One Year

2 Cor 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen containers, so that the extraordinary greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves”

In our ever-changing world consistency is surprisingly unique. Pop icons discuss in detail the way they brew their tea or fold their clothes. Why do we read that stuff?  In our fluid way of life perhaps we long for some hard-core consistency. Think about it a moment, what’s one of the hardest things you’ve done recently? Isn’t it just showing up? Doesn’t it involve staying under something, being consistent, doing hard things day after day? People around us may not even realize we are working to be consistent in our marriage, job, health, and habits.

Most of my life I’ve just kept my head down and done my work. I don’t complain much when I’m in a tough spot and I don’t celebrate much when I have a breakthrough. But I’ve realized there is a vulnerability in being honest and inviting others to collaborate when the road is just too hard alone. If you’re like me, talking with others about what you’re learning helps you to process it all. So, I would like to share about a milestone in my life this week.

One year. I am celebrating one year of publishing a weekly blog and one year since my book came out. If you haven’t read through my book with a friend, I hope you will invest in your inner world and get Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion. As many of you know, I agonize over writing. But time and time again I feel God show up as I show up! In the past year, the words would flow some weeks, but other times I felt I had absolutely nothing to say. And those were the hard times to dig deep and search out, well, what has God shown me recently? Consistency in writing built some muscle for me as an author. It helped me hone my voice and lean in to God. Consistently showing up forced me to battle procrastination, fear, and shame.

In 1 Timothy 4:14 the Apostle Paul exhorts Timothy, a young pastor in training, “Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you.” Then, in 2 Timothy 1:6 Paul instructs him to “fan into flame the spiritual gift with in.” Do not neglect it and fan it into flame–these two exhortations indicate our natural tendency is to neglect or rest passively with our gifts either from fear, shame, resistance, or just laziness. Is it possible that where we encounter the greatest resistance could be our area of greatest giftedness? Paul tells Timothy, “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.” (1 Timothy 4:15) 

Rather than just keeping my head down and doing my work, never complaining and also never really celebrating, I want to meditate on these things with you. I want to celebrate showing up consistently for a year while also confessing it was hard! But I made it, and I’m a better writer because of it and hopefully more dependent on the Spirit of God than ever before. Where do you struggle with consistency?

We all are working toward something in the coming year. What are the hard choices we need to make right now to land where we want to be next year or five years from now? Consistency really matters in the small things of life and it builds the road that leads us into the big things. Self-discipline, honesty, thoughtfulness- done over a long period of time, pay off. Clearly, we are merely earthen containers; it is the extraordinary greatness of God that fills us up.

Have a great week everyone! Go to www.MargaretAllen.org for free resources and to sign up to get this blog in your email every Monday. 



Every now and then in life we get a glimpse of the broader picture that we are in: the people who shaped our lives as well as the ones we are pouring into now. This week I reconnected with influential people from my past and honestly, it humbled me. I visited with two of my mentors: Judy, my Sunday school teacher when I was a brand-new Christian in high school, and Jim, the pastor who fought against denominational precedents for women to secure my licensing as a minister. These two invested in me at a time in my development as a human being that would cause even the most hopeful to doubt. But they walked the walk; they demonstrated to me a powerfully grounded and guided life in Christ. The fruit from these two saints, walking faithfully with God into their 80’s, will never be fully known this side of heaven.

In the middle of our dinner, Judy’s iPhone alarm sounded. At eight o’clock every night her family stops to pray for our country. We all joined hands and prayed for a while and then seamlessly continued dinner. Judy delivers food and prayer each week to women she laughingly calls “old people” (she is just a few years younger). Every morning Jim prays over the phone and discusses scripture with his grandson in the military. Jim pastored a church until a stroke reduced his health this year. For both Judy and Jim, their lives are filled with serving the poor, sharing the good news of salvation in Christ, fighting injustice, and re-presenting Jesus in their daily life.

Faithfulness. Consistency. Serving. I know they aren’t very sexy concepts in a time where we are all looking for three easy steps to Zen. Showing up, matters. This walk with God is not a sprint. It is a lifetime of small and large choices. It’s choosing to sit at the feet of Jesus every day to listen and to learn. It’s setting an alarm to pray for our nation, our community, our family. It’s loving the person in front of you, no matter what their politics, orientation, or Covid compliancy. It’s turning away from all our media distractions and actually investing in the two things that are eternal: people and the presence of God.

Here’s my prayer this week, and it’s as raw and vulnerable as can be:

Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day. Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.” (Psalm 25:4-7)

My friend, what decisions are you bringing before God today? Are you walking a faith-filled Christian life? May He show you His ways and teach you His paths. May God bless you and increase your influence. May He shine through your faithfulness and serving. May God bless you and give you peace.

Thank you for reading my blog! If you are looking for resources for yourself, or for a group study, check out my book, Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love and compassion. You can find it at www.MargaretAllen.org or Amazon.