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What 47 Looks Like on Me

Posted by Julie on April 8, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I’ve been doing this a few years, post-birthday, sharing where I am, how far I’ve come, and where I hope to go.

How 47 Looks On Me

I have to say, 47 is weird. It’s a stone’s throw to 50, and wow, that’s an age I never gave a lot of thought to as a college student. That seems like yesterday.

One problem.

My SON is the college student, not me.

In fact, I just got notice my college reunion, #25, is this year.

Wow.

It’s a year where two of our children, Tom’s first two that I met when they were 12 and 10, are expecting sons this summer. We’re going to be grandparents. Yet, we have a middle schooler. And honestly? I relate more to teens than senior citizens. I’m eligible to be in the senior group in less than 10 years. And I just can’t see myself jumping all in for that. But the youth conferences I’m invited to attend as part of the adults helping out? I love it. Love it.

Weird.

I have to color my sassy red hair monthly, but if I felt it were safe and I had that kind of money, it could be every other week. Red is hard to maintain, but what it covers is white. Snow white. And I am NOT going there just yet.

If ever.

But 46 was a stumble, if not all-out free-fall in confidence. Menopause has been part of my life for years, thanks to surgery. Something about 2016 was a marker for everything to flip on me. Waking every hour. Volcanic temperatures. Voracious hunger. Mood swings I had not had in years. Depression. Anxiety. Weight gain.

So entering 47 is with a bit of trepidation. Thankfully, an endocrinologist helped get my health straightened out and I feel a lot better. But a tiny part wonders if it is short-term. There are times emotionally I feel completely fragile, and I hate it. People need me. And I don’t like spiraling out with no reason except hormones.

Yet, in those tears and exhaustion, so much happened that was GOOD. Our oldest son of the four kids got married to a wonderful woman. Our son graduated from high school and started pursuing education at Kent State. I started my own writing and speaking business/ministry. In three months I released two books in both print and eBook form. Now my hormones rebelling makes more sense…

It’s in writing I feel I’m on more stable ground. When I questioned God if I was doing the right thing, it was at 3:23 in the morning I woke and knew I was supposed to open my Bible to Colossians 3:23.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23

I feel free from numbers. Where my books rank. How much money they generate. I want to see readers living free in Christ. This 47th year I am on track to finish my first contemporary romance series with ENGAGED and start the first of six book in my new series about surrendering what others think. I’m not scared. I’m excited.

I take into 47 an amazing piece of wisdom my pastor shared when I doubted I could survive the stress and changes. He told me to picture an arch, and imagine Jesus on the other side. As long as I stayed on one side and Him on the other, a million tons of stuff could be on that arch and it would not break. That held true through all the things I mentioned, plus much more I have not.

It is true as I’ve watched the kids grow in Him through their personal valleys I know all too well: rejection. Loneliness. Depression. Anxiety. Doing the right thing and feeling completely alone. Their pain has been the most devastating thing to observe and feel so helpless. Yet, we’ve had the deepest most intimate prayer times we’ve ever had. In those times, God revealed so many awesome things. Messages of hope. Encouragement. That they are not alone. They are deeply cared for.

I’m 47 and full of hope for the world and people around me. Not because of the election results or new administration, but because there are so many promises I’ve prayed and prayed and believe breakthrough is close at hand. For our family. Friends who are hurting. Ministries that are 1000% ready to give all God asks of them, and have 1% provision as far as the world sees. I don’t know how or when, but I know it’s close.

And I guess to sum it up, it’s the same two words I’d use for turning 47.

I’m ready.

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FREE 14 Day Devotional: Finding Freedom Through Surrender

Posted by Julie on February 16, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

I’ve been working on a side project to help readers with the wait for ENGAGED and try something unique. I created a devotional, a set of readings meant to encourage readers as they surrender the very areas I write about in my Surrendering Time series.

Finding Freedom Through Surrender is a journey through surrendering fear, loss, change, regret, and the future. What I love is they are written through the point of view of ENTRUSTED, ENTANGLED, and ENGAGED characters. For readers familiar with the stories, the devotionals will be a fun look at their experiences and how you can find freedom for yourself. If you are new to the series, the characters give a little information to help you know them without giving away story spoilers.

I plan to have this available on Amazon, but I want YOU to have a sneak peek. Click the link below to receive a 14 day look.

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR COPY of 14 Day Devotional: Finding Freedom Through Surrender.

This will take you to my site, where you will then click on the right sidebar widget that offers the 14 Day Devotional. If you have trouble, let me know at juliearduini@juliearduini.com, or on social media @JulieArduini.

 

(By clicking on the widget, you are agreeing to receive my monthly newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.)

 

Thank you for being a faithful reader!

 

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Jennifer Slattery: God’s Healing Love

Posted by Julie on January 6, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I’ve always been thankful for the darkness because it allowed me to see the light so clearly. I’m thankful for every moment I received faulty, incomplete, tainted love because it made the real thing, the agape, self-sacrificing love that can only come from Christ, so obvious. And contagious.

 

For the past few months, my husband and I have been walking beside someone who is living in darkness, choosing the darkness over light. And it’s hard. It’s never fun to see someone completely destroy their life, but it’s more than that. I see myself in this individual. I remember when I bounced from place to place, when I drank malt liquor until I passed out, when I gravitated toward the deceived and self-destroying.

 

But God also showed me the light. And He drew me with His love. His patient, unyielding, pursuing love.

 

It took a long time for that love to truly take hold. For me to truly believe it. Rest in it. In all my healing, I primarily credit two people—Jesus Christ, who saw me and loved me on my worst day, and my husband, who saw something in a homeless girl from Washington and decided to hold tight to her, until his love broke through.

 

Oh, what a road that was! Consumed with past hurts, fears, and distrust, I did everything I knew to push him away. I figured it was only a matter of time before he left me, anyway. Everyone else I knew had.

 

Only he stayed. He held tight, and he continued to love me, even when I was completely unlovable.

 

And bit by bit, his love broke through, until one day, I realized, I no longer feared he’d leave. In fact, I knew with every part of my tattered but healing heart, that he’d stay. Till death do we part.

 

That’s when real intimacy, real healing took place.

 

But then one day, on a particularly hard day, Jesus opened my eyes. I was in the middle of gunk, gunk related directly to my past and the pain I’d experienced, and it felt as if I was right back there, in it. I can’t describe what that feels like, but those of you who’ve been there know. It’s a pain that completely levels you and launches that ugly, snotty-nosed cry no one but your mate has any business seeing.

 

That’s where I was—sobbing. Like I often do, I headed straight for the bedroom, for my bed, where I could fall apart in silence.

 

Why is it, when we’re in pain, we tend to isolate?

 

So there I was, feeling alone in my heartache, until … my husband came in. Walked straight to me, and tackled me in a full on body hug. “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you,” he said again and again. Maybe ten times. Maybe more. Making me sob all the harder.

 

Then it hit me, so clear it stalled my breath and my tears. That was Jesus. Jesus was holding and loving me through my husband.

 

Because that’s what He does. He meets us when it feels as if we’re falling apart and He envelopes us in His love. He tells us again and again, “I love you. I love you. I love you.” Until that love breaks through and begins to heal all the broken pieces.

 

So that the pain from the past, those old wounds we’ve shoved down, lose their power over us. And His love, His power, His gentle, restoring Holy Spirit makes us new.

 

Jennifer Slattery: God’s Healing Love

Novelist and speaker Jennifer Slattery has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team put on events at partnering churches designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. She writes devotions for Internet Café Devotions, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and edits for Firefy, a Southern fiction imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte

 

Restoring Love:

Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood. Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. She’s almost his worst nightmare, and she s also working on restoring something herself. As he struggles to keep his business afloat and she works to overcome mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends soon discover they have something unexpected in common, a young mom who is fighting to give her children a better life after her husband’s incarceration. While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back or unite them and bring redemption along with true love?

 

Buy it on:

Christian Book Distributors

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

Connect with Jennifer

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

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Book Review: The Life We Never Expected by Andrew and Rachel Wilson

Posted by Julie on June 29, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |
The Life We Never Expected by Andrew and Rachel Wilson

The Life We Never Expected by Andrew and Rachel Wilson

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

What do you do when hard or painful circumstances turn your world upside down, resulting in a life you never expected? Andrew and Rachel Wilson grappled with this question after both of their children were diagnosed with regressive autism. Refreshingly honest, this book explores the highs and lows of raising children with specials needs, reflecting on the broader question of how to cope with suffering of all kinds. Sharing personal stories from their lives and encouragement rooted in the truth of God’s Word, Andrew and Rachel highlight lessons they’ve learned related to fighting for joy and thriving in the midst of trials—ultimately pointing readers to Christ, the One who promises to make all things new.

The book starts out with transparency as Rachel shares their vacation experience. With each mishap and missed injury or worse, Rachel reminds herself to breathe. With that honesty, I’m captivated and I join her and her husband as they share their story. They have two children with special needs. They use their own stories, great visuals (I love explaining their situation is like receiving an orange for dessert when everyone else gets chocolate,) Scripture and thoughts that provoke the reader beyond the last page.

They are upfront that although their story is about their children, the book is for anyone looking for hope, and I believe that. It was easy to partner with their story and find the hope to cling to. When they admitted this is the book they needed, I agree with them. When our daughter was first diagnosed with special needs, I saw a lot of academic type books, but none that addressed the million thoughts I had racing in every direction at all times. Although I’m a few years past that time, I still found the book refreshing. I felt less alone.

I absolutely recommend THE LIFE WE NEVER EXPECTED. In fact, I have one to give away (please remember if you comment, leave an email where I can reach you.) Please tell me why you should have this book. I’ll pick a winner July 5th.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

To purchase THE LIFE WE NEVER EXPECTED, click here.

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Excuse Me, But Do You Validate by Sherri Stone

Posted by Julie on June 17, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Excuse Me, But Do You Validate?

“For in Him we live and move and have Our being.”  Acts 17:28

I’ve been a social worker for over twenty years and many times I have said it’s not just a job, it’s who I am. At no time was that more true than when I worked for hospice. I love hospice. A small group of us used to say if you cut us we’d bleed hospice. I poured myself into it for years, and I have the scars from burnout to prove it.

You may know that feeling. You may have a job that fits you like a glove. It’s what you were born to do. Feels good doesn’t it? Until it doesn’t.

There’s a danger in drawing your identity from your work instead of your Creator. For one thing it’s an identity built on shifting sand. Companies go out of business or go bankrupt. They downsize. Sometimes they bring in terrible leaders that make it impossible for you to stay. You could get sick or hurt or burned out and have to leave. You could relocate when your husband gets a transfer or promotion. You are a cog in a machine, important but not irreplaceable. What happens when that validation goes away?

If I can’t do (fill in the blank) then who am I?

That kind of self-doubt gives the enemy a foothold in your spirit that will wreak havoc in every square inch of your life. It sends you scrambling to find meaning and purpose like the old country song says, “in all the wrong places.”

A second danger is that we can easily forget that our job – whatever that is – is a mission field. The skills we use every day are gifts from God given to us with a purpose: to be salt and light to a world without Jesus. That is the higher calling no matter what we do to pay the bills. It is also a reminder that even on days when we feel useless, God is quietly using us in ways we may never know.

It is in the identity of that higher calling that we find the freedom and grace of Christ for our lives.

~No matter what kind of mistakes we make at work and how mad the boss gets, God’s opinion of us never changes. He is never surprised or disappointed by us.

~He delights in us because he knows the finished, perfectly polished, women we will be when he is finished with us.

~Getting our validation from Christ leaves us free to be humble and teachable when we are not slaves to what others may think about us.

~It frees us from the legalism of perfectionism.

~It keeps our perspective in check. In the end it really is just a job.

~Our work may go away but our purpose never does.

~It frees us from the erroneous belief that busyness is next to godliness. You will never read a scripture that says, ‘work harder and know that I am God.’ On the contrary, you will hear him tell you to be still and know him. Commune with him. Hear him.

~Knowing our identity is in Christ gives us a healthy boundary between what we do and who we are. That boundary enables us to live a more balanced life as we understand the importance of play, fellowship, listening to others, and sometimes just being still with Jesus.

Who you are is so much more than what you do. You are a daughter of the King. His uniquely made, uniquely gifted, uniquely placed warrior woman who will be sent off to do battle in many different places in the course of your lifetime. Your tasks may vary, but if you are paying attention and deliberate every day in your walk with the Lord, you will see that the one constant through every battle is the One you serve.

Pray for God to open your eyes to who you are in him. It is a prayer he will be delighted to answer for you. Stay in prayer and in the Word. Protect yourself every day from an enemy who would be tickled pink for you to miss this.

In Him you live, and move and have your being. Now go and live in the grace and freedom of that!

BIO:

Sherris picture_editedSherri is a social worker by day and a writer by night. Her debut fiction novel, Sacred Ashes was released last year and is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. More fiction and some non-fiction inspirational books are in the works and she is looking forward to finding God’s purpose for her next fifty years.

 Links:       

 Blogs:   sherristone.net

              hospiceheartbeats.com

 Facebooksherrilynnestone    

Twitter:  @sherristone2

Pinterest:  pinterest.com/sherriston

About Sacred Ashes:

Kindle Cover_edited

Excuse Me, But Do You Validate? Sherri Stone’s guest post.

The man who killed Dani LaClere’s entire family has died in prison after ten years. She expects closure, but her grief is alive and well, and so is her anger at God – and Christians. She plans to deal with it like she always has, by not thinking about it. Easier said than done when she witnesses a murder and becomes the target of a stalker. Her fear escalates as evidence begins to suggest a tie to her family’s murder. When a handsome prison chaplain confirms her suspicions Dani is forced to deal with the pain of her past and a killer she will not see coming.

Purchase Sacred Ashes Here.

 

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Book Review: Original Design by Denise Buss

Posted by Julie on March 4, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Book Description:

Original Design by Denise Buss

Original Design by Denise Buss

You can’t simultaneously be who God created you to be and the person Satan molded you into.
We are perfectly designed by God. He drafts our blueprint with distinct characteristics, traits, gifts, and talents and stamps it on our spirit before we are born. Unfortunately, Satan often succeeds at concealing our true identity when we are young. He uses an array of influences such as our family, our culture, and even the Church to wound and scar us. This not only stifles God’s original design, but we end up engraved with Satan’s trademark. We don’t realize that we’ve been altered because much of Satan’s work is either subtle or completely invisible.
The Refiner’s fire can expose the HIDDEN SECRETS of the heart!
Do you think the past can’t be changed because the damage is done? Spiritual destruction can be undone because in Christ, you have redemption from all of Satan’s work, including the impact it has on your heart, the reactions it produces in you, and even his work that becomes a part of who you are.
In this book you will witness how God’s truths destroy the lies of the enemy and heal the unseen wounds of the heart. You will discover in a radical way how God can break the spiritual bondage that holds you captive. Invite the Holy Spirit to reveal where your blueprint has been distorted and allow Him to restore you back to God’s original design. Only then can you be who God created you to be and do what He created you to do. This is your true freedom in Christ!

This is a powerful account from Denise Buss regarding her journey from a less than perfect childhood to a decent into alcohol, promiscuity and drugs, to a relationship with Christ where she was desperate for emotional healing. She shares how spiritual warfare was so intense that she asked her sister to care for her adopted daughter for fear of her daughter’s safety. There was depression to the point that Denise considered ending her life.

Through those battles, Denise has a pastor friend that is wise in prayer strategies that gives her the tools to find healing and restoration in Christ.  He is a major factor in the book and Denise credits him for being gracious with his time, prayers, and wisdom as he shared with her time and time again.

The writing is strong and her story is gripping. The book description lead me to believe I’d be reading a book that gives strategies in the theme of something you might read from Chuck Pierce or Dutch Sheets. Instead, Original Design reads more like a memoir. It’s still powerful, though.

One issue I have that I think deserves a mention in the book is I have received training in spiritual warfare/deliverance ministry and rule number one, especially if you have a history of promiscuity and insecurity, is to receive prayer from someone of the same sex. If you are with someone from the opposite sex, you bring someone from your gender with you. It’s wisdom and accountability and I’ve seen just as many accounts written from people who failed to do this, and it took the prayer times to a dangerous place. Denise makes it clear Ed is like a brother figure and not once do I ever see where he crosses a line. However, I think it warrants a warning concerning anyone considering adopting her approach.

She features information on salvation and Baptism of the Holy Spirit that are helpful. There is of course a lot of talk of demons and battling them through prayer.

If you enjoy stories that show the freedom Christ gives, especially through times of torment from the enemy, you will enjoy ORIGINAL DESIGN.

To purchase ORIGINAL DESIGN, click here.

I received ORIGINAL DESIGN in exchange for an honest review.

 



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