Breaking Up With Perfect – Book Review & Giveaway

In Amy Carroll’s new book Breaking Up With Perfect she shares from her personal struggle of striving for perfection. When our desire to make everything exactly right impacts our relationships and how we live life, we are in for trouble. Amy’s wisdom on this topic is invaluable!

Amy Carrol's book cover

Amy brings out the everyday issues we deal with like making endless lists, putting off a good thing because it’s not on the schedule, and doing more and more for the sake of acceptance rather than service. It’s a hard lesson beautifully wrapped up in sincere stories, heartfelt compassion, and honest revelation. Amy knows firsthand what it’s like to struggle with trying to make life perfect and she reveals the difficult truth of how it affected her life.

Beyond our mothering skills, housekeeping standards, planners, and calendars, there is a world that needs women who are surrendered to the voice of God. When we set aside all the things we know to do, and listen for how God would have us be, we are ready to begin the break up with perfect.

Dumping perfection is a learned discipline that doesn’t happen overnight, but has the potential to be life changing if we will embrace the lessons so tenderly presented in Amy’s book.

If you are anything like me, it’s probably time to cut the strings with perfect and embrace each day with a new perspective. Amy’s insider tips are perfect for the woman who is ready to ditch perfection for a deeper rooted relationship with God.

Sometimes it seems like others have a perfect life and the struggle to keep up is impossible. Amy diffuses the need to press on for more perfection, and encourages us to embrace the life God has given us even if it isn’t perfect.

One of my favorite features of Breaking Up with Perfect is the list of Fifty Ways to Leave Your Perfect and the Going Deeper section in the back of the book. These simple resources are valuable tools to encourage your heart on your less than perfect days.

One of my favorite quotes from Amy’s book is: “It’s not just an “issue” or problem to be a perfectionist. It’s actually sin.” Ouch. But, this quote has helped me so much!

I’m giving away a copy of Amy’s book! Enter below by entering your email address and leaving a comment on my Facebook Giveaway Post. If you share the Facebook post and tag me your name will be entered a second time.

Amy Carrol's book cover

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I will announce the winner in the comments of this post on Thursday!

If you want to join Amy for an on-line study you can connect with her HERE.
Love & Blessings,

Micah

Finding Purpose In Pain

You may never understand it. It’s those moments in life when everything stops. The normal flow of life is put on hold and you pray that somehow relief will come. The struggles run deep and life begins to feel impossible.

When life brings unbearable circumstances it’s hard to understand why a loving God would allow heartache, pain, turmoil, and strife.

I’ve heard the question many times, “Why would God allow this?” I have asked the same question. It’s in that moment we have a choice – a choice to trust or turn away.

Sometimes when we face insurmountable trials, it seems we are paralyzed sitting stagnant in the pain we are enduring with no purpose and no prayer.

The Holy Spirit is able to utter the words that we cannot, but it requires trust that God is able to deliver, heal, forgive, understand, love, and passionately provide for us even when life isn’t working out quite right.

And the purpose of our problems, we may never understand. As I’ve dwelt on this more and more, I keep coming back to the same word – glory – not my own or anyone else’s, but God’s.

Life is all about Him. When we finally realize our life’s purpose isn’t about us and what happens or doesn’t happen, we will begin to see a glimpse of God’s glory.

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The next time the question “Why would God allow this” comes up, consider this:

It’s all for God’s glory.

G – God

When trying times threaten to derail everything normal in life, rather than question and worry, run to God. He is able to make something beautiful when everything is broken.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3(ESV)

L – Love

Let God love you. Then as passionately as you can love Him back with all your heart, your soul, and your mind. Ask Him to let His love flow through you to those around you.

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27(ESV)

O – Obey

It’s leaning in to hear the still small voice that says, “I’m with you”. Listen. And follow. He will not lead you astray.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22(ESV)

R – Repent

If you’ve turned away or shaken your fist at God in light of tragedy, pain, or unbearable circumstances, He understands. He loves you and is always ready and willing to forgive and comfort your mangled heart.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9(ESV)

Y – Yes

Say yes to God. The first word we react with when we get bad news or a terrifying phone call is often no. Whatever life holds, say yes. God knows. He knew before it happened.

Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. Psalm 37:5(NASB)

Even when it hurts, when it’s hard, and when life seems horrible – God has a purpose. His plan will prevail. We may not be able to see it. We may never completely understand it, but we can trust that God will ultimately get the glory for whatever this life holds.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. I Peter 5:10(ESV)

Whatever it is in your life that makes you ask God for a purpose in the pain, look for God in it. Let Him love you and love Him back. Obey. Repent. And most of all, say yes.

God Deserves the Glory
By Micah Maddox

We may never understand the why.
Our hearts may hurt and tears we cry.

But trust and faith will be our guide.
We know that God is by our side.

Every moment, everyday,
When life is hard we will pray.

