Category Archives: devotional

“We might feel unqualified or question our abilities, but God doesn’t. He could have done it differently, but He chose to use us because He trusts us.” - quote from Searching for Sanity by Lindsey Bell

When Parenting is Both Hard and Beautiful {Book Review – Searching for Sanity by Lindsey Bell}

Parenting is beautiful. It’s also hard. It’s not easy.

But, just because something isn’t easy doesn’t mean we give up or feel we shouldn’t pursue it.

I have many challenging parenting days, and some days I desperately need even 30 minutes to just sit in a room with the door closed. But there’s sincerely no where else I’d rather be. My kids (and my husband) are some of these biggest examples God has set in my daily life of what undeserved gifts are.

It’s beautiful…and hard. Sometimes we need a little encouragement.

Enter my friend, Lindsey Bell.

I first met Lindsey through blogging, and her writing tone immediately caught my attention. It’s relatable, informative, and not at all judgmental. She willingly shows her own struggles to help the reader nod in agreement with her and figure out how to remember to turn back to God for guidance, too.

Searching for Sanity by Lindsey BellIn Lindsey’s new book, Searching for Sanity, Lindsey offers 52 one- to two-page devotions, each with a focus verse, reflection questions, a short prayer, and daily activities to practice throughout the week. This devotional is written for parents, so Lindsey intentionally kept the activities doable for busy, overwhelmed, tired parents to still concentrate on reflecting and growing. These activities also put what you’ve read into action – such an important step for growth.

The devotional overall looks at many parents from the Bible. Lindsey doesn’t spin a positive light on all those figures; she’s real with their shortcomings. We can all learn from both our failings and our successes while remembering that God offers grace and the best comfort. That’s what Lindsey helps us do in this book.

Some of the devotions that have stuck with me after reading them: Eve (Week 2), Hannah (Week 17), and Jeroboam (Week 23).

“We might feel unqualified or question our abilities, but God doesn’t. He could have done it differently, but He chose to use us because He trusts us.” – Searching for Sanity

I would particularly recommend doing this study with one other mother. (Small groups would work, too!) Having a friend who can relate for discussion and accountability can help us see a little clearer than by ourselves at times.

“He will give you hope when there’s no hope to be found.” – Searching for Sanity

Lindsey recently wrote a post about marriage here on this site. Click here to read four essentials of a healthy marriage. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway while there! Check out Lindsey’s site to read more about the book and for more giveaway opportunities.

How have you grown from the hard and the beautiful parts of parenting?

“We might feel unqualified or question our abilities, but God doesn’t. He could have done it differently, but He chose to use us because He trusts us.”  - quote from Searching for Sanity by Lindsey Bell

Disclosure: I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed on my own, and I honestly would’ve shared about this book anyway. I was not compensated in any other manner.

Reading, Seeing, and Hearing {plus a DaySpring giveaway!}

Jesus calling book ball pen

In the middle of alphabet blocks, board books, undiagnosable conditions, sleepy eyes, and pure joy, I read aloud.

Reading and Hearing God Calling
I see the words, “I trust You, Jesus.” How I wantto always trust.
My son wraps a blanket around his legs. He tosses it around, accidentally flinging it on his sister. He now thinks that’s a fantastic game.

These kids, they trust wholeheartedly. They trust me to care for them and love. For all I know—though they can’t talk about it yet—they trust God wholeheartedly, too.

I call out to my son, “Gentle.” A reminder as he plays with his sister, not knowing his own strength.

Jesus Calling calendar on bookshelf
God calls out to us, too. Calling for us to giggle in happiness as a result of His love, because don’t we know how infectious sharing an honest, joy-filled laugh and love is? It spreads—one giggle to another—as quickly as these babies grin when they see each other in the morning. When they see love smiling straight into their eyes.

So, I laugh, too. And I call out, “I trust You, Jesus.” And I read again, renewing our hearts, reminding again of gentle but fierce love, seeing His beauty in what He graciously places before us, listening for His ever-present call.


I struggle to read some busy days, but I need His Words and I need the mental refreshment from reading, so I read aloud to and with my kids. DaySpringand (in)courage graciously allowed me a copy of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and the accompanying devotional calendar. Powerful, thought-provoking, refreshing, challenging, honest. The book for the room, the calendar for the kitchen (or the husband’s office, perhaps?), so I can be reminded of what I read and of His words throughout my day. (The author includes her meditation, which she explains in the introduction, and several verses to reference for more study each day.) Even my son pointed back at the pages, asking me to keep reading out loud while they played.

