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.
This will take you to my site, where you will then click on the right sidebar widget that offers the 14 Day Devotional. If you have trouble, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on social media @JulieArduini.
(By clicking on the widget, you are agreeing to receive my monthly newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.)
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.
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.
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?
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!
Being a seat-of-the–pants writer has its perks. Why? Because my characters are almost always several steps ahead of my keystrokes, often looking over their shoulders impatiently waiting for me to catch up. Little do they know the joke is on them. They don’t realize I’m writing into them my weaknesses—and, to be honest, also my strengths—just to see how they handle them in clutch situations. And I need to observe them from behind. If I outlined the story in advance, I would already know how they coped. So I would learn nothing from them. And very possibly, neither would my readers. Why? Because I would have contrived my lessons, not lived them and passed them on. Where’s the empathy in that?
Case in point. In my most recent novel, Quimby Pond, my heroine, Gwen Kelly, has lived her life in the shadow of God’s standards, but not in his love. She’s a “good person,” has an innate sense of what is “proper,” but remains tossed on the waves of human doubt as to why it’s proper. Her spirituality? Her childhood church experience? Here’s an excerpt from the book:
[Gwen’s] fondest recollections of Sunday mornings revolved not around church, but rather brunch at a local pancake house as a reward for not squirming too much during the boring services. Her success was usually gauged by the number of over-the-shoulder huffs from the dour Mrs. Olsen, who always seemed to select the pew directly in front of the Kellys. On a good morning, a steaming stack of blueberry pancakes, whipped cream, and warm maple syrup awaited, making Sundays bearable.
Excepting the fictitious Mrs. Olsen, this was largely my childhood church experience, and I bequeathed it to Gwen. How does she cope with this kind of a spiritual past in the midst of the clutch situations I foisted upon her in Quimby Pond? Her image of God and of communion with him—i.e., prayer—lacked understanding, substance, caring. How does one cope? How does one surrender to the love of God, not just perceive a notion of his standards? The story’s hero, Brent Newcomb, wondered the same thing. Here’s an exchange between Brent and Gwen:
As they neared the hospital, she cast a questioning glance at him. “You were praying last night, weren’t you? During the search.”
“I sure was.”
“Do you think it made any difference?”
“It made a difference to me.” He pulled into the hospital parking lot and into an empty slot. “And apparently to Hannah too. You realize that God answered the prayer through you, don’t you?”
She threw him a startled look. “What do you mean?”
He propped an elbow on the steering wheel and faced her. “It was your sudden idea to search near Quimby Pond, and that idea saved Hannah’s life. I’ve discovered that God is usually responsible for sudden ideas like that.”
She looked down again. “Do you pray a lot? I mean, you know, at regular times. Not only in emergencies.”
“Not as often as I should.” He offered a slight smile as he switched off the engine. “What’s your position on the subject?”
She shrugged and reached for her seatbelt buckle.
Will Gwen ever give in to the lure of prayer? If so, what will it take to bring her to the point of surrender? What does it take to bring any person to the point of “surrendering” to prayer, of recognizing that such communion yields solace to the person praying and joy to the One to whom the prayer is lifted. The answer to that question is different for every person.
Her lesson still teaches this author. And she did it all by herself.
Author Bio and photo
Bruce Judisch has been writing fiction for many years. His first work, “A Prophet’s Tale,” is a two-part novelization of the story of the Old Testament prophet, Jonah ben Amittai, comprising The Journey Begun and The Word Fulfilled. A third part, The Promised Kept, is under construction. More recently, he wrote two novels with complementary contemporary and historical storylines: Katia, a Cold War novel focusing on the fall of the Berlin Wall, and its sequel, For Maria, featuring the Kindertransport.
Bruce lives in Texas with his wife and high school sweetheart, Jeannie, and their two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Charlie and Raleigh. Bruce and Jeannie are the proud parents of three and grandparents of fourteen.
Book Cover and blurb
Thursday, August 20, 1896, Marble Falls, Maine. A festively adorned bridal trunk arrives on the one o’clock train, but no newlyweds debark to claim it. Curious townspeople gather for the evening train, but again only to disappointment. Where was the happy couple? What became of the trunk? And what if it wasn’t a bridal trunk at all…?
Present Day: Gwen Kelly comes to Marble Falls to escape a broken past, a past that revisits her when she begins to restore an antique trunk. A mysterious assailant targets her friends and fingers her as the only person who can stop him. Gwen is thrust into an awkward relationship with Officer Brent Newcomb as they race to stop the intruder from striking again. Could the trunk hold the key to this cloud of violence spreading over the peaceful Marble Falls region? If so, will they discover its secret in time? If not, what have they stumbled into?
Purchase QUIMBY’S POND HERE