Quitting Spiritual Gymnastics

Quitting Spiritual Gymnastics

Please welcome Katie M. Reid to By His Grace this week. On the podcast, we discussed the struggle between Law vs. Grace. As a Martha type-A get it done kinda gal, Katie has had a life-long struggle with law vs. grace. After spending years of trying to earn her place with God, Katie learned to enjoy her place in God’s Kingdom, as a daughter, not a slave.

You can listen to that episode here Katie Reid: Law vs. Grace.


Quitting Spiritual Gymnastics

by Katie M Reid

I am not a quitter. By God’s grace, I have been called a finisher. 

But, I’m done. This get-it-done gal is giving up spiritual gymnastics.

To explain further, tag along with the Ghost of Sixth Grade Past, and enter the bustling gym, packed with girls sporting a colorful array of leotards—a gymnastic meet is in full swing. A lean gymnast is in the middle of a compelling floor exercise, her choreography synced to the latest 80’s pop song. Now, divert your eyes away from the natural talent to the pear-shaped sixth grader, in the wedgie-inducing leotard (okay don’t think too much about that last part).

What I lack in talent, I make up for in determination. Inspired by Mary Lou Retton, my 12-year-old self approaches the balance beam, for a springboard spilt mount to start things off and….I fall off the beam, again and again. I try so hard to nail a flawless routine that I topple under the pressure. 

It was my first and last gymnastic meet. 

Dismounting the Beam

I asked Jesus into my heart when I was four, pumping my little legs on the swing, declaring my faith to the heavens with a simple melody. But as I grew, my childlike faith morphed into try-hard faith, where I worked to keep up appearances and avoid missteps and embarrassing situations, like ill-fitting leotards. 

I knew I was saved by grace, yet I acted like it was all up to me to earn a perfect score. When I failed to live up to my holier-than-thou standard, I felt like God was distant and angry. When I felt good about my efforts, I stood tall—puffed up and pleased with myself for hitting the mark. 

This tiring ping pong match of discouragement and pride did a number on me. 

Then, a few months before my 40th birthday, God invited me to quit what I had worked so hard to grasp. 

He showed me that I didn’t have to perform for His love, it was already mine, in Christ. I didn’t have to leap and twist my way into His favor, because Christ had died to gift it to me. Click To Tweet

I could get off the balance beam and stop trying to measure up because Jesus had made a way when I felt short.

 

Call It Quits

Friend, you are invited to call it quits too. You are invited to exchange your sin for Jesus’ sufficiency, your legalism for His lavish grace. Stop wearing yourself out trying to prove yourself, and instead, run into His loving arms that were outstretched on the cross to prove His love for you, once and for all.

Spiritual contortions are not required to wow this judge. Jesus already earned the perfect score, so whether you fall or fly, you are a champion. The gift of grace isn’t like getting a participation ribbon for showing up, this is like getting an Olympic gold medal for existing. 

You receive what you don’t deserve and it seems unbelievable. You receive pardon for guilt, favor for failures, forgiveness for sins. On one hand it’s ludicrous and the other it is overwhelmingly good news. 

It’s like offering a lump of coal at a gift exchange and receiving a ten-carat diamond ring in return. Although the ring is valuable and breathtakingly beautiful, you are embarrassed to take it. It is so lavish and you feel so lacking. Yet there is nothing left to do but allow yourself to enjoy the gift. And sometimes doing so is the hardest “to do” of all. 

If you have accepted the gift of salvation then relish in what is true:

•Jesus’ performance determines your worth.

•His good work leads you to right standing with God.

•God’s pleasure with you is directly correlated to His Son’s finished work on the cross.

God, help us not to add to or take away from that which is perfectly wrapped in human flesh, provided by You, with love. 

Jesus: Grace Incarnate.

We don’t have to strive to receive that which has been gifted. We receive salvation, through faith, and we enjoy it. We don’t have to earn it, pay it back, or promise to be flawless. Click To Tweet

The beam of Jesus’ love supports us. His grace is strong enough to hold us. His open arms offer what we can’t ever obtain on our own. 

Grace is not just a pleasantry. Once grasped, it is truly a lasting motivator to live set apart—pure and holy, for the Lord’s glory. It doesn’t mean we will never struggle or sin after receiving it, but we are changed by it, and we are freed from legalism, through it.

Consider yourself invited to quit spiritual gymnastics too. Get off the balance beam and sync up to God’s love, as you leap and twirl to some fantastic 80’s music. 

 

Katie M. Reid is a speaker, singer/songwriter, and author of Made Like Martha. She holds a Masters Degree in Secondary Education and has been published on: Focus on the Family, LightWorkers, Proverbs 31, TODAY’s Parenting Team Blog, and For Every Mom. Katie is a fan of musicals and cut-to-the-chase conversations over tea. Katie lives with her husband and five children in the middle of Michigan. She and her husband host “Stop! Hammock Time” on Facebook, to encourages couples to get closer and grow deeper. Subscribe to katiemreid.com to receive resources to help you walk free and live out your God-given purpose.

