This week I’m sharing my posts from the recent Facebook Love Your Spouse Marriage Challenge. Beyond the pictures, I wanted to be transparent with our story. Perhaps you can relate and need encouragement. I hope this blesses you today!
Love Your Spouse Challenge, Day 4
This is a rare night out with other couples. I can’t remember the date, but our then baby was young and her health wasn’t stable. We lived in a new state with no family around. We couldn’t just get a sitter and go out, and for a long season, we lost “Tom and Julie.” Most of our pictures during this time are of all of us, which I love, but few exist of the two of us. Mothers of Preschoolers, MOPS, helped me so much in this season. If you’re married with young children, don’t forget to date. If you have a special needs situation, understand the divorce rate is high. Make a point to keep dating. Learn what organizations and people are out there to help. You and your spouse are worth it.
Did you enter? Your chance to win a signed copy of ENTANGLED and ENTRUSTED if you live in either US, Canada, UK or Australia.
Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn’t trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to brokenness, so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but she always falls short. So she keeps her passion for art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn’t get another job soon, she’ll be stuck living with her parents.
Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancée. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he’ll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town’s old theater and is shocked to discover that the designer for the project is his old flame, Stella.
Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and past as they struggle to compromise and work together on a vision for the theater. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness—and their unresolved feelings for each other—until Chase discovers the hidden parts of Stella, while losing her trust in the process.
A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice—to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from their brokenness.
I’ve read several, if not all of Betsy St. Amant’s books. I loved the premise of this one—two people with a past involving each other have to work together on a restoration project of a movie theater while having even more past the other one doesn’t know about. For Stella, she’s divorced and suffering terrible anxiety because of it. For Chase, he lost his fiancee.
Like a mosaic, pieces are there for a great piece of work. I loved the umbrella aspect of the story, that really stood out to me. But I felt like a piece was missing. That we could get to know Stella a little bit better but we didn’t have access. Like her beauty pageant past we saw a beautiful glimpse of the outside, but didn’t get to know her beyond that. Chase was a bit more developed but I wanted to know and feel more from the both of them.
Their chemistry is great and there’s a lot of conflict to keep the pages turning. It would be a great book to bring to the beach.
To read Love Arrives in Pieces, order here.
I received a copy of Love Arrives in Pieces in exchange for an honest review.
In the beginning of 2013, I felt led to start my own blog. I wrote about God, but nothing in particular. I also ended up going through a divorce that year, which completely changed my life. I was married for 19 years. I was a stay at home mom for a great deal of that time. The last 3 years had been dedicated to my three children, because we pulled them out of public school to home school.
As I sit and type this up, I am thankful for so many things. It is hard to pick just one.
I am thankful for my Heavenly Father who has gotten me through the rough spots. This journey we call life is not an easy one. Being a Christian is not a “get out of trouble” free card. We are still going to have hard times. Jesus even said, in John 16: 33, “33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
It’s not an IF, it’s a WHEN type thing. God is always here for us, no matter what.
I am also thankful for my children, friends and family. Without them, I don’t know where I would be. They have made me laugh, hugged me as I cried and told me the truth when I did not want to hear it.
God has really moved in my life and heart over the past several months. He has started talking to me in every day ways. I have started writing those things for others to see that He is there, daily. He cares about our daily lives and He just wants to help us make it to tomorrow.
Take a moment and think about what you are thankful for. Maybe it’s totally different from me. And, guess what? That’s ok.
Jill Barlow is a mom of three, an administrative assistant to two, and a writer. Divorced after a lengthy marriage, she started finding God in her every-day life. Jill says, “God really cares and is interested in talking to us through the little things. Showing people His love and character in a way they might not have ever experienced is my passion.” You can find Jill at www.coffeewithsnoopy.blogspot.com and on Facebook .