Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Can You See My Love For Him?

A few days ago a friend gave me a sweet comment. He was encouraged by how much I share my love for my husband. I must tell you that sent my heart soaring. I do love my husband. Each day brings new love. Amazing how love can continue to grow, isn't it? 

I had been sharing the blessings of my husband's new job and how over the top excited I am to have him home each night with me. Love sharing coffee at 4am and making him dinner. I actually get to meet him at the door each night. What a blessing! I am that girl that loves spending time with my husband. I too love sharing all the wonderfully sweet things he does for me. 

There's something else I'm enjoying about those early mornings. I am making the choice to open up the Word, my studies, and soak in Jesus. I can tell you that this week is growing a sweet time. The moon and stars are still bright as I say goodbye to my husband. I turn my light on next to my bedside and open the pages of my Bible. As I drink in that first warm cup of energy, my heart is ready to drink in all God has for me. 

So, as I was in the Word in those early morning hours after my husband had left for work, my heart was moved by the Spirit. "Did I share with the world around me just how much I love Jesus?" More importantly, "Does everyone know I love my Jesus?" As my heart was stirred I had to say, "Yes, Lord, I share You with everyone". But, that isn't video that was rolling before me. You know how this goes. Conviction happens and heart sees the actions of the previous week. I didn't just see beauty. I was seeing more than I wanted to. Ugly. Negative. Need I go on? Have you been there with me? We proclaim to share the love of Jesus. We feel that the world must know how much we love Him. But is that really what our life is saying? As much as I love sharing my love for my husband, shouldn't my desire to show my love for my Savior be even greater? 

All the years of my Christian life I have been taught to ask others, "Do you know Jesus as your Savior?" How can I ask that question to others if my own life isn't the example of His love? Isn't a life that shows the love of Christ the very picture of a living testimony? This is where the Spirit was leading me. Shouldn't my life be showing others who Jesus is? My words and actions have to equalize. I can't just be all about words and no action. I too cannot be all action without the words. 

In witnessing my love for Jesus, instead of asking another, "Do you know Jesus as your Savior?", the Spirit was leading me to instead now ask, "Do you know how much I love Jesus?" If I begin that conversation with all Jesus is to me, that turns it around and allows me to share who Jesus is in my life. It makes it personal and allows the other person to see that my intention isn't to condemn, but to share a part of my heart. In sharing my convictions, it creates an atmosphere that isn't condemning, but warm and inviting. This was something new for me to consider. We must move when the Spirit asks us to move. He gives the opening. He prepares the heart ahead of time. We are seed-planters. We are His vessels. 

No matter where or what I'm doing, every situation gives room to share my love of Jesus. Isn't that amazing? There isn't one circumstance where I cannot share some aspect of Jesus. Whether it's where I get my strength, my peace, my comfort, my purpose, my attitude, everything points to Jesus. My life doesn't have to be a perfect picture. I fail and stumble each day. Yes, I too can share Jesus in those moments of clarity that the Spirit makes possible. I can share Jesus in my conviction, in my needed forgiveness, the grace given to me each day, the mercies that appear when I'm in deep. To share Jesus is sharing our lives. It's being real. Transparent for others to see that with Jesus my life is different.

How sweet to share the love of Jesus! There's nothing more valuable to share. No conversation more important than sharing Jesus. If He's in my heart, He's in my life, and He's up to something good. Now, that's a conversation worth having. 

"Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action."
1 John 3:18

"In the same way faith, if it doesn't have works, is dead by itself." 
James 2:17

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Unfolding Beauty

We are a right now kind of people. Instant gratification is what we expect. Easy is quick. Whatever we can do to have it right now. Oh, I'm right there with you. But, more and more God is showing me that beauty is found not in the nice and easy, but in the waiting for it to unfold. 

Kind of like how a writer weaves a story. If they just began with the ending, what would be the point? We would miss out on all the details. The journey wouldn't be half as nice. 

God is our Master Writer and He has a wondrous plan for us. The key is uncovering that plan. It takes prayer. That intimate one on one time with Jesus. Time spent in His Word. One of the most important aspects of God I've learned is to allow the Spirit room to move me. If I'm unmovable I'm going to miss out on the beauty He has placed perfectly before my eyes.   