 

 


This week I kicked off the online study for The Struggle is Real: But So is God. I am so excited to gather with women from across the country to dig into God’s Word online and declare truth over ourselves so that we can walk in the freedom of Jesus! There is still time to join us. We meet at 8 PM CST on Tuesday evenings in The Struggle is Real Online Bible Study Group for a Facebook Live.

So excited to gather women from across the country to dig into God’s Word and declare truth over ourselves so that we can walk in the freedom of Jesus! Grab your copy of The Struggle is Real: But So is God on Amazon today and come join the fun!

Much Love,

 

 

Misty Phillip

Bungee Jumping with God

Bungee Jumping with God

I can’t wait for you to meet my brave beautiful friend Kate Battistelli this week on By His Grace Believing God-Sized Dreams!! Author and speaker Kate Battistelli and I have an incredible conversation about choosing to believe God for the impossible. Please welcome Kate to the blog today!


Bungee Jumping with God 

By Kate Battistelli

Have you ever gone bungee jumping? I’m a complete chicken and in the natural realm, there is no way on this earth you will ever catch me strapping up and stepping off a ledge. My common sense doesn’t trust the equipment or the guide. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. People make mistakes, amiright???

But common sense, when it comes to God, will always try and contradict the still, small voice deep in my spirit. Every time…every stinkin’ time.

Do you ever get those wild thoughts, those ridiculous impressions or giant glimpses of the future and think, no way, that can’t be for me in fact, it’s completely crazy and I don’t live in crazy town.

However, if you’re like me you sometimes let those thoughts marinate a bit and think …what if? Just what if God is directing me and it’s not just me being hormonal or menopausal or a hundred other excuses I could give for not taking a risk and daring to dream? What if God wants me to step out in faith when I can’t see the end from the beginning? It’s super easy to brush those thoughts away because usually, they will require us to make a change and choose to abandon our comfort zones. And admit it, we all crave comfort. We don’t like stepping off ledges into the unknown.

I don’t like change. Change in behavior, change in environment, change in attitude. Okay, I admit it, I like the predictable parts of life. I like writing my lists and checking them off. But I’ve learned over the years God is anything but predictable! God wants each of us to live by faith, not by certainty.

Here are some basics I’ve learned about faith:

  • If you can see it, it isn’t faith.
  • Common sense is the enemy of faith.
  • Faith is a gift and we can ask for more of it.
  • Faith is spiritually discerned
  • Faith asks us to believe in the impossible

(And those are just the easy ones!)

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

No wonder more of us don't take God at His word. It makes us uncomfortable. It disrupts our perfectly planned routine. It forces us to face our fears and often, it completely defies common sense. Click To Tweet

So, here’s what I’ve learned after traveling with God for more than thirty-five years:

  1. If you can see it, it isn’t faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It’s like a shadow that your prayer and belief and vision put substance to. Faith is actual substance and true evidence but you can’t see or touch it, you can only apprehend it. Faith alone knows that the “not yet” eventually turns into the “will be.” It’s assurance that what we’re hoping for will really and truly come to pass. Faith is a gift and we can ask for more of it. (Luke 17:5)

 

  1. Common sense is faith’s enemy because it’s…common. It shuts down the supernatural in our lives. What starts as a shadow, an inkling, or a knowing deep inside, causes your common sense to rise up and try to shut it down. Faith is unique, unusual, exotic, dangerous and courageous because it takes courage to act on the unseen, to bungee-jump into God’s miraculous plan and throw caution to the wind! Most of us will never take God up on His offer to step into adventure with Him, to walk into the unknown and plunge with Him into the place where dreams are born.

 

  1. Faith is a gift. I remember telling God years ago, I don’t just want faith–I want GREAT FAITH! I wanted to believe for gigantic things for myself, my daughter, my husband. Let me tell you when you pray that prayer, God answers and it’s not always in the way you hoped. I thought He would make me more spiritual but He used it to humble me. He caused me to depend on Him in ways I never imagined but He’s proved over and over that He is enough. He’s still humbling me and reminding me that:

 

  1. Faith is spiritually discerned. My natural man and spirit man are at odds and I won’t be able to figure it out with my intellect or common sense. I’ve learned to let go of what I don’t know and come to Him as a child.

 

  1. Faith asks me to believe the impossible. Could you believe for a miracle of divine healing or provision for a desperate need? Do you believe your child has a phenomenal future ahead of her or that your life can leave a lasting impact on others? Paul teaches us to “…call those things that are not as though they are.” romans 4:17. Don’t you just love that about God? It sounds so easy but it drives me to my knees!

You can’t figure this out with intellect or common sense. I’ve learned to let go of what I know and come to Him as a child because children are able to believe anything is possible. I’m learning to walk in faith day by day, sometimes moment by moment, hand in hand with God. On the hard days my prayer simply becomes, “I believe Lord, help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Our faith will be tested; you can take that to the bank. How else can you develop faith unless God gives you something to have faith for, knowing He’s the only one who can provide it? He has to test us in our faith journey and here’s why:

Faith is just a doorway. A doorway into trust.

And that, dear friends, is the ultimate goal. Knowing and trusting every day that He has your best interests at heart.

