Posted on January 22, 2021
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV)
The Christian faith began with an act of love. Out of His great love for us, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to walk the earth and die sacrificially for our sins. The outpouring of a heart beating with faith in Christ has the power to change lives. They say, “it’s better to give than to receive,” and that is oh, so true of God’s great love. Here are just eight everyday acts of faith that have the power to change someone’s life.
Posted on September 17, 2019
“What if we stopped waiting to feel grateful and were grateful anyway, believing God is good and has more for us?” Niki Hardy, “Breathe Again”
“Breathe Again” is an inspiring look into Hardy’s victory over cancer, and the way it allowed her to grow closer to God and mature in her faith. This book takes intentional moments to meet readers where they are at in their lives, cancer or not, and grow great faith. “Choosing brave is the challenging route to a full life,” writes Hardy, “not the easier path to a less-than life.”
“Breathe Again,” is a book that will both cheer readers on and challenge them to grow in their faith. The personal stories Hardy shares flow easily in an out of the Biblical stories and truths she weaves into the text. It’s a refreshing read of someone who clearly relied on God to get her through a tough time, and is passing on the love.
The book is divided into three main sections, “Finding Solid Ground,” “Learning to Breathe Again,” and “Keep Calm and Breathe On.” In the last section, Hardy provides real-time resources for readers to carry the lessons watered throughout the book to blossom into their daily lives. The book could be a quick read, but the follow up application throughout the book begs the reader to pause and work through the material, connecting it to their personal lives and current state. I particularly appreciated the prayers at the end of each major soul-search. They tied the truth of Scripture into the message and provided and encouraging way to connect more personally to Jesus.
I appreciate Niki’s bravery in sharing her journey with cancer. It takes guts to be able to look back and find things to laugh about after coming through a cancer surviving journey. She will inspire many, as her words come from an authentic heart seeking to love others for Christ. “You are stronger than you can ever imagine,” Hardy encourages her readers, “You are, friend. You are strong.”
(I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.)
Posted on August 20, 2019
Darkness can seep into the most joyful moments. Moms who are suffering with postpartum depression know what it’s like to live a sleepless life with the lights out. Whether you aren’t sure you’re suffering from PPD or know for a fact it’s attempting to disrupt your life, realize that there are many others wide awake with the same crippling fear.
Prayerfully surrender to Him, and bravely step out of the darkness and back into the light. Reach for the hand of the One who can save. He doesn’t shame, but He does miraculously heal… sometimes, through doctors and medicine. “Pray about everything,” (Philippians 4:6) and as we obediently follow Him, He will shine light on our lives once again.
Father, Praise You for motherhood, even amidst the physical trials and emotional pain. Even in our weakness, Your loyal love (Nehemiah 1:5) holds us up. You are strong, and Your strength holds us together when we are falling apart.
“My God, my soul is so traumatized; the only help is remembering You wherever I may be.” (Psalm 42:6) You are powerful enough to lurch us forward, up and out of the dark pit we’re drowning in. What feels like suffocating waves can bring forth a powerful witness.
Posted on August 13, 2019
Why do we let waves of fear swamp our lives, instead of dropping to our knees in prayer? Why does anxiety continue to crush us, when all we have to do is look up? Jesus has already cleared a path for us to talk to God, but we often continue to struggle within our own minds for solutions to life’s problems. Weave prayer into the natural inclination to solve problems by surrendering what ails us to our God. He promises to hear us, defend us, and loves us… through it all. It’s that simple.
1. Open yourself up to worship with music.
“Let them sing joyful praises forever.” (Psalm 5:11)
Because of Jesus’ victory, we can sing praise at all times. Prayer doesn’t have to be hard. Sometimes, it starts with a song. Music can quickly take over the melody of our hearts and the frame of our minds. Listen to the Christian station or singing a favorite old church hymn or song. God works through those melodies to connect us to Him. Music has always been a way to express emotion we cannot put into words, and it’s an excellent way to reflect in prayer.
2. Look for evidence of God working in your life.
“Remember what I have told you.” (Matthew 28:7)
This verse was part of the frantic realization that Jesus had risen from the dead. In remembering the instructions they were given, their minds and hearts must have been flooded with the statements Jesus had uttered as they walk alongside Him during His ministry on this earth. Looking back to remember, they began to see Him more clearly.
Posted on June 11, 2019
Human suffering is a part of life. It’s crucial to remember what we know about God in the moments when we teeter on the edge of leaving it behind. Our hardship is never in vain, though we feel deserted and desperate. God loves us (John 3:16). He promises never to leave us (Hebrews 13:5). He hears us (1 John 5:14) and answers us (1John 5:15). God alone is fit to judge us (James 4:12). We are not fit to sentence ourselves to death. God’s timing is perfect (Ecclesiastes 8:6). He cares for us (Matthew 10:30) and has a purpose in place for each and every life (Jeremiah 29:11).
Repeated together in prayer, God’s Word has the power to lift us out of the deepest pit, the darkest despair, and soul swallowing sadness. Look to Him in confidence, knowing that He is especially close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).
Father, proof abounds of the work of Your hands… but we can’t see it. We are too engulfed in depression and angst, tragedy and pain, to look up. Help us hold onto the truth proclaimed in Proverbs 3:5-6. To trust You with our whole hearts and lean not on our own understanding.
Thank you for Jesus. Because of His death on the cross, we know that He understands our pain and suffering. Though we do not possess the ability to process our pain with His clarity, we can take solace in knowing that even Your Son struggled on this earth. You promise us that Your grace is sufficient for us, Your power made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Father, forgive us for considering any other plan but Your own for our lives. In the middle of the pain, it’s hard to remember what we know about how good You are. That our humanity is subject to sinful nature, and all of the struggle and consequence that comes along with it. But you never leave us, never abandon us. Jesus died so that we could cry out to You. Sometimes, we can only cry, yell, or throw our fists in the air. Thank You for the comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit translates our hearts to You.
Psalm 27:14 tells us to wait for you… to be strong and take heart and wait for you. For “Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God’” (Luke 18:27). In these desperate moments and trying hours, we need to remember that our thoughts are not your thoughts. There is no possible way that we can understand You, or Your ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). We just have to trust that You are good… You are love defined, and You will defend us. Micah 7:7 says, “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”
Father, bless and heal our hearts and our ailments. Restore our hope in the One who has the power to do something about our circumstances. In a world that is throwing us around, help us to see Your hand reaching down to pluck us out before we are trampled. Help us to believe that our lives have a meaning and a purpose greater than what we can tangibly understand on this side of heaven. Instill godly confidence in us to live by Romans 8:28:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Psalm 86:7 says, “When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.” It doesn’t say, “because You might answer me…”
Answer us, Father. Help us. Heal us. Restore our life and fill our hearts with the hope that only You can provide. For Your glory, we want Your will for our lives above our plans and escape routes. You place people purposefully in our lives, Father. People who need us… who need to witness Your miracle in our comeback. People who need our love, which we are free to give because of the way you extravagantly love us. At our best and at our worst, Your love is unchanging.
Restore our lives, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, amen.