Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Excerpt - A Mom's Battle Cry to Overcome Fear

On Amazon

What are worry, anxiety, and fear stealing from your life?

In this little book, set in an easy seven day format, join one Christian Mom in her battle to overcome fear.

"That night who I was changed forever. What the enemy had meant for evil, in that moment, would be turned around…slowly. I couldn't let someone else suffer as I had due to not speaking up. I had to trust that God would protect us, no matter what I had just gone through. I dialed 911. "

Excerpt: 

From Day Three - Sheep Tipping

I have found that anger is not far away when fear is in my life.  As I have relived these moments in this book with you, fear has been my companion many days again and anger has come on its heels; anger not only at what happened, but in the here and now.  Anger over unreasonable things as fear grasped and clung onto my inward soul.  Trust was waning again.  It separated me and called me to a place no one could visit, not even God as He gently knocked and beckoned me closer.

It wasn’t until towards the end of that year that I realized who I was angry with.  Even though He had tried to keep me from it and then got me through the event, I was angry at God for what happened.  When the realization hit me, I floundered.  Who was I to be mad at the Living God?

Fear of God clutched my heart then.  It was a well-placed fear.  It was a healthy fear. 

Psalm 111:10 states:  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding.   To him belongs eternal praise.

Proverbs 14:26-27 says, Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.  The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.

It wasn’t many days after that that I cried out to God, literally aloud as I took a tub one night.  Crying tears over that fateful night, and all that I had lost since, in the course of my living in a place of fear and anger. 

In the Bible, we are described as sheep…the followers of God.  I did some research and found that sheep aren’t particularly intelligent animals.  They also have no sense of direction, so when they wander away from their flock, it’s almost impossible for them to find their way back on their own.  They are helpless; they have no way of defending themselves. 

Luke 15:3-7 reads,  Then Jesus told them this parable:  “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.  Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.  Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

We are never outside God’s grace.  Jesus will come after us, putting us gently on his shoulders to carry us home.  In the year that I walked away from God, ignoring Him, reminders of Him, and His Word, He pursued me.  He never left me.  I left Him.  I refused to acknowledge Him in my life.

It was like someone had tipped my wooly body over and I couldn’t right myself.  I was askew.  The world looked different.  People gathered and pointed at my flailing legs and growing coat of fleece.  People.  People scared me. 

What are your fears?  Are they fears of man, the spiritual realm, public places, the death of a loved one?  Our fears many times sound foolish to someone else. 

In our nursery class at church, I helped the 3- and 4-year-olds make a planter for Easter with live succulents.  After church, we had some extra plants and my pastor’s wife gave them to me to make a planter with my children at home.  

I was excited.  The kids and I filled the planter with soil, rocks, the succulent plants, and sticks glued together to make the three crosses of Calvary. 

I love and cherish this little planter, but I have anxiety when it comes to house plants.  I envy the beautiful plants that people have in their homes; little green treasures with their sprouts reaching towards the sunlight as they line the back of a kitchen sink. I yearn to snip herbs and smell their fragrance as I cook or clean throughout the day.  The problem I have is that I tend to kill them and so this fear has taken root.

A foothold.

When I look at the planter sitting cheerfully in the center of my kitchen table, my hands fairly itch to run and get the spray bottle full of water.  Am I watering it too much?  Am I not watering it enough?  Fear does grip at me somewhat with this houseplant.  I’ve avoided live plants slowly over the years, as I’ve learned that once they enter my home, they leave in a trash bag. 

How am I ever going to grow little pots of scented flowers and herbs that cheer up my workspace if they cause me such anxiety? 

A foothold becomes a stronghold

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Available on Amazon in Ebook and Paperback:  http://amzn.com/B00CHC0FMC
See Laura's Website HERE for other available books.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lainey Sparks - Faith & Fame Series

http://amzn.com/B00MABC79O

 What do you do when all you've thought important seems like a charade?

Meet Lainey Sparks, worship leader turned Christian recording artist. People look to her to lead them to God but she doesn't know her motives anymore. Then she's introduced to Nick DeAngelo, a man with a secret. Could he ruin her reputation and ultimately her career? Or is he the only one she knows to lean on when tragedy strikes?

