Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Injecting HOPE into our hurting world


God Is Moving
A devotional by Julia Wilson

“God’s spirit is on me;
He’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to the prisoners and
Recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
To announce, ‘This is God’s year to act!’” 
–Luke 4:18-21 (The Message)

I have read this passage from Luke, which echoes Isaiah 61:1-2, many times over the years, and from different translations. It is a familiar passage and one of my favourites. God’s Word is alive and last week as I read the above, I saw it with fresh eyes. “This is God’s year to act!” really leapt out at me. How we need a movement of God right here and now.

Like the rest of the world, 2020 in the UK has been a year like no other. As I write, we are at the start of another national lockdown. No one knows what lies ahead but we do not need to worry because God is already there. God sees all our tomorrows. Nothing surprises God.

Our nation and our world needs a movement of God now. We are His mighty warriors! We need to inject hope into our hurting world.

Our pastor, Leon Evans, gave us some wise advice. He recommended starting and ending each day with the Word of God and not the news.

When we look to the world we can easily become down and depressed. No one knows when COVID-19 will end. But when we look to God, He gives us hope. He is alive and active. If we do not tune into Him, we might miss Him. We need lives that recognize His voice and His movements.

“This is God’s year to act!” God is acting. Within our church, people have come to faith during this lockdown season caused by the pandemic. They have done Alpha (a course that explores the Christian faith), joined connect groups and experienced God … yet, some have never stepped foot inside the church.

God is not confined to a building. God is alive and active everywhere!

Have you ever stood and witnessed a sunrise or sunset and just been overwhelmed by the beauty of it all? I certainly have.

I have also been struck by the love of God while doing ordinary household chores. My response was to be to get down on my knees on the kitchen floor and to worship and thank God right there and then. If I had waited, I would have missed the moment.

We have the whole world that needs a reason to hope now. We have a world that needs to know God. Jesus Christ tells us to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19 NIVUK). This is our mission. Our neighborhood is our mission field. During times of lockdown we cannot travel far. However, we do not need to go overseas to find people who need a touch of God. We need to seek and save the lost in our neighborhoods and towns!

This is God’s year to act! Will you partner with Him and inject hope into our world today?

Please may I lead you in a prayer?

Let’s pray: Dear Lord, Thank you for dying for me. Help me to live for You. Open my eyes to the world around me. Show me who needs to hear from You. Give me eyes to see our hurting world as You see it. Give me hands to do Your work. Thank You for Your presence and Your promise to never leave us nor forsake us. In Jesus’s precious name I pray. Amen.

~*~
Author Bio:

My name is Julia Wilson but I also go by Christian Bookaholic. 


I live with my husband and five cats in a small town in Worcestershire on the banks of the River Severn (England). We have four grown up children and three granddaughters.

I have always loved reading and have always been surrounded by books. I used to work as a teaching assistant for special needs in the local high school. Ill health forced me to stop working in December 2015. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (known as M.E.) and fibromyalgia. I now have plenty of time to read and review books!

Our eldest son set up my Christian Bookaholic blog. I review every book I read. I read over 300 books a year. I read Christian and mass market. I prefer stories set from 1850 onwards. My favourite type of books to read is stories set in WWI and WWII, and Russia under Czar Nicholas II.

I am a historian, having a Combined Humanities degree where I majored in History and minored in English. I also love swimming. I only learned how to swim in 2017 and go swimming four mornings a week for 90 minutes before breakfast, it keeps my joints going.

I am also a crazy cat lady. I absolutely love my cats. I have grown up with cats and cannot imagine life without them. My dream is to own an old fashioned seal point Siamese … but not while we have our young rescue cat as she hates other cats!

I love God and love going to a large lively church called Lifecentral. I cannot imagine life without God. He gives a peace even when life does not. He guides my life. He is my Rock.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Romantic Reads: Kiss Me Once Again (book) by Gail Kittleson


Welcome Gail Kittleson to the blog!

She's here to share the story behind the story of her book, Kiss Me Once Again.

~*~
Kiss Me Once Again: The Story Behind the Story
A guest post by Gail Kittleson

When Glenora Carson’s story first came to me, I didn’t anticipate writing a romance. This World War II tale evolved into just that, however.

Romance has never excited me because I like more complicated stories. Girl gets guy—that’s the basic plotline, right? Well, maybe I had a thing or two to learn.

World War II complicated everything. When you’re worried that a brother, sister, or parent may not return from battle, the entire setting burgeons with obstacles.

