The Humbled Hearts Daybook

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Today is an entirely different Spotlight on Etsy post.  I stumbled across the Humbled Hearts Daybook when Cori (aka The Reset Girl) happened to mention it in a video.  The mention was quick, as she was just showing what she kept in her extra wide Foxy Fix notebook, but because she said it was a prayer book, I was intrigued and researched more.  It turned out that the book was available on Etsy through Hazel Berry Design, so I reached out to the lovely owner, Jillian, and she offered to send me a book for review.  To say I was excited would be an understatement.

The Humbled Hearts Daybook is a simple, yet brilliant way to guide your prayers to God. It covers a lot of bases, touching on everything from forgiveness, goals and dreams, to giving thanks.  Christian friends, this book will inspire, encourage, and motivate you every step of the way during your quiet time with God.

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Christian Song of the Week: Crown Him

 

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Chris Tomlin nails it again with this interesting take on a hymn that I recognize from the book that sits in the pews every week.  The first time I heard this version of it I was actually at a Chris Tomlin concert and it took me a second to recognize the melody.

 

At the concert, Chris talked about the importance of the line “Hark! How the Heavenly anthem drowns all music but it’s own” and how that’s how it should be in all of us.  The music of God and to God should drown out the other things we have in our lives: The worries, the material things, the problems.  Above all, sing praises to God.

 

Check out Crown Him (Majesty) {with Kari Jobe} by Chris Tomlin on iTunes


 

Christian Song of the Week: Blessings

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Blessings by Laura Story was one of those songs that I heard on the radio and knew right away that I HAD to sing it.  Listening to the lyrics, the song pretty much describes a lot of my life and what I’ve had to go through and deal with.  God blesses us in many ways.  Many times we are so worried about the struggle that we don’t realize it’s a blessing in disguise.

 

 This song  is inspirational and a blessing in and of itself.  Click the link to add it to your collection.  

Why I’m NOT Giving Up Chocolate for Lent

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Every year for at least the last 15-ish years (give or take a year or two) I have given something up for Lent.  Being a Lutheran, Lent is a season in our church that is celebrated (is that the right way to say it? Maybe we participate in Lent..we celebrate the end of it) every year, and each year many people give something up for this special season.

For those of you that don’t know, Lent is the 40 days that lead up to Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord.

As I got to thinking about what I wanted to give up this year, I went through my list of normal, logical choices to see which one seemed to fit.  Some of my go-to Lenten “sacrifices” are:

  • Chocolate
  • Chips
  • Starbucks
  • Sweets
  • Meat (only did this a year or two, then my need for iron outweighed the sacrifice of meat so I wasn’t allowed to do that anymore)
  • I think I gave up Tumblr one year, back when I was actually active on there

 

Usually my sacrifice ended up being some unhealthy thing in my diet, and sacrificing it on behalf of the Lenten season seemed like a reason that would get the healthy habit to stick.  As I was thinking about this, I came to the conclusion that this was not the right approach at all.  How does giving up chocolate for 40 days relate at all to my relationship with God and Jesus?  How can my “sacrifice” of an over priced latte once or twice a week for a handful of weeks even begin to compare to the sacrifice that Jesus made for us that we are supposed to spend this Lenten season reflecting on??

They don’t..

That’s sort of the realization I had this year, and with that I decided that the thing or things I gave up had to be an emotional sacrifice.  A spiritual sacrifice.  Lent is about getting closer with God.  Spending more time with him, feeling connected.  Does my grande triple skinny vanilla latte put up a barrier between myself and my relationship with the Lord?  No.  Does my giving that up bring me any closer to Him? I’d like to think that the answer to that one is also no.

I made the decision that for Lent this year I am giving up the desires of trying to dictate how my husband chooses to spend his time, and complaining about it when I don’t like his decision.  Based on our 2 months of marriage and the fact that we’ve only been living in the same place for 9 months, I like to highly encourage him to make sure we regularly get some decent time together that isn’t him talking MBA or Wall Street Journal.  Now I don’t think that my desires for this regular quality time is unreasonable by any means, however, I tend to get upset when I don’t feel like he’s making the “right” choices for how to spend his time, and that kills my mood and then the tensions rise…you get the cycle.

