Saturday, September 22, 2018

Falling for Books: The Introduction


Dear Blog Readers,


Starting tomorrow (Sept. 23) the Fall Season will arrive in the United States! 

It's time for sweet potato or pumpkin pie, caramel apple cider, pumpkin spice lattes (though I've never had one, my friends with a Starbucks habit look forward to it every year) and plenty of beautiful backgrounds for photography opportunities if you live in an area where the tree leaves change into vibrant colors of red, orange and yellow! I love the Autumn/Fall season weather because of its sunny days, cool breezes, crisp air, and perfection everywhere!

In celebration of this delightful season, I'm starting a new series on my blog for Fall 2018. The series is called "Falling for Books" and it's going to be AWESOME!  

Every Sunday in Fall 2018 (from Sept. 23 to Dec. 16), you'll find a new author who's visiting to talk about their book in a variety of special features that include author interviews, character interviews, devotionals based on their book, personal essays about the fall season and how it ties into their book's message or theme, book reviews and story excerpts!

By now you must know that Contemporary Romance is my favorite genre to promote on my blog but there's also room this Fall season for historicals, romantic suspense and women's fiction stories to be featured here on my blog. You should also know that the authors who visit my blog love to give away free copies of the books that we feature here! Yes, book giveaway contests are a part of this "Falling for Books" series. Happiness for your heart, right? 

So grab your favorite fall beverage, go to your favorite reading nook and soak in these fun features on my blog!

Love,

Alexis
Founder of God is Love (blog)

Friday, September 21, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Changes


He’s the same yesterday, today and forever!
A devotional by Susan Lindstrom


“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” 
–Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

Changes…

They’re inevitable.

Seasons, births, deaths, employment, plans…

Changes have occurred all over my state of Wisconsin this summer from severe thunderstorms and more than we needed rain. Rivers swelled and spilled over, flooding homes, closing roads, bridges and hillsides washed away. The end of August brought over 16 tornadoes that ravaged the land altering the landscape of our beautiful state!

My yard is waterlogged and our pipes are full again, but we fared better than many as we only had one big old tree split in half and fall out in the middle of the yard. So thankful it wasn’t near our house! It changed the layout of our lawn but it’s okay, it will be a great spot for the burning pit we’ve wanted for years.

Friends of ours didn’t fare so well, they were traveling hundreds of miles from home and parked in a friend’s driveway then a tree fell smashing their car. That changed their plans for sure.

The coming of Labor Day signals change; the coming of glorious fall, time to start Christmas shopping (I like to get it done early), back to school, off to college or like our family, to school for the first time and yes there were tears in both moms and kiddos.

The biggest change in our lives though is the recent loss of my mother-in-law, a loving member of our family. It’s just been a month so it’s still heartache fresh. Especially for my husband as he experienced his first birthday ever without his sweet mama singing happy birthday to him.

It’s one of the more difficult changes.

I think we often fear change because we don’t feel in control. But what if we trusted in Our Loving Heavenly Father and allowed the change to grow us, trusting that He’s in control of the change?


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

We can take great comfort in knowing that God is the one constant, the only thing in our lives that never, ever changes as Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

I say Amen to that!

I saw this on Facebook last year, it was posted from an old newspaper clipping so I don’t know who to give credit, but I like how it talks of change…

GOD SAID NO!

I asked God to take away my bad habit,
He said no.
It’s not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole,
He said no.
His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience,
He said no.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations, it isn’t granted, it’s learned.

I asked God to give me happiness,
He said no.
I give you blessings, happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain,
He said no.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow,
He said no.
You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I may enjoy life,
He said no.
I give you life that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me love others as much as He loves me,
God said Ahhhh, finally you get the idea.


“Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love.”
—1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)

~*~
Author Bio:
Susan Lindstrom is NOT an award-winning writer yet unless you count that ‘best story’ award in third grade but stay tuned to see what God has planned!

Writing has always been a passion but raising a family, running her sewing and design business, involvement in Women’s Ministry and teaching Sunday School kept her plenty busy.

Now a retired empty-nester, she trusts in God’s amazing timing and has jumped in to embrace this new adventure of writing.

