A Sunday Afternoon Prayer {& Giveaway Love-Links}

 

TheLordIsWaitingToMeetWithMe

Jesus, as I look at the week ahead,

my heart is tempted to get ahead of {YOU}.

Tempted to do instead of be.

Tempted to strive instead of rest.

And yet {YOU} are there, waiting to meet with me.

Waiting to quiet my thoughts with YOUR peace and perspective.

Waiting to refuel my heart with Your peace, love and joy.

Help me pull away to a quiet place today and … Let {YOU} love me.

 

Giveaway LOVE-Links

Enter To Win A PRAYER JOURNAL
Last Thursday, an email to my blog subscribers included an incorrect link for entering to win a prayer journal. To enter to win, CLICK HERE  and let us know how Sheila’s prayer spoke to your heart. Simple “Share Your Thoughts” below the post to enter to win. We are leaving that drawing open until this Wednesday, so everyone can enter to win.

Enter to win 2 “A Confident Heart Devotional” {Blog Tour & Book Giveaways}
Last week a few friends shared excerpts from my devotional book on their blogs plus a giveaway for 2 paperback copies. You can read my posts and enter to win by clicking on their names below. Will you thank them with me and let them know you’re hopping over from my blog?? Be sure to hop over this evening {Sun, Feb 16}. Winners will be announced Monday 17th.

Be My God … So I Can Just Be Me

It started with a cough. A few sneezes. Then a horrible headache. For days, I denied it was anything serious. Tried to convince myself I was not really sick.

Pushing through the coughing, wheezing, sinus pain and aches, I resisted slowing down.

Who else would do it all if I couldn’t?

 There were deadlines and expectations to meet, laundry to do, and emails to return. We needed groceries and meals for our family of five.

A few nights of not sleeping {and a couple of hours in Urgent Care on Saturday}, my self-determination caved in. I had a respiratory virus that was being exacerbated by allergies and asthma.

In this unexpected, unwanted, “forced-slowing-down” God’s made it clear –

I have issues: unrealistic and unhealthy expectations of myself.

My heart towards me doesn’t represent His heart for me.

I have these knowing moments.

But then I fall back into pushing myself. I don’t recognize the imbalance until I’m down for the count. I have more than a respiratory virus. I have a soul virus He wants to heal.

Why is this so hard?

I don’t have the answers, but I’m asking the questions. Bending my will, asking Jesus to be my comfort. My expectation. My measure. My drive. To be my God… so I can just be me: tired, behind on my deadlines, needy me.

And this song is playing on repeat. God’s speaking. Thank you Laura Story for capturing my soul-struggle with words and melodies that melt me into His arms of Grace. I hope you’ll take just a minute to listen {and then enter below to win a copy of Laura’s new CD}. You will be so glad you did!

Swope_ConfidentHeartDevotional_CVR.inddHow does today’s post or Laura’s song speak to your heart today? 

Is there some way you need to let go of your expectations of yourself or a situation and ask God to be God so you can “just be you”? 

“Share your thoughts” below for a chance to win one of Laura Story’s new albums on CD.

 I’ll pick three winners to each receive a CDs and a copy of my NEW Confident Heart Devotional book

LauraCD

Laura’s newest full studio album is officially available on  iTunes. Laura is currently on tour with Steven Curtis Chapman and the Glorious Unfolding Tour. And she’s coming to Charlotte December 6th for a Girls Night Out we’re doing together with 91.9FM. More details coming soon!

 


Connection Calls PROMOWant to join me and Melissa Taylor TONIGHT on the Real Life: Confident Heart Connection Calls ? We’ll be talking with Laura about her life, her faith, the story behind “So I Can Just Be Me” and other songs on her new Album “The God of Every Story”? Find out more and sign up here!

A Walk Through the Dark with Eva Piper

God promises to give us His strength in our times of weakness.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

And when we trust His promises… by choosing to rely on Him instead of ourselves… a soul-securing confidence comes in the most unexpected ways.

Eva Piper, wife of Don Piper {the author of 90 minutes in Heaven} knows just how true that is.

