3 Strategies to Thrive in Chaos

The world’s chaos continues in a dizzying swirl around us, confusing life and creating a maze of issues. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we were designed and equipped for such a time as this. We can thrive in chaos. In this article I share 3 ironclad strategies and a toolbox to help.

Thrive in Chaos

As we return to our “everyday” in these (supposedly) post-pandemic times, the world’s chaos continues in a dizzying swirl around us, confusing life matters and creating a maze of issues. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we were designed and equipped for such a time as this. We can thrive in chaos.

Fortunately, we have workable strategies and tools to help us — and, dare I say it — actually thrive in the middle of all of it because of all the chaos! In this piece, I’m going to share 3 ironclad strategies and give you a toolbox to help you thrive in chaos:

  1. Thrive daily — armed with a Big Picture view, we can thrive in chaos
  2. Find purpose and meaning for your life in these chaotic times.
  3. Live forward with confidence in the face of the unknown.

Uncertainty permeates daily life as we discover how things have changed during (and now after) our mandated mass hibernation. Emerging from our pandemic pandemonium, reminders popup throughout the day making it clear that life (as we once knew it) is not the same today in this crazy new world ‘order.’

Some changes will be positive, as: 

  • Surviving businesses implement more efficient operating procedures and better ways to serve customers. They may be more profitable in the long run!
  • More attention focused on environmental aspects by assuring healthful conditions, upholding higher hygiene standards, rejecting potentially hazardous or unsafe practices.
  • Programs and activities will be changed-up, streamlined with necessary modifications, including only the essentials, eliminating unneeded fluff.
  • New ways of doing things may be discovered and implemented, turning out to be “better” and more appropriate than the old ways were anyway!
  • Previously-overlooked needs may be uncovered and appropriately addressed with new programs, policies or practices.

Of course there have been (and will be) losses for businesses, people and entities that are not in a position (nor can see ways) to pivot, moving forward in times of economic upheaval. Entrepreneurs characteristically exhibit the ability to turn on a dime (make that a $1,000-dollar bill today), as they implement necessary changes to right their listing ship and stay afloat in the storm.

Chaos impacts life, but life continues

In addition to the changes we personally experience, chaos surrounds us. It fills major city streets with violence, looting and fires. It is witnessed in neighborhoods and shopping malls across America. It’s apparent there is a continual underlying struggle for power and control that is not beneficial to humankind as a whole. Meaningful and necessary efforts to help people transition to a healthy, every day life in these uncertain times are not happening on the scale that are needed.

The chaos surrounding us is compounded by festering personal issues. We know challenging times are part of living. Coming back to “Real Life” after a pandemic shut-down is like throwing everyday life into a blender and then dumping it out, as everyone attempts to figure what work and life are going to be now.

Right out of the gate, I was surprised at ongoing difficulties encountered in pretty much everything (it seemed). Ready as I was (maybe you, too), these obstacles impeded moving forward. Simple things, really. Maybe I was overly optimistic. 

Once mandates were dropped and we were green-lighted as ‘ready to go,’ gradually things seemed to get a little easier and a bit freer. Still a the threat of a controlling grip persists. It lurks in the shadows. Its presence reminds all that we could easily return to banishment from our everyday life, at a moment’s notice.

During the pandemic, our family (like many others), continued to live life in this strange, new closed-off world. We found ways to maintain contact with our family and friends. We attended conferences and meetings and school online. We had a wedding. Our niece had a baby. We had a death in our family. We had 2 college graduations, and another begin college. After a lengthy job hunt, one of our family members found a great one and relocated, to begin a new life. I published (and launched!) 2 books. Life went on. It wasn’t easy, but it happened.

When the pandemic craziness began to tone down and we were able to live more freely, I was surprised to discover it may take more time personally, to “get back” into life again. If you feel this way, too — give yourself grace and time.

3 Ironclad strategies to help you thrive in chaos and everyday

Often, the answer to our thriving in chaotic times (or even on blissful days) lies not within ourselves, but rather outside ourselves. As our perspective opens up, we see the world with a wide angle lens. In this way we gain clarity and understanding over our lives and the conditions in the world. We can better discern what we need to do, what we are called to do, and how to serve others, living a more fulfilling, purpose-filled life. 

  1. Thrive daily — no matter what (armed with a Big Picture view) here’s how:
  • Spend time in God’s Word (The Bible).
  • Pick a Bible study (independent and/or group study).
  • Journal: the Word; share personal insights, ideas, dreams, goals.
  • Pray often – and about everything! Our heavenly Father wants to hear from you.
  • Keep a prayer journal – ongoing, including answers and updates.
  • Know God keeps His promises. He will never leave us. He is in this with us.

