By His Grace
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

How to ALWAYS Pray

How to ALWAYS Pray

Prayer is such a crucial part of our faith journey. As a Christians living in the modern world we have direct access to throne room of God and Jesus our advocate is continuously interceeding on our behalf before the Father. I am currently praying and believing God for some pretty audacious prayers!

My friend Susan Macias is a mighty prayer warrior, and I am excited to invite her to By His Grace this week to her heart on prayer. Please welcome Susan to the blog today.


How To ALWAYS Pray

By Susan Macias

The days were closing in on Jesus’s earthly ministry as He traveled up to Jerusalem with His disciples. Along the way, He explained what was coming—that He’d be betrayed and suffer.

Soon He’d go to the cross for His people’s sins and they’d no longer be able to hear Him teach or receive His touch. What would happen then? Would they persevere?

It was at this moment we come to Luke 18 where Jesus gives two remarkable parables, both about prayer. But the verse that stands out the most to me is the introduction in Luke 18:1, which says, “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (ESV, emphasis added) 

Jesus knew His people would soon be tempted to lose heart. To despair. To feel abandoned and alone. His solution was to teach them to ALWAYS pray so that wouldn’t happen. 

I’ve found no better antidote to the struggles and despair the world dishes out than to pray. Having continual conversations with my Heavenly Father keeps my eyes on Him and my heart resting in His work. ”Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.“ (Psalm 55:17, ESV)

But the instruction to ALWAYS pray can also feel overwhelming. What are some ways we can keep praying always without falling into legalism or frustration? One of my favorite methods is to look for triggers that will act as calls to prayer for me. Then, instead of the struggles leading me down a dark path of despair, they lead me to the enveloping arms of my Savior.

Here’s what it looks like:

Let Worry Be a Reminder: do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6, ESV) Worry always shows up whenever I struggle. But worry destroys. So, I use that awful feeling of anxiety as a warning signal—I need to pray! Then instead of fruitlessly fretting, I’m fighting for a solution.

Let Someone’s Unkindness Be a Reminder:But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44, ESV). Whether it comes from someone I love or a complete stranger, unkindness hurts. It’s hard to love anyone who works against me. Usually, I’m tempted to give them back what I think they deserve. But, when I use that pain as fuel to pray for that person, not only do I not make things worse, I’m actually building toward God’s solution.

Let Suffering Be a Reminder:Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” (James 5:13a ESV). The bank account is low. The children are sick. The neighbor is difficult. The job is a struggle. The list of sufferings, small to large, stretches endlessly before us. But, when I use each and every one as a trigger to pray, I cut off despair, anger, and loneliness before they develop.

Let Joy Be a Reminder: ”…Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.” (James 5:13b ESV). I miss out on wonderful communion with the Lord if I only go to Him with my problems. Joy, happiness, and success should also be launch pads for prayer. The praise kind of prayer helps me see the Lord’s hand in every part of my life, and keeps me from becoming self-reliant or prideful. And, I get to share the joy with the One who loves me most.

Practice Thanksgiving Always: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, ESV). Practicing thankfulness for every little or big thing, whether good or bad, is the best habit for maintaining a constant prayer life. When I give thanks in everything, I never run out of things to pray about.

Prayer initiates me into sweet communion with Jesus. He invited and commanded me to pray, which means He wants that relationship with His people. I would be foolish to miss out on such an amazing gift. When I use the circumstances in my life as reminders, I ALWAYS pray. And I’m also much less likely to lose heart. 

What a privilege. And a precious gift.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12 ESV)

Susan writes and speaks with the goal to train an army of women to confidently stand their ground and fight offensively in prayer for their kids and families.

Her award-winning book UNCEASING: A Parent’s Guide To Conquer Worry And Pray With Power is available on Amazon, as is her prayer devotional 31 Days Praying For My Daughter. She loves coffee, queso, reading, playing with her grandkids, and hosting ridiculously large dinner parties.