Today she’s here to share with us how she found a surprising confidence during her darkest hours. Her new book, “A Walk Through the Dark,” released last week. It’s based on her role in the story that began the day her husband died and came back to life 90 minutes later, and the years and countless surgeries and miracles that followed. Click the arrow below to watch a powerful short video trailer about Eva’s story.

{If you are reading this via email, click here to return to my blog to watch and enter to WIN a copy of Eva’s book.}

Eva-PiperFrom Eva Piper:

I was sitting in a movie theater watching The Sound of Music. The young Maria had sung while dancing through the mountains, the sisters had asked “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” and now Maria was walking through town on her way to serve as governess to a group of seven children singing about confidence.

The song begins with Maria listing her doubts and fears but ends with these words. “I have confidence in confidence alone, besides which you see I have confidence in me!”

I never thought of myself as a confident person. I was confident in some of the ‘things’ I did…playing the piano, teaching school, being a wife and mother. But when it came to making decisions, I usually let someone else take charge.

I rationalized they knew more about such and such than I did. They were more outgoing. They were more sure of themselves. They were more ‘confident.’

Some people build confidence by practicing a sport or art. Some build confidence by taking classes in public speaking. Others may study to become an expert in a certain field of study. My confidence came from a very different source.

During the second week of my husband Don’s stay in the ICU, it became necessary for me to move into a hotel a short distance from the hospital. I needed to be close by in case anything happened so I checked into the Downtown Hyatt.

Each morning as soon I awoke I placed a call to the nurses’ station in the ICU. As soon as someone answered I would go through my list of questions…How is his breathing? What is his oxygen rate? What is his pain level?

The nurses responded to all of my questions and provided any additional information that I might need. But on this particular morning, things went differently. Instead of getting the information I requested I was told, “Oh honey, you don’t need to know all that, you’re just the wife.”

In a split second I went from being a person who questioned whether I was up to the task to one who realized I had more strength than I realized.

Without skipping a beat I asked to speak to her supervisor. When she came on the phone I explained what had happened and waited.

The supervisor apologized and quickly gave me the information on Don.

That was my turning point. That morning I took my first step toward being someone who was willing to do whatever was needed to move my husband’s recovery along.

Looking back I can see, that’s when I stepped beyond my private comfort space—and would do it many more times in the months ahead.

During those early days I had to push to get what I needed. I learned to ask questions until I not only had answers but I understood the situation we were facing.

If I didn’t grasp the meaning or if staff spoke with medical jargon, I learned to say, “I’m not in the medical field. Can you explain that again?”It worked. I got what I wanted.

I was never belligerent or rude. I tried to treat people with respect. But when I became aware of things that needed doing or I required information, I asked and stayed steadily at it until I received an acceptable response.

The situation with the rude nurse taught me a valuable lesson. Sometimes God uses difficult people or situations to move you to where He wants you to be. Without that rude nurse I would never have had the confidence to face the rest of my walk through the dark.

Eva-Piper-BookEva Piper is a speaker and author of A Walk Through the Dark, where she shares unique insights into the trials of heartache and the triumph of overcoming!

The wife of best-selling author Don Piper, Eva was the glue that held her broken husband and her family together. Don’s story, recounted in the New York Times bestseller, 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Life and Death, is Eva’s story too. A teacher of 34 years, she and Don now live in Pasadena, Texas. Visit http://evapiper.com/ to reserve your copy of Eva’s new book, “A Walk Through the Dark” today!

Enter to WIN!!
I’m giving away a copy of Eva’s new book. To enter, simply click “Share Your Thoughts” below and share about a time you had unexpected confidence. Or, share why you’d like to win a copy of Eva’s new book.

Prayers to Pamper Your Soul

My sweet friend Julie Gillies is here to share with us the story behind her new and beautiful devotional book “Prayers for a Woman’s Soul.” It’s resting on my bedside table and God’s using Julie to remind me how important it is to pamper my soul with prayers. Julie and our wonderful friends at Harvest House Publishers are giving away two copies of her book here today.

 

I didn’t start praying for myself because I was holy or wise. I started because I was desperate.

