Yes, I Read My Daughter’s Texts {and no, it isn’t because I don’t trust her}

When I read my daughter's texts it is less about trusting her and more about trusting God and His Word.

Yes, I am that mom.  Every night, I read my daughter’s texts and log into her social media accounts to look at the direct messages and friends lists. I am the one who “stalks” anyone on those lists I don’t know.  I am the mom who knew about Yik Yak two days before a student used it to make a bomb threat at my daughter’s school because I was checking texts.

When I read my daughter's texts it is less about trusting her and more about trusting God and His Word.

One of my girl’s friends said to her mom, “Mrs. Teri Lynne knows everything. She might even know before it happens.”

As much as I’d like to claim prophetic power and insight, the truth is, what I know is less about being social media savvy and more about being sin savvy.

I am an often weary warrior in the battle between flesh and Spirit. And because I know the war waged in my own heart, I don’t doubt for one second the same struggle is very real in the heart and mind of my daughter — because she is made of that same broken, fallen, human DNA I am.

When I check her phone or stalk her friends, it isn’t really about trusting her … it’s about trusting God and His Word. And Scripture is clear we have a very real enemy.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8 ESV

Y’all, I believe every word of that verse. The devil is real and he is our adversary. Just as God is FOR us, Satan is AGAINST us. He prowls around LOOKING for someone to devour. I’m going to stand between him and her as much as, as strongly as, and as confidently as I can.

Our adversary is real and he is active ... and I am going to stand in the gap between him and my girl as best I can.

No, I can’t make her decisions for her. But I can be wise and discerning and actively involved in what is shaping her worldview and her choices. And I can point her to the truth that we are to be vigilant about what what we allow in our hearts and minds.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Proverbs 4:23, NLT emphasis added

When I check her phone, I don’t do it in secret. She knows and, yes, it frustrates her. And I’m okay with that. I have had to be okay with knowing there will be days when she thinks I am the worst. mom. ever. I have had to learn to accept that she views me as mean and overprotective and strict. But, I also know this, those texts and images and conversations I’ve been concerned about have opened the door for conversations about the very real struggles she faces every day. We’ve had honest conversations about why boys feel like it’s okay to ask girls for nude pictures … and why girls send them. We’ve talked about why texting leaves so much room for misinterpretation and why some conversations need to be held face-to-face.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you ben tempted beyond your ability, but WITH EVERY TEMPTATION he will also provide THE WAY OF ESCAPE, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13, ESV emphasis added

We talk about how my constant checking of her phone gives her an out. I can be the means of escape God uses to keep her from giving in to a sinful temptation. She can use me as the reason to remove herself from a group text when she isn’t comfortable. She can use me as an excuse for not visiting a website everyone else is checking out. She can blame me for the fact she isn’t allowed to have certain apps or social media.

I’ve learned this, my girl isn’t looking for ways to be foolish or make mistakes. She deeply desires to be an example for others and to love the Lord well. But she isn’t always sure how to face the pressure the world is putting on her. She hasn’t always found her voice for standing strong. She’s only 15. And yes, she is just three years from high school graduation … but she is still a child and she still needs her mom to be both her advocate and her protector. And sometimes, she just needs me to be “the out” when she’s struggling.

Being a mom is hard. Most days I am certain of this: I am not enough. But even in my not enoughness, I also know this, I’m the only mom she has. Yeah, I mess it up all. the. time. I speak too soon and listen too late. And sometimes I forget who the real enemy is. But I also lean hard into the Word and I pray earnestly for wisdom.

Yeah, I’m the mom who checks her phone. But I’m also the mom who knows this is true:

The thief comes ONLY to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 10:10, ESV emphasis added

The enemy of my soul is also the enemy of hers. His mission is to steal her joy, to kill her spirit, and to destroy her life. So I stand in the gap with fervent prayer and prayerful action. Because I cling to the hope and promise of Jesus and the ABUNDANT life He has for her, I will continue to be the mean, overprotective, strict mom. I will check the phone and have the hard conversations and share my own sin battles and tell her that the Bible is true and that God is faithful.

I'm the mom who checks my daughter's phone but I'm also the mom who leans hard into the truth of Scripture.

