Don’t Ignore God’s Prompting

Have you ever felt a nudge, a niggling deep in your heart, urging you to do something, something that ID-10075996seems so strange, or perhaps so uncharacteristic for you, you decide you can’t possibly be hearing God right? Therefore, you conclude that thought to be but a passing brain flutter, triggered by a sappy commercial or perhaps last night’s dream.

But then it comes again, and again, and your heart begins to prick as excitement builds. And yet, before you put feet to the thought, another follows and then another as your brain lists all the reasons you shouldn’t do that thing.

It doesn’t really matter what the thing is, does it? It can be something as simple as getting up and getting your spouse a glass of water when you’d rather sink deeper into the couch. Or maybe it’s volunteering to serve in a new ministry, or perhaps it’s writing a check for a missionary family you recently learned about.

If we belong to Christ, each day, I believe, we receive countless promptings from the Holy Spirit to, in some way, live out our faith. But I’ve found, those proddings are often much too easy to ignore.

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I was a young mom, and though I accepted Christ at a neighborhood Bible club, I was just beginning to grow my faith. It hadn’t been terribly long since I’d been on the streets, and as a result, I lugged around a great deal of shame. And had developed a habit of hiding. Of wanting to step out, but, well, I didn’t. Instead, I went to church, sat in the back by myself, (my husband wasn’t a believer at the time), then, when the sermon ended, grabbed my daughter from the nursery and hurried home.

Week after week, I did this, and week after week, as listened to the sermon and sing praise songs, an odd thought would flit through my brain: You should go to the nursing home.

It was the strangest idea ever. I didn’t know anyone in a nursing home and truly had no reason to go. Besides, I had enough to manage keeping my toddler occupied. And what would I do there? Did nursing homes even allow such a thing–random strangers to come in, and do what? Sit?

No. It was absurd, and so, I shoved the thought aside and resumed my routine: Go to church, sing songs, pray, go home. Repeat.

But the thought wouldn’t go away, and every time it came, a hint of excitement followed, which was as odd as the thought. Why such a thought should bring any kind of emotion at all was beyond me.

But after a month of steady proddings, I went, and brought my daughter with me–only because I had no one to watch her.

I randomly chose the facility, marched inside with a toddler on one hip and a stuffed diaper bag bouncing against the other.

I met Frank that very first day. He was an old, sprite man full of laughter and jokes, and he adored my princess. The three of us quickly formed a relationship, one my daughter remembers to this day. She and I came often, Frank and I chatting about everything from the weather to… well, to be honest, I don’t remember. And it didn’t really matter, because sometimes, oftentimes, presence is enough.

But then one day, maybe two months since our first visit, we arrived to be greeted by one of Frank’s caretakers. We learned Frank had taken ill and refused to leave his room. He wouldn’t see ANYONE.

Anyone, it seemed, but my princess. When he learned we had come, he came out, and we talked, and again, I don’t remember what about, but it didn’t really matter.

Because sometimes, oftentimes, presence is enough.

God had prompted me, for over a month, to do something so simple yet so deeply meaningful–to sit with his dying child.

And I almost missed it.

When I read 2 Thessalonians 1:11, I think of this event.

“…May He [God] give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do” (NLT).

May God give us the power to overcome our selfishness, our anxieties and insecurities, our pointless busyness, and everything else that hinders us from responding to His promptings with anything but full and immediate obedience.

 

This verse, and the memory that always accompanies it, touches me so very deeply, I wanted to see what other sweet Christians friends had to say about it. I believe we grow in community, and it’s been fascinating and thought provoking to read my friends’ thoughts on this verse. I encourage you to do the same. You can read others’ thoughts on 2 Thes. 1:11 by following the links below:

Rocking My World: What’s the Therefore There For by Lill Kohler

Soaring With Butterfiy Wings: He Brings the Fruit by Susan Aken 

Thoughts on 2 Thes. 1:11 by Ginger Solomon

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! Can you share a time when you sensed God nudging you to do something that didn’t seem to make sense? Did you respond with obedience? If so, what were the results? If not, what kept you from responding in obedience? Share your thoughts here in the comments below or on Facebook at Living by Grace.

From November 10th-December 10th, we’re going to be encouraging one another to surrender all we are and hold dear to Christ, embracing His call on our life–on our day! I encourage you to join us.

This study will be hosted on Facebook on Tuesdays and Fridays (those participants can interact daily, if they Biblestudyinvitechoose). Discussion questions and conversations will also be hosted here (on Tuesdays) and on Beth’s blog FirstHalfDay (on Fridays). I will also be creating a yahoo email group for those who prefer to interact that way. (Let me know if you’d like me to send you an invite to the email group.)

The study will follow the life of Ruth, as detailed in the biblical book of the same name, using my debut novel, Beyond I Do, as a springboard. If you haven’t purchased the book but long to, now’s a great time! CBD is selling it for a limited time for $0.79! You can get it here.

For those planning on joining our month-long Bible study, on Tuesday we’ll be discussing purpose in trials. Sometimes our calling–the catalyst of great, divinely driven action–can be birthed from great struggle or tragedy.

Our Bible reading: Ruth 1:1-8
Our book reference will come from chapters 1-2 as we discuss what we (you, me) believe drew Ainsley’s heart to the boy she encountered in the Kansas City inner city apartment complex.
Our focus will be: evaluating our past and present hurts in light of God’s sovereignty and grace.
Some questions you can mull over in the meantime:
What thoughts arose as you read Ruth 1:1-8?
We read about Naomi’s heartache but not much about Ruth’s. Why do you think that is?
What are some difficulties Ruth faced as a widow?
Why do you think Ruth chose not, at least from what we see, to voice her pain to Naomi?
In what ways can we see Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law?
In what ways did Ruth exhibit self-sacrifice?
What made self-sacrifice challenging for Ruth?
Have you ever felt God asking you to put someone else first? What about when you yourself were in a difficult or painful situation? When has God asked you to focus on others and not on your pain or trial, and what was the result?
ACTION PLAN: What might God be asking you to do this week?

 

The Blessings of Trials

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.

Blessings,

Misty

***

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.

The Waiting Place

ID-10077787Oh, how I hate to wait! I will embark upon insanely strange endeavors to avoid doing nothing, often creating quite a mess in the process. I want to DO! Something! Anything!

Standing in line at the grocery? A perfect time to check emails!

Stop lights? A time to return phone calls.

Commercials? A wonderful opportunity to bounce from one pile of clutter to the other, creating a great deal of dust but never accomplishing much of value.

Those ten extra minutes I nabbed between dinner and Lifegroup? Why, that provides a few minutes to clear out my inbox, respond to folks on Facebook, and … get distracted by a video someone posted, causing me to be late.

*sigh*

I wonder if God’s ever tempted to whack me upside the head. “Woman! Sit still! How will you ever hear Me if you keep running in circles and running that endless, loud mind of yours?”

Yes, my thoughts can be quite dominating. Oy.

IMG_3790 cropped for TwitterToday’s guest post comes from a sweet ACFW author, Linda Rondeau, encourages us to indeed make our waiting time productive, but not by running around like a crazy person. Rather, she encourages to use every moment to draw near to our Savior.

While You’re Waiting by Linda Rondeau

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly (Psalm 5:3 NIV).

 

Are you waiting on God? Perhaps for answers, purpose, or fruit for your hard labor?

After what I thought would be a routine mammogram, the radiologist said, “There are spots. One of them is highly suspicious. You need to have it taken care of right away.” The urgency in the warning promoted me to quick action.

While I waited for results, of course my initial reaction was one of anxiety. It is the natural human response to uncertainty. Yet, the more God reminded me I was His child and that He’d be with me regardless of the outcome, my pleading became prayers of praise. I would not face this alone. And so I moved forward and kept occupied. When the news came that the tumor was indeed cancerous, God had already prepared my heart. He occupied my mind with book contracts and filled my spirit with laughter. I make a very funny bald person.

Waiting need not be a time of anxiety or stagnation. It should be a time of anticipation and activity.

In the song, While I’m Waiting, by John Walker, made famous by the movie Fireproof, the writer states that he will worship while he’s waiting. He will do so by remaining hopeful, even though he is hurting. He will worship in waiting by moving forward, serving, loving, and doing the things he knows God expects from him.

Joyce Meyer lists two important aspects of waiting on God: 1) to expect He has heard your prayer and will answer and 2) be eager with faith. “It’s just like when a woman is expecting a baby…even though she can’t see the baby, she knows it is there.” She prepares and keeps busy. Nine months can be a very long time if she were to simply sit in a chair and do nothing until the baby comes.

Sometimes we must wait through tragedy. During these times of grief, we want God to purge the pain. Yet it is in these times of deepest agony, ID-10055137that God seems the nearest. In the book, Song for Sarah, Paula D’Arcy chronicles her grief through a disappointing pregnancy. When she first learned she’d have a child, she wrote letters to her unborn whom she named Sarah. Later, she learned her baby was stillborn. In her deepest sorrow she continued to write to Sarah and spilled out her honest anger and resentment toward God. “Where are you?” she asked. Yet, while waiting, she moved forward. When the day of her delivery came, she felt God’s power and deliverance from fear. He had never been far away, but made His presence the most powerful when she needed Him the most.

Paul and Silas found themselves in the deepest part of a prison. Perhaps they felt abandoned and forgotten. (Acts 16). Perhaps they wondered why this trial happened when all they were trying to do was God’s work. Yet, they faced the hardest part of waiting by praising God with expectation.

Are you waiting for God? Faith prompts us to action. Doubt paralyzes. Our service and continued commitment during this time of anticipation is our song of praise.

Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18 c NIV).

LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

Cancer survivor, author, sometimes speaker but always a wife and mother, Linda lives in Jacksonville, Florida where she is able to golf year around with her more than patient husband of 37 years. She has won a few awards in life but her best achievements are her three children and grandchildren. Life is never as we planned but with God at the helm, always an adventure. Linda’s books reflect how God transforms our worst pasts into our best futures. She is always available to speak to your groups on God’s surpassing Love.

Facebook            Twitter              Google Plus               Goodreads                Pinterest

Linda’s Blog: This Daily Grind

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! How well do you wait? Not just in grocery lines or rush hour traffic, but in those excruciating moments when you’re crying out to God and He appears to be silent? What do you do while you wait? Do you draw near? Do you worship? When facing the unknown, do you focus on the uncertainty and your angst or the known Person and character of God?

