Photo by Marcisim taken from Pixabay.com

Seeing others, really seeing them, doesn’t come naturally. I think that’s because most of us, me included, have a strong self-obsession. Meaning, our thoughts most often are centered on we, ourselves, and us. This is an area God is really working on in me lately. I so want to be a blessing. To be the type of woman who brings out the best in others, points them toward Jesus, and helps them discover and grow in their calling.

It’s time I get more intentional in my efforts. It’s time I practice regularly dying to myself so that Christ might always, at every moment, live through me.

Today’s post by women’s fiction writer Brenda Anderson encouraged me this morning. I hope it does you as well.

BUT first, fun news. When Dawn Breaks is on sale for under $4! You can get your copy HERE. You can read the first three chapters for free HERE.

A Gem of a Gift by Brenda AndersonHead Shot (466 x 600)

I’m blessed to have been given the gift of writing fiction. Think about it. I get to create people, cities, or even whole new worlds. How fun is that? Even more exciting is that I get to share this gift with others, hopefully spreading the gospel in a unique way, just as Jesus did with the parables. What an awesome privilege.

God’s gifts are like precious gems: they’re multi-faceted. Until recently, I focused on spreading the gospel as the purpose for this gift of writing, but God has shown me an equally precious facet: learning to see others through His eyes, with His heart.

My stories tend to center around people who’ve experienced the darker side of life, many by their own choices. My hero in my Coming Home series killed a teen in an inattentive-driving accident. My heroine chose to abort not just one, but two children, and was a pro-choice advocate. In my current release, Hungry for Home, the focus is on a homeless teen who mugs a woman.

Honestly, my first reaction when I hear of someone who fits the above description is disgust. What was he thinking to be driving while texting? How selfish, uncaring are you to be pro-abortion? That teen needs to go to jail! How dare he mug that woman?

On the surface, they’re people I don’t really like. But God does. He not only likes them, He loves them, and through their stories He’s shown me the heart He sees.


Photo by Foundry taken from Pixabay.com

He’s helped me realize I’m no different from them. He’s shown me why they behaved as they did, not excusing the behavior, but knowing the why helps me meet them where they’re at and love them there. God has said to me, “This is my child, and I love them. Help others love them too.” I saw them as broken and needing a savior.

Just like me.

So now when I’m watching the news or reading the newspaper that spotlights bad or horrible behavior, rather than judge, I tell myself that God loves them too, and I ask “What’s their story?” and pray to see the heart that God sees.

What an immense privilege it is to see God’s children in this new light, like the sun shining through a crystal prism!

I can’t wait to see what else God has planned through this gift!

Hungry for Home front cover (373 x 600)About Hungry for Home:

After a troubling encounter with a pregnant teen, Sheila Peterson-Brooks hurries from the crisis pregnancy center into the frigid Minnesota winter where she is mugged and left for dead. After a frantic search, Richard, her husband, finds her, and the police quickly nab the mugger …

A hungry, homeless teen.
The brother of the pregnant girl Sheila had just counseled.

The girl pleads for her brother, and Sheila and Richard choose not to press charges. Instead, they open their home to the boy, a move that could cost them their possessions, and their hearts.

And, in the process, teach them the true meaning of home.

Pre-Order Hungry for Home for Kindle: http://amzn.to/1VtIb8h

Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty and authentic, life-affirming fiction. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and is currently President of the ACFW Minnesota chapter, MN-NICE. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, theater, roller coasters, and baseball, and she loves watching movies with her family. She lives in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with her husband of 28 years, their three children, and one sassy cat.

Readers can learn more about Brenda S. Anderson at www.brendaandersonbooks.com. You can visit her personal blog and the group blog InkspirationalMessages she participates in, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter or Pinterest.

LivingbyGracepicLet’s talk about this. In what ways do you try to view others through God’s eyes? Is that easy or difficult for you, and why? What has helped in that regard? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

Normally during book launch time I share links of all the places I’ve been, online, in the past week, but today… I’m getting ready to head to Lincoln to spend time with my daughter. Yay!

