Today’s Devotional


{Life} Under the desk. 

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Exactly three weeks into becoming a full-time children’s pastor, I was about to enter into the craziest two weeks of my entire life and for all the CP’s out there reading this…you know exactly what I am talking about…Kids Summer camps. 

Well here I was fresh out of the gates, off to the races I went. With very, limited time to prepare and even begin to think of how I wanted the summer camps to look and function, my heart was flooded with many ideas and passions for this type of kids camp ministry.

It was Monday morning of my first camp as the children’s pastor, there was so many complications, so many stresses, and so many things that went absolutely WRONG.

For this perfectionist that only had three weeks to prepare, it was heart-wrenching. It was then that the spirit of failure crawled over me and attempted to strangle me to the core.

It was in those moments that I felt like these two camp weeks in front of me, would just end up being a BIG huge flunk…I fled to my office that early Monday morning where I yearned to even just find a single ounce of peace in amongst the chaos of my frightened heart.

I was overwhelmed. I was anxious and I was terrified for the things that were ahead of me, both in ministry and personally.

With my head down and tears filling the corners of my eyes I quickly went to my office, and crawled under my desk and there I waited. No word of a lie. I was literally “under the desk.”

Oh, the tears they came while I was under. Slowly they came and then quickly they came. I sat under the desk and there I found peace. I could hear mounds of chaos going on around me yet, I waited. Even though questions came to me, from volunteers and staffers, I waited. I listened to His small still voice and then there I found my peace.

It was then that I knew that I knew, God would never leave me. He would be with me through the moments of fear and anxiousness.

As I crawled out from under the desk that Monday, I felt strengthened, energized and filled to the brim with confidence and my heart felt prepared. Ready for what was and is to come in kids ministry.

Now with confidence I can say…that I love everything about our summer camps even when the many stresses arise.

I love our little camper kiddos. I love being in that environment where its a “big happy family.” I love the sweaty little campers after they have been running around outside after sports. I love their proud faces after they have created something new to add to their ever growing craft collection or the amazement in their eyes as they have discovered something new about God’s creation.  I love summer camps.

It is now a running joke within my staff & volunteers at the church that when something goes wrong, they jokingly tell me to go “hide under my desk” and to be honest its not even necessarily being under the desk that miraculously gives me that douce of peace that I need.

There…under the desk… is where I found my peace.

I have many places now where I can just sit and wait on the Lord with no distractions….under the desk just happened to be one of the first ones.

I encourage you. Whoever you maybe, take time to wait on the Lord and listen to His still small voice.

In the moments when failure creeps in and tries to steal the joy that God has placed in you…take time and wait.

Well my friends, I guess I better crawl out from under my desk now and face the situations ahead of me by the grace and power of my Heavenly Father.

Until Next Time,


Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

Sunday Mornings. 

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Growing up Sunday mornings were always jam packed for us as The Sweeney Family…with my Father head of the sound team at our church, my mother singing on the worship team and the head of her kids department, it kept us very busy as a family.

Even as kids we were right beside our parents helping and serving in so many areas of the church. “The Sweeney’s” were always on a ministry schedule some way, some shape or form…there was only about 1-3 Sundays a year, all 5 of us met our schedules up and were in church together and were not serving in ministry some where in the church or community.

I vividly remember seeing other families sitting all together in their ‘rows’ (creatures of habit, that we all are…haha!) at church at the Sunday morning gatherings, worshipping together and listening to the sermon ALL together. I don’t have that many memories as a child for our family all together in the same row. With my parents always serving, as well as us kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t of had my child-hood any different, through the busyness and chaos of those Sunday mornings, it bestowed in me, to serve and then be fed. Engraved in me, to pour your heart out and then to receive. Released in me, to work very hard and then you will be blessed.

My Sunday mornings now are a bit different from when I was a child. Now running the entire kids ministry department at my home church. Sunday mornings still consist of serving, but the stresses are different and not always as “fun” as you’d hope.

Even since before dating my boyfriend, I have always admired couples that serve in the church together at a young age. (Still absolutely, SO love that!) Since the beginning of our relationship… almost a year and a half ago, we have never had the chance to serve on a Sunday morning together. With both of us serving in several areas at each our of own churches.

Wishing I was serving beside “my man” at his church. Ministry split-up in a relationship isn’t easy. Its actually really hard. Especially when we both run several areas of ministry at our churches and want to help each other out. It serves its many challenges and sometimes many tears like today.

This morning, as I am sitting here in my office just finished preparation for more kids min programs. The vicious cycle of thoughts continue to surround me, “Oh I wish, we could serve together like other couples do…or even go to the same church especially on Sunday Mornings.”

Even though, I know for a fact that my future Sunday mornings will never be spent together in the same row as a family. Knowing us, Joshua and I will both be busy in ministry. Through all of this I have learnt, that I don’t need everyone in the same row to feel “complete”. I know that I don’t need a time where I can sit with ALL of my family together…I need Jesus period. No extras.

I can look to Him in those moments where I am sitting in the lonely row or when I need His presence and peace in the busyness of ministry on a Sunday morning.

Sisters, All I need is, Him.

Praying that your coming Sunday morning is bright and blessed. If you remember only one thing from this post remember this…All you need is Him to feel complete.

Until Next Time,



{A Time For Peace} Recovery for the Weary Soul

Written By: Jenny Jerkins

There are times that it seems like the demands of being a mommy, wife, and just overall being a woman close in on us.  We say yes to too much, we are shuttling kids everywhere, juggling careers and home life.  Sometimes it’s just overwhelming and we literally scream for Calgon to take us away, preferably to a tropical landscape with a pool attendant bringing nonstop umbrella drinks.  Or maybe that’s just me.  But I would venture to guess that we all have moments, whether we are moms, wives, or just women in general that we need an escape from the daily hustle.  We want to just “be” without a label.  Literally some days I just want to make it out the door without some kind of stain or snot wiped on me, but then it’s such a beautiful reminder of my role as a mommy and something I waited years to have.

Not long ago I had the opportunity to spend an ENTIRE WEEKEND with twelve other girl friends at the beach.  Hello! That’s a lot of hormones and personalities, and words, in one place.  But it was awesome.  It was such a relaxing time with no agenda, no tantrums, no schedule.  We simply just got to fellowship and uplift one another, sleep in, laugh until our sides hurt, and eat all the Oreos wanted without hiding in the pantry to do so.  I honestly think we consumed at least 8 to 10 packs of Oreos but I’m convinced all the laughing burned off those calories.

When I returned home that Sunday evening I realized how great for the soul that weekend was. And I also realized that I had grown much more weary than maybe I was willing to admit prior to leaving the previous riday.  Sisters, it’s ok to admit we are tired and weary.  We can’t do and be it all, and we have to take care of ourselves in order to be a better wife, mom, friend, employee, and all around woman.  That’s not being selfish.  It’s being real.

I have just five simple ways that help me recover when my soul is weary and when I feel like I physically or mentally cannot take another step forward – when I’m stuck.  These didn’t come from a self-help book and I am my no means an expert on this, or well anything for that matter.  They are just five simple things that work for me and I think are very practical and doable.

  1. BE IN THE WORD (aka, The Bible)

I know this sounds almost cliché to talk about, but it’s the number one thing that gets me out of a funk and the number one thing that also causes me to be in one if I’m not reading the Bible regularly.  I’m not talking about hours of reading or trying to obtain a seminary degree.  I struggle with setting that time aside as well.  It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning, although I find it sets the pace of my day when I start my day with the Word.  If nothing else, find a great short devotional to uplift you and to set your focus on God for the day.  Two that I recommend are apps that you can download directly to your phone and they are amazing – She Reads Truth and First 5 (Proverbs 31 Ministries).  Get them.  They are specifically for women, and are short yet full of wonderful truths.

  1. FELLOWSHIP (Girl Time)

Spend time with other women.  Men don’t use the amount of words that we do in a day and they don’t require that bonding time that we do.  And quite frankly they don’t always laugh at the same things that we do.  Sometimes we just need to be together as women and talk about things that only other women will understand.  Grab some coffee, go for a walk, or just sit and chat.  Take time to pencil it in your schedule and hold it as sacred time for yourself. It’s such good, cheap therapy!


