Category Archives: Book review

When God Made You

Last night at our weekly bible study class we were discussing children. Specifically, we talked about the differences that are often seen even among children in the same family. Some may be concise and matter-of-fact, while others are adventurous or creative.

God made each of my children differently. This can make parenting difficult at times because one response or consequence doesn’t always work for all children. It keeps us on our toes doesn’t it?!

But these differences make our children unique and we should find ways to celebrate that.

In the new book “When God Made You” by Matthew Paul Turner, the creative way that God has designed each of us is celebrated. It is a beautifully illustrated book filled with color and whimsy.  The pages flow like that of a song, a dance of words that encourages and inspires.

“Use your talents and passions, those gifts that God fashioned. Think up ideas and then put them to action.”

” ‘Cause when God made you and the world oohed and aahed, in heaven they called you an image of God.”

My kids love to hear all the ways God made them special. Last year we started pointing out three words that described each of our kids. Words that were reflective of who they are, that encouraged them to focus on some of their best attributes.

Each morning when I would drop off our son at school I would remind him to be Kind, Compassionate and Brave. Day after day I affirmed him telling him to look for ways to use his God-given gifts to be a help to someone else.

It didn’t take long and he was calling out affirmations for himself and others. When we are focusing on those gifts our perspective changes. There still may be messes and mistakes, but the core truths of who our kids are haven’t changed.

These beautiful children of ours are a gift. “When God Made You” is a book that celebrates that gift. It is a book that your kids will ask you to read again and again.

“You, you, when God sees you, God delights in what is and sees only what’s true. That you – yes, YOU – in all of your glory, bring color and rhythm and rhyme to God’s story.”

I have ordered a copy of this book for all the young kids in my extended family. You should do the same! You can find “When God Made You” at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

YouTube Preview Image
I received this book as a part of the When God Made You launch team, all opinions expressed are my own.

Truth Your Heart Needs

already-amazing-book

As women, we can be our own worst critic, can’t we? And if you are like me and suffer from feelings of inadequacy, it can be easy to question EVERYTHING. Should I do this, what happens if I don’t do that…and guilt, oh the guilt we allow ourselves to feel. Man I am tired of the guilt! 🙂

As I approached this past weekend I was tired. Like exhausted. We had a terribly busy week, Dominic had been on the road for 3 days so I was doing the single parent routine. And every moment that Dominic was home seemed stressed to get things done that we needed to do.

I felt like the kids had suffered from our crazy schedule and there were still so many things on our home to-do list. A few weeks ago I purchased a ticket to the Beth Moore Simulcast that a local church was hosting. Several women from my old Bible Study were attending and I wanted to be there. It was the first time since they started hosting this simulcast that I actually bought a ticket and planned to go.

But after our week I found myself questioning if I should go or not.

It was only a $10 ticket, but I had committed to going. I didn’t want to let anyone down…and yet I felt strongly that I needed to spend the time at home. Late Friday night I made the decision that I wasn’t going to go. There was a project at home that needed my attention…even more than my need for spiritual teaching from Beth Moore.

Saturday was busy, and not really restful, but it was good.

Our 3 youngest kids have been sharing a room since Isaac left for college. It is a large space so that wasn’t the issue…but Gabe was getting frustrated with the little’s inability to pick up their messes. He wanted his own space. A place that could be his, and clean!

So we worked on getting Gabe’s old room back into his new room. And then, in the big room is a large closet. Elijah has been asking for a “special space” that would be his own for 2 years now. With Gabe’s help we pulled out everything from that large closet and spent the day purging, cleaning and sorting so that storage could be in one part of the closet and a special space was created in the other.

Bean bag chairs and curtains finished off the space and the littles squealed with delight when they saw the finished space. As I was tucking them in for bed they said that they appreciated all my hard work and loved their new space.

I realized that I was just where I needed to be that day.

So I posted a status update on FB about my day and how it had all worked out, and then forgot about it. At church on Sunday a friend found me and thanked me for what I shared. She too had struggled with whether she should attend the simulcast or not and chose her family instead. She was questioning her choice a little but then saw my post about staying home and it was just what she needed.

