Hello? Remember me? I can’t remember the last time I blogged an update. It has been a very busy season and I was blessed when Kathy Carlton Willis and her team sent me some wonderful blog posts to share this fall. They were wonderful and spanned throughout late September and October. Thank you, Kathy and team!
I thought I’d share what’s been going on and what’s coming up.
- I finished teaching Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst in as many as 5 different ways. I’ve never done this before and it was a HUGE step of faith. I taught it as a Sunday School Class and as it usually goes, I think I learned the most. I was able to lower my walls and make new friends. There have been times my biggest rejections came from teaching, so this was HARD. But God saw me through it, and I’m thankful. I taught twice a week through an online Facebook group (no video) and that was special. I’m so proud of those ladies. I also met with people privately and/or shared my journaling to encourage those I know are struggling. This book is a life-changer. I put it up there with Beth Moore’s Believing God.
- My husband is on the tail end of teaching seven weeks straight. Most of those weeks were not local, so that put me on full-time duty. It isn’t easy for any of us, but this is new for him, training on a full-time schedule, and he enjoys it.
- Our oldest started college. I didn’t think much of the transition because he is a commuter student, and honestly, I’m still recovering from his senior year of high school. His grades are amazing and he’s made a couple connections. We see more change on the horizon come January, but we think they are open doors we are excited to see him walk through.
- Our youngest started middle school. I also didn’t think much of the transition because physically, it is a move down the hall. No big deal, right? But, I forgot the drama. So much with girls and middle school. I really struggled with this one, but through it, she learned wisdom and discernment, and boundaries. I’m drained, and the hard part is, we’re just entering the teen years.
There was also a visit to my home town and a quick trip to the Adirondacks. I’m still critiquing and writing ENGAGED. I’m not where I want to be with it, but I have much of it plotted, so it should flow well. The feedback I’m receiving from promotions I did with ENTRUSTED and ENTANGLED has been so positive, I’m so grateful. I also did a book club for ENTANGLED and that went really well. I’m trying one for ENTRUSTED on my author page, but it is slow going. I think that will pick up once more readers find me. And I pray they do!
At the end of Uninvited, Lysa TerKeurst challenges readers to have the courage to ask loved ones, “What’s it like to do life with me?” Boy, that is tough. I haven’t done the official assessment yet, but late August my husband shared something that I knew was a blindspot for me, I didn’t see it. And instead of feeling rejected, I knew it was an area to work on.
So that’s everything going on right now. Tired? I am. I didn’t even talk about all the menopause stuff and the changed I’ve implemented. But that’s what life is like with me right now. Busy!
Stay tuned, throughout November guest bloggers will be sharing why they are thankful. I LOVE this series, I think it is our 9th year. I still have openings, you do NOT have to be a writer to participate. All you need to be is thankful!
To sign up, find a date that is open in November, click the box on the right, hit submit in the center bottom box. It will confirm and send you an email, and also a reminder. If you have trouble, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to help.
Sign up HERE
This is one of those posts that isn’t fun to write because it takes me back to a time I didn’t love and of course, I don’t come out looking too great in it. But I know I’m supposed to share it, and I believe it will encourage someone out there.
Our newlywed years weren’t normal or easy. I had chronic pain because of a severe case of PCOS. There were many days I was in bed because of pain as soon as I got home from work. I had to receive shots in the backside that were not easy to give or receive. And then there was the baggage.
I came into the marriage with low self esteem and huge trust issues. I was a wounded person who usually felt better wounding others. It wasn’t a good place.
My husband worked a new job with a lot of hours. He was in community theater. We were new in our church and wanted to be active there together. We grieved his kids not living in the same state anymore and trusted God had them and us.
When he had a bad day from any of these stresses or even something else, I had one thought and one thought only.
I’m the reason he’s upset.
It’s my fault.
It will always be me.
It will always be my fault.
When he needed time to chill, I took that as a personal rejection. I didn’t get that men need their cave time. When he’s ready to talk, he will. But my own emotional baggage couldn’t allow me to see that. So I’d chase him down, causing more stress.
And guess what?
It wasn’t about me until I made it about me. And that’s when real conflict started.
I had a lot of problems then, and a big one I didn’t realize was one I think a lot of young women are also dealing with: you want your husband to be your savior.
Sorry, ladies, he can’t. He’s human and he’s going to fail. The harder you pursue him with that expectation, the faster he’s going to retreat. I tell you from experience. Then your pain is that much stronger because you’ve got another man in your life who has rejected you.
How did I get out of that spiral? It wasn’t easy or fast. I had to hit a rock bottom and realize even when his bad day wasn’t about me, I had a lot of healing to take care of. I had people praying. I read a lot from Chuck Swindoll to Sheila Walsh. I went through two Bible studies that changed everything—Believing God by Beth Moore and Captivating by Sheila Eldredge. I started to see my Savior was there to rescue me, He is Jesus, not my husband. And when I put that in the right order, everything changed.
My view of a Heavenly Father wasn’t healthy because I was envisioning someone with closed arms disappointed in me. Pressing in through my relationship in Christ and giving Him everything about me re wired my thinking. God’s arms are open wide even when I goof up and it is about me.
Now that I’m healed from those hurts, I don’t rely on my husband to be the source of all my happiness. I have the discernment to know when he’s having a bad day when to approach and when to wait. I no longer have those internal alarms going off thinking he’s upset with me.
If this is a struggle for you, I pray something in this post gives you hope to seek healing as well. If you are not part of a Bible reading, Christ centered church, I pray you find one and surround yourself with people who can pray for you. I’m rooting for you!
I’ve had the pleasure of being chosen to review the February 18th screening of Women of Faith: An Amazing Joyful Journey, and I can’t wait. I went to a conference with friends from Mothers of Preschoolers, MOPS, and I invited some MOPS moms who could use some laughs to come with me. I can’t wait to go, and of course, to share my thoughts here with you.
Before I do, I thought I’d talk about that experience. It was probably eight years ago, but I can recall it like it was yesterday morning. Beth Moore was announced as the pre conference speaker and I was determined to go. Her study, BELIEVING GOD, had transformed my life. The conference was in Cleveland, about an hour away, and MOPS moms thought the entire event would be a great experience as a local chapter.
Seeing Beth Moore in person was breathtaking. I do not worship her, don’t get me wrong, but I watched her worship. I was in the fifth row and I could see clearly.
Should I have been paying attention to my own worship?
But I learned something by watching Beth Moore.
She was in a cute little business outfit and we were inside the Q, where the Cavs play. The floor was cement. And that little lady went face down in front of 5,000 women and gave her complete focus to Jesus as her worship leader, Travis, played. I was in awe and it struck me how hungry she was. And that I want to be all in for Him.
I have far to go, but I keep in mind I’m not Beth Moore and because the Lord looks at the heart, He sees beyond my worries that my pants would split or my knee would dislocate. We’ve had great conversations where I ask about why certain things happen with others and not with me and I loved his intimate answer. But I’ll always remember that worship. It was amazing.
The main conference made me laugh and I felt especially blessed as I realized it was the best of both worlds. The original group was starting to retire, but I believe it was Marilyn Meberg and Lucy Swindoll had me in stiches. I remember being mesmerized that when I closed my eyes, Lucy sounds exactly like her brother, Chuck. From the younger crowd I could relate to Sheila Walsh. She was so transparent and uplifting. Her accent was beautiful.
I went home feeling energized, uplifted and refreshed. It was during a season where I was still trying to process the upheaveal my life took a couple years before through grief and change. The Beth Moore pre conference and the Women of Faith event were a prescription for mental and emotional healing. I am grateful for events like these that can touch and change women like me.
Have you ever been to a Women of Faith conference? I’d love for you to tell me about it.
This year my goal is to share surrender stories, encouragement from myself and others that will encourage you to surrender the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate. Last week Sarah Hamaker shared her story about parenting expectations. Alexis A. Goring let us in on her journey about surrendering refined sugar.
My story is about letting go of people pleasing and approval.
For those that know me now, they can’t believe I’d waste much time on such a thing. Peers find me God confident and secure in who God says I am. Trust me, that wasn’t always the case.
I was a hurting person growing up and took offenses, even slight ones that weren’t even intentional, to my core. I nursed them, fed them, and sewed them into my heart. By the time I was in my mid/late twenties and starting married life, approval had a grip on me.
What my husband thought of me kept me busy day and night. Choices he made I zeroed in and was certain was because of me. I can’t tell you how many of our early conflicts had the words, “This isn’t about you.” I couldn’t believe it. And I was imagining so many disappointments he had about me that I conjured up real conflict.
I did the same with colleagues and clients. I wanted to be the best and felt I was only good at what I did when I saw the organization or may name in bold newspaper print. Well, not every task is going to make the news. I exhausted myself wanting the approval.
The object lesson that I share with ladies I speak with is the loudest example to me about how sick I was when it came to needing approval and caring what people thought of me. I am so NOT a crafty person. But years and years ago for Christmas dinner at the in-laws I was chiseling an eggplant into a penguin centerpiece. If Pinterest existed back then I would have scoured the site looking for something I could bring that would make me feel worthy enough to be there. I was up into early morning getting this eggplant centerpiece ready. By the time I got there, I was too tired to be social. No one cared about the penguin. These people just wanted to see ME.
But back then, I still didn’t see it, and surrendering it was a process.
Here’s what God did in me.
I went to a couple retreats where prayer was intensive and I took steps of faith to share my story and allow others to pray. The results were powerful. God showed up and I felt for the first time how deeply Jesus loved me. He started to re wire my mind.
Then, I read. I’m an avid reader and I’m not afraid of a tough Bible study. I journeyed through Beth Moore’s Believing God and a few years later, Stasi Eldredge’s Captivating. Both these books were tools in God’s arsenal to set me free.
This healing in my life paved the way for me to write. There was no way I could have pursued writing for the public the way I was, and sadly I see too many authors with this approval/what others think burden and it is exhausting for them and frustrating for those in their circles. It would have emotionally snuffed me out had I not sought healing. And in His mercy and humor, I did receive a negative review with Entrusted. The person was kind but they didn’t like the book. They even admitted the hardest part was they hit purchase twice, so they were stuck with two copies they didn’t want.
Not long ago that review would have sent me to bed and I would have kept it churning in my mind for months. Today? I smiled. Not because I’m mocking the reviewer, but I’m so thankful for what the Lord has done in me.
And my friend, He longs to do the same for you.
Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing, but how in the world do we do that? In fact, how should we effectively pray to begin with?
Best-selling author Beth Moore addresses these practical and pervasive matters in Whispers of Hope by walking readers through an easy to remember and apply method of prayer, coupled with seventy daily devotionals and followed by prompts to put this prayer method into practice.
Indeed, Whispers of Hope teaches the manifestation process of powerful Word-saturated prayer in response to a daily Bible reading. In turn, you will better understand how devotional reading and prayer are central to a stronger relationship with God.
Beth Moore is called “America’s Bible Teacher” and it’s for good reason. Whispers of Hope contains 70 devotions that are easy to relate to and start with a Bible reading. Each day there is room for you to journal your P.R.A.I.S.E., Beth’s acronym for prayer.
- Supplication for Self
As always, Whispers of Hope is as beautiful to hold as it is to read. The pages are ornate and the cover contains a sold, built in bookmark. At the end there are notes on how to use the book for group study.
Whispers of Hope is a perfect devotional for your day to help you grow in your relationship with God and learn more about His word.
To purchase Whispers of Hope, click here.
I received a copy of Whispers of Hope from Icon Media Group in exchange for an honest review.
Stephanie has been a member of the same critique group as me for over a year. She is a master at grammar and conflict, and I really enjoyed Angel in the Furnace. Soon you will be able to enjoy it, too. Today Stephanie answers some questions, and I learned a lot. Please leave her a comment and get to know her better!
1. How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing something since I was 6, so almost 21 years now.
2. How did you come up with the title of your book?
The title of Angel in the Furnace comes from Daniel chapter three. I did a Beth Moore study on Daniel a few years ago and loved her video session on that chapter. She discussed that there are three options when it comes to trial–God either spares you from it totally, asks you to walk through it, or delivers you from it by taking you to Heaven. My characters are two people who’ve been asked to walk through their fires. They’ve come out alive, but they still smell like smoke.
3. What do you want readers to know about it?
Dr. Grace Taylor, a driven pediatrician and single mom, needs divine intervention if she’s going to heal from the actions of her cheating, abusive ex. But she never expected that intervention to come through Chris Anderson, a tutor at the local learning center whose secrets keep him from opening up to her. Despite fears and distrust, love begins to take root in both their hearts. But their fiery secrets threaten to keep them apart, and blister their souls.
4. What character are you most like, if any?
This is funny, but I think I’m most like Chris Anderson. In this romance, my hero took shape first. We’re both educators and readers, and we both love kids. And when we get hurt, we both have a visceral reaction of withdrawal from others.
5. What’s your next book about?
The next book (laughs)…I have two ideas. The one I really want to write is sort of autobiographical, about a smart, creative teen girl with mild cerebral palsy, seeking independence from her handicap. My other idea would be to write Josh Anderson’s story. Josh is Chris’ single younger brother, and although I don’t know much so far, I know his love interest’s name is Emily, and she hates dogs for some reason. Except, Josh raises dogs for a living…
6. What do you do for fun?
Well, of course I read for fun, and honestly, writing is fun for me. I just joined my church’s fledgling drama team. I love to sing, and I have a love-hate relationship with exercise.
7. What is your favorite book?
(Laughs) I have to pick ONE?! Okay…I’d have to choose Susan May Warren’s Happily Ever After–really, her entire Deep Haven series.
8. What advice do you have for beginning writers?
Read books whose authors you love. The idea is not to copy them; the idea is to find out where your voice and genre might fit. And then learn all you can about writing. Take classes. Get crit partners. Read books. Let your brain become a writing sponge.
9. What is your favorite verse?
Jeremiah 29:11. It’s been my life verse since I was 17.
10. What is something few would guess about you?
Most people would never, and I do mean never, guess I’m a big fan of Reba McEntire and Martina McBride.