Friday, March 22, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Surprise!


A Surprise that was Meant to Be

A devotional by Heather Martin

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” 
–Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

“For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Before having our third baby, my husband and I decided this would be the last child. There were many reasons why we came to this conclusion, one being that I had already delivered our first two children via C-section and in a few weeks we were scheduled to deliver baby number three via another C-section. Needless to say, this was no fun way to deliver, but I guess there is no fun way to deliver!

They say you have this feeling when you should stop having children, and I just wasn’t sure if I felt like we were really done. We went over and over all of the reasons why it wasn’t a good idea to have another child but for some reason I had this tiny feeling that we weren’t done. But after many conversations with my husband, we decided that going to the urologist to have a vasectomy was the best idea for our family.

My husband has a wonderful friend who is an urologist and performs hundreds of vasectomies a year. We were living in Nashville, and his office was about an hour and a half away so we would drive to have it done there. I was 9 months pregnant and was not very excited about the idea of getting in a car to ride more than ten minutes, but my husband reassured me that this was the right time to do it.

Taking the trip wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined. We had a chance to talk more about it and by the time we got to the doctor’s office we both felt ready to do this and just like that, we closed an era of our lives together, I would only give birth to three children. We would be a family of five, or so we thought.

Our third baby arrived and he was BIG, 9 lbs. 3 oz.! He was beautiful, mild mannered, happy, and sweet! When he was 8 months old, we packed up and moved to Birmingham, Alabama. My husband had finally finished all of his medical training and had accepted his very first job as a certified pediatric surgeon. Our kids were growing, we were happy and settling in, and then…I started feeling kind of weird.

I never once considered that I could possibly be pregnant again! The signs were so clear but I ignored them because I had put all of my trust in that vasectomy. But I should have known something was up when I couldn’t stand to smell the scent of my sister’s mild perfume. For some reason I absolutely hated the smell of it and I couldn’t stomach it!

I felt extra tired all the time, but that seemed normal because I had a baby, and two other little ones. Then, I should really have known something was different for me because I was breastfeeding my 8-month-old baby and my hair started falling out. That was strange! After a few weeks of feeling “weird” I reluctantly decided to get a pregnancy test, just to be sure. But I was completely positive that this couldn’t possibly be the cause of all these weird symptoms I was experiencing, I just wanted to mark it off the list. So I took the test and to our complete SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE, it immediately read positive!

We could not believe it! How could this be? It was certainly a miracle! A miracle that only happens less than 1 percent of the time. We had made our plans, but God had other plans for our lives. He knew that our family would not be complete without Charlie. And now we can’t imagine our lives without this little boy who is funny, sweet, cuddly, smart, and loves to preach. We joke that this kid better be the next Barack Obama, or Moses!

But one thing we know for sure is that he is a very special surprise gift to us from God. He was meant to be. We make our plans but truly, God’s plans are the best!

~*~
Author Bio:
Heather Martin was born the last of six siblings in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was raised by an amazing single mother (Rebecca Trotter) and was taught at an early age to love God and how to sing! 

She graduated from Oakwood University with a Bachelors Degree in Language Arts Education and later received a Master’s Degree in Education from Kaplan University. 

Shortly after graduating she followed God’s call to minister. She joined the Stellar, Dove, and Grammy-nominated gospel group Virtue, which was founded by her two older sisters Ebony Holland and Karima Kibble several years prior. Virtue has used their talents to spread the love of God across the world! They have recorded 7 studio albums and have been the recipients of numerous awards.

God has not only blessed Heather professionally, but personally. She met her husband, Dr. Colin Martin, and they have been married for 14 years. They have four children: Colin Jr. 11, Harper 10, Clark, 7, and Charleston 5. In 2016 Heather started an online blog and vegan and allergen-friendly cooking channel called “Chef Mommy.” Heather (Chef Mommy) has cooked with numerous celebrities and top chefs to spread the news of healthy cooking and lifestyle.

In addition to this busy schedule, Heather enjoys, running, reading, writing and spending time with her family.

~*~
Connect with Heather:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherTMartin
Instagram for Heather: https://www.instagram.com/thechefmommy/
Instagram for Virtue (Heather’s singing group): https://www.instagram.com/virtuegirls
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/chefmommyhm

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Called to Love like Jesus Christ loves you


Stumbling in the Darkness

A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” ~1 John 2:9-11 (NIV)

I always inwardly shake my head in dismay when someone says “Follow your heart” or posts a Facebook meme with the same sort of sentiment. The intent is harmless enough. We want to encourage those around us to feel fulfilled by their work and their creative pursuits, but the simple fact is that our hearts are desperately wicked. Our hearts don’t always know the right way to go. Even those of us saved by Grace are still burdened by hearts prone to want all the wrong things. We long for earthly treasures: notoriety, power, adoration.

Our hearts are prone to hate as well. Much as I’d like to think that I am far enough along the path of Redemption that I no longer feel hatred for a fellow human, these past few years have been a challenge. In the United States we’ve all been tempted by various factions and forces to turn on each other. There are some dark dealings going on in the world, social media in particular, sewing seeds of discord and reaping harvests of hate.

For Christians hate is off the table. We don’t get to hate people. We aren’t permitted to hate those that hate God. No matter how wretched the human, we’re still called to love them. In fact when people talk about “tough love” I think the term should mean this instead - the call to love someone who hates you. This political and social climate is full of hate and it’s incredibly hard to keep it at bay. When I’m challenged, I remember the verse above. Hate blinds us, leads us away from the light of God.

Hate surrounds our souls in darkness. It isn’t content to stay in one spot either. It spreads. Confine your hate to a political party and you’ll find your feelings begin to sour towards friends who support them. Hate an actor and the neighbor who goes on and on about their movies will soon get on your nerves. Simple dislike turns into real enmity and before you know it, you’ve got a list of people you’ve blocked on Facebook, cut out of your life, written off entirely.

While there is nothing wrong with creating distance between yourself and a toxic person, letting hate build toward them is definitely wrong. It doesn’t matter if they’re awful, you still don’t get to hate them. It’s time we all start examining our hearts and shining a light on all the dark corners. Let’s be convicted and root out the sin of hate. What an amazing light would shine if all of the Church did this in what is a truly dark time! Then people would truly know us by our love.

~*~
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.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Why it is important to get to know God


Getting to Know Him
A devotional by Nanci Rubin


“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”– John 15:15 (KJV)

What do we want in life? Happiness? Health? Security? Marriage?

Most of us would probably choose one or more of these things. And interesting enough, we can enjoy them all when we have relationship with our Savior. But without knowing Him, our glass is only half full. If our spiritual health is not well, we will have deficiencies in other areas of our lives. These deficiencies can yield the following symptoms, impatience, anger, frustration and periods of depression, which we don’t understand and seldom equate to our relationship with God. However, the Bible tells us not to worry and to seek Him first.


“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” 
– Matthew 6:31-33 (KJV)

“But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.”– Matthew 6:33 (AMP)

The Amplified (AMP) version of the Bible makes it so personal. It puts everything in proper perspective. The Bible makes it very clear that when we make God a priority, He will give us the desires of our hearts. God has no trouble with us having things, as long as things don’t have us.

Our passion should be to know God. There is value in knowing Him. We can do nothing without Him. Peace comes in His presence. When we are in crisis, and feel all is lost, that is not the time to distance ourselves from God. We need to seek Him. If we continue to distance ourselves from God, we will eventually allow other gods to eat up our time, our thoughts, and our desire for the things of God. Other gods can be anything that takes away your time for prayer and fellowship with our Creator.

“I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing.” – John 15:5 (KJV)

“I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much fruit (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me (cut off from vital union with Me) you can do nothing.” – John 15:5 (AMP)

If you want a closer relationship with God, you are going to have to do a few things to develop and cultivate that relationship. Think about your personal friends. They wouldn’t be your friends for very long if you didn’t take time to talk with them, visit or show concern about events that occur in their lives. Why do we think we can be close to God when we give Him no time at all, or when we do it is a passing “hello,” or only when we are in need?

There are three things we can do to help develop our relationship with our Father:

#1: Create Space for God


This is hard for a lot of people. They have never learned the art of being still and quiet. Our environment is so infused with outside stimuli that most of us can’t hear the person beside us much less the still small voice of God. God is always talking, but unfortunately most of us are too.

“Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left [the house], and went out to a secluded place, and was praying there.” – Mark 1:35 (AMP)

#2: Create a Place

We need a place set aside and uninterrupted to fellowship with God. We may not have an Upper Room but we should be able to find a place. It is our “prayer closet,” our place set apart. It can be a section of a room, a closet, a chair, and an X on the floor, but it’s your designated area to meet with God.

“But when you pray, go into your most private room, close the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you.” 
– Matthew 6:6 (AMP) 

#3: Seek the Face of God (Worship)

Worship and reverence will bring intimacy. Taking time to thank him for all He’s done in your life, instead of asking Him for more. We need to make special time to celebrate Who He is.

“You [Samaritans] do not know what you worship; we [Jews] do know what we worship, for salvation is from the Jews. But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers. God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 
– John 4:22-24 (AMP)

Get to know the Creator (God) and see things around you change.

God bless you as you seek Him!

~*~
Author Bio:
Nanci is a poet and short story writer published in Cypress NewsFamily Times E-ZineFree Verse and the Commonwealth of Poetry

She belongs to RWA, ACFW, and Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild where she’s enrolled in his novel writing program.

Nanci lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and cats, Romeo and Juliette, along with their newest member of the family, Roni who is a seven-month-old Goldendoodle.

Recently, Nanci completed her debut novel, A Betrayal in Cross Keys. It is an Amish romance and has placed it in her agent's capable hands. The rest is up to God.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Lessons on faith, fish and finding Jesus


Faith, Fish, and Finding Jesus

A devotional by Victoria Bylin

Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.” –John 21:10-11 (NIV)

Not a word in the Bible is wasted. That’s why, when I read these verses at the end of John’s gospel, I’m curious about the number of fish. It’s 153. Not a 152 or 154. Not “about 150,” or any other estimate. There are 153 large fish in the net when the disciples haul it into the boat.

I did some research and found all sorts of theories about this number and what it means. Numbers in the Bible are important, and using even the simplest approach, 153 is rich with meaning because the number one stands for God, the number five is the number of grace and the number three stands for manifestation.

So the whole number “153” stands for God’s grace manifested. What a perfect summation of this story!

Let’s the set scene: It’s nearly dawn. Christ has been crucified and raised from the dead. Shortly before this incident, he revealed himself to the disciples, including doubting Thomas. But time has passed. He’s gone again, and the Holy Spirit won’t arrive until the Book of Acts.

Peter and the disciples go fishing, thus returning to the world they know. They cast their nets, but there’s not a fish to be found. There’s nothing but the dark water and darker sky. They don’t see Christ on the beach, a small fire blazing at His feet. I imagine Peter and his friends were broken and exhausted, confused, full of doubt, and questioning themselves.

Have you been there? I have.

But then they hear Jesus speak to them from the shore.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” 

(John 21:5-6, NIV)

They cast the net over the side, and the next thing they know, the net is so full that they can’t haul it into the boat. Peter jumps over the side, swims and sloshes to the same Lord who he denied three times. The other disciples drag the net to the shore, where a charcoal fire is ablaze and fish are already cooking.

This is what I love about this story: Jesus didn’t need the disciples to bring in the fish. He was already cooking a meal for them. If he wanted, he could have made the fish jump into their boat. Instead, He lets the disciples participate in what He had already done. Can you imagine the joy of that catch? The excitement as they counted out exactly 153 large fish? The thrill of retelling that story over and over for decades to come?

We have that same privilege now.

God is all-sufficient. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He doesn’t need our flimsy efforts to feed the world and care for the poor, but he knows what a joy it is to give. He allows us to participate in His provision.

We have that opportunity every day. Maybe you give to a local food pantry or bring meals to someone fighting illness. Perhaps there’s a struggling single mom at work, and you pass along a gift card to a grocery store. The list of ways we can share is endless.

When Jesus filled the disciples’ net with 153 fish, it was only the beginning of the story. 

We’re blessed indeed to tell it every day with our own acts of charity. 

~*~
Author Bio:
Victoria Bylin is the author of 18 traditionally published romances. Known for tackling difficult subjects with great compassion, she delights in stories that shine the spotlight of God’s love on ordinary men and women facing realistic challenges.

Writing has always been a part of Victoria’s life. As a child, she wrote hundreds of letters and scribbled in journals. As an adult, she worked as a freelance journalist and editor before taking on the challenge of fiction.

She had one goal when she started her first novel: to finish a book-length manuscript, good or bad. That first effort will never see the light of day, but it led to a second manuscript and a sale to Harlequin Historical. Since then, she has written westerns and contemporary romances for both mainstream and Christian publishers, with Together With You winning the 2016 Inspirational Readers Choice Award for Best Contemporary.

Writing is a joy and a challenge for Victoria, but faith, friends, and family matter to her far more. She’s a wife, mom, proud grandmother, and a dog-mom to a wacky Jack Russell Terrier. Originally from California, she and her husband currently make their home in Lexington, Kentucky. 

When she’s not writing, Victoria enjoys long walks, travel, and dark chocolate.

~*~
Connect with Victoria:
Website: https://www.victoriabylin.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Victoria.Bylin.Author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VictoriaBylin
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/568102.Victoria_Bylin

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Book Review: Hope in the Hard Places

Today, I'm sharing a review I wrote about a book by Sarah Beckman called Hope in the Hard Places: How to Survive When Your World Feels Out of Control.


Hope in the Hard Places: How to Survive When Your World Feels Out of Control is a wonderful, practical and inspiring book!

The back cover copy of this book says that it is about how to survive when your world feels out of control. After reading it, I think that the author, Sarah Beckman, accomplished her mission of writing an “encouraging guidebook for the weary soul looking for hope in dark circumstances.”

Throughout this book, the author shares encouraging messages that comfort everyone who is facing a trial whether it is cancer, chronic illness, loss of a loved one, divorce…the author leaves no stone uncovered when addressing situations that cause people to feel without hope and help.

Hope in the Hard Places is divided into four parts:

- Part 1: Terrain

- Part 2: Preparation

- Part 3: Journey

- Part 4: Destination

Each part has several chapters (except Part 4, which has only one chapter) and each chapter touches on a key concept like hope, detour, first aid, seek the source, remove the boulders and the one concept in Part 4 is called “Hard but Holy.” A Bible verse starts each chapter.

The author’s writing style is smooth and her tone is calm. This entire book is thoroughly written. It leaves the reader with a full and satisfied feeling like eating a good meal at your favorite restaurant. It’s an experience that you want to share with everyone.

Throughout this book, Beckman shows the reader how they can survive pain by applying Bible-based truth and principles. She shares stories and insight from real-life people who have been through tough times.

Hope in the Hard Places truly is a light that will shine into your darkness and help you survive the storms of life.

*I (Alexis A. Goring) received a complimentary copy of Hope in the Hard Places: How to Survive When Your World Feels Out of Control. My opinions in this honest review are my own.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Thoughts on faith and being shaped by God


Being Shaped Like a Snowman
A devotional by Sharon Musgrove

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” 
– Romans 8:28 (NLT)

Two storms converged 
– a surprise snowstorm and writer’s block. In past seasons, such a meeting of two unexpected events gave me rationale to fret and worry. I now see storms as opportunities. The snow from the unusual weather gave me the unique opportunity to build a snowman. The writer’s block offered time for me to seek another creative outlet. Both were occasions for unplanned joy! Gathering a carrot, some coal, and donning the appropriate attire, I headed outside to construct a masterpiece.

The snow was great for packing, ideal for snow creations because it sticks to itself. I remembered being taught to roll a snowball so that it would grow by picking up the snow on the ground. I excitedly began the rolling process. Soon I began to wonder whether the teaching on this rolling technique actually came from watching cartoons.

Effort after effort of rolling snowballs proved futile as the “ball” would become too heavy on one side and crack apart. I decided to try an alternative way to form my snowman by assembling a large mound of snow and topping it with progressively smaller mounds. Even this method proved difficult as the snow would fuse together while I carried it to the work area. So, I implemented a third approach by allowing large blobs of snow to fuse to the body of my snowman and then attempted to shave it down.

I don’t know the science behind snowman assembly, nor do I have any education in the arts of ice sculpture, but this experience began to open my eyes to something spiritually applicable to my life. As I persisted, I wondered how many techniques God has used to create the vision He has for me.

Like the “snowball” strategy, there have been times when I have picked up way more than I can handle. When I was in my thirties, a management position became available early on in a new job. It looked like the best way to advance quickly, but I crumbled because I did not have a foundation that could sustain such rapid and lopsided growth.

The “mounding” method of adding smaller layers of growth has been effective most of my life. Daily Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, service, and Bible study have all been disciplines that offer consistent growth in my spiritual life. Looking back over the countless Bible studies I have participated in, and reading old sermon notes, it’s clear that this method is open to a sloughing of my memory. I quickly and easily forget lessons that hold great importance. God must know just how much to mound on and have abundant grace for the sloughing off! Growth would otherwise not happen.

What ended up being the most effective way to implement my vision for the snowman was the “shave it down” tactic. This can be considered somewhat a combination of the first two methods by piling on too much and then removing the excess. I’ve experienced this style when pride accompanied an area of big growth. When I first discovered that I had a gift for teaching, my head got way too big. I had all sorts of plans for myself in my new found talent. Thankfully, God cut off the excess from my cranium by removing teaching opportunities.

Ultimately, I did create an adorable miniature snowman. It took longer than expected, but the time and process were well worth it. The convergent storms gave me an opportunity to look at how God has worked to shape me. Seeking the joy in a recess, rather than resenting thwarted plans, is one example of growth in me. I’ve also become less likely to crack as my foundation has increased with years of experience.

Amazingly, God’s vision for my life is now my desire too, and I seek His scalpel to cut off any offensiveness in me. God has proven Himself in utilizing all weather and circumstances and using it for His good will in each of us.

~*~
Author Bio:
Sharon Musgrove is a self-proclaimed sociologist. The opportunities opened to her, over the years, have led her on a fascinating journey observing human behavior. 

She has a diverse background in business, fitness and health industries. This background led her to a unique position writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both recovery programs served women primarily from the homeless community.

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She's been privileged to participate in Leadership camps for maturing young women. These annual camps have a mission of encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young Maasai girls.

Easily identifying personally with the brokenness of the women she's served, Sharon now sees all people as needing more encouragement regardless of cultural or socioeconomic status. Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.

In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys her garden, health food, travel, and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, make their home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. They have two grown children. Currently, Sharon is writing her first Christian historical fiction novel utilizing her study, experience, and understanding of self-destructive behaviors.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Lessons on seeking God learned from a cat!


What My Cat Has Taught Me About Seeking God

A devotional by Amanda Wen


“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” 
~Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

We all know cats have a reputation for being aloof and independent. “Dogs have owners, cats have staff,” as the saying goes. For some cats, this reputation is doubtless deserved. However, “aloof” and “independent” are the last two words that come to mind when describing the Siamese we adopted last August.

Simply put, Jasmine wants to be with me. All the time. She follows me around the house (sometimes even into the bathroom). Her favorite place is my lap but if that is not available, she’s content to be in the same room with me. The day we brought her home, I purchased two carefully-selected cat beds, but—as those of you who know cats have doubtless already predicted—Jasmine pooh-poohed both of them. Her bed of choice? Mine, of course. She sleeps curled up at my feet each night, and within seconds of my eyes opening in the morning, she eagerly greets me with wild purring as she settles down on my chest.

 My lovely Siamese cat, Jasmine.
God has used Jasmine’s quiet devotion to convict me. As a certified type-A overachiever, I frequently think of spending time with God as just another item on my to-do list. Something I do long enough to not feel guilty about it. Something I sometimes rush through so I can check the box and move on to the next thing.

But that’s not what God wants. He wants our hearts. Our devotion. He wants us to follow Him. To seek Him all day long, not just for a few bleary-eyed, coffee-scented minutes in the morning. God wants us to be with Him, to look for His guidance, provision, and activity as we go about our daily tasks. He wants us to let go, stop striving all the time and to be secure in the knowledge that He is God.

The story of Mary and Martha is always convicting to me because I am so Martha. Rushing around, trying to get everything done, crossing items off my to-do list and growing impatient at anyone or anything who’s impeding my progress. But Jesus praised Mary’s choice to sit at His feet and listen to His teaching rather than helping her sister get dinner on the table. “Mary has chosen what is better,” He said, “and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42, NIV)

This story has always confused me because as a mother of three young kids, sometimes stuff has to get done and I don’t think God is calling us to abdicate all our responsibilities to in favor of reading the Bible all day. But what I do think He’s saying is to recognize that our spiritual lives are more important than our to-do list and that we need to constantly seek Him. We need to be aware of how He’s moving in our lives and the lives of others.

And sometimes, just like my cat, we need to curl up next to God and contentedly bask in the peace of His wonderful presence.

~*~
Author Bio:
Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of contemporary inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. 

A first place winner in the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest, she also placed first in the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest, the 2017 Great Expectations Contest, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest, among others. In addition, she was a finalist in the 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest.

Amanda is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and regularly contributes author interviews for their Fiction Finder feature. She’s also been spotted onstage with the worship team at recent ACFW conferences. Amanda is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

In addition to her writing, Amanda maintains an active and rewarding career as a freelance cellist, frequently performing with symphony orchestras, string quartets, and her church’s worship team. She lives in the Midwest with her amazing husband and their three adorable and hilarious Wenlets.

~*~
Connect with Amanda:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authoramandawen
Twitter: www.twitter.com/authoramandawen
Instagram: www.instagram.com/authoramandawen
Website: www.amandawen.com