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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

Twitter

Pinterest

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COTT: New Clash Needs Your Vote!

Posted by Julie on April 25, 2016 in COTT, encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

 

New Clash Needs Your Vote!

Welcome back to our arena! The following authors are stepping onto our sands, ready to wield their mighty pens. Please look at each of their covers and descriptions and choose a favorite. Which would go on the top of your to-be-read pile? Be sure to make your choice in the actual survey, as those in the comments section alone won’t be calculated into the results. (web link provided below for those devices which don’t display the embedded survey. We’re thoughtful like that.)

Let the game… BEGIN!
~~~

Book ImageThe Gilded Curse by Marilyn Turk:
Responding to a cryptic telegram, Lexie Smithfield returns to Jekyll Island to sell her family’s abandoned vacation cottage in the Millionaire’s Club. Because tragic events in her family convinced her mother the island was cursed, it’s been ten years since her last visit to the island. Lexie’s trip is prolonged when suspicious incidents cause her to stay and discover the cottage’s hidden secrets. Just offshore the presence of nearby Nazi U-boats threaten the coast and endanger the island’s residents. While the management of the Millionaire’s Club attempts to keep members unaware of the danger, Lexie discovers the real threat that lurks within this closed community and learns that her destiny is not determined by curses or her family’s mistakes, but by the choices she makes.

Book ImageBitterroot Bride (American State Flower) by Angela Breidenbach:
No one knows the real Emmalee Warren, just what they want from the infamous prostitute. Men are coming out of the woodwork to stake a claim on the miner’s widow. They wanted her body before. Now they want her money. Hiring a lawyer, Richard Lewis, to save her from financial ruin might let her start over where no one knows Miss Ellie. Becoming an unknown is the only way to freedom…or is it? Can she leave her past and build a new future?

Book ImageBreaking Free by Jennifer Slattery:
Sometimes it takes losing everything to grab hold of what really matters. Women’s ministry leader and Seattle housewife, Alice Goddard, and her successful graphic-designer husband appear to have it all together. Until their credit and debit cards are denied, launching Alice into an investigation that only leads to the discovery of secrets. Meanwhile, her husband is trapped in a downward spiral of lies, shame, and self-destruction. Can they break free from their deception and turn to the only One who can save them? And will it be in time to save their marriage?

Book Image

Dressed for Death (A Drew Farthering Mystery) by Julianna Deering:
A Regency-Era Costume Party Should Have Been an Amusing Diversion, But it Seems Wherever Drew Farthering Goes, Mystery–and Murder–Are on the Guest List.

Vote below or follow this link to vote if box is not displayed: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VPNJMRX

 

 

Create your own user feedback survey

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A Lesson on Trust by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on March 24, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Have you ever felt like God forgot about you? Like when you’re caught in an impossible situation with nowhere to go, searching for the lifeline that never seems to come? Maybe your rope got stuck in the parcel post or passed through a few too many hands along the way. But it doesn’t matter. You’re in a bind and you need God. Now. But then, when you least expect it, God does show up, and contrary to your panicked thoughts, the world didn’t end. In fact, once the storm passes and you took a step back, you realized God had been there all the time. And He really did know what He was doing.

I’m always in a hurry, on constant overdrive. Not because I’m terribly ambitious, but because, sometimes, I struggle to let go of the reigns. I could rationalize this a million ways, but ultimately it comes down to lack of trust. In those moments when I fight against surrender, it’s like I forget that God is bigger than His creation, which includes my tiny little role in it.

This maybe be why I love the Bible passage about Martha and Lazarus.

In John chapter eleven, we are told that Martha’s brother is sick. And what did you do in first century Palestine when someone you loved fell ill? You sought out the Healer, of course. And I imagine if He was a close friend of the family, as Jesus was to Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, you’d expect a rather quick response. But what does Jesus do when he learns of Lazarus’ illness? He tarried, on purpose. Didn’t He love Lazarus? Verses five and six say He did: “So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, He stayed where He was for the next two days.”

When He finally arrives at Lazarus’ home in Bethany, it’s too late. Lazarus is dead. Martha is distraught, and even accusatory.

John 11:21 “Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if only You had been here, my brother would not have died.’”

Translation: God, You’re too late.

Lazarus had been dead for three days. Martha’s faith and hope had come and gone. She’d gone from fervent prayers to mourning.

Jesus’ response? “I’m bigger than that, Martha.”

John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life.”

