An Excerpt from ‘Holidays for the Hurting: 25 Devotionals to Help You Heal’ by Elisabeth Klein

Holidays for the HurtingHere’s a guest post by author Elizabeth Klein. If you’re coming up on the holiday season and you are struggling – in your marriage, with your divorce, as a single mom, with an illness, with a hurting relationship…with LIFE – Holidays for the Hurting will gently come beside you and walk you through the season with grace and tenderness, pointing you to Jesus each day for twenty-five days.

She writes: ‘Healing is perhaps one of my absolute favorite words. It calms me. It soothes me. It gives me hope.

But maybe even more than that…it reminds me that if there is a healing, then there is a Healer.

That we have a Healer.

That I have a Healer.

That you have a Healer.

Jesus came for a multitude of reasons and theologians might argue that some are more important than others.

He came to die for our sins.

He came to kill sin and death.

He came to teach us how to live life correctly or better.

He came to make us more like him.

He came to bridge the gap between God and man.

He came so that we could go to heaven.

He came to teach us how to love.

And all of this is true. And yet there’s so much more.

But one of the best reasons, in my humble opinion, that Jesus came for us is this:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has…sent me to heal the brokenhearted… -Luke 4:18-

He came to heal those of us who are brokenhearted.

I am among the brokenhearted.

And if you are reading this today, then I’m going to not-so-boldly assume that you are among the brokenhearted as well. And that you are in need of healing.

Listen, I have walked through deep waters and passed through the fires. And I can tell you that time did not heal me. And my friends, whom I love, did not heal me. And books, God love ‘em, did not heal me. And counseling did not heal me. And the Church did not heal me.

If I have ever been healed – and I have, time and time again – it is because Jesus is my Healer and Jesus bent low and came close to bring me healing.

And as you lean in to Christmas, as it’s coming closer and closer, I want to invite you to ask sweet Baby Jesus to bring you the healing you so desperately need. And then believe and wait in expectation.

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. –Psalm 6:2-



Thanksgiving 101: An Introduction to Thanksgiving for Kiwis and Brits


So this year our family has decided to celebrate Thanksgiving. Neither of us have any American ancestry (although I do have a few Canadian cousins that I’ve never met), but a celebration centered around gratitude and thankfulness has got to be a good thing. Right? In a hope to unleash gratitude in the lives of my children, this year we thought we might borrow this American tradition. For none of us seem to be naturally thankful by nature.

In Britain where my husband is from, Harvest Festival is celebrated in September but really only in the church. Here in New Zealand a universal thanksgiving celebration isn’t even on our radar. It isn’t part of our culture, nor do stores market to it. But perhaps it is something that could be celebrated. After all, to give thanks is very biblical, and all cultures have hosted harvest festivals from the beginning of time. However, some traditional aspects of a Thanksgiving celebration don’t really make sense in New Zealand. For one, it’s almost summer, although here in Dunedin we are still wearing our puffer jackets and it’s only around ten degrees! Harvest occurred in April/May and pumpkins aren’t really in season. Furthermore, in November life starts to get a little crazy in the Southern Hemisphere as the end of the academic school year looms, and people start to think about preparing for the consumerist onslaught that is Christmas. And then many of us prepare to go away on Summer holiday on Boxing Day!

We tend to think of Thanksgiving (in North America) as an annual national holiday commemorating a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrim Fathers in 1621. While we aren’t celebrating the founding of our country, our Thanksgiving feast will be focused on giving thanks to God for who He is and everything He has given us. Here in New Zealand we can sometimes be a pretty cynical bunch. But would it change our values as a society to have a time set apart each year to come together to and give thanks? Many research studies demonstrate that thankfulness is associated with positive mental health outcomes. In fact, grateful people are more likely to have higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress and depression. Grateful people cope better with a life changes. Gratefulness improves the likelihood that people will be altruistic. It is also correlated with empathy, generosity, and helpfulness, and increased general well-being for all individuals involved.