We don’t all have a musical or even a remarkable hidden talent.  Do something that relieves stress and do something for yourself.  You don’t have to be amazing at it or have a talent that you are going to market and sale.  It’s just for you and something you enjoy.  And it is something that will take your mind off of “life” for a few minutes either every day (if you can swing it) or at least every week.

  1. ME TIME

I am a social introvert which means I love people and I love being around people, but I also require downtime to be alone.  I need to just sit a few minutes every day and sometimes literally stare at a wall for a few minutes, take some deep breaths, and relax.  Sometimes I read, sometimes I write, sometimes I watch my “trash” TV as I like to call it.  Maybe your “me time” can be combined with your talent and interest.  The thing is that you have to take some time for yourself whether it’s five minutes or an hour.


We are very fortunate to have my parents close by who LOVE to have our son stay with them all the time.  They are retired and at the stage in their life where he is the center of their attention, but they also realize how important it is for us to have that time just the two of us to nurture our relationship.  Our kids need for us to have a healthy and happy marriage.  Now not everyone is as fortunate as we are and I realize that.  There have been times we haven’t had those opportunities as well.  You may not be able to afford a regular babysitter.  And as hard as it is and as tired as you already are, you can attempt to put the kids to bed a little early every now and then and watch a movie together or have a date night in.  Have some time together, again even if you have to pencil it in a planner.

Find yourself, find the Word, and find your tribe of people.  Rest in knowing you aren’t alone when the walls of motherhood and life are closing in on you.  We all get weary and we all need breaks. After all, we are all human.

Jen Jerkins headshotJenny Jerkins is a former engineer turned stay at home wife to Asia, and mom to the most spirited and hilarious little boy, Ethan who currently believes he is Batman.  Their battle with infertility led them to the greatest miracle of adoption.  Jenny desires to bring hope, encouragement, and the love of Jesus to others, and especially women.  She also loves to share the many candid moments of daily mom life where she is usually asking for Jesus to hold her.  Jenny resides in Augusta, Georgia where her southern accent is strong and her coffee is stronger.

You can connect with Jenny on Instagram (link:, Facebook (link:, and Twitter (



{A Time to Love} Marriage Isn’t Perfect. And Neither Are We. 

Written by: Nichole Stern

I didn’t even like him.

More specifically, I didn’t like his friends and he was guilty by association. But then I got to know him and realized he wasn’t who I thought he was.

He showed up with a five gallon bucket of sunflower seeds, some Ghiradelli dark chocolate and his guitar on my birthday.

Flowers, Chocolates, and serenades.

What girl wouldn’t fall for that?

We weren’t Christians then, but we spent a lot lot of time in deep, philosophical discussions that lasted until the sun came up.  We’d both spent some time on the hamster wheel of success and found it lacking.

Searching for something bigger than ourselves, we didn’t realize there were God-shaped holes in our souls we were longing for Him to fill.

Within 3 months of our first date, Todd moved to South Florida for a job. I remember him telling me he couldn’t imagine being happy there without me, and I followed him a few months later. Though we’d vowed not to live together, we allowed circumstances to cloud our judgement and I moved into his one bedroom apartment on the water.

We started arguing almost immediately. With his new job, Todd was traveling about 95% of the time and I found myself far removed from everything I’d once held dear. I’d left a promising career, a city I loved, and a network of people I’d been doing life with for years…all to be a live-in dog sitter.

I love that dog, y’all, but have mercy!

Our relationship deteriorated as we continued to live together. We couldn’t agree on anything, and frankly, we were miserable.

Thankfully, miserable is often where God does His best work. And He had already started to work in our hearts.

We removed the physical aspect of our relationship and tried studying the Bible together. But while legalism may have made us look better on the outside, our hearts were still far from Him.

Each day on the way to work, I passed a little church, and like moths to a flame, we were drawn to eventually attendSunday services. The Pastor passionately spoke truth in love and he along with others there loved us in spite of ourselves. Just like Jesus.

God used the love we were shown and truth we learned there to change our hearts.

One Sunday morning in 2006, after hearing a message from Luke 18 where Jesus compares the prayers of the Pharisee and the tax collector, God showed me my Pharisee heart.

I saw all the ways I’d tried and failed to fill the void in my soul, and with the illumination of His great love, I finally sawHe was Who I’d been searching for all those years.

