How faith in God provides hope and comfort during hard times

In this episode of The Christian Minute podcast, host Anne Markey sits down with Colleen Faul, a remarkable woman who has faced the challenges of raising a child with special needs.

Colleen shares her background as a missionary with Net Ministries and her current role as a stay-at-home wife and mother of two toddlers.

Together, we discuss the importance of sharing each other’s burdens and how faith in God can provide hope and comfort during difficult times.

As we delve into Colleen’s personal journey, we discuss the struggles of raising a child with infantile spasms and tuber sclerosis complex, both rare conditions that have caused health issues and developmental delays. 

Whether you’re facing your own challenges or simply seeking inspiration, this episode offers uplifting and inspiring messages for listeners to take away.

Don’t miss this opportunity to gain valuable insight from Colleen’s journey and the power of faith in overcoming adversity.

Listen to The Episode

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Episode At A Glance:

Time stamps

00:00:00- Reflections on Faith and Life Journeys

  • 00:08:02- Parenting a Child with Special Needs
  • 00:10:11- The Unexpected Diagnosis of a Child’s Neurological Disorder
  • 00:13:51- Heading: Infantile Spasms Diagnosis: A Mother’s Story
  • 00:19:23- Grieving the Loss of a Future
  • 00:23:33- Detaching from Materialism and Finding Comfort in God’s Love
  • 00:33:41- Accepting a Child’s Autism Diagnosis
  • 00:39:57- Parenting a Child with ADHD and Dyslexia
  • 00:41:51- Parenting Special Needs Children and Finding Strength in Faith
  • 00:48:46- God’s Love and Acceptance of Special Needs
  • 00:51:21-  Practicality of the Christian Faith in Today’s World

Connecting through Pain: The Importance of Sharing Our Struggles

Collen’s experience with her daughter Grace, who has rare genetic diseases, infantile spasms, and tuber sclerosis complex, shows how hard it is for parents of children with disabilities.

Grace’s health problems and slow growth have had a big effect on Collen and her family, who have had to show a lot of strength and resilience as a result.

People are often discouraged by social rules from talking about their problems and pain, especially on social media, where people usually only talk about the good things in their lives. It can be hard to talk about our problems and burdens, but as Anne says, it’s important to do so if we want to connect with other people and get help.

As Christians, we are told to share each other’s problems. By doing this, we can help each other get through life’s hard times. Collen’s willingness to tell her story lets others learn about and understand the problems that families of kids with disabilities go through.

A picture of Anne Markey next to a quote from the blog post that says, The Bible instructs us to share each other's burden, but in reality, it can be challenging to do so. This is because our culture has fostered a mindset of pretending that everything is okay even when we are struggling with significant issues. For instance, your child's health problems might be causing you a lot of distress. I hope that through our conversation, we can inspire others to support one another, no matter what they may be going through.

The Healing Power of Vulnerability: Opening Up to Others  

We all have to deal with pain, sadness, and hard times in life. We all have times when we feel overwhelmed and lost. It could be because of a bad breakup, a job loss, a family problem, or a personal issue. It can be hard to find hope and healing on our own in these times.

That’s why it’s important to have a group of people who care about us and can help us through hard times.

[00:11:12] “I think we need to be intentional about finding people to share our burdens with and then intentionally creating a space where they feel comfortable sharing their burdens with us”

This is a fact. Just having people around us isn’t enough.

We need to go out of our way to find people we can trust who are willing to listen and help. And once we find these people, we need to make sure they feel safe and welcome so they can talk to us about their problems.

Having a group of people who can help you feel better is very important.

[00:13:24] “It’s important to find those people who can pray for you and with you.”

Whether you are religious or not, it can be very helpful to have people who can help you with your spiritual life. Knowing that someone is praying for you and thinking about you can give you a lot of strength and comfort.

It’s also important to realise that healing and hope come when we’re willing to be vulnerable and share our problems with others.

[00:14:33] “I think that’s where we can start to find hope and healing is when we’re able to acknowledge what’s going on and then share it with someone else and let them be with us in that”

When we talk about our problems with other people, we make room for kindness, understanding, and empathy. We let other people join us on our journey and offer their help and support.

A picture of Anne Markey next to a quote that says, It's not that the struggles are any less, but I think that we're able to find the hope and the joy in the midst of those struggles when we can share them with other people.

Navigating a Life-Altering Diagnosis for Your Child 

We all have to deal with pain, sadness, and hard times in life. We all have times when we feel overwhelmed and lost. It could be because of a bad breakup, a job loss, a family problem, or a personal issue. It can be hard to find hope and healing on our own in these times.

That’s why it’s important to have a group of people who care about us and can help us through hard times.

[00:11:12] “I think we need to be intentional about finding people to share our burdens with and then intentionally creating a space where they feel comfortable sharing their burdens with us”

This is a fact. Just having people around us isn’t enough.

We need to go out of our way to find people we can trust who are willing to listen and help. And once we find these people, we need to make sure they feel safe and welcome so they can talk to us about their problems.

Having a group of people who can help you feel better is very important.

[00:13:24] “It’s important to find those people who can pray for you and with you.”

Whether you are religious or not, it can be very helpful to have people who can help you with your spiritual life. Knowing that someone is praying for you and thinking about you can give you a lot of strength and comfort.

It’s also important to realise that healing and hope come when we’re willing to be vulnerable and share our problems with others.

[00:14:33] “I think that’s where we can start to find hope and healing is when we’re able to acknowledge what’s going on and then share it with someone else and let them be with us in that”

When we talk about our problems with other people, we make room for kindness, understanding, and empathy. We let other people join us on our journey and offer their help and support.

Reframing Expectations: Life With A Neurodiverse Child 

When a parent hears the words, “Your daughter has infantile spasms,” their world can come crashing down. The fear, uncertainty, and grief that follows can be overwhelming. That’s what happened to me when my daughter was diagnosed with this rare form of epilepsy.

[00:05:18] “It was a scary time,”

I remember thinking as I sat in the doctor’s office, trying to make sense of what was happening. My mind raced with questions and concerns. Would my daughter be okay? Would she ever be able to live a normal life? What did this mean for our family’s future?

As we started taking care of our daughter with special needs, it became clear that she wouldn’t have the life I thought she would have. We had to deal with things I didn’t expect, like medical treatments and therapies, as well as the daily struggles of living with a child who was behind in growth.

Parents of children with neurodiversity know that even simple jobs can be hard. Even simple things like brushing hair, getting dressed, or eating a meal can cause stress and worry. It’s the weight of knowing that they’re different and having trouble and that you can’t do much about it, plus the fact that they’re not reaching the regular milestones.

[00:20:29] “I really did go through a grieving process, not necessarily grieving a death, but grieving a life that I didn’t get to live,”

I recall remember as I struggled to come to terms with my daughter’s diagnosis. I was mourning the loss of a dream, the dream of having a “typical” family and a “typical” life.

It’s a weight that is difficult to put into words, but one that is all too familiar to parents of children with special needs.

I also thought about the future, and how my daughter’s condition might affect it.

[00:22:54] “I may not get to have grandkids by her,” I remember thinking as I watched her struggle.

It’s a thought that still brings tears to my eyes, but one that has also taught me to cherish every moment that we have together.

“There were all of these things I didn’t know. I was clinging to…” I thought, as I searched for answers and support.

[00:23:26] I found solace in connecting with other parents of children with special needs, who understood what I was going through and could offer advice and support.

A picture of Colleen Faul next to a quote that says,   Through it all, I have learned that while life may not always turn out the way we expect, it can still be beautiful.

My daughter may face challenges, but she has also taught me more about love, resilience, and strength than I ever thought possible. 

I am grateful for every moment that we have together, and I am proud to be her mom.

Embracing The Journey: Learning To Love Your Child For Who They Are 

Parents don’t find it easy to let go of the idea of a “typical” child. It can be especially hard if the child has a disease like autism.

“detaching myself from the idea that my daughter was going to be a neurotypical child…I held out hope for that for a while, and then as time went by…put one more nail in the coffin of, no, she’s not going to be typical neurotypical.”

I held on to this idea for a while but finally realised that her daughter would not be like other kids her age.

It’s hard for a mother to accept that her daughter has a genetic disorder.

 “I had been praying for a miracle ever since we learned about all this. I’ve just been praying, god, please heal my daughter. Please heal her. But God answered: I’m not going to fix your daughter. I have given you a daughter that you were not expecting, but she is a gift.”

The Lord creates each of our children, and we need to stop seeing them as broken, but as gifts.

A picture of Colleen Faul next to a quote that says, The only one who's going to suffer by seeing the difference is me. And I can either allow myself to suffer from it or just love her the way she is.

As hard it is for me to raise a daughter who has autism. At first, it was stressful and I didn’t know what to do, but I’m glad I had the chance to learn and grow because of it.

I have been able to find inner strengths and traits I didn’t know I had.

“I’m just really grateful for the experience of all of it because it’s shown me the strength that I have, that I never would have had to use if I hadn’t gone through this. And I think I’m a better person for it. I know I’m a better person for it.”

This has given me the confidence and strength to deal with tough situations.

By facing and getting through these problems, I’ve become a better person. I’ve learned to look at the world differently and enjoy the small things in life.

When we face problems, they can help us find strengths and skills we didn’t know we had. It can also teach us important things about ourselves and the world around us. In the end, the problems we face can make us better people if we use them to learn and grow.

A picture of Anne Markey next to a quote from the blog post that says, We're not guaranteed anything in life, you know? The only thing we're guaranteed is that we're going to die. We don't know when that's going to happen, and we don't know how it's going to happen...So why not just embrace the journey and love the people that we're with and just be grateful for the time that we have with them?

Where Can Parents Go?

When I think about the Lord, I think about my kids and how they snuggle up to me. I just picture myself climbing into The Lord’s lap and resting there.

I know why my kids come to me for that, and I come to the Lord for the same thing.

God calls us to come to Him like that – Dad, Abba Father means Daddy. He’s calling us to His lap, so that we can tell Him all the things that are hurting us and making us worried.

As parents, I really have no power to change much about my kids’ scenarios, but just knowing that God does, gives us access to the one person who can change things.”

About Collen

A picture of Colleen Faul

Colleen Keefe Faul is the author of God’s Precious Gift: A Special Needs Child. At 6 months old, Colleen’s daughter, Grace,  was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.

The experience pulled Colleen deeper into her faith, where she found consolation in the form of creativity. She was inspired to write a faith-based children’s book for the special needs community that was as much for the parents as it was for the children.

Her mission is to help members of the special needs community, their loved ones, and their caretakers find peace in God’s Will.

Check out her book!  |  Connect on Instagram  Connect on Facebook

Resources: 

PIN IT FOR LATER!

12 Songs about your Identity in Christ

Most people who know me, know that I have songs going through my head all day long. The songs that seem to go through my head the most are songs about your Identity in Christ. Click to see 12 songs about your identity in Christ.

Most people who know me, know that I have songs going through my head all day long. The songs that seem to go through my head the most are songs about your Identity in Christ.

These types of songs get me through the day and lift me up when I am not doing well. Not only that but Songs also have a way of expressing all the things that I can’t.

That is why I wanted to add this post to my blog series on our identity in Christ. Today, I have another guest blogger. Her name is Sandy, and she loves to encourage women through storms. To learn more about her, read her bio at the end of the blog post, or check out her blog here. Today, Sandy will share with us 12 songs about your Identity in Christ.

picture of a happy woman looking over her shoulder. Next to her picture are the words 12 songs about our identity in Christ

You are a child of God. 

You are a child of God!

There is no statement more important than that. 

As women, it is so easy to forget who we are. We lose ourselves in the hustle and bustle of life. We describe ourselves as moms, wives, sisters, friends, chauffeurs, teachers, and the list goes on and on…

We sometimes forget that our identity is in Christ alone and not in the roles we have in life.

There have even been many times when I’ve let my circumstances define me and my mood for the day. I’ve let them keep me from being productive. I’ve let them stand in the way of my relationship with the very One who created me! 

How many times have you let your circumstances define who you are?

Our identity is tied to whatever and whoever we give our hearts to. When we aren’t giving our heart completely to the Lord, that’s when we lose ourselves. We lose ourselves in our children, in our jobs, in our relationships, and in our circumstances. When this happens, we need to be reminded that we are children of God and we are who He says we are.

Music can be a reminder of our identity in Christ.

Music has always played a significant role in my life, especially in my relationship with the Lord. 

“Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.”

Psalms 105:2

Singing is my favourite way to praise Him.  It opens my heart to truly worship Him.

It always draws me nearer to Him so that He can draw near to me. (James 4:8) It brings me great joy and the right song can remind me of who I am in Christ.

Lauren Daigle’s song You Say is my favourite one to listen to when I need a reminder that I am who He says I am but there are so many others. I’ve listed more below that will remind you that you are a child of God who is forgiven and redeemed. 

Through Him, you are an overcomer, you are free, you are chosen, you are loved, you are different, and you are beautiful! Most importantly you are saved!

12 Songs about Your Identity in Christ

1. You are

This song is my favourite one to listen to when I need a reminder that I am who He says I am but there are so many others. I’ve listed more below that will remind you that you are a child of God who is forgiven and redeemed. 

Through Him, you are an overcomer, you are free, you are chosen, you are loved, you are different, and you are beautiful! Most importantly you are saved!

2 & 3 You are a child of God.

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,” Galatians 3:26 NIV

These are both songs about your Identity in Christ.

4. You are Forgiven.

“All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:43 NIV

This is another great song about your Identity in Christ.

5. You are Redeemed

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” Ephesians 1:7 NIV

6. You are an Overcomer

“for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4 NIV

7. You are Free.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

8. You are Chosen.

“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13 NIV

9. You are Loved.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1

10. You are Different

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV

11. You are Beautiful.

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Songs 4:7 NIV

12. You are Saved.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV

This is the final song from my list of songs about your Identity in Christ.

Whenever you feel the enemy creeping in and telling you lies, then sing any one of these worship songs and be reminded that you are a child of God and the enemy has no power over you!

You are a masterpiece created for a purpose.  Live in that truth and never forget who you are!

A beautiful printable of the scriptures listed above can be found here in my FREE Resource Library along with many other printables to help encourage you. 

Going Deeper

Singing these songs and listening to them has inspired me to take a further look at who we are in Christ.

I actually wrote a Bible study called: Who am I? Discover who you are in Christ.

The world tells us our identity is based on our work, our talents, our extracurricular activities, and our background. We often introduce ourselves by sharing our names and what we do for a living. We often change parts of who we are to fit into the world’s mould. But none of those things actually define who we are. We are not our jobs, our culture or even our relationships. We are made in the image of Christ and are called to so much more than what we can imagine. 

Join Anne Markey in a discovery of who we are in Christ and what we were made to do. Ditch the chains of expectations and base your identity in Christ and what matters most instead of what others think. With guided questions, real-life examples, and comparing scripture, discover what the Bible says about who we are. Stop striving to be what the world accepts and stand firm in who God has called you. Click here to get the study today.

Finding Freedom from Fear: A Spiritual Guide to Managing Anxiety

Are you someone who experiences anxiety from time to time? Or perhaps you know someone who struggles with clinical anxiety? If so, you won’t want to miss this episode, where I talk with Mel Kistner, a counsellor who has helped people with anxiety for years. Join the conversation as we talk about managing anxiety.

A Spiritual and Emotional Guide to Managing Anxiety

In this episode:
  • Mel shares her journey from art school to counselling and how she found her passion for helping people overcome their anxiety. 
  • We dive deep into the difference between normal anxiety and clinical anxiety, and the treatments available for each.  
  • We cover the importance of a holistic approach to managing anxiety that incorporates physical, emotional, and spiritual elements.  
  • We also explore the different methods of treatment for managing anxiety, from cognitive behavioural therapy to medication, and when they are most effective. 

If you’re ready to learn more about managing anxiety, continue listening – you have found the right place.

You can watch the interview here, listen to the podcast above, or read the blog post below.

  • Connect with Mel on her website here
  • Grab our FREE Anxiety Verse Guide here

So many times as Christians, we don’t know really how to talk about anxiety and we don’t know how to help people. So I love that that’s your mission and that’s what you’re doing. But I’d love to talk about it because I think this is what a lot of people don’t necessarily understand, is the difference between a normal level of anxiety and clinical anxiety.

Exploring the Difference between Normal Anxiety and Clinical Anxiety

The difference between them is a continuum.

How I view it is this: We have anything from concerns to then, you know, fears, worries, then anxiety that we might experience day-to-day or during, you know, stressful times in our lives, stress because we definitely live in a stressful culture.

And then getting into clinical anxiety, the major difference here is how it affects your functioning. So how it affects your functioning with your family, friends and with your work?

When it starts impacting things that you want to do but can’t do because you can’t control the anxiety or stop it and then gets more into clinical where we see the medical symptoms as well.

This means your anxiety is taking over and becoming more and more prevalent with you know issues, breathing issues, sleeping issues, really being able to kind of slow down thoughts and then looking to see if there is something in the brain chemistry that needs to be addressed.

We can ask: Are there medications, nutritional things, or vitamin imbalances?

So when we look at the clinical, we’re really looking at how much is this affecting your everyday life. And I think that then it becomes just an all-around approach where we can involve counsellors, maybe a medical practitioner whether natural or traditional and then also looking at the spiritual.

Clinical Anxiety and It’s Impact on Everyday Life

One of the things that I’ve noticed is when I first married my husband, we didn’t know he had a general anxiety disorder. And so anytime he would talk to me about his anxiety, I’d be like, oh, well, I feel anxious about that too, and I’m fine.

But it was the way in which it affected our daily lives that were different and how we processed anxiety.

I can process things and move on. And for my husband, it would affect his sleep and his thought process and, you know, like, ignite some fears.

And so I love that you just made that distinction that there are some normal levels of anxiety that we all have in that’s normal. But then there are things you can’t even process because of the anxiety and it affects different parts of our lives.

A picture of a woman sitting on a couch with her head looking down. Below the image are the words, A spiritual and emotional guide to managing anxiety.

Holistic Approaches to Managing Anxiety

Maybe we can go into a little bit more specific with some of those tools and resources that can help with everyday anxiety or all the way up to clinical anxiety.

I talk about kind of flipping the focus, especially as a Christian. When I was in a Christian private practice, even I saw that the main part of the therapy and focus is on emotions and thoughts. And then there was a little bit of focus on our bodies, our nutrition and then a tiny bit on the spiritual even in Christian counselling.

I feel like we need to flip that around and make sure that we’re grounded in truth. So that when we are able to look at our thoughts and the lies that maybe we’re believing we have truth to go to and look at our identity in Christ and then our bodies.

We can look at sleep, nutrition, deep breathing, and muscle relaxation and then address any chemical imbalances that need to be and then.

Being able to learn traditional cognitive behavioural approaches on really retraining the thoughts and it, kind of praying through those things and deepening our walk with God as we step out and trust him despite our emotions.

Knowing that God promises to be with us and says do not fear, do not worry.

And so we can look at that.

The Danger in Christian Circles

But I think there’s a danger. Especially in the Christian world just pray about it, just trust God.

God made our bodies in such an awesome way to fight off danger when needed. But when that system gets triggered all the time in our brain chemistry, then we can kind of get stuck there and need help physically coming down into that rest and homeostasis versus staying in fight or flight.

And that’s where those physical interventions are really helpful to get us to a place where then we can look at, you know, what our where’s our thinking? Maybe going off of the truth?

I love that you look at anxiety holistically. I think sometimes- whether it’s the Christian community or the medical community- we just look at the medical or just spiritual or just physical. And I love that you’ve incorporated just all the different ways that they all impact our anxiety and how we deal with it.

Fighting anxiety with the truth

I love that you said the first thing we can do is: when we’re facing a moment of anxiety, if it’s just normal anxiety, we can fight that with the truth. But when it’s clinical anxiety, it’s like we need either medication or practice to get back into like calm to then go to the remembering truth.

The power of deep breathing

When we are experiencing a typical level of anxiety, deep breathing practices are really helpful to get our bodies kind of calmed down because we all have physical responses to fear and anxiety.

So a lot of times it’s doing some of those simple things. But if you just tell someone with clinical anxiety to keep doing deep breathing, it’s not going to be effective. And they need help to get there.

The research is that cognitive behavioural therapy, traditional therapy, and medication are about the same in efficacy.

But sometimes people need medication to be able to get to be at a place where their thoughts can stop racing enough to be able to learn those new skills and how to retrain their minds and renew their minds.

I mean, God says it’s possible, the renewing of our minds. And that’s for sure.

Taking one step at a time

We have lots of anxiety in this house and that’s exactly what we’ve seen. My oldest daughter has some pretty severe anxiety and for her, she goes from trigger to panic with zero space in between. She goes from trigger to panic with no gap between the trigger and her response.

And so we tried kind of doing cognitive behaviour therapy and that to kind of make the gap larger. But it wasn’t helping. And so we did turn to medication, which then made that gap a lot bigger.

So then we were able to do some cognitive behaviour therapy with her. And so she was able to learn those skills because her body was at rest.

And so I love that you share that sometimes like you need to take care of your physical and, you know, mental state to just bring you to that rest so that you can learn these skills because yeah, we can’t learn new things. Then we’re in panic mode.

Sometimes we’ve seen this in our family and even with myself like sometimes it’s natural things like when you’re B12 gets really out of whack that can you know affect your mental processing. Your folate supports your mental processing as well. Your gut health also has a big impact.

The effect our gut has on anxiety

They’ve done a lot of research. Harvard has a huge study out there on gut health and anxiety and then. You know, female hormones and so all of those things getting in balance and figuring out, hey, do I have something out of balance?

Looking at all angles to figure out what may be causing you to experience more anxiety than typical.

It’s really hard when you’re in the middle of that panic to think rationally about those things because the prefrontal cortex is our logic and our reasoning. We’re not using that part of the brain when we’re in clinical anxiety or in panic. You’re using the amygdala and other areas of the brain.

Pro Tip: It is so helpful when we have friends or family members that can say: You know what, it seems like maybe your body’s off a little bit and can kind of direct us. I know that that’s helped me.

That was helpful for me and I’ve seen that in family and with clients that I worked with of being able to talk to someone else in their life and get some feedback too.

When you are having more panic than you are used to or you’re getting more upset than you are used to — when you’re in the moment you don’t really notice it.

The trigger seems really real and you are completely convinced that you know really negative outcome is going to happen.

And so sometimes it takes the support of people in our lives if we, if we have them, if not, you know, a counsellor or a mentor can be helpful to kind of like points in the right direction when our bodies need intervention.

There are certain things that help manage anxiety

There are certain things we can change in our habits that may help with anxiety. With anxiety and mental health, that’s going to look different for everybody.

And So what works for me and you might not work for your child or your husband or your friend or whatever that is.

What’s helped us is having some really good close family friends that are walking a similar journey. And so we get to talk about how are you handling this situation or like oh what medication help for you or like what was the first step that you took.

I’ve really trained my brain to see like yellow flags and orange flags and red flags and my kids and seeing when something isn’t leading us in a healthy way.

We notice triggers and try to learn how to reduce those triggers.Can we like can we change that trigger, can we make this a little bit less. That takes time and practice and just intention which is sometimes really hard to do.

