All Posts By

Beth-Anne White

Relationships

When Someone is Sad, Let Them Grieve

Over the Christmas holidays, there was a light display at one of our local parks.  Not only that, but they were opening up the model train exhibit that we always see when we go walking but is always locked up tight.

I thought our two-year-old would enjoy the lights and I knew he would love the trains.  And I was right.  He would have stayed looking at those trains for hours upon hours if we had let him.

But we eventually had to leave for bed.  He cried.  As we put him in his car seat he cried and I tried to console him.

“We can come back another time.”

“We have trains at home.”

Then I had a moment where I realized, he is sad.  It is disappointing to leave seeing something you have wanted to see for so longSo I stopped trying to stop his tears and cries.  And I said, “It is sad isn’t it?”  He sniffled, “Yes.”  “I am sorry you are sad,” and then I reached over and held his hand.  “Mmmhmm,” he said. And then holding my hand he calmed down.

I sat there stunned and realized that often we try to “make things better” for others and “fix things” but sometimes what people want and need is someone to acknowledge their sadness. Understand and validate the disappointment or pain.  Then it seems they can move on to heal.

It actually reminds me of a scene from Inside Out.

So often we want to fix it with happiness when what someone needs is understanding.  For you to acknowledge the pain and loss.  Even if you don’t understand it.

I challenge you, instead of trying to fix pain this next time around.  Sit with them in it.  Affirm and acknowledge their loss and hold their hand.

It might be the most healing thing you can do.

Well Being

Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen

I read Jennie Allen’s book Anything a few years ago.  And it was at a pivotal time for me and I felt that God used Jennie’s words to speak to me.

That is almost identical to what happened when I read this book, Nothing to Prove.  Recently I feel that I have been striving to have God listen.  To be good enough to make Him hear me.  But it doesn’t feel like it is working.  And then I read Nothing to Prove.

I don’t know what you are going through right now, but somehow I can bet that you might be tired.  Tired of drama, work, kids, marriage, of trying and trying and trying.

This book is for you.  Jennie writes with honesty and beauty but she also will challenge you as she loves you. Isn’t that the kind of friend we all want?  One that loves us where we are but won’t leave us there?

Are you ready to move beyond yourself but to do it in a way that isn’t exhausting?  I am, but I had no idea what that would look like.  My plate is already so full.

This book is for you.  As you walk through the reflection questions that Jennie gives you she takes you to the feet of Jesus where you can hear His voice saying, “Abide in Me.”  And then…page by page you find you are abiding and your heart and creativity have wings to see what God has for you to do.

I know my review isn’t going to do justice to the profound beauty and impact of the book, but I hope it helps you want to read it.

You should read it.  I am so thankful I did.

Relationships

Earth Psalms: Reflections on How God Speaks Through Nature by Francine Rivers

This is a beautiful book.  I have always enjoyed Francine Rivers as a fictional writer and to have her write this devotional focused on God’s “second book”: nature is very special.  There are 52 sections, one for each week of the year.  Each week is focused on a different aspect of creation.  At the end of each reading, there is a “Reflect”, “Apply”, and “Connect With God” section that you can do alone, journal, or use in a discussion.  The Bible verses that she has chosen to go with each chapter you could memorize or put somewhere in your home where you can see it throughout the week.

I read this with my family, which includes my two-year-old.  He sat on my lap and listened and looked at the pictures, which are bright and engaging.  I love that these are short enough to do with my young family and yet deep enough that it causes me to pause and look at creation differently.

One week it talked about the stenocara beetles and how they use the way God made them to collect fog droplets on their back and then tip it forward into their mouths.  Our toddler was fascinated by the beetle and then we took time to look up more pictures and videos to learn more.  I feel these devotionals are jumping points to draw us into nature.  Francine Rivers creates each devotional in such a way that you are interested in nature and how it works to reveal God.

This is a great devotional book and I highly recommend it.

