Take a Step Back

During “one of those days” (or weeks) when everything seems to go against me, I seem to adopt an “I can never win” attitude. I just want to give up, go to my bedroom with a vat of chocolate, my favorite chick flick, and my yoga pants.


Yeah. That has been me before. It’s the truth. And the truth just ain’t pretty sometimes.


I wish I had a better nugget of wisdom to give everyone who has ever just wanted to stay in a bad attitude until things were handed to them on a silver platter. But the only thing I can say is this: take a step back for a moment.


When I was sitting down to finally get some writing done for my blog the other night, I had blog starters that I was all ready to expand on. But then I opened up my laptop and just started writing this because this is what was on my heart at the moment. I asked myself, what do I need to hear right now? What do I need to tell myself? This is what popped onto the screen: take a step back. Truthfully, I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to take time to “step back” because that means I have to admit that my attitude probably wasn’t where it should have been. In fact, more often than not that is exactly the case.

What needs to happen, though, is I need step back and realize what the problem is. A lot of the time it is that I am unwilling to let go of something and let God take it; whether it be a difficult situation, a struggle, or a conflict. Sometimes I am surprised at myself at how hard it is to give it up, step back, and allow God to take over. He can take care of me far better than I can. Now, sometimes God chooses to allow me to continue in whatever struggle or situation I am in for a little while. I often find it happens that way. Because my heart it what God is working on changing. My heart hadn’t been filled with much joy because I hadn’t been intentional about it. Joy is intentional. It must be desired … craved for … asked for through Jesus Christ.


As soon as I make myself sit, breathe, and “step back” so I can examine things (or even just be silent so I can let God move in me) I soon feel something different come over me. Not that things have completely changed, but that I am realizing what it is that I need to focus on and work on. Half the time I get myself “in trouble”, it is because I haven’t taken the time in several days to sit and focus on intimate time with God. It tends to happen during a busy week. Sometimes through a season of constant on-the-go I will read my Bible and say a prayer, but it is more checking it off my mental list instead of something that I deeply desire to do. I must remember to lean on God and be intentional about finding JOY in Jesus Christ. Both through mountaintop experiences and when I am in the valley I need to pursue that Joy found in Jesus Christ alone.


When life becomes a bit more than you want to handle, just remember to step back and ask God to help you renew the joy. It isn’t some magical recipe, but when leaning on the Solid Rock to get through the day, you have an All-Powerful God on your side. Shaking off a bad or stressed attitude isn’t easy, but in order to live fully for Christ it is necessary to actively seek Jesus Christ and His joy.

Four Things I Learned at the Homeschool Convention {HEAV link up}

As I have already told y’all, my family and I attended Home Educators Association of Virginia’s Homeschool convention last month. I honestly learned a lot from my few short days there, and I wrote a fun blog post about a few of them to share with you! I hope you will stop by HEAV’s blog today and check it out! If you like it and have never attended the convention before, stay tuned for next year’s! I am sure it will be a blessing to you!

Here is the link to this month’s HEAV link up,


Four Things I Learned at the Homeschool Convention

What’s Going On?

Hello, readers!

I wanted to give y’all a little update on what’s going on right now! There has been a bit of a lull in my posting this month due to my busy schedule this past June. It’s been a bit hectic, but I am blessed by God’s goodness and grace to me.


At the beginning of the month my family and I headed to Richmond, VA for a few days to attend HEAV’s homeschool convention, which was an absolutely wonderful time AND my sister graduated from high school! Yay!!! Most of my family and I attended all three days and had an fabulous time participating in things like the chess tournament, different volunteer positions, and on Saturday my sister graduated with nearly 200 other homeschool graduates! Here are a few photos of our weekend:


My siblings and I got to take a photo with Andrew Pudewa from IEW, a writing curriculum we’ve been using for a long time.

For some reason my dad isn’t in this picture, but he was there! This was day 2 of the convention. So much fun!

Lily and me after she GRADUATED! Yay!!!

Two of my brothers participated in the chess tournament during the convention. Here is my brother, Joseph (purple shirt) during one of his rounds!


Then when we got back it was just about time for us to head back out again, but this time to upstate New York! We went to spend most of the week with lots of family up there – in fact, the first day we went over to my great-grandparent’s house. It was so neat to sit on their back porch and talk and eat and see four generations of our family all together! While we were up there we took a trip to see Niagara Falls! Here are some photos from our day at Niagara Falls:

Niagara Falls! This picture was taken while my family and I were on the Maid of the Mist. Such an exciting experience!