2. Everyday — find ways to incorporate these learnings into your every day. Applying them adds purpose and meaning to life, creating a firm foundation. Seek to understand what God wants you to do to serve others. Is it:

  • A ministry of encouragement?
  • Writing?
  • Speaking?
  • Creating art? Music? Performing?
  • Mentoring? Counseling? Advising? Consulting?
  • Teaching?
  • Preaching?
  • Praying?
  • Planning events? Organizing events? Serving in events?
  • Establishing a ministry? Coordinating a ministry? Running a ministry?
  • Being available — ‘free-agenting’ yourself to serve in a variety of ways.
  • Volunteering?
  • Catering? Cooking? Serving food?
  • What else? 

Live forward with confidence. Know these callings are for as long as they are to be and they will serve needs. By our heavenly Father’s design, each of us has purpose in serving in this way. Serving in this way takes us outside of ourselves, beyond our own situations, as we focus on others.

One of the best strategies to thrive is to turn our moments of uncertainty inside out, allowing God to use them for His good! It’s astonishing to see that amidst the tremendous upheaval the pandemic caused, it provided the perfect opportunity for many to find their way back to their loving heavenly Father. New ways to serve in ministry and outreach are being created even now. This is how things work in God’s world — always inverse to man’s ways and view of the world.

Every day offers “ministry” opportunities. No one is required to be associated with an internationally-recognized organization or popular entity to serve God in ministry. (Motherhood is often referred to as a ‘ministry of interruption,’ although I think other ways of serving share this characteristic as well!). 

Ministry is serving the needs of others by following His lead. He will provide all that is needed to do the job. God never hands us a “To Do” List and leaves us on our own, to to figure it all out. He stays right there with us and shows us “how.”  

3. Dare to ask God the hard questions on your mind, the heavy things burdening your heart. Ask for His guidance, care, presence and tender mercy.

Walk with Jesus every day. No matter your age, skills, or life situation, Accept the urging you feel for the thing He is leading you to do. Even when it seems impossible, He will equip you for it. He always calls the least likely, and reliably shows up in a big way to help!

Here’s a Toolbox to encourage you to thrive in chaos: A 22-Day Scripture Reading List, to read, study, journal – !

Spend time in God’s Word to:

A Final Thought: Chaos is not of God. It’s not what He wants for any of us, but it happens in this world. It can be (and is) used for His good, to further His kingdom. In spite of it all, we can live forward in confidence, wrapped in His love and THRIVE.

I leave you with this:

Scripture shows us what we’re to do:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” ~ Romans 12:1-2 [The Message]

God’s Word assure us — He’s got this:

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:16 [NASB] 

Press on!

Grace Daily JournalRESOURCES: Journalling the Word can help us through challenging times. Keeping a journal can help us explore complex issues and make valuable personal discoveries so we can free ourselves from our pain and gain clarity. My 9th book, ThGrace Daily Challenge Journal, is designed to help readers and writers explore what the Bible says about grace, finding forgiveness, and view challenging things in a Biblical perspective as they Journal The Word. We can thrive in chaos! (Paperback and Kindle eBook)

MORE About this book: The Grace Daily Challenge Journal

MEET: Becky Cortino

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6 Tips for Creating an Enriching Personal Retreat at Home

Plan a Personal Retreat

For many of us the thought of being able to get away for a retreat sounds enticing, but seems impossible. Amidst the crush of every day crowded with unplanned challenges and schedule pressures, we find ourselves running on empty (or on a dangerously low reserve) of energy for much-needed soul care. 

Unfortunately when we need it most, resources and a margin of time often don’t permit us to attend a retreat. Conferences and fellowshipping (online and in real life) are wonderful, but when schedule allows, personal budgets don’t always stretch to cover registration, travel and hotel stays.    

Sometimes we realize the need for refreshment and a space for time away will help us regain focus, restore energy. Rather than not addressing our own personal soul care because it seems impossible in this season…

Here are 6 tips for creating an enriching personal retreat at home:

  1. PREPARE: Pray for refreshment to come, God’s direction in planning the right setting and topic to explore in your time with Him.
  2. PURPOSE: Determine the needs you want to address. Find a book, sermon series, Bible verse, devotional that speaks to your heart.
  3. PLAN: Select a day, blocking-out a time period of 2-3 hours (if possible). As needed, include childcare or necessary adult care. 
  4. SETTING: Choose an appealing environment conducive for your hoped-for  enrichment.
  5. IMMERSE: Once in retreat mode, turn off all notifications, put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door — and settle in!
  6. EMERGE: After your retreat, may you be blessed with greater clarity, refreshment, renewed hope, defined purpose and clear direction. 