God isn't in a rush with us. With tenderness He has woven our life with intricate love and detail. Talk about attention to detail. He is the Master Designer. There isn't anything that goes unnoticed by our God. Big or small, He is in everything. 

This morning as I was out taking care of our Redbone, Gunner, I noticed this precious flower, yet to bloom. Still early in the morn, the sun hadn't quite awakened it yet. The blossoms were just beginning to open. Isn't it glorious how God grabs our attention? I could have easily rushed past to carry on with my other chores of the day. But I made the choice to stop. The Son was awakening my soul to His glory. It was as if I could hear my Savior, "Daughter, slow down. Take notice. I'm in full bloom."

Don't you know His glory comes in all sizes and shapes? Through blessing and trial, He is forever showing His glory. His creation speaks His name. His people are His vessels. He moves throughout our day wanting us to take notice. Everything before us is unfolding beauty. He is the Creator who makes beauty from ash. 

Take notice today. What's unfolding before you? It may not look like much yet. Give it time. Praise God in the small blessing, and in the trial that seems titanic size. When what He has for you has fully blossomed you will see the unexpected. Discover the beauty as He graciously unfolds it before you today. 

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord." 
Psalm 28:14

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands."
Psalm 19:1

"We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit."
2 Corinthians 3:18




The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate

Oftentimes we try hard to remove our past from memory, but in, "The Story Keeper", that is exactly where the greatest blessings are uncovered. Our past is a part of who we are and that is one of the greatest trials the main character faces on her journey to move forward. She has tried to wipe away all traces of her accent that could give way to where she really came from. 

I love how Lisa combines two stories together, weaving the past and the present. The story flows quite easily. Yes, we go from modern times and travel back in time to Appalachia. A place that seems to be it's own story keeper. 

Sometimes novels will hit me right from the first pages, others the journey begins slowly. This is what happened in my experience in reading this newest gem from Lisa. That doesn't mean the journey wasn't worth it. Time travel to another place and time is a wonderful gift to the reader. We meet characters in the present as they uncover those of the past. Those characters we are gifted to follow from the past give us a portrait of love, protection, and overcoming every kind of obstacle that wants nothing more than to stop us in our tracts. 

These words caught my heart and stayed with me throughout the story: "The trick, Jennia Beth Gibbs, is to turn your face to the glory hours as they come. The saddest thing in life is to see them only as they flit away." 

I truly enjoyed this novel. But, I've always admired Lisa's work and how she allows the reader to meet the characters and travel their journey with them. 

I love how the main character, Jen, finds the manuscript of, "The Story Keeper". A mystery begins to unfold. Piece by piece we learn more about Jen as she uncovers more about Sarra, a character she is captivated with. 

The men in this novel are strong and brave. They hold a special kind of character that most admire, but never quite encapsulate in themselves. This is definitely a novel you will absorb with every ounce of free time you can gather. 

This novel was a gift from Tyndale for sharing my review with you. 

Lisa Wingate is a magazine columnist, speaker, and the author of nineteen mainstream novels, including the national bestseller, Tending Roses, now in its eighteenth printing.  She is a seven-time ACFW Carol award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, and a two-time Carol Award winner. Her novel, Blue Moon Bay, was a Booklist Top Ten of 2012 pick.  Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.  When not dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women's literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteers teach adults to read.

Lisa lives on a ranch in Texas, where she spoils the livestock, raises boys, and teaches Sunday school to high school seniors. She was inspired to become a writer by a first grade teacher who said she expected to see Lisa's name in a magazine one day.

Lisa also entertained childhood dreams of being an Olympic gymnast and winning the National Finals Rodeo, but was stalled by the inability to do a back flip on the balance beam and parents who wouldn't finance a rodeo career. She was lucky enough to marry into a big family of cowboys and southern storytellers who would inspire any lover of tall tales and interesting, yet profound characters. She is a full time writer, and pens inspirational fiction for both the general Christian markets. Of all the things she loves about her job, she loves connecting with people, both real and imaginary, the most.  More information about Lisa's novels can be found at www.Lisawingate.com.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Believing Beyond Fairy-tales and Dreaming Big

When I was a little girl I dreamed big. Now that I'm forty-seven that hasn't hasn't changed. I was that little girl with her hair hanging in her eyes as I climbed up my favorite trees. The higher I could climb, the higher my dreams soared. I never feared falling. My feet were steady as my hands reached higher and higher for limbs to take me to the clouds. 