I hope you’re day is as happy as mine. :)

To my subscribers who are getting double posts today, sorry! I needed to find a way to share the first scene of Intertwined for my FB launch party, and I couldn’t retain the formatting when I tried to post it directly to FB.)

Tammy pulled into her garage and stared at the entrance door to her home with a heavy sigh. Most likely, her husband Brody was asleep. Or zoned out watching television.

Completely oblivious to their rapidly decaying marriage.

She paused to read the verse taped to her dashboard:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy…it is not easily angered . . .”

A similar verse was tacked to the door leading into the house, and another one stuck to her bathroom mirror.

They weren’t helping. Nothing was. No matter how hard she tried, how fervently she prayed.

With a heavy heart, she glanced back at her two sleeping kids. Tylan’s chest rose and fell, his small lips slightly ajar. Beside him, Becky’s strawberry-blonde head leaned against the window, her bangs splayed across her forehead. Such precious little angels.

She reached back and squeezed her daughter’s knee. “Hey, sweet girl, we’re home.”

Becky stirred before opening droopy eyes. Strawberry blonde hair muffed, she glanced around, yawned, then got out, shuffling forward in a semi-alert state.

Tammy moved to the rear passenger side of the car to retrieve her sleeping son. The buzz of cicadas filled the thick Missouri air, ushering forth memories of lazy summer evenings. Back when she and Brody were still in love. Was it too late to rekindle their romance? To begin again?

As if to answer, the door to the kitchen creaked open, and Brody appeared.

“Hey, Dad.” Becky stopped in front of him as if waiting for a response.

“Hey.” Brody stepped aside to let her pass.

No, How was your day or hello hug? When had he become so cold, so uncaring? Swallowing past an unsettled stomach, Tammy offered him what she hoped to be a welcoming smile. “Hi.”

He nodded, stepping into the garage and continuing to the car. “I’ve got Tylan.”

She studied his face. The normal edge was replaced by dull eyes and a slackened mouth. “Rough day?”

He held her gaze for a moment, causing the knot in her gut to twist tighter. “We’ll talk later.”

Nothing good ever followed those words, but whatever it was, they’d get through it.


Her pulse quickened as she followed her husband, carrying a sleeping Tylan, down the hall and into his bedroom. Crossing the room in three long strides, he laid the child on his comforter, decorated with the Royals’ logo. He stirred, and his eyes fluttered open, before closing once again. A slight smile emerged as he rolled on his side.

Tammy unfolded a quilt on the foot of his bed and spread it over him, tucking the edge around his shoulder. She brushed a kiss against his temple. “Good night, sweet boy.”

Behind her, Brody’s footsteps receded.

She exited Tylan’s room and paused in the dimly lit hall to brace herself against an impeding argument. Brody’s words replayed through her brain. “We’ll talk later.”

Whatever he had to say, she would respond with love.

The floorboards creaked as she continued down the hall. She popped her head into Becky’s room to say goodnight before entering the dark living room. Brody sat with his back to her, in his favorite chair—one she and the kids bought him several Christmases ago.

Not wanting to see her husband’s loveless eyes, she kept the lights off.

She sank into the corner of the couch across from him, drawing up her knees and hugging them. Brody stared at his hands, twisted his wedding ring. Silence stretched between them.

She broke it first. “I’m sorry I’m late. Did you get my message?”

He raised his head, nodded.

“Look, if you’re mad about—”

“I’m leaving.”

Her breath caught. “What?”

He inhaled then let it out slowly. “I’m sorry. This isn’t working.”

“What do you mean it’s not working? Marriage isn’t a vacuum or blender you toss out when there’s a glitch. Listen, I know things have been . . .”

“Dead. Our marriage is dead, Tammy.”

She closed her eyes and massaged her forehead. “So let’s fix it. With God’s help—” Lord, give me strength.

“I’m in love with someone else. We’re getting a place.”

Tammy froze, bile seeping up her throat as a sharp pain seared her heart.

“I’m sorry.” His eyes softened. “I never meant for this to happen.”