She said that it is good when we share the honest looks at our life because we never know who might need to read them. Isn’t that the truth?!

It is one of the reasons I blog…typically I have a “failure” type of story to share…how I did it wrong, so learn from me kind of wisdom. And I do that because for SO LONG I felt alone. Isolated and certain that everyone else had this life figured out and somehow I had missed the memo on how to get there.

We need to encourage one another, tell the truths that our hearts are longing to hear!

My dear friend Holley Gerth has written a new devotional called “Do You Know You’re Already Amazing” – 30 Truths to set your heart free. If you have ever read any of Holley’s books or blog posts you will know she writes as though she is sitting across from you, sharing life. As a woman who has struggled with knowing who God created her to be, Holley understands the unique way that women need to be encouraged. In person, she is an embodiment of grace and kindness, she is a true gift.

This devotional is her newest offering, that I think needs to be in the hands of every woman. Filled with short pieces that not only encourage but challenge, this devotional is the perfect way to start out each new day.

Using stories out of the Bible, Holley reminds us that if God can use people with “dark” pasts in the Bible, certainly He can use us as well. Each days’ writing ends with a couple of questions for reflection and consideration.

Those sections at the end are called “Truth for your Heart.” Because Holley recognizes that so often we fill our thoughts and our hearts with lies and then we get stuck. In these places we can search our hearts for any lies we may be holding on to and humbly ask God for the wisdom and clarity we need to move forward in freedom.

Oh friends, it is good stuff!!

So as you start this new week I encourage you to be real with one another, drop the guilt you may be carrying and equip yourself with some truth and encouragement for your journey by picking up a copy of this book!

Happy Tuesday friends!

No Longer Ashamed – Finding an Identity in Christ

identity in christ!

I have spent a lot of my life living under the weight of my past and my failures.

Convinced I didn’t have anything to offer, and further justified in my mind when I would see others succeed and I did not.

My identity had become something that was defined by my success (or lack thereof), if I wasn’t invited to be a part of something I must not be worth it. I became more and more ashamed of who I was and certain that I had no value.

I can see today that it was a lie – but in the thick of it, it seemed like absolute truth.

Oh how we can be deceived. The Bible says in John 10:10 that the thief comes to kill and destroy but God has come to give us life and abundantly at that!

I have heard that verse hundreds of times over the course of my 41 years and it wasn’t until recently that I really understood its truth in my own life.

I have read a couple of books about shame in the past 6 months, most recently one called “Unashamed – Healing our brokenness and finding freedom from shame” by Heather Davis Nelson.

In it she describes shame as “the feeling that we have missed the mark according to our own standard or our perception of someone else’s standard for us. Shame keeps us from being honest about our struggles, sins and less than perfect moments. Fear of shame drives us to perfectionism in all areas of our lives, so that there would be no imperfection to be noticed and judged. Shame is what we heap on others when they fail us. Shame keeps us holding onto bitterness and refusing to forgive. We are impacted by the shame of sin committed against us, and this drives a wedge into our relationships.” p20

That feeling we have missed the mark….

The story of my life really, but I want freedom and I believe it is possible!

But it starts with an honest look at what has shaped me over the years. How I see people seeing me now. Why the opinions of others matter SO much and a look at who am I living my life for.

These aren’t easy questions to explore and honestly it has been a bit of a painful process.

But I believe that the heart work has been necessary to get to that place that I can be honest with others. The hope is that in doing so we can surround ourselves with a body of believers that encourages us in spite of our failures.

Heather says this…“Imagine a community where we are free to be known and seen for who we are on our best days and our worst days.” p83

If I want that community for myself I first need to be that kind of community to others. And I can use Christ as my example.

Finding my identity in the One who can fully restore me from all shame, all my sinful past, all my mistakes and hurts.

Heather said it beautifully here…“Rescue comes only through Jesus. Jesus took the shame of our shame-filled (and shame-fueled) performances and mis-placed blame, and bore it in His body and shed blood for us on the cross. He covered not only the guilt of our sin, but our shame of trying to cover up our sin. And the good news doesn’t stop there! We have Jesus’s righteous performance in place of our feeble half-hearted attempts.” p93

Jesus did it all.