Well Being

One Way To Combat Winter Darkness

On Wednesday, December 21st my husband, Matthew, said to me, “The days will get longer from here on out.”  You see, December 21st has the least amount of daylight and then on the days begin to sloooowly lengthen again.

I have a complicated relationship with winter.  I love it.  I love the cozy warmth of hot drinks and family curled up together.  I love the soft flickers of candle light and the quietness of darkness.

And yet I hate the darkness.  It makes me claustrophobic.  Or, I guess I could say that too much darkness, too early, is what I don’t like.  Normal darkness, at night, is okay.  But darkness at 4:00pm, no thank you!

I wanted to share with you one very easy and practical thing, we have done in our home, that has helped me a lot.

Go to your nearest home improvement store and buy daylight LED light bulbs and change every other bulb in your house.  The reason you need daylight, blue or cool, LED light bulbs is that this best represents natural daylight.  The other LED bulbs will be bright and wonderful but having the daylight LED bulbs will make a huge difference–at least it does for me.

Having a light bulb that mimics natural daylight is amazing!  You wouldn’t think that it would make such a big difference, but it does.  And for me, it makes the darkness bearable because, instead of my body sensing just darkness when it is dark at 4 or 5pm, it still feels like there is daylight.   You will have to try it.  It might sound silly, but it really does help.

For others like me, what do you do to help combat the darkness of winter when you want light?

I would love to hear more ideas that to help brighten these winter days!

Devotions

The Glorious Ordinary by Sarah Frazer

When I read the introduction to The Glorious Ordinary I felt my lungs and heart constrict. I am here–in this waiting. Waiting in the ordinary and it is suffocating me spiritually.  I want what Sarah Frazer describes, peace today. I don’t want to wait until my prayers are answered to have peace and connection with God. I want to live each ordinary day marveling at the God who loves me enough to send His Son to die for me.

What Sarah writes is for me. It is for you. To find the ordinary, normal days and see and experience them as the glory of God.

I love that she has you digging into the word of God. Each day gleanings truth from God’s Word and making us wrestle and sit with it until we are truly abiding in Christ. Not only does Sarah bring us to God’s sacred Word but she guides us to pray. To spend time communing with God. This is a beautiful blend of sacred things. The Word of God and the words we pray back to Him.

I believe this book will be such a blessing to so many. It has already blessed me and called me deeper into hope.

I highly recommend this beautiful book to others!

Home Life

Christmas Blessings Tree

The first week of November I decided to put up our Christmas tree (minus Christmas decorations).  The time had changed and it got dark so early, that I wanted something happy in the house.  That’s when I decided to do create a Christmas Blessings Tree or Thankful Tree.

I love Pinterest but I’m not super crafty so I am sure many of you could make this prettier, but if you are like me and have too many things going on, then this might be your kind of project.

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All you need is:

  • Christmas Tree 🙂
  • String/thread (I chose red)
  • Scissors
  • Index cards
  • Pen

Simple, right?  I use scissors to make a hole in the middle of the long side of a card and loop a short section of thread through and tie it in a knot.  Then each night I write the date and what each member of our family (or if we have visitors we add them too) is thankful for, and I write it down. Then we hang it on the tree.

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My son, Edmund, loves to put them on the tree.  Our tree will be covered by the time Christmas is over, and that makes me happy.  He understands what they are and I hope and pray that this will help teach him contentment this holiday season.

This Christmas is the first time I think he really understands the idea of presents.  I personally think it is okay to be excited about presents, but I also want to teach him to be content.  To be thankful for things that God has blessed him with each day.  I believe that by naming our blessings, they will become more concrete in our minds and then we will be able to see all God has given us.

This lesson in contentment isn’t just for my son, it is for our whole family.  We often share what we are thankful for each day, but by writing it down and hanging it on our Christmas Blessings Tree I believe that it becomes more tangible and real.  Plus it is a constant reminder being able to look each day at these little cards on red thread hanging all over the tree.