Egotistical commanders may make haphazard decisions that lead to needless deaths. The enemy may change tactics and surprise a unit. (This occurred in North Africa when Rommel shocked American commanders by reversing his course.)

On the home front, wild things can happen, as well. In Glenora’s case, just when she thought she had most things managed, her father’s health began to decline. Worry about her brother Red’s ship being struck by a typhoon in Nakagusuku Wan, near Okinawa, most likely had something to do with that.

Time has dragged on since then, with no word about Red. Is he still alive? If he ever comes home, will he be able to marry his high school sweetheart and take Glenora’s place at their father’s garage? That was his plan before December 7, 1941, but so much has happened in the interval.

For one thing, Glenora has been filling his spot there...will she have to continue wielding her wrench and pliers for the rest of her life? She’s already sacrificed her college scholarship and dreams of teaching home economics to keep the garage open.

Then, out of the blue, a convalescing soldier named Hank returns to town. With his bent for mechanics, his uncle volunteers him to help out at the garage. Thankful she can now devote her time to organizing the books, Glenora attempts to add more figures to the “paid” column.

Relieved of crawling under broken-down tractors and farm trucks to diagnose and fix problems, Glenora can now pay more attention to her other tasks...housekeeping, gardening, and contributing to the war effort in every way possible. When her mother died a few years ago, all of these responsibilities fell to her—there simply aren’t enough hours in her day.

Hank brings relief with him, but also another complication. Back in 1941 when her beau went down with the Arizona, Glenora buried her dreams of romance and having a family of her own. Hank’s presence in the shop urges those dreams to surface, but he seems bent on his own dream of studying under the G.I. Bill as soon as the war ends.

On top of that, he’s kind, honest, tenderhearted, and a good worker. If that weren’t enough, he also has a way with her dad.

This is where my plot led me...right into the complications of romance! I hope you like this old-fashioned World War II story.

~*~
Author Bio:

Writing has always been Gail’s passion, but building her self-confidence took decades, so she’s a late-bloomer. 

Her addiction to the World War II era guides her plot choices, and her Women of the Heartland is all about honoring the make-do Greatest Generation who sacrificed so much for the cause of freedom.

Gail and her husband live in northern Iowa and enjoy Arizona’s Mogollon Rim Country in the winter. They also enjoy grandchildren and gardening. It’s no secret why Gail calls her website Dare to Bloom, and she loves to encourage other writers through facilitating workshops.

~*~
Book Blurb for Kiss Me Once Again:


No one ever accused Glenora Carson of being a breathtaking beauty. Her tall, gangly figure and angular face are more solid Midwestern stock than Hollywood glamour. But Joe liked her. He even told her, “You’re the one for me.” He gave her a locket with. his picture inside, to remind her of him while he was away, serving his country on the U.S.S. Arizona.

After December 7, 1941, Glenora shelves her dreams of attending college on the scholarship she was offered by Iowa State University, locks her heart away, and focuses on holding down the home front by helping out the family business—Carlson’s Garage. The grease-stained overalls didn’t do much to compliment her female. figure, but they did cover her female heart well enough.

That is, until Hank Anderson, a wounded warrior back from battle, walks into the garage and into Glenora’s life. Is an old maid’s future Glenora’s fate, or will Cupid throw a wrench in her plans?

~*~
Buy Gail's book on Amazon

~*~
Connect with Gail:
Website: 
http://www.gailkittleson.com/

Monday, November 23, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Life lessons learned from a puppy named Halo


Bound to God
A devotional by Glynis Becker

“And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” —Isaiah 58:11 (ESV)

We have a sweet rescue poodle named Halo. She’s been part of our family for the last seven years. She was a stray, so we have no idea where she came from, how old she is, or what her life was like before us.

For many years after we got her, when we went to put her on her leash to go for a walk, she would pull and jump and twist for blocks and blocks. (Her penchant for turning circles is what gave us the idea for her name.) She would wrap herself up in the leash and we’d have to stumble around her and stop every so often to untangle her. It was annoying, and funny, and sometimes a little dangerous. We would look at her and say with great affection, “Halo! Why can’t you just be normal? Why can’t you just walk with us?”

Now that she is older, her eyesight is starting to dim. She can’t see where she’s going quite as well, so when we put the leash on her, she isn’t quite as excited. We sometimes have to pull her along beside us. Because of her lowered energy level and partial blindness, she isn’t as comfortable walking in unfamiliar places. She is more easily scared. So these days we say, still with great affection, “Halo! Why can’t you just let us lead you? Trust us. We won’t let you get hurt.”

