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Book Review: Melody’s Song by Kathleen Friesen

Posted by Julie on August 31, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Book Description:

Book Review: Melody's Song by Kathleen Friesen

Book Review: Melody’s Song by Kathleen Friesen

“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.

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Character Confession: The Captivating Miley Cyrus

Posted by Julie on August 31, 2013 in About Me, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Is there anything new to blog about when it comes to Miley Cyrus?

Probably not.

But I’m going to try.

I wanted to wait a few days so I could let my thoughts marinate and perhaps by the time I put them down, they’d make sense. I also figured by giving it some time, I’d have some good posts from others to pass on.

And I do.

But first, let me share the biggest revelations that came to me regarding Miley’s adult performance during the VMA’s. I didn’t watch it live, and I didn’t watch the entire clip. Didn’t need to.

She’s the visual I have regarding the book I often use when I mentor, Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge, about what happens when girls don’t get their core question answered.

The core question little girls ask is this: Do you think I’m lovely?

They start asking this question before they even know it’s a desire to be fulfilled by their Heavenly Father through Christ.

My favorite example of this question in motion is our daughter at her pre school graduation. She has a twirly skirt on and she’s giving that skirt all she’s got to see the twirl in action. My Facebook page has this if you look for it. Girls twirl their skirts because they want to be noticed. They want someone to let them know they are lovely. Captivating. Worth something.

Dads are the best humans to answer this question in a healthy way, but the gap can only truly be closed by the One who created them. When dads are absent or answer that question through put downs, absence, physical or a worse kind of abuse, the girls will get that question answered.41oqKi7uI+L._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_

In all kinds of wrong ways.

And that’s one of the revelations I had regarding Miley. She’s exhibit A of what it looks like when that core questioned isn’t answered. Her definition of lovely is now warped and it is a hamster wheel she’ll keep perpetuating to get that question answered. And only Christ can get her off that wheel. It won’t surprise me if she ups the ante because so much attention came from her VMA display. But it will be a winless quest. Sure, she’ll get media time, blog posts devoted to her, and more money, but in the scheme of life and truly living victoriously, there’s nothing victorious here.

Now for the second revelation.

I wanted to be snarky when I first saw the pictures come through my Facebook feed. When her picture was placed against Jim Carrey when he was on In Living Color, I wanted to hit share and laugh until I snorted.

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But I couldn’t.

Because as soon as I felt the temptation, a still voice rose to the surface.

She’s my prodigal.

Whether her claims to Christian faith were genuine when she first moved to California to pursue a career, I don’t know. Over the years I’ve read people who felt the Cyrus family walked it out when they lived in Tennesee. When Billy Ray had the interview after his first public separation with his wife, he talked about how Miley saw the evil in Hollywood and was determined to be His light. He later retracted it, but he felt the Disney machine and her handlers took over. He was a friend instead of a parent. And that light went out.

Even if that’s all a fabrication, she’s still a beloved daughter to her Heavenly Father. He loves her with a depth I can’t even capture with words. He desperately yearns for her to pursue a personal relationship with Him. But He’s not a bully. He’s made it a choice for all of us to take. Even Miley. For her to choose Him is a no-brainer on His part. Even after what we saw at the VMA’s. Even if all the drugs and other choices are all true. He’d accept her without hesitation.

Just like He accepted me.

Compassion, tinged with grief, filled the snark I wanted to share. Although there were a lot of visuals to burn on the brain, the one I can’t shake is her parents facing the throne. Miley explaining how she used the gifts she was created with to further His Kingdom. If that were to happen anytime soon, I can’t imagine the despair.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

For all the Christian families fed up with Miley just being Miley, why not pray for her and her family? That if they knew Christ personally at one point, that they would return and be consistently mentored by families solid in Him. If the whole Jesus card was just a trite thing to say for a young starlet, that it would come back and become a fulfilled prophecy.

I often think about the most wayward celebrities and what the world would look like if that person was on fire for Christ. Sold out, all in, using their gifts and talents to show people who He is and how to know Him. Not in an obnoxious way a lot of new believers are without mentoring, but just confident who they are and their worth in HIm.

That would be captivating.

 

Other Miley related posts I enjoyed:

Dear Daughter

A Lesson for Dads (this received so much traffic that as of writing it has been shut down. Hopefully by the time you read it, it will be back up.)

Miley and Me

Dear Son: Don’t Let Robin Thicke Be a Lesson to You

 

 

 

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The Father, Son, Holy Spirit and oh yes, the Smallville Finale

Posted by Julie on May 16, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

Quite a blog title, isn’t it?  Head’s up, if you love the show Smallville and didn’t see the finale, I’m sharing tidbits from the episode.

This blog post started writing itself a few minutes into the two hour Smallville series finale Friday night. If you’ve read any of my writing over the years you know I’m a superhero fan. My husband is a Trekkie, I have friends who found revelation in the show Lost, others moved by Lord of the Rings. Well I’m the one that God can download His wisdom to me through a superhero movie (He showed me the power of unforgiveness through Spiderman 3) or  a TV show.

What did He show me?

The Father-—So much of the Smallville finale centered around the father theme. Clark Kent lost his adoptive father a few years back and felt the best way to move forward was to forget the past.  He chose to push away the relationship he had with his father. In addition, his adoptive father, Jor-El, was hard to figure out so Clark shut him out. During the finale Clark remembers Jonathan Kent and realizes he pushed both fathers away. He expresses sorrow to his adoptive father and confesses it’s too late to foster a relationship with his biological father.  Jonathan Kent gives great perspective into what is so true about us in real life (yes, I get superheroes aren’t real).

You can’t outrun your true Father. No matter how many times we mess up, rebel, ignore and neglect, one step towards our Heavenly Father and He is there. In the show Jor-El forgave and accepted his son immediately. No matter what your circumstances are with your Earthly father know that your Heavenly Father’s love knows no bounds.  Turn to Him today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Son—This gives me chills every time I think about it. The second half of the finale focused on a planet of sorts hurdling to Earth. I’m not strong in translating Sci Fi but really what was happening was darkness and evil were trying to invade Earth and destroy. The people of Earth needed someone to literally stand in the gap between Earth and evil to save them. Yes, in the episode that was Superman, embracing his destiny and saving the world. In reality, evil is already here and has been since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. We can’t avoid it, we are all sinners impacted by evil. Our finale has tragic results without the One standing in the gap on our behalf, separating us from evil.  Not Superman, Jesus. He literally laid down His perfect life to stand in the gap between our lives and destinies. He is the only way we’re saved. Want to know more? Click here.

The Holy Spirit—This aspect of the Trinity, all God and yet distinct (think of it like water: steam and ice are still water, just as God is also the Son and Holy Spirit) is the most understood. This is where I needed a book like The Shack because it helped me understand the Holy Spirit better. The Holy Spirit is your teacher and guide. He (not it) is your encourager and heart check. When you get that nudge about doing something good or realizing you’re real close to doing something bad it isn’t that cartoon devil and angel. It’s the Holy Spirit. In Smallville Clark had the fortress of solitude to escape and communicate with his Father. Many of his teachings came from Jor El bringing about bright light and exposing crystals containing training for Clark to see or experience. When I yield to the Holy Spirit that’s light for me because I’m learning and walking in His will.  He is not to be feared but to be sought.

A personal relationship with the Trinity—-In all my writings and trying to teach others about knowing Christ in a personal way and that doing so is the best decision to make ( life changing, although not easy) it was a Sunday School student who nailed it.  She told the class that she used to tell people she knew Justin Bieber, but she truly didn’t. If he walked by he would have no clue who she was even though she was aware of him. She really didn’t know him in a personal, direct way. Having a relationship with Christ gives you VIP access if you will to His Father and the Holy Spirit. There is a mutual relationship between you and God. He KNOWS you and you truly have a relationship with Him. I love that.

In the finale the most touching scene for me was the wedding aisle. Lois Lane is a lot of things, sassy, independent, a passionate reporter but she’s also insecure. She’s had a lot of rejection in her life and she has to surrender her entire life to the unknown by marrying Clark.  She knows she has baggage, maybe too much for Clark to want to commit to. Will he show?

Lois starts down the aisle, her own father not there. She looks ahead for Clark. He is not there. You can feel her heart break.

And then, comes an extended hand that takes hers. Clark knows her. He knows she really wanted someone to walk down the aisle with her. He was there. He didn’t fail, he didn’t run. He met her need.

That’s what God wants you to know. Like Jor El, He loves you enough to not just hand you your destiny but learn it. Like Lois He wants you to realize in every circumstance He is there holding your hand, especially when you can’t see Him. He knows you better than you know yourself. You are His bride, His all.

Smallville is over and it was a well written action packed, emotional finale.

But it is nothing compared to heaven or the journey God has for you right now through personally knowing Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

If this knowing Christ is new to you and you’re not sure what to do and the link confuses you, feel free to e mail me at juliearduini@juliearduini.com. I’d be thrilled to help in any way I can.

 

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