Hello, friends! I know it can be challenging to connect through pixels on a screen, but I am a real person typing this and you are a real person reading this : ) So, I’m asking you a question: How are you?

When someone asks that question — and wants to know the real answer, we have a choice. We can either brush it off as casual chit chat and say, “I’m fine,” or take a leap of faith and make an intentional connection. And here’s the key: when I answer someone honestly and tenderly, it gives the other person unspoken permission to do the same. It’s a gift of time and intentional connection. So, let’s do this. Where is your heart? What’s weighting on you today? Leave a response here. I’d love to pray for you and I hope others will join me in prayer and encouragement as well! Why am I asking? Because, in order to leap to what’s next, we first need to know where we are. Know the ground you are leaping from in order to know how to move forward well!

2015-04-05_0003These photos Gina took last weekend make my heart soar!

Okay, I’m a few days late writing this goal update, but progress, not perfection. I have found such freedom in that truth this past month! I hope you have too. If not, begin now. Let go of the guilt and the chase for perfect. Hold fast to the truth and to grace. There is so much joy and peace in knowing we are not in control, but God is. His plans are far better than mine!

My March goals went well through a lot of hard work and God making things happen where I couldn’t (which was pretty much everything on my list). Here is my March update and what’s ahead for April!

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What’s new: Contractions and a basketball under my shirt! Mini baby update: Braxton Hicks (happening as I type this) are revving up and I’m waddling into through the sixth month of pregnancy. I’ve found myself tired and lightheaded a lot, so I’ve been eating beef and spinach at almost every meal. We still have no names picked out, but we finally finished our Amazon registry. This little guy may not have a name, but he will have diapers : )  Other new things: We launched the Southern Wedding Project Life this month, Make It Happen Studio Calico card set, completed our eight-week Dynamic Marriage class (more on that in a minute), celebrated 9 years of marriage, had an inspiring afternoon hosting Lysa TerKeurst and team at my house, and God was so good in lots of events and Bible studies this month including the Making Things Happen Conference, Ladies Bible Bunch, IF Table, our Tuesday study group, and in our church family group that we have been leading for the last eight months. It was a March madness, indeed!

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What’s ahead: Writing a book. That’s the big one — putting up my do not disturb sign and sticking to it. I need your help there too friends. I would cherish your prayers as I say no in order to say YES. Also, PowerSheets and Southern Weddings Planners arrive today (praise the Lord — we had a shipping delay that tried to throw my patience out the window, but God reined me back in!), our second annual team retreat starts this Sunday night, we’re celebrating our birthday, my mom is coming to visit for five days next week to help plant our garden, we will move into our new office space this month, and we are hosting a big Passover Seder tonight with 40 friends.

IMG_6453Same shirt and place as last month; bigger belly : ) 

March PowerSheets Goals updates:

Every time I sit and make time to work through my PowerSheets, I am so grateful I did! I said the same thing last month because it always holds true. The hard work is worth it. A peek at my progress:

