It's His goodness that makes us good enough!
My friend Gary one time referred to doubt as a bully, and it really caught my attention. What he shared resonated with my heart. Here is what I read on his blog:

"My daughter Emily got me thinking of one of my bullies. I hate him. He’s sneaky and he lies. When I get busy and tired, and especially if I’m discouraged, he starts in.

He loves it when there’s several things that have to be done at the same time and it’s going to be a challenge but I have to get there, and I lack confidence, and fear I won’t finish. That’s when he starts his bullying.

He tells me a very simple, very subtle lie. He doesn’t say it out loud, but I sense my soul hears it, and if I’m not careful believes it: “You are what you do. If you fail, then that’s who you are.”

Funny, when I succeed, that’s never who I am; only failure becomes my identity.

There are two answers to that “You’re not good enough -- you’re not as good as you should be” feeling:

  1. Admit it. “You got that right. I’m all wrecked up. You don’t know the half of it.” There, that settles the performance part. Because even when I succeed I’m wrecked up.

  2. Get your good enough from Jesus. When you belong to him, you’re clothed in his righteousness, forever beloved and accepted, a constant recipient of his steadfast love and grace. I was slouched over in church one day and my wife Brenda passed me a note: “You belong to the King.”
She's right. We belong to Him, wrecked up and all. That should matter!"

Oh my friends. I need this reminder. We are broken yet beautiful. A mess entrusted with His message. Wrecked up, yet loved with reckless abandon by the King of Glory.

When we doubt ourselves, it's because we are forgetting our value and worth as children of God. We lack confidence in the gifts God's entrusted to us and question what we have to offer in a given situation because we focus on only the first half - mess, broken, wrecked up.

But the truth is when we belong to Jesus, we’re covered in His goodness. We’re loved and accepted forever. We can simply offer what we have and allow His goodness that makes us good enough!

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

NOTE: Today's comments along with Tuesdays are going to be part of my gift-card-give-away on Monday. If you want to share something just click the word "comments" below, type in the white box and be sure to include your email so I can let you know if you win. You know I just love to hear your thoughts.

If you receive my blog via email, double click on the title and it will bring you to my blog so you can be part of this week's conversation.

When doubt whispers, "You're not good enough."
Sometimes I’ll be thinking about something I want to do or something I sense God calling me to, and all of a sudden a feeling of doubt washes over me and whispers to my heart, "You can't do that. You're not good enough."

Out of the blue. I'll just get that awful, insecure sense of not being good enough. Or smart enough. Or _______ enough. Does that ever happen to you?

For the longest time, I thought I was the only one who struggled with doubt. And I didn't want anyone to know because I figured they might start doubting me, too.

Now, I didn't always call it doubt. Maybe you don't either. I sometimes called it fear. Fear that I'd fail. Fear that I wouldn't measure up. Fear that I'd look stupid. Or fear that I'd look prideful thinking I could do something special for God.

Other times I'd call it worry. Worry that I was going to disappoint someone. Worry that I might make a mistake and get criticized for it. Worry that I might get started but not be able to finish.

What I've realized over the past few years is that these may end up as fear or worry, but they stem from a source of doubt: self-doubt.

I think oftentimes we find ourselves standing in the shadow of doubt because we're really good at focusing on all that is wrong with us (real or perceived), instead of anything that is right with us. It’s like someone’s telling us we can't measure up and we believe it. We agree with it. And we live like it's true.

Rarely do we stop to ask, "Who is saying these things?" Who is causing me to doubt myself? Is it me? Is it someone from my past? Or is it the enemy of my soul disguising his voice as my own?

The Bible opens with the story of a woman who had everything she could want but somehow it wasn't enough. I think Satan knew Eve's weakness and tapped into her insecurity of not feeling like she was all that she could be, or should be. His questions and suggestions implied that she lacked what she needed to measure up. He told her she could "be" more and "have" more if she'd just seek after what God told her to stay away from.

Satan convinced Eve that her good enough could come from something other than what God had promised and provided. By believing Satan's lies her heart revealed that she didn't believe God's truth.

Jesus was tempted like Eve, and like you and me. Tempted to find His "good enough" in possessions, position and power - a false promise offered by the devil himself. Yet Jesus' response was different.

He really believed His Father's promises. He knew Who He was and Whose He was. His identity and confidence came from the Words spoken by His father. It was the only thing that could defeat the power of Satan's lies.

You and I have the same power to overcome our enemy of doubt and live confidently in who we are in Christ. But it doesn't just happen because we know it's possible. The first thing I've learned to do is listen to my thoughts and compare them to God's Word to see if they match His thoughts towards me. If they don't, then I start looking for truth to replace the lies that have filled my heart with doubt.

When doubt tells me I'm not good enough, God's Word tells me I'm wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

When doubt whispers that I am going to let others down and they may give up on me. God's Word tells me He will never leave me and He knows the plans He has for me that include purpose and hope. Deuteronomy 31:6, Jeremiah 29:11

When doubt whispers that I have nothing to offer. God's Word tells me that I'm His gift to the world and that I was created in His image. Psalm 127:3, Genesis 1:26

I wish I could share more, and eventually I will...

Because this is the topic of my book (title TBD) that will be released March 2011! I've been in Michigan for two days meeting with the publishing/marketing team at Baker/Revell and it was truly amazing. I am so excited to be working with them. And I want you to be part of the process! It will be such a better book with your thoughts and wisdom (and prayers)!

  • Will you first let God use you to bless and encourage those who read this (and me) by sharing a doubt you have and a promise from God's Word that helps you overcome it?
  • Can I quote you in my book? This is the message God has called pour out from the pages of my heart to the pages of a book. A book I pray will set the captive free and release many prisoners (everyday women like us), from living in doubt, discouragement or defeat so they can become all that God has created them to be!
Please click the word "comments" below, type in the white box and publish. If you don't have a blog, click anonymous. Or if you just want to be anonymous, that is fine, too. And I'll do a drawing for some kind of gift card just to get you all talking. I know you love to win stuff and I love to give it away :-).

Pretty in Pink

As I look at my beautiful little girl that is getting so big, I'm overwhelmed with thankfulness that she is ours. Today I was captured by her pretty-in-pink cuteness, her contagious joy and her sweet smile. WOW! The difference we see in her from the day we met her at the orphanage is remarkable.

Watching the devastation in Haiti and knowing thousands of children are without a home, without a mommy or daddy, without food, without anything - is breaking my heart. Tonight we heard on the news that there is a proposal being considered to allow children orphaned in Haiti to come to the US and be cared for while they wait to find their family or be adopted by another.

This touches a raw spot in our hearts, and we can't stop talking about how thankful we are that Aster is home, safe with us.

There are so many wonderful families who would love to give a home and their hearts to these children who are orphans. I was covered in goose bumps from head to toe as we listened to the story, and the possibility of hope for their future. At one point JJ asked if we should consider adopting one of them. My mom started breathing deeply, so we dropped the subject. For now, we'll do what we can...send money and pray for these children. We know you join us in that. And again, we thank you so much for all of your beautiful prayers for our little one too!!!

Sometimes I wanna...QUIT
Do you ever have expectations that go unmet? Desires unfulfilled? Efforts that aren't accomplishing what you are working so hard for? And you just end up worn out from it all.

That happened to me last week. So many of you have asked about my birthday and I didn't want to tell you, but it ended up being a "not-so-happy" day. Long story. Just a hard day at home with miscommunications that led to misunderstandings and tears. We've had a lot of stress on us all and
the scales tipped on my birthday!

I eventually made it to my special spot around 3:30pm to spend some time with Jesus
but all I could do was cry. I was so sad. So disappointed that my day didn't go as I had planned. After I soaked in God's presence, I had high hopes of some sweet time writing. I just needed to feel like I was making headway on my book - which is due May 1st.

But I didn't have it in me to write. My heart was too hurt. So you know what I wanted to do?


I wanted to tear up my contract and call my editor to tell her, "I can't do this! I quit!"

I'd hit too many walls and faced too many obstacles. I had Dr appts with mom that lasted several hours each and left me scrambling for help with kids and carpools. Seriously, at one Dr office we sat in the exam room for a whole hour without seeing a Dr or nurse. And our stay at that one office was 3 hours total, plus an hour commute. Then an unidentifiable really bad rash showed up on one of my children making me have to cancel a block of writing time I had planned that afternoon. That night Aster woke up every hour on the hour crying.

