Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Remembering...

August 30th is a day that will always stand out on the calendar for me. Back in 2008, the 30th fell on a Saturday and it's a day I will never forget.

This morning as we read our morning devotions, the events from that day 3 years ago came back to mind. You see we were using the same Bible reading calendar then as we are now, so today as my husband read Luke 22, I vividly recalled doing the same not long ago.

You see it was on that day when we experienced a miscarriage, but as I read from the Word before the Dr. confirmed what I already knew, verse 42 became real personal. I read these words with tears in my eyes, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

His will was done, but this morning as I listened to my husband read verse 43, the very next one, jumped out at me. It says, "
An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him." Honestly 3 years ago, I don't even know if I saw those words, but today I did. I have spent some time remembering and reflecting, and God has shown me He responded to me, His daughter, the same way as He did to Jesus, His Son.

I didn't see an angel in physical form, but as I look back and recall the emotions and pain I experienced as I grieved a child I will not hold until heaven, I know He strengthened me. His love held me. His peace filled me. Hope in Him helped me.

Today I've been reminded of the importance of remembering...not just the ones we love and have lost, but remembering the One who loves and saves us when we are lost!!

Oh Lord, help me never forget who You are and help me rest in the truth that YOU are faithful! Thank you for memories, ones that are fun and full of joy, and ones that are of those we miss, but remind me of You.

Friend, what do you need to remember tonight??

Monday, August 29, 2011

"A Confident Heart" Review and Give-Away



"A Confident Heart" is a newly released book written by Renee Swope of Proverbs 31 Ministries. I have had the privilege (and challenge) of reading this book and want to take a few minutes to encourage you to do the same!!

First of all a bit about the book...from the back cover, "Ever feel like you're not good enough, smart enough, or valuable enough? Renee Swope understands. Even with a great family, a successful career, and a thriving ministry, she still struggled with self-doubt. Sharing her own personal story, Renee shows you how to rely on the power of God's promises to find the security you need and the confidence you long for!"

What do you think? Are you interested? Does this sound like a book you want to read?? If your answer is yes, scroll to the bottom of this post for a chance to win a copy, but if you're still not sure, read on...

Now for my review...when Renee asked me to read an early copy of ACH, I was thrilled! I have enjoyed her blog for years and appreciated the times I've heard her speak, so I knew her message was one I needed. After sending her my yes, Renee responded with, "I pray this book encourages your heart." Instantly I had the thought, "I pray this book changes my heart."

I knew her story would be encouraging, but my problem is I've read many encouraging stories and I wanted more, I needed more. You see doubt could be my middle name and I think Thomas could have been my brother! I knew it was time for a change and I believed God could do that through Renee's book.

So I jumped into the book with excitement and enthusiasm, eager to see how God would answer my prayer. After the first few chapters, I found myself realizing that I was not alone! As I read Renee's story, I read much of my own - depression, never being good enough, the comparison game, feeling empty, failure... I could relate and found relief, but then I read on.

About halfway into the book I realized our stories were no longer the same. As Renee wrote about living beyond the shadows of her doubts, I knew I was still standing in mine. Honestly there were times I wasn't sure I would finish the book - sometimes the truth hurts and this book is full of truth!! But in the end the truth always helps and friend, I promise if you read this book, you will be helped!!

I could write for days about how "A Confident Heart" has helped me, but instead I want to share a quick story...

Just two days ago my little Joy (my 6 year old daughter who is sometimes too much like her mother) was in tears. I asked what was wrong and she gave me the answer I know all too well, silence, only to be followed by "nothing" when I asked again. It was then her little sister says to me, "Joy said she is dumb." As we talked, she couldn't tell me why she was dumb or what made her feel this way, but having said those same words and others like them, I felt I knew what was going on.

One thing Renee writes about is AM/FM thoughts. Take a minute and think about the last thought you had of yourself and ask yourself this question, "Was it for me or against me?" This may sound like a simple task, but do it often enough and you may begin to see a pattern. I know, that happened to me and all too often my thoughts were of the AM type - they were Against Me, not For Me. I'm sorry to say there was no static on this station; the negative message was all too loud and came through much too clear. The problem with this is - how a women thinks is often how she lives.