And to you, mom deep in the trenches, don’t give up! Keep battling on behalf of your child. Know the enemy and teach him or her to know the enemy as well. Lean into the Word and pray for wisdom. You are not alone!! And if you want more verses you can pray for your child, check out this list of 31 verses to pray for your girl. {The prayers can be adapted for boys too, I promise.}

xo,

Teri Lynne


What I Learned in August

What I Learned in August 2015

How is August over?? Y’all … it is crazy! Tonight is my girl will cheer at the first JV football game of the season. The best part of the end of August is that it brings me to my favorite time of the year — COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON!! I can’t wait to watch Auburn play Louisville on Saturday.

What I Learned in August 2015

Most months I try to join the lovely Emily as she invites us all to share what we learned.  For those of you who just like pictures, here is my month in images:

August 2015 in pictures {What I Learned}

And here is some explanation and more random facts I gained over the past month …

The people in my house are geniuses! Apparently sarcastic people are more intelligent.  Since everyone here in the Underwood Abode is fluent in the language, it would reason we are all brilliant, right?

I will probably never love exercise. I’ve been exercising regularly since the beginning of this year and, contrary to all the happy runners, Pi-Yoers, and HITTers in my Facebook feed, exercise neither energizes me nor makes me happier.  I go to the gym because I had a heart attack and I have a bossy friend who makes me. :) I don’t love it … in fact, most of the time I hate it. {Please, please, please don’t tell me if I would just try “x” or “y” or whatever I’d fall in love … trust me, I hate sweating so that pretty much means no form of exercise is going to be awesome to me. I’m okay with that and I really need you to be okay with that too.  Mmkay, thanks.}

Related to the above, doing things I don’t love is good for me. I’ve realized over the past few months how I tend to avoid doing things I don’t like. But the discipline of exercising every day has reminded me how important it is to do the stuff that needs to be done even when I don’t enjoy it.

Doing ministry in my community is one of my favorite things! Every week a group of students from our community heads to a local park and plays with the kids who live in the housing nearby. They go door-to-door inviting the kids to join the fun and hear a Bible story and have a snack. They’ve been doing this for a couple of years on Monday nights. A few weeks ago, they invited me to be one of the teachers for a women’s Bible study they wanted to start for the moms while the kids were having their Bible time. I immediately said yes and was happy to lead the first session.  If you don’t participate in any local ministries, you should.  It will change you in the most beautiful ways.  Also, you might get to play with some fun kids and take goofy pictures like this one:

Do you serve in your community? Sometimes missions can be as simple as playing at the part with some kids.

Having my daughter drive me around is equal parts scary, heartbreaking, and exciting. If you haven’t ever ridden with a brand new driver, trust me, it’s a little bit frightening and I’m finding the brake on the passenger side of the car doesn’t help much. :)  As for the heartbreaking and exciting parts of the equation, I suppose that is the way of motherhood, isn’t it? With every season we know the ache of the passing of time and the brevity of the moments we have with them in our homes but we also are thrilled and excited to see the ways they are growing and becoming the most incredible people.  So, what else can we do but pray?

And watching my girl on television is pretty cool!! One of the television stations featured our fall jamboree as their Featured Friday game … so my girl got to cheer on television. Here’s a little clip Scott recorded from his phone while they were on TV {for those who are not fluent in North Alabamian dialect, they are saying R-U-S-S-E-L-L-V-I-L-L-E, Russellville, Russellville, Russellville, Hey!}

So, that’s a little wrap-up of what I learned this month. I’m joining the sweet community over at Emily Freeman’s place to share all these nuggets … you should check it out.  {And, if you haven’t yet, I’d highly recommend getting your copy of Emily’s new book, Simply Tuesday. I wrote about how much I appreciated it’s message a couple of weeks ago when it released.} 

xo,

Teri Lynne

What did you learn in August?

P.S. Here the posts I wrote this month, in case you missed any of them:

What I’m Reading {August 2015}

What I'm Reading August 2015

I read. A lot. And I am not exceptionally good at keeping my Book List up-t0-date. {understatement} Also, I don’t put books I’m re-reading or most fiction books on the list anyway … so it’s never 100% accurate.

I never read just one book at a time.  Emily Freeman and Shelly Miller have both written beautiful posts lately about why they read multiple books simultaneously.  And my head nodded in agreement with the words each of them shared.