How like our walk with the Lord is this? When things are new and the days are filled with sunshine, we get excited to be on the path with Him. We let Him lead us in His way, full of passion for the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus Christ is Who He says He is. Passion for the lost, love for our fellow humans and a need to be close to Christ take over our lives and we’re happy to go where He wants us to.

But as the days get darker and we’ve been on this path longer and longer, sometimes we lose sight of the fact that the Lord is still leading us. The more we read the Bible and pray, we should learn that we need Him more, not less. We should learn that being tied to Him is the best place to be. But sometimes we need to be dragged into something new or different or uncomfortable. Or we wander “off the leash” and find our own kind of trouble.

Today I’m praying that I allow God to lead me wherever and to whatever He has for me. I don’t want to miss His call on my life because I’m too busy pulling at the leash.

This image makes me think of the classic hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” One line from the lyrics written by Robert Robinson says:

“O to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be!

Let that grace, Lord, like a fetter,

Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee.”

I don’t want to be bound to anything that isn’t eternal. Only God’s grace, like in this hymn, can give me everything I need to walk with Him. That is what will lead me where He wants me to go.

Let’s pray: Dear Lord, bind me to You. No matter how hard I might push back, remind me that You know and want what is best for me. I want to love Your grace more than the things of the world. Help me trust that even if You lead me into something hard, you will never leave me to face it alone. Make my words be a light to others that will lead them to You as well. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

~*~
Author Bio:

Glynis Becker writes devotions and inspirational fiction, hoping someday to have a published novel on her resume.


She has co-written several screenplays, including the film Sinking Sand, available on DVD and digital streaming.

Glynis, whose childhood was spent all over the country as an Air Force brat, has called South Dakota home for many years, along with her husband and two teenage children.

When she’s not writing or reading, she is watching more television than she should and crocheting.

You can find her at www.glynisbecker.com.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Brokenness


Love Anyway
A devotional by Alexis Newlin

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” –John 13:34 (ESV)

There is a lot of brokenness in our nation. Racial clashes, political differences, poverty, divorce, gun violence, injustice; it is everywhere and happening every day.

These are subjects I am afraid to talk about or acknowledge. I don’t watch or read the news often. When I do, I find myself anxious and overwhelmed by it all. When I hear stories about injustice in our country, I get so angry. I hate the brokenness. I wrestle often with what action to take. Sometimes the action that I take is ignoring it but I know that this is incorrect.

Recently I watched a video where the artist expressed how he felt about the brokenness in our nation. It made me sad; even now I tear up writing about it. It was hard to watch as it displayed the brokenness that our nation has struggled with for decades. It is sad that there is so much division, violence and hatred. God didn’t intend for any of this.

Let’s read some Bible verses about what God wants for humankind:

He calls us to love one another: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34 ESV)

He meant for us to be united: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1 ESV)

Division is the plan of the enemy: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25 ESV).

I asked God what my portion is in all of this, because ignoring isn’t an option. God said a few things: Pray. Love others. Speak up.

I will pray that we are united as a nation – despite our differences – and I will pray that all plans from the enemy to destroy us as a nation be destroyed. I will make a choice daily to love others and seek to understand beliefs different from my own. I will choose to see the person, not their color, sexual orientation, economic status, political preference or religion. Even if my voice trembles, I will speak out against injustice.

As children of God, we are called to love anyway. This is how we unite our nation. This is how we defeat division. Today, think of ways that you can love others despite differences. We are so much stronger together. Divided we will fall.

~*~
Author Bio:

Alexis is a 36-year-old lover of Jesus, loose leaf tea, roller coasters, writing stories and going on adventures. Originally from Marietta, GA, Alexis now resides in Fresno, CA. 


You can always find Alexis outdoors enjoying a walk in her neighborhood, scoping out the newest food truck, hanging out with friends or planning her next trip.

Her church, The Revival Center, and family mean the world to her. They have supported her through the loss of her mother and her own cancer diagnosis.

Alexis enjoys encouraging others by reminding them not to look at what they see, but to always look to God, who is working in the unseen.

Alexis currently writes for several online ministries and launched her first podcast – The Brave Podcast – in January 2020.

