Extending my One Word Challenge

Extending my One Word Challenge

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

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The One Word Challenge

Have you taken the “One Word Challenge” before?

This is where you select one word to focus on in the new year. You might approach it as a word to study, reflect on, put into action, or all of the above! I’ve been participating in this challenge for several years now, choosing words to help me grow spiritually, and I’ve grown so much each time.

Sinking Deeper into Goodness

As 2018 is nearing it’s end, I’ve been thinking and praying over my word for next year. I find myself in a different posture this time. I’ve been truly inspired by my chosen word, goodness, and I’m not quite ready to move on. I feel as though I’ve only just started to embrace it’s meaning in my life. I have learned to see God’s goodness around me, but I want to let it sink deeper.

I’ve begun to look at the way I spend my time and see what is good- what I need more of and what I need less of- but I want to choose the good more often. Some of the good I’ve chosen in my life is hard- so hard- and I want to let this goodness fill my heart with pure gratitude and gladness. I feel like I have so much more to learn! I want mastery, or I at least want to see the change more in my day to day life.

The nice thing about this challenge is that there really aren’t any rules so I can apply this idea to my life the best I see fit. This year, I see fit to grow with this word a little longer.

So I won’t be choosing a new word for 2019, rather I’ll be extending my challenge another year. I will be embracing the word “goodness” and applying it to my life in new ways.

How about you? Do you choose one word for your year? What word will you be claiming for 2019?

Read my previously written post on the “One Word Challenge” here:

Will You Take the One Word Challenge? 

 

Five Encouraging Psalms to Start Your Day

Five Encouraging Psalms to Start Your Day

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

What does your morning look like? Do you jump out of bed, heading straight to the window? Or maybe you’re more like me and you press snooze several times before slowly dragging yourself to the coffee maker. You might be busy getting ready for work, meeting the needs of your family, or you might be in a season of life that offers a more relaxed approach. Regardless of how our mornings might look, there is one morning ritual we can all benefit from, and that is acknowledging God’s presence.

 

I am certainly not a natural morning person, but I do enjoy waking up early to have quiet time with God. I usually start my quiet time with a cup of coffee and a short verse before diving into my prayer journal and Bible study. A scripture beforehand helps me meet God, and remember who He is before I enjoy His presence.

But you don’t have to enter a long study with the Father to find encouragement from a short psalm in the morning. To be honest, I’m not always diligent about making time for morning devotion. I could pour out excuses about the distractions I face with motherhood, but the truth is that I found excuses before I became a mom too. The devil prowls around, wanting to pull us away from our Father however he can. All the more reason why we need to meet with Jesus as we start our day! 

 

With the new year, I have, like many others, set a goal to be more disciplined in my devotion and study time. It is always good to prioritize some quiet time with the Lord! Sometimes, though, we can get discouraged. When we don’t know how to shell out an hour we just give up. God is so much more merciful than we give Him credit for! Yes, He wants us to give him time. He wants us in his Word. That should be more important to us than anything, but there is power in His name. Simply taking a short moment to recognize His presence at the beginning of each day can give us so much power as we go forward. Power to live for him! A short psalm is a wonderful way to acknowledge our Father God.

 

I want to encourage you to make time every morning to acknowledge God. (I’m encouraging myself to remember this as well!) You don’t have to start out with a long study. Start simple, with a verse and a short prayer. Our little girl loves to see her daddy in the mornMaybe the morning isn’t a good time for you to focus, and you want to have quiet time later in the day. If so, that is awesome! There is still something so wonderful about taking a moment to meet God in the morning.  Our little girl loves to see her daddy in the morning. Her eyes get big and she grins from ear to ear as she runs toward him. My husband loves these greetings. I think that’s how our heavenly Father wants to meet us each day. 

So write these verses down or type them in your phone! Read one as you wait for your coffee to brew, dry your hair, nurse your baby, before you start your quiet time, or even before you hop out of bed. I pray they will encourage you as you begin your days!

Five Encouraging Psalms to Start Your Day  

Psalm 90:14     Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Psalm 46:5     God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.

Psalm 143:8     Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.

Psalm 23:5     My cup overflows with blessings. (NLT)

Psalm 139:18     And when I wake up, you are still with me! (NLT)

 

There are verses all over the Bible (not just from Psalms) that can offer encouragement in the morning! Which Bible verses do you enjoy waking up to?