Then the next day I had a puking dog who also happened to poop on my dining room wool rug and I stepped in it when I was trying to rush out the door to get Aster to a friend's who was going to watch her while I took mom to another Dr appt - which also lasted hours. Then a coffee mug filled with hot coffee slipped out of my hand, crashed to the floor and splattered coffee and a bazillion ceramic pieces across one whole side of my kitchen.

And that all happened between Monday and Wednesday.

Typing it all out makes me laugh now. Thankfully I laughed through some of it so I wouldn't cry. I'll spare you the details of other domestic catastrophes last week. The good news is, we did have a delicious birthday dinner and dessert mom cooked for me and we played games that night.

Life just gets hard and sometimes we wanna quit! I don't know about you, but Jesus won't let me. I have asked Him several times and He always whispers to my heart, "Trust me in this. You can't, but I CAN and I will."

Then He gives me what I need to keep going. I was looking through some files on my computer for something I'd written this weekend, and I found notes from a women's ministry meeting in 2002! In it I read these words MaryAnn Ruff, my mentor, spiritual mom and dear friend had shared with us as a group seven years ago!

From Bill Hybels book, Courageous Leadership.

“Someday we are going to stand face to face with the Son of God who never gave up on his redemptive calling. We’re going to stand face to face with a finisher who didn’t quit when his teachings were criticized. Who didn’t quit when his trusted followers deserted him. Who didn’t quit when he was mocked, beaten, and spit upon. Who didn’t quit when the nails were driven through his hands and his feet. Who didn’t quit as his atoning blood splashed from his veins to the dust beneath the cross.

Only when Jesus’ ministry had been completely fulfilled, when his race had been completely run, did he say those final words. And he said them with high octane, ‘It is finished. My job is done now. I did what my Father asked me to do. I hung in there all the way to the end and I fulfilled my ministry.’

When we meet Christ personally, I think we will all be prompted to say, ‘Jesus Christ, thanks for fulfilling your ministry. Thanks for not bailing out on the way to the cross. Because you endured, you purchased my pardon, you transformed my life, you protected my family, you sustained my church, you changed my world, and you sealed my eternal destiny.’

Hopefully all of us leaders will also be able to add, ‘And Jesus, because of your example and with your help, I finished my ministry too.’ How we’re going to revel in those moments! How glad we will be that we didn’t quit.”

I cried as I read these words. Good tears this time. God was speaking to my heart through the example of my Savior who never quit. And it was as though MaryAnn were right here reminding me, encouraging me and pointing me back to the One who called me. The One who is faithful. Then, the next morning, I got a text from her saying she was praying for me and even though we are miles apart now, she is with me. More tears!!

I pray today that no matter what you are facing, how hard it may be, how much you just feel like quitting - you won't. You will read these words and remember all that Jesus went through because His life was an eternal investment. And so is yours!

I pray you'll find strength to keep going. To never give up. Because Jesus never quit and He doesn't want you to either!

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” I Corinthians 15:58

Favorite Things - WINNERS!
I loved reading all the ways you all like to spend your birthday. I will never lack for ideas again. Ya'll do some great things to celebrate your lives and I love it!

I wish I could give you each a gift, but since I can't I had to pick only two winners.

And they are:

Kristin Colangelo Dixon (Facebook comment #8) - won "Jesus Calling" and McDonald's $5 Gift card -

Judy ( Blog commenter at 2:45pm) - won A manicure or pedicure gift certificate (worth $25)!


A Few of My Favorite Things Give-Away
Today is my birthday, and I have so much to celebrate!!!!

But I have had the hardest time figuring out how I'd like to spend this special day. For some reason, I don't want to be pampered. I know, call me crazy. I'm sure it's only temporary.

My family and co-workers can't figure me out. They know I usually love the excuse to celebrate and enjoy a few of my favorite things like a manicure/pedicure, lunch with friends and a fun movie, maybe a little shopping and dinner out with my family.