Also, I have found that I need different types of books at various times of the day. I always read fiction before I go to bed, preferably something I have previously read so I won’t stay awake all night trying to finish. {truth} In the mornings, while my girl is getting ready for school and I can’t commit to anything deep because I may need to straighten hair or find a shirt at any moment, I like to read books that encourage me as a wife or mom {and have short sections in each chapter so I can start and stop as necessary}.

Looking for a good book? These are the 5 I'm currently reading.

Anyway, here’s a list what I’m reading right now, in case you are looking for something to read or just wondering what someone else is reading right now.

Reclaiming Home: A Family’s Guide for Life, Love, & Legacy by Krista Gilbert — Y’all, this is the book I always have with me right now. I’m underlining, writing in margins, looking up Scripture, and finding such a treasure of wisdom in this book.  When I finish I’ll write a review, I promise. But go ahead and pre-order your copy … you’ll be glad you did. {Check out the trailer for the book on Krista’s website.}

Women of the the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both our Hearts and our Minds by Jen Wilkin — I am using her study method for my Wednesday night Bible study group and so I keep going back to the book for wisdom and encouragement.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins — This is my current nighttime read. I know the story so well but I’m reading all three books again in anticipation of the final movie coming out in November.

Look and Live: Behold the Soul-Thriling, Sin-Destroying Glory of God by Matt Papa — I skimmed through this book over the summer.  Now I’m reading it slowly and letting the rich truths it contains sink deep into my heart.

Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Patillo Beals — My daughter is reading this for her 10th grade pre-AP English class so I am reading it with her. {Makes it easier to help her study if I’ve read the book.} Y’all, read this one. Melba was one of the Little Rock Nine, the students who first integrated into Central High School in 1957.  Her story is raw and honest and will cause you to stop and think and evaluate yourself in a thousand ways. But it is definitely a book I recommend.

The Gospel of John — I’m teaching this gospel on Wednesday nights so I am spending a lot of time studying and reading as I prepare.

The Book of Daniel — This is the current She Reads Truth plan and I honestly think it is the best one they have done. {Also, did you know there is now He Reads Truth as well? Yes indeed! And the guys are also studying Daniel … if you and your guy are looking for a study to do together, this might just be perfect!}

So, what are you reading these days?

xo,

Teri Lynne

For all us word lovers, art like the Lyrics for Life collection from Dayspring is a dream come true. And right now you can get 50% off pieces in the collection by using the code LYRICS50. {This could be a good time to start thinking about Christmas gifts!!}

 

Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman {Book Review}

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman review

This time a year ago I thought I was about to sign my first contract for a traditionally published book.  My speaking calendar was growing as was my blog. I had several coaching clients and I was excited about all the ways God was moving in my life professionally.

Today, I’ve had one proposal rejected by a publisher and another one remains in limbo. My speaking calendar is empty for the first time in four years. I don’t have any coaching clients currently and in spite of updating my focus and vision for my blog, it seems to have plateaued. To be honest, I’ve spent the past few months feeling a little rejected by God, as if all those seemingly open doors were His joke as they slammed shut.

It has been hard for me to see the hand of God at work. I’ve been looking back over my journals and praying, asking God to show me. I didn’t even know what to ask Him to show me … I just knew I needed to see something and I couldn’t identify it without His revelation.

One word kept echoing through my head — unremarkable.

My life seemed unremarkable … nothing spectacular. I haven’t done anything big. In fact, it seems like everything I am doing keeps getting smaller. And somehow, small can feel like failure.

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman review

In the midst of all this introspection, I was reading an advance copy of Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman. It has taken me months to get through this book … which is really strange because normally I am a fast reader, especially for books by authors I adore. But this one felt like a struggle for me. I slowly waded through the beautiful word pictures Emily always creates, treasuring each of the prayers she added to the end of every chapter. And yet, the reading was hard. The worries of each day seemed too great a contrast to Emily’s invitation to remember “the soul and the schedule don’t follow the same rules” (p. 95).

On the page before that profound sentence, Emily writes,

What does it mean to celebrate smallness when things don’t turn out as you hoped? You grieve, you struggle, you feel the disappointment. To be small in the midst of disappointment simply means to be open to the presence of Christ with what is true right now, to remember you aren’t alone, and to keep company with your weakness. (p. 94)

Keep company with my weakness. Y’all, that is hard. I set down the book. Because this was not the revelation from God I was hoping for. {Just keeping it real.}

A few days later I felt drawn back to Emily’s words or maybe it was just that I knew I was going to have to write the review and I needed to keep reading. Either way …

I made my way to chapter 7 “Community & Competition.” And these words …

Sometimes when I think I’m waiting on God I wonder if he’s actually waiting on me. (p. 118)

Simply Tuesday quote: is God waiting on me?