 

 

 

Staying Still: Learning the Spiritual Discipline of Meditation

Staying Still: Learning the Spiritual Discipline of Meditation

Lori S

Lori S

I'm Lori! My husband and I have been married since 2008. We adopted our son in July and live in Memphis, TN. One of the things I love about Creating a Great Day is that it is focused on inspiring women to the woman that God wants them to be. Every woman is different, and we all have talents to honor God and walk alongside each other in this spiritual journey called life. Have a blessed day!
Lori S

I never thought I’d ever be typing a blog about meditation. For the majority of my life, I’ve been on “high definition,” unable to quiet my mind. Silence was uncomfortable. Being still gave me shame and made me feel like I was wasting time. I naturally would run through my to-do list whenever I tried to calm my body. So, I stumbled through life always feeling the need to be busy and productive.

Then my son came. Noise, busyness, and constantly being on the go put me on edge. I began to enjoy quiet and solitude. Being by myself didn’t bother me. Not in a “withdrawn” sort of way, but more of a “I need to recharge” sort of way. I craved time for myself, when I wasn’t attempting to simultaneously accomplish five things on my to-do list!

Our family is in the process of a second adoption, so I’ve been more reflective lately (how do we need to prepare, how can our family be better, what should we prepare for, etc). I’ve been feeling a “pull” of sorts, telling me to engage in silence and listen to the whispers of God. Also, our church is going through a commitment to Christ experience. My preacher sent me some information about the rule of life (also known as the covenant of life) where people can recommit to spiritual disciplines or general attitudes/behaviors that help one engage with God and His people.

I didn’t know what to do. In 2017, I studied spiritual disciplines and knew I wanted to dig deeper. The “pull” that I referenced told me that. I needed to engage in a discipline that would give me multiple opportunities to listen to God. While I knew that I enjoyed quiet and had gotten better about quieting my mind, I had always said I’d never engage in meditation. That was for those really important spiritual people. One of my faith mentors, Eric Wilson, spoke about meditation in some of our church training sessions, and I laughed at the thought of ever engaging in that discipline.

Never say never, right?! Meditation is way out of my comfort zone, but it’s REALLY hard to grow from a place of comfort. Over the past year, I’ve read more about meditation and silence. In Eric’s book Faith: The First Seven Lessons, he states,

“Silence requires us to see ourselves as we are. Doing without, whatever it might be, is uncomfortable, whether sitting in silence or denying our creature comforts.”

Scary, right? No one wants to REALLY see themselves as they are. That would mean we would have to realize how imperfect we are and how we need to change!

Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of Disciplines, references four types of meditation: meditation on scripture, “centering down” in silence, meditation on creation, and meditation on current events. I never knew  meditation could serve so many functions. Shauna Niequist’s book Present Over Perfect talks about her journey in embracing silence, solitude, and the lectio divina (a slow, contemplative praying of the scriptures). In her book, she talks about how her commitment to a busy life stripped her of the beauty in silence, simplicity, and reflection with God. As her spiritual journey shifted, she felt more present with God and her family.

In my covenant of life, I committed to practicing meditation for a minimum of one hour a month. So far, I love it! I’ve been incorporating scripture, breath prayers, and yoga into my meditation time. My sister has been helpful in getting me started with yoga, and I have been searching out additional resources to enhance my meditation experience. I’ve already seen some spiritual growth in my sessions, and now I look forward to them!

Trying to figure out how you can get started?

  • First, spend time with God to discern if meditation is what you need in this moment during your current life stage. I wasn’t ready for a long time!
  • There is no “wrong way” to do it (in my opinion) as long as you are spending time focusing on God. Some people rest in his presence in quiet, while others listen to scripture or music and meditate on the words/message.
  • Reach out to your faith community! Share your goals and ask for some accountability.
  • If you want to practice yoga, either attend a class or read up on yoga. There’s lots of information out there, and the seasoned yogis could guide you into what is best for your yoga experience.
  • Read literature about meditation and other “inward” disciplines. I didn’t realize there were so many disciplines to consider!

Blessings on your journey as you explore how to engage God better this year!

