Story

Choosing Worship Over Worry

“I’ve found that thanksgiving and praise put me in proper relationship with You—opening the way for Your Joy to flow into me as I draw near You in worship.” – Jesus Listens, May 9 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. —Romans 10:17 NIV Faith felt easy Faith felt easy at one point in my life. I didn’t realize that my confident exterior was a cover-up for the fear hiding in my heart. Waves of challenges hit one after another until most of that self-assurance washed away. Problems seemed to surround me on every side: impossibilities at work, difficulties as a new mom, and struggles in marriage. One morning while home alone with my kids, I sank under the floodwaters of fear, and I wasn’t sure I could come back up. Abbey and ...

Your Mental Load Isn’t Invisible to God

“What goes on in my mind is invisible to other people, but You read my thoughts continually—You know everything about me. I want to guard my thinking carefully since good thought choices honor You and keep me close to You.” – Jesus Listens, April 18th You can’t sleep. I forgot to call the pediatrician’s office back about rescheduling. Did I leave the clothes in the washer? How on earth am I going to make it to the meeting, and then the recital if my white blouse the baby spat-up on is sopping wet in the washer in the morning? The invisible mental load of mothering is overwhelming. As Christian moms, even things we know we should be doing—like reading the Bible or praying—can feel like one more invisible mental burden, and one more area where we are failing. But Mama, the Gospel is good new...

Rest Is A Gift, Not A Burden

“You are the only resting place for my mind that truly satisfies and strengthens me. As I rest in Your peaceful Presence, true hope grows within me.” – Jesus Listens, March 11 I learned early on that fewer things in life carried more value than a strong work ethic. It’s one of the first rhythms I remember learning as a child: work hard, accomplish goals, receive praise. Rinse, repeat. Working Hard As I met goal after goal, I learned to associate “working hard” with “receiving praise.” And I liked receiving praise. I liked knowing my parents and teachers were proud of me. So I carried this strategy into my adult life, straight into my career. The harder I worked, the more praise I received. All of the good job’s hit my body like endorphins. Every positive remark felt like a dose of worth an...

Go to Bed Rejoicing

“If I continue walking in trusting reliance on You, at bedtime I discover that Joy and Peace have become my companions.” – Jesus Listens, July 20 Many women I know go to bed feeling guilty. They will look back over the day, and realize how much they did not accomplish. The days seem to melt away, full of things that have to be done, but there always seems to be more that didn’t get done. I knew one woman who would imagine what her daughter’s future conversations with her therapist would be like. Would the daughter be hurt and angry about her mother, telling the therapist all sorts of stories about her mother’s failings? Would the therapist be able to help? Would her daughter have life-long problems because of her mother’s lack of proper love and understanding, not knowing the right approac...

Building Better Boundaries

“Your holy hands are absolutely capable of caring for me and meeting my needs. Please help me relax in Your sovereign watchcare—trusting You to do what is best.” – Jesus Listens, November 8 If you were like me when the pandemic hit, you felt a sudden urge to serve. As a physician and mom of four, I felt responsible to care for people in my community, in my family, and in my workplace. I made lists and spent hours online trying to figure out the safest way to care for my children, my parents, and my patients. At the same time, I found myself struggling to know the best way to lead my large online community of women physicians. It felt as if everywhere I turned, someone needed me, and I was failing to serve them in the capacity I envisioned I was called to do. Called to serve We are oft...

Let’s Build “Recovery Culture” into Our Communities

“You know absolutely everything about me, yet You love me with perfect, unfailing Love.” – Jesus Listens, January 4 If you call yourself a Christian, you’re in recovery. If we were all once sinners in need of a Savior, then we’re all trying to recover and heal from something. Recovery is for everyone—and if that statement bothers you, recovery is probably for you, too. After all, real recovery isn’t a program, it’s a lifestyle. A lifelong journey that celebrates diversity and combats stigmatization. And because recovery is for everyone, there’s no shame in acknowledging that we all need it.  Building an authentic recovery culture within pre-existing Jesus groups can be a real challenge. Because recovery, even with Jesus as our Higher Power, is wildly unstable. Here are five critical m...