Her first book, Emmie Jane and the Yellow Fuzz, is for children and is now available for purchase on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. It's the first in a series of real-life adventures focusing on the Fruit of the Spirit.

Susan grew up on both the East and West coasts and now calls the beautiful state of Wisconsin home. She is a wife, mom, and grandma to 10 children.

She enjoys a wide variety of music, loves live performance and believes that laughter is the best medicine.

When she is not indoors writing, reading or pretending to clean the house, she’s outdoors enjoying the beauty of God’s Creation.

Susan is a proud member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

~*~
Connect with Susan:
Website - www.susanlindstrombooks.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/susanlindstrombooks/

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Storms


Storms

A devotional by Paula Moldenhauer

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.” 
~Psalm 107:28–31 (NIV)

Sometimes storms come with angry fury. Wind-whipped tree branches are forced to the ground, majestic bows bending; beautiful leaves shredded and flung into the sky. Hail pelts, bruising flowers and crushing tender plants. Living, breathing creatures cower wherever shelter is found. Trembling, they seek safety.

Other storm systems are quieter but no less incessant. Snow falls for hours; hours stretch to days. Gray-white clouds hide the sun, the stars. The storm is relentless, but silent, ever falling, covering the world beneath, burying any sign of life. Sometimes its weight presses upon barren limbs, piling upon them until the strong trees crack underneath the cold, white mound. And the living huddle anywhere warmth can be found. They eye their reserves, hoping they have enough to outlast the ever falling, quietly swirling powder.

The storms in our life have different names: Illness, relationships, finances, grief, wounds, overwhelming busyness . . . the list goes on. Sometimes they attack with a fury that leaves us trembling and breathless. Other times they linger indefinitely, demanding fortitude and perseverance beyond our comprehension.

But always storms make us cry for a safe place.

The Bible tells about a time Paul, traveling by ship, faced a wind of typhoon strength. “The terrible storm raged unabated for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone.” –Acts 27:20 (NLT)

The storm was frightening, and it was long. The sailors gave up on their lives. But God sent an angel to Paul to tell him not to be afraid—that God’s plans for him required his life be spared.

Paul also faced a long, silent storm. He called it his thorn in the flesh and asked three times that God take it away. But God didn’t. He simply told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9a, NKJV).

These stories remind me of something I heard from Max Lucado. He said everything that comes our way is first sifted through the Lord’s hands—and that we should submit to God’s Lordship in our life, even in the storms.

At one level I understand this—even feel protected by it. But when something really hurts, I feel I’ve gotten the raw end of the deal.

Why does He allow such pain?

In the long run, I always come back to the same truth. Though I don’t understand why bad stuff happens, I don’t want to walk through a gale force wind without my Father. I can question His love and His wisdom or embrace the truth: God is love. God is wisdom.

God has our eternal good in mind at all times. His love is ever present, always available and abounding to us. He is there when we cry out to Him.

Sometimes our God rescues us from the storm. I’m comforted by Psalm 107:28 (CEV): “You were in serious trouble, but you prayed to the Lord, and he rescued you.

He made the storm stop and the sea be quiet. You were happy because of this, and he brought you to the port where you wanted to go.”

Other times the storm continues, unabated, and He whispers, as He did to Paul, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” ~2 Corinthians 12:9a (CEV). No matter how hard a storm rages or how long it lasts, our Safe Place is always the same: the Father’s arms. Snuggled there our heart is at rest.

My Prayer: Precious Jesus, when it fits Your perfect plan, I ask that You still the storm. When in Your wisdom You allow a storm, focus my mind and emotions on your sufficient grace. Give me new understanding to see and respond to my situation from Your perspective. Empower me to rest in Your arms and to live in Your peace that passes understanding.

~*~
Author Bio:
Author, speaker, and mom of four, Paula Moldenhauer encourages others to live free to flourish. She shares this message when speaking at women’s events, and it permeates her written work. 

