Some Encouragement for the New Year

fearless 2016

I’ve chosen a word for this year that kind of scares me a little bit. What about you? Do you choose a word of the year? This book, My One Word,  will really help you throughout the coming year if you do choose a word!

My word for 2016: FEARLESS.

{You can scroll through ALL my “word of the year” posts from years past by clicking here! Past words: confidence, purposeful, abide, contentment, faith, rest, compassion. Wow! Can this really be the 8th year I’ve chosen a word or focus for the year?}

Whatever your word may be, I want to share a little bit of encouragement with you. Sometimes choosing goals or resolutions or even just one little word can feel a little bit crazy. Maybe even hopeless.

Who am I to think God will do something new in me?

If you’re anything like me, the same struggles plague you, year in and year out. Sometimes I wonder if my weaknesses and fleshly tendencies are actually getting worse and not better. I look inside my own heart and see selfishness and pride.

But, you know what? Sometimes when I look too much on the inside of my own heart and not enough at the Holy Spirit who is ALSO LIVING INSIDE OF ME, I see the muddled weight of humanity that seeks to crush me.

But, God.

I must lift my eyes and fix them on JESUS, the author and perfecter of my faith. HE ALONE is my HOPE. HE ALONE is my strength. He alone is my peace. My joy. My all. The perfect, blameless righteousness of Christ is now mine. Because of the blood of Jesus, God looks at me as flawless. Sometimes I need to remind myself of what is mine in Christ.

Every morning His mercies are new. Every morning is a fresh start. Every morning, the weight of our own sin seeks to crush us. But every morning, the Lord is waiting to carry our load. Sometimes we must turn it over. And do it again the next day. Even the next moment.

Friends, in Christ we are a NEW CREATION. Let us WALK in the freedom of the Spirit.

Fearless in 2016

In Jesus’ Name I will stop fearing what others think and live out what God is calling me to…

In Jesus’ Name I will not fear disappointing others and put my faith and reverential FEAR in the One True LIVING God who loves me unconditionally.

In Jesus’ Name I will love my family and my children unconditionally and not fear that I am failing them or their futures. My children are in God’s Hands…and are much safer there than in my own.

Who is with me?

{This encouragement from Ann Voskamp was just what my heart needed.}

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No Longer Slaves

Have you ever listened to a song and wondered if they wrote it just for you? That’s what happened when I heard this song. I want the words of this song to be my testimony so badly!

I am NO LONGER a slave to fear…I am a child of God!

You Make Me Brave {Free Printable}

You Make Me Brave

My word this year is CONFIDENCE {in Christ} and for me, at least in what God is doing in my heart, confidence and bravery really are one in the same.

For so many years I have lived my life insecure and questioning why God made me the way He did. Why am I so sensitive? Why do I get offended? Why do I cry so easily? Why don’t I enjoy talking on the phone? Why do I need time to myself to recharge? Why is quiet so hard to come by — and why do I need it so much? Why am I so terrible at small talk? Am I just a bad friend?

The Lord has continued to work in my heart despite my doubts. Isn’t He good like that? In fact, He takes the brokenness and the questions and He makes them into something beautiful.

If I let myself, I will dwell on the negative and the questions and I will feel like God could never use anyone like me. Why do I write on this blog? Why do I work so hard to create these resources for you? You aren’t good enough to be a writer. You don’t have anything special. Just another blogger. Just another friend. Just another person.

But, in God’s eyes, I am so much more than just another blogger/writer/person. And sweet friends, I want YOU to hear this message because I know some of you need it as much as I do.

You were created for a purpose.

You have unique gifts that the world needs.

You can point others to Jesus with your gifts.

The hard places, the weaknesses, they are given so that God’s glory can shine through those broken places.

The mistakes of the past can become your message of redemption.

The very things you hate about yourself, God gave you for a reason. That reason is to give Him glory WITH those things you may not love about yourself!! He can use you whether you are shy/outgoing, talkative/quiet, a writer/singer/teacher/cashier/mom.

