Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Big Announcement {But First, a Confession}

I’ve got a big announcement, but I want to start out with a confession, first.

Have you ever yearned to do something big? Something way bigger than your abilities—something so way out there it almost felt like there was no use even trying? So you ended up wimping out and settling for the easy thing…the comfortable thing…the thing you knew you could do?


Well, sweet friends, I’m here to confess that did just that. I went for the comfortable thing. 
Last fall I submitted a book proposal (on the subject of prayer) to my editor at Harvest House, thinking, “Oh yeah, I can do this…”

My editor’s response? Kind words that tickled my ears. “Oh, this is a slam-dunk!” Meaning she felt the acquisitions board would love it and that it would sail through and get approved by the publishing board.


To my editor’s surprise (and mine), the publishing board rejected my proposal because there were too many similar books. But then things got interesting. The publishing board totally surprised me, saying, “We want to see you get out of the “books of prayer” box and write something bigger. Something more meaty." (Not that prayer isn’t meaty, but you get the idea).

I felt so busted.

Though I had sensed God leading me to write a more meaningful book, I allowed lack of experience (I’m a high-school drop-out just winging it, folks), flat-out fear, and lack of confidence in my abilities to trump what I sensed He really desired. But in His mercy, God moved on the hearts of my publishers and they invited me to do a bigger book.

And that’s when I sensed God inviting me out into the deep. The scary place where I couldn’t touch bottom. The place where it’s sink or swim, baby.

So I took several months to think and pray. And in January, when my husband and I participated in our usual 3-week Daniel fast, God made it clear to me that this was the way to go.

Here’s the announcement part: At the end of May I signed with my publisher to write book #2, a book of hope and promise for women. It’s tentatively titled She Believes, based on Luke 1:45, which I believe is every woman’s verse. 

Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of the things the Lord had spoken to her. (Luke 1:45)

It should release next summer. And I can’t wait to share it with you. But first I have to actually write it. Which I’m doing now, when I’m not praying with my face pressed into the carpet begging God to give me grace, to breathe on this book, shape it, and make it meaningful and beautiful. It’s a place of sacred desperation I’ve never known.

{If you seriously know how to pray, I would seriously love your prayers.}

In the meantime, know this: God loves you too much to allow you to choose the easy, comfortable way. He invites us out into the deep. To the place of utter dependence on Him—the place where dreams unfold but at a cost none of us can imagine. The place of destiny.

If you are struggling to move out into the deep, scary places, I understand. But I also know God is faithful. He will help us and never leave us.

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. (1 Chronicles 28:20)

A Prayer for You
Lord, Help me not to always choose the easy thing. Give me a strong and courageous heart and meet me as I dare to step out and do the big thing—the scary thing. Help me to keep moving forward and do the work You have called me to do. Help me not to allow myself to be afraid or discouraged. Thank you for Your very real presence covering every area of my life. I’m grateful You will never fail me, because You, God, are utterly faithful. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

If you are reading this post via email, please CLICK HERE to leave a comment on my blog.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Praying FOR, Not Just Against

If you are visiting from my Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion, welcome!

In the above devotion, I talk about how I learned to stop just praying against fear, and started praying for courage, for peace, and for boldness. There is nothing wrong with praying against fear—or praying against anything, for that matter—but I sensed there was so much more to be gained by praying for.

Instead of praying against depression, we can pray for joy.

Instead of praying against discouragement, we can ask God to send hope and encouragement to our hearts.

Instead of praying against anger we can pray for calmness and self-control.

A good scriptural example is King David, who said, “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3) Because the opposite of fear is trust.

My hope is that learning to not only pray against, but also for, will strengthen your prayer life and strengthen your heart. I know this simple strategy has done that for me.

Thank you for visiting my blog today. Please visit my Free Resources page and download any of my FREE prayer resources. I hope they are a blessing to you!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Perfect Life {And a Give-Away!}

UPDATED: Winner announced at bottom of post! 