Paula has published over 300 times in non-fiction markets and has a devotional book series, Soul Scents. Her first published novella was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards, and she now has six published works of fiction

Paula and her husband, Jerry, are adjusting to a sometimes-empty nest in Colorado. Today’s devotion was adapted from her devotional book, Soul Scents: Rooted

Visit her at www.paulamoldenhauer.com and sign up for her newsletter to get a weekly Flourishing Moments and periodic updates on free days for her books. For daily Flourishing Moments “like” Paula’s author/speaker page

Join Paula in Denver at the Whole and Free Women’s Conference September 28 and September 29. Register here (by Sept. 27)!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Strongholds


Pulling down Strongholds

A devotional by Nanci Rubin

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
–2 Cor. 10:4-5 (KJV)

The above Scripture speaks of THOUGHTS!

These thoughts are STRONGHOLDS! 

They produce IMAGINATIONS!

Then come fear and torment, sickness and defeat!

The battlefield is the THOUGHT LIFE. 

The Christian is the enemy of Satan. The devil wants to defeat us by deception. He wants to keep us from the truth, for he knows that the Truth will set us free.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times the enemy has lied to me, and I bet he’s lied to you also. The biggies are, “You’re no good.” “You are not saved.” “You’re not going to make Heaven.” “Your children are going to hell.” “No one appreciates you.” “Your husband doesn’t love you anymore.” “You have cancer.”

These thoughts bring fear. Thousands of lies are offered to your mind. When you accept them as your own, you begin to say with your mouth what the enemy has said to your mind. We have to bring every thought into the captivity of Christ. We must remember that life and death are in the power of the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21)

When you repeat out loud, the lies Satan gives you in thoughts, you become fearful and live in torment. You are defeated before you even begin. Self-confidence is eroded, and an apathetic persona robs you of your energy. You feel trapped and unable to escape. A lie seeded in your mind.

Accept God’s thoughts and promises and repeat them out loud in faith. It brings peace to your heart. My dear mother used to take index cards and write scripture on each one and posted them on her refrigerator. Every morning she read them out loud. She placed God’s word in her mind, not what our enemy would like for us to confess. Hold up your Bible and look at it. Contained therein are the thoughts of God! Live in the pages. Replace every thought the enemy gives you with one of God’s thoughts. For every lie, the enemy whispers you must stand tall and counter it with the Word of God. When you do, he will have to flee.

“Submit yourselves therefore, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
–James 4:7 (KJV)

There is supernatural power in God’s Word. I was put to the test several years ago when I stayed with my brother after his surgery. I knew in my spirit my brother was waging a war, and if I didn’t stand in the gap right then he would die. I prayed all night, walked the floor and quoted every scripture I knew over and over. I felt such power from God’s Word. I knew in the spiritual realm my voice was heard. I was living John 7:38 (KJV), “He that believeth in me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” I could feel living water rise within as I interceded for my brother.

Remember the battleground is in the mind, and the devil desires to infuse your thought life with his lies. Lies to beat you down, give you fear and doubt. He has perfected his subtle ways through eons of time. You see, his primary approach is to attack our minds. He wants us to accept and act upon it.

“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and defile the man.” –Matthew 15:18 (KJV)

God was very specific when he stated in scripture for us to guard our hearts, being careful about what we see and hear and speak. We can’t allow our senses to become garbage receptacles and dump just anything in there.

You can alter your condition and atmosphere by changing your thought life. Concentrate on God’s great unchanging promises. You cannot sow seed thoughts of sickness and live in an atmosphere of health. You have to see yourself as a conqueror before you have the victory. Take baby steps. Find the scriptures that surround your area of need. Meditate on them and trust God. 

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7a (KJV)

Calvary made a way. The Blood of Jesus is the key to every issue we have in life. See yourself as an overcomer. If you do, you’ll have victory over every circumstance. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we want but allowing our Savior access and seeking him first will guarantee peaceful resolve. 

Be alert to your enemy and don’t let your guard down. 

Stay prayed up, suited up and ready for a battle. 

~*~
Author Bio:
Nanci writes Inspy Amish romance. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two fur kids, Romeo and Juliet, rescue cats. She is working on her debut novel, Plain Justice.

She retired earlier than planned from nursing to care for her mother, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Her mom passed last year at the age of ninety-nine and Nanci has delved more into her writing.