Overwhelmed by His goodness and grace, I surrendered my life to Him, vowing to follow Him the rest of my days.

I was counseled and prayed over by the women in our church, and rejoicing over my salvation, I couldn’t wait to find Todd to share it with him.

I walked down the hallway back to the sanctuary and saw Todd on his knees in prayer with one of the elders from the church. He too had felt God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness drawing him close that day, and as our perfect God would have it, we crossed from death to life on the same day.

Best. Day. Ever. 🙂

Never unequally yoked, washed clean and made new simultaneously.

What an amazing God we serve.

Salvation was radical for both of us. We went from being enemies of God to sold out for Christ almost immediately.

I moved out of our one bedroom apartment and while the world saw this as the ultimate end of our relationship, we knew it was a new beginning. We were starting our dating relationship over, the right way this time.

As a man made new, Todd pursued me with a newfound love and as we pursued Christ together, we fell in love all over again.

But as life would have it, the next couple of years brought us every trial we could imagine.

High pressure jobs, ridiculous travel schedules, purchasing a home, unemployment, cross country moves, cancer.

Each gave us new opportunities to find our peace in Christ. And as we sought Him, we found Him.

Every. Single. Time.

We married in May 2008 with a small ceremony on a little island off the coast of Savannah, GA.

Second. Best. Day. Ever. 🙂

I wish I could say our marriage has been perfect. That we’ve had no problems, challenges, or meltdowns. But that would be a lie.

Marriage is hard, y’all.

And as much I adore my man, I’ve had to learn (the hard way) that he makes a very poor god. Idolizing my husband and my marriage was a struggle for me. And once I thought I’d gotten through it, in reality, I’d only traded those idols with the idol of motherhood.

I desperately wanted children. More than anything.

And friends, ANYTHING we want more than Jesus is an idol. I’ve had to lay my dream of motherhood on the altar more times than I can count. And while I can’t tell you why we’ve not been able to have children, I can tell you God has used our struggle with infertility to weed out the idols in my heart and to help me learn to trust Him, to know that He is enough, even when I don’t understand His plans.

He’s also used it to strengthen our marriage.

Todd has faithfully held me as I’ve sobbed (read: ugly cried), he’s walked beside me through this hard journey of learning God is NOT a genie in a bottle whose wish is my command.

He’s seen me at my worst and continues to challenge and encourage me to seek God’s best.

Our marriage isn’t perfect. And neither are we.

We’re just two people who love Jesus and are committed to following hard after Him.

No matter what.

I stand in awe of the redemption story God has given us, and I hope our story encourages you. To have hope that those who are lost can be found.

And to believe that even when it’s messy and hard, this Jesus life is exceedingly, abundantly blessed.

Nichole is a grateful Jesus girl saved by grace who has been called to live out Psalm 107:2 “…let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.”
She serves on the Study Leader Team with Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies. She is a writer and speaker who finds great joy in mentoring young women and helping others learn more about God through studying His word.
Nichole and her husband, Todd live on a little slice of awesomeness outside Raleigh, NC they call Manna Homestead. They share this space with rabbits, goats, chickens, bees, and their two dogs, Maverick and Charleigh.
Facebook: Nichole Stern
Twitter: @nicholestern



