The holiday season is here, and that means that many of us will be spending time with our parents (or in-laws). My father-in-law will be joining us for Christmas, and I am seriously excited. But I know not everyone experiences that excitement when they are going to be around their parents. I was talking to a good friend and asked how her Thanksgiving was and she said something along the lines of, “Really hard because of my parent.” That just broke my heart. It can be exhausting and discouraging on the holidays when you find yourself dealing with difficult parents. I believe that God has a specific plan for dealing with tense parental situations. It can be difficult for adults to know how to interact with their parents, and vice versa. I have no idea what it will be like to interact with my children once they are all grown up, but I imagine the emotions I will feel will be complicated. I wanted to share this excerpt from my book, “The Truth About Godly Confidence.” I feel like this is one of the most important parts of the book, because so many people struggle to accept the fact that their parents are sinful and make mistakes. At the same time, that isn’t how God is, since He is sinless, and we need to remember that.
I pray that you would have a blessed Christmas with your family members, and that this post will help.
There is nothing that a small child desires more than the knowledge that they are loved. Over fifty years ago, in any town in any state in the United States, Satan thought he had won a very important battle. He made it a cultural stigma for fathers to tell their children that they loved them. Even the most loving men gave into the lie that it was shameful to verbally admit their parental love. Can you imagine what it would be like to grow up never hearing your father tell you that he loved you? I know that some of you experienced this horrible cultural phenomena, and I’m sorry. That was never God’s plan. Why would Satan wage such a battle? Damaged men and women, on their quest to feel some type of love and acceptance, embraced drugs, sex, and empty solutions to their soul problems. When parents, especially fathers, do not tell their children that they love and accept them, bad things happen. I don’t think Satan, with all his worldly knowledge, saw the Jesus movement coming in the 1970’s, but it did. The weapon God used to destroy Satan’s tactic was the love of Jesus Christ. This is was an interesting time in Christian history for the United States, and I think that it brings to light an interesting concept. We have already established in earlier chapters that God created us with the desire to feel loved. When individuals do not feel loved, broken hearts lead to bitter souls. Read more
“Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him? Can you venture out with courage on the words of Jesus Christ, while the realities of your commonsense life continue to shout, ‘It’s all a lie’? When you are on the mountaintop, it’s easy to say, ‘Oh yes, I believe God can do it,’ but you have to come down from the mountain to the demon-possessed valley and face the realities that scoff at your Mount-of-Transfiguration belief.” -Oswald Chambers
The last few months have been really rough for me spiritually. If we’re being honest, I think we can all agree that seasons of prolonged waiting are no fun. The product is amazing (read James 1), but these seasons create plenty of growing pains, don’t they? Sometimes God tells us something, and it doesn’t happen in the timeline of when we assume it will happen, and it’s hard. It’s just hard to wait. I don’t know what else to say. There were so many verses that God gave me about waiting and trusting Him through this period, and while they made the waiting more bearable, I have still been struggling.
This weekend every member of my family had a nasty cold. I am still dealing with a cough and sinus headaches, but I’ve been able to function today, which I appreciate. When I get sick, I spend a lot of time praying. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s because when you’re sick, you just need your parents. Yes, even as an adult. But my parents are thousands of miles away, so I spend a lot of time talking to my Heavenly Father. I actually think God caused the sickness on purpose to draw my husband and I closer to Him over the last few days. Our weekend had been jam packed, and slowly we canceled a few things and some other things got canceled until there was nothing to do but hang out as a sick family, and spend a lot of time praying once the kids were in bed. We also watched Star Trek TNG and Fixer Upper on Netflix, but there was definitely a lot of prayer mixed in.
