lights up the most when she shares her testimony using her cracked clay pot, a visual reminder that God shines brightest through our broken places. She lives with her two teenage boys and a giant black lab in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.

You can connect with Jodi on her website: https://jodirosser.com

Facebook and Instagram @jodi.rosser.  To listen to her Depth Podcast, please click on the following link: https://link.chtbl.com/vZzTid7o

Losing Us: When Motherhood Becomes an Idol

Losing Us: When Motherhood Becomes an Idol

Losing Us: When Motherhood Becomes an Idol

by September McCarthy

No one told me that I could have such lonely, silent times in my marriage. What happened to the days that seemed so bright and beautiful and filled with such promise? 

My loneliness, the disagreements, and even the love we had shared together seemed to slowly fade into busy lives caring for children. Lives filled with exhaustion, short fuses, and a weariness that would cause us both to ignore the problem or give up altogether. After we said “I do,” life happened, and children took up residence in the cracks of every inch of our life.

I had become the mother.

He had become the father.

And we had lost us.

I had become the mother. He had become the father. And we had lost us. Click To Tweet

Were we falling “out of love and living off the leftovers or crumbs at the end of long work and parenting days? 

We were a mess. The routine had become a steady rhythm of care for our family, with less and less focus on our first love. We moved into comfortable places of doing our jobs, avoiding the tough places and giving our first-fruits to the children before us. I wish someone had come alongside us to lovingly tell us that parenting is not a priority over marriage. 

You cannot really “fall out of love.” You just need to figure out when you began loving something else more.

We had let go of the cord of love that held us together. We watched it uncoil to the ground in a loose pile. The pull and strain of life, babies, financial stress, and marriage can shear away at the strands of love you have with your spouse until there seems to be nothing left to hold onto.

It happens slowly.

When our focus is only on motherhood, you can and will sideline your spouse. 

So, how do we find our way back to our first love?

Remember, you were created to “do this,” together. 

When my husband and I changed our perspective and focus, we became a team. If there is one word to clearly define the instrument of this change together, our restart, it is this: humility.

True love apologizes.

True love shares the wins, and mourns the losses together,

True love saves the best for the other.

True love puts the other first.

True love listens and learns.

True love remembers that parenting is a season.

True love fights for the other, not against.

True love sees the needs.

True love is available.

True love never stops talking.

True love knows change can be good.

True love learns to love the new you.

True love wins.

Seeing the pattern of our parenting priority over our marriage is the first step closer to that truest of love we can show our spouses. Click To Tweet

Seeing the pattern of our parenting priority over our marriage is the first step closer to that truest of love we can show our spouses.

Knowing there is a way to overcome the patterns of sidelining our spouses is the second cord of hope you can hold onto. 

Living the truth of scripture and its promises for a life full of love will bring the unity God promises.

Perhaps this is you. Are you seeing the slow-moving patterns you are becoming comfortable with that leave you feeling distant, discouraged, and disheartened with motherhood or marriage?  I encourage you to hold onto your first love. Re-discover the new you together. Ask the Lord for humility and remembrance as you slowly practice new life-giving habits of love investment into your spouse that you perhaps had let go of.

Your spouse is worth it. 

September McCarthy

Bio:

September is a wife, mom to 10, author, and speaker. September co-hosts the Mom to Mom generational podcast with Kate Battistelli and Jamie Erickson. September is also the author of {Why} Motherhood Matters and the founder of September & Co., an Etsy shop for whole-family Biblically based and hands-on learning for every family. September lives a rural life, with her growing family, chickens, gardening, shelves overflowing with books, and a project always on the horizon. Her family is her #1 priority and her heart is always at home. She believes in new mercies every day and fresh grace on everyone she meets.

