Photo by Sadie Hernandez via Flickr
Halloween hasn't even come and gone, and yet talk of Christmas is everywhere. 

Stores are decked out with tinsel and garland and trees and pre-pre-pre-Black Friday sales. My kids are starting to see random Santas, and just last week I was asked to set a date for our annual cookie exchange (which I love!).  

The "holidays" are LOOMING -- with all of the good stuff, but also with all of the frantic hustle and bustle. 

I'm already feeling a little anxious about how busy I'll get -- despite my yearly vow not to overdo, to over schedule, to over commit.

And then, to top it off, I rushed right past a friend's greeting last Friday -- completely oblivious to her cheerful presence as I was frantically going from one task to the next. 


How did this happen? How are we already sliding into the too busy holiday routine? How am I too busy to hear and see and witness the real things, the good things, the beautiful things revealed every day?  

How do I put the brakes on, slow it down, stop and BREATHE? 
Today I am so excited to be guest posting over at Incourage. I'm writing about the struggle to find my identity in nothing other than Christ. Here's a small portion of my post:

Photo source, here
“My struggle this weekend has been about where I really fit,” my friend confided in me over lunch. “I know what God has for me, but I feel like I’m in limbo, wondering where I fit right now.”

As she speaks, I sit fidgeting with my water glass, knowing exactly what she means. I, too, have struggled with identity. Wondering where I belonged.

“Some days are just better than others,” she states.

I take a deep breath, give a little smile and say, “Sometimes I think God strips away our titles so we’ll find our identity in him alone.” And as I say it, I know it’s easier said than done, acknowledge my own struggle to find my purpose in God versus accomplishments in this world.

You can read the full post here.

In my mind’s eye, she is larger than life – clear blue eyes still laughing, no more wrinkles than she had when she died at 28. While my own eyes have started to crinkle and form lines in the corners, she is still eternally young. While I peer anxiously at my roots to search for gray hairs or smooth work-worn hands over hips gone soft from two children, she remains eternally beautiful. 

My beautiful sister Katrina
And even though it’s been eight years since she died in 2005, I still talk to her when I’m all alone.

Just like New Orleans is still rebuilding its city eight years after Hurricane Katrina swept through; I’m still rebuilding my heart after the loss of my own dear sister Katrina. 

Image by Steven Depolo on Flickr
I have a secret to confess. There have been many times in my life I have dismissed thoughts or actions to help, encourage, or get involved because of five simple little words: Somebody else will do it. As quickly as I’ll think it, the motivation to step up, to get in the mix or do something dissipates.

I’m released from feeling like I should. All guilt is gone. Because really, with so many other Christians out there, surely God has someone else in mind who could do it. Somebody else who is better suited. Somebody else will do it.

And that has alleviated me from guilt many a day. Too many days.

Until yesterday.
Today we're thrilled to have a guest post from blogger Kristin Gordley, who writes:

Image: ToastyTreat on Flickr
I was saying goodbye to a wonderful lady that I wished I had gotten to know better. She was moving away. Although she was much further along in life than I, she expressed the thought that I had encouraged her and that she really appreciated my “gentle” spirit. Internally, I laughed. “Boy, she doesn’t know me!” 

Several months later, another friend told me that she admired my “gentleness.” This time I pondered it a bit more. But eventually, I had the same thought – “She doesn’t know me very well.” 

However, through other people, God was showing me how he saw me.

Image by basheertome on Flickr
As I prepared my kindergartner for school this fall, I tried to pass on some wisdom for navigating elementary school. 

Of all the topics we discussed, the "rules" of riding the school bus topped my list. And, although she rides the bus for a grand total of five minutes, my own childhood bus rides through winding country roads for 45 minutes made me an expert on what happens in the dark neither regions of the school bus known as "the back of the bus." 

I remember the bus bully, the teasing, the language not appropriate for little ears. I remember the mini-community with its own hierarchy and its own way for handling disagreements. I remember poor "Earl the Squirrel" (as we all called him) -- my own bus driver who was woefully unprepared to deal with the Lord of the Flies scenario unfolding on my childhood bus trips home. 
Image by Pol Sifter on Flickr
On this, the final week of our fall devotional, we ask the question: how do I wait on God?

God sometimes responds to our prayers immediately. But sometimes, we feel as though the ears of Heaven are shut against our pleas - our heads know that God has heard, but our hearts long for action, for rescue, for help.

We reinterviewed Susan* (names have been changed) in The Ruth Experience - a woman who knows what it means to wait. But first, an abridged excerpt from her testimony in the book:

As Susan left her physically and verbally abusive husband after twelve years of marriage, his final vow rang in her ears: He would use all the money he had to take their three sons away from her.  

Hi, friends!

The girls of TRE are at Redeemed Retreat this weekend with the other writers of Bridging the Gap enjoying amazing speakers such as Susie Larson, Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley, Shaunti Feldhahn and Meredith Andrews. It's bound to be a good time (if you're here with us, be sure to stop by and say "hi" at the BTG resource table) and we wanted to share the good times with everyone -- so instead of just doing a special retreat-only giveaway, we decided to put it out for everyone to join in on the fun!

We are giving away 2 $25.00 gift cards to Darden Restaraunts (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and more) and there are several ways to increase your chances of winning. Sign up below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway