The Things that Make God Angry

Since I was a little girl, I’ve been uncomfortable with negative emotions. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve expressed plenty of negative emotions– tantrums, meltdowns, down days that I wanted to stay in bed– but they’ve always felt bad or wrong. For example, I would shut out God if I couldn’t bring my sunny self.

I’m gaining a healthier view, but for a long time I carried an over-simplified categorization of emotions as “positive” or “negative.” You can probably guess the breakdown:

Positive emotions– Joy, happiness, gratitude, love, generosity, peace, hope, serenity, confidence…

Negative emotions– Sadness, despair, stinginess, hate, overwhelm, turmoil, hopelessness, insecurity…

You get the gist, and the funny thing is that some of these came from lists I found when I Googled “positive emotions list” and “negative emotions list.” I’m not the only one that categorizes this way. The internet doesn’t lie!  Yet, I took these categories one step further. One step too far. I wrongly thought:

Negative emotions are unrighteous.

That statement is untrue because our perfect and holy God holds some of what I’ve considered “negative” emotions– anger, hate, jealousy, and grief. Because God also feels these emotions, we can safely say that these feelings can actually lead to righteousness.

Context is really important. I’m pretty sure most of my meltdowns haven’t been a bit righteous, but we can’t define all negative emotions as bad.

Let’s take God’s anger as an example. Psalm 7:11 says, “God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day.” Wow. Wrath every day is a lot of wrath, but the cause of God’s anger is what maintains His status as a righteous judge. His wrath is fueled by:

  • Wickedness (Romans 1:18)
  • Disobedience (I Kings 11:9-10)
  • Dishonesty (Proverbs 11:1)
  • Injustice (Proverbs 17:15)

In relation, there are things that God hates which stoke His anger:

  • Proverbs 6:16-18
    •  haughty  eyes
    • a lying tongue
    • hands that shed innocent blood
    • a heart that devises wicked scheme
    • feet that are quick to rush into evil
    • a false witness who pours out lies
    • a person who stirs up conflict in the community
  • Psalm 5:5
    • the arrogant
    • those who do wrong
  • Psalm 11:5
    • those who do violence

From my last post, we know that God’s feelings are immutable and incorruptible. Now we’ve established that even God’s negative emotions are righteous and leveled at unrighteousness. I’ll write about how these truths inform us how to engage our emotions in godly ways, but let’s part with a few questions to consider:

  • How does God’s anger and hate inform how I look at the world?
  • How does the sacrifice of Jesus expand on the story of God’s anger?
  • How does the cross combine God’s “positive” and “negative” emotions?

I’d love to hear your thoughts as you’re processing with me!

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When I was out shopping yesterday, I was assaulted/delighted by all the Christmas displays. (I LOVE Christmas, as you can hear in this fun episode of Grit ‘n’ Grace, but before Halloween? Really?)

So, like most of you, my Christmas shopping list was jump-started. If you’re in that mode now, I have great news! Christianbook.com is running a great sale on Exhale: Lose Who You’re Not. Love Who You Are. Live Your One Life Well., and shipping is free with a $35 purchase. If you buy a copy of Exhale for Aunt Sally, cousin Joan, your best friend Marge, and your neighbor (you know she really needs it), you’ll have lots of your bases covered at a bargain! Click here to order. Coupon code: MEGASALE19

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Complete Joy

Today, surrounded by warm sunshine, towering palms, and blue water, I feel a rush of joy that seems like it will last forever.

Moments later, my mood is interrupted by a frisson of anxiety over my son’s interview, and less than a half an hour more finds me wrestling with confusion over what to write here.

Our days are like that, aren’t they? Fleeting happiness followed by bouts of worry displaced by teetering faith which is superseded by a spate of doubt. Our human emotions are highly unpredictable and seldom sustainable.

And yet they’re a gift, a reflection of the image of God.

Truthfully, my emotions feel like a mixed blessing, and trying to capture the gift of them while minimizing the curse isn’t easy. I’m starting this “Feel” series with several posts about the emotions of God, but it has required some research on my part to make sure that I stay theologically straight for you, my readers, and for myself, a woman who longs to follow God with as much purity as humanly possible. Before we go on, I want to share a truth that sets God’s emotions apart from our human emotions:

God has emotions, but His are both immutable and incorruptible.