If I were to really go bungee jumping, I’d want to be absolutely certain that the person in charge knew what he was doing and had taken all the proper safety measures. As I stepped out on the edge of the cliff, you better believe I’d be praying the cords were tight and the harness fastened correctly before I took that bungee plunge. Holding my breath and squeezing my eyes shut I’d count to three and jump. So far, my Father has always been there to catch me. And I’m certain He always will.

What about you? Are you willing to step out into your incredible future? Will you risk everything, jump and trust the cord will hold?


Kate Battistelli is the author of The God Dare: Will You Choose to Believe the Impossible? I know this book and her story will encourage you to step out on the water and walk in radical obedience to God!

Kate is a wife to Mike, and an author, speaker, and former actress/singer. She is the mother to Grammy award-winning Contemporary Christian artist Francesca Battistelli. Kate has faced all kinds of trials throughout her life from having an abortion, ectopic pregnancy and struggling with infertility. She has also struggled with anxiety and nocturnal seizures, but through it all, she is keenly aware of God’s continual presence in her life. For more information visit: Kate Battistelli

 

 

Misty Phillip

Book Review: The Logic of God

Book Review: The Logic of God

“God wants us to know Him personally and live out our faith day by day in meaningful ways, but the noise, chaos, clutter, and busyness of life so often overwhelm that we find it difficult, if not impossible.” -Ravi Zacharias

The Logic of God by Ravi Zacharias is an invitation to know God more deeply, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review it. I firmly believe we all have a worldview or a lens in which we view the world. What we believe and what we believe about God matters! It affects every area of our life and those within our sphere of influence.

“For the Christian this is where the battle must be fought, for no worldview suffers more from the loss of belief in God than the Christian one. And unless the “logic” of God – the evidence has provided us of His existence – is defended, I sought after, is fully engaged with our hearts and minds, every essential of the Christian faith will be deemed illogical and untrue, thereby making them unworthy of rational assent “- Introduction to The Logic of God

According to CARM – Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, Worldview is defined as:

“A worldview is a set of beliefs and assumptions that a person uses when interpreting the world around him.  A worldview deals with issues like . . .

1. What are we?
2. Were we created or did we evolve?
3. What is our purpose in life?
4. Does God exist?
5. From where do we derive our morals?
6. Are there moral absolutes?
7. Why is there suffering in the world?

 

All people have a worldview.  Some believe in God, and others do not.  Some affirm evolution, and others do not.  Some believe there are absolute morals, and others do not. Some worldviews are more refined than others, but all people have them because all people have a set of beliefs through which they view the world.”

What we believe matters! I have a Biblical Worldview and so everything in my life filters through that lens. I also believe in the sufficiency of scripture. We see this concept clearly illustrated in Psalm 19:7-14 English Standard Version (ESV)

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

John MacArthur on the sufficiency of scripture states,

“God’s Word is sufficient to meet every need of the human soul as David verifies frequently in his psalms. Psalm 19:7-14 is the most comprehensive statement regarding the sufficiency of Scripture. It is an inspired statement about Scripture as a qualified guide for every situation. Scripture is comprehensive, containing everything necessary for one’s spiritual life. Scripture is surer than a human experience that one may look to in proving God’s power and presence. Scripture contains divine principles that are the best guide for character and conduct. Scripture is lucid rather than mystifying so that it enlightens the eyes. Scripture is void of any flaws and therefore lasts forever. Scripture is true regarding all things that matter, making it capable of producing comprehensive righteousness. Because it meets every need in life, Scripture is infinitely more precious than anything this world has to offer.”

He goes on to say,

“It is significant that one of the biblical names of Christ is Wonderful Counselor (Isa 9:6). He is the highest and ultimate One to whom Christians may turn for counsel, and His Word is the well from which we may draw divine wisdom.”

Ravi Zacharias clearly lays out similar principles in his devotional book The Logic of God.

 

“At the very heart of Christianity, Jesus is the image and the incarnation of the invisible God – the one who came to live among us to show us God’s love, perfection, and grace. And this reality changes everything” – Ravi Zacharias, The Logic of God

Book Description:

We all have doubts that challenge our faith. We wonder whether the Bible still matters, or whether God is truly as loving and personal as we hope. In his first ever devotional, The Logic of God, apologist Ravi Zacharias offers 52 readings that explain how and why Christianity, the Bible, and God are still relevant, vital, and life-changing for us today. To all our dilemmas Ravi says, “I am convinced that Jesus Christ alone uniquely answers the deepest questions of our hearts and minds.”

With a remarkable grasp of biblical facts and a deep understanding of the questions that trouble our hearts, Ravi tackles the most difficult topics with ease and understanding. But The Logic of God is more than intellectual; it is also personal, offering thoughtful wisdom on:

when Jesus draws especially near you

the deep ray of hope found in God’s Word

how God transforms disappointments

why prayer matters

how genuine peace is possible

making sense of suffering

Ravi makes profound biblical truth easy to understand. And if your life is busy, this book is designed for you! It addresses 52 topics that you can read over the course of one year or slowly digest at your own pace. Each entry includes a Scripture, questions for reflection, and some practical application steps.

