What Are You Chasing? …And Why?

When I was growing up, the biggest pursuit for me boiled down to love and acceptance wherever I could find it. Friends and boys were the top priority in my quest for acceptance.

Instead of realizing and being satisfied that I already had my family’s love and better yet, God’s love, I believed Satan’s lie that this wasn’t enough. “Your family and God are required to love you. Your real value must come from others.”


But I believed it. My actions proved that I did.

I am convinced that many women (young and old) are still trapped by similar lies today.

You are not enough. You need to be more. Do more. You are not desirable. You are not valuable.

Why do I think this? Because I’m a woman! I can still struggle with believing these lies. If I examine my motives, they sometimes reveal that I am trying to obtain my approval from people. Essentially I am living from the lie that says, “What I already have in Christ is not enough.”

When does this happen? It happens when my eyes are off of Jesus Christ and His glory. It happens when I compare. It happens when I stop pursuing God and chase after the meaningless things of this world.

Be honest – what or who do you pursue? And why?

We pursue what we believe we need.

When we don’t throw out these demonic, worldly, filthy lies from our thinking and living, they begin to CHOKE the Truth (the Word of God) that needs to grow big and strong in our hearts.

This is what happens to me, to us, to our families, and to the Church! Everything God wants to teach and reveal to us falls on deaf ears and dim eyes. These lies CHOKE OUT the germinating seeds of Truth. Fruitlessness is the result.

When we chase after people’s approval we have a LOVE DISABILITY. We don’t truly see the LOVE we HAVE in Christ.

Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us in this state of bondage! Our loving Father draws us in, convicts our hearts and opens our eyes to His Truth.

His Truth says, “My love is far beyond anything you could ever imagine. It is real, pure, limitless, unchanging, deeply and fully cup-runneth-over satisfying to your longing soul.”


NO MORE believing the lies. NO MORE counterfeit, worldly, self-driven living that only leads to barrenness.

Prayer: Forgive us, wonderful Father! We throw all these lies in the TRASH and pursue you with ALL our hearts. Overwhelm us with Your indescribable love. You alone fully and forever satisfy our being!



Mommy Lessons #2

Mom, do you ever feel like you are in a parenting rut?

I sure can find myself here too often!

This mommy-rut can nag at your soul. It can keep you awake at night… because you know change is needed. Something is not working. Maybe it’s the eternally messy house, fighting siblings, disobedience, or the couch-potato-itis that has yet to be conquered. I believe that the nagging in our souls comes from our realities not lining up with our value systems. Values like obedience, respect, love, and diligence are foundational virtues we all long to instill in our kids.

So, like me, you’ve likely tried a multitude of parenting tactics to bring success in certain trouble areas. Maybe you’re in a season where any hope of change seems, well, unlikely.

I want to encourage you. Don’t throw in the towel. Don’t be an all-or-nothing parent. Don’t give up. Positive change is very possible!

Mommy Lesson #2


I’ve learned that tweaking my parenting methods is vital! Although I’ll never “arrive” as the perfect parent or with a perfect child, I strive for gradual improvements. I call them “tweaks.” These adjustments may be needed daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually – you get the idea.

For me, tweaking begins by asking the Holy Spirit for guidance and then quizzing myself with constructive questions.

Questions to periodically ask yourself:

  • Am I about my Heavenly Father’s family business or my own?
  • How can I better connect with my child?
  • What can I change to better align with our values or goals?
  • What about our routine is not working well?
  • Do I need to learn more and be stretched as a mom? If so, what will be the source for this growth?

Let me just pause here for a little rabbit chase. Why is it that we rarely partake in training for parenting beyond the infant or early childhood years of a child? We will read all we can about pregnancy and baby’s first year, but as they grow older the studying often comes to a stop.

I urge you, mom, keep learning and growing! Get your PHD (figuratively speaking) in family matters, because family matters!

My recent tweaking just started last week after meeting with my mentor over lunch and discussing the prominent issue of entitlement.

After processing our discussion, I decided that my kids were not doing enough work around the house. They needed more chores. So I assigned new jobs with the days and times for them to be completed. Besides a little initial whining, this was an easy fix.

I also saw that they needed additional boundaries with their electronic devices. They now have set times of the day to place all devices into a basket that will be in their dad and mom’s possession. Can you believe we would actually remove these beloved items from their precious hands?! (Insert eye-roll here). No, this is not abuse. This is a healthy boundary for them in hopes that they will value people over “Apps.”

