I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.

14 Mar

psalm 38 – #shereadstruth

Has anyone been following along with the current SheReadsTruth series for lent … “fasting?” It’s been so very good! If you’re looking for a study to join, participate in, or just follow along … this is definitely one to read!

This week we’ve been asked to share our thoughts on Psalm 38. It’s long — a lot longer than last week’s – but it’s good! Lots of bits of wisdom and insight! I’ll share a few take-aways after the verse below:

A David Psalm

Take a deep breath, God; calm down—
don’t be so hasty with your punishing rod.
Your sharp-pointed arrows of rebuke draw blood;
my backside smarts from your caning.

I’ve lost twenty pounds in two months
because of your accusation.
My bones are brittle as dry sticks
because of my sin.
I’m swamped by my bad behavior,
collapsed under gunnysacks of guilt.

The cuts in my flesh stink and grow maggots
because I’ve lived so badly.
And now I’m flat on my face
feeling sorry for myself morning to night.
All my insides are on fire,
my body is a wreck.
I’m on my last legs; I’ve had it—
my life is a vomit of groans.

Lord, my longings are sitting in plain sight,
my groans an old story to you.
My heart’s about to break;
I’m a burned-out case.
Cataracts blind me to God and good;
old friends avoid me like the plague.
My cousins never visit,
my neighbors stab me in the back.
My competitors blacken my name,
devoutly they pray for my ruin.
But I’m deaf and mute to it all,
ears shut, mouth shut.
I don’t hear a word they say,
don’t speak a word in response.
What I do, God, is wait for you,
wait for my Lord, my God—you will answer!
I wait and pray so they won’t laugh me off,
won’t smugly strut off when I stumble.

I’m on the edge of losing it—
the pain in my gut keeps burning.
I’m ready to tell my story of failure,
I’m no longer smug in my sin.
My enemies are alive and in action,
a lynch mob after my neck.
I give out good and get back evil
from God-haters who can’t stand a God-lover.

Don’t dump me, God;
my God, don’t stand me up.
Hurry and help me;
I want some wide-open space in my life!

This Psalm title is a psalm to bring to remembrance. Matthew Henry says {paraphrasing}, “This psalm teaches us in times of sickness and affliction to bring to remembrance, in times of sin to bring to remembrance, and in times of adversity to bring to remembrance. Also to use this petition – psalm – when praying for others who may be facing sickness, sin, and/or adversity.”

As I read through this psalm, I can see myself in the way David is crying out … “Take a deep breath, God; calm down—don’t be so hasty.”

And … paraphrasing here – “Ouch! My bumbum hurts from your discipline!”

And then blah, blah, blah … the need to list out all my adversities … as if God doesn’t already know what I’m going through.

“My heart’s about to break;
I’m a burned-out case.”

{can I get a witness?}

And then some more blah, blah, blah with a good dose of whine thrown in!

But then … the promise! The good word! The money we can take to the bank:

“What I do, God, is wait for you,
wait for my Lord, my God—you will answer!”

Then a little more whine –

“I’m on the edge of losing it—
the pain in my gut keeps burning.”

And then a grand finale plea to finish my prayer:

“Don’t dump me, God;
my God, don’t stand me up.
Hurry and help me;
I want some wide-open space in my life!”

Don’t dump me God. Don’t forsake me. Don’t forget about me. Hurry up Lord. I’m here waiting. Help me! I want … need … wide-open space in my life.

I don’t know what God knows about you. But what God knows about me? I can whine with the best of ’em! I mean, surely someone needs to remind Him of what I’m going through. Not to mention that P.S. to hurry up and help me already. Haven’t I endured enough?

And then I remember. The same promise we talked about last week — wait and watch. He WILL answer.

They’re not just words. It’s a promise. It’s God’s promise. No matter how long it takes, one thing we can always, always, always be absolutely sure of? God promises are always right.on.time. HIS time.

He loves us. He hasn’t forsaken us … He promises us He never will. And I believe it. I’m thankful for it. And I rest in it.

Posted in bible, bible study, she reads truth

7 Mar

psalm 130 – #shereadstruth

During this Lenten season, I’m joining SheReadsTruth in their request to have their readers, become their writers. Follow that?

