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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

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Surrender Story: It Isn’t About You, but Now It Is

Posted by Julie on June 8, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

This is one of those posts that isn’t fun to write because it takes me back to a time I didn’t love and of course, I don’t come out looking too great in it. But I know I’m supposed to share it, and I believe it will encourage someone out there.

Our newlywed years weren’t normal or easy.  I had chronic pain because of a severe case of PCOS. There were many days I was in bed because of pain as soon as I got home from work. I had to receive shots in the backside that were not easy to give or receive. And then there was the baggage.

I came into the marriage with low self esteem and huge trust issues. I was a wounded person who usually felt better wounding others.  It wasn’t a good place.

My husband worked a new job with a lot of hours. He was in community theater. We were new in our church and wanted to be active there together. We grieved his kids not living in the same state anymore and trusted God had them and us.

When he had a bad day from any of these stresses or even something else, I had one thought and one thought only.

It’s me.

I’m the reason he’s upset.

It’s my fault.

It will always be me.

It will always be my fault.

When he needed time to chill, I took that as a personal rejection. I didn’t get that men need their cave time. When he’s ready to talk, he will. But my own emotional baggage couldn’t allow me to see that. So I’d chase him down, causing more stress.

And guess what?

Marriage-When It isn't About You, but then It Is

Marriage-When It isn’t About You, but then It Is

It wasn’t about me until I made it about me. And that’s when real conflict started.

I had a lot of problems then, and a big one I didn’t realize was one I think a lot of young women are also dealing with: you want your husband to be your savior.

Sorry, ladies, he can’t. He’s human and he’s going to fail. The harder you pursue him with that expectation, the faster he’s going to retreat. I tell you from experience. Then your pain is that much stronger because you’ve got another man in your life who has rejected you.

How did I get out of that spiral? It wasn’t easy or fast. I had to hit a rock bottom and realize even when his bad day wasn’t about me, I had a lot of healing to take care of. I had people praying. I read a lot from Chuck Swindoll to Sheila Walsh. I went through two Bible studies that changed everything—Believing God by Beth Moore and Captivating by Sheila Eldredge. I started to see my Savior was there to rescue me, He is Jesus, not my husband. And when I put that in the right order, everything changed.

My view of a Heavenly Father wasn’t healthy because I was envisioning someone with closed arms disappointed in me. Pressing in through my relationship in Christ and giving Him everything about me re wired my thinking. God’s arms are open wide even when I goof up and it is about me.

Now that I’m healed from those hurts, I don’t rely on my husband to be the source of all my happiness. I have the discernment to know when he’s having a bad day when to approach and when to wait. I no longer have those internal alarms going off thinking he’s upset with me.

If this is a struggle for you, I pray something in this post gives you hope to seek healing as well. If you are not part of a Bible reading, Christ centered church, I pray you find one and surround yourself with people who can pray for you. I’m rooting for you!

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Julie Arduini, author and speaker_edited

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Book Review: Come Empty by Saundra Dalton-Smith

Posted by Julie on February 9, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |
Come Empty by Saundra Dalton-Smith

Come Empty by Saundra Dalton-Smith

When a water vessel is filled with dirt and stones, it cannot be used to quench a thirst. But, when this vessel is emptied, there is an opportunity to fill it until it overflows with fresh, cool, life-giving water. Water that quenches. Refreshes. Soothes.

Our souls are the same: filled with fear, doubt, and disappointment. Running over with unanswered prayers and lingering questions. When we empty the mess of our lives in the presence of God, we’re offered an invitation to come. An invitation that allows us to come empty – so that we can be filled until we overflow.

Come Empty – Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love guides you through fifty days of experiencing the fullness of God’s love and His ability to overcome life’s hurts. Each day, you will receive assurance of God’s presence in your difficult situations. Each devotion gives new vision and perspective when you’re hindered by emotional blind spots, and leads you to experience God’s peace and wholeness. When His invitation is accepted, He will set your captive mind and heart free to live fully by His grace. The question is not if you will get an invitation. The question is, will you come?

