So, I haven’t been sleeping.

Most of the time, sleeping is my secret superpower, my favorite hobby, and my dearest friend. But no more. I felt restless. I tossed and turned, while tallying up our bank balance. I woke up fretting for an hour. Finally, I just prayed, “God, please help me.”

Thankfully, I read this verse. “Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Rest—the very thing I needed. Rest for my weary soul. Rest for my burdened mind. Rest from the crushing weight of getting it right. Rest in Christ’s arms—real rest.

Can I tell you this? Just reading that verse made me weep.

The dam broke, and I just poured out my soul to Jesus—all my burdens, all my weariness, all my fatigue, all of it. I gave Him my faithlessness, my lack of trust, and my desire to control.

God is the one who carries the weight of our family’s well-being. That’s on Him. He is perfectly capable and I can rest there.


What about you?

Have you ever felt completely burdened, exhausted, and worn down by life? Do you ever feel that the weight of all your negative thoughts and worries is too much for you to bear? Are you feeling that way right now?

Jesus is there calling you to lay it all down. But I want to give you more than my personal testimony. I also want you to understand the fullness of Jesus’s offer, so when you speak those words over yourself, you know their truth.

Let’s read our verse again in context, so we can see how Jesus sums up our problem and offers His solution.“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).

Here’s our problem: We are weary and burdened by things that are too heavy for us. Did you see Jesus’s solution? We can come to Him and lay down our burdens. In exchange, He will give our souls genuine rest.

First off, soul rest? Yes! Whatever that is, I want it!

Rest is the thing we know we need. God made us long for rest so that we might find our ultimate rest—our soul rest—in Him. Soul rest is more than body rest. We’ve already discovered that our burden is a soul burden, and that burden is our sin. We are worn-out and weary from the effects of sin in the world and in our own hearts. We need more than a spa day to fix our problem.

I don’t have to have it all together to come to Jesus. I simply have to be willing to give God my worn-out weariness. I can lay down my burden right here and now. And so can you!

Oh, my weary and burdened friend, this rest is for you! Do you know you need it? That’s all you need to know.

*For further reflection, listen to Matthew 11 today.

  1. Matthew 11

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*Adapted from Dwell Differently: Overcome Negative Thinking with the Simple Practice of Memorizing God’s Truth, Bethany House, May 14, 2024

You can listen to our conversation with Natalie and hear her passion for helping people memorize God’s Word.

I hate being uncomfortable. I’m the girl who immediately changes out of her cute clothes as soon as I get home and into my comfy T-shirt.

Yet, as believers, we aren’t promised a comfortable life.

In fact, Jesus warns us in John 16:33, “Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows.” The good news is found at the end of that same verse, when He says, “But, take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Friends, we already know the ending. We know that Jesus wins and we will spend eternity with Him.

However, it is the here and now that leaves us struggling as we face our troubles.

It is so much easier to turn to something physical for comfort than to God. But that comfort will not last.

When I was in college, I frequently turned to porn to numb any of my negative feelings. I left awkward social gatherings without any friends to go back to my dorm. I looked at porn and masturbated to escape the deep loneliness I felt.

Porn never cured my loneliness.

In fact, I felt more lonely afterwards because I was craving deep intimacy with God and others. If you feel discomfort, you may also turn to porn. Or you might instead become numb by binge-watching TV shows, mindlessly scrolling on social media or comfort eating.

Here are two practical ways you can turn to God in your discomfort:

1) Learn to sit in your discomfort. Sitting in this way is an important muscle to develop. One way is to journal ALL of your thoughts and feelings.

Give yourself permission to cry and to admit feeling overwhelmed, lonely, or anxious. Instead of denying your feelings, turn them over God. Write them down as a prayer to God, or pray them out loud.

2) Worship God with music and prayer.

Listening to worship music often gives you a fresh perspective. It focuses you more on the beauty of God and less on your pain and suffering.

Worship also allows you to express affection for your Savior. It is how you show Him admiration, love, thankfulness, and praise. When you make worshiping God a daily priority, your relationship with God will grow in intimacy. When you feel close to God, you tend to focus less on your troubles. When your God is big, your worries feel small.