You may be familiar with the rest of the story. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and God’s power was revealed. And I’m sure when it was done Martha could have kicked herself for her lack of faith. Just like I frequently kick myself for mine, but the account of Lazarus has a way of bringing me back to reality. The God that made me, that saved me, is bigger than anything I could face. And His timing is always perfect.

So what happens when God is late? Now that is a question without a logical answer, my friend. The more rational question would be, when is God late? And my response would be never, even if it appears things have regressed to the point of decay.

BCheadshot2013_editedJennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. She also does content editing for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ Firefly imprint, and loves working with authors who are serious about pursuing their calling. 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

 

Breaking Free:

Breaking Free, the latest from Jennifer Slattery.

Breaking Free, the latest from Jennifer Slattery.

Sometimes it takes losing everything to grab hold of what really matters.  Women’s ministry leader and Seattle housewife, Alice Goddard, and her successful graphic-designer husband appear to have it all together. Until their credit and debit cards are denied, launching Alice into an investigation that only leads to the discovery of secrets. Meanwhile, her husband is trapped in a downward spiral of lies, shame, and self-destruction. Can they break free from their deception and turn to the only One who can save them? And will it be in time to save their marriage?

 

Read a free, 33-page excerpt here: http://newhopepublishers.com/2016/02/free-sample-of-breaking-free/

 

Buy it:

Christian Book Distributors: http://www.christianbook.com/breaking-free-a-comtemporary-romance-novel/jennifer-slattery/9781596694682/pd/694682?event=ESRCG

 

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/breaking-free-peter-maxwell-slattery/1119735612?ean=9781596694682

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Free-Jennifer-Slattery/dp/1596694688/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

Connect with Jennifer

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte

Twitter: @Jenslattery

See scene location pictures for Breaking Free on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jenslatte/breaking-free/

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Book Review: Intertwined by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on October 7, 2015 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Julie’s Note:
Don’t forget! I’m looking for YOUR thankful thoughts to post here during the month of November. Click here to learn the details.

cover71157-mediumBook Description:

Abandoned by hubby for another woman, Tammy Kuhn, an organ procurement coordinator finds herself in an altercation with a doctor. Now she is fighting to keep her job and her sanity when one late night she encounters an old flame facing an unthinkable tragedy. Because they both find eternal purposes in every event and encounter, they soon discover their lives are intertwined but the ICU is no place for romance….or is it? This could this be where life begins again.

I don’t think there are tougher topics to conquer in fiction, and life of course, than divorce and death. Jennifer Slattery does both with her newest release, Intertwined. Tammy is newly divorced and trying to find a “new normal” with an ex-husband who deeply wounded her and isn’t much help, kids with needs and only one parent at home to help, and a demanding job as an organ donor procurement coordinator.

Nick is divorced and unable to see his kids thanks to a cruel, ex-wife when one of the sons passes away. Tammy, an old flame from high school, is there to walk him through the organ donor process and they get to know each other and help each other through divorce and trusting others again.

I really enjoyed this book. The conflict is there and is on a constant acceleration. It feels awkward and uncomfortable during the tense moments, and I love that, because that means the reader has been put in the scene and is involved. I thought the moments where Tammy’s called to work but needs childcare were especially realistic for a single parent.

What I would have liked is a little more time to dig deeper into the romance between Nick and Tammy. I think as readers we just scratched the surface as a lot of time was on Nick and Marianne. But for all Intertwined represents, Jennifer Slattery did a great job keeping the reader turning the pages.

I definitely recommend.

To purchase Intertwined, click here.

I received Intertwined through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Fear Can Take a Hike

Posted by Julie on May 5, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

When Jennifer sent word out that she was doing a study on fear I knew I wanted in before I even saw her notes and Scripture references. It seems every time Jennifer is doing a study, the Lord is growing me in the very same area.

As I grew in my relationship with Christ, He took me through the process of letting go of fear. Through His grace, patience and steadfast love I reached a point where man’s approval didn’t matter anymore. My eyes were completely focused on Him and what He thought. It was then I knew I could write. I wouldn’t be caught up in people pleasing, reader reviews and the rejection I would have to deal with. I was even given the wise advice for that eventual day when I’d have to deal with negative words to “have the skin of the rhino and the heart of the dove.” I’m so grateful for that quote because I’m now in a season where the hard stuff is here. There’s been criticism from readers and verbal lashings I never saw coming. And honestly? The fear started to creep back.rejection_zpsa13d9f5c

At first the rejection wasn’t so bad. I received my first not great review for my contemporary romance, Entrusted. It wasn’t mean and I actually thought it gave balance to the wonderful five star ones. What would have sent me to a pit of depression for weeks where I’d rehearse my reply in my head never happened. I thanked God for giving me the ability to appreciate the review.

A negative review I was prepared for. What I wasn’t ready to deal with was the unexpected. Someone not liking me. Forget the writing or ministry work or anything I do, people started taking issue with me. The words aimed at my direction were their opinion of me and it wasn’t positive. Not even close. The more I heard about the situations, the more I felt my eyes moving. The focus changed from Jesus to man. And I found myself worrying what others were thinking about me.

Whether intentional or not I walked away feeling unworthy and unfit for much of anything. Not as an author, blogger, servant, honestly, even as a human being.

I started to feel emotionally paralyzed. When I spoke or wrote I worried if I was being offensive. I knew I needed help.

During this time I was helping out a ministry and they are all friends and mentors. I shared my situation and they started to pray. Like the Taylor Swift song they encouraged me to “Shake it Off.” Not so much the words said against me but the fear I allowed to conquer. When they finished praying and giving me a bit of strategy, they came back with a Scripture card.

It was Psalm 32:7.

You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

 

My friend went on to explain that the trouble here are the words and attacks lobbed at me. The songs of deliverance are His words. No matter who or how many people take issue with me in any role I take on, His words cover me. His promises and words are bigger than anything else.

That promise gave me such comfort and peace.

It was in this that Jennifer’s study caught my eye. I was curious what verses she would use.

 

“God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true.”

It was further encouragement that He’s got my back. He goes before me. He’s my rearguard. With that kind of protection, fear has no place. When I read Jennifer’s recollection, she reminded me about David. Saul was after his hide. His obsession with the lad was with laser focus. Yet God took care of him. So much so David had the opportunity to take Saul out and out of honor and obedience, he did not. And God blessed him.

I’m not in it for the blessings but I know as His beloved daughter He longs to lavish his love on me. One form of that love is protection and covering. To have His words, His song of deliverance, be bigger than trouble and a promise for me to take faith in, fear took a hike.

And my prayer is fear will take a hike in your life, too.

 

Father, I ask that You remind the precious person reading this post that Your promises, Your words, are bigger than any trouble they might be facing. Like David, protect them and bless them for their faith, honor and obedience. In Christ’s name, Amen.

 

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A Call to Praise Blog Hop Starts Today by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on March 5, 2015 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Julie’s Note:
This post first appeared at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud.

A Call to Praise Blog Hop Starts March 5th at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

A Call to Praise Blog Hop Starts March 5th 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. 

March 5 Jennifer Hallmark will launch our series with a beautiful post on gratitude on my blog.

March 9: Sarah Ruut will visit Carol McClain’s to share her thoughts on what it means to praise God will ALL that we are.

March 11: Allyson Carter will visit on Sarah Ruut’s to talk about those things that hinder our praise.

March 13: Julie Arduini will visit Allyson Carter’s blog to talk about “Discerning Satan’s Tactics and Living on the Offense.”

March 16: Carol McClain will visit Susan Aken’s to share her thoughts on the importance of remembering all God has done.

March 18: Maria Morgan will visit Sarah Ruut’s blog to expand on Psalm 103:2, especially focusing on what it means to “forget not all His benefits.”

March 21: Allyson Carter will discuss Psalm 103 verse 3, hosted on Carol McClain’s blog

March 24: Sarah Ruut hosted on Marji Laine’s blog, discussing how God’s Blessings in our lives can give us strength.

March 26: Delia Latham will visit Carol McClain’s blog to talk about verse 6 and how God’s justice makes a difference in our lives

March 30: Susan Aken will visit my blog to discuss Psalm 103:9-12, focusing on God’s underserved grace

April 2: Marji Laine hosted on Allyson Carter’s blog, discussing what it means to live anew in God’s grace.

April 4: Susan Aken will visit Delia Latham’s blog to share her thoughts on Psalm 103:14, discussing the what it means when Scripture says God knows we are weak

April 9: Carol McClain will post on my blog, discussing God’s sovereignty and power.

April 11th I’ll tie up our series on Ginger Solomon‘s blog, calling each of us to be fully present when we praise.



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