New Article Links


Hey y’all! These are links to articles I’ve written for other websites in the past few months. I hope they are a blessing!

The Gift of This Complicated Life:

Where Are You Dwelling?:

Trust the Story God is Writing For You:

What’s the Pattern of Your Days?:

A Story of Darkness and Light: What Christmas is All About

Oh my sweet friends. As I sit here tonight, reading the Word by the light of the Christmas tree and a candle flickering before me, my mind cannot seem to wrap itself around this day that is almost here. This Christmas Day, the day of Christ’s birth, and what it all really means.

I’ve read the Christmas story so many times and there are different things that jump out at me each year. Like the bold obedience of Mary and Joseph, the sweetness of Mary pondering everything in her heart, or the humble beginnings of our Savior. But this year, the past few months have brought so many unimaginable stories of loss and heartache, and there is only one part of the story I can keep my mind on: the story of darkness and light.

The world is filled with so much darkness, y’all. So much evil that threatens to overtake any glimmer of good in this life. It seems that just reading the news or social media these days can make your whole body tense as you take in the harsh words and hateful comments directed at anyone with opposing viewpoints. The deaths of so many that have left holes in the hearts of their precious loved ones. Just breathing is a challenge many days for some of those I love. There is darkness.

But this darkness isn’t anything new. Before Jesus came into the world, there were those without hope. Those who felt they couldn’t make it one more day. And those who felt they would never have peace.

But then, Zechariah shared this in Luke 1:78-79:

“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”

If you feel you are sitting in darkness lately. If you are kneeling in the shadow of death. If you have no idea where to turn. I have good news. Our God is a God of action, and He is moving all the time.

Here are three things we can lean on for hope this Christmas season, even in the midst of dark times…because light is coming:

1. Jesus came “Because of God’s tender mercy.” This just fills my heart with thankfulness because it is a sweet reminder that God does see us and our struggles, y’all. Psalm 116:2 says, “Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” Job 34:21 reads, ““For God watches how people live; he sees everything they do.” Sometimes I find myself wondering if He really cares what I’m going through, though. If He is really aware of all the small details of my days and how they are affecting me and those I love. If He is even really hearing my prayers. But, this verse…this reminds me when I begin to doubt, that yes! 100 times yes, He is right there and in His great mercy, sent Jesus for me…for all of us…because He saw and heard so long ago how much His people needed a Savior who would see what they saw and feel what they felt. His tender mercies are never ceasing.

2. “The morning light is about to break upon us.” Oh y’all, the morning light. What a tender mercy. I am not a morning person. Not even a little. And definitely not when it is dark outside still. But on those days when the light streams through the blinds, it does my heart and my head so much good. It’s almost like the day is saying, “Come on, you can do it…” but really, it’s the Lord’s way of reminding us that He is the morning light. Our morning light. And as it (He) breaks upon us, He makes all things new. New day. New words. New actions. New chances to live for Him and not ourselves. New opportunities to speak life instead of death. New everything.

But he doesn’t want us to stop there. It says he came to “give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.” So as that light breaks upon us, we have the responsibility of sharing that light with others. To tell them what He’s done in our lives and give the hope that He offers. Small acts of kindness: a smile, a hug, a compliment, an encouraging word, a Coke from the drive-thru…don’t let the day’s little opportunities pass you by.

3. His light has a purpose: “to guide us to the path of peace.” This part is so interesting because it implies that we can’t find peace without light to guide us. And it’s so true. When I have chosen to dwell in darkness, to make choices that were not in God’s will…I could not find peace. But when I have asked forgiveness for those things and drawn near to the Lord through His word and prayer…I have walked that path to inner peace as He’s taken me under His wing.

There is such a thing, y’all. It’s not always easy to find. Some seasons it takes longer than others. But it is there because of the Lord’s goodness and mercy. It is something nothing and no one in this world can give. In John 14:27, Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

I can only imagine the judgment Mary and Joseph had to endure as she began to show her pregnancy, with everyone knowing they had not yet married. Then the long, uncomfortable trip to Bethlehem, only to find they had no place for their baby to be born. I imagine there was fear…and some choice words…as those last days before Jesus birth came to pass. Then the intense labor, in a cold stable, with stinky animals…it must have felt very dark at times.