“You’re sorry?” Hot blood coursed through her, turning her stomach. “You’re sorry? Don’t give me that garbage. You’re sorry for spilling soda or forgetting to pick up the clothes at the dry cleaners, not for . . .not for . . . How could you?”

He stood and raised his hand. “Calm down.”

“Don’t you dare.” The verse taped on her steering wheel flashed through her mind with little effect. “After twelve years! Twelve years of dirty underwear and socks thrown on the floor. Twelve years of packing your lunch, going to your work parties, wiping your whiskers out of the bathroom sink.” Tears pricked her eyes as she struggled to control her breathing. Lifting her chin, she leveled her gaze at her husband. “Think about what you’re doing. For the kids’ sake.”

“Mom? Dad?” Becky’s voice quivered as her big, blue eyes looked from one parent to the other.

“Oh, baby.” Tammy’s torso caved inward, a dull ache stabbing at her throat. How could Brody do this? “Everything’s okay.” Her voice shook. “Go back to bed. I’ll be there in a minute.”

Standing, she waited until Becky’s footfalls had faded then turned to her, her legs threatening to give way. “Don’t, Brody. Don’t throw it all away.”

He exhaled and shook his head. “It’s over, Tammy.”

Used by Permission. Intertwined: A Novel, by Jennifer Slattery (New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, AL) NewHopeDigital.com.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to catch a view of the world, of the Christians in the world, from God’s eye? How many believers are kneeling, at this moment, praying for help. For healing, revival, our schools, our country…

How many more are praying today, or perhaps praying more fervently, because of War Room?

Web1I know one woman, and that’s my guest blogger, Tamera Kraft, author of a Christmas Promise. In the following, she shares her waxing and waning prayer life and how God used a box office hit to bring it back to life. As you read her thoughts, pause to consider your prayer life. Is it growing stronger or beginning to die? Is it characterized by joy and passion or mindless obedience?

But first, I want to invite you to a party!

Today I’m celebrating anyway because the print version of Intertwined has now been released–a2f18-intertwined_n154121from CBD. (You can buy it HERE. Read the first 3 chapters HERE.) I’m not sure when that will happen at the other stores.

Because every celebration needs a party…

Join me this week, Thursday to Thursday, for a fun, interactive Facebook launch party where I’ll be giving away numerous signed copies of the novel. Come join the FUN!

How a Movie Revived My Prayer Life

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

I used to be a prayer warrior. I would get up early before my children went to school and pray every day for an hour. Sometimes the prayer would continue after I walked the kiddos to school. Back then, prayer seemed like breathing, living thing. I kept a running prayer list with Scriptures to back up my prayer requests.

I was amazed back then how God answered my prayers. My husband who was an alcoholic was

Photo by Woodpuncher found on pixabay.com

Photo by Woodpuncher found on pixabay.com

miraculously saved and gave up alcohol the same week. He changed so much that his voice activated car phone didn’t recognize his voice. After a year of contracting fibromyalgia, an incurable disorder, one night in church, God healed me. The doctor said it was like a light switch was turned off.

But then, things started getting off track. My children grew up and started families of their own. I stopped having to get up early to send them to school. Life distractions kept getting in the way. And miraculous answers to prayer didn’t seem to come as easily.

It wasn’t that I stopped praying or keeping my prayer list. I did pray, but not every day. It was sort of hit and miss. For months, I would pray diligently then fall back into the routine of not praying except when a need arose. I wanted to have a prayer time like I used to. I just didn’t.

Then I watched War Room. While I was watching Clara pray in her War Room, it reminded me of what I did when I couldn’t wait to pray. I wrote out Scriptures to go with my prayers. I got away in a secret place to do my praying. I scheduled my prayer time because of my busy life raising kids.

It was like a light bulb turned on in my head. I had stopped scheduling a time for prayer because I didn’t have to worry about children interrupting me. I’d stopped going into my prayer closet because without children at home, I could pray anywhere. My prayer had stopped becoming strategic. When that happened, it stopped becoming powerful.

