Monsters

Once upon a time, in the very recent past, there was a girl who was consumed by Monsters.

Wait, pause. We need to learn more about the Monsters in this story. These Monsters aren’t the typical monsters of books and movies, but rather Monsters that are around us everyday. They have actually been known to surround us without us even realizing it due to our attraction to their ways. They start out as cute little things, but can grow into large Beasts.

Continuing on. During the day, the girl’s Monsters followed her around, but she managed to keep them hidden. At night though, oh, at night they came out. You see, these Monsters thrive in the dark. They attack in unexpected ways, biting you when you sometimes don’t even realize it.

This girl, in her ever drifting ways, was an easy target for the Monsters. At first, she wasn’t well aware of them. During the day she was the teacher’s pet, but at night she was the life of the party. Her stories of her life were almost so unbelievable that her friends joked she should write them all down in a book that would most likely become a best-seller. The problem, though, was that in writing them down, her Monsters would become visible to the world. They begged her to keep them a secret.

Moving around in her days, her Monsters were getting worse and worse about remaining hidden. You see, these Monsters have an ego. They want to be perceived as life, but they are darkness. They yearn to be seen without truly being seen. Before she knew it, the girl was being drowned by her Monsters, and she was silently screaming for a life free of them, not even realizing exactly how free of them she needed to be.

It didn’t take long for her hidden Monsters to begin revealing themselves. Eventually the Monsters began creeping into the daylight, wondering what it would feel like to risk being noticed. They wanted fame. Sneaky as they are though, they masked themselves even when slightly revealing themselves during the day. You have to have a trained eye to see them.

Carrying on through her days, the girl was seeking freedom, yearning to stand firm without her Monsters crawling all over her. They weighed her down. It took her being knocked down multiple times, but eventually she was torn free from her Monsters. Their masks were ripped off and they were revealed in the Light. She was finally able to stand up to her Monsters with the Light holding her hand, pulling her into a warm embrace.

Now, her Monsters still try to pester her, trying to get her to let them back in. They nip at her ankles and scurry through her mind. The Monsters try to tear her down and hide from the Light, but she knows better. Because of the Light, she is no longer slave to the Monsters. She has found Freedom.

Dear readers, you may have caught on by now to the characters in this story. The Monsters are the enemy, wearing many disguises that we may seek for without necessarily realizing it: popularity. alcohol. food. drugs. money. That’s just naming a few. Many Monsters lurk around without their hosts even realizing they are there.

But what about the Light? Who is this Light character? The Light is the victor of this story: Jesus.

In this story, Jesus ripped the enemy off of the girl and pulled her towards Him. He revealed her Monsters, revealed the enemy. He is our Savior. Our Lover. Our Protector. He wants to yank the Monsters off of you and pull you into Him.

Friends, this is just a little description of how Jesus saved me. He saved me from my Monsters.

Will you let Him fight your Monsters for you?

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” John 8:12

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Braving the Wilderness

Brené Brown’s fifth book, Braving the Wilderness, is simply spectacular. She discusses how to remain true to yourself while still maintaining respect for other people and their opinions. Some items that specifically stuck out to me were the topics we’re hearing a lot about in the news and on social media: race and politics. I urge you all to pick up this book and begin reading it open-mindedly. 

(Click the book below to purchase from Amazon!)

Reading Challenge

Hi friends! I have a bit of a reading challenge for you, but not in the normal reading challenge sense. You see, I have noticed this problem with people taking every author at their word and not challenging the text. More specifically, I see all too often people who love Jesus taking a book author’s viewpoint and running with it without viewing it through a biblical lens. I myself have fallen prey to this mentality way too many times, so I want to help you out in your exploration of books.

Here’s my challenge: when reading a book, take in the message and see how it applies to living a life following Jesus.

Here are some practical questions to ask yourself while reading:
Does this line up with what I know to be True?
Does scripture back up this thought?
How can I take this concept and apply it to my life while showing others the love of Christ?

I applied these questions to a book I recently read, and oh wow did it transform how I absorbed what I was reading. I was able to interact with the text on a whole new level, which helped me take in and process the book in ways I never would have before.

I would love to know: what are some thoughts/skills you apply to your own reading?

Rising Strong

In her fourth book, Rising Strong, Brené Brown encourages digging into and accepting our own personal stories in order to live wholeheartedly. She discusses trauma and grief as we process through and radically accept each of our stories. With her theory, when we get honest with our stories, we’re able to write the endings. Also remaining true to her research, Brené incorporates the importance of remaining vulnerable in order to overcome shame.

(Click the book below to purchase from Amazon!)

Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly is Brené Brown’s third book, and in this one she explores shame and vulnerability at an even deeper level. In this book, she stresses the importance of daring to be vulnerable in order to discover the importance of our lives. The truth that our lives are important is widely overlooked in our culture, so Brené challenges us to put on “vulnerability armor” in order to discover our wholehearted selves.

(Click the book below to purchase from Amazon!)

The Gifts of Imperfection

I’m a long time follower of Brené Brown’s work, and The Gifts of Imperfection is by far my favorite book of hers. In this book, Brené gives very useful “guideposts” on ways to cultivate wholehearted living. When I first read this book, I journaled as I went along and I highly recommend doing the same. I now reference The Gifts of Imperfection multiple times a year, and I’m sure I’ll be rereading it soon!

(Click the book below to purchase from Amazon!)

I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t)

Brené Brown begins her writing career strong with I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t). This book sets the stage for understanding shame and overcoming its potential control on our lives by discussing the power of vulnerability with people was trust. We live in a world that tries to tell us who we are and who we are meant to be, but Brené challenges you to live authentically.

(Click the book below to purchase from Amazon!)

One Little Word

As we’re wrapping up 2018, many people have been posting on social media about the one little word they’ve chosen to follow in 2019. I remember last year many people chose the word flourish, and this year I’ve seen people yet again choosing motivating words such as determined, brave, and present, amongst many others. I’ve stressed over this more than I probably should have, considering words such as fearless and comfort, but then I happened upon this quote while reading Live Fearless by Sadie Robertson: work the Word for the Word to work.”

IMG_8977That’s when it hit me.

My word of 2019 is word.

Strange, I know, but word encompasses so much of what I would like to focus on in 2019.

I want to dive deeper into studying the Word of God and be able to live out His Truth during both times of joy and struggle.

I want to be more aware of the words I use towards others, cultivating words of kindness and respect.

I want to continue to use words as my creative platform, watching them pour out into my journal and blog.

It really just makes so much sense for my word to be word. It’s an odd choice, but I love it. I’m excited to focus on my word and to see how much I grow and change in 2019.

Word is my word.

Also I would love to know: what did you decide as your one little word of 2019?

Thirty-One Prayers for my Husband

Ladies, Thirty-One Prayers for my Husband is a wonderful resource to own. Jennifer Smith writes in prayers you can pray word for word, but she also includes journaling space. Each prayer has is given a subject and Bible verse, so you can reference it when you’re needing help in praying a certain topic over your husband. As a newlywed, this book was incredibly helpful in opening my eyes to different areas in which my husband might need prayer, and I know this will be a book I reference frequently.

Vulnerable Love (& Ecuador)

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” –C. S. Lewis

This week has proven to be a time of temptation to withdraw and to not be vulnerable. It’s been a hard week, filled with trying times in both my life and some of my closest friends’ lives. Pain, sorrow, and heartbreak have been present. A recurring theme I noticed was the willingness of all of us to be vulnerable and say, “No, I’m not okay, and here’s why.” The support and love to and from each other in our hard times grew us even closer, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that no, it was not easy being vulnerable and admitting our deep pains. Though difficult, the vulnerability kept us from burying our hearts in the casket C. S. Lewis mentions in the quote I previously mentioned.

Sharing in our struggles presented us with an opportunity to love each other even deeper. For me personally, I was presented with an option: to cast my anxieties on God or run. (1 Peter 5:6-7) I like to ignore problems and pretend like they don’t exist, but from past experience I knew that was not the solution. So I cried to our Wonderful Counselor. A lot. For my struggles and my friends’. None of our problems are quickly solvable, but I try, and sometimes I do struggle, to be thankful for the trials. They bring us closer to our Father. We grow closer together. We learn to be vulnerable. We learn to love and be loved. “To love is to be vulnerable.”

Even in this tough week, I have felt loved by many. Friends and family have supported me emotionally, and even the donations to my mission trip to Ecuador have been more touching than could have been imagined.

Before closing, I have an Ecuador update. First, I want to thank those of you who have donated to my trip. Your thoughtful gifts have been felt this week and were a huge encouragement to me. I feel your love now, and I pray that God uses me on this trip to share His love with the Ecuadorian people.

Next, I’m only $650 away from reaching my fundraising goal of $950 to complete funding! If you are able to assist financially, here are some options:

PayPal: Create a PayPal account for free! (https://www.paypal.com/home). Next choose “Send & Request,” then “Send money to friends and family.” At that point, you can enter either my email (erica.grogg@hotmail.com) or name (Erica Grogg). You will see my picture.

Cash or check: please give cash or check donations to me directly, or via mail. I will send you my address if this is your preferable route.

Thank you for your support, both in prayer and financially. If anyone would like to grab a cup of coffee so I can share more with you about my heart for missions, please contact me!

Happy Valentine’s Day and much love,

Erica

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” –1 Corinthians 13:7,13