I hope this idea might be something simple and easy you can do with your family, no matter the age.

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Relationships

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann Voskamp

I have seen little Advent calendars at the store.  You know the ones where you open a little flap each day as you await Christmas?

When we had our son we wanted something deeper and richer to help celebrate the anticipation to Christmas.  When I found Ann Voskamp had written an Advent-type book I knew it would be what we wanted for our family.

This beautiful book is rich and deep.  And moves beyond being self-focused during this season.

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At the end of each day there are thoughts to discuss.  This can be perfect for older children or to begin discussions with little ones.  One of my favorite things is that each day you are given something to do for others.  Instead of the Christmas holiday focusing on self, this Advent book allows you to focus on Jesus and on others.

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This book also comes with free printable ornaments that you can hang on your tree that reflect each day.  There is also a Christmas wreath made by Ann’s son, Caleb, that you can also purchase to go along with the book.

This wooden spiral can be set on any flat surface.  This picture from the Joy Ware website shows the idea beautifully.  You can do all short candles, or alternate tall and short, or do all tall.  Whatever you want.

There is also a little wooden figuring of a donkey carrying Mary.  It is the journey to Bethlehem, to Emmanuel, God with us.  For each day you move this figurine around the spiral.  Moving toward the center or moving out, depending on what you want). We chose to add a candle each day and light them all before we read the story.  Then we enjoyed the candles and the story together.

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We just started this tradition last year and I am so excited to do it again this year.  I want to teach my son how all through the Bible the stories point to Jesus and God’s promises.  I want to teach my son to give that hope and promise and love to others.

What are your ways of celebrating Christ’s birth?  Do you have a special Advent calendar that you use?  What do you do? Share with us!

Relationships

Lonely in a Crowd

Sometimes you feel loneliest when in a crowd of people.  Hopefully you are surrounded by loved ones this holiday but I know that sometimes even in the midst of others you can feel this ache of total aloneness.

Do you feel that way? I know that I have.  I do.

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But recently I have been clinging to two verses.

Isaiah 41:13

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you. “Do not fear; I will help you.”

These last few months I have needed to cling to God in a new special way.  I have needed to remember that even when I feel alone that God is holding my hand.

When I had my C-section with my son, they didn’t allow Matthew in the room until after they had put the spinal tap in.  When they were putting the spinal tap in I grabbed my nurse’s hand, I wanted comfort.  It is natural to want to hold someone’s hand when you need comfort.

I have wanted to know I am not alone.  That how I feel isn’t real, the aloneness.  And so I read Isaiah 41:13 and remember that God is holding my hand.

God is holding your hand.  He says to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.”  No matter how you feel, you can repeat the truth to yourself that God is holding your hand.

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Matthew 1:23 is the other verse I have been holding on to.

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which means, “God with us.”

In the Old Testament God has them build a sanctuary so that He can dwell among them (Exodus 25:8).  In the New Testament Jesus comes and His name is Emmanuel, which means, “God with us.”  Both Old and New Testament He is always wanting to dwell with us.  To be with us.

When you feel alone remember Emmanuel.  God with us.  God is with you.

I don’t know if you are feeling alone today.  But if you are, read these verses and remember the truth that is in them.  I don’t always feel the truth in these verses, but I hold on to the truth there.  I pray you will too.  You are loved and you are not alone.

You are not alone. Emmanuel is holding your hand.

Well Being

When Your World Changes: Type 1 Diabetes

I asked my sister, Melissa, to share about her daughter Melina and her story of Type 1 Diabetes.  November is considered Type 1 Diabetes awareness month and I wanted to share her story.  It is amazing to see Melissa trust God through such a scary diagnosis.  May this testimony strengthen you for whatever you are going through, and help you to see that God is always there for you.

