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Reshaping It All: Chapter 1

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Hi Friends! Ashleigh here.

Welcome to Day 1 of our book club. I’m excited to dive into our first selection, Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness, with you.

But first, we do have some ground rules. They are:

  • Please don’t “blurk.” If you’re reading along with us, please participate.
  • We’d love for you to have a copy of the book, but if you don’t, that’s OK. You’re welcome to read the posts and respond to the questions.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear personal anecdotes, but be sure they don’t distract from the main points of the discussion.
  • It’s OK to disagree with or challenge another member, but do so respectfully. The overall environment of our book club should be one of encouragement. One way to do this is with the “feedback sandwich” — layer praise, then critique, then praise.
  • When mentioning our book club on Twitter, please include the hashtag #ungrindbookclub.

OK, let’s get started with chapter 1.

In a “Full House of My Own,” Candace does three things. She introduces — we learn what she’s been up to since her days on Full House. She relates — we discover how her life is ordinary in many ways as she seeks to establish common ground with us. She qualifies — we hear about her personal struggle with food and how God has transformed that area of her life.

These all lead up to the main purpose of this chapter: what we should expect from this book.

Yes, its purpose is to help us in our weight loss — but by first addressing our faith. How does our faith impact our journey to be healthy? How can we bring our physical body and our spirit into alignment? And why does this matter?

These are questions that will be answered in the coming chapters. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to learn more!

I’m also excited to have co-author Darlene Schacht with us as we explore this book. Darlene will provide us with a thought or question for each chapter. For chapter 1, I’ve asked her to introduce herself.

I’m Darlene Schacht, mother of four awesome kids and help meet to my husband Michael. These days you can usually find me jotting down thoughts at timewarpwife.com where I encourage wives to joyfully serve.

And as you probably know, I am the co-author of Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness. The question is how did a dyslexic kid who failed grade 12 English end up co-authoring a best-selling book with a celebrity? I ask myself the same question sometimes because it’s all too surreal to wrap my brain around it. All I can do is thank God for His grace and trust that He has a plan for this book.

During the writing process Candace and I would often take our thoughts to prayer asking God to bless our work so that our words might inspire women who are looking to reshape their lives to also seek a deeper walk of faith. That is my prayer for this book. I’m excited to join you on this journey as together we go through the book chapter by chapter, encouraging each other along!

OK, your turn. Introduce yourself and then answer these questions:

  • What drew you to this book? Why is this book, as Candace says, “for you”?
  • What do you hope to gain from it?
  • What stood out to you the most in chapter 1? (If you are still waiting for your book, no worries. You can skip this question.)

I’ll go first.

My name is Ashleigh. I’m a 33-year-old wife, mom to four daughters, and writer. I’m also the editor of Ungrind.

Weight has always been an issue for me. In my late teens, I struggled with anorexia. But, if you had asked me then if I had an eating disorder, I would’ve answered, “No.” I wouldn’t have been lying; I simply didn’t recognize it for what it was at the time. Through prayer and resources, I found freedom and haven’t struggled with it since. But I have struggled with unwanted weight. After giving birth to four full-term babies in seven years, I’ve gained and lost the same 50 pounds several times. At this point, I’m trying to find the motivation and self-control to lose the remaining 20-25 pounds I’m carrying from my last pregnancy.

This book is for me because I need fresh motivation to eat well, exercise regularly, and get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. I can’t seem to grasp it this time around. What stood out to me in this chapter was when Candace wrote, “There’s something oddly comforting about food, or better said, the thought of food that tricks our minds into believing that it can and will fill our void.” Later on that same page, she says, “I ran to comfort food instead of running to God.” I’ve done this. When I’m stressed or my kids have been fighting constantly, I’ve looked for comfort in food — especially Askinoise chocolate (a local chocolate company in Springfield, Missouri). This made me realize that I need to be intentional about praying in these moments instead of opening the fridge or pantry.