But then…there was light. The angels glowed with bright light. The star shone above with great light. And the light of the world was born for you, and for me.

God sent his one and only son to rescue us, to save us from our sins, to give us hope, because He knew how much we needed Him. He is the light of the world… for all of us. Merry Christmas, y’all.

“God loved us and sent His son.” 1 John 4:10

For the Mamas of Tweenage Girls

Hey sweet friends. Last week a precious mama friend asked me to write something for the ladies a step behind me in mommy time about surviving the transition from little big girl to tweenager. I told her that I am absolutely no expert, but I would be happy to share some of what the Lord has taught me in this time in the hopes that it might lift others up along the way.

So, as moms we all experience a number of transition periods. First, as our babies turn into toddlers and then those toddlers turn into preschoolers and those preschoolers turn into little big girls. They all have their challenges and joys, but the change from little big girl to tween has been the most daunting for me.

I think the reason being that while in each stage before, my little girl wanted more independence, but she still needed me to help her with many things. However, once she was in 2nd-3rd grade, she was actually able to take a tighter hold on some of that independence. She was taller and faster and stronger and smarter. She wanted to do and go and make choices about clothes and shoes and shows and music that before, she let me take the lead in. And Lord help us at all the choices! There are some good…but there are many more that are just, whew! And y’all, the truth is that I grieved my “baby girl” when I realized she was becoming her own person before my eyes. It’s precious and fun and exciting…but hurts your heart at the same time.

My little lady is now getting close to turning into a full-blown teenager. There are eye rolls here and there. There are, “Moooommmm!” moments. There are slammed doors and sighs under her breath some days. But there are also sweet moments where she still wants me to tuck her in and talk at night. There are days she rushes in to tell me fun things about her day after school and actually asks what I think about things sometimes. And we are usually on the same page.

But let me be clear. I cannot take credit for the good. And I won’t take credit for all the bad either. Because she has her own heart, mind, and choices to be made with what I have taught her through the Lord’s guidance, grace and mercy. And your babies will be the same.

So, sweet mama friends, here are some of the things the Lord has taught me and continues to work with me on daily. Each one has a few verses for you and your daughter to memorize together. I hope they will encourage you as you step into this season of leading your little ladies on the path towards the tweenage/teenage years.

1. Do not allow fear to rule your heart and mind. Ok, so this has to be first. If you turn on the news you see nothing but scary stories about abductions, sex trafficking, and other horrible crimes these days. Then you read an article about the dangers of social media and phone usage. You hear your friends talking about the dangers of the chemicals in your foods and what happens to children with too little sleep or outside time. You hear a podcast about the effect on children’s brains from bullying and negative self-esteem. And the list goes on. Ok, so stop. Just stop right there.

We are not to live in fear, y’all. If we do, it comes out in our words, actions, and interactions with our girls. That fear will affect every decision and can hold you back from allowing yourself and your babies to step out in faith with the Lord. So turn off the news. Put down the articles (or FB). Stop the noise and go to the Truth. Because we have a Savior who told us we do not have to fear because He has overcome the world! He is so, so much bigger and stronger and more powerful than anything this world could throw at us. He is sovereign. He is good. And He is God.

Are we to be cautious? Of course. We need to teach our girls about the dangers of the world, but at the same time, teach them about the power and faithfulness of God.

We have to live life and allow our babies to do the same. It’s ok if they experience hurt and loss because the Lord will grow them closer to Him through those things. And here’s the kicker. They won’t be going through those things alone because YOU will be there with them. Maybe beside them, maybe behind them, and sometimes at a distance. But when there are hard things, let them know that you will be there as long as you are able, and when you can’t be, the Lord will be no matter what.

  • “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid, for the Lord God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
  • “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
  • “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty…He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge.” Psalm 91: 1,4
  • “I prayed to the Lord and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
  • For further reading on a mom who trusted her child completely to the Lord, read about Jochebed, Moses’ mom, in Exodus 1-2.

2. Be real, apologize when needed, and prepare your heart to give grace and ask for it in return. Oh y’all, this is a loaded one. Let’s start at the beginning. So when I say be real, I don’t mean divulge all of your past mistakes and secrets with your girls at this age. I think as they grow and mature there may be a time you want to talk about certain decisions you made when you were younger, but I am talking about your relationship with them and others in the present time.