{A Time to Love} A Simple Equation to Keep You From Quitting

Written By: Bethany McIlrath

I didn’t want to like him. He was too silly, too sincere, too serious about his faith in Christ.
That’s almost exactly what I said to him the day I begrudgingly confessed to him that I liked him. He told me he liked me too- but offered to try to quit liking me if I’d prefer that. He was kidding, thankfully.
From the awkward high-five goodbye we exchanged after that absurd conversation to this day many years later, he’s never quit on me. He’s never stopped caring.
When I’ve been a whiner.
When I’ve been mean.
When our challenges were huge.
When it looked like there was no way.
When life pulled us in different directions.
When things were dull.
When I couldn’t decide what I wanted for dinner.
When fighting was easier than honest conversation.
When I asked him to proofread yet another post.
He cares, He stays, He’s never quit on me.
That’s love.
1 Corinthians 13:8 tells us “Love never fails.” But first, there’s a long list detailing “all things” that tempt us to quit and give up. But love doesn’t quit when “all things” suggest the one thing isn’t worthwhile.
My prayer for any dear girls reading this is that you ask and wait on God for a guy who loves you in such a way that he doesn’t consider quitting an option. I know men- besides my precious guy- who love their wives this way. All things can’t keep them from the one they love.
Look for that, friends. Pray for it. Believe God for it. Choose to live it.
There’s always a time to love. There’s always someone to love. In whatever relationships you’re in, in any romance the Lord blesses you with, be a person who refuses to quit loving the one God has placed right beside you when all things suggest they are more important.
~ Bethany
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A learner at heart, Bethany McIlrath believes that listening to the Lord’s Word and being attentive to all that He teaches her through daily life is a priceless blessing. Eager to share about her Savior, you can find Bethany’s writing on her blog: She would love to connect with you on Twitter or Facebook as well.
Kerrington's Posts, {Faith}, {Life}

When I realized I was suffering from…PTSD. 

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

PTSD Defintion: a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world.

After almost 4 months of being anaphylactic reaction free…it still haunts me on a daily basis the severity of the health situation that I had been experiencing.

Every ambulance I see with sirens wailing & lights flashing I am reminded. 

Every moment I hear of someone having a trauma I am reminded.

Every sound that remotely relates to having a reaction I am reminded. 

Thing is friends, I am always being reminded.

A time in particular when I was reminded fiercely, is what I would like to chat about.

Our young adults group was in attendance to one of the largest youth & young adults convention in our area. Sitting front row that night, worship was in full swing with over 3,000 people. Then in one single moment…everything stopped. 

The lights, the music, the crowds. There was silence. It wasn’t a silence that was one we as Christians wait for and press in for… in a movement of the Holy Spirit. It was a moment of silence where a young woman was having a seizure, front row on the cold, cement flooring of this convention.

The room stood still and prayed. I remember sinking into my seat. Where I began to weep.

Watching this situation, seeing what I had just experienced about 2 months before, happening right there in front of me. I couldn’t handle watching. So I stopped and closed my eyes…thinking that this would easy my fears.

What I didn’t realize in that moment when you “shut” down one of your senses…the other senses become more powerful. I closed my eyes and I could hear everything more magnified.

I could hear the dispatching radios of the paramedics as they rushed in to the scene, I could hear the oxygen machine turning on and air leaking through the mask, and I could hear the metal stretcher being opened up in preparation for the patient. I felt like I could even smell the plastic of the paramedics gloves and the clean oxygen air that was pumping through the tank.

I was ferociously crying…seeing, hearing & experiencing my situation on an outsiders view. I was scared, nervous and afraid. Shaking inside…This is when my friends, I realized what I was suffering from and it wasn’t going to be easy.

Post traumatic stress disorder. 34% of people suffer from this,  from a traumatic illness or injury that has taken place in their life and there I was…one of them. Not sure of really what to do, I sat with my mentor and he said a few words that comforted my heart…

Part 2 coming soon!! Thanks for reading.

Until Next Time,



{A Time to Speak} Your Life Is Not a Competition

Written by: Victoria MacDonald

Of all the lies Satan uses to discourage women, I think one of the biggest is this: your life is a competition.

He wants you to believe you must be more than you are. More productive, more beautiful, more put-together, more accomplished.

He taunts you to believe you should be less than you are. Less of a mess, less needy, less emotional, less unique.

But the truth is, you are enough. Just the way you are. Just the way He has made you. You are so enough{2 Corinthians 3:5}, and your life is not a competition {2 Corinthians 10:12}.

God is not looking at you saying, “I really wish she’d look prettier and accomplish more, because that is what defines her, and I just don’t think she’s enough.”

No, He is looking at you saying, “My beautiful child, made perfect because of my Son, come closer. Trust me more. Love me more. Let me work more. Let go of all the striving and the worry and the pushing and the competition. You are my Beloved. Rest in that.”

There is grace for the process of sanctification. You are not in charge of your holiness. Your perfection is not in your hands. You make choices to sin or not sin, and you decide how to look to Him after those choices are made, and all of that is important, but if you are truly seeking God and looking to walk in His ways, then you will find Him {Jeremiah 29:11} and you will be made like Him (Romans 8:28-29}.