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Ashleigh Slater is the author of Team Us: Marriage Together and the editor of Ungrind. As a regular contributor at several blogs and websites, she loves to unite the power of a good story with biblical truth and practical application to encourage others. She has 20 years of writing experience and a master’s degree in communication. Ashleigh lives in Atlanta with her husband Ted and four daughters. You can follow her on Instagram here.

53 Comments
  • I have struggled with various eating disorders my whole life. I am drawn to this book because I don’t need any more info on what to eat. I need encouragement on how to draw strength from God in this lifelong struggle of mine. I am encouraged by Candice’s willingness to share openly, as this is the one area I’m still hesitant to share about.

    • Janine, so glad to have you join us!

    • So true Janine – healing and giving this area to God is much more important that some sort of eating plan. Glad you’re here!

  • Hi, I’m Missy. I read this book a couple months ago—it was the first book I ever read concerning eating, health, and faith that I actually made it through. I was looking to re-read it and take my time with journaling since the first time I just inhaled it (pun intended). I was so blessed by the book and the freedom I felt while reading it—free to make good choices because of who God made me, instead of trying to gain approval from Him, someone else, or even myself. I learned that self-discipline is totally different than a performance mentality—and that it is a spiritual thing to say “no” to a bag of French fries! I am so happy to be participating in this book club. It was perfect timing for me. I pray that as I go through the book again I may wash my mind with the truth of God’s acceptance and sincerely focus on Him. Health is a completely spiritual matter for me and for a long time I didn’t understand that. I love how Candace says, “ … the change must begin with the transformation by the Spirit—the renewing of our minds.” I want to daily live in the belief that God is the answer for my every craving.

    • Melissa I love how you say, “I pray that as I go through the book again I may wash my mind with the truth of God’s acceptance.” So beautifully said!

    • Missy, I’m so encouraged to hear how much this book impacted you the first time you read it. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts as you read it again.

    • Journaling while reading is a great idea! I’ve never really done that before, because I usually read so fast. This could help me stop and reflect more, and provide God opportunity to really speak to me through this process. Thanks for the idea Missy!

  • I’m joining you on the book club as well, though I hope my reading ahead won’t be disruptive to the group! I’m a mom to a nearly one and a half year old daughter, a school psychologist, and full time college professor. I’ve struggled with weight my whole life, and even when I didn’t have a problem, my mom insisted I did, putting me on weight watchers or whatever diet she was on at the time. I definitely need some healing in this area, though I’ve been fortunate to never struggle with an eating disorder. Right now I’m trying to lose 20-30 pounds before the Fall, when my husband and I will begin trying to get pregnant again. I’ve lost all my pregnancy weight, but I had pre-eclampsia at the very end of my last pregnancy, and I’m hoping to avoid that by going into pregnancy healthier this time and also by gaining less pregnancy weight. My main struggles are with discipline, a busy schedule, a love of sugar, and a little bit of emotional eating when stressed. I just gave up sugar for lent, so that will be tough for me, and I’m trying to begin running again now that the weather in New York is getting a bit warmer. Anyway, I’m glad to be joining you!

    • Betsy, since you gave up sugar for lent, I think that the chapter “Flee and Pursue” (hope I got the title right!) will be a good one for you! I also shared a bit about it at Roo Mag yesterday.

    • Betsy, I can so relate to what you shared about your “main struggles are with discipline, a busy schedule, a love of sugar, and a little bit of emotional eating when stressed.” That’s me too! I’m excited that we’ll be able to encourage one another in this.

    • Thanks Darlene and Ashleigh!

  • Stacey

    Hello:
    I am a homemaker and mother to 3 teenagers. I have struggled with weight for the last 17 years. I need to lose 65 lbs this is the area in my life that I just can not overcome. I have prayed about it so many times, fasted, read books. I am discouraged to say the least, but I can not give up the hope and faith that Jesus will set me free.

    • Stacey, I’m glad to hear that you aren’t giving up. I hope this book — and the fellowship here — will be an encouragement to you and help you find freedom in this area. Thanks for sharing this journey with us.