These girls are going to test your patience and make you want to pull your hair out. So, if they see you lose your temper, say something you shouldn’t have, or make a bad decision, own up to it. Model apologizing and asking for grace in your relationship with them. Remind them that you are learning too. That this is your first time being a mom of a “tween” and you will have to figure things out together. And give them the same grace in return.

I have had to apologize on many occasions, and it usually goes something like this: “I’m so sorry I lost my temper. I said some things I shouldn’t have. I have been really tired and just got frustrated. Will you forgive me?” OR

“I know you think I don’t give you enough independence and that I’m too strict. But my job is to protect you and the thought of you getting hurt scares me. You’re my first baby, so I’m learning as I go. If you’ll be patient with me, I’ll be patient with you. We both have to give each other grace.”

  • “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” James 1:19
  • “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13
  • “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him.” Colossians 3:10
  • For further reading on a mom who forgave and gave grace, look at Mary in Luke 2:48-52.

3. Talk about the Lord like He’s a member of the family and share what He’s done in your life. So the most important thing in the world for me is that my children know that Jesus is real, as real as the nose on my face, and that they realize how much they need Him. I am not the most organized person in the world, and my house does not run like a tight ship. Our family “Bible Time” doesn’t get done every night and my good intentions to memorize scripture and play Bible Trivial Pursuit often fall flat. But I do talk about Jesus and to Jesus and worship through songs in front of my children most every day. They see my Bible out and open on a regular basis. They hear me pray to Jesus for them every morning before school and every night when they go to sleep. They believe Jesus is real and that He is for them and with them and protecting them because of the everyday conversation in our home.

Now, I am not super-spiritual-super mom. I just know Jesus and talk about Him. And you can do that too. When we are late to school and make it through a green light, we sing, “Thank you, Loooord!!!” When they are on my last nerve, I speak out loud, “Lord, give me strength with these people.”

One day when my son was about four we were riding down the road and I saw him swinging his arms toward the seat beside him in the rearview mirror. I asked what he was doing and he said, “Oh just punching Jesus.” I said, “Well honey, I don’t think you should be fighting with Jesus.” And he said, “What? It’s not like I can hurt him!” Ha!

When our children know Jesus is real, that we trust Him, and that they can too, it makes some of those hard tween angst moments so much calmer and peaceful. Speak His name and remind your girls they have a Savior who is real, loves them, is for them, and will never leave them.

  • “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
  • For more about a mom and grandmother who shared scripture and their faith, read about Lois and Eunice in 2 Timothy 1:5 and 3:15.

4. Pray for your girls. All the time. Before you put your feet on the floor. Before you close your eyes at night. And all during the day. For their hearts and minds to be guarded from the things of this world. For their worth to be found in the Lord and who He made them to be. For friends who will stand beside them and lift them up. For others to speak life to them and for them to do the same. For them to be leaders and do the right thing even when it’s hard. For them to shine Jesus’ light in the inevitable darkness of this world. For them to save their bodies for their husbands one day. And most of all, for them to choose Jesus and know Him in a real way. Pray, y’all.

  • “Pray without ceasing….” 1 Thesselonians 5:17
  • “Oh Lord, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day.” Psalm 88:13
  • “My hearts has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8
  • For more on a mom who prayed, read about Hannah in 1 Samuel 1-2.

This is super long. And there is so much more I could say. But mamas, you’ve got this. Be firm but loving. Be consistent but graceful. Pick your battles and decide if “this” is really the hill you want to die on.

Rebuke fear in the name of Jesus, apologize and forgive freely, share what the Lord has done and who He is in your life, and pray, girls. These tweenage years will not be the end. You will survive. Eat chocolate. Take a mama time-out when needed. And pray some more.

There are days the road will seem very long…almost never ending. But keep choosing to take one step at a time. You and your girls are going to make it. Col.1:17

Tears, Shadows, and Jesus

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8

It seems that each year brings more tears. Not because of unhappiness in my own life, but because of the increasing weight of this fallen world. This week has been one of those that makes you question so much and just makes your heart so heavy it’s hard to breathe.