Now, honestly, if I don’t consistently hold them to the new standards there will come a day when these “tweaks” break down. Now is when you don’t want to give up. Give yourself grace! Shake it off! This is the beauty of tweaking. If you mess it up on your end, own it, tweak it, and start again! 

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28

Happy Tweaking!

To be continued: Mommy Lesson #3: Yelling Doesn’t Help

Mommy Lessons

What I Have Been Learning Along The Way…

NOT TO JUDGE OTHER MOMS’ METHODS (If I don’t like it, I just won’t adopt it. 🙂 ) 

If you’re like me, you’ve taken your role as a mother pretty seriously and have strived to choose the very best methods in all things maternal. I want my kids to have the most enriching environments possible. So I’ve sought the Holy Spirit’s guidance and done the best I can to provide this.

Now, I know you would never look around and compare like I have, but I have noticed that some moms seem to have kids that are better behaved than mine. Some of their four-year olds seem smarter than me. Some seem to be always well groomed with a matching outfit. While my goal is to make sure all my kids have shoes on when they jump in the car.

And then there’s those moms who can make me feel quite superior. “I would never feed my child such a meal.” “I would never allow my child to watch that show.” “I would never allow my child to behave in such a way.”

Oh… my, my, my. Do you see the problem?

First of all, it’s important to understand the difference between a principle and a method. A principle is a moral or fundamental standard. Methods are our systems or practices.

Proper nurturing, nutrition, education, and discipline are vital principles. Please do not neglect your child’s basic needs of love, food, clothing, shelter, correction, training, and teaching. And it’s great to search for the best methods to assist your child’s various needs. However, moms must beware of thinking of her methods as superior, more spiritual, or inferior than that of another mom. This only leads to self-righteousness, envy, strife and the like.

Stop comparing and just do your thing, mom! But watch yourself carefully. Don’t become overly zealous for your particular method(s) so that you offend or discourage your friend. Allow the love and grace of Jesus Christ to mature you as you avoid such foolishness.

Remain humble and unified with your sisters’ in Christ regarding your differing methods of parenting.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

To be continued… Next post: “Make Improvements by Tweaks”


Hey, Mom! How’s it going?

When our first child, Catelin Elizabeth, was born I was scared to death. It finally hit me, “What a great responsibility this is – raising a person! I have to teach her everything!”

Of course I wanted to be the perfect mom – a Super Mom. Ha! (Insert the rolling eyes here.) Puh-leeze

But who knew the cost of motherhood would be so great? The loss of sleep, sanity, and self is real!

Thankfully, the rewards of motherhood are infinite in wonder, joy, and amazing love! My children are true gifts from God, and I love them more than words can express.

In fact, let me introduce you to my amazing crew of Groeschel people.

catie bw

CATIE: 20 years, typical first born here, responsible, thoughtful, encouraging

LOVES: rules & order, cats (shh…), books, ministry & worship



mandy bw

MANDY: 19 years, tenderhearted, intuitive & witty

We thought she was our last! (God’s sense of humor is sweet!)

LOVES: techy stuff, dance, words, & church ministry


anna bw

ANNA: 16 years, artistic, outgoing, compassionate, encourager

LOVES: people, music, dance & church ministry



sam bw

SAM: 13 years, disciplined, self-controlled, focused

LOVES: family, friends, church, history & soccer



stephen bw

STEPHEN: 11 years, funny, competitive, fearless

LOVES: math, soccer, church, video games & reading



joy bw

JOY: 10 years, joyful, friendly, go-getter, leader, nurturer

LOVES: people, dance, Jesus, stuffed animals & penguins



Don’t they seem like great kids? They really are! But hey, they aren’t perfect. Nope. Just like their parents, they are each a work in progress by our Father.

Speaking of being a “work in progress”, I sometimes find myself filled with significant discouragement and even fear. But disheartened or not, I really want to do the best job I can as a mom. So to gain a better perspective, I’ll occasionally take an inventory of sorts and list where I may have had parenting successes, as well as failures.

I’d like to share some of my personal parenting observations with you.


  • My children love Jesus! They observe Craig and I loving and knowing Jesus. They see Jesus in us, and I am seeing Christ in them. And there is no greater joy than this!
  • We have been authentic and repentant before them.
  • They are learning and growing in wisdom and knowledge as I teach them God’s word.
  • My commitment – years of faithful dedication to all God’s called me to be as their mom and home educator.
  • They maintain a high standard of purity.
  • They have a growing faith.
  • Close family relationships – they love us and each other!
  • They are secure in who they are.