My marriage often felt like an emotional torture chamber. Negative and critical thoughts consistently bombarded my mind. And my emotions felt as shattered as a water goblet dropped on a cement driveway.

The hardest part was I felt stuck. It seemed like nothing was ever going to change, and I felt myself longing to give up on the inside. And that is when I sensed God nudging me to start praying for myself—regularly. Daily. I sensed that if I didn’t heed that holy nudge, I wasn’t going to make it.

So I began to pray for myself.

Initially the only uninterrupted time I could find to pray for myself was in the shower, so I prayed while I scrubbed, emerging to face each day with clean skin and an equipped heart.

That was the beginning of my soul-transforming prayer journey.

The truth is there are a lot of women facing incredibly hard circumstances right now. There are women enduring miserable marriages, women whose hearts still reverberate with pain from the past, and women who are in stressful situations that make them want to give up. Maybe you’re one of them.

Or maybe you simply have a sagging plate and a really long prayer list. Perhaps life is good for you, but both your to-do list and your prayer list are as long as your arm.

Or maybe, like most women I know, you’re a nurturer and a caretaker, a front-burner prayer woman who prays for whatever is boiling over at the moment—and there is always something boiling over—but you neglect to pray for yourself.

It’s counter-intuitive, praying for ourselves. I mean, we’re hard wired to help others—and that’s good. But God never intended for us to help others to our own detriment. He never intended for us to pray for our spouses, our kids, sick pets, our friends,  and world events but not to take time to pray for ourselves.

Amazing things happen when we pray. I started praying out of sheer desperation, and God moved. He not only transformed my mind and healed my emotions, He transformed my marriage. I truly believe in the message of Prayers For a Woman’s Soul: that praying—for ourselves—is absolutely essential. Without it, we will languish. Equipped through prayer, we can soar through our days. As we take time to pray for ourselves, we partner with God and can watch in amazement as He moves and brings hope, healing, and transformation to our lives.

Enter to Win: Click on the words “Share Your Thoughts” below this post – to enter. All you need to do is practice what Julie’s preaching and  leave a little prayer for yourself. I know that won’t be easy or natural for us girls, but we need this :). I’ll go first. You can find my prayer below when you leave yours. {If you’re reading this via email, click on the post title and hop over to my blog to leave a comment.}

Prayers For a Woman’s Soul is a holy invitation for busy, overwhelmed women with long prayer lists to take time to pray—for themselves. It’s a 52-week devotional that gives you one week to pray about a specific topic—like your emotions, your mind, or the guilt you’re hauling around. These short devotions contain personal stories, powerful biblical teaching, and specific prayer. And bonus: there are 365 topic-relevant, personalized scripture verses. One for every day of the year. So you can infuse your heart with God’s word while you pray.

 

Julie Gillies is the author of Prayers for a Woman’s Soul (Harvest House Publishers/January 2013). Healed from a traumatic childhood and awed that God saved her seriously troubled marriage, her message helps women pray with boldness, confidence, and the certainty that God hears. Julie is the Critique Groups Director for Proverbs 31 Ministries, and serves on the editorial team of P31 Woman magazine. She’s the wife of Keith, mom of two soldiers and one civilian, and grammy of four. Connect with Julie at: www.JulieGillies.com

Last week’s winners are: For the Husband Project – Jill, Patrice and Erin. For the Purpose Driven Mom Gift pan – Lana. Congratulations friends!

 

A Little Love Goes a Long Way!

Welcome friends! If you are found your way here through my Encouragement for Today devotion, I’m so glad you stopped by. I’ve got two things for you today. First,  the short and fun post below along with a BOOK give-away. Also I’ve got a link that will take you to the rest of the story of what God did that day I wrote about in my devotions – and how He gave me new direction and purpose as a mom -along with a chance to win my “Purpose-Driven Mom Gift Pack.” {The link is at the end of this post.}

   “A simple word can renew hope.”
Lois Mayday Rabey

When she wrote The Husband Project, her goal was simple: create 21 simple, and inexpensive projects for women who wanted to bless their husband. {I love simple!}

In her book, The Husband Project, my oh-so-fun friend and author Kathi Lipp helps us do everything we can to love on our man –  from planning a guy-date to getting him a pint of his favorite Ben & Jerry’s. And I loved hearing how one of the most effective “Projects” was also the simplest: Write him some Post-it Note sized encouragement.

