Tag Archives: inspiration

Grace, Humility, and the Impossible

24 Feb

First of all, let me just say that I might be insane! I signed up earlier today to commit to blogging every day this week! What was I thinking?! I feel like I succumbed to peer-pressure by the other 246 Catholic bloggers who already linked up before me with Jennifer Fulwiler at  Conversion Diary! I don’t want to be left out of the madness! There is something greatly unifying and inspiring just knowing that all of these other people are doing the same thing, though! Here’s to 7 Posts in 7 Days!

William wilberforce.jpg

William Wilberforce/Source: Wikipedia

This past Saturday, Adam and I were invited by a friend of mine and her husband to attend an interdenominational church service that was featuring Eric Metaxas as a guest speaker! (Bonus: Christopher Duffley, who is blind and autistic, sang at the beginning of the service and it was such a blessing to hear him!)

I have made no secret of the fact that I am a big fan of Eric Metaxas’ books and his message. (Check out my “read” list on Goodreads located in the right sidebar!) I heard him speak a year ago on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and this year he discussed William Wilberforce and his fight to abolish the slave trade. What really stuck with me during Metaxas’ talk, was how humble Wilberforce was and how he lovingly debated with his political opponents. Much of Metaxas’ speech was taken right out of his chapter on Wilberforce in 7 Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness (a book I recently started reading). On page 51, Metaxas writes:

Wilberforce understood the profoundly important concept that we are all sinners and all fall short of the glory of God. He hated the sin but loved the sinner, and he never demonized his opponents. He fought against them valiantly but always with grace, knowing that he had been part of the problem at one time, too, and knowing that if it weren’t for the grace of God, he would still be a part of the problem.

Metaxas likened this issue to the abortion debate in our culture today. He stated that “Jesus commanded us to love our enemies.” And, just as Metaxas pointed out that we are often guilty of doing, I find myself thinking that I’m on higher moral ground, especially when it comes to things like abortion. I tend to think “I can’t believe so-and-so is completely ignorant about that” and “I’m glad that I do more good than so-and-so”. The truth is, it is only because of God’s grace that we have the knowledge that we do. God lets us see certain truths when we are open to Him that others are blinded to because they reject Him.

How timely was this speech?! Imagine my excitement – and conviction – when I heard the Gospel reading on Sunday morning about loving our enemies (Matthew 5: 38-48)! The exact topic that Metaxas stressed in his talk the previous night! Trust me, my ears were open!

And if that wasn’t enough, I also read a post from Biltrix about the reading yesterday, titled When the Gospel Pokes. I can definitely relate!

All that is good is from God, and it is only because of His grace that we can have wisdom, love, knowledge, faith, and the ability to offer forgiveness. It would ALL be impossible without God’s grace.

Speaking of overcoming the seemingly impossible with grace, another important thing about Wilberforce is that he remembered that it was only with God’s strength that he could abolish slavery. Metaxas writes:

He first required a deep sense that the Lord had called him to these things –else he would have been overwhelmed, and the many setbacks would have been a great discouragement. But because he knew that God had indeed set these objects before him, he knew that the battle was God’s battle, not his. All he had to do was to be obedient to what God was asking him to do and to know that God brings the victory.

What a great reminder to each one of us! When we feel that God is calling us to something, we have to remember that He is in control and it is not up to us to make certain things happen. All that we can do is trust and obey. And pray – often!

For more about Wilberforce, you can read Eric Metaxas’ book Amazing Grace and/or watch the movie. The Kindle version is currently $3.79 on Amazon. Metaxas is also in the process of writing a book about inspirational women and a book about modern-day miracles. I can’t wait!

10 Inspirational Quotes about Prayer

12 Feb

I’ve really been focusing a lot on improving my prayer life lately – it’s definitely one of my main goals for this year. I’ve been reading some great books, including Prayer Primer, by Fr. Thomas Dubay, and I’ve been coming across some great words of wisdom about what prayer is and what it does for us. I thought I’d share!

10 Inspirational Quotes about Prayer

1. “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” -Soren Kirkegaard

2. “The best thing each of us can do for those we love is to become a saint, a man or woman of deep prayer.” -Thomas Dubay, S.M.