This year I just want a simple day with Jesus. I'll probably watch my next Beth Moore video download in her Esther series (that's what I've been studying these days), and do some writing in my favorite spot. I'll read and journal while I sip on my favorite coffee drink - sugar free vanilla iced coffee from McDonalds. I'll end the day with dinner at home with my kids, JJ and mom (she's doing the cooking). Sounds pretty wonderful to me!

I was telling JJ last night that I think I'm feeling the way I am because I have been surrounded by so much love, friendship, encouragement and prayers these past few weeks that I am all filled up!!! And I thank many of you for that!

So, instead of getting a few of my favorite things, I am going to give them away!!! You could be part of the celebration by sharing with me how you'd like to spend your birthday and....

YOU COULD WIN one of "My Favorite Things"
  • Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
  • $5 Gift card from McDonald's
  • A manicure or pedicure gift certificate (worth $25) from a salon/spa in your area.
Please click on the word "comments" below and tell us how you like to spend your birthday. Be sure to leave your first name and your email so I can get in touch with you! I'll be announcing the winner on Monday!

Extreme Encouragement
I believe that all of us need encouragement. I know I do. I am wondering today what is one area of your life where you need encouragement most? I have a reason for asking. First, I'd like to pray for you and at the end of this post, you can let me know how.

Second, I wanted to tell you about my sweet friend and P31 speaker LuAnn Prater and friends at Encouragement Cafe' radio show who are hosting an event you don't want to miss! Here is an invitation from them to you:

"Gather with us on January 29-30 in Greensboro, NC as we seek a new level of passionate pursuit of God and the encouragement of our sisters who are walking along the same path. We don't just benefit from our relationships with other women, we need them.

Encouragement isn't just a nice idea given in the Bible, it's commanded; and it's vital to both the encourager and the encouraged! It's meant to be lived out in flesh and bone, and in spirit and truth; and we think it's time we took it to the extreme! All three general sessions will include powerful prayer and worship, along with lots of laughter, fun, and some surprises!

Our speakers will share from the deep places in their hearts about Absolute Boundless Abandon. We will seek to make deep connections as we share our dreams, tell our stories, dry each other's tears, and celebrate each others victories!"

This event is ONLY $119! And includes OVER-NIGHT STAY, ENTRANCE TO ALL CONFERENCE SESSIONS/ALL CONFERENCE MATERIAL, BREAKFAST & LUNCH ON SATURDAY!!! The bad news is limited, so don't wait, register today.

For more details on Encouragement Extrem, click here to watch a video invitation.

Okay, so what is one area of your life where you need encouragement most? Click on the word "comment" below and type in the white box. If you don't have a blog, just click anonymous. Please share your first name, though, so I can pray for you personally.

It's an honor to pray for you today!

Aster's 1st Birtday!
On December 1st, we celebrated Aster first birthday and in the midst of all we've had going on I never did post about it!

It was such a special celebration. Mom had just been home from the hospital for a few days and was doing so much better. Aster hadn't even been ours for 2 months and here we were celebrating a year of her precious life.

A year of hardship and sacrifice for her and Hagere, her birth mother. A year of enduring sickness and many transitions from one set of arms to another and then another. A year that culminated here, with us, in her new home with her forever family.

Although I was pondering and treasuring all these things, Aster made sure the mood was light and filled with laughter. The funniest part about the whole night was our "Battle for the Bow!"

I wanted her to wear it and she didn't want to.

But look how cute she is with it in her hair!

It was the perfect night for a good family photo. I was determined she was going to wear that bow, so I decided I could "talk" her into it with a little lecture from her momma.

Didn't work. She kept grabbing it.

Finally she decided the only way to end this was to eat the thing so she pulled it out of her hair and put it in her mouth!

I wasn't giving up that easily. One more try.
I gave her a fruit puff to distract her.

That didn't last. Look at Derwin in the background (Aster's Godfather, our pastor and best friend). He thought the whole thing was hilarious!

Oh well, we got a decent family photo although she has no bow and no smile.

Here she is with her favorite present - a Pooh Bear Plane with music and lights from the Grays. That's one of my best friends, Vicki with her husband and kids, Derwin, Presley and Jeremiah Gray. Doesn't Aster look like she could be there's?

She is in some ways. They prayed her/us all the way through our adoption journey. So many people have been part of her story and that is why we want to share her. She's such a gift. Such a rare treasure of joy and love. And guess what? She let's me put bows in her hair now.