You can find Susan at her blog, susankmacias.com.

 


Thank you for joing us today. I hope you will listen to the podcast Suan and I recorded it is chock full of wisdom.

We would consider it a blessing and honor to pray for you. Drop your prayer request in the comment section below or email your prayer request to info@mistyphillip.com.

Much Love,

Misty Phillip

Why I let My Husband Go – So that Others May Live

Why I let My Husband Go – So that Others May Live

I am tickled pink to invite Tracy Steel to By His Grace this week! We had a great time on the podcast, Tracy and I talk about the struggle of being a military wife on the move. Tracy provides some practical tips on how to make friends fast and build community and we dive deep into what God has taught her in Episode 32: Tracy Steel: On the Move. Today I welcome Tracy to the blog to talk about letting go of her husband as he leaves to go on a mission.

Please welcome Tracy Steel!


Why I let my husband go… so that others may live

By Tracy Steel

When I started dating my handsome Air Force pilot back in 2007, others warned me to consider marrying him carefully. It had nothing to do with him, personally. But because military life is not the easiest type of lifestyle. Not growing up in a military family, I honestly had no idea what I was walking into. Or what I would be asking my future children to walk through. But I fell in love with Chad Steel anyway. Regardless of his rank or the uniform he wears, my husband is a mighty man of faith and character. And he is hawt. Yes, I know this is not the correct way to spell the word “hot”, but he is VERY handsome, so he gets his own spelling of the word. I am thankful Misty has not edited this important detail from this paragraph.

Chad and I have been married for eleven years now and have moved six times during those eleven years. We have two beautiful children, and as I shared on the podcast the one thing that has truly has kept me going and guided me throughout our marriage with all of its moves and time apart is my faith in Christ.  

So early on in our marriage, as like within the first month, I had to face a reality that I didn’t want to think about. At that point in our marriage, God had called my husband to fight a physical enemy is a physical battle. And there was a possibility that he may not come back home alive to me after a future deployment. Talk about taking me to a whole new level of trust with God! But as I worked through this in the months and years that followed, my perspective started to change. Which was good, for two years later I had to hold my husband in my arms as tears fell from his eyes. He had made it back, but others did not.

Here is what happened and what God has helped me to see….

I could feel the lump in my throat. The silence was deafening. The American flag looked stunning as it waved against the cloudless sky. A lone trumpet began to play. My husband’s shaky hand grabbed my own hand that was filled with crumpled tissues. As I turned to look him, I saw tears streaming down his cheeks. I did not want them to touch his flight suit, so I quickly wiped them away. Once again, I noticed his silver wings placed across his upper left chest and over his heart. To the world, they are symbols of his heroism and dedication to protecting our great nation. To me, they symbolize his flights in combat and his return home, alive. As I pondered this, my own tears began to fall. As one of my fellow Air Force wives made her way up to the microphone, I began to weep. It didn’t matter that I had never met her before. I wept, because we were at her husband’s memorial service. On June 17th, 2010, we honored a hero that willingly gave his life, so “that others may live.”

“It is my duty as an Air Rescueman to save life and to aid the injured. I will be prepared at all times to perform my assigned duties quickly and efficiently, placing these duties before personal desires and comforts. These things I do, that others may live.” Brig Gen Richard Kight

This is the actual motto of the Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) community of the US Air Force. Being a part of this community, and the military, in general, has certainly made our lives interesting. For example, the military moves us every 2-3 years. This has provided us with incredible new friends from all over the United States who love and support us. We are truly blessed.

Unfortunately, despite the many blessings, military life has also created a few challenges for me. Given that our country has been at war for a while now, I grow weary of the impending deployments that are ever-present in our daily reality. I have allowed fear, the fear of my husband dying in combat, to haunt me at times. I especially struggled with this during our first year of marriage, when I had become pregnant right before my new husband was sent overseas. Several years later, we attended the memorial service I mentioned above, and my fears resurfaced.

