March 25, 2015

Feeling “Stuck” in Life? Find Hope, Answers and a Giveaway Here!

Have you ever felt “stuck?” If so, this message is just for you!

I’m excited to share my friend Pat Layton’s new book, “Life Unstuck,” not only because of the beautiful heart behind the author but also because it is grounded in one of the most precious and beautiful Psalms in the Bible … Psalm 139. Using Psalm 139 as her guide, “Life Unstuck” takes us on a journey that equips us how to identify when and where we have gotten stuck so that we can move forward with great confidence and joy. It’s packed with personal stories and practical application that will truly help create forward progress in your walk with Jesus. LaunchFBGraphic.Pat Layton Q: Pat, what led you to write your book Life Unstuck?  Life Unstuck is the result of over 30 years of life transformation! My first time reading Psalm 139 as a new Christian, led me on a journey to personal healing from a very broken past that had climaxed in having an abortion at age 23. God used the 24 verses of Psalm 139 to show me His redeeming love and grace and those words became the roots God used to lead me into full time ministry. Very soon after receiving my own healing God led me to open Tampa, Florida’s first crisis pregnancy center and write what is now an international post abortion recovery curriculum called Surrendering the Secret published by Lifeway in 2008. A few years ago God began to stir the Life Unstuck message in my heart which resulted in this new book!

Q: What’s different about Life Unstuck compared to all the other books out there about God?  Life Unstuck is basically a life coaching, life FREEDOM plan using the 24 verses of Psalm 139! In this prayer/poem David addresses God in a direct and personal manner using the pronoun “YOU” 11 times twisted together with the use of the word “ME” 13 times! Life Unstuck breaks down this interaction between David and God and shows us how to apply it’s rich revelation to our own lives.

Q: Your book is filled with scriptural truth. Can you share a sample or two of these verses and why you chose them?  Verse one kicks off the rich depths of Psalm 139 and prepares us for a deep dive. “Oh Lord you have SEARCHED ME and you KNOW ME!”  David gets us at “hello”. God knows you, He sees you. Everything about you! How you think, how you talk, where go and who you go with! At first look, I was not so sure this was actually GOOD NEWS! I have done a whole lot of stuff in my lifetime that I don’t like thinking about being in front of a Holy God. As I have allowed God to work this verse out in my life and heart, I have come to find complete hope and peace in those words, God KNOWS me and Loves me Still!

Q: Who did you write your book for? Who can benefit from this message?  My dedication page is “for the woman who secretly suspects there is nothing more but desperately dreams there is. The bottom line is, this book is ONLY for those women who ever find themselves STUCK somewhere in life—relationships, finances, marriage, ministry, parenting….ONLY HER! J

Q: What do you feel is the greatest obstacle people must overcome in order to make a deep relationship with God a priority?  Overwhelmed schedules and misplaced commitment. In other words, letting life AROUND of God overtake life IN Him!

Q: How has Life Unstuck changed YOU?  The year of writing Life Unstuck was by far the toughest year of my journey as a Christian. I lost friends. I lost identity. I lost family physical closeness as each of my children and Grandchildren moved away from home. I even moved from my own home of over 20 years. My foundations were all rocked one by one, BUT GOD! As I dug into these verses every single day, by ORDER of a contracted deadline, God changed me. He unstuck me from many areas of bondage and burden that I never knew where keeping me away from my next adventure with Him. I re-learned that He sees me and has a plan for my life—a good plan. A God plan!

Q: What is your prayer for anyone who reads Life Unstuck?  My hearts desire is that every woman who reads Life Unstuck will fold the last page of the book with a smile on her face and a feeling of peace, purpose and passion. I pray she is a different woman from the one who opened the first page. The foundational truths found in Psalm 139 are never “mastered” this side of heaven. We always need to be reminded of them and to re-embrace them, regardless of our level of spiritual maturity or experience. I pray that the Unstuck Manifesto becomes worn from wear and a part of her very core!

