Joy in 2019

It wasn’t until late 2017 that I first heard the idea of choosing a word for the year. The idea intrigued me: choose a single word that all of your yearly goals point back to. To be honest, I don’t remember the word I chose for 2018 – or if I even chose one.

As I reflected on 2018, however, I did choose a word for 2019.

Joy.



I am not looking to do any and everything that makes me happy. I am simply doing two things: I am carving out the time to do the small things that I love – and am being grateful that I get to do them – and I am remembering that no matter what is going on in my world, I have a Joy that can never be taken from me.


I spent too much of the previous years trying so hard to do what I felt like I was supposed to do. I had to clean my house a certain way. I had to dress a certain way. I had to set goals a certain way. I spent so much time trying to be who I thought I was supposed to be that I never took the time to figure out who I really was, who God designed me to be.

I looked more to people on social media to figure out what I should do than I did looking to God. I decided I should do things because other people did them rather than because I wanted to do them. I have always struggled with feeling pressured to do what others do because I think it’s “the right thing to do.” I also let my circumstances dictate how I felt, leaving me feeling pretty crummy a lot of the time.


Maybe becoming a mom caused something to change, because quite frankly I got quite tired of living that way. But changing the habit of trying to conform to others’ standards so that I feel like I’m “doing it right?”

Yeah, that’s hard.

I’m a people pleaser by nature. I so badly want to have it all together.

But I don’t. And I never will. And I had to accept that just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for me – and it doesn’t mean it has to work for me. I also had to accept that if I let the circumstances of my life dictate my life, I was going to be a miserable person.


I decided to stop robbing myself of little things that I love because I felt like I had to be this super-structured person who lived by a strict schedule and always had everything done.

I’ve started doing things that I love again simply because I want to. Small things like reading four books at once, writing fiction, spending time with friends and family, and watching sunsets. These little things may seem insignificant, but they are little moments, little things, that I am so grateful for.

We can’t throw our responsibilities to the wind, but we can learn to be more flexible. We can leave dishes in the sink overnight because it’s been a hard day and we’d like to take a bath and relax. We can fold the laundry later so that we can play with our kids. We can do the things – big or small – that we’ve always wanted to do but never carved out time to do it.

Even more than these things – and these things are great – I’m remembering Who my true joy comes from. Please hear me here: My goal in life is not to be happy, it is to please God.


And to please God, we have to trust in Him always. We can’t give in to worry and anxiety. We have to remember that no matter the circumstance, not matter the battles, our Savior is with us always. Paul instructs us several times in the New Testament to rejoice in the Lord. He is the source of unwavering joy.

This is one of the hardest seasons of my life, but my God has so lovingly reminded me that His love is covering me. He is my true joy.


So this year I am carving out time for things that I enjoy, and I am resting it the unwavering promises of my Savior. I am finding joy in 2019.

With love,

Photo credit:

unsplash-logoTom Sodoge
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Choose to Show Up

I sit down with my coffee and my Bible. I get settled in and open my journal and my Bible. I hear stirring from the baby monitor. The baby woke up. Again. 

Sound familiar?


In high school I used to spend long stretches of time reading my Bible. In college, my workload got more intense, and I didn’t have as much time to spend in the Word. At the time I didn’t understand that different seasons of life mean that our time in the Word may look different. Instead, I felt guilty and would often go through long periods of not reading my Bible at all because I thought if I couldn’t spend the time that I was used to spending then I shouldn’t spend any time at all – I was wrong, by the way.

It’s so easy to get frustrated when different seasons of life make your “quiet times” with the Lord look different. It’s easy to just not show up. Something to remember, however, is that God values faithfulness. He honors when we choose to show up, whether we have an hour or just ten minutes. I believe time spent with God is never time wasted. God can bring fruitfulness out of both situations, even if we don’t necessarily see the fruitfulness right away.


So I take a drink of my coffee, set my Bible and journal aside temporarily, and go get my sweet baby. My quiet time is different than it used to be, but that’s okay. Seasons of uninterrupted time in the Word are beautiful, but so is this season.

