Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful!

I just wanted to do a quick post today to say, Happy Thanksgiving! I have much to be grateful for today, as I'm sure you do also.

In the midst of the food, football and fun, I hope we'll all take a few minutes to remember why we celebrate this special holiday. We have a loving God who takes care of us, provides for us and carries us through every season.

I'm so thankful for God's goodness and grace to us!
I'm thankful for more blessings than I can count!
I'm thankful for you!

And I'm thankful that my new book, Strengthened By Grace--Encouragement For Difficult Seasons, is now available for pre-orders! This book has been through a long, challenging process, but praise God it's finally here! =)

If you want to pre-order, my publisher is offering a Black Friday sale, only $9 if you use promo code 195.
https://deeperroots.com/shop/other-resources/strengthened-by-grace/
After Black Friday, there's still a special pre-order price of $9.50 until Nov. 30th, using promo code 150.

Thanks for rejoicing with me in the completion of this book! I feel like I'm talking about it all the time, but the reason is because I know there are many people who need encouragement and strength these days. They need to know God is faithful and He is with them in trials. My prayer is that God will use this book to reach all the people who truly need it.

Here's a short video from a friend that shares what it's all about. 

video


Thank you for your encouragement and prayers for me! I'm so thankful God is able to take our difficult seasons and turned them into blessings for others. What an amazing God! =)

What are you thanking God for today?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dream Again

Wow, today is Day 7, the last day of my week of celebration! I've certainly enjoyed it. I hope you've been encouraged and blessed as well. =) 

On this last day I'm celebrating the gift of dreams. 

When I was a kid there were various things I imagined would be fun or fulfilling to do in my life, but I had one big dream - to be a missionary. God let me live that dream for two amazing years! And then my health collapsed. As year followed year, all my dreams died. 

If you haven't been in a place like that, I can't explain to you in words what it's like. If you've been there, you understand. I will say that living with no dreams isn't really living. 

Looking back, I can see that God had to take me through that valley. He was doing a necessary and mighty work in me. In His eternal ways, often things have to "die" before they can live again. 

How I praise God that the day finally came when He said, "My child, it's time to dream again!" 

At first my heart was afraid to dream again. Every time another dream had died, it was so painful. I didn't know if I could face that again. But God gave me courage to take one baby step at a time. He restored hope deep in my soul. I began once again to imagine possibilities and think about the future with anticipation.

In the process, God took my "little" dreams from long ago and transformed them into bigger dreams than I ever could have imagined! And He added new dreams on top of those! 

At this point I feel like I'm overflowing with God-given, God-sized dreams! And I can't wait to see how He is going to bring them all to pass!

Whatever happens, I've learned that the best dream of all is that of drawing closer to my Savior each day. No matter what circumstances I go through, enjoying Jesus is the sweetest dream that I want to live every day. 


God created us with the ability and the longing to dream big dreams. If life has trampled on your dreams, please take heart! Please don't give up on dreaming. You may go through a dark season, but hold on to hope my friend. God really does have greater dreams for you than anything you've imagined! Let Him be your first dream through it all, and trust Him with each step. One day you'll stand in awe of the awesome dreams He gives you and then fulfills in your life! 

Today will you do something with me? Will you take a few minutes by yourself to do this?

Take a big, deep breath. Exhale slowly. Close your eyes, and dream again.... Little or big dreams, it doesn't matter. Tell yourself to imagine again. Let yourself smile. Let yourself hope. Let your heart dream again. 

Here's a song from my heart to yours. I pray it will inspire you.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F77v41jbOYs

I love you my friends! I'm so grateful for your prayers and for sharing this journey with me. I pray for God's abundant blessings in your life! Through every joy or trial may you find His grace sufficient and His love always worth celebrating! 


P.S. Since I've been posting so much lately, I won't be doing my regular post tomorrow, but instead taking the day off. =) Thanks for joining me for this special week of posts!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Miracles!

It's Day 6 and I'm celebrating the many miracles God has done in my life!

