Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Only Rational Response to a Crazy Day

I am happy to introduce you to Jennifer Slattery. 
I recently read her debut novel and thouroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to her second one (information on both below). As I read Jennifer's post, I recognized a timely word of encouragement. I hope you are encouraged as well. Be sure to stop by and visit Jennifer over on her website!

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Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet CafĂ© Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her teenage daughter and coffee dates with her handsome railroader husband.

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud
Discover more about her books at the bottom of the post. 

From Jennifer's Heart to Yours.....


Short on time, long on tasks—watch the chaos ensue.

We’ve all had days like this, right? Life can get insane! Actually, life is insane on a good day. When mistakes occur or the unexpected hits… I don’t have an analogy quite sufficient for that.

Listening to other friends, it appears I’m not the only one with a rapidly mounting to-do list. For me, a lot of jobs and little time equals a dull mind. And often, a very sour heart, one that could, if not put into check, infect my family’s hearts.

Because the woman sets the tone for the household.

So what do we do when we burn dinner, overflow our washing machine into an overflowing, sudsy mess, and our brain feels ready to explode?

We slow down and regroup. We let the potatoes simmer and the laundry stay in heaps on our bed and head straight for our prayer closet. We turn on the radio, tuned to praise music, and focus on those things that matter most:

Christ and His mission.
Love.
Gentleness.
Family.
Heart-to-heart time.
With or without mashed potatoes.

Psalm 139:16 says all my days –even the crazy ones--were written in God’s book before one of them came to be.

Ephesians 2:10 says I am God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so I can do the good things He planned for me—for my family—long ago.

And if God planned my life, (and yours) one bad day isn’t going to thwart it. In fact, my chaos could be laying the groundwork for His perfect plan. (Jeremiah 29:11) My best response, then, is to pause and tune my ears to Him, the Prince of Peace. 
Chaos could be laying the 
groundwork for His perfect plan.

Not only has Christ enabled us to have peace with God, but He also gives us a daily peace that surpasses our circumstances–when we abide. If we abide in Him, remain in Him, draw near to Him throughout our day, He’ll come to us, soothing our anxieties and filling us with peace and strength. It might feel like we don’t have time for prayer, but honestly, if we’re feeling frazzled and pushed to the max, we don’t have time not to pray.

Let Jesus be your all in all today.

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Jennifer's Books:

When Dawn Breaks

As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution propel her north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. However, he’s dealing with a potential conspiracy at work, one that could cost him everything, and Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. 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, 36-page excerpt HERE . 
Purchase When the Dawn Breaks:
 Amazon   
 CBD  

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Beyond I Do 

Jennifer's debut novel is currently on sale at Amazon for under $4 (print & kindle version)! 

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancĂ©. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

I hope you enjoy Jennifer's books as much as I have! 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Shame Off You!

The Quiet Lecture


A Life Parable
~A fictionalized true event~ 


The phone rang, breaking the silence of night. Keeping her eyes closed, Andi rolled over to pick up her smart phone. She swiped across the screen. “Hello?”

“Andi?”

Her eyes flew open. What was her manager calling about at this hour?

“Weren’t you supposed to serve at the breakfast this morning?”

She glanced at the clock and groaned. Six o’clock. She was supposed to have been there half an hour ago. “Sorry. Be there in a few minutes.”

She jumped out of bed and threw on her catering uniform and ran a brush through her hair. A few minutes with her make up and she was out the door. Fortunately, her dorm was the closest to the cafeteria. She cut across the lawn and was there in under 5 minutes.

As student manager, she always got there on time. Until today. At least there wasn’t a large crew waiting on her. It was a small breakfast and she had chosen to take care of it herself.

She clocked in and found her boss already gathering her supplies. Working together, they had everything ready in short order. At the door to the parking lot, her boss went through the list, checking to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything. She prided herself on never having forgotten something she needed.

Of course today, she had almost forgotten to even be here. She kept waiting for him to lecture her about being late. As she opened the door, she turned and faced her boss. “Why haven’t you laid into me about being late?”

He just grinned and folded his arms. “You’re already telling yourself everything you need to hear. Why should I add to a well delivered lecture? Now, go do your job.”

~ ~ ~

The easiest choice for Andi’s boss would have been to dock her pay or reem her in front of other workers. But that was not his way or the best choice.

When someone’s messes spill out over us, a quick tongue can add to the burden of the enemy’s whispers. Can add to the shame and the struggle to fend off his lies. On the right and left he whispers the suggestion, “you are not enough” “you will never get it right.”

Their own heart betrays them into thinking there is nothing they can do and the shame grows. Like quicksand it sucks downward until the struggle to be free is life or death.

Silence sometimes offers the best advice. A word of encouragement the best correction. A hand up the surest discipline. A look of the eye the quickest reign.


Before the quicksand pulls them down. Before the whispers take them out. Look to yourself and your own gift of heavenly grace offered for your messes. Give that. 

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2

Have you ever experienced the grace of a lift out
 of the quicksand of shame?