When you're struggling with questions and doubts, confused, curious, or just want a clearer way to express your faith The Logic of God has answers that satisfy the heart and the mind. Click To Tweet

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Logic of God and highly recommend it to anyone wanting to know God more deeply and walk closer to Jesus! Each of these 52 devotions begins with a scripture, and a short devotional thought followed by reflection questions and personal application to strengthen your faith.

Enter to win a signed copy of The Logic of God By Ravi Zacharias here:  The Logic of God Giveaway

Much Love, 

 

 

Misty Phillip

It Riles People

It Riles People

This week it is my pleasure to welcome Shontell Brewer to this space. Shontell has a radical on fire heart for God. Radical obedience to God may look different than you think and it may shake some people up. My prayer for you is that she challenges you to live this one life with purpose loving and serving an audience of one!

Be sure to check out the podcast we recorded! Shontell Brewer: Teacher and Anti-Trafficking Advocate

Please welcome Shontell Brewer to By His Grace today!


It Riles People 

by Shontell Brewer

Ever been accused of riling things up?

I have.

Try choosing a ministry other people aren’t on board with. Try pointing out heavy truths of slavery and oppression taking place on the streets of your town. Try moving to a state or a city or a neighborhood that people don’t quite understand. Try selling all of your stuff and giving it away. Try walking to a church in your neighborhood and calling those in the pews your “people” whether or not that church has the coolest VBS and worship program. Try leaving your church to spend your Sundays in a different way. It riles people.

Everyone wants an explanation. Suddenly people are huddling in close to you wanting the inside skinny on why you’re really leaving. Simply stating that God is doing something with you isn’t enough. Don’t even try it. Well, try it. And good luck with it. It riles people.

Suddenly, everyone feels they are closer to you than he or she ever truly was. You can’t quite remember becoming close enough with them for this conversation. They don’t say it, but they mean, “I know you aren’t around gossiping, but obviously you will tell ME.” They are riled.

You find yourself at a birthday party and people want to hash it out. They are riled. People pull you out of service and need to know if something happened. And to that we should always be able to say, “Yes.”

Yes. God is at work here. Prepare to be riled if you aren’t in cahoots with his plan. And be ready to be a lone reed if you are. Click To Tweet

Every day and every minute you are trying to stand before God and hone in on his still small voice. You want nothing more than to lock eyes with The One Who Calls You. You find your grasp is a white-knuckled fist upon his robes. And you are low and humble and crying more days than not.

In the end, do you know what you will discover?

You need to know that when people get riled up it is much more their issue and much less your problem. You aren’t riling anyone, actually. What is happening is the Holy Spirit is about you, and rather than meet that with support, their fear jumps up. And then rather than meet their fear with grace, we sometimes find that we are afraid of that very thing they are talking about. And if we aren’t careful we begin to reverse the work God is doing in us.

We are no longer out on the waves, eye to eye with Jesus and his deep grace. We are swimming back to shore, walking up to our chair in the corner, and pulling a towel over our face to block out what we left and what we are now missing. It’s a sham.

That fear? It’s a sham. God says, “Grace abounds in deepest waters. Join me. Look in my eyes and feel my heartbeat in time with yours. This is when your doubt subsides and you are strong in me. This is how you know me. Most importantly, this is how others will know me- when they watch you.”

So rile them up, my friends. Look them all straight in the eye and stand firmly in your calling.

Just watch what God can do with that.

Shontell Brewer is a writer on her blog Nonsense At Its Finest. By day she works as a classroom teacher, and weekends are mostly spent as an advocate for the steadily growing anti-trafficking movement in Nevada. As a licensed pastor, she speaks around the country to youth, mothers, and churches. A wife for over twenty years, she and her husband have spent most of that time raising five kids. Together the family runs a monthly outreach in their home: a come as you are dinner called Taco Tuesday. Keep up with her day to day nonsense, books, and speaking engagements on Instagram. Her book, Missionary Mom, was released fall of 2018.


Hope you enjoyed hearing from this week’s guest and look forward to introducing you to Kate Battistelli!

My last few weeks have been busy attending the Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s Conference and with the launch of The Struggle is Real: But So is God. It debuted at number 1 in Adult Christian Education on Amazon, but more importantly, people’s lives and hearts are already being changed!

The Struggle Is Real, But So Is God is a

6-week

journey through the Bible that will:

Equip you with empowering wisdom.

Help you grow spiritually by claiming God’s promises as your own.

Teach you how to declare scripture over yourself to strengthen your inner being.

Show you how to conquer challenges by activating God’s Word in your life.

#thestrugglebiblestudy

It is available for sale on Amazon.

Much Love,

 

 

Misty Phillip

The Why Behind The Struggle Bible Study

The Why Behind The Struggle Bible Study

For the past three years, I have been praying, dreaming, writing, and pounding away on the keyboard. In my crack time between being a wife, and busy homeschool mom. I have spent hundreds of hours pouring my heart onto the page in coffee shops, on park benches, at my kitchen table. All in hopes that it will help those battling hard times and point them to Jesus. Because Jesus changes everything! He has radically changed my life, and if He can do it for me, then he can do it for you!

The Struggle is Real

I am sure you have heard the expression, “the struggle is real”. We use that phrase in jest to talk about having a bad hair day, and we chuckle about it, but sometimes the struggles in life are real and they are not a joking matter!