This is a 50 day experience that I believe you will want to return to time and time again. You choose the ones you feel best fit and be prepared to be moved. Each reading is transparent and emotional. What is an absolute standout to me is the Lord’s response. It’s obvious this was a Holy Spirit guided endeavor. That’s why I say COME EMPTY is an experience. It’s not just a book. I believe it is an anointed tool to bring comfort and healing to your life. However, it means you need to do more tha  read. Like the book description, the author states this isn’t about whether you get an invitation. The question is, will you respond?

I highly recommend COME EMPTY and that you use it for all its worth.

To purchase COME EMPTY, click here.

I received COME EMPTY from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Saturday Confession: I Surrendered the Fake and Got Real

Apparently God’s got a theme for the season and it isn’t raking leaves and turkeys.

It’s fake vs real.

Masking vs transparency.

Prison vs freedom.

Not long ago I posted about My Fake Family.

After that went live people started to comment about my necklace. I’d clutch it and blurt, “It’s fake. It’s a knock-off of Origami Owl. I paid $20 and that includes the chain and four charms.”

And no one could tell the difference.

Including one woman who bought the original at three figures and wasn’t happy with her deficit.

I’ve done the same with the ring I wear on my wedding finger. My original wedding rings are packed somewhere because they don’t fit and I really struggled with them. At the time I was so low in self worth I didn’t want a ring. I didn’t feel that I should have one. As we married and grew in size and faith, the rings didn’t fit and I still didn’t feel right about them. It was the old me that had those rings.

The ring I wear now is from our anniversary cruise to Mexico. To me it represents the real me, a daughter of the Lord who has fought hard for everything we have. I don’t mean things, I mean prayers. Life’s battles. And to be at fifteen years (at the time) and not only still married but growing closer, that was cause for victory.

Hello, cruise jewelry sale.

champagnediamonds

My husband is mortified at what he paid for that ring. I mean it was under $100  $50  $45. It’s Mexican gold, I think, and I don’t care. It’s a sparkly thing with as much sass as I have. Surrounding it are 14 small diamonds. Add them up and you get 15 for our anniversary.

When I take care of it and remember to wear it, it looks like the real deal and again, I can’t help but blurt it out. “It’s fake.”

Something changed a couple weeks ago. I blurted, “It’s fake. But I’m real.”

And then the Holy Spirit download began.

That answer wasn’t always the case. I lied through my teeth, in church, especially in church, telling everyone I was fine. I wasn’t. I was wounded, lost and in desperate need of a spiritual and emotional healing. It didn’t come until I surrendered the fake and got real.

I can’t speak for the guys but us women, it’s a temptation. The name brand purse. Top of the line shoes. Fancy jewelry.

The lies we tell when asked how we are. The mail we hide because it exposes the sham of a perfect home. How? It probably contains bills we can’t pay. Legal documents ending what we pretend is the best thing in our circle. School letters spelling out what we don’t want to face.

It made me think of reality celebrities. Everything Kim Kardashian wears to an event is probably top notch, name brand, real stuff. But let’s be honest–she’s a reality star on a show. Sorry, but the show is scripted. Sorry again, her life is scripted. Not much about her is real. And I don’t envy her.

For this topic to come up again gives me the inkling someone out there read the first post about the fake family and shoved their issues further away praying that nudge was anything but the Godly hey, let’s work on this they deep down know was happening. Well, this post is for you.

Not to condemn you.

But to encourage you.

I was the queen of masking. I know all the pat answers, sincere expressions and token cliches. I also know how hollow I felt living that way.

Surrendering the fake answers, phony lifestyle and pretend happiness was one of the best things I’ve ever chosen for my life and the people who love me. There is a freedom I promise you money can’t buy or people can’t get for you. It’s for you to decide.

Don’t let my shiny fake jewelry be what gets you to confront whatever it is God’s trying to help and heal you with.

Let my real love for you and the prayer I lifted up writing this be that instead.

 

photobucket

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Book Review: Callie by Sharon Srock

Posted by Julie on November 8, 2012 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Yesterday I presented an interview with author Sharon Srock. Today I have a review of her women’s fiction book, Callie. This is Book One in the Women of Valley View by HarbourLight, an imprint of Pelican Book Group.

I think it’s natural for every woman to want to help, make a difference, be a rescuer. I also te think it’s reality to have the very best of intentions and have things go horribly wrong. When it does, the urge to never help again is something I can relate to.