No matter where you find yourself today, He can use you. Right where you’re at. In the grocery store line, changing that 27th diaper, sitting at your laptop typing from your heart, showing up to the office for yet another day, teaching a classroom full of children. God can and will use you right.there. Will you let Him? Or maybe you’re a divorced mom of two and think God can’t use you. Maybe you’re in chemo treatment for cancer and think God can’t use you. Maybe the mistakes of your past weigh on your mind more than the beauty of His face. Friends, it’s time to fix our eyes on Jesus and take them off of ourselves and our inadequacies. He is my adequacy! I don’t need to be adequate in and of myself.

He truly makes me brave. I should say He is making me brave. I don’t feel like I’m “there” yet, but that’s ok. I don’t know that I ever want to be “there.” I want to be a work in progress, I want God to continue making me more and more like Him each and every day. He isn’t finished with you, either.

He is making you brave, right where you are with just what you’ve been given. Now, go and shine for Him!

You Make Me Brave

This song, by Bethel Music, has been my heart’s cry since the first time I heard it. I thought you and I could both use a little reminder to print out and stick on our mirrors!

After you print, scroll down and listen to the song as well!

Click on the link or the graphic to print!

Brave lyrics PDF

Brave lyrics

P.S. As an addition to the thoughts in this post, I want to say that I do believe God DOES call us OUT of our comfort zones to be bold for Him. However, I think there is a fine line between wanting to be someone different and being content in who He made us to be. I think each of us has to find that happy medium. What I mean to say is, despite my weaknesses, I can still do things OUT of my comfort zone if the Lord is asking me to do so. However, He is also asking me to be content in who He made me to be and not always wish I was someone else. This has been a very stretching process for me…just to be content with who He made me to be. In learning that God can use my sensitivities and introverted tendencies for Him, that HE made me that way, that has been very healing for me and has brought me much joy. Finding peace in who He made me to be is a growing process…but He is teaching me so much about Himself through it too. We are all, in fact, made in His image, after all. So those things I don’t like about myself, well, I need to stop hating those qualities because they must be another glimpse into Almighty God as well!

5 Amazing Podcasts for Bloggers

5 Amazing Podcasts for Bloggers

I have listened to podcasts off and on over the years, but it was only recently when I tried to start being more intentional about listening to podcasts for the purpose of encouragement, challenging me in my faith and on my online life, being more intentional with my time and even business and strategic tips. I have found several that I subscribe to that I keep going back to. These are my very favorites! {And choosing to be more intentional with my time goes hand in hand with my word of the year: confidence, in Christ.} 

In the comments section tell me what YOUR favorite podcasts for blogging are, I’m sure there are others out there that I haven’t come across yet!

5 Podcasts for Bloggers

Blogging Your Passion – this is a great podcast for those of us wanting to take our blogs to the “next level” so to speak. They discuss things like monetizing, SEO, Ebooks, blogging challenges, ways to make your blog stand out, etc.

How They Blog – this might be my favorite right now. 🙂 Kat Lee, whose blog I’ve read for years, interviews some of our favorite bloggers who may be a little farther down the road than we are. She discusses things like finding balance online, taking action, shop owning, blogging breaks, blogging tools, and lots of “how-to” type podcasts FROM popular bloggers!

Influence Network  – this is a new favorite of mine. I love the ladies at the Influence Network. I just recently found their stuff and began following along. The Influence Network is a community of women dedicated to helping women make their online time mean something. Well, that’s me! They talk about using your blog for God’s glory, online ministry, and they interview ladies who are out in the world with amazing ministries and online shops.

Smart Passive Income – this is a podcast by Pat Flynn, an online entrepreneur and business strategist. So, this podcast is full of online business tips, blogging strategies, income sources, marketing tips, etc.

Smart Time Online – this podcast is dedicated to helping us make SMARTER decisions online and in our online businesses. Each episode has actionable strategies for many of the blogging and business related topics. Also thing like habits of successful business folks, and productivity practices.

