Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Tag: encouragement (Page 1 of 3)

I’m a Fierce Hearted Woman (and So Are You)


I did a rash thing back a couple of months ago, and that thing was applying to not just one but TWO book launch teams for books coming out in October. Signing up to that first one already felt a little wild and crazy for me, but taking on a second one? Whoa Nelly.

Y’all are probably starting to think that I have a pretty low bar for what constitutes “rash” and “wild and crazy” in my life. And you’re right. But I was still so caught up in the habit of overloading my plate that I tended (and still do) to guard my precious time and capacity like a mama bear guards her cubs. I was a chronic “no” sayer. So saying yes to these books, to helping usher them into the world, was kind of a big deal for me.

But they have both been so worth it.

The second yes was actually for the first of the books coming out this month. It comes out today, actually (which was yesterday by the time this gets posted). That book is Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely by Holley Gerth.

Holley writes beautifully, in a way that is accessible and relatable. But the thing I love most is that reading this book felt a lot like sitting at a table across from a wise, funny big sister (which is funny because she’s probably a little younger than me) who doles out love, encouragement and sound advice over coffee. I get the sense that Holley is wired a lot like I am, and she’s had a lot of the same experiences and hardships that I’ve experienced, and it’s shaped her in a way that makes me kind of want to be her when I finish growing up, except that she would tell me–and does in her book–that I should only want to be me, the truest, fiercest version of myself that God created me to be.

I feel like this lady gets me, is what I’m sayin’.

Fiercehearted is a relatively short book. It’s 40 chapters long, plus an introduction and epilogue, but each chapter is only a few pages long. Each one relates an anecdote from the author’s life and lessons the anecdote taught her about life and faith and how those lessons can apply to all of us. If the amount of pink highlighter that got used up in my advance reading copy is any indication, practically every page resonates with encouragement and truth. Sometimes those truths are hard, but she always brings it back around to hope.

This book helped me confront some hard truths about myself and my own life, helped me lay down some things I’d been holding onto too tightly that had become too heavy to bear, and helped me find healing and hope in ways I did not expect. I didn’t know I was signing up for therapy when I signed up for the launch team, but to say that this book has been therapeutic would not be wrong.

All in all, this book has been a real blessing, and saying yes to this opportunity has been one of the best yeses I’ve given all year. Hopefully, you’ll say yes to it too, and be just as blessed by it as I have been.

Did you pre-order this book? Are you planning to read it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments! Oh, and PS – that link is an Amazon affiliate link. The book is also available pretty much wherever books are sold, but if you decide to order it from Amazon, doing so through that link will give me a small commission that will help to support this site. Thanks!


What’s True About You

If we were having coffee together and I could encourage you face to face, I would lean forward and look you in the eye and tell you these truths:

You have nothing to prove.

You don’t have to earn your place.

You don’t have to be perfect or have it all together.

You are worthy right now, right here, just as you are, no matter how big your mess.

You are not required to hustle.

You are allowed to rest.

You are allowed to dream.

You don’t have to be all the things to all the people.

You don’t have to listen to the mean boss in your head.

You are allowed to be your truest self and to be true to that person.

You might now know who that person is. You might have been striving to be what other people think or say you are or should be for so long that you have no idea who you actually are. You may need to give yourself space and time to figure that out. But here’s a starting place: If you are in Christ, then you are…



A royal daughter.





Cared for.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

You are God’s masterpiece, created on purpose for a purpose, intentionally made and molded to carry out work that was specially prepared for you when you were just an idea–and even then, you were already loved.

You are His, and He wants you to know that you can lay down your burdens and give it all to Him. You can depend on Him.

You are highly capable.

You are more than conqueror.

You are not a victim, but a victor.

You are a warrior.

You are the light of the world.

The Meaning of Grace

The Meaning of Grace


Note: I’m still sharing posts from the archives while I work on my book and take time to enjoy summer. This post originally appeared March 30, 2016. I’m sharing it today because as summer winds down and we head into the back-to-school season (some of us, anyway), we can’t have too many reminders about God’s grace.


While reading A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman, at one point she mentions that she stumbled across a Bible verse about grace and was filled with questions about what, exactly, grace means. Naturally, this prompted me to ask the same question. It’s easy to think we know the answer, but it’s equally easy to get all mixed up about it and misunderstand its meaning.

After some thought and prayer, here’s what I think grace means–or at least, what it means to me.

I think grace means being released from focusing on our own goodness (or lack thereof) and focusing instead on God’s goodness. Or as Mary Ingalls put it:

“I mean I don’t believe we ought to think so much about ourselves, about whether we are bad or good,” Mary explained.

