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What stresses you out? Work? Finances? Your children? Tax time?

What about a project you are working on that doesn’t appear to be coming together? Or an over-packed schedule that has you striving for the impossible?

Maybe it’s even your ministry or service to God that has you stressed out!

Stress results when we worry that something won’t work out the way we are hoping. It is the opposite of faith – which is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

And God doesn’t want you to stress. Here’s why:

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There are a few situations in my life right now that could really stress me out. My husband is waiting to hear about three different job opportunities, and to be honest, he needs at least two of  the three!

Now, I can pull out my hair, and lose sleep at night, and keep calculating what we’ll do if he doesn’t get any of those jobs. Or, I can realize it is ludicrous for me to worry that God isn’t aware, or doesn’t care, or won’t provide for us in time.

I choose to not be ludicrous. So I thought of five good reasons not to worry about that or anything we tend to worry about. Those five good reasons come down to five things you and I will never hear God say as we hand Him our worries and concerns.

So here they are. You never have to fear any of these responses when you trust God with what is on your heart:

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Got stress? It seems to be our constant companion in this life.

In fact, stress is trying to be a companion of mine as I write my next book, Drama Free. So, I asked my friend Sally Nance — who writes a wonderful blog called The Healthy Happy Woman —  to share some practical ways that you and I can stress less. I’m already trying a few of these as I struggle with deadline pressure and they are really helping.

So, as I get back to my book-writing deadline, here are some words from Sally that just might change YOUR life, too:

Stress has become a 21st century epidemic, and women are especially vulnerable to its effects, particularly when it comes to our day-to-day outlook on life.

Whether it’s the big stressors, like a health crisis, divorce, or a major move, or the little stressors, like traffic jams and full schedules, there is always something threatening to steal our joy and leave us frazzled, exhausted, and discouraged.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way!  We can experience joy and peace in the midst of a stressful world.  I have discovered 5 proactive ways to deal with stress, protect your joy, and live a happy life.read more

Want to drop a few pounds, find more energy, enjoy life,  and live a little longer? The secret is to keep moving.

The older we get the more sedentary we become. I even read a statistic that a woman gains an average of one pound a year after age 40. That’s been true for me…as much as I’ve tried to fight it. Now that I’m just over 50 years old, I realize how important it is for my mental, emotional, physical and even spiritual health to keep moving.

Using tips from my book, When You’re Running on Empty, I’ve put together some interesting facts and practical ways you can keep moving, keep healthy, and enjoy life even more.

Read about it here at MTL (More to Life) Magazine.

 

This morning I found myself focusing on what I don’t have.

I hate it when I do that.

I have been given so much. Yet it is in my human (sinful) nature to focus on what I don’t have, rather than to count my blessings.

Do you ever do that? Start thinking about an opportunity that hasn’t come your way, places you haven’t visited because you don’t have the money, a certain measure of success you haven’t yet attained, or a relationship or position in life you don’t yet have?  And in the process you forget all that you do have?

Jesus said:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

You and I do have life to the full when we focus on what God has given us – gifts in the spiritual realm that can help us through the physical realm

So, for the next several weeks, I want to focus on God’s incredible gifts that God has given to you and me through His Son, Christ Jesus. Gifts you and I can tend to take advantage of, or forget altogether. But gifts, nonetheless, that will help us experience life to the full.

Today, let’s remember God’ s incredible gift of His power.

Scripture says “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control,” (2 Timothy 1:7).  That means we have His Spirit to help us be bold when we would otherwise be timid, to help us  love unconditionally when we otherwise could not, and to help us exert self-control.

And on days you and I feel especially weak, Second Corinthians 12:9 tells us that Christ’s power  “is made perfect in weakness.”

Do you know why you and I tend to worry and stress? We forget God’s power. Do you know why we give up when we could otherwise succeed? We forget that He is capable. Do you know why we shrink back when we could be moving forward?  We forget that He can do all things.

Why else would we start in with our “what ifs?”

What if I can’t get this done?