I have good news for you, friend: the struggle is real, but so is God! Click To Tweet

The Bible is filled with stories of imperfect men and women who faced all sorts of obstacles and challenges in their lives. Each of their lives was touched by the grace of a loving Father who continues to redeem all things to himself through Christ. I have heard it said that history is His-Story. It is a beautiful story of redemption from the beginning until now.

The Why Behind  – The Struggle Is Real Bible Study!

My life has been filled with many struggles and challenges, some of my own making, others as a result of living in a fallen world. Some suffering I have endured because the Lord has allowed those things to happen in my life for His good and His glory. Through it all, the Lord has taught me the importance of standing firm in my faith and walking in victory.

We all have hard things that we go through. My trials may not look like your trials because difficulties come in all shapes and sizes. But what I do know for sure is that, no matter what you are facing right now, God is there to see you through. 

You are an overcomer, and God wants you to live in victory! Click To Tweet

I did my first Bible Study in my mid-twenties and I was hooked. I fell head over heels in love with Jesus and his word. It was my life-line through the day to day struggles in my marriage, with illness, pain, grief, loss of babies and parents, raising a special needs child, and homeschooling.

Even though I was a believer, I spent many of those years living defeated because life was hard! I held on to hurt, and shame from my past, instead of casting my cares on Jesus. I went to people to try to solve my problems instead of getting flat on my face before Jesus for help. My life began to change as I poured over scripture and began claiming the promises available to me in the Bible for myself. The only thing that got me through these difficult seasons of life was to look to God and His Word for hope. In those trying times, I found biblical solutions and scriptural promises that helped me overcome.

This is why I wrote The Struggle is Real: But so is God Bible Study!

I want to help women lay claim to the promises available to them in scripture so that they can walk in the freedom of Christ in victory!

The theme of overcoming is magnificently woven throughout the Bible. God is not silent on the matter. In the Struggle is Real: But So is God, we will delve deep into the Word of God to see what scripture has to say about living a victorious life and follow the theme of overcoming throughout the Bible. We examine it in light of the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and draw on the promises and the good news of scripture. We will also consult biblical commentaries, along with Greek and Hebrew word studies, to enhance our understanding. At the conclusion of each day, a section of practical application will help us apply what we’ve learned. Followed by a set of declarations to speak over yourself.

The Word is Our Guide

God has given us the lives of the men and women of both the Old and New Testaments to serve as examples of how we should live. The Bible is the inspired word of God, and it is a beautiful love letter from the Lord to his children. Through the promises of scripture, we have everything we need to overcome any problem, challenge, or stressful situation we face in our lives. 

We see this clearly illustrated in 2 Peter:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-5 English Standard Version, emphasis added)

Claiming Biblical Promises

There are great promises for those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. When we believe in Him, God gives us His divine power through Christ. It is the same power that raised Jesus from the grave! By knowing Him, by spending time reading, studying, and memorizing His word, and through prayer to Him, we have everything we need to live in victory. Wherever you are in your walk with the Lord, it is my prayer that He uses this study to draw you closer to Him.

Join me for a further in-depth study on biblical promises for overcomers in

The Struggle is Real: But so is God Bible Study.

Now is the time to know what God says about you and how you can live a victorious life. Discover faith and integrity are the character qualities that are yours as an overcomer. Each in-depth study has thought-provoking questions to journal, so you will be able to see your personal growth.

The Struggle Is Real, But So Is God is a 6-week journey through the Bible that will:

Equip you with empowering wisdom.

Help you grow spiritually by claiming God’s promises as your own.

Teach you how to declare scripture over yourself to strengthen your inner being.

Show you how to conquer challenges by activating God’s Word in your life. 

Grab your copy of The Struggle Is Real: But So is God Bible Study. Perfect for a summer or fall Bible Study. For personal study or with a small group.

Much Love,

 

 

 

Misty Phillip

Not Just a Face Only a Mother Can Love

Not Just a Face Only a Mother Can Love

I immediately connect with this week’s guest when we met. We have both walked the difficult road of parenting a child with special needs. We talked about the joys and the challenges of having children with medical and special needs on Hope for Raising a Special needs Child Kathy is filled with hard-fought wisdom from pressing into God.

I am delighted to introduce you to my new friend, please welcome Kathy McClelland to By His Grace today.


Not Just a Face Only a Mother Can Love

By Kathy McClelland

The night my son Nathan was born he made a sour face.

The labor and delivery nurse said to me, “That’s a face only a mother can love.”

I was too drugged post-surgery to realize what she said, let alone respond with something I would’ve said to my then three-year-old like, “That’s not a kind thing to say!”

Almost four years later her words still sting when I think about them, especially because we were in the midst of discovering our little boy was born with birth defects. Nathan has abnormalities affecting his brain, spine, heart, and kidneys. He was later diagnosed with Cri du chat syndrome, a rare (1 in 50,000 births) chromosomal disorder.

Almost everything about him is different. Aside from his obvious facial differences, he eats with a feeding tube, needs to be catheterized intermittently, and still isn’t walking or talking. Yet these differences are no reason to say he’s a child only a mother can love.

