Influence: Five Minute Friday

I’m joining the weekly link-up at Five Minute Friday today. Each week we respond to a common prompt and encourage one another as writers who share our words with the world. This week our prompt is Influence.

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This year I’ve been working to refocus my writing goals. I’ve been influenced by bloggers I follow, authors I love, and programs like the DIY MFA. All of these things mixed with my passion for the written word have culminated in my plans for writing in 2019. I want to write boldly and with a confidence that is unshakable. After all, writing for me has never been about receiving anything, but rather it is about giving what is inside me life on the page (or screen.)

I have started working through the starter kit from DIY MFA which is a FREE program designed to provide subscribers with opportunities which mimic an MFA program. One quote that they sent me which has inspired me to focus my writing is…

“If there is a book you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” -Toni Morrison

I am praying that this year I will grow as a writer and be able to influence others in a positive way. I am praying that the book lurking in some corner of my mind will gain wings and soar. I am praying for a community of readers who will encourage me in this quest. Lastly, I am praying for God’s influence to be evident in every word, post, and book that is crafted by my hands. To Him be the glory!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Praying Proclamations

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How do you define prayer?

Based on your prayer habits how would you explain it?

Is prayer a dialogue between you and God or is it a one-way lifeline you resort to when all else fails?

If I’m being honest my prayer life has been more of the latter. I’ve rushed through prayer because life is busy and so I get all of my requests off my chest and then move on. The piece I’ve been lacking is the part where I quiet my heart and allow God to speak into it.

Listening is a weakness of mine.

Something about being the oldest of three girls I learned quickly that if I wanted to be heard it would take A LOT of talking. Once I get to know someone I can talk their ear off. I’m well-aware of my addiction to my own voice.

But prayer isn’t a time for me to practice asserting myself. It’s not a relationship if I don’t pause and let the other party speak.  I pray in the car on the way to work and I talk the WHOLE WAY.

When it comes to prayer I realize that most of the time that I’m talking I am asking, asking, asking. “God, please heal”, “God, please help”, “God, please show me…” It’s all a bunch of requests, but not a lot of thankfulness.

I do praise God for amazing things in my life, but I don’t think it is something that He hears enough from me.

Last night, as I sat in the youth group where I am serving in my church, I listened as the speaker read through many of Paul’s prayers. She read aloud the first several verses of every epistle and Wow, those are powerful words. Each book is opened with a greeting to it’s recipient, but also with Paul proclaiming who he is in Christ.

Following Paul’s example, the speaker asked each person to write out their proclamation. It’s easy to lose sight of who we are in Christ so this practice really helped me to refocus not just my prayer life, but my entire attitude. Below is my proclamation that I prayed last night:

Lauren, a servant of Jesus set free from selfishness;

in order to make disciples of

God’s Chosen People;

through the blood of Jesus I was set free from the bondage of sin;

And though it may present itself daily I am able to overcome by His blood.

I was created to learn, to teach, to grow, and to thrive so that all might come to a saving faith in the Lord.

What an awesome practice this was for my faith. In this act I was able to focus on who I really am as opposed to the lies of the enemy. It also cleared my mind to then listen and receive from God in a great way. If you’ve never done something like that please give it a try. It is empowering. Start by reading the first several verses of the books written by Paul (Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians…) then write out WHO YOU ARE.

It may seem counter-intuitive that I said I need to listen more, but then also pray proclamations. However, when you begin your prayer time by refocusing your lens on who God says you are then the entire practice is flipped. You remind yourself of His goodness and suddenly all those requests you had planned to bring are trivial in the sight of His glory.

Finally, as a catalyst to improving my prayer life I am going to embark on a 40-day journey of written, honest prayer. Much of my time will be spent waiting on the Lord and listening as He speaks, but I want to record these prayers as a way of remembering.

Looking forward I’ve set some goals for my prayer life:

1. Listen and give God silence in which to move

2. Pray proclamations

3. 40 Days of written, honest prayer

Will you join me in this journey?

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

One: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday!

I can’t believe how quickly the weeks are passing. I feel like I just crafted last week’s post and here I am waking up to the excitement of joining my fellow writers for another edition of Five Minute Friday. This week our prompt is One.

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Over the past eight and a half months our family has undergone some change.

