That Weekend When Jesus Met Us at Come Away {retreat}

I want so very much to write about the weekend at the Come Away retreat, but how in the world do you even begin to put into words an experience that was so intimate and precious?! I feel a bit like Mary must have felt when Scripture tells us that she treasured up things about her pregnancy and the birth of Christ and pondered them in her heart. And so, I will probably share less rather than more in this space because some things simply need to held closely.

 

Come Away Wrap Up

 

 

As you know I have been praying into and planning this retreat for a very long time…almost a year. I knew that God was calling me to this work, yet I had so many doubts about whether I was physically and emotionally able to do it. Doubts about my calling to ministry, and whether I could offer anything that would speak into the hearts of other women. I wondered if anyone would come, and if they would be glad they had come when all was said and done. Almost daily I begged God to let the women be glad they came. I was not sure that anyone would pay $300 for a retreat, because Y’ALL, $300 is a lot of money! If there was a doubt to be had about hosting a women’s retreat, I can assure you that it passed through my mind over the course of the past year. The only thing I did not doubt was the sufficiency and willingness of Jesus to make this retreat happen if He had a mind to do it. Of that I was certain.

 

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I had space for 7 ladies. God sent 6 women who walked eagerly through the door of Tippy Canoe, expecting Jesus to meet them there. In fact, one of the things that we consistently laughed over were the words of one woman’s preschooler. For quite sometime, she had been telling her children that she was going away in September to have a weekend with Jesus. On Friday when her husband came home from work to report for ‘Daddy duty’, her little one went running to him and told him that, ‘Mommy is going to meet Jesus!!’. He said, ‘Oh, please don’t say it like that!’ So we laughed all weekend about this sweet woman ‘going to meet Jesus’.

May I just tell you that we all met Jesus this weekend? The Holy Spirit was incredibly present with us, doing the work that only He can do in hearts that are tuned to His frequency. We worshipped, we studied, we prayed, we laughed, we cried, we shared our hearts, we cooked together, and we ate.  Of course, we ate!

 

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The focus of the retreat was not only to help the ladies carve out a time to come away with Jesus, but also to understand how deeply loved they are by Jesus, and how safe their hearts are with Jesus. To that end, I taught from several different passages over the course of the weekend….John 8:1-11, Psalm 139, Psalm 51, Romans 12:1-2, and 2 Samuel 9. I wanted them to understand that an intimate relationship with Jesus does not happen by accident. It requires intentionality and work, being diligent to lean into Christ through regular prayer and Bible study. I poured out everything I had, hoping they would catch the fever for a relationship with Jesus.

 

Come Away 2017

 

Satan fought hard to keep the ladies from coming, and to keep me from teaching, but He did not win.

May I share some comments from the women?

Come Away fanned the fire that I knew was still in me, but had been affected by the circumstances of life. 

 

Come Away was a breath of fresh air. I was impacted by the Word of God; encouraged by other women. I am trusting Him in a deeper way and being led to take steps of faith. 

 

Come Away showed me where I need to be with the Lord, and what it is going to take to be close to Him again.

 

Come Away has given me a ‘booster’ to help me get back to where I need to be. Spending time in the Word is vital!

 

I feel like I have a fresh love and desire for Jesus because of my time at Come Away.

 

I feel at peace and know it is well with my soul. I feel Jesus near. 

 

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These sweet women made sure I understood that there would be another Come Away retreat next year! They also asked for it to be a three-day retreat rather than just two days.

Over and over the Lord moved and worked this weekend, not only in the hearts of the women, but in my heart as well. He reminded me that His calling is irrevocable and that where He calls, He equips. He encouraged me with the words of Isaiah 55:11, reminding me that when His Word is proclaimed it will accomplish the purposes for which it was intended. He blessed and encouraged me through the words of the ladies as they shared what the weekend had meant to them.

I waved good-bye to each lady on Sunday morning, trusting that God would continue to use the time at Come Away to draw them into a more intimate relationship with Jesus.

Today is a day of rest for me; a time to ponder, pray, offer thanks, and simply abide with Jesus. And do you know what? I feel the smiling nod of God over Come Away and my faithfulness to be obedient to God’s call.

I stand amazed, yet again, that God would use someone like me, a woman who has been in a ditch of sin more times in my life that I can count, to do much of anything in His Kingdom. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you!

SDG/FCA!!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

I am linking to some of the books that I recommended to the ladies this weekend.

