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Sweet Surrender by Alexis A. Goring

Posted by Julie on January 7, 2016 in ACFW, encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

Julie’s Note: Throughout 2016 I will have guest bloggers sharing their surrender stories. Today, Alexis A. Goring shares her sweet surrender.

Sweet Surrender

A guest post by Alexis A. Goring


Sugar. Refined sugar. It was my solace, my relief, my healing from emotional trauma.


Since age 16, sugar had been my source of healing from emotional trauma, my relief from mental stresses and a primary cause of weight gain and preventer of clear skin.


But the last four years had been intense when it came to my love affair with refined sugar. I had a lot going on in my life and turned to sugar so much that to me, the choice was simple: sugar or my sanity! I truly believed that in order to remain sane and able to cope with life, I needed sugar. I craved it. I thought I could not live without it.


Just like anyone in a toxic relationship, I tried to breakup with sugar but it wouldn’t let me.

Just as I started to step closer to freedom, something would happen or I’d remember a sad situation or traumatic event and my cravings for sugar would peak then rush in like a hurricane that wrestled with me and would not let me go until I gave in and ate a sugary treat.
Cake, cupcakes, cookies, candy—I loved it all. Nothing could soothe a hurting heart like a gallon of ice cream or a slice of chocolate cake. No one could comfort me like a chocolate chip cookie or a slice of peach pie. Not even Jesus. Yes, sad but true. I found comfort in food, not Christ. And therein lies the source of my problem.

So by Spring 2015, I knew I needed deliverance. And I knew that I needed prayer support in order to break free. So I asked a dear friend of mine who is like a world-class prayer warrior, to pray for me. I asked her to pray that God helps me break free from the stronghold of sugar. I’d prayed about it plenty of times by myself but I didn’t follow through with exercising my willpower because I felt overpowered by my desire for sugar. But I knew that if I had someone else who supported my desire to be free from this stronghold and was strong in their walk with the Lord, praying for me then my chances of success would be greater. So I confided in Summer and she told me that I needed to fast and pray, not just pray, to get my breakthrough.


I decided to do a fast from refined sugar for 40 days and 40 nights. The day before I started it, I called Summer and told her my plans then asked her to pray for me. Summer prayed. I fasted (and prayed). It wasn’t easy but God helped to wean me off of refined sugar. When I wanted dessert, I reached for a nectarine. At first, it was tough but I kept praying and fasting. I did NOT give in or give up. Halfway through the fast, nectarines started tasting sweeter and better than dessert. Toward the end of my fast, I didn’t crave sugar and after the 40th day and 40th night of my sugar surrender, I was set free!


God gave me that breakthrough and to this day, I do not crave refined sugar. Since then, I try my best to choose foods that are healthy. Sugar-free smoothies and fresh fruit are the way to go when you’re craving something sweet and it benefits your body with the nourishment and nutrition that your body craves.


I am so grateful to God for setting me free from the stronghold of sugar! I praise Him for my breakthrough and thank Him for friends like Summer who pray for God to help me to surrender to Him the things that are holding me back from living a life free of strongholds.


If you are struggling with a stronghold, I encourage you to surrender your struggle to God. Fast, pray and surround yourself with God-fearing, Bible-believing people who can pray for your surrender and victory.


Trust me, it works and it’s worth it!

Author Alexis Goring

Author Alexis Goring and her sweet victory

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


Book blurb:

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

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

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

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


Purchase links: – –


Social media links:

Author page on Facebook,

Blog, “God is Love” –

Twitter handle, @pennedbyalex






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You’re Invited: Share Your Surrender Story in 2016.

Posted by Julie on December 21, 2015 in encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I mentioned Saturday that I’m being very intentional in 2016 about how to best get my Surrender Issues and Chocolate messages to the masses. One way is subscribing to the sweet, weekly encouragement delivered straight to your inbox that will start your week right. It’s the Julie Arduini’s Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate, a short message that will always include a chocolate mention. Want to subscribe for free? Click here.

Share your surrender story here in 2016.

Share your surrender story here in 2016.

Another method I’m using is asking for more guest bloggers to share their story right here. We ALL have a surrender story.

  • Maybe you learned something about time management.
  • Perhaps someone is reading right now that has victory over a life controlling issue like an addiction.
  • Other surrender stories could be financial, relationships, health, parenting, work related, ministry related, about food, pets, gadgets, the list could go on.