~*~
Connect with Alexis:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/apeachincali/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/apeachincali
Podcast: http://thebravepodcast.buzzsprout.com
Website: www.apeachincali.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Humility


Humble in Heart

A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” –Matthew 11:29 (NIV)

The world is in crisis. It’s been there before and will likely be there again, but this is the first worldwide crisis I’ve ever lived through, and it’s...a lot. 

If you, like me, have a high-risk household, you’ve probably been socially isolating. I haven’t seen the inside of anything other than my house, Costco, and my workplace since March. And that last one has been infrequent. I work from home now with my youngest son’s desk next to mine in a work/school amalgamation that has sometimes been challenging, sometimes quite wonderful.

Between politics, social upheaval, and a deadly pandemic, it’s downright fractious in our country right now, even outside a high-risk bubble. Folks are hot-tempered, and shouty, even those of us who claim a saving faith in Jesus Christ. It’s not good. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to live through this mess of existential dread, stress, and difficulty. When faced daily with a new challenge, I keep thinking of how being a Christian must inform my choices and guide my actions. “Jesus take the wheel” is a fine saying, but what does that truly look like in real life?

We need to start with who Jesus is and what He wants from us. The verse above sums it up for me. Jesus is the Son of God, but He’s also humble in heart and gentle. When we give over our lives to Him, we find rest (not more work, more struggle, more strife). Our job is to be as like Him as possible. Over and over, the New Testament calls us to humble ourselves, live in peace, be patient with our brothers and sisters, bear one another’s burden in love. This is what God wants from us. He wants our love for one another to stand out, to show that we are His. “Agape” in the Greek of the New Testament’s writers, means a non-reciprocal, giving love that doesn’t expect anything back. That’s how God loves us, and that’s how He calls us to love others.

What does that look like in real life? For me, it’s a reminder to be patient with others, to be humble, and when tempted to add my voice to the cacophony, to turn off my computer and put down my phone. I have no business putting that out in the world. As a Christian, I have a reason to resist rising to every insult, holding a grudge, or taking offense. Every moment that I walk through this world, I am a witness for Jesus Christ. I need to live my life in a way that tells others that I am under Jesus’ yoke.

When it gets hard, I try to reach for that peace. The peace of knowing that God is provident and whatever happens, it will be for His Glory and that He will be with me through every second of it. Jesus has not abandoned us to work it out for ourselves. We have Scripture and the Holy Spirit to guide us. Prayer is a wonder. 

If you’re struggling right now, and so many of us are, reach out and take hold of the tools that God has given us to dig us out of the deepest of pits. Unburden your heart, trust that God has heard you and that whatever the answer, He is with you. 

You’re not alone, Christian. There are millions of us on this planet with you. 

I’ll be praying for you.

~*~
Author Bio:

Christa MacDonald is a 2017 ACFW Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction. 


A native New Englander, she was inspired by her travels through the north woods of Maine to write The Broken Trail, which would become the first in the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

Christa's writing focuses on the real-life challenges of the modern world, love’s sometimes crooked path, and the redemptive power of Grace.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty.

She and her husband live with their three kids, two cats, and one dog along the coast of New England. Connect with Christa at www.christamacdonald.com.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Romantic Reads: Interview with Anne Greene about "A Crazy Optimist"


Welcome Anne Greene to the blog today!

She's here to talk about her book, A Crazy Optimist.

Enjoy her interview! 

~*~
Interview questions for Anne Greene about her book, A Crazy Optimist:

Alexis: Why did you write this book and call it A Crazy Optimist?

Anne: I don’t usually write Romantic Comedy, but I love to read that genre. So this is one of my first Romantic Comedies. I found the book so fun to write, that it certainly won’t be my last. The title comes from the heroine Sparkle January’s personality.

Alexis: Sparkle January is quite a creative name! What was the inspiration behind it?

Anne: Her character sprang full-blown into my imagination as well as her name. I always give my books a sprinkle of action, mystery, and adventure, even my comedies.

Alexis: Why did you give Sparkle a passion for pet taxidermy?

Anne: I find taxidermy a bit gruesome and wanted to discover the brighter side, where owners who love their pets want to keep them in as lifelike posture as possible and a fun-loving person like Sparkle was just the woman to do the almost impossible.

Alexis: What’s involved in being a “Professional Maid of Honor” and why did Sparkle choose this new career?

Anne: Sparkle’s acted as Maid of Honor ten times with her friends. She knows the ropes. She takes the Diva from feuding friends and smooths the unexpected last-minute bumps that inevitably occur during the stress of weddings. Also, in New York, some brides don’t have a best friend she can ask to be her Maid of Honor, so Sparkle happily fills the gap.