A close friend once encouraged me, “I can choose to wallow in my suffering and feel sad, isolated, and hurt. But when I choose to rise above, it is amazing the strength I receive from my Lord. I put on worship music. I sing, pray, and memorize Scripture. The choice is yours. God will give you the strength you need.”

As we practice this act of daily surrender and learn to sit in our discomfort, we will exercise this much-needed muscle. This action may feel difficult now, but over time, it will get easier as we grow in intimacy and trust with the Lord.

*For further reflection, listen to John 16 today.

  1. John 16

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Her new book Her Freedom Journey: A Guide Out Of Porn to Authentic Intimacy comes out this July.

We pray that you will take her advice and listen to our encouraging conversation.

The year I turned 33 was the most difficult of my life. My father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, and our family was enduring a difficult season in the first weeks of that year.

But in the deepest pit of my life, God did the unthinkable: He joined me.

Over the course of three months, I endured overwhelming grief and multiple eight-hour drives home to see my father. I also balanced full-time work and caring for two small children in a home where peace and rest were impossible for my heart to find.

But Jesus met me one day in my bedroom closet as I rediscovered a study Bible I had purchased a few months before. Every morning I woke up early, crawled into my closet, and talked to Jesus through tears as I encountered His Word.

God anchored my favorite verse to my soul years ago—and it is the promise that Jesus also offers to you: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

You were not made to be wrapped up in worry. You were not made to fit back into the boxes you have outgrown.

You were made to live free in God’s truth and light.

Do not let the weight of the pieces you hold discourage you. God loves you. God is ready to make you whole.

One Prayer Away From A New Life

It sounds unbelievable until it happens.
You pray the impossible prayer.
Because you are at the edge of what your heart can handle.

You are at the edge of what your emotions can endure.
And even though you may have prayed that prayer many times
Before, this time is different.

Because something shifts on the outside.
Jesus answers the prayer.
Jesus opens the door.

And God invites you to take the next step into a whole new life.
This is the miracle of mercy.
This is the foundation of faith.

So today, offer that bold prayer with this sweet confidence:
One single prayer can change everything.
Because one single prayer can change you.

Dear Jesus,

I pray for the woman who cannot see the road ahead. Lord, her vision is clouded by emotions and overwhelming uncertainty. Remind her that You will equip her for every difficulty and decision—that You will be beside her all the way.

In Your Holy Name, Amen.

*For further reflection, listen to Psalm 18 today.

  1. Psalm 18

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Adapted from One Prayer Away by Lauren Fortenberry. Copyright © 2024 Lauren Fortenberry. Used by permission of Zondervan. HarperCollinsChristian.com.

When I moved to LA, I was starry-eyed with excitement. I saw the mountains in the distance, felt the perfect weather every day, and was excited to be in a new city in an attempt to accomplish my dreams.

From the people to the food, weather, activities, fashion, and lifestyle, it couldn’t have been be more different than my hometown. People loved to dress up every day in their newest outfit, work out in the trendiest classes, and do anything and everything to look and feel good.

Look, I’m not trying to judge anyone, because I quickly noticed I was doing the same. Within the first year of living there, I changed my diet, dyed my hair, got lash extensions, and joined the trendy gym, trying to fit in.

Now, while I don’t think there is anything wrong with any of these choices, it quickly became a self-obsession. It wasn’t until I sought out a counselor and nutritionist that I realized I was draining myself.


I made these choices from a place of hating my body and keeping up with people.I wasn’t genuinely trying to be healthy, working out because I loved it, but I was just doing things for my present self and not for my future self.

Digging into the why behind what we are doing is so important. What is your intention or your motivation?

Perhaps you relate to my story. What I’ve learned is that in pursuing a long, healthy life, bringing people and God into the process helps keep our motives and intentions pure.

Sometimes our desires aren’t wrong, but the reason behind them is.

The more we take care of the internal, the more it positively affects the external.

God wants us to take care of ourselves. He says in 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 that our bodies are a temple, which means that our bodies are to be treated with care like a holy place. If God compares our bodies to a holy temple, it must mean that He wants us to treat them as such.

But to care for my body, I also had to attend to my soul. I like to think that your soul is what makes you come alive. It’s what responds to the things that bring you joy, immense exhilaration, and peace. It’s those moments that make me go, “Wow, I feel so alive! I want to do more of that!”


