Embracing Change: The Pearl of Joy

Embracing Change at www.annswindell.com

This is the start of my newest article for (in)courage.
You can read the entire article here!

This last year was a whirlwind of change for me. Our family uprooted from the city we had lived in for over a decade—the city where my husband and I fell in love, the city where we found our first jobs, the city where we figured out life as newlyweds, the city where we navigated serious sickness and struggle, the city where our daughter was born. We had a home there, and not just a physical one. Our community, our church, our jobs—we had a place that we knew, and people who knew us. We were settled.

And then, God.

God opened a new door for us, one that we knew we were meant walk through. My husband had the opportunity to go to graduate school, and that meant moving to a new state, finding a new home, and starting a new life where we hardly knew anyone. It meant, essentially, change.

For me, change has always felt gut-wrenching, difficult, gear-grinding tight. I have never loved change; I have usually avoided it.  

But this past year felt like a gift unwrapped for me, given by my heavenly father. Because I found, for the first time in my life, that I was not terrified of the unknown. What I experienced this past year, as I prayed for help to accept and embrace the changes we were facing, was grace.

Read the rest of the article over at (in)courage!

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When You’re Too Busy to Connect With God

My newest article is up over at RELEVANT Magazine, and I’d love for you to check it out!

WHEN YOU'RE TOO BUSY.Swindell

Here’s the start of the article:

Busy. It’s a word many of us use most of the time—we’re too busy, so busy, very busy, or just plain busy. We’ve got work to do, children to raise, meetings to get to, appointments to keep, friends to connect with, spouses to love.

So how do we stay connected to God even when our lives swirl around us at a rapid pace? How do we keep Him central in our hearts and minds while we live our very busy lives? Here are a few ideas for staying close to Jesus even when life gets crazy:

Start with Scripture.

My goal is to read the Bible every day—early in the day—so that everything else I do is seen through the Biblical lens of reality. Reading the Bible is one thing that keeps me grounded in truth and connected to God. I have found, for me, that when I start my day in the Bible, my heart and mind are better prepared to respond to God’s presence throughout the rest of the day—and I usually find that I am kinder in my responses to other people and more gracious with myself.

When I start my day in the Bible, my heart and mind are better prepared to respond to God's… Click To Tweet

And yet, even though I know how important it is for me to read the Word in order to stay close to God, it is surprising to me that something so simple can be so difficult to do on a consistent basis. So get creative if you need to. Do you commute to work? If you’re driving, listen to the Bible on audio. If you’re sitting on a train or on a subway, read the Bible on your phone or carry a pocket version of the Bible with you.

Listen to Truth.

There are a lot of voices swirling around us every day—voices that tell us we aren’t good enough, that we have to find love for ourselves, and that we need to be more attractive and make more money. If I listen to those voices too long, I get sucked into those lies. So I seek to fill my head with music and words that keep me focused on God throughout the day.

If you’re reading this, there’s a high chance that you have access to an incredible amount of Christ-centered media options. Podcasts that point me back to Jesus in the midst of a crazy world, music that focuses my attention on Him and sermons that keep my mind grounded in truth—these are the types of things I try to fill gaps of free time with. They help me remember that in Christ, I am loved and that I have all that I need—things I constantly need to hear.

Read about praying throughout the day, pausing when you’re overwhelmed, and Christ-centered friendships over at RELEVANT!

Climbing: A Piece for Weavings

My most recent article is up at Weavings blog–a reflection on my time in Meteora, Greece, and what it taught me about relationship with God. Meteora is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and the monasteries that sit on the tops of mountains have been a reflection, for me, of what it means to seek God.

Meteora GreeceI’d love for you to click over to Weavings and join me there!

 

Perspectives on Motherhood: A Guest Post

I am so honored that fellow blogger Emily Gardner asked me to be a part of her latest series, “Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing.” She asked great questions about what writing looks like in the season of motherhood. I’d love for you to click over and read the full interview–and check out her lovely blog in the process!

Perspectives-Ann

Thanks again for including me, Emily! It was a blessing!

Small Home Hospitality: A Guest Post at (in)courage!

Today, I’m writing for (in)courage about being hospitable in a small home–our small home!

Ann Swindell-DailyGraceHospitality

Here is the start of the article. I would love for you to join me at (in)courage!

We have a small home — a split-level condo with two bedrooms and a galley kitchen that never seems to have enough counter space. I know that in most places in the world, our home size would be considered normal, or perhaps even large. But here in affluent suburbia where we live, our square footage is, comparatively, on the compact end of things.

Any time we have more than a handful of people over — such as this last weekend for my daughter’s first birthday party — we run out of seating quickly. Often, guests start spilling onto the stairs, sitting on steps when the couches and chairs are full.

My tendency, in the past, was to worry about the lack of space, to try and fix things by giving up my seat or finding another stool. Because when I saw people sitting on the stairs, my hospitality button got pushed: I didn’t feel like I could provide what my guests needed. I never want anyone to feel uncomfortable in my home — physically or socially — and I was concerned that our small home would make people feel cramped and unwelcome.

Read the rest of the article here!