  1. They’re immutable. God’s character and nature never changes, so unlike humans, He is not susceptible to “mood swings”. Every emotion He has is consistent and completely in line with His permanent will and dependable promises.
  2. They’re incorruptible. God is without sin, and His emotions are the same. They aren’t swayed by circumstances or give to fits of extremes based on selfishness. God’s emotions are a beautiful reflection of His perfection.

This quote helped my understanding so much, “There are two wonderful things concerning God and emotions: first, He understands our emotions (since He created us with the capacity to feel them), and, second, His own emotions continually flow from His perfection. God will never have a bad day; He will never change His feelings toward His redeemed.” (Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/does-God-have-emotions.html)

One of the emotions I treasure most in this life is joy, and it’s rich because its source is God Himself. As I read Scripture, God’s greatest joy seems to be in us. Unimaginable.

Zephaniah 3: 17 is often quoted but undeniably beautiful, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

And then there’s this verse that isn’t found on mugs and t-shirts, “As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” (Isaiah 62:5) Hearkens back to my last post, doesn’t it?

There are others, but one of my favorites points directly to Jesus’ motive for His sacrifice, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2b) It’s overwhelming to think that Jesus gave His life because of the anticipated joy of being reconciled to us!

In every case, including Jesus’ crucifixion, God’s joy is unchanged by circumstances and pain. It’s uncorrupted by evil or malice.

God’s joy is complete, and ours becomes complete in Him. (John 16:24)

So here we are, wrapped in God’s immeasurable love and the object of His joy. Knowing that we’re the recipient of His emotions– love, joy, mercy and compassion is an awe inspiring truth.

But what’s to be done with His “negative” emotions? I’ll address that question in my next post.

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Immeasurable Love

May 25th was the day we all waited for, counting down the months and then the days. The time seemed immeasurable, unbearable even, but the date finally arrived.

Wedding day!

The previous October, my youngest son, Nolan, and his beloved, Madison, got engaged, and everyone was thrilled. Nolan and Madison had dated for almost 2 years, and both families watched as the trust and love between them grew. Madison was the girl I had dreamed of and prayed for since Nolan was born– the just-right mix of godly and sassy in a beautiful package. She’s the girl of Nolan’s dreams, and we couldn’t wait to officially fold her into our family.

On the morning of the wedding, I reflected on a call I’d had the week before with my friend, Lisa. “Tell me what I need to know that I don’t know I need to know!” I pleaded. Lisa’s son had gotten married around the time of Nolan’s engagement, and I knew that she’d give me great girlfriend advice me about how to handle my mama-heart.

Lisa replied with wisdom as I knew she would. “You need to have your ugly cry before the wedding,” she said. “When you feel it coming this week, don’t hold back. Just let it go and cry your eyes out. That way, you’ll feel what you need to feel, but you won’t be a mess on the big day.”

I tried to follow her sage advice. The week before the wedding was busy and filled with emotion. Every time I felt the tears prick, I attempted to let go. I tried to feel the full gamut of emotions: the joy of gaining a daughter, the thankfulness of knowing that Nolan had chosen well, the sadness of the changing season, the overwhelm of all there was to do, and the gratefulness of two God-loving families joining in this union.

As the wedding processional began to plan and I settled in my seat, I felt a little smug. I was good. My ugly cry was over, taken care of the privacy of my own home in the days before the wedding.

And then this happened…

My son saw his bride. Overcome with deep love and awe of her beauty, the tears started. And they flowed, and flowed, and flowed.  I thought my big cry was over, but seeing Nolan’s emotion re-engaged my own and everyone else’s. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

Every time I see this beautiful picture, I’m reminded of one of our family’s happiest days. My heart soars over the way this marriage was birthed so full of love.

But I also think of Jesus.

There’s a coming wedding, and Jesus will be the groom at the end of the aisle. When He sees His bride, the church, I can imagine He’ll react just this way out of His deep, deep love for her and in awe of her radiant, righteous beauty that He bought with His own life.