She is active in an intercessory prayer ministry in her church, belongs to The Woman’s Club, a service-oriented volunteer organization dedicated to the welfare and enrichment of the community and volunteers two days a week at the Mary Washington Museum.

Currently, she's enrolled in Rhema Bible College’s correspondence Bible studies. She belongs to ACFW and RWA. When she’s not working, reading or writing she’s hiking with her husband at Shenandoah National Park.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Summer Stories: A Home for Fritz


Character Interview with Brooke Cantrell of A Home for Fritz:

Alexis: Thanks for visiting my blog today, Brooke! How have your childhood memories of loss affected your outlook on life?

Brooke: Thanks for inviting me to your blog today, Alexis. I'm always glad to talk about my life in hopes I can encourage someone else. Since I lost my mother as a child and my dad as a teen, I think I missed out on having the security and love a family can offer. Though I hate to admit it, I wanted to live in a fairytale world and pretend to be someone else when I visited Sunlight Peaks Guest Ranch, if only for nine days. That desire trumped my sense of right and wrong. I'm afraid I lied about who I really was.

Alexis: Would you say that your author June Foster gave you a Cinderella-style story? Why or why not?

Brooke: My daddy used to read that story to me every night when I was a child. At first, I thought I would feel like Cinderella when I went to the ranch, but I soon found out I was wrong. Lying is never right, and I believe people will always be caught in their lies. At least that's what happened to me. Since I'm a Christian, I think the Lord convicted me right from the first.

Alexis: Why did you want to pretend to be Regina’s sister, part of a wealthy family?

Brooke: This is hard to talk about, and I'm a little embarrassed. Since I went to work for the Radcliffe's, I've cleaned the downstairs of their mansion six days a week. I've catered to Regina and seen how she lives. Hair appointments, shopping excursions, fancy spas, vacations. To be honest, I was envious of her and thought that if I could just be her "sister" for a week or so, I would get a taste of her life.

Alexis: How did your charade as a wealthy woman affect your relationship with Garrett?

Brooke: I never thought I'd meet a guy like Garrett—a man who loves God and also has a precious golden doodle. Each time I lied to him, conviction felt like battery acid in my stomach. I believed that if he ever found out who I really am, he wouldn't want anything to do with me. All in all, my falsehood stood between us.


Alexis: What was the most difficult part of keeping this secret from Garrett?

Brooke: I cringed every time I realized I was deceiving him. My feelings for him grew and my conscience pricked me for misrepresenting myself.

Alexis: When you first met Garrett, what did you like about him? Why?

Brooke: Well, if you must know, I thought he was the best looking guy I'd ever met. Besides he was a wrangler on a dude ranch, and he owned an adorable dog. Later, I realized there was more to his character than I first observed.

Alexis: Is there anything that you do not like about Garrett? Explain.

Brooke: One day when we chatted by the corral, Garrett got a phone call and said something I didn't understand. He said, "Yes, this is Andrew." At first, I didn't think anything about it then later I discovered some information in Garrett's college yearbook that made me suspicious he wasn't telling me everything about himself. But then, I was doing the same.

Alexis: Tell me about your family background. Were you always poor?

Brooke: Yes. My dad owned a bakery when I was a child and a teen. He worked hard but didn't see the profits he'd hoped. I never went hungry, though, and I even had a golden doddle, too. I guess that's one reason why I love Garrett's dog so much.

Alexis: How did your upbringing and struggles help you decide what you wanted for your own future as an adult?

Brooke: I always wanted to own a bakery like my dad—to walk in his footsteps and carry on his memory. But I never had the funds to get started.

Alexis: You’re a city girl. How would you describe your experience in the country?

Brooke: It was crazy. I went on a cattle drive to the Big Horns with several guests and the wranglers. Each summer, they to take cattle up into the mountains to pasture. Unfortunately, I'm not an expert rider and fell off my horse. But it really wasn't all my fault. I loved the wide open spaces and fresh air. I could turn into a country girl really quick.

Alexis: What was your most memorable experience with Garrett? Why?

Brooke: Is my face red right now? Okay, since you asked, I'll tell you. Garrett and I took a four-wheeler up into the mountains, and it broke down right before a fierce thunder storm. We had to take shelter in a cave and—he kissed me right when the rain was pouring down and thunder booming. But I felt safe cuddled up to him in the dry cave.

