Friday, February 24, 2017

Impacting Choices

I pen these words as I sit here early in the morning.The birds are just coming awake with song. A breeze is gently blowing the lace curtains. A turtle dove coos good-morning as I sip my already cold coffee. Bible open, studies ready, and my heart is full of thanksgiving.

Not a morning passes where  I am not brought right back to October 12, receiving a 1:30am call that my husband had been in a serious crash. It's that day that continues to bring a mix of emotions. 

Since that moment, that very moment where a driver's car collided into my husband, with full speed, our lives changed. Nothing has been the same since that day. As that driver's life has carried on much in the same manner as before every aspect of our lives have changed.

Allegedly intoxicated or driving impaired, at full speed, this driver crashed into my husband. This driver may share that they were not drinking that night. Not intoxicated in any way. If that is so, then why didn't they slow? Why didn't they stop? Why did then did they drive through his truck? If  not intoxicated, why wouldn't this driver jump out of their vehicle and rush over to see how badly my husband was injured? Why wouldn't a driver who just caused a serious crash call 911? If one were not intoxicated why then would there be laughing after the crash? If intoxication wasn't the issue why then refuse the breathalyzer test?As my husband was being rushed by ambulance to the hospital this driver was being arrested. 

Before I share about my husband's life, for a moment I just want to place this driver's life first. As believers we are to care and love for others. We are to place the good of others before ourselves. We try to live with grace daily, walking in the mercy of our Savior, hoping to shine Jesus into a world that so needs His love. We are all sinners. We aren't to walk in judgement of others, assuming so much of their lives. For if not for the grace of God there go I, right? 

This driver is a mother, a grandmother, a wife, just as I am. Surrounded by friends and family who love and adore her. She works hard to achieve life's dreams. There's love, laughter, and joy to be daily enjoyed. In that regard this woman and I have much in common. We walk with a mighty love for our family and friends. But this is where our likeness comes to an end. 

See, if I place this driver's life before my husband's life I can easily see where the choices made by her on  October 12 could have been  devastating to her family and friends. They could have easily received a phone call in the early morning hours as I did.  They could have heard an officer explain that there was a death of their loved one. They would have had no other choice than to morn a life of no more. They too could have received a call that their loved one had been taken to the hospital. So many variables within one choice. All different endings, but all beginning with the same poor choices of one person. There were many choices made on this day. Each one leading to the next. It was those very choices that would still today impact our lives. People who had never met before. People living within fifty miles of one another, but not having a clue of the other. This night would change all of that. Our lives intertwined by a mangled mess. 

Somewhere on October 11 this driver probably woke, just as any other, planning their day ahead. Choosing what to wear, where lunch would be, to with whom the day would be spent. Maybe a sweet conversation took place. Words of laughter from children. Maybe early morning kisses from grandchildren on the cheek. Just maybe a friend shared how important you in their life. All beginning with a cup of coffee.

I don't know really how this driver's day began or what their thoughts were throughout the day, but somewhere along the path of the day their choices would later involve my husband and impact our family. Our lives would collide because of this driver's series of choices. 

In raising five children, home educating three of them, and in teaching Sunday school and Awana for over twenty years I would forever teach them that every choice brought about another choice and every single choice of ours, whether good or bad, would impact the lives of others. Some of those we would know, but others we would just see in passing, but even the smallest of choices to us, would be great to others.

Recently my grandson and I were having a conversation. He was asking about his Papa and how he was feeling. He was asking about the crash. My grandson, who is five years old and super smart, says, "Nanny, that woman should be in jail. She hurt my Papa." Even at five years old we know right from wrong. We teach our children and grandchildren. But see, what we do in moderation they will do in excess. They are witness to our example. The example we give to them is our choice. 

Somewhere in this driver's day on October 11 she may have began drinking. This choice is one of many that would affect the life of my husband. Why? Because later another choice would be made. And then another. When the next choice to get behind the wheel of a car was made, with a friend sitting in the passenger seat, sadly, choices made at this point only worsened. Placing the keys in the ignition, the car would rev up and then the next choice would be to place it in gear of drive.

My husband didn't have a choice where your choices existed. He was simply in the path of unknown destruction. He was an innocent victim that was slammed into the reality of the many choices made by  throughout the day by this driver. Why was the choice to get behind the wheel of that car not the choice made? 

See, this wasn't a teenager out for a joy ride. Not even close to a first experience with getting behind a wheel of a car. At forty-six years old one knows very well what can happen when you chose to make the series of choices made on this day. 