    • I know how you feel Stacy! I too feel like I’ve been successful and achieved the goals I’ve set for myself in every other area of my life except for weight control – I feel like such a failure in this area. I think God is really going to move amongst our group. Welcome, and thanks for being so candid!

  • Jen

    Hi! I’m Jen. I’m the mother of two boys (3 & 7 months). Just over a year ago I quit my job to stay at home with our first child. Ironically, less than a week after I gave my notice, we found out we were pregnant again!
    I bought this book a few months ago and was drawn to it 1) because I’ve always been a fan of Candace and 2) I was trying to get rid of the last few pounds of baby weight. Although I’ve not had a problem with my weight, I do struggle with eating healthy. I have wanted to become a healthier eater so that I can give my boys that strong foundation. I know that by putting God first, I will be giving them a better food and faith foundation!

    • Jen, I’m so glad you are here! Just yesterday I was watching my three-year-old run out to check the mail box. As I did I thought about this book club, my journey of weight loss, and how I want to be a godly example to my girls in this area. I long to give them a better foundation too!

    • Hi Jen! So true – I also want to model healthy eating for my child, and to spare her some of the emotional baggage I have around food.

  • Kerrye

    I finished the book over the past long weekend, during a road trip, so my husband got to hear lots of “Listen to this….” quotes along the way. What drew me to the book? DJ Tanner – duh! (Was slightly disappointed by the lack of ‘Uncle Jesse’ stories, by the way… *wink*) I’ve lost the same 30 pounds over and over in my 42 years. Read all the “diet” books. After 40, it gets so much harder. And I was not finding the motivation to “flip the switch” in my head that has always sparked me in the past. This book did it by pointing me to God’s word. I’m still shocked (and ashamed) that the spiritual aspects of my struggle were never something I thought of.

    • Kerrye, so glad to have you here! I’m looking forward to hearing more about how this book “flipped the switch” for you. BTW, I was a huge “Full House” fan too!

  • AmyW

    I am going to be a part of a conference here in Southern Indiana where Candace is coming to speak and our church wants to head a study. I want to go through this before leading it with other women. I have had a weight problem since my second child was born and she is 13 now. Ha. I have been through a divorce and remarriage and struggles with this marriage. My children have special needs. I struggle with depression and health issues from stress. So I am always looking for help and support as I go through this journey. God has grown me alot and I continue to push myself to grow.

    • Amy, I’m excited that Candace is coming there to speak and that your church wants to lead a study. We’re so glad to have you join us and hope the fellowship and encouragement here will be helpful to you.

  • Sarah

    I am a mom to two children, ages 11 and 8. I have struggled with my weight the last 15 years and quite frankly I am tired of it! It is a constant burden on me. Recently, while trying yet another diet, I heard God whisper to me, “I like you just the way you are.” I want to learn to like me for who I am. I just downloaded the book and I can’t wait to start reading and participating in the book club!

    Blessings!

    • Sarah, I choked up as I read what God whispered to you. We’re so glad to have you joining us!

  • Kerri

    My name is Kerri. I am a homeschool mom of 6. I just found out about the book today on Time-Warp Wife on facebook. It is exactly what I need right now. I just had our 6th baby in Jan. I have been so BUSY and have a lot going on in my life right now. I have been grabbing whatever I can grab to eat and go. I have gotten very lazy on what I buy, cook, eat, etc.. We used to all eat very healthy diets but I have really let that area go. My goal is to start feeding my whole family the right way again and to quit eating so much sugar myself. I am very excited to start reading the book. I am on my way to Lifeway to purchase it now.

    • Kerri, I’m excited to have you join us!

    • You sound so busy Kerri! Kudos to you for having healthy eating on your radar when your 6th little one is still so young. I hope you’re able to get some help taking care of all those kids!

  • Caitlin

    I’m Caitlin and I was drawn to it because I want to get myself into the mindset for balanced and healthy weight loss. I’m blessed to have so many wonderful friends get engaged and married this year! I’m in 2 weddings.

    I hope to gain inspiration and strength to be fit and stay emotionally well balanced while supporting my friends.