I stopped right there because the idea of the God of all creation waiting on me left me breathless. As unremarkable as I felt, as out of anything as I am, God waiting on me left me stunned. I soaked in that concept for several days. Asking Him to help me move toward Him.

Slowly I meandered and underlined my way through the next few chapters of Simply Tuesday … meditating on the idea of childlike faith (chapter 8) and being intentional about accepting where I am (chapter 9).

And then Emily writes this,

Jesus is enough even when he doesn’t feel like enough. (p. 169)

I underlined those 10 words and drew a heart in the margin beside them, a reminder to myself not to allow how I feel to matter more than the truth of His presence. I asked myself, “Is Jesus enough for me?” I mean, I know the Sunday school answer to that question but I wanted to dig deep into my heart and my life and seek the deeper answer.

That word, unremarkable came back to my mind. So I finally looked it up.

not particularly interesting or surprising

And I wondered why God kept pushing me to this word. What it meant in the very real life of a woman who is battling with insecurities and failures and doubt about what is next. Because, really, who wants their life to be unremarkable? Who aims for that?

Every day I picked up Simply Tuesday and read a few more pages.  In chapter 15, “Endings & Beginnings,” Emily shares a verse I’ve heard a thousand times in the past few years.

Do not despise the small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begun, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand. Zechariah 4:10 NLT

Small beginnings. But what about small in-betweeens and even small endings? I felt myself resentful of Emily with her four published books and popular blog and sweet personality writing about small beginnings as if she really grasped what it is to be small. I’m the one who is unremarkable. I’m the one going backward. I’m the one who roomed with her last year at She Speaks and thought my world was about to explode into something big and fabulous. And here I am, smaller than ever while she’s celebrating yet another measure of success.

Yeah, I know just how snarky and selfish and small that sounds. I really do. But I have to tell that part of the story too because the story of learning to be small isn’t always pretty. It isn’t easy … and I’m struggling my way through. But Emily’s words continue to be a faithful companion on this journey because she shares her own struggles and the way she compares herself to others and the times she’s lost sight of the way of the small.  So, when I finally turned the page after my “life isn’t fair” temper tantrum, I read these words

I sense Christ inviting me to embrace the days of small beginnings even when they might lead only to small endings. (p. 224)

Small endings.

Unremarkable.

I looked up the synonyms for unremarkable. Words like common, plain, everyday, familiar. And then as if I had finally caught up to where God was waiting for me, I realized something: He IS calling me to be unremarkable. Not because I’m plain and common … but because He is so overwhelming good and holy that all the attention needs to be, ought to be, can only be on Him.

Sunday I shared with Scott what I’d been wrestling with. I told him I felt like God is placing in me a desire to be unremarkable, to share His message and point to Him with my life but to do so without drawing attention to myself.  And I’m just not sure how to do this. But I’m leaning into the wisdom of Emily’s words in the final chapter,

This doesn’t mean I am to dream big and amazing things for God. Rather, it means I am to believe in a big and amazing God, period. I can trust him to be himself even as I dare to be myself.

And maybe as I do that, I’ll realize that starting small isn’t a means to a bigger end, but rather I start small because it’s what I am. And that is good and right and holy. Who would despise these days of small things? (p. 240)

Simply Tuesday is an invitation to join God where He is waiting for you.

I don’t know where you are right now. Maybe you are feeling small, unseen, insignificant, unremarkable? And perhaps you have come to believe you are alone in those feelings. You aren’t. But even more important, there is a gift in recognizing our smallness. Because it is only there we can see the beauty of God’s bigness. Simply Tuesday is an honest and gracious invitation to join God where He is waiting for you. Within these pages you will find a kind and gentle companion in Emily, a new friend who knows what it is to struggle in the battle between flesh and spirit. And as you journey through the pages, you will meet the generous and incredible God in a fresh way, in the ordinary, unremarkable, very small places of our lives.

Seriously, get this book. Learn to embrace the ordinary beautiful graces of God in the midst of your ordinary beautiful life. You’ll be glad you did. You can get your copy on Amazon*, Dayspring*, or many other online retailers and bookstores.

xo,

Teri Lynne

How do you struggle with feeling small?

* These are affiliate links and if you choose to purchase your copy of Simply Tuesday through them, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

I received a free copy of Simply Tuesday as part of Emily’s first-ever launch team. But as always, the opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

 

A Prayer for my Girl as She Begins Her Sophomore Year

my prayer as my daughter begins her sophomore year of high school

This morning my girl started her sophomore year of high school. {yes, all the feels. all of them.}  And I realized it was the last time I’d drive her to her first day of school.  Next year she’ll drive herself. Not going to lie, it feels like there is a boulder in my throat and I have tears in my eyes just typing these words.  As I prayed with her in the car, I tried not to sob … but it wasn’t pretty as I pulled away from the school.  It’s good, y’all, this watching our babies grow up. I know that … but sometimes even the best stuff is hard. And today was good … and hard.  And that is okay.

my prayer as my daughter begins her sophomore year of high school

Here’s my prayer for my girl as she begins her sophomore year.

Watch over my baby, Lord. She’ll step out of my car this morning and head into school. Today isn’t her FIRST first day of school but every fiber of my being recognizes how few first days of school she has left.

I’ll watch her walk up that sidewalk toward the high school and in my mind all I will see is that little blonde girl with the huge bow and Mary Jane shoes and the Cinderella backpack that was bigger than she was as she walked toward her first day of preschool. Everyone told me then time would fly by and it has.

She’s changed so much since that day and so have I. But You haven’t.  You’re still the same, faithful and loving and full of immeasurable grace. I look back on the past 15 years and sometimes all I see are the failures. But then I look at her and I know how much I love her, even with her very normal teenagery personality and hormones, and I realize that all those failures didn’t change Your love for me.

So this morning, I sit here, teary-eyed and with a lump in my throat, knowing full well these days of her in our home are drawing to an end. More than anything I want to end well … I want to show her the grace You freely give. I long for her to know her true identity is in You alone. I pray she will be a shining light among her peers. I hope she’ll remember to be kind and encourage others.

Trusting in God's plan for our children and teaching them to do the same.

Watch over my baby, Lord. Because the truth is, as much as I love her and desire good things for her, You love her more and better … and Your plan for her is good. This year, my prayer for her is that she will grasp hold of the truth that You are all she really needs and that she will spend the rest of her life clinging to the hope that truth gives.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Y’all, it really is my deepest desire that she KNOW God is enough, He’s all she needs. And that is my deepest desire for myself as well.  It’s so easy to get lost in chasing the things of this world — and they always leave us empty.

So, here’s to starting a new school year with a passion for Him!

xo,

Teri Lynne

What are you praying for your children in this season?

An Invitation to Choose Wisdom

Choose Wisdom — a brand new resource from Teri Lynne Underwood

My most consistent prayer is for wisdom.  Time and again I find myself crying out to the Lord for the discernment and understanding necessary to navigate life.  I cling to the words of James,

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.

I claim the promise of that verse knowing my desire for wisdom is pleasing to the Lord. About 15 years ago, I began a practice I’d heard Billy Graham used as well — reading a chapter of Proverbs every day. More than any other action I have taken, this one discipline has influenced and increased my knowledge and application of God’s Word and plan to my daily life.

As a Bible teacher and mentor to women and girls, I have lost count of how many times I’ve recommended this simple plan to others. For new believers, Proverbs is simple to understand and apply.  For those of us who have lingered long with the Lord, the depths of wisdom in this book are never-ending.  And for everyone in between, the habit of reading a chapter of Proverbs every day is great way to spend meaningful time in the Bible.

This is why I am extremely excited to share my newest resource with you —

Choose Wisdom: a devotional journey through Proverbs by Teri Lynne UnderwoodChoose Wisdom: a devotional journey through Proverbs is the result of many years of time reading and re-reading the familiar passages of this book of wisdom. Each day you’ll read a chapter of Proverbs and then a short devotion designed to help you understand a concept or idea from the chapter as well as a way to apply what you’ve learned to your life.  After all, wisdom is rooted in the application of knowledge.

Choose Wisdom is an invitation for you to explore Proverbs with me. All of the devotions are gleaned from the lessons God has taught me as I’ve invested in the study of this great book. And, perhaps more than anything else I’ve written, this little book is a glimpse into the work God is continually doing in my heart and life.

I know it’s easy when life gets busy to let time in the Word slip to the side … but I firmly believe Choose Wisdom can be a great way for you to stay on track. Choose Wisdom is available for Kindle and Kindle apps which means you can have it on your phone or tablet and use it when you’re in the car line, waiting at the doctor’s office, or halfway watching soccer practice.

Whether you’re a mom trying to navigate the ever-changing waters of parenting, an employee seeking to honor God in your workplace, or a senior adult desiring to use your retirement years for God’s glory, Choose Wisdom is a great resource for you to grow in the wisdom of the Lord as you explore Proverbs.  The introductory price for Choose Wisdom is $2.99 so you’ll have a resource that is both practical and affordable.

Buy Choose Wisdom

So, go ahead, grab your copy and let’s choose wisdom together!

xo,

Teri Lynne

P.S. Here’s a little peek at the devotion for Proverbs 4 just to give you a taste of what the book is like.  Enjoy! And don’t forget to get your copy of Choose Wisdom now before the price increases.

Choosing Life and Healing {Devotion based on Proverbs 4}

A Reminder for the Days when Life Is Hard

When life is heard, we have hope and peace in Jesus.

Recently after yet another “lively discussion” with my girl, I sat on the couch and cried.

Because life is hard.

It just is. And I somehow convince myself that means I am doing something wrong. Because surely if I were doing it right, there wouldn’t be so much struggle and frustration.

When life is heard, we have hope and peace in Jesus.

So there I sat with all my tears and doubts and fears and I remembered some words my friend Stacey wrote a few years ago

I’ve pretty much fallen short in every category. I am tired and not really good for much right now.  The trouble is, Lord, that I need to be amazing and I’m fresh out of amazing. At least it sure feels that way.

Lord, I’m dry.  Empty.  Hit the wall.  I got nothing.
I just thought I’d let you know.  But then again, You already do.

I reread the whole post because I needed to be reminded this life isn’t going to be easy. Living in a broken, fallen, sinful world is hard.

During His last night with the disciples Jesus spoke to them about the hard days ahead,

In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.  John 16:33

We’re going to have hard days, hard seasons. Honestly, life is just going to be hard.  Like Stacey, we’re going to have days when we are fresh out of amazing. In fact, there are going to be days when we are fresh out of anything. 

The thing is, what I think God wants us to know is — we are really always that way. We are always in desperate need for Him. Always. We just don’t typically recognize it until we’ve hit rock bottom.

During that conversation with my girl I was sharing some of the ways I continue to struggle with sin and how I totally understand Paul’s words in Romans 7:

For I know nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh …

If it’s good, it’s Jesus. Period. I love “The Only Thing” by Ronnie Freeman. The chorus is just pure truth for me,

The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus
The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus
I’ve lived long enough to know no matter what this life may show
The only thing that’s good in me is Jesus

Listen to the song and to his brief testimony before he sings … it will be an encouragement, I promise.

Above I shared the second part of John 16:33. Where Jesus tells us it’s going to be hard but assures us He has already overcome it all on our behalf.  But when we’re in the middle of the struggle, when the heartache is overwhelming, when the circumstances are bleak and we feel lonely and afraid, it’s the first part of that verse we need:

I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace.

He gives us peace. Not the world’s peace which is simply absence of conflict {and y’all, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit sometimes with a teenager I’d truly be satisfied with that, just a day of no conflict!}Jesus offers us something more, something greater, something real that can carry us through the hardest days this life will bring

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

Paul elaborates on that peace,

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

When life is hard, we lean into Him, into the peace He gives. It’s a peace we can’t understand but it guards and protects us.

Jesus offers us peace when life is hard.

So, maybe you’re exhausted and frustrated and ready to give up. Maybe you can’t go another step, have another argument. Maybe your situation is harder than you ever dreamed.

I get it. Really.

But here’s the thing, we don’t have to do it! We can be empty and desperate … and that’s where He meets us. We can be like the prodigal coming home with nothing but pig slop on our sandals and our Father runs to meet us right there. In the mess, in the desperation, in the hard. He’s there … offering us peace.

Today, I’d love to pray for you. You don’t have to leave any details about your situation, just leave a comment with the word “prayer” and it will be my privilege to intercede, to seek God’s peace for you, to pray His wisdom  for you, to come alongside you in the middle of your hard.

xo,

Teri Lynne

P.S. If Stacey’s words resonated with you like they do with me, you’ll be happy to know she’s writing a book, Fresh Out of Amazing. I can’t wait.



 

Book Review: The Pastor’s Wife by Gloria Furman

{Book Review} The Pastor's Wife by Gloria Furman

Do you ever wonder what your pastor’s wife is thinking? Or how she feels?  Ever wish you peek into her heart — not as a busy body but so you could better minister to her?

If so, The Pastor’s Wife* by Gloria Furman is for you.

Gloria shares an honest account of life in the pastor’s home with a candor and grace that will open your eyes to a taste of what it’s like to be married to the man who shepherds the flock and shares the Gospel.

While she wrote the book for pastor’s wives, I believe this book will encourage all women who desire to grow in our marriages, learning to submit to our husbands as shepherds of our homes. And, if you really want to understand a little more about your pastor’s wife {and the other staff wives like me!}, this book can provide you with plenty of insight and direction for your prayers.

Book Review:  The Pastor's Wife by Gloria FurmanDivided into three parts, each section of The Pastor’s Wife* touches on a specific area of life in ministry.

Part 1: Loving the Chief Shepherd

Oh y’all! I absolutely loved this section! The truth is, pastors’ wives just like all other wives have to remember our salvation is found through Christ alone, not in titles or accolades or accomplishments.  So much of what she writes in this section is applicable to all of us.  For example, “What activity if it were taken from you, would devastate you? You know that a ministry opportunity is greater to you than Jesus if, when it is taken, hindered, or altered, you feel rattled, wrecked, preoccupied, anxious, insecure, insignificant, ignored, angry, sad, betrayed, or distraught” (p. 45).

Part 2: Loving an Under-Shepherd

In this section, Furman digs deeper into the reality of life in a pastor’s home and into the heart of a pastor’s wife.  Many years ago, a good friend and pastor’s wife for many years reminded me that most ministries and tasks in the church that can be done by others but only I can be the wife to my husband and mother to my children.  Furman’s words in this section strongly echo my wise friend’s counsel. She points back to the simple and powerful truth that we must be rooted in the Word of God and fervent in prayer for our husbands as they lead.  {Again, I believe there is great encouragement in this section for those who are not married to men in ministry but desire to know how to encourage and pray for their husbands.}

Part 3: Loving the Bride of Christ

No doubt this is an important topic to me — I wrote a whole book about it! Furman challenges  us to use our giftedness for the benefit of the body but also to remember it is Christ who builds His church.  “Our potential to minister to others is not measured by our gifts but by our God, who gives us everything we need to do everything he calls us to do. Therefore, we minister out of our weakness so that Christ’s strength is on display” (p. 138-139).  Yes!!! And again, a truth applicable to all of us.

truth for all of us from Gloria Furman's book, "The Pastor's Wife"

Gloria Furman writes about the challenges and struggles she faces as a pastor’s wife with humor and honesty.  This is an encouraging book full of wise counsel and biblical truth about the role of the pastor’s wife.  I highly recommend it to my PW friends … and for anyone who loves a pastor’s wife and wants to pray for and support her.

xo,

Teri Lynne

What is one thing you wish you could ask your pastor’s wife?

{The links in this post marked with an astrisk* are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission should you purchase through them.  I also want to say thank you to the lovely folks at Crossway Books who graciously sent me a copy of this book with no strings attached. It has been my pleasure to review and provide an honest opinion about The Pastors’ Wife by Gloria Furman.}

Want to find a little something to encourage a pastor’s wife you know? 

Monday’s To Do List

when Monday's to do list is full of the mundane things

when Monday's to do list is full of the mundane things

Today’s list is full of things like laundry and vacuuming and writing columns for the local paper and stopping by the chiropractor and filling prescriptions and cleaning out my car.  It’s the mundane stuff I often write on Monday’s to do list. The little things that help me start the week better.

These are not the earth-changing things, tasks that move mountains or inspire the masses.  Instead, Monday is full of the small things …

the steady hum of my dryer as all those piles are slowly tamed

the returning of all the moved items from last week to their proper place

the simple reward of freshly vacuumed carpets.

These may not be the big things but they are still the important things — the steady, stable things that make up the biggest part of my life.  Caring for my home, taking care of myself, investing in my family, this stuff matters. It isn’t grand and it isn’t the sort of topic that goes viral. But it is the stuff of life.

remembering that some days the most important things are not the big things

And so I lean into this long to do list full of simple tasks with this verse as my prayer —

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for man.

Colossians 3:23

Join me?

xo,

Teri Lynne

What’s on your to do list today?

I love capturing the mundane moments of life in photos. It’s why Instagram is my favorite social media site of all time! When I want to print those images, I love using Shutterfly … and you can get 50 prints FREE by clicking the banner below.  {I am an affiliate for Shutterfly and receive a small commission if you purchase through this link.}

50 free prints

Book Review: What Keeps You Up at Night by Pete Wilson

What Keeps You Up at Night by Pete Wilson {book review}

A year ago I was coming home from She Speaks amazed and excited! While in Charlotte I had been contacted by a publisher and was anticipating a book contract by the beginning of 2015. I found an incredible literary agent and worked hard to craft a book proposal.

That first proposal was rejected. I wrote a second one … and it still sits in a pile somewhere at the publisher.

To say I was crushed would be an understatement. I’ve struggled hard since the beginning of 2015 trying to figure out why God would seemingly open this door only to have it shut firmly in my face. Why would a publisher contact me only to then say no.

I’ve floundered a lot this year. My prayers have been full of “Why” and “What now” … I find myself continually uncertain about what it is the Lord has for me, what He is calling me to do.

Truth be told, I wanted to quit.

Quit writing. Quit teaching. Quit speaking.

At one point the feelings of rejection and hopelessness left me totally overwhelmed. I was dealing with anxiety in ways I had never faced before. Thankfully, I have a great support network. My husband gave me the tough love I needed. My friends accepted my honesty and have surrounded me with prayer and accountability. My doctor was quick to listen and provide me with options and support.

I’ve been praying for clarity and direction almost daily for the past year. There have been points when I have questioned almost everything I thought I’d heard God speak to me. I have doubted everything I believed about what He created me to do.

I’ve been discouraged and frustrated, hopeless and afraid.

Maybe you can relate?

{Book Review} What Keeps You Up at Night by Pete Wilson

Earlier this year I was invited to join the launch team for Pete Wilson’s newest book.  His previous book, Let Hope In,* is one of my favorites and I was thrilled to be a part of introducing others to What Keeps You Up at Night?* Little did I know how much this book would meet me right where I was. {Isn’t God good that way?}

As I was praying for clarity and asking God to give me a clear indication about what I should do next concerning writing, I read these words in Pete’s book:

I’d be willing to bet that some of you are praying for clarity these days.

God, how much longer is this going to go on?

God, when will things get better?

God, give me a sign of what we should do.

But, maybe you don’t need more clarity. Maybe what you need is more trust. (p.23)

Um, hello? Can Pete read my mind????

I continued reading and got to this sentence, “. . . most of us give up too easily and too early.” (p.25)

Ouch.

You see, that was me. I wanted to give up. I wanted to quit because it wasn’t happening like I’d expected. And then I looked around at my life and I realized, far too often I do give up too easily. I throw up my hands in exasperation and determine to try something else, something less frustrating and less difficult. And I’d guess there are at least a few of you reading who are the same way.

{Book Review} What Keeps You Up at Night by Pete Wilson

I don’t know what the hard situation you are facing is. I don’t know what the dreams you are about ready to give up on are. I don’t know how close you are to calling it quits.

But I do know this, God is calling us to more. He’s asking us to take that next step, even when it’s scary, especially when it’s scary. He’s inviting us to live in His story and that means we can’t skip to the end and see what happens. We have to journey through it all … the hard days, the days we want to give up, the rejection, the fear, all of it. Because it’s there, in that hardest part when we choose not to give up that we find out our faith is real and there is hope and His plan is good.

If you are ready to quit, may I recommend you get Pete’s book, What Keeps You Up at Night?* A gentle guide who speaks truth and wisdom with grace, Pete is a storyteller who beckons us to join the only Story that really matters — the one God is writing in and through us to point to Him.

xo,

Teri Lynne

When have you wanted to give up and what kept you from doing so?

{I received a signed copy of Pete’s book as a thank you for being on his launch team. The opinion shared in this post is entirely my own.}


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*FTC Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through them I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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