Practice & time

Yeah, it does take practice. And I would tell that to clients all the time. You wouldn’t show up for a piano concert with no practice.

And so our bodies can create that muscle memory with deep breathing exercises with.

Muscle relaxation, which is guiding people through those muscle groups and slowly tightening and releasing, and visualization.

What happens over time is that then when you’re in a anxiety producing situation and you start your deep breathing, your body recalls it.

The power of Deep Breathing

They’ve done this study with heart patients. Their blood pressure was able to decrease when they practice muscle relaxation and deep breathing.

And so our bodies are really powerful that way.

When kids are triggered or they’re upset and you tell someone to take a deep breath, usually, the reaction is well, that’s not going to change this mom.

Deep breathing doesn’t change my circumstances but it does affect the brain centers that are in fight or flight . As soon as we are going into deep breathing it can activate those hormones which help our bodies calm and get back into a rest state.

So it does really work and help it doesn’t change the circumstances.

Mixing the Spiritual & the medical for healing

I think especially as believers, when we’re praying about something that’s maybe for years, like maybe we’re praying for a job or praying for a loved one or praying for healing, and we don’t see that.

When we can stand on the truth of the word of God and continue to praise God in the midst of it, He brings peace that passes all understanding right?

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

All the physical and the medical and those things that we look at, we also have access to the God of the universe who split the seas, who can heal us instantly.

And so it’s kind of both together.

It’s looking at these things, learning practical skills but remembering that we can have peace. Even when our circumstances don’t change.

And that’s what I want people to hear, that the Holy Spirit can bring you peace and joy even when your prayers aren’t being answered.

And those things that you might be worried about don’t change. And it’s as we draw closer to him in praise and reading the word, that the Holy Spirit is ushered in with those gifts of the spirit.

The Lord brings us peace reguardless on the circumstance

I think that’s so important the know that the circumstance may not change, but God has a plan for it. In that circumstance, He can bring peace.

I know that for myself I’ve trained my brain to go straight to prayer. And so when I feel panicked, I’ve trained my thoughts to go, OK Lord, help me to calm down, you know, give me the courage to process this feeling right now.

I think what’s hard is there’s a connection between anxiety and mental health and your spiritual walk with the Lord.

What I’ve seen is that when my husband is in panic mode, he doesn’t necessarily feel the Lord or really see him in his life because they’re still connected.

So we may not see The Lord. You may still feel panic, but that feeling doesn’t change the fact that you know the Lord. He is with us. That’s the truth that we can remind ourselves even if we don’t feel like He is there.

Using Scripture through our anxiety

The practice of reading scripture out loud or and having it on a note card, having a verse that maybe God brings you or is really helpful with anxiety.

I have a free PDF download called 10 Bible verses for Christians with anxiety and how to use them and how to stop negative spirals.

I have a worksheet in there with some of these tips.

Spiritual Weapons agains Anxiety

Verses for Anxiety

How to take truth out of scripture and use that to train your automatic thoughts in a different direction.

Just saying scripture out loud, or praying outloud can help. Even if we don’t feel like it because in those moments,I don’t feel like praying. I don’t feel like writing scripture.

We nee to do the things that are going to get you towards healing, even if you don’t feel like it.

So go outside and walk for five minutes and then come back, even if you don’t feel like it.

When we read Scripture out loud, we usher that truth in and the word tells us that the battle isn’t against flesh and blood but of powers and principalities and forces of this world work.

We have these spiritual weapons as well to use and to notice if we have a spirit of depression, or a spirit of anxiety kind of hanging over me.

I can take authority over that in the spiritual realm even when my emotions aren’t catching up.

Using the Power of The Holy Spirit

I think as Christians, too, it’s acknowledging that we may need medication and we need, we may need counselling and we may need to change our diet, all those things.

Ultimately, we have the Holy Spirit and the God of the universe to help us, to train our brains and to show us which truths to focus on.

Accessing all those tools and knowledge that they all exist and that the balance is going to look different for everybody.

For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’

Isaiah 41:13

This is the God of the universe saying-I’m going to hold your hand like a parent does to a little child when they’re scared. God is going to walk with you through your fear and anxiety and He is going to help you.

God doesn’t want us to run away from Him when we are scared. He wants us to run to Him. He wants to hold your hands and walk you through this.

God is a good Father

That image I often think of the Lord is seeing Him as a Father. ABBA father mens Daddy daddy.

It’s so just thinking about my kids and how they interact with my husband. That’s the type of relationship the Lord wants with us.

It’s a reminder that sometimes that anxiety and that depression, we do feel alone, but God is right there and He is happy to hold our hand through it and to be with us.

The devil’s favourite tool agains us

I always find is encouraging because I think that’s one of the most powerful lies the devil wants to tell us – that we are alone and the Lord is far away.

And that’s just not the truth.

That is one of the enemies’ favourite tools is to isolate. To keep us alone.

To help us fight agains those lies, we can write down our thoughts and get the truth out and not letting the enemy trip us up with all these lies.

We need to get those lies out and compare them with the truth. A more rational statement.

We can ask: what does God say about me? What do I really believe? And who do I really want to be?

And when we write those things down, we take the power away from the enemy of keeping us isolated with all of that.

Knowing what is happening to us

A lot of it comes from the knowledge of what is happening to us.

I know for myself I’ve got on this journey this year discovering I have ADHD and one of the symptoms is intrusive thoughts.

I think before knwoing this, I’d have a lot of intrusive thoughts and I would feel guilty about them and it starts that whole cycle.

But now that I know these thoughts are related to my brain chemistry. So I can label those and say that they are an intrusive thought. And then I can reshift my focus.

And so even just the power to know what’s happening in my brain, to know that those things don’t identify me.

I have the power to then shift has been really helpful for me. I can change those things.

It might take time and it might take support and all those things, but that change is possible.

Don’t depend on your understanding

Recognizing some of those things and realizing we’re not alone.

I work with people looking at cognitive distortions and recognizing black-and-white thinking or catastrophizing, or should statements.

I see that a lot with moms and like, I should do this and I should do that.

But when we can recognize that that’s what’s happening, we learn about them. Then when we recognize them, we can address them.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

When we’re leaning on our own understanding of things, it can get us to worry and fear because we don’t see how this circumstance can resolve.

But God works beyond what we can see. He works in ways we can’t even ask or imagine.

And so when we get into prayer, in the midst of those moments, we can shift our perspective and start viewing things from a Kingdom perspective.

Psychology in The Bible

When I read Scripture, I see so much of Psycology.

We like to tell people to stop worrying, but that doesn’t help anybody.

When you look at Scripture, it doesn’t just say stop worrying, it tells us what to do.

It says instead of worying- Pray. Instead of worrying, give thanks.

There have been studies that show how telling people to stop doesn’t work. You need to replace the “bad” action, and the “bad” thought with something else.

Prepare yourself

We’ve talked a lot about replacing the lies with truth, and labelling what is happening in your brain so you know which weapon to use.

We don’t give enough emphasis on those things, but those are just so powerful.

Our family has really benefited from acknowledging what our thoughts are coming from. Instead of it leading to more anxiety or fear or guilt- we can decide to stop thinking about it and to think about something else and it’s just so helpful.

It’s important to prepare our minds with the verses we will use, or the technique that will help us calm down.

Knowing what are the weapons that God’s given us and how we are going to use them to help us move out of anxiety.

The Power of giving thanks

The Bible tells us how important it is to give thanks.

We see that all over the Psalms of just crying out your emotions, but I will yet praise him.

They’ve done studies on prayer and worship and praise. These studies show how these activate different centers in the brain that actually release hormones that help our mood change and our anxiety decrease. They activate centers that want us to connect with other people.

God designed our brains. There’s a reason He’s telling us to praise and to pray.

In counseling they recommend meditation, mindfulness, gratitude. We know these are all forms of prayer.

But God knew this because it changes our brain chemistry, so it’s just awesome.

God did create our minds this way and He gives us those tools.

So when God tells us to be grateful, to pray, and to praise, it’s not belittling the situation. He is telling us that these are the tools He has given you to help shift our focus towards Him.

It’s not putting us down. It’s actually like lifting us up and giving us what we need to then live our lives the way the Lord wants us to.

The brain is so complex. Scientists are still trying to figure out all the connections between anxiety and our bodies. But God created us.

When we can focus on those things that He wants us to do, we need to choos to return to Him and to live how He’s calling us to do.

Let’s summarize

  • acknowledging that there’s a normal level of anxiety that we all process and then there’s clinical anxiety and knowing kind of the difference there.
  • The process to bring ourselves down into the calm space and practicing what’s going to help us calm down before we’re in a panic.

6 Practical steps to prioritize your spiritual life 

It’s hard to make our spiritual lives a priority in the fast-paced world we live in today, with all the responsibilities and obligations we have each day. We can create the relationship with God we want by cultivating it. If we reflect on our priorities and make space for God in our life, we can start prioritizing Him.  Continue to read as I share 6 practical steps to prioritize your spiritual life. 

6 practical steps to prioritize your spiritual life

1. Evaluate your priorities 

It is easy to get caught up in the routine of day-to-day life and lose sight of the bigger picture. However, stepping back and reflecting on your most important values will help you in making time to connect with God. 

The first thing you should do in evaluating your priorities is to take a step back and look at your life. 

You can do this by writing in a journal, meditating, or even just sitting still for a while to think about your life. 

Keeping a journal can be especially beneficial because it enables you to record your thoughts and emotions on paper, which can assist you in developing greater clarity and insight into your priorities. 

Journal Prompts might include:  
  • What are your most important values and goals?  
  • What am I most grateful for in my life? 
  • What brings me the most fulfillment and happiness? 
  • What brings you the most fulfillment and happiness? 

Other Powerful tools

Christian meditation

Meditation is another powerful tool for taking a step back and gaining perspective.  

Christian meditation is a spiritual practice that involves thinking about God and the Bible or other spiritual writings.

Christian meditation is different from traditional ways of meditating, which try to calm the mind. Instead, Christian meditation involves actively engaging with God and the Bible.

Christian meditation often involves the slow, thoughtful reading of the Bible and “centering prayer,” which involves repeating a sacred word or phrase to quiet the mind and make room for God.

Reflection

Taking some quiet time to think can be a powerful way to step back and see things from a different point of view. This could mean going for a walk in nature, sitting in a quiet room with no distractions, or taking a break from technology and social media.

By making time for quiet reflection, you can get in touch with your inner wisdom and figure out what’s most important.

2. Identify your core values 

 Once you know what your main priorities are, it’s important to figure out what your core values are. Core values are the ideas and beliefs that help us decide what to do and how to act.

To do this, you need to ask yourself, “What are the most important things in my life?”

Finding out what your core values are will help you decide how to spend your time and energy in a way that fits with your deeper goals.

4 things to consider when identifying your core values:  
  • Reflect on your life experiences: Think about all the things you’ve done in your life so far and try to pick out the most important ones. Which parts of these events had the most impact on your values?
  • Identify what brings you joy: What kinds of things or experiences make you feel the most alive and happy? Most of the time, these are signs of the things you care about.
  • Consider your role models: Think about the people you admire and respect. What values do they embody? This can help you identify values that you aspire to live by. 
  • Look at your beliefs: What do you believe to be true about the world? What values are at the core of those beliefs?  

Examples of Christian core values include:  
  • Love, Faith, Humility, Forgiveness 
  • Compassion, Integrity, Honesty, Kindness 
  • Grace, Mercy, Patience, Perseverance, Courage 
  • Generosity, Justice, Servanthood, Obedience 
  • Holiness, Gratitude, Self-control, Respect 
  • Hope, Joy, Peace, Wisdom 

Once you’ve identified your core values, it’s important to live in a way that reflects your core values. with them. This may mean making difficult choices or changing your habits and behaviours to ensure that your actions reflect your values.  

A picture of a women at her desk writing something in her notebook. Under the picture are the words, 6 practical steps to prioritize your spiritual life.

3. Evaluate your current commitments 

After identifying your core values, evaluate your current commitments and responsibilities.  

Ask yourself these questions:  
  • Are there any areas of your life where you’re spending too much time or energy?  
  • Are there any areas where you’re neglecting your spiritual well-being? 
  • Do these activities align with your core values?  

To help you with the process, make a list of your current commitments and evaluate them based on how well they align with your values and priorities. 

If your current commitments don’t align with your values, plan how you can start stepping away from those commitments.  

Doing this might take time but it is well worth it.  

Then, before you make any other commitment, make sure it aligns with your values. 

4. Schedule time for spiritual practices 

Once you know what your core values are and what your commitments are, it’s time to schedule time for the spiritual practises you want to add to your life.

This could mean making time every day to meditate or pray, going to a religious service once a week, spending more time in nature, finding ways to serve God, or doing anything else that brings you closer to God.

The key is to practise regularly and on purpose, so that it becomes a normal part of your life.

5.  Simplify your life 

Simplifying your life can be a way to create more space and time for spiritual practice. When you simplify, you eliminate distractions and focus on what matters most to you.  

By focusing on what truly matters, you can deepen your spiritual practice and cultivate a greater sense of meaning and purpose in your life. 

Here are 3 things you can simplify that will help you create space and time for spiritual practice: 
  • Clearing physical clutter: As you clear the clutter from your home, you make it easier to relax and enjoy your surroundings. Meditation, prayer, and Bible study can all benefit from this increased concentration. 
  • Prioritizing activities: If you pare down your commitments to the essentials, you’ll have more time for spiritual pursuits. In certain cases, this may necessitate turning down invitations or spending less time on social media and other time wasters. 
  • Cultivating mindfulness: By practicing mindfulness it helps you focus on the here and now by training your brain to pay attention just to what’s happening right now. This can open you up to a greater sense of freedom and possibility, allowing you to go further into your spiritual practices. 

An infographic showing 3 things you can simplify to create time for God.

6.  Being part of a Christian community 

When you are a part of a community of believers, you have access to resources and support that can help us grow in your faith and deepen your spiritual practice.  

Finding a Christian community can also help you create space and time for spiritual practice by providing: 

  • Accountability: A community of believers can help us stay committed to our faith by encouraging and supporting each other.  
  • Resources: A Christian community can provide access to resources such as Bible study materials, books, and other spiritual resources that can help deepen our understanding of God and your faith.  
  • Fellowship: Fellowship with other believers creates a sense of community and belonging that can help you feel supported and encouraged in your walk with God. 
  • Opportunities for service: Being part of a Christian community provides opportunities for service and outreach, which can be a powerful way to live out our faith and deepen our spiritual practice. 

In a fast-paced world, it can be challenging to prioritize our spiritual lives. However, by evaluating your priorities and identifying your core values, you can align your commitments with what is important to you.

By implementing some of these steps, you can have a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in your life. 

5 simple things you can do to experience peace

We live in a troubled world, and it’s easy to get distracted by all the unrest and injustices of the world. But when we do that, we rob ourselves of the peace we can experience. Today, I want to take a few minutes and share with you 5 simple things you can do to experience peace from The Prince of peace- The Lord Jesus Christ.

My husband and I have been married for 15 years and we have 3 kids. In that time, 3 out of 5 people in our house are getting support because of a high level of anxiety.

Needless to say, we are well-versed in feeling anxious, stressed and worried. 

My husband and I have been married for 15 years and we have 3 kids. In that time, 3 out of 5 people in our house are getting support because of a high level of anxiety.

Now when I say support, I mean either medication or counselling or both. And I’m not just talking about everyday anxieties. I’m talking about extreme anxiety that actually inhibits people’s lives. 

Needless to say, we have a lot of experience with feelings of anxiety, stress, worry, and a bunch more. 

When our kids act out due to their anxiety, we encourage them to use calm-down routines and work on finding triggers for their anxiety. 

Those things can take a lot of time, but it’s not everything we can do. 

We also encourage our kids to refocus their thoughts on The Lord and take time to thank Him for who He is and what He has done for them. 

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

The Bible tells us we are going to face hard times. Just because we are Christians, it doesn’t mean we are exempt from facing trials. 

Since we know we are going to face trials, I want to share with you some practical things we can do to have peace regardless of what goes on around us. 

One of the things I love to do is teach people to turn to scripture for answers. The Bible is extremely practical and tells us exactly what we can do to gain peace. 

I want to spend a few minutes sharing practical things we can do, or stay away from to gain peace. 

5 simple things you can do to experience peace

1. Accept The Lord as saviour

The first thing we need to do is accept The Lord as our saviour. To experience true peace, we must be saved.

True peace doesn’t come from ourselves, doesn’t come from the world around us. It comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5: 1-2 

Our salvation gives us access to God- He is the source of all peace. 

We are enemies with God, and so we’re not close to God. And so we’re not going to feel peace when we’re separated from him. But when we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as a Lord and personal saviour, we suddenly gain a relationship with the Lord.

But then we get access into his presence and so the King of peace himself, then his presence and who he is is what gives us peace.

Not only that, but once we’re saved, our salvation guarantees us eternity with him. So that means that regardless of what’s happening in their lives, we can know it’s not going to last forever and that one day I will be with God in heaven, with him for eternity.

I don’t know about you, but when my life is going crazy and things just keep happening and things feel really stressful, one of the ways my heart gets encouraged is to think about God’s timing and how certain seasons can feel really long and really hard.

The Bible tells us that those hard seasons pale in comparison to the glory and the Majesty of God and heaven. And so thinking about these things not only encourages me but gives me peace, knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that one day I will experience that eternal peace in heaven with God. 

2. End your day focused on Christ

For some reason, nighttime is when most of us feel the most unrest and anxiety. That is because we have time to think about all the things that may go wrong, worry about the future and so on.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:8

One way we can keep that unrest at bay is to end our day thinking about The Lord. By refocusing our thoughts on him, we can have a much better perspective on everything and lay down all our anxieties on someone who can actually change things.

Refocusing our thoughts from all our worries and turning our thoughts to Jesus, helps us put our trust in Him. It helps us shift the burden we are carrying from our shoulders unto His, and realize that we may not have the power to change what’s happening around us, but God does.

So instead of trying to do all those things on our own, when we take it from our shoulders to his, it’s like taking that burden off. It’s saying, OK, you know what, I can’t worry about this anymore. I cannot solve this problem. I’m going to go to the person who can solve this problem give it to him and say, OK, I trust you. And that act of trust and submission and just unloading gives us so much peace.

Trusting God

My middle daughter is 10 years old, and she really loves knowing exactly what’s gonna happen. You know, from morning until the night she needs a schedule.

When she doesn’t know what’s happening next, she feels really, really anxious. And so she tries to rush the schedule or she’s always asking me what’s happening next, what’s happening next, what’s happening next.

It’s gotten so bad that in some instances I have to take her face and point it towards mine and say: Hey! Worrying about what happens next isn’t your job. That’s my job. I know the schedule. I know what we’re doing first. I know what we’re doing next. So don’t worry about it. I’ve got this.

As I’m having those conversations with my daughter, I can’t help but relate it to my relationship with the Lord.

Sometimes I go to the Lord. I say, what are you doing? I thought we were doing this, this, this and this. And I want to do all these things. And The Lord looks at me and says: I know what’s coming down the road. Trust me, I’ve got it.

And so handing him over that control, which really wasn’t mine, to begin with, God is in complete control of anything, suddenly shifts that burden off of me and to the Lord.

Action step:

So I want you just to take a minute and to think about some burdens that you are carrying or things that you’re worried about. And say. Is that my job to worry about this or is this something I can give to the Lord?

99.999 % of the time it’s not your burden to carry. And even if it is, the Lord says you don’t have to carry alone. Bring your burdens to me. I want to carry them for you, or I want to give you the strength for you to carry them yourself. So let’s not end our day feeling anxious and worried.

Let’s end our days thinking about the Lord and giving him our burdens in our worry. And I promise you that peace will come.

A picture of a woman, her eyes closed, looking like she is full of peace. Above the picture are the words, 5 simple things you can do to experience peace.  New post, www.onedeterminedlife.com

3. Pursue Peace

One of the things I get caught up in is perceived or actual injustice. There is nothing else that gets me so riled up.

It’s even come to the point that sometimes, my husband and I will be laying in bed and he’ll say, I’m not sure if I need to tell you now or later, because if I do, you’re probably going to be bothered by it and you won’t be able to sleep.

But I wish he wouldn’t even say that because then my mind gets curious and I want to know what’s the thing? And so I beg him to tell me. And then he tells me, and guess what happens? I get fired up. And then I have the hardest time falling asleep because I don’t want those injustices to continue.

I want to find a solution to the problem and get it done. And these events really bother me, and they weigh on me. I really noticed this during COVID.

I got caught up in all the different opinions of what was happening with COVID regulations and what we weren’t allowed to do, and vaccines are no vaccine.

And I’m sure this happened with you and your family or your church, but suddenly you had two very different camps and they were in opposition to each other. And so I was in a particular camp, and any time I thought about the other camp- I would just get frustrated and think: what are they thinking? That is so completely and utterly ridiculous.

And the frustration would rise in me and I would just feed into it. I’d read the news stories, and I’d read the comments. I was very tempted to post on social media a million times trying to “be like, no, we got to”correct” the other side.

There is a better way

But there’s a better way. What I noticed is that those actions were not in pursuit of peace. They were in pursuit of being right or showing that they know more than this person or that person and the divide just got bigger and bigger and bigger.

The Lord was so gracious to me and showed me that I was getting angry at your brother and sister in Christ. You know what? They may be wrong. I may be wrong, but the Lord wants us to pursue peace, not unrest.

And so when we fight with one another when we fight with other Christians- that’s just bringing more unrest. And so the Lord encourages us to say, I don’t want you to go after those things that bring up arguments.

These types of divisions bring nothing but unrest. 

Scripture tells us that there is a better way. The Bible is full of verses that encourage us to stay away from these types of arguments.  

We are called to seek peace and pursue it. But too often we pursue being right and put it above our relationship with God and other Christians. 

Learning to drop issues

We’ve got three kids and they fight about everything, and sometimes they’ll come to us and they’ll just start telling us all the things that they’re fighting about.

And one of the things I start thinking and telling them is this is not worth an argument, just let it go. And then I think ohh you know what? That is also something I need to tell myself.

How many times do I get upset about something that just gets me fired up and not at peace at all? That is not worth the energy or the argument.

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 34:14

Growing up in my family, we argued a lot. And so when I got married, my husband does not like confrontation. And so suddenly there was no argument and I hardly knew what to do with myself.

Sometimes I would try to like poke him just to start an argument and he just would not bite. And so one day I was feeling like I needed an like a fight. And he asks me why don’t you just call your sister? So I called my sister and I forget what in the world happened, but we ended up in a big argument.

At the end of the phone call, we were both like, thanks, I needed that.

The reason why that was so fulfilling was that I had just known this pattern of just fighting. And my husband just showed me a new way.

Pursuing peace, pursuing relationships, and dropping arguments that are just not worth it, is so much better for me, for my mind, for our home, and for just so many different things.

But I have to choose not to let things bother me.

I need to choose to say, I’m not going to think about that. I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole. I’m not going to get into that argument.

If people want to start an argument with me, I need to be the bigger person and not taking the bait. I’m going to let it go. And then later, if it’s still really bothering me, I can wrestle that out with the Lord, but I’m not to take these different things and then go to war with other Christians.

To have true peace, we must pursue it. 

