Categories
anxiety

Update for You!

FINALLY! I have time and energy to update you all on my life.

Well, as of about four weeks ago, I started a position at an online marketing company. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know that I’m working from home and having the time of my life. I can officially say, after years of praying, waiting, and hustling, that I’m a full-time freelance writer and editor!

Guess what I’m doing? Writing longform content for websites!

Yep, that’s right. I’m writing blog posts.

All day.

Every day.

So that’s why my personal blog posts have been lacking.

For those of you who don’t know, longform content is writing more than 2000 words on a website’s page. I have only explored the tip of the iceberg that is longform content, but what I’ve discovered so far is that longform content helps you rank better on Google. That’s why you see those long articles before a recipe for baked zucchini chips. OK, we get that your family loves them and that you and your husband took a trip to Italy to taste delicious zucchini. But there’s a reason why Google put that recipe on its first page for “recipe for baked zucchini chips.”

My desire to write to you all has been here the entire time. I’ve wanted to update you on my third wedding anniversary as well as on how God has been teaching me more about anxiety. So, as of now, here is my plan:

  • Write a blog post once a month.
  • I want to hear from you! Please reach out to me regarding what topics you want to read. I’ll also be sharing a survey soon.
  • I’m going to be doing some short stories to get you all excited for my book. I’m working on a lot of books, but before I released one, I wanted you to get accustomed to how I write and to my genre. So, tell me, do you like short stories?

My job as a freelance writer and editor (full-time!) is ultimately growing me as a writer. For now, my priorities are in a different spot, but it’s exciting.

One of these days, I’m going to get back into my routine. But between writing a novel, writing at least 10,000 words a week for businesses, and having a life, blog writing will take some time.

Until then, tune in next week for my Marriage Monday post about how leather perfectly describes my marriage!


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Categories
Books

Book Review: I Am Redeemed

This post was #sponsoredbyfaithwords. I was not required to give a positive review, so my review is my honest take on the book I Am Redeemed: Learning to Live in Grace by Mike Weaver.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity from Faithwords to read this book for free! I’ve enjoyed the other books that they’ve recommended to me as well, such as Pull it Off by Julianna Zobrist, Get Weird by CJ CasciottaYou Are Enough by Mandy HaleBeyond Blessed: God’s Perfect Plan for No Financial Stress by Robert MorrisDead Sea Rising by Jerry B. Jenkins, and the God Made Me series by Hannah C. Hall.

“…Story is the language of the human heart. That’s why movies and other kinds of media have such an impact on us. They can climb over or around or under some of the walls we put up so that we can receive a message” (186).

Mike Weaver of Big Daddy Weave, in collaboration with Jim Scherer, shares his story of discovering redemption in Christ.The first song I’ve ever heard from Big Daddy Weave was the song “The Only Name (Yours Will Be),” which goes, “When I wake up in the land of glory/ with the saints, I will tell my story/ there will be one name that I’ll proclaim.” Throughout every page of this book, I see that this song is true for Weaver’s life. All I can see is Jesus written in every word.

Although the book is about the story behind the song “I Am Redeemed,” Weaver includes the story of how he became interested in music in the first place and how the band started, along with his struggles and insecurities and the trials that his family has faced. You’re going to have to read the story yourself, but it is a story that has resonated with me and has inspired me on my own journey.

Truthfully, I could not put the book down until the last page. When I told my husband I had finished the book, he said, “Wow, that was fast!” I know! That night, I was falling asleep reading it. I would have rather found out what happened next than have gone to bed!

I was already a fan of Big Daddy Weave, but now, I feel connected to the band in a whole new way. How God speaks to Mike is similar to how He speaks to me: in pictures and in conversation. So when he talks about his conversations with God, I can totally imagine and understand what that looks like.