“But, my goodness!  How can anybody be good without thinking about it?”  Laura demanded.

“I don’t know, I guess we couldn’t,” Mary admitted.  “I don’t know how to say what I mean very well.  But – it isn’t so much thinking, as – as just knowing.  Just being sure of the goodness of God.

–Laura Ingalls Wilder,  Little Town on the Prairie (emphasis added)

Grace means moving toward righteousness and sanctification as best we can, but accepting that we can’t get there on our own, that we’ll never fully get there in this life, and resting in the knowledge that grace fills the gap for us.

It means accepting our humanity and frailty and weakness and knowing that that’s when He’s best able to manifest His strength and power within us.

It means freedom — not to sin, not to do whatever we want, but to not beat ourselves up when we stumble and fall. To know He’s there to catch us, set us back on our feet, and keep on loving us anyway.

It means that every single morning is a fresh start. Every time we sincerely repent is a clean slate and a new beginning.

Grace means we can relax. We don’t have to overthink this whole salvation thing. We don’t have to work our butts off to earn it. We don’t have to constantly examine ourselves to make sure we’re doing it right. We can be confident that the Holy Spirit will be sure to let us know when we’re doing it wrong and we need to course correct — and He’ll give us what we need to do so.

It means we don’t have to be perfect, because Jesus was perfect for us.

It means we have everything we need to be pleasing to God, and to be satisfied in Him.

May we all go forth in His grace today.




PS – Linking up this week with Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart, Missional Women’s Faith Filled Friday, and the Faith Barista.


We are All Chosen Ones in Christ


Note: I’m still sharing Golden Oldies from the archives while I take time off to enjoy the summer and write my next book. Here’s one from last September. It feels relevent, and not just because of the picture (aside: I saw Wonder Woman a couple of weeks ago and I have to confess that I hold the extremely unpopular opinion that it’s not actually a very good movie. There, I said it). ANyway… we’re all Wonder Women in Christ.


Harry Potter.

Buffy Summers.

Luke Skywalker.

The Pevensie children.

Frodo Baggins.

What do these characters all have in common? They’re all Chosen Ones, heroes with a special destiny to drive back the darkness and swing the scales of Good and Evil back to Good’s favor. Fiction, especially the Fantasy and YA genres, are rife with Chosen Ones. If they didn’t step up and accept their Chosen status and face their fate head on, apparently we’d all be in big trouble.

I love a good Chosen One story. Some of the characters listed above are some of my favorite in all literature. But as I was pondering this particular trope this weekend, something occurred to me:

We are ALL Chosen Ones in Christ.

If you are in Christ, you have a special destiny. You were chosen and called for a purpose, to play a specific and unique role in God’s plan to bring light to the world and vanquish the enemy’s hold on it. Not only that, but you were fearfully and wonderfully made–lovingly and purposefully created, designed and built specifically to carry out that purpose, right down to your DNA.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you don’t have flaws, weaknesses and failings. All the best heroes do. That even goes for all the best Bible heroes. Just look at Moses. Noah. King David. The apostles Peter and Paul. The enemy wants us to believe that those failings make us unworthy and unable to carry out the purpose for which we were made. But that is a lie.

The truth is that God designed you for His purpose. Flaws and all. He can use your failings and weaknesses as much as He can use your strengths and talents. He knew what He was doing when He made you.

But you have to be willing.

The amazing thing is, that’s all you have to be. You don’t have to be strong, or fearless, or have magical powers, or be able to kick bad guy butt six ways to Sunday. Because our strength and courage and ability to carry out our purpose doesn’t come from within us. It comes from Him.

We only have to be willing.

If you’re doubting today whether you’re good enough or worthy enough or able enough to make a difference for God’s Kingdom, remember this, dear one: the almighty Creator of the Universe loves you and thinks so much of you that He didn’t want to carry off His plan without giving you a part in it.

You are Chosen.

You are able.

You are loved.




PS – Find more encouragement at the following linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

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When You’re Ready to Throw In the Towel

God knows how to God


Note: I’m still doling out posts from the archives while I enjoy my summer break. This post originally appeared March 24, 2016. As I write this note and prepare to load this post into the publishing queue, it’s the Monday following my latest book launch and this message is one I really needed today. I’m sure there’s someone else out there who could use this reminder. If that’s you, hang in there, friend.


“If this is my calling, why is it so hard?”

“If this is really what God wants me to do, why is there so much opposition?”

“Is this dream really from God? Is He trying to tell me I should just give up and stop wanting it?”