What I have come to learn about this particular area of my life is this: if my husband does not deploy, someone else’s husband, father, son, or brother may not come back from combat alive. This is what he trained for. He and the rest of his crew members are ready to sacrifice everything, so “that others may live.” This truth touches my heart and quiets my fear. Deployments take on a new meaning when I keep this in the forefront in my mind.

Additionally, in the process of overcoming, I re-examined my beliefs pertaining to death. As a Christian, it reminds me that death is not to be feared. I have trusted in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for me on the cross. I believe that death is not the end for me, it is only the beginning. As Easter approaches, I am reminded that Jesus’ empty tomb took the sting of death away. Because my husband believes the same, his deployments take on a new meaning once again.

Let me be clear: I am not claiming to be Superwoman. I know that this fear will rise again. Why will it? Because I am human, that is why! I want to grow old with Chad. I want to watch our children mature and become the people God created them to be. I am human, but by working through my fear, I have realized the wondrous calling that God has given to my husband, and am reminded that my faith will sustain me should I become the heart-broken wife speaking into the microphone one day.

And if Chad and I do get to grow old together, then I pray that I will never forget June 17th, 2010. It taught me not to take any moments with my husband for granted. It reminded me of how precious life is, and that I have to let my husband deploy in order to preserve it.

This post is also dedicated to my fellow military wives. May you be encouraged as you wait for your husband to return home. For those who have buried their hero, I grieve your loss. May you experience God’s comfort for the rest of your days.

 

 


Tracy Steel graduated from Kansas State University with a BS in interior design in 1998 and has a master’s degree in biblical and theological studies from Phoenix Seminary. As a project designer, Tracy created and coordinated the design and space planning of commercial spaces for clients such as Bank One, Wells Fargo, Express Scripts, DHS, and Lockheed Martin. Moving from one type of interior design to another, Tracy then worked in full-time youth ministry, serving as the director of female students at Scottsdale Bible Church.

God’s true design for Tracy now involves improving the interior space of the hearts and minds of women around her. This military wife and mother of two enjoys linking up with other bloggers, leading Bible studies at her local church, and speaking at various moms’ groups and women’s ministries events nationwide.

She is also the author of A Redesigned Life, and Images of His Beauty, a 10-week Bible study for young women that focuses on identity, overcoming and healing through Christ, and bearing the image of Christ.

Tracy’s Social Media Links:

 
Thanks so much for visiting By His Grace today! Next week my friend Susan Macias and I are talking about praying for our grown children and you are not going to want to miss it!
 
Much Love,
 

Misty Phillip

Show up and Serve Your People

Show up and Serve Your People

I am so delighted to welcome Brian Dixon to By His Grace this week! I have looked up to Brian as an online mentor through the Hopewriter’s Community and I am a huge fan of the message of his new book Start With Your People. Earlier this week we had a fantastic conversation on the podcast People Problems with Brian Dixon.

Please welcome Brian to the blog.


Show Up And Serve

By Brian Dixon

 

Imagine if you could look at your life and work on being on a mission for people. Imagine if your goal were to make their day and to help them win the day. Not only would your life be fulfilling, but you would be rewarded for your efforts. Your company would grow, you would get promoted, and you would feel a sense of fulfillment far beyond anything you’ve experienced before. 

Be on a mission for people. 

When you are on a mission, even the most mundane task has a weighty level of importance. Delivering a meal to a family who just had a baby, pumping gas for an ambulance, or setting up an internet connection so a dying family member can make a video call to their loved ones one last time. Your contribution is monumental when the stakes are high. 

Don’t have any connections? Show up and serve.

Tired of the job hunt? Show up and serve.

Can’t get anyone on the phone? Show up and serve.

 

Showing up and serving will open up new opportunities and make a massive difference in your life and in the lives of others. 

Let’s take a look at Mike’s story. Mike is a great marketer and copywriter, but he wasn’t always that way. He started out as a musician and worship leader for his church. His day job, as the head of marketing for an educational company, was slowly killing him. Something needed to change if he was ever going to live a life he loved. He signed up for Michael Hyatt’s Platform Conference, where he met an expert copywriter named Ray Edwards. Ray, a legend in his industry, was making a transition from client work to coaching and teaching. Mike recognized the opportunity for mentorship, and he went all in. He invested in Ray’s most expensive mentorship program. He followed Ray’s teaching and became his best student. He did everything he could to serve Ray: helping at his events, promoting his programs, and assisting Ray’s clients. And Ray noticed. Before too long, Ray was using Mike as a case study.

Mike’s success was Ray’s success. Once Mike had proven his value to Ray, a consistent stream of clients followed.

Ray began to refer hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of client work to Mike. Ray was the Big Domino for Mike. Mike has now become one of the best-known copywriters in his industry. And it all started with Ray. Influential people like Ray maintain a tight-knit circle. They are used to people asking for things from them all the time, so they’ve learned to be a little guarded. The key in reaching influencers is to build a relationship with them. It’s simply a matter of paying your dues. Influential people have a lot to lose if you waste their time, so they are naturally more skeptical. But once you have shown value for one influential person, they introduce you to their network, and other opportunities begin to fall in your lap.

Consider Their Goals 

Everyone has a goal. If you’re trying to build a relationship with an influencer at a conference, figure out her goal for the conference. If she’s an author, she likely wants to make a connection with her readers, sell more books, deliver a smooth presentation, and collect names for her email list. Each one of these goals has several volunteer opportunities. Showing up and serving is as easy as getting there a little early and offering to help set up the book table or staying a little later and offering to carry books back to the car. It’s amazing the difference a helping hand can make when offered at the right time.

The same is true with companies you might want to work for. Consider their goals. Most companies publish their goals in their annual report, on their website, or on their social media accounts. If the goal is to become the industry leader in the region, consider ways you might help them reach their goal. Maybe it’s introducing a new contact, recommending a vendor, volunteering at a trade show, or serving alongside them in their community outreach efforts.

Ideas to Consider

  • Show up and serve people right where you are, right now, and your mission will follow.
  • Figuring out your purpose starts with finding out how you can help your people.
  • Offering a solution to someone’s problem often leads to connections, business, and opportunity.
  • The knowledge you have gained from your experiences is valuable to people who are just starting out. The things you think are simple and easy can be complicated and overwhelming for others.
  • People will invest in you when you show up and serve.

Actions to Take

  • Research the goals of a company you would like to work for, and write down ways you can help them reach their goals.
  • Begin asking, “What are you working through?” in your interactions with others. Discover what they are struggling with and figure out how you can help.
  • Make a list of specific ways you can serve others in your life.

 

Brian believes you are here for a purpose. As a podcaster, conference speaker, and business coach, Brian is passionate about helping high potential leaders and teams thrive in a world of overwhelming options. He has a doctoral degree from the University of San Diego. You can learn more about his coaching and access free, downloadable resources at BrianDixon.com

 

 

 

Join Brian to discover the people-first mindset that changes everything, including:

  • The #1 key to unlocking your powerful network (without being cheesy or fake)
  • A 10-step method to create your own personal mission statement.
  • Why your family actually helps you succeed at work, and how to see your kids as a legacy instead of a liability
  • The counter-intuitive method to increase your income (without quitting your job)
  • Little-known secrets to convert your under-performing team to a powerful dream team
  • The fastest, safest way to deal with the difficult people in your life
  • Plus 11 powerful mindset hacks including Brian’s life-changing morning practice

Start with Your People is the step-by-step blueprint you need to love your work and get after it. Packed with strategic principles, practical tips, and engaging stories, you’ll be able to lean into your home team as you move forward with clarity and confidence. Pre-order your copy of Start With Your People at www.StartWithYourPeople.com and take advantage of his awesome bonuses with over $200.00 for free when you purchase Start With Your People.


Brian has encouraged me to look for ways to better serve people, and I hope his message encourages you too!

Come back next week for more encouragement to empower you with wisdomand encourage you through the struggles of life.

Much Love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misty Phillip

Struggle for Perfection

Struggle for Perfection

Each week I am excited to share hope to those who are struggling by interviewing people who can vulnerably share what they have gone through and how God has seen them through. Today my guest is Michelle Rabon of Displaying Grace and author of Holy Mess: What it means to be a woman radically changed by the gospel. She encourages women to walk with Jesus through the messes of life.

This week on By His Grace we talk about the Struggle of Perfection. You can find that podcast episode here: Striving for Perfection Please Welcome Michelle Rabon author of Holy Mess: What it means to be a woman radically changed by the gospel


The Struggle of Perfection 

By Michelle Rabon

Martha heard that Jesus was coming and suddenly she set to her work. She busied herself with tasks that would surely please Christ when He came into her home. She wanted it all to be perfect before His sandals crossed the threshold of her house.  

Her heart to please Him wasn’t wrong, but it ultimately became the very distraction that kept her from sitting at His feet and hearing the truth He had to offer. Christ came to offer freedom from the burden of the law, the weight of perfection, and the yoke of sin. He did not come that we might remain in a furious state of trying to earn His love and grace. 

I love how the Message version articulates Matthew 11:28-30, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Getaway with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” 

It was as if this is what He was trying to help Martha understand when she came in furious about her sisters lack of help. Martha was worried over so many things that in the end didn’t matter. 

Our desire for perfection blinds us to beautiful opportunities to rest in Christ.

I wrestle with perfection, maybe I always will. I want things to be right, I want to please the people in my life and make them happy. But the truth I need every day is that I can rest in Christ, even when things don’t go right, or fall apart. I can lean on Him when even my best efforts fall short. 

The enemy wants us running after our own efforts more than Jesus, He wants us discouraged because he knows our efforts will always fail us. Mine certainly do. 

I need the truth that whispers, I am enough for you. Click To Tweet

We cannot truly attain perfection, nor can we get it all right – no matter how hard we work. Martha learned that there was something better on the other side of striving, it was resting – true rest in the Gospel alone. 

We must learn this too, the struggle of perfection seeks to keep us with busy schedules, but malnourished spiritually. When we rest in the finished work of the cross, the sufficient power of Christ who paid the price for our sins, and when we seek His will above our own, we will begin to see a light at the end of our struggle. We will rest as Mary did at the feet of Jesus and leave the things that can wait alone. 

Michelle is a Minister of Musics wife and mom of three. She just released her first book and Bible study Holy Mess and blogs regularly at www.displayinggrace.com.
 
 
Her goal above all else is to encourage women to thrive in their walks with Jesus and share the beautiful Gospel of Christ. When she isn’t writing or teaching Michelle loves reading, spending time with her family, creating art, and drinking coffee. 
 

This week we celebrated freedom on July 4th in America, but our true freedom comes when we walk in the fullness of Christ! Let’s celebrate the freedom of overcoming in Jesus.For a limited time only!!! You can claim a copy of The Struggle is Real: But So is GodThe Struggle is Real: But So is God Bible Study on sale for only 9.99 for the book and 4.99 for the e-book!!!

Thanks so much for joining us today! If you enjoyed this post then you may also like How to Trust God When Yo Battle Anxiety and Ginger Harrington: Graves Diseases and Anxiety Struggles.

Much Love,

 

 

 

 

 

Misty Phillip

How to Trust God When You Battle Anxiety

How to Trust God When You Battle Anxiety

In our modern fast-paced society anxiety is on the rise, and it can be crippling. I first addressed this topic on By His Grace with Jodi Howe in Episode 3 on Conquering Anxiety. In that episode, we discuss how to cope with anxiety as a Christian. Jodi shares strategies she uses for coping with anxiety, and the importance of listening to the Lord’s wisdom instead of the world’s wisdom.