I still don’t feel like going into all of the details about why we’re waiting and what we’re waiting for, and I don’t know if I ever will be, but I finally had this realization this morning. I trust God implicitly with the most important things in my life, my family. That was a lesson God taught me early in my marriage when my daughter had to have skull reconstruction surgery as a 3-month-old, but the things I learned back then still stick with me. If I can trust God with something so important, then why can’t I trust Him to take care of something I care about less? It doesn’t make sense. I know I can trust Him, and I just need to do it. Am I tired of waiting? Yes, I’m exhausted. I’m weary. I have no more strength. But God is the only One that never grows weary, so I know I can turn to Him to carry this for me until He gives us our answer. I have hope in Him. Here are a few verse chunks that God has used to encourage me lately. I pray they are an encouragement to you as well.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:28-31
“Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.” -Psalm 25:3
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” -Romans 5:5
“Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.” -Isaiah 30:18
“Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” -Psalm 27:14
Yes, you read the title right. Some of you are frequently saying, “Kristin, why do you even need a personal journal? You already tell us everything! You are so transparent!” Well, I don’t tell you everything. But over the last few months, I have felt God stirring me to share my struggle in this specific area, because I am finally far enough a way from it that I can talk about it. I can’t tell you how many years it has been since I’ve lapsed into this destructive and damaging behavior, because I haven’t been keeping track, but it has been a while. Am I mortified to share about this publicly? Of course, but God told me to, so I’m pushing through that.
But The Bible Doesn’t Say…
I will be the first one to admit that the Bible doesn’t specifically say that masturbation (aka self-gratification) is a sin. It doesn’t, and if you see people using the verse below to say that, you should humbly challenge them.
“And Judah said to Onan, ‘God in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.’ But Onan knew that the heir would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD; therefore He killed him also.” Genesis 38:8-10
The point of this verse isn’t that “emitting” on the ground will get you killed. That is lazy Bible teaching. In this situation Onan’s heart was against God’s will from the very beginning, and his defiance against the Lord shows how rebellious his heart was. This post isn’t about an open act of rebellion against God (although sin is rebellion against God in nature). This post is about an addictive behavior that causes guilt, shame, and can damage our relationship with God.
A “Natural” Curiosity
My husband and I have been talking about this topic a lot because we have kids, and we are trying to decide what age is appropriate to introduce more in depth facts about human physiology to them. My husband was shocked when I told him I wasn’t even aware I had a vagina until my mom told me when she was explaining God’s plan for reproduction. Listen, girl parts are not self activating like boy parts are. I just didn’t know. But once I found out I kept hearing things like, “It is natural to explore your body,” from peers, teachers in my health class, magazines, and television. If you think your kids won’t pick up on these clues from the world, you’re probably wrong. I wish someone had taken me aside and said, “This behavior is going to follow you into your marriage and cause you guilt for years.” But my parents didn’t know about it, and I sure wasn’t going to tell them! Read more
I have been on kind of a hiatus from this blog lately but I wanted to let you know that Cheryl Brodersen is giving away a free devotional plan on the book of mark through her website, “Gracious Words.” Here is the link to the PDF —> The Mark Challenge
I have been dealing with a lot personally and family wise, but I am working on a few new podcasts that will probably appear sometime in December. I signed up for the National Novel Writing Month for November and am going to be writing parts 2 and 3 of All About Olive: Newfangled. If you are looking for a writing buddy, my user name is “knspence.”
Let me leave you with this, one of the many verses God has been using to encourage me to continue to trust in His plan for my life:
“For He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: ‘Do not harder your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, when you fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work.'” -Psalm 95:7-9
Do you see that reminder not to be rebellious in there? Yeah, I need that warning right about now. I have seen God do amazing and miraculous things, and I don’t want to test Him. I’m praying that He will keep me until that day when I see His face.
This article has been co-authored by my husband, Travis, and I.
A Christian can be defined as a follower or disciple of Jesus; someone who believes Jesus is the Christ or Messiah.
“Only God is able to judge righteously therefore His yardstick, the Bible kept in context, is the measure we use to judge with righteous judgement (John 7:24). The same is true when mature Christians point out false teachings in the church; it isn’t the Christian who’s passing judgement, but God’s Word which exposes false doctrine. The mature Christian is really just the messenger who unfortunately often gets an ear bashing from immature Christians who haven’t studied God’s Word sufficiently to understand right from wrong doctrine.” -‘From Fiery Trials to Freedom’ by Marisa De More
Over the past few months, we have seen all different kinds of Christians (including pastors) doing something that deeply grieves Jesus Christ. If you are really a Christian and believe and follow Jesus out of love for Him, then you need to walk as He did (1 John 2:6). Nowhere does the Bible say that it is ok to hate a group of people, or stir up hatred towards them, because they are different. That phenomena is called “xenophobia” (fear of strangers/foreigners), and Jesus never said that kind of behavior was acceptable. In fact, He taught the opposite. He said that we would be hated, but that we were not to hate.
“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant about his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the mast of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” -Matthew 10:22-28
Do you see? You shouldn’t fear people, you should fear God. What does God tell us to do regarding those that are lost? Should we expel them, exclude them, and hate them? Absolutely not!
Love Not Hatred
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” -Matthew 28:16-20
I want to emphasize two parts of this verse. The first is that we are to “make disciples of all the nations”. Not the nations we think deserve Jesus Christ. That is pure blasphemy and we see that God dealt with Jonah harshly when he refused to share God’s word in Ninevah. The second part that needs to be emphasized is that we are to teach them to observe all things that Jesus has commanded. That means we ought to be observing the commands of Jesus ourselves. But what did Jesus command?
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love another; as I have loved you, that you love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:34-35
You may be thinking, “but this verse is in regards to other Christians.” However, if we look at the other teachings of Jesus, we will see that it simply isn’t that exclusive. In several other places we see that Jesus calls us to love our enemies, and not just love them, but care for them.
“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.” -Luke 6:35
Whatever justifications you have been giving for spreading hate, you need to stop now. First of all, you are grieving your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit by doing so.
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth [Keyboard], but that which is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” -Ephesians 4:29-32
Second you are misrepresenting God to everyone around you!
If you are a gentile (non-jew) then you are a foreigner who God has graciously extended the good news of Jesus Christ to.
“Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” -Isaiah 49:6
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” -Ephesians 2:13
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.” -Romans 10:12
Paul – Former Terrorist
Another common fear is that some of these refugees are actually terrorists. Fortunately for us, God loves terrorists. Paul the Apostle literally terrorized the church. He beat up and dragged people in chains because he thought that he was doing God’s will. He stood by and held the coats of his fellow terrorists as they murdered Stephen (Acts 7:58, 8:3). “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against disciples of the Lord…” -Acts 9:1
When you read the Bible, the change in Paul is apparent, and God wants to work that same transformation in others as well.
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” -Jeremiah 32:27 (see also Gen. 18:14).
Single, Young Men
Does the Bible say anywhere that God only wants to save women and children? No, God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (John 3:16). By deciding who we should hate or love based on gender or age, we are going against this verse. “…who is the Savior of all men, especially to those who believe.” -1 Timothy 4:10
We are playing god, determining for ourselves whom we should reach out to. It is idolatry, and it is wrong. We must follow Jesus and God’s Word if we are going to identify ourselves as Christians. Of course, there is also the issue of reunification rights, which many people don’t understand.
No More of a Miracle
Do you realize that it is a miracle that God forgave your sins? “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2
According to the principles of justice and holiness there is no reason God should have allowed that to happen, but in His infinite grace and mercy He provided a way through the Sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. He created a way for us to be reconciled to Him and spend eternity in heaven. It is no more a miracle that God could forgive the sins of a terrorist than it is for God to forgive us of our sins. Every person on this planet is God’s creation and God wills for them to be reached with His gospel. When you declare that certain groups of people are not worthy of being helped, you are saying that God’s creation is not worth your time. Do you really want to go against God?
This testimony from Naghmeh Abedini (whose husband, Saeed Abedini a Christian pastor, is in prison in Iran due to his Christian faith) should be enough to encourage us to love Muslims in order to win them to Jesus Christ:
“I remembered coming to the United States 30 years ago with my family in order to escape the war between Iran and Iraq. We were Muslim. But here in the United States we were given the opportunity to hear about Jesus and to accept Him as our Lord and Savior. May we be the Hands and Feet of Jesus to these precious Muslims. That they would know that their Maker LOVES THEM and HE gave His life for them on the cross so that they can be reconciled with God. Oh how I pray for the Muslim nations. I know that Saeed is praying for them as well. May we embrace them instead of rejecting them. May we act in love instead of fear.”
