The Best Place To Find True Community For Christian Bloggers

To be honest, I consider blogging a form of ministry.

As a faith-based blogger, I spend time researching and writing about topics that can teach others more about God. And honestly, my main goal in life is to point other women to Jesus. My blog is just one way I hope to do that.

But I don't think blogging should be a solo task.

In fact, I believe it's essential to build a community of fellow bloggers who can share the ups & downs of this journey with you.

That's why I'm so excited to share one particular group of bloggers with you today. They have amazing testimonies, as well as an incredible wealth of knowledge about blogging. They will stand by you and pray with you in good times and in bad.

If you're a faith-based blogger, I know you're absolutely going to want to keep reading!

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7 Powerful Steps To Set Goals God's Way

Have you ever wondered what the Bible says about goal-setting?

You probably already know I'm a huge fan of Lara Casey & Cultivate What Matters, and I absolutely love using her PowerSheets and goal-setting blog series each year.

There's just something beautiful about taking small, intentional steps toward making what really matters to you happen.

But what DOES the bible say about setting goals?

That's what I hope to answer for you today, and to share a few simple steps to set God-centered goals.

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What It Really Means To Let Go & Let God

I don't know about you, but Holy Week is one of my favorite weeks of the entire year.

And just between us, I might like it even better than Christmas :) :)

Why? Because we've just spent the past 40 days reflecting on the life of Christ and our deep need for Him.

And this week feels closer to Him than ever before.

Reading the bible stories about the week leading up to Christ's crucifixion during THIS WEEK two thousand years ago somehow makes me feel so much closer to the actual events.

A few weeks ago, I was slowed down by a need to focus on my health. For an entire week, I spent my days either in a doctor's office or in bed with intense headaches and TMJ pain. 

I'm on the mend now, but somehow it's a different story...

And that's the story I want to share with you today - the story of how I learned what it really means to "Let go, and let God."

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How I Overcame My Fear of Praying Out Loud

I spent years afraid to pray in front of others.

Fear kept me from praying with friends when I could tell they really needed it.
Fear kept me from praying at family gatherings.
Fear even kept me from praying with my future husband, even when our relationship really needed it.
Fear kept my walk with God stagnant.

Fear is a tool used by Satan to keep us far from God. He knows that the more time we spend communing with God, the easier we can stand against his advances.

Ephesians 6:11 says, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil."

The enemy hates when we grow closer to God and will work harder at that point to instill fear.

Today, I want to encourage you to not believe his lies. If you have a fear of praying out loud, or even if you're just unsure what to say in a verbal prayer, keep reading!

I'm sharing my story of how I overcame my fear of praying out loud, in the hopes that you too can grow in your walk and relationship with the Lord.

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3 Amazing Must-Have Resources For Bible Study Topics

The one thing that has held me back from consistent bible study time and time again is simply knowing where to start!

It really doesn't work to just flip open the bible to any page and start reading.

One of my spiritual gifts is administration, which means I like to be organized - so being intentional about what I'm studying is important to me!

Over time, I've come to love these 3 resources as my favorites for following along with bible studies.

It's my hope that they will help guide you, too!

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How to Write Blog Posts Consistently

If you're a blogger and anything like me, there's ONE thing you struggle with more than anything else:  posting consistently.

And it drives me nuts!

I have lists of topic ideas for all of my blog categories, and I truly am passionate about sharing my story through a blog.

It's just that sometimes, I really don't feel like writing. None of my topics sound appealing, and the long list of to-dos that come with creating a new post is intimidating.

If you can relate, I want you to know something - that doesn't make us bad bloggers! And it definitely doesn't mean we should hang up our hats and quit writing!

It just means we need a new system, a new way of organizing our writing structure to be more effective. And maybe even a little bit fun :)

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What Your Passions Have To Do With Finding Your Purpose

I've spent countless hours over the past year trying to figure out my purpose... 

Over and over again I would search Pinterest for "how to find your purpose" in hopes of finding an article written by someone who knew what this felt like.

It is an overwhelming feeling of knowing that I was made for MORE, that just making it through my days wasn't ENOUGH, that there had to be a greater PURPOSE for my life.

If that's you right now, I just want to encourage you to hang in there. God DOES have a greater purpose in mind for you, and you truly were made for more. 

To be truthful, I don't think I can say that I've fully found my purpose yet... And maybe there's always a bit of searching in this journey we're taking with the Lord...

But I do believe God's given me a few insights that I want to share that have gotten me to where I am today, closer to my purpose than ever before.

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A Simplicity Challenge: Our Whole30 Experience

Have you ever heard of the Whole30?

It's a pretty amazing program, actually. Since I am no expert on the program, I want you to just take a few minutes to swing by Whole30.com to learn about it! 

I actually first learned about it over a year ago. Since it's such a huge diet change, I was terrified to try it myself.

But, things have really gotten out of control with my food choices. So, my husband and I agreed that the new year would be the perfect time to make this happen for both of us.

Here's a little bit about what our experience was like, the recipes we loved, and whether we're going to do it again or not.

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Thoughts on Spiritual Warfare for Christian Bloggers

This past week hasn't been easy. And there's no real way to explain how it has rocked my spirit and shaken my confidence...

Sisters, I believe I have had my first experience with spiritual warfare.

The Lord has led me to write this post from a very vulnerable place. I just pray that it will be an encouragement to those of you who have experienced (or will experience) the same thing.

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Why There's Nothing Magical About January 1: My Favorite Goal-Setting Tool

Have you set goals for 2017? There are many benefits to setting both personal and business goals, especially if you're a blogger. Having goals keeps you on track and holds you accountable to making what matters happen.

But what if you haven't set any goals yet for this year? It's already the end of February, and you're feeling so far behind...

Well, I'm here to tell you there's grace for that, dear sister!

What if I told you there's nothing magical about January 1? Lara Casey from Cultivate What Matters said that first, and she also has some amazing tips on goal-setting:  She shares that "You are not one bit 'behind,' if you haven’t started (or finished) setting goals yet."

"Today is the best day to begin."


Feeling inspired, but unsure where to begin? Today, I'm sharing my favorite goal-setting tool and some tips to help you get started, as well as my own goals for 2017! Let's go!

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Reasons I Recommend Squarespace For Your Blog

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Squarespace. When I made the decision to start a blog, I was so grateful to happen across this all-in-one platform for building my website.

For those of you who haven't heard of Squarespace, it is a web-based system for creating and hosting a website. It's perfect for bloggers, shop owners and online entrepreneurs. Basically, anyone who needs a website should check out Squarespace! (if only they had an affiliate program...LOL)

Today, I'm sharing my top 10 reasons that I recommend Squarespace for YOUR blog. By the end of this post, you'll know exactly why I love Squarespace so much and why I encourage you to check it out for yourself!

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How To Hear God's Still Small Voice

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to actually hear God speak to you? Like Moses at the burning bush, I can imagine I might hide my face too (Exodus 3:6). But I also have so many questions... What is my purpose here, Lord? How can I serve your kingdom? Who am I to help others?

There are times I would love nothing more than to hear God's direction loud and clear. I imagine it would come like a booming voice from heaven, declaring the intended path I should be taking.

But God doesn't speak that way, does he? Rather, he speaks in a quiet whisper to our hearts.

Even though we long to hear the sound of God's voice, there are many ways to listen for his still small voice guiding you on your journey to find purpose. You CAN hear God's voice. Today, I'm sharing a few of those ways to help you better listen for God's quiet whisper to your heart.

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Holy Discontent: What It Is and How It Could Reveal Your True Purpose

Almost exactly a year ago, I watched a sermon that changed everything in my journey to discover purpose. 

It was during the cool down session of an exercise video by Faithful Workouts. The leader, Michelle, started talking about this idea of holy discontent and how that can point to ways you can serve God. I was intrigued, so I looked up the original sermon she mentioned by pastor Bill Hybels. Before I knew it, I had watched the entire 40-minute sermon.

I was completely enthralled by this idea of holy discontent, that something I am passionate about could actually point to my purpose in God's kingdom. As I began to unpack this idea and dig deep into my own heart (and God's), I learned a few things about finding your purpose.

Today, I'm sharing the meaning of holy discontent and how it could reveal your true purpose.

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How To Make Time For Blogging

Recently, I asked a group of sweet, Christian blogging friends what their biggest blogging challenge is right now. If you're also a blogger, you may be able to guess their top answer - TIME!

Even though blogging is something we love to do, it can be a challenge to find the time to make it happen. As women, we have a laundry list of responsibilities (including laundry!):  working, raising kids, housekeeping, meal planning, running errands, being a wife, serving at church, and so on.

And there's so much to learn about blogging, too! It's not just writing blog posts anymore. There's social media strategies to learn about - Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat. There's website building and brand design to figure out. There's blog post graphics and social media images that need created. And don't even get me started on monetizing! That's a whole other ball game...

So, how do you find the time to grow a blog, on top of everything else God has called you to do? The simple answer, dear sister, is that you'll never find the time to blog - you have to MAKE TIME for blogging.

Today, I'm sharing the simple strategy I've learned, so you can have more time for your blog too.

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How To Set Priorities That Will Make Every Day Easier

It's a simple word, really. One that we usually toss around in off-hand ways: "That's just not a priority for me right now." Or we say, "Today, I'm going to prioritize my to-do list and finally get some things done." 

But there's another way to use this word:  to simplify our everyday decisions. Let me show you what I mean.

Here are a few easy ways you can set priorities that will make your daily life a lot easier.

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How To Find Your Niche

If you're thinking about starting a blog or a business, you've probably seen a hundred articles and Pinterest pins about choosing a niche. And if you're like me, you've read all those articles and still have a hundred questions. Why is a niche so important? Why should you even choose a niche? What IS a niche anyway?