I like to think of podcasts as “continuing my education.” I’m always working to make this blog better, to communicate more effectively and to ENCOURAGE you more effectively. That is my heart! I love learning new things and am SO excited to have you along for the ride!

So, tell me, what are your favorite podcasts??

 

 

Revel: To Treasure, To Delight

To Revel In God's Word

The word “revel” means to take great pleasure or delight in. I have a blogging friend, Dawn, who chose “revel” for her word of the year. As soon as I saw her word, I immediately loved it. What a great word!

What do you revel in?

Where do you find delight?

What does your heart treasure above all else?

For me, it hasn’t always been the same things. Seasons come and go in our lives and our likes and dislikes change as well. That is normal, I think.

But, over the course of the last 7-8 years, God has been doing a work in my heart and slowly He is changing my desires. He is creating in me a new heart. He is helping me learn to treasure Him and His Word  above all else.

Please read the rest over at my friend, Dawn’s, blog

Confidence in 2015 {Booklist}

Confidence in 2015 Booklist  MercyIsNew.com

2015 is my year to become confident in the Lord, to be secure in who He made me to be, to be content with the giftings and passions the Lord created me with, to be confident in hearing His voice and to act on that confidence!

I shared a little more about choosing this word in this post.

If you’ve been around here for long, you know that I will need some encouragement by the way of GOOD BOOKS to grow in this area. {Praying the Scriptures is a huge part of God’s work in my heart, just kind of goes without saying I guess!} 

These books aren’t all about goals and contentment and using our passions for the Lord. Some of these books will just help me to get rid of the distractions and focus on what is important. Some of these books will help me to get more practical and applicable with my word and theme for the year.

Booklist for 2015 to Encourage Confidence in the Lord

1. Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love by Sally Clarkson. This book JUST came out by one of my favorite authors! I cannot wait to dive into this one. My plan is to pick this one up as soon as I finish Make it Happen. Sally Clarkson has such a heart and gift for encouraging moms, so I know this book is going to be good.

2. Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose. by Lara Casey. This author (and her blog and shop) are new to me, but a few months ago I began following her on instagram and instantly knew that her Power Sheets were what I needed to get going in the New Year with goals and priorities. She is also doing a series on goal setting on her own blog and it has been really good too!

3. Restless: Because You Were Made for More by Jennie Allen. I’ve read this book once and it’s actually on my list to read again this year. I need this message over and over again, it seems. “A practical plan to identify the threads of your life and how to intentionally weave them together for God’s glory and purposes.” Jennie Allen also has a 2015 “Dream Guide” available if you sign up for her newsletters! I have this ready to go as well.

4. The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica Turner. I was blessed to be on the launch team for this book, it comes out February 17th and it is SO good. I think this will be “the book” I give as baby gifts in the coming year. Every mom (and woman) needs to read it. Jessica shares about using the giftings and things that fulfill us to serve others but also to fill us up, using “fringe hours” to squeeze in time for ourselves when maybe we feel we don’t have any extra time. You can MAKE time, we need this, moms! {Full post on this book coming the week it releases! You can pre-order now!} 

5. Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life by Crystal Paine. I read this book at the beginning of 2014 and it was so good. I readily admit that I wasn’t expecting to get a lot out of it because I’m not a super disciplined person. But this book had so many practical ideas. I ended up writing a looong post on this book if you’d like to read more!

6. Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! by Rachel Macy Stafford. This book was so good for me. Encouragement to put down your phone and look into your kids eyes, to spend moments enjoying your family instead of being tied to technology. I probably should re-read this book yearly!

7. My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word by Mike Ashcraft & Rachel Olsen. Another great book as you seek to work on your word of the year or a theme or a goal you want to see happen in the new year. I wrote a longer post on this book as well!

So, who wants to share what goals you’re working on in 2015? What is your ONE WORD? What do you want to be more intentional about this year?

And what steps are you taking to make those goals happen? Reading these books is a great place to start!! Who is with me?

Confidence in the Lord 2