The Secret to True Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. {John 14:27}

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When we pray for peace we usually ask Jesus to remove something from our lives–the trial or trouble, conflict or chaos, inconvenience or illness. Sometimes He grants those requests. But more often instead of taking away what’s disrupting our peace He gives what we need most in the midst of it:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. {John 14:27}

What I’m learning is this: Peace isn’t the absence of chaos; it’s the presence of Christ. He knows as long as we live in a fallen, broken world we will go through challenges, have hard days and face obstacles that seem insurmountable.

So maybe today we pray a little differently: Instead of asking for less of what is troubling us we ask for more of what Jesus wants to give us.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. {2 Thess. 3:16}

Yes and amen.

 

XOXO

Holley Gerth

Books to encourage you...

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Why Our Lives Can Be Fruitful At Every Age

Yes, you will be a woman of beauty, growth and blessings as long as you live.

This is the promise: If we stay connected to Jesus there will be fruit in every season of our lives. Not maybe. Not might. Not “if conditions are right.” There will be fruit.

If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. {John 15:5}

And the fruit in our lives will thrive {Psalm 1:3}. That doesn’t mean nothing hard will ever happen or we’ll get everything you want. But it does mean that God’s plans for our lives are invincible when we stay connected to Him. Life’s droughts, storms, hail and hell can’t stop him from bringing forth his miraculous work in and through us.

Let’s cling to God’s promises. Hold tight to His heart. Have strong roots that go down deep into His affection for us {Eph. 3:17}. We will not falter. We will not fail. We will not lead a barren life at any age.

Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. {Psalm 92:14}

Yes, we will be women of beauty, growth and blessings as long as we live. Because we are trees planted by the river of God’s love and it will never run dry.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

p.s. If you’d like more encouragement about God’s love for you, you can find it in my article for Today’s Christian Woman: “Do You Really Believe God Loves You?”

Why You Don’t Have to Save the World this Week

We are not the savior of anyone or anything. Instead we're simply messengers and servants. http://HolleyGerth.com

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I placed my head in my hands and whispered, “I can’t do this.” My perplexed husband asked, “Do what?” I replied, “Everything for everyone.” {That might have been a bit of a whiny exaggeration on my part.} He raised an eyebrow at me and smiled a bit before responding, “You don’t have to.”

How do I so easily forget that’s true?

It seems every time I end up exhausted this is the reason: I’ve delusionally decided the fate of the universe and all who live in it is up to me. No pressure, right?

Here’s what’s true: I don’t have to save the world. Jesus already did.

And you don’t have to either.

My friend Serenity works with women at the House of Hope. In a recent newsletter, she shared how what she does can be both wonderful and hard. And she included this quote from someone else trying to make a difference in the lives of others:

You know I cannot save them. I am not here to save anybody or to save the world. All I can do- what I’m called to do- is to plant myself at the gates of hope. Sometimes they walk by. But I stand there every day and I call out till my lungs are sore with calling, and beckon and urge them in toward beautiful life and love.

I can’t get this one phrase out of my mind or heart: I plant myself at the gates of hope. Yes. Isn’t that it?

In other words, our job is simply showing up and pointing the way. Regardless of how it may feel some days, that is enough. We are not the savior of anyone or anything. Instead we’re simply messengers and servants. The only arms strong enough to carry the weight of the world are the ones that stretched out on a cross.

Those same arms are there to hold and carry us when it all feels like too much.

Because what Jesus has already done is truly enough.

 

XOXO

Holley Gerth

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P.S. Do you need a little hope, friend? Are you weary? Stacey and Brooke have written words just for you in their new book Hope for the Weary Mom.

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Books to encourage you…

Books by Holley Gerth
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Good News for a Monday: Your Worth Doesn’t Come from Your Work

The God who created you is the One who will help you respond with all your heart, soul, mind and strength to that question and He'll use your answer to make a difference in and through you all the days of your life. Your worth doesn't come from your work. http://holleygerth.com

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We can be a career-obsessed culture. Stand around long enough at any gathering where you don’t know everyone and you’ll be asked, “So, what do you do?” Frequently it’s even the first question posed when meeting someone. {In case you didn’t know, this is oddly American. Most other cultures don’t start with your job. They start with who you are. Your family. Your friends. What you love.}

Maybe that’s one reason why it’s so easy to fall into the trap of believing what we do equals who we are. We define ourselves by titles {manager, artist, stay-home-mom} and by the roles that go with them {employee, Etsy shop owner, mother}. Then when something changes {the company closes, the art doesn’t sell, the kids grow up} we despair.

“Who am I now?” we ask.

We also experience a lot of fear if it even seems like that might happen.

“Who would I be without this?” we question.

I thought about this as I drove home the other day from a writing session at a coffee shop. I have a deadline coming up and it’s scaring me silly. Because I’m afraid if I fail then I might have to stop writing and without writing it feels like I might not know who I am.

I whispered a prayer for help and one simple statement flashed into my mind: What you do is not your identity. It’s your assignment.

Oh.

I knew that but somehow it got buried under stacks of “what ifs” and worries. Immediately I could feel my shoulders relax and I let out a big sigh of relief. Because I remembered this too: As long as I’m on earth God will find a way for me to be useful. I saw that in the life of my 93 year-old Grandpa who went home to heaven last summer. I see it in women like Barbara Beskind, a 90 year-old designer for the tech company Ideo. I watch it in the lives of others around me who continue to contribute despite significant alterations in their circumstances.

We usually have one what but over a lifetime the how will change a lot. For example, one woman’s “what” might be encouraging. She might primarily do that for friends in high school, for her team at work in her twenties, for her kids as a mom in her thirties, for her Bible study for her church in her forties, for her classmates when she goes back to school in her fifties, for her employees in her sixties, for her neighbors in her seventies…and so on until God decides it’s time for her to go Home.

None of those are about a job or career…even if they involve a business or specific title. 

Our culture may be work-focused but thankfully God isn’t.

He isn’t like that stranger at a party asking, “So, what do you do?”

Instead He’s posing a far more important question, “Who have I made you?”

The God who created you is the One who will help you respond with all your heart, soul, mind and strength to that question and He’ll use your answer to make a difference in and through you all the days of your life.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

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P.S. If you live in the Northeast and are looking for a retreat this Spring, I’d love to see you at The Winsome Retreat… Will you be there? Find all the information here.

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Books to encourage you…

Books by Holley Gerth
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Become a Better Encourager in 2015

The ebook for encouragers - 21 easy, practical ways to show that you care. Written by Holley at http://holleygerth.com/

When I asked what you wanted help with many of you said: I want to get better at encouraging others.

As a licensed counselor and certified life coach, I’ve learned a lot about how to truly help and encourage people. And I want to share that with you because it’s a lot simpler and less scary than you think!  I’m so excited that The Encouragement Project {my new ebook} is launching January 1st. It’s 21 days of inspiration and practical tools that will help you become a better encourager in 2015. 

The Encouragement Project is only $2.99 because I want everyone to be able to get this inspiration and information–our world needs encouragers more than ever! {I’ve charged over $100 an hour as a licensed counselor and certified life coach for sharing similar material}.

Get the Encouragement Project here: Kindle, Nook and it will be delivered January 1st.  {If you don’t have a Kindle or Nook, you can read the book on your computer, tablet or smart phone} Forget new year’s resolutions. It’s time for an encouragement revolution!

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Here’s an excerpt from The Encouragement Project:

You want to help others.

You love giving encouragement.

Yet you still often find yourself saying, “I’ll pray for you,” and not following through the way you’d like. Or you feel tongue-tied at a time that calls for comforting words. You may even walk away from a tough situation scratching your head and thinking, “I have no idea what to do!”

You already have what you need most: a loving heart. Now I’m going to share some simple, easy, practical tools to turn your care into action. Through working with thousands of people as a bestselling writer, a counselor, and a life coach, I’ve learned what truly helps most.

The great news is, we won’t be doing this on our own. God cares even more about the people in our lives than we do. He’s committed to helping us serve them well.

Our role is obedience. God’s job is results. And what He wants most from us is for us to simply open our hearts and share what He gives us. We can all encourage each other—one prayer, one word, one act of kindness at a time.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

Get The Encouragement Project for $2.99 here: Kindle, Nook and it will be delivered January 1st.  {If you don’t have a Kindle or Nook, you can read the book on your computer, tablet or smart phone}. You really can become a better encourager in 2015!

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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.

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!

 

I’m having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth

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