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Posts tagged “faith

3 years later

Three years ago on December 30, my dad passed away.

It was completely unexpected and by far the hardest day of my life. I will never forget the phone call in the stairwell at work, the torturous flight to Ohio and the surreal days following. I can remember everything so clearly, yet it’s also so hazy at the same time.

I’ve written before about the all-consuming nature of grief and the only constant being change. I write today to offer the hope that things get better. That time really does heal wounds.

I know that sounds so cheesy, and you might not believe me. Here’s the thing – it’s true, but it is also still so hard. Three years later and it is still.so.hard.

There are still days where all I can think about is him, and I just want to lay in bed and cry. There are times when I want to call him so badly to tell him about something at work because I know how proud he would be. Or at weddings when I just wish he was there one more time dragging me on to the dance floor.

The memories are everywhere and there was a time when they would only make me sad. I would immediately push back tears and turn my attention to something else.

But something different has been happening lately – I’m learning to smile and rejoice in the memories instead. A month ago, I found this picture of us from New Year’s Eve 2008. I moved it in to our living room and now see it every day. The last two Christmases I wouldn’t have been able to do that. It would have made me too sad or upset every day, but this year it just makes me happy.


Time does heal, but it never happens in your time. It was three years before I could do a tiny thing like moving a picture. I still struggle, especially through the holidays, but it gets better every day. I don’t think it will ever get “easy” per se, but I think over time there will be less tears and more smiles.

And more pictures.

xo xo

Seven {detestable} Things

Our church is starting a new series called Seven Things. When I first heard about it, I thought it was going to be about the seven deadly sins, something we’re all pretty much familiar with. However, I was incorrect. It’s about a passage in Proverbs that I’ve never read before or at least never paid much attention to –

        There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
        haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
  hands that shed innocent blood,
     a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
      a false witness who pours out lies and
a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

– Proverbs 6:16-19

From the start I was very intrigued by this series and now after week 1, even more so. Husband and I left the service talking about how great the message was and how convicted we were.

Week 1/Detestable Thing 1: Haughty Eyes – looking at people in need and judging them.

I will be the first to raise my hand and say I do this way too often. I really felt like this sermon was being preached to me. I judge people’s outfits or their hairstyle, I judge what someone says or what they do. I judge homeless people and people I work with. I know I shouldn’t, but it has become so commonplace and normal in society that it’s hardly even frowned upon.

But guess what – God doesn’t judge. He has seen me at my very worst and didn’t look at me with haughty eyes, but instead with compassion. This is what I like about this series, not only are we studying the behaviors we shouldn’t do, but we’re pairing them with the fruits of the spirit to show what we should do.

Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness – looking at people in need and helping meet the need.

God knows what he’s doing. He has placed all of us exactly where we need to be at every single moment in our life. He has not placed us where we are so that we can look at someone, judge them and think how much better we are than them. He has placed us there so we can take action and do something kind.

Here’s the thing. We often see people and think, what can I do? I don’t have the time or the money or know what to do so I just won’t do anything. BUT if we have the time to judge someone, we at least have the time to say a prayer. Say a prayer for God to bring someone into that person’s life who does have the resources to help, or say a prayer asking how you can help. There are people all around us who just need a little kindness and a little love instead of being looked down upon.

My prayer is that this week when we see someone and start to judge, instead we say a little prayer and see how we can meet a need.

* * *

I plan to share each week of this series on my blog. However, if you’re interested in attending the service with us to hear the message firsthand, please let me know. We would love for you to join us. You can learn more about The Grove Church here.

xo xo

I’m doing okay.

Remember that post I wrote about two months ago? Where I led with, “You want real, here’s real: I’m not okay.” Well, it’s two months later and I’m doing okay.

Guess what, friends, time works. Time heals. Not all, but it heals. It’s a Friday night. I’m laying in bed writing this after a great evening at home – taking Olli on a walk, cooking dinner barefoot in the kitchen (which Mom thinks means I’m pregnant … but I’m not) and relaxing with some favorite shows.

I’m trying so hard to be thankful every day for things in my life. I’m trying so hard to work through my grief. I’m trying so hard to praise God in all circumstances. It’s still hard, but I’ve definitely made progress.

I’m not here to sugar coat it and tell you it’s not all gone. Lord knows it’s not. I still feel a little hollow inside. I still feel sadder than I use to, lonelier than I use to, more reflective than I use to.