Q: What are some practical ways your readers can implement the principles found in Life Unstuck  Life Unstuckprovide the reader with personal hands on tools and exercises that will help them gain deeper insight into the one of a kind woman God created her to be; provide very specific steps for confronting the past in a healthy way; offer her steps to take for developing a more intimate relationship with Christ; help her intentionally discover her purpose in life TODAY just as she is living it and stir her heart and mind towards dreaming big God sized dreams for her future. PatLayton.Cover

Giveaway

Pat, thank you for stopping by today!

Pat has graciously agreed to give away a copy of “Life Unstuck.” So please leave a comment today sharing a place you feel “stuck” and why, and we will choose one comment to receive a copy of her book. Stop back here Friday and check for a comment from me, at the end of the comments, to see if you are the winner.

If you want to learn more about Pat, visit her website by clicking here.

Blessings,

January 19, 2015

New Proverbs 31 Online Study: “Keep It Shut” {w/Giveaway}

Have you ever wounded someone you love with your words?

Have the words of others provoked retaliatory words in you?

My answer to both is a resounding YES! That’s why I’m so excited to share a new book by my Proverbs 31 sister and friend, Karen Ehman. Keep It Shut. It’s clever cover drew my attention, but it’s the words that fill the pages that have spoken to my heart.

And the really great news! It’s our next Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study. We begin January 26th and run through March 6th. We would love for you to join us. To learn more and sign up, click here.

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I feel as if Karen’s message was written just for me, and I bet I’m not alone. In fact, the verse she opens her post with is one my husband and I have committed to live by through our nearly 28 years of marriage. How I wish I had her book when I walked down the aisle in May 1987. I would have saved myself many moments of grief and regret.

Below please find a message from Karen that gives you a glimpse into her heart and the powerful message of her book:

“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26–27

I wrestled with several plastic grocery bags as my purse swung wildly from my shoulder. I was trying desperately to free up a hand to open the back door that leads from our garage into the kitchen. Tired from a long day of errands and appointments, I just wanted to get into the house, put the groceries away, and then collapse on the couch.

As I fumbled with my keys and stepped up onto the landing that leads into the kitchen, I nearly tripped and broke my neck. I also broke out into a horrible rant as I saw the reason for my near trip and fall.

“Kenna! Mitchell! Spencer! You kids get out here right now and take care of these shoes and boots. I am sick and tired of how you all just toss your shoes here with absolutely no regard for what I’ve told you. You know your shoes go on the rug. I don’t want to ever see this junk lying here again. You hear me? You are all so lazy! Now I said get out here … right now!”

My kids heard me all right. So did half the neighborhood.

I have a major pet peeve about the shoes, sports cleats, boots, and flip-flops that collect in our garage. First, I’d prefer that each family member have only a pair or two there. (That day there were about nineteen, and only four were from my husband and me. The other fifteen or so were from our three darlings. Yes. Crunch the numbers. That’s five pairs each!)

I also prefer that shoes be lined up neatly in a row on the lovely industrial rug that is strategically placed just to the right of the landing for my clan’s convenience. I’ve even timed out how much longer it takes to actually place said pairs of shoes neatly on the rug instead of kicking them off haphazardly. Just three seconds!

But my kids couldn’t seem to get with the program and so? It made me angry. This wasn’t the only time a domestic dispute broke out. There were other shouting bouts as well. Sometimes they were over issues of outright disobedience when I had specifically instructed a particular child to clean up a mess they had made. Other times it was over an accident: spilled grape juice on the light-colored carpet, too much laundry soap in the new front-loading washing machine, a screen door left open and now there were mosquitoes in the house. Many normal mishaps of childhood.

Although on the one hand it felt good to vent my anger, on the other hand it made me gulp in guilt for barking so angrily at my sweet children. Later, after the shoes were straightened and some even put away, I felt God tap me on the heart, prompting me to apologize to my kids. I fought it for a while, arguing that the kids were the ones who should be apologizing to me.

It was then that I felt God clearly say, “Mind your own sin, sweetheart.”

Ouch. Yes, my kids’ disregard of instructions wasn’t right. Children should obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1). But when they don’t? Well, I couldn’t recall a single verse that then grants parents the right to holler and scream, giving all of the neighbors who were trying to eat their spaghetti supper both dinner and a show.

