Posts Tagged ‘Living by Grace’

Photo by Stuart Miles taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by Stuart Miles taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Sometimes I approach Thanksgiving with a bit of a hum-bug spirit, thinking of all the to-dos and obligations. Other times, like this year, I toss those to-dos and self-imposed expectations aside to simply be. To enjoy time with family, the colors of fall, the smell of roasting turkey.

This year feels especially significant as it’s our daughter’s first Thanksgiving home, post college. Oh, how we’ve missed her, which might seem strange, considering she’s only 45 minutes away, and comes home quite often. But if you’re a parent, you understand. Our hearts hold tight to those precious gifts God once placed firmly in our hands. Today my sweet friend and fellow ACFW writer Ginger Solomon tells us about a special Thanksgiving blessing she received one year. As you read her post, think of your family and the love that holds it together. Or, if family is tough, think of the close relationships God has developed in your life. And hold tight to them. Invest in them. And thank God for them

A Special Thanksgiving Blessing by Ginger Solomon 

On this day twenty-two years ago–well, technically yesterday, but it was Thanksgiving Day that year—I delivered a turkey of my own at 2:19 in the morning. My turkey weighed 9 lbs and measured twenty-two

Photo by kangshutters taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by kangshutters taken from freedigitalphotos.net

inches long. He’s a big boy now, or rather a man, growing to a pretty tall 6’5”.

Every year, I give thanks for that child and the six others God has blessed me with.

Psalm 127:4-5 says, “Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.” (NLT) Well, I’m not a young man, but I still feel blessed.

Many people thought I was crazy after I announced pregnancies four through seven. I mean really, didn’t I know what caused that? Yes, people did have the audacity to ask those types questions. Most times I just smiled and ignored them.

Sometimes when I took them all to the store with me, which I did have to do for a while—my oldest was thirteen when the baby was born—I’d get odd looks, or a my-you-have-your-hands-full.

But even though I had some tough days—as most moms do—I wouldn’t trade any one of them for the world. They are unique individuals and will bless society with their gifts and abilities.

IMG_0496My first child (24) will graduate from nursing school with an RN next month. Child two (22)—mentioned above—graduates in May with a BS in Engineering(Computer). Child number three (18) just started college, aiming for a BS in Engineering(Mechanical). Child number four (girl #1; 17) will graduate high school in May. She wants to be a children’s pastor. Children five through seven (15, 13, & 11) don’t quite know what they want to do yet, but whatever it is, I’m ready to be amazed by God.

So this Thanksgiving as you wipe dirty hands and faces, worry about spilled something, struggle with getting a child to bed because he or she ate too much dessert, be thankful. That child will grow up and teach you much about trusting God.

And if you don’t have a child of your own, or yours are grown, help a mom out when she looks a little frazzled. Carry her groceries. Wipe a face. Hold a hand. Clean up a spill. If you’re a stranger, offer to push her cart while she carries the baby or consoles the toddler. Pay for her groceries, her lunch, or just a can of soda.

Even if all you can offer is a smile, she will be grateful that you’re not frowning at her because her child is having a bad day.

I pray blessings on your family from our family. Happy Thanksgiving.

Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer — in that order (mostly). When Solomon author imagenot homeschooling her youngest four, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre, some sci-fi/fantasy, and some suspense. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for two blogs. In addition to all that, she loves animals, likes to do needlework (knitting, crocheting, and sometimes cross-stitch), and is a fan of Once Upon a Time and Dr. Who.

Visit her online at her Website, her group blog Inspy Romance, her Facebook Author Page, on Twitter @GingerS219 and Pinterest

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this. What’s your Thanksgiving and Christmas look like? Will you have family close? For those who have strained family relationships or are mourning the loss of loved ones, I’m sorry. That’s tough. I hope you have a strong support group around you to help you enjoy this time. I hope you’ll find a way to make Thanksgiving special, however that looks for you. For those who will get to spend time with their loves ones, don’t let the to-dos take away from the must-dos of showing love, spending time, sharing laughter… eating massive quantities of pumpkin pie. With a decaf, almond milk latte, of course!

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Maria headshot LLBD (1)

Pride is something that everyone struggles with. In today’s guest blog post, author Mariah Morgan discusses how pride affects our relationship with Christ, and how we can combat it. As you read, be thinking about how you can fight your prideful nature.