Unexpectedly, Mike’s story about his weight loss journey resonated the most with me. Believe it or not, that was my takeaway from this book. For the past couple of years, I’ve struggled with weight loss, more than I ever have before. I’ve been taking care of myself since January, and seeing tremendous results, but ever since reaching my goal weight, I haven’t been eating as well as I should have. Mike’s journey reminds me to celebrate the process and keep going! Since finishing the book, I have decided to detox from sugar and dairy products for this week, and I’m trying out a new workout program.

In addition to that interesting piece of inspiration, I also enjoyed all the people that are sprinkled within the book. If I Am Redeemed was a movie, we’d have cameos from Toby Mac, Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, Caedmon’s Call, Zach Williams, Kari Jobe, and many more. He talks about them as if they were just ordinary people (as in, not famous) when he first met them. We all start at the beginning, and it was so cool to see how God used all of these people in Mike’s life to grow him and his faith.

I Am Redeemed: Learning to Live in Grace seems to have been written in a style that anyone can understand, but I think Christian readers would get more out of it. The book was a good message, that it’s not enough to know about Jesus. We have to have a relationship with Him, and surrender our whole lives to Him. That is how He truly redeems us.

“When I think about painful memories,” Weaver writes, “it no longer hurts to talk about them because they are not the same memories. The Lord changed each memory by showing me where He was in it. He showed me a new and right reality of what hat been there all along. I was just seeing it for the first time” (197).

You can order your own copy of I Am Redeemed here on the FaithWords website. Let me know what you think of it!


Picture taken from the FaithWords website

Categories
Books

A Review of the Dystopian Novels in My Bookshelf

The novel I’m writing has taken an interesting turn. I went to ReNEW again this year, and I met with a literary agent, who read the first six pages of my book and gave me feedback. My takeaway from meeting with him was that my writing style is great, but that my book lacked direction. He asked me what genre it was, and honestly, I had no idea. It was sort of contemporary fiction, but there was a king involved, so was it fantasy?

When I got home from the retreat, I thought more about the direction of my novel. Experts suggest that to improve your writing, you should read. I acquired a free trial of Kindle Unlimited and decided to read whatever Amazon suggested to me.

The #1 book on my Kindle Unlimited suggestion list was A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. After reading it, I wondered why Amazon thought I was twisted enough to enjoy this story! Professors and the like have advertised this book to me as a Christian society gone wrong. However, it was not a Christian book at all. Atwood’s society uses the Bible to manipulate people, but I do not believe the government is Christian. They are so far removed from God that Offred doesn’t even know how to pray! Although it was not my favorite story, this tale encouraged me to explore the idea of what it would be like for God to actually be in this story. In a dystopian society, God is often removed, so is it possible for a dystopian society to exist if God is in control and He is going to redeem us before all of that happens?

While on Goodreads, I searched “Christian dystopian” to find an answer to my question. There’s not much of it out there, but after doing some research and asking my bookworm friends, there definitely is a hunger for it. One book from that genre was Counted Worthy by Leah E. Good. I was able to see the opposite of what I struggled with: The story was captivating in and of itself, but she does silly things like explain her jokes and include a preachy character (preachy characters are the ultimate downfall of Christian fiction). Reading this book confirmed that this genre would be a challenge, but it would be fun and appropriate for me to write.

After reading A Handmaid’s Tale and Counted Worthy, I realized that the only book that I enjoyed reading in high school was 1984 by George Orwell. I still had my copy from when I had read it in high school. Through this book, I thought again about what would happen if Winston was a Christian. I’m actually exploring the scene in Room 101 for my main character, who is a Christian and has just been charged by God to stand up for the truth no matter what. Would she still stand if they tortured her with her worst fear or her deepest grief? 1984 also taught me that a dystopia looks different for every generation. For the people who would have read 1984, which was written during World War II, a dystopian society looked a lot like socialism. For the people who would have read A Handmaid’s Tale, which was written in the 1980s, a dystopian society looked like women losing the rights they just fought for in the Feminist movement of the 1960s. What type of dystopian society would scare the masses today?

An obvious dystopian fiction series that I would read next was The Hunger Games. I learned a lot from this series about the structure that I’m supposed to use in the dystopian fiction genre, and how to craft a society that is purely evil but thinks everything is okay. I love how The Hunger Games ends, but the rest of the books sort of fall apart. Even though I didn’t enjoy the other two books in the series, I learned not to cut corners when writing dystopian fiction. You have to have a strong plot, and you have to carry it through until the end. You have to write what makes sense given the situation. Spoiler alert: They do not need to have a happy ending, and as a matter of fact, most of the time, they don’t.

I’m currently reading a novel that I consider Christian dystopian but is actually more SciFi because it involves human cyborgs and nanotechnology. I cannot wait to write about it next week! But until then, please send me recommendations so that I can continue to improve my craft. On my “to-read” list is the Divergent series, Brave New WorldAnimal Farm, and the Left Behind series.

Do you enjoy dystopian fiction? Why or why not? What is your favorite dystopian novel and why?


Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Categories
Books

Beyond Blessed: Give Your Budget a Heart Check

This post was #sponsoredbyfaithwords. I was not required to give a positive review, so my review is my honest take on the book Beyond Blessed: God’s Perfect Plan for No Financial Stress by Robert Morris.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity from Faithwords to read this book for free! I’ve enjoyed the other books that they’ve recommended to me as well, such as Pull it Off by Julianna Zobrist, Get Weird by CJ Casciotta, and You Are Enough by Mandy Hale.

Out of all the books I could have picked to review, I picked this one because it included a foreword from Dave Ramsey. My husband and I have followed Dave Ramsey’s financial advice since about a month before we got married. Because of his teaching, we’re debt free, and we’re making excellent progress saving for a down payment for our future house. Any book recommended by Dave Ramsey is a book for me!

Since I got the book before it was released, Dave Ramsey’s foreword wasn’t in it. However, I did enjoy reading the introduction from Robert Morris, founding senior pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas-Forth Worth. Beyond Blessed is a follow-up to Pastor Morris’ book The Blessed Life. Honestly, it was so refreshing to read a book from a megachurch pastor who didn’t preach the prosperity gospel. I’ve seen so many pastors pray over their wallets and ask for a donation to make their big church even bigger. Instead, Pastor Morris writes about his journey from humble beginnings to a church of over 39,000 active members.

God certainly has blessed Pastor Morris with an ability to teach us about our finances while also reminding us of our identity in Christ. He starts each chapter off with a word-picture, a parable, to introduce the topic. In each chapter, he debunks the myths of what the world says and what we’ve even been taught in church about money. While we all strive to be rich, he writes, “The rich are more likely to be on antidepressants or antianxiety medications than average working-class folks. Millionaires and billionaires commit suicide with shocking regularity” (15).

Pastor Morris spends the beginning of the book laying down the foundation of what it means to steward God’s money well. God owns everything, but He has entrusted His people with resources to be a part of His Kingdom. “Your little enterprise is an important part of a much larger conglomerate” (79). God has given us all responsibility over the resources, people, time, and energy with which He has blessed us. With this mindset, there is no comparison and no ownership.

While Dave Ramsey talks more about the financial aspect of money than the spiritual (although his teaching is biblical), Pastor Morris’ book truly digs deep into what the Bible says about how we should take care of our money. Using charismatic language that I personally agree with, he even discusses the demonic spirits that try to entice us to worship money rather than God. His teaching opened my eyes to what the Scriptures say about money, and how my perspective on money needs to change.

My favorite quote of the book, and a good summary of the book, is how Pastor Morris explains the gospel: “You see, contrary to what many would have us believe, the gospel is not a poverty gospel. Nor is it, as some preachers and teachers would have us think, a prosperity gospel. No, the good news of life in Jesus Christ is a provision gospel” (63). Praise God that He gives us enough. We don’t have to be rich or poor; we just have to have enough.

