celebrating the release of “then came Jesus” with giveaways!

I’m totally excited to share this giveaway with y’all today! DaySpring outdid themselves with this super generous donation.


then came Jesus giveaways


Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn…

FOUR of you will win

one of these beautiful lanterns from DaySpring’s Christmas line:


dayspring lanterns


All you have to do to enter the giveaway is tell some people about my new Advent study. You could share this post on Facebook or Twitter. You could email this post to 100 or 1000 of your closest friends. You could knock on all your neighbors’ doors and sing them a “then came Jesus” song that you have personally composed. Just please promise to film it and send it to me if you choose that route. Please.

Whatever your sharing avenue of choice, all you have to do to enter the giveaway is GO AND TELL, then LEAVE A COMMENT below telling me two things: how you shared and which lantern you would choose if you won .

And if you haven’t heard of or purchased your own copy of then came Jesus, then you can CLICK HERE to read all about it. I’d love to walk with you this coming Advent season, our eyes locked on Jesus. He’s so very good.

then came Jesus paperback


Deadline for entry: Thursday, November 27th. Winners will be announced on Friday, November 28, 2014.

what’s stealing from you?

I ask God on a daily basis to reveal stuff that’s hanging around in my heart. Stuff that’s ultimately stealing life from me. Because I’ve learned something about myself over the years: my heart is whack. It meditates on stuff and creates scenarios and lingers on fears that steal the life Christ died to give me. And it needs constant Divine supervision and intervention.

I don’t always listen to what God tells me after I’ve asked that question. Sometimes He reveals stuff that I just really don’t want to address at the moment, thank you very much. And in those instances I do something really mature like close my spiritual ears with my spiritual fingers and internally shout, “la-la-la-la-la-la.” And it always turns out stupid.

But other times, by His grace, I don’t resist. I listen and agree with Him. I confess my hardened, proud heart. I usually cry, because I’m a cry baby. And when I actually humble myself, sweet healing and greater soul freedom always follows.

Like the other day.


what is stealing life from you


I’ve talked about my struggles with homeschooling. blah blah blah But one thing about this homeschooling gig is it comes with LOTS of time with my kids. Lots of time. And I love them. Deeply. Dearly. Ferociously. And I know that the time flies. And I know it’s a gift. And I’m not wishing it away.

But I’ve noticed that as these pockets of time remain long and longer, my heart can get a little calloused towards my (wild, sweet, energetic) kids. I can fall into “drill sergeant” mode and miss the soul behind their mistakes…and their successes.

So the other day I asked God to reveal what was going on in my heart. Because a lack of joy or the feeling of hopelessness always and forever reveals something more than circumstance. It reveals something taking up residence in my heart other than my God and His perspective. And He tenderly showed me some…junk.

He showed me some expectations that weren’t from Him. He revealed some inconsistencies that weren’t from Him. He reminded me of His sovereign hand over and around and in my parenting. But the biggest thing He whispered had to do with my thought life towards my kids — some irritable thoughts that were lying deep beneath the surface, coloring my facial expressions and tone and attitude.

And He showed me by giving me a fresh vision of His love towards me. Not by smashing me with a hammer.

I was reading and talking to Him and thanking Him for His promises in Isaiah 43. But when I got to verse 4, I couldn’t go any further because He says, “You are precious in my eyes, honored, and I love you.” The tenderness put a big lump in my throat for a minute. He has tender love for me. And for you. And for my kids.

Motherhood is hard. And kids rarely listen to our instructions the first bazillion times we say them. But I desperately want to remain tender in my love. Not calloused. So I did the only thing I know to do — the thing that initiates His healing. I confessed the hardened places and asked Him to restore. And when my kids woke up that morning I bombarded them with life words, “You are precious in my eyes, honored, and I love you!”


“You are precious in my eyes, honored, and I love you.”
Isaiah 43:4


Healing from heart “issues” takes time. It takes a wrestling of our thoughts. It takes the Spirit of God empowering us from moment to moment. But God is in the business of transforming us from glory to glory so that we will experience the life Jesus died to give us. Yes, we’ll still fail. Alot. We’ll keep entertaining fears and meditating on lies. But the beautiful grace of God keeps beckoning us back into His presence. And in His presence is freedom.

Fill me, Lord…

From what has He freed your heart in recent days?
Or what are you wrestling against these days?


Oh and psst…I get to tell you about a pretty exciting giveaway Monday in celebration of the Advent study I just released. Stay tuned!


“then came Jesus” Advent study is now available!

It’s officially release day for my newest Bible study, then came Jesus. And I’m so excited! Below is a short video to say “hello” and to tell you a little of my heart behind the writing of this study.

(And FYI, for some odd reason I felt it necessary to tell you about “pine smelling wax melts” at 0:38 — which, for the record, sufficiently serve my need for the smell of Christmas until we get our tree — but it’s nearly impossible to understand what I said, so … consider yourself informed.)


more details about the study


“It’s that time of year when we as Christians celebrate the coming of Jesus. But good grief. Does anyone else feel like you just put away last year’s Christmas decoration-paraphernalia? Well…there’s no time to belabor how old we’re getting and how quickly time flies. The season is here. And I know the pull. I know the beat ever-pulsing from culture chanting for us to buy and get…and forget Jesus. Yet this time of year can be so precious to our faith if we purposefully practice remembering.”

“This 4-week study guide is one thing we can do, alone or with our family, to purposefully remember Jesus. It’s a few minutes set-aside each day to reflect on Him. A time to press deeper into our God so that when December 25th rolls around we won’t regret; we’ll rejoice. Because we’ve walked into the season hand-in-hand with Jesus.” (excerpts from the introduction of “then came Jesus”)


then came Jesus paperback



  • 4-week Bible study
  • Each week organized into a 5-day study plan
  • Each week includes suggested Scripture memory passages
  • Each day includes an optional “Family Idea,” ideal for leading your family in the Advent season
  • Electronic PDF comes with a free printable companion journal


Available Formats:

  • PAPERBACK workbook (for those who like to turn physical pages and write in physical books like me) — CLICK HERE to order a PAPERBACK copy. *** If the predicted shipping day of your paperback order is after Dec. 1st, I’d be happy to email you the PDF to use while you wait. Just email me your receipt.

  • KINDLE version — *For all interested Kindle users, please email me at LaraGWilliams(at)gmail(dot)com after your purchase to receive a free printable companion journal.

  • Electronic PDF which comes with a free printable companion journal — CLICK BELOW to purchase an electronic copy.


then came Jesus
ELECTRONIC VERSION :: This 4-week Bible study leads the reader on a journey with Jesus. Each week contains 5 study days, a suggested text for Scripture memory, and an optional "family time" reading and discussion point. Each day looks at the life and work of Jesus as well as personal application for our modern day lives. Ideal for the Advent season, this study will help the ready to purposefully practice remembering Jesus. Download also includes a printable companion journal.

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Once upon a time our world
my heart
was a desperate mess,
then came Jesus.




blogging through Advent

I also wanted to let you know that I’m going to personally go through the study for Advent and will document it here on the blog. And I’d love for you to join me!

What does that mean? Well, on December 1st I will begin the study and will then post a weekly-ish post here where we can come together and share our thoughts or insights from the study.


advent 2014
(Fellow bloggers, feel free to use this image and link it
back to this post if you’d like to invite others to join us.)


I’m praying that this Advent season proves to be a precious time in our faith as we walk into Christmas morning with our Lord. He’s so good.

Fill me, Lord…

How’s your “Advent track record”? What traditions do you have to make it meaningful?