Since watching War Room, my war room is open again for business. I’ve already started writing our verses and attaching them to prayers. And I can feel the difference. I can’t wait to see how God is going to answer my prayers. As James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

 Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She is married to the love of her life, has two grown children, and lives in Akron, Ohio. Soldier’s Heart and A Christmas Promise are two of her historical novellas that have been published. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest.

Visit Tamera online at the Word Sharpeners Blog, on Facebook, or connect with her on Twitter.


AChristmasPromise_med (1)A Christmas Promise:

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

“Revel in the spirit of a Colonial Christmas with this achingly tender love story that will warm both your heart and your faith. With rich historical detail and characters who live and breathe on the page, Tamera Lynn Kraft has penned a haunting tale of Moravian missionaries who selflessly bring the promise of Christ to the Lenape Indians. A beautiful way to set your season aglow, A Christmas Promise is truly a promise kept for a heartwarming holiday tale.” – Julie Lessman

Available at Amazonthe Pelican Book Group, and ChristianBooks.com

If you enjoyed this topic, you might be interested in reading the article I wrote on Faith, Friends and Chocolate Tuesday titled: War Room–a Writer’s Perspective. You can read it HERE.

Let’s talk about this. How satisfied are you with your prayer life? How to you keep it from growing stale, or from dying to nonexistence? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Living by Grace in the comments below, because we can all learn from each other!

Learning to Lead

10470238_1019000664782821_3748555308970693486_nI’ve spent the last eighteen years trying to teach our daughter and to train her to be more Christ-like. And yet, so often I’ve discovered, she’s the one teaching me. Last night our daughter Ashley shared an essay she wrote for an engineer leadership position she’s applying for at her university and I asked if I could share it here.

In the short essay below, she shares her experiences volunteering at the Hope Center in Omaha and what she learned from them. Something I myself need to keep in mind as I strive to lead, in whatever capacity the Lord assigns.

Learning to Lead by Ashley Slattery, University of Lincoln Nebraska student, 11796175_1116319855050901_6647543837368226488_nengineering major

When thinking back on the moments in one’s life that were impacted for the better by others, one doesn’t remember the boss barking orders as he props his feet up on his desk. No one thanks the professor who yelled at everyone for their lack of character growth. The true leaders are not those who command, but those who guide and encourage. Those who walk with their followers through life, get down on their level, and pull them up are the ones who are remembered for their impact.

One of the toughest, but best, tasks I have ever been charged with was teaching an art class for inner city kids at a local youth center. The kids all came from rough homes. Many had behavioral issues and a few even had PTSD. I was new. I didn’t know what I was doing, and they knew it. Therefore, they had no respect for me.

Try as I might, they would not sit down and do their projects that I had spent hours planning. Art wasn’t cool.

I desperately wanted to make an impact in these kids’ lives. I wanted my art room to be a place where they felt safe and loved. I wanted to show them that they had talents. I soon realized that I needed them to trust me first. So I started coming in early so I could play with them during free time. I became their friend, so I could also be their teacher.


photo by linlaoyou taken from pixabay.com

As I developed relationships with the kids, I realized that a lot of them didn’t want to do art because they thought they couldn’t. Because they expected to fail, they didn’t bother trying. So I brought art to their level. I taught them about legitimate street artists and other topics that were relevant to them and encouraged them.

I told them that if they did good, I would hang up their work, and the best paintings would be sold in an auction to benefit the program. I started having kids volunteer to come in early to help me set up, and stay after class to help me clean up. During free time kids would ask to work on their own projects and hang out in the art room. They were getting excited. By working with them instead of over them I had helped them discover their talent for themselves. Leadership is about relationships.


livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! First, to those of you who are parents and grandparents, you’re probably familiar with the saying, “Values are caught as much as taught.” We all know modeling is one of the most effective teaching methods. Are you, through your actions, helping to train up your children or grandchildren? Are you leading relationally or have rules and regulations dominated everything else?

For those of you who are local, on January 6th I’ll be speaking to a moms group in Plattsmouth on parenting to the heart–how we can help initiate life-change in our children, and this is all relational! You’re welcome to join us. I’ll share more info as the time gets closer.