Here are 6 ideas to encourage refreshment and clarity in your personal retreat:

  • Deep-dive mini-study of a topic, sermon series or a Bible Study. 
  • Select a key Bible verse (or verses), and during your time:
  1. Journal about it (or them), as extensively as your heart wants to roam.
  2. Bible Journal, as a visually creative activity to delve into the topic.
  3. Bullet Journal your study, for note taking, recoding discoveries.  
  4. Create Bible verse, prayer or personal reflection cards.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: As a ready resource of Bible verses organized by topic, including journalling tips and ideas we recommend The Grace Daily Journal:

The Grace Daily Journal

#RelationshipsMatter #ChristianLifestyle #Encouragement #SoulCare #SelfCare #PersonalCare #Forgiveness #RestoringTheBrokenPlaces #GraceDaily #PlanningARetreat #PersonalRetreat #PersonalGetaway #LivingALifeOfJoy Even in the face of adversity #BattlingBurnout

Loving Through Imperfect Hospitality

The heart of imperfect hospitality is offered in love, to encourage and give comfort. Hospitality doesn’t come easy, but it isn’t difficult…

What a blessing to spend time, share life and discuss adventures when we gather with others! Afterward, we wonder why don’t I spend more time enjoying company? It’s easy to get caught up in our daily routine and miss life-enriching moments. A nagging “To Do” List captivates our attention. Making preparations for having company isn’t always on the list.

Hospitality doesn’t come easy, but it isn’t difficult. Perceived urgency of things we need to do weighs heavily on us. We feel overwhelmed with everything on our plate. Adding a new thing displaces something else already planned. Because we make hospitality grander then it needs to be in our heads, we keep ourselves from enjoying more beautiful moments in our lives.

Opportunities to show gracious hospitality arise when we cross paths with others. It may be as simple as warmly welcoming someone to an event or engaging in conversation. A kind introduction helps newcomers join an ongoing conversation.

Sometimes hospitality opportunities are dropped in our laps. Our latest experience was having family live with us for almost 1-1/2 years. This indeed was a time for imperfect hospitality in action because it was impromptu hosting from beginning to end!

If you had family (or others) living with you during the pandemic and worked full-time, you remember the drill. Each day brought changing protocols, new mandates, dwindling food supplies and staples impacting households everywhere. (Who knew toilet paper was so valuable?) Maybe like us, you felt the increased weight of responsibility for providing for those under your roof as shortages continued. We all pressed on through those uncertain days.

We had “company” when our youngest son and his new wife lived with us during the pandemic. For 16 months running, all efforts were made to help them settle in comfortably. With our family’s work and school schedule, my main focus was gathering nightly for a family meal. This gave us the opportunity to spend some personal time away from pressing matters.

We had 3 reasons for planning our daily family evening meal:

  1. It is our family’s tradition.
  2. Gathering gave us a space of time together.
  3. This would likely be one of the last times we could spend time together in such an intimate, meaningful way.

Meshing schedules proved challenging. For the first 9 months of sheltering in, I was the last one awake (in the wee hours) finishing things needing to be done; and the first one up in the early morning, setting up for the day.

For 4 months I worked full-time, as I prepared for a speaking conference. After putting in 8-9 hours straight through the day, I spent about 2 hours making dinner, followed by another 2 hours of cleanup (most nights). It was a full, exhausting day, but I was dedicated to having this important time together. It was worth it.

My conference was postponed when gathering mandates were enacted. I worked intensively during the next 6 months preparing for it. In the end, respecting my family’s concerns for bringing COVID home, I didn’t attend the rescheduled conference. I did accomplish a lot during those 10 months!

My husband and I remained committed to providing a roof over our children’s heads, keeping them safe, providing food for them. This is the kind of loving hospitality a parent willingly provides. Our school and work schedules changed somewhat during the summer, but we continued to gather.

Getting adequate rest was challenging for everyone! Focusing on our evening meal mission helped, especially in the face of adversity as satan attempted to disrupt our family’s lives. I realize now I was also battling burn-out, after launching my book RESTORING THE BROKEN PLACES IN AN UNFORGIVING WORLD.

We continued serving food, providing hospitality, love, wisdom, support and encouragement in the face of the unknown. I believe this is the heart of imperfect hospitality — offered in love, to encourage and give comfort. It is offered from the heart with the hope of comforting. In this situation it was my husband and I assuring our children of the beautiful future God has planned for them.

I’m grateful for every moment our family had during this challenging time. It was a blessing to serve them in this way. Living a faith-based life assures us our heavenly Father is greater than our circumstances. He is the solution to all pressing problems. In His undeniable love, He never leaves us to deal with challenges on our own. He brought our family through those dark days.

The beautiful future God planned for all of our children is dawning. We know our prayers are being answered in amazing ways for them!