Please stop. Stop sharing hate inducing misinformation on social media. Stop participating in hateful discussions about refugees and Muslims. You are wrong. You are in sin, and you need to repent.
Please use the internet to research and verify facts from reputable outlets, not fascist and racist blogs or Social Media posts. Use Tineye to search images to see where they came from originally. Above all we should be using God’s Word to determine our world view.
I reluctantly share this post with the hope that all my Greek friends will still let me make these for them now that they have this recipe 🙂 and can make them at home.
I had a standard family recipe that I tried to use here in Greece, but the results were never the same as the cookies back in the States, so I worked out this recipe, which I now like even better. Sorry Mom! My mom does have the consolation, however, that her recipe was the one I used to steal my husband’s heart. Yes, cookies stole his heart. My children and I call him the Cookie Monster.
Without further delay, here is my recipe for American style Chocolate Chip Cookies in European measurements.
Kristin’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
-113 grams Butter (left out of the fridge to soften)
-150 grams Brown Sugar
-170 grams Granulated Sugar
-1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
-1 teaspoon Salt
-1 teaspoon Baking Soda
-2 teaspoons Baking Powder
-420 grams All-Purpose Flour
-200 grams Plain Chocolate Bars cut up into small pieces
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (or 360 degrees F). If you have a fan option, use the fan (convection), because your cookies will turn out with a slightly crispy outside.
2. Cream butter until thoroughly smooth. You can do this in a stand mixer, with a hand mixer, or if you are old fashioned, a big fork.
3. Mix in both the brown and granulated sugar. Stir together well.
4. Add the 2 eggs and vanilla extract, mix again until all ingredients are combined well.
5. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt into flour and mix well. Add the flour mixture in three separate scoops. Mix after adding each scoop so that everything is mixed thoroughly.
6. Add chocolate chunks, mix again. By this point you should avoid using your hand mixer as the chocolate chunks make this pretty difficult to mix. This is great work out for your arms, though.
7. Use a medium sized spoon to scoop out individual cookies. You can plop them right onto your sheet pan (covered with parchment paper or a silpat), or you can roll them in your hands first then smash them down to make them look more finished. If you are going to roll them, it is easier if you put the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes first so it gets firm. Either way they will taste delicious. Leave about 5 cm between each cookie because they expand a little when they bake. I can usually fit 16 on a sheet.
8. Bake for 7 minutes (or 8 if you are not using a convection oven). Once you pull them out of the oven it is best to use a spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack, but if you can skip this step for simplicity’s sake. Although they don’t stay as crispy on the edges if you don’t cool them on the rack.
9. Repeat until you have baked all your cookie dough.
You can also make this dough ahead of time and store it wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for up to 3 days safely.
Please make sure that after you read this article, you check out Part 2.
I know that cutting, or self mutilation, has become a common way of dealing with anger an pain in many societies in different parts of the world. Over the past few months, this topic has come up over and over again, and I thought it was time to talk about it.
The Rush Of Control
I have never cut myself. I just want to be straight forward. I do know though, that there are some similarities between the feeling that someone who cuts feels when they cut, and the feeling that you get when you have hunger pains and you have disordered eating. If you don’t already know, I have a past of disordered eating, so that is why I am making this comparison. Hunger pains gave me a sense of being in control of something in my life, and they made me feel a release from stress. But it was always temporary, and it was destructive to my body. Not only that, but it was destructive to my spiritual self because I was feeding my flesh by taking control of my situation rather than trusting God to help me through whatever the situation was.
You Are Not Your Own
I’m not going to go into the Old Testament verses about marking your body and all that. I don’t think that most people cutting today are doing it as a sign of worship to another person or false god like they were in the Old Testament, but when you cut, you are taking part in an activity that is against God’s will. Here is the verse that anyone who has a disorder where they harm their body in one way or another should memorize:
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a prince; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” -1 Corinthians 6:19-20
God loves you, and when He made you, it wasn’t part of His plan for you to hurt yourself. In fact, He doesn’t want you to try to deal with life’s difficulties on your own. I think that is a trap we often fall into. We don’t know how to get through hard times on our own, and so we set up coping methods. But what does the Bible say about getting through life’s difficulties?
