I’m a big fan of the grace and works tension. I like to explore it, talk about it, roll around in it, and most of all – I like to apply it to my life on a regular basis. We know that God’s grace is what compels us to shift His kingdom forward, but it’s also what compels us to put praise on our lips even when we don’t feel like it. When we apply the Good News to our lives in a moment-by-moment way, it literally changes our lives. That’s what I want to lead women to do this month.

There are a lot of reasons to be thankful this month, and there are lot of people out there encouraging you to do it. I don’t want to add to the noise but I do want to whisper in your ear, Who is it you’re thanking? And what happens when you don’t feel like giving thanks? I want to encourage you to explore gratitude in your own heart and as a result, walk a little closer to Jesus in November.

I want to see you get after it. Dig deep, as deeply as you need to. Find a way to put praise on your lips, even when it hurts. Gratitude is worship, and I’d love to hear you get loud this month. Join me on Instagram using the hashtag #getaftergrateful, whenever you feel like getting tenacious about thanking Jesus for what He’s doing in your life!

We just make do and it’s beautiful.

When my stepson started growing out his hair, he stole my hairbrush. He’s always been very particular about his space and his belongings, and his hygiene routine is no exception. I’ve bought him products and I’ve taught him how to handle his beautiful curls as best as I know how, but I’ve got straight hair (much to my disappointment) and so I’ve sort of just let him run with whatever works best for him.

Anyway, he stole my hairbrush. I tried to convince him he didn’t even really need one with those curls, but he developed this ritual of brushing it out after the shower and after a few weeks I gave up trying to get it back. A few weeks after that, I gave up the trips upstairs to “borrow” it. A few months after that, I realized I didn’t even miss it. I’m not sure how long it’s been, now. At least a year, I think?

Isn’t it crazy how we just make do? When people find out we only have clawfoot tubs in our house, or that we don’t have a dishwasher, it gives me the same realization. Those things sound weird to me too but somewhere along the way, we just made do with what we had. Instead of brushing my hair, I just run my fingers through my hair or use of the little kids’ combs. I take baths, and I wash my hair in the sink when it feels really important. We hand wash our dishes and take turns drying and build community in that kitchen and whip each other with towels and make up after fights while we scrub. We just make do and it’s beautiful.

Don’t get me wrong, I keep meaning to buy a new hairbrush. I want a total bathroom makeover (times two) in our house. And please oh please, Lord Jesus and husband of mine, may I have a new kitchen before I die? I just find it so interesting how easily we adapt to our circumstances. Once we quit fighting the change or complaining about where we are and where we aren’t, we have the space to shake our heads clear of the cobwebs and look around. A “make do” attitude gives us room to grow and thrive and find the beauty in new territory we never wanted to take to begin with.

Freedom on a tether.

The John 15 passage is rooted deeply within me – pun intended, I guess. I grew up hearing about the vine and the branches all of the time. Even still, abiding is a huge piece of my daily walk with Jesus. I wrote about it last week, in fact. But I also grew up with this idea that the vine and the branches concept was an omen, a reminder that your life wasn’t going to be as fun once you were tethered to Jesus. There was this sense that I’d be giving up something if I chose to follow Him.

And over the last several years, I’ve learned that I couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I’ve learned that the fun begins when I decide to let God have his way with my life. The real adventure begins when I plant my feet firmly in his truth and let him guide my path. The vine and branches passage isn’t meant to drag me down or lock me up. It’s meant to set me free.

When we took our kids to the beach earlier this summer, my baby couldn’t stay away from the water. From the moment we set her down, she ran right to it, squealing with delight. But she always stopped just short, waiting for me. Once I had her in my arms, though, it was on. She would lean as hard as she could into the water, one arm around mine and the other splashing at the waves. Again, Momma, again. Always headed out to sea, but still holding onto me. She found freedom in that, in a wild adventure that started in her mother’s arms.

And if I can be cheesy and honest? That’s exactly what my life with Jesus has become. A wild adventure, one I experience while rooted deeply and tethered sweetly to a Father who might let me get wet, but who will never let me drown. And it’s realizations like this that make me ask, Why can’t everyone experience the Lord like I do? So I figure I might as well spread that Good News or die trying.