There’s still bad days. Days when all I want to do is cry. But those days are getting fewer and farther between. The perplexing part though is, I’m not sure if that’s what I want. I’m not sure if I want to be okay. It makes it feel more real and it makes it feel like I’m forgetting him. So some days I hold tight to my grief, letting it bury me because I don’t want it to go away.

I need to learn how to hold on to it and let it go at the same time. That’s where I am. Caught in the divide. I can see the light though. I can see the Lord pulling me in the right direction. He’s been so evident lately, putting specific people in my life at certain times to talk about certain things. I just love that. Love that I have someone looking out for me like that.

It’s getting better, friends, and I have all of you to thank as well for your continual love.

As Henry David Thoreau says, “Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”

xo xo

My Lenten #40DayChallenge

This year for Lent I’m doing things a little different. Well, I’m still doing some familiar things, like fasting from all sweets. (But this time I’m not going to let Sunday be a cheat day. So straight 45 days without sweets. Eek!)

But I’m also doing something different. I’m taking the time to be intentional about things I’m thankful for. I will share a photo every day on my instagram account @milledavis of my #40daychallenge. You can follow along there or on my blog. I won’t update on my blog every day, but will share in batches several days worth of photos.

This is a great exercise for anyone, to be conscious every day of the many things you have to be thankful for, but for me specifically in this time of grief. I pray that through this season God will open my eyes and remind me of all of his wonderful blessings. I pray I will reflect during this time on what’s truly important. I pray I will be reinvigorated with His truth and the passion to share the Gospel.

I hope you’ll follow me in this journey and share things you’re thankful for too!

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 6.39.53 PM

{Day 1: I’m thankful for the freedom to practice my religion during this sacred season.}

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 6.40.05 PM{Day 2: I’m thankful for fun coworkers and belated mardi gras celebrations.}

Life, it’s hard.

You want real? Here’s real: I’m not okay.

This situation has been more difficult than I could have ever imagined, and I’m tired of telling everyone I’m doing fine. I mean, I am doing fine, but I’m also not doing fine. Do you understand? If you do, please let me in, because I don’t understand. My thoughts, feelings, tears, emotions have been so scattered the past few weeks I honestly don’t know what I’m feeling. So often I feel numb – numb to the pain, numb to the world then all of a sudden I’m the opposite of numb (sensitive?) and I can feel everything all at once. All emotions come rushing to me. The tears don’t stop. The memories don’t stop. I can’t do anything.

I went back to work at the beginning of the week. I was so anxious about starting back, but it’s really been pretty good. I’ve enjoyed getting back into work and into a semi-normal routine. Everyone has been great, but someone shared a piece of advice that has stuck with me – Don’t just throw yourself into work. It will only elongate the healing process.

I’m honestly at a point right now where I can’t even imagine not feeling sad. I know it will happen, but it seems like such a foreign concept. When will I ever not be sad that I don’t get to see or talk to my dad again? When will that ever seem normal?

But life goes on. It’s amazing that it does, when everything around you seems to be crumbling and changing. But if I had any doubt in my mind, I look at Facebook or Instagram and it definitely goes on.

I love you all, and I don’t want you to read this and pity me. I just needed an outlet to be real. To be raw. If anything, just pray for me. If there’s been anything that’s given me peace and hope and strength through all of this, it’s been my faith. I honestly don’t know how people do it who don’t believe in our Lord Jesus Christ.

To end, I want to share with you my devotional from today. I pray it gives you hope in your life and your situation as it did for me today.

My face is shining upon you, beaming out peace that transcends understanding. You are surrounded by a sea of problems, but you are face-to-face with Me, your Peace. As long as you focus on Me, you are safe. If you gaze too long at the myriad of problems around you, you will sink under the weight of your burdens. When you start to sink, simply call out, “Help me, Jesus!” and I will lift you up.

The closer you live to Me, the safer you are. Circumstances around you are undulating, and there are treacherous-looking waves in the distance. Fix your eyes on Me, the One  who never changes. By the time those waves reach you, they will have shrunk to proportions of My design. I am always beside you, helping you face today’s waves. The future is a phantom, seeking to spook you. Laugh at the future! Stay close to me.

xo xo


a prayer for us all.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

xo xo


7: Possessions // UPDATE

Hi friends, remember when we were doing our 7 challenge? We cleaned out our closets and our apartment and had an abundance of stuff to give away, along with our Community Group. We gave all the household items to Havenwood, but we all kept the clothes planning to do a free clothing giveaway. Well, it finally happened. We planted ourselves in the middle of the Gravette Farmer’s Market with a tent full with clothes, shoes, accessories and signs that said FREE. We weren’t sure exactly how it was going to work. We didn’t know how many people would stop by, if people would want to give money for the clothes, if they would let pride get in their way or if they would take everything in one swoop. I’m here to say, it was a HUGE success.


We had some fun.


We had great fellowship.


But most importantly, we blessed the community of Gravette.


We had numerous families come by who shared their stories about not having enough money to buy new clothes for themselves or their kids for Summer. They were so incredibly grateful and asked if we would be back. These families were needy and we were able to provide for a basic need. We have such an abundance and we don’t even realize how far that can go for others. I was extremely humbled and left ready and willing to clean out my closet again and again to give to those who truly needed it. It was so much more impactful seeing women go through my clothes excited to wear them than just dropping off bags of clothing at Goodwill.


What an incredible Saturday we had, and we will certainly be doing it again.

xo xo

You might also enjoy: 7: Possessions // Week 1, 7: Stress

7: Stress // Update

It’s official. I am not stopping this challenge at the end of the two weeks.

Guys, can I tell you how much this prayer time helps throughout the day? Picture me: an anxious, perfectionist, worrier, easily stressed person in a pretty high stress job. (I know, I know how stressful can social media be, right? Walk a mile in my shoes.)

Picture this: God is here for me 24/7. God wants me to be refreshed and refocused throughout the day. God doesn’t want me to be stressed or anxious or worried.

Now I’m not saying I’ve been perfect. I’m not sure if there’s even been one day when I’ve prayed the full 7 times, but I’m definitely praying more than I ever have throughout the day strategically.

When I was in Ohio last week traveling alone, the nightly prayers and Psalms were a tremendous comfort.

When I took a 2-minute pause in a hectic workday at 9:30am to ask the Spirit to bless my work with composure, creativity, inspiration and love and I felt overwhelmingly refreshed.

When I used the drive home to transition out of work and into the evening with family, I felt peace and thankfulness.

What a difference this makes in my day to day. I’ve been learning how easy it is to push God aside throughout the day and fit Him into our schedule, rather than the other way around. When I want everything I do to glorify Him, why not let Him lead my day through prayer?

I think Paul was on to something when he said “pray ceasingly.”

xo xo

You might also enjoy: 7: Stress

7: Stress

One of my least favorite things is when someone asks how you’ve been and you say busy. Or crazy busy. Or soooo busy. Or ridiculously busy. NEWS FLASH: Everyone’s busy, and everyone thinks they’re busier than everyone else. I’m not saying I don’t do this, because I definitely do, but I’m trying to catch myself before saying it and respond with a less superficial and more sincere answer. All that to say, everyone’s busy and with busyness often comes stress. How do we combat that?

Let’s pray. 7 times a day. I’m good at praying in the morning and I’m good at praying at night. I’ll sometimes sneak a prayer in there during the day if I have a second to breathe or something major is happening. Most days my prayers are very similar. We kind of get stuck in the typical prayer, yeah? 7 shares a strategic plan to pray throughout the day, and I love it. The author calls these 7 prayers “breathing spells for the soul, an oasis to remember the sacredness of life, who we are, how to offer God the incredible gift of our lives, and learning to be in the midst of so much doing.”

I’m so in. Are you?

The Night Watch (midnight)
The Awakening Hour (dawn)
The Blessing Hour (midmorning)
The Hour of Illumination (noon)
The Wisdom Hour (midafternoon)
The Twilight Hour (early evening)
The Great Silence (bedtime)

* * *

The Night Watch (midnight) – The Night Watch advocates for others in a dark night of the soul: the suffering, abandoned, oppressed, lonely.

“My eyes are awake before each watch of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.” Psalm 119:148
Readings: Psalm 42, Psalm 63, Psalm 119: 145-152

The Awakening Hour (dawn) – The Awakening Hour includes thankfulness for a new day, a fresh slate. Our desire to live this day for Jesus glory is an offering. We celebrate God’s redemption.

“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love; so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14
Readings: Psalm 19, Psalm 95, Psalm 147

The Blessing Hour (midmorning) – This mid-morning pause has two emphases: The first is mindfulness of the Spirit’s abiding presence to invite the Spirit to stir our souls. The second is about the sacredness of our hands and work asking the Spirit to bless us with creativity, composure, inspiration, love.

“Let your loveliness shine on us, and bless the work we do, bless the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17
Readings: Psalm 67, Psalm 84, Psalm 121

The Hour of Illumination (noon) – At midday we honor the hour when Jesus embraced the cross, and we recommit to giving our lives away. We pledge to shine brightly, becoming hope to the hopeless and light in the darkness.

“You are the salt of the earth … you are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:13-14
Readings: Psalm 24, Psalm 33, Psalm 34

The Wisdom Hour (midafternoon) – With the evening approaching, we pray for perspective on this short, fleeting day and life and we hold out forgiveness, release our grudges and offer our gifts to the world.

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
Readings: Psalm 71, Psalm 90, Psalm 138

The Twilight Hour (early evening) – We invite God’s peace as we leave work and transition into dinner, family, home, rest, training our minds toward tranquility. The Twilight Hour is for exhaling, calming our minds and transitioning into the evening and being thankful for the day.

Readings: Psalm 34, Psalm 139, Psalm 145

The Great Silence (bedtime) – This prayer concludes the day; the focus is on awareness and we include not just weaknesses but the strengths and accomplishments of the day. The second theme is darkness – We ask the Spirit to guard against our enemy, protecting our seal and innocence in Christ.

“By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8
Readings: Psalm 23, Psalm 91, Psalm 134

You might also enjoy: 7: Spending, 7: Media

Peace, Hope & Love

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. – 1 Peter 1:3

It’s been a rough week. I was losing hope. I was focusing on myself. I was stressed. I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t see anything past the present second and  my present problems.

Luckily, God was listening. (Of course He was!) He has given me the most gorgeous, relaxing weekend I could have possibly asked for and put things back into perspective. I’ll spare you my sermon, but reflect on the verse above. We are NEW because of Him. We have HOPE because of Him. He is so merciful, and He has overcome the world.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33

Whatever you’re going through, take a step back. Allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with peace, hope & love.


My weekend was:

[a lazy saturday]

[closing a restaurant catching up with old friends]

[taking a hot hot bath, simply because I wanted to]

[celebrating a dear friend’s birthday]

[expanding my mind reading intelligent articles in Wired]

[leaving the doors and windows wide open]

[a nice walk with my mom]

[celebrating the risen Christ with family]

[a terrific brunch with a terrific view]

[an afternoon not bound by plans]

[baking an oreo brownie surprise – recipe to come tomorrow!]

[mentally prepping for the season finale of The Walking Dead]

On that note, you should probably go back and read my blog How To Survive a Zombie Apocalypse in honor of tonight’s episode. Also, just in case it happens sooner than you expected.

xo xo

7: Spending

Look at your bank statement. How many places do you spend money within two weeks? I looked at ours: 50. These last two weeks we’ve spent money in 50 places. For the next two weeks, we’re taking it down to 7.

By now I’m sure you know about our 7 challenge. So far we’ve gone through possessions, waste and media. We still have stress, clothing and food to go, but the next two weeks are all about spending.

Our 7 places:

– Walmart (includes gas and WM Home Office Cafeteria)
– Bills
– Husband’s Karate
– Starbucks (it’s a serious addiction, I’ll conquer that in our food challenge)
– Restaurant A
– Restaurant B (restaurants to be decided throughout the two weeks, but I’m almost positive one will be Houlihan’s…)
– Wildcard (this could be anything we choose throughout the challenge – something fun or something serious that comes up)

I think this challenge is going to be very convicting. I’m such a consumer. I must consume something everywhere I go. How often do I buy a coffee at Barnes & Nobles just because, purchase a new necklace at a shop I’m perusing or download a new song on iTunes? Too often. Look at these facts and try not to cringe.

Annual U.S. Spending on Cosmetics: $8 billion
Basic Education for all global children: $6 billion
Annual U.S. and European spending on perfume: $12 billion
Clean water for all global citizens: $9 billion

Seriously? I feel sick. Think of the difference we could all make if we watch where our money goes more closely. We’re making a choice every single day with our dollar.

I’m not sure if you ever think this, but I certainly have before – Since I tithe and give to other good places, I can do whatever else I want to do with my money. How selfish am I? Who’s money is this really? It’s certainly not mine, so why am I spending the majority of it on things I want that won’t even matter in the end. Just because I can have it doesn’t mean I should.

With this much expendable income on movie theaters, restaurants, shopping, I doubt Jesus will accept my excuses for neglecting the poor on account of cash flow.

Instead of our American way of thinking and fearing poverty and simplicity, we should fear prosperity.

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” – Mark 10:25

I know we’ve all heard this, but I hope these next two weeks we can really meditate on this fact and find ways to simplify our lives and use our money to love our neighbor as ourselves, just as Jesus would have wanted.

* * *
“God, may we be focused on the least, a people balancing the fasting and the feast.”

xo xo

7: Waste

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the water.”

– Psalm 24: 1-2

I’m going to be completely transparent with you. I am not too excited about this chapter. It sounds boring, it sounds difficult and I don’t have as much conviction about it as I do other things (possessions, spending, clothing, etc.) Prayer request: That the Lord will open my eyes to see how important this really is.

The goal of the chapter is to reduce our amount of waste and live a greener life. We are wasters. We are consumers. We are not taking care of God’s creation like we should, because for some reason I believe that I am more important than the animals, the forest, the ocean, the soil, the air that God so carefully constructed.

So, here are the Alderman’s seven habits to a greener life:

– Allow only 5 minutes showers

– Turn lights off when leaving a room (something I am TERRIBLE at and husband says so all the time)

– Unplug electronics, chargers, etc. when not in use

– Recycle what we can

– Eat out only at local restaurants

– Use reusable bags while shopping

– Do not use plastic baggies/utensils for lunches

As I was reading through the chapter about gardening and composting and using only one car, I literally thought to myself, “What difference are these things really going to make?” (I’m obviously not a hippie/earthy type, eh?) Then I got to the end of the chapter where the author specifically addressed that question, and her response was exactly what I needed to hear.

“If we believe it is part of our task as earthkeepers to recycle, then we ought to recycle, whether or not it will change the world. Do the right thing. We should fulfill our calling to be caretakers of the earth regardless of whether global warming is real or there are holes in the ozone layer or three nonhuman species become extinct every day. Our vocation is not contingent on results or the state of the planet. Our calling simply depends on our identity as God’s respons-able human image bearers.”

Let’s do the right thing.

xo xo

You might also enjoy: 7: Possessions7: Possessions // Week 1

7: Possessions

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

As I mentioned in a previous post, husband and I are starting our first ever couples Bible study with a book called 7 – An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. It is a challenge to cut down areas of excess in life: food. clothes. spending. media. possessions. waste. stress.

Our first challenge starts today: possessions. Give away 7 possessions every day for two weeks. 98 possessions total.

A few additional conditions we added on ourselves:

– Clothes/shoes can only count for 3 days, because you know you could go through your closet and find several bag fulls of things to give away that could easily count for the whole time.

– No purchasing any more possessions in the two weeks.

– Be intentional about where you’re giving. While giving to Goodwill or Salvation Army is good, you’re not seeing the need when you drop your bags off in a drive-thru. We are looking for specific organizations in the area that need specific things like clothes, home goods, electronics, etc. so we can actually see where and who our possessions are going to.

This will definitely be a challenge, but I’m already excited to see what happens and where God takes us. I’d love for you to join the journey with us or just pray for us. I’ll be blogging along the way, so if you’re interested in hearing how it goes sign up to get emails every time I post on the right side of the screen under “Don’t Miss a Post.” Also, if you know of a deserving cause in NWA with some specific needs please please let us know as our group will be on the lookout.

Now, off to purge for day 1…

xo xo

We are blessed to be a blessing


“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.'” – Genesis 12:1-3

* * *

The message at our church was so rich this morning that I had to share a piece of it with you.  We should not be looking to others and thinking they are too blessed or coveting the blessings we don’t have, but instead looking at our blessings and thinking how much we have compared to others.

Two questions we will be reflecting on in our household this week and hope you will too:

How has God blessed you?

How does he want to use that blessing to bless others?

* * *

“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” – 2 Corinthians 9:11