I've linked up for #livefreeThursday . 
More encouraging posts there - check it out. 


photo credit: Free Digital Photos // marcolm

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Carrying One Another’s Burden

photo credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net
Running the Race
 Life Parable (Fiction)
by Angela D. Meyer

I struggled to keep up with the rest of the runners. Why did I enter this race? I’ll never make it. I’m no good at this running stuff. I slowed my pace, about convinced to quit when a voice speaks from behind. A small, gentle voice. But strong.

“Don’t give up now. You’re almost there. Just a mile left.” A petite runner came up behind me. She had to have been at least 20 years older than me.

How does she do this? “I can’t see the finish line.” I wanted to believe the end was that close, but I labored to breathe and just wanted to stop. A vanilla frappe sounded heavenly right now.

“It’s there, around that curve ahead. Here.” She handed me a water bottle. “Picked up an extra at the last station.” She flashed me an encouraging smile. “So what brings you out to run today?”

I stole a look at my newest running companion. “A dare.”

She nods her head. “My first run was a dare. Been hooked ever since.”

I laughed between gasping for air. “I doubt I’ll ever want to run again.”

She smiled like she knew some secret I didn’t. “When you’re not running, what do you do?”

“Mom.” Talking was getting harder. We rounded the curve to face a hill I did not want to run up.

She must have recognized the look in my face because she stopped asking questions. Instead, she spoke gentle words of encouragement every few minutes. She reminded me over and over that I could do it.

After we crossed the finish line – and not in last place I must add – I looked around for my friend who helped me to accomplish what I thought was impossible. I finally spotted her and caught her eye. I mouthed thank you and waved. She grinned and waved back as she headed away from the crowds.

In a flash, my family bombarded me with hugs and kisses.

My teenage daughter wrapped her arms around me and whispered in my ear. “That was awesome, Mom. Can I run with you next time?”

I almost groaned, but saw the look of hope on her face and quickly recanted my dread. “Sure. I think that would be a great thing for us to do together.”


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Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load. Galatians 6: 2-5

 The person sitting next to us in the pew is likely struggling with something. A friend may have an addiction. It is their responsibility to choose and make right decisions, but often they need encouragement to keep going. To do the hard stuff. To not quit. To do life God’s way. 

There have been plenty of times I have longed for someone to come alongside me and walk with me and encourage me. And I doubt I am alone. 

Words of encouragement go a long way to helping people stay in the game! (Click to Tweet)

The next time you come across someone struggling, take a moment and lighten their burden with words of encouragement, a prayer and maybe even a helping hand.


To put it another way, 
here is one of my favorite scenes. Ever!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hold On, God

Today, guest blogger, Janet Brown, 
shares a devotional about God's helping hand. 

photo credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net 


“For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” Isaiah 41:13

My oldest daughter and son-in-law bought an inside basketball goal for our first grandchild, their niece. We put it away and brought it out for each one thereafter. By the time, my third and youngest grandchild was born, the basketball goal was worn, but still usable. The pen that held it to a certain height kept getting lost, so I hid it. My grandson loved that goal. By age two, he was wise to my tricks of hiding the pen. He’d drag the whole contraption into the living area and say “pen,” indicating I should get the lost part. He would take it from my hands and say, “My do it myself.”
He would aim and miss several times. I’d say, “let Mimi do it.” But no, “my do it myself.” In God-given grandma wisdom, I covered his right hand with mine and guided the pen into the hole. His eyes lit up. Then, he swatted away my hand and reaffirmed, “my do it myself.”
What a picture of us at times. We’re taught to be independent. When faced with a compulsion we can’t control, we argue with ourselves saying, “I’m an accomplished, capable, intelligent woman. I can get on a diet, stay on it and control this thing.” But, we try and try, and can’t. No matter how many times we tell God with our actions and words, “my do it myself,” we can’t.
Finally, God holds our right hand and puts the pieces together. But, do we still shake His hand away and say, “my do it myself.” We can’t. God help us. We never can.


My Guest:  
Janet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles. Writing became her second career after retirement from medical coding.

Worth Her Weight will be the author’s debut inspirational women’s fiction, but it makes a perfect companion to her recently released, Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. Both books encompass her passion for diet, fitness, and God’s Word.

Worth Her Weight marks Brown’s third book. She released her debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, in July, 2012.

Janet and her husband love to travel with their RV, visit their three daughters, two sons-in-law and three perfect grandchildren, and work in their church.


About her 3rd Book: 

How can a woman who gives to everyone but herself accept God’s love and healing when she believes she’s fat, unworthy, and unfixable? Can she be Worth Her Weight?

LACEY CHANDLER helps her mother, her sister, her friend, and then she binges on food and wonders is there really a God?

BETTY CHANDLER hates being handicapped and useless, so she lashes out at the daughter that helps, and the God who doesn’t seem to care.

TOBY WHEELER loves being police chief in Wharton Rock, but when the devil invades the small town, he can’t release control.

Is God enough in Wharton Rock? Ask Lacey.

