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

Tag: trust

An Expanded Place

This past not quite a year and a half has been tough to get through. It’s been a long season of walking through some hard things, facing painful things from my past, having the blinders removed around certain family narratives and unhealthy dynamics, and letting myself experience the painful emotions that I’ve denied and stuffed down and ignored throughout most of my life.

Throughout this journey I’ve come to realize that I have C-PTSD, and how that has impacted my physical health, as well as my emotional and spiritual health. Together with my husband, I’ve walked through anger, intense hurt, grief, feelings of perplexity and confusion, anxiety, and at least one bout of severe depression. But through it all, I’ve also experienced healing and growth. I’ve learned how to silence the mean voices in my head, ignore the lies and replace them with truth, reject the labels that have been placed on me throughout my life and shed the identities and expectations others have tried to force on me.

Last fall, my husband and I were given an opportunity to move to the Ozarks of Arkansas, a place we’d talked about off an on over the years in a “wouldn’t it be nice to live there some day” kind of way. It seemed like it was being orchestrated by God, and it still appears that way. We’re renting a home on a large acreage in the middle of the woods on top of a small mountain near a lake, miles and miles from civilization. Our house has woods on one side and large expanses of fields and grass on the other three, with a vast view of the sky where we often see eagles circling overhead. Whenever I step outside, I take a deep, cleansing breath and think of all the times King David praised God in the Psalms saying, “You’ve brought me to an expanded place.”

I believe God brought us here to give us the room we needed in order to heal, to rest, to grow into who He meant for us both to be, free from the forces and influences that have always hindered us and held us back and kept us (or at least me – I don’t speak for my husband) in an unhealthy place of striving to be pleasing and acceptable to people instead of to Him.

As I write this, I’m in a much better place. Lately I’ve been feeling calm and settled in a way I can’t remember ever feeling before. I’m crying far less often and laughing and smiling much more easily. I’m having an easier time knowing my own mind and making decisions and speaking up about what I prefer instead of staying quiet and going along to get along. I’ve reached clarity about some decisions I’ve been going back and forth on for years, unsure of what I actually wanted and afraid I wasn’t allowed to want it, finally confronting that fear and naming my desire. And with that clarity has come a deep sense of peace, even as I acknowledge that my decision might not have the outcomes I hope for and could very possibly lead to a lot of pain.

But I feel assured that, even if that turns out to be the case, God will be with us, walking us through it and holding us together, not letting us break but making us both stronger and using it all for our good.

Part of this newfound sense of peace and wholeness – really, all of it, probably – is due to coming to a single, important decision: do I believe in God’s goodness or not? I realized that I haven’t always, but decided that, ultimately, I do. And that if He is truly good, with no darkness in Him at all, then He is completely trustworthy, even when whatever I’m going through is the opposite of good. That He is good, and powerful, and faithful, and no matter what happens I can absolutely trust him to turn it around and purpose it for good. Even when it hurts like hell. Even when my heart is breaking.

The other thing is that I’ve learned –am learning, really, but getting better at it – that I don’t have to hustle and strive to achieve the life that I want for myself and my family. I’m always having to learn this lesson, and I’ve said no to hustle before, but it’s always so easy to get swept up in my goals and trying to accomplish my own plans and lose sight of what I really want, which is a life that’s free of hustling and striving in which I can simply work steadily at my own pace doing work that fulfills me and uses my giftings to accomplish His purpose.

I mean, just last month I was complaining about feeling overwhelmed because I forgot that I’m in a marathon and was running like I’m in a race.

But I was gently reminded that it’s okay to slow down. I don’t need to hustle. The Lord is my provider, and I have everything I need. He’s not going to let me miss out on any good thing He has for me.

And I’m also discovering that the more time and effort I put into seeking Him, the more I’m finding myself and the life He has for me.

I don’t know how long we’re going to be calling this place home. I don’t know what our future holds. And for the first time ever, I’m okay with that uncertainty, because I know and trust the One who holds our future. I’m living out this simple, quiet life one day at a time, seeking my assignment for each day, offering my work to Him, releasing my hopes and plans and leaving the outcomes up to Him as He orders both our steps. I’m more fully present in the here and now than I’ve ever been before, enjoying this season of life while anticipating with joy and hope where He’s going to lead us and for once being at total peace with having no clue where that will be.