And He did it EVEN THOUGH He knew what my sins would be. He loved me that much. And now because of this great sacrifice, my identity isn’t one of sin and shame but instead an identity filled with the goodness of who Christ is.

It’s pretty amazing really and I am so grateful for this gift of new life He has given me!

I don’t know about you, but trying to be something I am not is exhausting. I won’t ever get this life “right”, I can’t be perfect and when I try (and for all the wrong reasons) I will fail every time.

Instead I am finding peace and sanctuary in the knowledge of my new identity and claiming it with TRUTH from His word.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has done, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1

“I have been crucified with Christ and therefore I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20-21

Take some time today to revel in those truths. If you have struggled with your identity, start praying about how God can open your eyes to your real identity through Him. Take a step of faith and start building community with someone you can trust, and start getting real. I think that as we do this and then also claim truth in our hearts from the scripture we will start walking in the freedom that God has intended for us all along!

Heather’s book is really good and explores areas of shame in our body image, our social interactions and our performance. What I loved most about the book was that it is filled with the truth and encouragement that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus. Not another self-help book but rather a hope-filled book that can help you identity shame and then break free from the chains it has on you!

I was sent a copy of Unashamed to review for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The wonderful people at #FlyBy have a copy of this book for me to giveaway to one of my readers!! If you would like a copy simply leave a comment below! I will pick a winner next Friday the 8th!

Unashamed book

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”) Many thanks to Propeller Consultin, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Photo Credit: via

Chasing Sunsets and Looking for Lovely

Sunrise

I love me a good sunrise or sunset.

My ONLY regret about the house we bought here in MN is that we can’t see the sunrises or sunsets very well. Homes and trees block the majority of our view, so while I get glimpses, I never get the full picture sitting inside my home.

But there is the rare occasion that I am bringing kids to school or heading home from church on Wednesday nights that I get to take in the beauty of a sunrise/sunset in its full glory.

I connect with God through His creation. There is something special about seeing the colors change across the sky, so brief and fleeting, but realizing the promise that they always return with each new day.

There are moments when I wish I could take time and just chase sunsets, every day, seek out that beauty and pause to take it all in. Because often times I struggle to see any light at all…

I have battled with depression for probably longer than I’d like to admit.

I do a pretty good job of disguising it for those I come in contact with. I can fix myself up and pretend that I have got it all together. But the banter that happens in my head is anything but put together and lovely.

It is often negative and oppressive, filled with comparison and littered with envy and jealousy. I want what I think you have and have to fight to see the many (obvious) blessings in my own life. I know that I have so many things to be grateful for but sometimes the knowing isn’t enough, it seems.

Recently I got a book in the mail that has helped me feel less alone in this struggle, and also has set a path in motion to my seeking out the lovely in my day…even if it is small or seemingly insignificant.

In her book Looking for Lovely Annie writes this: “I had an addiction. For over twenty years I had taken all the pain and hurt and pushed it straight down my throat. For as much as I read the Bible, sat in Sunday school, and made church my second home, I wish I’d understood, “His ears are open for their cries for help” (Psalm 34:15) Instead of feeling any of the suffering, instead of pressing through the pain and taking it to God, trusting that He heard me, I escaped to anywhere that would feed me, and I stuffed my emotions down by covering them in layers of food.” (p.37)

In my book I have those lines underlined and where she has food, I crossed it out and wrote in anger. I could also have written shopping or any thing that I set out to do that fills me up and makes me “feel” more valuable…host a party so I get praise, work on the “perfect” blog post so I can encourage others and bolster my self esteem…the list could go on and on.

Instead of dealing with the heart of what’s at the center of the darkness I feel inside, I run to fill the emptiness with things that never fully satisfy.

In her journey to be “rebuilt”, Annie knew that “she needed the strength of heart to hold on until God could complete the work He had begun.” (p.47)

This rebuilding is hard, laborious work isn’t it? If you have walked through a time of self discovery yourself, you know that it is often painful and slow. There are days that I feel like I have taken several steps forward only to find myself right back in the muck of my old ways, full of mistakes.