 I want you just to take a minute and to think about the things that are making you upset right now and to say. Is this an argument that I can just drop? Is it really worth getting this upset over?

I don’t know what it is that you’re thinking about right now. I know there are a ton of different scenarios, and for some of you, there are going to be fights you need to face.

But then most of the time, that argument is only going to lead to worse things down the road.

It’s not going to lead me to good relationships. It’s only gonna bring me more trials or more hard things, and so just pursuing peace is actually better in the long run for everybody.

4. Listen to The Lord

To experience true peace, we must learn to listen to The Lord and what He has to say.

I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly.

Psalm 85:8

The world is full of noise and people telling us what we should do, think and act. Every single one of us has an opinion on what is right. 

We have mini-computers in our pockets that we scroll through news or social media. We’ve got a bazillion different people telling us different messages coming from all different directions.

It’s really easy to start listening to those voices and to believe that they are right. It’s really easy to get caught up in all of it and to actually lose focus because we get strung along over here.

The Bible tells us we can be in the world, and we can be hearing those things, but The Lord wants you to listen to Him.

We have access to the God of the universe and he wants a relationship with us. He wants to speak to us through his word and through, you know, other Christians and fellowship.

But we need to take the time to choose to listen to the right voices.

Testing what we hear

My daughter came home from school one day and she was telling me how her social studies teacher studied the Bible, and she had her degree in religion.

The teacher shared an opinion with my daughter. And my daughter was convinced that her professor was right.

She thought her teacher must be right because she knew more about the Bible than my daughter does and my daughter knows a lot about Scripture.

This teacher also has a degree in religion, so she must be right.

I tried to explain to my daughter that just because somebody knows Scripture or has a degree in religion does not mean that their opinion is the right one.

Because in most cases it’s really easy to take anything we hear from the scripture and to shift its meaning or to make it say what we want to hear.

And then we only join groups that agree with us so that our point of view continues to be validated, regardless if it’s biblical or not.

And so my daughter now thinks that I’m completely wrong. But I was just trying to explain to her that it’s easy to get caught up in people’s opinions because then, you know, they tell us, well, I know this because I’m an expert, and so you have to believe me.

Why we need to test what we hear

When we don’t compare those things to what we read in Scripture, then there’s no guarantee to know that anyone is actually telling the truth.

We always need to compare what people say with God’s word.

This wisdom and practice takes time.

I’ve been a Christian for 35 years. And I’m still learning to get the noise out of my brain and to hone in on the Lord himself.

It takes time to know what Scripture says, and it takes time to be able to discern the voice of the Lord so that we can hear it above every other things.

But not only that, but then we need to choose to listen to his voice.

Choose to listen to The Lord’s voice

So we have to learn what The Lord sounds like, and then we have to choose to listen to it above everything else.

But it doesn’t end there. Once you know what The Lord’s voice sounds like, now that we’ve heard Him speak to us, we need to go ahead and obey Him and do what The Lord calls us to do.

And so I encourage you to take some time and to think what are all the things that I’m watching, listening to, hearing, and thinking that are not from the Lord?

And then think about how you can drown out those voices so that you can focus on the Lord and His voice and what He wants you to do.

And like I said, that’s a process and it takes time. So I don’t want you to feel discouraged that you, you know, don’t get it right or whatever.

This is just something that I want to encourage you just to be continuing doing.

Always challenge what you think you know. Always challenge yourself and your thoughts and what you believe and challenge it with the truth, which is Scripture itself. So drown out the noises and instead of listening to all those things around you, focus in and listen to the Lord.

5. Love the Word of God

To end our time together, I want to share one more practical thing we can do to gain peace. That is to LOVE the word of God.

The Bible tells us that spending time in God’s word brings us peace. 

The Bible tells us that spending time with the Lord in his word will bring us peace.

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Psalm 119:165

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in scripture and it’s all about the word of God and encourages us to love it and enjoy it. This verse uses the word law, but this word is referring to the word of God. 

Psalm 119 is a poem and has 26 sections I believe. Each section is a stanza that expresses and tells people and saying how they love your word and is talking about loving the word of God and the benefits of loving the word of God.

And so this entire chapter is about encouraging us to not only read God’s word but to love it and to want to spend time with it.

So if you’re not loving the word of God and you’re not longing to be in it, instead of feeling discouraged, I encourage you to bring that to the Lord and say I want to love your word. Please give me that longing so that I can spend time with it.

And I know that when I’ve done that, the Lord has either shifted my perspective or He’s helped me make that time to really spend time with him.

And then when I’m studying the word of God for myself and I can find those gold little Nuggets that are really, truly encouraging to me.

Then I start loving spending time with the Lord because I know that if I keep digging, I’m going to find more treasure. So when we love the word of God, then we want to spend more time with him.

And then when we do that, we learn more about him.

And anytime we’re focusing on the Lord and not ourselves and not the other voices around us, we’re only going to gain more peace. And this is the number one thing you can do to gain peace.

The Source of Lasting Peace

So if you’ve forgotten everything else, I want you to remember one thing if you’re feeling anxious or unrest or you’re lacking that peace, and you want more of it—-

I encourage you to spend time with the Lord Jesus Christ. And you can do that through scripture reading, prayer, and lots of other ways.

But that is how you’re going to gain peace just to spend time with God, learn who he is, and learn his perspective on things.

So that you’re not getting as anxious about different things and you’re learning to trust him with all of those worries.

So I want you to know that regardless of what’s happening in your world right now, you can find peace.

Our peace is in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has conquered death and gives us everything we need to find peace in him and have a relationship with him.

So I encourage you today just to take a moment and spend time with the Lord and go to the source of peace so that you can experience it.

3 mistakes keeping you stuck in your faith

Have you ever felt stuck in your faith like nothing was changing and like you were going absolutely nowhere? I know I have, and I’ve actually felt like that more than once. The Bible tells us that there might be things we are doing or not doing that are keeping us from moving forward. So stick with me today as I share with you 3 mistakes keeping you stuck in your faith and the steps you can take to change it.

3 mistakes keeping you stuck in your faith

1. You might have offended someone

The first thing you should consider is whether or not you’ve offended someone.

Maybe you’ve done something or said something that has hurt or offended someone you know.

The Bible is very clear about how that affects our faith and then tells us exactly what steps we should take.

Matthew 5:23- 24 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

These verses tell us there are some preparation steps we need to take before we go and worship God.

If you go to church on Sundays and they have a communion service, then on Saturday, you should take some time and pray to the Lord and ask him, whether you offended somebody.

Have you done or said something that has hurt somebody’s feelings? If the Lord says yes and even gives you a name, then scripture tells us that you must then put in the work to try and reconcile with that person, and then you can go worship.

That means you might need to make a call or write an email. Whatever that action is, you must take that step of reconciliation before then you go and worship God.

If you don’t, then that unforgiveness is like the elephant in the room and is a hindrance to your worship.

So to get unstuck, we must prioritize mending fences with people that we have offended.

2. Not Bringing something to The Lord in Prayer

I often want to do things on my own, but later realize it’s harder than I thought and I need the Lord’s help.

I do this all the time when planning projects. I have a million great ideas and I just start. And then a couple of days in or even a few weeks in and I realize that I haven’t actually prayed and asked the Lord whether or not He wants me to be working on this project and what I should really be focusing on.

The remedy for this is to depend on the Lord for everything we do.

I’m not saying that you need to ask the Lord what you’re going to have for breakfast, but I encourage you to spend some time and think of the different decisions you make throughout the day and pick a few that you then bring before the Lord before you do anything about it.

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

The Bible tells us that when we seek wisdom from the Lord, He will give it to us. When we ask the Lord for direction, He will tell us which steps to take.

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I’ll give you an example.

Currently, my middle daughter is having some learning difficulties and so we are praying about what school to send her to next year. We know the decision has to be made within the next couple of weeks and we just don’t know which one to pick.

So what we’re doing is we’re praying about it.

But at the same time, we are also seriously considering each option.

What does this look like? So, for example, there’s an open house at one of the schools that we’re interested in. So we’re going to go to the open house, and we will talk about the program, and see what sort of support they have in place and what we can expect from the teachers.

We’ve also talked to the principal at a different school about a different program that she’s qualified to go to learn more about that.

We’re not just waiting for God to give us direction, but we’re actively seeking information so that when we feel peace from the Lord, we’ve done our part and we have all the information.

I find that when we collect the information, it’s in those meetings, it’s in those discussions, it’s in the small things that the Lord may prompt you and tell us which school is the best fit.

It’s really easy to make those decisions without Him or to not invite Him in that decision-making.

But I find that it’s so much easier to bring the Lord. Ask him for guidance and then actively seek information so that you are making wise, biblical God LED decisions.

Related Blog Post

3. You are putting too much stock in earthly things

I have a question for you. What takes up most of your time?

I ask because we all claim to be busy, but what will our efforts add up to when we realize that all material things will one day disappear? It puts everything else in perspective.

Matthew Chapter 5:19-20  Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

These verses tell us we need to measure our wealth and other outcomes the way God does. This means we need to think about how our actions affect eternity, and if they don’t have any effect on eternity, then we need to seriously consider whether or not we should partake in those activities.

I can’t give you a list of things that will add to the Kingdom or things that won’t because everybody has a different opinion.

And I’ll give you an example.

A few years ago my husband was training for triathlons and one Christian asked him, why are you spending all your time training? Wouldn’t that time be better spent reading your Bible and serving the Lord?

Maybe that man was building treasure in heaven by reading his Bible and praying. But for my husband, the training was helping his mental health so that he could be a better husband, a better father, a better leader, and a better worker.

And so doing physical exercise was helping him be the man God called him to be.

So his activities didn’t necessarily have a direct effect on building the Kingdom, but they affected how well he was doing in building the Kingdom.

I hope you can see the connection that sometimes there isn’t a very clear cut. Well, this builds treasure in heaven and this doesn’t.

I’m not gonna tell you to do this, don’t do that. But I’m gonna go back to my earlier point. (praying about everything)

In everything you do, whether it’s extracurricular things or even service for the Lord; Bring those things before the Lord and ask God to direct you.

And while you’re doing those things, change your attitude so that you’re doing those things for the Lord.

And when you are doing that, then you are building things for eternity because you’re seeking God.

When we seek to know and do God’s will we are showing and expressing our love to Him.

Conclusion

So I want you just to take a minute and consider these three mistakes that we’ve gone through.

  • Maybe you’ve offended somebody.
  • or you’re not bringing things to the Lord in prayer.
  • Maybe you’re putting too much stock in earthly things.

I encourage you to take some time to pray about those particular areas and seek the Lord and see what He brings back to you.

Maybe He’ll show you which specific thing is keeping you from having a closer relationship with him.

And when He shows you, it’s not enough to just know what is keeping you from getting unstuck, you have to then make that change.

So that means maybe asking a brother or sister in Christ for forgiveness. Maybe it’s starting to invite the Lord into the decisions that you’re making in your everyday life. Or it’s time to reprioritize things in your life because you’re putting too much activity and too much emphasis on the things of this world and not in heaven.

I hope that through this blog post, you’ve been able to gain a deeper understanding and insight into the practicality of the Christian faith in today’s world.

My goal is to help you grow in your relationship with Jesus and to use the Bible practically in your life. May the Lord bless and encourage you.

4 common hurdles in reading The Bible

As Christians, we know the best way to know God more is to read our Bibles. This sounds like it should be easy, but we often have a hard time sitting down and actually reading God’s word. Most people have hurdles they have to overcome. Continue to read as I share 4 common hurdles in reading The Bible and how to overcome them.

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4 common hurdles in reading The Bible (and how to overcome them)

Today, we’re going to talk about four different hurdles we can face when reading the Bible. As Christians, we all want to read the Bible and pray more and we know what to do, right? There is a Sunday school song that says: read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow.