But wherever He leads us, I know it will be beautiful.

“You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life. As I walk with You, the pleasures are never-ending, and I know true joy and contentment.” – Psalm 16:11, VOICE

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.

My One Word for 2017


Up until just a few days ago, I thought my One Word 365 word for 2017 was all settled. I’d begun thinking and praying about it back in October, and by the time Thanksgiving arrived I had decided that my word would be Faithfulness. This is definitely an area that I need to work on. It’s a fruit of the Spirit, but one that doesn’t always come naturally to me (although I guess none of them really come naturally, which is why they’re called fruits of the Spirit and not fruits of human nature). Especially when it comes to things like follow-through or stick-with-it-ness. I was feeling convicted in this area and so choosing this as my One Word made sense.

I was all set for this to be my word, y’all. I did a big spread in my bullet journal exploring all of the meanings of the word and how they apply in my life, as well as what scripture says about faithfulness and being a faithful steward. I had a blog post — what I thought would be this blog post — all written in my head. I was already trying to put it into practice in my daily life. This was SO my word, without a doubt.

But then a few days ago another word started forcing its way into my consciousness. It was so forceful that I screwed up my brow and tilted my head and was like, “Lord? Is this from you? Am I supposed to change my word?” And let me tell you, I didn’t want to. Because this new word? It scares me a little. It makes my heart beat faster in ways both good and bad. Plus I had already put all this thought and energy into the other word. I didn’t want to change it. So I tried to just ignore it and hope it would go away.

I’m sure you can guess that it didn’t. So this morning, I presented both words to the Lord and asked Him to please make it plainly obvious to me during my morning devotionals and blog readings which word He preferred that I focus on this year. And do you know what? He did.

And the word?


Even typing that just now gave me butterflies in my stomach. If there is one word that people who know me will almost unanimously use to describe me, it’s “reserved.” I’m extremely inhibited. There are very few things that I ever do with abandon.

But I believe there are some areas where God is calling me to lay down my inhibitions and fear and do with wild abandon. Things like…

Trust with abandon.

Surrender with abandon.

Love with abandon.

Praise Him with abandon.

Hope with abandon.

Dream with abandon.

Run after Him with total abandon.

How might my life be different if I give Him my all in these areas without holding anything back? If I can lay down all of my adult baggage and reservations and have a truly childlike faith? Imagining the answer is both thrilling and terrifying. But I think I’m being asked to find out.

And while faithfulness is still something I need to work on cultivating more of this year, as God was confirming my new word He was also showing me that I had attached an agenda to the previous word. I was looking at it like some kind of magic formula, thinking that if I could just be more faithful with such-and-so then He’ll see that I’m trustworthy enough to handle prosperity and success. And while faithfulness is a worthy goal, my motivation isn’t coming from the right place. God is not manipulated or controlled by magic formulas.

He is wild and uncontrollable, and also wholly in control.

And that’s why it’s safe for me to come to Him with utter abandon.

So that’s my word for 2017. It will sure be interesting to see where this takes me.

What’s your word?





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





On Unplanned Breaks & Remembering to Let Go

kitchen-windowSo you may have noticed that I took a little break from blogging. Okay, more than a little break. It wasn’t something I’d planned to do, but things got a bit hectic and overwhelming and I was starting to feel a little too rushed, and when I started this blog I told myself that when things got that way I had permission to take it off of my To Do list for as long as I needed to. So that’s what I did.

That turned out to be a little harder than I thought it would be. See, I have this budding dream of writing Christian-friendly (if not Christian-centric) fiction and, maybe, even Christian non-fiction someday, and there’s a lot of pressure to be constantly building your platform and growing your audience. Not blogging, especially when you actually have a blog, is not generally thought to be a good way to do that. I had to remind myself that this is not why I started this blog in the first place. When I started here, my goal was simply to share my story of what God’s doing in my life in the hopes that it would encourage and inspire other women in their faith. I promised myself (and God) when I started that I wouldn’t worry about stats or visits or subscribers and just leave all of that up to Him, trusting that if someone needed to see a message I posted He would make sure it got in front of them.