Pride isn’t Pretty by Maria Morgan

Pride isn’t pretty. It takes on many forms – thinking we’re superior to others, making decisions without counsel, even putting ourselves down. Whether we want to admit it or not, all forms of pride are rebellion against God.

Pride has been around since the beginning of time. Once an angel, Lucifer (Satan) was cast out of heaven because of pride:

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High,” (Isaiah 14:12-14).

Where it begins  

Notice where pride began: in Lucifer’s heart. He held a prestigious position. He was the anointed cherub according to Ezekiel. Maybe his position caused him to get puffed up. Maybe it was his good looks (Ezekiel 28:17). Whatever the case, he desired to be God – serving God was no longer enough.

Satan used pride to get Eve to question God’s goodness in the Garden, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1b). Basically, Satan wanted Eve to think God was withholding something from her and Adam. Wasn’t it possible God just didn’t want them to be “gods, knowing good and evil”? (Genesis 3:5).

Wayward steps

Photo by tiverylucky taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by tiverylucky taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Eve looked at the fruit of the tree. It did look beautiful and ripe. What harm could come of taking just one bite? Without seeking Adam’s input, Eve plucked the fruit and gave some to her husband.

Before we’re too hard on Adam and Eve, don’t we do the same thing? Instead of living within the parameters of His will, we want to be the ones calling the shots. Our will seems to make more sense. One wayward step becomes two and pretty soon we’ve established our own little kingdom where we’re on the throne.

God is good

Fortunately, the Lord is well-acquainted with our weaknesses. With every temptation to give in to pride, He gives us a way of escape, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it,” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Because of the payment Christ made for our sins on the cross and God’s goodness, we can be victorious. When we’re careful to submit to God’s will, and resist the devil, pride won’t have a foothold in our lives. Walk in victory today!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for reminding me that there is a very real battle going on in my life between pride and humility. Help me fortify myself with Your Truth so I can stand against the enemy’s schemes. Today I submit to Your will knowing that You must increase and I must decrease. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

V4 - Louie and the Leafpile cover3Maria I. Morgan is an inspirational writer and speaker. She is the award-winning author of Louie’s BIG day! Her newest release, Louie & the Leaf Pile, shares the truth about pride in a child-friendly way. Regardless of the age of her audience, her goal is the same: to share God’s truth and make an eternal difference. She lives in the muggy South with her husband, two retrievers, and two Maine coon kitties ~ the perfect mix to fuel her creativity for years to come!




Let’s talk about this! How would you describe pride? How do our small prideful acts take us farther from God’s will? When you are focused on your own wants and goals, what brings you back to God, and what can we do to avoid falling into temptation? What steps will you take to walk in humility today?

Share your thoughts in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

For those of you who are local, this month on the 7th, I will be having a book signing at Divine Truth. For those of you who aren’t local but would still like autographed copies of any of my novels, either for yourself or as Christmas gifts, contact Rodney, the store manager at 402-592-4866 and he’ll make that happen!

For those of you who enjoy following my blog tours, here’s where I’ve been this week:

Today I’m visiting Ally Carter’s blog, talking to moms about making the most important thing most important. You can read this post HERE.

Yesterday I visited Ralene Burke’s blog to talk about finding confidence in the uncertainty, and the part unhindered, unconditional obedience plays in that. You can read that post HERE.

At Faith, Friends, and Chocolate, we celebrated our subscriber give-away winner and released our latest newsletter edition. You can check that out HERE.

On Friday, I visited Sharon Scrock’s to participate in a “Wild Card” interview. You can read the interview, along with an excerpt from Intertwined, HERE.


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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!

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Is your love for the convenient and comfortable keeping you from the extraordinary?

melodylodgekoct132_editedToday a sweet friend and talented author of Entrusted, Julie Arduini, challenges us to evaluate our life, opening ourselves up to God’s nudging, even if that nudging terrifies us or leads us well out of our comfort zones.

Moving Beyond the Comfortable by Julie Arduini

As Ruth worked the fields under the harsh sun and I suspect the wandering eyes of the fellow laborers, she wasn’t comfortable. The hours were long. It was dry and hot. Had I been out in those fields I confess it would take all of five minutes before the muttering would start. I would have imagined my life had I gone back home. Surely it would have been more…comfortable. I’d be angry thinking how Naomi would be home, not as hot and dirty, and although grieving, she’d still be what I was not.


Ruth in the fields symbolized her faith walk. It was outside the comfort zone. She could have returned home. She stayed with Naomi. She could have refused to work the fields, but she didn’t. She could have kept the fruits of her labors for herself but she went home and gave the grain to Naomi.

I’ve never had to work a field but I have been challenged to step outside the comfort zone. With writing I remember the day God whispered it was time to say goodbye to writing the newsletter for the local Mothers of Preschoolers group. There wasn’t a bad thing in what I was doing, but God was calling me to do more. I had no idea what that more looked like, and walking in obedience was definitely a leaving the comfort zone experience.

I’ve left the comforts of a life I thought I would spend the rest of my days. We were an Upstate NY family, it was all I knew. When the financial fallout of 9/11 hit our area my husband’s job changed. An opportunity came in the exact time frame his job was ending but it was nearly 300 miles away. It meant leaving everything and everyone in a season where our baby was very ill and my dad passed away. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

BeyondIDocoverIn Beyond I Do, Ainsley’s life is a fairly predictable package. Things are planned out. Her life, her future is…comfortable. How tempting it is to ignore His call and bulldoze forward on our own strength and hopes. Ainsley’s choice is what Ruth had to face. What I had to surrender was the comfort zone.

It isn’t easy but Ruth’s story offers a great look at God’s heart. When Ruth obeys and surrenders the comfort zone she has a protector and provider named Boaz. He makes sure she receives food, drink, the most fruitful land, and stalks that had already been pulled out for her.

The very first day we moved to Ohio our daughter, severely delayed at the time because of her sickness, pulled herself to stand. Our son blossomed in his new school. My husband thrived and had dreams fulfilled at church.

Ainsley received a happy ending.

Leaving the comfort zone isn’t easy. It’s a choice nearly every minute to fight resentment and grumbling. But eternal rewards are there and as Ruth 2:1-17 show, favor is abundant.

That’s the zone I want. How about you?

Could you relate to Ruth and her obedience to leave a comfort zone by working the fields?

Do you tend to resent people who don’t seem called to leave the comfort zone?

Have you ever been in Ainsley’s position with a future mapped out but God was calling you in a different direction?

Describe a time when you felt God’s favor and protection.

What do you sense God is asking you to do with what you’re reading in Ruth 2?


Julie Arduini is an author with a passion to encourage readers to find freedom through surrender. Her first Adirondack contemporary romance, Entrusted, gives readers hope to surrender fear. A Walk Through the Valley will soon be available as an infertility devotional with 5 other authors. She blogs every other Wednesday at Christians Read and is a frequent contributor to Jasmine’s Place. To learn more about her writing and love of chocolate, visit http://juliearduini.com. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.

Entrusted FRONT Cover_editedEntrusted:

Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl, plows–literally–into Adirondack village, Speculator Falls with a busted GPS. She gets a warning from the sheriff but has ideas for the senior center to prove she belongs in town as their director. Town councilman Ben Regan is as broken as the flower box Jenna demolished. He’s grieving and wants to shut down the center before there’s too much change and heartbreak. They work on community projects and build a slow relationship, but the council needs to vote on the senior center’s future. Can Jenna show Ben both her and the center are worth trusting?

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this. I often tell our daughter, I’d much rather receive God’s blessings than consequences. What I mean is, I’d rather be walking in His will then venturing away from it. There’ve been many times when following God’s will has been difficult, uncomfortable, and frightening. Moving to Papillion was one! (You can read about that here.) But in every trial and triumph I’ve learned God is good, loving, and faithful. He truly does have our best in mind.

Share your thoughts in response to Julie’s questions here, via our study email, or at our Beyond I Do Bible Study Facebook group. If you’re not a part of our email loop or Facebook group and would like to be, simply shoot me an email and I’ll get you added. :)

WhenDawnBreakspreliminaryBefore I go, I wanted to share some exciting events in my world. I recently learned my novel, When Dawn Breaks, is available for pre-order at 25% off! You can get it here.

As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution forces her to head north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. Dealing with his own issues, Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. And then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?

Read a free, 23 page excerpt here.

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I’m formatting this post through tear-blurred vision, amazed once again by God’s mercy and grace. Those who know me personally know I’m not the most advanced-thinking, detail-oriented writer on the web. Lately, with book edits and launch responsibilities, this has proved more true ID-100160717than ever. The result–I don’t often read the guest posts authors send me until the last minute. (Which can result in scrambling if I find what my guest has written isn’t a good fit. You’d think I’d learn.)

Similarly, with the gunk I’ve faced these past two years, you’d think I’d learn … to choose to praise when I want to isolate. To persevere when I’d rather stay in bed. To lean on Christ, who’s strength is made perfect in my weakness, when I feel defeated.

I’m learning. Slowly, and at times with gritted teeth.

Profile Pic mainLong intro to say, today is one of those days, and just when I was beginning to slip into poor-me mode, I read Misty Beller’s post on trials and reminded myself once again, God is in the gunk and the glorious, and He can and does use every tear, trial, and triumph for eternal good.

The Blessings of Trials by Misty Beller

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

I’m not sure who came up with this nifty saying, but for so many years it’s been my life’s motto.

The fact is, trials happen. Life is hard. But through the pain, God has taught me two vital truths.

  1. Sometimes you just have to buckle down and get through it.

Over the last year, my family’s gone through a lot of hard “stuff”, from a miscarriage, to an accident where my husband broke multiple bones in his face and neck. Since then he’s had six surgeries, each rendering him mostly an invalid for about four weeks, and me the sole breadwinner and caregiver for our girls, age seven and three. There were so many times that I could only take one day—one hour—at a time. There was no room to worry about the future, I could only buckle down and focus on what had to be done in the next hour.

But that was a hard lesson for this former control-freak to learn. It took God stripping away layers of my perceived ability to control. I couldn’t know which doctor appointment would bring to light more broken bones, requiring immediate surgery. I couldn’t know when the call would come from the babysitter that one of the girls had thrown up five times in the last hour. God was the only one who could see ahead, and I had to trust that He would bring us through it. There was no other option for me.

  1. The blessings can’t come without the trials.

This concept didn’t become crystal clear for me until recently. It’s not just that God will bless us through the hard times, with patience and strength, and maybe a few token bright spots. But it’s not possible to receive the best He has in store for us, unless we go through the hard times. Kind of like looking at a river on a map. You can’t reach the ocean until you’ve followed the path of the river.

My writing journey is a great example of this. There were so many times I thought I’d found the perfect avenue for my book. An agent or editor would send an optimistic response to my initial query, and they would ask for the full manuscript. But God gently shut each of the wrong doors, opening little windows of light in the direction He had planned. At the end of the day, I’m so thankful for the “No” answers I received, because they brought me to the point where I could see Him pointing toward the right door. And now, my debut novel The Lady and the Mountain Man released in September, and I have no doubt I’m exactly where God has planned for me in my writing journey. But I wouldn’t be here now if it weren’t for the awful times of rejection and uncertainty and frustration.

These two truths aren’t new, and may seem fairly obvious. But when you’re in the darkest times, wondering if you’ll even make it to morning, knowing these two facts—along with the absolute truth of God’s love for you, His child—may be just what you need to see the light. I know that’s been the case for me.

I’ll be praying God blesses you with perseverance and the fullness of His plan for your life, even through the hard times.




Misty Beller was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and two daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Writing is a dream come true for Misty. Her family—both immediate and extended—is the foundation that holds her secure in that dream.

You can find Misty on her website, blog, Goodreads, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Mountain Man coverThe Lady and the Mountain Man back cover blurb:

Leah Townsend, a recently orphaned heiress, flees Richmond after discovering her fiancé’s plot to kill her after their wedding. She needs a safe place to hide, and finds herself accepting a newspaper marriage proposal from a God-fearing young rancher in the Montana Territory. But when Leah arrives at the mountain ranch, she learns her intended husband was killed by a grizzly, leaving behind a bitter older brother and a spunky younger sister.

When Gideon Bryant finds a city girl standing in his log cabin, his first thought is to send her back where she came from. He’s lost too many people to the wild elements of these mountains––his parents, his wife, and now his brother. His love for this untamed land lives on, but he’s determined not to open his heart to another person.

But when an accident forces Leah to stay at the ranch for seven more months, can Gideon protect his heart from a love he doesn’t want? Has Leah really escaped the men who seek her life?

Buy it here:

On Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this. When I’m going through a tough time, physically or emotionally, it’s easy to focus on the here and now and forget the eternal. But God is ever faithful to remind me of His sovereignty and love, a love that is bigger than anything this sin-cursed world can throw our way. And He sees. He knows. He cares, and He is always working to mold and equip us and to fulfill His eternal plan.