I’ve been in a place of asking these questions. Sometimes, I’m still there. But when I do, I’m reminded of the following:

We’re called to trust, to persevere, and to be patient. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to trust and submit, and then He’ll make our paths straight–not the other way around.

Trust isn’t really trust if the way is clear and easy.

Perseverance isn’t really perseverance if there’s no opposition.

Patience isn’t patience if the outcomes happen when and how I want them to.

Quick and easy is wonderful in the moment but then it’s over and it does nothing to strengthen our faith, sanctify us or grow us in our daily walk. And when the results come easily, we don’t appreciate them nearly as much as when we work hard and fight for them.

If you’re facing hard, if it seems like everything in the universe is trying to keep you from even trying, let alone achieving that thing you know deep in your bones you were put here to do — consider that you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to, and the enemy is pulling out all the stops in an attempt to get you to give up, because he’s terrified of what will happen if you don’t.

So don’t.

Don’t give up.

Persevere. Keep going. One day at a time. One little hard-fought step at a time.

Be patient. Be flexible. Surrender the outcomes to God.

Trust with your WHOLE heart. Trust in His goodness and His complete love for you.

And in due time He will clear the way for you to be ALL He means for you to be. He promised.

You’re not fighting this fight alone. He’s with you every step of the way, ordering your steps. You don’t have to do it all, and you don’t have to do any of it by yourself. Your Maker has a plan for you, and HE will bring it about. ALL that’s required of you is obedience. Show up and be willing. He’ll take it from there.

Remember that God knows how to God. He’s got this.

And so do you.





PS – Linking up this week with Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart, Missional Women’s Faith Filled Friday, and the Faith Barista.

You Are Not a Failure (Link Roundup)


It’s the last day of January as this post goes up, and I know a lot of you are already feeling like you’ve failed in what you hoped to accomplish in this new year.

I just want to stop everything right now and tell you that you are not a failure.

Seriously, y’all. It’s not too late to turn things around. His mercies are new every morning. Just because you caved and ate some pizza and chocolate two weeks into your new diet (…or maybe that’s just me) or haven’t even gotten started yet on your decluttering project (again, maybe just me) doesn’t mean you’ve failed and should give up. You’ve still got 11 months left to meet your goals for 2017 (and if some of them have to get pushed to 2018 it’s probably not that big a deal–the world probably isn’t actually going to end before then despite what the media says and you’ll still have time. Life is a marathon, not a race).

I hate New Year’s Resolutions — they set you up to feel like a failure and a loser. That’s why I’ve been moving away from setting major, concrete goals and instead making tweaks and edits to how I do life as I go (more on that in a future post). There’s no deadline and no expiration date. Just prayerful self-examination and asking God to order my steps and show me which way is best.

With God, every new day is a fresh start. Amen.

For those of you who need some encouragement or motivation, a different perspective, or maybe a little help, here are some links that might speak to where you’re at right now.

How’s your New Year going so far? Did your January go according to plan or was it a disaster? Have any additional links to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at






When You Don’t Feel Like Celebrating Christmas


Not gonna lie: this time of year is hard for us. And we’re not the only ones. A lot of people feel the exact opposite of jolly during the Christmas season, for many good reasons. Some are coping with grief and loss. Some struggle with loneliness or depression. Some are simply worn out, run ragged by overstuffed schedules and the pressure of meeting high expectations. It can be hard to feel like Christmas is worth celebrating.

For my husband and me, December brings the anniversaries of both our first miscarriage and his mother’s unexpected passing. It’s also a rather in-your-face reminder of our inability to have children. While those initial losses are still painful, enough time has passed to wear away much of the sting. It’s the pain of continued childlessness that is the hardest to endure.

Pregnancy loss and infertility doesn’t just bring grief over what was lost, but also over what might have been, and that latter grief stays fresh. It’s renewed with every anniversary, every due date that comes and goes that should have been a birthday, every time you’re confronted with family, friends and neighbors having and raising children. At Christmas, it’s renewed with every sighting of Santa, every lighting of the tree, every animated Christmas special. It’s renewed when you hang stockings for your pets knowing that no matter how crazy you are about your fur babies they’ll never take the place of an actual child. There’s no getting away from the fact that Christmas is about children.

But when you strip all of that away, you’re reminded that in actuality, Christmas is about ONE child.

ONE little miracle baby who was born into the world to bring healing, restoration and peace.

Thankfully, that baby didn’t stay a baby forever. He grew up to become the Savior of the whole world.

That child-turned-Savior is the only One that can fill the hole in my heart left by the children I’ve lost and am still waiting and hoping to have. He’s the only One that can turn our grief and turmoil into joy and peace.