3. “To pray well one must live well.” -St. Augustine

4. “I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things.” -Mother Teresa

5. “Prayer is a mother who conceives and nourishes all virtues.” -St. Catherine of Siena

6. “Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.” -Matthew 21:22

7. “A soul which gives itself to prayer, either much or little, should on no account be kept within narrow bounds.” -St. Teresa of Avila

8. “Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” -Corrie Ten Boom

9. “Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.” -Mahatma Gandhi

10. “If you ever want to be holy, to know God, to live His will, then the number one thing that you are going to have to do is pray. PERIOD! Nothing else matters.” -Fr. Larry Richards

~

Do you have a favorite quote about prayer? If so, please share below!

I’m coming for you, 2014!

6 Jan

motivational quote from Ana Brandt

Source

I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolutions or big annual evaluations of my goals, but I am all about living purposefully this year!

Maybe the combination of turning 30 last month and facing the reality that my oldest daughter is starting Kindergarten this year has got me putting on my big girl pants. In fact, like many others (including those linking-up at Plain Grace), I even decided on a word to focus on for 2014 – intentional!

I have been working hard on my PowerSheets, a goal-planning guide created by Lara Casey, to plan the first six months of the year. I cannot recommend this packet enough! It has motivated me so much and has really helped me put my goals into perspective in light of my vision- God’s vision- for my life! If you feel like you really want to prioritize and break things down into manageable bites, check them out! These can help you out no matter what your dreams are!

20140106-223602.jpg

My vision for 2014, and my life overall, includes:

-constantly seeking God’s will
-being thankful for his grace and blessings
-having a thriving marriage centered on Christ
-raising our two daughters to know, love, and serve Him
-using our talents to bring others to God and spread joy
-having a warm home where others can feel the love and joy of family and God
-reading, studying, and growing in wisdom and understanding

My five goals that I have chosen to put my energy into this year (and why) are:

1. Cultivate a marriage and family that continues to grow in God’s love, because that’s where true joy is and we want to shine His light and the goodness of family.

2. Create a financial plan/budget that works for our family, so that we can be good stewards of our money, save for our girls’ education, and prepare for emergencies, big purchases, and our future.

3. Create my online community, Faithful Dreamers, to encourage and inspire others to follow God’s will and dream big!

4. Be healthy, so that I can have more energy and feel good about how I’m taking care of myself for my family. I desperately need to squeeze in some exercise a few times each week!

5. Spend more time in prayer, so that I can hear God’s word, discern his plan for my life, and deepen my relationship with Jesus. This will greatly help me to be the best version of myself.

2014 is all about a year of action for me! I’m ready to put some ideas into motion and I want to do things with intention! For a peek at my Making Things Happen in 2014 vision board, click here!

~

What are you focusing on this year? Do you have a special word that is guiding and motivating you?

My Five Favorite Books of 2013

2 Jan

I know that I’ve been MIA most of the past month, but I was so busy with all that comes with preparing for Christmas that blogging just never really made it to the top of the priority list! It’s a new year, though, and I’m ready to get back to it!

five-favorites-moxie-wife-1

I’m joining Hallie and others at Moxie Wife this week for a Five Favorites post of my top reads for the past year!

{1}

The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic 
by Matthew Kelly

I love Matthew Kelly and this book is so practical and filled with so much truth. I love the prayer process that he outlines. Click here to check out some of my favorite quotes from the book!

{2}

Running For My Life
by Lopez Lomong

This book is definitely one that alters your world-view. US Olympic Athlete Lopez Lomong’s journey from a refugee camp in Sudan to a life in America is so inspiring. God’s hand in his life is evident throughout the book and speaks to the truth that God has a purpose for each of us.

{3}

One Thousand Gifts
by Ann Voskamp

This is such a beautifully written book! Voskamp definitely inspired me to be thankful for every tiny blessing that may typically be taken for granted or go unnoticed. It’s also a great reflection on the gift of grace.

{4}

33 Days to Morning Glory
by Fr. Michael Gaitley

Along with many others who have gone through this retreat, I highly recommend this book to consecrate, or re-consecrate, yourself to Mary! Who better to shape and mold our hearts for Jesus than his mother?! (Thanks, mom, for giving it to me this past Mother’s Day!)

{5}

My Life With the Saints
by Fr. James Martin

I really enjoyed reading how various saints impacted Fr. Martin. It really inspired me to want to grab a few biographies of saints and dig a little deeper! I already have a few on my “to-read” list, some of which he recommended in the book!

~

I can’t wait to read so many more books in the coming months! Some of which include finishing Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, Finding God’s Will For You by St. Francis de Sales, and Our Lady of Kibeho by Immaclee Ilibagiza.

What books impacted you this past year? What do you want to read in 2014?

Find Your Dream

6 Dec

I’ve watched The Sound of Music a million times, but hearing the lyrics for Climb Ev’ry Mountain on last night’s The Sound of Music Live show on NBC totally got me excited in a whole new way! It’s such a beautiful song!

20131205-213228.jpg

Climb every mountain, search high and low.
Follow every byway, every path you know.
Climb every mountain, ford every stream.
Follow every rainbow, till you find your dream.

A dream that will need
all the love you can give,
Every day of your life
for as long as you live.

Climb every mountain, search high and low.
Follow every byway, every path you know.
Climb every mountain, ford every stream.
Follow every rainbow, till you find your dream.

-Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, The Sound of Music

I love the middle part of the song, especially! Following God’s will always requires sacrifice and love. What a beautiful way to describe a vocation! I’m thankful that I’ve found my dream of being a wife and mother!

Did you catch The Sound of Music on TV last night? What did you think?

5 Quotes about Gratitude

27 Nov

I’ve been coming across a lot of great quotes lately, especially in regards to gratitude. Since Thanksgiving is just a couple days away, I thought that I’d share five bits of wisdom about thankfulness!

{1}

Source: Biblia.com

{2}

Source: Plain Grace (free printable)

{3}

{4}

PowerPoint Background using Colossians 2:6-7

Source: Heartlight.org

{5}

Source: Plain Grace (free printable)

***

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!

I Am a Sinner

22 Nov

Satan wants me to be comfortable. He wants me to take my life for granted; to not notice the little blessings given to me each day. Satan wants me to think that I have it all together, because if this were true, why would I need to seek God?

The devil doesn’t want me to share my weaknesses; to admit that I am broken and need God’s grace.

Satan doesn’t want me to notice that I rarely pick up the Bible next to my bed or admit that I sometimes get too caught up in housework instead of spending time with my girls. Or that I hesitate to help others when it might inconvenience me too much. The devil doesn’t want me to acknowledge that I know he is behind any fear and resistance that I have been battling.

Why am I typing this stuff? Simply because I have read some amazing books by saintly authors lately. The Holy Spirit has been weaving some beautiful wisdom together in my mind. Hopefully, I can now articulate what has been knocking me over the head…

light

“I am a sinner.” That’s the response that Pope Francis gave in his recent interview for America Magazine, when asked to describe who he was. These are the first words that came to mind of one of the holiest men on earth! What a humble example of who we are all called to be as Christians!

At the time that I read the aforementioned, A Big Heart Open to God article, I had just finished reading a section in Melody Green’s book, No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green, about her musician husband and how he started a “revival” in their community of new Christians. Keith had read a book by Charles Finney that discussed the concept of “fallow ground,” and this motivated him to confess his sins to his friends, ask for forgiveness, and turn grace into action on a whole new level. On page 269, Melody writes:

Keith explained, “Fallow ground is ground that was once tilled, but has since gotten hard and unusable. Before it can receive seed, it needs to be broken up and made soft again. Finney says to break up the fallow ground of our heart, we need to examine our motive, actions, and state of mind very carefully…” Keith quoted Finney again. “There are many professing Christians who are willing to do almost anything in religion that does not require self-denial. They are so far from realizing that self-denial is a condition of discipleship that they do not even know what it is!”

Keith was passionate about fighting hypocrisy among Christians and urged one another to move beyond “easy” grace.

For anyone out there familiar with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, you know that this is just like his term, “cheap grace.” In his book, The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer states, “Happy are they who know that discipleship simply means the life which springs from grace, and that grace simply means discipleship.”

Many Christians accept God’s gift of grace without accepting that we are also made to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him while on this earth. We are made to know our brothers and sisters in Christ; to love them and to serve them. This requires action…discipleship…grace.

We are not to take our amazing free redeeming gift of salvation and keep it to ourselves. Matthew 5:13-16 states:

You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.

Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.

Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.

“Getting saved” isn’t a one time thing, it is a a continuous accepting of Jesus by the choices that we make. Dr. Timothy Gray states in Walk the Walk: Following Christ as His Disciple, “Denial is always preceded by distance. Follow Jesus at a distance, and that discipleship will eventually end up in denial – denying Jesus.” He also states, “To not act on our belief – on our Christian thoughts – makes those Christian thoughts completely fruitless and vain.”

Can we ever do anything to earn grace? No, of course not. God freely gives us his love and mercy over and over again. Grace should inspire thankfulness – a heart overflowing with gratitude for something that we can never deserve. Thankfulness humbles us. Thankfulness is the key to joy.

I’ve been reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and her book is absolutely filled with numerous ways we receive grace and blessings. She says:

Thanksgiving creates abundance; and the miracle of multiplying happens when I give thanks- take the just one loaf, say it is enough, and give thanks- and He miraculously makes it more than enough.

When we have more than enough, we share. We share our joy, our blessings, our hope, so that others will seek Jesus, accept His grace, and follow Him. We are called to live radically and walk boldly in faith. Without God’s grace we are nothing, and this is precisely why we owe our lives to Him. This is why we should want the Lord to till our hardened soil and plant seeds of love in our hearts.

I am a sinner. A thankful sinner. A thankful sinner who wants to shine His light.

Fear & Resistance

14 Nov

20131113-215058.jpg

Blogging is freaking me out right now!

Yes, I’ve been busy and distracted the past few months with the house being on the market, car issues, and the upcoming holidays, but I’ve also felt a resistance that has been keeping me from completing half-finished posts. I’m a little bit at a crossroads of how to move forward.

I’m the type of person who wants things to be done right and if I can’t do whatever needs to be done as well as it needs to, I tend to give up and walk away. This is why I dabble in a lot of different things, but I’m not really a master of anything… There are a lot of things that I enjoy, but when it comes to working hard, sacrificing, and focusing on only one particular thing I tend to back off at some point. Maybe it’s because I don’t like to put pressure or stress on myself, I’m afraid of failing, or I don’t want to look like an idiot. If I’m being honest, it’s probably all of the above!

Trust me, I’m not trying to take myself too seriously with this blogging stuff, but I do want to contribute something that’s meaningful – something that matters. I love reading what my contemporaries have to say and feeling connected to their dreams and struggles. It is encouraging to be a part of a community full of young Christian wives and mothers trying to live their vocations the best that they can! I admire what so many other bloggers are doing. It’s easy, though, to start feeling inadequate and to question the importance of my little voice being heard among the crowd.

Something that I have come to realize recently is that I shouldn’t really be focusing so much on what kind of unique perspective I can offer, but just focusing on the truth that God is revealing to me. I have been doing a lot of great reading lately by saintly authors and so many ideas are linking together and overlapping so much that I know what I’m reading is true. There is something to be said about the cliches “great minds think alike” and “there is power in numbers!” The more we Christians speak the truth and share our faith journey, the more we may have an impact on others. The more that the messages we share are alike, the better!

Many of us are at different points in our relationship with Jesus. Some people are further along the journey and some are just starting to put things together, but there are those out there who are right there with us and something just might click and make sense in a way that others wouldn’t be able to do. I’m talking as much to myself as to anybody when I say, “Keep sharing your God-given wisdom and personal story!”

I know that this fear I’m dealing with right now of “not being good enough” is coming from Satan. I’m determined to resist the temptation to take the easy road and keep my blog on the back-burner. The devil wants me to keep my mouth shut and my fingers off the keyboard.

I know that what I write may not always be “Strunk and White”-approved or contain eloquent revelations, but I’m not going to let that stop me from offering encouragement and evangelizing. I also don’t want to cut ties with these amazing ladies who constantly inspire me and give me hope in this crazy, broken world (see blogroll below for some of my favorites).

Thanks to those of you who have checked in on A Dreamer’s Wife now-and-then. I appreciate your support and I plan to fit blogging into my life as much as I can in the upcoming months. I will be grateful for any prayers as I re-focus on my blog’s future and my Faithful Dreamers project (that I can’t wait to share one of these days). God bless and dream big!

Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows. -Luke 12:7

Nominate Catholic Difference-Makers Under 30!

11 Oct

During one of the rare times that I have checked my Twitter feed in the past couple of weeks, I came across an amazing “contest” via @FOCUSequip yesterday!

30 under 30: Spotlighting Top Young Catholics – Nominations

FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) is looking for 30 individuals under 30 years old who are making a difference in the Catholic Church and changing the world!

This is so up my alley! Although it was hard to choose only one, I just finished nominating Tori Harris, who I featured as my Dreamer in the Spotlight in August.

I know us fellow bloggers are inspired by so many of our peers, so let’s recognize them! Please consider nominating a special young adult who is committed to allowing God to work through him/her to reach others!

I hope my excitement is oozing out of this post, because I. AM. VERY. EXCITED. about this! I love sharing and reading about people who are dreaming big and doing God’s will! I will definitely be following up on the chosen 30!

Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to nominate someone!!

10 Inspirational Kindle Books Under $5!

7 Oct

Keep Your Change

This is part of my Keep Your Change series! For more money-saving posts, click here!

This past weekend, I noticed that some great Kindle books are discounted right now on Amazon! Some of them have been on my wish list, some are by authors I love, and all look like they’d be really good! I haven’t read any of these – yet, but I have a few downloaded and ready to go. I just thought I’d share in case you’d like to snag a couple of these for yourself while they are on sale!

1. One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp
This book was recommended to me by Patty of Tales of Me and The Husband. I’m excited to check it out soon! The companion devotional is under $3.

2. Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
I’ve heard good things about this book, but haven’t read it yet. I think it is kind of a marriage must-read.

3. Led by Faith by Immaculee Ilibagiza
I’ve read Immaculee’s book Left to Tell about surviving the Rwandan genocide and it was life-changing, so I’m sure this one is amazing, too!

4. Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games by Lopez Lomong
I ran across this book last week and was pleasantly surprised when I read that Lomong is a devout Catholic. I can’t wait to read about his journey!

5. Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive by John Eldredge
I loved Captivating and I’m a big John Eldredge fan, so I’m excited that this is discounted for the month of October. This will be good for my husband!

6. Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst.
I love how Lysa writes! Her 60-day companion devotional is also majorly on sale right now.

7. What Women Fear: Walking in Faith that Transforms by Angie Smith
I have a good friend who recommended this book to me, and it has been sitting on my wish list. It’s probably about time I checked it out!

8. God Has a Plan for Your Life: The Discovery that Makes All the Difference by Charles F. Stanley 
Anything that talks about God and having a plan for my life has my attention! I’m constantly on the look out for books like this!

9. Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would? by Pete Wilson
This sounds interesting to me. It would probably have some good insights to meditate on. I think we could all probably relate to this in one way or another.

10. Our Lady of Kibeho: Mary Speaks to the World from the Heart of Africa by Immaculee Ilibagiza
Another book by Immaculee under $5 – Awesome! According to the book description on Amazon, “Thirteen years before the bloody 1994 genocide that swept across Rwanda and left more than a million people dead, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ appeared to eight young people in the remote village of Kibeho. Through these visionaries, Mary and Jesus warned of the looming holocaust, which they assured could be averted if Rwandans opened their hearts to God and embraced His love.” This definitely sounds intriguing!

***

These all sound so good! I don’t know which one to tackle first!! Not to mention, I already have quite a stack sitting on my shelf and downloaded on my Kindle!!

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?