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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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#Stolen by Jessica Fralin (and a chance to win $100 cash card)

Posted by Julie on October 9, 2015 in encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

stole #Stolen by Jessica Fralin | Instagram Contest and $100 Cash Card Giveaway

Author: Jessica Fralin

Is social media stealing your identity? We need an #IdentityRevolution! Take part by reading Jessica Fralin’s debut book, #Stolen! In #Stolen, author Jessica Fralin uncovers our deep desire to be affirmed, valued, and loved and then points to the only place where that desire can be filled: in Christ not social media.

Join Jessica and Abingdon Press on Instagram for the chance to win a $100 cash card!

 

One grand prize winner will receive:
•A $100 cash card
•A copy of #Stolen

Enter today by following the instructions below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 30th. The winner will be announced November 2nd on the Litfuse blog.

Here’s how to enter the contest:
1.Take a no-filter selfie of you either holding up a copy of the book (if you have one) or holding up a sign that says, “I will not be #Stolen!”
2.Caption the photo with the following (just copy/paste this on your mobile device): “I’m participating in an #IdentityRevolution with @JessicaFralin’s new book, #Stolen! Learn how to be affirmed, valued, and loved through Christ, not social media. #contest”
3.Follow @JessicaFralin on Instagram.

Rules: Open to the U.S. only. Entries will be tracked by using the hashtags #Stolen and #IdentityRevolution. Entries must be submitted by 10/30/15 at 11:59 PDT. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on 11/2.

Per Instagram rules, this promotion is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use. Void where prohibited by law.

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#Stolen Book Description

How many hours do we spend scrolling Facebook newsfeeds, retweeting something on Twitter, or posing for the perfect selfie on Instagram, hoping what we post will get likes and comments from our friends and followers? To get those likes, we post what is—according to social media standards—pretty, popular, and acceptable. We hide the messy parts of life, play up the fun times, and even twist the truth a bit so we look a little better, smarter, and funnier. But what happens when people start holding us up to these unrealistic standards? What happens when you realize that who you are on social media isn’t who you really are? Have we let social media steal our identity?

In #Stolen, author Jessica Fralin uncovers our deep desire to be affirmed, valued, and loved and then points to the only place where that desire can be filled: in Christ not social media. She offers creative #FunFact, #GiveItATry, and #WhatDoYouThink callouts containing fun notes, activities, and ideas to discuss with your youth group and friends. As she tackles the issues and insecurities like popularity, body image, and cyberbullying, Jessica shows you how to find your identity in the one voice that really matters, not the million of voices online.

Learn more and purchase a copy.
Jessica Fralin is an author & blogger in Nashville, Tennessee. Whether speaking from a platform or typing away on jessicafralin.com, her heart is to convey the message of love, acceptance, and worth that can only be found in the gospel. On any given day, you can find her holding a book or a latte and passionately teaching others who they are―and why it matters―when it comes to social media.

Find out more about Jessica at http://jessicafralin.com.

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An Interview with Bestselling Author Gina Holmes

Posted by Julie on September 16, 2014 in ACFW, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

Please welcome, novelist, Gina Holmes.  Gina is the founder of popular literary site, novelrocket.com. She is a two-time Christy and ECPA Book of the Year finalist and winner of the INSPY, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award. Her books regularly appear on Christian bestseller lists.

 

Gina, tell us a little bit about your newest release, Driftwood Tides.

driftwoodtides_edited

 

Driftwood Tides tells the story of an aging, alcoholic driftwood artist turned beach bum, Holton Creary, and young Libby Slater. Libby grew up with an absent father and a loving but cold, socialite mother. Leading up to her wedding, Libby and her groom-to-be go through genetic testing and she learns her blood type doesn’t match either of her parents. She confronts her mother and is reluctantly told that she’s adopted. She goes searching for her mother, Adele, only to find her husband, Holton Creary lying face down on the carpet of his Nags Head beach shack.

 

She lies about her real identity until she is finally found out. Holton does not welcome the news. He never knew the wife he had given saint status too had given up a daughter for adoption. Together the two search to find the truth about Adele, Libby’s father and themselves.

 

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

 

At its heart, Driftwood Tides is really about discovering who we are, whose we are, where we belong and the need to accept and bestow forgiveness.

 

Why did you set the novel in Nags Head?

 

Oh, how I love that place! I’m not sure there’s a more peaceful setting in all the world. And the further out I get from civilization, the happier I am. I love the sand dunes, the untouched nature, the quaint towns. Just everything! (Well, except sand in my bathing suit maybe J)

 

You seem to have a recurring theme in your novels about absent fathers, if it’s not too personal, why do you think that is?

 

It is too personal, but I don’t mind answering (wink!) When I was 6 years old, I was packed up by my stepfather and driven to my father’s house. Overnight I had a new Mom, new sisters and brother, house and life. It was as traumatic an experience as I can imagine. There were few explanations that made sense to me and I missed my other family desperately. I think ever since I’ve been trying to settle some pretty deep-seated questions. Writing books is wonderful for that.

 

The novel you’ve written that seems to be a fan-favorite is Crossing Oceans, do you ever see yourself writing a sequel?