When we cannot grasp our story,
In good and bad we’ll give God glory.

Dear Heavenly Father,

When we cannot understand your plan and it’s difficult to see the good, please guide us with your glory. Give us clean hands and pure hearts to look for you in everything we face. We desperately need your presence and your peace. Please guide us by your power and show us the purpose in our pain.

In Jesus Name,
Amen

Love & Blessings,

Micah

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What America Really Needs

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As our country weeps with blood, with tears, with fear of the next tragedy, we are called to do what only Christians can do – pray and love.

There’s a history in this nation from which all of our turmoil is rooted. We must remember this is nothing new. The color of the skin has been a long time issue that ought not be, but is. The struggle of sexual sin goes back to the Bible times. It’s not a new trend, or the way our world is headed these days. It is who people become without the love of Jesus indwelling the body. Without Christ, there is no love.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. I John 4:7-8(ESV)

How do we react to the current events of our world? What are we to do? Do we sit idly by while people are being killed for no reason? Do we turn our heads and pretend nothing is going on? Do we shout it from the mountain that this is unfair, ridiculous, and a sin sick world? It’s hard to know what to do and the emotions run high, but God tells us in His word exactly what to do.

He tells us there will be wars and rumors of wars, and we’ve seen them in the streets of our country. We’ve seen the shootings on television, Facebook, and in our own backyards. We’ve seen the raids, the protests, the killing. It here and it’s now. We cannot turn a blind eye, sweep sin under the rug, and pretend like life is normal.

So how should we react?

1. Realize sin destroys, but Jesus saves.

Sin always has destroyed, always will destroy until Jesus returns. Sin is the problem, not race, not sex, not police. But Jesus restores.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. I Peter 5:6-10(ESV)

2. Realize the enemy deceives, but God gives truth.

While our country fights over whose life really matters, the enemy is cheering his forces of darkness for more destroyed lives. Fear is flooding people’s minds as terror threatens to reign. The father of all the brokenness in our world is not Islam, or the division of races, gender identity, or our political system, it is Satan and we must stop fighting each other, and start engaging in war against him.

When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44b(ESV)

3. Realize religion will not heal our land, but a relationship with Jesus will.

Religion is not the answer, Jesus is. Until the Gospel is implanted in people’s hearts and a relationship with Jesus is bred, there will be hatred and more horrific events.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6(ESV)

4. Realize it is our job to love and pray, not to condone or criticize.

We must love everyone and that love should compel us to share Jesus. It doesn’t mean we compromise our belief in Jesus or our doctrine of standing for what’s right, but it means we show the compassion and love of Jesus to the souls we meet each day. It’s not about a person’s gender identity or the color of their skin, it’s about the love of God for the every soul.

Jesus holds the power to set people free from racism, sexually immorality, addiction, and demon possession. He is the only answer. Jesus loves every single person. It does not mean we applaud sin or even condone it. It does not mean we turn our heads and pretend sin isn’t present.

It means we love beyond the sin. It means we teach the truth in love and we pray for every heart to turn to Jesus. The Holy Spirit does the convicting, the changing, the saving, the transforming – we do not hold the power to do any of that. We do hold the power of the Holy Spirit to love unconditionally, to be patient in the tribulations, and to handle life with gentleness and peace.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16(KJV)

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21(ESV)

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:43-45(ESV)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35(ESV)

We may not see the day when unity fills America, but there is a day coming when all will be one. Every nation, every race, every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Until that day, we must pray in unity with Holy Spirit of God for men to repent, surrender, and follow Jesus. He is the answer. He is the way. He is the truth. He is the life.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:1-11(ESV)

We don’t need more of this or less of that, we need Jesus.

Love & Blessings,

Micah

What do you feel compelled, called, or convicted to do in light of recent events? I would love to hear your ideas for ways that we can reach out and share the gospel of Jesus with our hurting world.

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When Life is Changing

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The wood beneath my feet was unfamiliar and the length between each step was new. Hoping not to wake the children, I tiptoed carefully listening for how the house might creak. I reached the final step and made my way to the living room. There was a familiar comfort of the furniture that had been with me for the past ten years. I sunk down deep into my cold brown leather chair and took a deep breath. I looked around and embraced the new and unfamiliar.

Seasons come and seasons go. It seems easy when we consider seasons in terms of the weather, but when it comes to seasons of life it’s down right hard. There is nothing easy about change. It can be exciting and exhilarating, but there’s something comforting about the familiar parts and places of life.

Then there’s the unfamiliar. You know, the seasons of life that don’t feel cozy – the ones when marriage isn’t feeling happily ever after or when the children don’t act like they’ve ever been taught to obey. The moments in life when illness or financial strain seep so deeply into every part of life that you can’t even perform your daily tasks because life is in the way. It’s the times when God calls you outside of your normal and everything He instructs you to do is different than anything you’ve ever done before.