Jesus Gives Rest To The Weary
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28
Go to Jesus. Does that sound too simple to you? Well it isn’t as simple as it sounds, because in order to go to Jesus and give Him our problems, it means we are giving up our right to be in control. If you want to receive rest from Jesus, you have to let Him take control. That is what it is talking about in this verse when it refers to the yoke. This was a tool that you could use to harness ox power to plow your field. Jesus is saying, “Strap in with Me, and I’ll drive.” The question is, do you really want to be given rest? If so, you need to make the decision to let Jesus drive, give Him control of your life. He won’t take it from you. You have to be willing to let Him give you rest.
The Flip Side
We can see clearly that God wants to deliver us from our burdens, but what does the opposite side look like?
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” -1 Peter 5:6-8
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” -John 10:10
One one side of this battle is God. He wants to give you life more abundantly. God wants you to cast your cares on Him because He cares for you. On the other side we have Satan, aka the thief, who wants to devour you. He wants to steal every good thing from you. He wants to kill you. He wants to destroy you. This is why he uses things like cutting and eating disorders to give us false and temporary comfort while he is slowly convincing us that these destructive behaviors somehow empower us. We have to remember that Satan is a liar. God loves us and shares the truth with us so we can be set free. He cares for us. He gave His only Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we could be with Him for all of eternity. What good thing has Satan ever done for us? Not a thing! Not one thing.
You Aren’t Alone
If you are struggling with cutting or any other kind of self mutilation or destructive disorder, you are not alone. Remember this from 1 Peter 5:8 from the previous paragraph, “knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” Satan wants you to feel alone in this behavior, but like we established before, he’s a liar. Reach out and get help. There are people in your church that would love to walk with you through this trial. Go see a Christian counselor for help. They may refer you to a Psychiatrist to help you with underlying physiological problems that are contributing to your spiritual problems. There is nothing wrong with taking drugs. Pharmaceuticals will not solve all of your problems, but they can be used as a tool to help in certain cases as determined by your team of counselors and doctors. Just remember that at the same time you should also be addressing your spiritual needs by seeking out someone to work with you, discipling you and giving you biblical counsel.
Thank You for Your love for us. That You care for us, and that You desire to help us through any difficulties that come into our lives. Please help us to resist the devil and his destructive nature? Help us to trust You, and to allow You to have control over everything we do? Thank you that we are not alone in our struggles, Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen
I hope that this post has encouraged you. I’m praying for you, that God would give you victory over these destructive coping mechanisms as you learn to trust more and more in Him.
Let me preface this post by saying that today has been rough. My faith wavered for a moment and I had to remember that God is greater. My kids yelled at each other. My amazing husband and I had an argument (which we later resolved). In general it was a depressing day for me. But this post is not about today. This post is about yesterday, when God made sure that I know without a doubt that He loves me.
There are some things I enjoy in life, that I simply cannot afford. One of those things is a batch of fresh green figs. They cost around 7 euros per pack at the grocery store, and those ones are not even that great. The good stuff comes from the village. Last year my neighbor brought me fresh figs and fig jam when she came back from her village. It was my first time tasting fresh figs from the village, and I was elated. I cannot begin to explain how amazing these things taste, but it is a sweet, fresh, and unique flavor that makes my mouth water. Plus they are healthy, an added bonus. I have to keep running back to the fridge to get more figs as I type this. Seriously, yum!
A Random Prayer
Earlier this summer I faced the sad fact that my neighbor would be gone until early September, and that meant no figs would be pleasuring my palate. I knew I was not going to pay over 7 euros for a six pack at the store. These figs are seasonal, and if you don’t get any in August, you won’t get any fresh for the rest of the year. So I prayed. I said, “God, if you could somehow send some village figs my way, I would love it.” I prayed it once, and stopped drooling over the idea of figs, until yesterday.
Our other neighbor, Sophia, an adorable and very active γιαγιά (grandmother), stopped by randomly yesterday to drop off 10 figs she brought me from her daughter’s village, two hours away! Travis answered the front door, and as soon as I heard the word “σύκα” (Greek for “figs”), I did a fist pump and said, “Yeesssss!” My daughter asked me what I was so excited about.
You need to understand that this blessing was specifically for me. No one else in my family likes figs. My kids could not understand why mommy was so excited and hopping around like a bunny in the living room. I even heard a, “Ew, I don’t like those!” from one of my little darlings.
So when you ask, “Does God really care about the little things in my life?” I respond with an emphatic, “Yes!” He really does. He sent figs from two hours away to my front door, just to bless me. God loves me, and yesterday He made sure I had a tasty reminder of that amazing and unfailing love.
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” -Psalm 103:6 (ESV)
He sent me a love note, if you will. He listens when I pray, and He cares about the little things that other people would forget. This is just one of many examples of these “love notes” in my life. Another time I prayed for God to heal the leather on my Dad’s old Bible that I use, because it was cracked and falling apart. That love note required the help from several other individuals, but God made it happen (and not the way I thought). But that’s a story for another post. For now, I’m going to go eat my figs. Thank You, Lord, for this delicious reminder of Your love for me personally.
Today, August 1st, “The Truth About Godly Confidence,” will be free for Kindle on amazon.com. With that in mind, I thought today would be a good day to write about my first book, its origin story, and the general response to it so far. For your free copy, click here.
Quotes from readers:
“This book is going to help many women and perhaps men too in their walk with God.”
“She handles the topic so carefully and beautifully.”
I took two months off of blogging this year. I am constantly working on various writing projects, and one in particular had been under the working title, “The Gift of Godly Confidence.” The book was supposed to follow the first book in my youth fiction series about a girl named Olive. In fact, one of the most important scenes in the first Olive book will be based on a real life vision that God gave me about flowers.
Then, as my husband and I were planning for a 10-day team to come out last May, one of my friends from the Mommy fellowship I attend of asked if I would be willing to have the team help with a one day seminar. They would watch the kids while I would teach two sessions for some of the women that couldn’t afford to go to the Evangelical Women’s conference. Right away, I knew what I wanted to teach about. Godly confidence had been a recurring theme in my personal journey with God, and I knew that I should share about what He had shown me. God put it on my heart to collect everything I had written about this topic in preparation for the Olive books. I thought it would be great to have a booklet to go along with the teaching, as a gift for the women attending. Now that I look back, I find it humorous that what started as a booklet, turned into a full fledged book. God always has new ways of making me laugh.
In all of the feedback I have received about this book, there are two persistent comments. First, I hear the word honesty over and over again. Some people have said that in this book I am “painfully honest.” I think that is a fair description. My husband and I believe that transparency is one of the most important tools we have in ministry to others. The book follows that train of thought. I share about various experiences in my life including various deceptions, hurts, and the freedom that I finally found in godly confidence. The second thing I hear is that this book often produces tears. It seems to be touching people’s hearts in a particular way. On the back of the book, the heading for the description reads, “Have you ever felt worthless?” Well, people that have felt worthless are often in a great deal of pain, and the healing usually comes through much prayer, the learning of important biblical truths, and much weeping.
The Truth About Godly Confidence
Through the process of writing this book, I felt that God was leading me to dispel certain lies that Christians accept about self-esteem and confidence. Halfway through, I felt that God wanted me to change the name of the book to, “The Truth About Godly Confidence.” In my research on this topic I found many books, sermons, and articles that teach lies about confidence as if they were biblical truths. The point of this book is teach the truth, and set free those hearts which are enslaved by feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. God loves you, and He wants you to know the truth about His feelings for you. He also wants to warn you against the dangers of pride, which ensnare so many of us unknowingly.
