Inviting Jesus into my inner Monologue

“Be careful how you think; no one is in your head more than you are.” I heard this in college and it is TRUTH! We are thinking all day every day,

"Is this shirt too tight?

"Oh, she’s here. Play it cool, she can’t know your feelings are hurt."  

"What do I want for lunch later?"

"Did I reply to that email?"

"Is this shirt too big?"

We take in info, process it, judge it, enjoy it, dismiss it, etc. Our  inner monologue might be funny or harmful or helpful, but it is never silent.

There has never been anything in my life so out of my control as parenting. Some parents realize this when their kids are different ages. Some of us realize it during our pregnancies. When I was about 8 weeks pregnant with Eva, I started showing every sign of miscarriage. I wept. “Please God not again. This happened last year. We literally sold or gave away almost everything we have and are moving to NYC next week. Please no.”

I am not sure I left my bed much for 2 days, nauseated, sleeping, crying and reading Psalms. My doctor told me to come in. I did and everything was fine. I felt the weight and reality of not being able to do more to make sure everything would be ok. I couldn’t study and read more in my pregnancy books. I could continue to eat correctly and avoid even the sight of deli meat and caffeine, but mostly I had to pray, depend on, and trust Jesus. Seeing is easy. Trusting takes practice and effort.

Fast forward 7 months, we were in New York City doing Bible studies at Columbia and NYU. I was HUGE, which was surprising because I walked several miles every day. One of my favorite Japanese students was performing at Carnegie Hall and gave me 2 tickets. I took a friend and hopped on the Subway (Kyle, my hubby was in a Bible study). We began to cross the street and a large truck ran a red light and hit my friend and I knocking us down in the street.

Immediately a man grabbed my arms and helped me up. In pure NYC fashion he began yelling at the guy, “you could've killed someone. Get out of the car!” It spooked the man and he sped off. As you could imagine, I was stunned. My legs were banged up and bloody and my friend and I could just stand there in shock for a few minutes. 

 “Should I call an ambulance??”

“No, my hospital I’m delivering in is about 5 blocks away. Let’s just start walking and I’ll call Kyle on the walk.”

I walked up to the front desk, sobbing at this point. “A car hit me. I take Lamaze here. I’m scared.”

They put me in a wheelchair and whisked me upstairs. Kyle arrived shortly after and we watched the fetal monitor for 8 hours while no one could tell me if our daughter would be ok. “Please calm down ma’am. When your heart rate lowers we can give more answers.” I was 35 weeks pregnant and hysterical.

Every Scripture I had ever memorized flooded my mind. Fear was also flooding my heart. Both were equally strong. Often I would just lean my head back and ask Kyle just to pray for me. It was a terrifying and holy moment as I knew God was hearing every real thought and my inner monologue. They sent us home saying, “If you have abdominal cramping immediately come back. We can’t tell you anything definite about the baby.”

There are no words to describe that cab ride home.

My legs healed. After a week I could walk without severe pain. Less than three weeks later I gave birth to the most beautiful little girl ever.

My heart also healed. The fear and sorrow went away. I made the habit of praying for my kids daily when we started trying to get pregnant. Now with the reality of this being SO out of my control I began praying several times a day. I also just talked to the Lord. I know prayer is talking to the Lord, but hear me out!

As I was walking down the street I wouldn’t just inner monolog.

“I can’t believe that happened. Oh, a crosswalk. I can’t. What if someone runs a red light again? I am putting Uber on my phone. I need a bagel.”

Those thoughts TURNED INTO

“Lord, I know you were there with me. I can’t believe that happened. Oh, a crosswalk. I can’t. You’re here with me. I live here. You have to help me figure this out. I have to walk. Calm me. I breathe in peace and breathe out fear. Can you start putting on Kyle’s heart to find money in the budget for Uber? I am like 37 weeks pregnant.”

Jesus already knows my thoughts. I choose to invite him into the conversation in my head. So many times I view prayer has to happen in a quiet place free of distractions with my eyes closed. Simply changing, “I can’t believe that happened” to “Lord, I can’t believe that happened” changes a flippant thought to a moment I invite my God to walk with me. Prayer is crying out to God in the big things and also just acknowledging His presence continually in our hearts and minds- eyes open or closed, in a devotional time or in traffic. I want abiding in Christ to be as habitual, natural, and supernatural at the same time. I pray that this post inspires me to persevere in this and all of us to do the same. - Amy

We would rather talk about THERE{4}Gathering than Halloween!

There is a billboard that I go out of my way to pass several times a week. Seriously, I will drive 10 minutes out of my way to not pass by this gross zombie looking Halloween billboard. Plaid, pumpkins and fall -- YES! Zombies and tissue paper ghosts hanging in trees. -- YUCK!

So, I would rather talk about THERE{4}Gathering than Halloween!

My dear friend Sarah called me a few months ago and said, “You have to meet this lady, Tiffany!” Not too long after we were all lunch-ing and sharing stories. She was right. I am very glad I met Tiffany and I’m very happy to introduce her to you!

In 2012, Tiffany Daniels attended a national teen conference with her daughter, and the mutual experience had a significant impact on both of their lives. She left the conference committing to bring her daughter and friends back every year. However, she was disappointed to learn that the conference would be discontinued. For several years, Tiffany searched for something similar but found nothing. The Lord continued to press on her heart a yearning for this type of transformative encounter for teen girls. At IF:Gathering 2015, God made it clear to her that she needed to stop looking for other options and, instead, step out in faith to launch a teen conference herself. Through her step of faith, and the support of a great board, THERE{4} Teen Gathering was formed, became a nonprofit organization in 2015 and launched their first teen conference in February 2016.

At The Perch we want to not only teach, but we want to train others so that they can be confident and equipped for every good work. Teaching says, “You should make disciples.” Training says, “Here are some tools and practices for making disciples.” Teaching includes why and training includes how.

I shared with Tiffany that I would love to help train the adults who are at the conference in simple discipleship ideas and methods so that women (leaders and moms) are equipped to continue or begin discipling the girls after the event. We both want women of all ages to know how to water a seed in friendship and discipleship that is planted over the weekend. SO, I’m thrilled to share that I will be leading a breakout session at the THERE{4}Gathering! I hope you will join me as I’ll be leading a training time for women to learn how to mentor and disciple!!

They have early bird pricing through, today, October 31st. You can sign up here!

Sacred Holidays

Christmas is and always has been my favorite time of year. My Neenee’s famous line was, “When are we getting together again?” We would have been together from 8 am to 2 pm on Christmas Eve, she’d ask her question and we would go home to change clothes and go straight back over at 4 that day until we were almost falling asleep and went home.

Fast forward my life a few years. I am married and we share our holiday time between two families, friends, and we have two toddlers. Let’s just say, when you’re 19 and you wake up from a nap to watch White Christmas while gorging on homemade Christmas candy leisurely, it’s a little different than this season. (ha!) But, I’m committed to my faith and family and soul to make Christmas a time of renewal and joy and traditions like it was for me growing up, not just a hurried blur.

Enter our new friend Becky. Several years ago, she had enough of the holiday overwhelm and desperately wanted to connect with Christ during the holidays, not become more distant from Him. Holiday after holiday she found herself caught up in the chaos of the holidays, some parts were so wonderful and some, well, not so wonderful. After talking to lots of her friends, Becky realized she wasn't the only one that felt distracted or distant from God when celebrating His birth (Christmas/Advent) or His death and resurrection (Easter/Lent).

Sacred Holidays started in the fall of 2014 with a simple vision of equipping women with a Bible study to connect them to the heart of God during Advent (Christmas).

The purpose is still the same, just expanded:  

“We desire to connect the heart of women, men, teens, and families to the heart of God during peak seasons of their lives-- the holidays they celebrate. We offer Bible studies during Advent and Lent, and free resources all throughout the year on our blog and for our email subscribers.”

We want to introduce you to Becky and this resource, because as mentors, holidays are a time for extended reflection with our families and community. We CAN both live that AND model that for those we mentor. Also, Becca and I were given the lovely opportunity to write for their teen advent Bible study this year!

EVEN BETTER... Who wants a 10% OFF code? Because, we wrote for the Sacred Holiday's Advent (Christmas) study, He Is: The Attributes of God for Teen Girls (but remember they have options for women, families, and men too)! Go to sacredholidays.com/shop/ to check out the shop and use code THEPERCH to get 10% OFF your total order.

All of their studies this year focus on attributes of God, so this would be AMAZING for you to do with those you mentor and your entire family. We will be doing this study and posting what we are learning and would love for you to join us!! Use the hashtag #perchadvent Advent begins November 27th, so don’t delay in getting your copy of this fantastic resource! - Amy

Fall Fun with your Community

Can I tell you guys a secret? Fall is my favorite time of year. Don’t get me wrong, I find deep joy in each and every season, but there’s just something magical about fall!! A crisp chill in the air. Football. Flannels. Bonfires. Chai Lattes. Hayrides. Thanksgiving. ALLTHEPUMPKINTHINGS.

