I used to look around at this amazing earth and the astounding heavens, and wonder how I could ever be in the image of God ~ the Great Creator of all this.
He didn’t create a barren earth and then order people to get to work and plant something. He got everything just right. And then…. And then…. And then his crowning glory ~ he created us! Special us! But how could I feel special compared to my Great Creator?
Then one day I realized what he had done. I got it. He gave you and me a special gift: To be creators too. As perfect as he made the earth, he left some joyful things for us to create ourselves.
He left the jewels unmined, the buildings unbuilt, the songs unsung, the paintings unpainted, the ships unmade, the sculptures uncarved, the books unwritten.
Here I am surrounded by everything I need to imitate one part of God ~ his creative side. Today, I think I’ll create something.
Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.
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Denied the throne as king of Israel and crippled for life at age five, Sett spends his early years fleeing his grandfather King Saul’s enemies. Inheriting his gigantic grandfather’s height and good looks along with his father Jonathan’s positive attitude, Sett uses his wits to get out of life-threatening situations in Israel, Babylon, and Assyria. Despite his handicap, the beautiful Kissara becomes his wife, King David becomes his friend, and the forests become his mission. Though he must constantly deal with three enemies who do everything they can to make his life miserable, Mefiboset, grandson of a king, is an overcomer, a climber, a conqueror who triumphs in the end.
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I’ve blogged for the better part of seven years. In the ever-changing cyberworld that’s like 100 years. For the most part when I communicate with a reader two things stand out when they summarize me.
I love chocolate.
That’s success to me because it’s the brand I’ve quietly built over the years. You might not remember my name but you recall that author that loves chocolate. The one who writes about surrender. And those things circle back to me.
Lately I’ve been going through a growth spurt with the Lord, a season and as I feel I’m supposed to, I share certain aspects of the journey. Today is a hard one because it is transparent. Not only are men not encouraged to admit their feelings,
And I am.
But there are times I cry myself to sleep.
Most of the time because I’m bone tired.
This particular season my husband is on a project that has him on call every weekend and many evenings. If he gets home at a reasonable time he’s tethered to the laptop. I don’t say it often because it comes across harsh and I believe it looks like an appeal for pity.
But for those that really know me, it’s no secret. I’m married but often a single mom. It’s not what either of us want but it’s our reality. Our oldest drives now so that helps with a lot of the shuttling that falls on my shoulders. Yet I still get tired. Juggling school schedules, all of our times in ministry and the logistics involved, medical appointments and the aftermath, keeping up with the house. I recently had to take our two senior dogs to the vet to put them down. Cry? That was a day I spelled it out. I needed my family to be present and encouraging. And they were. But lately I’ve been so tired the only way to let that out has been through tears.
I also cry out of anger. There are times, rare, but moments when I’m at such a loss for words I can only cry. Most of the time it’s out of love for someone else and desire to protect them. The hardest lately has been people demanding things from my husband he doesn’t have. If he had time, I’d like some of it yet many hands are grabbing for him wanting their (in my tired opinion) minor needs yet. Without knowing our full story they offer their commentary and it wounds to the point of hot tears I save for night. I cry for my kids. When they are frustrated and they have to do the right thing knowing they will probably be the only one that will. When they are picked on. And another biggie for me—when I want justice and I don’t see it. Oh, I cry and shake my fist on that!
And then there’s the loneliness. I’m an introvert’s introvert with a call to write. That alone is a life of solitude. Add the above and sometimes the isolation threatens to choke the very life out of me. It’s complex because it’s a time God uses to train me. But I hate it. It’s so hard. And it seems with each growing season my circle is pruned. There are fewer people I’m able to relate to and trust. And the cycle is vicious.
Why do I share such a vulnerable place? Because I vowed I would always write what God asked when He did.
. I’m confident I’m not the only person crying themselves to sleep. My hope is that by sharing that person or people feel less alone and reach out to their Heavenly Father so that they can learn and prosper from the experience.
And may your sleep be full of His peace.
This post first appeared at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud.
I’m a firm believer in the power of praise. When I’m sad, anxious, or upset, nothing lifts my heart quite like singing praises to my Heavenly Father. I think there are many reasons for this, perhaps the most important of which being that it centers my heart and mind in God’s peace-giving, ever-loving presence. As some of you may know, I battle chronic illness, which means, I often battle negative emotions as well. One week, when going through a particularly difficult time, I felt as if God led me to Psalm 103, calling me to focus not on my struggle but instead on Him–who He is and all He’s done. Ever since, I’ve found praise to be my life-line, so I thought I’d share this precious gift God showed to me with each of you.
Starting March 5th, a group of bloggers and I have decided to dig deep into Psalm 103, passage by passage. I hope you’ll join us by following the links below.