It’s Time! Come Away {retreat}

I can hardly believe it! For almost a year I have prayed and planned and prepared. I have thrown out enough fleeces to cover an entire sheep and God has answered every single one of them. I have asked Him to give me the largest details (venue), as well and the smallest ones (decorations for the bathrooms – thank you Lynn Dyer!), and He has been over-the-top faithful. I have pored over passages in the Bible, preparing to share what I believe the Lord has given me.

 

Come Away Pinterest

 

Today the Come Away retreat begins. Six ladies and I will spend the weekend with Jesus in a beautiful cabin on Blue Ridge Lake in Blue Ridge, Georgia.

We will spend time in worship with some pretty awesome worship leaders. Our hearts will draw near to Jesus as we look into His Word to see how He feels about us. We will cook and eat (HALLE-to-the-LUJAH!) together, sharing life in the kitchen. We will spend time in prayer, seeking intimacy with Christ. And, we will allow ourselves time to rest and hear the voice of Jesus. Honestly, that last one is probably the most difficult for the majority of women. Simply taking a deep breath and being quiet and still for a season.

So, this morning I come here to this space asking for your prayers, should the Lord bring me to your mind. Would you pray for:

  • The Holy Spirit’s presence over the weekend
  • The ladies who will attend to have hearts that are listening for the voice of Jesus
  • The families of these ladies to be healthy and safe while they are away
  • That all of us who are attending the retreat will stay well
  • Our awesome worship leaders (Judy Tipton, Mike and Rebecca Medori)
  • Me as I teach three times
  • That the ladies will bond together and encourage one another in their walks with Christ
  • That I will be present (physically, spiritually, and emotionally) in each moment and resist the urge to simply move through the weekend, checking off things that need to be done (This is a biggie for me, the ultimate Type A)
  • The HVAC, water, and all appliances of the cabin to work well
  • Anything else you can think of

 

Thank you for your prayers. They are everything to me!

Have a lovely weekend.

SDG/FCA!!

Hope for the Hurting Wife: Author Interview with Rebekah Hallberg

It looks like I may be settling into an every Monday posting schedule here at the blog. We shall see.

Over the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of getting to know two women who have made lasting impressions on my heart. It all began when we ended up in a writing group together. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of those ladies.

Rebekah Hallberg is someone whom I have never met in real life, but I just know that if we did meet, we would be BFFs. Over the last year, Rebekah has been such an incredible encourager to me. Not only in words, but also in her actions. In addition to being a writer, wife, mom, and all around awesome friend, Rebekah is a virtual assistant. If you see almost anything from me on social media, you can be fairly certain that Rebekah was the one who created it. She is such a blessing to me because social media is a must in ministry these days, but I just do not enjoy spending massive amounts of time creating posts and tweets. Enter Rebekah. She is a master at Pinterest and Twitter and Facebook.

Today I am so excited to introduce you to Rebekah and her new book, Hope for the Hurting Wife. This book, y’all! It is the creation of Rebekah and another wonderful woman that I will introduce you to very soon, Jen Stults. I’m convinced that many wives out there would be so blessed by this book and its authors, because as wonderful as marriage can be and is, it can also be incredibly painful. So without more words from me, allow me to introduce you to Rebekah.

 

Hope for the Hurting Wife

 

LA: Rebekah, I may have readers who do not know you. Would you please tell them a bit about yourself?

RH: Thank you, Leah, for having me here! What a blessing to be able to spend some time with you and your readers! I grew up as a missionary kid. I was born in the states, but spent 4 years in West Africa when my parents followed God’s call to missions overseas. I learned about faith in God from a very young age, and my faith has always been a strong, important part of my life.

 

Rebekah Hallberg headshot

 

I have been married for 18 years and my husband and I have 3 children. I hold a degree in education and have worked in both regular and special education settings. I originally started my blog as a place to document our family’s journey with special needs after our second son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. Over time, I transitioned to faith-based blogging, telling God that I’d blog about anything except marriage. Let me just pause right here for a minute to say this:

Don’t tell God what you won’t do.

I now blog about marriage. God must have had a few chuckles when I told Him what I would not write about. More on that in a bit.

 

LA: What occupies your free time? Hobbies? Interests? 

RH: I spend a lot of my free time listening to piano music as all three of our children play the piano. Our oldest son is a piano performance major at a local university and while he practices a lot at school, between all three kids, there are still multiple hours of piano practice in our home each day.