The fun thing is I don’t think I’m alone in this love for fall. Wondering how to make the most of Fall and the people the Lord has placed in your life? Look no further! Here are some ideas to help you not only enjoy all the fall things, but to do so in the context of community--

Fall Treats with a Twist

We know Christmas cookie swaps, but why not have a fall one?! Invite a small group of friends or people you’re discipling over to your house (or any willing host home). Task everyone with baking their favorite fall treat to bring to the party and bring it in an unidentifiable bag. Once there, have everyone place their treat in a centralized location. You can mix and mingle till everyone arrives (maybe sip on some hot apple cider simmering in a crockpot or homemade PSLs?). Then once everyone is there, let the cookie fun begin! Have everyone crowd around the treats and play a game to guess who brought which treat. This will help girls remember each other’s name and get to know each other a little better. Once you finish this, everyone can load up their plate with delicious fall treats to enjoy there and/or to save for later!

Bake to Bless

My mom worked at Southern Living cookbook/magazine for a few years. Since then she has used the passion and skills she gleaned there to bless people around her. Watching her bake pies and cakes and cookies and all the goodies for the sole purpose of giving them away to those in need used to frustrate me because I couldn’t enjoy them for myself. Now that I’m a little more mature (emphasis on the little), I see the great value and beauty in this.

This fall grab a group of ladies, bust out the aprons and mixers and pumpkin puree and whip up a loaf of chocolate chip pumpkin bread or apple pie or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies or whatever you find on Pinterest. Then pick someone to bless! This could be anyone from a neighbor or a friend you’ve been praying for opportunities to minister to, a widow from your church, someone that just had a baby…the opportunities are endless! As your baking together, take time to pray for the recipient. Then load up and take the baked goodies to the person!

Flannel Swap

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been to a scarf swap? **Raises both hands** Don’t get me wrong, I love a good scarf. But this fall, let’s mix things up! Flannel button ups are all the rage -You can layer them, tie them around your waist or just wear them plain buttoned up.

Get some ladies together and have everyone bring a general sized flannel, wrapped up and ready to swap. You can play this “Secret Santa” style where you draw numbers, unwrap and steal, or you can get creative in your method of swapping.

You could also assign each person coming a girl to buy a flannel for, giving her the girl’s size and favorite colors. Then each girl can buy a flannel for each other. Once you go to swap, girls can unwrap their present and then guess who bought for them. This can help girls practice generosity and thoughtfulness towards one another, helping to build community.

Pumpkin Crafternoon

If you’re anything like me, you don’t just love to eat allthepumpkinthings, but you also love to decorate with them! And if you’ve ever glimpsed at Pinterest during the fall, you’ve seen a zillon ideas for painting the cutest little pumpkins.

Invite your girls over, choose which design to paint, buy some cheap little pumpkins from the Dollar Story or Hobby Lobby and whatever other supplies needed and get your craft on! Check out this idea, this one, or this one! If you aren’t feeling the pumpkins, you can also create your own blanket scarves

Halloween Block Party

Halloween is one of those things you either love or you hate. But no matter what your feelings are about Halloween, it is a great time of year to get together with people!

Our church just started doing this thing during Halloween to help us live more missionally in our neighborhoods and I wanted to invite you to join in! Here’s how it works—since people are out and about on Halloween, trick-or-treating and what not, why not make the most of it and invite them to gather in one centralized location to get to know one another and build community?! That’s the heart of the Halloween Block Party!

So get together with your group of ladies and pick a home to host your block party. Think strategically and prayerfully. Once you’ve chosen a home and what day/time, make some invitations and give them out in your neighborhood. On the night of, set up some food, yard games, and prizes in the front yard and welcome all the neighbors that drop by! Pray for the Lord to make some new connections and begin some cool new relationships through this and step back and watch Him work!

These are just a few ideas that came to my mind that I wanted to share to help you build initial friendships and/or grow deeper with your community while also making the most of all the fun fall things! Feel free to mix and match any of these ideas or to recommend some of your own. I always love more ideas for how to enjoy every sweet moment of this glorious season! Happy Fall, y’all! - Mollie


Mollie Tyler is the Associate Student Minister at The Heights in Richardson, TX. She's been on staff since June 2014 and thanks God constantly for the opportunity to shepherd the flock of girls He has graciously entrusted to her! Some of Mollie’s favorite things are traveling, a good cup of coffee, baking, people, adventures, and seeing the Kingdom advance all around her.