What if this bill is not something I can pay?

What if we can’t move beyond this? 

Approach this day remembering you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). Tackle any project that comes your way knowing God is able to do through you what is beyond you. And remember all that you do have today because you have His power. It is there for the asking.

Are you a worrier or a warrior?
A worrier is one who tries to fight her own battles of fear, insecurity, and doubt.
A warrior lets God fight those battles through her.

Ephesians 6:12 tells us “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies (like the person who is making your life miserable), but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (like the unseen thoughts, fears and frustrations that cloud your judgment, persuade you to worry, and tempt you to stress out).

Here’s how you can tell if you’re a worrier or a warrior:

A worrier says: “I’m so nervous about this situation. I’ve never done anything like this before.
A warrior says: “God has gone before me into this situation so I have nothing to fear.”

A worrier says: “There’s no hope.”
A warrior says:”My hope is in the Lord…”

A worrier says: “What if something bad happens?”
A warrior says: “God causes all things — even the bad things — to work for good to those who love Him” (Romans 8:28).

A worrier says: “I’m not strong enough. Surely I will fail.”
A warrior says: “The Lord is my strength” (Psalm 28:7) and “If God is for me, who can be against me?” (Romans 8:31).

Did you notice the difference? The worrier is looking at the world through her physical eyes. She sees (or doesn’t see) and she fears.

The warrior is looking in the WORD and has God’s  response for every situation she encounters. She sees with her spiritual eyes…from God’s perspective…the perspective of a victor, an over comer, a conqueror (Romans 8:37).

Romans 12:2 tells us “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may]prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

To be conformed to this world is to worry like every other person in the world.

To be transformed by the renewing of your mind is to think differently  — as a warrior princes should think, as a warrior who knows where her strength is, where the power is, and to Whom she belongs.

So which one are you? A worrier or a warrior?

If you’re the former, here’s the best news of all:  A worrier can turn into a warrior at any time. Your transformation is just a prayer away:

“God, grant me, according to the riches of Your glory, to be strengthened with power through Your Spirit inwardly so that I can be a woman of faith, not fear….a warrior,  not a worrier” (Ephesians 3:16-17).

Will you join me in the ranks as a warrior?

For more on being a warrior, not a worrier, see my newest book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom.

I’d love to give you ten minutes of encouragement on how you can be a worry-free mom. And if you don’t have kids, I’m sure it will help you with other areas of your life that you worry about.

I’m posting for you today a quick-moving, 10-minute interview of mine with Rick Probst and Dan Ratcliffe at Faith Talk LIVE Radio. To hear a few secrets and a few amazing stories of what God does for those who trust Him with their worries, click HERE.

And then….leave me a comment — or question — and  you’ll be entered into another drawing for a free copy of my newest book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom (U.S. residents only, please).

Talk to you soon!

I’ll admit it. I’ve said the words aloud or thought them many times.

And I’m guessing you have, too.

They’re two of the most debilitating words a woman can say, especially when it comes to her children. These two words fill our minds with doubt and our hearts with fear.

They are the words: “What if…?”

What if my children get hurt?

What if they don’t make friends?

What if they follow the wrong crowd?

What if they’re lying to me?

What if they never get married?

And even: What if I’m not a good enough mom?

I realized one day, after spending time in God’s Word, that at the root of all my “What if” questions and worry is what I really believe about God’s character. When my mind plays through the various what ifs, the question I’m really asking is “What if God isn’t able?” “What if God isn’t good?” “What if God can’t handle this?”

There’s a reason God’s Word tells me “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).

As I give God all of my what ifs, worries, and anxieties, He can calm my heart and remind me that He is in absolute control.

That was the lesson I had to learn myself before I wrote my book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. Based on my own experience mothering – as well as wisdom and advice from many other moms – I found that there are treasures (secrets, if you will) to discover as we surrender to God what is closest to our hearts – our children.

One of those treasures is the incredible peace He offers as the Perfect Parent who allows us to partner with Him in raising, loving, and caring (not worrying) for our kids.

When I give God what is closest to my heart I am saying “You, God, are capable. You are trustworthy. And all my worries and what ifs are in vain.”

What are you saying – to God and to others – when you worry? And what would you like to start saying with your life and your actions from this point on?

I’m giving away three free copies of my brand new book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom For a chance to win, let me know in the comment section below why you would benefit from reading this book. Winners will be announced on next week’s blog. (U.S. residents or American Post Office boxes only please.)

There are three things I could really worry and stress about right now.

And yet, I’m choosing not to.

Here are the concerns pressing in on me:

  • My husband is still in transition since he stepped out of the full-time pastorate to begin a sabbatical year and wait on God for what’s next. It’s now been two years. And we are still waiting for his city ranger job to go full-time or for God to open up a new door in ministry for him.
  • My daughter, now 23, still hasn’t found an affordable place to live near her job which she loves. Thus, she is commuting an hour and a half each way almost daily in crazy Southern California traffic. How she longs to feel “settled in” in her new career and adult life.
  • My parents are aging and I now have a Dad with prostate cancer, a mom with diabetes, and a step-dad struggling with the middle stages of Alzheimer’s. I live far away from them and wish I could be closer to help.

I guess you could say our lives are back to a day-to-day dependence on God when it comes to finances, work, our health, and so many other things. But then…isn’t everyone’s when you really think about it? Who of us is really in control of our circumstances from day to day? And when we recognize God has all our concerns in His hands, there is peace.

Philippians 4:19 tells us: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

I’m grateful God has me and my family in that place where we must look for Him at every turn and wait for Him to come through for us at the end of every day. It builds our faith. It increases our dependence on Him. It keeps us humble. It keeps us in perspective. It keeps us on our knees in prayer.

THAT is why I’m choosing not to worry about all that concerns me and to trust the One who can change things at any moment.

What is the upside of what God is doing in your life in spite of what would normally cause you to worry? As you focus on the positives, you may begin to see what God wants to show you at this otherwise stressful time.

What is the one (or more) reason(s) you will go worry-free this year? Your reasons for worry are simply your catalysts for trust.

See my newest book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, to help you trust God with what is closest to your heart.

What if I told you that breaking the worry habit is easier than you think?

Last week I gave you the ABCs to start your journey of being worry-free:

  • Admit you and I are not in control.
  • Believe God only wants the best for you
  • Commit yourself to a deeper knowledge of God.
    This week I have the next few letters of the alphabet to help you apply Philippians 4:6 to your life and not worry about anything, but instead pray about everything.
  • Depend on God to do what you can’t. Worry says “I must handle this myself.” But trust says “God, only You can truly work this through.”Leave it in His hands and watch the worry and stress fade away.
  • Expect Him to come through for you. Philippians 4:6 instructs us to not worry about anything, but instead pray about everything, thanking God for all He has done. That tells me we should be thanking God ahead of time for all we are trusting Him to do on our behalf. That is faith…the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
  • Focus on the truth, not the “what-ifs.” The truth is “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, NASB). The truth is He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The what-ifs are the scenarios our mind conjures up when we forget the truth of Who God is and what He is capable of.

This week I am depending on God to do through me what is beyond me. I am expecting Him to come through in the amazing way that Only He can. And I am focusing on the truth of WHO He is and WHAT He can do, rather than the what if scenario as if there were no God in control.

What are you depending on God to do, in particular, this week, this month, or this year? Let me know in the comment section below so I can join you in praying and trusting, rather than worrying.

I’m tired of sweating the small stuff. And stressing about the large stuff. And worrying about whatever is in between.
So, now that it’s a brand new year, my goal is simple and certain: To worry about nothing – and pray about everything.
It’s practical advice that comes from the Bible, yet it’s so difficult to apply at times.
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

And the next verse tells us the result of not worrying, but choosing to pray about our concerns instead:

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Worry prematurely ages us. And stress, literally, kills. But more than wanting to protect my health, I want God to be pleased with my life and to worry is the opposite of faith. To worry or stress about something is to say to God –and others – that I don’t believe He is capable of taking care of all that concerns me.
In light of my upcoming book, Ten Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom (releasing March 1 from Harvest House Publishers), I want to be a woman who doesn’t worry about ANYTHING in my life, regardless of what comes my way.
As I point out in my new book, we don’t worry because of our circumstances. We worry because of who we are. And worrying – whether it’s about our children, our husbands, our aging parents, or our friends – doesn’t show how much we love another person, but how little we know God.
So, this is what I’m practicing every day this year – The ABCs to not worrying about the things that would ordinarily weigh us down. And I’m asking you to join me in this quest.

  • A – Admit you (and I) are not in control. It’s that easy. God can handle it. We cannot.
  • B – Believe God only wants the best for you. To release our lives and loved ones into God’s hands we must trust God and His character. We must believe He is good, He is loving, and He is so much wiser than we are. That means if He allows something we don’t understand, we trust Him, rather than worry that He got it wrong.
  • C – Commit yourself to a deeper knowledge of God. I’m a firm believer that if we want to improve any relationship in our lives, we must first grow in our relationship with God. As we get to know Him more intimately, we can trust Him with all that concerns us. And then, instead of being worriers (who focus on the negative and what could go wrong), we can be encouragers. How well you and I trust God is directly connected to how well you and I know Him. So, simply said, I want to know Him more.

So, will you share with me this goal to get to know this great, loving, capable God even better this year? If so, let me know in the comment section below. I’ll be right alongside you…encouraging you each step of the way.

As the busyness increases this time of year it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, isn’t it?

You and I have so much to do. So many places to be. So much on our minds.

And yet, in the midst of the chaos, He quietly whispers to our hearts — “Come away with me to a quiet place….”

I’ve been longing for that “quiet place” lately…the time and perfect place to get quiet with Him…to catch up in our relationship…to recapture a heart for only Him. But I realize that “quiet place” is not found in a change of location, but in a change of lifestyle. And that’s a good thing because it’s often not possible for us to pack our things and get away to a quiet place. Yet, you and I can create a “change of location” by going away with Him in our hearts and making room for Him there this Christmas.

My friend, God would rather have us be with Him than do a bunch of things for Him. So, right now, wherever you are, whatever is on your mind, would you join me in going away with Him in your heart?

  1. Relax your shoulders, let out a deep breath and say softly aloud “Lord, I release my anxieties, my expectations, my worries and my plans to You.”
  2. Breathe in deeply and slowly and as you do, say “Lord, I receive Your peace, Your wisdom, Your rest, knowing You have everything under control. Remind me that You are my greatest gain and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
  3. Read Psalm 121 with a heart of praise to the One who never slumbers nor sleeps, but invites you to rest peacefully in His arms.

Go away with Him in your heart this holiday season and experience His peace and rest.

I’m guessing you could use some rest and relief — right now!

But taking a vacation or getting a massage or spending the day at a health spa probably isn’t an option at the moment. And all of those things would only provide temporary relief, anyway.

Rest and relief — physically, mentally and emotionally — is not found through a change of location, but through a change of lifestyle.

Here are four steps to rest and relief (which spell REST, by the way) so you can start learning to “go away with God” in your heart and find the rejuvenation that is equivalent to an island getaway.

Step 1: Realize that God is in control and you are not

Whatever it is that is tiring you — an intense schedule, a burdensome task,  an effort that is being thwarted, or an unexpected delay — it is probably beyond your control at this point.  When we acknowledge that God is in control and we are not, that is the first step in loosening our grip on things and beginning to relax our shoulders and rest. Let God determine the pace at which you travel and suddenly the speed at which you’re moving doesn’t matter as much because you’re realizing God is at the helm. See your experience as a time of traveling WITH Him to a destination that He sees, even if you don’t.

Step 2: Expect God to come through

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Busy-woman-with-post-it-notesIt’s easy to be a woman on the edge at Christmas. After all, there’s so much to do, and so much to buy,  and — good heavens — so much to eat! 

It’s a fact, women tend to be stressed out during Christmas time, more so than at any other time of the year. Probably because we’re focusing on our finances, or our full schedules, or that inevitable weight gain that happens this time of year.

But you can avoid going over the edge, and instead, experience Christmas as an extra special time of making memories with your Maker, and cherishing special times with your family. It’s all about refocusing your heart and mind and remembering three principles that can get you through the Christmas season feeling recharged, refreshed, and refueled.

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MTL-CindiMcMenamin-610x305With the holidays coming, it’s easy to get stressed, so all the more reason to be a person of gratitude rather than bad attitude.

I’ve found in my own life, that when I’m praising God in the pain — or just thanking Him during the mundane — it helps me become a person of gratitude in any circumstance. And that keeps me healthier and happier, over all.

Here are some simple prayers you can begin saying now to practice gratitude when the bad attitude starts seeping in to steal your joy, harm your relationships, and attack your health: (You might also want to read a few of these around your Thanksgiving dinner table this year.)

Thank you, God, for unanswered prayer. It reminds me that You know what’s best for me, even  when my opinion differs from Yours.

Thank You, Lord, for the things you have withheld from me. You have protected me from what I may never realize.

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When my friend sent me a text upon learning her husband was diagnosed with colon cancer, I was surprised — yet encouraged — by her reaction:

“God’s got this,” she said confidently.

I want that type of unswerving trust in the One who can handle all things. And I know you do, too.

Last week I asked you what you worry most about so I could encourage you to trust God in those areas. Here is what you, my readers, said:

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stop-worrying-225As I’ve grown older, I’ve made it a point to not waste a day worrying about something I can’t control.

I wish I’d had that mindset when I was younger. How many days have I wasted, how many stomach aches could I have spared, how much less stress I could have had if I’d remembered that the One who controls all things has my back and has my situation under perfect control.

Let me take this time to remind you — and encourage you — of the things you, too, never need to worry about if you are trusting in the One who can do all things:

1. If you know personally the Great Physician, you never need to worry that you suffer with a condition that no doctor understands or can treat. Nothing takes Him by surprise. No condition is outside of His league.

2. If you know the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10), you never need to worry about where your next meal will come from.

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Are you feeling today that there is just too much to do?

I remember a time in my life when I felt like I was drowning under the obligations of being a woman, wife, mother, director of women’s ministries, friend, sister, and daughter. There was so much to do to keep up with family relationships, to keep up the house, to keep up with my job, and to keep up in my walk with God. I literally felt I was drowning in obligation, and continually coming up short.

I truly believe today that when we feel like that, we’re taking on more than we were intended to bear. And most likely, more than God wants us to bear.

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JoyI recently posted a devotional on the Proverbs 31 Ministries site and received about 900 comments from women, most of them with heartbreaking stories.

Just when I think I’ve heard it all, another woman will break my heart with what she has gone through in her marriage, as a parent, or as a woman who has experienced physical or emotional pain. Hurt will never go out of style. And I remember thinking, as I read through those stories, that as long as I’m writing for hurting hearts, there will, sadly, always be an audience for my books.

It’s sad, but it’s a reality of the broken world we live in.

And yet…I’m thinking you could use a little joy about now. Well, I’ve got good news for you: Experiencing joy is easier than you think.

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When life gets messy, it’s easy to get stressed. Or angry. Or bitter.

But most of the time we’re in the middle of a mess, God wants to sharpen us, mold us, and transform us. So we might as well respond the way He desires so we can get out of the mess, don’t you think?

As I was writing my newest book, When God Sees Your Tears, I realized there’s lots of reasons to trust God in the middle of the mess. Stress kills, so save your health, pass the test, and please God by trusting Him in the middle of the mess.

Here are 6 reasons to trust, not stress, when you’re in the middle of the mess:

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