Whatever it is that defines your hard this season, Jesus can do that for you, too.

And that is something worth celebrating.


PS – Find more encouragement at the following linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

What the Bible Tells Us about Tumultuous Times


Regardless of how you voted, or how you feel about the election outcome, the fact remains that we’re living in tumultuous times and the future seems more uncertain than ever. But as believers in Christ, we don’t need to be afraid. Here are 15 passages of scripture to help put things into perspective as we look ahead and move forward.

Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. “Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Daniel 4:17b – to the end that the living may know that the Most High “rules the kingdom of men” and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’

1 Chronicles 29:11-12 – Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

Acts 4:12 – And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

1 John 4:4 – Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

John 16:33 – I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Psalm 62:5 – For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

Colossians 3:1-2 -If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Isaiah 41:10 – fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Matthew 6:34 – Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

And that’s not all. I encourage you to read these passages, too:

Psalm 37:1-9

Romans 8:28-39

2 Timothy 3:1-9

Ephesians 6:10-18

2 Corinthians 4:8-10

This election came as a surprise to just about everybody, but it didn’t come as a surprise to God. Rest easy, and remember that God knows how to God.

Have any scriptures to add? Leave them in the comments!

In love,

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PS – Find more encouragement at the following linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams



Link Roundup: Struggling Doesn’t Mean Your Faith is Broken


Sometimes — more often than I like to admit — I struggle with obsessive thinking. When those obsessive thoughts get stuck on a negative loop, it puts me on a downward spiral into anxiety and depression.

I’ve learned that when this happens, I need to take those thoughts captive and redirect my focus through prayer and time in God’s Word, but at times that is way, way easier said than done. I pray and I pray and I cast my cares on God and I proclaim truth and claim His peace, but inwardly I still wrestle with negative thoughts and feelings. And I in turn feel a lot of guilt and shame because shouldn’t this be working? Shouldn’t this be easier? Is my faith broken? Am I not trusting God enough? Am I a bad Christian?

I’ve felt God speaking truth into my life on this topic this week, and that truth is this: we all struggle like this. We’re made to. Our brains, while not all wired to be obsessive, are wired with a bent toward negativity. Our feelings work against us. This is natural and normal and even Jesus and Paul and King David experienced it. Probably every believer ever has.

The fact that we wrestle like this doesn’t take God by surprise, and it doesn’t make Him displeased with us. It’s not something to feel guilt or shame about. The fact that we wrestle against our thoughts and feelings means that our hearts are turned in the right direction. It just takes our minds a while to catch up to what our hearts already know.

Even more importantly, God uses this struggle for our good. He uses it to strengthen us, teach us, grow us, draw us closer to Him and deeper into His Word.

Today I want to share the posts that helped me arrive at this understanding. These first two laid the groundwork:

When Gratitude Feels Unnatural by Heather Enright on InCourage

“What can we be thankful for?”

His startling words broke the dark night. He knows me well enough to read my thoughts, and so he added, “The Bible doesn’t say we have to be thankful for all things. But God asks us to be thankful in all things. I’m just reaching here. But can we find anything to be thankful for to help us look at the bigger picture?”

The Bible talks about the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. These words never ring more true than when you are stumbling through the valley of loss and searching frantically to find your way to God. A sacrifice of thanks, indeed.

Gratitude When You’ve Got an Attitude by Holley Gerth

We also don’t have to feel thankful. Our brains are wired with a negativity bias. This means we tend to pay more attention to what’s wrong (like a bear charging at us). This instinct keeps us alive but it also means our emotions and perspective can take time to catch up with our wills. God knows this and we don’t have to feel shame or guilt about the disconnect.

And this one gave me my “A-ha!” moment:

What to Do with Tough Relationships by Lysa TerKeurst on Proverbs31

1 Peter 5:10-11, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

In the end, this struggle can be used by God to make me stronger and more capable in my relationships. If I am humble enough to receive from Him in the quiet what He wants to teach me through this, I can rest assured with whatever the outcome is.

It was those words of Peter — “after you have suffered a little while” — that brought it all home for me this morning. Lysa refers to that passage throughout her post, starting with verse 6. Peter walks us through the process of humbling ourselves before God, casting our anxiety on Him, remembering who our true enemy is and resisting him, promising that the end result will be that God will make us strong, firm and steadfast — but only after we have struggled a while.

Y’all, God knows this stuff takes time. He knows it isn’t easy, and He’s okay with that. He doesn’t condemn us for it. Instead He patiently helps us through it.

We have a good, good God, you guys.

In Love,



PS – Find more encouragement at the following linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams


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