It’s easy to give mental assent to this illustration, thinking of Jesus’ love for the church, but you know that the church is YOU, don’t you?

When Jesus sees YOU, He’ll be overcome with love immeasurable, and He’ll be in awe of YOUR beauty. Jesus is going to look at YOU this way.

That’s what I thought about when my son cried over his bride. My tears flowed as I watched the earthly wedding in front of me and anticipated the heavenly wedding to come.

(So much for mascara and avoiding the ugly cry.)

As we start this series called “Feel,” I want to spend a few weeks on how God feels. Considering His emotions and how He engages them makes my own feel more like a gift. I’ve often treated my emotions as something to be squelched or a problem to manage, but if we follow in His footsteps, our emotions are something precious to be engaged.

So let’s start with the emotion that is God’s very essence: LOVE.

I Jn 4:8, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Exodus 34:5-7a, “Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.'”

God is love. It defines who He is, and it’s the characteristic that He proclaims about Himself. He also declares its primacy among His gifts to us.

I Cor. 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

God is love, and He gives it lavishly to us.

Ephesians 2:4-5, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Ephesians 3:17-19, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

In total, there are 686 uses of the word “love” in the Bible describing God Himself, the way He loves us, and the way we are to love Him. I know “love” has become a hippy dippy word in our culture, describing the rush of infatuation at the beginning of a romantic relationship, but it’s so much more.

Let’s determine now to engage all of loves facets and power in order to knock down the walls of fear, rejection, and hurt that have kept us from divided from others. Let’s pray for help!

Lord, You are love. Because it is the core of who You are, You love us. Help us to begin to love others the way You love, without conditions or limits. We want to be people of lavish love, following the way Jesus loved by laying down His life. Amen.

During the wedding reception, something unusual happened. The DJ stood at the end of the family speeches and gave one of his own. He said that in over 30 years of DJ-ing wedding, he had never seen a reaction quite like Nolan’s, and then he gave my son a challenge. “Nolan,” he said, “if you’ll look at Madison like that every day, your marriage will last a lifetime.”

Every morning this week when you wake up, I want you to pause a minute before you roll into your day. Imagine Jesus, your bridegroom, looking into your eyes with greater love than my sweet son (or any human) could ever muster up. Every day. That’s the way your Savior loves you. Not just for a lifetime but for eternity.

Living in the light of that loving look will change you. And me too.

ps. I knew you’d want to see a picture of the beautiful bride, too, so here’s the whole happy Carroll family on wedding day!

 

 

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One Last Gasp… and an Exhale

I need to confess. I hear it’s good for the soul.

You know all those other bloggers you follow? The ones who write mind-blowing, heart-changing content every week? I love those bloggers. I really do, and I follow them too.

But true confessions… I’m not that blogger. Whew! Sure glad I got THAT off my chest.

Ok. Maybe since you’re laughing now, it wasn’t really a confession but rather a statement of the obvious. You’ve noticed, right?

Here’s the real confession. Although I love sharing with you, writing is hard for me– hard on my brain and often hard on my heart– so sometimes I just have to take a break. That’s what I’ve really been doing for a couple of months as I’ve tried to also keep you updated on all things Exhale. But next week I’m diving back into our series. Remember the one?

Listen –> Feel –> Do –> Speak

Next week I’m jumping into the “Feel” series, and I have all the feels about it. That’s what a break will do for you! I’ll start with how God feels which has been a revolutionary idea for me.

Before I leave the Exhale focus, however, I wanted to give you Exhale in one last snapshot in case you’ve missed anything. Here we go…

To find out all the details about where you can buy Exhale, click on the graphic below. (If you’re like me, you’ll click on all the book sellers links to find the best deal. Go for it!)

To see all the information about our Study Guide (which can be used in small groups or alone) and Leader Guide, click below.

And I had to add a picture of one of our first small groups that started just this week. It contains college students to grandmothers. Cheri & I are squeeing all over the house with delight over this literal dream-come-true! Picture yourself in a room like this, and then pray about making it happen. Beautiful!