I dreamed of finding my prince charming, wearing glass slippers, and having seven friends who were just a bit shorter than me. I loved chasing butterflies and catching toads. I would ride my bike for hours just dreaming I was off in another place and time. Nothing held me back from dreaming. 

I pretended I was a school teacher. I would pass out papers to my stuffed animals that would surround my bed as if they were sitting at a round table. I would stand with a pencil behind my ear as I took roll call. 

I could take my baton outside and toss it high into the sky, do a twirl and flip and catch it in one hand as I passed it on to the other. I was an Olympian gymnast as I flipped my way through the yard. I could take a badminton racket and pretend for hours that I was the best. I'd play handball against the brick of our house. I would try anything and giving up wasn't an option. It takes courage to dream big. Those dreams we had as children were dreams God instilled in us. They weren't just fairy-tale make believe. Sure, as kids we pretend. We use our imagination. But sadly we allow that to come to an end. Growing up doesn't mean we can't dream big anymore. 

When does that all stop for us? As kids we never limit ourselves. We dream big. We soar above the clouds and touch the stars in our dreams. We chat with the man on the man as we wish upon a star. We pray to a God above who we know without a doubt created the world we dream in. We believe in hope and truth. We trust and we do everything with passion. Do you still dream? Do you still have passion? 

I would travel to other lands as I turned page after page. I still do that, ya know. Everyday I meet knew people and follow their journey and dream with them. 

What I know today is that God created BIG things for me. Bigger than I can ever imagine. He wants us to dream BIG and experience life to the fullest. In order for us to do that we are going to have to let go and dream! 

You know, my grand-kids make my heart soar. Peyton and Jack thinks Nana can do ANYTHING! That brings tears to my eyes just to type that. I hear them say all the time, "My Nana can do it!" Why is it that I limit myself with doubt? I cover my dreams with, "I don't think I can"? I allow fear to cloud the dreams of yesterday and often think, "It's just too late". Why do we do that? We get frustrated. We compete. We compare. We fall down. We misstep and soon we become our worst enemy. Others have faith in us. They know we can do it, but yet we question each step we make. 

Dreaming isn't just for children. There is a wide world that is filled with grandeur and majesty that holds all of God's creation. There is nothing too big for our God and what is amazing is that He wants us to experience ALL of Him and ALL that He has for us. Yes, you and me! He wants us to dream. We are to reach high above our expectations. This is where we are going to see God's beauty unfold before our eyes. 

When we keep our eyes on Jesus, wow, there are no limits to where He can take us! Live today intentionally. There is no room for regret! Dream big and experience the life God has created for you to the fullest!

"You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true." Richard Bach

"It’s never too late to act on your Dream!" Bruce Wilkenson

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." C.S. Lewis 




Holman HCSB Ultrathin Reference Bible published by B&H Publishing Group

I am so thrilled to share this beautiful Bible with you! When I opened this package, and unwrapped this Bible it was as if I heard, "Hallelujah". Well, maybe it just came from me. Lol Really, I wish you could hold this Bible in your hands and feel this magnificent leather. Genuine brown cowhide that is so soft and durable. A Bible to last a lifetime. 

Once you get past the beauty of the outside, the Word of God, is printed in 10 1/2 bold type print. I was afraid that it being ultra-thin the print would be extremely small, but that isn't the case. I love the bold easy to read print. 

This Bible is indexed which is extra special. The tabs for the OT are in black and the tabs for the NT are red. The indexed Bible is a great gem for those just learning the Books of the Bible. It's an easy find. 

The Word of Jesus is in bold red print, which is another aspect that I love. I have Bibles where the Word of Jesus isn't and it makes it so much more clear to see the Word in red. 