    I loved the duck story. I don’t have children or a husband but I can totally empathize. There are just unexpected things that pop up in life and it’s crazy, stressful and beautiful.

    • Caitlin, so glad you are joining us! The duck story was great — my sisters once took care of baby ducks so I immediately thought of them when I read it.

  • Sarah

    I’m Sarah & recently turned 30! I’m a single gal & have struggled with my weight most all of my life.

    I was drawn to this book because I believe it is an answer to my prayers that I’ve had lately. I hope to gain great knowledge & encouragement from the book regarding weight loss & growth in my walk with the Lord.

    What stood out to me the most in Chapter One was her mention of humility. “Humiliation depicts mankind as broken and weak before God, yet it holds power and freedom to those it affects.” How very true are those words.

    I’m excited to be reading this book & to be a part of this book club!!!

    • Sarah, welcome! I’m so glad you are joining us. I loved that quote about humility too.

  • Hi ladies, this is Thea. The title caught my attention- I need to reshape my thinking of myself, my family’s needs, and my attitude about my walk with Jesus.

    Am I putting my life with Him first and allowing Him to reshape every part of me from the inside out.

    I haven’t received my book yet, but I am thankful that I could come share and glean from all of you already!

    • Thea, I’m so glad you are joining us! Hopefully your book arrives soon.

  • Ellison

    Hi, I’m Ellison. I just now got the book from my library so I haven’t read the chapter yet but I was drawn to the book because I get the facts in my head but it’s my heart that isn’t “fixed” yet. I am hoping to get a grasp on the emotional part of eating so that I can not only lose weight but be healthy. That’s the most important part for me.

    • Ellison, I’m excited you are joining us!

    • Monnica

      Ellison, I am with you. My brain gets it, my heart has a harder time. I will praying with you for this perspective and heart change, as I pray for myself!

  • Carla

    Hi Ladies! I’m Carla and just turned 33 on Feb. 21st. I had the pleasure of meeting Candace this past weekend at the Women’s Luncheon through my church. Until that afternoon, I had no idea she wrote a book regarding physical and spiritual fitness. I had my first baby 9 months ago and even though I lost the baby weight, my body has definitely changed (back at my pre-pregnancy weight but there seems to be more fat, how is that fair!?) I have also struggled with food my whole life and like Candace, I love sugar. I knew this book would be for me! I bought it that day and she even signed it for me. I’m almost halfway through it and have never read a “health” book like this, where God is actually part of the solution to eating better! I love her honesty about sharing her food struggles, which are very similar to mine. I believe that meeting Candace, receiving this book, and beginning this book club all in the same week is definitely God’s timing! I am truly excited to be here. God Bless!

    • Carla, wow! I love how God is timing this all out in your life. Looking forward to reading through this book with you.

    • It’s so fun when God throws a bunch of “coincidences” in your life all at the same time. Walking with Him is supposed to be an exciting adventure!! And it so feels that way when these awesome things happen. :D

  • Monnica

    Hi Ladies. I am Monnica. Mother of 2 super cool kids, Isaac 7, and Arianna 4(going on 17). I am married to the best man I have ever met, Dustin, he is also super cool :) I have struggled with weight for as long as I remember and am just realizing it may be more of a spiritual battle than I realized. I received this book from a friend after seeing Candance speak in Springfield Missouri. The book has brought so much to light and i look forward to hearing other perspectives, and having people go on this journey with me! Also, thanks Ashleigh for getting us going!

    • Kerrye

      Monnica – I realized after reading this book that I was clueless about the spiritual issues involved with my food addiction. Excited about discussing it with everyone here!

    • Yay, Monnica!! I have to share with the others here that Monnica is a friend from church. She’s the one who inspired me to read Reshaping It All. Her excitement left me wanting to start this book club.

      Monnica, I actually thought of you when I read on page 15: “Exercise is equally important to me as my diet is, but the only reason these changes became a permanent part of my lifestyle is because my thoughts were trained to accept them as necessary rather than optional.” I remembered how you told me that you don’t give yourself a choice about going to the gym — you just go. I love that!