Anxiety isn’t just an emotional condition, many times there are physiological reasons behind anxiety. This week’s guest on By His Grace Ginger Harrington shares her diagnosis of Grave’s Disease and her struggle with anxiety, and how God used this health crisis to grow her faith. Tune in to this week’s podcast to hear more of Ginger’s story, and what God revealed to her in the process.


How to Trust God When You Battle Anxiety

By Ginger Harrington

It’s the uncertainties that keep me up at night.

Years ago, I was diagnosed with Graves Disease, a hyperthyroid autoimmune disease. I didn’t have time to be sick.

I didn’t matter.

Plunging down the drop of a thyroid-induced roller coaster, blood pressure and adrenaline flooded my system and it was months before I felt anything close to calm.

It was months before my hands stopped shaking.

Months before I slept more than an hour a night.

Sometimes God allows us to face challenges so that we can act on our faith on a deeper level.

If you struggle with anxiety, consult your doctor or meet with a counselor to address the cause of your challenge. It’s also important to explore the faith component of dealing with fear. There comes a time when it is not enough to talk about trusting God.

Sometimes God allows us to face challenges so that we can act on our faith on a deeper level. Click To Tweet

When doubt pounds against belief, we can experience God in a new way as He provides for needs, gives comfort, and infuses strength. These are proofs of God’s goodness in the face of need.

In the struggle, victory is found one choice at a time.

God encouraged me with these words as I meditated on Isaiah 26:3:

When you are anxious, your emotional attention is on the problem rather than fixed on Me.  When you look at the storm, the storm is what you will see. When your mind is stayed on Me, you will know the perfect peace that grows out of trusting me and is evidence of My Presence within you. I AM your peace.” (NASB).

When you experience worry or anxiety, consider these truths: 

  1. Faith is a gift of God, not some secret power we must somehow manufacture on our own (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  2. Focus on the power of God rather than the presence of a problem (Matthew 6: 27-14).
  3. Don’t let the hard days keep you from finding strength and comfort in God’s word (Psalm 94:18-19).
  4. Seek out supportive friends. Don’t isolate yourself when anxiety robs you of peace (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
  5. Not every moment is good, but believe God is good in every moment (Psalm 103:1-5).
  6. The more secure we are in the love of God, the more we trust His Heart even in the difficulties and disappointments of life. (Psalm 73:26).

God used my struggle with autoimmune disease to put a little grit into my faith, teaching me that my feelings cannot define my faith. I might feel fear, but the choice to rely on God is my path to peace. Never discount small, brave acts of faith that spur you to go on rather than give in.

Especially in our toughest experiences, holiness and peace are found in each small-but-significant choice to trust God . . . one more time.

-Adapted from Holy in the Moment.

Discover more practical ways to experience wholeness and life-change through a deeper relationship with God in Ginger’s award-winning book, Holy in the Moment: Simple Ways to Love God and Enjoy Your Life (Abingdon Press). Read a free chapter. Get your free gift of  Summer Soul Refresh: 31 Simple Ways to Restore Your Soul, available now at GingerHarrington.com.

A Selah-Award finalist, Ginger Harrington is the author of Holy in the Moment: Simple Ways to Love God and Enjoy Your Life, as well as the publishing director for the non-profit organization, Planting Roots: Strength the Thrive in Military Life. As a dynamic speaker, Ginger helps women learn practical ways to experience wholeness and healing in Christ.

 

Connect with Ginger on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Pinterest. Join the Holy in the Moment Community, a private Facebook group to engage with book content and celebrate our moments together.