We love you sweet girl! Happy birthday again and again.

Seeing My Child Through God's Eyes
I woke up this morning feeling kinda sad because my baby boy is 12-YEARS-OLD today!!! I know I should be celebratin,g but he'll be a teenager in a year. And he was my giggly, sweet toddler just yesterday.

I decided instead of mourning my baby's movement towards teen-age-ville, I needed to thank God for all of the things He has taught me through Andrew. And how that boy cracks my whole head up with the things he says. And then there is the joy he gives and the way he really cares about the people he meets.

I started thinking about something that happened when he was four-years-old. I had shared it in a P31 devotion last year and thought I'd post it here today in honor of Andrew.

“I can’t!” Andrew shouted as tears streamed down his cheeks and his little chubby pushed the Etch A Sketch away. Joshua was trying to teach him how to use it but Andrew gave up before he even touched the little white knobs. “I can’t” had become Andrew’s favorite phrase. “I can’ t,” he cried when I encouraged him to put his face in the water at the pool that afternoon. “I can’t,” he muttered, when I asked him to tell me the first letter in the word apple. As I watched him sit in defeat, I thought to myself, I can’t take it anymore!

Life with a child who is afraid to try new things can be very difficult. Frustration had been creeping into my heart all day because I didn’t know how to help Andrew overcome his fears. So I stopped what I was doing and asked God to show me how to help my little boy.
I thought back on our week and remembered how Andrew had given up most easily when trying things his big brother could do well. I remembered an article I’d read about helping children become “can-do kids.” I felt like God reminded me of that because He specializes in helping His children become can-do kids, and that’s what He wanted me to do for mine.

I though about Gideon, a man God called a “mighty warrior” even while he was acting like a wimp. I thought about when Jesus called Peter a rock, although he acted more like shifting sand. But over time, both of these men became who God called them to be. And I knew in my heart Andrew could, too!
I bent down and looked into Andrew’s tear-filled eyes and told him,

“Andrew, from this moment foward you are my ‘CAN DO KID’. There are so many things you
can do. The Bible says you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.”

It was time for dinner so I told Andrew we were going to set the table together. I handed him the forks and showed him where each one went. I gave him one plate and cup at a time and watched him complete each setting. Once he finished, Andrew looked at me and proudly said, “Mommy, I can do it!”

In the days, weeks and even years that followed, he called himself the “can-do” kid.

God taught me a lesson that day. My children need me to
believe in them and show it through my words and my actions. I was so grateful God gave me such a powerful lesson and promise from His Word to pass on to my child in the midst of a challenging parenting moment.

I needed it as a mom and as a child of God. It changed Andrew’s perspective and mine, too.
God uses it to remind me that I am can-do kid! I can do what He’s calling me to do today, because He believes in me and He’s with me! He wants to pass that truth on through me, and use me to help my child know they’re CAN-DO kids, who can do all things through Him who gives us strength! Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Lord, thank you for helping me see my child through Your eyes. I want to see beyond who he is to who he can become in Christ. Show me if there are areas in his life where he is comparing himself to others. Help me notice and nurture his personal strengths and remind him that he can do all things through Christ. I pray you would open the eyes of my heart to learn Your truths, and live your Truth in my everyday life and then pass them onto my children. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Happy Birthday Andrew! I love you more than words can say.

I am working on your behalf...
"I am working on your behalf.

Bring Me all your concerns, including your dreams.

Talk with Me about everything, letting the Light of My Presence shine on your hopes and plans. Spend time allowing My Light to infuse your dreams with life, gradually transforming them into reality. This is a very practical way of collaborating with Me. I, the Creator of the universe, have deigned to co-create with you.

Do not try to hurry this process. If you want to work with Me, you have to accept My time frame. Hurry is not in My nature. Abraham and Sarah had to wait many years for the fulfillment of My promise, a son. How their long wait intensified their enjoyment of this child!

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses." Psalm 36:9; Genesis 21:1-7; Hebrews 11:1 (AMP)

~ Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

What does it do to your heart to imagine God looking into your eyes, knowing your dreams and concerns, and whispering with assurance, "I am working on your behalf"?