Open your heart for gracious gatherings with imperfect hospitality.

OPEN YOUR HEART WITH THIS TOOLBOX FOR GRACIOUS GATHERINGS WITH IMPERFECT HOSPITALITY:

  • Preparing favorite meals and special foods for restricted diets and preferences is thoughtful and welcoming.
  • Give guests a taste of your family’s life by serving family favorites to new family members or visitors from other countries, along with a generous helping of backstory of why the dish is so popular or special memories associated with it.
  • Pray ahead for the gathering, asking each to be blessed.
  • Try to get rest beforehand.
  • Keep arrangements simple, so they are not all-consuming.
  • Focus on creating a warm, welcoming environment.
  • No matter how simple, offer it all in love.
  • Cover all (including your efforts) with grace — things don’t always turn out as planned!
  • Memories will be made through your efforts of graciously offered (yet) imperfect hospitality.

MORE:

The Bible provides guidance on opening our hearts and homes.

Are you (or someone you know) experiencing challenges in the wake of COVID? You May be interested in reading: How Are YOU… Really?

The Secret to Making a Real Difference

Some people believe we cannot “invest” ourselves in every relationship that comes our way. The main reason given for this is the perceived problem of available time to spend in relationship with others.

I disagree! In fact, it is unbiblical to live this way, and in this article I’m going to show you why all relationships matter, there’s no getting out of having one with others, even if you think you can (or are) and the secret to making a real difference in this world.

How we view “investing” in relationships impacts how we connect and interact with others. If you consider sitting down for the proverbial cup of coffee everyone always talks about, or sharing a meal with someone as your measurement for relational investment, you are right! Time, resources and ability to actually meet-up in real life (or virtually) add conditions that may never be met.

Case-in-Point: How many times have you parted after serendipitously crossing paths with someone, both agreeing to catch-up on an unspecified future date and never did? Each was sincere at that moment. You would love to spend time, to “invest” more in this relationship — but… it never happened. Does this mean you don’t have a real relationship with this person?

Next time — and likely there will be a next time — when your paths cross you sheepishly look at each other and sigh, knowing you failed in just making some time for them in your day (and they for you, in theirs). You smile, thinking how wonderful it will be and wholeheartedly long to get together, but life’s crazy schedules continue to crush the day, so setting aside a few minutes seems impossible.

There is a vast difference between developing relationships with a select few and having an impact with all you meet. It’s important to realize even with a chance meeting, a relationship has begun. Obviously with a deeper long-term relationship, more time is spent. However, even in a fleeting moment a lasting impact can be made on others through our interaction with them. This happens by how we live, walk out our faith, our words left with others, how they see us.

It may seem surprising, but those we meet in brief encounters often do remember. In over 20+ years of service, I have been blessed many times when those I’ve had the privilege of serving in ministry (or encountered in every day life) remind me of something I did or said — often in the moment — that made a real positive difference in their lives. Sometimes this grateful remembrance comes back to me by another messenger — my husband, family, friend or someone I met by chance who heard the story! I call this a double blessing!

Our example is Jesus. He had an inner circle of friends, yet left a living legacy globally through His impact, touching countless lives throughout His time here on earth continues today. Even those who were not His disciples developed a real, life-changing relationship with Jesus when they simply crossed paths with Him. They never had coffee or a meal together, but desired a real relationship — and had one with Him.

Case-in-Point: When Jesus risked asking a Samaritan woman at the well for a drink of water in John 4:1-30. Yes, He said He was thirsty, but probably could have drawn water himself. Instead, in that momentary encounter He sought to speak with the woman at the well. It was life-changing for her. She could draw water at the well, but was still thirsty. He told her of the living water, assured her He was the Messiah and told her how we (as believers) should worship and live.

If Christians endeavor to live as Jesus does, we mustn’t limit our relationships to only those we believe are tangible and important to us. If we allow it, often God brings us together with others who will change our lives, and those whom we may inspire, or encourage to live a more fulfilling life.

It is in those places where our lives are lived for God’s best with a heart dedicated to His purpose, we will have a positive impact in the world, or bless others. It is wonderful (but not required) to have a close-knit group of friends. When we live to serve God, accepting all of His blessings, our lives are to follow His ways, not go our own way. We do fulfill God’s purpose by ministering to others in the moment, serving however we can. Romans 12: 1-2 tells us how we can do this.

Having coffee with someone in need isn’t usually an option. Although they thirst, they need far more than that. Although they may be hungry their need is not often met at the local cafe. In this moment, the latest greatest burger, or extra cream and sugar are not priorities for them. A large latte doesn’t matter. I love what Romans 12: 9-13 says about serving others — it’s a big key for planner peeps — about the importance of being “inventive in hospitality.”

