Biblical beautiful womanhood

How to Activate the Word of God

When I was a young Christian I knew I should be reading the Bible. I believed it was "the truth," and that I should be obeying what it had to say. I embraced that mind frame early on, by the grace of God, but I didn't know how to activate it, or actually make it make a difference in my life. I know (because you tell me) that many of you struggle with the same issue:

"I believe God's word is true, but now what? How do I take it from just being a book of words to truly changing my life?"

We can go to God's word with expectation—expecting to hear from Him, expecting the words on the page to transform our hearts.

First of all, it's important to note that the Bible is unlike any other book out there. It's not just a book of good stories about men and women who gave their lives to an important cause. Those books are valuable (I read them to my boys every day in school) and help us aspire to being a better person, but they're not like the Bible.

The Bible is alive.

The words we read on the pages of our Bibles are living, active, and the very breath of God. The Bible is actually "activated" even if we don't choose to embrace its benefits in our lives, because the words have the power to change from the inside out, "piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

What does that mean?

God gets you. He knows you. He understands you. And because He calls Himself the Word (John 1:1), we know that in some miraculous way, the words we're reading aren't just from God, they are God.

Knowing this, we can go to God's word with expectation—expecting to hear from Him, expecting the words on the page to transform our hearts. But so many Christians still struggle to feel anything when they read God's word. It just doesn't seem true to them because they don't experience anything when they read it—especially in the hard times of life.

Before we jump into the hows of activating the word of God in your life, I want to say this: what you feel and what is true may be two different things. Just because I sometimes feel abandoned by God, doesn't mean I am. His word tells me He will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5), so when I find myself feeling abandoned, I have to choose to believe I'm not. Most of the time, when I make that choice, my feelings will soon follow the choice of my heart.

How to Activate the Word of God in Your Life

1. Open it

When my oldest son first started playing the fiddle, he wasn't very good. He was pretty terrible the next day, too, and even a few weeks after his first lesson. He learned to play Twinkle, Twinkly Little Star pretty quickly, but little violins have terrible sound quality, so he still sounded pretty bad.

Now, almost five years later, he's performed Ode to Joy in front of 500 people with his little brother and is gearing up to compete in a local fiddler's convention this summer.

Get in the habit of spending daily time in your Bible, even if it's just to read a Psalm and a Proverb. It may not come easily, but just as my son needed time spent practicing his instrument to improve, we need time in the word of God to begin trusting that it's true.

2. Know it

As you spend more and more time reading your Bible you'll see something amazing start to happen! You'll find yourself thinking about or living in a certain situation when a verse you just read (that applies to what you're going through) will pop in your head! That's God! That's the word being alive and active in you! And it's amazing.

I can't count the number of times I've been comforted by a verse at just the right time. Whether God drops it in my heart, or the heart of a friend, He chooses to use His word to comfort, correct, sustain, and build us right when we need it most.

But if we don't open it, and don't know it, that won't happen.

3. Speak it

When I was younger I battled fear. One of the ways I went to war against this attack of the enemy was to speak God's word out loud, and even though God has given me a significant measure of healing in this area, I still speak Bible verses out loud when I'm afraid.

My favorites are Psalm 4:8 and Psalm 23:4

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety" (this one gets spoken when I'm trying to fall asleep), and "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me" (I use this one when I'm walking into a dark house alone and feel threatened). 

Sometimes, I even just say Jesus' name out loud, because it's the name above all names (Philippians 2:9-11) and is mighty to save (Zephaniah 3:17).

Speaking a verse or two out loud—whether you're afraid, or confused, or hurt—reminds us of what's true, and has the power to make peace settle in ours hearts.

4. Use it

Ya'll know about my fascination with sticky notes, right? If you come to my house, you'll see them all over. Written on them are Bible verses that focus my attention on Jesus, and help me remember what's true. I have them strategically placed in the house where I need them most. For example, there's one in the bathroom to remind me that my greatest need is Jesus. Why? Because the bathroom is where I tend to go when I want to lock myself away.

I also have my favorite scriptures printed out and framed around our house. I use them as reminders and as prayers. When I walk by my sons' room, I pray Psalm 92:4 because it's hanging in a frame outside their room. These are simple, inexpensive ways to fill our hearts (ours and our family's) with the word of God. I can't necessarily afford those beautiful framed scriptures from my local Christian bookstore, but I can afford a $5 frame from Walmart, and a little ink from my printer.

5. Love it

This one may be the most important of all, because loving God's word starts with loving Him. If we don't have a deep sense of gratitude and love for God, we won't love His word.

How do we "fall in love" with God? For me, it's a simple matter of remembering all He sacrificed for me while I was still stuck in sin (Romans 5:8). I'm so grateful for forgiveness from my sin, so grateful that I'm not who I was, so grateful to have right standing before the Lord, so grateful that I can call on Him, so grateful that He sees me and loves me, so grateful that He protects me and provides for grateful that all I can do is love Him.

Because of that, I want to know Him, know His character and His ways, to the best of my ability. I love His word, the Bible, because it's how I get to know Him better and learn about His great love for me.

The Bible has amazing power to transform our lives when we open it, know it, speak it, use it, and love it. Why wait?


What is an Extraordinary Life?

What does it take to go from ordinary to extraordinary? How does a life go from boring to beautiful? What does it require to live a life in passionate pursuit of God, His plan, His purpose?

I've been pondering these questions for quite some time now, and I think the answers might surprise you.

I say it requires an even greater degree of faith to stare down deep into the eyes of the ordinary and call it extraordinary. There seems to be a push among Christians to "do something big" for the Kingdom of God. Rightfully so—with children starving, women being raped, babies being forcefully aborted, and families drinking sludge instead of clean water.

Clearly, there is much work—good work—to be done, and I'm not against any of it. My family is passionate about supporting our local Crisis Pregnancy Center, the MOB Society is gearing up to support a missionary through Wycliffe Bible Translators, and I give my time and words as often as I can to those without the Bible in their own heart language as a support to the Seed Company. I love the work of Freeset Global, and I kind of help run this online ministry for mothers of boys.

All of these are good, necessary, worthwhile things.

They're real. The people they serve are real. The needs are real. Some of the situations are desperate—life and death—and require deep personal sacrifice to make even the smallest of changes.

I admit, as I've read the stories of the people whose very lives are changed through these ministries—some coming to know Christ for the first time—I've been moved to action. I've watched as women I admire travel abroad, bringing attention to those who need our care and love and money so very much, and thought, "that must be what it looks like to live an extraordinary life!" Traveling, seeing, spreading the word so that others can get involved.

I've listened as Christian writers and speakers passionately share the Word of God in front of thousands, changing the lives of countless people for the better, and thought, "that must be what it looks like to live an extraordinary life!" Studying, training, offering pure hearts so that others can know the truth.

I've watched from afar as millions of women gathered together because "what if?" What if they could change the world and make all those bad things go away in Jesus' Name? And I've thought to myself, "that must be what it looks like to live an extraordinary life!" Thinking, brainstorming, creating ways to help others get involved and think outside of the boxes of our individual expressions of faith.

I've read stories about women whose words light up the screen with passion for freeing women to serve in the church, lead, grow, and be everything Jesus died for them to be and thought, "that must be what it looks like to live an extraordinary life!" 

A life that really matters. A life that's truly beautiful. A life spent for God's glory. Those things...they must be what it looks like to live an extraordinary life.

And yet...

And yet as a mom—just a simple, stay-at-home mama—who works from her office that doubles as a homeschool room, and who has to move that plastic globe (the one she uses most weeks to teach her boys that the world is much bigger than what they can see) hanging from the window out of the way so you can't see it on a home grown video—I sometimes look at these world changers and am tempted to think my own efforts fall sadly short of the extraordinary. 


The mom who says, "love others more than you love yourself" for the 100th time in one day...

Who does the dishwasher for the second time in 24 hours...

Who struggles just to find a second to wash her hair...

Who puts the work that means the world to her on hold because that little one needs to hear he's loved one more time...

Who prays and prays and begs God to move in something so very small, and notices He seems to be interested in bigger things...

Who asks God daily to give her joy in the mundane, to keep her from losing her mind as siblings fight over nothing AGAIN...

Her life can feel a little like that plastic globe hanging from the window—with a glimpse of the most extraordinary things so far away—the things yet to be seen, yet to be fixed—and the ordinary staring her in the face, leaving her feeling like her contribution to the world isn't all that important.

And I wonder when motherhood lost its extraordinary.

Not that the people in foreign lands, or even right down the street, don't need someone to come to them in Jesus' Name, but that the people right under our noses, and all the sacrifice required to love them well, need us just as much.

When did encouraging women to "love their husbands and children, be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands..." become passe'? When did we stop believing that a call to motherhood, loving one man, service in our homes, and sacrifice for the sake of raising godly children was truly extraordinary? When did we start believing that there had to be something more, something bigger, something more important to qualify us for the extraordinary?

Motherhood IS extraordinary...

But it's often unseen. Unnoticed. And the change it evokes in the lives of generations upon generations—while having the potential to impact the Kingdom in untold deep and profound ways—is slow, tedious, and requires diligence and patience and, after day, after day.

There aren't blog posts written about the reality of life in the motherhood intended to raise money for those feeling helpless in its trenches. And there's no glory in the calling to bring forth life until that child rises up and calls us blessed...IF that child rises up and calls us blessed.

But I say it requires an even greater degree of faith to stare down deep into the eyes of the ordinary and call it extraordinary. 

DSC_0170 22-49-20

Not that our command to "go therefore, and preach the Gospel to all nations" shouldn't cause some of us to physically go. It should, and it will, and there will be big sacrifices required of some to obey the call. Not that we shouldn't go if we get the call, just that those of us not called to go there should be deemed extraordinary here, and that going to the nations should include the little heathens at home.

skipping rocks2

Here, in the throes of dirty diapers, runny noses, selfish hearts, bratty brothers, and sinful, slothful, needy, sometimes unloving children. Here, in the throes of sometimes thankless marriages. Here, in the throes of important callings that play second fiddle to that which is even more important—loving our families well. Extraordinary here, regardless of what's happening there.

Mama, your life—with all it's ups and downs, starts and stops, victories and defeats, praises and heartbreaks—is extraordinary. You don't need to add anything else to your to-do list to be beautiful. You can passionately pursue God, His plan, and His purpose right where you are with the people group who need to hear the Gospel from you most.

All the little ways you serve, sacrifice, believe, pray, share, and love...all added up together make you extraordinary. You are nothing short of extraordinary, and God says that's enough.

*Note: Please don't think this blog post is intended to make fun of or downplay foreign missions, or the important work of ministries seeking to help those in great need. It's not. It's simply meant to remind moms that their work is just as important, albeit overlooked—and that most of the time, loving their families well is the biggest thing of all.

We Will Be Hope Warriors

When my two uncles, friend, aunt, grandfather, and baby all died in a six year period it occurred to me that it might be easy to lose hope. I didn't lose it easily for other people. I still prayed for good things in the lives of my friends, and I still asked the Lord to move in situations outside of our family. But I did struggle with wondering if God had decided not to be good to me anymore. During that season—many, many times during that season—I wrestled with a persistent feeling of expectant grief and lost hope.

Like I was waiting for the next sucker punch of life.

I lived that way—like the next major loss was hiding around the bend—for several years. Even smaller losses crumbled me, like totaling my car, or losing our beloved English Bulldog, and in many ways, I felt like God was being silent. I couldn't hear Him well, my times with Him in His Word were dry, and when I wrote here in this space it was raw and fragile. I wore weariness like a straight-jacket, all bundled up inside of my low expectations and heartfelt disappointment.

Thankfully, things have changed.

I'm still easily emotional. I still have a gut response to take things personally, and I still wonder how God can seem so far away even when He says He's so close. But in the last two years I've realized the secret behind why a man (or woman) can say of the Lord, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him (Job 13:15, ESV).

Hope is a Choice

Weariness is a feeling. Grab onto that for a second with me?

Today, I choose hope. I will be a Hope Warrior, and fight for it with everything I have.

Hope is a choice. Weariness is a feeling. 

Feelings can lie, and they don't have to direct our lives. But we women, we get a little feisty when someone tells us our feelings are wrong, don't we? We say things like, "don't tell me how to feel," and, "I can't change the way I feel!" But the truth is, if our feelings don't match up with the Word of God, something needs to change. Only one source can be 100% right, and I've walked this road long enough now to know that when I feel the most right, I'm probably wrong—in presentation, if not in truth.

If my feelings and the Bible don't match up, what needs to change? Me.

Here's where the application comes...

During my season of grief, I often felt like God wasn't there, like He didn't see me, didn't hear my prayers, didn't care. But the Bible says all of those feelings I had were wrong. It doesn't negate my feelings to know they're wrong—I very much felt alone, and unheard, even a bit unloved—the Bible simply tells me a different story.

God loves me, hears me, sees me, and yes, is fighting for me, even if I can't see it. 

I believe it's true, because God's Word says it's true. And it's that simple truth that kept me from staying in a place of perpetual hopelessness.

"I'm not trying to say our emotions are always wrong or that we don’t have a right to our own feelings. Sometimes our emotions are very good, alerting us to danger, or revealing a deeper issue within our own hearts that needs attention, healing, and the grace of God. But they certainly can be wrong . . . or at least in need of tweaking. God gave us emotions as a barometer—they tell us both what's happening in our hearts and in our surroundings. Sometimes, they're right on the money, but more often than not, they need to come under the authority of the Word of God." (From How to Control Your Emotions, So They Don't Control You: A Mom's Guide to Overcoming).

Oh, my weary friend, I know you feel like giving up sometimes. I know you feel like God is far away, and that maybe He doesn't really care about what you're going through. But it simply isn't true. He sent His Son to die for you, to prove His love, and really, what more could He sacrifice to prove it than to give up Himself? He loves you...and today?

Today, I'd like to start a hope revolution.

A movement that says, "WE WILL CHOOSE HOPE! We will be hope warriors—fighting, clinging, desperately holding to the truth of God's Word that says He loves us, and is fighting for us, even when we can't see it or feel it."

Why could Job choose hope? Because He knew who God was. He trusted God's character in spite of great loss, great disappointment, great grief. He chose to believe in things unseen, and trust in truth over feelings. We can, too.

We can fight for hope with everything we have. And as we choose to believe what God's Word says about our lives over what our circumstances tell us, no matter how horrible they are at the moment (remember the story of Job), we'll find that our feelings will follow suit. I don't write this as a woman who has never known pain, or heart-wrenching loss. I write it as a woman who knows loss and disappointment, and has come out on the other side.

This is the secret to joy in the midst of pain. This is the secret to overcoming on a daily basis. This is the secret to finding, and keeping, hope.

Today, I choose hope. I will be a Hope Warrior, and fight for it with everything I have. I hope you'll join me. (<<---Tweet that!)

Pray with me, friend?

Jesus, help me. I do believe, Lord, help my unbelief (Mark 9:24)! Sometimes, when I just can't see You, or feel You near, I lose hope. But today, with your help, I choose hope. I will be a Hope Warrior. Help me fight for it with everything I have. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Red Letter Words Comments Graphic

to the older moms, who've raised their children well

Someone took the time to write a comment on a blog of mine the other day (not here) that was long, and I think, intended to teach me a lesson (it's been taken down, so don't worry about trying to find it). And while I don't think she was trying to hurt me, she did. From her comment, I can deduce that her children are grown, and doing well. Women in this season of life have a unique, special, and God-given opportunity to minister to women like me, teaching me along the lines of Titus 2:4-5 to love my husband and children, and be self-controlled. Honestly, the church needs more women in this stage of life to rise up and invest in the next generation. We're desperate for help, wisdom, someone to tell us we're doing OK, and gently instruct us in how to do better.

But I've been seeing something among the body of believers that just breaks my heart—women who have raised their children well, totally missing the point of Titus 2—cutting instead of cleansing, bruising instead of bandaging, crucifying instead of edifying.

why is it that we would rather bruise than bandage?

Why is it that we would rather bruise than bandage? (<<--tweet that).

What I wrote about was a specific season of our lives—a specific day really—that was tough and felt out of control. And while I do write a lot about those days (because I know we all have them, and I want to encourage you to cling to God through them), our days aren't always out of control. We have some good ones too. But she somehow missed that, and assumed that our lives are like this all the time.

I'm strong enough in my faith to evaluate what people say about me through the lens of prayer, scripture, and my inner circle of friends who really know me. But even though I went through this process with her comment, and found it to be untrue, I had a hard time shaking it off.

We're coming out of a rough season at The McGlothlin Home for Boys. Surgery, sickness, and book deadlines have made us all weary, and in some ways, our defenses are down. So each time my boys have disobeyed me this week, I've heard her words accusing me, "you need to control your children..." and honestly, it's  been an intentional fight on my part to put those words firmly in their place (behind me...).

Mean Mamas

I've written before about how the online space seems to give us license to be mean, but this type of mean literally breaks my heart. Not just because of the way it affects me, but because I know that many of you out there who read what I write aren't in a strong place in your faith. You're grappling, struggling, and holding on by a thread.

Beyond that, not all of us have easy children. Some of you are dealing with situations out of your control that literally crush you under a weight of guilt and fear every day, and it takes every ounce of strength you have to trust Jesus through it.

There's no place for "you need to control your children..." in that.

Please understand, I'm not saying we don't all need to work hard to teach and train our children (to obey, to love others, to be kind, to love Jesus), but when you don't know a person...don't really know what they're going through, and only have a small glimpse of the life they lead, those words are just better off unsaid.

So here's my heartfelt plea to you, mama—the one who has raised her children well, and now has a wonderful opportunity to pour into those of us still mucking through the hard season of mothering.

Be nice. Use your words to build us up, not to crush our spirits. If you see things from afar, keep your thoughts to yourself until you've taken the time to know us. Because what you see from afar might not be the reality. This works both ways, actually. If we're obviously struggling, reach out and give us your time, space, ministry, and love. And if we're smiling on the outside, we might be dying on the inside. Reach out, give us your time, space, ministry , and love.

Your words carry more weight than you know, and the enemy of our souls wants to take them and allow them to eat away at our confidence in God's ability to redeem our mess.

We need you to be nice.

We need you to speak life. We need you to care more about the health of our souls than putting us in our place and making us feel bad for our mistakes.

Don't miss this opportunity to leave a legacy...especially if you did it well.

Next time you get a criticism (whether online or off), consider following these simple rules to figure out if it's worth your time.

  1. Pray and ask Jesus to protect your heart, but also to reveal any truth you need to see.
  2. Go to God's word and let it teach you on the subject at hand. Are you wrong? Is the person who has hurt you approaching you with a correct spirit? Are they trying to edify or crucify? The answer to those questions go a long way in how you receive the criticism.
  3. Ask the people who know you best how they see the criticism. Be open to their answer, even if it's negative, but in general, trust the people who really know you over people who don't. Words written on a page can be misconstrued. It's harder to do that when you're walking out life with someone.

Pray with me, friend?

Lord, we all get it wrong sometimes. It can be hard to see our own faults, especially for those of us just trying to survive a difficult time. We do need people to come alongside us and show us our sin, and we know you discipline those you love. Protect us today from those who come only to bruise instead of bandage, and bring us loving women who have raised their children well to come alongside us and lead us to you. In Jesus' Name.

Red Letter Words Comments Graphic

Like this article? You might find these resources helpful:

Encouragement from REAL Titus 2 Women (a follow-up post)

Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess

How to Control Your Emotions, So They Don't Control You: A Mom's Guide to Overcoming

Surprised By Life: Five Ways to Respond Well When Life Doesn't Go as Planned (Free)

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something using them, I'll receive a small portion of the profit. Thanks for supporting my ministry!

Five Ways to Respond Well When Life Doesn't Go As Planned

No one really likes to be sucker-punched by life. Even the good surprises can leave us wishing we’d had time to prepare, but if we choose to look at those surprises through a slightly different lens, believing that God is in even the worst of what life can bring, we’ll come out a little better off on the other side.

Your Response Matters to God

Have you ever been totally surprised by life? I mean knocked down, bowled over, totally out of left-field surprised by life?

If you haven't yet, just give it time.

Surprise might come in the form of something good, like a new job, a new love, an unexpected pregnancy, or a prodigal child returned home. It might also come in the form of something bad, like being looked over for a promotion, the loss of a loved one, the terrible twos, or a child whose heart seems far from God.

In the last several years I’ve experienced several of these surprises, some from the good category and some from the bad. I bet you have, too. Think back with me over the last year of your life and try to remember some of the things that have happened to you and your family. Then try to remember how you responded to them.

Was your response pretty? Or pretty ugly?

That's the topic of my newish little resource, Surprised by Life: Five Ways to Respond Well When Life Doesn't Go As Planned.

Five Ways to Respond Well When Life Doesn't Go as Planned (a free resource from Brooke McGlothlin)

I say "newish" because I actually released this resource several years ago. As I looked at my branding, got a new site design, and released my first traditionally published book (which is STILL $1.99 on Amazon), I decided it deserved some time and attention.

Brooke's Inner Circle — Join and receive her free eBook today!

So consider this a new and improved version of Surprised by Life. It's  my Valentine's Day gift to you friends. Get it 100% free when you subscribe to my monthly-ish newsletter. Just enter your email address is the box below, and be sure to follow the directions in the verification email you'll get right away. If you don't, you won't get the resource, and we wouldn't want that to happen!

Happy Valentine's Day!