In these times I need to take just a little time to focus on the lovely around me. A beautiful sky, the sound of the rain falling, a clean closet or some one on one time with one of my kids.

I loved what Annie had to say about it: “It’s not about pretending everything is beautiful and nothing is ugly and you have no questions or doubts and picking out the beautiful in your everyday is going to protect you from anything hurting ever. It’s about feeling the pain, letting the suffering be a part of your life…because there is beauty in choosing to feel that pain, in calling hurt what it is, and not pretending that everything is okay.” (p.76)

Ultimately I want to be able to be okay not being okay.

There is a freedom in being able to be transparent and honest, and I want that in my life. I want to recognize where I am still stuck, take responsibility for the things that are mine and find contentment and joy even if my life isn’t picture perfect.

Annie found that in many deep and meaningful ways. Her book is filled with both struggle and progress. As raw and honest as they come, she has walked this hard path and offers hope for those of us on a similar journey.

“It’s not that my life is all that different; it’s just that I see it differently. So it feels like a brand-new life.” (p.172)

So I am going to keep chasing sunsets, I will paint my fingernails a fun color and enjoy the little things that bring me joy. And I will also continue to allow God to refine me and my character. Allowing myself to be humbled because it brings healing. I don’t have to run from the hard, or stuff it away, or fill it with things of this world. Instead I will seek the lovely through it all and trust that even if my circumstances haven’t changed, that one day I too will begin to see differently as well.

I received an advance copy of Annie’s book as a part of her launch team. I LOVED this book and so I have a copy to share here with one of my readers. I think every woman needs to read this book – so leave a comment to be entered and I will pick the winner on Friday April 8th!

An Unlikely Bunch – The Gift of Friendship

Gift of Friendship

I’ll just start out by being really honest with you. I didn’t want to be a part of their “group”. When Dominic “recommended” that I go to the new bible study meeting at church I was less than enthused.

There were several times over the course of the past 4 years that I wanted to participate in one of the bible studies, but there never seemed to be time. But now it was HIS idea so somehow it was a priority. And I didn’t want to go.

You see we were really struggling, no…I was really struggling. My attitude and behavior were less than ideal and I was creating waves in our marriage that were drowning us both. I needed something, I knew it…but I didn’t want it to be something he recommended. Admitting this was a good thing was also an admission that I needed help and I wasn’t ready for that.

I can be a bit overreactive and emotional if you couldn’t tell….

A small piece of me knew that if I didn’t go to this study, I may ruin future opportunities…so that first Monday I got in my car and drove to church. It is a 15 minute drive and I fought with God the entire way. “I DON’T want to be doing this Lord. I know that I need something, but I don’t want it to be the something he recommended. I know I am being terrible right now, so please Lord would you give me even one thing at this study tonight that I could take home with me?”

In my time of desperation, when I called out to God, He heard and He answered.

We are an unlikely bunch. The women in my bible study come from all different places. Some of us are mothers, others grandmas. Some of us are moms of teens and others MOPS. Each of us have a different story to tell. Hurts that have cut us deep and shaped who we are today. Struggles with finances and marriages and freedom from the lies of the enemy.

None of us the same and yet each of us are connected in unity with one goal in mind.

We are seeking a God that loves the very broken women that we are and we are working towards knowing Him more. Becoming a light to those around us, sharing our hurts and our hopes in order to lift one another up.

If you were there with us, you would be warmly welcomed. We don’t have all the answers so we search the God that does. We fail in our jobs and our homes and then we come and share our stories of imperfection. It is a safe place that we can be real and yet walk away lavished in the truth of who we are in Christ.

It was not at all what I expected and exactly what I needed.

I don’t know where you find yourself today. Maybe you have been hurt by the church, or by women…I know it happens and can I just say that I am sorry! I know that I have been that judgmental woman myself, believing that I wouldn’t fit in with “that group.” But boy when I prayed that simple prayer for God to give me one thing I could take home, He gave me an unlikely group of women that have become friends. And I am so grateful.