Instagram:
September & Co. Etsy shop:
Free gift:Life-Speaking Truths to inspire you on your motherhood journey.
https://bit.ly/lifespeakingtruths
Five Ways to Help When Your Friend Goes Through Loss

Five Ways to Help When Your Friend Goes Through Loss

There is an unspoken bond between mother’s who have buried their babies. I felt an instant connection to my guest, Sara R. Ward this week.This kind of bond can only be forged when you have walked through the Valley of the shadow of death and cling to the hope of Jesus because nothing else in life makes any sense.  When you allow God to heal your wounds so you can help another grieving mother know she too will get through this loss. You begin to understand the exchange of beauty for ashes.

Please welcome Sara R Ward to By His Grace this week.


Five Ways to Help When Your Friend Goes Through Loss

by Sara R. Ward

Recently, a woman I knew lost her husband to cancer. Toward the end of his life, he was in a great deal of pain, and she didn’t want him to suffer any more. 

A few months after her husband died, I talked to the woman again. The grief was in that early, raw time, and she admitted she was struggling. 

“I knew grief would be hard,” she said, “but I didn’t know it would be this hard.”

I sat there in silence. This woman had been prepared. Her husband was a pastor. She knew where he was spending eternity, but her response encapsulated the grief experience: we know grief and loss are difficult, but we don’t know how hard until we experience it ourselves. 

When I lost my son in 2012,  I sat in a grief group with other mourners who were broken from the loss of their loved ones. 

The first time I attended the support group, I dreaded even mentioning the name of my son who had passed away. 

When the time came for me to introduce myself I said, “My name is Sara, and I lost my son Silas.” Even as I said it, my voice broke and the tears started falling.

Saying his name scratched open my wounded heart, but I knew these people understood. They passed the tissue box and they didn’t try to fix my grief. Finally, I had found a community who understood that it was okay to not be okay. In those support group meetings, I learned a lot about what it meant to show up for people in their heartache.

I was starting to understand why the Jews had their own tradition for grief, a process called sitting shiva for someone after they lost a loved one. For seven days after a Jewish funeral, the grief-stricken family sits together and mourns. No work is done. The friends who visit during a shiva call come in quietly. 

Tradition says the usual small talk is usually replaced by silence or allowing the mourner to open the conversation. Their job is to be present, to sit in the quiet, or listen to the mourners.

The tradition of sitting shiva is a good example of how we can provide help. You can’t fix the grief, but you can show up and make yourself available. Choosing to be present in grief is an incredible gift. Click To Tweet

If you’re looking for other ways you can help, choose something that makes life easier for the family who has suffered loss. Food is an obvious choice, but there are other tasks that can be just as helpful.

One neighbor offered to do our laundry after Silas died. At first, I balked at the idea of passing on our dirty clothes. But she wanted to bless us this way and I knew I needed help. It was just so hard to accept it.

“You take away someone’s blessing when you reject help,” a friend once told us. “Because it blesses them as much as it does you.”

When the neighbor returned, laundry folded in neat piles, a wave of relief washed over me. She had blessed me with a simple act, and in return, doing this kindness gave her something in return.

We all need community, but it’s especially vital when our world crumbles. When our community shows up and offers what they can to ease the burden, it gives us a sense that we are not alone.

Together, we will get through this.

Ways you can help a friend in need:

  1. Show up. Be present and available. Don’t shrink from the hard stuff.
  2. Offer to take something off their plate: cooking, cleaning, laundry, lawn mowing, childcare,  The list is endless. If you can’t do it yourself, send a gift card covering the expense if possible. Make life easier for them in some small way.
  3. Don’t show up only during the week of a major event, but continue to reach out months afterward when the phone calls stop.
  4. Pray for them regularly. This may be the most overlooked act and yet, one of the most important.
  5. Affirm what they are feeling. Listening is one of the greatest gifts you can offer to a friend going through heartache.

About the author

Sara R. Ward is the author of the book, Made for Hope: Discovering Unexpected Gifts in Brokenness. She is a wife and mom to three children, including a son who passed away from Leigh’s disease in 2012. She writes about grief, child loss, adoption, and faith on sararward.com. She is a writer for adoption.com and has been published on the Today Show Parenting Team, Focus on the Family and Homeschooling Today.