In his short life, Nathan has managed to win his way into the hearts of family members, friends, therapists, caregivers, medical professionals, and teachers. His eye contact is piercing at times. He freely gives his affection to people by making kissing sounds and leaning in for hugs. And although he generally has a flat affect, when he does smile it lights up a room and leads people into sweet, joyful laughter. 

His presence is a gift. It's not because of what he does or doesn't do. It's because of who he is--a sweet little boy buried within a syndrome that entraps his mind and body. Click To Tweet

All too often I think that L&D nurses comment reflects a general attitude many people have toward those who are different, oppressed, needy, and weak whether they would openly say those things or not. As a society, we are often afraid and put off by other’s differences, rather than in search of their beauty. 

That’s not the heart of Jesus though. Our God is a God of compassion. He has great love, care, and concern for the outcasts. He moves toward people on the fringes of society and tells the little children to come to Him. 

Now I see how God was working to redeem and heal that nurse’s hurtful words. 

Three special friends offered to come to the NICU and hold Nathan when we couldn’t be there. They rotated through a schedule of early morning and late nights shifts. These ladies showed up to love Nathan, proving that he wasn’t just a baby only a mother can love.

It was a beautiful expression of love for a boy who will likely be overlooked and judged by many. NICU nurses would later talk about these three ladies as the “baby holders” and “church ladies” who took such good care of him. Their love for Nathan impacted not only our family but the NICU staff as well. They chose to openly care for him and love him even though he is different, just like Jesus.

From the outside, my son isn’t the typical portrait of beautiful. But on the inside, he offers great beauty. My little boy is teaching me there is beauty in differences and that, he is most definitely not just the face only a mother could love.

BIO:

Kathy McClelland is the author of Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent. She is dedicated to sharing hope and encouragement with others affected by disability and differences. This became her passion when her second son was born with a rare (1 in 50,000 births) chromosomal disorder. Go to her blog, kathymcclelland.com, and grab a free copy of All Things Beautiful: Finding Beauty and Hope in a Special Needs Diagnosis.

CONTACT/SOCIAL MEDIA:

Email: kathyallthingsbeautiful@gmail.com

Website: kathymcclelland.com

Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/kathymcclellandwriter/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kathy_allthingsbeautiful/


Have the challenges of life created a desire to strengthen your walk with God?

We all go through struggles in life. Author Misty Phillip has lived through many difficult seasons of life where all she could do was look to God and His Word for hope. She found biblical solutions and scriptural promises that helped her overcome, and she can’t wait to share with you what she has learned.

The Struggle Is Real, But So Is God is a 6-week journey through the Bible that will:

  • Equip you with empowering wisdom.
  • Help you grow spiritually by claiming God’s promises as your own.
  • Teach you how to declare scripture over yourself to strengthen your inner being.
  • Show you how to conquer challenges by activating God’s Word in your life. 

Experience just how real God is and know that He is right there with you in the middle of it all.

See just how six weeks can change your struggle. Just in time for a summer or fall Bible study,  The Struggle is Real: But So is God is now available on Amazon for pre-order order your copy today! 

The Struggle is Real: But So is God

Much Love,

Misty Phillip

Married to Mental Illness

Married to Mental Illness

Being married to someone with mental illness can be quite challenging! This week’s guest on By His Grace shares the challenge of being married to a husband who suffers from bipolar disorder, and how God has used this in her life to make her more dependant on the Lord. With the help of the Lord, she has actually learned to count it all a blessing.

Listen in to podcast episode 18 Married to Mental Illness Please welcome my sweet friend Rachel Daniel of Brave Pursuit to the blog today!


Married to Mental Illness

By Rachel Daniel

This November my husband and I will be married for nine years. While I am more in love with my husband today than I ever thought possible, I have to be honest and say that our marriage wasn’t always so great. In fact, I don’t think we got to the “honeymoon” phase of our marriage until we were three or four years into the marriage. Those first few years were rough, and looking back on things, I know now it was only by God’s grace and mercy that we made it to where we are today. 

This has to be one of the hardest blog posts I’ve ever shared because I want the world to look at and love my husband in the same way I do, through the eyes of Christ. However, to love someone with the eyes of Christ, you have to see every part of them with honesty and transparency…which is why I’ve been so guarded up until this point to protect the image of my husband.

The honest and transparent truth is that I’m married to a man who battles with a mental health disability: Bipolar Disorder. 

Neither David or I knew that he was suffering from a mental disability until things began to rapidly unravel in our marriage. He battled his disability while I battled my inability to meet his needs due to my own selfish pride, stubbornness, and unrelenting desire to always be right (classic baby-of-the-family syndrome).

Praise God that in spite of our difficulties, we both desired to stay married and do whatever we could to save our marriage. We ended up seeking professional help in the form of a counselor where David was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Once diagnosed and medicated, we were left believing things would be “fixed.” We had no idea that our marriage would still require work because a single pill doesn’t “fix” everything. Actually, we had no idea that our marriage would require more work than most marriages. 