It is my prayer that we can continue to be that gift to more women that join us…that His love would spread into our homes and our workplaces and communities. That by gathering together as imperfect women, seeking God, we will be able to then be a blessing to someone else who really needs it.

I think that is exactly why God gave us friendships, and today I celebrate that!  Celebrating the friendships that give life today and celebrating the launch of this new book. The Gift of Friendship – Stories that Celebrate the Beauty of Shared Moments by Dawn Camp is available for sale now. A beautiful book filled with stories from women who are doing life with friends. The hard, the wonderful, the scary moments that happen in friendship are all shared in this book. A perfect gift for the friends in your life!

It’s Time to Break Busy

Breaking-Busy-Book.-Crazy-Busy-Instagram.-Alli-Worthington(pp_w890_h890)

It is the most common answer when someone asks how we are doing…

We are Busy.

Always busy.

Sometimes I think that I wear busy like a badge of honor. Being busy must indicate that my days are filled with important things and that must make me valuable right?!

When I am focused on preforming, on being someone that matters in this world, I loose my focus on what’s really important.

Alli Worthington talks about this busy cycle in her new book Breaking Busy. (Available tomorrow January 26th!!) She says “Crazy busy is a life without peace. It’s marked by decisions made for the approval of the world, not the approval of God. It’s filled with what we think we “should” do, what we think will make others happy, and we think being a good person (or good girl) looks like. All this busyness, in the end, keeps us out of reach of the life we were created to live.”

How is it that this has become my life?

I recognize the need for peace in my life but yet I can’t stop my need to seek perfection. As if it is ever even available!

Alli shares some signs to help you determine if you are too busy. Things like an inability to control your emotions, or lack of self care. Check and check.

So here’s the raw and ugly truth.

When I spend every waking moment filling my life with way too much, seeking the approval of man over the love of God…I find myself bitter, overwhelmed and quite frankly out of control.

How can we see God’s purpose in our lives, and recognize the gifts He gave us?

Alli says “I have learned that God plants gifts in us and provides opportunities throughout our lives to fulfill our life’s purpose. But we have to break the cycle of busy in our lives if we are going to have enough room to discover God’s plan – our destiny.”

So what’s an overachiever, can’t say no, trying to measure up kind of girl like myself supposed to do?

First, and I am learning this painfully slow…I have to start saying no. Not to everything, but I am trying to be prayerful about the things I say yes to. The places I spend my time, and those commitments that take me away from my family.

It isn’t easy at times, and I struggle even more in our business trying to find that balance between keeping our clients happy and having a manageable schedule. But if we want to enjoy life even a little, finding that balance is necessary for all of us!

Second, I am seeking God for direction in all things. I don’t do this well all the time either but I am trying. I stepped down from the worship team at church in October. I miss it more than I thought I would and part of me really wants to go back. But I have been praying about it and asking God to make it clear if or when that should happen. I haven’t felt His leading and so I am staying where I am.

I want my participation in leading worship to be all for His glory and not to bolster my self esteem. Right now I think it would be more about me than Him…so some continued heart work will need to happen until I am in the best place to honor God with my voice.

And finally I am investing in things that will be best for my emotional/spiritual/mental health. I typically have not been good about taking responsibility for my actions and behaviors. When my emotions get out of control I hurt people. I didn’t want to admit that I needed some help, but I did.

So recently I have been meeting with a counselor. A Christian counselor who is helping me to see what makes me, me and why I think/act the way I do. I am discovering more about who I am, the lies that I have believed for way too long, and what my identity in Christ really is.

It isn’t necessarily convenient to meet with him each week and takes several hours out of my morning because it is over an hour drive to see him. But the time is well spent when my emotional, spiritual and mental health are improving.

Sometimes it is necessary in our busy lives to carve time out to take care of ourselves isn’t it?!

You see, the enemy wants nothing more than to keep us stuck on the merry-go-round of busy. In that place where we are doing too much, we don’t have time for God and really don’t have time to seek out His plans for our lives!

Alli writes this, “Keeping us busy trying to prove our worth is the easiest way to keep us from the life that God created us to live because it makes us think that our worth is based on what we do, instead of who God is.”