Alexis: Why did Sparkle move to New York City? Where did she live originally?

Anne: Sparkle is from Podunk-Town, Texas and moved to New York looking for adventure.

Alexis: How did Sparkle first meet Nick Patrizio?

Anne: Sparkle has Directional Dyslexia which means she has absolutely no sense of direction. She claims she gets lost in a revolving door. When she arrived in New York, Nick rescued her by carting her nine bags to an apartment near his restaurant after she’d taken the wrong subway, then the wrong bus.

Alexis:
What is it about Nick that compels Sparkle to pour her heart out to him over coffee quite often?

Anne: Nick fell in love with Sparkle the first moment he saw her. He gladly listens to her each day when she drops in for coffee and to tell him her troubles. He suggests that she turn down the job of being a Professional Hugger.

Alexis: Paint a picture with words of Harvey’s On The Harbor. What makes it special?

Anne: Harvey’s has a huge bay window overlooking the sun-tossed harbor. Nick fills his restaurant with the scent of gardenia and savory spaghetti sauce. Nick and his listening ear make the place special. Besides, Sparkle can only afford his highly aromatic coffee, and what other New York restaurant would give her coffee order a warm welcome rather than a cold shoulder?

Alexis: Why does Sparkle believe that she is an “ugly duckling” and not a beautiful swan?

Anne: She’d been a Maid of Honor at her ten friends’ weddings, why did she not have a fiancĂ©? Her hair was a dishwater color and she’d gained weight since moving to New York. Her posh hair stylist called her mousy until he got his hands on her. Didn’t date much at Texas Tech. Majored in Meteorology but was told she was too fat to be on television.

Alexis: Let’s talk about Nick. What makes him tick? Describe his looks, personality, and his outlook on life.

Anne: Nick has six sisters and no brothers. He’s an almost handsome guy who loves to smile and was honest and sincere. On a scale of one to ten, at least a seven. He grew up Catholic, but became a Christian

Alexis: What is it about Sparkle that made Nick fall in love with her at first sight?

Anne: He loved her sparkling personality.

Alexis: What is the basis for Nick and Sparkle’s friendship?

Anne: Open honesty, especially while Sparkle is unaware of Nick’s love.

Alexis: Does Sparkle have a clue that Nick is in love with her? Why or why not?

Anne: No. She thinks he is her best friend.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about this story?

Anne: First, I want them to laugh and enjoy the story. Then as Sparkle discovered, dates come and go, but a best friend is forever. Marriage is built on honest communication, shared ideals, and sharing of secrets—even if the secret could change the married life. But if one is really in love, one will accept the sacrifice and marry to give the loved one the best possible life.

Alexis: If you could step into this story as a professional counselor, what advice would you give Sparkle and Nick about life, love and their relationship?

Anne: I don’t think they need a professional counselor. I think they solved the problem themselves.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Anne! Do you have closing comments?

Anne: I love talking with my readers. I hope they will go to my website and sign up for my newsletter, so we can keep in touch. https://www.annegreeneauthor.com/

Thank you so much, Alexis for visiting with me.

~*~
Author Bio:

Anne Greene lives in the quaint antiquing town of McKinney, Texas, a few miles north of Dallas. Her husband is a retired Colonel, Army Special Forces. Her little brown and white Shih Tzu, Lily Valentine, shares her writing space, curled at her feet.  


Whether writing contemporary or historical, Anne’s books celebrate the abundant life.

Anne is an award-winning author of twenty-nine books. She loves writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines. She hopes her stories transport you to awesome new worlds and touch your heart.

Her first book in her CIA Operatives series opens with Shadow of the Dagger. Her Women of Courage series spotlights heroic women of World War II. Blast off with Angel With Steel Wings. Her Holly Garden, Private Investigator series opens with Red Is For Rookie

Enjoy her award- winning Scottish historical romances. Anne hopes her stories transport you to awesome new worlds and touch your heart.

~*~
Book Blurb for A Crazy Optimist:

This Romantic Comedy stars a Crazy Optimist who owns a Pet Taxidermy shop and supplements her income by becoming a Professional Maid Of Honor. 


Sparkle January recently moved to New York City. She finds a best friend in Nick Patrizio, whose Harvey’s On The Harbor restaurant is around the corner from Sparkle’s apartment. She visits Harvey’s daily, not to eat, but to tell her troubles to Nick and drink coffee.

