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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!

***

Julie Arduini, author and speaker_edited

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Surrender to Prayer by Bruce Judisch

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

bruceBruce 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

Surrendering to prayer is one of the plot questions in Bruce Judisch's Quimby Pond.

Surrendering to prayer is one of the plot questions in Bruce Judisch’s Quimby Pond.

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

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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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September 11th: Did You Go Back to Old Ways?

Posted by Julie on September 11, 2015 in encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Each year I share where I was when I first learned that we were a country under attack. For new readers, I was a work-from-home mom with a three year old who slept in late that morning. I was working when my sister messaged me.

 

Had I seen the news?

 September11-3

I lived in Upstate NY at the time and I was in shock like everyone else.

Although the devastation was beyond words, I saw some positive news from people who took the attacks as a wake up call.

Some married the person they had taken for granted.

Some went out and chased a dream instead of a dead-end job.

Some surrendered grudges.

Some realized the world didn’t offer anything lasting and decided they wanted eternal security that Christ offers.

Great things in such a horrific period of time.

What sent me from shock to grief was how fast everyone forgot and went back to business as usual. Whether weeks, months or a few years after, the marriages ended. Unforgiveness ruled hearts. Negativity and division attacked our nation without pause.

As I reflect on the lives lost, the financial and health woes, the images the media will bring back that haunt and bring deep emotion, I grieve deeply.

  • We have children trying to kill parents.
  • An organization selling aborted baby parts.
  • A terrorist group spreading evil and fear through acts too graphic to mention.
  • An economy that’s limping at best.
  • Politicians voting based on who lines their pocket.
  • “Church” group forgetting Christ when they demonstrate at funerals.
  • Core values and the Bible mocked when not long ago they were respected, if not outright lived on a daily basis.
  • Widows, orphans, homeless, the addicted, those with a different opinion ignored or abused.

This September 11th, reflect on where you were and any vows you made to change for the better. Where are you now? Are you part of the solution, or the problem?

Forgive us, Lord, for the way we’ve destroyed this nation with our selfish ways. May we experience an awakening from You that no one and no thing can stop. That jails would be empty because there would be no crime. Hospices would close. Unemployment lines would be short and non existent. Only You can change the course of this country. Despite our failures, please heal this land. In Christ’s power, Amen.

photobucket image

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Book Review: This Means War by Stephen Kendrick, Alex Kendrick

Posted by Julie on September 4, 2015 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

51EjAPvwX+L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_You’ve got battles to fight—on your knees.

The teen years can be tough; don’t try to make it through without one of your most powerful weapons—prayer. A companion book to the movie War Room, this new kind of journal will get you ready for a new kind of prayer life, one that’s strong, growing, and reflects just how powerful prayer is. Each short chapter tackles one of the biggest questions teens have about prayer, questions such as:

Why pray, anyway?
What should I pray for? Are selfish prayers okay?
Who should I pray for? Am I really supposed to pray for my enemies too?
Will God listen? And will He answer?

Just-right journaling prompts will then get you thinking—and praying—and reinforce the real power of fighting battles on your knees.

I’m so impressed with all Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick have done to incorporate the principles from their movie, War Room, into resources for families. This Means War is no exception. This book for teens contains prayer prompts/questions for teens to journal. It talks about prayer in a way teens will respond to. I found it visual and informative without being overwhelming.

The best proof? I haven’t seen This Means War since I showed it to my teen son. It’s part of his daily routine. Not a lot of books get that kind of attention from him. I think the fact that he has it and is using it daily says volumes.

To purchase This Means War, click here.

I received This Means War in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Fervent by Priscilla Shirer

Posted by Julie on September 2, 2015 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

41Y4TeW94xL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Book Description:

You have an enemy . . . and he’s dead set on destroying all you hold dear and keeping you from experiencing abundant life in Christ. What’s more, his approach to disrupting your life and discrediting your faith isn’t general or generic, not a one-size-fits-all. It’s specific. Personalized. Targeted.

So this book is your chance to strike back. With prayer. With a weapon that really works. Each chapter will guide you in crafting prayer strategies that hit the enemy where it hurts, letting him know you’re on to him and that you won’t back down. Because with every new strategy you build, you’re turning the fiercest battles of life into precise strikes against him and his handiwork, each one infused with the power of God’s Spirit.

New York Times bestselling author Priscilla Shirer, widely known for her international speaking, teaching, and writing ministries, brings her new role from the 2015 film War Room into the real lives of today’s women, addressing the topics that affect them most: renewing their passion, refocusing their identity, negotiating family strife, dealing with relentless regrets, navigating impossible schedules, succeeding against temptation, weathering their worst fears, uprooting bitterness, and more. Each chapter exposes the enemy’s cruel, crafty intentions in all kinds of these areas, then equips and encourages you to write out your own personalized prayer strategies on tear-out sheets you can post and pray over yourself and your loved ones on a regular basis.

Fervent is a hands-on, knees-down, don’t-give-up action guide to practical, purposeful praying.

Fervent is a book that wields serious power because the author creates a plan on how to defeat the true defeated one by giving the reader his playbook. I absolutely loved how Priscilla Shirer goes through each strategy the devil uses to bring women down and explains what it is, and how to overcome his plans with specific prayer. The book is easy to read but deep in information, truth, God’s word and strategies to be on the offensive. At the end there are prayer cards to tear out and use.

This is one of the resources Stephen and Alex Kendrick use to help families engage in prayer as part of their movie, War Room. Each book targets small children, kids, teens, family/men and women. I highly recommend all of them. Fervent is amazing. I hope you find out for yourself.

To see my reviews on the other War Room related books, click here.

To purchase Fervent, click here.

I received a copy of Fervent in exchange for an honest review.



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