I recommend this book to anyone who has even a dollar to his/her name. Although I’ve written notes in it, I’m giving it to my husband so that we can talk about it and do a heart check about our finances. Beyond Blessed will be available on January 8, 2019. You can pre-order the book and also be entered to win a free copy here.

Categories
Books

All the Feels of “Redeeming Love”

*WARNING: If you have PTSD due to sexual abuse, this post may be difficult for you to read. Proceed with caution.

If, for some reason, your emotions have been on the fritz, try reading Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It’s not like I have any trouble tapping into my emotions, but after reading this book, I’m pretty sure I’ve managed to feel every single emotion that the human heart could fathom.

Although this book was published in 1997, several people recommended this book to me because they know I’m writing Christian fiction. Each one of them told me it was a “good” book. Good? You all tricked me! It was exceptionally wonderful and altogether awful wrapped in five-hundred pages of an emotional roller coaster. But yeah, I guess you can describe that as “good.”

Some people did warn me that it was heavy, and I thank you for that. I just about lost my cookies on page 185.

Redeeming Love tells the story of Sarah, who was later named Angel when she was sold into prostitution at the age of eight. She finds herself in California during the California Gold Rush about ten years later, as the highest-prized prostitute in the Pair-a-Dice brothel. Through her experience dealing with customers and horrible bosses, she learns that she has no worth except what she could give to men, and that men want nothing from her except for her body. All that would change when Michael Hosea walks into her life and makes her his wife.

Without spoiling too much, the book is an example of the book of Hosea from the Bible. In that story, Hosea marries a prostitute as a means to show the people of Israel God’s love for them. When I look at Redeeming Love in that light, my heart breaks. It forces me to examine my own sin and pride, and remember how many times I have run from God and how many times I probably will still run from Him. I couldn’t help but think while reading this book that my heart is not any softer than Angel’s is.

The key in this book is the relentless love of Michael, who seeks in every moment to demonstrate God’s love to his wife. Even when she runs away, even when she commits the worst sins against him and exposes her past sins to him, he does not give up. When it is difficult for him, he turns to God and begs Him for help. His example of redeeming love helps to heal her soul. It is also obvious that God’s love is compelling him to love her, so that Angel could see the love of God and put her faith in Him.

Whenever I read a book, I like to think of my overall takeaway. So far, in the last month, two books from decades ago have made their way into my lap. Why am I reading A Handmaid’s Tale when it was written in the ’80s? Why am I reading Redeeming Love when it was written in the late ’90s? Well, I truly believe that God is challenging me to look at how much we have (or haven’t) progressed. In the ’80s, some people believed that they were one step away from a dystopia. Do we still feel that way, and if so, what can we do to change that?

Redeeming Love reminds me not to give up on those I love, even when they push me away, even when they do everything imaginable to make me angry. It also reminds me to continue to support and pray for ministries that are rescuing men, women, and children from prostitution around the world. I believe we have come a long way to show women their true worth, but I also believe that we have a long way to go. May God reveal His redeeming love to us, and help us to share that love with those around us. Amen.

Categories
Books

“We are the Dreamers” – Book Review of “Get Weird”

#Sponsored by FaithWords

Once I saw the description of the author, which began with the words “Armed with the wit of a native New Yorker,” I knew this was going to be a fantastic book. As a native New Yorker, sarcasm is my native language! Nice to see a fellow New Yorker writing a book. He’s even from Long Island!

Faithwords describes the book this way: “CJ Casciotta will help you identify your God-given uniqueness and teach you how to use your individuality to impact the world.” As a society, we’ve been taught that weird is a bad thing. Casciotta actually challenges us to think about how often we use the word “weird.” When we say that word, it usually implies something is not easily explained. Even though for us we consider that a negative thing, according to Casciotta, being “weird” isn’t necessarily wrong.