There is grace for today. You are living where you are supposed to be. You are who God has made you to be and who God is making you to be {Philippians 1:6}. If you are working with all your heart on what He has called you to do, then you are doing the work He wants you to do {Colossians 3:23}. If you are striving to trust Him, to be like Him, to follow His will, and to let Him refine you, then there is nothing more He asks of you.

Your life is not a competition. Stop believing you have to make it one.


VM.jpgAs a writer who has battled chronic illness for most of her life, Victoria shares about the suffering she’s enduring, the lessons she’s learning, and the grace in the midst of it all. You can follow her on Instagram (@victoria___anne).


{A Time To Speak} I Deserve This

Written By: Jenny Jerkins

Life can throw us all not just one but sometimes a number of curve balls.  One of those for my husband and I was a diagnosis of dual infertility.  Leading up to that moment, and even past the blessing of adoption, I went through a series of rises and falls in my emotions.  You name it and I held every emotion in the book at one point or another – frustration, anger, sadness, guilt, pride, failure.  All those pretty words that Christians aren’t supposed to feel, right? Wrong. We do. There are times I felt as though we deserved better.  After all, we were doing all the right things and in the right order like good engineers do.  The pride welled inside of me.  I became angry and resentful. And then there was the most shameful of emotions for me as an individual –guilt and failure.  I had failed God and this thing called infertility was His way of punishing me for it.  Guilty as charged.


“I had mistaken God’s preservation for His punishment.  I had been tucked away in what felt like isolation, protected by what felt like obscurity, and all the while, my faithful God had been working hard on my behalf.”  – Cody Andras

I convinced myself that because of my past – one I had become very shameful of – God was punishing me and I deserved every ounce of it.  I had dishonored Him and my own body.  I was sentenced to a life of barrenness.  The punishment was fitting of the crime.  I deserved it.  End of story. 

But this wasn’t the end of my story. 

Does God allow consequences for our sins? Absolutely.  There will always be consequences to our actions because we live in a fallen world and because we are sinners.  But His ways of punishment are far different from what we often envision.  He is a merciful and just God.  He is our Father in Heaven who, yes allows consequence, but it is followed by His gentle correction and love.  It is just like any other parent/child relationship.  We warn our children of consequences, yet we still love them and never turn our backs on them no matter how hard they fall.  He gives us grace upon grace just as we do as parents. 

The years of unexplained infertility that I mistook for punishment was so far from what God was doing in my life.  He was breaking me, redeeming me, and performing a miracle that would come through adoption.  It unfolded detail after detail throughout our Adoption Journey. 

As painful as those years were – and even through the myriad of emotions – I could not be more grateful or in awe of God’s plans for our lives.  He restored the brokenness the first time we saw our son’s face.  Everything was made clear.  Every wrong turn led to the most perfect destination.  I am sorry for the wrongs I have made in my life, but God made them all right when He died on the cross and the moment blessed us with the most precious gift of parenthood.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23 (ESV)

If you are where I once was, don’t buy into satan’s lies that you deserve this – that you are a shameful human being who is sentenced to a lifetime of guilt and consequence.  If you have truly repented, God has already removed that sin from you as far as the east is from the west.  He is no longer keeping a record of your wrong.  It is forgotten.  It was purchased with His blood on the cross.  He will do something far greater in you and through you than you could have ever imagined. He is working hard on your behalf.  And although it is hard to see it at the moment, He is going to create beauty from your ashes.  You will rise and you will have a story to tell.

You are not stuck at the end of your story.

~ Jenny

Jen Jerkins headshotJenny Jerkins is a former engineer turned stay at home wife to Asia, and mom to the most spirited and hilarious little boy, Ethan who currently believes he is Batman.  Their battle with infertility led them to the greatest miracle of adoption.  Jenny desires to bring hope, encouragement, and the love of Jesus to others, and especially women.  She also loves to share the many candid moments of daily mom life where she is usually asking for Jesus to hold her.  Jenny resides in Augusta, Georgia where her southern accent is strong and her coffee is stronger. 

