5 Battle Tools to Help in Hard Moments – {Guest Post & GIVEAWAY!}

If you’ve been around my little corner of the Interwebz for the last few years, first of all— thank you! Secondly, you know my family has been through the ringer. A few times. I’m currently on my fourth job in as many years, we’ve lived in two foreign countries and learned as many languages, I’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, and I‘ve written recently about my struggles to find real friendship since moving back to the states.

To say I’ve had some hard moments in the last several years would be an understatement. I also know, you all have had your fair share of hard moments, too. That’s why I’m so excited to host Kelly Balarie on ye olde blog today!

She has some wonderful, practical tips to help in those hard moments. 

Be sure to read all the way to the end and enter to win a copy of Battle Ready!

So, read on for some good stuff!

5 Battle Tools To Help In Hard Moments

By: Kelly Balarie

She didn’t so much as say hi to me. In fact, even worse, she walked right past me, looking the other direction. She pretended I wasn’t there.

Hmph!! After all I’ve done for her. After all I’ve given her. After how I’ve gone out of my way to love her.  Now I’m the one left looking like a crazed waving-at-the-air fool.  Like – an idiot.

humph at her husband along the way to my church seat. Silently, I critique her in my mind, She’s rude. Before not too long, Iget side-tracked by own thoughts: Everyone always hurts me. Like that boy, I asked to dance in 4th grade. Like those girls who circled up to whisper about me in that damp locker room. Like the group of women who act like they’re far better than me.

I’m supposed to be listening in church, but who can listen, thinking about all this, all them!? Here, I find myself, in the heat of a horrible battle.

You can always tell if you’re in the heat-of-a-battle. Almost instantly, your soul-crushing problem magnifies 100x larger than your promise-keeping God. Suddenly, you’re standing weaponless, in all-out combat within your own mind. Hardly able to win.

Ever been there? I’ve struggled through a lot – through massive health-scares, depression, an eating disorder, financial debt and relationship-severing dramas. Battles. Huge, hard-fought battles, loaded with momentary decisions of pain, struggle and uncertainty. I remember the time:

  1. The doctor returned to the room with the clipboard saying, “You really might have Mulitple Sclerosis.”
    I thought: How do I keep my thoughts close to God with this kind of news?
  2. My colicky newborn made me pace my hallways 24-7. Sleepless, hardly-thinking and powerless to change my health-situation, I didn’t know what to do.

I thought: How do I still love people when my whole life is unraveling?

  1. A family member called me to say I really should get on setting up long-term care for myself.

I thought: How do I deal with the fact all my dreams will now look different than I thought? Through all this, I realized, real wisdom is having a battle-plan. Let’s talk about Christ-centered battle-plan preparedness. Begin by asking yourself: What am I currently facing? Identifying your main struggles (resentment, regret, trauma, unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, fear) is to allow God to help you win your battle. For example, for me, underneath that issue with the girl, was an old war full of rejection, humiliation, and abandonment from years past. Underneath, were old battles I’d lost – because they were left unaddressed. Therefore, they left me with resentment towards God. Seeing our battles for what they are, gives us a clear-cut strategy to fight – and win.  It also removes all the pent-up offenses that, like plaque, cover our heart. What about you? Do you emotionally respond to happenings set before you or do you wisely act based on God’s Word and promises?Today, you can fight your battle a new way. Consider:

  1. Asking God what feelings of fear, worry, anger, resentment, neglect and hurt He desires you give to him.
  2. Giving those hurts to Jesus, by saying, “Jesus, I am not meant to carry these. Forgive me. They’ve hurt me for far too long. I know and believe you have peace, joy, life and freedom for me as I give you these things.”
  3. Blessing any women who have hurt you.
  4. Reframing your moments of hurt. (Example: when she passed by me quickly, she was probably was in a rush, she might have had something to do or she lost in thought)
  5. Returning to a heart of love. (Example: Thank you God that you love me and I can love others. In fact, I can love the very person who hurt me by ___.)

This is the start of being Battle Ready. There truly are practical insights, wise biblical instructions and truths that can help you rise above the mayhem of trials and hardships. You can find the light of Christ and step into all God has for you. The victory belongs to the Lord. Isn’t it time you began to make room for it?  About Battle Ready: Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt & Live Victoriously “The best time to be strengthened against the Enemy’s tactics of doubt, disappointment, and devastation is before he makes his first move toward us. We all desperately need the biblical guidance and preparation found in Battle Ready!”Lysa TerKeurstNew York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries  Battle Ready is a hands-on scriptural plan that teaches you twelve easy-to-implement, confidence-building mind-sets designed to transform your thoughts and, therefore, your life. You’ll gain practical wisdom, like how to· make new habits stick in just five steps
· disarm the seven most common attacks that plague women
· exchange self-limiting thoughts for purpose-driven, love-releasing thoughts
· implement thirty-second mind-lifters that deliver peace
· create boundaries so you live life full of what matters Buy Battle Ready here: https://amzn.to/2l5qQrw To get Battle Ready freebies – printables, devotional reminders, a customizable daily Battle Plan and the “Find Your Battle Style” quiz, visit: www.iambattleready.com  To order the companion Battle Ready Daily Prayer Journal that will help you practically change your thoughts, then your life, visit:   Kelly Balarie, an author and national speaker, is on a mission to encourage others not to give up. Through times of extreme testing, Kelly believes there is hope for every woman, every battle and in every circumstance. She shares this hope on her blog, Purposeful Faith, and on many writing publications such as Relevant, Crosswalk, and Today’s Christian Woman. Kelly’s work has been featured on The Today Show, 700 Club Interactive, Moody Radio and other television and radio broadcasts. When Kelly is not writing, she is chilling at the beach with her husband, a latte, and 2-toddlers who rightfully demand she build them awesome castles.

Click here to enter the giveaway!

Stepping Into the Fire

The Christian life is often one lived in the tension between promises given and promises fulfilled. We find ourselves, perhaps more than we care to admit, in circumstances which frighten and threaten to shake our faith.

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I’m delighted and honored to be sharing over at (in)courage today, talking about that tension. About how sometimes we have to step into the fire to see which direction God wants to take us. I hope you’ll join me.

And I hope you’ll take some time to read some of the uplifting, encouraging, hope-filled posts at the wonderful community that is (in)courage. In fact, all the better, sign up here to receive free daily encouragement from the writers of (in)courage, right in your inbox! 

Why We Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

I don’t think I ever really understood St. Patrick’s Day until I lived in Ireland. There was just something about being surrounded by those lilting voices, celebrating Ireland and a man who brought them hope so many years ago. (Okay, so not all of them think about the hope thing, but I can’t help but)

Since our time in Ireland, I’ve had lots of people ask me, “So, what’s the point of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? What meaning does it hold?”

3 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day With Your KidsSo, I was honored and super excited when Tricia Goyer asked me to write a post for her blog about meaningful ways to celebrate Paddy’s Day with your kids. You guys know me, and know that I’m all about simple, stress-free, fun and grace-filled. So, that’s what you’ll find in these 3 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Your Kids.

To make it a real party, Tricia is also hosting a giveaway for a copy of her new book, Prayers that Changed History! (hint: Patrick is in there!) So hop of over to Tricia’s place and enter!

Clarity in the Night

Photo by Deibel Photography

Photo by Deibel Photography

They come far too few and  far between. Moments of stark and complete clarity.

Moments when the mist thins and the things that seemed so crystal clear before, you now realize were smudged at best…completely distorted at worst.

I had one such moment recently while caring for our son through a bout of croup. I’m talking about it over at Pieces of Amy today. I’d love to have you join me there, and share your own moments of clarity!

If you’ve clicked over here from Pieces of Amy, I want to extend to you a warm Céad Míle Fáilte (A Hundred-thousand Welcomes)! I hope you’ll make yourself at home and stay awhile!

Stockings Filled With Love {Magic of a Childhood Christmas Series} And LINK-UP!

Magic of Christmas

I am over the moon to have my good online friend, Amanda Williams, from Life. Edited. (she just happens to be hosting a rockin’ giveaway right now, btw!) share our final Magic of a Childhood Christmas series post! I found Amanda’s blog through a mutual in-real-life friend and was immediately hooked. Her poetic, lyrical, honest writing grips the heart and buoys the soul. I’m honored to have her share her memories with you today. After you read her beautiful post and leave some comment love, be sure to link up your own Christmas memory post! Let’s shine the light of Christmas out in the darkness.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Williams

Photo courtesy of Amanda Williams

When I think of Christmas morning as a child, I picture the living room of our small brick house in Mobile, Alabama. We only lived there three years – a fraction of the time spent in other homes, in other towns – but for some reason it is this room I picture. That worn carpet. Those windows. That tree. Those Christmas mornings.

We always did the Santa thing growing up. Even years after the cat was out of the bag, we woke to the surprise of unwrapped gifts displayed around the tree and stockings filled with goodies. The stockings, they are one of my favorite things about Christmas.

Sure, the one big gift that Santa brought was always a hit. But as I grew up, and even then as a child, the stockings held the most Christmas magic. They were filled with as much love and thought as candy and presents, tiny items carefully chosen by the one who knew us best. She knew what we loved and what we needed, what little things would make us smile wide. Even everyday things held more meaning in a Christmas stocking. Oranges, candies and wool socks; they were all magic.

We moved out of that small brick house in Mobile to another brick house further north. I graduated high school and college and then settled down in Tennessee. And through all the changes that came with all the years – changes of heart and circumstance and location – I’ve always had a stocking hanging somewhere. Each Christmas Eve, without fail, it has been filled to the top with precious and ordinary things. Filled with love spilling over from my mother.

Some years I got to help, Mom and I choosing who got which candy, which socks, which trinket and which prize. Clementine oranges in first, then the chocolates, then the lighter things arranged just so. Candy canes hang over the top; two if we had extra. Some years we had more family than stockings; those years we just used socks. Everyone was included, without exception. No one would be left out. This was Christmas, after all, and Christmas is for everyone, every single one.

I have a house now of my own, not made of brick but wood. I have a husband and three children and a mantle with stockings for each one. Every year as we hang them up I remember all the years before. Those are some of my most sacred memories, watching my mom pour her heart into those Christmas stockings. And though it may seem silly to some, I pray one day my kids can say the same.

Amanda WilliamsAmanda Williams is wife to David and stay-at-home mama to 3-year-old twin boys and a spunky 5-year-old girl. Tennessean by birth, Nashvillian by choice, Amanda uses her free time to stare at the wall, inhale coffee and chocolate, snap photos and play with words. Amanda laughs at herself – a lot – and she believes honest words can unearth beauty and truth from chaos and doubt. She writes about motherhood, faith and writing at Life. Edited. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Now it’s your turn! Click the link below and you’ll be taken to the form to link up your own Christmas memory post! Be sure to check out the other memories and share the love! Let’s spread the Christmas Magic, shall we?


Just Like Snowflakes {The Magic of A Childhood Christmas Series}

I am so super excited to have today’s post come to you from the lovely Rachel Wojnarowski! I “met” Rachel through the Better Mom site and we have shared a lovely connection through the amazing interwebz. I hope you enjoy this lovely stroll down memory lane with Rachel!

Magic of Christmas

As long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed rolling out of bed in the morning for the most part.  I know, you either are or aren’t a morning person.  But the best morning of the year to get out of bed?

Christmas morning, no doubt.

makechristmasmemoriesThe childhood years I remember the most, on Christmas morning, my younger brother and I woke up as early as we could force our eyeballs to open.  And we sat quietly watching the clock, waiting for the moment that the hand struck the given hour our parents had given permission to wake them.   One year, I think we were getting a bit older, I remember the clock reading 4 am when we snuck into the living room.

Sigh. Yes, our mother awoke and made us go back to bed.

I believe the approved waking hour was 7 am.

Sunday mornings continue the morning glory childhood memories for me.  Combine Christmas and Sunday and wow did you ever have the best of mornings!  I could hardly wait to wear the matching Christmas Sunday outfits my mother sewed for us. For the girls’ dresses, she would use the same fabric but not the same style.  Each of our little personalities shined through- so she said.  I think it was her way of letting us know we were special- just like snowflakes, no two alike.

Upon the gracious opportunity to participate in this series, I found it interesting that in my reflections of Christmas past, I didn’t have a favorite toy to name or something I wished I had gotten but never did.  I just want to encourage all the gift-givers out there, that while giving gifts is a ton of fun and choosing gifts is fun, don’t sweat the gift-giving.  While some gifts may be remembered for years to come, truly, the important part of gift-giving is the thought and meaning behind the gift.  So if money is stressing you or expectations have you bothered, don’t let it get to you.

The best substitute for Christmas stress is making Christmas memories,

because no two memories are alike. 

Rachel RojnarowskiRachel is originally a small town country girl who converted to a suburban mother of seven by way of life happening.  She and her husband, Matt, enjoy caring for their busy family, whose ages span from 13 months to 21 years old, including a special needs daughter.  Rachel leads community ladies’ Bible studies in central Ohio and serves as an event planner and speaker for special needs parenting groups.  She is a member of Ohio Writers’ Guild and the National MPS Society; and loves to inspire others through her blog by sharing faith, family, and fun. Wife, mom, reader, writer, speaker and dreamer, you can find Rachel on Twitter andFacebook.

Titanic: Guest Post by Tricia Goyer

I can’t tell you how excited I am about today’s guest poster! I “met” Tricia Goyer through The Better Mom, as we both contribute there. I have since started following her blog and reading her books and, guys, I’m hooked! I’m honored to have her here today – the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic sinking – sharing about how the idea for her latest novel, By The Light Of The Silvery Moon, came together. Be on the lookout for a review of it here soon! Without further ado, here’s best-selling author, Tricia Goyer!

I never thought I’d have the chance to write a novel about the Titanic. I’d read many books about it, and I wasn’t sure why I never considered following that passion. Then an editor approached my literary agent with a question: “April 15, 2012 will be the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic disaster–would Tricia like to submit a novel idea for consideration? ”

Of course! I was excited about the idea, but there were so many possibilities. I wanted an idea that was fresh, unique, and faith-filled…where to start???
One morning I was laying in bed praying about an “Titanic idea” when the prodigal son story popped into my mind. The story of a younger son, an older son, a woman who cared for them both and a loving father played out in my mind. That’s it!

The proposal came together, and in a few weeks I learned that Barbour wanted to publish my idea! When I hold By the Light of the Silvery Moon in my mind I’m still amazed that I was given the honor of writing this novel. It goes to show that some God-given ideas take years until they see the light of day while other bloom overnight. It’s impossible to know which is which, that’s why it’s so important to cling to God, and to listen to Him. We all need to trust He’s set a true course for our lives–a future that’s held in His hand. One that’s unsinkable.

Interesting facts about the Titanic:
Price of a single first-class ticket was $4,700. (Equals $50,000 in today’s economy)
After leaving Southampton on 10 April 1912, Titanic called at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown, Ireland before heading westwards towards New York.
The gash that the iceberg cut into the hull of the Titanic was between 220 to 245 feet long. The total length of the ship was approximately 882 feet.
One of the first lifeboats to leave the Titanic carried only 28 people; it could have held 64 people. There were 472 lifeboat seats not used.
The band played music up to the last few minutes before the ship went under. None survived.

The Titanic was rediscovered on July 14th, 1986. 74 years after it sank.

Tricia Goyer is a CBA best-selling author of 33 novels and the winner of two American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Awards (Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights).  She co-wrote 3:16 Teen Edition with Max Lucado and contributed to the Women of Faith Study Bible.  Tricia is the host of a weekly radio show, Living Inspired.  Also, a noted marriage and parenting writer, she lives with her husband and children in Arkansas.  You can join her atTriciaGoyer.com, on Facebook and Twitter.

It’s All About “The Baby” {Guest Posting at The Better Mom}

When our son was born, we thought we were doing a good job of balancing our time and attention among the three children. That is until our six year old wistfully sighed one afternoon, “I wish Isaac had been born first and I had been born last.

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I’m delighted to be over at The Better Mom today discussing what helped us find the balance between nurturing our older children while still helping them gain their independence. I’d love for you to join me!