It is also a mistake to think that by being a believer our “relationship” with someone is going to solve all of their problems or needs, like a one-stop fix-it solution. We (nor any friendship outside of one with Jesus) is ever the answer for any of our needs. The answer always lies in Jesus.

Life and everything we encounter isn’t really all about us. Often we hear, speak, sing or think we want to be more like Jesus and much less of ourselves. If we really want to do this, in all of relationships, including any momentary chance meeting we must take the more of Jesus approach.

If we’re honest we don’t have all the answers. We do not know what tomorrow brings. We can’t imagine what’s in store for us today. A collaborative brainstorming session with our best earthly friend doesn’t always result in a satisfactory solution. But God’s Word has the answer to every problem or troubling situation. Time spent in deepening a relationship with Jesus goes a long way to resolving issues and challenges we encounter.

We cannot quench the world’s thirst for knowledge and understanding. We cannot keep the world fed. It’s astonishing to look around and see all the global efforts striving to do this. And still the needs remain — and continue to grow. In John 12:8a, Jesus told us there will always be poor people. He knows it. He could fix it, but it still exists. We are to do our part. We can help.

In our relationships we can begin to make the world better by reaching out and helping others, not waiting to make that coffee chat date. We may provide for needs with our time and resources, but Jesus’ point is the “needs” of all people are well beyond their hunger and thirst, and located well outside the sphere of our desire for meaningful relationships with only a select few.

It is all about Him and His provision (which never runs out ). He always has time for us. It’s all far less about “us” than we often allow ourselves to think and bemoan our pressing 24-7 time limitations as we make our stingy investment of a 2-hour one-time lunch date with a friend so we can check that off our list. We cannot single-handedly solve the world’s problems. Relying on Him, providing the encouragement and knowledge of Him to those in need, we can begin to make a lasting impact, as we wholeheartedly love from who we are, discover the beauty in everyone, and surprise them with goodness.

#RelationshipsMatter

How Are YOU… Really?

LivRad Solitude

Hopefully you’re well, enjoying some things missed during 2020.

We’ve missed a lot during the pandemic, haven’t we?

My family and I are definitely ready to enjoy more, although we’re finding the ‘adjustment’ process going a little slower than expected. I don’t know why I thought throwing off that mask and running free would be so easy😄 It sure sounded easier! I remember when living mask-free was easy.

It certainly is easier! I’m so NOT missing disinfecting every.thing brought into our home, quarantining the mail in the garage for a few days before opening it, and suiting up with mask and gloves to go to the grocery store😷 Whew! As ‘experts’ predicted, I can see all this may take time to process, gain some distance from it, and establish new best practices (as needed). I’m grateful for even slow progress through these topsy-turvy times.

Philippians 4:6-7 offers a reminder: “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let your petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” [The Message]

Feeling “settled down,” after being on high alert for over a year?

If you’re not, take heart. In a recent conversation with friends, they shared after all that has gone into pressing through this pandemic has left them feeling like they’re running nearly on empty right now.

They (probably like you, and also like me) have been caring for others, taking additional precautionary measures to protect themselves (and others), paired with ever-present stresses impacting home, work and life. There have been schooling concerns, virtual classes, graduations, seemingly endless ZOOM meetings, postponed weddings, no church to online church, and more.

That’s a lot of plates to keep spinning while trying to create a safe, comforting, stable home environment amidst the swirling chaos, isn’t it? …and we haven’t even considered all that was entailed with keeping food on the table and figuring out “what’s for dinner” to gather everyone, keeping them fed.

For some, the aftereffect has taken the shape of near burnout. Some are depressed, others are exhausted. So if you’re not feeling well or suddenly realizing you’re not snapping back quite as fast as you thought you would, know you’re in good company. Wherever you are, we’re all in this season together💕 This too will pass.

This is a time requiring our lavishing grace, with reckless abandon.

Just as scripture tells us, I have seen things coming together for good, and I hope you have, too. We always have Hope. We know our heavenly Father uses bad, evil, hurtful things for good. We never know what to expect, nor could we have anticipated the pandemic. No one knew exactly how to get through it, based on experience or great knowledge. But we can rest in knowing that God has all of this. We can walk out our faith every day, trusting in Him.* 

*That said, if you or someone you know is depressed or having issues that might require a doctor’s check-up, medical care or attention, please do seek proper professional care to address it. Take good care of you and the others in your life❤️

One thing is for sure: relationships remain important.

These uncertain days have tested relationships — stretching some nearly to a breaking point. Some of these experiences have raised more concerns about forgiveness and created confusion about how to resolve personal issues. I think studies will span the next 30+ years, seeking to understand all the implications this pandemic has imposed upon humanity. I believe the discoveries will be eye-opening!