Jesus Calling book and calendar
DaySpring is offering a copy of this set, the Jesus Calling book plus the 365-devotional calendar, to one of you!

To enter this giveaway, use the Rafflecopter widget below. (If you are an email subscriber, click here to access the giveaway.)

This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end at the end of the day October 24, 2012 (EDT). All entrants must be 18 years old or older. Enter through the Rafflecopter below. Incomplete entries will be deleted. Once a winner is selected, I will contact them via email. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, I will select another winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: DaySpring sent me these products free of charge in exchange for my thoughts and story. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Book Review – Lead Serve Love by Gregory E. Lang

Looking for some concrete, practical ways to serve God from the model of Christ? Lead, Serve, Love: 100 Three-Word Ways to Be Like Jesus by Gregory E. Lang provides 100 examples of how to live more and more like Christ.

This small, beautifully-presented devotional is split into 100 two-page brief devotions on serving God. Each turn of the page reveals a simple, yet profound three-word phrase for the reader to memorize or recall to aid in focusing on servitude. These phrases are very biblically focused and quite convicting while still encouraging, like “love your enemies,” “act with humility,” or “yield to wisdom.” After each phrase is a brief one-paragraph devotional explanation, followed by 3-5 related and applicable verses.

Personally, I enjoyed many of the devotions. The author succinctly conveys in a conversational tone why or how that three-word action carries such impact. (For example, from the first devotion, “Smile at everyone:” “A smile is a one-second chance to extend God’s grace and love to someone who otherwise might never see Him.”) I sometimes desired continued discussion after reading a few of the devotions, but this book is not meant as a deep study, but rather a useful, applicable guide to begin a study and to act on faith.

I love having the Scripture references for two main reasons: I like foundational truth behind the devotions, and it provides verses for deeper reflection and memorization. The author even recommends that the reader read the context around the focus verses to better learn, understand, and grow. I agree with this advice. The brevity of each devotion leads well and warrants spurring into more in-depth study into the Bible itself.

The author suggests in the introduction that this book is for the newer (or perhaps recently more dedicated) believer to learn how to serve God. I would consider this book useful for any believer to take a few (perhaps new) ways to serve others with God’s love. Regardless, this book could be devoured quickly in a few short reading sessions, or spread out over 100 days as a daily devotional. (The back cover proposes this reading plan: “Practice one down-to-earth message each day, and see your life change in an eternal way.”) Intentionally focusing on putting one message (or verse) into practice per day could help us begin and maintain a more active faith.

Questions for you: Does having key phrases help you renew and refocus on Christ? What’s one of your favorite brief devotional resources?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Battling Hypocrisy

Today’s post has some brief homework for you to complete before you read the rest. (Don’t run away yet! It won’t take long.)

Go read Romans 12:1-21. Linger over it, if you time right now. If not, study it more later.

Did you read it? If you have, here’s a brief devotion I wrote during some spare time (“spare time” Haha!) a couple of months ago that I never published.

Renewed Growth

“… be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  – Romans 12:2

One of my worst fears is being a hypocrite. To be discover I am like an unforgiving, law-lost Pharisee. How many times have I honored God with my speech, or even my actions, yet blindly continued to judge someone in my mind? I have missed the mark in acting on my faith. I may be reading Scripture and praying on my desire to show love to someone I struggle being around, yet then when I am around that person, I let the opportunity to lavish love on him or her pass by ignored. Or I have found myself stuck on a rigid rule I alone have set rather than remember and focus on God’s will in that situation.

In Mark 7:6-8, Jesus quotes Isaiah 29:13 to the Pharisees as they hold tightly to tradition, “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’  You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” Oh, how I desire to hold on to God’s commands, rather than my own! To honor Him with all I have and all I am.

Thankfully, God’s Word has a remedy: to renew my heart, my mind, and my focus to Him and His love. Romans 12:2 reminds me: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” This renewal requires constant and challenging work, but it brings love, joy, peace, grace, and hope that I can then share to all those around me!

A Prayer
God, help me to focus on your perfect will in all of my thoughts, words, and actions. Amen.

Questions for you: Do you think we all experience times when we’re in danger of being hypocritical in some aspect of our walks with Christ? How do you renew your heart and mind to His good purposes?