Well, that sure made me feel good! But the inventory doesn’t stop there. It’s important to look at our failures. My mentor once said, “The way we live our day, is the way we live our lives.” So here we go:


  • I’ve been too controlling – I should’ve allowed more choices.
  • I’ve been a poor example – “Do what I say, not what I do.”
  • I’ve been distracted and not fully engaged in listening well.
  • I’ve been inconsistent with rules and discipline.
  • I’ve been too much Martha & not enough Mary (Luke 10:38-42).
  • I’ve changed the standards –Younger ones are getting away with more.
  • And too many more to list!

I, I, I, I… Now, I didn’t list these failures to deflate myself (God gives us more GRACE!). I listed them to gain an honest look at where improvement is needed because only I am responsible for what I do or don’t do.

But please hear this: We can NOT take all the credit or blame for their outcomes. No. But we can pray. We can war for them. They are ALL in a spiritual battle. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

Some of you know this battle full well.

Momma, you may want to do as I’ve done and sit and take inventory of your parenting successes and failures. I pray it will encourage and sharpen you.

Go to God in humble prayer and ask Him to lead you. And as you do, allow Him to cover you with His amazing grace.

To be continued… 🙂


Do you have a deep, confident expectation about your tomorrows? You should. God wants us to!

I want us to examine our hope in the midst of trials and suffering.

God’s Word tells us to “Rejoice in our sufferings” and “Consider it pure joy” when in the middle of various trials. Does this sound a little crazy to you? It sure does to me! It is unusual, but it is God’s prescribed way for spiritual maturity. Notice I said maturity and not easy answers and specific outcomes.

I would not be the Christ-follower I am today if it were not for my painful trials. Every battle with my sin, fear, sickness, rejection, loss, and daily frustration has allowed me to become more like Christ Jesus.

When our faith is in the fire of life’s trials and we press on, placing our trust in God, it purifies us, making us more like Him. Trials can cause our hope to soar because we see the truth of His faithfulness at work in and around us.

Romans 12:12 says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Are you facing your struggles with patience, joy and prayer? You can. You can confidently expect God to work out good in all things for you, His beloved child (Romans 8:28).

If you are not walking in peace and joy right now, you need to reset your thinking. You need to renew your attitude with the truth of who God is!

I remember a time a few years back when I was terribly disappointed. No. I was fed-up. Done. I’d had enough. I had been waiting for God to answer my prayer to heal my reoccurring bladder infections. When I say “waiting,” I mean I have been waiting for the past 11 years. Well, one particular day there was no “rejoicing in all circumstances” going on in my heart. I wanted an end to my problem right then!

I had done everything the Bible said to receive healing, as well as prayerfully gone to doctors, taken their meds, used heaps of natural remedies, listened to and applied helpful advice, all to no avail. Ugh… sigh… whine… boo-hoo-hoo…

But God! He is so patient and generous with me. And today I am giddy with renewed hope! Why? Did I receive my healing? Maybe? I don’t know. I’m not sure about my tomorrows. But I know that God will be with me in them. My healing may come right now. If so, praise God! If not now, I expect all things are working out for my good and for His glory. His grace has always been sufficient for me.

My joy left that day because I became impatient and ungrateful. Not any more. I am waiting full of expectation. My God is everything I need!

Wait loved one. Wait patiently on Him. Choose to walk in His goodness and strength. You can live full of joy because you know, depend and place all hope in your faithful God.

For Futher Study:

Read James 1:2-5, Romans 5:1-11, and 1 Peter 1:3-7 and complete the statement, “I can rejoice because I have…”

Make out a list of what you’ve been given in Christ.



SO, I’m beginning a new semester of teaching the SOAR Bible curriculum to a group of teen girls at my church (I can’t wait!), and I thought my blog readers ought to have bits of its encouragement as well. The following is week one, day one’s lesson in the SOAR study, Abide in the Spirit. …And, of course, if you’re looking to start a Bible study, these are all free downloadable resources at www.soarwithgod.com or can be purchased in book format through Amazon. 🙂



 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Romans 6:6-7

Are you living more out of your old nature or the new nature? Have you drifted from your first-love, Jesus, and now you’re the one calling the shots?

Jesus clearly explains in Luke 9:23-24 how a wholly surrendered follower of Christ should live.

He declares,

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

 We are called to die to our old nature daily! Daily. Actually moment-by-moment would be even more accurate. This can only be done by fully relying on Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit in us. The cross we are to carry, I believe, is the cross of dying to ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t follow anyone very well unless I have given over all self-reliance.

Remember, we are not created new in Christ to be independent and self-sufficient. God wants us dependent on Him. We are called to be slaves to God and His righteousness. Apart from Him, you and I are incapable of anything life-giving.

Have you traded a close, vibrant relationship for your own imitation of following Him?

Living from His strength is true freedom! Regardless of your circumstances, He is sufficient to supply your every need.

Respond to God now in prayer.


Take out a notebook and title the page with the two headings, “Old Nature” and “New Nature.”

Read Romans 6 and jot down all you learn about a believer before Christ and in Christ.

Here’s an example of what I learned from verses 1 and 2:

Old Nature                 New Nature

Sin dominated             I died to sin

Now it’s your turn to dig into the chapter and gain insight about the old-you verses the new-you in Christ.

Oh Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble

“Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way. I can’t wait to look in the mirror, ‘cuz I get better lookin’ each day. To know me is to love me…” These are the outrageous lyrics from a 1970s Davis Mac song. As laughable as they may seem, it might not be too difficult for you to think of someone who could write similar lines!

Narcissism – extreme self-love and selfishness – seems to have risen to epidemic proportions. Sure. It’s nothing new. Rather, it’s the oldest sin in the book. Undoubtedly, the first sin of Lucifer was laden with narcissistic pride.

A sign of the times? Probably. 2 Timothy 3:1,2 declares, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud…”

But is the issue of narcissism only a potential vice for the unbeliever? Is it possible for this ultra-vanity to infiltrate the Christian heart?

I’m convinced that anyone can fall prey to the trap of excessive self-love.

It seems like now more than ever it’s socially acceptable to be self-glorifying. “Hey guys, look at me! Look what I did. Look what I wear. Look where I go and who I know.” Hey, don’t get me wrong. I do this too!

And of course, this is a heart issue. The trouble is I’m tempted to look around and mentally point my finger at those who appear narcissistic while neglecting to examine and deal with me! Ugh! This plank in my eye is difficult to remove! But if I humble myself before God and confess my sin, He is faithful to gently remove and wash away this impurity.

As Christ-followers, we know that we are called to be humble, to be set-apart (holy), and not conform to the world’s ideals. Our Christian example matters greatly as we are God’s ambassadors shining His love and truth into the darkness.

But it can be very challenging to live this out WHEN…

We focus on ourselves.

Galatians 6:3: If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

We stop serving others.

Philippians 2:3: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

We take our focus off of glorifying Christ.

Colossians 3:3-4: For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

2 Corinthians 5:15: And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

The HUMBLING truth is… GOD WILDLY LOVES YOU and ME… SELAH (think about it). Our God alone is WORTHY of ALL true glory, honor and praise!

Pray this prayer with me: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23,24

Developing the Habit of Patience

Patience isn’t something that comes naturally for me, especially as a mother. I expect prompt attention when I’ve clearly communicated (which is always 🙂 ) and complete follow-through with my directives. NO arguing, ignoring, or disobedience, please! My patience wanes when my children make the same poor choices again and again… and again.

Patience is not needed when everything and everyone is peachy. No. It is when we’re challenged with the unruly, the interruption, the weariness from a relentless daily grind, or a constant drip of tension in the soul that patience becomes a desired and much needed virtue.

So, what’s a momma to do?!

Practice a New Habit

1 Timothy 4:7b exhorts us, “train yourself to be godly.”

It’s time to train ourselves in the righteous act of patience! I believe that it’s our poor habits that hold back our growth.

Beth Moore teaches that biblical patience is acquired from our delaying judgment. I really like this. Think about it. We can gain ground in patience when we are slow to judge – when we take a moment to seek God’s wisdom, to listen closely, and stop allowing our feelings and preferences to rule us!

This makes me think of James 1:19.
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

Again, it’s not easy or natural for me to walk in this! I’ve got two ears and one mouth like most people, but my mouth typically gets much more use!

With God’s strength, I’ve decided to do the hard work of replacing my quick-to-judge responses with God’s best: a habit of patience. Will you join me? 

 Let’s look at some amazing scriptures on patience to motivate us.


Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. Proverbs 25:15


The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Ecclesiastes 7:8


Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12


…be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2


Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? Romans 2:4








To Be Familiar with God

My husband raised an interesting question this past weekend in his message.

He asked, “What do you think is the greatest enemy to faith?”

Many people would suggest that doubt is the greatest obstacle. Some believe fear or worry would be the biggest hindrance to faith. While all these are great suggestions and certainly true, Craig proposed another idea that most of us probably wouldn’t think about. He proposed that for many, the familiar is often the biggest obstacle to faith.