What Happened When I Deleted Facebook

What Happened When I Deleted Facebook

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

Social Media is Good…Except When It’s Not

This is not your typical talk of social media cleanse. You see, I’m on social media all the time–undoubtedly more than I should be, but nevertheless I usually feel no guilt. I enjoy keeping up with my friends and family. Those crazy articles keep me entertained with the comment section. I love reading blogs and encouraging posts from some of my favorite Christian authors. Those tasty cooking videos inspire me to cook dinner. I enjoy Facebook and other social media throughout the day and I feel no shame!

Except for when I’m on it too much. When I can’t even hear God’s voice because I’m so tuned in to the voice of everyone else. I knew I needed a break, so I planned a trip to my in-laws. It was the perfect set up. They would play with my toddler and I could dive into the Bible and spend some much needed time in prayer. The part I felt most convicted about? A break from social media. Five days!

This wasn’t coming from a negative perspective, as I really do enjoy social media. One of our awesome contributors Megan, wrote about how social media can be a tool and I love, love, love her perspective on that! And earlier I wrote about how I was trying to achieve balance with my phone time. I knew I was starting to get consumed again and I was running out of steam. I needed to go offline. No big fuss. Just a quiet break.

Deleting Facebook

To prove my commitment to myself I deleted the Facebook app from my phone! About five minutes later I started to feel the weight of what I was doing. I picked up my phone out of habit and went for Facebook, but of course, it wasn’t there. “This might be harder than I thought,” I said to myself. Suddenly I felt a little bit of freedom. This was going to be a personal retreat–a time to leave all of my distractions behind and embrace God’s presence.

I could tell that Facebook was desperate for my return–not my friends–actual Facebook. My email inbox started filling with e-mails about the notifications I had piling up and posts my friends were making. I felt tempted to log on, but I didn’t! I made it through the five days without Facebook and I was so proud of myself for sticking to it!

So other than an exercise in self-control, what did I gain from this experience?

Time to think. The first day I had some quiet moments and I wasn’t quite sure how to handle them. But I learned to spend those moments in God’s Word. I worked my way through more of the Bible in those five days than I have in a very long time. All that reading gave me more dialogue with the Lord, and God revealed so much to me. I realized that I’m probably missing out on a lot of what God wants to show me when I’m overly consumed with social media.

When my five days were up I excitedly downloaded the app again, and enjoyed updating myself on everyone’s happenings. I saw two pregnancy announcements, one engagement, and another had their baby. As excited as I was to be back in the loop, I had a new excitement–the excitement that comes from turning off social media so that I can hear the Lord.

Hosea 6:3 says,

Oh, that we might know the Lord!
    Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
    or the coming of rains in early spring. (NLT)

hosea-6_3

I’ve seen this to be true in my own life. When I take the time to seek God, he is always there to show me more. We can’t always get away for five days (wouldn’t that be nice!) but we can still find time to hear God. We just have to look for the spaces in our day that we are filling mindlessly. There is something to be said for putting our time with God first. I don’t want to discredit that! If you are searching for more time with him though, this might be your answer! If you can, take a personal retreat sometime, even if only for a day. Turn off your social media apps, take a little time for yourself, and a lot of time for meeting with God. He will respond! 

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Unasked Prayers: A Prayer Life Challenge

Unasked Prayers: A Prayer Life Challenge

Lori S

Lori S

I'm Lori! My husband and I have been married since 2008. We adopted our son in July and live in Memphis, TN. One of the things I love about Creating a Great Day is that it is focused on inspiring women to the woman that God wants them to be. Every woman is different, and we all have talents to honor God and walk alongside each other in this spiritual journey called life. Have a blessed day!
Lori S

Is Your Prayer Life Flourishing?

How is your prayer life? I definitely have some room to grow in mine. When I have a lot on my plate, I tend to schedule everything but God into my day. I do make attempts to read Scripture at night or pray before I go to bed, but most nights I am unsuccessful. I don’t really know why I don’t make prayer more of a priority. Sometimes, childhood teachings creep into my heart, telling me to only pray for God’s will because His will must be accomplished. Other times, my anxiety and stress level paralyze my heart and mind, causing me to stay in the here and now and not pray for the future.