Even to me, this driver's life means something. It has value. To their grandchildren their life is important. But why isn't my husband's life of value? Why doesn't his life have just as meaning? 

I have been married to my husband for twenty-seven years. We have raised five children together and now have four grandchildren with one on the way. Our life has been built on faith and love. Trust and honor, grace and mercy. We try to walk in the words of Micah 6:8. We try to live in such a way that our actions count just as much as our words. That our life is a legacy for our children and grandchildren to be proud of. To look to our lives as an example of walking as believers. 

My husband wasn't out drinking. He was on his way home from work after a long day of providing for his family. Just thirty minutes more and he would have been safely home. But this drive home didn't go as planned on that day. My husband is the man who places everyone before himself. He is unselfish in every way and a man of great grace. He is the husband that every wife deserves.

On this night he was coming home to me. Every single time he leaves the house I pray him home. I pray for God to place a hedge of protection around him. On this night he would need those prayers. On this night I wouldn't wake as soon as my husband reached the drive way. As my husband pulls in the driveway my first words are always, "Thank You, Jesus". Tonight I would call out to Jesus in a different way. I didn't have the opportunity to open the door for him. We wouldn't get to talk for a bit before he would was off to bed after his long day of working. October 12 would be something all together different. Instead this driver's actions and choices, would change the way our day would exist. 

My husband is the innocent victim on the receiving end of this horrific crash. Driving at such a high rate of speed this vehicle went under his. While he would be impacted three times, the driver's would remain still. He first took on the intense thunder of your impact, then as he flipped end over end, and then as he slammed sideways into a utility pole. His tank ruptured. Gas pouring over my husband, he would have to find a way out of his truck. With fear running through him, making his way out of a small side window, the driver could seen and heard laughing. Saying, "What the hell just happened? We didn't even get hurt", isn't something that one imagines coming out of the mouth of one who has caused a serious crash. How is this possible? How does one laugh when you have just crashed into another human being and you do not even know if he is dead or alive? Life Evac would be on stand-by. When that call was cancelled firemen thought my husband was dead. How does one laugh? 

This driver nor the passenger called 911. While my husband was finding his way out of his truck these people didn't even walk over to check on him. A witness to the crash called for the aid to my husband. This is the difference in this driver and my husband. See, he is the man that would give his life for another. He is the man that would have pulled over and ran to your vehicle to check on your well-being. He is the man who would have called 911. In that moment you fear for your life he is that strong, kind, and decent man that you want by your side. He would have done these things for you, but yet, you wouldn't do the same for him. Why is your life more valuable than his life? 

In these past months I have witnessed my husband suffer greatly. I have walked this journey with him and I have daily praised Jesus for his life. I have prayed for healing, for comfort, and for understanding. For the life of me I just cannot understand why a person would choose to drive impaired. The driver's choices, not my husband's choices, their choices alone, caused his injuries. Their choices alone has changed our lives forever. Nothing is the same. I wish we could go back, but because of this driver this is now our journey.

I have a challenge for this driver. I am asking for them to be the example their children and grandchildren need. Be the example as a bar owner, the example a community needs, and come forward being honest about what your actions has caused. Share what your choices has caused another family. Be honest with friends and family and tell them of the consequences of your actions . You could have just as easily killed, wait, murdered your friend who sat next to you in your vehicle that you drove into my husband. Don't drag this out for years to come, trying to lessen charges and find a way out of being held responsible for the injury to another human being. This time choose wisely and be a living testimony to others as what can happen when you choose to drive impaired. 

As I said there are many variables to how this crash could have ended. My husband's truck could have blown up on impact. You and your friend could have easily been laying dead in the ditch. But, you have a second chance here to do some good. You have a great opportunity to make a change. You can stand before a judge and try to say you are not guilty, or you can be a woman of grace and mercy, honor and respect, and admit your guilt, your actions that caused this devastating crash that has impacted our lives for years to come. 

If this had happened to your husband, to your child, to your grandchild, what would you want done? Wouldn't you be seeking justice? For a moment I want to you to sit with me, where I have sat with my husband in these last long months. I want you to envision this crash, the choices made that caused it, every single choice throughout the day. Now, you choose. There is another driver. Which of your family do you wish to be in the truck of my husband? Should it be your husband? Your son on his way home from work? Maybe your grandchildren all settled into the backseat with giggles that would soon be screams as a drunk driver crashes into them. Who would you choose? No one, right? No one deserves this. Not your family and not mine. But this is what driving impaired does. As one uses their choices unwisely, another is impacted in a horrendous way as their choices are taken away.  Life is precious. Every single moment of life matters. With your choice you could have taken the life of my husband. 