There will be times as my daughter gets older when I wake up early to spend time with the Lord and the little pitter-patter of feet come down the stairs before they are supposed to, and that’s okay. Maybe I’ll pull her onto my lap and we can read together. Or maybe I will take a break to make her breakfast and then resume – maybe ten minutes later, maybe two hours later. But what I won’t do is get frustrated. I want my children to see their mama meeting with God regularly, and that may mean my quiet times looking much different than they did when I was fifteen. And that’s perfectly okay.


Friends, be willing to meet God where you are, no matter the season. Seek His face no matter what, and remember that your time with God is never wasted. 

With love, 

Photo credit: 

unsplash-logoAaron Burden

Work With All Your Heart

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23

Since I started working when I was 16 I have always tried to keep this piece of Scripture close to my heart. In fact, before my husband and I even dated we often reminded each other of this verse when one of us was having a difficult time at work.
As I have gotten older, however, I’ve realized how truly powerful this piece of Scripture really is. The verse says that whatever we do, we are to do it with all of heart.
If we truly do the work that comes into our lives as if we are doing it for the Lord, or when we simply realize that what we are doing is a way of serving the Lord, it changes our perspective.
I hate doing laundry. With a passion. And vacuuming. And doing the dishes. Really, I hate most forms of housework. But when I stop and remember that doing these things better helps my family function better and better helps me be hospitable to guests in our home (we love to have people over), I do it with cheer (Note: I am not a house-cleaning guru. I would be a complete liar if I said that our apartment was not a total wreck during my first trimester of pregnancy. I would also be a complete liar if I said I held this attitude all the time).
The real difference comes when I’m not making it about me. Sure, it’s nice when our place looks nice – it makes me feel good – but it’s not nearly as motivating to me as knowing that I am serving my family, God, and others.
Whatever you do, whether it be raising your children, working in your job, cleaning your house, going to school, do it for the Lord. Your stocking job at the grocery store may not feel a job in which you serve the Lord, but the attitude you have speaks volumes. Everywhere is a mission field.
Go forth and do whatever you do with all your heart, and remember to give yourself grace because we are never going to have it all together all of the time.
With love,
B

Photo credit: unsplash-logoBen Kolde

It’s Okay to Slow Down

Living in the age of technology, we expect everything to be done fast. It’s reflected in most aspects of our life:

This person is driving too slow.

The wait is too long.

My phone won’t load fast enough.

The list could go on and on.

What I have realized recently, though, is that slowing down is a beautiful thing. Sure, there are deadlines and time-sensitive things, but why does everything in our lives have to be done at an accelerated pace?

One of the most beautiful ways that I have noticed the beauty of slowing down has been in my time with God.

I have had a relationship with Jesus for almost 7 years now. For 6 of those years I read my Bible the exact same way: a chapter a day (unless it was a super long chapter, then I would break it up). Last year around this time I decided that I wanted to read chronologically (in the order that events happened, not necessarily in the order the books occur in the Bible) and in larger chunks to get a better sense of the bigger picture, and I loved it!

In this season, however, I’ve started studying my Bible in a completely different way than I ever have. I spend about 30-45 minutes a day on around 10 verses of Scripture just breaking it apart. It now takes me 2-4 days to read a chapter rather than 1.

At first, it almost bothered me actually. I felt like I wasn’t reading enough. In reality, though, I’m digging in deeper than ever before. Reading the Bible, like many things in life, is not a race. I’m loving this season of just slowing down and really meditating on the Word of God. It has made me realize it’s okay to slow down in other areas, too. It’s okay to stop and appreciate the simple beauty in your life. It’s okay to leave the dishes unattended for a little bit to spend time with your spouse or kids. It’s okay to not always be in the fast lane.

With love,

B

Silver Linings

For the most part, I have always been one to try to find the bright side in every situation. Several weeks ago, however, my husband – very gently and with grace – pointed out that I had been only seeing the negative in practically every situation. He reminded that I was always the one who found the silver lining no matter the circumstance, and that was not who I had been lately. And he was right. With taking 6 classes, working 20 hours a week, and being horribly sick in my first trimester, I was overwhelmed, over-stressed, and just done. 

It was a real wake up call hearing it come from him, but I really had become the ultimate Debbie Downer. I made a decision that day, however, to not let negativity rule my life anymore because it made me – and surely him – miserable. Because that’s the thing: being extremely negative about an already difficult situation is going to make the situation immensely worse. I remembered the power of simply being grateful for the things that we do have and for the things that are going right. When you do that, you realize you are much better off than you thought!

I still have a tendency to overreact and become overly stressed about certain things (thanks, pregnancy), but my sweet husband is always there to gently remind me to focus on the things that are going right, because what we look at – what we focus on – greatly determines our outlook on life.

So if you’re in that place right now where the world seems to be against you and you are in over your head, I’d like to remind you that for every negative in your life, there is a positive (I promise, they’re there); there is always beauty among the ashes. Focus on those things. Give thanks for those things. Hold onto and focus on the One who never leaves you and is always there even during the rough things. You can still have joy during those things, don’t let anyone – especially yourself – take that away. Find that silver lining.

With love,

B

Photo credit: unsplash-logoDaniel Páscoa

Life Changes

“We didn’t plan for things to go this way, but can you even imagine what life would be like if this weren’t happening?”

I said this to my husband last night as we stood in the kitchen and I showed him the baby books I had just bought (our child will definitely not have a lack of reading material – I have a problem…). We originally planned to have kids when we were both out of school, or at the very least when I was completely done. But when I sat in the campus infirmary one February afternoon and watched that little line appear, everything changed.

I was half terrified because this was NOT the plan, but at the same time, I couldn’t contain tears of pure joy as I realized I was going to be a mom. Finally.

I realize that may sound silly to some as I am not quite 22 yet, but the desire to be a mother has been brewing strong inside me for years and has only gotten stronger as I do life with the most amazing man in the world. When my best friend had the most beautiful baby girl in the world last December, I was in love. There were tears of joy streaming down my face as I saw her perfect little face for the first time. Later, though, if I’m being completely honest, which I try to be, I was crying for a different reason. Seeing that perfect little girl and seeing my best friend’s face as she held her baby for the first time created a deep ache in my heart because I still had years to go before that happened for me, and as absolutely happy as I was for her and her little family, part of me was heart-broken.

I know that to some that may seem silly or selfish, but it was how I felt. So I gave it to God. I didn’t want those feelings inside of me getting in the way of the pure joy I really was feeling for my best friend of nearly 10 years. I stopped thinking about it and just my best friend and her sweet little girl.

A month later I was pregnant.

I’m not saying that just because you surrender something to God, you are going to immediately get what you desire – that’s not how God works – but His timing is different than ours and it is perfect.

A few months ago I was praying that God would give me the strength, peace, and patience for these next few years of waiting. Now I’m praying for this sweet baby growing inside of me, whom I already love more than I ever could have imagined.

Our plans have changed significantly since that day in February, but oh, they have changed in the best way. There are still many unknowns, but I know God will carry us through just like He always has and just like He always will. We have plans, sure, but as Thomas Rhett says, “Life changes, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Love,

B

Photo credit: unsplash-logoMaxime Lelièvre

Life-Long Learning

In less than four months I will be graduating with my Bachelor’s degree!

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I am, however, going an extra year to get my teaching license. This is honestly pretty exciting because though I am ready to be done with school, I also really love learning.

Learning isn’t confined to a classroom, though. Nor is it confined to any one period of time in our lives. As we live our lives we are constantly changing and growing. Any and every point in our lives is a great time to learn.

I love to soak up information about the season of life I’m currently in as well as future seasons. I’m not a mom yet, but I hope to be some day. So I do spend time reading articles and books and listening to podcasts that have to do with pregnancy and parenting because someday they will be relevant. I’m not a teacher yet, but I try to learn as much as I can to help me with that season of life. I am also currently a wife and a follower of Jesus, two things that I’m not going to stop being; however, there is always room for growth and development and thus I strive to learn and grow constantly.

We are not done learning when we are finished with school; we aren’t done until we take our last breath. Read books, go to conferences, listen to podcasts, read blogs. Learn. Grow. Change.

With love,

B

Photo credit: unsplash-logoNick Hillier

Heart-Matter

When we invite Jesus to be the Lord of our lives we become free from not only the penalty of our sin but from the Law as well. Though the books of the Law are still important and give us wisdom, we are no longer bound to it. While of course there are things that are simple – I mean, we really shouldn’t be out thieving and murdering – our lives are no longer solely painted in black and white.

This being said, a lot of people don’t live this way. The message of the church often seems to be full of dos and don’ts, cans and cannots. We have freedom in Christ and God has given us free will, but not everything is beneficial to us (1 Corinthians 6:12). The Bible also instructs us to use our freedom wisely (Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 2:16). Freedom in Christ isn’t about legalism, it’s about motive, which took me awhile to understand (Phylicia Masonheimer is very helpful with this topic).

The Bible lays certain things out clearly for us, but other things are vague or not mentioned at all, and what it boils down to is our motive. Is what we’re doing beneficial to me? Is it hurting someone else? Is it hurting my witness to someone else? And perhaps most importantly, why am I doing it? For example, there’s a lot of controversy over whether or not Christians should drink alcohol. Firstly, the Bible does not prohibit drinking alcohol, it prohibits drunkeness. That leaves us each with a choice of whether or not we choose to drink. Are we prone to making irresponsible decisions? Are we drinking because it’s “cool”? Are we drinking as a coping mechanism? By drinking are we encouraging a friend’s alcoholism? What is our motivation?

We have great freedom, but with it comes great responsibility. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be caught up in legalism – in fact, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for that very reason!- but we should exercise our freedom wisely through prayer and self-examination.

With love,

B

Photo credit:unsplash-logoFlo Karr

Free Will

From the time humans were created, God has given us free will. Every day we use our free will to make choices on what we do, what we say, how we act, and how we react. Each and every one of those choices have consequences, whether positive or negative. This is a basic concept that people often teach their children as they are growing and learning (For example, if you don’t eat dinner, you can’t have dessert), yet we as adults sometimes have trouble grasping this concept.

We can’t blame God for the consequences of our own actions. If a relationship ends because you do not treat your partner well, that is a result of your own choices. There are things that happen outside of our control, but that is a post for another time. If we are ever going to grow and mature, we have to be willing to accept responsibility for our actions. Not only that, but we have to remember that others are prone to sin, and we have to extend grace to them.

Thinking about it this way makes free will seem like a drag, huh? It’s not. Free will is beautiful: if we didn’t have free will, we would never be able to love genuinely or really live. Yes, there are consequences for choices we make, but not all of them are bad: I choose to pour into my marriage, and as a result it is flourishing. That’s a beautiful consequence!

Free will is a gift, and we should use it wisely because our actions and words have tremendous power.

With love,

B

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Photo credit: Ryan Clements

We Are Meant to be Different

In last week’s post, I talked about how we are to be Christ-like, not necessarily Christian-like. This being said, I think there is a common misconception from both believers and nonbelievers that to be a Christian is to be a carbon copy of every other Christian. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago” (NLT, emphasis mine). Does every masterpiece look the same? Of course not. So why do we think that we should look exactly the same as our brothers and sisters in Christ? God has given us each different talents, gifts, and passions so of course the way we live out the attributes of Christ are going to come across differently. Some people have a passion for opening their homes and leading Bible studies while others have a passion for working with the homeless while yet others have a passion for traveling as missionaries. Are all of them glorifying God and being Christ-like? Yes.

Additionally, while our core values may be the same, other values we have and the way we express them may look different from other people’s. For example, some parents choose to allow their children to watch television while others do not. Is either of them right? If each is doing what they are convicted about and believe is best for their own family, then they are both right.

For years this was a very difficult concept for me to grasp, but as I’ve grown and matured, I’ve realized it’s okay to look different than those around me. In fact, that is how it should be. There have been times that I have done things simply because it worked for other people, because someone else was convicted about it, or because someone told me to do it. While seeking wisdom from others is certainly important, we need to check this wisdom against Scripture and against our own hearts and then ultimately make the decision for ourselves.

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I love seeing the diversity in believers around me: no one’s life or home looks exactly the same. It is beautiful to see how so many different people can glorify God in so many different ways.

You are not called to look like everyone else, you are simply called to live a life that glorifies God, whatever that looks like for you.

With love,

B

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