Thanksgiving invite for blog

So in my enthusiasm I googled Thanksgiving and surfed Pinterest for some creative inspiration. I even found a Martha Stewart website devoted solely to Thanksgiving. But I want to keep it simple as we have a whole lot going on right now.  Our plan is to have a traditional dinner substituting chicken instead of turkey (turkey is crazy expensive in New Zealand), and serve it with some other Thanksgiving faves such as mashed potatoes, corn, maple glazed carrots and bean casserole. I might even try and make a pumpkin pie. After all, you’ve got to try pumpkin pie at least once in your life! We thought we might say a prayer, share a few Bible verses on the topic of thanksgiving and enjoy each other’s company.

pumpkin muffins

Here are some other simple Thanksgiving activities that we might try:

The Thankfulness Pumpkin: Invite each guest or member of the family to write one thing that they are thankful for on a pumpkin. This could make a nice centerpiece for the table. (Pumpkins are available in a New Zealand November but they tend to look rather different to the US ones).

Thankful pumpkin


The Thankful Tree: Cut a branch off a tree in the backyard and make this simple ‘Thankful Tree.’ Have each member of the family write something they are thankful for one of the leaves.


Check out a thanksgiving tree free printable here:

And here are some good links to get into the spirit of Thanksgiving, before the Advent and Christmas seasons are suddenly upon us.

Free Printable Family Trivia booklets for any big gathering

Immediate Elegance for any thanksgiving table

Bless Someone with this 

Free Gratitude Journal for the Kids this week

Why not try this amazing little activity together?

And the perfect devotionals to carry you peacefully all through this holiday season — arriving just in time to help really celebrate Thanksgiving.

And The One Thousand Gifts Free App – I’m going to download mine today on Google Playstore.


1000 gifts app (1)

While it will be fun to celebrate Thanksgiving for the first time, we don’t want a practice of giving thanks to be limited to one day. Perhaps everyday we can cultivate this dying art, and in doing so, thanksgiving becomes ‘thanksliving’. Consider that ‘neglecting to give thanks only deepens the wound of the world.’ Thanksgiving is warfare. And through thanksgiving lies the victory. Happy Thanksgiving down under.

pretty picture

A November to Remember: The Big Blog-Book Tour #HeartMattersinEM

Heart Matters big book-blog tour

Well we are still waiting to move to England. In fact I’m itching to get on that plane (even though I will dearly miss the wonderful friends and family that we leave behind). Meanwhile, my book is about to embark on a little worldwide book-blog tour, albeit a virtual tour. Next month I’m privileged to have several wonderful blogs hosting my new book. I’m excited to release my book, but I’m also really excited to be donating the royalties earned from book sales to the non-profit organisation A21. Abolishing human trafficking is a cause dear to my heart, and A21 are passionate about abolishing slavery in the 21st century by working together. A21 states that:

‘Human trafficking fuels the growth of organized crime, undermining health, safety, security, and the basic needs of humanity. It is the fastest growing crime in the world.’ By purchasing a copy of my book you will be helping in a small way to free those men, women and children bound in slavery. (See:

A21 banner

Here is a sneak preview of the ‘Big Blog-Book Tour 2015.’ 

I decided to write this book, not because motherhood has been a breeze for me, but because it hasn’t been. In fact, this book has been borne out of my struggles, rather than my successes. These struggles are common to most mothers, yet they remain unarticulated. A conspiracy of silence seems to exist around motherhood, yet the well-being of mothers is worth talking about.’

Many who have experienced early motherhood might agree that it is a life-changing rollercoaster journey full of highs and lows. Hang on tight and enjoy the ride! It can be enjoyable, exhilarating, exhausting and terrifying. Early motherhood can be a deeply fulfilling experience, yet it can also be a testing time for many women. Motherhood is achingly beautiful, yet it can also bring pain and heartache. Matters of the Heart in Early Motherhood is an honest look at the joys and challenges of early motherhood from a Christian perspective. It’s a motherhood myth-buster, melding psychological research with spiritual nourishment. This book is about getting to the heart issues of motherhood. The heart is the seat of who we are. Yet many heart issues can arise when we become mothers. ‘Heart Matters in Early Motherhood’ discusses how we can recognise and process the emotions that surface, and how we can be encouraged that we are not alone in this season of life. In this book I also offer clear-eyed elements of my story and the stories of other mothers, including the scrapes and bruises we have acquired on our journey through early motherhood.