The book serves as a challenge for those who are sick of living complacent lives. They are sick of the Same. As a matter of fact, Casciotta wants us to challenge the Same (which he capitalizes throughout the book). He wants us to pursue the Sacred Weird, the other-wordliness that humans were created to possess.

Get Weird is split into three parts, which go by different names in the book but are described as the following: “It’s OK to be weird,” “We need your weird,” and “Go be weird.” The first part of the book illustrates our individual need to express ourselves in our own creative weirdness. The second part demonstrates how society needs weird people, highlighting specific people who were weird and yet changed the world through it. The third part encourages the reader to make a difference in her own unique way, embracing her weird, and fulfilling God’s calling on her life.

The word “weird” grabbed my attention when I first looked at the cover. However, as I’m reading the book, there is still a connotation that “weird” invokes in my brain. It’s different, but it’s strange. It’s awkward. It doesn’t make me comfortable. As much as I don’t like those feelings, Casciotta claims that those feelings change the course of history. Martin Luther King rubbed people the wrong way with his talks of diversity and acceptance of other people. Mister Rogers was unlike his contemporaries who hit each other with pies on television. Even Jesus, the hero and foundation of our faith, refused to be like the culture in which he was raised, teaching His disciples to live holy lives, “other” lives. I don’t like the look, the smells, the taste that “weird” invokes, but the story that God is writing in all of us is that the people who are least expected to succeed will transform our cultures and lead us into victory.

While I read the book, I unexpectedly received some free parenting advice. Children have this innate desire to be creative. Their minds are forming, and their imagination takes them on wild rides on a minute-by-minute basis. There is no limit to what their minds can accomplish, because they haven’t been taught that their ideas are “weird” (the bad connotation of weird). My one take-away from this book is to encourage creativity in my future children and the children that I oversee in our church’s girls ministry.

There is a cute viral video of a two-year-old baking a cake with her mom. When I first watched the video, I had my skeptic thoughts, the most prominent being, “She’s making a mess!” But after I read this book, I watched the video again. As the little girl poured an two entire containers of sprinkles on a tiny cake, I realized that she was using her creativity. She wanted a cake with lots of sprinkles on it, so she made a mess to make that happen, but she did it. I applaud her mother for letting her do that, and I applaud any parent that encourages creativity in their children. We’re so afraid of children making messes that we squash their creativity in the process. I’m choosing now to allow my children and the girls entrusted to me to be freely creative and freely weird.

CJ Casciotta has a ton of resources on his website. You can also get his book, which will be released September 11th, on the FaithWords website.

Categories
Books

“You Don’t Have to Like it; You Just Need to Appreciate It”-Book Review of “Pull it Off”

#Sponsored by FaithWords

I read Pull it Off by Julianna Zobrist in approximately one day (give or take a couple of hours). I was hungry for what this book had to tell me. I mean, listen to the tagline: “Removing Your Fears and Putting on Confidence.” BAM! Who wouldn’t use a little extra dose of confidence in their lives? Here is how it is summed up by FaithWords: “Singer of the hit song ‘Shatterproof,’ Julianna Zobrist digs deep into her own life to reveal how we can maximize our true identities and lean into our unique gifts.” The cover design displays how fun and creative the author is, and how she has used her platform to speak a message that any woman who breathes in fear and breathes out Jesus needs to hear.

For those who don’t know, Julianna Zobrist is a writer, music artist, fashion muse, and social media influencer, among other things. She’s got this Color Kids thing going on that you should check out. You baseball fans might know her as Ben Zobrist’s wife. How does she pull it off? Julianna confesses that she gets this question a lot. She wears funky outfits, writes great music, shows up to her husband’s baseball games, and raises three kids. How does she pull it off? Well, she’s asking herself the same thing, because there are days when she didn’t feel like she was good enough. As you’ll see when you read this book, Zobrist has learned to put fear in the backseat and rely on God to provide her strength and confidence.