Eternal. I often lose sight of that, but in truth, trials are a tangible reminder that this world is not our home. (Praise God for that!)

What about you? When have you received blessings from your trials? How has a trial (grief, sickness, material struggles, etc.) encouraged you to remember and focus on the eternal?

Share your thoughts here in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

And now, for those of you who aren’t on FB, here’s where I’ve been this week.

Yesterday I shared an article on Rest Ministries that fits quite well with today’s theme. In it I share how God has used my chronic illnesses to bless and grow my family. You can read this piece here.

Yesterday I also learned my debut novel had been nominated for the fiction category of the ECPA awards. Yay!

Today I’m on Deborah Piccurelli’s chatting about my novel, where the inspiration for the story came from, and how I hope the story will impact my readers. You can read the interview here.

Deborah also read and reviewed my novel. I enjoyed reading her perspective of the story. You can read her review here.

I also did a book give-away on fellow author Sara Ellen’s blog, one which she has extended. So, if you haven’t read my novel yet and would like a chance to win it, or if you’d like to win it as a gift for a friend, you can enter the drawing here.

Author Catherine Castle invited me to visit with her readers on her blog. You can join our chat here.

On Monday I stopped by Jessica Everingham’s to talk about living a life without regret. You can read this post here.

That’s my week. (Most of it, anyway.) What about you? What have you been up to? What has God been showing you?

On Monday I talked about the life-transformaing power of grace on Wordsmith Woman. You can read that post here.

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Independence and perseverance is a great thing … except when it’s not. ;) So when does an admirable quality lead to a weakness? Read Elizabeth Maddrey’s devotion to find out.

ElizabethMaddreyAuthorI was born into a strong-willed family. Both of my parents are smart, independent, stubborn, and strong-willed. My grandparents were, too. And my sister and I followed suit. Most of the time, I don’t consider it a bad thing. Being this way helped me get through those awkward junior and senior high years as the nerdy, chunky girl who was the brunt of too many jokes. Those same traits helped me get through college and graduate school – you don’t finish a PhD without a larger-than-average helping of stubbornness.


But it’s not always smooth sailing. When my boyfriend (now my husband) told his parents he was going to propose, my father-in-law-to-be said, “Are you sure? She’s awfully independent.” Thankfully, that independence is something my husband admires in me.

I’ll admit I have a tendency to think I can fix just about anything by myself.


Leaky toilet? Not calling a plumber (or my husband.) I can fix it myself. Button fell off and I’m running late? Find a safety pin. I can fix it myself. Tire goes flat? I can fix it myself. And sure, some of those are good survival skills for any woman to have. If it stops there. I’m not so good at stopping there. That’s where I start to get in trouble.


When my heart hurts because of a broken friendship, my first thought isn’t to pray. I think I can fix it myself. When I’m feeling stuck in a spiritual desert, I don’t immediately turn to the Scriptures. I try to fix it myself. When temptation is knocking at my door, I try to fix it myself.


It’s probably not a surprise that the heroines in my novels share these traits with me. And they too reap the consequences of their own stubbornness.  In “Wisdom to Know,” Lydia doesn’t wait for God to bring her His choice of a mate; she pursues her own agenda.  When that falls apart, she tries to “fix” the mess by covering it up.  The cover-up nearly destroys her.  In “Courage to Change,” Allison stubbornly refuses to ask her family for help until a stalker turns truly dangerous.


Like my heroines, my first inclination to “fix it myself” inevitably makes the problem worse. Then, when I’ve turned the divot into a six foot trench, I remember that it’s not always good to be so self-reliant. We were created for relationship with God – and part of that relationship is leaning on Him and asking Him to fix our broken pieces because we’re simply not able. Now that I have small children, I’ve begun to understand a tiny bit of what God must feel when He sees me struggling to fix what’s beyond my ability, knowing that He’d be happy to do it, if I’d just let go and ask for help.


I’m starting to get better about putting the words of Proverbs 3:5-6 into action.


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”


For me, the most convicting words in there are “lean not on your own understanding.” I want to say, “But God gave me a brain!” And He did. But His is so much better. “But He made me smart.” But He’s so much smarter. My understanding is based on a few short years here on this earth. His understanding is based on eternal perspective and the entirety of His plan.


Lean not on my own understanding. Because compared to Him, I understand very little.


Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity.