Isn’t that some powerful truth?!

This book came at the perfect time for me. I needed the truths that Ali shares in her book. I needed to be challenged and encouraged and this book does just that. I received a copy of her book as a part of her launch team but even more fun is that I have a copy to give away to one of you!!

So if you want to win, please leave a comment telling me one area of your life you would like to be less busy. Additional entries can be received by sharing this post on social media. Leave a comment for each share! I will choose a winner on Friday January 29th!

A Woman of Fervent Prayer

Fervent

I have not seen the War Room movie yet, but I am desperate to after reading this amazing book Fervent -by Pricilla Shirer. I was sent this book and several others that are all designed to partner with the movie. All of them are wonderful resources, but this book was POWERFUL. I read almost the entire book on my plane trips to Florida!

Just the back cover was enough to peak my interest….

“You have an enemy. And he’s dead set on destroying all you hold dear. He does it strategically. He does it specifically. He’s doing it right this minute, in fact – aimed at personally drawn targets on your heart, your home, your mind, your life. And this book, the battle plan, is your chance to fight back. With a weapon that really works, With prayer.”

Oh friends. This book is THE BOOK you need to be reading right now.

I have long felt the attacks of an enemy that seeks to ruin and destroy all that we hold dear. Any time my husband or I step out to do something FOR God, participate in a church activity, share our story, get involved in a ministry…EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. we are attacked.

Sometimes we don’t see it as an attack either, we just become short with one another, our tempers flare, we get over busy and overwhelmed, we stop praying and start trying to handle it all ourselves and then BAM we are waist deep in the thick of a struggle or sin.

THIS is where the enemy wants to keep us!

STUCK. ANGRY. OVERWHELMED. DISTANT. LONELY…

My friends the list goes on and on. When we find ourselves surrounded with our problems, when we allow unforgiveness to flood our hearts, when we choose sin because trying to do the right thing is too much…the enemy is having a party.

Pricilla says “The real enemy isn’t your husband. Or your teenager. Or your brother’s wife. Or your mother-in-law. Or the weather. Or the traffic. Or your sweet tooth. Or whatever powder keg of frustration really gets under your skin and sets you off before you can think straight. The real enemy – the capital E “Enemy” – well you know who it is. And you cannot keep letting him go unchecked while you throw money and anger and logic and physchology at your problems in a vain attempt at overcoming or outsmarting them…..”(p 43)

It doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to sit around helpless. We CAN do something. We can fight, we can stand firm in who Christ has created us to be and we can live in victory but we have to enter the battle prepared. We MUST prepare first with prayer!

“Prayer is a reminder to yourself, as well as declaration to the enemy, that you know he’s there. That you are on to him. When you bring your concerns and fears and irritations to the Lord in prayer, you’re aligning your weak-ling spirit with the full force of God’s Holy Spirit. Instead of continuing to to fail by taking the battle into your own hands – and taking the battle to the wrong people – you’re joining instead with all the power of heaven….” (p44)

This book caused me to ask myself if I am bringing all of my fear, frustrations and worries to God. What am I trying to handle on my own? What am I “allowing” God to be a part of? So much more today I realize that He wants to be a part of ALL of it. God loves me and wants to fight FOR me, WITH me….so why don’t I let Him?

One of the ways this book encourages a strategic battle plan is to pray using the PRAY model.

P – Praise – Thank Him for completely forgiving you, cleansing you, changing you.

R – Repentance – See the foolishness of anything that perpetuates old sin patterns , and by His Holy Spirit, walk away.

A – Asking – Ask for freedom, for release, for the ability to deflect lies and embrace truth.

Y – Yes – Because you,, by His resurrection power, can now walk in a new way of life.

We need to fight these battles with prayer.

In the movie the main character gets a prayer room. She starts writing down her prayers and then tapes them up on the walls. It is a tangible way to see and remember all of the things you are praying for and also documenting when answers come.