And for all of us, what are your thoughts on leadership? Have you had similar experiences to Ashley’s, and if so, what did you learn from it? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

BUT, before I go, I just have to say one more thing, and this is to my daughter: Love you, girl!

Photo by Foundry taken from Pixabay.com

Photo by Foundry taken from Pixabay.com

It was a dark time, and I was pretty mad at God. I was so mad, so broken, I couldn’t bring myself to pray. And this frightened me. I was certain God was angry with me. After all, my attitude was less than admirable. But then, in the middle of my anger, a snippet of a sermon pierced through my heart like a divine embrace–God was holding me, and He’d never let go, regardless of how I felt.

This knowledge–knowing nothing, not even my terrible attitude, could snatch me out of His hands–carried me through the gunk, and now, standing on the other side, I can say amen to Paula’s post below. God does indeed make good on His promise is Romans 8:28, although His ways are usually different than we expect, as Paula explains. As you read her devotion, pause to rest in God’s never-failing love, asking Him to help you see the good He’s bringing out of whatever you’re going through.

As an added bonus, she’s giving away a free e-copy of her latest release, For Our Good. The winner will be randomly selected from the comments left on today’s post. 

But first, a praise! It’s release day! The e-version of Intertwined is now available! (The print a2f18-intertwined_n154121version should be releasing soon.) Get your copy HERE! Read a free, 3-chapter excerpt HERE! And read about how God used the story to call my husband to take action in a desperate situation HERE.

And now, today’s devotion, by Paula Mowery, author of For Our Good.

God’s Good–Thoughts on Romans 8:28 by Paula Mowery

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

Have you ever doubted the above verse? I know you’re nodding your head with me. Things have happened that have caused me to say, “Now, God, how in the world are You going to bring good from this?”

Admittedly, it pains me to even type out that doubtful attitude, but I’d be lying to say I had never exhibited that kind of distrust. But, can I tell you something else? God has never failed to deliver on that promise in Romans 8:28.

I can almost see you pursing your lips and tilting your head with a questioning expression. Maybe you’re remembering a time that things didn’t seem to work out well. I’ll throw a proverbial wrench into that line of thinking.

God’s “good” and ours may be totally different.

When what we expect to happen doesn’t occur, we might label that as not turning out well. But in God’s perspective, it is for the best.

Let me share an example with you. My grandfather had been in a nursing home for many years,

Photo by Geralt taken from Pixabay.com

Photo by Geralt taken from Pixabay.com

suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. My mother’s recent trip had left her so down because her father was in a fetal position, not anywhere close to the giant of a man he had been. Why wouldn’t God just take him on to Heaven? She struggled seeing him that way.

There was a disagreement with my grandfather’s old home place. Someone in the extended family was trying to take it to sell and make money for himself. Naturally the family didn’t want this to happen. A battle began but through a simple technicality, the family won. What was the technicality? I don’t understand all of the legal terms and such, but basically because my grandfather was still living, the case worked in the family’s favor. If he had been deceased, the stipulation wouldn’t have held and the extended family member would have won.

Now, when seeing my grandfather lay in that nursing home, just a shell, it seemed cruel that God wouldn’t just bring him home. But, God knew what was best.

Not always does God let us in on what He is doing for us. We simply have to trust that He is working things for our good because He loves us and knows what is best for those He calls his own.

ForOurGood copy (1)For Our Good:

Charlie Jarvis is haunted by loss that fuels her desire to rid the world of drug traffickers. When her next assignment takes her back to her hometown, she has to confront her painful past. She has no interest in a relationship since God seems to kill everyone she loves.

Colton Thomas appreciates material things and the status of being a corporate pilot. When someone approaches him to deliver a package for a large sum of money that could wipe out his debts, temptation knocks loud on his door even as his partner, Marshall, slams it shut. Meeting Charlie challenges his non-committal stance with women. As he considers who he has become and the kind of man he would want to be for Charlie, he confronts his own shallow lifestyle and the fear that he would never be able to help her heal her wounds.