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I can still remember what it was like sitting in the emergency waiting room.  The atmosphere, the kids running around, the smell, the uncomfortable chairs, the chaos of sickness and urgency.

I cannot exactly recall when it started, those telltale signs of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). I simply realized one day that she was drinking water a lot more than normal. She also had lost an incredible amount of weight.  My potty trained three-year old suddenly began wetting the bed. Heavily.

In the back of our minds, all of these things were definitely a concern. Somehow diabetes became a thought. We saw our pediatrician who sent for blood work.

The results came back almost instantly.

An experienced nurse from the pediatric office called me and told me she had informed Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia that we were on our way. I called my husband from home from work and we rushed over.

Hearing horror stories of comas and seizures because of scary numbers or untreated and undiagnosed diabetes makes me aware that our story is a very lucky one.

The doctors and nurses spoke to us a little bit, using diabetes jargon and we had no clue as to what anything stood for. We just listened and nodded along, silently hoping we’d eventually understand what any of it meant. Not really getting just how life changing this was about to be, if not already.

There are only a few times in my life that I can play out in my mind as if I were watching a movie. My entire time in the hospital, especially the first night, is one of those times. Everything I saw and smelled is crystal clear but most clear was the feeling as if my heart were gaping open, with fear, anxiety, and hurt for my child.

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Little did I know that was how I was still going to feel even a little over a year later. You never quit being scared or overwhelmed by it all. Yes, you become a bit more knowledgeable, and experience lends a hand making it a bit easier at times, but fear for your child and bone-crushing tiredness from being “on” all the time never ceases.

Will she wake up tomorrow? We do nightly checks, which are generally at 11pm and 2am. Sometimes, if her numbers are wackier than usual, we check one to two to three times (yes, really) more. But, still . . . what if at 11pm she was a decent number, but was on her way down, and of course we had no way of knowing as she had shown a good number when we checked! By 2am it could be too late. We stay as vigilant as possible, but diabetes definitely defines a new type of “on”, an all consuming, anxiety ridden, exhausted one.

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The simplest way to describe how I was feeling that night would be “struck”: I was struck with shock and fear. Struck with a numbness of incomprehension. Struck with fretting, constant fretting. For her health, our wallets. I was struck dumb. I still could not grasp what all of this meant, but I knew things were forever changed.

After the initial finger pricks and shots that first night, tearfully done, my three-year-old sweet pea turned to me and resolutely stated, “I will be brave.” as she nodded her head. Just like that. She is the bravest person I know and I like to declare that I gave birth to my hero.

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Coming home was hard. It was so new and scary. That kind of scary is so different from coming home with your first newborn, when you’re not sure why they allow new parents to leave the hospital with these tiny helpless humans, because how can you be trusted with something so special and fragile?

Anxiety was in us all. Would I kill her? Would my husband and I mess up so badly that her death will be on our hands? What if we don’t catch a “low” or what if we give too much insulin?  Yes, those are real thoughts we had and still have today. We could make a mistake. We are so tired. We are so stressed. We are so busy. We might give the wrong dose without realizing it and it could have a really bad result. A deadly one. Or we may not catch a low, for whatever reason. People have woken up in the middle of the night and saw their children in the middle of a seizure from a low. This is not an “easy” disease. People who say, “At least it’s not cancer.” do not understand. There is no “better.”

I will remain forever grateful for how “easy” our diagnosis story is. There are families out there that truly have more traumatic diagnosis stories than our own. Not only that, especially considering the fact we had a newborn, it was an easy time because of family stepping in and being so willing to help. We otherwise would not have made it through.

I could feel God’s presence every moment. The fluidity of how everything was working once we got to the hospital, the kindness of everyone, and even my daughter’s easygoing personality that has made me stronger in the face of everything – He truly was with us and He still is.

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(All pictures are recent pictures. They are not ones from Melina’s hospital visit.)

Well Being

The Secret to Strength

This lovely lady, Sarah Frazer, I “met” through adoption. I was drawn to the way she writes about God and adoption, so when I saw she was writing a book I couldn’t wait to have her share with you about it!

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Do you want to know the secret to strength? It is found in giving up. That’s right. Give up. Stop striving. Let me get an Amen!? I mean, I am tired. I wake up tired. I count how many POTS of coffee I drink in the day, not the cups. POTS. I drink it all through the morning, at noon, and well into the afternoon. By nine o’clock at night I’m ready for bed, and some TUMS. My poor husband, he probably thinks I run marathons everyday.

And I do. I run upstairs and downstairs. I run to the grocery store, therapy and I run around like a crazy woman in a cleaning manic mode. I deal with fighting, crying, screaming, tantrums, complaining, and the endless questions. My mind, my heart, my emotions, and my physical body are so incredibly exhausted. I feel like a week of sleep wouldn’t even help.

This year was supposed to be a year of running. Instead, I found myself walking. Sometimes just crawling. I wasn’t moving ahead at a runner’s pace. I was frantic, and not going where. I was busy with activity, but not productivity. I felt out of strength and stuck. Like a hamster on its wheel.

One of my favorite verses from this past year was in Psalm 46:10. God gave me this psalm because I thought I need Psalm 46:1 – God is very present help in trouble.

Instead, God is showing me the verse I needed was Psalm 46:10: Be still and know that I am God. “Be still” simply means to stop striving. Stop working so hard, spinning my wheels, and not moving forward. The way to get strength and move ahead is to be still, but also in knowing.

I can only be still if I know God. My brand new Bible study is about The Glorious Ordinary. About finding He is beautiful, faithful, and loving in the everyday. My relationship with God gives me strength. What does Paul say, when he asked God for the ability to overcome?

“My [God’s] grace is sufficient for you, for my [God’s] power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

That’s right. Our weaknesses are made PERFECT in God’s power. We can give up trying to muster enough strength. Only when we surrender and submit do we find sufficiency; plenty; enough. Plenty of grace for today. Fullness of strength for us, even today.

The beauty of strength is we only need enough for the moment. God doesn’t give us enough strength to last a lifetime. He gives enough for today. If you are tired today, find some time to let God fill you up. 5 Minutes. 10 Minutes. 15 minutes. If you have 30 minutes to read and study and pray God’s word, it will make a difference. I can attest to what an amazing strength it will bring to you!

Fatigue is a real enemy when it comes to women. Weariness fights us hard and fast. Let’s fight back with truth. God is enough. You might not feel like you have the secret, but you do.

What choice can you make today to fight fatigue?

Do you need to speak truth to your heart?

Do you need to say no to something in order to find time to rest?

Do you need to just take a nap?

Do you need to go to bed earlier?

Do you need to spend time reading God’s Word?

If you are struggling with how to dig deep into God’s Word, you might want to check out my brand NEW Bible study, coming November 30. Sign up here to receive updates so you don’t miss the exciting extras.

The Glorious Ordinary is a nine-week Bible study designed to lead you into deeper study of God’s Word. No matter if you’ve studied scripture you entire life, or are just starting out, this study is for you. I’ve provided the passages to read, questions to answer, and scripture to memorize.

It is about walking one day at a time. Even though walking is so ordinary, don’t get discouraged. I understand that the deepest part of your heart just wants this hard place to be over. I ask you to walk through whatever circumstance you are facing one day at a time with me. You aren’t alone and you are made to be exceptional, right here.

Sign up here to get updates. Just for giving me your email, I’ll also be sending you lots of free printables to help you in your Bible reading!

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Sarah lives her life with an amazing husband and four little ones (one adopted from China). Her inner-planner girl would like to say she’s super efficient and has the house, homeschool, and husband all neatly organized. But she doesn’t. Sarah’s house is run with fuel from coffee and Jesus. She is learning how to find the thrill of walking one day at a time in the messiness of mundane. She invites you to study God’s Word in your ordinary days.
If you are having a hard time starting a Bible study habit, check out Sarah’s 5 Steps for Starting a Bible Study Habit – Today! Found at sarahefrazer.com/audio-course.
Connect with Sarah here: Website / / Facebook / / Instagram / / Pinterest / / Twitter
Devotions

Beautiful Ruins

Recently my friend Tima  and I were exploring some ruins.  We were marveling and awed by the beauty that they were.  Surrounded by the lush green around them and the history they held, it was captivating.

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The ruins weren’t “useful” per say and they weren’t whole, but they held beauty and history all there own.  I think we would have been happy to just stay there the whole time.

I often judge myself by my usefulness.  Can I do such and such well, is this helpful to anyone else.  I evaluate how to spend my time and efforts.  I want to prove my value.  Do you ever find yourself doing this kind of thing?

The world of adoption is messy.  More messy than I ever comprehended in the beginning.  When families look at adoption it really isn’t pretty.  It isn’t a whole child you will adopt.  You will adopt a fragmented and broken child.  But does that make them any less beautiful?

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At this ruins we had to be careful of where we stepped to preserve the building and keep ourselves safe as well.  But we loved every second there.

God has adopted each one of us.  We are broken, fragmented, jagged people.  We resist His love, even though He has given everything to prove His love.  We hurl insults back at Him and ignore His expressions of love and patience.  Yet, when God looks at us do you think He views us as ruins without worth?  No, I think He loves us.  I think He sees us as beautiful ruins.  And He dwells with us.  Then suddenly we aren’t just ruins, we are a historical landmark of what was and what will be.

Do you feel like you are just a pile of ruins?  Useless and broken?  That’s not how God sees you.

Are you forging into a journey that looks like ruins?  Whether the broken heart of a child or something else?  God doesn’t see it as beyond repair.

He sees beautiful ruins and He won’t give up on you or what He has called you.

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Relationships

Total Family Makeover by Melissa Spoelstra

I will be honest, I wasn’t that excited about reading this book.  I more thought, “This will be good for me to read as a parent.”  But inwardly I was kind of dreading it.  I didn’t want it to be added to the list of things I should do but would never actually do.  Even getting the book I felt a little dismayed at the amount of information that seemed packed into the page.  But then I began reading…

WOW.  I couldn’t be more glad or thankful that I started to read this book.  I couldn’t stop reading it.  There was so much in this book that spoke to my heart as a parent trying to raise my children for God.  Melissa Spoelstra’s writing is easy and engaging to read.  She doesn’t expect you to do things exactly like her but invites you to create these 8 steps in ways that will fit your family.

Each chapter has two sections: Modeling and Training.  I wish I had words eloquent enough to express how good this was for my soul.  This book is more than just a book on how to help raise your kids for Jesus, it is a way to help you get your soul and spirit back into the places that you need them to be so that you can model what you long for your kids to have in their lives.

I highly, highly recommend this book.  We’ve already begun to put this into practice at our home and it fills my heart with joy.

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Here is the blurb from the publisher:
God calls us as parents to be key disciple-makers in our children’s lives, but if we’re honest, some days it’s a battle just to get them dressed and ready for school on time. How can you mold their hearts when sometimes you can’t even find their shoes?
In Total Family Makeover, author Melissa Spoelstra gives parents a way—a sort of spiritual track to run on—when it comes to building family discipleship. She focuses on eight key habits of growth:
•         Spending Time in Prayer
•         Reading God’s Word
•         Growing Through a Mentoring Relationship
•         Finding Community in the Church
•         Serving Others
•         Taking Time to Rest
•         Giving Back to God
•         Sharing Your Faith
Disciples are made, not born. Whether your children are babes in arms or teenagers getting ready to leave the nest, making disciples at home starts with you! Give your family a makeover with this practical approach to helping your children learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus.