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yesterday i was running around frantic and breathless all day. it was like time was just slipping through my fingers and i had so much i “HAD” to do. i was stressed through the roof!

do you ever have those days? at one point i was driving on my way to one of the many errands and i was thinking of why i feel so overwhelmed. seriously?! i mean, i’m doing a little contract work and i’m trying to study but overall i should have plenty of time. how is life still overwhelming me? how do i still feel like i can’t catch up?!

then a little whisper, ” I’ve missed you. Do you have time for Me?”

yikes. how is it that when we get busy we put aside our quiet times with the Lord? shouldn’t this be EVEN MORE important when i’m busy? don’t i claim that HE is my main purpose in life?

then i started thinking about how my “word of the year” is JOY and i started to wonder where my joy is? how have i lost focus on my pursuit of God’s joy? how is it that life is seems to be just sweeping over me and taking over every little thought and moment?


i’ve really missed Him too. i’ve realized that since i’ve been so overwhelmed with little things of this moment my heart just isn’t at peace. i’m not feeling “right” if you know what i mean. so this morning i picked up Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts again. {seriously, have you all read this? if not, go get it RIGHT NOW. just two chapters in and i’m convicted and inspired. it’s beautiful}

this morning i was quickly reminded that for true joy in this life comes from real thanksgiving.

“Satan’s sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude. Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave.  Isn’t that the catalyst of all my sins?” (pg.15)

um yes. more days than not it’s hard to be grateful. i mean, maybe i’ll say i’m thankful for something but in my head i’ve usually made a list of everything else that could be better…

“As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning -now; wherever, meaning-here. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience…The only place we need to see before we die is this place of seeing God here and now.” (pg 33)

what i’m reminded of this morning is that thanksgiving is the beginning of the joy that i’m seeking. of that seeking feeling that my life is so overwhelming but i’m missing something! of the peace that surpasses all understanding. my focus is wrong. and it all starts with thanksgiving.

“the one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me.”

Psalm 50:23

thanksgiving =  glorifying God = real joy


may we all find moments today to notice God and to be thankful.  i’ll sure be thinking about this a lot today. i’m thankful for so much but i forget to think about it, ya know?!  to actually thank God for each little thing. really, i DO want to glorify God with my life! with my every day. even the crazy days i’ve had lately! to start that, i need to remember to be thankful.

have any of you had those kinds of days? have you noticed that your Joy is missing when you’re ungrateful or there’s a lack of gratefulness too? how do you remember to be thankful?

xo-kimberly renee

ps- in my “free printables” you can print off your own copy of my Joy painting above. tape it to the mirror or hang it by the front door to remind yourself to seek His joy! 


psalm 62-8

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols”

1 John 5:21

this is how John ends his first letter. just that sentence. no fancy farewell or sweet hopes of seeing the letter-receivers like Paul. nope. just one more command to his readers. it’s like he wants this thought provoking phrase to be the last word. the last thing we remember from his letter. and i find that fascinating.

he calls his readers “little children” too. some people might have been offended to be considered children by someone they respected and liked. but to me, it reminds me that i am a little child in my faith too, i’m still learning and growing in my relationship with God. so i accept that my name is child. Child of God.

but then he says, “keep yourselves from idols.” i think most of us today read that and skim right over. don’t really think about it. what idols is he talking about? the kind of historic figures that people made from wood or from stone? no, i don’t think so. i think he is talking about anything…ANYTHING that takes our focus from Jesus. that we think about more than Jesus. that we focus on when we have nothing else to think about. anything we worry about. dream about. anything we can’t live without.

at church, we are going through Tim Keller’s Gospel in Life series. Last week, we went through the video about idols.  Tim Keller says this:

“What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.”

“…A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.”

close your eyes for a minute. think about loosing everything in your life. what if you lost your family? your friends? your job? your house? your money? what of all those things, do you fear losing the most? what do you think would make life impossible to go on if you lost it?

yikes, things pop into your head too? it’s so hard to think that sometimes the things that we love the most, that are actually gifts from God, can turn into our idols. when really, we should be turning to God in thanksgiving for those gifts, with an open hand, knowing He could take it all away in a blink of an eye.

as you can tell, i’ve had the message about idols in my head for a couple of weeks. and reading 1 John has reminded me, that i need to pay close attention to my idols… and make sure that i bring them to the Lord in repentance. i’m just like a little child. i need this reminder. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

may you remember John’s parting words today, my friends. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”


“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savoir appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life”

Titus 3:3-7

IMG_1317_tondabayashi flowers

“but since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation”
1 Thessalonians 5:8

the imagery in this verse is beautiful. It struck me the other day during my quiet time to break the verse down and think about the parts. do you ever do that? it’s actually a very good exercise…when i actually take the time to do it.


first part:

“we belong to the day”

not the night. day time is bright and promising after a dark night. Christ is of the day…He is light. He is the light of the world. and we are children of the light!

“let us be sober”

being sober to me, means being level headed and realistic. i’ve never been drunk but i know what it’s like to be drunk on life and to be silly beyond control. to me this is saying, let us have a realistic understanding of what God has done for us. it is exciting and amazing but it should also bring us to our knees in humbleness.

IMG_1451_Izushi cherry and lantern

“put on the breastplate of faith and love”

i find it interesting that this is another place that Paul talks about armor besides the famous Ephesians section. so Paul is stating something in multiple places… it must be important, right?! here he is talking about a breastplate. what does the breastplate do? it protects your body, your chest.

the heart.

a breastplate protects it. it can’t be made of something flimsy or be handmade out of fabric… it is strong. made of metals from the holy mountain.

it is not my own faith and love that I put on to protect my heart… the armor is a gift from God!! it is given to me to protect my heart from being pierced by something. it is made of faith and love to guard my heart with peace.


“and for a helmet the hope of salvation”

a helmet protects the head… the mind. it keeps the precious skull protected from the lying arrows of the evil one.

again it is not a hope that i can conjure on the inside of my brain… but a piece of armor that goes on the outside.

it is a gift

i have hope not because i make it up… but because salvation is presented to me!

so many days I fail or forget to put on my helmet in the morning before I leave the house. my mind is then so vulnerable and so easily attacked with lies.

when i forget my breastplate my heart is vulnerable. i forget that i am a beloved child of The Light and  i let the arrows of the evil one pierce my heart, cause me pain and i fail to love as i should and to have faith that God is in control.


it’s interesting to note the very next verse:

“for God has not destined us for wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ”

the breastplate and helmet are meant to lead me through the battlefield to my salvation and to my Lord. God has a beautiful destiny for me. He has also provided the tools (armor) needed to help me on my way. it is my sober and solemn duty to put on that armor every day.

even especially on days when i think i’m doing ok and i think i can do it on my own. there is no doubt about it… those are the days that i need His armor the most.

can i get an amen?





{warning: a bit of heart and honesty coming right up}disney at sunset

so far, this winter has been pretty dark for me.

yup, i’ve had some AMAZING adventures! but i haven’t mentioned that i’ve also faced some serious tears. some serious stress and some serious depression.

there have been moments when i’ve just wanted to quit my job, just pack up and leave new england. my plan is to just crawl back into my parent’s basement and wait until husbuddy has a job and has life all figured out. i’d join him again then. i think that might be easier some days…

it’s been hard partly because i feel so temporary. i’m continually reminded that we are only here a couple more months…

but i’m trying to make lasting relationships with other seminary wives or with people at church…

i’m trying to be a good employee in a super stressful environment…

i’m trying to be a good, supportive wife, who keeps the house clean and makes dinner for my hardworking man.

AND i’m failing at all those things. big time.

disney flower

i feel like relationships feel forced.  i feel that i don’t belong mostly because i’m not pregnant or have a baby(like practically every wife i know)  or maybe  i live too far away and everyone knows i’m leaving soon, so why bother getting to know me?  i’m failing at being a “good wife” big time…i’m complaining or crying so much and i don’t have time to clean and usually husbuddy is the one who ends up making dinner…{seriously-he is amazing to put up with me!}

i’m failing at so much, you guys! so that’s making me depressed. {*i think i also get slightly seasonally depressed too… just a hunch*}

winter is sometimes so dark, isn’t it?

and if you think about it… it’s kind of funny that i’m struggling so much with depression when my word for the year is JOY. {see blog post here} haha. hilarious. you see me laughing right? ok…slight sarcasm.

it all came to a clash the other day, after a 6am flight when we needed a nap…go figure… but as soon as husbuddy fell asleep, i just cried.

disney at sunset2

i cried out to God. i was so ashamed for my depression -especially after such a loud statement of faith saying that i was going to be joyful this year! and especially after such wonderful trips! i felt so much guilt and shame for so many things. and i told Him all about it.

mostly in my journal. i haven’t journaled much since getting married. i try to tell myself that a journal helps me process things-a lot like this blog- but i still put it off or avoid it… until all of a sudden i just feel compelled to write and write and write… like the other day.

the great thing about keeping a journal is that if you flip back through the history, you can be reminded about how God spoke to you…He prompted me to do just that after i spilled my guts.

disney castle

i flipped back to the day that i discovered this verse Psalm 16:6-11 {that i blogged about here}. i remember that day was full of tears and contemplation too. that day, God gave me such hope with these verses.

and then, He gave them again just by looking at those journal pages.

i was struck:

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of JOY;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Psalm 16:11 {emphasis all yours truly}

there is only FULLNESS of JOY when i am IN GOD’S PRESENCE.

could He hit it over my head any clearer?

i won’t find joy in all the “things” i have to do… even in my work. i can’t find fullness of joy in “being” a good friend or a good wife… all these things i’ve been trying so hard with and feeling so stressed with… i can’t conjure up my own joy.


i feel like i’m pretty dumb and God has a lot of work ahead of Him to pound this Joy thing through my thick skull…

but i’m SO thankful that He is taking the time to pound it. He is teaching me about JOY and i’m truly thankful. it may take reminding with how thick my skull is, but God’s mercy is new every morning, and He delights for me to be in His presence to find His joy.

 God is so good! can i get an amen?

xo-kimberly renee


{thanks for listening, friends! it’s my goal to totally be honest about things around here, so i appreciate it that you’ve taken the time to read! hopefully God will continue to teach me a lot more about Joy this year}

{ps- if you’d like to print off your own copy of my JOY print, go HERE or to the *printables* link above. thanks!}

Psalm 16:6-11

“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

this scripture is speaking to me today and this path was walked on today. today is truly a gift. my joy is only full in His presence. blessings!
xoxo-kimberly renee

when i was in college i was involved in campus crusade. every week we’d meet in an old theater for fellowship, worship and a message. it was awesome. i miss it! i still remember a particular lesson about prayer from one of those nights…

i don’t remember who was speaking, or what the message was really about, but something they said totally stuck out to me. they talked about  1 Thes. 5:17.

 ” pray without ceasing…”

how do you pray constantly? without stopping? without doing anything else?

how in the world do you do that?

that night, they talked about praying like you breathe.  hang with me…{i’m not sure if they actually said this, but this is what i have taken away from it all these years…} but what if we thought about prayer as much as we did about breathing? see, we don’t think of breathing at all. it just happens. what if we prayed like that?

they explained that if you think about it as you breathe…as you breathe in, breathe in the Holy Spirit, breathe in His goodness, breathe in His hope and joy.

as you breathe out, breathe out the evil thoughts, breathe out the failures that you’ve felt, breathe out the hurt, the things not of God,  breathe out and give them up to God.

little breaths. not much said or done. but little moments of hope and release.

i think it takes thought and practice at first. you can’t just not think about it to be able to pray at first. but after practice… it could be as easy and simple as breathing.

we all can learn to “pray without ceasing…”

{this is day 23 of 31 days of prayer! thanks for being here, friends!}


St. Francis of Assisi is attributed to this prayer:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

St. Francis is someone i knew nothing about until today. i’d seen this prayer with his name at the end many times and thought it was beautiful. i remember praying it every day for a month in college for some sort of study.

so i did a little research and i found  this blog post  which explains that he didn’t actually write this prayer. oops.

He did live this prayer though. and that’s the most important thing. and this prayer is an example as we continue this journey on learning more about prayer. it is a beautiful prayer that calls us to be a better person but also begs for God to help us be the person He has called us to be.

how cool is it that this man lived such a prayerful life that a prayer written centuries later is considered attributed to him even though he didn’t write it?

{to see the other posts from this 31 day series click here}

{a sketch from my study in Italy of the David sculpture by Michelangelo in Florence}

yesterday i talked about Daniel’s example of being faithful in prayer. i thought that this week i could talk about who else is an example in how to be faithful in prayer. it might be interesting to look at examples of prayers that others have prayed::

today let’s talk about David. right now i’m going through a bible study of the life of David and it’s really interesting. i haven’t gotten very far yet, but i’d recommend it: A Heart Like His. so far the bible study has just been going through 1st Samuel. 1st Samuel goes through the story of David’s life. It will also being going through some of the Psalms because David is attributed to have written many of them.

Learning from his life, his faith and from his personal prayers is a good way to learn how to grow in my relationship with God and even to learn how to pray! So, if no one else inspires you, let David. He is someone who has poured out his heart to God and for all to see. May we all learn from his faith.  sometimes when i don’t know what to say, i just go to the psalms and read the prayers that have already been prayed. i pray that these words will be my prayer.

i’m sure i’ll be talking about him again in this series, but here are a couple of psalms that encourage me to pray, to say what is deep in my heart that sometimes is so hard to say. even if they seem to just be asking God to be here, to listen, to hear my heart. may these verses encourage you too:

Psalm 17:6-7 “I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. Wondrously show your steadfast love, O savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.”

Psalm 5:2 “Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray.”

Psalm 102:1 “Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you! Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer my speedily in the day when I call!”

but really, if you just open your bible to the Psalms you’ll find thousands of examples of prayer. so go ahead. go learn from David. i’m going to too.

xo-kimberly renee

{to see the other 31 days of prayer posts please click on the link}