 

I love that book too. Makes me cry just thinking about certain scenes. I would love to write a sequel, prequel or off shoot stories. I love those characters dearly. I’m under contract for three different novels, so I’m not sure when I’ll have the time, but I’d love to explore Craig’s story and of course, Bella’s. I miss Mama Peg very much!

 

You’ve said that your favorite novel you’ve written is Wings of Glass. Why is that your favorite?

 

Well, for storyline, I think Crossing Oceans is the strongest. I think my writing in Wings of Glass was my best, plus when I was very young I watched my mother in one abusive relationship after another, and then two of my sisters. I had been there too, despite thinking I was better than that. I know the mindset that keeps a woman (or man) in a relationship like that and I wanted to give insight to those who don’t understand. I’ve received enough letters to know I did what I set out to do.

 

You’re originally from NJ but write all your novels from the South, why do you set your novels down South if you’re from up North?

 

Ha, you found me out! Yes, I was born and raised in NJ. As much as I love my friends and family, I am definitely more suited for the slower pace of the South. I’ve lived in Southern VA for half of my life and I plan to spend the rest of my life here if I can help it. I try to write books from settings that make me happy. So I write where I want to be. (Although, I’ve got to say, NJ food is amazing and you’ve got to love a boisterous NJ laugh!)

 

What do you like most about being a writer? Least?

 

Most, I like being able to have a platform to share lessons I’ve learned in my life that I know others would benefit from. And more than that, I just love to tell a good story.

 

Least, would be the unpredictability of the business. Sometimes it seems so random and the lack of control makes me uncomfortable sometimes. (Which is probably right where God wants me!)

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring novelists?

 

My advice is pretty much always the same. 1. Write. So many people want to have written but don’t actually do the work. 2. Get to a writers conference because there’s so much  you don’t know, that you don’t even know you don’t know. If you don’t you’ll be spinning your wheels for years, wasting valuable time. 3. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest bookstore and buy yourself a copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Then apply it. (Best money I ever spent!) 4. Join a good critique group and get a nice thick skin, ‘cause you’re sure going to need it!

 

If you could go back to the pre-published writer you were, knowing what you do now, what advice would you give her?

 

Well, I wouldn’t have told myself how many novels I’d write that would never see the light of day, because I would have given up. I wouldn’t have told myself how little money there is actually to be made or how lonely writing can sometimes be. I wouldn’t have told myself that I’d still have a day job with 4 novels out in stores, including 3 bestselling novels… okay, but that wasn’t your question… I would tell myself to relax. Some of this, most of this is, is out of your hands, and that’s okay. It’s not going to be at all what you think it is, but it’s going to be so much more. You won’t get rich, but you will touch lives. At the end of the day, that’s going to be exactly what will fulfill you.

 

Where can readers find your books and more about you?

 

ginacolortiltsmallThanks for asking. My books are in B&N, BooksaMillion, Amazon, Lifeway, Parable, Family Christian and hopefully a good number of independent bookstores. You can find me at Ginaholmes.com. Thanks so much for hosting me!

 

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Book Review: March Bride by Rachel Hauck

Posted by Julie on March 21, 2014 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

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Book Description:

A year’s worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed.

 

Susanna has found her true prince, and their happily ever after is just around the corner. But when Nate asks her to give up something precious to her, Susanna can’t help but wonder if it’s a sign that their love is not meant to be.

 

Susanna Truitt (Once Upon A Prince) is three weeks from royalty. She’ll soon marry King Nathaniel II of Brighton Kingdom. But when the government insists she renounce her American citizenship before the wedding, coupled with the lack of involvement by family and friends, Susanna’s heart begins to doubt whether this marriage is God’s plan for her.

 

Nathaniel would do anything for his bride-to-be. But he knows his position requires that she give up a lot to be with him. Her life will never be her own—right down to her very identity. When she travels home to St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, right before the wedding, Nathaniel fears she won’t return. Gathering his courage, he devises a plan to win his bride all over again, and together they seek out a kingdom to treasure above all.

What a sweet surprise March Bride was. I didn’t know this novella was a continuation of Once Upon a Price, so readers get to revisit Susanna and Nathaniel’s love story weeks before their royal wedding. Their love is deep, but the conflicts continue. Susanna can’t shake that on her best day, she’s still a redneck Georgia girl and that an entire country is counting on her to be a princess. And she keeps seeing Nathaniel around a woman who is a better fit for him, and has made her intentions clear in the past. When Nathaniel confesses that Susanna has to make one more sacrifice before the wedding, she returns home to clear her head. Will she be able to surrender everything in order to marry her true love?

I really enjoyed March Bride because I still love a good fairy tale, and this is a realistic one, too. Susanna’s battle over identity is one all women can relate to, whether we’re marrying royalty or not. I absolutely related to her anxieties about not being good enough and whether her intended was having regrets. It’s captivating reading full of conflict and romance, and is a quick read. I do recommend reading Once Upon a Prince first. By doing so you learn about how their romance unfolds and the secondary characters who continue to get in the way in March Bride.

If you love romance, usher in spring with March Bride.

To purchase March Bride, click here.

I received a copy of March Bride from NetGalley/publisher in exchange for an honest review.



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