Think of a time when you felt so happy and overwhelmed by God’s goodness. Can you channel that again or—even better—re-create that situation? Was it maybe after you hiked somewhere and got to the top of the mountain and saw the view? Whatever it is, do that more often! As long as the things are God-honoring and good, do them!

Even though life will have its inevitable challenges, rejoice, pray, and give thanks to God through the storms.

I’ve seen my joy and mood improve significantly, and I believe it can be the same for you!

For more insights, watch our conversation with Jeanine and Hannah here.

*For further reflection, listen to 1 Corinthians 6 today.

  1. 1 Corinthians 6

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Adapted from Becoming Happy and Healthy by Jeanine Amapola, Bethany House, a division of Baker Published Group, 2024. Used by Permission.

Fear and discouragement inevitably knock on the door of my future dreams. When I answer, I politely welcome them in, acknowledge their presence, but then escort them out before they invade my refrigerator and linger on my couch.

I tell them that I have God’s business to attend to, and that they don’t have any business tending to me. Instead, I can lean entirely on God’s abilities, which are perfect and never-ending.

To prevent crippling fear from creeping in sometimes, I do an exercise called “Fear Setting:”

1. Write down one goal that you are afraid of in the form of a question.

2. Now, make a list of every fear you can think of as it relates to this goal. These can be realistic, highly irrational, or dramatic. Write down any and every little thing you can think of that could go wrong. This is not a time to be judgmental toward yourself or your fears. The more you write down, the better.

3. Then make a list of ways that you can prevent some of these realistic concerns from occurring. This is a great place to work on your brainstorming abilities and problem-solving skills.

4. Finally, if some of your fears do come true, list ways you can repair your life and recover from them.

Even with this soothing exercise in reach, there are some days when fear can be so paralyzing that moving forward feels more like navigating the forceful hands of quicksand.

On days like those, I refer to the basics: What does God say about fear?

I look in the concordance of my Bible and then read each recommended Scripture.

I read them aloud to myself, pacing around the room, desperate for peace.

Eventually, I’ll be so filled with the Holy Spirit that hearing God’s Word becomes an expression of my excitement rather than something to dread.

Graduating from a fear-based mindset to a faith-based one has been the most liberating and useful thing I’ve done these days. Maybe “graduating” isn’t the best word to use because it’s more like studying.

It’s an ongoing process. But it’s influencing everything—how I listen to God in my prayer life, who I call for help, and how authentically I try to parent, live, and work.

I don’t know anyone who lives without fear, not truly.

But the skill I’m trying to master lately—I’m calling it a skill because it takes practice—is to welcome that fear, sit with it, pray through it, and then do the thing anyway. This skill has the power to change the course of my life if I let it.

It’s entirely challenging, but I’m building childlike faith in the process. I’m gaining spiritual muscle by spending time reading my Bible and praying every day. With this newfound perspective—this shift from fear to faith—my mindset grows stronger with experience and repetition.

Faith wouldn’t be required if I knew all the answers ahead of time.

It’s okay. I’m starting to appreciate that, or at the very least, I’ve become more used to it. Now, when God speaks, I jump with what appears to be a hard landing and no net. Then, like Superman, He catches me at the very last second, easing my anxious mind and glorifying Himself in the process. “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).

Fear might stop by to say, “Hello,” from time to time, but it no longer stays the night.

*For further reflection, listen to James 4 today.

  1. James 4

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Enjoy our conversation together with Ciara!

Too often, I end up in front of a computer screen, a TV screen, or the screen on my phone.

While waiting for my kids to come out of practice, I scroll.

When the day has sucked my energy and I’m counting the minutes till I can shut my eyes, I scroll. At the dentist’s office, in order to avoid eye contact with other strangers in the room, I scroll.

And after all that scrolling, I am still tired, worn, sapped, and empty.

What if we quit mindless scrolling?

I decided to give it a try recently. Here’s what I started doing:

After the kids get on the bus in the morning, I check my email, respond to messages, and then I quit scrolling, so I am ready for my date with God before heading to work. In a short time, I’ve read through almost half of the New Testament. As I read, I underlined what I think are the main points. I put a box around words that stick out. I pray.

Instead of scrolling while waiting for one of my kids to come out of practice or work, I pray for that particular child. I pray for his or her health. I pray the Lord helps them stand strong in the culture. I pray they walk with God all their days. I pray God molds and fashions that child into an instrument used for His glory.