I am working on forgiveness. It isn't easy, I have to admit. I have carried a lot of anger as I have watched my husband suffer. I helped him wash the blood off of his head. I helped him pick glass out of his hands. I have taken care of my husband every day since this crash. Those five children of ours, those four grandchildren, yes, they have all been impacted by your actions. Our elderly parents have been impacted. 

After you crashed into my husband I had to make all those phone calls. I pray I never have to make those kind of calls ever again. I pray you never have to make those calls. I pray you never receive those calls. But yet, with your choice to drink and drive you had no regard for anyone who may have had to make or receive a call that night.

Why didn't you just stay home that night? If you had made different choices, God, if you would have just stayed home, my husband wouldn't have been on the receiving end of your deadly vehicle crashing into him. If you had stayed home my husband wouldn't still be healing from injuries caused by your poor choices. If you had stayed home, our lives wouldn't have been altered forever. 

If it were not my husband, it would have been another. It could have been a young mother driving home after a shift of nursing. It could have easily been a young man driving home after a late night shift at McDonalds. A son driving home after spending a night at the hospital with his aging parent. As I have shared, many different variables could have happened. With God in total control, He covered my husband, as his truck rolled and slammed. But see, He too, guarded over you and your friend. What you do with that grace is your choice. What you do with your second chance is all up to you. You have another choice to make. What will it be? Please, use your actions to bring about change and to be a education for those thinking about driving impaired. Think of the impact you could have on a community right now today. 

I will continue sharing about this crash. This horrific chain of choices that has impacted our lives. I will continue to fight for justice. My husband and I have a powerful story to share. It is one of hope and healing. One of overcoming and standing tall against adversity. I am asking you to hold yourself accountable for your actions so that others can learn from your poor choices that led you to crash into my husband on October 12, changing our lives forever. I challenge you to take these choices, these ashes, and allow God the room to bring about a beauty that can only come from Him. 

"Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God." 
Micah 6:8

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Life After by Katie Ganshert

Katie Ganshert is that author that gets a reader excited. I was thrilled to be receiving her newest release, Life After. I invite you to take a peek at all of my reviews of Katie's penned gems.

A Broken Kind of Beautiful, Wild Flowers from Winter, Wishing on Willows, and The Art of Losing Yourself, are all wonderful creations penned by this gifted writer (check out my reviews).

I may be all alone here in my review, but this wasn't my favorite. This was a difficult read. There was a great deal of anger, resentment, and blame. Now, with saying that, I understand why there was so much anger. A crazy man set off a bomb and families were destroyed as their loved ones were killed. 

There is one survivor of this day, but she didn't go unharmed. In fact, she carries within her soul scars of this day. Some she remembers, but much she cannot. She blames herself for surviving. Autumn Manning is a woman burdened with a great deal of emotion she has yet to understand. We journey with her as she wants to be normal but is so far from it. Everyone tells her to move on, but to her that thought seems ridiculous in the midst of all the questions she has erupting in every thought. 

There is a family who intertwines in Autumn's healing. See, they too are hurting. A husband lost his wife on this day and a daughter and son lost their mother. Their story, their secrets uncover as truth surfaces. The husband is a therapist who feels as though his life is an altered illusion. His daughter reaches out to Autumn. She begins writing secretly to her. This is where the story really takes off. 

The title is Life After, but really it is so much more about life before. Yes, how to live after such a tragedy, but this brings these characters to ponder even more deeply their life before this day. Their lives are changed forever and making sense of that takes on the last part of this novel. 

These characters are in a whirlwind of wounds of lose, but also of healing that we see come in small wonders. We see God move in this mess and bring these characters together. They never imagined meeting. We see that God is in the unexpected and once we allow Him room wonders of mercy and grace overflow. 

Reese Elliott is the standout character of this novel. Oh, the heart of a little girl only wanting to remember good and not wanting to make the reality of what was her truth for now. I love the heart of this child. Through her the other characters learn much about themselves. 

It is categorized as romance, but I didn't grasp a lot of romance. By the end of the novel the characters were just starting to know one another beyond that tragic day and all the emotion that they had lived with since. The relationship that stands out is between Autumn and Reese. As the story comes to an end the characters are just then coming to life out a darkness that has surrounded them. I guess for me I just needed more. 

With that said, I am still a huge Katie Ganshert fan. You may pick up this novel and find that it is just what your heart needs. It may be that novel that I can go back and read later and find a nugget of sweetness I had yet to uncover in my reading. I will be excited to see where the pen takes Ganshert next!

Happy reading 📕

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

Katie Ganshert is the author of several books and works of short fiction, including the Christy Award-winning A Broken Kind of Beautiful and Carol Award-winner The Art of Losing Yourself. Katie lives in eastern Iowa with her family. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Glassblower by Petra Durst-Benning

I came across this selection on Amazon. I had seen so many reviews that it intrigued me. I had never read anything from this German author. The cover caught my attention as did the description of this novel. 

It's a part of a trilogy. I am getting ready to open up book 2, The American Lady. I cannot wait to begin. I tell you this book marveled me. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. What a journey into another time and place. 

We travel to Germany where this novel is set. The year is 1890 and we find ourselves in Lauscha, Germany. The author did a fantastic job at the perfect description of not only the area, but circumstance, and heart of the characters. Her writing style flows so easily that the pages almost turn themselves. 

The characters are easy to love. Three sisters who are now wondering, after their father had passed from this earth,  how they will now provide for themselves. It isn't going to be easy, but these sisters show us how to prevail over challenges that would keep some from taking a step forward for fear of failure. 

These sisters, Johanna, Ruth, and Marie, are close-knit. I love that they are all so different. Throughout this novel we see them grow, become stronger, become more sure of themselves in this world where men are in charge. 

They have tender hearts, and walk with grace. These sisters were raised with values and to treasure themselves, never allowing another to take advantage of them.

This novel is about family, love, sisterhood, trust, and prevailing against the circumstance of life. Glassblowing in this time was only accomplished by men. It was unspeakable for women to design such beauty. 

Each of these girls journey into finding themselves as trial seems to come from every corner, each facing something different, but all overcoming with a strength and a bond that comes from such a loving family. 

Now, for me I usually only review Christian novels, but there was something about this one that drew me in and I had to see what this writer and her work was all about. For my Christian readers this may not be the book for you. This is why. On two different occasions there are sex scenes. At first I struggle with these. I wondered what the book would have been without them and just how was I going to write a review to a mostly Christian audience about a book that contained sex. 

Well, I never share spoilers. I just really dislike when people do that, but this time I just cannot go around it. Could the novel been written without the sex scenes and prevailed as a great novel? Of course it could have. The writer could have shared other challenges these women faced. But these are also times where men held a hand over women and these women were expected to keep quiet about it. 

One sex scene is when one of the characters, Ruth, is falling deeply for a young man. This is the first man she has really known. In this scene he is extremely rough, no tenderness, and nothing as she thought her first time would be. Later we see this character being abused by her husband. 

The next is when her sister, Johanna,  is raped by the shop owner where they are all employed. Of course there isn't going to be anything gentle about this scene. Now, there is one more sex scene for Ruth. She has finally found love. She finds the tenderness of a man, his heart, and finds real value. She is a gem to this man and he truly cares for her. This scene is tender and intimate as it should be when there is love. 

For me, I can look at these scenes and take away the importance to the character, Ruth, and to her growth. It shows how many of us young women meet a young man and think that this is reality. But Ruth shows women they do not have to remain in a relationship where they are being abused. This was something very difficult to walk away from during this time in history. 

For these characters to overcome issues that women face is of value to this story that will continue on in this trilogy. As for Johanna, being raped, she feels she is now unworthy of love. No one would want to have her. But this isn't what we uncover in the novel. We too see her find unconditional love. 

So, I wasn't a fan of these very small sex scenes, but I do understand why the writer added them. I still must give this novel a five star because the story weaves such a connection between the reader and the characters. I love seeing characters overcome. Before they overcome they must face the struggle head on and that is exactly what these characters did. 

I love the idea of glassblowing. The beauty cannot be found until the glass undergoes change. Another great illustration of beauty from ash. 

Happy Reading📘

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

Petra Durst-Benning lives near Stuttgart, Germany, with her husband, Bertram, and their dog, Eric. Before writing her first novel she worked as an import/export translator and edited a magazine for dog owners. All this changed with the publication of The Silver Thistle, which was set against the background of the peasant uprising in Germany in 1514. Her next dozen books take place in times ranging from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century, and are set in Germany, France, Russia, and America. They bring tales of historical times, love and family, happiness, and hardship to an ever-growing readership. The Glassblower is the first part of a trilogy. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The" I Am" Makes Us Think About What "i am"

In Genesis 1:26-27 it shares something valuable to each of us about who we are in God. We are created in His image. What I love about this verse below is that is says, "make man in OUR image". What's OUR? The trinity, God, the Holy Spirit, and Christ Jesus. Ponder that. I mean really go deep. We are make in THEIR image. 

