Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Can Joy Be Restored?

When I was pregnant with our first child, twelve years ago, I prayed everyday for her to be filled with God’s joy. There were so many things that I could have prayed over her - contentment, health, etc. -

but i chose joy.

After she was born, her father carried her tiny body across the hospital hall to the nursery. He swears that she smiled at him - and though the thought of a newly born baby smiling is hard to believe - I do believe - because I know what I prayed all those expectant months. Now, twelve years have passed and the story has changed. Life has happened - her wide-eyed naivety lost, and I find myself longing for my happy baby. 

I understand all to well the things that rob her joy and perhaps I miss my own innocence as much as I miss hers; it feels life has jaded me as well. She is a part of me, a reflection of me - a woman in the making. She is mine to mold, mine to hold. She is my daughter, my sister in Christ and one day, God willing, will be a dear friend. She depends on me to guide her through this minefield of a world. It is not for the faint of heart, shaping a child into a woman. It brings me to my knees - in sobs, in hair-pulling frustration, and in prayer. My prayers sound more like a desperate plea, and they are not lost on Him. His reply is gentle, but heard.

It’s time for joy to be restored. 

But how does she...do I... get something back that has been gone for so long? 

 then it comes - my answer in the form of a question..
Have you forgotten all that I have done for you? God’s words pierce, but they arouse hope because I know what he is saying - that he can be trusted with her heart. 

He can be trusted with my heart. 

So I relish each smile, giggle, and pre-teen silliness when it comes. I even join in. I become a woman-child myself, and it is healing - freeing. This delicate, breakable, adolescent reminds me of who I want to be, of who I need to be.

I am reminded of who I need to be, for her sake. I must be an example for her follow - a pattern of who she will become.

I am reminded of my undeniable need for God. Reminded that he constantly works in me - molding and shaping me into the image of His son. I see the image - a perfect circle - each of us perpetually maturing, following the pattern set before us. 

LInked up at SheLoves Magazine today! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Brian "Head" Welch: Sell Out?

I am starting a new series that will feature several Christian celebrities. My first post is on one of my favorites, Brian "Head" Welch. This man just can't seem to avoid starting controversy and I love it!

Brian "Head" Welch. Photo Credits Unkown.

Brian Welch, better known as "Head", rose to fame in the 90's as the lead guitarist for Korn, a successful US metal band. He took band mates and the music industry by storm in 2005 when he announced that he'd become a born again Christian and left the band, giving up a large signing bonus, to focus on his new found Christianity. However, in 2013, head returned to Korn, perplexing Christian fans and leaving them to wonder if he was finished with his faith.

After quitting Korn, not having quit his passion for music, Head began his own band, Love and death. Love and Death, while putting out much more wholesome lyrics than Korn, fed Head's need to use his talent. So then why in 2013 did he decide to return to Korn and re-embrace the less than orthodox environment he'd previously felt convicted to leave?

In a recent interview with In The Now Magazine on Blabbermouth, Head describes his return to the band as "riding a wave of joy." When asked during an interview for Huffington Post, how he reconciles his faith and his choice to play for Korn, he replies with a simple, "they're my people!" He reminds us that Christ didn't exclude himself from the world, but befriended them. So what do we say to this? Is it a cliche excuse to do what he wants in the name of Christ or could it be more? Could it be that he is subtly crying out to Christians Trust me, I got this! I love these people and I want them to see Christ in me? Could he being taking Paul's approach and being "all things to all people?"

While Head remains quite reserved about his decision, if we allow his life to speak for him - it will. Much like his fellow band member, Fieldy, who is also a born again Christian, he chooses to lead a life that shows Christ rather than speaks so much of Him. During an interview with CBN, Fieldy explains his method for spreading the gospel: "It's weird 'cause when you're living your life for Christ, people know it!" He talks about the sad truth that some people don't want help, or salvation, and that all we can do is be their friend "until they're ready to open up." And isn't that what Christianity is all about - living a life of true freedom for others to see, and then being ready to help them have the same thing when they are willing? It is said that light shines brightest in the darkness. What better backdrop is there for Christ's love? It seems to me, he left for the right reasons and has returned for the right reasons.

So He lives his life, in the midst of the storm, standing on the rock. Is he a sellout? Yeah! He sold out. He will no longer be controlled by the mindset of the music industry, but live amongst them - set apart. I applaud you, Head! Keep on keeping on!

