Time

Sometimes in our lives, time moves faster than others. That has definitely been the case in my life over the past year or so. Time has just flown. I look back and I haven’t blogged in over a year!

The biggest news of the past year is the birth of our sixth daughter, Claire! She’s a beauty, and we can’t imagine our lives without her. She was a few weeks early, so after a short NICU stay, we are so happy to be adjusting to our lives with her.

We are preparing for a big move to our (hopefully) forever home! I feel like our family is on the verge of the rest of our lives: like we are standing on the edge of a cliff about to take the plunge. It’s so exciting!

Anyway, I wanted to offer ya’ll a little explanation for what I’ve been up to. I intend to start blogging once again. I’m excited to share with you some of the stuff I have been learning!

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You Already Are a Proverbs 31 Woman!

What if I were to tell you that you already are a Proverbs 31 Woman?

Let me explain.  Around 10 years ago, I was frustrated and feeling a bit angry about the message surrounding the Proverbs 31 woman.  It seemed to be a message of do, do do, and try, try, try.  It bothered me so much that I looked into Proverbs 31 and how the Bible truly portrayed women.  What I found surprised me.  These women weren’t trying all day every day.  They were just, who they were.  True, they were faithful in the small things.  The small things led to the big things, and I don’t even think a lot of these women knew they were big things!  They just loved God and did what they needed to do to follow Him.

Recently, I started looking around again for Proverbs 31 blogs and articles.  What did I find?  99% of them started with “As we strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman” or “As we try to be a Proverbs 31 woman”.  These blog contain nothing more than a works mentality.  “Try, do, work, strive, learn, grow” (wash, rinse, repeat)  It’s exhausting.  It sound like picking up after a toddler!  Just reading those words make me tired and a bit angry…ok, a lot angry.

Let’s look at it this way: what happens to us when we are born again?

2 Corinthians 5:17English Standard Version (ESV)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he IS a new creation.[a] The old HAS passed away; behold, the new HAS come.

Ephesians 1:3 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

Colossians 2:9-10English Standard Version (ESV)  

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

When we are born again, we ARE a new creation.  We have the Holy Spirit IN us.  We are IN Christ!  We are not only holy, royal, justified, chosen, loved, pure, priests, and sons and daughters.  That’s just the tip of the iceburg of what our heart could come to know about our identity in Christ.  We could even boil this down and say that since we have Christ IN us, we are now Proverbs 31 women!  Schwoo!  What a relief!  No more striving.  No more trying to meet the mark.  We now embody what it means to be a Proverbs 31 woman, each a little bit differently, but all in the same fullness.

Let’s give ourselves a break here!  No more pressure to live up to a certain idea or mold of what someone tells us we should be.  Be a morning person or don’t be.  Enjoy cooking or don’t.  Have a job or work at home.  Make your own clothes or buy them.  Have a business or work for someone else.  Whatever you choose is your choice!

Proverbs 31 looks different on each of us because we each have a unique identity, but the one thing that looks the same on each of us is the Holy Spirit living in us.  The love of Jesus is our uniting factor.

So it’s time to relax.  It’s time to simply be who you are.  We need to look at who we are and our strengths and develop them.  You may have strengths in areas that simply aren’t covered in mainstream teaching about Proverbs 31 women, and that’s okay!  You don’t have to look like an idea that someone else had.  Once you identify your strengths and being to use them, you start to feel the freedom of being you.  You start to get comfortable in your own skin.

Proverbs 31 isn’t about doing or trying or striving, it’s simply about rest: resting in who God is, resting in your unique expression of Christ in you, and relaxing into who you are.  It’s time to take a deep breath and just be.

The Hiding Place Book Review

I read the original version of The Hiding Place in high school and was very excited to get my hands on the young reader’s version.

The Hiding Place is the story of Corrie Ten Boom’s journey through the Nazi occupation of her home country.  Along with her family, she aided many people in escape and protection.  Once this was discovered, she was relocated to a concentration camp.  She managed to survive, and The Hiding Place is an eloquent recounting of what she experienced and what she was thinking and feeling.