A miracle can be spectacular, something impossible in the natural world, such as parting the Red Sea or multiplying loaves and fishes. Or a miracle can simply be something God does that's out of the ordinary. I've seen both instances in my life.

I praise God for the many miraculous ways He works in our lives!

Here are just a few miracles God has done in my life -

- Multiplying the gas in an empty gas tank in the middle of nowhere, until I reached a gas station.
- Giving me one breath at a time when I felt like I couldn't breathe (happened several times).  
- Protecting me while driving so many times!
- Providing free plane tickets when I needed them.
- Putting me in the right place at the right time to lead someone to know Jesus.
- Someone sending me a gift I desired but hadn't told anyone about.  
- Providing places for me to stay during all the months I couldn't live at home.
- Resurrecting an item that was lost and long gone.
- Healing my heart from past hurts, until there's no more pain from the memory.
- Speaking through me the exact words someone else needed to hear.
- Suddenly feeling led to pray for someone and later finding out they needed prayer right then.
- Experiencing restoration of health, joy, dreams, hope and so much more!

I'm so thankful that God is always at work in our lives. Sometimes it's hard to see Him, especially in trials. But with every miracle - little or big - He reminds us that He loves us powerfully, and He is present with us always. His grace is greater than all our challenges, weaknesses and needs. Praise His name!

What's one miracle God has done for you?

Here's one of my favorite songs about God's grace.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z3q8IIT-XA

Monday, November 14, 2016

Simple Joys

Today on Day 5, I'm celebrating the simple joys in life!

 When we take time to look, we discover there are so many of them...

...getting a card in the mail
...finding something you needed on sale
...enjoying a piece of peppermint chocolate
...flowers blooming
...hearing the birds singing
...children laughing
...time with family and friends
...a rainbow in the clouds
...enjoying a good book
...a song on the radio at just the time you needed to hear it
...a sweet dream that makes you awake with a smile on your face
...and so much more. 

In recent years I've learned to appreciate things I used to take for granted. I've learned to stop and pay attention more often. I've learned that life really is full of precious gifts and simple joys. Even in the trials, God graciously sends us little surprises and daily reminders of His love.

What simple joys are you grateful for today?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Have You Laughed Today?

Hello! Today is Day 4 of my week of celebration, and I'm celebrating the gift of laughter! =)


"A cheerful heart is good medicine..." -Proverbs 17:22a

"...the cheerful heart has a continual feast" -Proverbs 15:15b

"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy." -Psalm 126:2a


Laughter is good for our physical health and for our souls, especially when we're going through trials.


I'm grateful for the many times God helped me to laugh when I didn't feel like it. 
I'm so thankful that my mom always kept a sense of humor and could make me laugh in the hardest times.
And I'm glad that the gift of laughter is something we can share with others.


So here's a little video that I hope will make you laugh today. =)  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVh8LMU4uCM

P.S. This post lists some of my favorite laughter-inducing videos. =)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Friends Forever

For Day 3 of my week of celebration, I want to celebrate the gift of friends!


I heartily agree with this quote from a classic philosopher:

"We'll be friends forever, won't we Pooh," asked Piglet.
"Even longer," Pooh answered.


I'm SO glad that the amazing friendships God has given me will last forever!

I wish I could name every friend who has blessed my life, especially in the last twelve years. Since I can't, I'll just post a smattering of photos of some of the wonderful people in my life. 


From life-long friends to new friends, I am so incredibly blessed!!!












 


Giveaway Winner - Jason!

Thank you Jason for your comment with such encouraging truth about our gracious God! I hope you'll enjoy Tozer's book! =)

Friday, November 11, 2016

How Great He Is!

Thanks for joining me for Day 2 of my week of celebration! =) (Don't miss the Giveaway at the end of this post.)


Celebrating Who God Is!

One of the blessings God gave me through the years of suffering was that He drew me closer to Himself. He showed me more about who He is. He gave me a deeper relationship with Him than I thought possible.

It's one thing to be taught that God is good or loving, etc. It's another thing to experience the reality of those truths in the midst of deep pain. That's when we truly discover how great our God is! 

Today I praise God for who He is! He is -
Powerful
Kind
Patient
Forgiving
Faithful
Gracious
Good
Loving
...and much more!

Whatever we go through, God doesn't change. He is and always will be far greater than we can comprehend.

God continues increasing my awe of Him and my love for Him. And in spite of the hardships, knowing Jesus fills me with greater joy than words can express! 


Here's a special song for you today about experiencing the joy of God's love. =)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cz9zMAmrZs
 
Giveaway!

The book that dramatically expanded my understanding of God is "Knowledge of the Holy" by A.W. Tozer. I have a well-loved copy of this book to give away today!

To enter, just post a comment sharing a truth about who God is that has been meaningful to you lately. I'll select one winner from the entries and announce it in tomorrow's post. =)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

It's Time!

This is a significant week for me. This week marks twelve years since my health completely crashed. Twelve years is a long time. I can hardly believe it's been that long.

The first four and a half years, my health actually got worse and worse, until I reached the point where I couldn't even speak or sit up. Looking back, it's a miracle to me that God kept me alive.

Then at the absolutely worst point, God gave me the gift of hope - of believing that I actually could get well. Hope and faith...just a seed, but enough to start me on an upward path.

It's been seven and a half years since that turning point. For seven and a half years God has strengthened me to persevere, He has provided helpful tools, He has grown the seeds of hope and faith, and He has healed me day by day.

Now, in this significant week, I've heard Him say, "It's time!"

It's time to close the door on twelve years of chronic illness.
It's time to say goodbye to the season of suffering I never would have chosen, yet am humbly grateful for.
It's time to praise God for ALL He has done in the last twelve years!
It's time to watch Him open a door to a new life for me!
It's time to celebrate!!!

It's hard to put into words all God is doing in my heart this week. But I wanted to at least try to share some of it with you - my friends, encouragers, and fellow sojourners. 

For years, I have longed for and prayed for this day. And many others have longed for and prayed for it as well. I believe it's time to praise God for answering those prayers; it's time to celebrate His faithfulness, goodness, graciousness, power, love, and restoration!

So I'll be posting special things on here for the next seven days, as part of my celebration! I hope you'll join me. =) And I hope my story will encourage you and strengthen the seeds of hope and faith in your heart as well.

I will exalt you, my God the KIng; I will praise your name for ever and ever...Great is the LORD and worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom...They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness...The LORD is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made...My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.

(Psalm 145:1,3,7,13,21)

Here is a powerful song that has meant a lot to me through the years of suffering. I hope it blesses you.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu7JtouWtu4

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Some Encouraging Things

Hello, I have a few encouraging things to share with you this week.


1) The first is a blog post written by a friend of mine. I found it very insightful and encouraging, especially when struggling with how to handle limitations in a healthy way. I hope it'll bless you!

Sunday I sat in the hay barn and sobbed. My family was leaving for the baptismal service and I was being left behind. As I cried God DUMPED rain which reminded me of the song “Showers of Blessing.” It goes “Mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead.” The fact that I was able to walk up to the barn with my own two legs is an obvious “mercy drop.” Yet I sobbed because I wanted the ‘showers’ of blessing–being with people again, being at church, participating in spiritual milestones…
As I sat there crying and watching the rain pour down I wondered if it was wrong to long for what I didn’t have when I did have things to be thankful for. Were my tears getting out of hand? Were my tears helping me process and cleanse my hurt or were they making me a mud puddle to sit in? Was I processing my hard emotions or wallowing in them?


You can read the rest of her post here:
https://windowviewsblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/hay-bale-evaluation/


2) Next, a beautiful song that helps me keep things in perspective on the hard days. Hope it encourages you.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hh724PEkuTg


3) And lastly, some verses that are always helpful, no matter what we're going through.

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you...Do not be afraid, for I am with you....” -‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:1-5‬‬