So I decided that I’m giving it up.  I should want him to make the decisions about spending time with me taking priority all on his own, right?  For Lent, and hopefully this is the gateway to forever, I’m letting it go.  Letting the Lord lead his heart and mind (and mine as well).   This will also help me get better at forgiveness, understanding, self-control, loving unselfishly..all things that Jesus wants us to live out in our daily lives.

I want Lent to be about growing spiritually; about being a better person with a stronger, more caring heart and a deeper connection with our Savior, who during this Lenten time knew the sacrifice He would make at the end of it.

I came across this article on Tuesday that sort of confirmed that the way my mind was going was appropriate for Lent.  “20 Things to Give Up for Lent” started listing things like guilt, excuses, pride, and worry as the things we should be giving up for Lent (and forever).  Again, things that are true barriers in your relationship with God which make it difficult for you to trust him fully and love Him completely.

Now, I’m not saying that if you’re giving up cupcakes for Lent (that’s another one I did..just remembered) you’re copping out of the whole idea.  Everyone’s journey is different and unique to them and their relationship with God and themselves.  I would encourage you, my friends, to add another thing to the list of your sacrifice this Lenten season.  Give up your chocolate AND give up the self-pity that might come with the body image you have of yourself that led you to sacrifice your favorite sweet to begin with.  Give up Facebook as an addition to giving up gossip.  Get the idea?

 

Whatever your sacrifice, I pray that you use this Lenten season to strengthen your bond with our Lord and to truly feel the spiritual wholeness that comes from understanding the ultimate sacrifice that He gave us.  We celebrate His death, and more importantly, His resurrection.  Thanks be to God!

 

 


Click the image above to see what others are thinking today..

A Thought on Forgiveness

Yesterday Erik and I were Skyping with his pastor from Florida for session two of pre-marital counseling.  It started with a discussion on giving and finances, which I’m sure usually takes longer with most couples, but since I’m marrying a finance man I am willing to let him manage our finances when we’re married; easy topic.  Then we started talking about making sure we know each other’s expectations, and after some discussion on that we got on the topic of forgiveness.

 

We all know that forgiveness is a really important thing for everyone.  At some point every person will have to forgive, and every person will do something for which they will need to be forgiven.  This should not be news to any of us. Pastor said that some of the most difficult words for a person to say are “Will you forgive me?” and I definitely do not disagree.  Those words hold an admittance of being wrong and it is quite likely an acknowledgment (both to the person and yourself) that you realize your wrongness has hurt that person in some way.  This puts us in a very uncomfortable and vulnerable  state, which humans hate. Never the less, it is crucial that we forgive and ask forgiveness.

As Christians, we ask the Lord for forgiveness often, and by his grace he forgives us all of our sins.  Why then is it so hard for humans to forgive other humans??  God has forgiven each and every one of us for something far worse than whatever you are holding against another person right now.  My “ah ha” moment during our session yesterday happened when Pastor called our attention to the words in the Lords prayer that I’ve said hundreds, maybe thousands of times in my life and gave this line a deeper meaning:

…Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us…

 

AH HA!

Something I have always known but never really thought about.  The Lord will happily, graciously, and mercifully forgive us each and every one of our sins if we ask for it, as we forgive others.  We can not get away with sinning and getting forgiveness from God while refusing to forgive our family, friends, coworkers and whoever else has sinned against us.  That is not fair and that is not Christian.

Forgiveness and grace and things of the like have been things that Erik and I regularly are learning to practice with each other.  Posts like this are not me getting on a soap box and lecturing others to “be more like me” or declare my being better than the rest of you.  Quite the opposite actually.  I post things like this, and will continue to do so (both religious based and not) as almost a public declaration of “I just realized how I could be better and I wanted to put it out to the world to inspire you to do the same.”  When creating a goal, research shows that those who write it down are more likely to succeed, so I am not only writing it down, but putting it out there in front of the eyes of the world wide web.

Anyway, there’s my two cents for the day.  Forgive others as the Lord graciously forgives us.  Be happy 🙂

Happy Monday, friends.