How about you? What is your top Forgiveness Challenge?

❤️ Please share yours here (it’s completely anonymous): http://BeckyWantsToKnow.BeckyCortino.org

#RealtionshipsMatter

There is Joy in the Moment of NOW

Recently lots of introspective people have been sharing their touching reflections in observation of our dubious COVID-19 “Anniversary.” These personal experiences, lessons and insight gained during our COVID-steeped days have been encouraging amidst tragedy and grief.

Living our faith out boldly, while making wise choices and good decisions for family and ourselves during uncertain days has been wearing. Many have been emotionally exhausted, teetering on depression. 

I’m hopeful with the wide-scale availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, more businesses, schools and churches will open their doors. It is happening! 

We are feeling a change here in NC, although many places (including churches) remain closed. These days, a welcome blend of hope and practical optimism rides in on the the sweet spring breeze surrounding us.

This is where I am right now: I’m still walking through fires (like you). I’m growing weary and my resources to deal with all this are growing thin. I realize we’re nearing the last inning of this game (as far as we think we know), but it’s still difficult. 

I’m thankful God is with all of us. He helps us through our every day — easy or challenging. While my (or your) resources — time, energy, means may diminish, His are never depleted. They are always freely offered and available to everyone. All we have to do is to accept them and lean on Him.

In those faltering moments I’m reminded to rely less on me and much more on “Him.” I’ve had a lot of those reminders. I’ve also had a lot of help from Him as I always seem to have yet another unexpected hoop to jump through. I continue to look for the Joy in the moment of now.

As we reach the end of all this, I picture a conversation with our loving Heavenly Father asking, “Child, do you remember all of those times when you wanted more time to get things done, to create (or write) more, develop new projects? What did you do during the year of the COVID pandemic?” He will already know the answer.  But He will love to hear from us.

Recently I heard Jordan St Cyr’s song “Fires.” It really spoke to my heart. The stories highlighted in the official music YouTube video include some incredible stories I think will touch your heart, too♥️I’m sharing it with you because it is encouraging and assuring. Jordan’s Official “Fires” song video on YouTube: 

Jordan St Cyr – Fires

Take good care! We are running this race to finish, friend👍🏻And we will! Through Him all things are possible💜AMEN.

RESOURCES: Journalling The Word can help us through challenging times. Keeping a journal can help us explore complex issues and make valuable personal discoveries so we can free ourselves from our pain. My 9th book, The Grace Daily Challenge Journal, is designed to help readers and writers explore what the Bible says about grace and finding forgiveness, as they Journal The Word.

MORE About this book: The Grace Daily Challenge Journal

MEET: Becky Cortino

ABOUT: Becky Cortino Author, Inspirational Speaker and Tightrope Walker

Becky Cortino International Speaker and Author


Becky Cortino is an author, inspirational speaker and tightrope walker. She has authored 9 books and is a longtime featured presenter.
 Her new book (number 8), RESTORING THE BROKEN PLACES IN AN UNFORGIVING WORLD, is about Forgiveness. 

A multi-platform professional writer throughout her career creating marketing/sales and promotional content for clients commercially, in addition to promoting causes and information campaigns. Her tradition of multiple-platform communication continues today.

Becky has written for, her words have been published and broadcast over every form of media. Her first 7 books are based on ministries she and her family participated in for over 20 years. 

Resulting from her writing and book publishing efforts, public speaking and presentation opportunities domestically and internationally developed.  Audiences range from small events, to business community member audiences (up to 500 in attendance).

A longtime presenter featuring a series of edutraining programs, Becky also presented special track training workshops at an international conference. She recently offered a special program to a delighted audience in southeastern Europe.

Becky is a featured collaborator in 2 published books on the subjects of Injecting Healing Humor in Healthcare, and Herbs, to benefit causes and nonprofits (on the national/global platform).

She wrote a piece on work that looks like play and hearts touched by the hospital humor ministry she and her family served in for nearly 14 years. It was featured in What’s Right in Healthcare, a special edition created to inspire those in the front lines of healthcare. This book was published in 2007.

Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs, benefitting The National Herb Garden (now in 3rd reprint and available in Kindle eBook Edition), was published in 2007. Becky’s contribution was an offshoot of her Herbal Treasures Of Hickory Hollow women’s ministry, and her homeschooling family’s garden adventure.

Becky collaborated on a third book for women in business: Behind Her Brand, Entrepreneur Edition, Volume 5 in 2016. Her contribution was based on her marketing and public relations consultancy business and digital marketing experience.

Since 1999, Becky has published several books, countless eBooks and many websites, creating content ongoing – ‘blogging’ before there were blogs! (Blogging officially beginning in 2004, when suitable platforms were available.)