So back to Joy, eventually I asked her, "Who said this? Who told you, you were dumb?" She didn't know, so I went on to share how this wasn't true, how it was a lie and we have to make a choice not to listen to the lies. We talked a bit more and replaced that lie with truth. She even said, "I guess if I don't know how to do something, I can just learn." Then she smiled and returned to the life of a 6 year old.

Her tears were gone, but mine had started to fall. I'm grateful to think perhaps my little ones won't have to walk the same road I did - one that was filled with self-doubt and endless AM thoughts. I know they will experience these thoughts, but I'm thankful that as I learn to replace my doubts with God's truth, I can teach them to do the same. There was a time when I didn't know if that was possible, but just like Joy, I'm going to turn the channel and cling to His promise, "I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me!!"

Like I said, "A Confident Heart" has impacted me greatly and I know after reading it you will say the same! So now for the give-away, click on the comment button below and share your thoughts with me - Why do you want to read ACH? or What AM thought do you need to replace? If you do not have a blog account, just click on the comment button and choose to leave a comment as "anonymous." Just don't forget to leave me your name and an e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.

Finally, some links. For another more great thoughts on the book and another chance to win, visit my friend, Kimberly by clicking HERE!

One for you to order Renee's life changing book for yourself. :) Visit the Proverbs 31 store by clicking HERE!!

And the link to Renee's blog, which is always full encouragement.

And a thank you to Renee's publishers at Revell Thank you for this copy of the book to give away and for the chance to be a part of Renee's blog tour.

Come back on Sunday when the winner is announced!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Do you ever feel ordinary??

I came across this poem from a couple of years ago...it was the reminder I needed and thought maybe someone else needed it too!!

"An Ordinary Girl"
My house can be a mess and
sometimes the kids are naughty.
My past is far from perfect and
my mind is full of doubt.
Lord, I'm not qualified and
this is nothing I deserve -
I'm just an ordinary girl.

Then I met her -
the one who has it all together
or so I thought,
but she's not perfect either.
She's had her share of falls and
even questioned her own worth -
She's an ordinary girl.

But God, then there's You -
the Maker of the heavens and the earth.
The One who moves mountains
and has counted every star.
You can use us all,
especially when we're just
an ordinary girl!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Words brought to life...

A newborn baby in the house means a loss of sleep (plus many other wonderful things!!), but the other night a truth was brought to life while I was up with our new little man. I was already lacking in the sleep department and the night I hoped would be better, well it wasn't, so I pulled myself out of bed once again and did what I needed to do.

I sat down to feed Jesse and looked for something to pass my time. Rather than opening the book that kept me up longer than my baby did, I pulled our calendar off the shelf and decided to look at what the new month would bring. It was then something caught my attention; no, it wasn't the events scheduled or the first day of school instead it was a verse that instantly took on a meaning that was real!!

The words on our calendar read, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." (1 Peter 2:2,3)

Now, I've read this verse numerous times and heard it as well. I know the point Peter is making, but that night as I sat there with a newborn babe in my arms these words came to life! You don't have to be a Mom to know babies need milk, I really believe that is an understood fact of life. But if you are a Mom, you've experienced the craving newborns have for milk. It feeds them and fills them. Calms them and comforts them. This is what they desire!

This isn't a one time desire either! My little guy craves milk quite often...at times it feels like this is a constant desire and others it seems to be the only desire!!

That night as I sat in the early hours thinking about this I was struck by the contrast in my desires with that of my son. Honestly I wasn't craving spiritual milk at that moment like my son was craving physical milk. And if I'm truthful I don't know if I've ever craved God's Word in the same way my son cried out for his nourishment.

How about you? Do you crave spiritual milk like a newborn baby craves that which sustains him? Remember craving it, isn't enough - my son doesn't stop longing for milk when I pick him up, he is not satisfied until his desire is met. Friend will you join me in being more aware of what we crave? Let's move past realizing we need this spiritual meal and make an effort similar to the one I do with my son, let's get ourselves out of bed and let our Heavenly Father provide the nourishment that only He can.

And then when we're feeling empty, cry out and let Him fill us again!! This strategy works for my son and I know God is a much better parent than me!!!

What words have been brought to life for you recently??