  • I’m Tauna. I am a wife and mom to three young children. I generally have very poor self-control with things like food. It wasn’t an obvious problem until I got pregnant with my first child. I never really did lose much pregnancy weight! I know that my seeming inability to start and maintain weight loss is a mind and heart thing. I’m grateful for the book to teach me some things and this group to keep me accountable. Thanks! :)

    • Tauna, I’m so glad you’re joining us. I’m looking forward to encouraging one another as we both strive to lose that pregnancy weight. :-)

  • Natasja Sambale

    Hi, my name is Natasja and I’m 31 years old. I’m originally from Belgium but living and working in Bahrain for over 7 years now. Last year around this time, I had swapped a week of my vacation with a colleague so she’d be able to attend her sister’s wedding and I took her week of vacation in March instead. So while browsing Amazon on latest books and dvd’s I was checking out places to go for my vacation. I came across Candace’s book on Amazon. Amazon has this wonderful option where you can read a few pages as a preview. After those few pages I couldn’t wait to get her book and continue. I was looking into going to L.A. for my vacation and checking out what was happening for concerts and events. I saw a few Christian artists and thought of checking out Casting Crowns website to see if they had any concerts planned during my vacation. I saw they were performing at a conference and so I checked it out. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that Candace was a guest speaker at that same conference. I knew I needed a break from Bahrain. February 14th 2011 was the date the revolution started. That first week… Life kinda came to a stop. Malls, banks and other businesses around what once was the Pearl Roundabout had stopped. Supermarkets and cold stores were running out essentials foods like bread, milk, meat with no new supplies coming in. My job came in very handy this time. As a flight attendant, I could buy necessary groceries for myself and friends whenever I had a layover somewhere. I don’t live that far from the hospital that was being “invaded” by injured people and their relatives. Things were hectic, yes, but the media made it seem so much worse than it actually was. True, what was meant to be peaceful became violent. As with anything in life, there are always a few bad apples amongst a lot of good apples. Both sides made their mistakes, no doubt. With the constant hovering of helicopters all day and night, it wasn’t easy to fall asleep. A month after the revolution started, martial law was imposed. That first day, I’ll never forget. I wasn’t flying but I had to be at work for training. Several years ago I had volunteered to be a Family Assistance Volunteer team member. I had been scheduled a recurrent training for 2 days. Since the start of the revolution, I had avoided my normal route which leads me close to the capital and was affected by traffic jams and protests and taken a longer route to work. The shock and surprise of seeing a tank blocking the road where I take a left turn to go onto the highway… Instead I had to make a right turn and drive towards the American Embassy where I could make a u-turn to get on to the highway. I was wondering what lay ahead of me on my drive. I’m the first admit that my walk with the Lord isn’t as strong as it should be, as I want it to be. But that moment and many more moments to come over the past year, I did pray in the car to ask God for a safe journey to/from work, for peace to return to a country that has become my home over the years. With everything that was going on, I was happy I had swapped a week’s vacation and could “escape” for a bit, have a few nights of uninterrupted sleep, roaming through a mall (if even for some window shopping), just to get away… So Greenville, South Carolina, here I was coming to attend the Extraordinary Women Conference with the Casting Crowns and Candace Cameron Bure! It took a few days to get my travel plans sorted out. Yes, it took me 4 flights and a good 24 hours to get there. I spent the first 2 days relaxing and made a new friend. She works in the shop where I was looking for some make up as I was running very low on it for work and wasn’t sure about getting to the mall in Bahrain. While being advised and getting my make up done to, we had a lovely chat and found out we would both be at that conference. She had volunteered to work one of the booths and she told me more about the other speakers. Meeting Candace was amazing, hearing her testimony, attending her work shop in which she allowed plenty of time for Q&A (yes, Full House and her brother Kirk were among the questions) and I even got her to work out a little when I asked her about advice about working out when you can’t leave your home. That trip was a blessing. I’m looking forward to reading Reshaping it All again as part of this book club. I’m hoping to be inspired by other women and their walk with the Lord and get encouraged to strengthen my own walk. What I liked so much about the book, not only the first chapter, is how candid Candace is. So open about her own life, past and present. It’s not a step-by-step guide on how to lose weight or how to be a Christian, but it’s about her own challenges and struggles, her losses and wins. A personal account that with food for thought that makes you think about how you can change your own life, both physical and spiritual. I’m happy I came across this book club and getting to reread it with others and have an encouraging discussion. Thank you!