Receive free grief resources at sararward.com

Facebook: @sararwardauthor

Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest: @sararward


For more encouragement please listen to my conversation with Sara and share it with it with a friend.You

Sara Ward: Tender Loss of a Child

Thanks so much for visiting today! You may also like Choosing Joy in Grief and From Grief to Grace.

Much love,

 

 

Misty Phillip

Spark Christian Podcast Conference

Spark Christian Podcast Conference

Spark Christian Podcast Conference – Sparking Conversations for the Kingdom

What is Spark Christian Podcast Conference? 

I am glad you asked. Did you know that Christianity is one of the most popular and fastest growing podcast categories and happens to be the least represented at main stream conferences? I want that to change. In February 2020, I am gathering Christian podcasters, podcast fans, and influencers to collaborate in Houston, Texas for the first ever Spark Christian Podcast Conference and two day networking event.

We want to educate and empower Christians to spread their message of hope through podcasting. Click To Tweet

Spark Christian Podcast Conference will be THE CHRISTIAN PODCAST EVENT.

What can you expect?

You can expect to be motivated, inspired, and equipped. 

Conference attendees will be learn to create, launch and market the podcast show of their dreams. Podcasters with existing shows will gain expert insider tips to take their show to the next level. Sessions will cover a wide range of topics from podcasting 101 to advanced podcasting techniques, including the importance of branding, marketing, and production. You will discover creative ways to monetize your show, and how to get more listeners.

We’ve secured some of the best Christian podcasters in the industry to host sessions and provide personal coaching. We will talk equipment, editing, and the essentials to help you stand out from the competition. We launched a kickstarter campaign a few days ago to fund the conference, and we have already raised $2,035! We have 21 days left to raise the remainder of our funds or we don’t get any of it.

If You are a Podcast listener or enthusiast like many of us, we NEED YOUR HELP! Click To Tweet

Here is a link to our Spark Kickstarter Campaign.

YOU can help by praying for this event and our team. Donating to help us reach our goal or sponsor part of the conference every dollar makes a HUGE difference and brings us one step closer.

We have a variety of ticket options to fit your budget, and some exciting bonuses that will only be available on the kickstarter, like $99 tickets!!! Be sure to take advantage of our kickstarter special if you would like to attend the event and you are on a budget. There are a limited number of $99 dollar tickets, and this price is good only through this campaign for a limited time!

Spark Christian Podcast Conference Distinctives

10 Main Sessions – Beginner to advanced sessions from podcasting 101 to advanced podcasting techniques.

Industry Expert Panel Discussions – Get the insider scoop on the latest in podcasting.

Town Hall – Q & A – You will have the chance to submit questions prior to the conference. Participants will 90 Seconds at the mic to answer and ask follow questions. 

Speed Networking – Get to know your fellow podcasters in this fast-paced time of connection.

One on One Coaching Sessions – These one on one sessions will help you take your podcast to the next level.

Off-site networking opportunities – Connect with peers and speakers at local area restaurants 

This is THE PLACE to be for all things Christian Podcasting. Click To Tweet

Join fellow podcast creators and entrepreneurs to be inspired to start, launch and market a podcast, and walk away with all the tools you need to start the podcast of your dreams. If you already have a successful podcast, don’t worry we got you covered. We will have have advanced podcasting techniques including how to find more listeners, creative ways to monetize your podcast, and opportunities to collaborate with other successful podcast entrepreneurs.

Visit Spark Christian Podcast Conference for more details, and while you are there be sure to sign up for the latest conference news and updates.

Much Love!

 

Misty Phillip

I Never Expected My Son to Experience Mental Illness

I Never Expected My Son to Experience Mental Illness

There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing our children struggle. I know firsthand the difficulty of caring for a special needs son. Regardless of whether is a spiritual attack, a physical ailment, or emotional struggle, the struggle is real and can spark a myriad of emotions from fear to isolation.