The concordance is rather large. I was pleasantly pleased, as I use the concordance quite often. It is a huge help in finding subjects you are wanting to study. 

There too are colorful maps that are large and easy to read. I can tell you that if I were to choose a Bible as a gift I would choose a Holman Bible. This Bible is the HCSB translation. It is by far my favorite to study. 

Follow the link and check out this Bible on the B&H Publishing Website. If this isn't what you are searching for, you are sure to find that perfect Bible just for you! Really, I have yet to find a Bible that even compares to a Holman Bible.

This Holman Bible is a new release. It will be released in September 2014. Check it out! It'll make a great gift. You can find it on AMAZON!!

This beautiful Bible was a gift from B&H Publishing Group for sharing my review with you!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Believing God Day by Day by Beth Moore

Beth Moore is outstanding. If that was all that I could say about this devotional that would be enough. That's pretty amazing to be able to describe such a godly woman who impacts the world with just saying, outstanding. 

I am getting ready to do Beth's study on Paul. That too says so very much. When you read one of Beth's books, you can't but help to want to pick up everything she pens. 

Love her heart. Her truth. Her determination to reach the world by being real and honest. She is so transparent in her words. You can't help but love her and admire all she does in putting everything out there that she can so that there is literally something for everyone. 

This would make for a great gift. 365 days of sweet words of encouragement. It's a small book. One that you could easily carry with you. Just to have a few moments to steal away and absorb God's Word. Each devotional is only two to three paragraphs. She begins with scripture and then shares her word of wisdom and direction. Let's just say, she's pretty inspiring. 

Why do I enjoy this devotional so much? Well, it gives a small amount of information. I enjoy small because it inspires and gives room for the Spirit to move. It encourages me to dig deeper. To take a look in my own Bible at the scripture she shares. Sometimes all we need is a touch of encouragement and that is enough to set us on a course of a deeper close up relationship with Jesus. Beth is inspiring us to grow our faith all year long! To make that happen we need a day to day relationship with Jesus. 

Beth is that cheerleader, filled with encouraging words, a heart a truth, and a message that leads straight to Jesus. 

This book was a gift from B&H Publishing for sharing my review with you. 

Beth Moore is a writer and teacher of best-selling books and Bible studies whose public speaking engagements carry her all over the United States. A dedicated wife and mother of two adult daughters, Moore lives in Houston, Texas, where she is president and founder of Living Proof Ministries.



In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

I want to grow up and write like Sarah Sundin! She is so pure. Gifted to bring the reader to another time and place. We are not only invited to get to know the characters, Sarah brings us close up, heart to heart, with each one. 

"On Distant Shores" and "With Every Letter", are the first two books in this series. (Check out my reviews). Wings of the Nightingale Series finishes with, "In Perfect Time". 

This novel follows the lives of Kay and Roger. I'll share a secret. This just may be my favorite of the series! Yes, this series only got better and better. That is what sets Sarah apart from other writers. She takes a story and makes it grow. It comes to life before our eyes and soon we are right in the mix with these wondrous characters that become friends. 

Kay and Roger struggle with the idea that they aren't good enough. In fact, they have been told their whole lives that they would never amount to much. I think most of us can relate to that in some way or another. 

Not only do I love the personal stories of these characters, but the era that Sarah brings us to know more deeply. She brings flight nurses to the spotlight. These were brave women. Women who were ready for anything. The gang is all here. Georgie and Hutch, and Mellie and Tom. Rose and Clint are remembered. These are treasured friends. Friendship, love, redemption, and sheer determination are all here within these pages. 

What can I take away? Too often we listen to the voices of others tell us what we are going to be or not going to be. We allow others to determine our path. We choose for others, instead of living the life chosen for us by the God who has created us. We are all the same in the fact that we want to be loved and accepted. These characters define honor and integrity. We see their struggles, and their greatest fears. But Sarah brings us to know their heart. We cheer them onward as they travel their journey. We see them overcome their greatest obstacles and soar above! Sometimes our greatest obstacle is getting over ourselves and the words that have wounded deep. 

