Walk in Victory

Today I’m welcoming my friend Wendy Blight to share from her new Bible study on 1 John, I Am Loved: Walking in the Fullness of God’s Love. There’s lots of exciting information at the end of the post about how you can participate in a study of this wonderful book plus she’s giving away a copy to one of my readers below! 


My husband and I began our marriage in a difficult place. Eleven months before we walked down the aisle, I was the victim of a horrific crime. For years, I lived in a prison of fear. It consumed my every waking moment. I avoided being alone at all costs.

Monty became my safe place. Being home alone terrified me. So, I never wanted him to leave me. When he chose to play basketball, or go to dinner with friends, I pouted, whining and complaining that he wasn’t putting me first.

This fractured our marriage. Days were hard and nights were long. Soon I began to imagine Monty looking elsewhere for the companionship he lacked with me. I demanded to know when and where he was at all times. When I couldn’t get a hold of him, I panicked.

Jealousy infiltrated my heart.

I knew these feelings were wrong. Even destructive. 

But I didn’t know how to overcome them.

As jealous thoughts took root, they became a mental obsession that fed me lies.

I felt my marriage, and my husband, slipping away. Completely at a loss to know what to do, I dropped to my knees and begged God to help me.

Thankfully, God made a way to release jealousy’s grip on me – and it was through loving Him. As I came to know God more intimately, my jealousy subsided.

God opened my eyes to see Christ in a new way … as my Savior and my “first love.” Until that time, I had found that love and security in my husband. I had confused love and need. I needed Monty so desperately that he became my savior. He was my defender and my protector from the evil in the world. I needed him more than anything else. If I was with him, I felt safe.

Monty sat on the throne of my heart; not God.

This, sister, is the perfect recipe for an unhealthy, destructive relationship. We should never “need” our husbands, our children, or anyone else more than Christ.

We should have only one Savior, and His name is Jesus.

We should have only one first love, and His name is Jesus.

This knowledge put my marriage in perspective. Jesus replaced Monty as my “first love.” Jesus is now my Defender, my Refuge and my Strong Tower. It was in Him and Him alone that I overcame all my fears.

And, Monty became the gift God had given me on this earth to reveal His perfect love to me. As God took His rightful place on the throne of my heart, Monty took his rightful place too.

God’s love left an indelible mark on my heart. His is a distinctive love that, when allowed to blossom and mature, becomes a driving force that nothing can contain.

Through it, God equips us to live distinctively different lives. First, by eradicating our old self through Jesus’ death on the cross. Second, by bestowing upon us a new self through His resurrection.

We express our appreciation for God’s abundant blessings most beautifully when we love others and live a life marked by love.

Some may be loveable people … those are the easy ones to love.

Some may be difficult people … those are the challenging ones to love.

Some may be invisible people … those are the uncomfortable ones to love. Who are the invisible? The disenfranchised. The voiceless. The forgotten. The rejected. The unpopular.

Friend, as you seek to live out the love God has implanted in you, remember these truths:

You have been born of God.

God loves you.

You love God.

You are a child of God.

In Christ, you have blood-bought brothers and sisters in Christ.

Knowing and believing these truths equips you to live loved and spill that love into this dark world.


I Am Loved: Walking in the Fullness of God’s Love is for every woman who craves to truly understand, walk confidently in, and live out God’s unconditional, extravagant, lavish love because His love truly changes everything. Watch a sneak peek of the Bible study and download a sample week’s lesson for free here. 

The Giveaway

Comment below and one reader will win a copy of Wendy’s I Am Loved Bible study book and teaching DVD. U.S. Addresses only please.

All comments left through Sunday, January 7th will be entered to win. The time is short, so make sure to enter today. We want the winner to receive her book before the Online Bible Study starts!


An invitation for you!

Join us for our Online Bible Study of #IAmLoved at Proverbs 31 Ministries. It kicks off January 22 and you can sign up here.