Post-It Note Challenge – Write Something Fun or Flirty for Your Man!

Are you ready to show your man a little love today? If so, here are your instructions:

  1. Grab a Post-it
  2. Write something, fun, flirty, or a little scandalous on it {we give you permission…}
  3. Put that Post-it somewhere where only HE will find it

It can be words of encouragement, something sweet or flirty and so on. Leave the post it where only he will find it. It can be in his briefcase, wallet, on his car steering wheel, underwear drawer, tool box, whatever he is going to open or use today. Below, Kathi has listed 21 ideas to get you started thinking. If you need to, use one from the list below. OR make up your own Post-It Love note – cause a little LOVE goes a long way.

21 Post-It-Sized Encouragements

  1. I’m praying for you today.
  2. Those jeans are really working for you…
  3. I love you.
  4. You are the best dad!
  5. You’re the kind of husband that makes the other wives jealous.
  6. You rock my world!
  7. Can’t wait to see you tonight – meet me upstairs…
  8. Thanks for working hard to provide for us. I appreciate all that you do.
  9. You make me feel beautiful.
  10. I thank God for you every day.
  11. How did I get so lucky, being married to a guy like you?
  12. You’re great!
  13. You make every day more fun.
  14. Have a great day.
  15. You’re hot!
  16. I feel so safe with you.
  17. Smart and good looking – I’ve got the whole package in you!
  18. You can be very distracting, you know…
  19. Our kids are so blessed to have a dad like you.
  20. That smile I wear – it is all because of you.
  21. God have blessed me in big ways by letting me be your wife.

Remember, you have more power than you know to change the direction of your man’s day.

So go grab that Post-it and put a little love in his day, cause a little LOVE goes a long way!

Enter to win a copy of The Husband Project. Kathi is giving away 3 copies!! Tell us what you wrote on your post it note (or if it’s “too hot to handle” just write TMI in the comments below) Click “Share Your Thoughts” below to enter.

For my single lady friends… Today’s tips are totally transferable to everyone in our love-lives. In fact, I plan to make a little love go a long way with my co-workers and my kids with these ideas from Kathi.

For more ways to encourage your man check out Kathi’s Valentine’s specials and subscribe to her blog to receive her FREE E-book “14 Ways to Have a Happier Husband”!

You can read my Encouragement for Today devotion here or click here to read part two of the story my devo and find out what God did to give me new direction and purpose as a mom and enter to win my “Purpose-Driven Mom Gift Pack.”

Chocolate-covered Comedy & Lasting Soul Confidence!

I’m so excited to be heading to the Soul Confidence Conference in Raleigh, NC this weekend – and oh how I would LOVE to meet some of you there!

Last month I posted about the event here and heard from several of you who wanted to go! And, I am hoping you have tickets! If not, there’s still time to register. Here’s the scoop:

Friday Night:
Doors open at 6 and event end around 9 pm.

Saturday Morning:
Doors open at 8:30 am, with the event running from 9 am until Noon.

And here’s a note from the event leader:

“I am excited to invite you to Live, Laugh and Love at Soul Confidence November 16-17. Our biggest women’s event of the year will kick off Friday night with Kerri Pomarolli, a hilarious Christian comedian. She’ll provide the laughs and spiritual encouragement, and we’ll provide the chocolate! Saturday morning, Renee Swope of Proverbs 31 Ministries will join us. Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough, smart enough, or valuable enough? Do words you say to yourself, or hear from others, make you question your worth and purpose? Renee Swope understands. Even with a great family, a successful career, and a thriving ministry, she still struggled with paralyzing self-doubt. Offering the voice of a friend, Renee candidly, and sometimes humorously, shares her story of overcoming self-doubt with powerful Biblical Truths that transformed her life — and thousands of others!

Don’t miss this opportunity to LIVE in Confidence, LAUGH with friends, and LOVE the Lord. I can’t wait to see you there!”

~Darla Harvey

Click here to find out more about the event.