Alexis: Would you say that you’ve fallen in love with Garrett? Why or why not?

Brooke: Yes, I have—despite our secrets from each other. He's considerate, protective of me, and he's a mighty good kisser. Best of all, he's a Godly Christian man.

Alexis: What role did Fritz (the dog) play in bonding you with Garrett?

Brooke: From the beginning, Garrett and I bonded because I have a special place in my heart for golden doodles. Before I met Garrett, I discovered Fritz in the forest close to the ranch. I heard his cries and rushed toward him. His paw was caught in a coyote trap then about that time, Garrett showed up. I comforted Fritz as we drove him to the vet. Then Fritz did something very special at the end of the story, but I can't tell you what it is.

Alexis: If you could change anything about your story, what would it be? Why?

Brooke: I don't think I would've lied about who I am. If Garrett didn't accept me for who I really am, then I didn't need to be his friend.

Alexis: What life lessons did you learn in this story? Explain.

Brooke: To not be ashamed of who I am. And most importantly, I am valuable in God's eyes and that's all that matters.

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

Brooke: I want to thank you for these excellent questions. I hope your readers will enjoy reading A Home For Fritz.

~*~
Author Bio:
June Foster is an award-winning author who began her writing career in an RV roaming around the USA with her husband, Joe. 

She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her contemporary romances. 

June's characters find themselves in precarious circumstances where only God can offer redemption and ultimately freedom.

~*~
Book Blurb about A Home for Fritz:

All Brooke Cantrell wants is two weeks to live Brooke Radcliff's life. But the one person who knows the truth resides in the room next to hers at Sunlight Peaks Guest Ranch. When Brooke falls in love with the handsome wrangler who works on the ranch, will her employer's daughter tell him the truth Brooke hides?



Garrett Bowman has finally found peace under Wyoming skies at Sunrise Peaks Guest Ranch. Never again will he return to the demanding corporate life in Seattle, Washington. But will the guests recognize him from the incriminating newspaper and magazine articles eighteen months ago?

When Garrett's dog, Fritz, is in grave danger, an intriguing guest helps Garrett get his golden doodle to the vet. As Fritz heals, he whines and begs until he can lay his head in Brooke Radcliff's comfortable lap. Fritz has fallen in love, but so has Garrett.

If Garrett discovers Brook's secret, will he walk away from her?

If Brooke learns Garrett's true identify, will she turn from him like all the others?

~*~
Buy A Home for Fritz on Amazon

~*~
Connect with June:
Website - https://junefoster.com
Twitter - https://twitter.com/vjifoster/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/authorjunefoster/

~*~
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: 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 14, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: How to be battle ready wearing the armor of God


The Armor of God
A devotional by Sara L. Foust

Summer is coming to a close, and I can’t say I’m disappointed. Fall is my favorite time of year! I love the cooler weather, the colors of fall leaves, the sounds of the leaves touching gently to the earth, and, most of all, our family’s outdoor time. We plan camping trips, day trips to Cades Cove, and hikes and picnics as much as we can to soak in the beautiful East Tennessee autumn.

But that’s not the only reason I’m relieved to see summer ending. This summer has not been an easy one here. Where I usually look forward to the school break and sleeping in late, it has been some of the most stressful months I can remember. I think I thought that once I went on the mission trip God called me to in May, the devil would back off and leave us alone for a while. Oh, how wrong I was! He has ramped up his efforts, attacking every aspect of our life. My children’s behavior, my marriage, my time, my rest, my body, my sanity. Everything. I have been in one of the most intense battles of my life for months now. And I am exhausted.

Years ago, a dear friend of mine told me each morning before she gets out of bed she prays to put on the full armor of God. It was such good advice, and I don’t know why it has taken me so long to follow it. I had lots of excuses: I can’t remember the scripture or all the parts of the armor. I keep forgetting to type it up, and where would I put it that my kids wouldn’t tear down? I’m doing okay, I am managing so it’s not a necessity . . . and so on.