So it’s probably a good thing I took that not-so-little impromptu break so I could be reminded of all of that and regain my focus.

At any rate, here’s a random look at what I’ve been up to since my last post:

  • I’ve been a lot more active on Instagram, which has turned into my favorite social media platform. I’ve even been doing some mini-blogging over there, which has been satisfying my desire to blog. Maybe a little too well. If you want to keep up with me even during my hectic not-actually-blogging times, that’s probably the best pace to do it.
  • I revised and re-launched an old novel (I’m currently in the middle of producing a paperback version), and I’ve been plugging away at my current WIP.
  • I had new author portraits done, and I couldn’t be happier with them.
  • Mother’s Day was hard, but I survived.
  • This happened. So did this. And this.

It’s getting to be about the time of month when freelance writing assignments start to come in, so it might be a little premature to say that I’ll be getting back to my semi-regular posting schedule. But I do hope to get back to it soon. Hopefully, this won’t require me to get better at juggling, although it might.

So what have y’all been up to in my absence?


The Meaning of the Manger

Christmas nativityI posted a link to this lesson a couple of years ago after it first aired, but our church replayed it this weekend and it’s worth linking to again. It’s our pastor discussing some little known historical facts about Christmas and the nativity. It’s about 40 minutes long, but the pertinent section starts at about the 15 minute mark, and if you have time I recommend giving it a watch.

For those who don’t have time, here’s the tl;dr version of the part that stood out to me: Jesus wasn’t born in some random stable and placed in any old manger. At the time of his birth, Bethlehem was the main center of the sheep-rearing industry that had grown up around the Jewish sacrificial system. All of the lambs that were used in the temple offerings in Jerusalem were bred and born in Bethlehem.

When it came time for a ewe to give birth, the shepherds would bring her to the tower of the sheep, a structure with a stone manger that served as a birthing center for the lambs. When a lamb was born, they would quickly swaddle it in strips of cloth and lay it in the manger to keep it calm and still until they could finish up with the mother and then examine the lamb to make sure it met the criteria for the sacrifice–being without any spot or defect.

It’s believed that this is the manger Jesus was laid in, wrapped in the same strips of cloth that were used to wrap the newborn lambs. It’s also likely that the shepherds that the angels appeared to to announce his birth weren’t random shepherds, but the same shepherds who watched over the official flock and oversaw the birth of each lamb.

Why did this lesson touch me so? Because it shows that God is not random. Just look at the care to detail He showed in arranging the birth of His Son — the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world, the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be redeemed once and for all.

And guess what? God cares just as much about the details of our lives–yours and mine. Nothing He allows into your life is random. Everything serves a purpose, and nothing escapes His notice or is beyond His care.

This Christmas, let’s remember how much God loves us, and let that reassure us how very much in control He is, and how very much He cares.

Wishing you a joy-filled Christmas,


Sometimes, to attain a dream you first have to give it up.


Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. Actually, ever since I can remember being able to hold a pencil and form words, I’ve been a writer. I think it was probably sometime during junior high school when I decided I wanted to be a novelist.

This is my oldest, dearest dream, is what I’m saying.

If you follow this blog, then you know how this has been a year of learning to surrender my plans and wait for God’s timing and provision. God’s been working to undo a lifetime habit of running ahead and trying to make things happen in my own way, under my own power, on my own time table. And it hasn’t been an easy project. In a lot of ways, it’s still a work in progress.

About four years ago, one of the ways I ran ahead of God was to rush into self-publishing my fiction, starting with a paranormal romantic mystery called Restless Spirits. It was a short-cut to realizing my life-long dream. That short-cut had some rewards, but it was also filled with setbacks and disappointments. And, let’s face it: when teenaged me dreamed of one day becoming a professional novelist, that dream didn’t look anything like self-publishing.

One of the hardest things for me to let go of and surrender to God has been my writing dream. It hasn’t simply been a struggle; at times it’s been a straight-up fight. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve cried over it. I’ve pitched fits. I’ve lamented to God that I don’t know who I am if I’m not a fiction writer–that to take that from me was to strip me of my identity.

Gently, God helped me to realize that HE is my identity, not my writing. That the desire and ability He’s given me to write is for HIS purposes, not my own.

So at long last, I surrendered. I gave up my plans and desires, my dreams, to God, and asked Him to order my steps, shape my career according to HIS plan, and establish the work of my hands. I told Him that I longed for my writing to be used for HIS glory and not my own. And I meant it.

That’s the place I was at this summer when I launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise production funds for a sequel to Restless Spirits. Going into it, I entrusted the outcome completely to the Lord, believing that no matter how it turned out, He would use it for my good. I still believed that when the campaign ended without even coming close to my funding goal. And I committed to waiting and seeing what He had in store.

Just weeks after the campaign ended, completely out of the blue, I received an offer from Vinspire Publishing to repackage my novel Restless Spirits and write two full-length sequels. You can read that whole story here.

To that I’ll add that, though there was little doubt that this open door was from God, one of the things that cinched it for me is the fact that Vinspire, while not a “Christian Publisher” in the sense that they publish strictly inspirational and faith-based books, is a Christian organization that strives to meet a certain standard of family-friendliness in its publications.

You see, one of the things I’d been struggling with in my previous attempt to write a sequel was that it was taking a, shall we say, sexier route than the original. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with that, but I couldn’t really see a way around it. It was something I’d been praying about. When the Kickstarter failed, I took that to mean that God simply didn’t want me to write this series. But now I’m taking this as Him telling me to tell the story in a way that does a better job of honoring Him. And with the deal inked and the parameters in place, this new outline and draft is coming together much better than the first version did.

My season of waiting isn’t yet over. I’ve got other dreams I’ve surrendered–motherhood among them–and I’m still waiting to see what God will do. And with this new door open for my noveling career, it remains to be seen where or how far it will take me.

But this much I know: God is faithful, and He is trustworthy, and His timing is perfect. And His plans are so much better than my own.

Are you in a season of waiting? Tell me what you’re waiting for so I can pray for you.

In love,

A Prayer for the Weary Woman

A prayer for the weary woman

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the wonderful truth of your Word, and for the promises it contains. Promises for provision, and for rest, and for hope for the future. Thank you for your Son, who shed His precious blood so that I could be forgiven and adopted into your family. Thank you for the privilege of coming boldly before your throne, calling you Father and bringing all of my cares and burdens to lay before you. And thank you that both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are praying for me, even when I don’t have the strength to pray for myself.

Lord, Jesus said that the weary should come to him and He would give them rest. I need that rest today, Lord, and that’s why I’ve come before you. Today I name ALL of my fears and doubts, along with all of the burdens that my soul is so tired of carrying, and I cast them before you, laying them down at your altar. Please remove the weight of these burdens from me and help me resist the temptation to pick them back up again, but to leave them with you, trusting that you are far more able to deal with them than I am.

Help me to have confidence in the promises that are written in your Word, and to trust with all my heart that you keep your promises. Teach me to put my confidence and hope fully in you and to fully trust the plans you have for me–plans for my benefit and not for evil, to give me a future and a hope.

Lord, please teach me to wisely discern my part in your plan, to recognize what is truly my responsibility to take care of. Help me not to overburden myself by taking on burdens that don’t belong to me, and to realize that when I do, I make myself unavailable for the tasks and opportunities you have just for me. Help me to remember that when I try to do everything, I also deprive other people of opportunities to serve and receive blessing. Teach me to let you establish the work of my hands, and to trust that what you give me is enough.

Please give me the patience I need to wait on you, and to wait patiently for your plan to unfold in my life. As I wait, create a renewed spirit within me, and let patience have its perfect work, producing perseverance, good character, and hope that never fails. Help me to recognize your leading, and give me the wisdom, courage and flexibility to always follow your lead.

Finally, Father, please help me remember that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, least of all to you. You don’t love me because of the size of my To Do list or how many items I’m able to check off each day. You love me simply because I’m your daughter, and because of this I can trust you to provide for me, and to carry me when I’m too tired to walk. Help me to find moments to simply be still and know that you are God, and that I can safely lean into you and let you orchestrate the details of my life.