At the end of the day, instead of scrolling, I go to my room and read. Not only do I get time with good books, but sometimes my husband and teenage children seek me out. In the quietness of zero screens, we talk and laugh.

And when I stopped scrolling, I noticed how many people still were.

We scroll at red lights. We scroll while shopping with our daughter, who is only ten, and ask if this dress is better than this one. We scroll while the old lady in the waiting room, who is alone all day, watches, wishing someone would notice and talk to her.

While we scroll, time passes that we can’t get back.

Conversations that would have encouraged and blessed us don’t happen. Relationships deteriorate. Prayers we haven’t murmured aren’t answered. Spiritual growth that would have helped us navigate what is ahead hasn’t happened.

There’s a better way. It’s totally doable, and the payoff is substantial. Scroll less, and live more starting today.

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3

*For further information, listen to Jeremiah 33.

  1. Jeremiah 33

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In order to reset your life, you need to understand, down to your core, that the pause is the start of the work.

If we really want to make long-lasting changes in our lives, we have to stop before we start.

We’ve got to stop and listen to what God is saying, what He wants to do, and where He wants to take us.

We need to stop make sure we’re in step with Him before we go, because He knows best who we are, how we’re doing, what we need, and what it looks like for us to run this race well.


In short, we’ve got to take the time to hit pause and tune in to Him.

We have to stop so we can start well.

Both psychology and spirituality research testify to the power of the pause: the practice of stopping, of silencing the noise and tuning in to what God is saying and what He wants to do.

Being still gives your body and mind a chance to recalibrate—to literally reset.

Science shows us that when you take the time to pause and rest your brain from all the noise, your brain is doing some much-needed processing work. It’s doing some serious healing that it can’t otherwise accomplish while you’re in active mode.

It’s no wonder God specifically tells us to “Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10) We often read this verse as a compassionate suggestion from God, such as “Why don’t you take a minute to relax?” But it’s not a suggestion. It’s much stronger, bolder, and more candid than that. The Hebrew word here isn’t a suggestion as much as it is a command.

Take the time to pause.

We can’t start if we’ve never taken the time to stop. So, pause for a moment and listen.

Hear exactly what God wants you to change in the present, understand where you’ve made mistakes in the past, and see what you’re being called to do as you look to the future.

Learn to stop before you start. And give your brain the jump-start it needs to prepare for the process of healing.

*For further reflection, listen to Psalm 46 today.

  1. Psalm 46

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It wasn’t just impossible; it was laughable.

Jesus and his disciples needed to feed a crowd of nearly 5,000 men plus women and children. Jesus asked Philip, “Where are we to buy bread so that these people may eat?” (John 6:5) But, of course, Jesus is God, and he didn’t need the answer.

He asked Philip anyway. And Philip dared to sarcastically talk back to the Creator, reminding Jesus that it would take more than half a year’s wages to fund such an endeavor. From there on, Jesus didn’t even attempt to explain himself to Philip. He just showed him instead.

During this season of transitioning from three to four kids, I’ve felt like Philip: annoyed, even angry at God that He would expect me to do something so impossible.

It honestly isn’t even the “being a mom” part. As hard as it is to live in a perpetually cluttered space, I love rising to the parenting challenges in New York City. I love catching those moments where my kids are actually hugging each other or dancing together instead of bickering. However, since my youngest was born, I’ve procrastinated multiple times on writing. Writing takes emotional strength. After spending all day with young kids, I often feel like I have nothing left to give of myself in writing.

God has been revealing that I get frustrated and overwhelmed because I place unrealistic expectations on myself that He never puts on me.

When my inner critic calls me a mediocre homemaker, God tells me I don’t need to cook a different home-cooked meal every night, nor do I need to keep the house clutter-free.

When my inner critic calls me a mediocre blogger, God reminds me that many bloggers whom I compare myself to have teams behind them helping them to post daily.

For the past six months, I’ve been trying to write in my power, not out of an overflow of my relationship with God. And to no surprise, I come up short every time.

When my inner critic calls me a mediocre blogger, God reminds me that many bloggers whom I compare myself to have teams behind them helping them to post daily. For the past six months, I’ve been trying to write in my power, not out of an overflow of my relationship with God. And again, to no surprise, I come up short every time.

After Philip reminds Jesus of the hopelessness of the situation of feeding the crowd, Jesus ignores his comment and essentially asks his other disciples, “Well, what do you have?”  Another disciple, Andrew, replies, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”

God reminds me that when it is time to write something, the Holy Spirit will take over and give me what I need. He tells me that He will be faithful to renew my strength and give me the rest I need to deal with another day of dealing with the chaos of raising four young kids. God is faithful to use my “barley loaves and two fish” and, in His power, multiply it into something much more than I could have ever mustered up on my own.

May God do the same with you as you walk forward in his strength!

*For further reflection, listen to John 6.

  1. John 6

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I’ve been a ‘baseball wife’ for over 35 years.

My husband is a professional baseball coach, and I’ve juggled the ups and downs, keeping it all together in this crazy baseball life.

At one point in my life, I fell into a deep spiritual monotony after all of the pressures, because of my negative thoughts. I sat down and began writing about these thoughts.

I saw a disturbing list:

  • I’m not good enough.
  • I don’t belong.
  • I’m a failure.
  • I’m unlovable.
  • I’m a horrible person.

Finally, I realized I was my biggest bully. 

No one on earth speaks to me the way I do. I certainly do not speak to anyone the way I speak to myself.

Anxiety, fear, and other toxic emotional barriers left me unsettled. Worry became my crutch. My self-limiting beliefs, or emotional toxins, stem from my mind.

All of this emotional clutter kept me from connecting to Jesus, hearing His voice, and realizing God’s best for me.

I needed to DETOX from emotional toxins in order to connect with God’s voice over me.

Here is how to DETOX your thoughts: 

  • Determine the toxins. Observe what you’re thinking about. What are the toxins that keep you stuck?
  • Evaluate your emotions. Remember that the bonds of deception keep you from all that God desires to do in and through our lives. How do your thoughts make you feel? Do you want to stay there? 
  • Terminate the toxins Once you release the toxin, you can understand the freedom God desires for you. You then replace those deceptions listed with the truth from Scripture. What are your toxic thoughts that oppose God’s Word?
  • Outline a planListen for God’s guidance. Make a plan to stop each negative thought at its source and replace it with the truth immediately. When are you most vulnerable to toxic lies? How can you actively replace them with God’s truth? 
  • eXecute the plan. Take the first step of faith in the direction God is leading, one step at a time and one day at a time. Who can you ask for support on this daily journey?

We can overcome negative thoughts and be all God calls us to be.

“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians 5:1

*For further reflection, listen to Galatians 5.

  1. Galatians 5

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When I turned 50, I said to myself, “I am not THAT old.” When I turned 60, my friends told me, “Sixty is the new forty.” Finally, when I turned 70, I admitted, “Seventy is THAT old!”

Now I am almost a decade older. I’ve written a book on aging. But I am still surprised by the experience of getting older.

My soul is growing as my body is aging.

To grow means to change. Paul wrote, “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” (Ephesians 4:23). As we age, we are invited to allow the Holy Spirit to change the thoughts and attitudes we have held for decades. Some perspectives and spiritual disciplines that helped me when I was younger are no longer life-giving.

As my body ages, I have less energy and fewer opportunities. The Holy Spirit is changing my expectations and priorities.

I need to unlearn some of the things that I used to believe.

I used to feel responsible for many things. Now that I can do less, God is inviting me to think about my days in terms of fruitfulness rather than productivity.

The list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22–23 reminds me that it is more important to love others than to finish my “to-do” list.

I want to focus on the invitations God gives in my losses.

Jesus said,“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20). When I was younger, I had important jobs to do and places where I found significance. Now I am losing some of that sense of importance. Some days my spirit feels “poor” about all I have lost.

Jesus promises I will experience the Kingdom of God even as I experience this part of aging.

He said God’s Kingdom is like “a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens.” (Mark 4:26-27)

What a comfort this is! I can toss seeds on the ground (when I have the energy!) and then go to bed. I don’t understand it, but whether I am asleep or awake, the seeds are growing.

I thank God for the fruit of this season of life.

*For deeper reflection, listen to Ephesians 4 today.

  1. Ephesians 4

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