Worth Her Weight is available at: Pen-L Publishing 
It can also be purchased on Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and at local book stores.

Connect with Janet:


Monday, December 29, 2014

Looking Back


Whether we look back over a year or a lifetime, it is man’s tendency to consider life as not enough. It holds such disappointments in memory that we scramble to make better plans for the future.

From the temptation in the garden until now when the serpent whispered in Eve’s ear, “Don’t you want more? You deserve it.”, we listen to the enemy’s lie. Doubting God’s ability to know what is best for us.

We grab the reigns back and try and do it on our own. The same thing Eve did in the garden.

It never turns out well.  

When you reflect on 2014, remember that even in the midst of our imperfect efforts, offenses from others, abuses and tragedies, God is with us. Measuring each moment. The beginning from the end. Breathing into us courage and faith and new.

Out of the brokenness of our moments restoring.   

He created the world with His word. 
Imagine what He can do in your life. (Click to Tweet)

Whatever the broken moments have been. He is enough in the midst of it all. The moments don’t have to add up. Our life doesn’t have to make sense. Only Him.

We can let the reigns fall. Knowing in His goodness. In His rightness. In His ALL. He will make it enough. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Homecoming

My winter 2014 newsletter is here! Inside you will find the next between-the-books short story. If you haven't subscribed to the newsletter yet, do so now to read the full story. 

Model trains circled through miniature holiday villages. Christmas trees surrounded by colorful gifts stood sentinel. Tinsel and lights hung from every possible corner. Annibel stared at the window displays.
A voice whispered to her heart. Go home.
She shook her head. Her eyes misted over and she turned away from the scenes, shoulders curved in defeat. Going home would be worse than celebrating Christmas homeless. 
To read the rest of the short story, subscribe to my newsletter HERE

Monday, November 24, 2014

7 Tips for the Holidays When Wounds are Fresh in Your Marriage



The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves 
those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Discovering problems in your marriage at any time is hard. Near the holidays is more so. 

I haven't shared much about what I'm talking about today. Honestly, it's kind of hard to just spill it out there. And, too, my husband and I are still in the process of restoration. We know where we're headed, but healing takes time. 

I want to encourage other women who find themselves in a similar situation. Especially with the holidays upon us. 

When I discovered my husband's secrets, it was only 2 months till Thanksgiving and family was coming to visit. We were going to counseling, but things were still tender and iffy at times. I would cry at the drop of a hat. I carried more tension than usual attempting to keep things “normal” for the kids. I wanted to do the right thing one day and was angry the next. 

If you find yourself in a similar situation, the greatest encouragement I can give you is to hold on to hope in GOD. Not in your marriage. Our strength, our worth, our future is in GOD, not in how well this life goes. 

I looked back at how I handled that time to find some practical helps I could pass along. Some things I did right and other things I wish I had thought of. Here are some of both.

Rest. It’s easy to go overboard with busyness to avoid thinking about the mess around you. To give you the feeling you are in control. But your mind, heart and spirit will function better if you are not tired. You will respond better. You will make better decisions about the present as well as the future.

Find space. Take time to be alone. This will give you privacy to process things however you need to. Write in your journal. Worship. Pray. Cry. Scream and yell it out with God.  He can handle all the hurt and pain you feel right now. Let HIM carry your burden! If you have to be around family (and consider bowing out of some of those events) space is especially crucial.

Grieve. Even if you want to let God heal your relationship. Even if you have already chosen to forgive. Even if your spouse is doing the right things. You have lost something. Allow your heart and mind to process those losses through the grief.  Don’t rush this – even during the holidays. This is a good reason to make space for yourself.

Say NO. Give yourself permission to do what is best for your family. Do not fall into other’s expectations. Either from those who have no clue what is happening and expect everything to be normal or from those who do know and think they know how to “fix” this situation.  Only do those things that refresh you and comfort you.

Surround yourself with people who understand. You can’t just lock this up inside. Even if you only talk to a counselor, you need to talk. The secrets will turn into shame and bury you if you do not. Be selective and wise when you choose. Not everyone will know your journey or have the compassion to walk with you even if they do not.

Watch your talk. You may feel like tearing down your spouse. Don’t. It may be really hard to find the good, at least don’t say anything bad. If you have kids, remember they are watching and have a tendency to think tension between mommy and daddy is there fault.  

Make things good for your kids. It’s okay to tone it down from your normal holiday routine. It’s probably healthy to do so. But keep some important traditions. Even if it’s just you and the kids. Make memories with them. And don’t pretend that everything is okay. They know better. Don’t dwell on the problem. Acknowledge it, allow the kids room to process it and make the best memories you are able within your circumstance.

NOTE: If there is abuse. If there is danger to you or your kids. Get to a safe place.


Above all, I pray you find HIS peace and comfort during this difficult time in your life.


If you want me to pray for you – leave a message via the “contact me” box on the right. 

And if you know of someone who is going through a 
difficult time in their marriage, please pass this along using the share buttons below.