So … each week the ladies at SheReadsTruth will post a scripture for their readers to study and pray over. Then on Friday of that week, the goal is to have their readers write a devotion on the intended scripture.

This week’s scripture is Psalm 130. I’ve read different versions of it, but like The Message best:

A Pilgrim Song

Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life!
Master, hear my cry for help!
Listen hard! Open your ears!
Listen to my cries for mercy.

If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings,
who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit,
and that’s why you’re worshiped.

I pray to God—my life a prayer—
and wait for what he’ll say and do.
My life’s on the line before God, my Lord,
waiting and watching till morning,
waiting and watching till morning.

O Israel, wait and watch for God—
with God’s arrival comes love,
with God’s arrival comes generous redemption.
No doubt about it—he’ll redeem Israel,
buy back Israel from captivity to sin.
Psalm 130, The Message

I think my most favorite thing about this chapter is that David calls it, “A Pilgrim Song.” The very definition of a pilgrim, is one who’s on a journey to a holy place. Most often a pilgrim is described as a traveler who is journeying by foot.

Think of Abram and his long pilgrimage toward the holy land. And David, the author of Psalms, as he journeyed through the desert waiting for God’s faithfulness to reveal itself.

I don’t know about you, but one word that comes to mind when I think “pilgrim,” is weary. Weary is a word I know well, and David’s “Pilgrim Song” is one that resonates in my soul.

Other translations start Psalm 130 this way:

  • “From the depths of despair …” NLT
  • “From the depths of disaster … ” The Voice
  • “Lord, I am in great trouble … ” NCV
  • “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord … ” NIV

Any way you translate it, I read pain and weariness.

David is crying out to God to hear his plea for help. For mercy. He’s using his life as a prayer, waiting to hear from God. “Waiting and watching till morning.” Did you notice? The “waiting and watching” was so important, David wrote it twice.

And then for emphasis, he writes one more time … “O Israel, wait and watch for God.”

You know what though? As much as the weary, crying out for help resonates with my soul … the promises might resonate even more so. Psalm 130 goes on to say — promise — upon God’s arrival comes love and redemption. “No doubt about it,” David writes, He’ll redeem Israel!” {exclamation point mine}

Wait. And watch. And He’ll be faithful.

I can’t think of a more beautiful promise to start us off on this Lenten pilgrimage to God’s revelation of His ultimate promise … resurrection day!

Posted in bible, bible study, she reads truth

12 Feb

(in)couraged to mend :: introduction

The women at (in)courage believe strongly in community and are constantly seeking out ways to connect women and bring us the community we desire.

That said, I’m thrilled to announce the second session of the (in)couragers community is starting today and I get to be a part of it again!

Last session I was blessed to be paired with Jacque as we walked through Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Unglued. Jacque and I will be hosting a Bible study again, but this go round we’re excited to have Denise join us!

I met both Jacque and Denise at the SheSpeaks conference last July and love that the three of us are together as (in)couragers! As you get to know them over the next couple of months, I have no doubt you’ll love them as much as I do. Their words are beautiful and their hearts for God inspiring!

About Us

We are women who have seen and walked through broken places. And because of those valleys we’ve seen God’s redemptive power, love, mercy, and grace move through our lives. We’ve experienced healing, freedom, and forgiveness and want you to experience it too.

We’d love to have you join us in discovering the glory God intended for each and every one of us as we dive into the hope He has for us and into relationship with each other!

And to do just that, this session we’ve chosen to study Angie Smith’s, Mended – pieces of a life made whole. We have no doubt it’s going to (in)courage you!

Take a look for yourself:

{if you’re reading via email or RSS feed, please click here for video}

If you have pieces of your life you’d like to see made whole, we’d be honored to have you join us each week. And please know, we understand y’all are busy women. There’s no pressure here … you can participate at whatever level you have time for. We promise!