I also enjoy a good cup of coffee and some quiet time to read. I enjoy watching movies with the family and spending quiet evenings talking and laughing with my husband.

 

LA: What are some items on your bucket list? 

RH: I recently read an article about someone who traveled across the US by train, making particular stops at scenic destinations along the way. I think that would be a great trip to take with my husband someday! I’d also love to see our oldest play at Carnegie Hall in New York City. What an amazing opportunity that would be! I’d love to see my younger two perform as well, but God may have other plans for their lives, and in time, it will be wonderful to see them following their God-given gifts!

 

LA: How did you develop an interest in writing and when did you begin writing seriously?

RH: Writing is one of my newer hobbies. I am not one of those people who always knew they wanted to write – quite the opposite, in fact. I never enjoyed writing in school. It was always such a chore for me. When I started blogging, the writing came a little more easily. I think that’s because I was writing about topics that I was interested in, and could write at my own pace. I’ve been writing seriously for about 4 years now. As I follow God’s promptings on my heart, the writing becomes easier.

 

 LA: What is the story behind your book, Hope for the Hurting Wife?

RH: Remember when I told God that I wouldn’t write about marriage? I had what I thought was a pretty normal marriage. We were both active in church, we loved each other, we loved our kids and were raising them to love the Lord – by all accounts things were good! One morning we were startled by a sudden knock at the door, followed by a lot of shouting. As we opened the door, the bottom fell out of my marriage and my world fell apart. I was completely blindsided and had no idea what was happening. Reality was being revealed and I realized that my marriage was not at all that I thought it had been. Heartbroken and utterly devastated, I started the hardest journey of my life – to pray for redemption for my marriage. It took me about 6 months to decide that I wanted to stay, that I wanted to work through the choices my husband made that nearly cost us our marriage.
I met Jen, my co-author, in a blogging group. While our backgrounds and stories are different, God brought us together and gave us a deep connection because of our stories. We realized that women needed the hope, the understanding, of another woman who has been through a crisis in her marriage. We first released a 14-day version of our book as a download in February, 2017. The response was so great that we knew we needed to do more. After a lot of praying and seeking God, we decided to combine some of our writings, and to add some content that has never been published before, and turn our book into a 30-day book that we hope will bless and encourage women at any stage of their marriage. We’re proud to share Hope for the Hurting Wife with you.

 

Hope Hurting Wife September 11

 

LA: Tell us more about Hope for the Hurting Wife, please!

RH: Hope for the Hurting Wife is a beautiful story of God’s redemption in our marriages. The book offers 30 days of encouragement for your marriage (plus amazing bonus content at the end of the book). It’s also our story of how God has redeemed our marriages. Jen and I share personal stories from some tough times we’ve faced. We share how God used those times to strengthen us and to give us hope as we worked on issues in our own marriages.
Each chapter addresses a different issue that we have faced, and that most women will find relatable. We cover topics such as communication, dealing with our emotions, trusting God with your marriage, and feeling stuck in the “for worse” of marriage.
We hear from many wives who are in tough situations and want to make it clear that this book is not one that pressures a woman into staying in an abusive marriage. We support the need for women to get help and to find safety if they are a victim of abuse. Our book is not a guarantee to solve the issues in your marriage or to fix your broken marriage. While we’d love to offer that hope, only God has that power. What we can do is gently point you to God, to remind you that even amid struggles in our lives, He is faithful. We can’t make changes in your marriage, but He can! We use this book to offer that hope and encouragement.

 

LA: Rebekah, where can my readers find your book?

RH: Hope for the Hurting Wife can be purchased on Amazon.com in both print and Kindle versions. (Click links to be taken to the book page on Amazon)

SALE ALERT: The Kindle version of  Hope is available for 99 cents for a limited time, so click here to grab that deal.

 

LA: I would love for my readers to connect with you. How can they do that?

RH: You’ll find me at Sharing Redemption’s Stories (link to http://rebekahmhallberg.com ), on Facebook (link to https://www.facebook.com/rebekahmhallberg/ ), Pinterest (link to https://www.pinterest.com/RebekahHallberg/ ) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/rebekahmhallberg/ ).
I’d love to connect with you and be an encouragement for your marriage!

 

LA: Rebekah, do you have any final thoughts to share with my readers? 

RH: I’m positive that the devil came for my marriage they day they knocked on my door. I was so blindsided by all that happened, and I’m sure the devil planned for that to be the undoing of my marriage. But as I slowly waited on God, as I let Him work in every aspect of the situation, He kept reminding me how precious my family is and how much He loved each of us. He worked deep in my heart to remind me that redemption is for everyone, no matter what we’ve done. That reminder gave me courage to pursue redemption in my marriage.
And I want you to know that nothing is too far out of the realm of possibility for God to redeem. Nothing!

Hope for the Hurting Wife is a story of redemption because God still redeems today!

 

SDG/FCA!!!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Faces of Influence: My Mount Rushmore

Ladies! The Come Away retreat is less than 2 weeks away but I have one space open and I would love for you to attend. Click here to find out more or email me at info@leahadams.org. 

 

This post has been bubbling in my head for a while now. As often happens, a book that I have read prompts lots of pondering. In this case, the book is Chip Ingram’s Good to Great: 10 Practices Great Christians Have in Common.

In this book, Ingram outlines ten practices that are present in the life of Christians who are really walking out a Jesus-like life. Now, not all 10 are evident in every great Christian, but more often than not, many of them are. Some of these practices include thinking great thoughts, reading great books, praying great prayers, taking great risks, making great sacrifices, and the one that has prompted today’s post is PURSUE GREAT PEOPLE.

In the chapter entitled “Pursue Great People” Ingram shares an exercise that helped him identify those people who have poured into his life and shaped him spiritually over the years. He called that portion of the exercise looking in the rearview mirror of life. Ingram also used a visual to help the reader with this exercise. In South Dakota (USA) there are four faces carved into the granite of Mount Rushmore. Four men are represented who are part of the history of America: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Each of them contributed to the fabric of America in a unique and special way. In this ‘rearview mirror ‘ exercise, Ingram encouraged the reader to develop their own Mount Rushmore by identifying four or five people whose ‘influence has been positive and indelible.’

He also encouraged the reader to look out the windshield of life and identify three other groups of people: a Paul who has been or is a mentor, a Timothy who would benefit from being mentored, and a Barnabas who consistently encourages your faith walk.

I was completely drawn in to the stories Ingram shared about these important people in his life. I was also spurred to begin thinking about my own life and the people who have molded and shaped me, as well as those who I have the opportunity to pour into.

 

 

Faces of Influence My Mount Rushmore

 

 

Today I would like to share briefly the people on my Mount Rushmore. To be honest, this was a tough exercise because there are many people who have poured so much into my life over the years, but after much thought I was able to narrow it down to the following (in the order in which they came into my life):

 

My Daddy

My Daddy was my first hero and the man who taught me about generosity, perseverance and determination. Having lived almost his entire life with the residual effects of polio, he overcame so much to live a full and productive life. He was an astute businessman and a devoted husband and father. He taught me a strong work ethic ~ give a good day of work for a good day of pay AND if there is a job to be done, do it, even if it doesn’t fit your job description. Daddy was incredibly generous and felt that it was important to help others who were in need.

 

Grandma Eula Colwell

Grandma Eula loved Jesus unlike anyone I had ever met. She talked about Him as if He was right beside her. I didn’t understand that He actually was living in her heart until later in my life. Jesus was very real to her and she walked out a relationship with him that was born of time spent in His Word and prayer. As I child I recall her saying that she was looking forward to going to heaven and seeing Jesus. My twelve-year-old self thought, “Whaaat? That’s crazy to wish for heaven!” Now, my fifty-three-year-old self completely understands her longing for heaven. Grandma Eula had a deep and abiding faith that I wanted for myself.

 

Uncle Jack Parker

Uncle Jack came into my life when I was in middle school. He and his family had always lived in New Jersey, so I did not know them that well. In the mid-late 1970s they moved back South to my hometown and Uncle Jack began teaching in the middle school. He taught, what was then called, the gifted class. I was not exactly sure what my gift was, but I ended up in his class and I am so much the better for it. He formed a debate team, I signed up for it, and there my love of public speaking was birthed. He also encouraged me to write creatively, and that is where my gift of writing first blossomed. All the students loved him because he was such an encourager, pushing and prompting us to think bigger. Today, Uncle Jack is near 90 and still going strong. I am so grateful to him for cultivating my passions for speaking and writing. 