"Then God said, "Let US make man in OUR image, according to OUR likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them."

We are His workmanship. He knew us before we were ever born. He weaved us together within the womb, but even before then He planned our life perfectly for us. That's so much to ponder isn't it? 

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in Him." Ephesians 2:10

"and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:24

So, we were created in God's image, we were created as His workmanship, and in Him we are found to be to made new. Scripture takes us deeper even. We are told that He lives within us! Yes, our bodies, that He created, He too made to be a temple, a holy temple, for the Spirit to abide within us. When we come to personally know Christ, when we invite Him into our heart, at the moment we believe He is our Savior, He sends the Holy Spirit to live within us. 

"In Him you also trusted, after you heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." Ephesians 1:13-14

"In Him also we have obtained an inheritance being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ Jesus should be to the praise of His glory." Ephesians 1:11-12

We are now sealed with a promise. We have an inheritance that is only found when we accept Christ Jesus as our Savior. Once we do, at that very moment, the Spirit abides within us. In our temple, designed specifically made for Him. 

"Or do you not know that your body is the temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? You were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:19

What was the price for us to have life? Christ Jesus. His life was the price in which was paid so that we could have everlasting life. This isn't just a life on this earth. Our life here is rather short compared to the everlasting life in heaven, our destination, our home, that was created for us by the God who gave it all. It is in Him that we find redemption. 

"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-in Him." Ephesians 1:7-10

This God who created us, gave us not only purpose, but one to bring glory to God. He didn't just create us and let us be. He loves us so much more that to do that. He planned our lives. Each moment, each breath before us, He planned. I tell you, it's difficult for me to take in that kind of love. A love that goes far beyond the love we feel on earth. Oh, don't get me wrong. We love deep, right? But see, God's love is deeper. 

"And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." Exodus 3:14

Our God is unchanging. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. As He remains the same, we change as we walk with Him. The closer we abide with Him the more we are going to be in constant change. As we are always changing we are being made new. This remarkable metamorphosis can only happen through our Lord. 

"Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to you in order; If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered." Psalm 40:5

"For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

His thoughts toward me are good. My Savior intercedes for me. He goes before the Father on my behalf. What a mighty love. There are so many scriptures that share of who I AM is to us. He is our Everything. Through Him we are found righteousness. But what about my thoughts? Those daily thoughts that I have toward myself? 

In the Bible we see I AM over Seven hundred times in the Old and New Testament. These are places were God is described to us. He is the I AM. See, every time we speak, "I am", that is a description of God. We are made in His image, right? Everything good about us is His creation. But how often does our daily description of oursselves look like this?

I am so fat.
I am so ugly.
I am so lazy.
I am so stupid.
I am so...You fill in the blank. We do a lot looking down on ourselves, don't we? We speak a lot of, "I am", but when we speak of ourselves in such a way what is this saving of our Creator? That "I am" list could be pages long. It too could go to the other extreme and be a very prideful list. 

But somewhere in there we must instead of looking in the mirror and judging ourselves to this world's standards, let us look instead at our Creator and all that He is within us. That's extraordinary. 

See, every time we put ourselves down, we put down our God, our Creator. We are saying to Him, "What You created in me isn't good enough. You didn't do a good job with me. You made a huge mistake when you created me". Imagine Him designing each of us. Imagine our God creating us to be spectacular and unique in every way possible.

Think about for a bit. We say, "I am", all throughout the day.
I am so sad.
I am so hungry.
I am so happy.
I am so excited.

Yes, every single time we introduce ourselves to another we say, "Hi, I am Robin." That's something to really ponder! I AM is in everything about the people He created! This is remarkable to me to even ponder. 

Let us instead praise our Savior with words of edification. Let us be thankful. Let us speak with gratitude, finding the beauty within the ash. We are pearls of beauty to our Savior. I want to see myself as He sees me. I don't want to compare myself to others or judge myself as this world finds beauty. 

As I glorify my God with my words I too need to glorify Him as I describe myself. Give it a try today. See how it goes. Each day find something extraordinary about yourself and praise God by living a life of gratitude. It changes us. It also helps us to be examples for others. It's easy for me to praise Him for His creation. I easily see His beauty in others. But when it comes to myself, well, that's a bit more difficult. But we are always harder on ourselves than on others, right? 

