3 ways to overcome FEAR

photo-1428954376791-d9ae785dfb2d“even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.”

Psalm 139:12

Romans talks about how the earth groans in anticipation of us stepping into our place as sons and daughters of God. It seems in recent days, we have seen first hand quite a shaking. Horrific events with ISIS, the earthquake in Nepal, and the shooting in Charleston to name a few. I am not going to try to explain (or understand!) the theology of all the why’s, but what I do feel is very important is that we learn how to not give way to fear in these trying times.

Fear is the enemies only weapon, and he is working overtime to try to get sons and daughters to cave in to his lies these days. But you don’t have to! There is a way out, and it is oh so worth it to live a life free of fear. This doesn’t mean he will never try to get you to fear, it means that you are going to overcome his attempts through truth.

3 ways to overcome FEAR-

1. Trust. It’s really that simple. We have no guarantees of what will or will not happen, but we do know that we have a good Father. We do know that whatever comes our way, HE will work it together for our good. He is a God who loves to use the unlikely. He loves to win battles in the most unconventional ways AND at often at the last minute. You cannot know everything, but you can know Him.

You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.

Isaiah 26:3

2. Meditate on His word. When my mind is tempted to go down the pathways of fear, one of the quickest way to nip it in the bud is to get in the Word. If we are spending more time googling our problems than in the Word of God, we cannot expect to have peace. Personally, I love to emerge myself in the Psalms. I submerge myself in the Bible until it’s words have more weight that my worries.

Fear not, nor be afraid;
    have I not told you from of old and declared it?
    And you are my witnesses!
Is there a God besides me?
    There is no Rock; I know not any.”

Isaiah 44:8

3. Share your fears with your spouse of a close friend and ask them to pray for you. There is something about bringing the enemies schemes into the light that brings so much freedom. Allow them to pray for you and speak truth over you. Be wise that you share with someone you know is going to help you get away from fear and not add to you fears.

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9

May you be filled with the peace that passes all understanding today!!

Love,

Anna

Simple, Homemade, and Healthy Chicken Pad Thai (gluten and dairy free)

mrsannamaher.com

@mrsannamaher’s Chicken Pad Thai

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIf you aren’t interested in my story time, just scroll straight on down to the recipe. 🙂 It easy and makes a typical take out dinner achievable at home. It’s a bit healthier that what you buy in the restaurants, and will save you some cash. #winning

After Christmas, Chuck and I flew into San Francisco and rented a car to drive home.  It was a strange flight from Dallas to SFO, because we diverted to Phoenix, due to a medical emergency. In all our travels, that was the first time we were on a plane that took a detour.

Once we got off the plane and walked past the food court I saw a man eating Asian food and thought that looks so good.  We got our rental car and pulled off on University Blvd. in Berkley.  Soon after we saw a sign for “Bangkok…

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Embracing Mystery & What If’s

Embracing Mystery &Have you ever battled a bad case of the “what if’s”?

Have you ever caught yourself in the middle of the night drifting down a path that leads you to meditate on the worst case scenarios?

For me, that’s usually when it happens. When I am so tired that it takes me longer than normal to realize where my thoughts are drifting to a dark, hopeless place. The other night while I lay in a half awake state, I felt the Lord challenge me. He said, “what if you began to imagine that situation turning out better than you expected?”

We know that worry is wrong. We know we aren’t supposed to fear. But we if there is something we can do on the offense when it comes to our thoughts about the future. Did you know that this is actually biblical hope?

Hebrews 11:1 says,

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (ESV)

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (NLT)

Do you see that? The author of Hebrews is giving you permission to put your faith in an unseen realm. Here’s the reality – you are already investing in the unseen realm. Your mind is already making decisions about your future. Your mind whether conscience or subconsciously is making assumptions about how things will go.

worry expectancy

Here’s the thing – God gave you your imagination! He meant for it to help you in life. And today, if you aren’t already, you can begin to lead your imagination with the truth of who God is.

Let’s look at Romans 8:24-25 in the NASB –

“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”

Hope dwells in the unseen realm. That’s exactly where we need hope! We need faith to lead us into hope for all the areas that we cannot see. I like to call it embracing mystery.

When it says “we wait eagerly for it” in Romans 8:25, it’s the Greek word apekdechomai. The translation is “to expect, look for, to wait for.” God is giving you permission to have expectancy to see His goodness invade the very area that the enemy wants to stir up the “what if’s!” God is not just staying, “stop worrying!” He is saying look at that unseen realm and imagine my goodness invading it. With every unseen area in our life we don’t have to be a victim to fear and worst case scenarios. We can begin to partner with the Holy Spirit and faith to conquer those fears!

What would it look like if God “worked all things together for your good?” It’s okay to think about that. It may not happen exactly how you think it will, but it will help you to learn how to operate in faith rather than fear. Does dwelling in the “what if’s” help you deal with bad things that happen? In my opinion, NO. However, if my belief system is that no matter what God is working all things together for my good, that brings tremendous freedom no matter what circumstances I face!

Today I pray that your imagination will be transformed to a faith building mechanism that looks for the goodness of God to invade your life!

Love,

Anna

If you’d like more on Embracing Mystery, click on this link to find my 21 day devotional on hope.

What to say when you don’t know what to say –

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Recently, I felt the Lord challenging me to read Job. So somewhat reluctantly, I settled in with my Bible and began reading. I LOVE the end of Job, but it had been a while since I spent time sorting through the sometimes confusing dialogues that fill the pages of the book.

God began to show me as I read about a very personal situation I walked through a few months back, and how someone so dear to me had been much like Job’s friends. This friend loves me so very much. The pain that I was walking through was more than they could bear. There was dancing around the idea, and then plop it came out. They basically said that if I was in God’s will, I wouldn’t be in the pain that I was in.

Job’s friends essentially said the same thing. They told Job that if he were really a good man he wouldn’t be suffering. They poked and prodded. They did their best to dig up a reason “why” he was in such misery, and ultimately they judged him. Rather than being okay with the mystery of the trial, they had to find a reason for his pain.

They meant the best and ultimately wanted to help him find a way out, but when their attempts to help slipped into judgement, their efforts were no longer fruitful. They inflicted wounds rather than helping Job heal.

At the end of Job, the Lord rebukes Job’s friends. Then, he tells them that their mercy lies in the prayer of Job. He tells them to have Job pray for them so that they do not receive the judgement they deserve. Look what happens next-

“When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before (Job 42:10)!”

It’s hard to pray for someone you haven’t forgiven. I think that something was released when Job forgave them and blessed them. God restored all that Job had two-fold! God didn’t rebuke Job for “sin” in his life. God rebuked Job for not believing in His goodness and greatness to deliver Him from all of His troubles.

No matter what side of the trial we are on, I believe it’s more important that we focus on the goodness of God more than our own behaviors.

Often we are tempted to say nothing, but really it’s best to say something. So whether you are feeling like Job or a friend of Job these days, here are a few suggestions for what to say/do when you don’t know what to say.

1. Remember that God’s kindness is what leads people to repentance. Even if you do think that their trial is a result of sin, be kind. They need your compassion and kindness more than a cold rebuke. This is usually not a time for a harsh words or judgement. (Romans 2:4)

2. Tell them you don’t understand all the whys but that you are willing to walk with them. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze (Isaiah 43:12).”

3. Sometimes when you are in pain, you just need to hear someone say, “this is not going to last forever, and you WILL get through this.”  Rather than looking for reasons, encourage them that they will get through this, that victory is possible, that God is working all things together for their good, that they are more than a conqueror, and that greater is He that is in them than he who is in the world. Send them an encouraging verse and shy away from focusing more on the current problem than the goodness and bigness of God. There are so many scriptures about God redeeming His people from undesirable situations.

Hopefully this post will help the next time you aren’t sure what to say. We weren’t meant to walk through trials alone, and words of encouragement can be a lifeline in the sticky moments. You have the ability to release hope into the lives of those around you. It’s not your job to understand or to solve every problem, but you can remind your loved ones that God is good and that He can redeem any situation.

Love,

Anna

3 ways to love the season you are in (even in the tough times)!

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Seasons, life is made up of them, and it’s hard to escape them. I love to talk about hope and the goodness of God, and sometimes we can all struggle with what to do with that during the tough seasons. I believe that even in the hard seasons there is goodness to be found. I believe there are gifts even in the toughest of times, and there is an aspect of the kindness and tenderness of God that we can access to during those times.

Here are a few ways to help you love your life no matter what your current season looks like!

1. Recognize that you are growing!

“Enlarge the place of your tent,
    stretch your tent curtains wide,
    do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
    strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
    your descendants will dispossess nations
    and settle in their desolate cities.

Isaiah 54:2-3

I think of this verse in times where I feel stretched. I am growing! If I go to the gym and never challenge my muscles, I won’t see the results I desire. Growth requires stretching. When things get tough, remind yourself that you are expanding and growing. When you emerge from a challenging season, your capacity is larger, things that used to be challenging will be easier. You will emerge from the current trials you are facing stronger.

2. Trust God about your current season

God is after your trust! When you come into a new season, there are new things that demand a greater level of trusting Him.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
 In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 56:3-4

We are so often tempted to compare our current season with those around us. This is never fruitful.  I challenge you to believe the words of Psalm 16:5-6-

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;

He has good things for you in this season and looking around only distracts you from those things. The enemy loves to try and convince us of what we are missing by pointing out others’ lives. This is a dangerous trap to slip into you. There is so much freedom in believing that His boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for you!

3. A thankful heart

It’s very hard to stay discontent with a thankful heart! There is something about thankfulness that shifts our perspective from what we don’t have to what we do have. What’s beautiful about your current season? What relationships are you thankful for? What gifts do you have in this season?

The quickest way to love your current season is to focus on what you do have rather than getting caught up on what you don’t. Plus, it’s God’s will for your life.

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Praying that today you find the joy in your current season! I know there are good gifts for you today. May your heart be filled with trust and thankfulness as you grow and learn in this season!

Love,

Anna

3 reasons it’s okay to be great.

photo-1427348693976-99e4aca06bb9Finding out who you truly are requires admitting who you are not.

A few days ago I wrote a post called “3 reasons you need to get over the things you aren’t good at.” We are all composed of a unique set of gifting, personality, bends, strengths, and weaknesses. I believe it’s important to be totally okay with both our weaknesses and our strengths.

There are moments when I feel like I have so far to go in gaining freedom and confidence in who I am, and then there are moments when I realize how far I’ve come. I have to remind myself that is the goal is progress not perfection.

I recently took one of those personality tests that I have taken at least 2 other times. This time it one of my components was the same while another was completely different that I’ve ever got before. I realize there are so many dynamics to theses tests including team dynamics as well as my current season. But what struck me this time, is I was totally okay with the results. I wonder if the times before I was trying to be a certain personality because that seemed like the best personality.

I went from scoring and outgoing, center of attention personality to the steady, easy going personality. Which is in all honesty more of who I am. For years I wanted to be that outgoing life of the party, but now while I am thankful to be entertained by that personality type, yet I am completely comfortable with the nature that God has given me. When I think back to my childhood, I can see that that was more my bend. I always influence, but it wasn’t because I was asking for it. I was a kid with a big imagination that was happy playing alone or with the boys down the street.

My goal for these posts is to help each of us embrace who we are and let go of who we are not. So here are 3 reasons why it’s okay for you to be awesome.

1. Confidence is attractive to others. In case you happen to get confidence confused with arrogance, let me give you a quick definition of each.

Arrogance says I am great for my own benefit.

Confidence says I am blessed so that I can be a blessing to others.

Confident people aren’t looking for affirmation when you talk to them. They already know their worth and they are looking for ways to get to know you and make you feel at ease. It is a lot easier to talk to a confident person than someone who is struggling with insecurity.

2. It brings freedom to people around you. When you are at peace with who you are, it actually creates a place for others around you to step into that same peace. People can see that you actually like yourself, and this creates a curiosity. That leads to the realization that they too can like themselves.

3. Your greatness is more about serving others that your own benefit. Romans 11:29 says “for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” The Greek word for irrevocable is translated “un-regretted.” That means God placed a gift and a call in you so that you could be great, and He doesn’t regret that. God is confident in the gift he has placed on your life. Those gifts and calls are what make you a unique gift to this world. The heart behind God making you great is so that the world can benefit from who you are.

In the process of embracing who we are it’s important to guard one’s heart from pride. Just because I may not be the most outgoing person in the room doesn’t mean I can’t be thankful and appreciative of what they bring to the environment. It doesn’t make me greater than them or vice versa. Aren’t you thankful we aren’t all the same? That would be so utterly boring. So in your process of discovering the greatness in you be aware of the greatness of those around you. It is your responsibility to steward a heart that is thankful for what you carry and for what those around you carry. People are all different, and that is a part of the beauty of our Creator. He never makes two things exactly the same, and we get to celebrate our differences rather than resent them.

Thanks for being so great,

Anna

3 reasons you need to get over the things you aren’t good at

photo-1421809313281-48f03fa45e9f When I ordered our cable two weeks ago they asked if I wanted to pay to have someone install it, or if I wanted them to send me the “easy connect kit.” Little did I know the phrase is an extreme oxymoron. After an hour on the phone with tech support, and talking to FOUR different people, a girl finally offered to send someone out. Yes please. In case you didn’t already pick up on this , I am a do-it-yourself type. When I was 18, I once installed a CD burner on my computer without ever opening a computer before. I have no idea how I did that. Believe it or not my dad used that very computer until recently. Bless him, and yes patience is a strength of his. But lately, I am becoming more comfortable with the things I am not good at. I often see cute little signs on Etsy, and think I can do that. So rather than paying the $80 for the sign, I make a sign that looks more something from a murder scene. Helpful hint: if you are out of white paint, go buy more before crafting, red paint cannot be substituted for white paint! Here’s the realization I am coming to, it’s okay to not be good at everything. The need to be good at everything is actually rooted in pride. God has designed each of us with a unique set of strengths and weaknesses so that we need one another. Can we just go back to bartering people? Alas, here are 3 reasons we can all let go of the things we aren’t good at- 1. It lends to a healthy society. In a healthy society and community we need each other. Whether that’s exchanging services or paying for services that contributes to the economy around you. We are designed for community and a healthy interdependence with those around us. 2. It frees you up to spend time doing the things you are good at! What do you do really well? What are friends always asking for you help with? When we are willing to admit our weaknesses, we find freedom to pursue the things we are good at. If you are trying to do everything yourself, stop. Odds are you aren’t doing much great. 3. It will be far less frustrating for you and those around you. I am not doing my husband any favors when I continually try to do-it-myself. He’s taught me that sometimes you just need to hire someone. There are times when my confidence has grown us and we’ve realized we can do more than we thought, but there is a balance with this. Often humility says I need help with this, while pride says I can do and I know the best way.* I may or may not have gotten lectured by our apartment maintenance guy for trying to open the water heater cover a couple weeks back. It did spark and I did jump. Thankfully I am still here working on letting them do their job while I do mine. *If you’re not sure which camp you fall into, ask your spouse of your best friend. They can probably tell you if you need to let go of some of your to-do’s or if you could grow in some confidence and try some new things. I am going to write about living in your strengths another day, but for today I wanted to share some ways to become free concerning your weaknesses.

writing and vulnerability

RONyPwknRQOO3ag4xf3R_KinseyMy book isn’t even “out” yet and already my appreciation for other authors has sky-rocketed. It is not because writing is SOOO hard, and I finally realize what it takes. But it is because I see the vulnerability in other’s work, and I know the courage it takes to write your story.

And to be vulnerable doesn’t mean you have to share every single detail of your personal life. In fact, please don’t. Being vulnerable means showing your humanity. It means being free enough to let everyone in on what they already know, but sometimes forget,which is nobody is perfect.

It is a breathe of fresh air in our Instagram worlds. No one’s life looks like Pinterest. No one’s. Google “pinterest fails” if you are battling perfection today. One of my favorite authors candidly shares about the time that her little girl asked her, “mom, what are we going to do about your mustache?”.  Another shared about how in a stressful situation she started to sweat and smell like onions. I laughed out-loud! Then I thought it’s page 2 but I am hooked. This chick is real and I want need to hear her story.

When my editor and I went through my first edit, I blushed as we read one part of my story. She then asked for clarity on what I was really saying. Suddenly, I realized, oh my gosh, I don’t know who is going to read this, but this is me sharing my heart. I am showing a piece of myself that would normally be shared over coffee or in a late night conversation with a close friend! I am not only sharing my successes, but also the things that didn’t go the way I thought they would.

Yet, as I read others stories, I am compelled to share my own. I gain freedom from the imperfections. I gain courage from the battles they have won. Deep down I know that I am just getting started on this journey of sharing my life. Even deeper down, I know this is why I was made. My life was made to be shared. I was made to be known.

Dear writers and future writers, I cannot wait to read your story. There is something deep and beautiful for the world to gain through your words. You have something to say that is uniquely yours. You would think in the final stages of the book process other books would feel a threat, but for me it’s anything but true. I smile my way through Barnes & Noble, and enjoy each page of my current book. I am so glad each of the authors took a risk. I am so thankful they broke off a piece of their life, so that I can laugh, cry, and relate to the imperfect parts of life. So cautiously and courageously get started. Silence the fears, that only your mother and grandmother will read it. Let go of perfectionism. Tell me your story please!

With Love,

Anna

the voice like many waters

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Not long into our marriage, Chuck realized that I love water. It’s true, when I sit by the ocean I know what David meant when he said “He leads me by still waters, He restores my soul (Psalm 23:2-3).” I get it. There is something about water that soothes me. We’ve visited the Caribbean or Hawaii 5 times in our 3 years together. (And Australia 3 times!)

The ocean pushes my reset button like nothing else.

When I can’t have the ocean, lake, or pool, I’ll happily settle into a nice hot bath. I may have been accused by a roommate at one point of being religious about my baths. Guilty if you consider a bath a day religion.

I was reading this verse this week, and it occurred to me why the water affects me the way that it does.

His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.   -Revelation 1:15

His voice is compared to the sound of rushing waters. His voice is the very foundation of me. His voice spoke and everything begun! He spoke me into existence. How ironic that my body is approximately 2/3 water, and when we are babies, it’s more like 3/4! This is interesting-

“The amount of water in the human body ranges from 50-75%. The average adult human body is 50-65% water, averaging around 57-60%. The percentage of water in infants is much higher, typically around 75-78% water, dropping to 65% by one year of age.”*

Listen it’s not that I am about to worship water, it’s that water reminds me of the foundation of my being. It does reset me to my original design which is in complete union with my original Designer. His voice is what I need at any moment in any season. I need His voice to be louder than anything else. His voice can carry us through the most difficult of circumstances. When we float on water, we weigh less. Our physical bodies don’t hold us back the way they do on land. We were designed to live by His word, it’s the bread that Satan knew not of when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”     -Matthew 4:4

When we live by His word, things can’t weigh us down in the way the enemy intends. We are living in an awareness of a higher reality. Jesus never left connection with the Father. He never left the voice that sounds like mighty waters.

Praying that today you are restored as He leads you beside the quiet waters. May your soul be at rest and your spirit be at full attention. May His voice be louder than all the rest.

Love,

Anna

*http://chemistry.about.com/od/waterchemistry/f/How-Much-Of-Your-Body-Is-Water.htm