Throughout the pages of Pull it Off, you will find Julianna’s vulnerability and courage within every page. She doesn’t have it all figured out, but she wants to help you anyway. She doesn’t want to share her vulnerability, but she fights beyond her comfort zone to bring us a fantastic testimony. There’s even science and psychology in this book! I’m so excited!

The book is split into three parts that each address the root of our insecurities: authority, identity, and security. The underlying theme is challenging how we should think, feel, and behave. She attacks the shoulds of parenting, marriage, and being a woman. In a way, she exposes the false shoulds and replaces them with authentic shoulds, the shoulds that God says about us.

In a nutshell, I would summarize her story with this: Love my own style while appreciating others. We don’t have to conform. We don’t have to perform. All we need is to shine, because we are made in God’s image. There’s no better person to say that than a woman who wears outfits that contain every color of the rainbow! She has a style that works for her, and it’s awesome.

What she said about fashion and confidence actually hit me square in the face. I judge people all the time, and I want them to conform to my standards. On the other hand, I get upset when people judge how I dress or how I act. My takeaway from this book is to figure out what I love and learn to appreciate the style of others.

Typically, when I read a book, I usually forget most of what I read. I don’t know how Zobrist “pulled this off,” but having read the book yesterday, I can give you almost every detail of what I read. She did such a good job explaining the scientific stuff, and although it sounded repetitive at first, what she said is stuck in my brain. I’m thankful for the repetition. That will be helpful when I have to face my fears and live a confident life. Each moment we live is another opportunity to grow our courage just a little bit more.

I do not agree with everything I theologically in this book, but if you are looking for a book that isn’t preachy, I believe Zobrist did a good job of keeping it simple and easy to understand.

This book, published by FaithWords, will be on sale September 18th of this year. You can see it first on the FaithWords website.


*I put pink post-its in the book to remember parts of the book that I like, but look how nicely it matches the book?

Categories
Books

A Reminder of my Call

My husband gave me the book Called to Create by Jordan Raynor as an anniversary gift.  I heard about the book through a YouVersion Bible plan that the Call to Create team had written about C. S. Lewis.  This four-day devotional inspired me to want to read more about Christian creatives who were using their gifts to honor God.

As you all know, that is my ultimate goal: to write books/short stories in order to encourage others and to bring glory to God, especially through offering help for those who suffer from anxiety.  Throughout the years, God has shaped my vision for becoming a writer and for using my writing abilities for his glory.  This book was honestly the climax of that realization of my vision.  It was truly a confirmation that God was calling me to create.

The book is clearly for those who feel they are called to create.  Who has called us?  God, the First Entrepreneur, the First Creator (notice how the beginning of time began with creation!), has entrusted to us the ability to create.  As an entrepreneur himself of several successful businesses, Raynor also includes that creation is not just for those who are in the arts but for those who are also business owners who create businesses.  Because that is his forte, he tends to focus on entrepreneurship as a form of creating.

I learned from this book that creating for the Kingdom of God requires risk.  Some people give up their successful jobs to create new jobs from scratch.  When they trusted God, not only were they successful, but they were also fulfilled.  I need to trust God with my creation as well, with my book and with my ultimate career as a writer.  People may say that it’s impossible, or even unwise, but it is what I believe God has called me to do.  It’s one of those things where I don’t have the full picture yet, but I know God does, and He is leading me one step at a time.

I anticipated the book to be ten chapters about ten people who were called to create and did wonderful things through their creations for the glory of God.  The book instead is actually more like a research paper, which is good in some ways because it is not just Jordan Raynor talking about how great his business is or all the knowledge he has.  However, it was borderline plagiarism at some points when he used large block quotes that were about the size of the whole page.  Nevertheless, I did enjoy hearing the stories of people such as Corrie Ten Boom’s father (who had a watch shop), Truett Cathy (founder of Chick-Fil-A), and of course, C. S. Lewis and the Inklings.