This week on the podcast Tammy Kennington and I discuss the difficulty of having a child who suffers from mental illness, and the hope we have in Jesus that gets us through. Please welcome Tammy to By His Grace.


I Never Expected My Son to Experience Mental Illness

by Tammy Kennington

The run-of-the-mill, plastic shopping bag twisted in my sweaty hand as a sharp bell alerted the security guard to my presence. Glancing at the ID I slid through the narrow window, he pushed a button and the door slowly opened. My rubber-soled shoes move soundlessly toward the front desk, but my heart beat a rapid tattoo.

Your son is in the hospital. Your son is in the hospital. Your son is in the hospital.

“My son had asked for a few things,” I muttered numbly to a nurse at the front desk.

“Well, you can’t give him a plastic bag.” I hadn’t thought of something as mundane as a plastic bag being a possible danger. Dumping the remaining items on the table, he continued. “Alright…no clippers. Bible. No shoes—they have laces.” 

I was stunned. 

I’d never expected the gregarious, smiling baby boy I’d once known to ever struggle with depression. I could never have anticipated the midnight phone call from a suicide hotline volunteer calmly sharing my son had a plan to end his life. I would never have imagined praying over my boy as I clung desperately to the hope that a bed might become available; I’d be assured of his safety for just a few days. 

The Thief of Mental Illness

Mental illness is a stealthy thief. It creeps into some lives as an acceptable, common illness like generalized anxiety. But for others it burglarizes much more than peace of mind. It has the capacity to fill the mind with racing thoughts, panic attacks, soul-sapping-depression, or moods that swing from one extreme to the other. 

And when mental illness effects a child, it impacts the family. 

Parents wonder what they could have done differently. They blame genetics or find fault with their approach to discipline. Siblings struggle to understand the behaviors, choices, and illness of their brother or sister. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other well-meaning relatives offer unsolicited advice, tips, and techniques. 

And in the midst of it all? The child or youth struggling with mental illness often feels broken, less than, and ashamed. 

Trusting God with Your Child

Oh, the grief that engulfed my heart while my son trudged through the painful valley. Many of my mama-crafted dreams were shattered when I realized the depth of my son’s emotional pain and struggle. But in their place, I’ve begun to understand surrender. I began claiming Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) for my child and trusting Him to fulfill its promise.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

The truth of God’s word gives me hope on the difficult days. Click To Tweet

On the long and harrowing days. On the days when my patience is thin and I wonder how a young man with a hurting heart will be successful in a world that doesn’t understand.

Seeking Help 

We need community in all areas of our lives and support with mental illness is no different. The child with mental illness needs a team of supporters, but remember to include safe people who can provide support for you, as well. One or two trustworthy friends, a group in the community, or church members who understand your situation will prove invaluable prayer partners and confidantes when you need a listening ear. 

Be an Advocate for Awareness.

Be an Advocate for Your Child.

As you begin to accept your child’s diagnosis, learn more. Research. Join online groups. Become your child’s best advocate within the school system, at church, and in other areas of his or her life. Teach your child what it means to advocate and begin to teach others about mental health. We can make a difference for our children by doing our small part!

Pray Without Ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5:17 exhorts, “Pray without ceasing.” Perhaps God will heal your child and mine this side of heaven through our prayers. If not, we need to pray against anxiety, rage, fear, and all of the emotions that threaten to unsettle our children and our homes and ask Him to fill each of us with peace, patience, and love as we minister to our loved ones through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

This is our opportunity, friends, to love well in the midst of the hard. We’ll grow weary. We’ll stumble. But we can look to the One in whom we know all things will one day be fully restored. 

