How did we get into April? I am loving the lilacs, lawn mower sounds, and general themes of new life and beginnings. If nothing else happens in April, I was giddy to be over March. That was a tough month full of adversity and challenges.
What made things extra hard was that they were not my challenges. Both our kids were facing things that left them hurting and asking God why. I’ve faced prayer times that I thought were difficult, but seeing their pain nearly broke me.
One night we grieved and prayed together. We asked God tough questions and requested wisdom, discernment, and direction.
Not everything has changed, but here are three things God whispered to my heart to prepare for and to apply to the challenges.
- Close the current door with grace. We had an opportunity that we knew wasn’t working. It was time to leave, but feelings were raw and the true defeated one was trying to leave us in a quake of anxiety and depression. It would be easy and tempting to walk away angry and bitter. God’s whisper was to close the door with grace. More than that, the same manner we close one door is the exact way we open the next. We definitely wanted to act wisely.
- Use your voice. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but “praying in your head” doesn’t have the power that praying out loud does. I don’t think God is looking for us to stand in the middle of a park and start talking in King James Bible translation, but when we use our voice and pray, heaven moves and hell quakes. I’ve seen it. As I prayed with the kids, that phrase kept coming back. They needed to push back fears and bring down heaven’s promises to earth with declaration. That takes a voice, and in their hard times, I believe God is developing a powerful voice to speak on His behalf.
- Hands off. They are toddler rules, but I need to hear them. It is my personality to run way ahead of God, turn around, and ask Him how I’m doing. I call it living, “Sarah, Plan B,” and it is not a lifestyle you want to emulate. Sarah ended up with an “Ishmael” of a problem. I hate seeing the kids hurt, but I’ve been around long enough in faith to know that what’s happening is a refining fire. He’s taking everything that isn’t going to work in serving Him and melting it away through affliction. What’s left is pure Him. In their hard times I’m seeing a new level of faith from them. They are pressing in, going to Him and not giving up. I can’t orchestrate that or manipulate it. I’m not going to lie, being an observer of the process was one of the hardest things I’ve come up against as a parent.
I believe with this season and God’s whispers, the kids will look back and credit the time as a spiritual marker—a time they mark as when God changed everything.
Have you gone through a searing time of adversity where God whispered to you?
FINDING FREEDOM THROUGH SURRENDER-A 30 Day Devotional features the characters and issues from ENTRUSTED, ENTANGLED, and ENGAGED to encourage you as you let go of fear, loss, change, regret and dreams. I also share my own stories where I was broken and in need of surrender. If you’ve read my contemporary romance series, you’ll be familiar with the characters and inspired. If you’re new to my writing, the devotionals will introduce you to characters and situations you can relate to. Purchase HERE.
I’ve been working on a side project to help readers with the wait for ENGAGED and try something unique. I created a devotional, a set of readings meant to encourage readers as they surrender the very areas I write about in my Surrendering Time series.
Finding Freedom Through Surrender is a journey through surrendering fear, loss, change, regret, and the future. What I love is they are written through the point of view of ENTRUSTED, ENTANGLED, and ENGAGED characters. For readers familiar with the stories, the devotionals will be a fun look at their experiences and how you can find freedom for yourself. If you are new to the series, the characters give a little information to help you know them without giving away story spoilers.
I plan to have this available on Amazon, but I want YOU to have a sneak peek. Click the link below to receive a 14 day look.
CLICK HERE FOR YOUR COPY of 14 Day Devotional: Finding Freedom Through Surrender.
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Thank you for being a faithful reader!
Newly updated VeggieTales art and content refresh these daily devotionals, giving kids a fun and meaningful way to think about God each day
Every Day with God is the latest 365-day devotional from VeggieTales. The updated content and art offer the perfect opportunity for parent and child to share time together each day. Each entry includes a Bible verse, short devotion, Thought of the Day, and prayer. The content will help children learn more about God and develop a daily practice to keep Him close in their lives. The book is perfect for bedtime reading, family devotion time, or as a fresh way to start each day! Ages 4-7
My love for all things VeggieTales goes back over 15 years. Although my kids are 18 and 13, I still pay attention when I hear a VeggieTale song or learn a new product is out. That’s why I wanted to check out the VEGGIETALES EVERY DAY WITH GOD: 365 Devotions for Boys.