We know that that’s how we get to know God more.

But knowing it and actually doing it are two different things.

And if you’re like me, then Bible reading every day isn’t easy for you. It’s something that maybe you struggle with.

And if it is, then it means that there’s some sort of barrier keeping you from doing what it is that you want to do. So today we’re going to take some time to talk about some of the barriers we can face while reading The Bible and I’m going to give you a few tips on how to overcome them so that hopefully you can have some success later on.

And I really hope that you don’t feel judged or diminished in any way when I go through these things, because, for one, we all go through different struggles when it comes to our relationship with the Lord. I think it’s normal.
I feel like talking about it is really good because we can encourage each other and just know that I
also struggle with some of these things.

There are many hurdles that may come our way during Bible study, but today I wanted to focus on 4. 

For each, I’ll share what each hurdle may look like and then give a few tips to overcome them. 

1. Not enough time 

This may be you if:

  • You always feel rushed
  • You never seem to have enough time in your day
  • You don’t know what your priorities are 
  • You spend too much time on tasks that don’t bring your closer to meeting your goal

A few tips to help you overcome this barrier

A) Make a list of all the things you are doing:

My first piece of advice is to make a list of all the things that you’re doing and then reevaluate to see if
they are important right now.

For example, every summer my husband mows the grass on Saturday mornings, but now it’s fall.

We haven’t had a lot of rain, so our grass isn’t growing and so it would be a waste of time for him to
spend thirty-forty minutes mowing the grass. So in the fall, he takes that off his To Do
List.

A picture of 3 women jumping over a hurdle. Above the picture are the words 4 common hurdles in reading The Bible. www.onedeterminedlife.com

B) Replace with Reading The Bible

Now the trick here is to go through your routines and you see that you don’t have to do
something anymore because the seasons have changed.

You want to make sure you replace part of your FREE time with reading your Bible and maybe the rest of that time resting so that you’re not feeling like you’re adding things to your routine.

And then on top of that, you’re feeling more rested than normal because that usual task is not on
your list anymore.

These things can be anything from chores or activities with children or family obligations or maybe work. Anything that isn’t always the same throughout the year.

Think about, whether or not something needs to be done right now. Can I do this on a day when I
have more time or do we have to continue doing this right now because the season changed?

For example: Maybe you’re a gardener and in the summer that takes up a lot of the time of your time.
Then in the wintertime, it doesn’t.

So then it’s using some of that time that you were doing something else and just adding Scripture into that.

C) Find creative times in your day to include fellowship with God

For example, if you’re feeling like you have too much to do and there’s too much going on and you don’t want to add one more thing to your To-Do List.

What you can do is think of something you’re already doing and then add scripture, or prayer time to that
event.

So for example, when I am in the car by myself, whether that’s going to run errands or picking
up the kids or dropping something off, what I like to do is to turn off my radio and then I spend that time in prayer.

So I’m not adding to the things I have to do. I’m just adding prayer or scripture reading to what I’m already doing.

I know many people who will listen to an audio Bible while they’re doing something. Because that works really well for them.

So if you’re an auditory learner, then maybe it’s listening to the Bible while you’re doing something else

2. Distractions

The second hurdle I want to talk about is distractions. If this is you then

  • You have young kids who don’t give you any time and keep interrupting your quiet time
  • When you do take time to read the bible and pray, your mind wonders and you spend that time thinking about everything else you need to accomplish
  • Your phone is always on and you immediately respond to alerts

A few helpful tips:

A) Turn off ANY digital distractions

My phone was a huge destruction for me for a long time. I took the extreme step and switched from a smartphone to a regular phone. I did this for 2 years, and am now back to using a smartphone.

The 2 years without a smartphone help me create boundaries over phone use and I learned how to limit phone distractions.

I’m not telling you to get rid of your phone, but playing with the notification settings will help.

I know that on my phone there’s a setting I can go in and I will say do not disturb. So when that
is on I will not hear the phone call and I will not get a notification about a text coming in.

So then those notifications aren’t going to draw my attention away from when I’m studying my Bible and will be there once I’m done. I can go back into the settings, turn on my notifications, check my
voicemail, check my texts, see what I’ve missed, and go on.

Now, if that’s even going to be too tempting for you, try putting your phone on the other side of your house, maybe in your bedroom or somewhere where you’re not going to be so that when those notifications do come in, you don’t even hear them because you don’t see them, depending on how tempting the phone can be.

An image with The Bible verse Colossians 3:2

B) What to do with the Kids

If you’re like me when my kids are babies, I really wanted to read my Bible in front of them because I wanted to set a good example, but they would like to take out my markers and try to colour in them and it just created so much more stress for me.

So the idea of reading my Bible and trying to study it with my kids around just was not good for my mental health and so I had to find other times.

I then switched to reading my Bible during quiet time. If you’ve had young kids, you know that when
they’re young there’s not a lot of quiet time. So sometimes I would do this when they were watching TV
or while they were napping.

I also found that there were always natural parts of the day when the kids had less energy or were
playing happily together, where I could have five-ten minutes reading scripture without them
disrupting me.

But there are also times as a mother when there was no time during the day when I didn’t have one kid on me. And so that’s when I talked to my husband. And we decided that during a portion of the week, he would spend the time with the kids so that I can take that time to be with the Lord alone without any distractions.

I know that that’s a privilege and not everybody listening has a spouse or family that can do
that for them. Or if they do, it’s not daily or weekly, but it’s really just taking some time to figure out how you can have quiet time with kids around and find a time that works for you.


C) Follow a reading plan

I have a busy mind and so I often get distracted reading my Bible and Praying. To help me with that, I follow a Bible reading plan. I can go back to my plan and remember what I’m reading and then I’m doing it.

It’s a good trigger to remind my brain hand you’re reading the Bible today, get back to this plan.

D) Keep a prayer journal

The second struggle I have is to keep focused on praying. I often start praying for something and then get distracted from another thought.

What has helped with that is having a prayer journal. That way I can write down who I’m praying for and what I’m praying for.

That way, if I do go down some rabbit trails and I catch myself, I think don’t have to spend
all this time trying to think about what or who I was praying for. I can go back to my journal and see where I left off.

1 Year Bible reading plan

3. Negative Self-talk

You may be someone who needs help overcoming negative self-talk. This can look like:

  • You feel guilty for not reading your bible or praying
  • Your guilt keeps you from even trying to reach your goal
  • You have recently sinned and feel too guilty to enter into His presence and seek a fresh start
  • You feel like a fake or fraud for calling yourself a Christian because of doubts you may have
  • You let past experiences dictate your current decisions 
  • You don’t just want to read your bible out of habit so you don’t start
  • You let past failures influence your feelings about church and create new habits

Tips To overcome this

A) Challenge thoughts with Scripture

The best thing we can do to overcome some negative talk is to challenge those thoughts with scripture.

We have a great example of Jesus in the desert where Satan comes and tempts him and Jesus replies with Scripture.

So the best way we can fight the lies that Satan likes to throw at us is with scripture.

for through him we both have our access in one spirit to the father.

Ephesians 2:18

If you’re feeling like you don’t belong in God’s presence, there are many verses that say otherwise. And so the lies that the devil throws at you may be different than the lies he throws at me.

And so you can spend a few minutes and figure out what are the specific lies that the devil is telling me, and then think of verses that can contradict the lie.

Then those verses tell me exactly God’s opinion so that I can fight back with the word of God.



B) Challenge thoughts with truth

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellent if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

I encourage you, anytime you have some negative self-talk, whether you’re putting yourself
down, whether you’re making yourself feel like you’re not worthy enough and those thoughts are just
filling up your mind, let that be a trigger to remind you of the truth.

Ask yourself, what is good, what is just, what is lovely. This verse is a really long way of saying to think about the Lord because He is all these things.

And anytime we think badly of ourselves and look down on ourselves, we can come back to the Lord and think about Him and He’ll give us a proper view of what’s happening.

I find just these two things are an excellent way to challenge those negative thoughts that we have and then encourage me to come into his presence.

When I do that, I realized God is such a loving father, even if all those negative thoughts are true. His love and his sacrifice have taken those all away.

So, in His presence, He doesn’t see those things. He sees the sacrifice Jesus made for us and our sin has been taken away.

It gives us the mindset of Jesus when He looks at us and what He says about us and not what we say about ourselves.

One thing that I heard recently I thought was completely brilliant is this: speak to yourself the way
you would speak to a friend.

So if a friend is going through a really hard time, you’re not going to turn around and say, mean things. No, you would never do that because they’re your friend.

But we say that to ourselves because we feel like that.

And so it’s just practicing giving yourself grace. Speaking truth to yourself the way you would speak to a friend.

4. Lack of Confidence 

This can be a barrier you face if:

  • You believe that you can’t truly understand what the bible says
  • You think that only “scholars” can study the bible
  • You don’t know all the “Christian” language and are afraid you won’t ever understand it
  • You feel like you don’t below and aren’t good enough

Tips to overcome this:

A) Remember Hebrews 4:14-15

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4: 14-16 

This is just a long way of saying, nowhere in this does it say that you have to have a certain IQ or a certain understanding or certain position to be in the presence of God.

Regardless of who we are, when we come through the Lord Jesus Christ, we are all accepted into the presence of God and we can come into His presence with boldness.

We can do so because we stand on the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ and on His merit, not ours.


B) Look at who God met with
  • Look at who God met with: Think back through all the stories in the New Testament and who He met with. He met tax collectors, lepers, and sinners.
  • Look at who He chose to be His disciples: Then you. I want you to look at who he chose to be his disciples. So again there was a tax collector, a fisherman, and a doctor. These were all regular people, with normal jobs and IQ
  • Look at who He called out to: He called out to women, to children, minority groups, the sick, and the outcasts.

Jesus interacted with all these people

Nowhere in Scripture does it say that you have to be good enough to see Jesus.

What you do see is Jesus spending time with all those people who were sick with sin.

If Jesus can meet with lepers and sinners and prostitutes and the lowly, then He
can meet us too.

When we read Scripture it says God so loved the world, the world includes us. There is nothing that can separate us from the Lord’s presence.

Jesus is calling us to come to him. He wants all people to come to him and know him.

Action Steps 

  • I want you to identify your number one stumbling block. If I did not part the four on my list, make a fifth stumbling block and then let me know about it.
  • Make a plan to overcome that barrier.
  • Check out The Faith in Action Conference.

The Faith in Action Conference

The Faith in Action Conference is a FREE 4-day virtual event to help Christian women take action in their faith through a deep dive Bible study of Mathew 5-7 & James.

The conference is all about helping Christian women take action in their faith through a deep dive into Bible study.

16 speakers over 4 days will help you discover how to live out your faith by looking at Mathew chapters 5-7 & James. These chapters are filled with practical advice for us. Everything from how to treat one another, to marriage advice.

Click here to register for your FREE ticket today!

5 simple steps to get started in Bible Study

I like spending time on Facebook and Instagram and there seems to be one question that gets asked over and over again. How do I get started in Bible study? Since so many people have asked this question, I want to take just a few minutes to get started. Today I’m going to tell you 5 simple steps to get started in Bible Study.

5 simple steps to get started in Bible Study

1. The Tools you NEED to study The Bible

You only need two things to study the Bible. You need a Bible and you need The Holy Spirit. 

Anyone saying you need something else is misdirecting you. 

Bible apps, study books, commentaries, and bible studies are great tools. I use it on a regular basis. 

But! You don’t NEED them!

As a Christian, you have The Holy Spirit in you. He will reveal to you what God has to say to you when you read The Bible. 

2. Exactly where to start when studying your Bible

Grab your bible and open it to any part of the Bible. 

Yes, you heard that right. ANY PAR Of the BIBLE!!!! There are for sure some books that I would recommend you start in, but these are just recommendations. 