Why another book on motherhood? Well there seem to be many pressures on families today. New mothers have to navigate a minefield of conflicting advice and often parent without close support networks around. Consequently, many mothers of young children sometimes feel unable to trust their instincts.   This book offers hope and healing to mothers of young children who have overwhelmed hearts – those, like me, who have sometimes felt alone, fearful,  discouraged, or just plain weary in their journey through early motherhood. This book discusses what it is like to be a mother of young children today, and encourages mothers to trust in God’s abundant grace, developing confidence as they parent their little ones. Each chapter invites the reader into important discussions, from the pressures and expectations that mothers grapple with, to mess, miscarriage, marriage, and postnatal depression. This book aims to minister to the hearts of all mothers, whether they are married or parenting alone, staying at home or going out to work. A must-read for any mother immersed in the terrific yet testing time of raising little ones, and for anyone who wishes to thrive rather than just survive in the trenches.

Heart Matters fb cover

 What others are saying about ‘Heart Matters in Early Motherhood’

‘Each chapter is a breath of fresh air.’

Trina Pockett, Author of Unexpected: Grit, Grace and Life “In Between.’

‘Sarah presents an encouraging, balanced study on what it means to be a mother today, and it is an excellent companion in the challenging years that accompany mothers of young children.’ Mary Crosson, Children’s Author, Midwife, Pastor’s Wife and Mother of three.

‘Sarah writes with transparency, insight and encouragement of her early parenting experiences. She offers a frank and supportive message to parents and a word to the Church about it’s role in caring for today’s family’.

Robyn Appleton, Children’s Pastor, Nurse and Mother of three and Grandmother of three.

Questions & Answers:

Q: Why did I write the book?

A: When I had my first child 8 and a half years ago, I longed for a book that put into words what I was feeling and experiencing. Of course I loved motherhood, and it was amazing, but it was also much harder than I ever imagined it would be. It was a steep learning curve! While there are many other great books on motherhood out there, I decided to write my story and listen to the stories of others, to create the book that I needed to read in my early years of motherhood.

Q: Who is the book for?

A: Anyone in the trenches of early motherhood. If you are a Mum that has it all together, then you don’t need to read this book! But if you have ever felt weary, struggling, or in need of encouragement (isn’t that most of us?) then it is my hope that this book would be a balm for your soul.

Q: How would you sum up this book in one sentence?

A: This book aims to encourage the heart of mothers in the early years.

Q: What was the hardest part to write?

A: Being vulnerable hasn’t come easily to this private person. Sharing my heart in the pages of this book has been a brave step for me.

Q: How do you find time to write a book when you are a mother?

A: I’ve squeezed in writing in the small pockets of time that I have available – when the children are at school & kindergarten, and late into the night.

What is your next book going to be?

My next book is going to be about ‘Restoring Hope in Depression’.

‘Heart Matters in Early Motherhood’ will be available in paperback and ebook from the publisher and through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and ‘The Book Depository. It will eventually be available in bookstores (that is a work in progress). If you are local, I am going to host a ‘Bubbles & Book’ evening in late November (date tba) and there will be copies available there too. If you would like to come please let me know, I’d love to see you. And if you are a blogger that would like to host me on the Big Blog-Book Tour, then please get in touch with me on the blog or by email:

Bubbles and Book Evening for blog


Telling Yourself the Truth When You Feel Like You Are Not Enough

Telling yourself truth

A friend recently said to me ‘Stop trying to be perfect.’ I know that I am far from perfect, but her words stopped me right in my tracks. I wasn’t offended by her words, but they got me thinking. While I’ve never claimed to be a perfectionist, I’ve been known to hold myself to some pretty tough standards at times. Thank God that I am learning to be kinder and gentler with myself.

Have you ever felt like you are not enough? It seems to be a common theme for people today, especially women. Perhaps we’ve had seasons where we have felt that we are not enough of a friend, not enough as a wife, not enough as a mother, not enough in our career, or not enough because we don’t have a career. Perhaps we feel like we aren’t exercising enough, serving enough, or doing enough for God. It’s a theme that many people can relate to, as so many people struggle with a sense of failure. Who hasn’t at some time thought that they are not outgoing enough, not talented enough, not beautiful enough, not community minded enough, not trying hard enough? We believe these lies and they start in the battleground of the mind through ‘stinky thinking’.