There are no magic words to make things better. There are no ways to immediately make pain go away. And there isn’t anything I can do to heal my friends’ broken hearts.

But Jesus can.

I have to think that in Heaven, there is one amazing storehouse, with shelves lining the walls, full of bottles. Not bottled water or Coke, but bottles of all different shapes and sizes…holding our tears. And that each time we cry, a new deposit is made. I imagine a book, a huge book, on a stand in the back. And after each new tear, another tally mark is put down under the name.

And although the day’s work could stop there, it doesn’t. Because at the end of the day, Jesus comes to check on things. He opens the book, and as He sees each new tally mark, He weeps for us because He understands the pain we feel.

But as we cry out for comfort, He shelters us with the peace that only He can give. We are never alone in our pain my precious friends.

Hazel asked me recently why we had shadows. I explained that the sun shines light, and whenever something gets in the way of the light, it forms a dark space on the ground. That is true, of course. But the more I think about it, the more I believe it is so we know we are never alone.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

Think about your shadow for a minute. It can be long or short depending on the position of the sun. It can appear to go away in the evening, only to be brought back with a shining light. It may change shape or size, it may disappear for a time, but it never really leaves. And Jesus doesn’t either.

Oh my sweet friends, He is always there. When the weight of this world takes such a toll that you just want to hide under your covers and never come out again, remember that your tears haven’t gone to waste. Every one is accounted for. When you see your shadow, don’t think of it as darkness, but a reminder that you’re never alone.

Dear Jesus, We need you. We just need you. Please help us know you are near. In your sweet name, Amen.

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Check these out!

Hey y’all!

I contribute to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, and the Connecting Ministries Blog here and there. Go subscribe to their websites for great encouragement from other women around the country. Here are a few recent ones. I hope they will be a blessing!

When You Walk Through the Fire

Because You Are More Than Just a Number – devotional

If You Only Knew

Frustration. Anger. Discouragement. Those are some of the things I am feeling tonight after our school system received a letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation saying that we must cease the student-led prayer before our hometown football games on Friday nights. The comments I have read on news threads and Facebook go back and forth on the legalities of it all, but I’m not here to talk about that. Out of all the things I’m feeling tonight, it’s mostly sadness. Deep sadness that not everyone understands why praying to Jesus matters. My heart just breaks for those whose mission in life is to stop Christians from sharing their faith. And it made me think of something I studied last week.

In John 4, Jesus stops at a well and asks a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. She can’t believe He is talking to her because one, she’s a woman and that was inappropriate, two, she’s a Samaritan who Jews didn’t associate with, and three, she has a poor reputation and she figures this man knows this. But nevertheless, Jesus speaks to her, and she responds, “Why are you asking me…?” So many times in my life I’ve thought the same thing. When I’ve felt the Lord ask me to share or speak to someone or go somewhere or do something I feel totally unequipped for, I think to myself, “Why are you asking me???” But y’all, the beginning of His response is what gets me. He answers her, “If you only knew the gift God has for you…”

If she only knew. But she didn’t, y’all. Because to that point, no one had told her who Jesus was or what He had done in their lives. She had no idea that the man right in front of her, speaking to her, longing to help her and save her from her current life, was not a religion or a distant far away God or a made-up fairytale. He was the Savior…her Savior. It made me think about all of those in this world who are out to disprove and suppress and hurt our Christian “religion.” All of those who are missing out on the love and joy and peace that having a relationship with Jesus brings. And it’s because they don’t know, y’all. They. Don’t. Know.

For those of us who know Jesus, it’s not religion, it’s personal. When we pray it’s like inviting our closest confidant, family member, or friend over to lay our fears and hopes and failures at His feet. It’s a time to say, “I cannot make it on my own and I need your strength, your protection, your love, your forgiveness.” We have experienced the power of prayer, believe in it, and want to share the gift of it with others. It is never meant to harm or hurt, but only to help. We know the One who is mighty to save and it’s a privilege to call on His name and feel His presence. We have seen God’s hand move in our own lives and those around us, so it only feels natural to ask for His help and protection at a football game or anywhere else.