Thank you for loving me, Lord.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  – Matthew 11: 28-30 (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. – 2 Cor. 4:16

The Lord directs the steps of the Godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23 (NLT – emphasis added)

Even to your old age and gray airs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – Isaiah 46:4

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will upold you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

In repentance and rest you shall be saved. In quietness and trust is your strength. …The Lord longs to be gracious to you. – Isaiah 30:15b, 18 (emphasis added)


{Linking up with Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart}


Looking Past the Big NOs to See the Little Yeses


It’s happening again. Life has stalled. Doors that I thought were a sure thing are closing–or are being super slow to open–and provision has slowed to a trickle.

Freelancing has always been a feast or famine endeavor. In the six years I’ve been doing it, we’ve had no shortage of opportunities to trust God just to get us through the month. It’s a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, holding tightly to God for dear life way to live.

And I can’t say He’s never let us fall.

A few years ago, our provision was almost completely cut off as every single one of my income streams stopped earning. Only for a couple of months, but that was enough to stir up a lot of stress and anxiety. It also woke us up to spiritual complacency, misplaced hope and areas that needed work.

It started my journey to understanding that I try to do too much on my own, that I can be impatient and controlling, and that I needed to learn to surrender, to wait, to be still and trust.

It’s a lesson I’m still learning.

So here we are as I seem to be getting yet another exercise in trusting that God’s in control. That He has a plan and is at work in my life even when I can’t see it. That it’s not my job to fix everything.

It’s not always easy. I’m not sure it’s ever really easy. Last week it was especially hard. Hormones were bubbling up and bringing emotions to the boiling point, and I wasn’t sleeping well. I was tired in body and soul and as I looked back, trying to see the ways He’s come through and proven His promises, all I could see were the times it seemed like He’d let go and let me fall. The time my business failed and my books stopped selling and we couldn’t buy groceries or make the house payment. The times He allowed my babies to die. All the closed doors, all the apparent NOs in answer to my prayers.

It’s so easy, sometimes, to get blinded by the big disappointments, the big NOs, and miss the small yeses, the little blessings, the quiet moments of grace that get us through those things.

When I looked more closely, I remembered how we had just enough food in the pantry to get us through those lean weeks; how the mortgage company not only didn’t take our house but worked with us to lower our payment; how I experienced His peace like never before in the wake of my miscarriages, and how He’s given me a heart to minister to other women who go through that.

Even now, as business is slow and things look uncertain, He keeps coming through with just what we need at just the right time.

That’s the key: at just the right time.

Today my husband and I are celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary. I didn’t meet Matt until I was 31. Before him I’d never even had a boyfriend. I had given up on the thought of ever finding someone to spend my life with.

But God didn’t.

And although these nine years have been wonderful overall, there were times early on that weren’t so wonderful, when we faced bumps in the road that looked like mountains, and I wasn’t sure we’d make it past them. But we did. God gave us what we needed to traverse those bumps, and when I look back it’s so amazing to see how far we’ve come together, and exciting to think about how far we’ve yet to go.

That’s the God I’m trusting. That’s where I’m putting my hope.

At times like these, when the waiting is so hard and I can’t imagine what God has in store for us, I think about Joseph. I’m sure it wasn’t part of his life plan to get sold into slavery by his brothers, or to get put in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. And as he spent all those years in prison, never losing his faith, trusting all the while that God had a purpose for his life, I’m sure it never even crossed his wildest imaginings that his deliverance would involve him becoming the second most powerful man in all of Egypt.

God might let us fall sometimes, but He won’t let us be hurled headlong. He might appear distant, but He’s there, working all things together for our good. Sometimes to reach His best we have to go through times that seem like the absolute worst.

But His best is coming, and it will arrive at just the right time. Nothing I can do will make it get here any faster. My only job is to wait, and trust. To lean into Him and believe with all my heart that He’s a loving Father who knows how to care for His children.

In love,




P.S. – Once again I’m linking up with Holley Gerth. Check out her post for more encouragement and “Coffee for Your Heart.”