If you’d like to watch the free videos Cheri and I made for you (and/or your small group), click on the pic below and scroll down a bit. My Nolan created the animation for the beginnings and elevated our homemade but heartfelt videos. We really hope you enjoy them!

If you like to listen rather than read, click below to access the audio book. As I’ve said, this is the only time a hick-girl like me gets to narrate anything, so I hope you enjoy hearing Cheri and I read our own chapters.

I think that’s the whole enchilada! My heart is poured out in this book, and I can personally testify that the lessons are life-changing. They’re built on the foundation of Scripture, and the study before writing  changed MY LIFE first.

This is my last exhale about… well, you know… for awhile. 🙂 I hope you’ll come back to the return of our series next week!

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One Powerful Source of Strength in Weakness

Welcome y’all! Please watch the short video below that contains some additional thoughts from Where to Find Strength When You Feel Week along with all the details of this week’s fabulous giveaway.

Pro-Tip: Watch to find out how to have TWO chances to win!

(Subscribers, click here to watch the video on the website. I want you in on this giveaway for sure!)

Click on the picture above to be part of our Virtual Launch Party and enjoy a second chance to win a Leader Guide, Study Guide and 10 copies of Exhale!

You can join over 180 leaders nationwide. Prayerfully consider leading an Exhale small group,

and click on the picture above where you’ll enter your email address to enter.

Wondering if Exhale is for your group? Here’s the scoop!

Exhale is for the woman suffocating under the pressure of being all things to all people; of filling every unfilled spot at church, work, and home; of trying to do it all right, make decisions that benefit everyone else, and keep everyone happy.

Rather than adding more to your to-do list, Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory show you how to

  • lose the ill-fitting roles you’ve been trying to fill so that you can be lighter and freer
  • love your truest, God-created self with all your glorious gifts instead of trying to shove yourself into a mold
  • live your one and only life in a way that you know truly matters

This isn’t a time-management book filled with how-to lists and calendar tools. Instead, it walks you through a process that releases you from the things that have created unbearable pressure. Then you’ll be able to live the combination we all long for: fulfilling the desires of your heart, loving your people well, and bringing glory to God.

 Live the life you were created for.

 

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Only Two More Days for the Big Giveaway

Because I’m so excited about this BIG GIVEAWAY, I’m sending one extra email this week as a reminder to enter by Thursday, July 11th at midnight.

If you’ve already entered, I’m cheering for you to win! If you haven’t, here’s our prize:

TEN copies of Exhale

Group Study (for a participant)

Leader Guide

Here’s how you enter:

  • Prayerfully decide to lead an Exhale group in your home, workplace, or church.
  • Go to ExhaleBook.com/study
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page, and enter your email address. This will enter you for this giveaway, and you’ll receive our updates, training, and support for leaders starting in the fall.

Note: If you’ve never led a small group before, but you feel God knocking at your heart, dive in and do it! Cheri and I will walk alongside you and other leaders in a private Facebook group to help support you.

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What Happens When You Step Into Your Highest Calling

“The very word ‘calling’ is fraught, isn’t it? It feels like a word saved only for special people and those paid to do ministry.”

That’s a line from my Encouragement for Today devotion, “Your Highest Calling Isn’t What You Think.”

It’s true, isn’t it? So many of us struggle with the idea of calling, but ultimately I believe that it’s not as hard as we make it. In fact, we often miss our highest calling by over-complicating it.

(Spoiler alert! If you’re not sure what your highest calling is, read the devotion before you proceed.)

Our highest calling is simple. We’re called to be near Jesus.

How do we accomplish coming near Jesus? Just like with anybody you want to build relationship with– a grandchild, a friend, your husband– you get closer to Jesus by spending time with Him. Read the Bible. Pray. Sit in silence and listen to His words for you. Bask in His presence and peace. These are just a few ways to prioritize time with Jesus.

In this fast-paced world, it’s not easy to carve out time to come close, but it’s essential. There just aren’t any short-cuts. 