“In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So, after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” (1 Peter 5:10) NLT

Peace and grace, Tammy


So thankfful to have Tammy Kennington as a guest ths week. If you are a parent of a child with mental illness I hope this post encourages you.  Be sure to listen to this week’s podcast with Tammy Kennington: Parenting Mental Illness for more encouragement.

 

Spiritual Disciplines for Today’s Writer

Spiritual Disciplines for Today’s Writer

So excited to invite DiAnn Mills to By His Grace this week to share about Spiritual Disciplines for the writer. DiAnn is a popular Christian Fiction author, and a personal friend and mentor. Be sure to listen to the podcast with DiAnn where we discussed Spiritual Warfare for the Christian Author. Please welcome DiAnn Mills to the blog today!


Spiritual Disciplines for Today’s Writer

By DiAnn Mills

Writers share a special gift. We’ve been blessed with the creative ability to release words to the world. I’ve heard writers say, I’m going to invite Jesus into my story. When in truth, God is/has written the story, and He’s inviting us to join Him. Writing is a sacred adventure.

Let’s examine the acrostic adventure and explore ways we can grow spiritually closer to God.

A – Accept the Call

The letter A is to accept the call from God as a personal invitation to follow Him. A writer cannot create for God unless he/she first establishes Him as priority One. 

We embrace God’s gift of eternal life through faith in His Son Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, and we believe Jesus is the only way to heaven.

This isn’t a get-out-of-the-other-place-free card. Accepting the call to trust

our Lord and Savior forever is a commitment and a responsibility that carries us into eternity.

Our writing isn’t easy, but we’re not alone. The Creator and Author of the Bible is with us, the same Creator and Author of life who has commissioned us to write His story whether in fiction or nonfiction.

Writing is a sacred adventure. Click To Tweet

D – Dedicate our Life to Prayer

The letter D of adventure is a reminder to dedicate our lives to prayer. Isn’t it grand to know our God desires to hear from us? He’s not concerned about our words, physical posture, the amount of money we’ve given, the number of publications, or a specific time of day. He already knows what’s on our hearts. The posture that pleases God is humility.

Our prayers are not a grocery list for wants or even needs. Dear God, please take care of all my desires, provide a six figure contract, keep me on the bestseller list, etc. Our prayers are a constant conversation with God, ones in which we have access to our sovereign Lord. We need His guidance and wisdom every moment of the day.

Remember Him first thing in the morning and the last moment of consciousness at night. In between our waking and sleeping hours are plenty of opportunities to thank and praise Him for His provision.

Prayer is better than any wifi connection.

V – Vertical 

The letter V is a reminder to write with a vertical heart and mind. 

We writers are in the business of learning the craft, using our imaginations, writing, editing, rewriting, and the process repeats. That’s horizontal writing. We’re depending on people and earth’s resources to help us reach our publishing goals. While we are to prayerfully consider wise counsel and seek knowledge, too often we forget we’re called to live vertical lives. Our heads are bent over the keyboard instead of lifted in communication with God.

When we consider our God is with us and wants the best for us, vertical writing is the only way to embrace our calling. Click To Tweet

E – Enter His gates with praise

The letter E stands for enter in the verse, enter His gates with praise. (Psalm 100:4)

When we open our eyes each morning, God wants us to welcome Him into our day. When we enter his presence before our feet touch the floor, He is pleased. 

I encourage you to whisper these words:

Psalm 118:24 ESV

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

N – New life

The letter N stands for New Life. We hear the phrase from the pulpit, in devotions, commentaries, and books designed to enrich our spiritual lives. But do we fully understand what it means?

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Man is born without the knowledge of God being all we need. When God created man, He put within us a need for relationship, security, and significance. God intended for those innate needs to be met in Him. Unfortunately sin eliminates God from the picture.

T – Time

We approach life the same way we embrace time. Our faith, culture, background, ideals, experiences, and personalities form how we view this priceless commodity.

