#AnchoredinGod: The heart of Beth Graybill

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what God has called you to do? Growing up, I was the older sister, a farm girl, a former athlete (field hockey), a creative, a young bride (married at 21 – even though I said I would never get married that young!), a missionary and a college admissions counselor. Today I have the privilege of being on pastoral staff as a spiritual maturity minister, a mentor, a pastor’s wife, a boy mom (ages 12 and 14), a free-lance writer, a leadership development consultant, and a champion of those around me pursuing their dreams.

A few years ago, my dear friend and mentor—also an Anchored Press contributor—Jenni Catron encouraged me to write a personal mission statement. And it goes something like this: “To live wholeheartedly and encourage others to do the same.” Simple, right? But this is really what I believe God has called me to do, even though living this out looks different in different seasons.

Where do you live and have you lived anywhere else? I live in Southern California, but I grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania (Chocolatetown USA!), and then lived much of my adult life in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Our family roots are in PA but our hearts and our home are in Southern CA.

How do you carve out time with God everyday? I carve out time with God by staying open to experiencing God in consistent and various ways. Every morning I read over the verse of the day from my bible app, think about it and pray that verse over my day. Then I spend a few minutes praying for the people who come to mind. At some point during the day, I find a few quiet moments to read my Bible (currently in 2 Timothy). I also consider a walk outside, a cup of coffee with friends, supporting my family and intentional time with my co-workers as part of my time with God too.

What is your favorite Bible Verse? Share with us why you love it so much. Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

I love that last line, “you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” To me, this is what it means to live wholeheartedly as a follower of Jesus—to seek God with all of my heart.

Another favorite is Galatians 6:4-5 in The Message because it speaks to the idea of carefully exploring our identity in Christ, "Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."

What is your best organizational/planning tip? Share Calendars—with your spouse, roommates or family members: my husband and I work in a church environment that is ever-changing. “Fast, fluid and flexible” is the mantra. Because things are constantly changing at the last minute, it helps to share calendars on our phones so we can be mindful of each other’s schedule when making plans, without having to wait for evening dinner conversation. Another favorite is what I call “smart grocery shopping. “ Every week I buy a few healthy pre-made meals from Trader Joes or Costco. These meals may be slightly more expensive, but they save us a ton of time, energy and open-fridge-door moments when our plans change at the last minute.

What is your family’s favorite go-to easy meal? Soup & Salad bar: we will throw anything and everything on top of a good salad!

Tell us your favorite God story (in your own life)? One of my favorite God stories is the story I told in my devotional. It was 7 years ago, a very tender season in my life. My boys were in elementary school full days. I went back to grad school, then started working in the marketplace after being a full-time stay-at-home-mom. It was also a season of opening up to more self-awareness and spiritual growth. I explored different personality assessments—including the Enneagram, which was a big catalyst for personal growth. And I started studying and practicing spiritual disciplines. Of course, studying was the easy part; consistently practicing was more of a challenge.

What are your 3 favorite books, other than the Bible of course? Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton.

We are dying to know . . . some tips on making sure you are not missing God’s direction.

PAY ATTENTION—to what’s going on around you. Where is God at work in your life and in the life of others?

LISTEN—ask thoughtful questions and pause to listen before making judgements, decisions or conclusions.

READ—be consistent with reading your Bible (the book of life!); also, read books that challenge and sharpen your thoughts and perspective.

JOURNAL—write these things down; the things you’re seeing, hearing, sensing, learning, exploring, discovering. This can be hard for me, so I give myself the freedom to journal bullet-point-style when I’m short on time.

PRAY— Prayer loosens the grip of worry, doubt, fear, shame and anger in our lives. Prayer is often where God provides a sense of comfort, clarity and direction for our futures. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

October Wallpaper Download

Can you believe in just 3 short months we will begin journeying through a new planner? I can’t! This year flew by and now that our daughter started her first year of high school, I’m finding myself looking at everything in 3’s. As she experiences all of her firsts in high school, I’m focusing on the fact there are only 3 more Homecoming Dances, only 3 more high school volleyball seasons, only 3 more _________. :-( BUT, then Madelyn and I were on a mama/daughter date and I was telling her how I was feeling and she said, “you should be looking at it as ‘I still GET 3 more dances, 3 more seasons, and 3 more of everything!” Ahhhhhhhh. She was right! I thought of Colossians 3:14 when she said it, “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” I was not “clothing us in love”...I was stripping us of it by worrying away the moment. And then I moved on to verse 15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Today I am choosing the peace of Christ to rule in my heart and be thankful for 3 more of everything and cherish the season God has me in.

I pray this verse will be your daily reminder this month to clothe yourselves in love and set aside the things that are stripping you of the peace of Jesus! 

To download lock screen (on an iPhone), click the photo below, save image to your phone, open your photos, click on the photo and hit the arrow on the bottom left of your screen, hit "use as wallpaper." Make sure you pinch in the photo with two fingers so the formatting fits.

 

#anchoredinGod: The heart of Holly Rabalais

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what God has called you to do? I work as an IT security analyst and freelance writer, but my most treasured titles are wife, mama, and ayah (visit my blog to learn more about that!). My husband Mike and I have six children and two grandchildren (some by birth; some through circumstance; all from God), and are close to being empty-nesters. My calling, first and foremost, is to love God with all my soul, strength, and mind, and to love my neighbor. Through that, I believe I've been called to affect the lives of others in whatever I am doing in whatever season of life for God's glory. During this season, that looks like loving my family well, obediently honing my writing skills, and patiently watching God unfold what's next! As for my passion, I love learning about people and local communities and discovering the stories that emerge from both.

Where do you live and have you lived anywhere else? I’ve lived in Mississippi, southern Arkansas, and all over Louisiana. I married into a good Cajun-French family and now call South Louisiana “home.”

How do you carve out time with God everyday? I wake up around 4:45-5:00 a.m. to make sure I have that time. Without it, my day crashes and burns!

What is your favorite Bible Verse? Share with us why you love it so much. Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I love this verse because it is full of God’s promises! Not only does our magnificent Creator have a plan and purpose for our lives, He equips us for that plan and purpose with the strength of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us through our faith and trust in Christ.

What is your best organizational/planning tip (other than your Anchored Press Planner, of course)? I use Evernote as my digital filing cabinet--everything from the water bill to Bible study notes get scanned and filed there for easy retrieval later. For digital photos, I organize and store in Dropbox, using a folder for each year and folders for each event (example: In my “2017” folder, I might have “06 Ocoee River Trip” and “04 Noah’s graduation”).

What is your family’s favorite go-to easy meal (you can provide the recipe if you’d like)? Pierogies with Sausage, Sour Cream, and Sautéed Onions. Mrs. T’s Pierogies (found in the frozen section at the grocery store--we like the Classic Cheddar) boiled for 5-7 minutes. Place 3-4 in bowl and top with link sausage (sliced and sautéed), sautéed onion slices, and a couple of dollops of sour cream. YUM!

Tell us your favorite God story (in your own life)? I was 32, divorced with 2 young children, and in absolute despair at the seemingly impossible dream of sharing the rest of my life with a godly husband. Who would want me with all my baggage? And if I did meet someone who was interested in me, what kind of baggage would he have? Tears ran down my face as I cried out to God in one of my morning-commute-prayer-sessions, and I gave it to Him. “Lord, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life without a companion. Please send me someone who will serve you alongside me.”

I submitted to Him this desire and told Him I would trust Him to work it out. As I turned the corner near the end of my commute, I looked up at the overcast sky. It was as though someone had cut a small slit in a grey blanket and pulled it open so I could see a treasure hidden behind it. I saw a piece of a rainbow through that hole, and I knew that God was reminding me to lean into the promises He has given me in His Word.

Just a couple of months later I met Mike, the man I would later marry, who loves me and cherishes me in ways I had stopped believing in (Fairytale romances do exist!). More importantly, He loves God, and we worship and serve Him together. Through our marriage, this boy-mom also gained the daughters I never had. God answered my prayer with more than I could have ever dreamed!

What are your 3 favorite books?

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods kick-started my love for reading. The entire series is a must-read!
  • Jane Eyre is a classic I revisit every couple of years.
  • I began reading My Utmost for His Highest daily at the suggestion of a friend. My faith has matured because it has made me dig into God’s Word and to think about passages in ways I never did before.

We are dying to know  . . . what do you use as a daily reminder to pause and ponder before you act? I think the most important thing I do each morning is spend time in my Bible, learning more about who God is and how He wants to grow me and use me. Being more patient, kind, gentle, and encouraging to others is something that flows out more when I am nurturing my head and heart knowledge of all that God has done for me. And for those times when I really want to speak before I think, I ask God to place His “Divine Duct Tape” over my mouth! ;)