Monday, August 10, 2015

A Better Way...

I've been hiding from all the Planned Parenthood mess. I've been avoiding social media (unless it's Instagram) for fear of being barraged by images my eyes just do not need to see.

In light of the recent release of my devotional on infant loss, I've been getting a lot of questions from media asking if I'd be willing to shed some light into the investigation by describing my own personal experience of birthing a baby at 21 weeks. I'll be honest, I've avoided the questions.

But then, this past Saturday, as Lifeway Christian stores hosted a signing for my Publisher's new gifts of hope series, and I spoke with people who's hurt is fresh. And real. And raw... I realized, God's timing is right on. And I need not shy away from questions that will point to choosing life and choosing hope in Christ.

It was a beautiful thing... to sit and listen to some of these stories. Not all of them fresh and new, but some of them decades old... still trying to cling to the promise of forever on a daily basis. I was truly blown away that the Lord would chose our Ellanie. My precious baby girl... to launch those conversations. Proud mama moment? You bet.

So, today, in a nationally syndicated radio interview... the Lord offered courage. And He whispered Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you." And all of those worldy fears of inadequacy to speak political correctness, they dissipated.

If you're holding back parts of your own story due to fear or anxiety... can I encourage you to lean into the courage Christ gives? He's forever faithful.

Thanks to my sister, Lindsey for capturing these fun pictures from the signing.

Monday, July 6, 2015

It's release day!

Well. Its here.

Two years in the making this has been.

What started out as a vision God gave my former publisher (and dear, dear friend), Andrea, has morphed into so many various things since, and is now a part of a new gift book series.

To say I'm humbled that the Lord allowed for Ellanie's story to be used in this way is an understatement.

For 10 years I've been on the other side of the publishing fence. And let me make known, I love what I do. But this side of things... it's been eye opening. I have a new respect and understanding for the authors I work with and how hard writing, with a mission mindset, really is. Writing to simply entertain... I almost think I could do that more easily :)

But writing with the ultimate goal of ministering to hearts. To peel back the layers of your heart and life's most painful moments in hopes that Christ's glory will be revealed to someone... that's different. Its a whole other level of difficult because flesh wants to get in the way. Whispers from the enemy that there's nothing you could possibly say to help reveal that kind of hope to someone creeps in.

And now, as a publishing professional, I get it. I see the kind of ministry our authors pour themselves into and I'm humbled they choose to let us take part in the journey.

So, here it is. The ebook version is available for purchase now and the print will soon follow. That's also been an interesting experience, by the way. Selling your own book into retailers and bookstores. Yep. It's been a ride! But, God's been in every step. And I'm so grateful to have something to place in someone's hands now when they tell me they're hurting and want to know where they should go from where they are.

Oh, what a privilege.

I hope you enjoy this little sample my publisher has made available. Share away. And please come say hello August 8th at Lifeway Christian Stores in Hoover, AL :) I'll be speaking about this little gift of hope and signing some copies too. I'd love to hug your neck and tell you "thanks."

To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Little conversations... they add up.

Things are starting to really marinate and register with my daughter, who's five, and it's so amazing to see. There are some days when she says things that are a result of little conversations we've had and lessons of truth we've tried to give her, but then some days... she says things that are just a result of God's grace working in her life and His choosing to reveal Himself to her, bit by bit. And those days... they are indescribably joyful!

I'll be honest though. Hard questions come up along the way that I don't really want to attempt to answer. Her fifth year of life has had her thinking a lot and I can see, she's trying to make sense of things.

When she was three years old, she was given a certificate at a preschool end of the year program that named her "most quiet." There could be worse things, I know. (And if you know my child and have a carried a conversation with her you know this to be untrue). But that identification did something to her. I can't really describe it other than to say, whatever newness that was getting ready to bloom outside of her budding personality was just kind of crushed. All of a sudden, she felt because she'd been given this identity from the world, she had to live up to it.

The blessing out of this was that it created the opportunity to tell her who she is in Christ and a lesson from 2 Corinthians 5:17. I wanted her to understand that no matter what parts of her personality the world recognizes more than others, her identity is found in Jesus... alone. And each of her character traits make her unique in Him.

Over time, the Lord has paved the way for other little conversations too that I've prayed will only marinate on her heart to teach her more about who He is and His great love for us.

Yesterday on our way to celebrate Father's Day with family, she said something I'll never forget. We were talking about Father's Day (honestly, I was giving them a speech on how the best present they could give daddy for the day would be to behave) and Emmalyn interrupted me and said,

Mommy? I'm really glad I have two dads to celebrate on Father's Day.

I was driving so i couldn't turn around and look at her and now, I'm kind of glad she was refrained from seeing the look on my face.

I said, Emme, what do you mean... two dads?

I mean my daddy and my God.

I should've known what she meant. Heck, I should have already had that thought myself.

But, in that moment I cried tears of thanks to Him for somewhere along the way helping her to grasp how much he loves her. So much so that she would look at Him as Father.

And it also caused me to realize that all of these little conversations about life, faith, and God. They add up to produce fruit in their lives that will prayerfully have them seeking Him all of their days. Her view of him and her view of herself is transforming and that memory... is what matters most.