Encouragement for Every Woman, Every Mama

God called Eve “the mother of all living” and I believe every woman is a mama because we all bring life to the world in some way. So wherever you are, whatever your story may be…I’m celebrating you this Mother’s Day!

Mama necklace by @lisaleonard from @dayspring

Mama Necklace by Lisa Leonard from DaySpring.com

Can I tell you a secret?

I am in awe of mothers.

The hand-holding, brow-wiping, life-changing women of the world.

I love how mothers create, bring life into the world, nourish souls, tie the shoelaces of the future.

I love how they wrestle about where to send kids to school, and what to get for Christmas, and how to take the seed of a life and grow it into strong, tall faith.

I love the way they laugh about too much poop and mountains of laundry and the beautiful chaos that they somehow keep spinning in orbit.

I love how time etches memories across their faces, like little lines in an extraordinary story, and the way their eyes light up when someday someone calls them, “Grandma.”

I love how they throw their arm in front of you at a sudden stop in the car even if you’re not their child, even when their hair is silver, even when nursing and diapers feel like so many moons ago.

I love how even women without children {I was one until I adopted my 21 year-old daughter last year} somehow feel the need to nurture, to grow, to pour themselves into the next generation like so much water that just never stops. Mothers of the heart if not the body.

I don’t know where you are this morning but I wish I could cup your face in my hands and whisper this, “You are a good mother. You are making a difference. You are beautiful.”

Then I’d drop my hands and smile at you. And in a moment you’d be busy again doing what you do and I’d watch the miracle.

The miracle of motherhood.

The ordinary-extraordinary.

The divine with a little dirt under its nails.

Author Jill Churchill said: “There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”

And with all of you mother-wonders out there?

I don’t think I’ll ever stop counting.

Happy Mama’s Day!

XOXO

Holley Gerth

Books to encourage you...

p.s. I struggled with infertility with many years and I know that Mother’s Day can be a difficult time for many. I wrote a post for Lysa Terkeurst called Hope When Mother’s Day is Hard that you can read here. I pray it encourages you!

p.p.s. Will I get to see you at the Raising Generations Today Conference this October? My daughter Lovelle and I would love to hug you! Make sure to say hi if you’ll be there!

Looking for Mother’s Day gifts? My books will encourage the women in your life!

Even Your Mistakes Can Be Used by God

We can still stand tall in God's grace. #yourelovednomatterwhat http://bit.ly/1zuitts

An old story goes that quilt makers used to intentionally put flaws into their work to remind them that only God is perfect. In a craft where every stitch counts, those women were declaring, “I’m not even going to try to be perfect.” While we’re not going to be imperfect on purpose, it’s still inevitable.

Like the errors in the quilts, when we let our mistakes and shortcomings be visible, we remind those around us that we are only human. I’ve heard religious organizations encourage people to plaster on a smile even when they were broken. They were told not doing so could “hurt your witness.” In other words, they’d risk God’s reputation.

But the opposite is actually true. When we cover up our wounds, hide our failures, and refuse to ask for help, we give the impression that we belong to someone who must not really love us. We also lead others to feel they have to hide their weaknesses as well.

When we say, “I’m broken. I’m weak. I made a mistake,” then we are also saying, “I’m not God.” The places we feel most vulnerable are often where God can show His love through us the most.

You don’t have to be afraid of being honest about who you are or what you’re going through. God can handle it, and by opening up, you just might help someone else feel safe, too.

You will not make God look bad—you will show that He is good because He loves His children even in their most difficult moments. All of our stories have light as well as dark threads and both add to the beauty.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

Looking for Mother’s Day gifts? My books will encourage the women in your life!

Books to encourage you...

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Do you write out quotes, too? I love this picture from Jennifer Hand!

Do you write out quotes, too? I love this picture from Jennifer Hand!

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 Sue Donaldson 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: What do you need to lay down or take out of your “purse”?

Next Wednesday’s prompt is: Do you have a hard time showing imperfections?

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!}


Words to Lighten Your Load Today

Trying to be perfect always makes us less of who we are. #YoureLovedNoMatterWhat http://bit.ly/1JwzKWr

Sometimes when I speak at events, the organizers have women do scavenger hunts through their purses as a fun way to start the evening. A woman from the stage calls out random items: “four or more tubes of lipstick,” “thirty-two cents in change,” and “driver’s license that’s about to expire.”

The first person to find that item wins. Purses are pulled out from under tables, and in the chaos contents are thrown everywhere. Pacifiers. Calendars. Receipts. Wrappers. Tissues. Mirrors. By the time the activity is done, the table is covered with visual reminders of how busy and complicated a woman’s life can be.

