New Year's Prayer for 2019

My Heavenly Father,

I lift this fresh New Year to You. Lord, I don’t know what this 20219 will bring, but You do. Please guide me, give me wisdom, give me grace, direct me, and most importantly, be with me.

Father may my every step we established by You. Please give me divine connections, divine opportunities, and divine friendships. Help me, by Your grace, to walk in discernment and recognize and move forward into the opportunities You set before me. Lead me to say yes or no according to Your will.

Help me to love you with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Help me to love others well. Give me ears to hear what Your Spirit is saying to me, and help me to understand and experience Your unfailing love in a fresh and deeper way. Give me a hunger for Your Word and help me to take time to be with You daily.

Protect and cover me and most of all, help me to grow in godly character as I know You more. May I reflect You more accurately in 2019, may my responses be tempered by Your Holy Spirit, and may I grow closer to you daily. Fill me with Your very real presence, Lord, and orchestrate every moment of this year. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.


Great Expectations Verses Christmas Reality

Ahh, the holidays. The time of year when all the extra time we need simply materializes into our schedules, every single thing goes according to plan, all our relatives are happy with not a bicker in sight, and there is peace on earth (and in our homes). 

Not.

No other time of the year places more stress on more people. Yet much of the stress we experience is due to our own unrealistic expectations. We assume all our plans will go off without a hitch. We wrongly anticipate a golden glow around our festivities—around our lives—that simply isn’t realistic. 

Somehow our holiday expectations (and perhaps one too many Hallmark Christmas movies?) prevent us from enjoying our Christmas reality while we’re busy yearning for our Christmas if only. When we realize that our great expectations mindsets can change dramatically by letting go of our unrealistic expectations, we displace stress while making room for authentic peace and joy, and most importantly, gratitude for what we do have. 

On this last week of our five week Christmas prayer journey, let’s ask the Lord to help us face reality, embrace and enjoy what we do have, and allow our hearts to deeply connect with His. Daily.

From my heart to yours, Merry Christmas!

{Let’s Pray}

Father,

You are holy and awesome and mighty! God, I don’t want my holiday expectations to become a barrier that prevents me from enjoying my reality. I don’t want to experience unnecessary stress because of my unrealistic expectations. And I don’t want to yearn for what will never be, or assume everything will always go smoothly simply because it’s Christmas time.

Right now I choose to let go of my expectations, Lord. I give each one to you…even ______. I surrender my expectations of perfection and let go (to the best of my ability) of every unrealistic desire. Thank you for lifting every ounce of stress from my heart and shoulders and filing me with Your authentic peace and joy. Give me grace for the inevitable hard moments. Help me to deal with my current reality equipped with your wisdom and peace. Instead of yearning for perfection, help me to cultivate a thankful heart. May my eyes be open to the many ways You do bless me, so my heart will overflow with gratitude. Help my heart connect deeply with yours, Lord. Daily. In the awesome name of Jesus, Amen. 


Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) (NLT)


Embracing Simple During the Christmas Crazy

While I truly enjoy holiday baking and creating a pretty Christmas atmosphere in my home, I’ve come to realize that killing myself for unrealistic, unattainable, and unnecessary holiday décor (or spectacular cookies) is not a necessary thing. In fact, all my doing coupled with unrealistic holiday expectations set me up for intense stress levels. And exhaustion. 

So I am learning to embrace simplicity. Less is more. Meaning over dazzling.

I’m learning to do what I can and not stress about what I cannot. And I am especially learning to take time to sit at His feet during the hap-happiest time of the year. The truth is no one will notice that we didn’t exquisitely hand-decorate every single cookie. Because at the end of the day, it’s really not about the sparkle in our home, but the atmosphere of our hearts. 

The gospel is simple. This year, let’s ask the Lord to help us embrace simple, and to be concerned about what really matters. 