Wendy Blight is a wife, mother, author, Bible teacher, attorney, and writer for Proverbs 31 Ministry’s First 5 app. Her desire is to help every woman know with confidence she can tackle any problem life presents through God’s Word. Wendy is the author of I Am Loved, I Know His Name, and Living So That Bible studies, and Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner. She lives with her husband, Monty, in Charlotte, North Carolina and loves most when her two children, Lauren (24) and Bo (19), come home to visit and fill their home with lots of love and laughter!


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Standing in God’s Sufficiency

Following my 50th birthday in October, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and praying about aging well. It’s my prayer that as my body  weakens that my spirit and character would strengthen, becoming increasingly beautiful!

For years I’ve been studying the older women around me to see how they’re meeting that goal, and I’ve been inspired by so many.

The excerpt below is from the book proposal I told you about in this post. This is a different Ruth than I wrote about in this post, but I’m starting to think that there’s something powerful carried in that name! 🙂 Here’s an important lesson that I learned from Ruth that I want to attain in my own life:


I watched our passel of energetic children run outside, and then turned to seek out Ruth.  I found my gray-haired, sparkly-eyed friend in the kitchen cleaning up the mess of our extended families with the rest of the women.  I waited for a moment alone after all the work was done to speak with her.  Ruth, a dear family friend in her eighties, had lost her husband and life-long friend, Sam, the previous October.  I was concerned about her despite her happy demeanor.

“Ruth,” I asked, “how are you really doing?”  She smiled as she explained how she missed Sam every minute of every day, but then she went on to quote her sister who had become a widow years before.  “I have stood in front of my Sunday school class for thirty years and taught about the sufficiency of God.  If I can’t live it out now, what did it really mean?”

I love Ruth.  She’s a woman with a lot of spunk just like me, and she is a person of strong convictions.  She is confident and decisive, but she is weak in all the right places.  She is reliant on God and has found that He is all she needs.  Ruth has practiced depending on God throughout her life, and now she finds her provision, companionship, comfort, and purpose in Him.

How do we become dependent on God?  How can we experience the truth that He is enough in every stage of our life?  How can we battle our culture’s self-fulfillment, me-time, do-what-feels-good, self-actualizing mentality in our quest to become godly women?  In actively observing the lives of women around me, there are some patterns that begin to emerge that are worthy of emulation. These women have found that God is enough.  They have discovered that God is sufficient in every season to help meet every life challenge.


God alone is sufficient. That’s the way I want to live until my last breath!

What lessons have you learned from the older women around you that you want to live well?

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How to Build Belief on an Unshakable Foundation

Belief is a tricky thing. If our belief rests on our outcomes, we’ll be shaky and doubts will sprout. But if Jesus Himself is the foundation of our belief, we’ll be unshakable with a thriving faith. That’s the core of today’s devotion, “What Is True Belief?”

When our beliefs are anchored to our circumstances, we anxiously wrestle. When our beliefs are fettered to Jesus, we confidently rest. Here’s a free download as a gift for you that you can print to remind you of this truth:

What we believe shows in the way we act, the decisions we make, and the choices we pursue. Over a decade ago, I learned this important lesson from a winsome woman I met at a women’s retreat. Her name was Ruth.

Ruth stood out in the retreat crowd not only because of her lustrous gray hair but also because of the cluster of younger women around her. They were talking with her, doting on her, and soaking in every word she said, so I headed over to meet this woman who drew in like a magnet.After listening to this delightful woman talk for a while, I asked her, “What’s your secret?  Over the  years, how have you continued to grow in the Lord, stay positive and exude joy?” Her answer was simple yet profound,

“Be today who you want to be tomorrow.” 

As she spoke, I remembered a conversation from a girls-night-out with some women from my church.  Conversation  flowed freely from one topic to the next as I got to know the women across from me.  We talked about our kids, our homes and our work.  Ironically, both women had done specialized nursing with geriatric patients.

I started to question them about their work and their patients.  Finally I asked, “Why do you think that so many older people, particularly women, seem to struggle with negativity as they age?”  Both looked at me in surprise and said that I was incorrect.  They were unanimous in their theory of how aging affects personality.