In those moments, I know that God will meet You. I can say it with full confidence, because He’s met me. As I said in the devotion, He’ll draw you close and then He’ll send you out. If you’ve been wrestling and wrestling with what to do, pause to simply come close, and leave a comment to let me know what happens. I’m praying that God floods into your time with Him!

What happens when we step into our highest calling of coming near Jesus? He meets us there, giving us patience in a wait or sending us out to do His work. Either is beautiful!

Giveaway (a tool for your highest calling):

Cheri Gregory, co-author of Exhale, and I are excited to announce our Group Study materials available through Amazon! Before we wrote one word of Exhale, we dreamed and designed it to be a book that groups would love digesting together. Our six-week group study is designed to take the life-changing lessons from the book to an even deeper level, creating change that sticks through group discussion and support.

Combining Scripture, thought-provoking questions, and time to inhale the lessons of Exhale, the group study will empower you and your friends to walk through a process that releases you from the things that have created unbearable pressure.

The materials include: a Group Study guide for participants, a Leader Guide, and free teaching videos from Cheri and me (available August 15th at ExhaleBook.com/study).

I’m super-excited about today’s giveaway because I know it can lead to the life you know you’re made for as you develop a community around Exhale with all the tools you need!

TEN copies of Exhale

Group Study (for a participant)

Leader Guide

Here’s how you enter:

  • Prayerfully decide to lead an Exhale group in your home, workplace, or church.
  • Go to ExhaleBook.com/study
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page, and enter your email address. This will enter you for this giveaway, and you’ll receive our updates, training, and support for leaders starting in the fall.

Note: If you’ve never led a small group before, but you feel God knocking at your heart, dive in and do it! Cheri and I will walk alongside you and other leaders in a private Facebook group to help support you.

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Numbed Out

At no additional expense to you, this post contains affiliate links to defray the cost of website maintenance. Click here for full disclosures.

Have you ever caught yourself saying or thinking things like this?

The news stresses me out too much. I’m not going to watch it anymore.

I can’t think about that problem. It’s too big for me, and I’ve got enough of my own stuff to handle.

Man, this has been a day. I need ___________ (food,  binge-watching, a substance) to help me relax.

Being close to people always ends in pain. I’d rather be alone.

I’ll go ahead and confess that I’ve had each one of those thoughts at one time or another.

None of us likes to hurt or feel pain, but numbing out has become an American obsession. It’s reflected in shelves full of pain relievers, the way we shelter our kids from adversity, and how quickly we turn to entertainment to dodge or dull our pain. There are times when all those choices may be appropriate, but we’re a people (I’m person) who too often chooses numbness over pain.

Pain has a purpose.

In his book Where is God When It Hurts?, Philip Yancey uses the physical disease leprosy to show us that pain can be a gift. People with leprosy lose feeling in their extremities. Their hands, feet, nose, ears and eyes become numb. The tissue damage that’s symptomatic of leprosy isn’t caused directly by the disease. Instead, tissue damage happens because there’s no feeling to let a person know that they’re damaging themselves. For example, one boy with leprosy lost a finger because of turning a key in a sticky lock. When the key wouldn’t turn, he just kept pushing, not realizing that the metal was lacerating his skin. Pain would have kept the boy from injuring his finger beyond repair.

Other physical diseases also prohibit pain, and Yancey says, “Insensitivity to pain dooms such people to lives of constant peril.”

Emotional pain is the same. It’s an indicator that’s something’s wrong or that something has been lost. Although it’s not pleasant and is sometimes downright devastating, pain lets us know that losses and evils like death, divorce, financial ruin, racism, wandering children and sexism are not part of God’s original plan. These things, and many others, are the problems of our broken world.

Pain points to our problem.

