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Saturday Confession: My True Self

I’ve been helping out with youth ministry the last few months and our pastor has been sharing a video series on issues that we need to get real about. Anger, guilt, that kind of thing. He said something that stuck out to me, that our true self comes out with our reaction to a stubbed toe.

Well, I handle a stubbed toe pretty well. I whine like a girl, but I don’t curse or get angry.

But that doesn’t mean I should be wearing a halo.

My true self comes out when my goals are blocked. When I’m sleep deprived, and hungry.

I’m not from the south, so I’m not going to respond with a “Bless your heart.” I’m going to most likely get overly dramatic, complete with sighs, talk to walls because no one with a sound mind wants to be near me. Negative? I invented emo. I could probably enter the Oscar consideration pool if it were theatrical.

It’s just me being my true self.

My true self hates when things don’t go my way. I have a list, written or in my mind, I need to check stuff off that list or I lose it. I don’t enjoy having three dogs that at times need me just when I’m getting stuff done. A spill that comes not long after I’ve cleaned everything, something that takes me away from writing and marketing. I often resent the homework I know I need to check on because I know this work is smarter than I am and the way they want the answers is pure bunk. (I’m looking at you, Common Core.) I don’t get giddy when a child needs a ride with little notice because again, I’m a planner. I’ve come absolutely undone when I’m making a meal and realize I’m out of a key ingredient.

My true self has spewed some pretty ugly things from sarcasm with the intent to bite to discouraging words that Jesus girls shouldn’t be repeating. It’s been happening a lot lately, and I’m a thinker. It started at an event where I didn’t plan on anything that went down that night happening. I didn’t plan on it being busy. I didn’t think I’d have a rough go of it on many levels. I didn’t put on my list that I would stew about it. I didn’t pencil in the added time needed to prepare two kids for two plays. A child struggling and needing extra help. A child having a setback in health and losing days of peace, sleep and sanity in a fight to get her back on track.

The anger that this child had to suffer in the first place.

And on and on I could go.

My true self was screaming at the dogs for getting tangled around my legs in a trip to the their bathroom that shouldn’t be so complicated. I was threatening to send them away and yelling for them to hurry up. Slamming doors when they wanted out again and again and again.Smiley-tantrum

My true self at the core is selfish and mean. Angry. Tired. Burned out. Dependent on lists and toddler insistent that I do it my way, myself.

It’s not pretty to admit this, but I know there’s someone else out there beating themselves up for reacting to anything from a stubbed toe to a sick child. Thing is, it’s not just you, although that accusatory voice hissing in your ear would like you to believe that. And you don’t have to stay in that pit. Yep, we were born sinful, but we don’t have to stay that way. I’m visual and thanks to Christ’s work on the cross and my friendship with Him, I picture every day as a new slate. Whatever happened even an hour ago, I can confess it and the slate is clean. It’s not my license to act like an idiot, that’s not a fruitful life. But who I am, truly am in Christ can come back and live free.

I’m still tired and I’m fighting the bah humbug of the season. A late Thanksgiving is too much pressure for a list maker like me, so I need to be intentional about enjoying it all. I need to say no to things, as good as they are, to make sure I get rest. To push away the emails and get back in Bible study. I can’t coast without these things for long. Trust me, you don’t want me to.

So, that’s my confession. I’ve felt dead inside most of this year and my true self is pretty horrid.

But, I’m not alone. I have hope, a future, and a promise.

And so do you.

 

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Ruth and the Comfort Zone

Posted by Julie on November 26, 2014 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I’ve been enjoying Ruth’s story from the Bible with a twist—Jennifer Slattery is facilitating this study on FB and her blog sharing against the backdrop of her own contemporary romance Beyond I Do.

91raRTxT4vL._SL1500_Last week she was kind enough to open up her blog to allow me to share insights.

It’s a chapter in the Book of Ruth I’ve read several times but I saw received fresh insights that I really could relate to as I compared my story to Ruth’s and to Ainsley, the heroine in Beyond I Do.

I’d love for you to read what I wrote.

Click to read about Ruth and the Comfort Zone.

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Book Review: Amazed and Confused by Heather Zempel

Posted by Julie on March 14, 2014 in About Me, Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Book Description:

Most people have prayed for something or someone in earnest, seeking God’s will, only to be left confused by God’s response.Sometimes we ask, “Why would a good God allow bad things to happen to good people?” In Amazed and Confused, Heather Zempel tackles this question head-on by exploring the book of Habakkuk.

When the prophet Habakkuk prayed that God would bring change to the backsliding nation of Israel, this issue came to the forefront. Habakkuk begged God for revival and that He would turn the hearts of faithless people back to Him.

God’s answer to Habakkuk was, “Take a look at the nations and watch what happens! You will be shocked and amazed” (1:5, The Voice). The vision God gave Habakkuk was one of warfare and exile. How do you respond when God answers your prayers in a way that seems out of line with his character and promises?

Amazed and Confused proceeds systematically through the book of Habakkuk, exploring the prophet’s prayer, God’s response, and the prophet’s journey from confusion to worship. This interactive Bible study is the perfect choice for those who are hurting and confused about God’s responses to their prayers.

Features include:

    • Helpful guidance on a question without an easy answer
    • Practical tools for studying the Minor Prophets
  • Easy-to-understand, accessible language

91HZN8-qxmL._SL1500_This is part of the inScribed series, a collection of stories by women. Thomas Nelson wanted to highlight women writers because often studies come from pastors, and women who are not pastors often have great things to say, but find it hard to get their Bible studies published.

I loved Amazed and Confused. The second part of the title is “When God’s Actions Collide with Our Expectations.” That’s something we all can relate to. To make it a study around the prophet Habakkuk was even better. He is someone I knew a little about, but it’s obvious Heather Zempel did a lot of research for this study.

I found this easy to follow and full of detail, yet with information applicable for my own life. Key thoughts are emphasized, and there are questions and places for notes and journaling.

This is one of the best studies I’ve seen in a long time. I think Amazed and Confused will help and bless you. It did me.

To purchase Amazed and Confused, click here.

I received a copy of Amazed and Confused from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Book Review: The God Puzzle by Valerie Ackermann

Posted by Julie on December 3, 2013 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

ImageBook Description:

The God Puzzle is a colorful, easy to use tool to help you communicate to your child the rich truths about God, His ways, His will and His love.The God Puzzle will help you address doctrinal themes of the Christian faith in a kid friendly way, present Bible lessons in an interactive way that will hold the child’s attention and deliver quality teaching with no preparation needed. 75% of children leave the church when they leave home. Something isn’t working. Sunday School isn’t doing it all. Kids need answers, good ones. And they need them from you, the parent. This book enables you to give them simple, clear answers.

My Review:

I thought this was a wonderful way to grow closer to God and His word through study and discussion. It was full of Scripture to look up, asked age appropriate questions, and had different activities to break up the sections.

I thought the puzzle was a great way to look at the Bible and the author did a great job bringing everything together in a natural progression.

I brought our daughter in for this review as she is in the age range the book recommends. She has slight comprehension issues, so I was interested to see if this would be difficult for us to navigate together.

I had to break the verses down for her and explain them, but she definitely understood the phrases, matching, and other activities. We had great discussion.

So I was surprised when her review wasn’t excellent.

  • She said it was a lot like a school book, and a lot of writing. I emphasized that I went a little fast and that the book is designed to go as slow or fast as the reader wants.
  • She also felt a lot of content were things she’s received at home, school, and children’s church. She wondered if the book would be better for kids not familiar with the Bible.
  • She was tired when I talked to her, but I tried to look at it from her perspective. She’s looking and writing in books 5 days a week. She’s visually stimulated, so for her to equate this to a school book, I think she needed more color, something a little different to make it look less academic.

Would every child be like this? I don’t know. But she was consistent that this wasn’t her favorite study, even with the two characters journeying through the book together.

As a parent, I loved it and thought it was well done. But I wanted to be honest regarding my daughter’s feelings.

What makes The God Puzzle unique?

– ready made discussion questions for parent to ask their child in each lesson

– can be done at any pace that works with your family…every night, once a week, 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there…it fits into realistic family life

– puts the pieces together for a child to understand God, the Bible, and the Christian faith

– in each lesson the responds to the truth so they understand their relationship to God is personal and life transforming

– any parent, whether they know nothing, or a lot about God can start teaching their child today with no prep

– deep theology put into language a child can understand

– deeply Biblical, each lesson points to Christ

– put in an order that starts with creation, and teaches the Bible as one story that all points to Christ

– child stays engaged by filling in blanks, crosswords, drawing, matching and using their Bibles as they learn

Purchase a copy here.

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

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Book and DVD Review: Lysa TerKeurst’s Made to Crave

Posted by Julie on February 7, 2011 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, surrender |

Today I review Lysa TerKeurst’s NYT bestseller, Made to Crave. If you’re regretting all you ate at the Superbowl party and feeling empty even with so much food, this post is a must read. If you like this site (it’s brand new after a server move!)I invite you to look around at other features and follow/subscribe if you choose. I’m so glad you are here today! By the way, tonight is Lysa’s Made to Crave.org webcast at 8pm EST. I’m loving these, and I know you will too.

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