“Aging only magnifies who you already are,” my friend said.

“Yes,” chimed in the other, “If you are kind when you are young, then you’ll be even kinder as you age.  If you think positively when you’re young, then you will also have that habit as you age.  But if you are a complainer when you are young, then you’ll get worse as you age.  If you are unforgiving when you are young, then you’ll become very bitter as you age.”

They explained that occasionally diseases that affect the brain will change a person’s personality, thinking and actions. Generally, however, through stories and comments of family members about the early days of their elderly patients, they had found that their original hypothesis held true.  Ruth’s answer to my question about the secret to aging well was completely consistent with my friends’ observations.  “Be today who you want to be tomorrow.”

I’d like to propose a corrolary truth to Ruth’s today:

What you believe determines who you’ll be.

Aging magnifies what we believe. If we believe that Jesus commands us to use words to build up, then we’ll develop the habit of encouraging words.

If we believe that God is good despite our circumstances, then we’ll develop the pattern of praise in the midst of hardship.

If we believe that He is the provider and healer, then we’ll cultivate patient, expectant waiting (without complaint…ouch!) as we wait for His provision and healing.

If we believe that the fruits of the Spirit given to us are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, then we’ll pursue portraying those traits.

Ruth’s beliefs shone brightly because of the kind of woman she had become. Who she had become reflected what she believed.

Do you desire to be a godly, older woman like Ruth? I do! Then, we’re called to pursue knowing Truth (belief is part of truly knowing!) and living the Truth. It really does change everything– including our aging.


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Dream-Reviver Giveaway

I’m so glad you’re here today because I have a treat for you. A special welcome to those who are visiting from Encouragement for Today!

In today’s devotion, When God Seems Late, I expressed my sometimes-impatience with God’s timing and shared how I’m learning to wait for His appointed, just-right time for His promises to be fulfilled.

Knowing Sarah’s story has strengthened my ability to wait, but sometimes it’s really, really hard. In long journeys, we need refreshing and reviving along the way for our dreams. That’s why I’ve gathered some encouraging resources for we who are waiting. There’s even enough inspiration here to share with a friend or two!

If you’re the winner, you’ll receive:

  • Breaking Up with Perfect by Amy Carroll
  • Doing Busy Better by Glynnis Whitwer (she’s got a guest post coming that I can’t wait to share!)
  • She’s Still There by Chrystal Evans Hurst
  • Wait and See by Wendy Pope
  • A beautiful embroidered clutch from India (where half my heart lives)

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment telling where you’re from. I get so excited about seeing the hometowns of all my visitors here. If you’d like to share a story about your wait or what you’ve learned while waiting, I’d love to hear that too!

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How to Balance Grief and Grace

Maybe you’ve noticed that I’m a girl that loves words. 🙂

An SAT word makes my pulse race. The perfectly turned phrase makes me sigh in bliss. A beautifully written book is my constant friend until I’ve read the last line. I love to read words, write words and speak words.

But it’s my words that come out of my mouth that most often get me in trouble. In fact, I’ve been known to tell my friends that this proverb should be tattooed on my forehead,

“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking…” (Proverbs 10:19a NKJV)

But what I really need is the second part. “But he who restrains his lips is wise.” (Proverbs 10:19b)

This struggle with over-using and abusing my words isn’t new, and maybe that’s what’s made it incredibly painful to me. In the past six months, these questions have run through my mind over and over again.

How could you have said that?

Why wouldn’t you just stop talking?

Why can’t you learn to just listen instead of needing to give your two cents?

Will you ever learn?

You can probably hear the grief in those questions. Grief over my insensitive words. Grief in the number of my words. Grief cause by how my words have affected others.

Grief is good because it leads to repentance, but when we allow grief to take over, like I’ve been doing, it stops being constructive and starts being destructive. When grief takes over it leads to shame. When grief takes precedence, it creates a broken spirit. When we let grief bully, it becomes a bludgeon instead of a tool.