When we turn away from pain, blocking it complete from our lives, we actually miss out. Tender hearts feel pain by definition. Numbed out hearts don’t feel, so they can’t:

  • Solve problems
  • Empathize with others
  • Connect through relationship
  • Feel joy either

Numbing may seem like a solution, but it only works temporarily and it brings greater consequences down the line. One is the absence of joy. Jerry Sittser, in his exquisite book A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss, tells the excruciating story of the year after the loss of his wife, mother, and child in a crash caused by a drunk driver. At the end of the book, he says,”Yet the grief I feel is sweet as well as bitter. I still have a sorrowful soul; yet I wake up every morning joyful, eager for what the new day will bring. Never have I felt as much pain as I have in the last three years; yet never have I experienced as much pleasure in simply being alive and living an ordinary life. Never have I felt so broken; yet never have I been so whole…. What I once considered mutually exclusive– sorrow and joy, pain and pleasure, death and life– have become parts of a greater whole. My soul has been stretched.”

If we’re to make a difference in our world, we have to engage our hearts fully in both pain and joy, so that we can connect with the people we want to help.

In the series that I’m doing to develop tender hearts and strong voices, you’ve heard the four steps.

  1. Listen.
  2. Feel.
  3. Do.
  4. Speak.

In my Christian circles, I believe feelings have gotten a bad rap. Yes, it’s true that “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” (Jeremiah 17:9) But it’s equally true that God created us with emotions–the whole range including pain– that are meant to be gifts.

In the “feel” part of the series, we’ll talk about how to leverage emotions rather than being led by them. Next week I’ll write about God’s emotions, so please pray for me as I study!

How about you? How do you process both the gift and curse of your feelings?

Note: I don’t want to leave those adrift who are currently in deep pain or feeling like I’ve minimized your suffering here. In the year after my friend Linda died from breast cancer, the two books I quoted in the post, Where Is God When It Hurts? and A Grace Disguised were a life-line to me in my grief. They are my most highly recommended and most often given when people I love are in pain. Yancey’s book is more of a theological textbook, though it’s easy to read. Sittser’s book is a first-hand account. It looks unflinchingly at grief, but it’s full of hope even though it’s not a bit sugar-coated. Both were exactly what my heart needed–truth and understanding– as I grieved my friend.

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All Your Beautiful Seeds

Oh my heavens…

I’ve spent the morning reading back through all your comments, and my heart is overflowing. Although I’m unable to write a response for each one, I’ve been thanking God for all the seeds He’s sending into the world through you. You’re sending seeds of care-taking, encouragement, the arts, giggles, and even grief. The last one may seem strange, but watching a friend grieve her husband’s death in healthy ways taught me more than any book ever could. All that you’re doing and living through when lived in Christ makes a difference in your world.

Thank you for each of your comments. You’re the beautiful field of women that I describe in chapter 15 of Exhale! And here’s what happens when we step into being Seed Senders:

A couple of weeks ago, I shared some testimonies last week of how the message of the book has impacted others, but I also want to share how it’s impacted me.

I hear the same thing over and over again from authors like me who only share what God has taught them. God always tests us on what we’ve written. That’s certainly been true for me with this book! I wrote Exhale in the middle of a fairly major home renovation. Then, a month prior to the launch of the book, my youngest son graduated with lots of family fanfare, and he got married.

It was a lot, y’all. A whole lot.

Do you know what I had to do to keep my head above water? I had to live out the lessons I was writing in the book.

  • I couldn’t say “yes” to one more thing no matter how much other people thought I should.
  • I had to say no to many good things so that I could live out the missions of keeper of the home, mom and author that God had assigned me.
  • I had to release my over-developed sense of responsibility that constantly told me that I’m in charge of everything and therefore to blame for everything.
  • I had to examine every interaction with my adulting sons to make sure I was truly helping and not meddling. (If you don’t need anything else in the book, you need the chart on p. 72 in which Cheri shows the contrast between helping and meddling. I’m seriously going to print it and put it on my refrigerator for quick reference when I’m having conversations with my adult sons!)

Now I’m going to testify to the greatness of God and the power of His Spirit. In all the chaos of the last year of my life, I can’t think of a single major meltdown. I’m not saying that I didn’t have any “moments,” but I was able to flex and adjust in ways that I’ve never been able to before.

I’m fully aware that I’m totally incapable of that on my own, so it’s not me bragging on me. I give the credit to God who is the only One who can accomplish change in the hot mess that is me! Now I’m going to say something to you with full confidence (but trembling knees ’cause this is a stretch for me).