Me and my brother, Isaac, standing in front of the Falls. (with Canada in the background!)

A few of my siblings admiring the Niagara River. The weather was absolutely perfect.


There is also another (major) factor as to why I haven’t posted a lot this month and that is actually due to the fact that I have a summer job working for the school my dad works at! It has been a huge adjustment especially time-wise, but I feel it’s been (and will continue to be) a good experience for me. I am happy to say I’m working alongside my sister, which makes it better. Also, having my dad as my boss is nice, too. ;)

So please bear with me this summer as I will probably be slow to post, but I nonetheless still want to share what the Lord lays on my heart with you all when I can. Like I said, it’s been an adjustment, but I think it’s good for me. I look forward to all that lies ahead and pray that I will do everything to the glory of God.

I hope you all are having a spectacular summer!


Summertime Refresh and Refocus {HEAV link up}

June is over and that means we are halfway through 2015. I honestly cannot believe that half of this year has passed. It has been a remarkable one. But along the way, as with any given year, I think most of us find we are in need of a refresher – something to help get our focus back to where it needs to be. This month, on the HEAV blog, I have written a few ways I have found that help me do this. It’s not a 100% guarantee-to-work post, but I hope that it gives you some encouragement to enter the second half of the year feeling rejuvenated and finish this year strong.

“…somewhere along the way, we always seem to fall off the horse. Even if it isn’t our yearly goals, it is the everyday monotony that we may feel trapped in. With summertime just arrived, it brings the halfway mark and seems to allow me a “second wind” that rushes through. It feels like a time to refresh myself emotionally and even spiritually and gives me an opportunity to refocus. I want to share with you now some of the things that help me, as well as share things I want to put into practice this summer.”

Click the link below to continue reading on the HEAV blog:

Summertime Refresh and Refocus




ENJOY your summer! Have a blessed second half of 2015!

To My Sister on Her High School Graduation

We are well underway in the graduation season of 2015. It is an exciting time for all high schoolers as they get ready to bid farewell to their life in school. As I sit here today thinking about my sister who will graduate in just over a week, I have a flood of thoughts that I want to say to her. I want all graduates to know this, actually.

So here it goes…


Dear Lily (and all high school graduates),


First off, congratulations!!! Wow, I was where you are just a few short years ago. High school really is no joke and it truly is a huge accomplishment graduating. You deserve a round of applause! Know that I am so proud of you and excited to see what will unfold in your life.

Now, you have probably gotten a slew of people telling you the sky’s the limit. You are free to make your own choices now. You can do whatever it is you want. Follow your heart’s desires and you will be happy in life.


But that’s not what I am here to say to you.


Following your heart is the last thing you should do. It is filled with earthly desires and will leave you feeling empty (Jer. 17:9). I know, I sound so droll. But I promise you that there is another option that will fill your new chapter in life with more meaning that you can. Follow the Holy Spirit. Yes, “you can do anything you want to do” sounds like a sweet sentiment, but you won’t be able to understand God’s will if you are focusing on your will; because truthfully, much of the time the two don’t match up. Oftentimes it takes us a little while to 1) know His will and 2) desire His will. There have been plenty of times when God changed my heart’s desire to align with His will. There have also been times when I wanted something and then The Lord said “No, that isn’t My plan for you” and I didn’t like it at first. I had to want God’s will and I had to ask Him to change my heart. We don’t want to understand this because we cannot comprehend the fact that only God can see the whole picture – we only have one puzzle piece. So here’s my challenge to you as you graduate and even far beyond through different seasons of life: ask God for Him to make His will your desire. All of the sudden you will start living in a radically different way. A more fulfilling way.



Challenge yourself.


If we aren’t careful, we will fall into this mindset of thinking that if it is God’s will it will happen easily. That is a lie. God often asks us to walk difficult paths. What we need to do is ask Him to light our way clearly and purpose to stay close by His side through prayer and devotion to His Word. Never back down from a challenge if you know that this is the Lord’s plan. He will be there right beside you the whole time, all you need to do is acknowledge His presence.



Follow God’s path for your life.