You can connect with Jenny on Instagram (link:, Facebook (link:, and Twitter (


{A Time to Search} Cease Striving, Start Seeking

Written by: Bethany McIlrath

Reconciling the Biblical call to cease striving with the command to continually seek is tricky when you’re in the midst of searching out God’s will for your life. You know that sitting on your hands doing nothing isn’t what God asks of any one. At the same time, you know that moving ahead without his leading isn’t obedience either.

There’s a way to seek without striving, though.

It starts with the object of both those Biblical passages: God.

Read more fully, those two competing charges have something in common: “Cease striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face continually” (Psalm 105:4).

Just like living out the will of God is all about the Lord, so is waiting for clarity about His will.

I know how hard that can be.

Seasons of unemployment, a couple of cross country moves, non-traditional living arrangements, and several career fields later, my young adulthood has proved to be a case study in the awkward process of surrendering to the Lord’s will, even in the waiting.

Too many of my hours and days have been spent striving to find answers on job sites, Google, and housing portals. I feared irresponsibility. I feared laziness. I feared failure. So I did and did whatever I could to make something happen.

Sometimes I finagled something, other times I learned that you can make striving a full-time gig while accomplishing nothing. Through all of it, the Lord has been faithful.

God continues to seek us even when we forget that we ought to be seeking Him instead of striving to order our lives for Him on our own.

I’ve found seeking Him to be striving-free.

Seeking without striving looks more like:

-Settling into the truth.

-Taking a seat at His feet.

-Watching expectantly.

-Obeying in the small things.

-Looking to Him for provision for just today.

-Measuring God as sufficient.

As you find yourself searching for God’s will for your life, I pray you’ll give up on Google and other modes of striving more quickly than I have. He who call us is faithful- He will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24.)

We don’t have to get with a program or keep up with the deadlines in our heads- we have only to be draw near and be still in His will. Stay close to Him, and you’ll get where He is leading you.


headshot pro onlineA learner at heart, Bethany McIlrath believes that listening to the Lord’s Word and being attentive to all that He teaches her through daily life is a priceless blessing. Eager to share about her Savior, you can find Bethany’s writing on her blog: She would love to connect with you on Twitter or Facebook as well.



{A Time to Embrace} Living in God’s Embrace

Written By: Vicki Johnson

Hugs can be the most wonderfully awkward things. They break through the invisible barrier we call “personal space” and can magically make friends of perfect strangers.

Or not.

To encircle someone in my embrace I must feel comfortable with them. I should have a connection that creates an open door for this very close, physical sharing of space. Sometimes extreme happiness or sadness can knock down the unseen wall, but usually I keep a guarded distance from those I don’t know very well.

But, when I see a friend I haven’t seen for years, there is hug exchanged that would squeeze the stuffin’ right out of ya’!

Embracing the Lord’s Presence is much the same. His name is Emmanuel – God with us. His Spirit dwells within my heart and I embrace him. As I do I allow Him to occupy my being in a way no one else can.

He is here.

Right now.

In me.

Embracing God means I will accept, welcome, adopt and support the One who did the same for me first, and receive His instruction as He shows me how.  “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:11-12 NASB)

But, if I carry the Spirit of God within me, I must incorporate Him into every aspect of my life. I may be eager to accept the Lord into what I consider the good or presentable areas of my life, but what happens when He points out sin? Sin separates me from His presence, and I don’t want that. Being aware of sin in my life and quickly confessing (agreeing with God about my sin) and repenting (turning away from my sin and turning to God) are necessary to keep a healthy and huggable relationship with Him.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NASB)

God’s embrace doesn’t let you go.  “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.” (Psalm 139:7-10 NASB)

As each day dawns throw your arms wide open and say, “Good morning, Lord! Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being with me through this day, come what may. I know I don’t go it alone.” Hold Him close to your heart and mind. Embrace the Lord with every fiber of your being.



Vicki Johnson creates a lot of drama in southeastern Pennsylvania where she lives with her pastor hubby, David, and her daughter, Esther. She has written a Bible study entitled, “Following Christ – A Disciple’s Walk of Faith,” enjoys speaking, singing, working at 1075Alive/WBYNFM as a part time announcer, writing her blog at: , and generally encouraging fellow Christians to walk in a way that pleases God. Her sign-off on the radio comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “Faithful is He who calls you and He will bring it to pass.”