The lessons from Exhale, when walked out through the transforming power of God’s Spirit, can change your life. I know it’s true because they’ve changed mine.

If you aren’t one of the winners below, you can get a taste of Exhale at ExhaleBook.com, and you can also download and read a portion for free (the Forward, Introduction and Chapter 1) when you click here.

Next week, I’ll be returning to regularly scheduled blog posts in our series where we’re learning to:

Listen –> Feel –> Do –> Speak

We’ll be starting on the “feel” part of our series, and I’ll send out the freebie “How to Grow Into Your Calling” on the 17th as a free extra to all who subscribe. God’s been whispering to my heart, and I’m excited to share what I’m learning!

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Congratulations to:

Candice Hope (5.21.19 3:44 pm), the winner of the Exhale prize package

Heidi Blair (6.4.19 2:03 pm), the winner of 2 copies of Exhale and 2 necklaces

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The Powerful Beauty of Something Tiny

You know the saying… “Great things come in small packages.” That saying may be truest of one of the tiniest things I can think of– a seed.

Years ago when the boys were small, we moved into a new house with a barren yard. Even though I love landscaping, there was no budget for it that year, so I hesitantly bought a packet of zinnia seeds. Because I usually bought full-grown plants from the nursery, I wasn’t quite convinced.

Later in the summer, as I looked out my window at the tall, colorful zinnias gracing the front of my house, I basked in the powerful beauty that comes from tiny seeds.

In today’s devotion “Why Your Big Life Starts with Something Small,” I ask the question, what seed(s) do you hold in your hand? God’s given you something powerful to send into His world. What is it?

If you’re not quite sure, I have two resources for you.

“How to Grow Into Your Calling”

Next Friday, June 17th, I’m going to do my quarterly mailing to my faithful subscribers. This mailing will include, “How to Grow Into Your Calling,” a practical resource for identifying your calling, the seeds you hold in your hand. I know that sometimes our calling is clear, and sometimes it’s not. Occasionally, the word “calling” is too intimidating to even contemplate! This simple tool will acts like a magnifying glass, helping you to discern the seeds you hold in your hands by seeing the clues that are all around you.

If you’re already subscribed, thank you! Hang tight, and “How to Grow Into Your Calling” will arrive in your inbox on the 17th.

If you’re not subscribed yet, click here to subscribe and enter your email so that you can receive “How to Grow Into Your Calling” along with free weekly encouragement from me. You’ll also stay update on all things Exhale, including our upcoming announcements about group study materials. (Note: Only those subscribed by June 16, 2019 at midnight will receive this quarter’s free resource.)

 Exhale: Lose Who You’re Not. Love Who You Are. Live Your One Life Well.

The devotion today is an excerpt from my new book Exhale: Lose Who You’re Not. Love Who You Are. Live Your One Life Well. which is co-authored with my podcast co-host and partner in crime, Cheri Gregory. Welcome to the world, Exhale!

Isn’t she a beautiful baby? 🙂

Exhale is for the woman suffocating under the pressure of being all things to all people; of filling every unfilled spot at church, work, and home; of trying to do it all right, make decisions that benefit everyone else, and keep everyone happy.

Rather than adding more to your to-do list, Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory show you how to

  • lose the ill-fitting roles you’ve been trying to fill so that you can be lighter and freer
  • love your truest, God-created self with all your glorious gifts instead of trying to shove yourself into a mold
  • live your one and only life in a way that you know truly matters

This isn’t a time-management book filled with how-to lists and calendar tools. Instead, it walks you through a process that releases you from the things that have created unbearable pressure. Then you’ll be able to live the combination we all long for: fulfilling the desires of your heart, loving your people well, and bringing glory to God.

Live the life you were created for!

GIVEAWAY:

In celebration of Exhale’s birth, Cheri and I are giving away two Exhale books and two stamped necklaces. Keep one to enjoy, and give the other to a woman you love.

To enter, tell us what seed(s) you hold in your hands OR simply say “I’m ready to exhale!”

 

(Tip: Next month’s giveaway is a big one, so make sure you’re subscribed! Cick here and enter your email.)

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