At this point I don’t have a specific space that is a prayer room for me, but I do have a prayer journal. Each morning I get up and write out my daily prayer requests in my journal. One of the resources Icon Media sent to me was a prayer journal. They also have a beautiful book for kids that talks about a boy’s journey to prayer and it includes this poster with “I prayed” stickers so the kids can write out their prayers and see tangible results as well.

I am finding more and more for myself that prayer needs to be something so constant, it becomes like breathing. I need prayer to sustain me, to keep me going, to ground me, encourage and bring hope.

Prayer does that for me. Even when the answer isn’t as I had hoped…I can start to see God’s plan in my life, recognize His provision and protection. Prayer gives me peace when things are spinning out of control.

I really can’t recommend this book enough. I have more pages underlines, starred, dog eared and circled than I have in any book I have read recently. Filled with Bible verses, encouragement, real life examples and hope…Fervent is a book you need to order today!

Check out all the resources that accompany the War Room! I received these books at no cost from Icon Media in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Song {And a Giveaway!} #awakenlove

The Song 2

I have shared before that Dominic and I spent way too many years struggling in our marriage. We just weren’t equipped to handle marriage well and we were far from God…it was not a good mix.

Unfortunately we built up a lot of bad habits during that time and learned how to fight well and love poorly. Today I am so grateful for the grace that has been poured out on our marriage and the restoration that we have seen take place.

It isn’t easy and it takes work and a lot of prayer – but God is faithful!

Today we work together and spend most of our days and nights together. There have been “interesting” moments for sure, but for the most part we both feel blessed that we have this opportunity now.

But the one thing we are the worst at is finding time for just the two of us.

Date night? What is that?! 🙂

In fact a few weekends ago we had some clients to visit in the afternoon and decided to get dinner out together afterwards and Dominic felt guilty that we were having a nice dinner and the kids were a home eating leftovers. (They survived if you can believe it!) 😉

Time together just the two of us, not doing work, is so important though. 

It is easy to get busy, make excuses and not participate in things because there is always something else that needs our attention.

Recently we started hosting a small group from church at our home every Sunday night. It has been so good to fellowship with other couples, even if all our kids are upstairs.

But even more than that I want us to learn more about each other, so when I was asked if I wanted a copy of THE SONG: Awaken Love Couple’s Devotional  to review, I was excited. I love having resources available that help encourage strengthening a marriage.

The Song 3

This devotional is based on the Song of Solomon in the Bible. It is a 6 week devotional with short lessons for 5 days of each week.

Short stories and some discussion questions to get the couple talking, this is an easy way to increase communication and look at how God’s Word views marriage.

The Awaken Love devotional is a great resource for any couple to have!

I would encourage you to check out this website. It has links to materials you can purchase as well as links to other free resources. These were my favorites. Rekindle your Marriage Resource and 10 Ways to Pray Protection over Your Marriage.

As a part of this post FlyBy is offering the devotional for free to one of my readers. So if you would like to win a copy please leave a comment below and I will pick a winner on Friday November 21st!

#seethesong

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

31 Days of Finding God – HONOR

Thank you for joining me in my series 31 Days of Finding God. Each day I am going to use a prompt from Kate and incorporate that into how I am finding God in my everyday!

Noah 1

Today’s prompt is Honor!

Honoring God is not something I do well. Especially when I am being asked to do something hard or seemingly impossible.

My pull would probably be to act in a dishonorable way, repent and seek to do it right the second time around. : /

In the Bible we have an example of someone who was a very honorable man of God.

Noah.

Noah 4

I was recently sent a children’s book to review by Handlebar Marketing. Noah is a wordless picture book for children and adults alike. The pictures on each page are stunning.

Because there aren’t any words, it allows the opportunity for the reader to share the story in their own words. While I know the “traditional” story of Noah, I wanted to re-read it in Genesis again with fresh eyes. See Genesis 5:32-10:1 to read the entire story for yourself!

First of all, the story starts that Noah was 500 years old when he fathered his 3 boys. How had I never remembered that?!

Second it talks about how wicked man had become. Men and women that weren’t honoring God and God regretted that he had created man. BUT Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Because Noah had lived in an honorable way, righteous and blameless in God’s sight, God came to Noah and said that He was going to send a flood that would wipe out all humanity, all creatures. He then asked Noah (who was over 500 years old!!!) to build an ark.

What I found new in this story (to me ) was that God was very specific with Noah, specific about the size, the rooms and levels. The animals that he was to bring with. While the request may have seem crazy, God guided every step!

Noah 2

The Bible says that when the flood waters came Noah was 600 years old! The animals came that the Lord commanded and God shut them in the ark. And the waters prevailed for 150 days. Noah sent a dove out to find dry land, once the dove returned with an olive branch Noah knew that there would once again be dry land.

Noah 3

Once on dry land, Noah being an honorable man, gave up a burnt offering to God and God was pleased and made a covenant with Noah and future generations.

Genesis 9: 9-11 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you,  and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth.  I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

Sometimes making the right choice is hard. We may have to work, to trust God in the unknown, follow His plan even when it feels crazy or impossible. But when we do, we honor God. And like Noah we will be richly blessed because of it.

This book would be a beautiful addition to your children’s library. What a fun way to tell this important about being honorable to God, to your children.

31 Days Button

In Him, Kristin

**Disclosure – I received a copy of Noah from Handlebar Marketing for free in exchange for my honest review of the product. All opinions expressed here are my own.**

Overrated {A Review and Giveaway} #OverratedBook

Overrated

Can I be honest with you?

Sometimes I am all talk. It sucks to admit that, but it is true.

I have a passionate heart for others. I have blogged here before about difference causes I support and believe in. And I DO believe in them.

But you know what else?

Blogging about it, maybe donating $50 here or there feels good, and at times feels like I am doing enough.

But am I?

Could I do more – of course. But do I? Because in doing more I may be asked to step out of my comfort zone. I may be called to give bigger, go places I am afraid of, serve people in my community….am I ready for that?

In his book “Overrated”, Eugene Cho tackles this very subject. In his own words, “I like to talk about changing the world but I don’t really like to do what it takes.”

Yep…the tag line of his book caught my attention in a big way.

Because if I am honest, this is me.

I have always said that I want to DO something with my life. Make a difference, BE a difference. But what am I doing about it? Not much I am afraid.

Eugene Cho wanted to start living what he was preaching. “Overrated” is his and his families journey to doing more. He challenges the reader to research and understand the causes they support and then get out there do the work.

“We owe it to ourselves to be prayerful, knowledgeable and committed to being experts on the work and conviction to which we feel called. While we may never fully get there, it’s a life long commitment to be a learner. This is, in essence, what it means to be a disciple.”

And these words hit home as well..(I am telling you this is a tough book, tough because it IS convicting but in a good way! I needed these words!)

“Don’t ask people to pray if you’re not willing to pray.”

” Don’t ask people to fast if you’re not fasting.”

“Don’t ask people to serve if you’re not willing to serve….”

I have blogged before about a cause I believe in, but then actually never did much else. Not that spreading awareness is a negative thing. There may be someone who reads our words and it is just the cause they feel called to help. But to be an even greater example, I need to be willing to forge ahead myself first!

Here’s the thing, and the point of this book – be aware. Be aware of why we are telling the stories we are. Why we write about causes we love, is it to make change or make us feel better? Are we willing to do the hard work ourselves, and not for our glory but for God’s? “Let’s not just tell a good story, let’s live a good story.” 

“Ideas, dreams, and visions don’t change the world. Rather, it’s people – like you and me, who faithfully, prayerfully, and tenaciously live out these ideas, dreams, and visions – who change the world.”

Eugene is someone who has struggled with these very issues, he writes with honesty and transparency and challenges the reader to think differently. I was fortunate to receive a  copy of this book from FlyBy Promotions in exchange for my honest review.

They are also giving me a copy to give away here to one lucky reader. So to enter please leave a comment sharing one cause/charity that is near and dear to you! Winner will be chosen on Friday October 3rd.

Check out the book trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kqvd12mEEK4&list=UU4vF_MunQDVGg-P497Bj6nA

Official Websitehttp://areyouoverrated.com
Disclosure: Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and not infulenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...