This is perfect for boys ages 4-7. It’s small enough for them to hold, bright, colorful, and features all the favorite characters. It numbers each devotional by “Day 1” instead of January 1, so you can start any time of year and keep organized. The readings are short with a verse, a topic boys can relate to, a thought of the day and a short prayer. I think it makes for a great evening routine where you can keep the conversation going before bed.
I highly recommend the VEGGIETALES EVERY DAY WITH GOD.
I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
“After the tragic death of her husband, timid Melody Jamison moves to the city of Saskatoon, hoping for a peaceful life, an escape from the nightmares that haunt her, and the safety and salvation of her son, Will.
However, Will is determined to prove he doesn’t need anyone, and God isn’t even a blip on his radar. He’s doing just fine, if you don’t count the times he’s had to crash at a friend’s or sleep in a downtown Vancouver alley. He’s not deliberately messing up; trouble just seems to follow him. But he’s strong enough to deal with it. He can deal with anything—at least that’s what he wants to believe.
Melody keeps praying, even though she’s not sure God hears her. With her faith as fragile as yesterday’s dream, she is shaken when dying friend Rose Martens predicts that God will use her to be a blessing to their neighborhood. As she gets to know her new neighbors, Melody finds herself on a faith journey through demonic attacks, domestic violence, and the revelation of a secret that could destroy everything she’s gained.”
I was surprised to learn this was Kathleen Friesen’s first book because she penned a captivating story that had my attention right away. I could feel the fear and transition in Melody as she is a widow trying to find her way. The anxiety was palpable, I really felt for Melody as if she were real.
I also enjoyed the other characters. They have purpose and are not superficial. More than anything, Melody’s Song has an affirming message on the power of prayer. No matter what your faith level, I believe you too will be drawn in and encouraged by this sweet story.
To purchase Melody’s Song, click here.
I received a copy of Melody’s Song in exchange for an honest review.
Yesterday I shared over at Christians Read that years ago I struggled with what I knew was a call on my life. It’s not only come to pass, it’s more specific.
I gave advice on how to avoid taking over and failing because we are not equipped.
What I didn’t say is how hard I’m struggling.
Early on I was so guilty of trying to save everyone. It never worked because that isn’t my job, and my health took a hit. A friend said, “Keep it up and it will kill you.” I have to hand the burdens over to Jesus. He fights for me. For the women I pray for. Not only does it have to be enough, it IS enough.
This year, even with that wisdom, I have been overcome with how unequipped I am. I battle guilt. I want to have the answers, the resources, the magic wand when they reach out to me. But the call isn’t any of those things. I’m only to pray and say as I feel I’m supposed to.
And guess what?
The silence is deafening.
He doesn’t want me to do a lot of talking right now.
In its wake, come the taunts. It’s not God’s voice and it isn’t mine. It’s the true defeated one, the one with so limited resources that he’s trying to convince me I’m the defeated one.
And it is a battle, my friends.
Surrendering not to the defeat but the taunts is draining. I’m a girl that wants to know why, and often with this prayer thing comes two things I hate and grieve, and deal with often. Loneliness and rejection.
Those things have been so intense this year I’ve thrown myself on the ground and just cried it out. I’ve realized there is power in tears, those are prayers that transcend language and I’ve got to get it out.
But it takes a lot out of me.
And once it subsides, I want to process it. Is it something I’m going through for my own life, something within our family? Because this has been a year I feel like those are critical prayers where my voice is the only one. Is it for those I’m standing in the gap for? Because never before have I had so many women coming at once with heartbreaking needs that hurt to hear. I hate hearing women are hurting. I see so much potential and most of these situations are strong women believing maybe not today, but someday they won’t just survive, but thrive. If I have to go through the valley for them, I’d do it. But not knowing the why I am having these times is hard.
Trust me, there is a lot of good stuff going on. We pressed in hard for our son to find steady employment and gradate from high school. The Lord gave us a picture of what his life looks like to Him and it is happening. It’s a beautiful thing. Our daughter is enjoying a good stretch of health after a rough spring. I’m finally okay with my husband’s job change and working from home. There are two books out with my name on the front that God is using to speak to women. Those are amazing praises.
But I’m the one that vowed to talk about surrender and make sure before I challenge anyone else, I’m doing it first. To be authentic even if no one else wants to hear it, or understand. So here I am. Maybe I’m waving in your imagination. Maybe I’m collapsed on a rug with a mouth full of chocolate and tears. Whatever you see, I’m all in.
And by faith, I have to believe that’s got the gates of hell shaking.