Writers fit into at least one of these views:

  • Some accept responsibility for how they spend time. They are filled with purpose.
  • Some envision an opportunity to make the world a better place.
  • Some fear time hammering away at their lives and struggle to stay young.
  • Some grasp time and can’t do enough for others, while others can’t do enough for themselves.
  • Some ignore time and believe it’s a state of mind.
  • Some perceive time as a math problem, an infinite calculation.
  • Some plan their time as if their happiness depends on tomorrow’s circumstances. We’ve met writers who thrive on one achievement after another, and when a contract or award doesn’t happen, they are in a well of depression.
  • Some prioritize time by the events of their lives.
  • Some risk all they have to run a step ahead of time.
  • Some strive to be good stewards of the minutes, days, and hours given to them. They are mindful with what they do and how they do it. Balance is healthy and they work hard at it.
  • Some view others who take a break as wasting time while others view it as a necessary part of their day. 

No matter how we grasp life, time marches ahead. If we aren’t careful, it will leave us behind.

U – Understand

The letter U stands for understand. This word is filled with the promises of God woven in and around our relationship with Him. Too often we fail to perceive how very important we are to our Heavenly Father.

When life threatens to drown our resolve and we abandon our trust, God is still with us through adversity. Rejections, fighting jealousy, facing those who ridicule us because of our commitment to writing, lack of funds – all of it.

  • Understand we are unconditionally loved.
  • Understand we belong to God.
  • Understand nothing can snatch us away from Him.
  • Understand His love will always surpass ours.
  • Understand He gave His one and only Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
  • Understand He rose again from the dead that we might one day live with Him.
  • Understand neither our good deeds nor mistakes will ever make Him love us any more or any less.
  • Understand He is always working for our good.
  • Understand He forgives us when we don’t deserve it – that’s mercy.
  • Understand His grace is for everyone who believes.
  • Understand we are a beautiful, big thing in God’s eyes.
  • Understand He will never leave us nor forsake us.
  • Understand the Holy Spirit is our counselor and our guide through the journey called life.
  • Understand His love and acceptance has nothing to do with our publishing credits.
  • Understand He is the one true God.

R – Rest

The letter R stands for rest. While technology makes our lives easier, it also provides more ways for us to spend time. 

The disturbances and heartaches that rob us of rest and peace are as old as time. 

  • Families break up and the values we treasure are seemingly destroyed.
  • Jobs are eliminated and we face financial ruin. 
  • Health issues stop us in our tracks.
  • Our writing fails to satisfy our inner longings.
  • Our children are rebellious.
  • Instant news from around the world gives us real-time happenings, and unfortunately the evil and the ugly grab our attention.
  • Our world’s woes appear overwhelming.
  • Nature deals us incredible devastation.

Jesus says in Mark 6:31 ESV

“And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’”

E – Eternal

The last letter E stands for eternal. Everything we do has an eternal impact on us and others. 

Jesus died for our sins so that by accepting His sacrifice on the cross, we are seen through the eyes of God as washed clean. Those who choose to live their lives per selfish desires and greed will live forever without the joy of knowing God in a deep loving relationship.

Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are eager to follow Him in obedience.

As writers, our creativity is about our Lord. He gave us the gift of writing, and we in turn give the gift back to Him. Glory to God!

Philippians 1:6 ESV

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

How do you live an adventure with God?

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. 

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Retreat, and Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. 

Connect with DiAnn here: www.diannmills.com

Fatal Strike

Be sure to check out DiAnn’s latest book Fatal Strike that launches September 3, 2019.

There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.

As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.


Thank you so much for visiting By His Grace today. Thank you to DiAnn Mills for giving away one copy of her new book Fatal Strike. To be eligible to win share this post on social media and tag both Misty Phillip and DiAnn Mills in the post for a chance to win a copy of Fatal Strike.

Much Love,

 

Misty Phillip

Who’s Your Daddy?

Who’s Your Daddy?

