Tag Archives: Kristen Hogrefe

God doesn’t give you more than you can handle…or does He?

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This week’s post was first published on KristenHogrefe.com. Take a look at her site for more encouraging posts, award-winning Christian fiction, and more!


“God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” I’ve heard this saying all my life, always from well-meaning Christians.

But there have been plenty of times when I just couldn’t “handle.” After my grandmother passed away, I couldn’t handle the grief, and depression set in for two years. Later on, my body couldn’t handle what I was eating and the stress I was under, and I suffered with physical pain for several years. During those periods, hearing that God hadn’t actually given me more than I could handle felt disingenuous. What’s more, it added to my frustration and self-condemnation.

So let me give it to you straight: yes, God may give you more than you can handle.

You are human, after all, and human beings are fallible creatures. You will make mistakes. You may suffer from illness or grief. You may be called into a family role or ministry that is far more than you can do on your own. At some point, you’ll feel like you’re drowning.

But that doesn’t mean your “failing” at being a Christian.

In fact, that over-your-head feeling is all part of God’s plan to make you understand and accept your reliance on Him…

Like the Jews had to do in the wilderness

Like Noah had to do when he built a boat unlike any other

Like Jonah when he was sent somewhere he didn’t want to go

Like Paul when he shared the Gospel to the Gentiles for the first time.

The good news—no, the great news—is that you don’t walk through life alone. As a follower of Jesus, you have His ultimate protection over your life, and the Holy Spirit as your inner guide. Whenever you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed, remember that God is in control. The journey may not be comfortable, and you may not end up where you wanted to go, but God is with you, and He has good plans for you. (See Jeremiah 29:11.)

I’m speaking from experience here. During my times of grief and illness, I relied on God completely. He was my Comforter, Protector, and Guide. And in the end, it was He who healed me and made me whole.

When you’re going through a rough patch, don’t rely on platitudes. Instead, claim powerful verses like these as your own, reading them out loud to encourage your spirit:

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jesus speaking, Matthew 11:29 NAS).

 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4 NAS).

“We would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NAS). 

“The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NAS) 

Platitudes may sound nice, but the Word of God is powerful. Let His Truth give you comfort and guidance in every season of life.

Have you ever needed a word of truth, only to receive an empty platitude? How did it make you feel? Does that experience encourage you to speak truth into the lives of your loved ones?

[Click to Tweet: Feeling overwhelmed? It may be God calling you to accept your reliance on Him. #bigsisterknows #faithlife #godisincontrol]

Girls with Gusto: From Giveaways to Community

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You probably know that I’m working on a book called Girls with Gusto. This may give you the mistaken impression that I “have it all figured out.” You may even say to yourself, “She must be the most energetic, spiritual young woman to have come up with such an idea.”

Not true.

Okay, I do like to think of myself as being young, but I struggle with a low energy level, and I don’t often feel (or think) “super spiritually.”

I’m just a Christian. I don’t use the word “just” to mitigate what God has done in my life but to clarify that all of my life is defined by this one characteristic. You could say that I’m saved. I like to think that I’m purchased, that Jesus redeemed my life at a great personal cost.

I am not who I was. I am not yet who I will be.

God is perfecting Himself in me a little more every day, if only I will let Him take control. The alternative is that I could be…well, I could be what I was: self-seeking, self-destructive, confused, frustrated, angry, and useless for the Kingdom. Been there, done that. Now I want to be everything God created me to be. I’m convinced that’s the best, and only, way to live the life He’s given me.

So that’s what the book Girls with Gusto is all about—how to find ourselves in the journey of seeking God. I believe with all my heart that this idea will resonate with other women.

Now I just need to convince publishers.

Enter to Win!

Please share on your social media! #giveaway #bigsisterknows

I’ll be attending a big writers conference next month, and I really need to show publishers that there is an audience for Girls with Gusto. To do this, I’ve developed a giveaway with some pretty cool items:

Register for the drawing today through my Facebook Author Page (at http://gvwy.io/xsq6e8x) and then let your friends and family know about it. The more folks who enter, the better. I’ll pull the winning names at the end of February.

Remember that every time you like, share, or comment, you help me get one step closer to publishing Girls with Gusto—and doesn’t the world need “girls with gusto”?!

Join the Community

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, choosing to be a Girl with Gusto—to pursue the amazing plans God has for us—can be hard at times. Although I’m an introvert at heart, I’ve come to realize that I need a community of believers, especially other women, with whom I can share my thoughts and concerns and get a little advice along the way.

That’s why I just created the Girls with Gusto group in Facebook. If you’re a Christian girl (of any age!) and the idea of a real community appeals to you, please accept this as your official invitation to join the club. (Did you notice the authors listed above, the ones who are donating their books for the giveaway? All three are members of the Girls with Gusto group. How cool is that?)

Whether you’re a girl or a guy, I encourage you to live with gusto!

 

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (Philippians 2:1-2 NAS).

3 Things Every Christian Should be Prepared For

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The following blog was first seen on KristenHogrefe.com. Thanks so much to Kristen for hosting this and sharing it with her readers! Check out her site for more encouragement and godly challenges!


 

Last week, Florida had its first measurable snow fall in nearly 30 years! Although we only received a tenth of an inch here in Tallahassee, a long section of Interstate 10 was closed for hours, FSU canceled classes, and several schools closed for the day.

Of course, social media was a-buzz as northerners made fun of us for making a big deal out of such a small amount of snow and ice. But the truth is that we weren’t prepared for this kind of weather—and we never are. That’s because the potential for it is too low to justify the expense of preparing for it.

This experience got me thinking about the topic of preparation, and I wondered what the Bible said about spiritual preparation. After a little research, I found the following three things that every Christian should be prepared for.

 

1 – Prepare to see Jesus. 

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7 NAS).

We may witness the Second Coming of Jesus, or we may pass on to Heaven before He returns. Either way, we will see Jesus face to face one day!

So, how do we get ready to meet our Savior? Through “sanctification,” which is the process of becoming holy. In his best-selling book, The Pursuit of Holiness, author Jerry Bridges states that “Holiness is nothing less than conformity to the character of God.” This is something we must do, not something that is done to us. (See Ephesians 4:20-24 and 1 Peter 1:14-16.)

Here are four ways we can pursue holiness in our lives:

  • Know God’s Word. Meditate on it and commit as much to memory as we can. (Psalm 119:15-16).
  • Focus on Jesus and everything else will fall into place. (1 Peter 1:13 NAS).
  • Do good deeds with a sincere heart. (1 Timothy 6:18 NAS).
  • Stand firm against evil but prepare for peace. (Ephesians 6:14-16 NAS). 

 [Click to Tweet: Are you ready to meet Jesus face to face? #faith #bigsisterknows]

 

2 – Prepare to pay the cost.

In The Cost of Discipleship, author Dietrich Bonhoeffer states that true grace “is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life…Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son…and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.”

As followers of Jesus, we must walk in godly discipline. Here are a few ways we can prepare ourselves to pay the cost of our discipleship.

  • Be disciplined. (Hebrews 12:4-7)
  • Carry our individual crosses. (Luke 14:27)
  • Commit all that we have to the Lord. (Luke 14:33)
  • Trust in God and do not fear (1 Peter 3:14-15)

[Click to Tweet: True grace is costly because it cost God the life of his Son. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer #grace #quote #bigsisterknows]

 

[Click to Tweet: What has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. –  Dietrich Bonhoeffer #grace #quote #bigsisterknows]

 

3 – Prepare to share the Gospel.

It is not enough that we believe in Jesus; we must also introduce others to Him. Regardless of your calling or your role in the church, make sure you are willing and able to share the Gospel and to mentor other believers in your sphere of influence. 

“I solemnly charge you…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:1-2 NAS).

[Click to Tweet: It is not enough that we believe in Jesus; we must also introduce others to Him. #crosslife #bigsisterknows]

 

Resolve to Prepare

It rarely snows in Florida, so it makes sense that we would be less prepared than northern states.

But as Christians, being unprepared doesn’t make any sense at all. If we truly love the Lord, why wouldn’t we want to draw close to Him, to be like Him, and to introduce others to Him?

If this list seems daunting, though, don’t worry! The first step is to write down the Scriptures so you can study and meditate on them throughout the year. You may also want to check out The Pursuit of Holiness and The Cost of Discipleship referenced above.

As always, ask for God’s help and guidance. You can pray something simple like this:

“Father God, you said that I should make myself ready for your return, to pay the cost of discipleship, and to share the Gospel. Please soften my heart and harden my resolve that I would be prepared for all the wonderful things you want to accomplish in my life and through it. Let everything I do glorify You. In the name of Jesus, who was and is and is to come. Amen.”

[Click to Tweet: As Christians, being unprepared doesn’t make any sense at all. #crosslife #bigsisterknows]

Are you resolved to prepare yourself spiritually? What methods or tools are you using to help you get started and stay on track?