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

Speaking of FB, for those of you who aren’t on it, or who aren’t my FB friend (Um… how come? 😉 ), but who’d like to follow my blog tours/book launch events, here’s where I’ve been this past week.

On Monday I got to chat, in studio, with Greg Vogt, host of KCRO AM 660. You can listen to our fun discussion here: (Note, the interview starts about ten minutes in, after our fun discourse on Veggie Tales.)

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/169021040&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true

Today my article helping the betrayed find blessings, not bitterness, in their betrayal, went live on Crosswalk.com. You can read it here. How To Trade Bitterness For Blessing.

I’m also talking about life-changing fiction on Jo Huddleston. You can read my post here.

And as a final highlight, yesterday I turned in my substantive (big picture) edits for When Dawn Breaks, which means that novel is one step closer to going to print. Yay!

Longing Unfulfilled

ContemplativeIf only… Oh, the things I could do; the joy I’d have; the love I’d display! We’ve all had those days, times where we look at our hurdles, raise our eyes to heaven, and remind God of how different things could be if only He’d do X or Y.

Like we need–or even have the right–to tell Him anything. True, He could do X and Y and A through Z, but many times, He chooses not to. And we are left with two options: grow bitter or draw closer.

Really, it comes down to surrender.

Just this morning I had such chat with God, then I began working on today’s post. And remembered last week’s. I believe God might be trying to tell me something. Maybe He’s telling you the same thing.

Today Elizabeth Maddrey, author of Hope Deferred, shares a deeply painful longing she prayed God would fulfill, and what she learned–how she grew–from the experience.

ElizabethMaddreyHeadshotFor all those women struggling to conceive, I won’t even pretend to know what you’re feeling. But God knows. He sees every tear, hears every desperate cry. And He cares, intimately and passionately.

When Our Longing’s Remain Unmet by Elizabeth Maddrey

I never expected to struggle with infertility. I don’t think many people do. When my husband and I realized something was wrong, it was a punch in the gut. This wasn’t something I’d planned on. Nor was it anything I thought I could handle. The years that followed were some of the darkest of my life. I questioned everything—from God’s goodness to the purpose for my life. Everything became a struggle.

Gradually, as option after option failed to help us conceive, I felt God’s peace. It wasn’t an instantaneous thing, but a slow, subtle and almost sneaky deliverance from the constant questioning and heartache—even though I still had no answers.

Shortly after this, I began to run into people here and there and they’d mention infertility in one way or another. I’d compassionnever been particularly open about our struggles – my family knew and maybe one close friend. So to have these conversations occur felt random. And yet, as they shared their own struggles and questions, I was able to share with them my experiences from a little further down the path than they were. Though the pain was still raw, it helped me to see God using my experiences to encourage others.

Now, many years later, opportunities to share my journey have once again been cropping up. And I’m finding that I’m able to look back and clearly see God shaping and molding me through these trials. I don’t think we always get to see those results—we just have to trust that they’re there. I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to see the results of Him working in me and that He’s seeing fit to use my journey to help others. But I’m also grateful because it’s a reminder that even when we don’t see His hand clearly, He’s still there and He still has a plan to use me if I’ll get out of the way and let Him.

HopeDeferredFrontHope Deferred:

Can pursuit of a blessing become a curse?

June and July and their husbands have spent the last year trying to start a family and now they’re desperate for answers. As one couple works with specialists to see how medicine can help them conceive, the other must fight to save their marriage.

Will their deferred hope leave them heart-sick, or start them on the path to the fulfillment of their dreams?

Buy it here!

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. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace.

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/ElizabethMaddreyTwitter: @elizabethmaddre, Pinterest:  and Google Plus

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this. We all have times where our prayers appear to go unanswered and our struggles appear to mount. We all, daily, have to choose between self-centeredness (focusing on our trails, struggles, worries, longings, and concerns) and surrender (giving all we are to our Christ to be used by Him for His glory). One leaves us empty, the other brings joy and peace.

What will you choose?

On a lighter note, I have fun news to share. Yesterday I signed my third contract with New Hope Publishers. Here’s the unedited, preliminary back cover blurb:

Intertwined (working title that will likely change):

Abandoned by her husband, an organ procurement coordinator fighting to keep her job and her sanity encounters an old flame facing an unthinkable tragedy.

For Tammy Kuhn, being an organ procurement coordinator is more than a job. It’s a ministry. But when her husband of sixteen years leaves her for another woman, struggles with childcare, her absentee ex-husband, and an altercation with a doctor threaten her job. Embittered and overwhelmed, she fights to maintain her sanity when a late night encounter with an old flame stirs emotions long since buried but the ICU is no place for romance.

Much thanks to Ami Carr Koelliker for inspiring me to write this novel and for all the help she offered along the way! You rock, girl!

And as long as I’m naming books, I can’t remember if I mentioned my second book, When Dawn Breaks, which releases in 2015. In case not…

When Dawn Breaks: (I should be able to reveal the cover soon. 🙂 )

Jacqueline wants purpose and restitution, but must she relinquish her chance of love to find it?

A hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate. Looking to begin again—and reconnect with her embittered daughter—Jacqueline heads north. Reconciliation is hard, but she has a handsome new friend to lean on. Most importantly, she knows God is standing beside her.

When her daughter rejects her, three children abandoned by their mother open their hearts. But can God use a woman who dashed the hopes of her own child to bring hope to someone else’s?

Finally, if you haven’t purchased Beyond I Do but want to, now’s the time as the preorder discount (26% off) won’t last too much longer.

Great Weakness, Powerful Ministry

Broken and beautiful. I’ve seen it again and again. Those who’ve experienced the greatest pain and struggle most often have the most powerful ministry. Because they get it, and by “it” I mean a plethora of things: pain, weakness, frailty, humility, utter and desperate dependence of God, and the intense comfort He provides when we’re in despair.

acfw picIf that is you, whether you’re still despairing or praising God for carrying you through, God has a plan for you. A glorious, miraculous, compassionate, beautiful plan. Today a sweet woman who’s experienced pain unimaginable–that which every parent fears–is here to tell us about the beautiful end result. As you read Jessica Johnson’s devotion titled Great Weakness, Powerful Ministry, I encourage you to prayerfully consider how God can turn your greatest pain into a beautiful ministry, for mourning lasts for the night, but grace is eternal.

BUT, before you read further, I wanted to let you know, Sweet Freedom is FREE on Amazon Kindle! Get it here. PLUS, y’all can read the first chapter of my debut novel, Beyond I Do. Read it here, and if you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts and expectations. 🙂

Great Weakness Can Lead to Powerful Ministry

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways, acknowledge him…”

Sounds easy enough, right? Why wouldn’t I trust God? After all, He’s God. Little did I know when I first learned this verse at age 13, that trusting God would be one of the hardest things for me to do. Ever.

Soon after my third child, Ethan, was born, I noticed  something wasn’t right. He was frequently ill and took longer than normal to get over common viruses and ear infections. Eventually, he became so sick he had to be hospitalized. After two weeks in intensive care, despite many desperate prayers for his healing, Ethan passed away. He was nine months old.

Eventually we received a diagnosis of Primary Immune Deficiency, a genetic disease. Ethan lacked the ability to make antibodies to fight infections. I later had two more sons, and although I prayed for them to be healthy, both of them were born with this disease as well.

I never understood why God didn’t answer my prayers and heal Ethan, nor why he didn’t provide healthy children after Ethan died.  I wondered, Does God even listen to my prayers? In time, I lost trust in Him and almost stopped praying altogether.

It wasn’t until 2011 that I was faced with my inability to control my life or the lives of those I loved. My two-year-old son Gavin got lost in the woods behind our house. I looked everywhere for him, but no matter how desperately I searched for him, no matter how fast I ran or how loud I called his name, I couldn’t find him. If his safety, his protection, rested in my hands, he was in a heap of trouble. I didn’t know where he was—how could I keep him safe? I cried out to God. He was the only One who knew where my son was. I would be crazy not to trust Him.

This experience inspired me to write a book about trusting God. I often speak to groups of women, encouraging them to trust God, although I still struggle with that myself. I often ask, “Why, Lord? Why call me to a ministry in my area of greatest weakness?”

This reminds me of Moses, standing before God, who has just asked him to go before Pharaoh and order him to let the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses said in Exodus 6, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?”

I can totally relate! “Why are you asking me of all people, Lord? I’m the worst at this! Couldn’t you find someone more qualified?”

But the Bible says God uses the weak to carry out His work in order that His strength and power can be displayed. (2 Corinthians 12:9) If we do something that comes naturally, we’re merely displaying our own strength. But when we do something difficult, in our area of weakness, God’s power is revealed. Others take notice and say, “Only God could do that.”

In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, when talking about a physical hardship he endured, Paul says, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

What is your greatest weakness? If you feel God calling you to do something that is completely out of your comfort zone, do it—no matter how incompetent you feel. Perhaps He is looking for an opportunity to display His awesome power through you. Don’t let feelings of inadequacy hinder you from being used for a heavenly purpose.

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Jessica Leigh Johnson received her Bachelor of Science degree in Christian Education from Crown College in 1999. She has a passion for writing and speaking to women on the topics that are close to her heart. She also serves the Lord in music and children’s ministries. Jessica is the author of the book, Do You Trust Me? – Allowing Hope to Triumph Over Tragedy. She and her family reside in Northern Minnesota. Visit her online at: www.jessicaleighjohnson.com or connect with her on Facebook.

 livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this. When has God turned a painful experience into a ministry opportunity? When have you experienced blessings/compassion/grace from someone else who experienced a similar trial or difficulty you were experiencing? If you are going through a trial currently, what might God be doing in and through you through the trial? Share your comments here or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

If You’re Breathing…

Life swings like a pendulum, with moments of frantic activity and periods of lull. Of changes and adjustments and figuring things out. There’s a flux to things, and I believe, a God-ordained flux at that as He aligns His children where He longs for them to be to carry out the task that He assigned. If we would but take our eyes off ourselves and place them where they belong–on God and others.