Changing my attitude, catching myself when I say, "I am....", and then pondering my thoughts before I speak them brings me to ponder God all the more. I am not only thinking of my words I would use to describe myself today. How I look and how I feel. But going beyond appearance and thinking about my use of language and my actions throughout the day. It seems we talk differently when others are around. You know, when we are all alone? Yeah, those thoughts and deeds. I want everything about me to give praise to my Savior. To this God who create me, planned my life, gave me life, and continues to live within me. 

Of course, I can never repay Him for all He has done. If I could it would no longer be about my Savior. It would be about me. But see, it's about grace and mercy. And that's all about Him.

Of course we are going to have bad days. Things are always going to happen. But it isn't that circumstance that defines us. It is who we are in Christ and let me tell you, through Him, we are children of God. In that alone there is much to be praised. 

All those I am's I speak daily need to change. What about you? 

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Why So Much Worried Waste?

Why so much worried waste? God is not limited in time, power, or space. We limit Him in our lives through our lack of faith and our lack of obedience. His presence is promised to us who believe. So, why do we fear? He is either in control or He isn't. I choose to believe that He is in total control.

He's already in our tomorrow. He has heaven awaiting us who choose to believe. There is no greater inheritance.  So, knowing that, having our faith grounded in our future with Him, what do we really have to fear? 

We can't stop life from happening. Some things, actions, and reactions, are of our own choice. Some circumstances are not of our choice or making. But no matter how the circumstance around us, God is still present. Still in control. That's living a "no matter what" kind of faith. 

Fear is a natural instinct when something dangerous is happening to us. But what about the fear we hold for things that have yet to happen? Things that may never happen? That is the precious time stolen away from us by the great deceiver, Satan. If we are living in fear we are without peace and joy. 

God releases life to us moment by moment, breath by breath. Can you imagine if He released all of life upon us at once? Think about that. We simply couldn't handle it. We would live in constant overload. 

His yoke is easy. His burden light. We become fearful when we try to take it all in at once and hold life itself within our own hands. You know that saying, He doesn't give us more than we can handle? That is so off from His Word. Scripture doesn't say anything of the sort. Life unfolds before us with measured time. What is too much for us, we can with His power and strength. We faith to allow God the room He needs to move on our behalf. 

He's capable, isn't He? I give to Him and then I try to take it back as if I can somehow protect my family better than He. I can rest in Him, weary and anxious. See, I've learned it's when I am so scared, when I choose to open my hands to Him, and say, "Yes, Jesus, my life is Yours. Use every circumstance in my life to grow me closer to You", that I see Him move in extraordinary ways. 

Where is my belief? Why am I constantly waiting for disaster to happen? His ways are higher than mine. He sees far beyond my vision. His capabilities surpass anything I can do on my own. Peace isn't all flowers and sunshine. Peace comes in our darkest hours when we give over our fear to God as the storm rages wildly around us. 

There is nothing that I will face today that He is not already prepared for. What a mighty love, right? He isn't leaving us to our own devices. He comes in our darkest moment, and says, "Trust Me". I see my weaknesses and question myself, when instead I should be focused on my Jesus and His mighty strength. 

Let us not go through life starving ourselves of faith. Let us today empty ourselves of all fear and anxiety. Instead of hanging on to fear of what hasn't yet happened, let us open our hands wide and say to our God, the God who created our lives, who knows every step, "Lord, Your will and not mine." 

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:34

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundant." John 10:10

"Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." James 4:13-15

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies

This novel kept me company while spending long hours at the hospital with my mother. It's one of those easy reads. One you can curl up with and simply enjoy the wonderful story before you. 

This is the first writing I have enjoyed by this author. I found her use of words marvelous as she described a time and place far from anything I have experienced. Her words brought this country to life for me as the characters too found a place in my heart. 

We are all just travelers in an unknown land, searching for home. There are times we are comfortable and those in which all is new. It is these times where we find ourselves uncomfortable and unsure that we grow as people and find our place and treasure where we are planted at the time. 

I really enjoyed the main character and all the writer brought out about her. She made her transparent for the reader to understand her heart. Of course some characters are more enjoyable than others. Some are easy to like where others try our patience. The writer did an excellent job of bringing out the completeness of each character. 

I usually only review Christian works, but this selection's description and cover captivated me. I was curious and wasn't let down at all. I will look forward to the next work from this author. 

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


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