Three Ways to Unthaw Your Frozen Calling

“I’m learning to yield to Your will and timing. Rather than striving to be in control, I need to spend more time seeking Your Face.” – Jesus Listens, February 23 Conflict stirred within as I attempted to blend into the audience. The secret struggles in my heart felt exposed as the conference speaker addressed the crowd. Frozen callings “There are frozen callings in this congregation,” she declared. The weight of that statement hit my spirit like a bag of bricks. No, Lord, I whispered. I can’t hope any longer for things that never come to pass. God spoke softly in return. I will be with you. It’s time to take your calling off the shelf. Two years before, I had packed away my ministry dreams. Ambitions of public speaking, teaching the Bible, and writing books drove me to push past God’s timi...

When Clutter Is a Gift

“You’ve been clearing out the debris and clutter within me, making room for Your Spirit to take full possession.” – Jesus Listens, January 7 Clutter is a fact of life. Decluttering Decluttering is a fact of life, too. Over the years, I’ve decluttered more than the average person and now, I actually write books about decluttering. When people find out I’m a Christian who writes about decluttering, they want to talk about what the Bible says about clutter. One of the verses they love to quote is Matthew 6:19: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (NIV). Spiritual Treasure Obviously it’s true, since it’s in the Bible. But as a person who’s purged (literal) truckloads of clutter from her home and cried tears of...

6 Truths to Help You Understand Grief

No matter what losses I experience, in my life, I know that nothing can separate me from Your loving Presence! – Jesus Listens, October 21 When you are grieving, it can feel like that single emotion controls every aspect of your life. From your relationships and physical health to your ability to work or do the simplest tasks, grief is ever present. If you don’t have proper care and a plan of action, grief will assume control of your life. But before you can take effective action, it’s essential to understand the strong emotions you’re feeling. Want to understand grief a little more? These are six things you need to remember: 1. Grief Is Universal We feel grief so personally that it’s easy to think we are alone in our suffering. But sooner or later, everyone will feel the sting of grief. R...

Ending the Self-Esteem Battle for Good

When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I won’t give up. Instead, I’ll look to You and Your strength. – Jesus Listens, July 31 For years I struggled with feeling good in my skin. I would go on a diet and do pretty good for a few days, but then life would get busy, my daughter would get sick, or my motivation would fade. I would fall off track, eat my favorite things, and then plan to do better next time. This cycle caused a negative conversation in my mind: Why did you eat that? Why can’t you stick to a diet? Why didn’t you work out today? If only you could reach your fitness goals. I lived with an ever-present feeling of failure. Jesus wanted to eat with me One day at church, I cried out to God. I couldn’t take feeling this way anymore. I needed a breakthrough. We were studying Revelation, so I ope...

In the Dark of Winter, We Can See His Light

“Hope keeps you spiritually alive during dark times of adversity; it brightens your path and heightens your awareness of My Presence.” – Jesus Calling, December 15 Where I live in the mountains of southwest Virginia, Advent arrives with the beginning of winter. Night gathers quickly Night gathers quickly, with a deep darkness settling in by the time we settle around the table. The ground that only a few months earlier burst with life lies dormant, under a chill that never seems to lift. From the warmth of my kitchen, I look out the window to see my once-lush garden encrusted with ice, full of thick, heavy clods of earth, and littered with the remnants of cornstalk and pumpkin vine that twist up among the table scraps.  Bringing forth life Closer to the house, ornamental beds of l...

Reframing Shame

“I know Your power is made perfect in weakness. So I thank you for my insufficiency—it helps me depend on You to infuse strength into me.” – Jesus Listens, January 9 Admitting our weakness is often a difficult task for most of us, because calling our imperfections, failures, hang-ups, and habits what they are, is uncomfortable. And it often produces shame. Shame and self-esteem Shame is a powerful emotion that is inward and, when not dealt with appropriately, deadly to our self-esteem and connection with God and others. The accuser of our souls is out to steal, kill, and destroy, and we can easily find ourselves believing the lies he plants in our minds: that we are not good enough; that we are broken beyond repair. The enemy attacks us this way because it is a direct attack on our identit...