That’s why I believe readers will enjoy Callie. She’s not a college-age model as most TV characters appear, but a fifty-something grandmother with frustrations and dreams. But when tragedy strikes, Callie wants to retreat. Yet as a grandmother and Sunday School teacher, she’s drawn to a young girl who looks like she needs help. Trust is a mutual thing as Callie as to trust it’s worth helping and that results can be different, and for the family she encounters, they have to trust things will work out for their benefit.

In the middle of this story of friendship, grace, and healing are strong, well-developed characters that will become your friends. I especially enjoyed the interactions between Callie and her husband, Benton.

I found Callie a warm and tender read, perfect for a night by the fireplace.

Book Description:

Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save them all. Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her. Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities. Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing. And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family. For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.

Readers, you are in for a treat. Sharon Srock and Harbourlight have a free PDF available for you to download that contains a glimpse of Callie. You can enjoy by clicking here.

But wait, there’s more! You have a chance to win this gift basket containing:

A copy of Callie’s story

A certificate for Terri’s story when it releases in April

A 6 piece Cherry blossom bath set

A cosmetic bag

A Bath Wrap

A Cozy pink eye mask

A Pair of aloe infused booties

A Hair Turban

A Tennis Bracelet

A 25.00 Amazon gift card

From Sharon: “The rules are easy. For every reader that comments on my feature, they get an entry into the drawing. Please remind them to include some contact info with their comment. A winner will be drawn Monday November 19th. The items add up to well over 100.00 in value.”

You can purchase Callie from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Pelican Book Group.

I received Callie from the author in exchange for review.

 

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Character Confession: I Swear to God

Posted by Julie on October 20, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

That title gets you, doesn’t it?

If you have no room for God and feel negative about Him, you’re probably loving the title.

If you’re a religious person, the title most likely offends.

Welcome to all of you.

Obviously what I’m about to share isn’t in the Bible as a commandment. It’s also not a green light on my part to approach God with profanity and irreverence.

But my confession is since 2001, when I go to God, I go to Him real.

I was angry bitter about a  miscarriage, again that injustice thing for me, and couldn’t get past the fact that I lost a child I desperately wanted when I’d walk by “parents” at Wal*Mart using the “f” word not only in front of their kids, they were talking about and to their kids. I was consumed by this.

I was blessed enough to have a friend who cared enough to invite me to her home. She set the ground rules. I had 45 minutes to utter every thing on my heart. No pretty words, no masks, just get it out. And I did. I couldn’t believe the words flowing out of me that came from a wounded heart regenerating in bitterness. She promised if I was angry at God, say so. His shoulders were broad enough to take it, and He knows anyway. But get it out so the enemy of my soul can’t hold the angry at God card over my head. So I did.

When all was said and done, she announced it was now time to confess. Ask for His help to walk away from those feels and words. Then praise Him because He not only forgave me, He chose to forget. I can move forward and not be bound by my feelings or thoughts of guilt, shame, or with His help, not stay in the cycle of recycling those negative feelings.

That last part was crucial. She didn’t allow me to be so real and raw for entertainment, it was for redemption.

Since that day, I’ve never had a problem being real with my Heavenly Father. I don’t let loose a string of words you’d hear on, well pretty much any channel on TV these days. But if I’m mad, I say so and why. When I have those deep wounds where raw words bounce around my mind like those gumball balls, they need to come out. But it’s crucial I take step two and confess/repent/praise/and move on.

What happens when I get real with God? He heals me, and there is freedom to overcome what was holding me back. There is no pretense or fakeness with me. What you see is what you get, and it’s the same with God. I don’t have Julie at church persona vs Julie at a restaurant, etc…there are no masks. It’s the most freeing thing, to be consistently cleaned out of the garbage I take in with my thoughts and circumstances, and my own sin.

So for those that came here because the title amused you, I’m not about irreverence, I’m about authenticity and intimacy with the Lord. For the religious, unpry the grip you have on rules and pursue a relationship with Christ. Close relationships have conflict  and say harsh things. But they also ask forgiveness and receive it. Religious people tend to wear a lot of masks and it limits you. I know.

That’s my confession. I get real with God. I seek Him and pour out what’s residing in the darkest places of my heart. And thanks to confession and forgiveness, I have no shame.



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