Don’t get too caught up in where to start studying.

Pick a book and read it.

The Lord will use the scripture you are reading to speak to you. 

Let me give you an example. A few years ago, our lady’s Bible study was studying Judges!

When was the last time you studied that!! Let alone read it. 

There is a lot of weird stuff going on in that book and some parts are a bit dark. 

But, believe it or not. The Lord used the book of judges to speak to me and to console me as I was processing the death of my cousin. 

So, pick a book and read it and see what God has to say to you. You might be surprised by what verses God will use to teach you. 

Since it’s His book, He is on every page. 

But, if you really want to know a good place to start, I suggest starting in Matthew or John.

3. How to get more out of Reading The Bible 

It’s one thing to read The Bible, but it’s another to learn about what The Bible says and to study it. If you are not sure about the difference, read this.

The best way to get more out of your Bible reading is to ask yourself some W questions. 

Who, What, When, Where, Why

Example: 

  1. Who is it about?
  2. What happened?
  3. When did it take place?
  4. Where did it take place?
  5. Why did it happen?

These are not all the questions you can ask. There are more, but you can also make up your own questions.

When you start asking questions, you learn more and start connecting pieces of scripture and knowledge together. It’s an amazing way to learn more about God.

A picture of a person sitting at a table with a Bible open as they read. On top of the image is a white block with words that say 5 simple steps to get started in Bible study. www.onedeterminedlife.com

4. Record everything 

If you are like me, then you have a short memory. To help you remember what you have read and learned during Bile study is to have some paper on hand and write stuff down. 

As you read, ask yourself questions and write your answers and thoughts. Studies show that you will keep more information when you write something down. 

5. Pray

I’ve saved the most important part for last. If you want to understand what you read, and you want to know how The Bible applies to your life, YOU MUST SEEK THE LORD IN PRAYER. 

When you pray: 

  • Ask for guidance in what you read.
  • Ask for wisdom and understanding when you read 
  • Ask The Lord what He wants you to learn
  • Ask The Lord to convict you in what He wants you to change, or do 
  • Ask for the courage and dedication to obey what The Lord tells you

5 Simple questions to ask in Bible Study: 

  • Who: who is this text about
  • What: what is happening in the text 
  • Where: where is the story located- town, home, etc 
  • When: When is this story happening? Old Testament, New Testament- year, month.
  • How: How does this passage relate to you? What can you learn from what you read? 

5 FREE Bible study tools to get you started 

And that’s it. 

You heard me right. 

Bible study does not have to be complicated. It doesn’t need to be some orchestration. 

You spend some time each day doing this and after a while, you will see that you have a deeper understanding of who God is and what the Bible says. 

The Faith in Action Conference

The Faith in Action Conference is a FREE 4-day virtual event to help Christian women take action in their faith through a deep dive Bible study of Mathew 5-7 & James.

The conference is all about helping Christian women take action in their faith through a deep dive into Bible study.

16 speakers over 4 days will help you discover how to live out your faith by looking at Mathew chapters 5-7 & James. These chapters are filled with practical advice for us. Everything from how to treat one another, to marriage advice.

Click here to register for your FREE ticket today!

The Best 5 easy to read Bible translations

As you may know, there are many Bible translations out there, and every church and denomination has a strong opinion of which are the best easy-to-read Bible translations and why. 

I was raised reading The New King James Bible. Since that is the case, it’s still what I read today because I am so familiar with the wording. 

But, there are many Bible translations out there, and it’s important to know the differences between them, and which ones are easiest for people to read. 

Easy to read Bible translations

3 Different Types of Bible Translations 

1. Literal Translation

Also referred to as a word-for-word translation, the goal of this type of translation is to stay as close as possible to the words and phrases used in the original language. Where possible, this translation will attempt to find a single English word to use for each Hebrew or Greek word in the original (earliest available) manuscripts. This kind of translation keeps the historical distance at a minimum, and it keeps the translator’s opinion at a minimum.

However, these kinds of translations can sometimes be more difficult to read. Often a word-for-word translation is not as smooth and fails to communicate fuller concepts and ideas where there is no exact one-for-one exchange of terminology. 

Examples of this type include:  King James Version (KJV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), and the English Standard Version (ESV).

 

2. Dynamic Equivalent

Also referred to as a thought-for-thought translation, the goal of this type of translation is to find precise equivalents for words, idioms, and grammatical constructions from the original languages. 

It attempts to keep historical and factual matters intact while updating language, grammar, and style to improve the communication of ideas into something easier to read and understand by the modern reader.

Examples of this type of translation include:  the New International Version (NIV), the New Living Translation (NLT), and the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

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3. Free Translation

Also referred to as a paraphrase, the goal of this type of translation is to communicate ideas from one language to another without trying to maintain the exact structure and word use. 

This form of translation intentionally increases the historical distance as a way to bring the ideas closer to us as it relates to cultural relevance. 

They tend to be among the easiest translations to read and understand.

The downside of this type of translation is a greater opportunity for the translator’s opinion to creep in and present factual and historical differences from the original intent. 

Examples of this type of translation include The Phillips Version, The Living Bible (LB), and The Message (MSG).

The Best 5 easy to read Bible translations

1. The New Living Translation

The New Living Translation (NLT) uses normal modern English, making it an easy-to-understand version.

The New Living Translation is a text that tries to make the same impact in the life of modern readers that the original text had for the original readers. In the New Living Translation, this is accomplished by translating entire thoughts (rather than just words) into natural, everyday English. The end result is a translation that is easy to read and understand and that accurately communicates the meaning of the original text.

2. New International Revised Version

The New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) is a Bible version based on the New International Version (NIV). The NIV is easy to understand and very clear. More people read the NIV than any other English Bible. The NIrV is even easier to read and understand. Translators tried to use the words of the NIV when possible and sometimes used shorter words. They also made the sentences shorter.

We did some other things to make the NIrV a helpful Bible version for you. For example, sometimes a Bible verse quotes from another place in the Bible. When that happens, we put the other Bible book’s name, chapter and verse right there. We separated each chapter into shorter sections. We gave a title to almost every chapter. Sometimes we even gave a title to the shorter sections. That will help you understand what each chapter or section is all about.

The NIrV says just what the first writers of the Bible said. Translators used the best and oldest copies of Hebrew and Greek. 

3. The English Standard Version

When referring to the best Bible to read and understand, The English Standard Version is good to use. 

It is an essentially literal translation of the Bible in contemporary English written by a team of 95 best scholars and writers, it has become a standard for Bible readers and translators.


The ESV Bible emphasizes word-for-word accuracy, literary excellence, and depth of meaning. Its best characteristics are accurate, reliable, clear, and biblical truth without losing the original sense of the passages.

4. The Message: 

The Message New Testament was written to capture the tone of the text and the original conversational feel of the Greek, in contemporary English.

The Message was designed to be read by contemporary people and strives to help readers hear the living Word of God—the Bible—in a way that engages and intrigues us right where we are.

The message is not a word-for-word translation but tries to express the rhythm of the voices, and share the idea or feeling a word invokes in addition to its literal or primary meaning. 

The goal of The Message is to engage people in the reading process and help them understand what they read. This is not a study Bible, but rather “”a reading Bible.”” The verse numbers, which are not in the original documents, have been left out of the print version to facilitate easy and enjoyable reading. 

Bily Graham Quote

5. New International Version (NIV)

The New International Version is easy to read and understand, and it is widely accepted in Christian denominations worldwide. 

The New International Version (NIV) is a completely original translation of the Bible developed by more than one hundred scholars working from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts.

From the very start, the NIV sought to bring modern Bible readers as close as possible to the experience of the very first Bible readers: providing the best possible blend of transparency to the original documents and comprehension of the original meaning in every verse. 

The NIV appeals to people looking for a trustworthy, conventional, and easy-to-read text. The NIV Study Bibles are best for those who prefer a less literal translation.

Which Translation is the “Right” Translation?

Considering the strengths and weaknesses of each type of Bible translation, I believe that the right one is to read a variety of versions! 

Each different Bible translation adds its own value to understanding the original, plain meaning of the Biblical texts. 

I grew up reading The New King James Bible, and that is the one I am most comfortable is. So, when I’m studying The Bible, that’s the one I use the most. 

But, when I come to a verse, or passage that I can’t understand, I compare the verse in a variety of versions. 

Doing this, it helps get a clear picture of the passage. 

Choosing a version is a personal choice. To pick one, make sure you fully understand the strengths and limitations of whichever translation you are reading. 

It’s important to note, that a FREE translation like The Message, should not be used to build a theological belief. But, it can be used to improve your understanding of a passage that you are studying. 

Remember, whichever version you choose- make sure to remember the purpose of reading The Bible, which is to know God more and grow in your faith and understanding.

To dig into scripture, attend The Faith in Action Conference.  

The Faith in Action Conference

The Faith in Action Conference is a FREE 4-day virtual event to help Christian women take action in their faith through a deep dive Bible study of Mathew 5-7 & James.

The conference is all about helping Christian women take action in their faith through a deep dive into Bible study.

16 speakers over 4 days will help you discover how to live out your faith by looking at Mathew chapters 5-7 & James. These chapters are filled with practical advice for us. Everything from how to treat one another, to marriage advice.

Click here to register for your FREE ticket today!

In the comments, tell me what Bible version you read and what you like about it. 

Multiple Types of Bible Reading Plans

Growing up, one of my favourite things to do was to go to The Bible bookstore and look at all the Bible studies, books, and CDs. These days, most of those stores no longer exist and the shopping experience is now online. There are so many types of Bibles and studies that it’s hard to find what you are looking for. To help you in your search I share multiple types of Bible Reading plans. 

**This blog post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy for more information.

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Types of Bible Reading plans

We can find Bible reading plans in physical books and online 

Some Bible reading plans can be found at the start of a Bible or at the end. 

For this option, look at the feature section of the description when shopping online. You can also look at the table on content which will tell you what additional pages they included.

Online Bible reading plans can also be printed off and put in your Bible or another accessible location. 

Read The Bible in 1 year: 

  • One Year Bible Reading Plan: this easy-to-use pamphlet offers 3 different plans to choose from. It tells you what to read and when to read it, helping you stay on track throughout the year. Its large print, check boxes, easy-to-use format, flexible options, and laminations make it perfect for individual or group use. Click here to learn more. 
  • The Bible recap: A One-Year Guide to Reading and Understanding the Entire Bible. The popular Bible Recap podcast walks readers through a one-year chronological Bible reading plan and explains each day’s passage in an easy-to-understand way. Click here to learn more. 

Read The Bible in 3 years 

  • Search The Scriptures: A Three-Year Daily Devotional Guide To The Whole Bible. Search the Scriptures that can support you in your discipline of daily Bible study. Using a question-and-answer approach, helps you discover God’s truth for yourself. Click here to learn more. 

1 Year Bible reading plan

Other Bible Reading Plans 

1. Refocus

reFocus: A Manageable Bible Reading Plan is the perfect tool to focus your heart, mind, and soul clearly on what matters most in this life. reFocus enables you to move at a pace that works best for you, with three levels of reading plans—Simple, Moderate, and Intense. This allows you to grow each day by reading a few Bible verses, or a key Bible Chapter, or by reading a few Bible chapters, eventually completing the whole Bible within 250 days. Click here to learn more. 

2. Daily Truth

Daily Truth: Study and Application Notes for the 365-Day Connect the Testaments Bible Reading Plan. Each day has a set reading, theme, and selected notes for an explanation, reflection, and application. One purpose in my mind when writing the notes was to show believers they can take real lessons from every day of the 365-day connect the testaments Bible reading plan. Click here to learn more. 

Internet-Based Bible Reading Plans

One thing I love about the times we live in is access to anything we need online. 

