Memorial Day Encouragement to Share

A prayer for military spouses...

My dear friend Kristen Strong {on the left above} is one of the most encouraging women I know. She also happens to be a military wife and has a huge heart for remembering military spouses. And I want to join her this Memorial Day by including those folks as we honor those who have made great sacrifices.

Kristen has an entire page of fabulous resources for you to read and share. So I’m wishing you a wonderful Memorial Day and sending you over to her place! Enjoy!

XOXO

Holley Gerth

p.s. I’m also celebrating today because my adopted daughter Lovelle Gerth-Myers is about to finish her training to become a life coach. You can find out more here!

 

Books to encourage you...

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Psst…You’re Lovely

Psst... You're lovely! Really.

{my graphics are free goodies for you}

I clearly remember changing outfits at least a dozen times the evening before the first day of middle school. I would put one on, parade in front of my parents, and then rush back to my room to stare in the mirror.

None of them seemed quite right. I was a wallflower who got few compliments.

The next morning I woke up to find a note beside my bed. It said, “The outfit looks great, and so do you. Love, Dad.”

I don’t think he even knew which outfit I ended up choosing. It didn’t matter. I belonged to him, and that made me beautiful in his eyes no matter what I was wearing.

Our heavenly Father feels the same way about us. He created us, and regardless of what the world may try to tell us, He thinks we’re beautiful.

In Do You Think I’m Beautiful? The Question Every Woman Asks, Angela Thomas shares how we can respond to our desire for beauty.

If the question, “Do you think I’m beautiful?” came attached to my soul, then maybe the answer wasn’t ever meant to fully come from this world. Maybe the purpose of the question is to take me by the hand and walk me into the presence of the Creator. My soul cries out and asks me the questions meant to lead me to God. Maybe all that really matters is what He thinks of me.

Whether we obsess about it or ignore it, we’re made to know we’re beautiful. That truth can ultimately come only from God. He’s waiting to speak to our hearts the words we’ve always longed to hear. You are beautiful. 

“People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

XOXO

Holley Gerth

{enjoy more encouragement like this in God’s Heart for You: Embracing Your True Worth as a Woman}

P.S. Looking for graduation gifts? You’re Already Amazing, You’re Made for a God-sized Dream and Opening the Door to Your God-sized Dream will encourage the grads in your life! 

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An Open and Opinionated Letter to Guilt

Real friends love your "no" as much as they love your "yes." #YoureLovedNoMatterWhat http://holleygerth.com

Dear Guilt,

You and I have known each other for quite some time now. My whole life, really. We’ve been close at times. But most often our relationship has been challenging.

For one thing, you’re unpredictable. You show up at parties unannounced. You wake me up in the middle of the night. You sit down by me at awkward times when I’m trying to have a conversation with someone I love.

And you’re sneaky. You wear all sorts of disguises–humility, concern, even godliness. Just when I think I recognize you I find you get a new haircut, throw on a pair of shades, or dress up like someone else.

So, here’s what I’m saying. I think it’s time for us to part ways. Because really, Guilt, we aren’t doing each other a whole lot of good. You push me around. I enable you. It’s not healthy.

I read this passage from a fabulous book called “He Loves Me!” by Wayne Jacobsen. Here’s what he had to say about getting rid of you…

Until God disconnects you from the guilt and fear that drive your own performance, you will miss His love for you. How do you let guilt die? Endure it in His presence. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but it will be enough. Stop doing what you do because you’ll feel bad if you don’t. When you feel guilt and condemnation roll over you like a late-afternoon thunderstorm, simply acknowledge that it is there and offer it to God.

My very wise friend also said this in an e-mail to me when we were talking about you…

Guilt and shame are not tools that God uses to get us to do something He wants us to do, but they are instruments Satan uses to move us away from truth. I think because they mirror conviction (which is a good thing) we think they are of God and that He must be trying to tell us something. But guilt and shame do not match up with the character of God. Conviction does.

I think what she’s saying is you’re an impostor. And I’ve got no time for that sort of thing in my life. I want the real deal–real love, real peace, real joy.

So, Guilt, this is good-bye. You may try to visit but I’m letting you know the welcome mat is officially gone. And when you come you’ll find your room is occupied by someone else who is much more loving, kind, and committed to my growth than you have ever been. Actually, I think I’ll introduce you now…

“Guilt, meet Grace.”

That should have happened a long time ago. It’s really been the Father’s plan all along.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

P.S. Looking for graduation gifts? You’re Already Amazing, You’re Made for a God-sized Dream and Opening the Door to Your God-sized Dream will encourage the grads in your life! 

Books to encourage you...

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Isn't this so lovely?! Don't forget to use the hashtag #YoureLovedNoMatterWhat on Instagram so I can see your beautiful pictures!

Isn’t this so lovely?! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #YoureLovedNoMatterWhat on Instagram so I can see your beautiful pictures!

Welcome to the Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up! You’re an encourager so I’m asking you to pour out a little love with your words every Wednesday {link-up goes live at 5:30am CST}. Simply write an encouraging blog post and then share it here. Don’t have a blog? You can still write an encouraging comment. If you’re reading this by email, go to holleygerth.com to see all the fun and join in too.