She has presented numerous training programs, coached and helped area churches, by personally encouraging the Christian community to establish Christian Creative Arts Ministry as a regular activity and special event, enhancing outreach and mission trip efforts, to impact lives.

To support this important outreach work, Becky authored 2 in-depth books on the topic of establishing Christian Creative Arts Ministry. In addition to her books to further prepare and equip these ministries, she created digital media resources. Becky created and developed 15 online multi-media training courses. She began offering online training and resources in 2002.

A media maker with professional experience in all forms of media including New, Social and Traditional. Becky began podcasting in 2008, hosting several internet BlogTalk Radio Shows collaboratively and on her own. Since 2008, she created a branded series of videos for her books on her YouTube channels featuring related original niche content.

In February 2020, speaker and author Becky Cortino established LivRad, a speaking and writing ministry charged with the mission of “Encouraging Words for Hurting People.”

MORE ABOUT:  Becky Cortino 
Becky Cortino Books + Media (Links):
AMAZON Author: Becky Cortino Books + Media on AMAZON

Becky’s Newest Book About Forgiveness: Restoring the Broken Places 

Becky Cortino Social Links:

Becky Cortino Facebook Page
@BeckyCortino on Twitter
Becky Cortino on LinkedIn
Becky Cortino on Pinterest
Becky Cortino on Instagram
Becky Cortino Channel (YouTube)


#BlueRidgeChristianWritersConference
#BlueRidgeChristianAuthor #SheSpeaks #SpeakUp #ChristianCommunicator

More About: Becky Cortino Books and Presentations

PLEASE NOTE: In light of the rapidly-changing COVID-19 situation and varying mandates, Becky Cortino Speaking Engagement Information, including Presentation Topics, and Booking Details are not available.

Friend, do you have a calling you feel is tugging on your heart to answer? Here is some encouragement especially for you!

More About: RESTORING THE BROKEN PLACES IN AN UNFORGIVING WORLD, Becky’s book about forgiveness http://ForgivenessBook.BeckyCortino.org

In These Uncertain Days

In these uncertain days, as tumultuous turns of unfathomable events stir us to feel restless in staying where we are and yet, unsure where we should go… It’s difficult to watch catastrophes unfold, feeling helpless as we stand by. Deciding the next right thing is difficult amidst the din of chaos…

The good news is we are never hopeless, for the one true God is always with us and He will lead the way! In fact, He doesn’t want His children (that’s you and me) to worry! Can you imagine?! He loves us all so much, He wants us to continue living our lives, resting in Him when things get crazy and the going is tough, and know He’ll handle it. .

In fact, He’ll make it better beyond our belief, using the world’s bad for His good. He is able to bring about remarkable  transformations, unimaginable blessings, showering His children with His gracious goodness.

“So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” (Matthew 6:34 TLB)

“So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.” (Matthew 6:34 GNT)

“Do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will have its own worries. The troubles we have in a day are enough for one day.” (Matthew 6:34 NLV)

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34 MSG)

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34 NIV)

MORE: Restoring the Broken Places in an Unforgiving World

RESOURCES: Journalling The Word can help us through challenging times. Keeping a journal can help us explore complex issues and make valuable personal discoveries so we can free ourselves from our pain. My 9th book, The Grace Daily Challenge Journal, is designed to help readers and writers explore what the Bible says about grace and finding forgiveness, as they Journal The Word.

MEET Becky Cortino

Good Morning Sunshine!

In the cool darkness of the still morning arises a familiar shrill chorus calling all to welcome the sunshine. The birds remind me how we should greet each new day gladly, for the opportunities that lie ahead in the hours yet to come. 

Breaking through the trees, this sunrise was so spectacular at 6:10AM, it beckoned me outside to enjoy it with our feathered friends, along with all the other wildlife in the wood. joy in the morning! 

Why do I say this? Why do I feel this? Because I’m reminded of something so important and want to share it with you: if for even a minute you’re doubting your worth or feeling uncertain about what’s next in these turbulent days, please remember with me…

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26 NIV)

“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.” (Matthew 25-26 MSG)

Look at the birds! They don’t worry about what to eat—they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food—for your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are.” (Matthew 26 TLB)

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Matthew 26(NASB)

…and about a red sky in the morning — I’m reminded of an adage found in this reference, assuring me upon further reflection that no matter what the experts’ say no one here (on earth) really knows what’s next — here’s proof💜Read on…

“Some Bad Yeast

Some Pharisees and Sadducees were on him again, pressing him to prove himself to them. He told them, “You have a saying that goes, ‘Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning.’ You find it easy enough to forecast the weather—why can’t you read the signs of the times? An evil and wanton generation is always wanting signs and wonders. The only sign you’ll get is the Jonah sign.” Then he turned on his heel and walked away.” (Matthew 16 1-4 MSG)

He replied, “You are good at reading the weather signs of the skies—red sky tonight means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day—but you can’t read the obvious signs of the times!” (Matthew 16:2-3 TLB)

“He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.” (Matthew 16:2-3 NIV)

So in all of this I’m reminded not to “fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes,” even while preparing meals for our #shelteringin family. Facing taunting food shortages and crazy rising prices, we have food to eat. We are blessed!