{Let’s Pray}

Father,

You are good, and You are worthy of all my adoration and praise! Today I lift my holiday expectations up to You, and I surrender my unrealistic goals. Will You please help me to embrace simplicity, and to gladly do what I can and not to allow myself to stress about the unimportant things. Help me cultivate a peaceful, joyful, grateful atmosphere in both my heart and my home. 

Though I desire pretty décor and fragrant smells in my home, I’d much rather possess an exquisite heart that honors You and blesses my family and those around me. I realize I can only do that if I relinquish unrealistic ideas and embrace wisdom and reality. I so want a grateful, joyful, peaceful heart that far outshines my Christmas décor or baking. Help me to make time for You, to make room not only in my crazy schedule but in my heart of hearts. I pause right now and turn my heart to You. Please change the atmosphere of my heart and home. Thank you for all You are doing in my life, and for making this season meaningful in a deeper way. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen. 


There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:42) (NLT)

His Restful Waters Beckon During the Christmas Crazy

It was an overload kind of day. Nonstop tasks. Nonstop appointments. I raced from place to place, from task to task, and by evening my shoulders were hunched up around my ears. Though my accomplishment list was long, I was so seriously wound up from nonstop rushing that my jangled nerves had a hard time settling down. Every taught muscle ached. 

Warp speed days throughout December. Sound familiar? Though that particular day was not typical for me, for many women our days can frequently be nonstop…especially during Christmas time. We rush, we undertake, we accomplish. And then we collapse. 

May I give you permission to slow down, exhale, close your eyes, and just breathe? Steal away for a quiet moment and let your heart connect to God’s. Let Him breathe fresh strength into your weary mind, soul, and body. Relax before Him and just breathe. Allow yourself to be still and rest in His beautiful, refreshing presence.

{Let’s Pray}

Father,

You are my awesome King. I love and adore You, Lord. And I come to You, weary. Please give me great grace smack in the middle of my nonstop days. Right now I pause and allow my weary heart and body to focus on You. I choose to be still and know that You are God. You are so good. You are faithful and mighty. You are gracious and You know my every need. Will you please infuse me with Your revitalizing strength? 

Give me wisdom and help me not to overload my schedule during the upcoming hectic season, and to schedule time to pause and just be with You. When I’m faced with an unavoidable nonstop day, equip my heart throughout the day and, as I look to You, please ease and relieve and refresh my soul. Thank you for leading me beside Your beautiful still, restful waters. I will allow my soul to dwell there. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen. 


 He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my self); (Psalm 23:2-3a) (AMPC)

Refresh My Heart Before the Christmas Crazy

Fact: Most women are nurturers and caretakers. We help, we see to details, we pinch-hit, we encourage. We’re always there for the ones we love. And that’s good. It’s how God designed us. But high levels of doing can lead to high levels of exhaustion. And it’s frequently where we find ourselves as the holidays approach our radar. 

We’re tired. Stressed. Frazzled. 

It’s no way to enter the holiday season.

Yet drained is often our reality. Today, we’re going to pray that God will begin to refresh our hearts. That He will revive us and stir our hearts as only He can. Then, in the middle of the Christmas crazy, we won't be.    :-)

{Let’s Pray}

Father,

You are worthy of all adoration and praise. You are good and faithful and You always hear my prayers.

God I confess that my heart and brain and even my emotions are stressed and overloaded. I truly love caring for my family and friends, but I feel depleted, and I don’t want to face the upcoming holidays in this state. Will you please refresh my weary heart? Pour into every depleted place. Revive me. Pour out Your supernatural strength and stamina as I spend time with You.

God, Your word says that those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Thank you, God for refreshing me as I care for those You have placed into my life. Today, when I begin to feel stressed and overwhelmed, I will turn my heart toward You, breathe in Your sweet presence, and allow You to refresh and revive me. Give me wisdom and grace to rest in You. Thank you for preparing my heart so I can enter the holiday season supernaturally refreshed, rested, relaxed, and equipped by You. In the strong name of Jesus, Amen. 

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25) (NLT)