Giveaway and Optional Writing Prompt: For the next few weeks, the Wednesday posts are going to be about getting free from the pressure to be perfect. I’ll have an optional writing prompt for you about that topic. If you write about it, link up and include my new book You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect in your post somewhere, you’ll be entered to win a God’s Heart for You necklace {U.S. residents only}. Thanks to DaySpring for providing the necklaces! Congratulations to Lori Sautter for winning last week! If you don’t have a blog, you can share today’s post on Facebook, leave a comment here saying you did and answer the prompt in your comment.

The prompt for today was: How would your view of yourself change if you began to think God’s definition of ‘perfect’ is actually ‘wildly different’?

Next Wednesday’s prompt is: What would you say to Guilt? Or perhaps you’d like to write an open letter to Grace?

Pretty please use this button in your blog post so others can easily join in with us {html code in right sidebar}. And when you link up your post, take a moment to leave an encouraging comment on the one that’s linked up just before yours. Thanks, friends!

{Click to tweet that you’re joining me here today!}


Jesus Wants to Lighten Your Load Today

When we slow down, rest and let go it's beautiful as well as powerful because it says to a watching world: "Our Shepherd is good. And, yes, He can be trusted." http://holleygerth.com

{my graphics are free goodies for you}

“What’s your most important value?” the group leader asked one morning during a Significant Woman study I did years ago. When it was my turn to respond I declared, “Growth!” with great enthusiasm.

I wanted to grow in every way. Spiritually. Socially. Emotionally. Mentally. And I thought doing so meant saying “yes” to every opportunity that came along. Surely anything I did for God must be good, right?

As time went by I began to feel an inexplicable weariness. My initial reaction was to simply try harder. Surely if I just helped others more, spent additional time doing spiritual things and even increased my exercise routine — then I’d be reenergized. Instead it seemed the weight on my shoulders increased. I even began to have physical symptoms.

Unable to push myself any harder, I finally let Jesus take hold of my heart in a new way. For months it seemed as if He took layer after layer off my “growth.” I started saying “no” more often. I let go of commitments He’d never asked me to make. I released expectations and a chronic desire to please everyone. Whew. I felt so much lighter.

So I laughed out loud in recognition when I saw a story about a sheep who had sneakily avoiding shearing for six years. The farmer who captured Shaun the sheep said, “He couldn’t see very well because of the wool over his face, so I snuck up behind him and grabbed him.”

Shaun the Sheep photo via ABC News

Shaun the Sheep photo via ABC News

I’d lived like Shaun the sheep in my pursuit of endless growth. And my vision had become compromised, too. I couldn’t see that I was carrying far more than Jesus required. He called out to my weighed down, wandering heart, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). He set me free from what seemed “good” and gave me what was truly best…

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul. (Ps. 23:1-3)

There’s something I now value far more than growth: obedience.

If I could go back to the younger version of myself sitting in that study I would say this to her:

I know you want to do great things and you believe that’s what God desires from you, too. But only one thing is needed: staying close to your Shepherd. Let Him take care of you. Let Him lead you. You don’t have to prove your worth to Him by what you can produce. He loves you just as you are.

I want to whisper that to your heart today, too. (We’re in the same flock, after all.) 

When we slow down, rest and let go it’s beautiful as well as powerful because it says to a watching world: “Our Shepherd is good. And, yes, He can be trusted.”

XOXO

Holley Gerth

P.S. Looking for Graduation Gifts? You’re Already Amazing, You’re Made for a God-sized Dream and Opening the Door to Your God-sized Dreams will encourage the graduates in your life!

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Keep Hoping and Dreaming, Friend

Keep hoping. Keep dreaming.  You are not done yet. And neither is the God who wildly loves you and will see you through to the end.

{my graphics are free goodies for you}

Hey, You…

The one who’s had a hard week. Who might be wondering if it’s even worth it to hope or dream anymore. The one who has to swat discouragement away like a pesky fly. I know those feelings, too. Can I lean in and gently whisper this hard truth to both of us?

The riskiest thing is not to hope or dream.

The only way to avoid making mistakes is to not do anything. And that’s the biggest mistake of all.

The only way to avoid being hurt is to never love. And being alone in that way is the deepest wound a heart can have.

Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. – C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

The things that help us feel safe are the same things that can put us at greatest risk.

You are braver, stronger, more capable than you know.

And the God you serve is bigger than you’ve yet experienced.

Keep hoping. Keep dreaming.

You are not done yet.

And neither is the God who wildly loves you and will see you through to the end.

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” {Php. 1:6}

XOXO

Holley Gerth

p.s. If you’d like more encouragement for your dreams, you can find it in my latest post on the God-sized Dreams site.

P.P.S. Looking for Graduation Gifts? You’re Already Amazing, You’re Made for a God-sized Dream and Opening the Door to Your God-sized Dreams will encourage the graduates in your life!

Books to encourage you...