Seek His will: I cannot emphasize this enough. Seek. God’s. Will. It is sometimes a very difficult process to go through that takes time and even more waiting, but it is an invaluable part of the Christian walk. After graduating high school you have so many paths available to you. As you know, I took the path that lead me to stay home verses going off to college because that was the Lord’s will for me. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t do anything. The Lord has lead me to do many, many different things that have stretched me and challenged me and I have the freedom to do that because of where God has placed me in this season of life. I wan that for you: freedom because your are in His will. Often I will read books or articles about girls who chose not to go to college and there is utter contempt for college-goers. “College is such a waste of time” is what I hear said frequently. Honestly, I think that is the worst thing they could say. College is a wonderful option – IF it is God’s will for you. There are many career paths that do require a college degree. However, if we really thought about it, many people do go straight to college simply because it is the next expected step. When, in fact, all they are doing is using up priceless years collecting debt and not serving God where He wants to use them. I think college is a waste of time for those who don’t belong there. I think college is also the best place you can be if it is where God is leading you. Always, always, always seek God’s will for your life – which may or may not include a college education.


Lean on Him instead of the opinions of others: I want to impress something on you. Never, ever let the opinion of any human being sit higher in your mind than what God has called you to do. It is absolutely impossible to make everyone you know approve of what you do. It will not happen. You must learn to lean on the Solid Rock and seek His approval rather than any other person, even if it is your best friend or a family member. Pray for guidance. Pray that those who are close to you will encourage and support you. But the most important thing to pray for is that God’s will be done in your life.



Don’t forget that the souls of men and the Word of God is what will last (not money, fame, etc.)

Ultimately, what I want you to understand is that you have the chance to make an impact to further the Kingdom of Heaven. Not that you didn’t in high school or any other stage in your Christian life thus far, because you most certainly did and I hope that you have taken advantage of times to spread God’s love ever since the time of your salvation. But now that you have finished your schooling and are entering a world that will let you do just about anything, I want you to remember that it is even more important now that you hold on to your Bible and God’s teaching. This is the time when you can rest assure twenty different things at any given moment will try to yank you into its (or their) direct and thwart you. A relationship, job, or college opportunity are good things, but only if they are from the Lord. Guard your heart from the temptation to accept any of these things if they are disguised as distractions to keep you from fulfilling God’s plan for your life. Remember that if anything looks enticing, but goes against God’s Word, you need to flee from it. As followers of Christ our ultimate goal should be to see others come to know our Savior, Jesus Christ. Do this by taking every opportunity to tell others about your Heavenly Father and living a life that is so unusual – because it is so full of Joy and Light – that they can’t help but ask what is different about you. Serve the Lord with passion. Rejoice in His name daily. Love others kindly, because by loving them you love the Lord.


I love you! I am so proud of all you have accomplished and I truly cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for you next. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart (Prov. 3:5). Get ready for life after high school – it isn’t what I expected, but it is a wonderful ride when I have Jesus takin’ the wheel. ;)




(To everyone) In closing, dear graduate, I want to tell you how excited I am for you in this ending of one chapter and beginning of another. There are so many emotions that run through us when we graduate – of excitement and worry for the future. Always put your trust in the Lord and you will find the most fulfilling future, even if you don’t understand where it is you are heading at first. If you do know where you are heading next because the Lord has revealed that next step to you, then I am thrilled for you! Do your best and always give everything up to the Lord. Be brave. Be passionate. Be in love with Jesus.


Congratulations, graduate!

God bless you as you embark on your new adventure!

Love Anyway


Other people’s behavior is not our responsibility, how we treat other people is. I pray that I can become better at loving others and treating them with kindness no matter their actions. This has been laid heavily upon my heart lately, but I continue to fail. Dear God, please help me. Help me to love like you love. Help me to remember that when you hung on the cross, you hung there bearing their sins AND MINE. I am no better than they. I am filthy. I am a wretched sinner. I am the one who put you there. And I need to love you with all of my heart and follow after your teaching because of it, which includes loving those around me anyway.

The Bible puts incredible emphasis on love.

It says to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength. That is the greatest commandment the Bible gives us. 

Matthew 22:37, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”


It tells us that love is the most important thing. 

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV), “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”


It tells us we need to love everyone. Even those who have done wrong towards us.

Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”


To love others the way we need to is not possible for us to accomplish. It is deeply engraved in our heart to go into self defense mode when we have been attacked. We want to push back. Let them know that they cannot treat us like that and get away with it.

True, genuine, freely given love is a hopeless cause it seems.

But God embodies such a love. He IS such a love.

There is hope.

It is exclusively through God that I can love the way people need to be loved. No, it’s not easy. In fact, I will never achieve the perfect love. But I will never stop striving to be like my Jesus. He was the Perfect Love. He loved unconditionally. He loved everyone. As he hung on the cross and people spat in his face and scoffed, he loved.

