3 Ways To Create Margin in Your Overcrowded Life

3 Ways To Create Margin in Your Overcrowded Life

I’m so excited to have my friend and fellow blogger Bobi Ann Allen guest post today.  And I love this post!  It’s so refreshing and I SO NEED MARGIN right now.  Find her work at http://bobiann.com/.   Even as you read this post, you are experiencing margin. Margin is the space on either side of the print with nothing–nothing but white. Space where you might add an occasional note or pause to absorb what you read. Margin isn’t necessary only in publishing, margin is necessary for contentment in our lives. Are you experiencing an angst for something more? Are you longing for room for your soul to rest yet nothing about your schedule is relaxing? The ache you feel isn’t there by coincidence. God is drawing you in. He placed a yearning within you for a life lived with meaning and purpose. Yet, many of us have overfilled our lives to the point we don’t have time to experience purposeful living. We need empty space, room for God to move, and time to process what we’re experiencing and learning. Those who live without margin are overwhelmed, maxed out and usually in need of therapy! Creating margin when your life seems to be running off the page doesn’t happen without intentionality and deliberate choices. Here are 3 effective ways to create margin: Prioritize Effectively Run on the treadmill, read my Bible, a night out with the girls, clean the house, feed the dog, volunteer at my child’s school, date my husband … so many choices on how to spend my time, and all of them good! But I can’t do...
A Simple Reminder to Pray

A Simple Reminder to Pray

I have a friend who really needs prayer. Her name is Michele Cushatt and she was just diagnosed for the second time with a terrible, horrible, awful (have I made it clear that it’s horrendous?) form of mouth cancer that is not only really painful, but requires an equally horrible treatment regiment.  The good news is that her prognosis is good (praise God!) but the bad news is that the next few months will be really difficult for her. I wish I could fly to Colorado and snatch the pain right away from her, but I can’t.  But I serve a God who moves powerfully and miraculously and mysteriously.  And he is much, much bigger than Michele’s cancer.  And I’m praying right now and every day that he not only removes her pain and gives her peace in the months to come, but that he uses this trial in life to move mountains for His kingdom.  He can do that.  We need only ask. Last week when my dear friend Kathi Lipp was visiting when we heard about Michele’s diagnosis.  We sat in tears wondering how we could help and both came to the conclusion that prayer was the most powerful way.  But we both wanted a tangible reminder to pray—something to remind us every day to bring Michele before our Lord.  That’s when Kathi had an idea:  She wanted to buy bracelets for Michele’s friends and sisters in prayer to give them a tangible and daily reminder to pray and pray often for our dear friend. The next day, we found these beautiful bracelets from one of our...

The Power of Prayer

A few weeks ago, my daughter asked to pray before dinner.  “Dear Jesus,” she said loudly,  “Help my mommy to be happy tonight.  Help her to get the dishes done.  Help her to read us a story.  Help my daddy to come home from work on time.  Help my brother to be kind to me.  Help the baby not to cry all night…. ”  And, she went on and on and on.   When she finally said “amen”, I asked her why she had so many requests for God and she said “Mooommmy, if we want God to do stuff for us, we have to ask him.”  Duh. Yeah, duh. It’s so easy for me as a mom to get caught up in my to-dos and forget that through prayer, I can have the ultimate helper to carry me through my trials.  God answers prayers—and that means I need to take every task, every problem, every need, every anything to him.  So, how can I as a mom—a mom who’s life is full of disruption and chaos—have a rich and fulfilling prayer life?  Here are a few ideas: Use God’s Word.  Last year, I was the ghostwriter on a book entitled “Praying God’s Word for Your Life“.  The book focused on using scripture as a tool for prayer and as I researched and wrote, I was inspired.  I took that inspiration and started praying the book of Ephesians for my kids.  For several months, I read Ephesians and verse-by-verse used God’s words to inspire prayer for my kid’s faith, their safety, their love, their hope, their lives. Write down your...

Jesus On Those I-Can’t-Do-It-Days

  There are days that I forget all about being a godly mother.  Days where the melee of kids overtakes me and makes me forget all about things like godliness and self-control.  Case in point:  today. My five-year-old daughter Kate woke up at 5:42 am.  And, as if waking up at 5:42 am wasn’t enough, she also decided to roll out of the wrong side of the bed at 5:42 am, so by the time I drug myself out of bed at 5:47 am, she had been whining shrilly at the foot of my bed for five minutes about who knows what.  And, what my whiney early-bird hasn’t yet learned is that when mommy is up at 5:47 am and hasn’t had her coffee yet, mommy isn’t exactly patient and kind when it comes to whining and throwing yourself on the floor in a fit of hysteria because you want chocolate milk. The morning got worse from there.  My son lost a piece from his Lego Star Wars and couldn’t comprehend when I didn’t drop everything—including feeding the baby—to look for it.  My daughter helped him look, but instead of finding the piece, she found his dinosaur book, which he suddenly wanted to read, which led to a full-on wrestling match on the living room floor.  And I still hadn’t had the chance to turn on the Keurig. My point in telling you all this (aside from giving you the reassurance that your household is totally normal):  Godly character isn’t inherent.  In anyone.  Especially kids.  And as a parent, it’s easy to get caught up in mixing chocolate milk...

How Fruit Loops Got Me Thinking About Godly Character

Fruit Loops. I sent my husband to the grocery store last week and he came home with a bright red box of Fruit Loops.  I guess I should’ve been more specific.  After all, I did just write the word “cereal” on the list.  And, while in my mind, “cereal” means the uber-healthy, corn-syrup-free Fiber-O’s that I normally buy, “cereal” to him apparently means asking the kids what kind looks good to them.  And, when (shockingly) they point out the brightest, most colorful, most sugar-filled box in the bunch, he tossed it into the cart without hesitation. As it turns out, my husband figured out really quickly why Fiber-O’s is my breakfast standby.  Two bright-eyed faces were peering at us over the edge of the bed at 6:15 the next morning, wondering if it was breakfast time yet.  And, when my husband told them to go pour themselves a bowl of cereal, they did so gladly, only to wander back in a half hour later in a state of pure sugar-induced unruliness that ended with my husband being drug out of bed before 7 am on a Saturday.  Lesson learned. For the next few hours, we fought the Fruit Loop battle.  I swear, that stuff is like… well, chocolate during that time of the month.  One taste and before you know it, you’ve eaten an entire bag of Hershey’s Kisses.  (Not that I know that from experience or anything.)  My kids were on a Fruit Loop rampage.  Had I let them, they would’ve finished off the entire box on that first morning.  Instead, much to their chagrin, I put the...

This is the Day That I Pray For the Kids in Newtown… and America

Dear Jesus, I’m unsettled today.   There are tears streaming down my face as I spread peanut butter on sandwiches and slice apples for my kids lunches.  Simple tasks that I’ve done thousands of times before.  But today it is different.  Because today I know I am sending them off into a world that has lost a bit more of its innocence. I can’t stop thinking of those precious kids in Newtown who won’t be heading off to school today.  Kids who you created in your image.  Kids who you love more than anything.  Bright-eyed, joyfully innocent kids like my Joey. Lord, fill those families with a measure of peace that goes beyond human understanding.  Because none of us can imagine or understand that pain.  But you can.  Comfort them, heavenly father, with a love and hope that can only come from you. Lord, I am so grateful that my kids’ joyful innocence that has yet to be shattered by this dark world.  By guns and violence and threats and pain.  Pain that no one, much less children, should ever have to endure.  I want to tuck my kids under my wing and protect them from a world that terrifies me.  But that is not your way.  You created me– and my children– as lights for you.  I pray for their protection, today and every day, but even more, I pray that you would never allow this dark and angry world to extinguish their precious lights.  Let our family shine for you, Lord. And so, today, Lord, I pray that you make yourself known to our nation.  That you...
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