As Charlie pursues the man causing young boys to die of overdoses, she struggles with the secrets she keeps from Colton. With people around them shining the light of God and encouraging their courtship, both Charlie and Colton have to face hard truths about life, death, love, and faith. And maybe find a fresh start for them both.

Paula Mowery is a published author, acquisitions editor, and speaker. Her first two published works, both women’s fiction, were The Blessing Seer and Be The Blessing from Pelican Book Group, and their themes have been the topics of speaking engagements. Be The Blessing won the Selah Award in 2014 in the novella category. In November of 2013, her first romance released in the anthology, Brave New Century, from Prism Book Group. This book went to number five on Amazon’s bestseller category, historical Christian romance. Legacy and Love was her first solo romance and was a finalist in the Carolyn Readers Choice Awards in 2015.

You can follow Paula online and find out more about her  and her upcoming appearances on Facebook and her blog. Read her monthly columns on the ChristianOnlineMagazine. You can also check out her blog for Christian writers HERE.

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! How have you seen God’s promise in Romans 8:28 come true in your life? Can you share a time when His good has been different than yours? What did you learn about Him, yourself, or the situation? How has Romans 8:28 given you hope during tough times? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

But before you go, join me on the following sites.

Yesterday my sweet husband was interviewed on Angela Meyers blog, and in the interview, he shared a God-story that brings tears to my eyes to this day. Love that man! Come read why he’s earned the title “warrior” HERE!

Today I’m on the Borrowed Book talking about the uncertainties of writing (read more HERE), and I’m sharing my encounter with one of the most beautiful gardens I’ve encountered. Read more HERE.

I was also on  the Borrowed Book on Tuesday to talk about something God is working, and working, and working on me for. (Is that grammatically correct? That must be the most awkward sentence of the day!) Read more HERE.

I also popped by author H.L. Wegley’s to talk about trusting God when life gets hard. You can read more HERE, and in a similar post, I visited Ginger Solomon’s to talk about finding joy when life gets hard. You can read more HERE. (Seems there’s a theme here!)



Photo by LoganArt taken from freedigitalphotos.net

This is almost ironic–the day after I make a vlog sharing my tendency to worry, stress and fret (when I should be still!) my article on Internet Cafe’ Devotions on embracing risk goes live. The two might seem contradictory… or maybe not. Because surrender is a constant, daily battle. As is learning to trust, and I say learning intentionally, because I believe we should be active participants in the processes that deepen our trust in Christ.

But that’s a blog (or maybe vlog) for another day.

If you have a tendency to worry, to work every what-if situation in your mind until your stomach knots and your temperature rises, if you’re like me and would rather avoid those uncomfortable stretching moments, you may be able to relate to the below. (And um… 4:00 yesterday quickly turned to 8 am today… Sorry about that!)

(After you watch my vlog, join me on Internet Cafe’ to take this trust thing one step further, figuratively and literally. Read more HERE.)

Oh, and it’s that time again–another book launch is upon me! Which means, in the next couple months, I’ll be visiting numerous websites, answering interview questions, sharing stories behind my stories, testimonial devotions and more. I’ll try to keep you updated of all my happenings and visits.

Today I’m on the Internet Cafe’ (linked to above). I visited Robin Mason’s blog to talk about self-protecting (or not) when we’re under attack. You can read more HERE.


Photo by Unsplash taken from Pixabay.com

I’m also on Preslaysa Williams blog talking about one of my favorite subjects–love! :) You can read more HERE! God has done such amazing things in my marriage, and thanks to Him, my honey and I will be leaving soon to head back to Seattle–where it all began–for a special anniversary week. To add fun to fun, I’m editing, now, a novel set in Seattle (which will release in March), so I hope to take lots of pictures for Pinterest!


Photo by ClkerFreeVectorImages taken from Pixabay.com

Do you ever feel generic? Unnoticed? Unappreciated? Maybe even undervalued? Behind every made-up face and carefully chosen outfit, behind every rehearsed speech and immaculate house, hides an insecure woman who, at some level, strives for what she believes she isn’t because she hasn’t learned to rest in who she is. Or should I say, whose she is.