This week I am delighted to welcome Author, Speaker, and Radio Show Host Lisa Burkhardt Worley to By His Grace. On the Podcast, we talk about healing from a father wound. Lisa shares what it is was like to grow up without a Father and how God became the only Father she ever knew. Please welcome Lisa Burkhardt Worley.


Who’s Your Daddy?

By Lisa Burkhardt Worley

What kind of father do you have? 

If he passed away, what was he like?

For some of us who did not grow up with a father figure in our lives, there is an inexplicable void we attempt to fill. The void also exists if a father figure was absent or harsh—maybe he was distant and you didn’t have a vibrant relationship with him.

During my college years and early twenties, I tried to satisfy a need for love through the various dating relationships I entered into. Although I didn’t verbalize it, I think the cry of my heart was, “Maybe he will love me.” Most of these relationships involved promiscuity, and one romance in college ended up with an aborted, unplanned pregnancy, something I deeply regret.

But a traumatic job loss led me to rededicate my life to Christ after a seventeen-year estrangement. I began to study God’s Word for the first time. I discovered that He wanted an intimate Father/daughter bond with me.

2 Corinthians 6:17–18 says: “Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.”

God wants to be my daddy?

Because my father died before I was born, my image of God had always been of Him in a lofty throne, watching over the world from afar—issuing judgment as needed. I had never thought He had the time, nor did I think He cared that much about me individually. However, now I know different and don’t know where I’d be without the counsel, the teaching and the love of my Father in Heaven.

The beauty of God’s Father love for us is that He has more than enough to go around. Click To Tweet

All we have to do is recognize Him as Father, and accept His Son as the perfect sacrifice for all our wrongdoing. 

I have also realized that even as a married woman with two sons, no human can completely satisfy our need for love. Only our heavenly Daddy can top off our love tank. Are you feeling a little empty? He desires to fill your tank to overflowing today.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)

Lisa Burkhardt Worley – Author, Speaker, Radio Show Host

Lisa Burkhardt Worley is the founder of Pearls of Promise Ministries, a ministry that helps women overcome past and current dysfunction. Just as a pearl is formed after years of irritation and distress in an oyster shell, God can take our life trials and make something beautiful as well. Pearls of Promise Ministry Lisa is a popular speaker and an award-winning author of eight books and a Bible study including her most recent book to help the fatherless, The Only Father I Ever Knew: How a Fatherless Child Finally Found True Love.

Lisa is an international radio show co-host and spent nineteen years as a national television sports reporter (HBO Sports and ESPN), regional anchor on the Madison Square Garden Network in New York City, and local sportscaster. Her radio show with co-host Donna Skell, “A Time to Dream” can be heard on four different platforms throughout the week. In addition to her work with Pearls of Promise, Lisa is also the Director of Special Projects for Roaring Lambs Ministries, and is an Advisory Board member and Vice-President of Marketing for Christian Women in Media. She serves at her church, Gateway, as Intercessory Prayer Leader for Jewish Ministries. Lisa earned a Masters of Theological Studies degree from SMU Perkins School of Theology, graduating Magna Cum Laude.


Thanks for visiting By His Grace today! it is our goal to provide content to help empower you to live BY HIS GRACE!  You may also enjoy Dr. Saundra Dalton Smith: REST or Niki Hardy: Abundant Living After A Dreaded Diagnosis

 

Misty Phillip

A Call to Return and Rest

A Call to Return and Rest

Being a busy momma and wife is exhausting especially when you add work, serving, social activities and ALL THE THINGS! Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith has a better way of doing things. Please welcome Saundra to the blog today!


A Call to Return and Rest

By Saundra Dalton-Smith

Pictures don’t always tell the whole story. I’ve spent hours looking at the smiling faces of my social media friends, wondering what secret they know that I don’t. How do they do it all and do it well, while I feel like I’m struggling to keep it all together. It didn’t take long before my comparisons lead me down an unhappy and unfulfilling path. One that brought me to the end of myself and propelled me into a new relationship with God.

It began with a post from a woman I’d never met. She too had been looking at all the pretty pictures, feeling less than and left out. Her question was simple.

When do I get to be happy?

She went on to describe her role as a wife, mom, daughter, prayer partner, Sunday school teacher, chauffeur, cook, tutor, and cheerleader. She elaborated on her to-do list. She commented on how everyone else had the perfect life.

I, for one, was not judging her rant. Rather, I secretly applauded her braveness and vulnerability.

God used her post as an invitation for me to go deeper into evaluating out my own feeling on busyness, rest, and living fully. Click To Tweet

My life was full of activity, but activity is only productive if it’s taking you to a place you desire. My activity was moving me closer to my career goals and further away from the people I love and the moments I treasure. Something had to give. Either I could stay fixated in my bitterness or I could be transformed by the beauty of His Word.

The Bible challenged me to exchange my daily hustle to daily hush in the presence of God.

It offered rest for my weariness and promised in the process I would see His goodness.

In Isaiah 30:15 (ESV), God says “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” This verse came to me like an outstretched hand, willing me to grab hold. The final words of this verse, however, stood before me declaring the truth about my current situation. “But you were unwilling…” 

I was unwilling. Unwilling to be still and know. Unwilling to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Unwilling to trust God to carry the load while I rested in Him. I needed to remember that rest is not optional. Rest is a necessity for living well and loving well. Rest is required to fully give of myself and my talents. Rest is needed for creativity to bloom and purpose to be realized. Rest is sacred. It’s a gift from a holy God to a fallen people. It’s His strength poured out in small portions. It’s a gift.

As God worked in my spirit, He also whispered to my mind to redefine how I see rest. Rest was no longer an afterthought in my day. It became a part of my day. I began to see the connection between my cluttered mind and my unsettled spirit. My to-do list was no longer my master. I learned the freedom of saying a heart-felt no over a yes out of a sense of obligation. I started listening to my tense body and found the time to prayer walk. I started noticing the flowers, trees, birds, and laughter around me. In it all, I could see the love of God and I was strengthened.

Are you tired, weary, broken, or lonely?

Take a moment and evaluate the thoughts filling your mental space. What emotions are you feeling? Do you feel any tension in your neck and back muscles? Do you feel alone in your busyness, surrounded by activity but unseen and misunderstood? 

Every day you use you used physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, sensory, and creative energy to accomplish much. With each type of energy used, you make a withdrawal from personal account. For every depleting activity in your day, there is a counter reviving activity to restore balance.  Failure to replenish your supple will result in burn-out. If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you are already feeling the effects of a burned-out life. It’s time to return and rest.

Just as work is valuable, rest has great value. It is by definition restorative. What needs restoring in your life? If you are unsure of the area of your life most in need of restoration, visit RestQuiz.com to find your personal rest deficit.  Once you know what type of rest you are missing in your life, begin purposefully including that type of rest. If you are lonely, you will benefit from the social rest of sharing authentically with others in small groups or with a trusted friend. If you are tired, you will benefit from the physical rest of muscular stress relief and the mental rest of de-cluttering your mind. If you are broken, you will benefit from the spiritual and creative rest of spending time with the Healer.

Matthew 11:28 invites, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (New King James Version). It is an open invitation to all to receive whatever type of rest is required. It includes rest to your mind, your body, your emotions, and your relationships.  It is an invitation without restriction; an offer for rest in every area.

What type of rest do you need today?

As a busy physician, author, and mom, I understand that life’s demands can leave you feeling mentally overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and physically tired. Daily I help the overstressed deal with their work-rest imbalance and find actionable answers to the thriving lifestyle they desire.

Author of Sacred Rest, Come Empty and Set Free to Live Free

Website:IChooseMyBestLife.com


For more on rest check out By His Grace Podcast with Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith.

Thanks for joining us today. If you liked this post I would appreciate your shares on social media. Sharing is caring.

Much Love,

 

Misty Phillip

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