If you’re like me, much of what would come out of your purse would be related in some way to trying to be perfect. I’ve gone through seasons when my calendar felt full of things I felt obligated to do because it helped me meet some standard. My ever-present, ever-being-reapplied makeup is an attempt at our culture’s version of beauty. The receipts you would have found might show purchases that were more about making an impression than what I really wanted.

Carrying all of that can begin to weigh a girl down. But Jesus walks up beside us and offers this instead:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matt. 11:28–30).

Jesus wants us to trade our purses of “perfection” for a much lighter load instead.

He offers us security in place of striving.

Full hearts instead of full schedules.

Receiving instead of trying to buy our way to acceptance.

A local store has a “trade your purse” day once a year. No matter what shape your bag is in, you can bring it in and get credit so you can walk out with a new one. Inevitably, women walk out with lighter loads than before. It’s interesting what happens when they do: their shoulders are straighter and they walk taller. Jesus offers us the same. We don’t have to carry the expectations of others. We don’t have to go through life slumped over because we always feel like we’re falling short. We don’t have to fill our lives with what will ultimately make us feel empty.

We can carry less when we become convinced we’re cared for more than we can even imagine.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

Books to encourage you...

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YoureLovedNoMatterWhatJillNewman

Jill Newman’s Instagram picture put me in some pretty fabulous company last week!

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 Susan Shipe 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: Where have you seen beauty from brokenness?

Next Wednesday’s prompt is: What do you need to lay down or take out of your “purse”?

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!}


You Don’t Have to Have All the Answers

God will be faithful. Always. We can trust Him. http://holleygerth.com/answers

{my graphics are free goodies for you}

 

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I have a special treat for you today! I’ve asked my fabulous virtual assistant, Kaitlyn Bouchillon, to share her heart with you. Kaitlyn helps me with editing, social media, creating graphics and a variety of other things. She’s gifted, gracious, brilliant and keeps me on track. I’m so blessed to work with her!

Kaitlyn is graduating from college in three weeks and she’s going to be taking on more clients. If you’ve ever thought about having a virtual assistant, get in touch with her before all her time is taken! And enjoy her encouraging words for you below too…

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From Kaitlyn Bouchillon:

I heard once that God is the one who overcomes — and because He does, we can come over. That sounds like really good news for me right now, and maybe you too?

There are days – maybe weeks, months, or even years – when there are more questions than answers, more things up in the air than things we know for certain. The times when someone you love dearly is sick, a relationship is falling apart, the bills are stacking up or the kids are running you wild.

Can I tell you a little secret?

It’s okay. You’re okay.

Even when life is topsy-turvy and spinning a bit out of control.

Even when it feels like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Even when your hands are full.

Because there is One who has overcome. And so we can come over.

In the Bible, before the curtain was torn in two, the Holy of Holies could not be entered into by just anyone. You and I, we would not have been able to approach the place of the Lord’s presence. The curtain would have separated us – not from His love, because oh friend, how He loves us! – but from His beautiful, consuming, powerful presence.

But when Jesus Christ died as a sacrifice, the curtain that kept the distance and created a separation was torn in two. From top. to. bottom.

It was nothing man could do, but God did it for man. He entered into our mess and invited us into His presence. We can come over.

So when the counters need wiping, the bills are past-due and you can’t remember the last time you showered or got a full night’s sleep, remember this:

Maybe it’s not about knowing all the answers but trusting the Answer. And maybe the world that feels like it’s on your shoulders is really in His (more than capable) hands. You can stop climbing mountains and wondering if you’re enough because the truth is: Christ in you is BEAUTIFUL.

So hold onto hope, friend. Choose to believe He’s got it all figured out and His plans are so very good. Remember that the time spent worrying is time taken away from praying for the very things that cause us to worry. Slow is a frame of mind and today we can pause and choose to come over.

We may not know all the answers, but we can know the One who does.

Kaitlyn Bouchillon
p.s. Can I let you in on a little secret? I wrote these words for you — but I also wrote them to myself. In less than three weeks I’ll be walking across a stage in a cap and gown. I’m so excited and also terrified. There are so many unknowns. But. He has proven faithful in all things, at all times, in all ways.

God has clearly marked the path for me to be a full-time Virtual Assistant, and so I’m stepping in faith! A Virtual Assistant takes care of the behind-the-scenes stuff – like social media, for example – so that you can focus on where God is leading and use your gifts fully. 

One of my favorite things about graduating (besides the fact that I’ll be able to eat grilled cheese for dinner every night without a cafeteria of people judging me) is that I have the huge honor and joy of continuing to work for Holley as her Virtual Assistant! She is one of my very favorite people (Holley, if you edit this out I will add it right back in)

If you’re looking for a Virtual Assistant, I would be delighted to serve you too. Just get in touch with me and let me know what you need. I look forward to hearing from you! XOXO Kaitlyn

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}

{my images are free goodies for you to enjoy & share}

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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