My faith is my driving force. It’s what gives me the strength conquer anything, to take on the world. And faith needs encouragement and community to thrive.

God’s Love and Suffering: How Can They Coexist?

As a Christian writer, each of my books includes a struggle to understand one aspect of God and His love. I am not preachy or over the top (I've had some strong critics verify this), but it's my way of exploring and working through my own understanding of God alongside the characters. In the romantic suspense novel I'm currently working on, I tackle the question of "How can God's love and suffering coexists in the world? How can I trust a God who allows this suffering to happen?" Man, I did not know what I was getting myself into. For the first draft, I did a little research and pushed through the question. When I got the responses back from my [...]

By | 2016-12-05T15:46:14+00:00 December 6th, 2016|Faith, My Journey|4 Comments

Don’t Allow Past Thoughts to Dictate Your Future Actions

Have you heard of the First 5 app? You can use it as your alarm or you can open it when you wake, and it gives you a five minute devotion so that you can start your day out right with God. I absolutely love it and highly recommend it. On Tuesday, Lysa Terkeurst wrote a devotion called "Getting Unstuck From My Thinking Rut" that really struck a chord with me. (I really suggest downloading the app and reading the full text, but I'll paraphrase below.) The devotional was based on Romans 12:2. "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve [...]

By | 2016-08-09T14:30:22+00:00 August 11th, 2016|Encouragement, Faith, Relationships|15 Comments

How to Have Faith When You Question Religion

Adapted from original post on September 2015. Last year I put out a call on Facebook, asking readers to tell me what they'd like to hear more about on The Busy Life. The response was: How to have faith when you question religion? I have to say, my heart just about stopped when I read it. This is a very hard, but a very important question. I pray I can do it justice, but please speak up in the comments section and help me out! Sometimes looking at religious institutions, and even religious leaders, can be discouraging. Pettiness, deceit, and hateful actions and words are just a few of the issues facing churches today. I was at a church for many [...]

By | 2016-06-16T08:16:52+00:00 June 16th, 2016|Encouragement, Faith|3 Comments

When Anxiety Beckons 

When I was first married, I had an almost crippling fear when my husband left the house. Anxiety would grip me as my mind raced through all the things that could happen to him the moment he walked out the door—car accidents, shootings, machine malfunctions on the plant floor, terrorist attacks. I have an active imagination. It was not my friend. Does this sound familiar to anyone? This went on for weeks. Then months. I was terrified of losing him before our lives truly began. And I didn't know what to do. Then I came across this verse: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians‬ [...]

By | 2016-04-24T00:02:39+00:00 May 12th, 2016|Encouragement, Faith|6 Comments

Insecurities and How to Combat Them

To the world, I appear a confident woman. On occasion, I actually feel like one. Most of the time, that's the last word I would use to describe myself. I succumb to my insecurities more often than I wish to admit. But I'm also finding ways to fight them. Sometimes a confidence killer comes from other people. A thoughtless word, or maybe a pointed barb, bursts our fragile bubble of a confidence. It may be a "I'm not sure those jeans fit you anymore" or "I would never talk to my spouse/mother/child/coworker that way." Or it could be a well-meaning question like "Have you sold your book yet?" These questions and comments have a habit of shooting straight to our inadequacies [...]

By | 2016-04-07T01:24:03+00:00 April 7th, 2016|Encouragement, Faith|20 Comments

Ensure God’s Word Falls on Fertile Ground

Is your mind open to hearing the Word? To hearing the Lord's voice? I open my Bible read two sentences and remember that we're out of milk. I keep reading, but the milk is there taking up half of my mind--because I don't want to forget right?--and soon it's joined by ginger, lime, chicken, and egg noodles for that awesome Chicken Chow Mein I want to make on Friday. My eyes keep moving across the page, but my mind is on the grocery list. All the sudden, I've hit the end of the chapter and I've not absorbed a single thing. Same thing happens in prayer. Sound familiar? So how do we combat a flitting mind? How do ensure God's [...]

By | 2016-03-16T12:30:45+00:00 March 17th, 2016|Faith|10 Comments

The Volunteer Paradox

Last year I made teddy bears for an girls orphanage in Mexico. I have a confession. I'm bad about volunteering. It's something I think is really important and something I think should be done. But I'm horrible at it. Here's a few reasons why: I guard my time ferociously. Free time is a scarce commodity and I hate to give it up. I especially hate committing to giving it up on a regular basis. My schedule is a mess. Right now, due to a bought of work travel, I never know when I'm going to be home. I can't commit anything more than a few days in advance and even then, it's subject to change. That drives the [...]

By | 2015-11-16T18:46:30+00:00 November 17th, 2015|Encouragement, Faith|15 Comments

3 C’s Roundup: 10/16/15

This is a week of firsts apparently. Yesterday, my first blog swap, today my first roundup! I've been seeing so many great posts, verses, pictures, etc. I just couldn't wait to share! Christ A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 Craft 15-Minute No Sew Infinity Scarf from The Thinking Closet This is just too cute! And it will be perfect for the no-sewers like me. I do not have a sewing machine and no way do I have the patience to go it by hand. This video tutorial project will be fun a fun and cheap way to spice up my fall wardrobe! Curling Irons How to Make Your Own Pore Strips from [...]

By | 2015-10-16T17:00:04+00:00 October 16th, 2015|Crafts & DIY, Faith, Health & Beauty|16 Comments

Pursue Christ Not Christianity

This past weekend I was at the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference in Dallas, Texas. I had such a blast getting to know the awesome men and women there. Being around others who share my heart's interest refreshed and recharged me. I truly encourage you to find some time this week to fellowship with someone (outside of your family) who gets you. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes. At a general assembly, the group was asked by Bill Myer (an amazing man of God, you should check out the crazy, awesome things he's done) what are the things you have to do when you're a Christian. Here's the answers that were given: Must: Go to church Pray Read [...]

By | 2015-09-21T09:07:20+00:00 September 21st, 2015|Encouragement, Faith|21 Comments

How to Have Faith When You Question Religion

This past week I put out a call on Facebook, asking readers to tell me what they'd like to hear more about on Beauty in the Mess. The response was: How to have faith when you question religion? I have to say, my heart just about stopped when I read it. This is a very hard, but a very important question. I'm praying that I can do it justice, but please speak up in the comments section and help me out! Sometimes looking at religious institutions, and even religious leaders, can be discouraging. There can be pettiness, deceit, hateful actions and words, and so many other issues that I cannot name. I was at a church for many years that [...]

By | 2015-09-08T09:40:17+00:00 September 4th, 2015|Faith|41 Comments