 

My Husband, Greg Adams

Although I had known Greg since I was about 15 years old (he dated my best friend in high school), I really did not know the kind of man he was until we married. He is a man of deep devotion to those he loves and unswerving character. Over the years of our marriage he has pushed me to examine my character and lifestyle choices and to bring them in line with the standards of Christ. Believe me, I needed that early in our marriage. I had really gone off the rails in my 20s in regard to character choices.

Greg’s dedication to his son is something that is rarely seen in today’s society where everyone is all about themselves. Every other weekend for 16 years Greg drove to Birmingham, AL to see Charlie. Depending on where we lived, that was either a 2 hour drive each way or a 4 hour drive each way. Nothing prevented him from going and investing that time in Charlie’s life. For sixteen solid years….every other weekend. Today, Charlie is 25 years old and he and Greg have a close relationship because Greg made the choice to do the right thing in a tough situation.

Greg has taught me the importance of doing the right thing even when it is not convenient or fun.

 

Beth Moore

I have never met Beth Moore, but she has had a profound and lasting influence on my spiritual life. In 2001 God gave me a hunger for ladies’ Bible study. I had not the first idea how to feed that hunger. Thankfully, my friend, Kennetha, suggested we form a ladies’ Bible study group and use material by Beth Moore. I had no idea who Beth Moore was, but I was soon to find out. We started our group in January 2001 and studied Moore’s Jesus The One and Only in-depth study.

Rarely had I seen someone so in love with Jesus and the Scriptures. Beth Moore was a woman whose heart was, and remains, sold out to Jesus. Her mission is biblical literacy and it was contagious to me. I wanted what she had. I wanted that hunger for the Word, that intimacy with Jesus. Our group went on to use most of Moore’s resources and with each study, my faith and desire for Christ grew.

Although I will likely never meet Mrs. Moore, one day in heaven, with tears in my eyes, I will thank her for her faithfulness to write material for women’s Bible study groups.

 

There you have it. My Mount Rushmore. Some of the people in my life who have left an indelible influence on my heart and life.

Who is on your Mount Rushmore? I would love for you to share in the comments or via email at info@leahadams.org.

 

SDG/FCA!!

 

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

 

A Marriage Expert I am NOT, But Have I Got a Book for You!

I just decided to go ahead and throw it right on out there in the beginning. I’m NOT a marriage expert. In fact, I probably need as much help in the marriage department as the next person. I got an ‘F’ in marriage the first time around. I was young (21) and dumb and needy and sick. Very sick! I had no business saying I do at that time, but it seemed easier than saying ‘I don’t’. So I did. What a mistake!

 

I am not a marriage expert

 

Fast forward to me at the ripe old age of 30. I said ‘I do’ again. This time I made a better choice, but still I went into marriage with unrealistic expectations and unexplored issues. Lord, help me, did I have issues!  And because we did not seek pre-marital counseling I lived with those expectations and issues for a very long time. I thought my marriage would be like that of my parents, but what never hit me until recently is that Greg and I are not Wayne and Barbara. We have different personalities, needs, expectations, and desires than my parents had. Why that never clicked with me blows my mind, but alas, it did not.

A couple of months ago I was reading a book by Chip Ingram called “Good to Great: 10 Practices Great Christians Have In Common.

 

 

One of the chapters in this book is about reading great books. Ingram offered several books that have impacted his life. One of those was a book about communication in marriage. In the moment I read what Ingram wrote about the book, the Holy Spirit urged me to immediately order it, because who doesn’t need better communication in their marriage, right?  Communication: Key to Your Marriage by H. Norman Wright is the book, and I will shamelessly give you my affiliate link to the book’s page on Amazon. I want you to order it if you are married or want to be married. Do it now! You will not be sorry.

 

Friends, this book has rocked my world. It took me two solid weeks to get past the first chapter. Not because the reading is hard, (it is not), but because the material stopped me dead in my tracks and gave me so much to ponder. The first words in Chapter 1 are “Why did you marry?” As if that was not enough, in the same first paragraph Wright asks this question, “What did you expect from marriage?” Two weeks, people! Two weeks it took me to work through those two questions. Then on page 3 I find this:

 

Commitment is more than maintaining; it is more than continuing to stick it out and suffer with a poor choice of a spouse. Commitment is investing–working to make the relationship grow.