When things are unfamiliar and change makes you wonder what God is doing, here are a few things to remember:

1. God created the new steps.

When the stairs creak beneath your feet and the unsettled feeling starts creeping in, remember God already knew the steps you would walk and exactly how it would feel, sound, and be. He knows every struggle you will face in your family and life.

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For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9(ESV)

2. God directs every step. It’s our job to follow.

Sometimes obedience is against everything we want. It doesn’t add up, make sense, or seem clear, but it’s right. God knows where you should go and what it will look like as you take that leap. He knows the way you will hesitate, wonder, and feel a bit uneasy.

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8(ESV)

3. God is with you each step of the way.
Sometimes when you step out on faith it feels like the next step is too far in the distance and fear steps in. A lack of faith grasps our hearts making us panic before our toes slowly land on the next stair. When we forget God is there, it’s easy to be afraid, but God is there. Right there. He is with us every single step of the way.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10(ESV)

4. God knew we would fear, so He gives us His Word to encourage our trembling hearts.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27(NKJV)

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. I Thessalonians 5:24(NASB)

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. Psalm 56:3(KJV)

Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. Psalm 119:133(ESV)

If you’re feeling a bit uneasy as you take the steps God is directing or if everything in your life is changing, be encouraged today to keep on stepping!

Now, when I walk down the wooden stairs and make my way into the living room, there is a familiar comfort that washes over me. God has walked these steps before me and He’s walked with me time and time again. Though I never could have imagined the steps God has directed, it’s a beautiful journey of God’s divine direction, purpose, and provision.

God has a purpose for every step. If it’s feeling unfamiliar and a bit uncertain, just keep stepping. God is with you and He created the steps, directs the steps, is with you through each step, and knows every question, fear, and uneasy feeling you face. Keep on stepping! God is with you!

Love & Blessings,

Micah

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For the Tired Mom

Let’s just admit it. We all have our moments. Motherhood brings joy like nothing else on planet earth, but along with the cooing and cuddles comes tantrums and night terrors. As the little dumplings grow, there’s back talk, eye rolling, and the occasional huff and puff that has to be wrangled and set on the right path. It’s hard work being a mom. Truly, it’s exhausting!

I’ll be the first to confess I take perfectly normal days and make complete motherhood messes that I would rather forget. I start out with really good intentions. I get up early, drink enough coffee to give even the most exhausted elephant energy, and I convince myself that I’m going to be upbeat, fun, and pleasant. By the time breakfast is on the table, I’m barking out orders.

“One bite at a time!”

“Don’t spill your milk.”

“Chew with your mouth closed.”

“No smacking!”

With each command, my back gets straighter, my jaw gets tighter and I can literally feel the irritation crawling up my spine. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen every day, but when I really let my hair down I’m sure I look like the incredible hulk on steroids.

It takes a lot to get my mind, attitude, and actions on track each day. I don’t wake up like Mary Poppins, although I would like to think I do. If I could snap my fingers and make the house sparkle maybe I would be a bit more “fun” like her, but I don’t measure up no matter how many times I sing “A Spoon Full of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down.”

What does a tired woman do when the day in day out of life makes irritation rise at the first sound of her name being hollered by a child from the bathroom?

“Mom! Come wipe me!”

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Truly I am so thankful for the amazing gifts of God that live under my roof, but motherhood has brought a completely new challenge when it comes to my attitude.

So here’s a little encouragement for all the moms who have the occasional or daily attitude upheaval:

1. Smile. Yes, right now. You’re beautiful!

It’s amazing how rarely people smile anymore. Be one of the few that brighten the room especially in your own home. Your children will thank you and they will probably smile back.

A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. Proverbs 15:13(ESV)

2. Breathe.

Seriously. Deep breaths do something to the brain. It just feels good to take a few slow deep breaths.

3. Be thankful.

Think of something or someone you can be thankful for today. Express your thankfulness through a text or kind written or spoken word.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thessalonians 5:18(ESV)

4. Tell someone about the good parts of motherhood.

It’s easy to discuss the potty problems, mommy wars, playground saga, and diaper dilemma. But what about the first moment you saw your precious peanut in the womb or felt tiny arms wrap around your neck? What about the sweet little I love yous after you totally acted like a crazy dragon? Motherhood is the most glorious of roles. It’s the only role where you can fail miserably and be completely encouraged and convicted by a two-year old all in one minute.

Be encouraged, Mom. You’re doing a good job! I know you’re tired. No matter what season of motherhood you are in right now, let’s all remember to smile, breathe, be thankful, and share the good parts of motherhood. I’ll go first. Today, I’m thankful for a 10-year-old who still sits in my lap, and likes to clean the toilet. Yes, you read that right, the toilet. Now, it’s your turn! Go!

Love & Blessings,

Micah

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