What was heartbreaking is that as a social person, who has always lived my life like an open book, was when I shared with other Christian friends what was going on in our lives, the response went from dismissive to fear. It was then I realized that our culture, particularly in the world of faith, wasn’t speaking and supporting the battle for mental health, and I felt like I had nowhere to turn. I shut down and did my best to hide the struggles in our marriage from everyone for fear or tarnishing my husband’s image. God’s Word reminds us, “For I hold you by your right hand – I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you,” (Isaiah 41:13)

As a Christian wife married to a man who lives with a bipolar disorder, God has taken me on a spiritual journey that I never could have anticipated. I grew up in church my entire life, but I never knew what it was to truly have an intimate relationship with God until I desperately needed His grace and mercy over and over, minute after minute, every day to learn to be the wife my husband needed. Being nice, keeping a clean house, and raising our kids wasn’t what my husband needed. With the help of God every single day, I get the chance to really know what it means to be a Godly, Proverbs 31 wife that my husband needs and desires. I rely daily on prayer and counsel from God to help me in my marriage (Romans 73:23-24).

So what does it look like being a Godly wife to a Godly man who battles for his mental health?

On paper, it looks like most marriages: put God first in my life and my marriage, pray constantly for my husband and myself, communicate with my husband regularly, always forgive, and love him as Christ loves me. Click To Tweet

The reality of walking those ideas and principals out though often looks different than most marriages. I am the thermostat for our house. I do my best to always gauge when the emotional well-being of our family is in normal ranges or when I can sense a shift in the climate. It’s my job, to understand and prepare to handle when the climate changes due to my husband and children’s emotional state.

For example, when my husband is in a manic cycle, it’s my job to interpret his needs: space, sleep, adjustment in medication, extra attention, sounding board, problem solver, etc. Sometimes, this involves me understanding and encouraging him to spend time in his “man-cave” for a few days without the pressures of being the world’s best dad and husband. Sometimes I take the kids out for most of the day, giving him peace and quiet.

Other times, this may mean that I set up a date night for us so that I can give him my exclusive attention without any interruptions. Other times, he just needs me to listen to him vent about his frustrations with life, kids, work, finances, and the other million things he’s carrying day to day for our family without judgment and without trying to “solve” his problems. I’ll admit, I struggle most with trying not to “solve” and just listening probably more than anything else in our relationship.

That’s where God has to remind me day after day to show my husband I can simply listen, and God has to grant me a lot of grace and mercy because I fail at this task regularly. 

I used to rely solely on my husband to meet my emotional needs, and when he failed because he was a human, I was crushed and left unsatisfied. It was only when I turned to God to meet my emotional needs that I found a joy that I never knew existed within the contexts of my marriage. Because I rely on God’s ability to fill me with joy, when my husband is human and makes mistakes, I can still love him, forgive him, have a passion for him, and find happiness in him.

It was only when I turned to God to meet my emotional needs that I found a joy that I never knew existed within the contexts of my marriage. Click To Tweet

In recent years, David and I have become best friends. We don’t have the perfect marriage. We still fight. We handle the difficulties of him being bipolar daily. I fail to be the kind of wife and mother God has called me to be at least once a day…okay, it’s probably more like ten times a day.

Even still, by the grace of God, our marriage is wholly satisfying and filled with a joy that neither of us thought we could experience.

I always hold onto Romans 8:16-17, “The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

We learned (often times through trial and error) how to be each other’s spouse, best friend, partner, lover, and warrior. I wouldn’t wish for anyone to battle a mental disability. However, I know that because of my husband’s daily ability to be an amazing husband and father in spite of his mental health challenges, he has learned how to show compassion to me and our daughters in depths I don’t possess. He picks up the slack when I’m failing (especially in my third trimester of pregnancy with our third daughter), and he has an uncanny ability to get things done despite overwhelming obstacles. A bipolar diagnosis has taught us to rely on Christ in ways we could’ve never imagined, thus leading us to our best marriage ever. 


As Rachel so eloquently shares the struggles in life are really real, but SO IS OUR GOD, and He is always there to see us through! I am so excited to share The Struggle is Real: But So is God Bible Study is now available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon and launches May 7, 2019.

The Struggle Is Real, But So Is God is a 6-week journey through the Bible that will:

  • Equip you with empowering wisdom.
  • Help you grow spiritually by claiming God’s promises as your own.
  • Teach you how to declare scripture over yourself to strengthen your inner being.
  • Show you how to conquer challenges by activating God’s Word in your life. 

Pre-order your copy today The Struggle is Real: But So is God.

Much Love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misty Phillip

Dear Wife

Dear Wife

One of the places I encourage women in addition to my blog, speaking or podcast is through my writing at A Wife Like Me. A Wife like me exists to create thriving marriages by providing life-changing biblical truths and tools to wives. We have a fantastic team of contributors, the A Wife Like Me team who has come together to provide a resource for wives to grow closer to Jesus, and their husbands through our first book, Dear Wife.

I recently got a chance to read the proof of our book, Dear Wife: 10 Minute Invitations to Practice Connection with Your Husband devotional book this week and I bawled HAPPY TEARS! It is so beautiful and life-giving!!! This week on By His Grace Podcast I sat down with Amanda Davison The Founder of A Wife Like Me, and fellow contributor Natalia Drumm. We talked about the struggles of connection and communication in marriage, and the heart behind the Dear Wife book.                            