Get Head and Fieldy's book here: 


This post contains my personal and honest opinions. No compensation was taken.  Post contains Affiliate links.





Thursday, December 12, 2013

Devotional Review and GIVEAWAY: Journey Through Judges by Laura Krokos

I have been using the devotional Journey Through Judges by author, Laura Krokos. I have enjoyed it so much that I decided to do a giveaway for 1 copy of the book. Below is my review. Enjoy!

 Journey Through Judges.
Laura Krokos.  2103

 In the Christian literary world there are devotionals and there are Bible studies, and then there is Laura Krokos' A Devotional Journey Through Judges, which is a little bit of both! Her title is apt, as this book truly is a journey.  Unlike most devotionals that contain random verses from different parts of the Bible, Journey Through Judges provides consecutive verses beginning at the first verse of Judges and ending with the last, giving the reader a cohesive theme to follow throughout the devotional. The reader is able to gain knowledge of the book of Judges while benefitting from Laura's insight and personal tidbits. I am thoroughly enjoying this devotional. I would recommend it to anyone wanting a devotional that is a bit different from the traditional coffee table edition, or anyone that would like a Bible study that does
 not require much time. She did a beautiful job on this book!
 Great work!

If you would like to pick up your own copy of Laura's devotional today, simply click on the link below!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Healing Through Thanksgiving - The Thankful Project Book Excerpt

Some of you know that I am currently working on my first e-book. I won't bore you with the details, but the book covers the healing power that being thankful holds. Writing the book has been cathartic for me, as well as insightful as I have discovered new truths in the Bible for the power of thanksgiving! Here is an excerpt with a couple questions for you to ponder on, as well as the last two personal stories for The Thankful Project that I hosted in November. Be blessed! 

Excerpt from Intro of The Thankful Project:

The idea of gratitude is not new to me, but recently I have been taken to new depths in which I can see the healing potential that having a spirit of gratitude can bring - especially in the harder times of life. My journey begin recently while pondering some of my own personal struggles. While seeking wisdom, it seemed that God began speaking about gratitude through what seemed like every available facet. I began to meditate on 1 Thessalonians 5:18, which commands us to be thankful in all circumstances. Gratitude is not a suggestion - it is a command. This verse tells us that it is the very will of God. There must be a reason that God’s will for us is to be grateful in all circumstances - the "all" implying not just the happy times in life. I began to think about smaller trials that I have experienced and desert seasons my husband and I traveled through. I realized that when we chose to worship God and give him an offering of thanksgiving, things went much smoother - His glory shined through. Instead of worrying and freaking out until he provided, we thanked him for his provision - knowing he is faithful while we waited. The trial then became a faith building, intimacy growing, moment. The wheels in my brain began turning quickly as I wondered if it is possible to apply this approach to more devastating situations such a grief or mental illness, both of which I suffer. Could being thankful in my depression be the key to getting out of my depression?  Could thanking God for His perfect will and plan help relieve my grieving heart? The Thankful Project was born shortly after this introspection. I began asking people that I knew to think about times when they were able to learn thankfulness in adversity. I asked several people to write out their stories for me to share on my blog. Something interesting began happening as these friends and family members were actually being ministered to through this assignment. While they were having to think on their hardships and write about thanksgiving in the midst of them, they were receiving revelation and healing. They were seeing their troubles, not as thorns, but as ....blessings! The more that I talked to people and studied on the subject of gratitude, the more I realized this was information that has to be shared.  

Have you ever walked through a season of utter sorrow only to later look back and see God’s hand on that situation? What if you were able to walk through that trial with the same amount of hope you had after you could see how God used it for His purposes? I believe that gratitude allows you to do just that - thank God for the storm while you are in it - rather than when it is over and all is calm again. By doing that, you are able to walk through the wind and hail that life’s storms bring, with your head held high - hope being your confidence. Maybe you already through a specific season of life that has left you devastated and feeling hopeless? I truly believe that gratitude can bring the healing you are longing for.

Questions to ponder on:

1. Think of one thing in your life that you never thought you could be thankful for.

2. If it were possible to receive healing in this area through thanksgiving, would you be willing to offer up a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God for this situation? 

I hosted The Thankful Project in November. I shared people's stories of learning thanksgiving through adversity. Some of these stories will be included in the book. Here are the last two - but certainly not least. I know one of these people well, and though she is purposely vague about her situation - let me say this to you: your amount of emotional pain does NOT dictate whether or not you can receive healing! 

Story Submitted by Donna Foley

"Lord, don't ever expect me to thank you for this like it tells us in your word. I won't."
Did I actually say that to the Lord? Did I have the nerve to utter those words? I'm afraid I did. I have always felt that I should speak out loud what my heart feels-He knows what am thinking anyway. It kind of clears the air. Not that I am proud of it you understand. But, the truth stands. It has been many, many years since I spoke those words to the Lord. I had just traveled through-no-crawled through is a more accurate way to describe my months in the fire. The fire of tempering, molding, and reshaping. Had I committed some big sin? No! Someone else had and I was paying the price-with my mind, body, and soul. But, when I walked out of the fire with my pockets full of scripture, my lips in continual prayer, and my heart and mind full of wise counsel-I knew I now stood on a solid rock foundation!! I knew my Lord in a more intimate way than ever before. Years passed and I continued to heal. Then one day I found myself standing along side my son who needed everything I could give him. -emotionally, spiritually, and physically. He needed my help going through cancer treatment and then help on his final journey HOME.I stood tall and strong beside him with my feet planted on solid ground. Then-I said to my Lord- thank you for the trials of yesteryear!! I could never have made it through this time with Shane without that time of fire testing. The Lord knew my heart and that I would do anything for my children. Would I choose to go back and go through those trials again with what I know now. NO!!! The journey back is too painful! I just am so thankful that I have Abba Father who doesn't let me go back or allow me to know the future! Live today! Trust today! Walk the path that my savior has laid out for me today and be thank you He is wiser than I am and will get me through to the END!

Donna Foley is the author of Shane: Given by God. This book is a ministerial tool for those who have lost loved ones. If you would like a copy or know someone who would benefit, please let me know in the comments below and I will get you one, free of charge. 

Story Submitted by Linda Rouse:

I have found out that in life there are many ups and downs.  In the up times, I can be so happy and so thankful and in the down times, well, let’s just say that I am a “Big Cry Baby”.  But, the Lord is changing that attitude in me.  
A little less than a year ago I got myself into a real mess.  Type II diabetes was ruining my life.  I had let myself be convinced that I could do whatever I wanted, eat what I wanted and how much I wanted and never exercise and that all these things would not bother me.  WRONG!
The diabetes got out of control and so did I.  My Dr. tried a new medicine, but it didn’t work for me.  So, he told me that he really couldn’t help me anymore and that I needed to see a Diabetic Specialist.  I was heartbroken and very scared.  I pretty much felt hopeless, which is a lie from the enemy.  All kinds of things went through my mind, like I would be on insulin, my kidney’s would fail and I would be on dialysis, etc.
After getting my appointment set to go to the Diabetic Doctor, I really got myself in gear.  I was on my knees seeking God’s forgiveness for doing this to myself and I was asking God for direction.  He led me to a low-carb diet and to a gym.  By the time my appointment came to see the Diabetic Doctor, the blood sugar numbers were coming down.  Dr. Daniel, just kept me on the one medicine that I was on and didn’t add anything else.  He told me to keep eating right and exercising and to keep losing weight.
The next two times I went to see him, I got awesome reports.  Things just keep getting better.  
I can truly say that I am so thankful that all of this happened.  Had it not, no telling what would have happened.  The Lord has shown me that His Hand is always on me.  He wasn’t caught off guard and He wasn’t surprised.  He also, has shown Himself faithful.  He has been with me leading me and helping me every step of the way.  I still have a long way to go and I now know that He can be trusted fully.  When I waver or get off track, he gently leads me back.  When I feel down, He lifts my head.  I give Him Praise and Honor and Glory.  HE is the Faithful One who loves me and who loves you.  
Don’t ever give up.  Always be thankful.  If you are His and are living according to His purposes, He is always working things out for your good.  Thanking Him for all He has done in my life.  I can’t make it without Him.  
Love and Blessings,

Thanks so much for stopping by! x0-Shara

This blog was shared on Titus 2 Tuesdays linkup!