If you're searching for a great series, don't pass this series up! If you have yet to read a novel penned by Sarah, you are missing out. Now, this is a series. Although you could read each novel separate and be super blessed, you're not going to receive the fullest enjoyment without reading them in order. 

This book was a gift from Revell for sharing my review with you. 

Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, and the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California, with her husband and three children. Visit www.sarahsundin.com for more information.

Friday, August 8, 2014

For Real

Why do we try to cover up our real emotions? Friends, we can't fake happiness. I never much cared for that saying, "Fake it until you feel it". That's not real. God created us intricately. We are woven together with the hands of God. A God who has emotion. 

Can you imagine those six days of creation? How about that seventh day when He rested? Can't you see the glory in His eyes? The wonder? The Hope? Take a trip to the Garden of Eden. He created Adam and Eve to explore their emotions. To express their hearts. To share all between them and to glorify God in everything. To glorify God don't we have to have emotion?

Now, can you imagine the emotion of God when Adam and Eve sinned? Oh mercy, I can imagine the pain God felt. The sadness over the actions of the very people He created. Our emotions are just as a part of us as God is. He created us to feel and to express. 

We can see emotion in the face of a child on their celebrated birthday. On the mother as she holds her newborn son. On the man who just said goodbye to his father. Can you see the emotion on the face of the family waiting for the news on judgement on the one who violently took their loved away? Fear, anger, happiness, joy, love, all of this is an intricate mix of who we are. 

Walk with me as Jesus is being crucified. Do you see the cross? His mother before Him? His friends as they are silently and quickly running away in fear? Do we actually think God felt nothing at this time? He gave His only Son for us. For sinners who would either one day receive Him as Savior or walk all our days of this earth pushing the thought of Him away.  

Can you imagine the emotion in heaven when one person receives Jesus as Savior? We have a God of hope. He is our Redeemer. He too is All-Knowing. He knows our heart better than anyone else. He knows the load we carry. He sees us try to pretend all is great as we share with others just how perfect our lives are. 

Ever receive a Christmas card that has the picture of the perfect family on the front? If that isn't enough you too receive a letter telling you all about the perfectness of just who they are. They share the vacations to Hawaii and all the wondrous goodies about their perfect children. Do we really believe this? How often do we pick up one of those cards and say to ourselves, "I wish my family were like that"? Is that jealousy? I'm not so sure it is. Those emotions we feel are real. Our hearts are tender and breaking at the thought that we are not living out the perfect life that we see before us. But with all certainty, the family on this card isn't so perfect either. They have issues same as us. Their children, all six of them, have troubles of their own. Mom and dad are not so in love anymore. The bills are piling up. Do you ever think as they send off that perfect card that they are hoping that no one really sees who they truly are? 

Why can't we just be real? Why do we feel the need to be fake just so we can impress others? Now, of course when we feel the emotion of anger that doesn't give us the right to go about town screaming at everyone who passes, but when we suppress our emotions that isn't healthy. Are we really doing anyone a favor by being fake? 

I imagine God looking upon His creation with every emotion. Can't you see Him sad, angry, and too gloriously thankful? If we take a look in the Bible we can find the shortest verse. Have any idea what that is? "Jesus wept." John 11:35 Jesus was broken over the death of His friend, Lazarus. Don't you know that Jesus was troubled with all that He had seen and knew was coming? He even called out to His Father for the cup to pass from Him. "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. yet not as I will, but as You will." Matthew 26:39 In reading these words we can feel the emotion of our Savior. He didn't just stuff His emotions down. He embraced them. He shared them with His Father. Through these emotions we see that He wanted to glorify His Father. We don't see God telling Jesus not to feel. We don't see those words in the Bible. We are feel. What's important is what we do with those emotions. We aren't to suppress them. We are to embrace them. Know them. Understand them. In doing so we learn and grow. When we are honest with ourselves we will be honest with our Savior. This is how the world will see our connection with Him. Our relationship with Jesus consists of emotion. We go to Him broken and He takes that brokenness and brings healing. How can we ever feel peace if we first do not openly admit that we are full of fear or anger? 