    • Natasja, wow. Thank you for sharing your story. I was riveted as I read your first-person account of the revolution there in Bahrain. I’m so glad you are joining us and I look forward to getting to know you better.

  • Summer

    Hi all! I’m Summer. I was drawn to this book because I love Candace but also because I’ve never read a book that focuses on the connection between my relationship with God AND my physical health.
    I don’t need to lose any weight (although I’ve struggled with it in the past), but I would like to be more toned, to eat more healthfully on a consistent basis and be a better example for my family. I want my relationship with God to take top priority and to honor Him with my body and what I do with what He’s given me.
    Candace’s boldness in sharing her testimony is inspiring in Chapter 1. I can relate to her running to other things before turning to God. God has been working in my heart over the past couple of months, stripping away things I’ve been turning to instead of Him so that He is all that is left.
    I’ve read nearly all the way through this book (2 chapters left) but I wanted to read through with a book club and am so happy to have found this one! Looking forward to reading along with you!!

  • Kelly

    Hi, I’m Kelly. I’m a 39 yr old RN who works full time night shift, mom to a 7 yr old second grade boy and wife to my mate of 13 yrs, L.

    I was drawn to this book partly because I was curious as to what Candace has been up to since Full House ended. I knew she married a hockey player and had some kids. I didn’t know that like her brother Kirk, she too is a Christian. I like how this book shows how to integrate faith in a wifaith in a wiehgt loss program

  • Katie

    Sorry for the late response… Just got my book.

    I have been drawn to this book because I see my struggles with food headed in a downward spiral and know it is something in my life God is not pleased with and is something from which He would like to bring deliverance.

    I hope to gain insight into the spiritual struggle behind the struggles with weight and food and grow spiritually not just “fix” the problem with food. I hope to gain a lasting solution by trusting Christ over the long-haul over this issue.

    The thing that stood out most in the first chapter was that this is my choice and if I want victory over my struggles with food I am going to have to change my thinking and choose to discipline myself… I am going to memorize Heb 12:11 that she referenced in this chapter.

    • Katie, I’m so glad your book arrived! I look forward to having you join the discussions here and love how you have decided to memorize Hebrews 12:11.

  • Shanda

    I enjoyed watching Candace on Full House and appreciated how “normal” she always seemed even though she was in Hollywood. As we have both grown up, I have seen how she has faced some of the same life struggles we all do as women who want to live out our faith in our lives, particularly as a wife and Mom. While I’m not really big active on Twitter I do follow her and have found her to be very encouraging and uplifting. And that has led me to this website and book club. I love to read but do not get to do so as much as I would like because I do work a full time job and raise two girls (ages 4 and 1 1/2) with my husband. I was raised in a family with no structure or discipline in regards to food. As a result I’ve struggled with the discipline of how to eat healthy and when to say enough is enough. I want to be a better example for my children and I want to be healthy so I’m around to watch them grow up. Several food related diseases are hereditary in my family and I want to do my part in stopping the pattern. I’m comforted by knowing that here I’m not doing this journey on my own and that the best part is that it all begins with me having a stronger relationship with God, not the next diet fad or magic pill that wants to take my money. This is so much more meaningful!!

    • Shanda, I’m so glad you found our book club. We look forward to having you join us!

Articles

When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

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One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.

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“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

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He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

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Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

As you read, we hope you consider us friends, the kind you feel comfortable sitting across the table with at the local coffee shop. You can read more about me HERE and our team of writers HERE.

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