At the outset of this #pandemic, anticipating unimaginable sweeping changes in life as we knew it, I vowed to use what we had on hand, making limited trips out — for all the reasons. The result has been some interesting combinations, fresh new discoveries, and reminders of how spoiled we’ve *all* been when we could enjoy whatever ‘sounded good for dinner’ or what we were *in the mood to eat* at the moment. It’s been good👍🏻

In these days of being #HomeTogether facing an unknown future gives time for  pausing to realize being concerned about “whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion” isn’t high priority… after all😉

In order to keep routine I have continued to dress as I always would to go out, for work, etc. (I am a makeup girl — so daily!) With each passing day I recognize ‘current fashion’ is diminishing in importance. What’s trending in my world these days are a face mask and gloves😷They’ve become my essential accessories! I predict the previous intense focus on the ‘latest’ will not resume in quite the same way once we all make it through this. 

🦠Pre-Pandemic Days: we were living fast and loose. Things were easier then, right?! Life was happening at warp speed — though never always quite ‘fast enough’ for the times of immediate gratification and short attention spans. The world was rocking at such a crescendo pace, an eventual reset had to happen! It did.

Reflecting on all of this and writing for 3.5 hours this morning inspired by these passages from the Bible, I’m reminded: continuing my work as a speaker and author — no matter how much I’ve always loved my work and all the busyness of a full life (as I perceive it) — the best life is not “tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.” He has a Plan for all of us friends. He is in those plans, included as an integral part of them!

Take heart, friend. These are challenging times, troubling days. We are all truly in this together♥️God has this. You and I are important to Him. His love for all of us is far greater than we can ever fathom. I pray you feel His peace, find Joy in your day, showered with His abundant blessings, find freedom in His Word. The Son shines even on our darkest days🌞

God is good! I’m grateful — as I hope you are — for each new day and God’s reminders delivered to us in extraordinary ways. They speak affirmation, love and blessing through His artistry to our listening hearts.

MORE: Restoring the Broken Places in an Unforgiving World

RESOURCES: Journalling The Word can help us through challenging times. Keeping a journal can help us explore complex issues and make valuable personal discoveries so we can free ourselves from our pain. My 9th book, The Grace Daily Challenge Journal, is designed to help readers and writers explore what the Bible says about grace and finding forgiveness, as they Journal The Word.

MEET Becky Cortino

Your Calling — is Yours

Anointed

If you feel a calling, don’t let a ‘friend’ convince you otherwise. God can use anyone. Maybe you confided a ‘nudge’ you feel to serve in a new ministry to someone trusted. They begin to explain to you how UNqualified and completely ill-equipped you are to handle such a task. 

Worse yet: After immobilizing you, they grab your blessing and run with it, attempting to make your calling their newest mission while turning their back on you😮Well. Good luck to them with that!

Throughout history we have seen God call the least likely to do amazing things. How did they do it? He prepared and equipped them for their mission. He always remained close by. And it was all for His glory, not the for the fame and accomplishment of doer of the deed. 

He empowers those who faithfully heed His calling. Those who follow His leading are enabled to accomplish His Plan. It’s all about Him, not us. 

Often the preparation takes us through rough terrain, including an arduous journey, but there is a purpose to all of it. It is His Plan and for His purpose, and it is happening if we’re willing to step up in obedience and step out in faith to do it. Remaining diligent in our calling is a willingness to take that first step and keep going.

Never Walk Away

“Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life;

    don’t for a minute lose sight of them.

They’ll keep your soul alive and well,

    they’ll keep you fit and attractive.

You’ll travel safely,

    you’ll neither tire nor trip.

You’ll take afternoon naps without a worry,

    you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep.

No need to panic over alarms or surprises,

    or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner,

Because God will be right there with you;

    he’ll keep you safe and sound.” 

~ Proverbs 3:21-26 ( MSG)

MORE: Restoring the Broken Places in an Unforgiving World

RESOURCES: Journalling The Word can help us through challenging times. Keeping a journal can help us explore complex issues and make valuable personal discoveries so we can free ourselves from our pain. My 9th book, The Grace Daily Challenge Journal, is designed to help readers and writers explore what the Bible says about grace and finding forgiveness, as they Journal The Word.

MEET Becky Cortino