It’s my joy to host my friend Amy Carroll, the author of the new book Breaking Up with Perfect. If you struggle with perfectionism to any degree (and what woman doesn’t?), you need this book!
Here’s Amy:

How my heart ached as I walked through my much loved, empty house. Now, instead of being filled with the laughter of little boys, the whispers of love between my husband and me, and the barking of my rambunctious dog, the rooms echoed only my footsteps.

The moving trucks had already left, taking the bits and pieces of my life with them, but I remained alone. And I grieved.

I loved that house, not just for its antique beauty, but for the hopes and dreams that had thrived there. This was the house I thought I’d watch my boys leave when they headed to college. This was the house I where I thought I’d play with my grandchildren. I planned to grow gray there, so I poured my heart and soul into making it a home.

That house held my dreams of the perfect life.

But God had different plans. My husband Barry got a new job in a different city, and I found myself moving away from a home, from friends, and from a church family. Suddenly, my perfect plan for a perfect life seemed marred. Things looked very imperfect to me.

For a moment, a seed of resentment tried to sprout in my heart. Barry seemed to be getting his perfect life—a better job with lots of excitement attached—while I was giving up my vision of perfection.

“What about me?!” my heart cried.

Gently God whispered this familiar passage from His Word into my heart, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)

My rebellious heart rested in this comfort. God would never change my life’s plans without the best for me in mind. He didn’t forget me when He gave my husband a new opportunity. He was still in control, and His plans for me are truly perfect.

Are you wrestling today?

Maybe you’re wondering if God has forgotten you in your circumstances because they sure aren’t perfect. Maybe your perfect life has been shattered by loss or rejection or pain. Maybe you’re hopeless or unsure if God sees you.

I understand. I’d like to take your hand and assure you. God sees you. He knows your dreams for the perfect life. But He has a plan that is greater than anything we can dream up or pursue ourselves.

Only when we end our pursuit of perfection can God begin His perfecting work in us.
I walked out of my beloved home that day without knowing what was ahead but filled with the peace of knowing that God was with me. He shapes the life that is perfect for me and perfects me in the process.

As a celebration of the release of her book Breaking Up with Perfect, Amy is giving away a copy of her book here this week. Please leave a comment to enter. If you’re living in warp-speed, simply say “I’m breaking up with perfect!” in the comments.
(You can visit Amy's website by Clicking Here) Contest Closed.

WINNER of a FREE copy of Amy's book is Bobbie Todd. Congrats to you, Bobbie! Please send me your snail-mail address through my contact button (above) so you can receive your book! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When Your Prayers Seem to Echo

Unanswered prayer for those we love. It’s one of the hardest things to cope with as believers. If God always hears (See John 11:41-42) then why, oh why, doesn’t He always answer?

Why do our prayers sometimes seem to echo? Why do they feel like they’re accomplishing nothing at all?

The truth is when we pray for others, another person’s will is involved. And though God is sovereign and able, He desires willing hearts. The reality is we cannot surrender for someone else. And our prayers never trump a person’s freedom to choose.

So what are we supposed to do? Just give up? Tear out our hair and die of frustration? Quit praying because the pain of seemingly unanswered prayers is too much to bear?

In a word: Nevah!

Instead of despairing {which is exactly what the enemy wants}, we can shift our focus onto God’s word, which will revive our hearts and enable us to pray without ceasing. When we hold tightly to God’s word our faith expands, our determination grows, and our prayers will accomplish the very thing He desires. We can then entrust our loved ones to the Lord and release them entirely into His hands.

Here are some powerful verses that inspire me to keep praying even when things look bleak. {And girl, you know we need truth when things look bleak!} Breathe them in. Let them sink deep into your weary heart. Allow them to strengthen you and your determination to pray.
  • I know that You can do all things, and that no thought or purpose of Yours can be restrained or thwarted. (Job 42:2)
  • Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
  • For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
  • He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
  • The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16)
Remember, when it seems like your prayers are echoing: Breathe in God’s word. Entrust your loved one to Him Who is able. Release them entirely into his hands. And keep praying.

Breathe. Entrust. Release. Pray. {Repeat as necessary.}

If you are reading this post via email, please CLICK HERE to leave a comment on my blog.