"We are committed to helping you grow in grace-filled, daily discipline! The habit of a Quiet Time looks different in every season, and we hope that these articles will encourage you to just keep going by the grace of Jesus!"

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IN THE SHOP

September 27, 2021

Looking for Grace

Quiet Time in Suffering 

By: Jordan Sparnroft 

How do you have a quiet time when you’re struggling just to get out of bed and even brushing your teeth is a struggle?  Quiet time in suffering is not going look like the images you see on your favorite Christian influencer’s Instagram. It probably won’t have the cozy blanket, soft lighting, hot cup of coffee, beautiful prayer journal, leather-bound Bible and sun rising perfectly in the background. 

When I was losing a parent to cancer, experiencing two miscarriages in a row, and facing a serious diagnosis for my new baby, I had not established a quiet time routine and the Quiet Time Companion didn’t exist. I was spending time with God but it definitely wasn’t an image you would want to see scrolling through Instagram. Instead of being wrapped in a cozy warm quilt, I was smothered under a blanket of grief and the only words I could utter were: ‘Why?’ and ‘Jesus.’ 

When you’re struggling to do life’s most basic tasks, prayer does not come easy. Just uttering the name of ‘Jesus’ is enough. Yet, there are some means of grace that are especially fitting for us and our quiet time during seasons of suffering.  
 
Suffering is a prime opportunity to let the body of Christ do what it was meant to do: bear each other’s burdens. In the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus was wrestling with the immense suffering ahead of Him, He called upon His friends to come and pray with Him.  In your suffering, reach out to your people who love Jesus. Don’t just ask them to pray for you but request that they pray with you. Ask them to text you Bible verses proclaiming Who God is and that remind you of His promises. 

Play worship music and lots of it! Even when you don’t feel like it. It takes the focus off of you and puts it back on Christ. Put on the Dwell app and have the Psalms read over you while you sleep. 

God often speaks to us the most in the midst of suffering. However, we easily miss it if we’re not careful. Ask Him to open your eyes and your heart to His grace. It’s easy to lose sight of Him in the midst of chaos. Looking for His grace allows us to see. This form of worship and thankfulness breathes life into your darkest moments. Look for His grace in every small thing. Thank Him for DoorDash, modern medicine, a hug from a dear friend, the Facebook group of people who are navigating the same waters of grief, a kind smile from a stranger, a hot shower, a nap, etc. The little things are the big things. When you look back on your suffering, these are the moments you will remember seeing God most clearly. 

A quiet time is as necessary in sorrow, trial, and pain as it is as it is on our good days (if not more so!). It’s just going to look very different. When – by God’s grace – you are able to have that ‘Instagram snap shot’ kind of quiet time, frantically write it all down: everything you’re going through. Don’t hold back, God can handle it. Document your anger, your questions, your confusion, your sadness, and anxiety. When I look back at those tear-stained pages, they’re my most cherished prayers. I remember that as I wrote them, God felt so far away; but when I look back on those entries, His love and mercy are written all over them and I feel Him closer than ever before. 

Psalm 51:15-17 

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; 

you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; 

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 

Applications for quiet time in suffering: 

1) Don’t expect your quiet time to look picture perfect. 

2) Depend on other believers! 

3) Worship. 

4) Look for the grace God is showing you and say thanks. 

5) Honestly pour out your heart to God; He can handle it! 


Jordan grew up on a farm located in a small town in Virginia. She married her NY native husband 8 years ago. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Jordan was a professional mental health therapist. Apart from raising her 2.5 year old daughter with a complex medical diagnosis, Jordan also teaches English to kids in China online. Through numerous trials involving grief and loss she endured in her 20s, Jordan fell more in love with Jesus and realizes her need for Him everyday. Her passion for studying God’s word and knowing Him more deeply grows with each passing day.

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May 18, 2021

Accountability in Your Quiet Time

By: Hannah Fatheree

Quiet time is sacred time with Jesus: diving into the Bible, praying and listening. Ideally, we spend time with Him every day but allow ourselves to receive grace when we do miss days.

My desire to read the Bible and grow closer to Jesus is pretty constant. However, I have been through several dry seasons in life where my desire and discipline in the God’s Word have been minimal, causing me to essentially avoid spending time with Jesus altogether. Other times, I have allowed busyness and to-do lists to precede my relationship with Jesus. 

Whatever draws me away from Him, I always come back to one word, one idea to help me get back on track: accountability. Quiet time accountability is when a trusted friend(s) walks through pursuing Jesus with you: checking in on how quiet time is going, where you may be doing well and how you can grow closer to Jesus. When we have accountability in our lives, we will be better equipped to step into our calling, face trials, and have a stronger relationship with Jesus.

So, how exactly does accountability play into our quiet time and where do we find it? 

Holding ourselves accountable to others promotes consistency in our walk with Jesus. One verse that comes to mind when thinking about this topic is Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” 

Think about it: how much more consistent will you be in opening your Bible or spending time in prayer if you have someone holding you accountable? A friendly reminder or word of encouragement will inspire regular time with Jesus and in the Word. 

Not only does accountability help with consistency but also helps us be honest with our struggles, season of life, and where we may need help. Sharing what we’re going through can hold us accountable by allowing others to carry our burdens while also helping others gain insight and understanding. 

I personally believe the best accountability comes from a biblical community. Strong biblical community provides honesty, vulnerability and intentionality. These people also love one another as Christ loves and encourage each other to grow closer to Him. What has helped me out of dry and distracted seasons most is my community and their commitment to hold me accountable. Currently, my accountability comes from my husband (something I think is very important in marriage) and my closest friends in our small group. 

To practice healthy, biblical accountability in our quiet time, I believe we need to consider the following steps:

  1. Know who your trusted community is and talk to them. Hopefully you have a few friends who are on the same path of pursuing Jesus. Ask God to provide clarity who would make a strong accountability partner and then talk with them. If you don’t have a strong community, I encourage you to check out a local church or small group and plug into a place which encourages you to pursue Jesus.
  2. Determine a steady routine. Talk with your accountability partner about when to do weekly or daily check-ins. Once you pick a day(s), set a reminder in your phone or calendar to check in. 
  3. Ask questions when practicing accountability. Check-in with your friend and ask them how quiet time is going, what they’re reading, and where they’re struggling. Be open and honest with your answers and ask the same of your partner. 
  4. Remember grace upon grace. We are imperfect people who wholeheartedly follow Jesus. That means there will be days or even seasons where we mess up or miss quiet time. Most importantly, always allow yourself to receive the grace God freely gives. 
  5. Be willing to make changes in your routine to grow closer to Jesus. Brainstorm ways you can create better consistency in quiet time. Maybe you and your accountability partner need to check in with each other more often, or maybe you need to put your phone in another room or practice reading in the same place at the same time every day. Listen to what Jesus is laying on your heart and step out of your comfort zone to create a stronger quiet time. 

My husband and friends help me stay focused and dedicated in my walk with Christ during times where I feel like running in the opposite direction. I truly wouldn’t be where I am today without my wonderful accountability partners. 

In my time following Jesus, I’ve learned that the journey is better walking with others than walking alone. As Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.”


Hannah currently resides in Knoxville, Tennessee with her husband Taylor and works as an event planner. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the Smoky Mountains, training for marathons, or sipping on a cup of coffee with friends. Hannah is passionate about helping others find Biblical community in their season of life. Through Captivating Community, she seeks to encourage and equip women in their walk with Christ.

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May 11, 2021

Generosity

By: Vanessa Bonilla

As the baby of six, generosity has always been hard for me. I’ve never had a problem during the Christmas season but if the calendar didn’t say December I wouldn’t extend my wallet for much of anything other than my family’s needs. If an opportunity for generosity presented itself I would go to my favorite excuse: “As a family of seven with one income we just do not have the resources to help right now, I’m sorry, but definitely ‘next time’.” 

Next time never comes! 

What does come is another excuse, phrased in another way. I never saw it as a problem, I truly believed what I said to be true. I believed God understood my financial situation and would never want me to help someone else and not be able to provide for my own family. 

However, God’s word teaches the opposite of how I was choosing to live and the lies I was choosing to believe. God’s Word says He clothes the lilies and feeds the birds and He will also do those things for me and my family. I don’t have to worry about that, He’s got us! 

God had a better plan for generosity, but I never searched His word to find it. In Proverbs God gives us insight into that fact that generosity effects our perspective

Proverbs 11:24-25 “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” 

When I was choosing to withhold what I have from the needs of those around me, I was creating a world where my needs were never truly being met. There was always something just out of my financial reach. I was not feeling cared for or fulfilled. I didn’t realize this feeling of financial hopelessness was actually a result of my lack of generosity. While generosity is more than the dollars we spend and includes all of our time and resources, the stricter we are with our wallets the stricter we tend to become with everything else. 

About two years ago the Lord had my husband and I read two verses separately that ended up working together to teach us both about how to implement generosity into our daily lives. One from the Old Testament and one from the New. 

Leviticus 23:22 says “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God.”

1 Corinthians 16:2 says “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” 

Here’s what we learned, 

Generosity is planned – Plan for it!

Leviticus teaches us that our income should not be budgeted right up to the last cent. We should leave “the edges” of our income for those in need. 

Corinthians teaches us that same concept but adds what that looks like for modern day. We should weekly, or however times we get an income, set aside a sum, being mindful of our own responsibilities. 

After reading this I realized that I was looking at generosity all wrong. I was running from opportunities for generosity because I wasn’t preparing for them. God wants to send opportunities for generosity, discipleship, leadership and so much more but instead of idly waiting for them to come, He wants us to prep in praise filled anticipation.

Today after two years of implementing a bi-weekly giving fund into our family budget not only is giving fulfilling it’s actually easy! When we see someone in the street who needs a meal, or a family raising money for a funeral, or a just thoughtful gift for a hurting friend, we don’t need to calculate if we can or debate if we should: the gift was prepared before the need. 

We get to share in being the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us with joy, not withholding any good thing, just as God does for us.

2 Corinthians 8:7 “But since you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”

As we plan our upcoming quiet times remember, let us excel in giving the Lord our time. Let us be generous in meeting with Him. Let us not hold back from Him, trying to only fit Him into a corner of our day but let us instead devote all of our days to Him. This generosity of time to the Lord will be the fuel that leads to a tender heart of generosity in every other part of our lives. 


Vanessa is the daughter of a Pastor, baby of six and a homeschooling mom of five. Married to her wonderful husband of eight years, they serve in their local church together. She loves fresh fruit, nights by the fire pit, and time with friends and family. Vanessa has watched God do amazing things in her life. Assaulted at a young age, teen mom and the survivor of an abusive marriage left her life in pieces. Today she stands restored and uses the testimony of brokenness to help build others and encourage women to discover the fullness of a relationship with God.

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April 27, 2021

Journaling with Children

By: Christi Grimm

Today was a challenging day.  Too many late nights and busy schedules made for short tempered children, ugly words, and negative attitudes. 

Who am I kidding?  

I was just as guilty of the aforementioned! Needless to say, it’s 4:00 p.m. and I’m pooped!  Even with the difficulties of the day, there was a moment of redemption.  

It was 2:30 and my middle-schooler had still not finished his math.  I had been patient, explained several ways, kept trying and even overlooked the attitude I was receiving from him.  

Until I just couldn’t overlook it any longer.  Ugliness hurled from his mouth.  Resolution rose within me enough was enough.  Upstairs he went, books in tow, to finish his work alone.  Cleaning his room would be next, and all of this would be without a door attached to his bedroom—privacy is now a privilege.  I had had enough!  

After calming himself for a bit (and after cooling off myself), I felt the sinking feeling of despair and failure in my heart.  I felt like a failure as a parent.  Satan’s words began in my mind and for a moment I entertained them.  

“Christi, you are an awful mom. Look how unhappy he is.  It’s all your fault.  If you were a better mom, he would get his work done quicker and he wouldn’t have an attitude.” Satan is well-versed with exactly how to attack.  For me, many times, it is through my mothering abilities. He will tell me my children’s sinful nature is because I am not doing a good enough job.  

The reality is:

My children are sinful because they’re human!

My children are going to do childish things—some of which are sinful.

Yes, I will pass down some of my sinful habits to my children.

I will also pass down all of the good things God has done in me as well.

The reality is my children will be Christ-followers BECAUSE of me and DESPITE me!

When I had had enough of Satan’s lies, I turned to the One who speaks truth and asked for direction.  I had no idea what to do but felt strongly I needed to gather my children, starting with the middle-schooler, and lead them in a journaling session with Jesus.  

I had no wise words to speak, no Bible lesson prepared, and no focused Scripture to point to.  I just knew we needed to hear from Him.  I talked with my son for a few minutes and when that started going awry, I asked him to begin writing down all the thoughts and feelings he was having about himself.  

He returned a few minutes later with a paragraph full of words which broke my heart.  Words all of us often think and feel.  

I asked the Lord what to do next and He gave me the idea to have my son write a letter to himself from God speaking to all of those thoughts and feelings.  My son balked at the idea and questioned if God would speak but after a few minutes he left the room to sit quietly with Jesus and write.  

Half an hour later, he presented me with a beautiful paragraph full of God’s truth’s.As I read, verse after verse came to mind which correlated with everything he’d written.  I highlighted each of these truths and talked about where God says those words in scripture.  “You are not alone.” “You are created on purpose.” “You are deeply loved.” 

My son walked away with his paper to write out each verse to combat the thoughts and feelings he was having.  

The concept of writing a letter to himself from God helped scripture come to life.  I could have recited verses to him combating the lies, however, it would have been void of the personalization God brings.  When my son sat down and wrote out the letter from God, his heart was able to hear God’s voice. 

I regularly practice this discipline of writing letters to and from God, however, I hadn’t encouraged my children to do this.  This is a game changer in my parenting!  

I encourage you to try it and see if God’s Word comes to life even more for you AND for your children! 


Christi is a fifth generation Florida girl who loves the sand, the sea, and the sunshine! When she is not busy mothering her 6 children, she enjoys her garden, traveling, experiencing new cultures, and indulging in warm chocolate chip cookies while reading a good book or journaling. Christi is passionate about bringing women alongside her into a life of freedom in Christ, and does so by leading Beauty for Ashes Women’s Retreats. 

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April 13, 2021

Preparing for Hard Conversations the Right Way

By: Tiffany Joy Layton

Do you know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you have to have one of those notoriously hard conversations? Those talks where you want to literally do anything else will often leave many of us wanting to run for the hills. And sadly, many of us figuratively do. When something arises that requires accountability, confrontation of sin, or reconciliation, the proper conversation a Christian should be having often takes a back seat to the fear and uncomfortableness of the situation. However, as Christians, we are called to a better way. A way that does not glorify self, but rather God. It is, after all, God’s glory that should be the objective of any conversation regardless of the difficulty or ease. 

I am no stranger to the struggle of said conversations. From a young age I was held accountable by my parents to not shy away from these types of talks. My upbringing may have been a little different from others in that both of my parents are Biblical Counselors. Let’s face it, their entire profession is centered on difficult conversations handled biblically. But through the years I did learn some valuable lessons from them on how to handle hard conversations the right way. And as I gained experience as an adult serving in ministry, I learned how to implement their lessons even better. I want to share with you some of the most important things I’ve learned on how to prepare for hard conversations the right way. 

Preparing for a difficult conversation is three fourths of the battle. It is not something to be taken lightly and should be handled with as much care as actually speaking to someone should. It is very hard to be pleasing to God in these types of interactions with others when we do not regularly spend time with God in His Word. The Word gives us all we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Throughout some of my experiences, and plenty of time with God, He has taught me a few helpful ways to approach this subject. I have gathered together a list of preparations to think through before approaching someone. I pray this is helpful, encouraging and motivating as you approach people with love and honor. You will also notice that all of these points are first examining self. This is a crucial step in the process that must not be overlooked! 

“And why do you worry about the speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye’, when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5 NLT

Have I spent time in prayer about this?

Our very first step to take is prayer. It sounds almost too simple doesn’t it? We must seek the Lord’s heart and will in all situations, and there really isn’t any way to phone this step in. We must simply take the time to pray! It is amazing the clarity, peace, and confidence this will bring to all situations. 

In my experience, when someone is preparing to have a difficult conversation with someone else, they almost always first go to “someone they can trust” for advice. This is actually not the biblical process laid out for us in Scripture. The only time we are to involve anyone else is only after we have gone to the person and there has not been reconciliation and/or repentance. When we say we are just seeking wise counsel before we have ever gone to God in prayer or have gone to the other person, we are doing nothing more than participating in disguised gossip. (Matthew 18:15-20 NLT)

Have I repented of my sin?

As Matthew 7 teaches us in the above paragraph, we have no business confronting anyone else if there is unconfessed sin in our own lives. We must ensure that we have properly confessed our sins against God, and our sins against others. This is quite possibly the most humbling of steps. To be in right standing with God positions us properly to lead others to right standing with God. 

Have I studied for contextual, biblical reference?

As a Christian, we hold a very important responsibility to handle the Word of God correctly. When we are approaching a hard conversation with someone, we must not forget to enter the conversation with biblical proof as opposed to mere opinion. Contextual, biblical Scripture means not picking out random verses to fit our narrative, but rather studying the wholeness of Scripture to obey God’s narrative. God’s Word is living and active and can do so much more than our imperfect words could ever do. (Hebrews 4:12 NLT)

“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved, a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing the Word of Truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 AMPC

Is this a difference of opinion or a sin issue?                 

 It’s a very dangerous tightrope to walk when we say things are unbiblical that the Word of God does not actually confirm. We must be careful that we do not play God. It is okay for people to have different opinions. If a conflict arises with a fellow believer, but is only based on a difference of opinion, this does not warrant a confrontational conversation. We should seek to have reconciliation. And sometimes that looks like agreeing to disagree. 

Is this about my feelings or God’s glory?

One of the most valuable lessons my parents taught me when I was very young was that just because my feelings were hurt did not necessarily mean someone else was wrong or that they owed me an apology. That is a hard pill to swallow when our feelings are hurt, but it is biblical nonetheless. We must first be certain that our desired conversation is not centered around our feelings, but rather that God be glorified. 

Am I seeking to be right or to be reconciled?

Let’s face it, we all like to be right. I don’t know anyone who does not hate being wrong. It’s a part of our fallen, human nature. However, as I often say, God’s Kingdom is upside down. In our preparations we must ensure we are dying to self and seeking to honor God in his command to be reconciled to one another and to help one another reconcile to God. As we prayerfully prepare, we must check our motives to be sure they are seeking to accomplish God’s purpose of reconciliation. 

I want to encourage each of you to embrace and utilize your Quiet Time with the Lord. It is in this place that God will equip you and teach you His ways. When difficult conversations with others arise, and they will, you will then be fully prepared to honor the Truth of Scripture, properly love others, and walk in obedience to God! 


Tiffany was born and raised in central Alabama and earned a bachelor’s degree in Theology while residing in Mobile AL. She then moved back to her hometown and met her husband while working as a barista in a local coffee shop! Tiffany and her husband Lex have now been married for 6 years and have both service in several different church staff positions. She is a proud dog mom and loves coffee, songwriting, art, Japanese/Thai foods, sunsets, and spending the day at the lake/beach! Tiffany is passionate about helping women deepen their understanding of Scripture through Bible study and quiet time, and as a result, creating lasting discipleship!

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April 1, 2021

Pursuing Jesus with Your Spouse

By: Hannah Fatheree 

My husband and I will celebrate our second wedding anniversary this summer. It’s been a wonderful (almost) two years of marriage that also has brought challenges, growth and many late-night conversations. 

When we first got married, we knew that it was important to pursue Jesus together, but didn’t really know how. For most of our lives, we had our individual relationships with Jesus, attended church, and joined small groups, but how does that change when you join lives with a spouse? 

If I’m being honest, we could have done a better job the first two years of marriage in figuring out how to pursue Jesus together. But as we’ve grown, we’ve figured out a solid routine, with the expectation that we will continue to improve and shift as needed in the coming years. 

Side-note: If you’re in the engagement season, I cannot recommend pre-marital counseling enough! Find a trusted couple or class at your church to walk through marriage expectations and strategies with you and your fiance. 

In marriage, there’s still a need for your personal relationship with Jesus: prayer, time in the Word and time to listen. But it’s equally important to pursue Jesus with your spouse, as you two are now one flesh (Ephesians 5:31). Your ministry in marriage is united: sharing His name and truth to others, making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). 

As we grow in our marriage, my husband, Taylor, and I continually evaluate where our relationships with Jesus are and how our marriage reflects Christ and our calling. Here’s a few key things that we do daily or weekly that not only helps our marriage grow, but also helps us pursue Jesus together and as individuals. 

  1. Having weekly (or daily) conversations about our personal relationships with Jesus. We are each other’s accountability partners. If one person is lacking in time with Jesus, we’re both lacking. Truthfully, it’s usually pretty evident when my quiet time is lacking as my words and actions towards Taylor don’t reflect Christ as they should. We discuss what we’re reading, learning and any questions we may have. If we’re not consistently reading, we think of ways to improve the following week and how we can better hold each other accountable. 
  1. Go through a book and a devotional together. I encourage reading through both as a book may provide wisdom and insight, but a devotional is truth directly from scripture. We continually read through books about marriage and how we can better love our spouse. There are numerous Christ centered marriage books out there and since we’ve not been married very long, we will have plenty of options for years to come. A few of our favorites are: Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, and Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler. For devotions, we either pick a book of the Bible to go through or a devotional book. We sit down every Tuesday and talk about our book and chapter of the Bible/devotional for the week. 
  1. Encourage each other daily. When we practice encouraging each other daily and pointing out things the other person did well, it creates further unity and appreciation for each other. It helps us remember to lead with love and grace in the difficult moments. The more we encourage each other, the more likely we are to speak loving words over harsh words. 
  1. Pray for each other and together daily. Actively praying for each other and praying together aligns our hearts with God. Praying for our spouses provides a mindset of humility and how we can do a better job of loving one another. Praying together allows us to hear His voice together and know what next steps to take. 
  1. Know each other’s love languages. We need to give love based on how our spouse receives it, whether through quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, or receiving gifts. If your spouse loves quality time with you, the best way to love and serve them is by spending intentional time with them. This doesn’t mean words of affirmation or taking initiative to complete a task aren’t important, but rather ensuring their needs are met.

Hannah currently resides in Knoxville, Tennessee with her husband Taylor and works as an event planner. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the Smoky Mountains, training for marathons, or sipping on a cup of coffee with friends. Hannah is passionate about helping others find Biblical community in their season of life. Through Captivating Community, she seeks to encourage and equip women in their walk with Christ.

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March 4, 2021

Oneness

By: Vanessa Bonilla 

Of all the systems God put into place, marriage by far has to be my favorite. In the beginning God looked at His creation and saw a heart that longed for unity with a similar kind and He instituted marriage. 

Jesus answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:4-6 

When I think of “one flesh” I think of words like unity, agreement, peace, harmony and oneness. I love marriage because I have become one flesh with my husband. I look to him not to be like me but to come into agreement, to find places of peace and harmony and to unite under one goal. How did we get there? 

Well firstly there is never a place of “arrival”, not in our walk with Christ or our spouses. In John 17 Jesus says, 

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. 

This verse is about way more than marriage but it does apply there too. Oneness, unity, agreement, peace and harmony come when we are found IN Christ. We become one with God when we find ourselves in His word and in time with him alone. We become one in our marriages when we do the same. 

Quiet time with our spouses is an excellent place to experience oneness. This August my husband and I will make nine years married. We have had our ups and downs and when we were first married I would have never dreamed of the time where we would be having quiet time together. We were complete opposites, our taste in music, movies, and ways to have fun; we couldn’t agree on anything. Some time around our fourth year into our marriage after frustration had set in and I thought I had made the worse choice of a partner God revealed truth to me. I didn’t need to be LIKE my husband and he didn’t need to be LIKE me, WE needed to be LIKE Christ. 

Our oneness and unity would never come from the things we liked or disliked, that’s way too shallow to keep a unity strong for the ages. God’s design is far greater than that. He wanted us to be one despite of our differences. He wanted us to be one in Him. 

Upon receiving that understanding I started to ask my husband’s opinion on certain passages that I was reading. It would blow me away when he would respond because the details that stood out to him were so different than the ones that stood out to me. Those conversations would make my engagement with the Word so exciting because I was getting such a bigger picture of scripture than when doing it on my own. The frustration and anger that was beginning to tear at the seams of my marriage started to be washed away by the truth we shared in scripture. This unity and agreement became the only one that mattered. 

Now five years later we have quiet time together about once a month but we are always having conversations about what we learned in Scripture. These experiences not only deepen my relationship with God and His Word but also creates a deeper love towards my husband. 

If you find yourself in a marriage that seems like there is no hope I encourage you to engage your husband in conversations about scripture. Have your quiet time in the morning and bring what you’ve learned that morning to your spouse. Tell him what you got out of it and ask his opinion. Respect what he says and avoid making him feel like everything he says is “wrong.” Pray about his responses, those interactions can be the spring board to something awesome to come. Avoid forcing your spouse into a relationship with God that looks like yours. Avoid getting trapped in the idea that your way is the “right way.” Understand that God is an individual God and respecting our spouses as individuals will surprisingly result in unity. Spiritual growth takes times and as we grow in Christ, in His Word and in finding unity in Scripture we will see our marriages grow as well. 

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. Psalm 133:1 


Vanessa is the daughter of a Pastor, baby of six and a homeschooling mom of five. Married to her wonderful husband of eight years, they serve in their local church together. She loves fresh fruit, nights by the fire pit, and time with friends and family. Vanessa has watched God do amazing things in her life. Assaulted at a young age, teen mom and the survivor of an abusive marriage left her life in pieces. Today she stands restored and uses the testimony of brokenness to help build others and encourage women to discover the fullness of a relationship with God.

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February 2, 2021

Two Truths for the Single Girl

By: Grace McCready

Valentine’s Day can be a tough time of year for us single girls. As a single twenty-something who has never gotten married, been engaged, or even dated, I understand how you feel if you’re in a similar situation. People tell us to wait on God’s timing and to trust His plan, but we can still feel confused and even angry with Him. 

I hope you already know that you’re not alone. I hope you already know that you’re valuable whether you’re single or married. I hope you already know that God’s love is so much better than any man’s love. 

But do you know that Satan wants to ruin these years for you? His lies to single girls often seem the loudest. Perhaps because we are in a vulnerable situation—feeling slightly desperate, somewhat angry, and very lonely. 

He can only ruin our single years if we let him. While our childhood years may be formative physically and mentally, our single years can be very formative spiritually. We can waste them by constantly thinking about how to find a boyfriend, when we’ll get married, and what married life will be like. Or we can believe these two truths that can significantly impact our single years: 

Truth #1: I am not missing out on something good. 

One lie that I’ve believed as a single girl is that I’m missing out. I see a cute couple holding hands as they walk down the sidewalk, and I envy. I see a handsome man sitting with his beautiful girlfriend at a restaurant, and I covet. I hear a guy and girl teasing each other playfully on a tv show, and I swoon. 

Satan wants us to ask God, “Why don’t I have that? Why isn’t that mine right now? Why don’t I feel like them?” But God doesn’t answer my demands with, “Oh, I’m sorry, Grace. I should’ve given you a boyfriend sooner.” He answers to my demands with the instruction to trust Him because His goodness isn’t dependent on my relationship status. I don’t think there would be any singles left on the earth if God couldn’t use our single years for His glory and our good.   

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; He withholds no good thing from those who walk with integrity. (Psalm 84:11 NASB) 

Truth #2: I am not the only one who feels like this.   

Satan is also eager for us to believe that 1) dating/engaged/married people never feel lonely and 2) other single girls are completely content being single. One of his main desires is to isolate us. Thus, if we fall for his lie that we’re the only one who feels weary and confused about our relationship status, we’ll likely isolate ourselves. 

You’re probably not going to find any Bible verses that say there are other women (whether married or unmarried) who are lonely like you. But you will find Bible verses that encourage fellowship. Not only are we commanded to fellowship, but we can grow closer to other Christians and learn that they struggle, too. 

Take care, brothers and sisters, that there will not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another every day, as long as it is still called “today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:12-13 NASB) 

Satan wants to waste your single years by claiming that singleness is like living in a dirty pit and that you’re stuck in this pit alone. He wants you to be focused on yourself instead of others and on your future instead of your present. Instead of believing his lies, focus on the truth that you aren’t missing out on something good and that you aren’t the only one who feels like this. 


Grace McCready is a senior in college who is studying business administration and communications. She enjoys writing, spending time with her family, and hanging out with friends. Her passion is for young women to live transparently and thrive during their single years. She blogs about the Christian life at Tizzie’s Tidbits of Truth.

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January 21, 2021

Community While Social Distancing

By: Jordan Sparnroft 

In 2018, as I unexpectedly became a stay-at-home-mom to a child who had been recently diagnosed with serious medical issues, I quickly lost a sense of community. I no longer had coworkers to engage with and gripe about the politics of the workplace. My friends who had babies the same age, could not relate to my grief and fear surrounding the knowledge of ‘something is wrong’ with your baby. I could no longer drive the 50 minutes to my church for Bible Study on Tuesday nights and corporate worship on Sundays due to my new schedule involving naptimes/bedtimes, lack of childcare, as well as trying to protect our 10 month old who just had open heart surgery from the dreaded Flu season. In 2019 as the storms in my life began to calm, I began seeking God in a way I never had before. I was so excited about what He was teaching me and I was yearning to share it with someone. Anyone. I found myself craving to learn more and be surrounded by women who were also craving and seeking Him with the same zeal. 

What words come to mind when you think about the word ‘community’? Do you think of a subdivision filled with cute little houses close to one another? The name of a small town? People with a commonality gathered in one place? People holding hands around a campfire singing kumbaya? 

I know some words and phrases that DO NOT come to mind: ‘social distancing’, ‘lockdown’, ‘quarantine’, ‘isolation’, ‘contactless’, ‘containment’,  ‘shelter-in-place’, ‘essential persons only.’  

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as in the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” God inspired Paul to write this knowing 2020 would happen. This command has not lost it’s importance or significance just because a worldwide pandemic places things like social distancing and mandated lockdowns at the forefront. If the year 2020 taught us anything, it was the importance of our circles; our community. Ironically, I experienced community more in 2020 than in years past. 

Shortly before the events of 2020 started to unfold, I had to get creative in building a community for myself. I decided that since I could not physically get to ‘community’ in my current season of life, I would bring community to me. Through my mother, I learned meeting in a church building with fellow church members was not the only way to experience biblical community. Jesus teaches us to GO OUT, fish for men and make disciples. Little did I know as I was forming my community of women to gather around the Bible with me at the end of 2019, that 2020 was just around the corner. 

I had lots of questions as I went: ‘How can I start a Bible study?’, ‘I’m not a teacher or preacher,’ ‘I’ve never been to seminary,’ ‘I’m not sure where to even start when it comes to leading women on how to study the Bible,’ ‘I’m not sure I even know how to study the Bible for myself.’ 

Through a series of events that only God could ordain, I stumbled across a new way of doing Bible Study called Truth Groups. It didn’t require a leader or even a typical ‘devotional’ so to speak. It only required your Bible, a group of friends, and a relatively small Truth Group journal to guide you through the process and to provide a place to write what you’re learning. 

I decided to start a Truth Group pre-pandemic. Even back then, while my friends and I were trying to choose a date and time to meet each week we were running into stumbling blocks. These stumbling blocks presented as lack of childcare, work schedules, and our toddler’s bedtimes. God knew that a pandemic was just around the corner that would prevent anyone from meeting in person. So we got creative and decided to meet virtually via Zoom before it quickly became the norm in the coming months. 

God made us for community and relationships. We are not meant to study His word and seek him by ourselves. I would have missed out so much of Him had it not been for my friends sharing what God was teaching them and how He was moving in their lives. Through doing community and studying the Bible with friends, not only have I gained more knowledge about God but I actually ENJOY reading my Bible and I get excited about what I’m learning and hearing what my community is learning alongside me. I have been sanctified through their exhortations and gently speaking hard truth to me. As I hear how God is moving in them, it motivates and excites my heart to apply what they’re learning to my own life and dig into God’s word even deeper. In the words of Paul: they were stirring me up toward love and good works. 

I encourage you to get creative when creating community. Sometimes, the community comes to us but more often than not, we need to take the first step, cast our reel and start fishing! With social distancing being the regulated new norm, community can still happen thanks to technology. There are apps and platforms such as Zoom, Marco Polo (my favorite), FaceTime, Facebook and Instagram ‘Rooms’. It can be as simple as reading a book of the Bible with a friend, starting a Truth Group, or doing a Bible Study with the use of a devotional. Invite your friends to come alongside you and study with you! You don’t need a church building, a seminary degree, a teacher, or a pastor to study the Bible with friends. Show up. And ask God to take care of the rest. 

If you want to find out more about starting a Truth Group with your friends, visit truthgroups.com. You can follow Truth Groups on Instagram @truthgroups and on Facebook at Women Speaking Truth. 


Jordan grew up on a farm located in a small town in Virginia. She married her NY native husband 8 years ago. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Jordan was a professional mental health therapist. Apart from raising her 2.5 year old daughter with a complex medical diagnosis, Jordan also teaches English to kids in China online. Through numerous trials involving grief and loss she endured in her 20s, Jordan fell more in love with Jesus and realizes her need for Him everyday. Her passion for studying God’s word and knowing Him more deeply grows with each passing day.

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December 22, 2020

I’ll Pray for You

By: Jordan Sparnroft

“I’ll pray for you.” A phrase that as Christians we throw around loosely when someone shares a struggle or a desire of their heart. Even with the best intentions, we often don’t follow through. The reasons vary as to why we don’t follow through on this tossed around phrase but that does not mean we should take it lightly. Lifting others up in prayer is important to God and should be important to us. God tells us multiple times in the New Testament to pray without ceasing and to lift one another up in prayer and even specific people-groups up in prayer. With all the events happening in our world and in the lives of the people around us, it is crucial that we be intentional in our prayer life. 

James 5:13, 16 

‘Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.’ 

‘Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 

Ephesians 6:18 

‘…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…’ 

The Quiet Time Companion has not one but two tabs devoted to prayer. It also has a page devoted to prayer each day in the Quiet Time tab to jot down our deepest thoughts, needs, praise, and desires to God. In this post, I’m going to share some examples of how you can organize your prayer lists under the ‘Prayer List’ tab. 

Here are some ideas of different topics and people you can list in your Quiet Time Companion and a few examples of what to write under each one. I’ve chosen examples of topics and people that most of us pray for.  I am also sharing a few examples that are specific to my life. Each category looks a little different for me. A few lists are titled with a person’s name such as my daughter or husband and beneath their name I have listed various aspects of their life to pray for. Others are titled with a specific people group and their individual names listed or needs of the group as a whole. Here are some examples. 

Marriage 

  • Humility 
  • Compassion 
  • Intimacy 
  • Protection from Satan/Division 
  • Quick to forgive 
  • Speak & Act out of truth and wisdom 
  • Unity 
  • Trust 
  • Serve One another 
  • Love 
  • Understanding 
  • Creativity 

Spouse 

  • Grow spiritually 
  • Safeguard his heart 
  • Humility 
  • Wisdom 
  • Patience 
  • Gracious to himself and others 
  • Radically generous 
  • Protection over his thoughts/mind 
  • Godly community 

Child 

  • Salvation 
  • Love for God’s word 
  • Biblical self-esteem 
  • Kindness/Compassion toward EVERYONE 
  • Perseverance/Endurance 
  • Contentment/Gratitude in ALL circumstances 
  • Strong faith and hope in Christ alone 
  • Physical Health 
  • Desire and willingness to work/Godly work ethic 
  • Joy 
  • Courage 
  • Wisdom 

Global & Local Church 

  • Vitality 
  • Protection 
  • Faithfulness 
  • Unity 
  • Elders and Pastors 
  • Obedience of individual members to step into their God-given callings 
  • Build up the body NOT tear down 

World 

  • Peace/no war & strife 
  • Prosperity-No hunger/poverty 
  • Freedom-No Slavery (human traffiking) 
  • Virtuous Leaders 
  • Healthy Societies (clean water, access to food and healthcare) 
  • Innocent vicims (abortion, sexually abused, human traffiking victims etc) 
  • Pandemic (you can even have a specific tab for this) 

Another category I have listed holds the names of mother’s and their children with special needs; I call it my ‘Medical Mamas’ list. My daughter has Neonatal Marfan Syndrome, through that diagnosis, God has placed other mothers who have children with the same diagnosis in my life. I have a special tab just for them and their children as well. I also have a tab for my small group listing all the women who gather around the Bible with me. I’m also a part of a ministry called Truth Groups. Listed under that tab are various ways we are asking God to move. 

Last year, I prayed for a different category/tab each day. This year, I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me on which categories to pray for each day. 

My prayer is that this prompts your heart and mind to the people and events happening around you that God is calling you to pray for. Ask God to lead you as you write your categories of various people and topics. Ask the people listed in your tabs how you can specifically pray for them. 

I’ve noticed while praying for the various topics and people, it has shown me the heart and compassion of God toward His treasures: us. He cares deeply for us, the people He has placed around us, our world, His Church, and the roles and arenas He has placed each of us in. Let’s align our hearts with His in seeking Him in prayer by lifting up His beloved creation. 


Jordan grew up on a farm located in a small town in Virginia. She married her NY native husband 8 years ago. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Jordan was a professional mental health therapist. Apart from raising her 2.5 year old daughter with a complex medical diagnosis, Jordan also teaches English to kids in China online. Through numerous trials involving grief and loss she endured in her 20s, Jordan fell more in love with Jesus and realizes her need for Him everyday. Her passion for studying God’s word and knowing Him more deeply grows with each passing day.

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