Read the Bible in a Year or Not?

One of the goals that I set for myself last year in 2018 was to read the Bible through in a year. I was pretty consistent and kept up with it until about March. Life happened and while that is still no excuse I fell behind and just got discouraged so I gave up. Fast forward to 2019 and I set the same goal again. This year I was determined not to get behind and really keep up with it. I even bought one of the chronological journaling/coloring Bibles to help me stay focused. Well, I managed to keep up for the first month despite getting sick with the flu twice. While it was good, I kept feeling like God was telling me to stop.

Now first off I’d like to say that I’m not out to offend or bash you if you decide to read the Bible through in a year. I think it’s great. Many of my friends do and I support that 100%. However, take into consideration the why behind reading it.

Are you reading the Bible just so you can say you did it and cross it off your list or are you reading the Bible to learn and open your heart to what God has to say and learn? 

My word for the year is INTENTIONAL! I want to have all the right intentions for why I read my Bible. I started feeling like I had to read my Bible just so I can cross it off my list. It was like checking off the box for the day. I wasn’t fully digging deeper and thinking about what I was reading. It’s kinda like just going through the motions because it was the right thing to do. That’s when I heard God speak to me.


Grace, I want you to stop trying to read your Bible through in a year. I want you to start reading it so I can speak and teach you. Stop and pause, write down what you are learning and all the truths I have for you that are in my Word. 


WOW, thank you for bringing this to my attention God! I want to read my Bible because I want to know you more and continue to grow not because I want to check it off my list each day.

If you are wanting to grow and really read your Bible to learn I am going to share with you a few practical tips of what I am doing in hopes that it will encourage you. While each of us will take away different truths from the Bible and what we read here are what I think will help you.

  1. Start with Prayer- Prayer is important and by starting with it we are asking God to open our heart, soul, and mind to what He has for us and how we can learn and grow from what we are reading.
  2. Journal – Be sure you have a journal or some sort of notebook or paper handy. As a writer I love words and by writing it helps me process. Write down questions, verses, or anything that comes to mind while you are reading and studying.
  3. Worship Music – I love having worship music playing in the background. It just helps set the mood. Music speaks to my soul and it just calms me down. Right now I am loving the new album Follow You Anywhere by Passion Music. It’s my jam and pretty much is playing nonstop.
  4. Coffee – Okay you really don’t need coffee but it definitely helps.

While I want to be able to give you 1-2-3 steps and tell you that if you do that it will be easy but I can’t. We are all on our own unique journey of faith. I would love to hear your thoughts about this topic. Feel free to comment or send me a message.

Did I Thrive or Just Survive?

As I reflect back on 2018 one thing that comes to mind is this quote. ⠀

NO MATTER WHAT THE OUTCOME OF MY CIRCUMSTANCES ARE… GOD IS GOOD. HE IS ALWAYS GOOD!!!

This is what I clung to over the past year. It wasn’t easy and at time painful, emotional, and exhausting but through it all God is faithful. He is good. God was with me every step of the way. ⠀

At the beginning of 2018, I chose a word for the year. My word was “THRIVE”. The idea came from a line in a song by Casting Crowns. I want to do more than just survive I want to thrive. That was my goal for this year.

Did I thrive? or Did I just survive?

I’d like to think that I did a little bit of both. There were definitely areas in my life that I thrived in more than others over the last year. As I looked back through my goals I feel like I accomplished some of them.

One thing that I thrived in was my prayer life and prayer in general. Prayer has become a huge part of my everyday life. Over the year praying for others has become a huge blessing to me. It makes me feel good that I am helping people by praying for them when sometimes that’s all you can do. Prayer has definitely been one of the only things that have gotten me through this year.  ⠀

Thriving in the area of serving and getting more involved in church. I am actively involved in childcare and preschool at my church. I volunteer once a month on Sundays back in preschool and I love every minute of it. Working with kids is a huge passion of mine. I love sharing the love of Jesus with them. This year I worked twice a month at church for MOPs. This is our church’s program for Mothers of Preschoolers. I got to work with the 4 and 5-year-olds and it was a blessing to me. There’s something about investing in the lives of kids that just makes my heart happy.