Today, I'm sharing a simple explanation of why choosing a niche is so important and a few steps that will help you choose yours right now! Let's get started.

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What I Gained From A 30-Day Social Media Break (And What I Lost, Too)

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I had decided to take an entire MONTH off from social media. As a new-ish blogger working to build an audience and a brand, this might have seemed kinda crazy. Actually, you probably thought I had lost my mind!

And maybe it was a little nuts. As a matter of fact, most if not all of my traffic was coming from social media. That's the main way people have found my blog since the beginning. But to do that, I was spending an inordinate amount of time posting, sharing, and scrolling on social media. I felt like I had to constantly be promoting my blog on social media in order to drive even nominal traffic to my site.

What happened a month ago was an exchange with God that led me to realize I needed a break. A break from social media that would allow me to reconnect and refocus on His plans for me. So if you're wondering how it went, today I'm sharing what I gained from a 30-day social media break (and what I lost, too).

 
Social Media Break
 

I gained clarity + confidence.


Spending time focusing on my own business rather than the progress of others on social media helped me to see more clearly the direction God was leading me. And it wasn't the way I thought! In fact, this month has given me a whole new perspective and purpose for Cultivate Grace that I can't wait to share with you!


I gained more time with God.


This was my favorite part. I used to spend my morning quiet time anxious to hop on social media to check my likes, comments, follows, or messages. So obviously, my heart wasn't 100% focused on God. And trust me, it's really hard to admit that! But I honestly didn't even realize it until I logged out of my social media accounts. It was really incredible how God began using those morning moments to encourage my heart.


I lost the comparison game.


You guys. The comparison game is a REAL THING. The feeling that I needed to keep up consumed me at times. But not in the most obvious ways. Mostly, it was simply scrolling through social media feeds & profile. Sometimes hours and hours would pass, and by the time I put my phone down, it was with a sigh of sadness and anxiety that I would never be good enough.

Something changed over the past month. I've learned that the way to stay positive and confident in God's calling for me is to keep my eyes on my own paper, so to speak. And when I do check in with the incredible community of women online, I can celebrate their successes instead of worrying that I'm getting behind. I've lost the comparison game, and wow, is that a freeing feeling!


I lost an addiction.


Social media used to give me so much anxiety. I always felt like I needed to post just the right thing, at just the right time, and connect with the right people, in just the right places. There's so much pressure! It caused me to check my phone constantly. I had just about every app possible, with all the little red number notifications turned on.

During my social media retreat, I lost the ability to check my notifications constantly. And in turn, I lost an addiction too. And yet again, it was something I didn't realize affected me until I let it go. Now, I start my days with God instead of my phone.


 
Galatians 6:4
 

Setting an intentional strategy


Coming back from time off social media, I knew I wanted to do things differently. I HAD TO. The past month completely changed the direction of my blog & turned it into a potential business! God is working in this with me! So I wanted to be faithful to Him by being more intentional with my social media strategy.

Choose just one or two platforms. In order to be more fully present in your social media, pick your favorite platforms. Is there a social media style you dislike? Ditch it! For me, that was Twitter. While it may be a great way to drive traffic to my site, I don't enjoy it, so it really won't serve me well at this point in my business. So I've chosen Facebook and Instagram for the time being.

Pinterest is a search engine, not social media! Think about it. What do you use Pinterest for? Generally, you're looking for ideas on a specific topic. So you type it in the search box! There are many great resources on using Pinterest for blogging and business, because it truly is an excellent source of organic traffic.

Participate in just 2-3 Facebook groups. Once you start joining groups and realizing the value in them, it's so tempting to join ALL of them! But try to restrain yourself. Spend about 30 days like I did observing and getting to know the group's atmosphere. This part is vital, because it will help you decide where to promote your own stuff. I recommend choosing 2-3 at the most!

Have a plan! Being intentional with social media means utilizing a strategy. Where will you be present? What time of day will you check social media? How long will you spend posting, commenting, and reading other posts? What will your posts be about? Spend some time thoughtfully answering each of these questions.


Simplicity Challenge

Every week, I like to share a quick action step that is designed to help you simplify various aspects of your life or business. Today's action step really is simple:  choose one tip above and implement it! What will have the greatest impact in simplifying your social media strategy? How can you use one of these ideas to lighten your load? The idea here is to create a social media strategy that makes the most of your time, so you can focus more on what matters most beyond social media!

I can't wait to hear what steps you're taking to simplify social media this week. I hope my time away from social media will help you in your own journey. Praying for you, sisters! Share your action step with us below!


10 Best Gift Ideas for Christian Women

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you're enjoying preparing for the holiday this week. I am so excited for the upcoming holidays! This year is going to be extra special for me during the holiday season. I am celebrating the freedom to join my family at every gathering, instead of working in a retail store! God is good. <3

Today, I wanted to share a simple gift guide of the 10 best gift ideas for the Christian women on your list this year! The first five are products that I have personally used and loved, so I know they will make great gifts. And the second half of the list are items on MY wish list this year!

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