Denise, Jacque, and I will be taking turns each Thursday posting on our blogs with reflections based on the following reading schedule:

February 21 – Introduction :: Jacque
February 28 – Chapters 1-4 :: Denise
March 7 – Chapters 5-8 :: Tracie
March 14– Chapters 9-12 :: Denise
March 21 – Chapters 13-16 :: Jacque
March 28 – Chapters 17-19 :: Tracie
April 4 – Chapters 20-22 :: Jacque
April 11– Chapters 23-25 :: Denise
April 18 – Chapters 26-28 :: Tracie
April 25 – Chapters 29-31 :: Tracie, Denise, and Jacque

Connecting with the (in)couraged to Mend community is easy:

  • Read Mended along with us
  • Join us each week for our summary post {schedule above}
  • We’ll be hosting a link-up each Thursday. If you have a blog, we’d love to have you write a summary and link-up with us!
  • Join our Facebook community – (in)couraged to Mend
  • If you’re on Twitter or Instagram, use the hashtag #bemended
  • You can also follow us on Twitter or Instagram @tmstier, @jacque_watkins, and @denisejhughes

But wait!! That’s not all! We’re hosting a giveaway over at Jacque’s place!! Here’s a peek of what we’re giving away … but hop over there for all the details!

I’m looking forward to connecting with y’all and making some new friends in the process!

Are you in a season of brokenness?

If so,

How could you benefit from this study?

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Posted in (in) courage, bible study, encouragement, giveaway, overcoming, resources

17 May

life-giving truth & accountability

For the last two and a half … or is it more like three years{?}, I’ve joined a group of beautiful ladies each morning. Beautiful women who desire to bury God’s Word and truths deep into their hearts.

We rise early. In jammies. Grab coffee. Bibles. Notebooks. Highlighters and pens.

We pray.

We study.

We absorb.

Then we grab our computers and share with each other what life-giving truth we glean each morning.

Via email.

‘Cuz we live as far apart as South Dakota to Florida!

I’ve found it’s so important to have an accountability partner, or group to keep me in the Word each day. I know when I step away from my study … even for a few days, or weeks {ahem}, it begins to show in my attitude and character.

But having someone to check in with, to pray with, to learn and grow with … it keeps me accountable for being in the Word of God.

And as awesome as it is to have this accountability group of amazing women … even more {yes more!} awesomeness abounds when a larger “umbrella” group is found that encourages women to gather and hold each other up in the Word.

There are two of those groups I’d like to recommend; the first is Good Morning Girls and the second is Hello Mornings Challenge.

Both are basically groups of women that put together different studies, set a time frame to complete them {usually 12 weeks}, and encourage women to sign up and join in!

With either of these groups, you can join in the study they’ve picked out, or you can do your own study, but just chime in on the accountability part of it.

I participate in both Good Morning Girls and Hello Mornings … they’re different for different reasons, and I enjoy them both. I really encourage you to take a few minutes and explore each of them.

Right now with Hello Mornings, we’re doing a study called, “Love Like Him … Learn to Love Like Jesus.” We’re studying through 1 Corinthians 13 … and I think I’m even going to memorize it!

Anyway … I feel like I’m rambling. My purpose is just to encourage you to be sure you’re spending time in God’s Word … in His life-giving truth. And to encourage you to grab a friend {or two} and think about joining in one of the challenges above. If you decide not to join an organized study, at least grab a friend and make a commitment to be accountable to each other for being in God’s Word every day.

I promise … time in His Word is one thing you’ll never regret!

Posted in bible, bible study, encouragement

22 Mar

focused15 :: intentional bible studies

I’m excited to share this resource with you today! Be sure to watch the video below for my specific thoughts … but I’d like to quickly mention … for anyone looking to not only dive deeper into God’s Word, but also have a focused Bible study … this is the one for you!

From the author:

You may be thinking you don’t have time to dig into the Bible the way you want to—or the way you think you should. You may think that a deep study of scripture is only for the pastor, the seminary student, or the uber-spiritual.

You’re wrong—the “ordinary” Christian can learn to to study the Bible on his own.

The every-day believer can train her eye to discover the life-changing truths held in scripture.

You can dig into the Bible and find truths for yourself-all it takes is fifteen focused minutes.

In Focused15, I’ll show you how to look at scripture through a different lens each day. We’ll use tools already at our fingertips, with methods proven through history, with a structure that is easy to follow…

…all in fifteen minutes day.

If you are ready to take your personal Bible study to the next level, but not sure how, Focused15 is for you.

Trust me! I know you’ll love it! Focus15 is available for Kindle and Nook and you can purchase the PDF download from the Focused15 website. Let me know what you think …

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Posted in bible, bible study, movie, resources