This book is one that cannot be lost through history.  Everyone should read this book.  Each chapter is packed full of amazing statements from Corrie’s father and her own revelations about God, love, and others.  Her writing style pulls the reader into her world and her experiences.

The young reader’s version is perfect for ages 9-12.  There are several sketched pictures in each chapter which is perfect for helping the reader visualize what is happening.  The chapters are short enough to be easily manageable for children.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.  I have received a complementary copy of this book from Chosen Books.

The Heart Behind “Redefined: Curbing the Spin on the Proverbs 31 Woman”

I want to tell you all a little bit about my new book coming out on Mother’s Day.  The writing of this book has been a super personal adventure.  Having grown up in the conservative American church, most of the teachings I heard about women only happened twice a year, around Christmas and Mother’s Day.  Most of the Mother’s Day messages centered around Proverbs 31.  The list of what was required of women was long, and on top of that, you had to have a pure heart!

I remember a few things that changed my perspective on things.  I was a kid full of big dreams.  I had so many interests, and I knew I was going places.  So, instead of pursuing those things, I fell in love and eloped!  (13 years going strong!)  Suddenly, everything changed for me.  Instead of being looked at as a woman with big ambitions, I was now looked at as a project for other women to turn into the best wife I could possibly be.  I was handed many books, and invited to many women’s Bible studies that studied up on how to be a good wife.  The books gave good advice on house tending, cooking, being respectful, and how to spice things up, but the problem was, I still had ambitions.  The message I was now receiving was that my only goal and purpose in life was to housekeep and rear the children.  Anything that didn’t center around those two things was frivolous.

These teachings started to pile up in my heart.  To many people, my only value lay in my ability to be a wife and mother.  If I had to value myself on those things, I probably wouldn’t have ranked very high at that time (Did I mention I was married young?)

So, I embarked on a quest, a quest in my Bible, to find out what the women of the Bible were really like.  I had heard of the main players like Mary, the other Mary, Esther, Rahab, Eve, and Deborah, and even attended many studies that centered around their major downfalls.  I read the Bible through cover to cover, picking out the women hidden within its pages.  I did it again and then again.  These women’s stories came alive to me!  What I found the most shocking was that the accounts of these women’s lives, didn’t really line up with what was being taught as the most important virtues for a woman: quietness and submissiveness.  These women were world changers!  They were bold, fierce, strong, loving, and compassionate!  They were confident in who they were!  They were confident in their God!

Much of the evangelical church in America has elevated this idea of appropriate “roles” for men and women in the church.  I’m sure much of what I was taught came out of this idea.  It is truly a spin on Proverbs 31.  What I found in this study was love and freedom!  I found out that God loves me, truly loves me, as a woman, and hasn’t designed me to forsake all that He created me to be, to fill someone else’s idea of what I should look like.  I also found freedom!  I get to choose what life choices I make!  Once I understood that the choice was mine, as opposed to a mandate from church leadership, I was able to gladly and joyfully fill the role of wife and mother not AS all that I am, but WITH all that I am!  I love my husband, not because I have to, but because I love him!  I love and enjoy my kids every day, not because I have to, but because they are awesome!

“Redefined: Curbing the Spin on the Proverbs 31 Woman” is my journey through the Bible (and no, it’s not a memoir).  Each chapter takes a verse from Proverbs 31 and matches it with a woman in the Bible.  The chapters tell these women’s stories in a new light.  Taking a look at these woman can slow the spin that has been put on the ideal Proverbs 31 woman.  My hope is that you would read it and find freedom.  My hope is that you will celebrate these women as amazing women of God.  My hope is that you will celebrate yourself and each other through the legacy they have left us.

If you haven’t yet found me on facebook or new website, check out the links below:

http://www.facebook.com/proverbs31redefined

http://www.proverbs31redefined.com

stitchtheapple

Christ in You Book Review

Christ in You

By: Eric B. Johnson

I have been so excited for the release of this book, and it far exceeded my expectations!  Eric Johnson’s book, “Christ in You”, is a must read for every Christian.  Each page is packed full of as many truths as possible!  You won’t find any idle words here!  He lays out the foundation of our identity in Christ, what Jesus’ work on the cross accomplished in us, and continues on to show is what this would look like in personal lives, church, cities, and the world.

The chapter titles are:

In God’s Image-why we were created, and what being created in His image means

The Greatest Mystery Revealed-wisdom and the fullness of God

The Light that is in you-blessings and increase

Kingdom now or kingdom later?-what is God doing in 2015, the authority given you believers, maturity

Conviction-the birthplace of confidence-arrogance vs. confidence, grace, believers are no longer sinners, but saints

Does God trust you?-co-laboring with God, God doesn’t want to control you

Permission to be great-ownership and responsibility, overflow of identity vs. striving, covenant

The Box-fear of man, the great commission

Hall of Faith-what faith really looks like

This book is VERY full!  Eric Johnson gives an amazingly balanced approach to many hot topic issues such as financial prosperity, arrogance, personal gain, striving, and pride.  He is quick to point out misconceptions and counter them with truth.  If you’ve ever heard him preach, you know he packs his messages full of stories, practical application, analogies, and mind-blowing revelation.  His book is even more intense than his sermons!

I would highly recommend this book for every believer, and even unbelievers!  Don’t forget to add a pack of highlighters to your order.  I have received a complementary copy of this book through Chosen books, but will be buying additional copies to give as gifts.

Heavenly accounting

This is an amazing blog I read today! It grabbed me right where I was! Its such a beautifully simple message, that we have tried to hard to complicate. Its a wonderful read of simple extravagant love!

alancetotheheart

This life we have here, in this form, on this planet, with our friends and family and opportunities is very short compared to our eternal potential.  It is easy to get distracted now and miss a present moment for a future possibility.  We shouldn’t be taking one step and then another on this walk just debating a future step that is unseen.  Jesus sets us free to live eternally now.  That may seem strange and paradoxical but so liberating.  I used to fear all the time.  I used to quake with the thought of tomorrow.  I used to argue in my own head the possibilities of tomorrow and completely miss what I have right now.  Religion has so many running the treadmill of future possibilities instead of living in the joy Jesus has for us now.  We get to live His life.  We get to be connected with hope and…

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Book Review: Touched by Heaven

I just read the book “Touched by Heaven” by Nancy Ravenhill and thought I’d post a book review on it.  I am devoting a portion of this blog to book reviews, to balance my bookaholic tendencies and writing obsession!

“Heaven exists-and it can touch your life.”  This is the theme of Nancy Ravenhill’s book which shares the powerful story of her life long encounters with God.  It begins at a young age and recounts various experiences at different times in her life, when God showed up in very real ways to her.

She talks about how God showed up during the trauma of childhood parental abuse, the future healing that would take place between her and her parents, how God led her every step as a young adult from what school and education she should pursue to what man God had for her. She even talks about long periods of loneliness and how Jesus had not forgotten her during those times.  She recounts visitations from Jesus, angelic encounters, and how God physically healed those around her.

Ravenhill’s life experiences contain at least one that we can all relate to.  She simply tells her experiences in such a powerful way that it feels like you really know her at the end of the book.  One of the messages her book sends is that God is always around us.  He is always speaking to us, and moving in our lives, we just need ears to hear and eyes to see what He is doing.  Her story gives permission for the reader to acknowledge some of the otherwise “strange” or “unexplainable” events that may happen in their own lives, as what they truly are: messages from God.

Each chapter is very manageable in length, and covers at least one of Ravenhill’s encounters with God.  She does not leave you hanging onto only her words though, but at the end of each chapter she invites you in to experience and expect the same types of things in your own life!

I received a complementary copy of this book from Chosen Books for review, and although I don’t usually read books from this genre, I would highly recommend it to anyone longing to see what the power of God looks like in real life today.  This book is definitely a faith builder!