At 5:30 am on June fifth, my husband went in for surgery. I hope to tell you more about this later. 🙂 But for now, suffice it to say, we were both a tad sleep deprived and apprehensive. I spent most of the day in the surgery waiting myself-532346-mroom, and at first, was tempted to bury myself in my computer or a book, or any of the number of other things I’d brought along for entertainment. Yet, as I glanced around, I saw such need. Such fear, uncertainty, frustration… sadness.

I sensed God stirring within me the desire to take my view off myself, my fatigue and worries, and to make the most of the opportunity He’d provided. To be an instrument of His love at a time when these precious men and women so desperately needed it.

This is how God works. He often presents us with opportunities to share His peace, love, and grace with a hurting world. Unfortunately, I fear I often miss this, because I’m too focused on my little old self. That is exactly where my focus is 99.99976 percent of the time.

Only this morning was different, largely because God had shown my husband and I the evening before just how powerful, how reassuring and peace-ensuing, the prayer offered by one of His children can be.

With just over twelve hours before his surgery, my husband was beyond anxious. We prayed, I embraced him, and did all I knew in an attempt to soothe him, to no avail. It broke my heart to know I couldn’t comfort him. But God did, through the actions of a brave stranger God sent to meet my husband while he waited, two hours early, for his weekly softball game.

The man approached my husband and asked if he could pray for him. My husband said yes, sharing how much he needed prayer.

And so, two grown men, complete strangers, bowed their heads and prayed together in a baseball field parking lot. And as they did, an incredible, all-consuming peace filled my sweet husband, for he knew God had sent that man to him.

Emmanuel. God with us.

A few hours later, as my husband relayed this event to me by phone, I wondered, what if he hadn’t? What if that man had been too busy, too distracted, too embarrassed?

The next morning, as I sat in the surgery waiting room, those questions arose again and again, only now they were more personal: What if God is nudging me to show His love to someone *today* and I let my selfishness, anxiety, insecurities, or distractions hold me back?

I love this verse, in James 5:16 “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days” (NLT).

And I decided to act on it. I prayed with an old woman waiting for her husband to get out of surgery. I listened to and encouraged a man whose brother was undergoing triple bypass. I talked with a woman waiting for the surgeon to tell her if her toddler would need a bowel transplant.

With each encounter, I saw how incredibly attentive and loving God was, for He was there, in that waiting room, comforting, strengthening, holding.

To think, He allowed me to be a part of that.

We all have opportunities, each day, to share God’s love, sometimes in the most unexpected places or during the most inconvenient times. But when we choose to obey, we get to experience the glorious–God loving His children through us.

Today I encourage you to join me on “View From the Front Porch” as I share a story of another Christ-follower who allowed Christ to use him in a most unexpected location. You can read about this here.

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! When has He sent someone to you, like He did my husband? How did that impact you? How did that experience impact your future witness? When has God turned an inconvenient or uncomfortable situation into an opportunity to show His grace? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

 

Mercies in Disguise

Life is full of hardships; hardships that leave unanswered questions, perhaps the greatest of which are “Why?” and “How long?” I know many of you are dealing with extremely difficult situations: financial, health, loss of loved ones. Situations that can easily rock one’s world and faith.

Driving to church last Sunday, with me coming out of an extended and painful “flare”, my husband said, “You need to trust.”

Being in no mood to hear anything, I scowled, arms crossed. “Trust what?”

“Trust God. That He will protect you.”

Wrong answer.

Though my husband, in his amazingly patient and loving way, was trying to encourage me, I knew if my trust rested on God’s “protection”, there was a good chance it’d be broken. My trust needed to rest in His nature, sovereignty, and wisdom, and in my full and unconditional surrender. For that is where the peace and blessings come from.

Ginger picToday a dear friend who’s had her share of difficulties talks about one of the most poignant songs in contemporary Christian music. After you read Ginger Solomon’s devotion, I encourage you to listen to the song embedded below, and as you do, surrender and trust that God is good and loving and faithful.

Mercies in Disguise

The other day I heard the song “Blessings” by Laura Story. It’s been around for a while, but for some reason this time something about the lyrics struck me. It’s like reading that same Scripture over and over and then one day it comes to life in your heart.

I can relate to these words in so many ways. I know that blessings can come through raindrops – the first date I had yellow-leaf-1087751-mwith my husband it was raining. I know that healing can come through tears – I have cried to the Lord and felt a physical hug from Him that healed the broken places in my heart. I have doubted His goodness and His love, and I have spent countless nights awake and wondering what the next day would bring. And yet, through it all He has loved me WAY too much to let me stay in a place of comfort too long.

Through the greatest disappointments in my life I know God has been beside me. I may not have felt like it at the time, but feelings are fickle creatures and should not be trusted. It reminds me of the Footprints in the Sand picture. Sometimes when we least feel God it’s because He’s carrying us rather than walking beside us.

James 1:2-3 (NKJV) says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” This verse doesn’t say IF, but WHEN. We’ve all had trials, and we’re likely to have a few more before our time here on earth is complete.

In One Choice, my heroine, Cahri, is angry at God because her parents were killed in the country where they were missionaries. She felt God had abandoned her. Then she was summoned to participate in the Bridal March. She once again felt as if He had forsaken her. We all know God is always with us and will never forsake us (Heb. 13:5), but how often do we forget it when we’re in the dark places? Cahri feels God’s presence at various times throughout the book, and finally remembers how much He loves her later in the book – three long years after the death of her parents.