A guest writer over at Ann Voskamp’s blog this week writes: ‘The lives of everyone around us seem to be bear fruit, and yet we feel like a stripped stalk. It’s easy to feel we stand alone, a rejected Esau in a field of Jacobs, those that God loves. But that simply isn’t true.’

So where does this stinky thinking come from? Perhaps it comes from criticism received when growing up, the pain of rejection from a family member or friend, words that wounded from a teacher, or the messages we have received in society or even in the church. In fact, in church culture the expectations around behaviour are very high, so it’s no wonder that many believers struggle with a sense of perfectionism or a feeling of not being good enough.


We also live in a society that glorifies success. Why is it that as people we always want to have more than what we currently have, or to be more than what we currently are? We expect so much of ourselves and others. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be successful, and many of us do have a built-in desire to feel like we are accomplishing something. Yet if we are believers, we need to be careful about measuring success the way the world does. Our society brainwashes us to strive for perfection. But on this side of eternity nothing is perfect. And too much striving can make one miserable. It isn’t wrong to have goals, and to work toward them, but if we move into overdrive, or when our achievements or success beome our identity, it can rob us of our joy.

“Christ continually shouts through the universe, ‘You have a love that is already yours. You have nothing to prove to anyone. You have nothing to prove to Me. You are significant and preapproved and utterly cherished. Not because you are ‘good,’ but because you are Mine.’”

{Jennifer Dukes Lee, Love Idol}

Joyce Meyer often says that ‘God is not mad at you.’ Many people need to be reassured of this. And here’s the good news: we can replace lies with truth from the Word of God. We can choose to meditate on the Word of God and what it says about our identity in Christ. And we can also choose to take our eyes off ourselves and fix them on Jesus, and others. We can receive God’s grace and know that we are ‘preapproved.’

7 Women & The Secret of Their Greatness: A Book Review

7 Women

“Do you want to do something beautiful for God? There is a person who needs you. This is your chance.”

This is the question that Mother Theresa famously asked everyone she came into contact with. Most of us are somewhat familiar with the legacy of Mother Theresa. But what does Mother Theresa have in common with Rosa Parks, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Saint Maria of Paris, Corrie Ten Boom and Joan of Arc? These women span different generations and cultures, yet they are all women who did something beautiful for God. They lived their lives in surrender and in turn were agents of change in their generations, influencing thousands for the Gospel.

‘Eric Metaxas is the author of the New York Times bestseller Amazing Grace, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask), Everything Else You Always Wanted to Know About God, and thirty children’s books. He is founder and host of Socrates in the City in New York City, where he lives with his wife and daughter. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Washington Post, Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Marks Hill Review, and Fist Things. He has written for VeggieTales and Rabbit Ears Productions, earning three Grammy nominations for Best Children’s Recording’ .

I haven’t read 7 Men, the first book by Eric Metaxas in this series – but I have enjoyed his book on Dietrich Boenhoeffer, and having a keen interest in history, when ‘7 Women’ became available to review I jumped at the chance. I’m familiar with the lives of Hannah More, Corrie Ten Boom, Rosa Parks and Susanna Wesley, but some of the other women included in this book were new to me, and I was intrigued to learn of their influence.

7 Women is a historical rather than theological account of the lives of seven influencers of culture, and it is a greatly encouraging and interesting book. I was fascinated by the details of Susanna Wesley’s life, and was encouraged by her faith and commitment to Christ despite the innumerable hardships that she faced. Imagine losing nine children in infancy, and three in adulthood. In fact, all the women included in this book experienced significant suffering. A compelling read, but perhaps the book could also have included application questions in each chapter that are relevant for us today. This book has much material that could be used for devotional purposes.

This book is a gift to the literary world and to the church. If you are someone who likes reading about historical figures, you would probably enjoy this book.

Here is a little taste of this book: ‘One reason I find St. Maria of Paris rather compelling is because of the striking similarities between her life and that of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Both were brilliant and grew up in an elite intellectual atmosphere; both shunned religiosity and pietism and both smoked and drank. Both were profoundly enamored with Jesus being fully incarnate and with his humanity he connected us to God…Both wrote brilliantly and both knew their writings meant nothing if they didn’t live them out. Both were less interested in meeting the expectations of their own church denominations, [St Maria’s was Orthodox], than meeting the expectations of God Himself. Both understood it was the duty of every Christian to stand up for the Jews being persecuted by the Nazis, and both were murdered in concentration camps just weeks before the war ended…Finally, I wish to include this great woman because many of us know Christian heroes from the Protestant and Catholic traditions, but few of us know of the heroes of the Orthodox tradition” (Eric Metaxas, 7 Women, Nelson Books, 2015, pp. 86, 87).

Crazy Crafternoons for Kids: Hosting an Arty Party


Recently I was intrigued to come across the term ‘Crafternoon’. A ‘crafternoon‘ is a lazy, lovely way to spend an afternoon crafting with adults or with the kids. I’ve always believed that everyone has a creative bent in them. Wasn’t it Picasso who famously stated that every child is an artist?

For my daughter’s birthday this year, we decided to opt for an ‘Arty Party’ theme. Even if you consider yourself to be creatively challenged, an ‘Arty Party’ can be pulled off relatively easily. All you need is 2-4 semi-structured crafty activities and if you lack inspiration, look to none other than Pinterest for some crafting inspiration. While we usually have parties at home, this year we had my daughter’s party at ‘Gone Potty’, a ceramic paining franchise. This turned out to be a smart idea, as I think I might have ‘gone potty’ if I had hosted a party at home on this particular week. The week of her party turned out to be a crazy week with a lot going on, including three lots of visitors, kindergarten finishing, school starting, a Polynesian cultural festival performance, a soccer prize giving, and a seriously ill relative.


For our Arty Party the children were engaged in two main crafts, interspersed with a few eats and the cutting of the cake. For the ceramics, the children each selected a ceramic plate, bowl, cup or ornament to paint, and these were later fired and glazed.


I also had a few other little activities up my sleeve, as young children don’t take too long to complete art projects. I found some wooden letters in a $2 shop, and each child painted and decorated the first letter of their name and were able to take it home in lieu of a loot bag.


In my party planning box I also had a game of art history memory (see free printable below). While perhaps a little too mature for four to six year olds, the kids did enjoy looking at the famous artworks.

art history memory game

For the food I kept it really simple. I didn’t even need to bake anything this time! I filled little noodle boxes with:

1 small packet chips

1 lollipop

1 mini chocolate

1 triangle cheese

four triangles fairy bread

6-7 grapes

The kids were also given mini ice-creams which went down a treat! Each noodle box had a helium balloon tied to it which the children could take home along with the noodle box. For drinks, each child received a ‘creative juice’ and straw.

artyparty creative juice

If you wanted to have a Crazy Crafternoon or Arty Party at home, there are many more activities you could plan. All you would need is a few ‘ingredients’, many of which can be found around the house, and a whole lot of patience for mess!

Some suggestions are:

Any toilet roll craft

Any egg carton craft

Pasta necklaces

Face painting

Card making

Squirt gun painting

Jewellery Making

Journal Making

Puffy Paint

Balloon Bowls

You could even have a cupcake decorating session as part of the afternoon tea (only for the really mess tolerant!)

You could make spring hats from paper bowls and plates….

hat for the races

And my favourite? Crayon daisies:

crayon daisies

And if you are really feeling brave, you could try anything with copious amounts of glitter! The world is your oyster. What are some other ideas you have for an Arty Party? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Charlotte's  fifth birthday party invite for blog

Coco Chanel

Watching the ‘War Room’

war room

war room is any place that is used to provide centralized commands or battle plans. While frequently considered to be a military facility, these are typically used by governments or businesses. And war rooms can also be used for another purpose – prayer.

This is the subject of the recently released film ‘War Room’. Produced by the Kendrick brothers, ‘War Room’ would have to be their best film yet. In the style of Fireproof, Facing the Giants and Courageous, ‘War Room’ is a faith based film that inspires the viewer to believe in the power of prayer. Despite the harsh secular reviews, this is an encouraging and engaging film. The official synopsis reads:

‘From the award-winning creators of Fireproof and Courageous comes WAR ROOM, a compelling drama with humor and heart that explores the power that prayer can have on marriages, parenting, careers, friendships, and every other area of our lives.

Tony and Elizabeth Jordan have it all—great jobs, a beautiful daughter, and their dream house. But appearances can be deceiving. Tony and Elizabeth Jordan’s world is actually crumbling under the strain of a failing marriage. While Tony basks in his professional success and flirts with temptation, Elizabeth resigns herself to increasing bitterness. But their lives take an unexpected turn when Elizabeth meets her newest client, Miss Clara, and is challenged to establish a “war room” and a battle plan of prayer for her family. As Elizabeth tries to fight for her family, Tony’s hidden struggles come to light. Tony must decide if he will make amends to his family and prove Miss Clara’s wisdom that victories don’t come by accident.

In theaters now and filled with more of the authentic characters loved by millions in previous Kendrick Brothers’ films, WAR ROOM is a vivid reminder that prayer is a powerful weapon.’

I came away from ‘War Room’ greatly encouraged to pray fervently. While this film may be preaching to the choir, it reminds Christians that instead of fighting each other, we ought to be fighting our real enemy.  War Room also encourages every Christian to be on fire for God rather than being “lukewarm” (illustrated in a scene with a cup of coffee) and to take up the mantle of spiritual warfare to see our families, communities, and nations transformed.

War Room delivers compelling drama and good acting performances. Karen Abercrombie makes a fine performance as the delightful Miss Clara, despite only having one other film credit to her name.

While the secular world has rubbished this film, War Room is still enjoying success at the box office. It seems that faith based films are making a come back. My task for the weekend is to carve out a war room in my closet!

prayer closet

When Being The Change You Want To See In The World Feels Like A Drop In The Ocean #Wewelcomerefugees #Livebelowtheline


It’s a heartening image isn’t it – a German toddler welcoming a Syrian toddler to her nation. And some photographs, like the one of little Aylan, are plain heart wrenching. We’ve seen so many moving photographs, and while we complain about the rising cost of living in our own backyard, more than 11 million Syrians are misplaced, having fled their homeland.

‘This is a moment in history.

The world is facing the worst refugee crisis since WWII.


The magnitude of this crisis is mind boggling. But when the world is in catastrophic crisis, we can choose to respond. We can be moved by the heart of God into action. When being the change you want to see in the world feels like a drop in the ocean, we just do it anyway, because the only other option is to do nothing, and that really isn’t an option at all.

How can we not move heaven and earth to let the broken in —

when heaven moved and came to earth to let us in? Ann Voskamp

For a practical list of how everyday folk like you and I can help with the greatest humanitarian crisis since WW2, go to







Jesus said:  “I was a stranger and you welcomed Me in.” – Matthew 25:35

What does the refugee crisis and trafficking have in common? Sadly quite a lot. Refugees are very vulnerable to being trafficked. Victims of human trafficking can be refugees, and refugees can also become victims of human trafficking. To understand more about this relationship, take a look at this UNHCR report:

Last year I completed the ‘Live Below the Line’ poverty challenge and on September 21, many New Zealanders will join in this year’s challenge, to live on $2.25 a day per person. They are great grandmothers, business people, university students, mothers, teenagers – all joining together for a ‘special purpose’. My family are going to eat what we usually eat, and I will probably live on rice and porridge for five days. However last year I used the beautiful recipe book One Helping aimed at making your dollar stretch further. All recipes are 75 cents or less per serving, and have been created by top NZ chefs. All of the profit from the sale of One Helping, goes to support TEAR Fund’s work of rehabilitating and rescuing victims of human trafficking in Southeast Asia.


And my latte fix? I rarely buy lattes, however I am fortunate to enjoy the occasional coffee out at a cafe, a privilege denied to many, in our country and in developing countries. My daily homemade latte fix is something that I am happy to sacrifice however, to ‘live below the line’ for a few days in order to raise money for the groundbreaking work that Nvader ( and Tear Fund do in putting a stop to the evil of human trafficking. This is an issue that has been on my heart for some time and I have started the ‘Bridges of Grace Bloggers Network’ to blog and join other bloggers who have a passion to raise awareness about this horrifying and heartbreaking issue. It really is haunting to think of what these innocent children suffer.

I also want to put my money where my mouth and donate to Tear Fund. Furthermore, I’m asking you my friends, to consider sponsoring me to participate in this event. Every small amount helps, even if it is $5-10.  I’d also like to challenge other bloggers, friends and family to take part in this worthwhile cause too.


You can donate to my profile here:http://www.livebelowtheline/me/lattegracelaced07

Be the change you wish to see in the world

On Burnout, the Sabbath & A Little Soul Spring Cleaning


‘Our generation were the generation that burnt our bras. But we were never in danger of burning out.’

Burnout seems to be such a key issue for our generation. Many in this day and age seem to be experiencing burnout, and varying degrees of this. We frequently hear of the term ‘burnout’ thrown around, but what does this actually mean?  Burnout is a psychological term that refers to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work. Burnout has been assumed to result from chronic stress (e.g., work overload) and has usually been related to occupational stress. But it’s not just people with high stress jobs that burn out. Anyone can burnout. There is growing evidence that personality traits such as perfectionism play an important role. The symptoms of burnout are similar to those of depression.  In fact, the view that burnout is a form of depression has been supported in several recent studies.

Burnout robs someone of energy and opportunities. There are many reasons for burnout, but the good news is that there are many ways of preventing it. Sometimes it stems from disillusionment and the reality vacuum that exists between our expectations and the reality we find ourselves in. Sometimes we may not even be aware that we are experiencing burnout. Sometimes the motive of burnout can be pride. We may be reluctant to delegate to others, feeling that we ought to carry everything ourselves. We can keep going and going, and we don’t see that there is anyway out. People will always let us keep going. We have to learn how to say No and how to exercise boundaries in a healthy way. Just because someone is capable and willing, doesn’t mean that they can be overloaded. There needs to be a fine balance.


Do you feel like the grace has been lifted? Burnout can be a gift, as it can be an opportunity to re-evaluate our lifestyle. How do we know if we are experiencing burnout? Highly sensitive people are very susceptible to burnout. (Take this test here: Often there are symptoms such as fatigue, flu like symptoms or general malaise. You don’t have to be in ministry to be in burnout. Many household managers and mothers experience burn out too. Single mothers are especially prone. Maybe you feel that you have pressures on you that are day in and day out. Entrepreneurs and business people can experience burnout too because they carry so much pressure for such a long time.  Burnout isn’t always caused by a negative stress, it can be caused by following your passions too. I almost burned out from blogging and writing last year, because I tried to write one rather lengthy blog post a week. With all my family commitments, this blogging commitment was unsustainable, and so I cut my blogging commitment right back, and I cut out several other commitments too. I am learning to feel when things get too much and can pull back. I have control over my own schedule, but some people don’t if they work for someone else.


What are some solutions to prevent and heal from burnout?

 We need refreshment today more than we have ever needed it. Before electricity was invented, people got up at sunrise and went to bed when the sun went down. But now we can spend all hours watching television or surfing on the internet. Very few people are comfortable enough with themselves to just be. If we aren’t careful, the pressures of the world can affect us. Our own bodies will set our limits. Jesus took time out and rested. And we can abide in eternal rest as we abide in Christ. Sunday can be reserved as a special Sabbath day of rest. Growing up in the 1980’s, I can’t remember how old I was when shops opened on Sundays. I think it was in the early 1990’s. Before shops opened seven days a week, Sundays were a day of family time. Has burnout increased since families work different hours, and we no longer observe a Sabbath? In the Old Testament, people had a Sabbath once a week, but they also had Sabbath years where the soil was put to rest.

I don’t want to become legalistic about the concept of a Sabbath, but have we lost the wisdom to teach people how to rest? We are doers. Jesus however was just with the father. He knew that there is a time to labour and a time to rest. Today however, people seem to devalue the concept of rest. They often work all day, travelling in heavy traffic, come home to families and all the demands that go along with that, and then commit to volunteer in their church. Although volunteerism is very healthy, there still have to be boundaries. But even good things can wear us out as well. Churches have things going on all the time. It can be demanding. We need to be able to say that even if we want to participate and serve in all the events that are going on, we cannot do all these things. We are all wired differently too. What is it that brings rest to me? What brings joy and peace? What brings pleasure?


In the Bible September is Rosh Hashana – the biblical new year. Rosh Hashanah means, literally, “head of the year” or “first of the year.” It is a time to begin again, letting go of past mistakes and grabbing hold of God’s grace. It’s so easy to be drained of energy throughout our daily life. Deadlines, bills that nee to be paid, family, friends, housework, health;  we all have lots of plates to spin. While nervous energy can help us accomplish things, it can also wreak havoc on our physical and mental health. It’s critical for our bodies and minds to rest. Eight hours of sleep per night can lengthen your life expectancy and support your immune system. And try meditating on the Word of God. If we aren’t in the Word, we won’t be well nourished.  Give yourself the right to say No. Spend time with God today so that you can run strong in rest and refreshment. We don’t need to allot every single minute of every day to an activity. Sometimes wasting time can be healthy for us! Prioritize resting your body and mind and you will wake up with a spring in your step! Enjoy the soul change this spring! There is hope for those in burnout, and those carrying burdens that are not theirs to carry. They will run free.

His yoke is easy and His burden is light. 


#Spring Clean by changing one thought, attitude or habit.

Two books that address issues related to burnout are:  ‘Overwhelmed: Work, Love & Play When No One Has Time’ and ‘Good News For Weary Women: Escaping the Bondage of To-Do Lists, Steps and Bad Advice.’

overwhelmedGood news for weary women

‘For the Love: Fighting for Grace In A World of Impossible Standards’: A Book Review


If you want a book that will make you laugh and think, Jen Hatmaker’s latest book ‘For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards’ is just that book. And this book is also for anyone who has ever struggled with feeling like they don’t measure up. Wait….isn’t that most of us? Funny and thought provoking, ‘For the Love’ has been rated as the number one best seller in Christian living on Amazon.

Jen Hatmaker is a mother to five children by birth and adoption, a pastor’s wife, popular speaker, blogger, best-selling author and star of the popular series My Big Family Renovation on HGTV.  She is known for her books 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity. She is also known for her tell-it- like-it-is authentic, real and humorous writing style.


Hilariously and insightfully written, this book is about people. And it’s about how we need the grace of God to deal with the challenge of fulfilling part of God’s mandate for us, which is to love others well. Refreshingly honest, Jen Hatmaker tackles challenges that many women face today across different life domains, such as marriage, parenting, friendship and church life. She reveals how to:

  • Break free of guilt and shame by dismantling the unattainable Pinterest perfect life.
  • Learn to engage our culture’s controversial issues with a gracious approach.
  • Be able to love and release the burden of always being right.
  • Identify the tools you already have to develop real-life, all-in, ‘know-my-junk-but-love-me-anyway’ friendships.
  • Escape impossible standards for parenting and marriage by accepting the standard of “mostly good’.

This book was a fun read. It had moments of depth, and moments of shallowness. I especially appreciated the chapter on missions, and I would highly recommend this to anyone contemplating a short term missions trip. This book covered a wide range of topics and felt a little disjointed at times. Liberatingly honest, the strength of this book is in the way that it conveys truth and wisdom about serious issues while remaining lighthearted. Whether you are a Christian or not, single, married, a mother, a professional, perhaps you are someone who has been hurt in church, there is something for everyone in ‘For the Love’. An affirming book for all women, renewing their value and worth.


Some favourite quotes from ‘For the Love’

Folks who thrive in God’s grace give grace easily, but the self-critical person becomes others-critical.

-We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise.

-There’s a difference between humility and insecurity, and self-effacement does no one any favors.

-How many trot out that tired cliché—“I’m waiting for God to open a door”—and He’s all, “I love you, but get going, Pumpkin,” because usually chasing the dream in your heart looks surprisingly like work.

-A good parent prepares the child for the path, not the path for the child.

-I worry we consider “success” to be a product of the parent’s diligence more than the child’s.

-Lean honestly into every hard place, each tender spot, because truthfulness hurts for a minute, but silence is the kill shot.

-Loneliness can be a prison, but we have keys. You needn’t wait for someone to open the bars.

For more information, visit

  • I received a free copy of this book as part of the Booklook Bloggers Programme. I was not required to write a positive review.

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