I’m not looking for professionals, I’m looking for real people with a story they want to share. These are folks that don’t need to worry about grammar or saying the perfect thing. They simply want to share their surrender story and hope at least one person can relate and be encouraged.

Does that sound like you? I hope so. Because I truly believe everyone qualifies.

To learn more about guest blogging right here, I invite you to read my invitation and sign up. It’s so easy, truly.

Let’s get started.


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Book Review: Change Before You Have To by Rob Ketterling

Posted by Julie on January 29, 2014 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |








Book Description:

What will it take for you to change? We’ve all heard it said, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions” and we all know good intentions won’t cause us to change. For most of us, however, it takes a crisis, a tragedy, a pain so great that change is actually forced upon us. By then, it’s way too late. But what if… what if you could find the strength to change before the pain, before the crisis, before the tragedy? What if you could change before you have to? In this book, Change Before You Have To, I’ll give you the keys I’ve found that can help you change your relationships, your weight, your job, your finances, and your emotional and spiritual state before the crisis; before you have to. No more excuses, no more good intentions, it’s time to change and live life to the fullest!

In this motivating book, Pastor Rob Ketterling starts off with a bang by sharing how the book idea formed. In a casual conversation he remarked how much work he’d have ahead of him if he were suddenly a widower in need of a new wife. His wife, very much alive, asked, why wait to make a change for someone not even real when you could be changing for the love of your life. It hit him hard and he realized most of us change when we need to. But few change before.

The author gives examples from his own life as a Little Debbie snack cake fan trying to get in shape. He also uses statistics, Biblical examples, and stories to drive home points to inspire change. The chapters are short and each one has bullet points at the end to summarize. There are discussion questions, too.

“I remember the feedback I received after I publicly admitted I needed to make a change. Someone told me, ‘Really? Pastor Rob, you’re so disci­plined in every area of your life. You have a great marriage, great kids, and you’ve got your spiritual life going on. Yet you missed it big time in the area of being physically fit.’

What they really thought was that because I was a pastor, I was above being addicted to anything. Not true. Addiction is addiction. And I was addicted to having second and third helpings, lying around, and munching on little snack cakes.

Maybe you can wear a short-sleeve shirt, your biceps are just bulging, your body fat is 8 percent and your cholesterol is 160. Maybe you can eat food all day long, and it doesn’t affect you. Maybe you’re great. But you know what? Maybe your marriage is a wreck. And that’s the area you’re hoping nobody notices.

Maybe I covered up my fat by untucking my shirt, but you’re likely cover­ing up some areas of your life, too. The book of Proverbs says, “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent (17:28). So you just kind of nod your head, go on about your life, and hope no one notices the changes you need to make in your life.

   It’s time for you to get honest with yourself and those you love. I think it’s time for you to admit there are areas of your life you have not changed that need to change. And you can either change because you have to or change before you have to. It’s your call.”   — Rob Ketterling in Change Before You Have To, published by Influence Resources

I found this a quick read with potential for lasting impact. Although I don’t think this is written for men only, I think they will especially relate and benefit. The change he mentions isn’t just fitness, but finances and addictions.  The author is Biblical, humorous, and authentic, so I wasn’t surprised when Mark Batterson wrote the foreward. For Batterson fans, I think you will also enjoy Rob Ketterling’s work here with Change Before You Have To.

To purchase Change Before You Have To, please click here.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Ladies, in addition to Change Before You Have To, I also recommend Lysa TerKeurst’s Made to Crave.

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Guest Blogger Paul Robinson: Waving the White Flag at P*rn Addiction

Posted by Julie on January 16, 2014 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Julie’s Note:

I became acquainted with blogger Paul Robinson through Jon Acuff’s “30 Days of Hustle” Facebook group. Paul was looking for guest blogger experience and when he shared his bio, I encouraged him to write here on this topic. If you or someone you know is struggling with p*rn addiction, I encourage you to check out, and of course, seek pastoral counsel from a Bible believing church.


Waving the White flag at P*rn.


Surrendering is generally a negative term. No one likes to surrender. Surrendering means defeat, it means we can’t deal with something, it means we are weak.


Or does it?


Surrendering is all to do with perspective. Depending on which angle you look at it; to surrender can be something that we are trapped in or something that sets us free.


Addiction is a great place to see how this works out. Addiction can cause us to surrender so much of our life to activities and thoughts that kills us. Ironically though, addiction can only be defeated if we take this idea of surrendering and turn it on it’s head.


In the church today we are addicted to so much. Money, food, power. And p*rn. The latest stats regarding the use of p*rn by Christians makes for some pretty interesting reading.


In this post I want to look at both sides of surrendering and how we as individuals and as a community of the Church can beat our addictions.


First, a look at some of the ways that addiction can cause us to surrender ourselves.


Surrendering your self esteem


If you are addicted to anything and you want to give it up but you can’t, then your self esteem is one of the first things that takes a beating. One of the most used phrases an addict ever uses is “I swear that was the last time”. When the church stays silent on something or when it does speak only using shame and guilt, then it becomes even more difficult. The misconception that no one else struggles with this, or that if I was a decent Christian then I wouldn’t be doing these things will break down your self esteem bit by bit. Which in turn means we turn for comfort to the thing that is destroying our sense of self.


Surrendering your dreams


Everyone has dreams. I truly believe that. Sometimes though the things that control us can dull those or even hide them entirely. Once you were passionate about music, then p*rn came along, and slowly our motivation dwindles. Or you used to love to help people think through their own issues but p*rn took over your life and now your own issues are allowing self doubt to creep in.


Surrendering your community


When you look at p*rn and you don’t tell anyone, eventually the shame takes over and pulls you down deeper and deeper. Which increases shame. The thing about shame is this; when you feel it you don’t want to face anyone. You’ll stop responding to invites and you’ll just want to hide. You’ll isolate yourself from the very people who love you.


Surrendering P*rn


Here’s the good news. Surrendering doesn’t have to be all about porn controlling our lives so the good things we are given are destroyed. Surrendering is actually all about strength and character. The first thing that anyone who wants to heal from porn or any other addiction needs to do is to realise that they aren’t in control. To surrender the idea that they need to look good. When this happens the addict can begin their healing by letting others in.


Allowing others in may be difficult, but it is the only way we can truly allow ourselves to be loved as we are, no matter what we do. Our common idea of surrendering being negative usually stops us from letting go of our addictions, but when we see surrendering in a new positive light, it can be where the real us and our real strength will become real.


Recovery is possible but it only happens when we surrender the ‘control’ p*rn has over us.


It only happens when we surrender the idea that we need to be perfect.


And it only happens when we ask others for help.


Then you can start turning surrendering into conquering.


Paul Robinson is a blogger and an x3group leader for Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Paul now lives in Detroit with his wife, Brittany. So far he has managed to successfully switch from driving on the left hand side of the road to the right, but draws the line at calling ‘football’, ‘soccer.’ You can read more by writing paul (at)paulrobinsonwrites (dot)com and can follow him at @paulrobinson on twitter.

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New Beginnings by Sharron Cosby

Posted by Julie on December 21, 2013 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.

We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items from the contributors! Enter now below. The winner will be announced on January 2, 2014, at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.


New Beginnings
by Sharron Cosby

Christmas. The mere mention of the word sends thoughts and memories skittering like a box of spilled ornaments. Some roll toward sweet remembrances of times shared with family. Others bounce to the let’s-not-go-there corner of our minds.

I recall Christmas 2009. The one I wanted to cancel. My only son is an addict, and this was his worst year ever. I had convinced myself it would be his last, assuming he would be in prison or dead by the next Christmas. I told my daughters we would exchange gifts and have our usual holiday dinner, but no tree or decorations. I couldn’t dredge up the emotional energy to plaster contrived cheer around the house.

I’m usually the decorator, gift purchaser, food preparer, and mess cleaner-upper. Executing the necessary holiday tasks takes time and effort. Worrying about my son had left me drained of the required get-up-and-go. I couldn’t do it. Thank goodness for online shopping; at least there would be presents to hand out.

My pastor’s message four days before Christmas cut straight through my Scrooge-like attitude. His sermon points were: The holidays are too much trouble, count your blessings, and forgive someone.

Considering Christmas too much trouble reflects a selfish attitude, according to my pastor. What if Jesus had thought that way? My icy heart began to thaw.

The second point, count your blessings, stopped me dead in my tracks. Count blessings with a broken heart? I considered my husband’s love and my two daughters who have stood by their brother. I smiled as I pictured the faces of my four grandsons and the joy they brought our family. Yes, I had many blessings to number.

The third was the hardest: forgiveness. Forgive my son for the pain and suffering he had caused? “God, you can’t be serious,” I protested. “We’ve spent thousands of dollars on him, he’s broken our hearts, and he’s in worse shape than ever before.”

“Forgive him,” the Spirit whispered.

Tears slid down my face as I chose to forgive my son. No strings attached.

After church I headed home with a changed attitude. When my husband left for work, I retrieved the ornaments, dragged the Christmas tree from the garage, and set it up, my gift to the family. Decorating our tree with the children’s handmade ornaments is always a joint project, but that day I worked alone. I held the clothespin reindeers, popsicle stick picture frames, and monogramed angels and remembered the good times.

With tear-filled eyes, I watched as amazement etched the faces of my daughters when they came to our home Christmas morning and saw the decorated tree. “Mom! You put up the tree after all,” they said.

The biggest surprise of the day came when our daughter’s boyfriend knelt in front of her and asked, “Will you marry me?”

The discouragement of addiction was replaced with the joy of new beginnings, which is, after all, the message of the Christ Child.


Sharron Cosby has been married to Dan for thirty-nine years, is Mom to three adult children and “Mimi” to five grandchildren. Her family was rocked by her son’s drug addiction for fifteen years until he laid it down on February 18, 2010. She uses her life experiences to offer hope and encouragement to families caught in the chaos of addiction. Sharron is available to speak to groups on addiction related topics. Sharron recently published her first book, Praying for Your Addicted Loved One: 90 in 90, a ninety day devotional for families in recovery or those wanting to be. Receive weekly encouragement at her blog,, and Twitter @sharroncosby or contact her at moc.liamg@ybsocnorrahs.
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Book Review: Mistaken by Karen Barnett

Posted by Julie on October 3, 2013 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

From Amazon:

Since booze and prohibition have made criminals out of every man in her world,
Laurie Burke resolves to find at least one honorable man to fill her life. Convinced
that handsome newcomer Daniel Shepherd is connected with her brother’s rum-running
gang, Laurie quickly scratches his name off her list. Daniel has mixed feelings
about returning to the dirty mill town of his youth, but grudgingly agrees to manage
his grandfather’s drug store until a replacement can be found. The moment he meets
Laurie on the windswept bluff overlooking the beach, he knows that if he can earn
her love, he might have a reason to stay. But when Laurie pushes him away–for none
other than Federal Agent Samuel Brown–Daniel wonders if Laurie really is the
upstanding woman he thought her to be. The Strait of Juan de Fuca, just off the
beaches of Port Angeles, Washington, was treacherous water for reckless
rum-runners—and the agents who tried to catch them. So when she realizes her brother
is in danger, romance is the last thing on Laurie’s mind. Yet the people she
believes she can trust, may not be so honorable after all.


From everything I’ve read, Mistaken: First Impressions Are Never What They Seem is Karen Barnett’s first novel. If so, readers are in for a treat as this is a gripping look at the prohibition era and a desperate family trapped by liquor in more ways than one.

Laurie is loyal and no matter how many times her father and brother mess up, she’s there to pick up the pieces. Every chapter, every scene, escalates her conflict into doing what’s right and being there for her family.

Her situation is complicated by Daniel and Samuel. As handsome and kind as Daniel is, he appears to be in the same trouble as her brother. Samuel is charismatic and driven to rid Port Angeles of alcohol, something that would make Laurie’s life easier if her family wasn’t so involved with it.

This was full of emotion and action, and the heartbreak that comes from addiction is very well done here. Mistaken made me think of things about prohibition I wouldn’t have thought of—the dilemmas drugstores had back then filling prescriptions. I really liked the interaction between Daniel and his grandfather. And Daniel and Samuel? Those scenes were intense in the best way.

Mistaken is thought-provoking, full of conflict and action, and of course, romance. I recommend you put  Mistaken on your autumn to-do list. Karen Barnett’s first impression is an excellent one.

To purchase Mistaken, click here.

I received a copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

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