A couple of days ago, I finally put aside those excuses and typed out Ephesians 6:10-20 and hung it on my wall. When I wake up in the morning, I read the verses and pray each item of armor onto my spiritual body, especially focusing on the helmet of salvation to keep the enemy out of my mind and from affecting my thoughts (that’s where he gets to me most easily). It is making such a huge difference in my daily walk. Yes, life is still loud and crazy. No, I still can’t say that we have a precise schedule we follow. Yes, I’m still so tired I fall into bed at night and pass out. But I can feel a hedge of protection around my mind and heart and around our home. I’m tired of being on the offense. I’m ready to fight back. And the armor of God, with the Word as my sword, is my weapon.

If you'd like to receive the print-out that I created and talked about in today’s post, contact me and I can send you the direct file by email.


Meanwhile, enjoy reading Ephesians 6:10-20 (KJV) here:

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God:

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

For which I am an ambassador in bonds; that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 


Note from Sara: I encourage you to pray the armor of God onto your spiritual bodies each morning too and watch as God works in your life. 

~*~
Author Bio:

Sara writes Inspirational Romantic Suspense from a mini-farm in East Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and their five homeschooled children.

She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Tennessee Mountain Writers.

Her debut novel Callum's Compass won second place in Deep River Books' 2017 Writer's Contest. She also has a story, “Leap of Faith,” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. Sara finds inspiration in her faith, her family, and the beauty of nature.

When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, camping, and spending time outdoors with her family. To learn more about her and her work or to become a part of her email friend’s group, please visit www.saralfoust.com
.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: When your heart is heavy and you cannot pray


Sighs, groans, and prayers
A devotional by Melissa Henderson

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness: for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” – Romans 8:26 (NRSV)

The words wouldn’t come. My heart was heavy. My body was exhausted from worry for a family member who had been making terrible life decisions. I had taken matters into my own hands thinking I could “fix” everything. I had not prayed to ask for help. Why did I not go to God first?

Praying doesn’t mean everything will turn out the way I want things to be. Praying gives me a relationship with God. He knows my thoughts before I think or speak.

Yet, years ago, I held on to my thinking of how life would be different for my family member if only I could help. Offering to go along on doctor visits, to cook special meals, to take the person on outings every week and much more.

If only these offers would make the person happy and find a way out of the dangerous decisions they were making. If only… I could fix this problem and make them feel better. I truly wanted to help.

Worry and anxiety consumed my days and nights. Just thinking about the wrong decisions the person was making made me physically ill. Knowing the potential of this wonderful family member brought tears more than once or twice. Watching them take a downward spiral broke my heart.

Why won’t they listen? Why do they repeat bad behavior over and over, not only hurting themselves but hurting the people around them? Why? Questions came over and over. Yet, I had not gone to God during those moments.

Oh, I may have complained and shown a less than friendly attitude when talking with God about the situation. I’ll admit that. My questions continued to be “Why is this happening? Why are You letting this happen?” Why? Why? Why?

Instead of surrendering to Him and placing the burden at His feet, I tried to carry the burden alone.

After a period of time passed, with my body weak from stress, worry, and sadness, I finally surrendered the situation to the Father.

On my knees, I asked for His forgiveness for not coming to Him sooner. I thanked Him for the love He provides freely each and every moment. I didn’t have special words. I spoke from my heart. I did not have a beautiful, thought out prayer. My prayer began with groans and sighs “too deep for words”.

And He found me, in my despair. He lifted me up. As I gave the situation to Him, my burden lightened and peace was found.

Shortly after that surrender, life began to change in a wonderful way for my family member. I know God was listening and He answered prayers in His way and in His time. God reminded me to take burdens to Him. He will handle the outcome.

Blessings,
Melissa Henderson

~*~
Author Bio:
Melissa Henderson and her husband Alan live in South Carolina.

Married for over 38 years, they have one son (Mike) who is married to daughter-in-love (Christine) and now are blessed by a precious grandson (Rowan).

Melissa was taught the love of reading and writing at an early age from her parents. She is now working on her first inspirational fiction novel.

Her passions are volunteering, Bible Studies and reading and writing. Connect with Melissa online, https://mimionlife.wordpress.com.