  • Begin writing a powerful God-glorifying book two. This didn’t happen, but I now feel more ready. I struggled a lot on March with comparison in writing and not feeling good enough. I also had and still have a lot going on that pulls for my attention around here, making it challenging to write. But! I am ready and can’t wait to dig in now.
  • Host a meaningful MTH Conference. YES! Triple yes! This was the most peace-filled, joyful MTH experience for me — my 45th time leading this workshop. It was just awesome. If you’ve been considering joining us, take the leap and come this November. Early-Bird registration is now open!
  • Finish reading The Best Yes. No. But, I still count this as a win. What I did read was life-changing! Also, getting to spend time with Lysa and team in March was one of the biggest highlights.
  • Diligently complete our Dynamic Marriage class. Yahoo!!! God is so good! This course changed our lives as individuals and the way we do life together! We are actively working on living out what we learned. It was so good. I highly recommend this course.
  • Prayerfully lean my schedule to commit wholeheartedly to writing book two. Yes, this is a daily battle to say “no,” but I’ve made great progress here in pulling back. If I don’t answer your texts or emails for about 12 weeks, this is why! It’s so hard to say no — especially to good things — but what I learned from Lysa’s book is that you have to say a BEST yes. For me, the best yes right now is writing this book!
  • Begin final adoption paperwork. Wow, this goal review now has me wanting to dance. We have officially completed every bit of adoption paperwork and it was a lot of work. Long hours. Lots of prayer. Seemingly endless paperwork. But, knowing the “why” behind all of it made it a joy. Our next step is to submit it all to our adoption consultant and pray about the timing God desires. Whatever He says, we’ll do!
  • Complete and prayerfully move into new office space. As I type this, the finishing touches are happening. I think I’ll be able to move in sometime late tomorrow or Thursday and I CAN’T WAIT. I’ve spent the last six weeks working from Grace’s room, the dining room table, the kitchen counter — wherever I could find space. I am so grateful for how hard our worker bees have worked. More updates and pics coming soon!
  • Celebrate eight years of marriage well. I’ll give a half-yes on this one. We did have a date night for our anniversary. And hilariously enough realized we’ve been married for nine years, not eight, thanks to filling out our adoption paperwork! But, that week we had overcommitted our schedules and felt weary. This was a wake-up call month for us in learning to say no to even time with friends so we can say yes to more rest and family time.
  • Write our plans for all future Bible studies and classes I’m teaching in the next weeks. Didn’t happen as planned, but I did pray for all of them more and each class/study has gone so well, by His grace and not by my own might!
  • GIVE – meet + pray for needs. Yes. I pray to continue this forever, but I am grateful to have been more prayerful in March.
  • Fitness and weights. I started doing weights again every other day. It was hard to stick to, but it happened. I put this on pause last week with MTH making my schedule a little wonky. So, hold me accountable here friends — I plan to get back on it tomorrow morning.

IMG_6454   I took this on my morning walk with Gracie today — the dogwoods are glorious right now!

My April PowerSheets Goals: 

Monthly goals:

  • Write the book. This is my main focus for April, May, and June. If I don’t reply to your emails or texts, it’s because I have to pour into these pages in order to make time for these babies that are coming into our lives soon. I don’t want to have the book still on my list when babies come!
  • Lead a truth-filled April Bible Bunch. Update: done! Last night was awesome.
  • Enjoy a joyful team retreat
  • Be a joyful light to my mom when she visits
  • Plant our veggie + flower gardens. Seeds and bulbs are here, we just need some fresh soil and to get to digging! You can follow the garden progress here.
  • Move into my new office with a “Heaven is my Home” focus — i.e. not focusing on stuff, but rather on doing God’s work in this new space and shepherding this space well.
  • Prepare well for our family vacation next month
  • Host and worship during a meaningful Passover
  • Cultivate fields of gratitude — praise Him!

IMG_6455This is where my PowerSheets have lived the last couple months and it has been working for me — in my closet! I also put a few sheets of scripture that I’m working on memorizing (James and Romans) and a verse that gets my heart prepared for the day.

Weekly/daily goals:

  • Prayerful marriage tending, using all we learned in Dynamic Marriage
  • Sing hymns to Grace/meaningful morning walks
  • Send Encouragement Postcards
  • Heaven is our Home actions — finances (we’re working to cut our family budget in half to save for our adoption) + choices (where we choose to use our resources of time and money and heart)
  • Prayer for team, contentment, friends, and others in their faith and marriages
  • Read some of The Best Yes myself and Shepherding a Child’s Heart with Ari
  • Fitness + weights
  • Rest – sleep and soul rest
  • Get outside — yay for great weather this month!
  • And the big one: Love God’s word.

Fresh links:

  • I shared the story of our marriage crumbling and God doing “the impossible” on the Unveiled Wife
  • Step inside my office and life in Cupcake Magazine’s spring issue
  • There are more, but I’m going with done is better than perfect here! I need to go eat lunch number three : )

Lastly, some encouragement: Where you can’t, God can. I’m holding onto that truth this month!

33 Show Comments
  1. Jessica Horton

    I’m struggling and many times, not “fine”. Please pray as we face uncertainty, and emotional days ahead. We hope to rejoice with the birth of a child late this year, or early next. We are desperately, and faithfully trying to navigate the path the Lord has for us…. but isn’t that always easy said then done? I will pray for focus, peace and patience for all of us. Happy Tuesday, Lara. I hope you know what a gift you are to so many.

  2. Erica D. Hearns

    I am overwhelmed! I’m working on my own book 2, which has been marked by lots of doubt and discouragement. I’m weighing vending and speaking opportunities related to book one and helping plan a conference focused on purity with a local minister. It all feels a little too big for me, but somehow things keep chugging along.

    I’ll be praying for you on saying no so you can say your best yes to book two, and all of your other goals for the month!

  3. candice

    Today I am feeling anxious. We have been struggling with fertility issues for the past year and a half (2 miscarriages in 6 months). Feeling a bit weighed down and heavy about it all. I know God is in this and He has a plan, some days its just harder to see it than others. But there is grace and He meets me where I am. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability, Lara. you are an inspiration to me 🙂

  4. Ashley W.

    I love your intro about asking “How are you?” and making a real connection with someone. Sometimes when people fleetingly ask and I answer then ask back, but how are YOU really? They kind of look at me funny 🙂 But you’re right, that connection you can make when people know you are is awesome!
    I’m struggling so hard about making a very huge decision about a relationship. One that will either end it or push it very far into the marriage realm. My heart is so torn about choosing me verses being so far away from family for the rest of my life. I wish I had more peace and less fear about either direction.
    The second is the fear of really pouring myself into my blog. I love my idea, I’ve had it foreverrrrr, and I think it’s super fun. But I find a million excuses not to take the time to plan and make it better. 🙁

  5. Mandy M.

    Thank you, Lara, for your encouraging words. I, too, am guilty of asking “how are you” without really caring to hear the truth. I’m working to be more intentional about that. I’d love your prayers for our 16 month old daughter. She is developmentally delayed for reasons still unknown. We get back some major test results later this month and I’d love to hear good news. Will you please pray for healing for her little body and my broken heart? You & your sweet babies are in my prayers! Blessings to you & yours.

  6. Jumi

    Thanks for sharing and asking. I am getting stressed with work especially with a certain coworker and the oil & gas prices and all the layoffs are not helping. In addition to this we are thinking more about having kids so that is a whole lot of stress.

  7. Kayleen Winslow

    These last few weeks have been filled anxiousness and lots and lots of prayers for guidance. My husband was presented a job opportunity that would be stable, allow him to enjoy going to work, and allow me to stay home with our daughter, but we want to prayerfully make that decision and not just jump at all of the happy possibilities. Also, I keep hesitating and holding back on starting my blog. I have so many hopes and dreams of letting God use my and my writing to impact women, but the fear of failure and being under a virtual microscope keep holding me back. I think it’s time to finally take the leap! Thank you for your openness and honesty here. I will be praying for you as well!

  8. anonymous

    Thanks so much for posting this question, Lara! Today I find myself in a battle of worry and anxiety. Tomorrow I have an appointment with my doctor regarding some abdominal/back pain I’ve been having. My mother had ovarian cancer twice several years ago, and even though I’m much younger than she was when diagnosed, that fear still echoes in my mind. I’m praying that peace will abound over these next couple of days and that my mind and heart will be able to rest in the faithfulness of Christ.

  9. Rachel Nordgren

    Always thankful for your encouragement and honesty, friend! Cheering you on as you buckled down for book #2!

    March wasn’t so hot for me, but I am walking forward in grace and boldness in April. I’m terrified/excited about a big project that I am launching tomorrow, and simply pray that it would bless the LORD and the people He puts in my path!

    • bobbie

      Rachel: Praying with you that God uses you to bless people in your path and that your eyes and ears are open to needs around you and Jesus grants you extra energy for your project.

  10. Ashlee Geheb

    Lara I LOVE you & your goal posts, and just everything you write! <3

    I could really use prayers for business decisions to be made. I feel like my mind & heart are all over the place these days, and the beginning of the year has flown by in the most unintentional of ways and it makes me teary!

    Praying for you Lara!

  11. Catie Ronquillo Wood

    I think this is the first time I’ve brought this up anywhere “public” but we are in a difficult season of infertility. We fight each day to lean on God and His promises and His timing, but some days it’s just so hard, you know? Especially when it seems as if everyone you know has a bun in the oven 😉 I’m praying for peace and guidance and whatever next step God wants us to take. For other ladies who may be in the trenches of infertility, there’s a great devotional on the Bible App called “Sarah’s Laughter” and then if you go to the Sarah’s Laughter site, you can sign up for daily encouraging emails. That has been so helpful on days when I just want to ask God, “Why us?” And I didn’t really know until I went through the devotional that there are many stories of infertility where God made the impossible possible. Thank you for sharing about your month, sweet friend!

    • Jennifer Davis

      Yes, I do know! Thank you so much for sharing about the devotional. I’ve signed up!

    • Candice

      Thank you for that resource, I’m going to check it out! I totally understand what you are going through, I’ve been there before (have a two year old) and am currently going through it again. Praying for you and for God to meet you in it all, He is faithful! 🙂

    • Jessica Horton

      Thank you for sharing!! I’m in the same boat (and everyone around me seems to be with bun… or just had one). We are almost 2 years in, and struggling to keep my chin up.

  12. Joy

    I am a graduating college student confronted with many uncertainties concerning my future. Up until now, i thought i had done everything right, but as right as it all seemed I am still unsure about so much. I am in a place of lots of fear, anxiety, and confusion. I really just want to know. The uncertainty and waiting has been so difficult. I am just anxious to see the finished product of what I know God has planned for me.

    • bobbie

      Joy: (such a beautiful name!!): I said a prayer for you as I know that place of fear and anxiety you are speaking of. I pray that God turns it all into excitement and anticipation and you enjoy this spot of possibility that you are in now as well as allow God to fully prepare you while you are in this spot for what he has for you next!

  13. Abby

    How am I right now? That could be answered a million different ways. Crazy excited that I am finally going to China in 18 days after a year of setbacks. Overwhelmed that I’m finally going to China in 18 days and have so many things to do before then. Grateful for all the people who are supporting me and slightly terrified that it might not be enough because of unexpected visa trips every 90 days. Feeling inadequate to be THE special education teacher at the foster home I will be serving at when I haven’t used these skills daily in several years. But mostly, oh so thankful that HE is so faithful and has been walking me through this whole journey and that HE will continue to prove faithful in ALL of it!

    • bobbie

      Abby! How exciting! Praying God uses you specially in China and that you have no nerves, only sweet excitement!

  14. Jennifer Davis

    Lara, thank you so much for your ministry to us all.

    I would welcome prayers. I’m in the middle of my first IVF cycle. (5 IUI’s to conceive my son who is now 2.5, then a chemical pregnancy and 4 failed IUI’s trying for #2). I have felt strangely at peace up until today. Now some less than ideal lab results are threatening my calm.
    I remind myself daily that His plan is always better than mine, but I grow weary sometimes. I had thought it would be easier the second time around, but it is still so hard.

  15. Kelly

    Oh how am I, lets be honest and say these last three weeks we have left of school are going to be rocky. But so encouraged that I can’t, which means God can. He’s going to do BIG things and I can’t wait to see them unfold. Year one of graduate school is coming to a close and I can’t do anything but sing His praises for getting me this far! Cheering you on too my friend! You CAN do this and are surrounded by cheerleaders. 🙂

  16. Emily Enockson

    Where you can’t , God can. Oh Lara that is exactly what my heart and mind needed to hear! I’ve been wrapped up in my own strength and power to much lately which leads to a slippery slope of negative thoughts, doubt and being overwhelmed! Thank you for the reminder that it’s not failure on my part but opportunity for Gods abundant grave. Love love love you!!!

  17. Katie

    This post was SO what I needed to read! Thanks for being such an amazing cheerleader, and for encouraging women everywhere to make big goals and dream big dreams! I’m not sure where I found your blog, but I’m loving it so far!

    I’m doing pretty good… can identify with you on the Braxton Hicks, Baby #2 should be here in about 2 months, so time is running out to prepare. Which is difficult, because we’re in the midst of a HUGE remodel of our new home, and aren’t sure if we’re going to be moving into it right around the due date, or just wait until after Baby arrives.

    Thanks for asking!

  18. Katie @ A Place to Dwell

    Oh, Lara, I always appreciate your posts so much. You are a joy, an inspiration, and a comfort, always! 🙂

    I am tenderhearted right now, as I just lost my sweet grandma and lifelong friend. (She would have been 91 in a few weeks.) There is such comfort, though, knowing she is dancing and celebrating with Jesus and that she lived a full and faithful life for Him. When she passed, I remembered all you shared about your own Grandma Bunny and took comfort in many of the things you shared about her and celebrating her life and faith.

    At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do Powersheets for April, but I know that my Grandma Dorothy (whose nickname was Dottie) would have wanted me to continue to live fully for Jesus, making the most of every single day. She had such a joyful, thankful, praising heart, and I want to live that way, too. Recently, she was also saying how important it was to have sincere love. I think that thought will be the heart of my goals going forward for sure.

    Praying for you, as you write your next book and prepare for your sweet babies! 🙂

  19. Emily

    Today I’m feeling heartbroken — it’s now been a week since we had to put our sweet 14-year-old yellow lab Daisy down 🙁 She was in a lot of pain, but went very peacefully. Prayers would be wonderful <3

    • Bobbie

      Emily: I am sorry to hear about Daisy and said a prayer for your comfort and healing. I am about to have to do the same with a 14 year old dog, Butch. It is so difficult. I pray the memories of your dog and the fact that you took such good care of her and gave her such a good life will comfort you as well

    • Rachel Nordgren

      Oh Emily, my heart just breaks into bits for you. I have a beloved dog myself and I absolutely dread the day that we have to put him down. Dogs are such a sweet, sweet part of our family! Sending a big ol’ hug through the internet for you right now!

  20. Bobbie

    I was a happily married woman who sincerely loved my husband and my home until my husband had an affair, refused counseling and we divorced. Its been a year and a half. He seems to move on completely (living with other woman) and I am struggling, and find it. still so painful. I didn’t want to divorce. I am requesting prayers. Thank you ladies.

  21. Emily D.

    I just finished The Best Yes. Such a great book, full of encouragement!

  22. Liz

    I am so excited to start with my book and powersheets! I just got them in the mail – a day early too. This week has been so hard as I prepare my high school kids (I’m a teacher) to put on our spring production so your package couldn’t have come at a better time. I can’t wait to get started.

    In other news, where did you get your binder that you house your powersheets in??

    • Lara

      This is an Emily Ley Homebase binder (sold out) but try Target or Staples — they have great options too!

  23. Ashley Landry

    Thank you for reaching out so much and showing concern for others! I ask for prayers with figuring out my career. I’m at a place of trying to determine what type of life I want to lead.

    By the way,”Where you can’t, God can” – exactly what I needed to read this weekend. Good luck in the month of April!

  24. Michele

    What amazing tools!