The soul of a person is more important than their action. I need to remember that. It hurts. It doesn’t sound pleasant. It goes against the natural feeling of wanting to fight back. But it’s worth it. It’s right. It’s what God requires of me to do.

My mom often tells me that when someone hurts her, she feels God whispering to her to pray for them. It is painfully humbling. God loves them just as much as me. I need to love anyway.

Also, you may be thinking that just because we love someone we accept all they believe and we will have a relationship full of trust and mutual respect. That is not the case. Don’t love someone for what they believe or have done. Because if that is so I have a feeling no one would love anyone. But rather, love because they are a soul breathed by God. And if you have been hurt, loving them does not mean that you have to trust them on the same level. Trust is earned, love is freely given. Once that trust is damaged, it must be repaired. Love, on the other hand, must always be bestowed on them. God did not stop loving me when I spoke angrily towards someone, or talked about someone behind their back. I have to learn to love in spite of a fallen, sinful world. I want to strive to live a life of love.

I need to love anyway.

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” -1 John 3:16-18

You Will Get More Than You Can Handle


“God won’t give you more than you can handle.”  

That quote has been inspiring people for, well, I have no idea how long. It’s what we tell a sister or a friend when they are going through a difficult situation.

When they feel like they won’t make it any farther and we don’t know what else to do to comfort them we quickly say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle. Just remember that. You can make it. You can get through it.” I believed it and said it to several friends and my sisters when I was desperate to comfort them. But I look back now and realize I was lying.

If I have ever said that to you, I apologize so very much.

Because the truth is, you WILL be handed more than you can handle.

Life will be more than you can take. Conflict will arise and hurt will come from it that you won’t be able to heal from on your own. Unexpected tragedy could take place at any moment that you will be able to do nothing about. The everyday task of simply getting out of bed will become more than you can force yourself to do some days.


You won’t be able to handle it.


“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” –John 15:5 (emphasis mine)

Nothing. There is nothing that I can do outside of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. I am weak and incapable. I know this to be true because of verses like John 15:5 in the Bible that tell me my human self is incapable of anything aside from the one Who created me.

If the famous phrase, “God won’t give you more than you could handle” were true, it would imply that we were able to do something without God. We would be able to handle that difficult situation. We would be able to handle the stress, the depression, the rejection, the hurting, etc. because we are strong enough. I don’t know about you, but I know I am not strong enough. God has shown me that I cannot. I believe that to be true with my whole heart; and because of the sacrifice He has made on my behalf I know that He is strong enough. Because of that I know that I need to lean on Him – my Solid Rock. If I were able to “handle it” I wouldn’t be such a terrible sinner in complete desperation for a Savior. I’d be able to save myself, because I can handle it. But as I have already said, that isn’t the case.

I believe with all of my heart that the reason God allows such tragedies and struggles into our lives is so that there is no other option but to bring our burdens back to Him. God wants to help us. He wants to save us and heal us from our grief. But if we think we can handle it, He’ll let us attempt it.

There is no possible way to, though.

I have got to fall down on my knees in surrender at the foot of the cross and LET GO of whatever is weighing me down. I have to cry out to the Lord to rescue me because I have learned that I do not possess the strength to do so myself. I am a weak child in need of her Abba Father. The Lord has been teaching me that even my faith in Him requires His own strength and not my own. I have learned that without Jesus Christ I truly am nothing. If I am truly nothing aside from Him, then I know that it is only through Him that I will ever handle anything that I encounter in life.

I find true comfort in surrender, though, because the Lord will be there for me at all times. He will pick me up out of the ashes and dust me off. No, he may not always choose to make my problems instantly vanish, because many times it is through the darkest days that we grow the closest to Jesus, but He will walk beside me the whole way through.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. ” -James 1:2-4 

I remember when I realized that just because bad things come doesn’t mean God isn’t there with me. These “trying of my faith” times are so important in my life because they draw me closer to God through continuous prayer and studying of the Bible. I have never and will never fear that I am alone because I have the Word of God to tell me that He is always near me.

I need to live a life of joy. Verse 2 says to be joyful even when faced with terrible circumstances. What a testimony it would be if people saw me living a truly joy filled life because of my Savior. Joy doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen, or that I will always be happy, it means that I am identifying myself with Jesus even when those bad things do come.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” –Matthew 11:28

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” –Joshua 1:9



Shared at A Mama’s Story link up

This entry was posted on May 18, 2015. 1 Comment