Will we allow God to turn our raindrops into blessings and our tears into healing?rememberings-675103-m

Will the sleepless nights send us to our knees crying out to God?

How long will it take us to remember that God always wants the very best things for us?

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Pause to listen to Laura Story’s song titled Blessings:

Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer — in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest five, 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 three blogs. In addition to all that, she loves animals, horses especially, likes to do needlework (knitting, crocheting, and sometimes cross-stitch), and loves to sing in the choir at church. Visit her online at A Bed of Roses…Thorns IncludedWriting Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My!Inspy Romance BlogFacebook, Twitter @GingerS219, and Pinterest

OneChoice 453x680One Choice:

Cahri Michaels is American by birth, but Belikarian by choice. Being selected to participate in the Bridal March forces her to give up the independent life she’s created for herself. She’s not ready to be anyone’s wife, much less to a man she doesn’t know.

Prince Josiah Vallis despises the centuries old tradition—the Bridal March—that is forcing him to choose a wife from fifty women. Why does it matter that he’s twenty-five and still single?

When Cahri and Josiah meet, sparks fly. Will it ignite a godly love that can see them through or will they be burned, never to be the same? Buy it on Amazon, at Barnes and NobleAstraea Press and Smashwords

 

 

LivingbyGracepicLet’s talk about this. How have struggles deepened your faith and relationship with Christ? How has God walked you through moments of pain or fear? How has He revealed Himself through it or offered blessings that came through raindrops?

Looking back over my life, I’ve found my darkest moments have also led to my greatest growth. Living with chronic illness, most specifically, autoimmune issues, is a perfect example. There’s an inherent uncertainty that comes with health struggles, an that uncertainty, for me, keeps me centered in the cross and focused on eternity. On my good days, it spurs me to action, motivating me to make the most of every ounce of energy and health, because it could be gone tomorrow. On my bad days, it draws me to Christ’s feet where I experience comfort and love. Ultimately, it’s deepened my relationship with God in a way I know wouldn’t have occurred otherwise.

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

Fussing, Fretting, Fiddling

Oh, to learn to be still. To take each day, each task, one at a time. To find the balance between doing and restfully abiding! I’ve heard we all need a bit of Mary and Martha, and I’d agree. Although I think I’d like to be able to work like Martha *while* abiding like Mary. If you want to know what I mean by that, check out Grabbing Hold of God Moments. 🙂

Christine Lindsay Author picToday Christine Lindsay, author of Captured by Moonlight, shares her thoughts on taking time to rest. I hope you’ll find her post encouraging.

FUSSING, FRETTING, FIDDLING, JUST LIKE A WOMAN

By Christine Lindsay

Lately I’ve been talking a lot about the fact that I am a workaholic. I think it’s because I’m a woman. Yes, of course there are men workaholics, but how many women do you know who just can’t stop working, fussing, fiddling, fretting, over getting it right—whatever ‘it’ is?

At the start of my fifties God allowed me to have a ministry—writing and speaking. And it’s all for Him. Each day in my prayers I yield it ALL to Him. Even if He wants to take it away from me, to do some other task to further His glory, I’m yielded, surrendered.

Wonderful sentiment…don’t you think? Downright noble…if you ask me.

Over this past winter I’ve been writing a great deal about how I felt the Lord say to me, “Slow down, spend more time with your husband.”

Apparently, I didn’t know how to take a day off, and my husband was paying the price. So I did the right thing and trailer in fallencouraged my hubby to buy us a travel trailer so we could get away just the two of us, for togetherness time. And oh how I love it.!!!!!

And the nicest thing is, my hubby is smiling too.  We’re having fun, just the two of us, ALONE.

It’s not that we don’t love our grown kids, grandkids, mothers-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, next-door neighbors, workmates, friends from church, siblings, and whoever else happens to call…but I distinctly heard the Lord tell me to get away alone with my husband.

I obeyed, and felt the reward of it.

Then I felt the second half of that whisper on my soul.

And who else do you need to spend alone time with, Christine?

You know, I’ve been a Christian a long time. There are not too many sermon themes new to me. I know I’m supposed to put the Lord first each day, spend time with Him, really listen to Him.

But am I always faithful? Have I really yielded? Did I truly surrender?

Sadly, no.

I’m too busy. And then, I’m ready to crack from overwork, and I sit down in prayer. Real prayer. Not just a bullet-list of “I Wants”, but prayer of thanking Him and praising Him, worshiping Him … slowly, I start to feel that I’ve given the Lord a tiny bit of joy. As if He smiled at me.

God doesn’t want just my bullet list prayers. And when I spend time with Him, I find that He helps me with all that other stuff that I fret and fuss over. All of a sudden, it all comes together as smooth as butter.

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Christine Lindsay was born in Ireland, and is proud of the fact that she was once patted on the head by Prince Philip when she was a baby. Her great grandfather, and her grandfather—yes father and son—were both riveters on the building of the Titanic. Tongue in cheek, Christine states that as a family they accept no responsibility for the sinking of that great ship.

