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Expectations by B.J. Bassett

Posted by Julie on December 6, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Expectations

 

Many years ago, I was expecting our daughter and her family to arrive for Christmas. I’d taken the day off from work to enjoy spending time with them. Shortly after they arrived they left again to do some last minute shopping, and they didn’t ask me to join them. My heart sank. It wasn’t what I’d expected.

 

The door closed behind them and I slumped into a chair to host a pity party for one. (I read once that a pity party is of the Devil). After a while I stood, brushed myself off, and headed downtown to look in the pretty decorated store windows. I went into our florist shop, and strolled amongst all the lovely gifts and Christmas decorations. I spotted a sign on a stake that read, Santa Please Stop Here. Not a necessary item since I was on a budget, but I was drawn to it, and I thought the grandkids would like it, so I splurged and bought it. All these years later, it is a reminder to me not to expect others to abide by my expectations of them.

 

            Over the years, my expectations of myself have changed as well. I do not stress over the holidays. I do not do things like bake Christmas cookies or make candy, yet our home is filled with goodies others give to us. I don’t accept every party invitation. To help family members on tight budgets, we no longer buy a gift for everyone. Instead, our family exchanges names. Since I enjoy reading, I take time to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.

 

I encourage you to put fewer, or no, expectations on others and on yourself. Enjoy the peace and joy God provides during this time when we remember and celebrate our savior’s birth.

 

B J Bassett

B J Bassett

 

BIO: B J Bassett’s writing is favorably compared to Grace Livingston Hill’s. Her historical novel, Lily, and contemporary romance, Gillian’s Heart, includes the gospel. You are invited to visit her at www.bjbassett.com.

 

 

 

gilliansheartcoverart_editedAbandoned as a child by her alcoholic parents, Gillian Grant was raised by her grandmother in a beach house in California. As an adult, in tribute to Gram’s memory, Gillian wishes to restore the house to its former splendor. But she can’t do it alone, and hires Dusty Bradshaw to help her.

Gillian and Dusty have nothing in common, except the restoration of the house. Gillian suffers from anorexia and is in denial. While she has a strong faith in God, Dusty is an unbeliever. Add to the complicated mess Gillian’s confusing feelings for Josh and the sudden, unwanted appearance of Gillian’s mother Betsy, who claims the house is hers. And she intends to sell it.

Gillian always dreamed of her wedding in her grandmother’s garden overlooking the Pacific. Will there be a wedding? Who will capture Gillian’s heart — her stable, longtime friend Josh — or Dusty, a new Christian, who has kept secrets from her? And who holds the deed to the house? PURCHASE GILLIAN’S HEART HERE

9781462000067_cover.inddLILY

California, 1900-Nestled in the foothills of the northern California coast, the town of Laurel Springs is home to high-spirited Lily Blair, the daughter of Rev. William Blair. Lily delights in being spoiled by her grandmother and father, and even though she lost her mother to childbirth, she glories in life itself and continuously pushes the bounds of propriety. Having her every whim indulged as a child leads to a tough road as an adult. Lily falls in love with James Conti and wants to marry him, but James heads off to fight in the Great War, leaving Lily alone and heartbroken. When her father wants to send her off to boarding school, Lily makes yet another rash decision and marries a man she does not love. In the ensuing years, Lily endures hardship and loss, a sharp detour from the pampered existence she once enjoyed. Yet as Lily struggles to cope with these unexpected changes, she discovers just how powerful God’s love and forgiveness can be. But will it be enough to get her through the darkest days yet to come? Full of vivid historical detail, Lily is an emotional coming-of-age story that celebrates the strength of the human spirit.

PURCHASE LILY HERE

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How Surrender Saved My Marriage by Teresa Tysinger

Posted by Julie on February 25, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

How Surrender Saved My Marriage

surrender_edited

By Teresa Tysinger

A special thank you to Julie for allowing me to share with you today!

It is my belief that surrender happens at the cusp of time when hope is at a low and desperation is at a high. It usually happens on our knees as we shake under the burden of whatever we must give up to God.  At least, that’s my personal experience.

My husband and I married young, at twenty-one to be exact. Blinded by young love, attraction, and a feeling that we had everything figured out. I realize now what babies we were. (We joke with our parents now, asking what they were thinking allowing us to wed so young!) I supported him as he finished college, he supported me through graduate school, we bought a house and had a baby. But seven years in to our marriage, things were falling apart.

Though I was fully aware of my husband’s love of professional theater and his lofty ambitions, I began to resent the long hours spent on shows – often on the road for months at a time. When he was home, we argued. I felt abandoned, which led to unfair nagging and complaining all the time. We had no idea how to reconcile our different expectations for life together. Finally, we both acknowledged this was not the marriage we wanted. We both began to consider that life might be better apart. It was a heart-wrenching time when finding a solution felt impossible.

Then God began to reveal an escape route. My husband was offered a job in Dallas, Texas – which felt like a million miles away from our home in North Carolina. My exact words, I believe, when he first told me about the opportunity was, “I’m never moving to Texas.” Oh, I’m embarrassed now at my lack of faith!

During this time, we had the least hope and a lot of desperation (and fear, anger, resentment). We decided to lean on the reminders of our family and church friends. We took time to pray. I prayed fervently that God soften my heart. That he CHANGE me in ways I could not change myself. I prayed for my husband, too, of course. And I’m sure he prayed for me.

Then, something amazing happened.

We moved to Texas. We surrendered our own understanding, our own desire to write our story, our fear that expectations might not be met according to our plan. If you ask either of us even today, we’d both say we didn’t want to move to Texas. Even after landing in the Lone Star State, neither of us wanted to be there. Yet, daily, we surrendered to the peace we both felt – undeniable peace – with the decision to move. We trusted God wanted us here. In a place we’d both found jobs to keep us together, with our daughter, working in the same town.

In Texas, we had no choice but to lean on one another for support. The fresh start brought challenges that solidified us as a family unit. We found a marriage counselor and worked on our struggles in therapy for over a year.

And, we fell in love. I sometimes tease him now that the first time we “fell in like,” but eight years later we finally “fell in love.” Through the struggles, we experienced what love really is.

Surrendering does not always mean things will have a fairy tale ending.

We’re still in Texas four years later. I’d never in a million years believed we’d still be here. Interestingly, during these four years, my husband even travelled to New York City for 10 months to work on Broadway. But thanks to the hard work we did to reroute our relationship and lean on God at the center, I was able to happily support him through it without resentment or anger.
To many people, surrender is a word synonymous with defeat or weakness. Yet, surrendering my marriage to God’s will feels like the bravest thing I’ve ever done. In my moment of greatest weakness, down on my knees, I found the strength to reach up.

Though I can’t find the person with whom to credit it, I adore this quote and would like to leave you with the thought:

“Transformation happens on the other side of surrender.”

What do you need to surrender to God? How might God transform you through surrender to Him?

 

TeresaTysinger_Bio_editedTeresa Tysinger is a wife and mother transplanted from North Carolina to North Texas. When not working as the Director of Communications for a large downtown church, she writes charming southern romances inspired by grace. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Religious Communicators’ Council, and the Association for Women in Communications, Teresa has spent over a decade committed to telling stories of faith through written word. She loves coffee, caramel, and stories with happy endings.

Connect with Teresa:

Webhttp://teresatysinger.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/teresatysingerauthor/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/tmtysinger

Pinteresthttps://www.pinterest.com/teresatysinger/

 

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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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Valentine Memories: You Rock and I Got This On Sale

Posted by Julie on February 14, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

So, Valentine’s Day…

Hallmark conspiracy or a great day to focus on love?

I’m spending my day in an unconventional way (hint: Cue the Law and Order music) but thought I’d share a couple Valentine memories over the years. It’s funny how my romance meter ebbs and flows.

I’m 6 and in the first grade and I get the stomach flu. I miss an entire week of school including my Valentine’s party. I remember my bag being overstuffed with valentines. I felt so loved. I remember the guy I had a little first grade crush on gave me a Hong Kong Phooey card.  Oh the days!

I’m 26 and a newlywed. My husband comes home and I have such huge hopes that our time together will mirror one of his black and white movies we watch together. He comes home and hands me a plastic shopping bag with an oversized pink kitten sweatshirt. I’ll never forget his words as he handed the bag to me.

“This was on sale.”

I laugh now and it took a long time to communicate my disappointment. He felt pressured by a coworker to buy something and knew I was practical so he thought saying it was on sale would sound practical.  I admitted handing me a bag with those words didn’t make me feel valued. He then confessed the shirt was all that was left. You know what though? I wore that thing for years. It’s a good story to talk about expectations.

The last Valentine’s that stands out I think I was 30. Our son was hooked on the show Lizzie McGuire. We watched every episode including what the heartthrob character wrote in Lizzie’s yearbook. I thought it was a stroke of genius that I wrote that statement in my husband’s card. An inside joke. An ode to Lizzie.

I chuckled all week thinking about him opening the card.

That morning, we exchange cards at the same time.

Would you believe we both wrote the same line from Lizzie McGuire?  We both wrote this to each other:

You rock. Don’t ever change.

I still laugh about that, we became so one in communication we wrote the same thing to each other!

What Valentine memories do you have?



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