Raynor does an incredible job of weaving the stories in and really bringing his ideas together.  I have heard that “anyone can write a book” but as a woman who has spent three years trying to write a book, it is not that easy!  Especially for people who are actually business owners; their full-time job is not writer!

The main point of the book is to recognize that full-time ministry for God does not necessarily have to involve missions work or being a pastor.  You can serve God in the secular world as well, whether it is through starting your own business, being an obedient employee, or creating works of art.  When God called me to dedicate my life to Him, I thought that meant that I had to be a missionary.  While I do love cultures and I do want to travel all over the world, I believe that God can use me to serve Him all over the world simply through writing an inspirational book.  And as I’ve seen, God has used my writing to speak to people all over the world.  I believe He will continue to do so.

I am now more encouraged than ever to write my novel for God, in hopes that people who struggle with anxiety will find new hope and peace in the midst of their suffering.  Keep me in prayer as I have just begun editing my book and creating a sense of structure from my free writing jumble.

If you are called to create, or if you have questions about what that looks like, I would definitely recommend getting this book.  You can find out more information on this website.

Creatives, let’s change the world through our writing, art, photography, and businesses for God’s glory!

Categories
Books Marriage

How to Pray for Your Husband

This is actually a book review for the book The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian.  This book was recommended to me by several people, especially those who saw me reading it.  I’ll admit that because of the high expectation that I had of the book based on the high praises I received about it, I did not find the book to match up to my expectations.  Overall, it had a lot of great ideas for how to pray for my husband, and it was formatted in a way that made it easy for me to plan my prayers.  But it sort of seemed like the author had her own way of dealing with her husband, in terms of how she presented herself and what pleased her husband, that she portrayed as necessary for all women to have to do.  All men are different, and while they might have similarities, they do not all have the same needs and there is no textbook answer of how to meet our husband’s needs.

Nevertheless,  I did learn some good points that I believe will strengthen my marriage and help me to be more strategic in my prayers.  One thing I learned is to “shut up and pray.”  I’ve learned from experience that when my husband is struggling with something, he gets upset at me if I tell him what to do.  He does not want me to belittle him; he wants me to trust him.  When I can’t trust him, I pray, because I can trust God to intervene.  Either God will change my husband’s mind, or He will soften my heart to the issue.  It is better to pray for my husband and to let God be the one to tell him what to do.  Instead of criticizing everything he does wrong, when I see him doing something I don’t like, I should let God speak.  What he is doing may be totally wrong, or it might be exactly what God wants him to do, but I have to let God make that decision, not me.

The book is formatted with information about an area of life to pray for your husband, an example prayer, and finally key verses that can help guide your own personal prayers.  The book contains thirty chapters of areas to pray for your husband, one for each day of the month.  The first chapter, the longest chapter, is a prayer for his wife.  That’s me.  We often want to change our spouses, but it turns out that God is stirring in our hearts the desire to change.  We might get frustrated that our husbands do things we don’t like, especially if they did not do those things when we were dating.  But maybe the problem is not with our husbands.  Maybe it’s our perception of what he is doing that is wrong.  We should pray for ourselves first, to have an attitude that reflects Christ and a submissive heart that encourages our husband and does not tear him down.  We should also be reading the Word of God and praying the Scriptures over our husbands.  God’s Word can help guide and direct our prayers.

I believe that the point of the book is to develop a discipline of spending time in prayer with the Lord.  When your first priority is your husband, you are not inclined to make time for God.  But when your husband starts to do things that annoy you or worry you, that’s when God starts to grab your attention.  That’s when you turn to Him again.  And you can try as hard as you want to make your husband change, but only God can do that.

After reading this book, my plan is to see what my husband struggles with and pray for something new each day.  If I have to confront my husband on something, I will bring it to the Lord first.  It may involve simply praying about it.  But, with the Lord’s guiding, it may also involve having a graceful conversation about the issue.