Our oldest daughter went from being an only child to welcoming a baby sister into the world. I’ve been blessed in countless ways watching her adapt to this change. She has become a second mom to the baby. It’s amazing the bond they have formed in such a short time.

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

(Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

I am thankful that in a world that will wound and sting that my girls will have each other. If one falls down, then the other can help her up. They can keep each other warm when they are surrounded by cold. When one is in need of backup they can provide defense for one another.

As an older sister myself I see the importance of the sibling bond. It is one not easily broken or overpowered. And I know that if everyone else turns their back on me that my sisters will still be there.

I can’t wait to watch the Lord continue to grow the bond between my daughters. I am blessed and I am thankful for the gift of true sisterhood.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

Burden: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday!

Every Friday I love to join other Christian writers over at Five Minute Friday where we gather to share inspiration on a similar prompt. This week the prompt is Burden.

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

If you are anything like me…

It’s been a long week and each day seemed to bring a new burden of its own. You’re scared of moving forward because with each step a new devastation is thrust your way. So instead of moving–you stand paralyzed with feet fitted to the ground and a load as wide as an elephant on your back.

In many ways 2018 has found me this way. Like a deer in the headlights I’ve been caught off guard a time or two and been unable to move. The fear, loss, and hurting that I’ve faced have lightened by the passing of time, but every new burden gets cast onto the ever growing pile accumulating on my shoulders.

At times I’ve been so focused on the things weighing me down that I’ve forgotten that my body was not created to take that on. No wonder I’ve been struggling with anxiety…I’m dragging the world’s largest trash bag of junk, but God is the only one who can lift it.

We can find help in physical rest, but until we give our burdens fully to God we will never feel lighter.

I don’t have to wait until 2019 for healing. I can let go today. In fact, my knees are bending now and my hands are opening and as I approach the throne of God I know He is waiting for me to give it all up.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Share: Five Minute Friday

As I stand toe-to-toe with the weekend I am excited to finally have some time to rest. I’m looking forward to staying home, tidying the house, catching up with family, and going to church. But for the next five minutes I’m focusing on one little word. I’m joining the Five Minute Friday crew and this week our prompt is Share.

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My six year old daughter loves AWANA.

Every week she dons her bright red vest, recites her Bible verse, and heads off to join her friends at church. In the past year she’s learned so much. She’s memorizing scripture, applying it to her life, praying everyday, and talking to her friends at school about Jesus.

For over a year she’s been seeking Jesus regularly. She knows more than I ever did at her age and I’ve known for a while that she’s going to do BIG things in the name of the Lord.

But this week as we sat down to go over her verse like we always do she came with a questioning heart.

Acts 16:31– “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

What does it mean to be saved? What are we saved from? How do we become saved?

These questions all came right after her recitation. They had been sitting on her heart for days begging to be asked. And it was on Wednesday night that I got to talk through these things with my daughter. I shared the message of salvation with her. It was beautiful, yet simple conversation. And I sensed these things she’s been learning in her head transfer to heart knowledge. Knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus are two different things. That night, I saw that connection being made.

After our conversation she asked me if it was okay to pray and ask Jesus into her heart because she believed and wanted to be saved. With tears in my eyes I listened as my six year old girl prayed to God and in the most natural way asked Jesus to live in her heart and make her into a Child of God.

I wanted to share this with all of you. First of all because I am so proud of my beautiful daughter and the decision she has made to follow Jesus, but also because she asked me to share it with you.

When I dropped her off at AWANA she was bounding with joy. She couldn’t wait to tell the world.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

Good

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Some days are worse than others.

Some nights seem like they will never end.

Some breaths are heavy.

Some worries are dark.

But through the fog of anxiety I can see a flicker of light. If I focus hard enough I can see illumination. Like a lighthouse, God’s Word calls my heart home. There are moments of paralyzing fear, but they are followed by moments of remembering. I remember that I am a Child of God. I remember that I am His and so there is no need to fear. I remember that HE IS GOOD.

I may not understand all of the pain, but I can rest in knowing that God’s will is perfect and His purpose is good. I pray for beauty to come from this season and for light to overcome darkness. Through it all, the Lord is good!