The Technology Struggle with Screen Time

The Technology Struggle with Screen Time

Video games, social media, television, and computer screens dominate our lives! The struggles with technology and screen time are real! My guest today is Doug Smith author of [Un]Intentional: How Screens Secretly Shape Your Desires, and How You Can Break Free.

Please welcome Doug Smith to By His Grace, and you can listen to the podcast we recorded here:Struggling with Screen time


The Technology Struggle with Screen Time

by Doug Smith

I’m grateful for Misty’s invitation to share with you today. Misty’s new book title captures the journey of faith with profound simplicity: The Struggle Is Real: But So Is God. For many of us, few struggles are more real than those we fight over technology.

If we’re not fighting our own screen-based battles, we’re struggling with a spouse who devotes too much time to a glowing rectangle. Or we’re wrestling with our kids’ tendency to care more about their virtual lives than their homework, chores, or real-world time with family and friends.

In my years of research — not only as a tech industry professional, but also as a man, husband, and dad to four girls — I’ve learned the chilling reason our struggles with screens are so real. The industries behind our devices intentionally make their content distracting, habit-forming, and addictive. We’re all watching, clicking, swiping, buying, or playing because they’re so good at exploiting our natural psychological weaknesses.

By enticing us to spend 6, 8, 10, even 12 hours a day enthralled by an endless barrage of apps, games, videos, posts, tweets, or memes, they’re stealing what’s most valuable to us: our attention, our time, and ultimately, our very lives.

For many of us, few struggles are more real than those we fight over technology. Click To Tweet

Many people throw in the towel when they feel overwhelmed by the struggle. It’s just too hard to fight against the onslaught of billions of screens. They’re too exhausted for one more fight with their son over Fortnite, or for another argument with their daughter about Snapchat.

And on our own, the struggle is overwhelming.

But God. But God. The Bible overflows with defeat-to-victory stories where the impossible was turned into reality by But God. David cried out to God, saying “My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26). Jesus’ disciples were hopeless after He was crucified, “But God raised Him from the dead” (Acts 13:30). The world was without eternal hope, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love … made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

God makes all the difference. When we invite Him into our struggle by surrendering everything to Him, He gives us all we need to overcome (2 Peter 1:3-4).

The surprising answer is that we often surrender to the wrong thing. We surrender to the struggle by giving up, instead of surrendering to the One who can help us overcome whatever is holding us back.

What can you do to become more intentional with your life than the industries who want you to waste your life on their platforms?

Here are four ways to get started:

First, choose to hope in God. Don’t give up. Hope sometimes comes from telling ourselves truths like David did. “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him” (Psalm 43:5).

Second, learn the strategies used to keep us hooked on our screens. Find out how techniques such as autoplay, like buttons, and loot boxes are designed to manipulate us. Let that knowledge embolden you to break free.

Third, discover your God-given purpose. You and your family are here for so much more than to live as data-slaves of the most powerful corporations in the world. When you’re walking in your purpose, no screen will be able to pull you away from it.

Finally, cultivate Biblical practices that fill you with God’s presence so you can fulfill His calling on your life. When you integrate timeless spiritual disciplines like prayer, Bible study, worship, and silence, your thoughts and actions will be shaped by God’s Spirit instead of the screen-saturated spirit of our age.

Yes, The Struggle Is Real: But So Is God. Apply that truth to the struggles over the screens in your life today, and find a freedom you may never have known before.

Doug Smith offers an insider’s perspective on the impact of technology, informed by over two decades of web programming experience and a lifetime of Bible study. He’s a popular speaker, mentor, and author of [Un]Intentional: How Screens Secretly Shape Your Desires, and How You Can Break Free. Doug is gratefully married to fellow author, Lyneta, and the couple is blessed with four wonderful daughters. Find out more at http://thatdougsmith.com and http://unintentionalbook.com.

 

 


By His Grace Podcast exists to help you make sense of the struggles of life by examing things through a Biblical Perspective. Please let us know how we can pray for you!

Much Love,

Misty Phillip

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