Another area of thriving was our young adult group Anthem. If you follow me on Instagram then you probably heard me speak of it. We meet on Thursday nights as well as Sunday mornings and let me tell you it’s one of the best things that has happened to me. It has changed my life for the better. The friendships that I have made over the last year I am truly thankful for. I love that I am accepted for who I am and that I can be real and authentic with them.

However, there are areas in life over the last year that I felt like I was just surviving. Health issues played a big part in life this year. I have had ups and downs and sometimes thought I was barely hanging on. It has been rough, emotionally, physically and mentally. I’ve cried more tears then I would like to admit there were times I wanted to just throw the towel in. It was only by God’s grace that I made it through. God was right there with me holding my hand.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring or even what 2019 has in store but I do know that whatever comes my way God is with me. ⠀

I’m not sad about 2018 being almost through. In fact, I’m sorta excited because next year has to be better than this year. It just has to be. I keep telling myself that anyways. ⠀

There are lots I learned this year about God, myself, friends and life and I’m grateful to have experienced everything. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the mess all taught me lessons and made me stronger. ⠀

As you take time to reflect over the past year whether it was your best year yet or maybe your worst year please take heart and remember that God is good and you made it through with His help.

You Don’t Get It until You Live It

Everyone is going through something.

Just because they look fine and put together on the outside doesn’t mean they have it all together. Most of the time it just means they don’t let it show because people just don’t understand and pass judgment on them.

I’ve gotten a lot of opinions and advice over the years. People have told me time after time that I should trust God or press into Him. One of the most common phrases is well if you aren’t happy with your circumstance then do something about it to change them. Don’t keep focusing on what you don’t have. Focus on what you do have.

  • Everyone else doesn’t have it all together.
  • Everyone is going through something.
  • Stop comparing yourself to them.
  • There are people worse off than you.
  • You should be thankful you aren’t them.

You know what? That is like a stab in the heart right there. Of course, I know that others are worse off than me. Of course, I know that everyone is going through something. I should know this better than anyone.

What I don’t understand is this? Does that make what I am going through any less important? Does that mean my struggles, pain, hurt, and life shouldn’t matter?

Maybe it comes from dealing and living with a chronic health issue for over half my life. Maybe it comes from having to constantly watch others live the life I want. Maybe it’s just because I am a hot mess.

Whatever it is I want to open up and become a little more honest and vulnerable with you. If you have been following me here or over on Instagram you may have noticed that my heart has been changing lately. God has been showing and revealing to me that it’s okay to show the real me to you guys. It’s okay to not be strong all the time.

God has been speaking to me. He has been telling me that it’s totally normal and okay to show my struggles and pain to you all.

If I’m completely honest this summer has been super hard. I’ve been a complete trainwreck. Emotions have been all over the place. Health issues have been in full swing flare up mood. Life has been crazy. I’m just a hot mess express like my bestie Elyse calls me.

Why am I telling you this? Why am I opening up? Yes I know that I could get backlash and could even get criticized for this. But I feel like I need to speak the truth.

You don’t get it until you live it!

There, I said it. Now you can go ahead and think what you want but it’s the truth. Until you have to go through it and live it you don’t fully understand or get it. Sure you can think you know all about it and act like you have all the answers but the hard truth is that you don’t.

I want to share with you a couple things that you can do when you are faced with this kind of situation.