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Five Minute Friday: Slow

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Slow. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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If I had to label the past month of my life using a single adjective I would choose the word slow. Time seems to be moving at a snail’s pace this month and I feel like one of those pinballs in an arcade bouncing from one obstacle to the next.

It started with an illness the first week and from then on I’ve been slowly trying to get back into my regular rhythm. Once I felt like I had truly recovered from being sick I was thrust into a few more hazards in my path.

Helping a friend through a difficult time-

Someone I love facing the possibility of cancer-

Playing host to another friend in need-

The list keeps piling up.

Not only does slow describe the pace of this month, but it’s also something I need to focus on. I’m that spastic pinball right now going every which way at a ridiculous speed. Every few seconds I’m nailing a corner at top speed. The one thing I need in the midst of all these circumstances is rest. In order to find rest I must slow down.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

I will only find true rest in God.

All these things I’m carrying on my back and trying to fix for myself are ultimately work for the Lord. It’s hard to let go and give God control of situations. I like to feel like I’m doing something to make things better all the while God is just waiting for me to take a seat and rest.

How is God leading you to slow down this week?

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Five Minute Friday: Control

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Control. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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I’m a bit of a control freak.

If you saw my classroom policies and my home routines you would understand. It isn’t cleanliness that gets me excited, but the desire to be organized and to administrate. It can get me into trouble sometimes. I say “yes” when I should probably say “no.” I hold myself to unattainable standards. It’s a weakness that needs dealt with every so often.

When not completing my to-do list ends in a meltdown (like earlier this week when I was too ill to go to work) I have to participate in reflection where I am reminded that being in control of everything is impossible. Perfection is a myth. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and live spontaneously (something my husband is way better at than I am.)

The drive to control everything is also contrary to my Christian beliefs. When the Bible says things like,”Cast all of your cares upon Him for he cares for you…” (1 Peter 5:7) I struggle to obey. It is my natural response to try to control problems on my own. But according to that verse in clinging to my control I’m showing disbelief that God cares enough about me to sustain me.

It takes an intentional moment of peace before God to surrender control. And then I have to continue to remind myself that it’s been given over to God.

Each and every day I strive to truly cast my cares upon God. I wrestle to give control over to God, but I know that in doing so my load is lightened and the need to control my life gives way to my need to obey.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Five Minute Friday: Connect

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Connect. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.  When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. (Exodus 17:11-13)

Connection is a natural craving. It’s something we seek after. To know that we are not alone in this world and that someone else cares for us drives our need to connect. We want to know that someone understands. That in this world filled with billions of people there are some who count us important is our longing.

When we go through rough trials we count on those connections.

We need people who care and who understand.

We need people to rally behind us when our strength is depleted.

Like Moses who stood on the top of the mountain with hands raised during the battle, we need friends like Aaron and Hur who will come beside us and give us the power to keep pursuing victory.

  1. What connections in your life have you formed lately?
  2. Evaluate the health of those connections. Is there someone that you need to make time to speak with or visit?
  3. How have connections with others given you strength in a tough time?

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Fear Fighting Book Launch

I have the unique opportunity to help another author whose first book is launching this January. Her name is Kelly Balarie and her book is called Fear Fighting. I received my pre-release copy of the book this weekend and I’ve struggled to put this book down.

Fear Fighting is a faith-based book about awakening courage to overcome your fears.

It is a twelve-chapter book full of scripture and practical steps to defeat fear with courage and bravery. Within the very first chapter of the book I found myself wanting to draw closer to God and refocus my spiritual life. It’s so easy to be choked by the stress and pressures of our culture, but

“God is ready to hit us with unfathomable new perspectives-ones that redefine our past, present, and problems if we will only stop, receive, and consider.” (page 21)

This book promises to help you on a journey to:

-cultivate unstoppable faith by harnessing God’s Word and promptings

-usher in lasting peace through prayer that reduces panic, blood pressure, and stress

-discover clear and immediate action plans to exchange worry for God’s greater gifts

-implement daily bravery decrees to stand armed throughout the day

-participate in a twelve-week study guide to foster new courageous habits.

I’m excited to share more with you in the future about this book as I continue to make my way through its pages. As a member of the launch team I did not receive any compensation for this post, although my pre-release copy of the book was free. If you are interested in joining other readers on a journey to fight fear pre-order your copy of Fear Fighting here.

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The Ameri Brit Mom