 

Before you assume I made a poor choice in a spouse, please hear me loud and clear, I DID NOT. Greg is a wonderful husband. He may think he made a poor choice in a spouse, but I clearly out kicked my coverage when I married Greg. What got me from that quote is that all too often husbands and wives just stick it out rather than invest in their marriage. I want to invest in my marriage. I want to up the level of our communication and make our marriage even better. I want the next 22 years to be even better than the past 22 have been.

If I could give every married and planning-to-be-married couple a copy of this book, I would. It is that good, y’all….or maybe I am just that slow of a study when it comes to marital communication. There are some young couples in my sphere of influence who will be walking down the aisle soon and you better bet your sweet bippy that I will be giving them a copy of this book.

This book by Emerson Eggerichs is another one that I recommend and will be giving:

 

 

If you feel like you are talking to an alien when you talk to your spouse, if you feel like your husband never listens to you, if you feel like your man never shares his feelings with you, if you just have a desire to have a better marriage, then Communication by Wright is for you. Order it today!

I know there are other wonderful books on marriage and communication out there. I would love to hear your recommendations for books about marriage and/or communication. This is truly one way we can be iron sharpening iron for each other.

 

SDG/FCA!!

NOTE: Affiliate links are present in this post.

 

Two Spaces Remain for Come Away {retreat}

Ladies,

I can hardly believe that it is almost time (September 15-17) for the Come Away retreat. It seemed like it was so far in the future when the Lord and I began planning this, and WHOOOSH! Here it is.

The thing is that I have two spaces at the retreat still unfilled. Two places at the table that have someone’s name on them. Two women for whom I have prayed and prayed, even though I have not known their names. I am convinced that the Lord is prompting two ladies to step out in faith and say, “I want to come.”

Are you that woman? Does your heart long for a quiet weekend of rest and reflection and leaning into Jesus? Are you just weary and need some time to breathe?  Come Away!

I am offering these spaces at the original price of $300 to two ladies because I do not want you to miss what Jesus has for you that weekend!

Perhaps you do not feel led to come, but you feel led to pour into the life of another woman and pay for her to attend. I know of a few women who deeply desire to attend, but cannot afford the fee. Would you be a blessing to another woman and help her attend Come Away?

Please click on any of the links or pictures in this post to find more information about the retreat.

 

Come Away Retreat

 

 

Come Away Pinterest

Leaning Into Sabbath: How I Plan, Prepare, and Observe

Hi there!

How is it going in your corner of the world? Here in my space we are all worked into a lather over Monday’s eclipse. Not so much because we are astronomy fans, but because our little town is in the path of totality and we are expecting the population of our county to swell from a normal of 25,000 to about 80,000 people. Crazy!! Every motel and campground is packed to overflowing. People have rented out rooms in their home for ridiculous amounts of money. The grocery store shelves are empty by the end of the day, and the lines at the gas stations are several cars deep. It is wild and will get wooly before it is all over!!

In the midst of all that madness I am preparing for Sabbath. In a post a week ago I told you of the way the Lord has drawn my heart into Sabbath as a result of reading Shelly Miller’s book, Rhythms of Rest. Each Friday I receive an email from Shelly prompting those of us in the Sabbath Society to prepare our hearts and homes for a Sabbath rest. This morning’s email offered some questions designed to set my mind to pondering. I thought I might ‘think outloud’ here with you about the answers to these questions posed by Shelly.

 

Leaning Into Sabbath

 

 

How did my Sabbath look last week?

Last weekend (I observe my Sabbath on Sunday) I spent Saturday preparing…finishing laundry and cooking a few things to eat on Sunday. Sunday morning dawned and I grabbed my iPhone and earbuds and headed out to exercise. While I walked I listened to Christian music in order to prepare my heart for worship. I also allowed the music to prompt my prayers.

We worshipped with our church family at Vertical Church, then came home. After a light lunch, I spent a couple of hours reading and resting.

Sometimes Sabbath doesn’t go exactly the way I plan, and I have learned to give myself grace when that happens. We needed a new faucet in our downstairs kitchen and my husband decided that late Sunday afternoon was the time to put it in. I helped him a bit with that, then made a Blueberry Cobbler as a reward for his hard work. While I usually do not cook on Sabbath, there are times that I do and Sunday was one of them. It just felt right to bless my husband in that way. The Cobbler was Mmmm-Mmmmm good!

How is the time set apart for rest informing my day-to-day life?

I look forward eagerly to Sabbath, knowing that my mind and my body will enjoy rest. To that end, I work extra hard on Friday and Saturday to get chores done so that I can cease my work at 7pm on Saturday and just be. Knowing that Sabbath is coming gives me something to which I can look forward. It is like the anticipation one feels about an upcoming vacation.

Honestly, I feel like I am a better wife to Greg because I am making time for Sabbath rest. I cannot explain it fully, but Sabbath encourages me to listen better and to (hopefully) serve my husband better.

How have Sabbath pauses made a difference?

Oh my what a question! I never, ever, in a million years would have anticipated the way Sabbath would make such a difference in my life.

As I spend time resting on Sabbath there is a quietness in my heart; a peace in my soul; a nearness to Jesus that calms me and draws me into His presence. Even when 7pm on Sunday comes, that quietness and peace remains for several days. On those days when life is hectic, I remember how I feel on Sabbath and my heart stretches forward toward it because it is so restorative and healing.

What do I need to do to prepare for Sabbath this week?

As I write this post on Friday afternoon, I have finished my 4th load of laundry for the day (How do 2 people generate so much laundry???). I changed the sheets on the beds, and am marinating chicken for a new dish that I am eager to try on Saturday. I did my grocery shopping earlier in the week  because…ECLIPSE CROWDS! Tomorrow I will finish up my chores and errands and begin to quiet my heart and lean into Sabbath.

 

What about you? I’d love to hear your answers to these questions

SDG/FCA!!!

 

Hey you! It is not too late to register to attend the Come Away retreat. YOU are the very lady that Jesus is beckoning to Come Away with Him. Click over to this page and learn more.

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

We Are In A War! Let’s Do Battle!

Good morning! I will just go ahead and warn you…this is a multi-purpose post. I’m all over the board with it, so hang on.

 

Doing Battle For Our Children

 

 

I’m pretty excited that it is Friday and the weekend is here. Really, what I am excited about is Sabbath and a day of rest and worship. Y’all, I am leaning into Sabbath like my life depended on it. Because really, it does! After reading Shelly Miller’s book Rhythms of Rest TWICE, I am absolutely convinced that Sabbath is an all-out necessity. So, on Friday I change the sheets on the beds. On Saturday I do a couple of loads of laundry and prepare food for us to have on Sunday. Then, at 7pm on Saturday I settle in for Sabbath. No laundry is done on Sunday. Very little food is cooked on Sunday. I gather my book and quilt and spend Sunday afternoon reading and resting. Sometimes I sit on my deck and pray, while other times I visit with family and friends. My Sabbath rest re-charges me for the week ahead and draws me closer to Jesus. I really, really want to encourage you to lean into Sabbath. You can do it, even if you have littles in your home. It may be a Sabbath hour while they are napping, but you can carve out some Sabbath time for your heart.

 

Ladies, there is still time to register for the Come Away [retreat}. I have a couple of spaces open and I would love to have you join us September 15-17th for some intimate time with Jesus. It is a time when we will study the Scriptures, worship, pray, rest, and just cozy up next to our Lord. Would you join us? Go HERE to learn more about the retreat and how to register.

 

Come Away Retreat

 

Finally, I wanted to share something with you that I heard on the radio this week. It impacted my heart greatly, and I hope it will be a blessing to you, as well. The pastor on the radio was named Randy Snyder and he was speaking about how parents can impact the lives of their children. This is not the word-for-word quote, but it is close.

As parents, we go to war for our children every time we pray for them. It is the most important thing we can do for our children.

 

It really is true. While I have no children to whom I gave birth, there are a handful that of young adults that I love with all my heart. Charlie, Bree, Parker, Coleson, Kalem, Erika, my Compassion daughters, and a few more. It is privilege to go to war for them on a regular basis. I ask the Lord to give them hearts that love Him deeply and to bring them spouses that love Jesus more than he or she love them. I ask Him to guide them and lead them each day. I go to war for these young adults because I love them as if they were my own.

Do you have children or young adults for whom you go to war? Suit up! The next generation needs our prayers.

 

SDG/FCA!

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The Cure For The Try Harder Mentality

Hello there! I know it has been a while since I posted anything and I have been as contented as a kitten with a belly full of warm milk during my writing break. But, I got the urge this morning to hop on the Five Minute Friday wagon and offer a post using the prompt that is tossed out. Today’s writing prompt is the word TRY. Now, to write for 5 minutes on this word.  Ready? Set? Go!