Think about it. Life becomes so familiar that we stop believing that God can change our circumstances. We think or say things like:

“I’ve prayed and nothing has changed.”

“I’ve tried to quit… but I just can’t.”

“I’ve always struggled with my weight.”

“We will always have a dysfunctional relationship.”

In fact, in our Life Group last week, almost everyone there expressed their willingness to pray with great faith for distantly related people but they acknowledged that it’s much more difficult to believe for themselves or those close to them.

Even the familiarity of your own Christian lifestyle can potentially set you into a faithless place of expecting only the predictable!

Listen, even though our God is a God of order, He is often unpredictable in His workings and let’s not forget ABLE to do MORE THAN WE COULD EVER EXPECT!

You may have been taught that He is able, but do you really believe it?

I admit that when I’m in a bad place I often first look at the known facts and use my own understanding (what’s familiar) and form a faithless perspective before looking to the real Source of All Truth. I don’t want to be overly familiar with this world and its deceiving answers! I am not of this world and neither are you (if you have Christ Jesus).

If faith pleases God (and we know it does), how very pleased will He be if we forget about what is our “familiar” on this Earth and engross ourselves in becoming familiar with HIM?! A faith-filled perspective will be our first and hopefully continual outlook. We will see God working in new, beautifully powerful ways!

Therefore, I want to be preoccupied with knowing and pursuing my great God! This world will never have true and just answers outside of its Creator and King. I never want to be more familiar with my circumstances than I am with the presence of God. I want to always pursue Jesus and become more familiar with His ways. I want to spend so much time with Him that I’m completely aware of his gentle and guiding voice. When I’m familiar with His grace, His power, His goodness, then my faith in Him is always bigger than my circumstances.

The familiar is often the enemy of faith.

May God be so well known – so familiar – so close – that we are never deceived into thinking that anything is impossible.

“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things? 

And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”

And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Matthew 13:55-58

Prayer Attitudes – Part 3

A Child-like Heart 

My beautiful picture

“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”  Luke 18:17 NKJV

Stop for a moment and think over the verse above.

A little child is not wise in their own eyes. Unfortunately, there have been too many occasions when I think too highly of my “wisdom,” even in my prayers. I’d catch myself trying to help God know how to handle a certain matter. I don’t think God has ever said, “Gee, Amy, thanks for that great idea! I hadn’t thought of that.”

Instead of trying to be so clever and spiritually sophisticated, we need to wait on the Holy Spirit and receive His promptings. God’s Spirit will guide us in how to pray.

All the promises of God and His Kingdom must be received like a little child. Becoming like a little child doesn’t mean that God wants us to become immature and ignorant. On the contrary, we know that God would have us grow in spiritual maturity and in wisdom and knowledge.  So what are the child-like qualities that God desires for us to have?

Faith, humility, and sincerity are certainly some good characteristics of a child-like attitude. But sadly, the world pulls us towards self-reliance, pride and pretension.

We must resist the world’s system! As Christians, Christ calls us to be made new in the attitude of our minds (Eph. 4:23). One way to beat the traps of the world and its spiritual darkness is to have the attitude of a little child.

I believe that our prayers to God should have a child-like disposition. Dependence is the child-like quality I will focus on for this post.

 A Child-like Dependence

About five years ago, I was asking God to give me a greater revelation of what it means to live by His Spirit.

“Depend on Me” was His answer.

“And how am I to depend on You, Father?” I asked.

“Like a helpless infant depends on their caregiver,” was His gentle revelation to the eyes of my heart.

Gasp! I was dazed as I reflected on His clear message.

“Really, Lord? This is complete and utter dependence… Yes. Yes! This is Your word, ‘Apart from me you can do nothing.’”

My children are still ridiculously dependent on me at times. They seem to think that I’m a nurse, wastebasket, water fountain, snack bar and entertainment center. “My tummy hurts. Here’s my empty wrapper. I’m thirsty. I’m hungry. I’m bored.” It’s a little annoying. But hey, at least these are honest, humble and very dependent statements! They need me! They cling to me. Literally!

And God knows we desperately need Him.

Oh, oh, oh, how I need my Father God! I’m so terribly needy, weak and unable. Only in God do I live and move and have my being. Apart from Him, I can’t do anything. And the same is true for you.

This is how I now come to God in prayer, clinging to His wisdom and strength!

Proverbs 3:5-6 explains in perfect clarity the child-like dependence we should strive to maintain.

Read it carefully and as if for the very first time… like a little child.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,


And lean not on your own understanding;


In all your ways acknowledge Him,


And He shall direct your paths.


Proverbs 3:5,6 NKJV