A couple of years ago, I knew that my prayers (when prayed) were shallow. Even when I asked God for things, I knew that what I asked was meager and infrequent. So in order to challenge me and to stretch my concept of prayer, I selected the book The Circle Maker.  Several statements and passages resonated with me, including this quote:

“The greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered because they go unasked.” (p. 19)

unasked-prayers-a-prayer-life-challenge-pin

Analysis of My Prayer Life

This made me analyze my prayer life. Why do I pray? Why do I ask what I ask? Do I only ask for select things because I question God’s power or interest in my life? Is it a lack of faith, or a lack of trust? Am I putting up emotional and spiritual barriers between me and God so I won’t get hurt? If that is the case, do I not trust God to carry me through whatever trials I may experience?

The follow-up passage to the quote listed above speaks to some of these questions.

“He will answer. And His answers are not limited by your requests. We pray out of our ignorance, but God answers out of His omniscience. We pray out of our impotence, but God answers out of His omnipotence. God has the ability to answer the prayers we should have prayed but lacked the knowledge or ability to even ask.” (p.19)

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What prayers of yours have been unanswered because they have been unasked? Where are you holding back in your prayer life? Your family, your career, maybe your involvement in a project or an organization? God may not answer your prayer exactly the way that you want him to, but He will listen and respond. Be still and know that God is with you.

 

Here are some Scriptures to meditate on…

1 John 5:14-15
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have what we asked of Him.”

2 Chronicles 7:14
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Ephesians 6:18
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Jeremiah 29:12
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”

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A Refuge of Hope for the Struggling Soul

A Refuge of Hope for the Struggling Soul

Melissa W
Follow Me

Melissa W

Melissa is an Okie with a Texas heart. She is a wife and a mother of four. After having taught in the classroom for 8 years, she now happily finds herself as a stay-at-home mom. In any spare time, she enjoys leisure reading and also enjoys writing on her blog (chroniclesofakeeper.com). Out of all the little adventures of life - her greatest joy is found in her relationship with God. Walking in His grace, living in His peace and resting in His redemption is something she is very passionate about sharing with others.
Melissa W
Follow Me

To understand Him is to understand hope. To understand His gift of mercy is to understand His gift of grace. To understand our continued state of rescue is to understand our place of refuge. 

Abide.

Lately, nothing soothes my heart and mind more than the moments where I find myself sitting still and abiding with my Lord. There, I draw comfort and strength. I focus on Him and who He is as Father, Son, and Spirit. In the place of full abiding is where I can breathe Him in, refreshing and perfectly good.

Abide in His refuge.

Who He is completely captures me. Though I should want to recoil in shame, I am nonetheless drawn into His presence fully aware of the grace and mercy covering me. The very essence of my continued rescue is found in those moments when I rest in Him, and the exceptional standard of hope that is found in Him is given during these moments. Words from the Psalmist come to mind as I recall the image of refuge, a refuge found in those moments of abiding.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

Psalm 46:1-3

Abide in His Dwelling Place

The Throne Room of Heaven, the Holy of Holies. It is a place to where I move beyond seeking escape. It is a place where I can come to Him and it is intimate, beautiful, and holy. Holding fast to Jesus, I can enter His presence with reverence and with rest. This combination of feelings produces an attitude which depicts the place of His dwelling. Here grace envelops me all the more, so wherever sin has tempted and tried…sin finds full defeat.

Abide in the Rescuer

Through the God-Son, there is no manner of sin that was not defeated through His perfection, through His death, and through His resurrection. So, in all the ways fleshly desires hound us and in all the way sin’s aroma seeks to draw us in, we can hold fast to the knowledge of a Rescuer who felt the same temptations and conquered them.  His accomplishments over–not just the very nature of sin, but as well as its enticing, tempting ways–are a victory we can claim. This continued state of rescue is what heals, strengthens, humbles, and produces an immense sense of awe.

“Therefore, since we have such a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:14-16

 

Abide in Jesus

Maybe, like me, you sometimes feel the heaviness of struggle. Perhaps you empathize with Paul when he said, “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” There is hope. For the believer, hold firmly to Him. Approach the throne of grace with the confidence you have as one who has been redeemed by, and through, Jesus Christ. He is our help and our refuge in time of need, in time of temptation and struggle. His grace binds us to Him completely. Hold on to that and find rest in Him. While on this side of heaven we are not free from temptation, but we are free from its chains–through Christ alone. Abide in Him, for in Christ our holiness is found.

 Teach my song to rise to YouWhen temptation comes my wayAnd when I cannot stand I'll fall on YouJesus, You're my hope and stay.Lord I Need You (Matt Maher)
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