[Tweet “For consuming grief over our sin to be turned to good, it must be mixed with confident grace.”]

What’s confident grace?

I’ve been studying Job through First 5, and I’ve read as Job defended his own righteousness over and over to his friends. In my reading today Job says, “Let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless.” (Job 31:6 NIV) He is sure that none of his suffering is deserved because he knows that his behavior is spotless.

Part of what we learn in Job is that some of his assumptions about God and His motives were incorrect, yet Job was sure of his own righteousness.

I started thinking that even though I can’t claim blameless behavior (it’s kinda wretched sometimes if truth be told), I can stand in confident righteousness. I’m able to stand in righteousness instead of wallowing in grief over sin because of Christ. In His grace, He bought my righteousness with His blood.

For those of you who have walked with the Lord for a long time, I hope you’re feeling as free as I am from that truth. We should feel shaken by our sin, but we shouldn’t be shocked by our sin. We’re sinners after all. We should use those first moments of grief to turn us away from that sin and toward Christ, but we shouldn’t embrace the grief and hold onto it. We should leverage it to move us forward into grace and then stand in the righteousness that grace gives.

For those of you who are new to being a Christian, some of this might sound like a foreign language to you. Here’s a practical application. Do you wrestle with repetitive guilt over your past? Use that moment of guilt and grief. Feel it, and then pray. Ask God to forgive you and to help you to hand that sin over once and for all. Then, stand in confident grace, the knowledge that you’ve been made right by Jesus.

I’ve been a Christian for almost 40 years now, but I need to go through those simple steps again rather than allowing myself to be mired in grief, shock and shame.

Here’s a final thought that’s helped me as I’ve grappled and struggled to live this lesson in the last week. My friend Cheri Gregory compared our spiritual growth to a video game where the player progresses through levels. Even though one level might look similar to a previous level, it’s more difficult and higher. As we learn the same lessons in new season, let’s stand in confident grace, knowing that God is using this new level to take us to a place of being more like Jesus.


Our recent Grit ‘n’ Grace interview with Tricia Lott Williford left Cheri and I with some beautiful lessons about confidence. Click on the graphics below to hear our interview with Tricia and then to listen to how Cheri and I processed what she shared with us.



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Lord, Help My Unbelief!

Thank you for visiting from today’s devotion, Dealing with My Doubt. I’m so glad you’re here!

One of the ways I remind myself to walk in God’s truth is to post His Word all over my house. I’ve made this free download of a verse that hangs on my office wall for you to print and post as you walk with me, wrestling our doubts to the ground. Click on the image below to access it and ENJOY!


Need more encouragement in your day? Then join Cheri Gregory and I for the Grit ‘n’ Grace podcast!

We mix Scripture, life and a whole lot of giggles into 20 minute episodes that also include great guests like Kathi Lipp, Shaunti Felhahn, Chrystal Evans Hurst (upcoming episode) and a whole lot more. Click on the graphic below to listen. If you subscribe while you’re there, you won’t have to miss a single episode AND you’ll receive 12 Permission slips to break bad rules. 🙂

Grit 'n' Grace

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How Could This Happen?

How could this happen?

So often that’s our first question when something occurs that rocks our soul… that doesn’t make sense… that sends a stab of pain into the center of our heart.

How could this happen?

It’s been the question in my mind and mouth the last two mornings as the waves of two events shook my underpinnings. The once-settled dust of Big Questions scattered and flew in the winds of tragedy.

On Tuesday morning, I heard Lysa TerKeurst tell our team through sobs that her marriage was ending. If you haven’t already, you can read her post Rejection, Heartache and a Faithful God.

This morning I turned on the morning news to the shocking scene that all of America knows of by now– a baseball field littered with the bodies and blood of our politicians.

How could this happen? thundered over and over in my heart in the past two days, and I’ll bet you feel the same grief. The same confusion. The same anger over things that should not be.

I have to admit that I’ve come a long way just to ask the question. In my pre-break up days (with perfection), I would have tried to find the silver lining. I would have tried to slap a label on it that seemed to shove everything back in order. I would have pulled out a few falsely shiny platitudes and scattered them like poisonous seeds. I didn’t deal well with pain and senselessness and fear.

But I’ve learned to take David’s advice. “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62: 8)

Instead of hiding our tears, tremblings, and terrible questions from God, let’s run to Him with them. Let’s bust down the door of His divinely offered refuge and bring it all in with us. There, in the warmth and comfort of His Presence, let’s pull out each sharp-edged query one by one and ask Him. Not with an accusation or a clenched fist but with the  tear-stained and trusting face of a child.

And then let’s listen because He still speaks. Let’s listen to His Word. Let’s listen to His Spirit. And then let’s rest in the love of our Father Refuge and in the sometimes-mysteries of His ways.

He loves us. He really does. Lysa reminded us and so did many on the news today. He loves us, and He’s not afraid of our questions. He wants to fill our seeking hearts, not always with the answers we want but always with the comfort we need.

Run to the Refuge with me today, and let’s seek the Lord together, asking the questions and praying for all those in the middle of the maelstrom.


In a season of terrible grief after I lost my precious friend Linda to breast cancer, God sent two of His people to me with books that answered lots of my questions and gave me comfort where there were no answers. I highly recommend these if you’re suffering and grieving.

A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss by Jerry Sittser

Where Is God When It Hurts by Philip Yancey


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A Cathedral or a Tent

Last weekend, Barry, my parents, and I visited our oldest son, Anson,  in Cincinnati where he goes to school. It was a wonderful weekend full of the joy of being reunited and the fun of experiencing the pieces of his life.

We went to his concert…

And we toured a fabulous sign museum (who knew there was so much history and so many stories associated with signs?)…

And we visited a beautiful cathedral where Anson played a concert last semester. (No pictures since mass was about to start.)

That visit was actually a surprise, but there was something there that had moved my boy so much that he wanted to share it. Truthfully, I wasn’t too excited about this stop until I went inside. Once there, I understood exactly the awe that he wanted to transmit.

I walked around in the hush craning my neck to see the tops of soaring ceilings, examining the tiny tiles that composed mosaics of exquisite beauty, and soaking in the light shining through dazzling stained glass windows. The space was breathtaking. The stories told all centered on Jesus. The people there were all bent in prayer, and there was an air of expectancy… of wonder… of awe.

In the midst of it all, I was overcome by the weight of the majestic presence of God. My mom even shed a few tears when we got in the car, talking about God’s presence there, and I welled up too. It was a space where He undeniably resided but also where I felt His Kingship acutely. It was a place that inspired worship, and I felt the pleasure of God in that truth. Worship was chiseled into every stone and carved into each altar.

I’ve been thinking about that space ever since, and it’s made me wonder. Have we gotten far too cozy with God? Has our embrace of our friendship with Him made us neglect the reverence of Him? Is God pleased with our jeans-on-Sunday attitudes in a room that’s far more often lit by stage lights than candle light?

Before you jump in with a comment about your preference, please ponder with me for a minute. We need to remember reverence. We need to bring our best to His Highness. We need to make Him center of our worship arts and everything else.

Today, however, as I read in II Samuel 7, I realized that my thoughts had carried me slightly in the wrong direction.

Here’s what God Himself said to David who longed to build God a house that he saw as worthy of Him,

“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ (II Samuel 7:5-7)

I grinned a little when I thought of this exchange between David and God, and I cried a little too. It sounds like David might be a recovering perfectionist. His heart was in the right place, and he wanted to do things the right way. Surely, surely he shouldn’t live in a nicer house than God, and he wanted to set things “right”.

But our “right” and God’s true right don’t always match.

Yes, we need to pursue God and long for His presence.

Yes, we need to focus our gifts and their products on Him.

Yes, we need to bring our best to Him in worship.

The way this needs to be done–the specifics of where, when and how–need to be set by Him, though. David thought God needed a temple. God was content and present in the tent.

He doesn’t reside in a place of our prescription. He isn’t summoned by our methods. He isn’t please with what we decide to bring.

He wants us to seek Him and follow Him. That’s it.

He shows up in cathedrals and tents. He comes to us when we’re in suits and when we’re in jeans. His Presence falls when we’re on our knees or stretching with lifted hands.

“The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you.” (II Samuel 7: 11b)

He has established a house for Himself. It’s us! It’s His indwelling Spirit in the human temple of His children.

The Spirit of God didn’t reside in that cathedral just because it was grand. He was there because I was there. He was there because my mom, and my dad, and my husband, and my son were there. If you’re a believer, He would be there if you were there too!

Rest today, reforming perfectionists. You don’t have to build the temple. You are the temple. He’s with you. You don’t have to work harder or figure out the “right” formula. Let’s bask in the overcoming, weighty Presence of our majestic God.


Note: I’d be negligent today if I didn’t tell you how much I LOVE First 5, Proverbs 31’s Bible study app. That’s the study that sparked all of this in my heart today, so if you haven’t joined, click on the graphic below to find out more.

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The Blessings of Believing

As I’ve written here, I’m working through the Bible this year studying all the times the word “believe” or “belief” is used and trying to understand God’s perspective on the word He gave me for 2017.

Today I got to the verse that’s been tied to my word for the year for 2 years.

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” (Luke 1:45)

Do you see how God did that? He’s so amazing! In 2016 my word was fulfill, but I wrote here about how much I struggled with that word. It was a hard year of wrestling with my word, so I thought I might need a do-over.

No, God clearly dropped “believe” into my heart for 2017, but when I went looking for a key verse, there it was. The same verse as last year. I got a new start and a do-over all in one. Woot!

Imagine how excited I was this morning to scroll down in my BibleGateway search to find that today’s verse is MY verse. I mean it’s Elizabeth’s and Mary’s too, but I know they’re sharing it with me. 🙂

I want to testify one more time at how vibrantly alive and active God’s Word is. When I dug into this verse for the hundredth time this morning, I got a whole new message.

We have to believe before God fulfills His promises to us.

I was struck again this morning with how hard that is for a reforming perfectionist. I wouldn’t ever say out loud that I think God needs help. I’m too church-girl for that! My actions, however, reveal what I really believe. I rush ahead into the fulfilling part, trying to make it all happen, when that’s God’s exclusive job. My job is simply in the believing. And patiently waiting.

Belief is confident resting.

That’s not to say belief is passive. It’s resting and watching just like the Israelites did in the dessert. They camped and rested until God moved, and then they followed Him until it was time to camp and rest again.

How does that perspective change things for us? It means that we don’t have to rush around trying to make things happen. We simply respond as Jesus leads. It means that we don’t worry. We trust God to move us into the fulfilling of His will in His perfect timing. It means that we don’t sink into despair when things aren’t going our way. Our hope is firmly in God Himself and not our circumstances.

Even as I write these things I know they’re my biggest challenges. Rest is hard for me and trust has been elusive, but these are the essential elements of belief. I’m seeking God for no less that full belief, complete confidence, and total rest.

Blessings follow belief, and these are the blessings I want for my worn out perfectionist heart and for the people around me to share.

Let’s all use this verse for ourselves. Go ahead, and put your name in it.

“Blessed is ___(your name)___who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” (Luke 1:45)

What promises has God whispered into your heart?

How can you move into your believing job today and out of God’s fulfilling job?

O, my soul, believe! O, sister, believe! Let’s move into confident rest together.


Congratulations to the winners of the book giveaways!

Janet (4.6.17 8:32 am) is the winner of Unsinkable Faith by Tracie Miles.

Cynthia Bashaar (4.10.17 5:28 am) is the winner of Out of the Saltshaker by Rebecca Manley Pippert.

I’ve sent emails to both of you, so please reply to me with your mailing address. You’re going to love these books!

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