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I apologized to my kids that night before they went to bed. I asked them to forgive me for my angry mama mouth. Then together we strategized about how we could remedy the whole footwear fiasco in the garage. I realized that part of the reason I was always badgering my clan to get with the program was that there was no good program for them to get with in the first place. The industrial rug just wasn’t cutting it. So we cut the rug. With a trip to the department store and some nice wire shelves, we found a solution to the footwear conglomeration.

We compromised. I didn’t get my entire desired neat-as-a-pin plan, but the modified version still worked better than the industrial rug. As a result, I no longer badger my poor kids about their shoes. My vocal cords aren’t so sore, and the neighbors can now enjoy their dinner in peace.

And I learned that day a very valuable lesson…

Don’t say something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off.

And now for the “Keep It Shut” Giveaway! If you’ve ever said, typed, or texted words that were permanently painful because you were temporarily ticked off, leave a comment and share your experience and why you would like Karen’s book to help you “keep it shut” next time. We’ll choose one comment to win a copy of Keep It Shut. Check back at the end of the comments THIS FRIDAY for the name of the winner.

Blessings,

December 8, 2014

Just Another Trip to Target {w/ 2 Giveaways!}

Ugh! Another morning facing my long to-do list.  I’m so not in the mood to grocery shop. To stop by the cleaners and the bank. To fill up my car with gas. To run by Target. All those people. Cranky people. Coughing, sneezing people. The parking. The lines. The money draining out of our bank account with every swipe of the card. And how can I get it all done before Bo gets home from school?

Can you relate? If you are joining us from my Proverbs 31 Devotion today, welcome. I am so thankful you stopped by!

Thankfully, God met me in the midst of my pity party. He reminded me of something I had learned in Bible study just the day before. So I whispered a simple prayer…a prayer that transformed my ordinary day into a most extraordinary day. Something only our God can do!

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If you want to read more of the story, click here to read my Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today devotion.

By  inviting God into my ordinary day, He showed up in such an extraordinary way. A simple invitation extended through a simple prayer is all I needed to escape my pity party and see God at work in my midst.

And it’s all you need too, sweet friend.

God’s Word says in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV),

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

And Deuteronomy 4:29 (The Message) says,

But even there, if you seek God, your God, you’ll be able to find him if your’re serious, looking for him with your whole heart and soul. (emphasis added)”

But even there.” Even in your disobedience, your complaining, your whining, your pity party, if you cry out for me, you will find me.

Oh, thank You, Jesus, that you love us no matter what!

Prayer is a tremendous force in this world. God invites us to seek Him. To talk with Him. To engage our hearts with His. We need only accept the wondrous invitation He’s extended.

And when we’ve breathed our prayer, that’s not the end of the matter. GOD RESPONDS! And His faithfulness changes things. It opens doors, changes hearts, heals wounds, pours out blessings, and transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary!

Will you join me this Christmas season in praying for God to come into your life ordinary and do the extraordinary?

On one of your ordinary days, pray this simple prayer:

Heavenly Father, I invite You to show up in my ordinary. I want to see You in my midst. I want to experience You in my ordinary day. I want to hear Your voice, sense Your leading. I want to be used by You in the middle of my tasks on an ordinary day. Show up in all Your glory, Lord! I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Now for the Christmas Giveaways!I love giveaways.

So first giveaways from me…

First, I will choose two comments to win a signed copy of my new book Living So That and a $25 Target gift card. Please leave a comment by Friday sharing EITHER 1) an ordinary to extraordinary experience you’ve had,  or 2) your simple prayer asking God for an extraordinary experience! I’ll announce the winner on my next post. 

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Second, If you’d like a sneak peek at Living So Thatclick here for my free Five Day Devotional, “Five Days to a Faith-Full Life.”

Now the giveaway from my publisher…

All this week, I will be hosting our InScribed Studies (Thomas Nelson Collection of which Living So That is a part) Facebook page. In celebration of the birth of Jesus, InScribed Studies is having a 25 Days of Christmas giveaway! Each day between now and December 25th, you can enter to win lots of fun gifts, including our books, DIY crafts, jewelry, and special presents picked out by our authors (that includes me!). All you need to do is click here, like our page if you haven’t already and register. Be sure to let me know if you are visiting from the P31 devo in your comment! 

Blessings,