It was stories of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India that inspired her historical series Twilight of the British Raj of which Book 1 Shadowed in Silk has won several awards. Book 2 Captured by Moonlight is so far a finalist in the 2013 Readers’ Favorite Award. Christine is currently writing the final installment of that series called Veiled at Midnight to be released August 2014.

Coming February 2014 is Londonderry Dreaming, a romance set in Londonderry Northern Ireland.

Her short Christmas story Heavenly Haven is available as an Ebook

Christine makes her home in British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada with her husband and their grown up family. Her cat Scottie is chief editor on all Christine’s books.

Visit her online at her blog www.christinelindsay.org, on Twitter,  Pinterest and Facebook

Captured by Moonlight Christine LindsayCAPTURED BY MOONLIGHT Book 2 of the series Twilight of the British Raj

(Best book 2013 according to Author April Gardner, in top ten of Diana Flowers 2013 picks, Finalist in Readers’ Favorite 2013 Christian Historical, currently nominated for INSPY 2013 award)

Prisoners to their own broken dreams….

After a daring rescue goes awry, the parched north of India grows too hot for nurse Laine Harkness and her friend Eshana. The women flee to the tropical south…and run headlong into their respective pasts.

Laine takes a new nursing position at a plantation in the jungle, only to discover that her former fiancé is the owner…and that Adam has no more to say to her now than he did when he crushed her heart years ago. Why, then, is she still drawn to him, and to the tiger cub he is raising?

Eshana, captured by her traditional uncle and forced once more into the harsh Hindu customs of mourning, doubts whether freedom will ever again be in her future, much less the forbidden love that had begun to whisper to her. Is faith enough to live on? Or is her Savior calling her home?

Amid cyclones and epidemics, clashing faiths and consequences of the war, will the love of the True Master give hope to these searching hearts?

Watch the book trailer for Captured by Moonlight

Buy it on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and DeeperShopping

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! How long has it been since you’ve paused to spend a day, just you and Jesus? If it’s been a while, will you schedule some time in? I say schedule because if you’re like me, if you don’t schedule it, it likely won’t happen! It’s also important to take time to connect with our Savior and to unwind each day. For moms, this can be especially hard because everyone needs us! All the time! 🙂 (Or so we feel.)

But if we don’t take time, how will our kids learn to do the same. Moms, there’s nothing wrong with telling your kiddos, “I’d love to play with you/read that with you/whatever, but I need to read my Bible first.” By doing so, we show our children spending time with God is of utmost importance. 🙂 We also show them it’s okay to take time to refuel, and when they are parents, they’ll need to be able to do that.

Is it hard for you to slow down and take time for yourself? What makes doing so difficult? Would scheduling time help? What are some ways  you like to refuel? I love going for walks or even cleaning house. I know that sounds contradictory, but when I clean, I turn on Pandora and plug my earbuds in and use it as a praise and prayer time. (I’m one of those odd Christians that pray best when I’m moving.)

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

Some additional posts and resources you might find helpful:

Learning to Rest

Learning to Be-Do

Knowing When to Quit

Spiritual Wellness by Rhonda H. Kelley

 

In Our Brokenness

Marji LaineOh, how I wish heaven would come to earth now. To live without brokenness, sadness, or sickness, without hatred or evil. And yet, what would my life, my faith, look like today if I’d never experienced the struggles in my past? It’s an interesting question to ponder. Today a sweet friend of mine, Marji Laine talks about the beauty of our brokenness and what one can gain from it.

Brokenness by Marji Lane

I confess; I’m a crier. I often gauge how much I enjoy a book by how deeply it touches me. And nothing affects me more than the black moment of a character. The point in which the hero has lost everything that matters to him. With nothing of value left, he surrenders.

It’s the turning point of a book, the time when the hero empties himself and changes the course of his life. But just as literature is a reflection of life, so is the hero’s arch a reflection of the believer’s walk with Christ.

Reba Hoffman, from My Book Therapy, mentioned in a chat the other night how we don’t get as close to the Lord drop-1113685-mduring the good times as we do during the rough patches. It’s in the pit that we find our strength in the Lord. And scripture bears that out.

Ps. 34:18 “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

At the times when we are at our lowest, the Lord comes close. His strength is made perfect at our weakest moments, so that even in the worst trials of our lives, we can have assurance of comfort. Of peace.

While walking one afternoon, an icy storm hit. Frustrated, I bemoaned my timing, until I turned around and saw the rainbow God provided. It was a vivid reminder of His grace, piercing through every storm.

Photo by JS: While walking, an icy storm hit. Frustrated, I bemoaned my timing, until I turned around and saw the rainbow God provided. It was a vivid reminder of His grace, piercing through every storm.

We rejoice with ease when the sun shines and the details fall into place. Joy comes through as well, with the knowledge that the God who gives peace is carrying us along. The verses and promises tend to sound trite in the midst of the storm, but looking back on some of our lowest times, the Lord reveals His tenderness.

John 14:18 “I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you yet again.”

Your Turn: How has the Lord strengthened you through your brokenness?

This theme of Brokenness is reflected in the character of a new collaboration novella, A Dozen Apologies. When the main character, Mara, fell from her pedestal, she fell hard. With nothing left, she looked to the Lord and found a faith she never knew existed. But with that faith came a conviction to right all of the MANY wrongs she’d done to people. To read her story, find the posts on Write Integrity Press, and watch for the notice of the free e-book. (WriteIntegrity.com)

 

Marji is a homeschooling mom of 4 with the oldest working in the mission field in Africa. She spends her days transporting to and from volleyball, teaching writing classes at a local coop, and directing the children’s music program at her church.

With decades of leading worship, directing and performing in theatre productions, and script-writing, Marji took the A Dozen Apologies Coverplunge to creating scintillating Christian romance and romantic suspense novels with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all. Visit her online at  MarjiLaine.com, on Facebook , PinterestTwitter , and Goodreads

Read A Dozen Apologies, chapter by chapter, here. 

Let’s talk about this. Pause to remember some of the more painful moments in your life. Were you a Christian? How did God show Himself real to you? How did He use that event to strengthen you? I’ve shared numerous, but one experience was so incredible, the memory of it remains with me often. It was prior to my diagnosis. I was so very ill, and yet, not knowing why, irrational fears abounded. I didn’t know if things would improve, if my health would deteriorate further. But each morning as I opened my Bible, I sensed God’s presence so strongly. Through the pages of Scripture, He told me again and again, “I’m here. I’ll watch over you and care for you. I love you.”

The Creator of the universe met with me. Daily. Made Himself known to me, intimately.

I experienced God in a way I never had before. It was so rich and deep, I can’t even describe it.

Those were such intimate moments, I grew to anticipate them, and there were times all I wanted to do was sit on my couch with my Bible. And there were times when that was all I did.

livingbygracepic.jpWhat about you? Do you have any moments you can look back and say, “Then! That was when God showed up.”? Maybe you’re going through something right now. Pause to consider Marji’s verse. Grab hold of it, friend. That’s God’s promise to you. He is close to the broken hearted, whether you feel Him or not. And the moment we take one step toward Him, He draws near to us. (James 4:8) That is an “if-then” statement you can bank on.

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

Additional posts and resources you might find helpful:

Strength in the Struggle

Learning to Walk Again

Stronger Still by Edna Ellison

 

 

Must We Love Ourselves to Love Others?

loveLove. Such a confusing, abstract emotion. It’s something we “fall into” and “out of”,  something we chase after…

There’s a notion that says “You must love yourself in order to love others.”

Is this true? Biblical?

I’m no theologian, but I can’t locate a verse that says this. In fact, again and again, God tells us to take the position of a servant, and to honor others above ourselves.

To die to ourselves so we can live for God.

It’s hard to die to something you love.

Perhaps biblical love isn’t so much an emotion as it is an action.

Consider 1 Corinthians 13:4-6

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

For you see, emotions wane. Therefore, true love must be a choice and an action, the moment-by-moment discipline of laying ourselves aside so that God can love others through us.

The Bible says we love because God first loved us. Therefore, our love comes not from us but from Him. It is when we completely surrender ourselves to God that we are fulfilled. That is when we begin to live lives of passion and purpose, of courage and impact.

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Learning to love is receiving and giving the love only God can give.

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Consider insecurity and fear of rejection and all those negative emotions that supposedly stem from a lack of self-love. What if the opposite is true? What if those emotions stem from love of self and a desire to protect self.
We protect that which we love.

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But when we die to ourselves, there is but one focus, what God would do throughAshleywithElSalvadororphan us. 

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And that is the most freeing occurrence we can experience.

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Let me provide an example. I have a less than glamorous past, and for years, I vehemently longed to hide that past. This fear kept me from embracing God’s call to write for many years. I told Him again and again, “I’ll only write if you protect me from exposure.”

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I’m sure you can imagine God’s response. He knew His grace is best seen when revealed through an imperfect sinner.

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But still I fought Him. I was afraid to tell my story for fear of what others would think and for fear of losing friends. Until I started hanging out with at risk teens and the homeless. Suddenly, I wanted for them to see Jesus and what He could do so badly, I no longer cared about embarrassing or shaming myself. My fear and insecurity went away because I found something more important–the saving of another life.

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The results were glorious, inspiring, fulfilling, because the more I died to myself and lived for God, the more I experienced His all-consuming love pour through me.

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You cannot be fearful, prideful, envious, and insecure when God’s Spirit invades your core. It’s impossible.

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So what does this all mean?

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1. If you want to experience an abundant, joy-filled, peace-saturated life, ask God to help you die to yourself–your fears, desires, pride, insecurities. All of it. Then ask Him to replace those things with His all-consuming love as you follow after Him with surrendered obedience.

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2. Parents, if you want your children to rise above the toxicity of their clique-infested schools, if you want for them to grab hold of a purpose that will propel them forward with a God-given passion, teach them to see others through God-sized lenses and to get involved in His mission. Then sit back and watch them thrive.

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livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! Looking back on your journey, when have you felt most fulfilled? What do you think of my take on love? Consider a time when you’ve felt God’s love coursing through you. What were you doing? What did His love motivate you to do?
Share your thoughts in the comments below or at Livng by Grace on Facebook.

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And congrats to Lillianne Kohler! You won a copy of Cara Putman’s novel, Shadowed by Grace! I’ll be contacting you soon to get that book to you.

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Other posts you might enjoy: