Press On

Press on my son
The journey is long
Stand firm in your faith
You need it to stay strong
There are days you will feel lost
There are days you will feel incomplete
There are days you will feel alone
There are days you will feel empty
Press on my son
Do not accept defeat
Press on my son
Those feelings are only brief
They’re merely sent to distract you
From what’s going on underneath
You see my son, you are being made new
Just be still
Allow God to chisel you
You’ve grown so much already
But there is still much more to go
Press on my son
Even if you walk alone
Although you may not see anyone around
It’s in those moments God’s presence abounds
So lift your hands
Lay it all at His feet
Silence the world so that you can hear Him speak
Soon you will sing songs of praise
Thanking God for His love and His grace
Press on my son
There is still much more to go
But do not fear
He will never leave you alone




The Late Hours

It’s 2am. I can hear the pitter-patter of little feet gradually getting louder. A small shadow appears in the door way and a voice whispers, “Can I sleep in your bed?” It’s my son. My four-year-old son.
“What’s wrong baby?”
“I’m scared.”
I cannot count the amount of times this has happened. Sometimes even seven days a week. My son wakes in fear and rushes to Mommy and Daddy seeking comfort, wanting us to shield him and protect him. From what, I honestly don’t know. He only ever says, “I’m scared.” He lays beside us and we hold him close until he’s sound asleep again.

Just like my four-year-old, fear finds me in the late hours of the night too. In the silence, I am forced to face all the things I’ve suppressed throughout the day. Each one suddenly exposed. Are we safe? Are we secure? Did we remember to lock the door? Are all the windows shut? Are my son’s okay? Are their peaceful dreams being invaded? The what if’s and the maybe’s. All the sick, twisted thoughts we refuse to say out loud, those are the thoughts that cross my mind. The thoughts that grip me. The thoughts that keep me up. The thoughts that overwhelm me.

If I’m being honest, there are nights that I try to push pass the fears on my own; nights that I try to combat them with my own strength. But the truth is, alone, I am weak. I have to tap into the power of Jesus Christ within me. I have to lay it all down and believe that God is standing guard over my family.

Just like my son, who knew the ones he could go to, I need to know the One I can go to.

“God will cover you and protect you, under His wings you will find refuge, His faithfulness is a shield and wall. You will not be afraid of the terror of the night…nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness.” – Psalm 91:4-7

Yes, it is our job to care for our children but it also our job to surrender the situations we cannot control to the One that is in control.

When fears threaten to flood your mind during the late hours of the night, remember that God is never too far from you. Seek Him and He will shelter you.



Pursue Your Passion


Last night my sister in law and I spent hours talking about our love for writing and sharing our aspirations. One of the things I mentioned was finally setting aside my fear and diving into my dream of writing a book. Writing a book has been on my heart since middle school yet I’ve created countless excuses not to do it. After our conversation I was moved to pray. I asked God to push me to pursue this dream if it was part of His plan for me and ironically I stumbled across these journals today. I was walking down the baby aisle of Target in search of formula and there they were right beside it. Misplaced but exactly where they needed to be. I laughed.

What’s preventing you from pursuing your passion? If I’m being honest with myself, the biggest block between where I am and where I want to be is me. I’ve struggled with anxiety and have allowed doubt to keep me from chasing my dreams. But not anymore. I’m taking a stand. Fear has no place in my life and it should have no place in yours. Today, right now, is the time to start ‘that thing’ that has been on your heart.

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”




Too often we allow the things of the world to consume our minds rather than staying Christ centered then wonder why we feel weak when troubling times come. I find this to be particularly true when it comes to marriage. Marriage is beautiful but it is can also be strenuous. How do we handle these strenuous situations when they come? My husband and I have tried countless things in attempt to change those tough circumstances but nothing has impacted our marriage more than prayer.

This journal is an ideal tool for marriages. It provides a great guide to know how to pray and encourage your spouse throughout the week. It is separated into four sections…
1. How can I pray for you this week
2. What can I do to help or encourage you this week?
3. What do you need from me this week?
4. Love notes…
Each of these sections are designed for you to dive into the deepest, most intimate parts of your spouse and cover those areas with prayer. Pursue prayer together.

“Two are better than one because they have a more satisfying return for their labor; for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and does not have another to lift him up. Again, if two lie down together, then they keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? And though one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Click here to purchase your own Together Journal.
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It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Marie

It’s the holiday season and very close to the end of the year! Probably one of the most hectic but exciting times of the whole year…We’re gearing up to be with family and celebrate the holidays together, along with tying up whatever loose ends we need to take care of before the year ends. With all the excitement, there’s a sense of scrambling or crunch time to get things done. Haven’t we scrambled enough throughout the year?? Let this be a time of joy, love and reflection.

Take this time to look back and jot down notes of what has worked, what hasn’t, what goals were met, and which ones weren’t and why? Taking a stroll down memory lane can take you from living in the now/present and help you remember some of your happiest moments throughout this year and who or what were apart of those moments… Often times we are so caught up in our present that we forget all we have to celebrate and be thankful for.Sure, there are times of hardship and disappointment in any year, but getting through it is something to be celebrated! Be thankful for the good and the bad, they both have brought happiness and growth. This may be “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and the outlook on your year will reflect if you will be in a bu-humbug spirit or a cheerful one.

I choose to be in a cheerful spirit and take on an attitude of gratitude. I appreciate those that have remained close to me, my wonderful little family, a good job, a home, new opportunities to look forward to, and most of all I serve a God who loves me to no end! There is something great about knowing that you are loved, given a limitless amount of grace, knowing he will catch me when I fall, and he is faithful even when I am not. One BIG, BOLD & CLEAR thing about this time of year, is that I have made it through this entire year and He is still by my side, despite all the faults and failures there have been and for that I am grateful!

I encourage you to truly approach life with an attitude of gratitude and discover what “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” means to you…

Freckled Marie
Read more of Marie’s wonderful words here.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Erika

Lights shimmer on the tree, the warmth of hot chocolate swirls in decorative mugs, the fireplace flickers, presents are stacked perfectly around the tree, family and friends buzzing in and out of the house – this is how I know it’s Christmas time.

There is a soft magical aura that surrounds this time of year, it’s captivating and exciting. But, as I get older I realize that the shiny glint of Christmas is really the Light of this world: Jesus. While so many people, still, debate and determine, when Jesus was born, I am thankful Christmas is still a season that causes people to remember Him, the Son of God, who was born in a manager. I am, so thankful, and continuously in awe of God’s goodness towards us as human beings. This child was God’s gift to us and although we had no idea we needed this precious gift, God still gave it to us.

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
-Matthew 1:23-

God with us. I’m overcome with emotion as I think about what extraordinary lengths God went to to ensure we were able to know what life can become when He is with us.

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
-Isaiah 9:6-

This truth is what makes this season most wonderful. Jesus is the extra light shining in our hearts as we busy ourselves around the kitchen to ensure our family members, community members, and church members have their fill. Jesus is our peace in the midst of what can be a chaotic season of “to do lists”. Jesus if the child every woman can cradle close to her heart. Jesus is our counselor when we silently deliberate on what should be done next to honor the Father through our families.

My sisters and friends, Jesus truly is the reason for the season! What joy this should bring us all! I have had a lot of frustrations this year, a lot of setbacks too. But, they are minuscule in the face of my shining Savior. I think about Jesus every single day, but this season, is the most wonderful time to share my thoughts with others. For a short while, the world is a little more receptive to giving and loving and I believe this is the most wonderful time to express my testimony to others. Will you join me? Since God went through dramatic lengths to love us, we certainly can go to obey whatever opportunity He puts in front us to share His love, peace, and redemption with others.

Yes, there is magic in Christmas and I believe every one of us can sprinkle some of it wherever we go to remind people that God is still with us. He has not left us. The mark of His love is on and within each of us. There are wonderful times behind us, there are wonderful times ahead of us, but Jesus is creating wonderful moments right now!

God bless you all!
Erika Kimberly Stanley
Founder of To Be Praised Ministries

Read more of Erika’s wonderful words here.


Sometimes I feel lost
Sometimes I feel alone
Sometimes I feel empty
Sometimes I want to run away from home
Sometimes I yell
Sometimes I scream
Sometimes I curse
Sometimes I’m just mean
Sometimes I’m unhappy
Sometimes I lose all hope
Mommy has been thrown some curve balls
Most I pray you’ll never know
Sometimes I’m overwhelmed
Sometimes I’m confused
Sometimes I cry because I just don’t know what else to do
Sometimes I forget
Sometimes I fail
Sometimes I feel defeated
But He reminds me I will prevail
There will be many ‘sometimes’ throughout this game called life
But for you, I would go through it all twice
I wish I could be perfect, especially for you
But I hope one day you’ll understand there’s nothing I wouldn’t do
It’s not always easy
But I will always fight
I’ll mess up time and time again
But I promise it will be alright
For now just take my hand
Walk with me just like God has planned
I still have much to learn, that I can admit
But I must be good enough because He saw me fit
So walk with me, there’s still a long way to go
By your side I will stay
Until the day God calls me home