This book is unfortunately serious, but for such a serious topic, it didn’t seem right to include any humorous anecdotes. I hope that doesn’t take away from it as a work, but there you have it, my major regret as far as this effort is concerned. That doesn’t mean there is a lack of happy writing, because God’s love for us is the best news, and I hope my sincere enthusiasm for that topic shines through the pain. I also hope that constant washing of forgiveness rather than bitterness will soothe you as you confront some of the most severe moments of my life, and yours.
I would love to hear any comments or questions that you have, and I hope that my recollection of these personal (and formerly private) struggles will encourage discussions about confidence for years to come.
Lately I have been discouraged. Many of my frustrations have revolved around Facebook. The online thought board is reflection of deeper issues. I have no home. Two things happened to me this week. First, there was a single event with a popular news personality. Yes, I got into a debate with someone that has the masses behind them, and they insulted me, repeatedly. That was fun. Secondly, there have been a series of events running through my newsfeed about racism. The anger and hatred have finally pierced my normally thick, peach skin.
I Don’t Fit
As I look on the posts and news articles that flow over the ocean via the internet into my computer from my home country, I feel lost. My argument with the news personality really highlighted this, because normally I can somewhat relate to Christian culture in the US. But this news personality went on a sensationalist rant about an article that a university student had written. He called her article stupid, over and over. I rarely follow his links, but I thought I should read the original article to see what could possibly warrant that kind of attack on such a young person. I didn’t agree with the proposition of her article, which was that the government should pay for feminine products in pursuit of gender equality. However, in the article she raised an interesting point about homeless women not being able to afford tampons and pads, and I thought, that is interesting. Something that is interesting should not be called stupid, no matter how much you disagree with the rest of it. My comment said as much, and that the blogger had become a sensationalist after signing on with a popular news network. His response was dismissive and sensational (which is ironic) and his fans attacked me and called me stupid and unintelligent. They called me a hater. Normally I wouldn’t care. It wouldn’t bother me. But most of these people claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. Christians should not gather so quickly on a bandwagon in the name of politics to publicly shame a college girl, or a random online commenter (me in this case). Because I refuse to polarize people, there is no place for me in supposed Christian communities like these. I’m a misfit.
I Must Be A Liar
Then there is the issue of race. I’m white. Apparently that means I am racist. I did not have any control over where my ancestors were born, just like you did not. The amount of hatred aimed at white people by others is not helping the racist situation in the United States. It is only making it worse. Trying to shame people for being white is just as racist as trying to shame them for being any other race. This approach will never have a positive outcome. It was Martin Luther Kind Jr. that said, “Darkness can never drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” It is so true, but I’m not allowed to quote a black preacher because I’m white. However, it is also a principle that we see repeated in the Bible.
“If someone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” -1 John 4:20
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.” -Proverbs 10:12
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a hard word stirs up anger.” -Proverbs 15:1
So what do I suggest as an alternative to shaming every white person in the United States as a racist? I would say that we should follow the example of Jesus Christ. We love, and pray for those, yes even those that despise and hate us.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:34-35
I am an immigrant living in another country and culture where I have no advantages and I struggle to communicate in a language that is not my own. I don’t consider myself to be racist, but that doesn’t matter. My children are white, and that does not inherently make them racist. But maybe they will be counted as the rare exception because they have not grown up in the US. Regardless of if they are considered racist or not, I teach them to love others and that other cultures are not wrong because their choices differ from ours. When they are mean or hateful to anyone, I teach them it is wrong, and there are consequences.
You may be a cynic and assume I am a liar. Or perhaps you and optimist and think that I deceive my own heart. In this situation even the optimist must condemn me of racism simply because I was born a white person in the United States. Either way I am an enigma that cannot exist.
Then there is the issue of nationalistic pride that exists in every other country, but let’s pretend that the United States is the only country that exists, just like we always do.
A Heart Without A Home
It has become clear to me over the lasts few years that I no longer have any place in the States, where I was born. I’m too defensive of other cultures for the nominal Christians, and too Christian and white for everyone else. Well, you may say, at least you have Europe, where you live. But I don’t fit here either. The truth is that I will never fit anywhere on this planet again.
Heaven is the only home I claim, and one day my heart will be home there as well, when I am gone from this world.