  1. Don’t accuse someone’s struggle isn’t important. We all go through things. One person’s struggle is just as important as someone elses. For example, one friend is dealing with someone having cancer, while another friend is dealing with constant migrane headaches. Both of these are valid struggles. Both of these affect that person. Don’t belittle or think one is worse than the other. They both are hard to deal with.
  2. Don’t go telling them that if they want to change their circumstances to just do it. You don’t know everything that is going on and it can do more damage then good sometimes. Changing your circumstances isn’t as easy as some may think. There might be complications that prevent that person from changing even if they want to.
  3. Don’t believe everything you see on social media. This one here my friend has casued me the most problems. People see that I post mostly good, uplifting, and encouraging posts. I may complain or share my struggle once in a while but everything isn’t alwasy what it appears to be. Social media sometimes gets a bad rap. People don’t post every single struggle or bad, messy parts of life. Most of the time it’s the fun, good times and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just don’t assume that everything is good or that their lives are perfect.

I leave you with this my friends. Show some empathy and compassion. Instead of judging or saying hurtful words try being more understanding. Sometimes just listening and saying, I know that must be hard, you’ll get through this, I’m sorry you are struggle is all they need to hear. Of course you can always pray for them too.

I pray that this encourages you and gives you a little glimpse into my life. Although this summer was rough and hard I can say that God never left my side. He is good! He is faithful! He is always there for me and He brought me through.

Blessings, Grace Mae ❤

The Battle is Not Yours but GOD’S!

The battle is not yours but God!!!!

The enemy will try to sneak up on the blind side. Spiritual warfare is real my friends! I’m living in the middle of it right now.

You see when you are trying to do GOD’S work you are inevitably going to be attacked by the enemy.

When I chose to live my life for Jesus and be in ministry I knew all the risks I would face.

I knew that the enemy would be after me. ⠀
I knew people would hate me.⠀
I knew this life would be hard.⠀
I knew I needed to be on guard.

You see following Jesus is hard but totally worth it. You just need to press into Him and stay grounded in the WORD so that you are ready to stand up to this battle.

This brings me back to battles. Because we have God on our side we will win this battle. Surround yourself with God’s Word because that is how we will fight this battle.

I love the song by Bethel Music Surrounded (Fight my Battles)

🎵This is how I fight my battles⠀
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You 🎵⠀

Bethel Music Video

Be encouraged, my friends! Keep fighting the battles! We are at war!

Jesus will win because He overcame everything.


Before I end this post I’d like to leave you with four practical steps that I have been doing as I am fighting this spiritual warfare battle.


1. PRAY!!!!!! PRAY!!!!!! and PRAY some more. One thing that the enemy hates is when we pray to God. It’s okay to pray out loud. When we speak God’s words out loud it frightens the devil. I encourage you to spend time praying and even writing out your prayers in a journal or notebook. Even typing them out on your phone works.


2. WORSHIP!!!!!! Turn on some worship music and press into Him. There is just something about music that speaks to my soul. I love how I can get lost in worship and the presence of my Savior. When we start to praise and worship Him it will change our perspective. The enemy hates when we praise our God. Praise God more even when you feel like you got nothing left.


3. GET IN THE WORD!!!! Open up your Bible and start reading! You see the Bible is our guidebook for life. It has all the answers to our questions in it. All we got to do is read it and put it into practice. God’s Word is powerful. I encourage you to start reading when you feel like the devil is attacking you.


4. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GODLY PEOPLE!!!!! This last one is important. Surround yourself with people who love God just as much as you do. Ask them to pray for you and with you when you feel under attack. The Bible says in Matthew 18:20 when two or more are gathered in my name I am there with them. I am blessed to have Godly friends in my life who walk alongside me when I’m struggling.


You see my friends this is just part of the way I fight Spiritual Warfare. I know the enemy hates me because I am living life for God. Even though I am constantly being attacked I will not give in for I know that the battle is already won. He will fight my battles!

Be encouraged, my friends! You are not alone. I am praying for each and every one of you that reads or follows me. God knows and hears the cry of our hearts. We will get through this in time.

Blessings, Grace Mae ❤

 

What Ifs, Even Ifs, It’s Okay, & Life

Wow! I can’t believe that the last time I posted was on Memorial Day. This summer is flying by. I really hadn’t intended to take this long of a break. I just wanted you to know that I hadn’t forgotten about you. 

Truth is life has been crazy and rough. I know, you are probably thinking “here we go again”. Yes, I admit that it has been my go-to phrase lately, but I’m not looking for attention or wanting you to feel sorry for me.

If I am honest, sharing this part of my journey and story with you makes me feel very vulnerable. It’s scary sharing personal parts of yourself with others. Truth is God has been working and speaking into my life and I just had to share it with you. 

Many of you know that I struggle with chronic health issues. It’s a part of my life that I share about from time to time. Living with these health issues has taught me a lot. There are so many stages that I’ve gone through. There are so many questions that I have asked God over and over again. I’ve been sad, depressed, hurt, and angry. Questions I’ve demanded an answer that never came left me even more confused. 

It’s taken a lot of time but recently God revealed to me something that changed my whole perspective.

You see there’s a lot of uncertainty in life. More so when you throw chronic health issues on top of that. One thing that I struggle with is the fact that because of my health issues it affects my hormones. I’m on hormone replacement because my body doesn’t make them on my own. If you know anything about hormones then you would know that it can cause all kinds of emotions. Even more so for women. 

I came across this quote. “what if” = fear “even if” = faith ⠀

Wow, what a powerful reminder! That quote right there hit me hard. I don’t know about you but for me, there has been a lot of “what if’s” lately in my life. ⠀

I’ve been in this hard season searching and asking God all my “what if” questions.

What if I never get married?⠀
What if I never have kids? ⠀
Wha if my health is never restored? ⠀
What if I never get a job? ⠀
What if my dreams never come true? ⠀

It occurred to me that all of these questions were my fears of the future and fears of the unknown. The enemy was using these against me. Instead, I need to think that “even if” this happens I still will have faith. ⠀

Even if my dreams don’t come through. ⠀
Even if my health is never restored.⠀
Even if I never get married.⠀
Even if I never have kids. ⠀
Even if my dreams never come true.⠀
Even if I never get a job. ⠀

I will still have faith and trust God. I will still praise and worship Him because He is still good. So I want to encourage you today to start taking those what if’s and turning them into even if’s. Take heart friends, Jesus loves you and He is still good.

If you’ve been following me for a while or know me in person you will know that I am super passionate about being there for everyone else. I have learned that faking being okay is easier than letting people know how you really are feeling.

Well, my friends, God has been slowing revealing to me that sometimes it’s okay not to be okay. Don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not talking about complaining or always dumping your problems on others. What I am talking about is sometimes being the strong one who’s always there for others sometimes need people to be there for them. Just don’t let it consume you to the point of it defining your purpose or life.

I don’t like complaining or dumping all my problems, fears, desires and life on others. I’d much rather be the one who’s helping others through this life. Call it my stubborn nature lol 😛 you know the type, independent not wanting to admit you need help for fear of getting judged or hurt. That has happened way too many times in my life. More times than I’d like to count.

It wasn’t until recently in the last couple months or so that I started slowly letting people in. God was working on my heart. He was revealing to me that I needed my friends and Him to help walk me through this hard season of life.

Then yesterday at church God confirmed to me that it’s okay not to be okay all the time. During worship as I was singing and praying about all these questions, I went up to the altar to pray. I wasn’t looking for someone to pray with me I was just looking for some time with Jesus.

As I prayed and cried a very sweet friend came to pray with me. It really touched my heart. Her prayer over me just confirmed what God was telling me. He was speaking to me about being more vulnerable and willing to admit I need prayer. Admit that it’s okay to ask others to come alongside you when you are feeling weak and broken down.

It goes back to that quote I shared. The fears of the what-ifs that turn into the faith of even-ifs. They all tie in together. When you take those fears to God and share them with your friends together you can find the faith to endure.

Even if my health isn’t restored I will still praise my God. He is the center of my life. He is still good.

MY WHAT IFS DON’T DEFINE WHO I AM IN HIM!!!!!!

There will be days when I am not okay but you know what? It’s okay!

Blessings, Grace Mae ❤