The first book in the Faith & Fame series.
Short and Sweets - Cozy Afternoon Reads. Christian Romances.

Lainey Sparks - Lead Singer of Christian Band, Depth
Stormy Towne - Heiress to the Towne Fortune
Red Walker - Executive Officer of MacKenzie Oil

Excerpt: 



A long bank of bricks of a building stood to our left. He saw my glance and led me towards it, out of the crowds of people rushing to get to their evening plans. We stood still, the wind buffeting Nick’s back, pushing him closer. He let go of my hand and hugged me to him.
“You’re precious. I’m so grateful God has kept you all these years. Surely you are the apple of His eye.”
My face pressed against his jacket and tears sprang to my eyes. How can I want to love him so soon? How can I not? Is it because he’s so close to Jesus? Seeing His reflection in Nick’s eyes? And I wanted to crumple, curl up in his arms, and stay with him. Not fly to another nameless city, though the ascent with God was surreal, pure contentment really, but the plummet back to reality after always unnerved me with thoughts of my own unworthiness.
Nick tilted my head up and I looked deep into his eyes. The stubble on his chin now more apparent, he brushed the top of my forehead with his cheek then ducked lower. His lips near mine, he whispered my name.
“Yes,” I answered.
“Can I love you already? My heart is breaking at saying goodbye.”
The words spoken so softly. Did I hear him right? My head reeled. Softly, I answered, “I – I think I’m falling for you too. I’m scared.”
“Me too. But let’s trust God…and thank Him for this gift.” Nick closed his eyes then, murmuring a prayer. My eyes followed suit. I felt his warmth against the elements, against the hard red brick at my back and the noise on the street that accosted my ears, people jostling past Nick and me, two lovers on a busy street.
I put my hands up into his hair, tugging him closer. My fingers found the short strands at the back of his neck and I twirled them. “Kiss me.”
“Should we?”
“We have to. I’m leaving. It’s goodbye…for now.”
“Where’s our rain?” he asked, dipping his head and met my lips with his.
There was no rain, but a gentle fire that lit a fuse in my soul. My head swam at the sweetness of his offering. Doubts fled. He was the one. The one God had made just for me, knitting our hearts together ever tighter. I missed him already.
Nick traced a finger down my cheek. Pulling away, he spoke. “If it’s a foundation we’re building, then let’s make it a substantial one.”
I smiled at his words despite the tears pushing at my eyes.

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Available on Amazon and as an Audio Book.
Amazon Link: http://amzn.com/B00MABC79O
See This and Other Books by Laura on her Website HERE.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

True Beauty and Adversity - Guest Post

Yesterday we planted several lovely little plants in our front flower garden, to spruce things up for spring....and this morning we woke up to thunder, lightening and a flash flood warning.  Most of our little plants are now straining to breathe in a habitat that looks more like an episode of "Swamp People"  than the perfectly moist soil we so carefully packed them in.  Pretty sure it's been raining buckets for 12 hours straight and there is, possibly, more to come.  What a bummer. 

But it has also reminded me of all the times, in my life, when directly AFTER something beautiful was (spiritually) planted in me...some sort of adversity came.  It's almost like the adversity comes in order to test the resilience of the new beautiful thing...to see if my thoughts, attitudes and outlook will remain beautiful during the hard times or will I turn back to the old ugliness.  Because if the beauty doesn't stand firm, then it wasn't real beauty that was planted.  It was only shallow and surface level, not to mention fake and (obviously) short lived.   After all, true beauty is much more than something, or someone, pretty to look at.  True beauty isn't even something that you can see, visually.

What is true beauty?  Off the top of my head, these words come to mind:  
Strength.  Perseverance. Resilience.  Patience.  Purity.  Compassion.  Kindness.  Generosity. Joy in the midst of troubled times.  A peaceful spirit.  Placing others' needs way before your own.  Choosing to leave a room better than when you first entered it.  Seeing the best in others and loving without reservation.   These things are just a touch of what true beauty is and I'm sure that you could help add to the list.  Notice that I didn't mention anything about body type, makeup, jewelry, hair or fashion related.  NOT that those things are inherently evil, of course.  But I think that most ladies (and men) have a sense, deep down, of what really matters.  We all know that true beauty transcends dress sizes, translucent skin and perfectly placed hair.