 

The Cure For the Try Harder Mentality

 

 

TRY harder!

TRY to be the best!

Just TRY one more time!

All are worthy admonitions until they settle too deeply into the heart and mind and become slave-drivers and task-masters. So it was with me. The TRY admonition that I became enslaved to was ‘TRY to be enough’.

Do you even know how impossible that is if we do it under our own steam?

TRY to get the best grades.

TRY to be thinner.

TRY to be the most popular.

TRY to have the prettiest/largest/most well-decorated house.

TRY HARDER TO BE ENOUGH!

I’m absolutely exhausted just thinking about it, yet it was my mantra for decades. You see, I’ve never felt like I was enough…at anything. So I would TRY harder. And you know where that left me…exhausted, frustrated, physically demolished, and spiritually dry. Because, y’all, you and I do not have the capacity to be enough without the help of Jesus.

It is only when we cease our TRYING, rest in His accomplishment, and let Him live through us that we are enough. Now when I recognize that I am into the TRY harder mode, I stop and tell myself that trying harder will not work. I also say, ‘Leah, you are enough because of Jesus Christ’.

So, beautiful, friend, when you feel like you must TRY harder to be something that the culture says you should be, throw up a stop sign and tell yourself that you are enough in Christ.

 

SDG/FCA!!

This post contains affiliate links.

 

How Well Do You Listen? and the Come Away Retreat

How are you today? I know it has been a while since I dropped into your inbox with a post, but I came across something on a satellite radio program that really spoke to me. So, I am popping in today to share it AND to connect it to the upcoming Come Away retreat.

Before I get there, though, I want to tell you how I am being blessed by taking some time to rest and lean into Jesus. I am learning to be okay with not writing and posting on a regular basis. I am finding great pleasure and peace in giving myself permission to not be productive every minute of every day. None of this comes easy for me, but I know, with absolute certainty, that I am in the center of God’s will…resting, listening, praying, reading, and simply being. Each week I am planning and preparing all of my daily tasks in such a way that I am accomplishing everything that I can Monday through Saturday. Then when Saturday night comes, I am entering into Sabbath and into a time of doing things that draw me closer to the heart of God. Worship, reading, spending time with Greg, sitting on my porch listening to the birds sing, taking a walk, or visiting with friends and family. Y’all, it is so good to be able to slow down and enter into a rhythm of rest. After only 3 weeks of being intentional about this, I already feel calmer and less anxious. How do you do Sabbath?

 

As I am preparing for the Come Away retreat, I have been trying to be a good listener. Not only am I listening for the still small voice of the Lord to guide me and give me everything I need for the retreat, but I am listening to the ladies who have registered to attend. I have asked Jesus to help me tune into the needs of their hearts so that when September 15-17 arrives, I am able to serve them and minister to them each personally.

 

How Well Do You Listen?

 

 

My ears perked up last week when I was driving along listening to satellite radio. The majority of what I listen to is either Christian music, sermons, or talk radio. On this particular day, I had tuned into a secular talk show by a very well known personality. I remember nothing about the topic of the show. What stands out clearly in my mind is one line that the guest spoke.

It landed so heavily on my heart and gave me cause to pause. Here is the quote:

 

Two Kinds of People

 

 

Mercy! Isn’t it true? I want the be the first kind, but all too often I am the second kind. I want to be a great listener, but frequently as I converse with others I am spending more time thinking about what I want to say next than I am listening to the person. Conviction abounds!!

The Come Away retreat is 2 months away, y’all, and this quote, while not spoken by a Christian, has driven home a point that I really want to help the ladies learn with their hearts at the retreat. Flitter, I want to learn it deep in my heart, too.

God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. We need to listen twice as much as we speak. As I think about interactions that I have had where I was the one waiting to speak, I ponder what might have happened differently if I had really listened.

Would I have heard pain in the soul of another?

Would I have discerned heartache?

Would my heart have been more tender toward that other person if I was not formulating what I wanted to say?

How would the world be different if I listened more?

How would the world be different if you listened more?

 

Ladies, I know someone who is eager to listen to your heart. Jesus is a great listener. If you would like some one-on-one time with Him, I invite you to attend Come Away {retreat}. We are going to spend time listening for His voice. Would you join us?

Go here for more details on Come Away.

SDG/FCA!!!

 

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.