I would LOVE for you to join us as we release this beautiful offering into the world. We have a fantastic team of contributors at A Wife Like Me team who have come together to provide a resource for wives to grow closer to Jesus, and their husbands through our first book, Dear Wife. Dear Wife contains 26 invitations, with ten minutes of practices, to grow in your connection with your husband. Two of the invitations in the book I wrote and collaborated with the talented contributors who are accomplished authors, speakers, and Christian leaders. These wive’s love the Lord, and have walked through fire in their marriages and have lived to tell about it. Each invitation includes scripture from the life of Jesus, a message, and thought-provoking reflection questions.

The A Wife Like Me team has poured so much prayer, energy, and love into these pages!

                                                       

Do you wish you had more alone time with your husband? Do you find yourself going through the day-to-day busy routine of life while your marriage is on cruise control, without intentional time together spent connecting? Do you desire deeper intimacy and love with your husband?

Dear Wife Book

Being married is great, but being married and feeling intimately connected is what every wife desires. Dear Wife provides you with twenty-six heart-changing invitations to discover how Christ desires connection with you and how through connection with Christ, you’ll develop a deeper connection with your husband.

In this book, you will:

  • Replace boring and busy with building deep intimacy and love

  • Swap ongoing complacency with intentional connection

  • Spend guided alone time with your husband and God

  • Experience more depth in your marriage relationship

  • Restore and build connection with God and with your husband

Dear Wife is available for pre-order now and launches May 1, 2019.

Much Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misty Phillip

Daughters of Dementia

Daughters of Dementia

It is difficult for someone to understand the complexities that accompany being the caregiver of someone with an illness or special needs unless they have walked a mile in your shoes. My guest today Lauren Flake has not only found a purpose for her pain but has joined forces with a friend to make a difference in the lives of others.

Lauren Flake and I had a great conversation on the By His Grace episode 16 Lauren Flake: Dealing with Dementia. Please welcome Lauren Flake to the blog today.


Daughters of Dementia

by Lauren Flake

I met my friend Shana face-to-face for the first time over enchiladas and margaritas. We were born and raised in Austin and San Antonio respectively, after all. We had far more in common than our Central Texas roots though. First and foremost, we had both reluctantly earned the title of “daughter of dementia” in our early twenties.

That night, we talked, through many tears and a few laughs, about our mothers’ battles with early onset dementia. We lamented being helpless to stop their decline and being devastated by their worsening symptoms. And we compared the handful of humorous moments we experienced as well.

If you can't laugh at the situation every once in a while, you may not survive caregiving. Click To Tweet

Shana’s mother passed away a few months before, in the final stages of Lewy Body dementia, which mimics the symptoms of both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. My mother, on the other hand, was still in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s. Her journey towards the end was just beginning.

In our first meeting, Shana and I discovered so many similarities in our moms’ and our stories. Both of our mothers had been writers, for example. Her mom was a journalist; mine worked in public relations and was a high school English teacher. Shana and I were both writers active in state politics and living in Austin when we met. Most importantly, we both took on the critical role of power of attorney and primary contact for our mothers following their difficult-to-navigate diagnoses at the start of our careers.

After seeing a local news story featuring my family and reaching out to the reporter for my contact information, Shana became the mentor I needed most in that moment. I know now that God brought Shana into my life at the exact right time to show me that I could and would survive this heartache. She gave me hope when I had almost none left.

Shana told me honestly, without any sugar coating, what I could probably expect in my mother’s remaining years. She offered me a shoulder to cry on despite her own unbearable grief. She made sure I knew it was okay to be angry and scared. Shana used her traumatic loss as a chance to offer me healing through our connection. For removing the isolation I felt before meeting her, I am forever grateful.

She ended up moving out of state and then all over the place for work a few years later, but Shana and I still keep in touch. Her friendship is the inspiration behind Daughters of Dementia, our growing online community connecting women caring for family members diagnosed with any form of dementia. Our ultimate goal is to match current with surviving caregivers for friendships and mentorships like ours that began by sharing Tex-Mex over a decade ago.

We want to use our painful losses to help other women in similar situations find their footing again. We want to show other caregivers that through our suffering, we persevered and came out stronger on the other side.

We want to use our painful losses to help other women in similar situations find their footing again. We want to show other caregivers that through our suffering, we persevered and came out stronger on the other side. Click To Tweet

We want women to know that they are never alone in their grief and sadness. Our loving, righteous God sees and feels their hurt, and so do we. He counts every tear they shed and redeems every heartache they experience. And in his great love, he gives us one another to lean on through the pain:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! ” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV)


Lauren Flake is a writer, artist, wife, girl mom, and Alzheimer’s daughter near Austin, Texas. She is the author of two award-winning children’s books for grieving preschoolers, Where Did My Sweet Grandma Go? and Where Did My Sweet Grandpa Go?; the co-founder of Daughters of Dementia; and the editor of Love of Dixie magazine for Texas women. Find Lauren at LaurenFlake.com and on Facebook and Instagram at @loveofdixie.


The By His Grace podcast is now reaching people across the globe! Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. Please continue to share meaningful episodes with friends and family because you never know who is suffering and needs encouragement.

Much Love,

Misty Phillip

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