Her debut novel, Wisdom to Know, Book One of the ‘Grant Us Grace’ Series, was released in January, 2013. Courage to Change is the second in that series and continues to the story of characters from the first book. She is also the co-author of A is for Airstrip: A Missionary’s Jungle Adventure, a children’s book based on the work of a Wycliffe missionary.

Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys. She invites you to interact with her at her website www.ElizabethMaddrey.com or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey

9781938708138Courage to Change by Elizabeth Maddrey (Book Two of the ‘Grant Us Grace’ Series):


Should you be willing to change for love?

When Phil Reid became a Christian and stopped drinking, his hard-partying wife, Brandi, divorced him. Reeling and betrayed, he becomes convinced Christians should never remarry, and resolves to guard his heart.

Allison Vasak has everything in her life under control, except for one thing. Her heart is irresistibly drawn to fellow attorney and coworker, Phil. Though she knows his history and believes that women should not initiate relationships, she longs to make her feelings known.

As Phil and Allison work closely together to help a pregnant teen, both must re-evaluate their convictions. But when Brandi discovers Phil’s new relationship, she decides that though she doesn’t want him, no one else can have him either. Can Phil and Allison’s love weather the chaos Brandi brings into their lives?

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livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! Is prayer normally your first choice or must you slam into a few brick walls before you slide to your knees? What’s the difference between independence and God-dependence? And how might the latter look lived out?

Share your thoughts here in the comments or on Facebook at Living by   Grace.

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Maria Looking UpChange is inevitable. Sometimes it’s exciting, like when one embarks on a new career or welcomes home an infant. Other times, well … Today my dear friend and fellow Living by Grace Hostess, Maria Morgan, encourages us to grab hold of God as we follow Him toward where ever He leads, change and all.

3 Steps to Overcoming the Fear of Change

The days are getting longer. The breeze has lost its chill. Change is in the air. I love the transition from winter to spring. The promise of new growth and warmer temperatures encourages me to embrace a new season.

But all change isn’t as easy to welcome. Some changes bring pain, while others create fear. So how can I prepare myself for the change that is sure to come? God’s Word gives me real insight.Bible

I’m challenged by the Israelites. As they stood poised on the banks of the Jordan River, ready to enter the Promised Land, they had to make some decisions. No doubt they were ready to leave the wilderness far behind – but there was work to be done in this new land if they were to possess it. Hard work and plenty of unknowns.

How did they respond? What did they do to overcome their uneasiness about the new land they were about to enter?

1 – They trusted God.

Joshua encouraged the people with a promise from God. As soon as the priests stepped into the Jordan River, the waters would part and the people would be able to cross the river on dry ground. Instead of questioning God, the people chose to take Him at His word. (Joshua 3:13)

2 – They moved forward one step at a time.

Because the people chose faith over fear, they were able to concentrate on the task that lay ahead of them that day: “And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.” (Joshua 3:17; KJV)

They didn’t have to worry about what they would face the next day. They chose to do what God expected them to do that day.

3 – They chose to remember God’s goodness.

God instructed the people to set up a memorial of 12 stones taken from the middle of the Jordan River, as a reminder of how He had provided a miraculous path for them to cross into the Promised Land. The people obeyed. The memorial served as a reminder to future generations of God’s strength and goodness. (Joshua 4:20-24)

The next time you’re faced with change, you have the opportunity to respond like the Israelites did: trust God, move forward one step at a time, and remember God’s goodness.

What step will you take today to address your uneasiness with change?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the clear direction You give in Your Word. Help me to trust You in the face of change, and to be willing to move forward step by step. Give me the grace to remember Your goodness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

*Maria I. Morgan is an inspirational writer and speaker. She’s passionate about sharing the truths of God’s Word with today’s generation. She lives in Georgia with her husband and daughter. Visit her on the web and download a free copy of her eBook God Speaking @ www.mariaimorgan.com.

I love grace–God’s continual, unmerited favor. I love the truth of 2 Corinthian 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” We all face fears, weaknesses–emotions, events, and encounters that threaten to hold us back. But God is bigger than all of these. He is victorious, and through Him, we can be victorious as well. Victorious over fear, discouragement, stagnation, whatever.

Let’s talk about this. Are you facing a time of change? If so, what are some tangible things you can do *today* to draw near to God?

Share your thoughts and stories in the comments before or on Facebook at Living by Grace.




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