Today fellow ACFW member Alexis Goring shares her thoughts on mankind’s constant yet Alexis A. Goring, Autumn 2012misguided strive for significance. As you read her thoughts, prayerfully ask God to show you what’s getting in the way of your resting fully in who He is and who you are in Him.

But first, a dash of hilarity–a fun parody to get you laughing about my next novel, Intertwined. Because if you’re going to make a book trailer, you might as well have fun doing it, right? Regardless if you tell the synopsis of the story…

Made in His Image

by Alexis A. Goring

Tests on Facebook are popular. One of the most popular is where you submit a profile picture and wait a few seconds for results to show you which celebrity you most resemble.

Tests like this feed on our innate desire for greatness. We want to “reach for the stars,” take selfies with our favorite celebrities, shake the hands of popular politicians and become best friends forever. Why? I believe it’s because we want to reach a level of greatness we believe can only be accomplished by connecting with people who’ve already achieved it.

But don’t you know that you already are connected to the ultimate form of greatness in the universe? Oh yes, dear one, God is great and you are made in His image! Genesis 1:26-27 tells us just how special you are to our Creator God. The passage reads:

“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” (NIV).

God made man in His image. Let’s delve into what this truth means: God created the entire universe. All that lives, breathes and moves was created by Him and for Him. God is the Author of Creation. He literally spoke the world into existence. He created everything here on Earth with the power of His Words. But when God created our first father Adam, He bent down in the soil and molded man, creating Adam in His image.

Do you know how special it is that God took time after speaking this world into existence, to use His Hands to mold man from the dust of the ground? Scripture says, “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7).

Do you know what else this means? We don’t need to continue searching for ways to connect with “great” people in this world. We can stop idolizing our favorite celebrities and “wishing upon a star” we’re lucky enough to meet and make them our best friend forever. God does encourage community, and we need friends. But when our desire to connect with greatness overrides our desire to connect with our Creator who is the Greatest, we have a problem.

God wants our loyalty and devotion, daily. He’s out of this world (literally) but He’s also right here, with us.

God sent His one and only Son into this world to show us the way to Him (John 3:16). So if we really want to connect with someone, it should be God’s Son (Jesus Christ) who is our Mediator, the only bridge between Earth and Heaven (John 14:6).

Even the most personable celebrities may not want to connect with their fans. But our Creator God not only wants to connect with His creation, He wants to forgive us our sins and offer us the gift of eternal life!

So next time you’re tempted to take a “celebrity look-a-like” tests, pause and remember that you already resemble someone great—you are made in the image of the Almighty God!


Alexis A. Goring is a writer at heart and a journalist by profession. She loves the art of storytelling and is especially delighted to have released her first book, an inspirational romance novella called Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories, in Sept. 2013. When Alexis isn’t working on her next book or chasing down the next big story for the newspaper where she works as a freelance reporter, she can be found listening to songs by her most admired musicians, enjoying the food in cafes/restaurants, shopping at her favorite malls and spending quality time with loved ones (family and friends).

Hope in My HeartHope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.

In “Love Unexpected,” a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.

Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, “The Best Gift.” Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.

In “Peace and Love,” three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.

Buy it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

 Connect with Alexis online on Facebook, her blog, “God is Love”, and Twitter– @pennedbyalex

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this. Some of us might be quite aware of our insecurities, but for others, our ever-need for significance might only rear its head when we’re offended. (Our reactions to difficult people, criticism, and hurtful experiences often reveal what’s hiding in our hearts.) For all of us, the answer is the same: rest in who we are in Christ and center our thoughts in His truth and promises.

When do you find you’re most insecure or easily offended? Chances are, those point to a hidden need for significance or validation in that area, which in turn reveals a hidden lie we’ve allowed ourselves to believe, like, “I’m not smart enough, good enough, talented or capable enough”. Ask God to show you the underlying cause of your pain, then ask Him to replace that with truth. Ask Him to help you see yourself as He sees you.

Share your thoughts and experiences with us, as well as how you’ve managed to ground your identity in Christ, here in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook. Because we can all learn from and encourage each other!


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