April 11th I’ll tie up our series on Ginger Solomon‘s blog, calling each of us to be fully present when we praise.
Tags: Allyson Carter, authors, Bible, blog hop, bloggers, Carol McClain, Delia Latham, faith, Ginger Solomon, God, Jennifer Hallmark, Jennifer Slattery, Jesus, Julie Arduini, Maria Morgan, Marji Laine, praise blog hop, Psalm 103, Sarah Ruut, Susan Aken
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 .
Being thankful is a choice we make. Rather than complaining about what we don’t have, we chose to be thankful for what we do have. Paul said it best in Philippians 4:13: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” NIV
I am thankful for life. Twenty years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a radical mastectomy and treatment, I was declared in remission. Exactly five years later the cancer returned. After a second surgery and treatment, the oncologist ran tests and declared me to be not only in remission, but also cancer free.
In that fifteen years so much has happened for which I thank the Lord. He healed my body and made it possible for me to enjoy these years. We had two more wonderful grandchildren, participated in the wedding of our oldest granddaughter, sat by the bedside of a grandson after a liver transplant, signed my first contract for a full length novel, enjoyed the births of three great-grandchildren, and wrote 13 novels now in stores.
To say that God has blessed our family would be an understatement. He gave me new life in which I began a journey that is ongoing. Our Lord is faithful, and only He is worthy of all the honor, glory and thanksgiving for a life fully entrusted to His hands.
Martha Rogers is a free-lance writer and was named Writer of the Year at the Texas Christian Writers Conference in 2009 and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston where they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren. A former English and Home Economics teacher, Martha loves to cook and experimenting with recipes and loves scrapbooking when she has time. She has written two series, Winds Across the Prairie and Seasons of the Heart as well as several novellas. Love Stays True and Love Finds Faith, the first two books in her new series, The Homeward Journey, are available now with book number three being released in the fall of 2014.
I have to admit that when it comes to thankfulness, I am not the poster child God would use. I often fail to rest in thanksgiving for all that He has bestowed. Oh, my. Every breath I take comes from Him.
As I look over the last year, I find that I am most thankful for His long suffering. You see, I’m like the child that does whatever she wants and then comes crying when things don’t work out the way that I want. I sit at my Father’s feet with tears running down my face, and I ask Him, “Lord, why?”
I imagine Him smiling at me, not a weary smile, but a knowing one. “Daughter,” He wipes my tears, “If you had only sat here with me and asked for direction, I would have guided you. Instead, we have taken a longer and more painful journey, have we not?”
Then I realize that not only is my Father longsuffering, kind, and loving, He is steadfast. Though I took a long, painful journey, He had sojourned with me. Though my endurance may have been tried by my own ignorance, He never left my side. He lovingly gazes down at me and asks, “So, what have you learned from this journey?”
That thought makes me realize I have so much more to be thankful for. My Father is not only longsuffering, kind, loving, and steadfast. He is a patient teacher, willing to allow me to learn the hard way when my stubborn nature gets in the way of my relationship with Him.
I imagine my Father’s hand against my cheek as I reflect on the journey we took. He might even wink when He says, “Don’t worry, Daughter. Nothing you did took Me by surprise, but I do look forward to spending time with you, and I hope that you will come back to Me. Why, I would love it if you’d spend all of your time communing with Me. I love you, and You will never lose My love.”
Even now, I feel the tears gathering in my eyes as I realize that not only is my father longsuffering, kind, loving, steadfast, and a patient teacher, He is also merciful to me, a sinner, and He desires to spend time with me. With me! His wayward daughter.
And I recall all of the times when I have forgotten to be thankful, and I praise Him for one more kindness He provides to me daily. His forgiveness.
Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on three romance novellas: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas, and the newest A Dozen Apologies. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.
Future releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind. Also, look for Book 1 in Fay’s Serenity Key series entitled Storms in Serenity.
Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.
Blurb for Libby
Libby Overstreet can’t see herself as anything but shy and socially awkward. She’s nearing thirty, and she’s never even been on a date. Then she meets the man of her dreams, but Libby knows he would never be interested in a wallflower like her. All she wants to do is to buy that garden nursery on the outskirts of town and settle down with the life she has always dreamed about.
Evan Carter has been watching the sweet woman in the coffee shop for weeks when his friend tells him that the object of his affection plans to buy a garden nursery and needs Evan’s expertise as an architect/contractor.
When they meet, Libby is more enamored of Evan and even more convinced that he would never look at her as anything but a friend.
However, that’s far from the truth. Evan would love to get to know the innocent beauty God has placed in this path. Trouble is, he fears that a lovely flower like Libby will wilt under the sins of his past, and he’ll do everything in his power to keep that from happening.
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