But many others have been hurt by religion, the church, or those who call themselves Christians. Some have never been exposed or cannot begin to comprehend believing without seeing. So let’s help them see, y’all. Let’s pray for those who need the Savior…and don’t know it. Pray without ceasing, y’all. The only way to share Jesus with the world…is sharing what Jesus has done in your life. How he saved you, changed you, and sustains you day by day. This is my prayer for all who haven’t heard or have chosen not to listen yet:

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26 NLT

If you are a Christian, I want to challenge each one of you reading this to share what Jesus has done in your life. Not for spite or pride or out of anger. But because you were lost, and now you’re found. And they need to be too. Post it on social media, message it, write a letter, tell a friend, however you want to, but tell someone who doesn’t know why you are a Christian. Tell them who Jesus is and what He has done for you.Don’t allow this to steal your joy, y’all. And don’t lose focus on Who matters most.

Oh, and that Samaritan woman I mentioned before. Jesus told her who He was. And she believed. Then she left Him, told everyone she could what He had done, and brought them back to meet Him for themselves. Break our hearts for what breaks yours, Lord.

Let’s let them know, y’all.

*Feel free to share this blog and post what Jesus has done in your life on social media and hashtag it #ifyouonlyknew.

A Faith that Speaks

Hey y’all. I am so excited to share my new blog, The Little Moments, with you. Many of you know that I have been writing for the past few years, but you may not know the “why.” I want to tell you a little more about how this came to be and share my heart for this blog with you. So, here we go.

In July 2012, I was asking the Lord to show me how He could use me and my family for His glory. One morning, while praying in the shower before work, he answered, “I want you to have another child.” I quickly said “no” and explained that He must have misunderstood the question. I wanted Him to use the family I already had. We had one daughter and one son who were almost fully independent, could see the end of daycare payments on the horizon, and honestly felt we were headed for “Easy Street” in a number of ways…or so we thought.

This back and forth went on for a few months, until I finally submitted and said, “Ok Lord, I am willing to see what happens, but you’ll have to work on Jamie because this is not in the Cooper family plan!” And a couple months later? My sweet husband said maybe we should see what happened if we tried for another baby. And a couple months after that? We found out we were expecting baby #3. She arrived in August 2014 while watching a replay of the 2013 Iron Bowl…yes, in the delivery room. (War eagle!) Life as a family of five was feeling very sweet.

Fast forward to 2016, and that baby was now a hot mess of a two-year-old who kept me not only on my toes, but on my knees even more. Keeping up with her plus my 9 and 7 year old, while trying to be the best wife, mom, housekeeper, and teacher I could be was just exhausting. The piles of laundry, muddy cleat marks across the floor, toddler tantrums, and tween eye rolls here and there were taking their toll. And I began to pray more deeply. But this time I asked, “Lord, please show me what I can learn in these frustrating everyday moments, teach me, and help me know you are here.” And He did. I began to pause more, listen more, and connect my everyday life to His Word.

As I was growing and learning more, I felt the Lord say that I needed to be sharing what He was teaching me with others. The thought of that was not only scary, but sounded ridiculous. Why would anyone care what I had to say? I knew the Lord, I loved the Lord, but I was no highly educated theologian. I didn’t know what to think. But then I read these:

“But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the Psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.”…And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:13,15

“We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s good news, but our own lives too.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8

I had the answer I had been praying for years before, and I knew what I had to do.

Paul said he believed in God, so he spoke. He kept preaching so that as more people learned of God’s grace, God would receive more and more glory…and that’s what we’re here for y’all. To bring glory to God.

But Paul didn’t only share the Good News. He loved people so much, that he shared his life as well. I am nothing special. But my heart longs for you to see my real life. Not the social media version. And I pray that in sharing my struggles, you will be encouraged to seek the Lord in your little moments and share what you are learning too.

I believe in God, I have experienced His grace, and I want Him to receive all the glory, so I share. I pray we will all be bold enough to have a faith that speaks. It may only be to our own husband and children, a small Bible Study, or a group of friends, but every person we share with is one more than there was before. Encourage each other, lift each other up, and share what the Lord is teaching you in your little moments. He is always right there.

*Subscribe at the bottom of the home page and receive a FREE 3-Day Devotional! I am hoping to have some guest bloggers and will be sharing links to a number of new sites I will be contributing to as well. To everyone who has encouraged me to keep sharing, thank you so very much!

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