I pray for unity in your marriage, and for God to speak to your heart as you pray on behalf of your husband.  Whether you want to change your husband’s habits, or you genuinely care about his salvation and his obedience to the Lord, God hears you and He is able to answer your prayer in such  a perfect way.


Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

Categories
Book Update

My Blog’s Best of 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, I thought it would be fun to show how my blog has grown this year.  I’ve gained a lot of support and feedback over the year, and I’m excited at how God has used it to touch lives all over the world!

This year, people from thirty different countries have viewed my blog.  I’ve always said that I wanted to be a world traveler, and it seems that my writing is doing that for me!  Glory to God!  Here are the top ten countries that have viewed my blog in 2017:

  1. United States
  2. India
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Australia
  5. Canada
  6. Thailand
  7. Germany
  8. Ireland
  9. Israel
  10. Spain

If you are from those countries or are residing in any of those countries, thank you for your support!  I pray that my blog has been able to help you overcome anxiety, put God first in your marriage, or dig deeper into His Word.

In terms of views, here are the top ten blog posts of 2017:

  1. Why the First Year is the Hardest
    My first year of marriage wasn’t hard, but it did involve a lot of surrender and a lot of changes!  Find out how we were able to cope with those changes.
  2. Feelin’ Great After Reading This Book!
    One of my friends from church wrote the book Lose Weight and Feel Great.  I believe one of the reasons why this book review was viewed so much is because my friend shared this on his Facebook page.  Shameless plug: If you read a blog post and you love it, please share it!  My goal is to encourage people all over the world, and if something I write encourages you, maybe it will encourage your friends!
  3. My Husband is Not My Everything
    As much of a shocker as it is to society, my husband is not my everything.  Having the biblical perspective of marriage has truly improved our marriage and has helped us have healthy expectations of each other.
  4. I Have the Best Husband Ever…And Here’s Why
    Find out why my husband is the absolute best.  I know all of you with husbands would disagree, but that’s actually the point!
  5. The Power of a Nagging Wife
    This was the first blog I wrote this year, actually.  This was the post that got me back into writing.  This blog post, to the glory of God, really encouraged a lot of wives who are tempted to control their husbands.
  6. What You Say When You Attend a Wedding
    After attending about five weddings last year, including our own, we learned a thing or two about what it means to attend a wedding.  It is more than just the food, the dancing, and the drinking!
  7. Finding Financial Freedom as a Couple
    We’re debt free!  It’s amazing.  We want to share with you all what we’ve learned about financial freedom and how it is possible in this expensive, manipulative world.
  8. Anxiety Brings Me Closer to God
    I’ve been asking God to remove anxiety from my life, but looking back, it seems that God has been using my anxiety to bring me closer to Him.
  9. What’s Better than Lovey Dovey Feelings?
    People have been telling us from the beginning that our love is going to fade.  What we’ve found, and what we believe, is that our love will always be strong.
  10. Wrapped in His Arms: My Story of Singleness
    I remember being single and literally crying my eyes out some days because I felt so alone.  But I realized during those difficult days that I’m never alone.

Thanks again for helping make 2017 a great year!  For those who have been following, please let me know in the comments how this blog has impacted you this year, or if you have any feedback about how I could improve my blog in 2018.

My goals for next year are to write blogs ahead of time and have a more structured schedule.  In about 45 minutes, I’m going to watch a workshop about how to manage my time, and my husband bought me a planner for Christmas (thanks for loving the nerd in me, honey!).  My ultimate goal is to be more involved in my writing in general, but I’m at a season in my book where I’ll be doing more editing than writing, so that means more writing time to blog!  I’ll be focusing mostly on anxiety and marriage, but I’ll throw in some book reviews when I find a good read.

Happy New Year, everyone!  May God bless you abundantly in 2018.