In Matthew 4:1-11 we see Jesus tempted by Satan. Friends, this world is going to throw everything it has at us. We wake in the early morning expecting to have a wonderfully blessed day, but then the phone rings and we hear news that rocks us to the core. We can't just shut out those feelings. Through our emotions we discover who we are and all that God can do. 

Look at the women in the Bible. Mary and Martha, Mary the mother of Jesus, the woman with the bleeding disorder, Euodia and Synthyche, Anna, Dorcas, Hannah, Elizabeth, Miriam, Lydia, Abigail, Priscilla. There are so many women in the Bible who we see with emotion. As women this is one of our gifts. We are able to open up and share with girlfriends. What a gift it is to prayer for another. We are to lift up and encourage each other. We are to inspire others. We can't do this through, "Faking it until we feel it". We can only glorify God when we are real. 

If we are hurting, say so. If we are angry, don't bury it. Later you will only have to exhume it. In walking with peace and joy, we must learn to embrace our emotions. It's when we truly open up and share what we feel with Jesus that He can heal us. If we continue to ignore our emotions how can we ever truly grow in Christ? When we {fake it} we miss out on sharing the Jesus this world needs. They don't need to see us walking around with fake smiles and laughter that all is well. When we suppress our emotions how can we feel the Holy Spirit move within us? Everything becomes confusing. We don't know what we should be feeling and then we lost and alone. 

Emotions are a gift from God intended to compel us to take action. See, we don't want to be ruled by our emotions, but until we confess our true selves we cannot truly find freedom. We don't want to cause harm to others. We don't want use our emotions to manipulate others. But through our emotions we can express a godly attitude and allow the world to see that yes, we feel, we hurt, we bleed, we then can show the world that Jesus takes those emotions and with His grace and mercy, turns them into joy and gladness. He brings healing only when we are able to know we need healed. 

There are times we don't understand what is happening in our lives. Sometimes things just don't make sense. But friends, why not just be real? Why hide our emotions? Hiding our emotions doesn't make us tough. It doesn't make us better Christians. It hurts us, because sooner or later we are going to have to dig up those emotions because our load is only going to grow heavier and heavier. 

The Beatitudes are a perfect illustration of emotion. 

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for the will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:3-12

When we embrace our emotions we can embrace the promises of God. Denying our unpleasant emotions also creates in us a numbness. We begin to block out every emotion, even those that are of good. We close ourselves off and soon we are experiencing a life of numb. Friends, let it all go. Dig in and see what's in the heart. What is it that you are feeling today? You don't  have to hide from what you are feeling. Share with Jesus and allow Him the room He needs to bring healing so that your days are filled with joy. So that you can express happiness and enjoy the beauty before you. 

It takes courage to be ourselves. But friends, when we are, the world sees that in our brokenness there is a God who is present. Ever wonder how one gets through the difficult situation they are facing? The world relies upon itself, but Christians rely upon the God that they know personally. Our testimony is valued not in how we pretend all is good, but in how the world sees that in this imperfect world we can still stand and it is only by the grace and strength of God that we make it through each day. There is beauty in emotion.

I used to be that girl who pushed down every emotion. No longer am I that girl. I feel free to be me. To embrace all that I am is to embrace my Jesus who saved me and lives in me today. To feel my emotion allows me to be closer to Jesus and closer to those I love. When I'm real others see that, just as when they see I'm being fake. It's when we are real with ourselves that we make a lasting and powerful impact on this world. 

Jesus is our Redeemer, Deliverer, Healer, Protector, Provider, Avenger, Refuge, Shepherd, Judge, Rock, and Shield. Friends, we get to know Jesus in these ways not by merely stuffing down our emotions, but by being real with Him. We learn how to react to our emotions when we turn to our Lord. Yes, that means being real. You are not alone. You're not the only one feeling the way you do on this very day. Jesus is in the restoration business.

In order for us to experience this day to the fullest we need to embrace our every emotion and ask of our Savior to guide us, to free us, and use us for His glory. Don't stuff down what your heart is experiencing. Let it be real. Share with Jesus your true self and invite Him to change and heal your heart. Creating in you the person He has called you to be. 

I want to live an {authentic} life. No fake me for the world to see. I don't have to put on a show or be someone I'm not to be accepted. I simply want to be the me God created me to be.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender by Beth Moore

I have read many of Beth's books and have immensely enjoyed her studies. There is something different about Beth. She is a woman of God who walks in the Spirit and shares His love and message. But what's special about her is her transparency. She knows women because she has heard their stories. She reaches out to women and wants them to truly experience God in a new way. In a whole way. 

I began turning the pages of this book and found out that I too have strongholds. Strongholds I didn't even know were there. Through this study she moved me to pray more and dig in deeper. Deeper into the Word of God. It's in His Word that the Spirit moves. 

I got to chapter 13, Touring The Ancient Ruins, and was broken. My chains were evident. I was chained in ways that I had not realized. Chains from my past. A past that I had to revisit. What I loved about this chapter and those following is that Beth didn't want me to revisit with a bitterness and anger, but to simply see and let go. To understand that my heart held stones that were immovable until I surrendered them to God. 

I revisited my grandparents. Grandparents who I never received love from. A family that never said the words, I love you. A family of no emotion. Alcoholism, racism, family feuding, it was all right there in Beth's words. I felt that she was speaking directly to me. 

"Our purpose is not to drag old skeletons out of the closet or engage in family bashing of any kind. We just need to make sure we didn't inherit any hand-me-down chains that interfere with the priceless benefits of our covenant relationship with Christ. He broke the chains of all kinds of bondage when He gave His life for us; however, many of us still carry them in our hands or have them dangling from our necks out of pure habit, lack of awareness, or lack of biblical knowledge. We need to recognize any generational bonds and ask God to remove them."

That's pretty powerful stuff! I found that I didn't hold the alcoholism or racism in myself, but the emptiness of not enjoying the benefits of having a family surround me with support and love. I laid it all down at the foot of the cross. I am so thankful for Beth's words. Words that brought me to see all that my heart still held. 

"God's primary purpose in healing us from our hurts is to introduce us to new depths of relationship with Himself." 


"We might not be able to change the past, but we change a few things more impressive:
  • We can change how we look at it. 
  • We can decide how we're going to build on it.
Let's make a covenant to stop preserving and start rebuilding. The hammer is passed down into our hands." 

"Christ came to set the captives free. Satan came to take the free captive." 

This book is life changing. Beth shares the benefits and obstacles. When we recognize the symptoms of captivity is when we can truly be set free!!

This book was a gift from B&H Publishing for sharing my review with you. 

Beth Moore is a writer and teacher of best-selling books and Bible studies whose public speaking engagements carry her all over the United States. A dedicated wife and mother of two adult daughters, Moore lives in Houston, Texas, where she is president and founder of Living Proof Ministries.


Unconditional by Eva Marie Everson

Eva Marie Everson is a gem of a writer. She connects by going for the heart. She takes reality and makes it personal. We see the characters as our neighbors, friends, and self. This novel is heartfelt. Tragedy brings tears and emptiness, but God restores with bringing new beauty to the fill the heart that has ached for so long.

Change is evident. Some we embrace and others we want to run from. Sam was running from her pain. She wanted her ache to end, but in this precious novel we see God's perfect timing touch her life. There are no limits to what God will do to bring His children back to Him. Not only back to Him, but to know Him in a whole new way.

I found this novel riveting. It's an unputdownable for sure!! I loved Sam. Within these pages Eva created her heart in such a transparent way you could feel her ache. Somehow with the things of this world that seem to make no sense at all, God brings about a purpose to continue the walk in faith. To stay true and to trust Him in all things. We see this in the character of Joe. Oh, what a precious man! Unconditional love pours out of this man. The grace he walks in is contagious. This unconditional love is what brings Sam back to living again.

This novel is based on true events and you can even find the book, "Firebird", written by Brent McCorkie and Amy Parker, to share with children the story of God's unconditional love.

This novel was a gift from B&H Publishing for sharing my review with you. 

Eva Marie Everson was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. A seminary graduate and former nurse-turned-Christian novelist, her previous books include The Potluck Club, Things Left Unspoken, and Chasing Sunsets.
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