Sparkle finds that building both her new professions brings unexpected difficulties and dilemmas. And she’s intent on transforming herself from Ugly Duckling into Acceptable Swan. 

Nick is the voice of reason and safety in the storms. Nick’s had tragedies of his own but falls for Sparkle the first moment she breezes into his restaurant. But Sparkle hides a secret that forces her to guard her heart. And what is the key to Sparkle’s optimism?

~*~
Connect with Anne:

To learn more of Anne, join her newsletter, and view her art and pictures of her extensive travel, visit her at www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com.

Anne’s books are available at www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com.

To contact Anne, visit her at www.facebook.com/AnneWGreeneAuthor.

To view Anne’s books go to www.annegreeneauthor.com/anne-s-books.html.

~*~
Enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of this book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below: 

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Monday, November 16, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Peace


Blanketed by Peace

A devotional by Malinda Fugate

Key Scripture:
Isaiah 41:10, Philippians 4:6-7, Psalm 94:19, Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)

As the minutes of election night ticked on, my anxiety grew. I would be able to react to one outcome or the other, but the unknown and waiting weighed on existing anxieties already plaguing my soul. It was as if the tumultuous year of 2020 had reached its ripeness, fully ready for a harvest of stress and worry.

My hands needed something to do to keep me from obsessively checking for electoral map updates. A bag of yarn and crochet hook sat nearby, inviting me into the lull of repetitive stitching. Not long ago, I decided to turn my leftover scraps into a blanket, mixing odd colors together in a mismatched blend. As I looped yarn over hook and slipped each stitch into place, a calming rhythm developed. The soft beginnings of a blanket covered my lap with comforting warmth. Temporarily forgetting the drama unfolding at polling places around the country, I was able to just be present in the safety of my cozy apartment.

With my hands busy at yarn work, my thoughts were able to focus on the Lord. I echoed my continuous prayer that His will is done in our nation, that His righteous wisdom would guide our leaders. I confessed how helpless I felt and how concerned I was with possible outcomes. Little by little, I became aware of His presence. God’s promises overrode my what-ifs and the tightness in my chest loosened a bit.

The interesting thing about my crochet project is that every stitch builds a bit more blanket. My anxious energy was being directed into the movement of the yarn, resulting in something that I will soon be able to wrap around myself for coziness and reassurance. Like the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin spinning straw into gold, I was crocheting anxiety into comfort.

Yet, a security blanket only comforts the surface. Praise God, He comforts the heart. Each moment in prayer is like another stitch in the blanket as the Lord covers us with His peace. We give Him our worries and He exchanges them for serenity. At times, this exchange seems slower than we would like in our instant gratification world, but with each prayer, His solace increases.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

We find promises in His word that remind us that He is in control and working for our good.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

We find that in prayer with thanksgiving, we begin to see our situation from God’s point of view. Little by little He reveals His perspective and plan. When we see His goodness, we discover more peace.

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (Psalm 94:19)

Though joy seems far away when our hearts are troubled, we gradually find glimpses of rejoicing the longer we rest in His presence. He brings gladness in place of mourning.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

When we learn to exist in His presence constantly and not merely occasionally, we find lasting peace unhindered by anxieties and fear. Yes, worries can still pester at the edges of our thoughts, but with eyes on God’s big picture, we recognize that they are smaller than we once imagined. We perpetually hand them over to God and receive His comfort in exchange. He wraps our heart in peace beyond comprehension, in the security of His love.

~*~
Author Bio:

Malinda Fugate writes from the heart. 

Though she serves full time as the Children’s Education Director at a church in Southern California, she is also a crafter of words published in books.

Her writing includes children's faith resources, commercial copywriting, and various faith-based stage and screenplays.

Malinda invites you to explore the various 3:16s in the Bible with her new book, The Other Three Sixteens (published by Ambassador International in May 2020).

She also invites you to read her previously published books: Bible Time for Active Kids, which is an activities-based devotional that is available for purchase on Amazon.com, and The Pen and the Sword: Connecting With the Word of God, which is an interactive creative writing journal.

Malinda earned a communications degree with a theatre emphasis from Azusa Pacific University, and then worked behind the scenes at the Los Angeles Salem radio stations, including The Fish and KKLA.

When she's not writing or working at church, Malinda might be creating art, reading, or exploring the many adventures to be found in the Los Angeles area. She lives by the beach with her pup, Yoshi.

Visit Malinda online via https://www.malindafugate.com.