There are many internet-based Bible reading plans to choose from. 

1. Scripture of the Day Newsletter

Inspiration in your inbox, daily. Sign up today for the free Scripture of the Day newsletter, and start receiving daily Bible verses with commentary to help you start your day right. Sign up here

2. Our Daily Bread Plans

At Our Daily Bread Ministries, we want to encourage you to spend time with God daily. The Our Daily Bread app is a great tool to connect with God throughout your day. Learn more here. 

3. Bible Reading Apps

  • YouVersion App: Get a Free Bible for your phone, IPad, or home computer. Check out The Bible App here
  • The Bible Gateway App: is the OFFICIAL and FREE mobile Bible reading and learning experience from BibleGateway.com. The Bible Gateway App makes it easy to read, hear, study, and understand the Bible. Click here to learn more. 

Bible Reading Plans for kids: 

  • Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids. This simple, gospel-centred, 365-day Bible reading plan guides children ages 6–12 through the most important passages of the Bible, helping them see and appreciate the big-picture storyline of Scripture. Click here to learn more. 
  • Meeting with Jesus: A Daily Bible Reading Plan for Kids. his reading plan introduces children ages 6–12 to Jesus Christ over the course of a year, working through the 4 Gospel narratives and what they have to teach about the Savior of the world. Click here to learn more. 

In the comments below, let me know the Types of Bible Reading plans you like using.

Grab a 1 Year Bible Reading Plan 

Do you struggle with having consistent Bible reading time? I made an easy-to-follow and flexible reading plan. Read each scripture and go to the next, or pick and choose the ones you want.

This Bible reading plan Will Help You: Save Time, have some flexibility, and encourage you to keep going. If you have been struggling to read your bible every day, this reading plan was made for you!

Click here to grab your plan today.

4 Simple Steps to daily bible reading

We live in a world that encourages and glorifies being busy. To fight that, I want to take some time to help you have a successful daily bible reading time. Continue reading as I share with you 4 simple steps you can follow.

In today’s world, we rush from one activity to the next, never feeling satisfied with what we got done, and never feeling like we have enough time.  But where does sitting down and having daily Bible reading time with God fit into that equation?

Often, it just doesn’t. It’s one of the most important things you will do in a day, and yet it gets pushed to the side or crammed into the cracks of the day. What if you set aside time just for that quiet time? What would your days look like if that were the case?

I can tell you what it looks like in my life:

  • Peace throughout the day
  • Better emotional control
  • Clarity on decision making
  • Motivation and strength to face what is coming in the day

These are just a few benefits that I’ve seen from ensuring that I have daily bible reading time. Maybe you already know that a consistent quiet time would benefit you, but you just don’t know how to get started. 

Thank you to Amanda Warfield who is our guest blogger today. Her mission is to use her passion for organization, and productivity to help every overwhelmed woman find JOY through simplicity. Read her full bio , Instagram, and Pinterest.

4 Simple Steps to daily bible reading

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1. Pick a Time

The very first thing to have daily bible reading time is to pick a time where you can consistently show up for your time with God.

Every single person I know recommends having this time first thing in the morning. But, this recommendation was a huge stumbling block for me for many years.

I took this recommendation and believed that a morning time with God was better than another time and that if I didn’t start the day with God, then I might as well give up.

I am not a morning person. I hate mornings and it just does not work for me to get up before my kids to have time with God.

So, when I finally understood that God wants daily time with me and not a specific time with me, things started to change for me.

I took the time to figure out what were the things that were making it harder for me to have some quiet time and how I could address those things.

Then, I thought about something that I already do every day and add reading God’s word in that already set routine.

For me, that was reading my email. I check my email so many times a day. So, I signed up to receive verses every day in my inbox. This slight change helped me so much.

I went from reading my bible once every so often to reading a few verses every day.

Since then, I have been able to add more time with God.

What time works for you? 

Now, if you’re a mom, you may look at this article and think that I’ve lost my mind.

How could I possibly expect you to find the time for quiet in the morning’s chaos? When you’ve got one kid that’s crawling all over you, one kid that can’t find their shoe, and another that’s crying…. that’s when I want you to have your “quiet” time?

Take some time and think about your day. Pick a time that you think will work for you and set your alarm for that time every single day. When that alarm rings, it’s your reminder to take some time and be with God.

Over a few days, you will know if the time you picked was good or not. If it’s not working, try another time.

This time will not be the same for each person. This time can also fluctuate from season to season (or periods in your life).

What to do with the kids

If need be, sit your kids down and explain to them that mommy will read your Bible during this time and that it’s going to be your special time with God. Even those that are really young will understand the concept.

Then, explain to t your kids what they may do during this time and that you don’t want them to interrupt you.

For me, nap time or TV time for the kids was a perfect time to set time aside for bible reading.

Sure, this won’t be smooth sailing all the time. Life happens and you can’t expect perfection. Just be open and communicate with your kids, and be patient as they learn this new routine.

2. Pick a Spot

The second step in having a daily bible reading time is to find a spot that you will go to each day to have a quiet time.

This is a really personal decision, so I have little advice on how to pick your spot. I will say though, don’t pick a spot that’s too comfortable! 

My favourite spot used to be on my  but I would often get so sleepy that I struggled to get much out of my quiet time on those days. I ended up having to pick a harder chair!

My other suggestion is to gather what you need and have it in your spot ahead of time. Your bible, journal, pens…. whatever tools you use during your quiet time, and put them in the spot you want to study.

That way, you don’t have to go hunting for everything you need and waste that precious time come morning.

If your kids are anything like mine, they love getting into everything and your things may not be safe close to the floor. If that is the case, pick a basket of a bin and put all your things in there, and put it out of the way for the kids. When it’s time for your quiet time, take your container down and you have whatever you need without worrying about kids getting into it.

3. Start Small

Now that you have your time and your spot, it’s time to get started.

If you’re anything like me, you may be really excited to get started and jump in with both feet. 

Maybe you have a bible study book picked out, a new journal with some fancy pens ready, and are excited to read the bible from beginning to end. Maybe you have the expectation that you will do this every day and that it will all work seamlessly.

The thing I’ve learned is that having an unrealistic expectation about what I want quiet time to look like will cause me to give up quiet time altogether.

When I was younger, I had this idea of what I wanted my study time to look like. Having that vision is not bad. But life got in the way and my study times became different from what I wanted.

I would lose track, skip a day and feel behind and discouraged.

My unrealistic expectations got in the way.

When starting a new routine, it’s important to start small.

Pick one or two things that you want to start with.

Maybe that means reading one verse a day from the Bible and then praying. Or,  it means journaling and praying.

It can also mean reading a chapter from a bible study book and praying. (I highly recommend praying to be the number one thing you do.

Whatever it is, start small. Then, as you know this routine well, you can slowly add in more steps and parts to your quiet time.

Day by day you (and your family!) will get used to this rhythm and will fall into a routine.

4. Get Back Up

The last step to daily bible reading time is actually advice.

If you are like me, you stay in a routine for a couple of days or weeks and are really excited about your progress. But then life gets in the way and you miss a day, or 2. Then, before you know it you haven’t had a quiet time for months. 

This is totally normal and doesn’t mean that you are a bad Christian.

Be honest with yourself and know that you will have days that a quiet time will not happen. Don’t let that discourage you. 

There have been too many times when my discouragement made me feel guilty and my guilt kept me away from God and the cycle would just continue.

I suggest that if you miss a day or two or a month, year (whatever) – start every day new just start again and get right back to what you were reading. 

Do you want more?

Do you want to read your bible more consistently? Do you want to know how to study the Bible on your own and know how to apply it to your life? 

You are a Christian woman who is dedicated to living a life for Christ. You want to read your bible every day, but sometimes you get distracted or are too tired to collect all the resources you need. 

It can be hard to figure it out on your own. 

That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about The Christian Growth Hub

The Christian Growth Hub is an online, monthly membership focused on helping Christian women read the Bible, understand it, and apply it to their lives. 

The Christian Growth hub helps you in your faith by: 

  • Providing monthly Bible reading plans so you never have to think about what you’re going to read in the Bible next
  • Giving you on-demand training on how to understand the Bible and new monthly training on how to apply the Bible to a particular area of your life. 
  • Connects you to an online community to give you encouragement, support, and accountability

There are so many more features. Click here to learn more about them, and see what The Christian Growth Hub offers.

If you have a consistent quiet time but are looking for a Christian community to encourage you and spur you on, click here to join my Facebook group called: Christian Women’s growth group.

Do you have any tips for having a great daily Bible reading time? Share them in the comments below.

Please share this post with friends and family.

There are many benefits to having a consistent quiet time with God. Maybe you already know that a consistent quiet time would benefit you, but you just don’t know how to get started. Here are 4 things you can do to create a quiet time routine. #quiettime, #biblestudy #bible, #christianliving, #christianlife, #christianstuggles

5-minute devotion for teachers

As a certified teacher, I know how hard it can be to teach in today’s world. There are so many things to consider, balance, watch for and teach. At times, it can feel hard and overwhelming. If you are a teacher, take some time and read this 5-minute devotion for teachers. 

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5-minute devotion for teachers

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”

1 Corinthians 15:58

1 Corinthians 15:58 is a short verse that holds many truths for teachers. Today, I’m going to focus on 3 things we can learn from this verse. 

1. Stand Firm 

I can’t believe how fast time goes, and how quickly things can change.

With the shifts in the world, it’s easy to feel anxious about what the future holds. Not just in our personal lives, but professionally as well. 

But, even though the world may change from one day to the next we know The Lord NEVER changes. 

We can stand firm in Christ because He doesn’t move. He doesn’t change. His love and sacrifice never change. We can trust that Jesus is the same today and forevermore. 

With this truth, we can stand firm in our faith and allow it to grow our confidence in Christ and His work in our lives. 

The Christian Growth Hub

2. Give yourself to the work of The Lord 

Like any other job, teaching can have good days and bad days. Most teachers enter the profession because they want to impact the lives of students. 

But, just like any other job, teaching can turn into a chore and something we do to collect a paycheck. 

That’s why we need to remember that whatever we do, we should work for The Lord. Even though there are principles and others over us- at the end of the day- we work for The Lord. 

Allowing Him to direct us, encourage us and give us wisdom in the classroom. 

3. Your labour is not in vain 

One of my biggest struggles is believing the lies the devil likes to through at me. 

One of those lies is the work I do means nothing and is worthless. 

There have been many times when I don’t see a student’s progress, or all I get from them is struggle and anger/frustration. 

These types of interactions make it easy to believe what we do is pointless. 

But, when we think like that, it’s important to remember our labor isn’t in vain. 

Even if our students never amount to anything, when we work for The Lord, our work becomes our worship to Him and brings The Lord joy. 

Not only that, but chances are, your actions affected some of your students and they think about you and what you thought more often than you know. 

The way you treat your students can impact them for years. So, don’t be discouraged. You may not see it now, but your work matters.

Do you need spiritual support?

Do you want to read your bible more consistently? Do you want to know how to study the Bible on your own and know how to apply it to your life? 

You are a Christian woman who is dedicated to living a life for Christ. You want to read your bible every day, but sometimes you get distracted or are too tired to collect all the resources you need. 

It can be hard to figure it out on your own. 

That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about The Christian Growth Hub

The Christian Growth Hub is an online, monthly membership focused on helping Christian women read the Bible, understand it, and apply it to their lives. 

The Christian Growth hub helps you in your faith by: 

  • Providing monthly Bible reading plans so you never have to think about what you’re going to read in the Bible next
  • Giving you on-demand training on how to understand the Bible and new monthly training on how to apply the Bible to a particular area of your life. 
  • Connects you to an online community to give you encouragement, support, and accountability

There are so many more features. Click here to learn more about them, and see what The Christian Growth Hub offers.

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