 

Women of Faith – Ticket Giveaway {Charlotte, NC}

 

Women of Faith has graciously given us {Proverbs 31 Ministries Staff} tickets to their  Charlotte Women of Faith Conference this weekend, October 19-20, 2012. And we want to share them with you!!

Women of Faith Conference is a wonderful place to renew your heart and soul as you connect and worship with other believers, hear inspirational speakers, sing your heart out, laugh and cry all at the same time.  This year’s theme is “Celebrate What Matters” and I am so looking forward to attending with friends from my small group. We’d love to meet you there!

If you you live in or near the Charlotte area, or want to make road-trip, please leave me a comment and let me know. I will choose one winner from your comments to receive two tickets! I’ll announce the winners on Tuesday! {If you are reading this via email, click on the title of this post to visit my blog and enter to win}

PS. Our own Lysa TerKeurst is joining WOF for their 2013 tour – so ya’ll pray they give us tickets to share then, too!}

Living in the Light of Forgiveness

Thank you for joining me here in my little corner of the world. I want to welcome those of you hopping over from today’s P31 Devotion where my friend Donna shared her story of forgiving her father’s abusive behaviors. Today, I asked Donna to share more with us.

______________

I strained on my tip toes to peek through the curtains.  Fear and panic gripped me as I watched the car go round and round.  Spinning through one ditch then raging across the street, throwing dust and rocks into the air and barely missing a row of mail boxes. And finally, coming to a complete sudden stop as smoke billowed from the engine.

What started as a simple late night chore the night before ended in the chaos of Dad jumping in the front seat of Mom’s car the next afternoon and literally driving it to its’ death.

The night before mom had taken a late night trip to the laundry mat in my dad’s car. On our return trip home, my dad’s car overheated.  Mom had no way of getting in touch with my him so she kept driving – it was late and she was alone with her three little girls.

He was furious about the damage to his car, so the next day He sought revenge by ‘doing donuts’ in the ditches alongside our country home until Mom’s car died.

This was one of many explosions. But it was the one that sent my mom over the edge and led her to pack up and leave. A few days later, after Mom had sold all our furniture, we loaded onto a gigantic gray bus that took us to my uncle’s house. A few weeks later we moved in with my Granny.

The next forty plus years, my Dad walked in and out of my life just as he drove the car in and out of the ditches that afternoon so many years ago.  Broken promises.  Broken hearts.  Broken dreams. Broken girls. Broken family.  And yes, still a broken car.

Recently, my Dad was kicked out of his nursing home for the third time for his temper and was admitted to a mental hospital. I sent an email to my friend Stephanie asking her to pray. Her reply, “…have you forgiven your dad…just wondering…wanted to make sure you were set free from that before things may get even worse with him.”

As I processed her question, I was flooded with emotions and memories of the car spinning uncontrollably in the ditches so many years ago, but God also instantly flooded my heart with His words from Matthew 18: 21-22, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.

I was able to respond with a “YES”!  I had processed past hurts several months ago with Dad and intentionally went to see him after 15 years of absence.  As God walked me through the visit, He made it perfectly clear that I could not change Dad, I could not change my past BUT I did not have to let my past define me.

In her book, A Confident Heart, Renee shares her powerful journey of forgiveness and says this:“Confidence came as I followed God’s command to seek and offer forgiveness.” Her story has helped me see that it’s possible to forgive and worth the redemption God promises when we do. As I have sought to follow God’s command to seek and offer forgiveness, He has filled me with His confidence to make hard choices – the choice to accept Dad – the choice to pray for Dad – the choice to forgive Dad – the choice to live in God’s confident hope.

I wish I could tell you that it was a one-time act of forgiveness like the one we’ve received from Jesus; but it wasn’t.  It’s not. Forgiveness happens as current or past events surface. The key for me is to continue the forgiving – continue with the seventy times seven – to continue the circle God started so that He will complete it: “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in {me} will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6).

 Lord, thank You for Your gift of forgiveness.  Please help me to forgive those who have hurt me –just as you have forgiven me – especially when the memories of the past come flooding in.   Help me keep no record of wrongs.  Thank You for filling me with Your confidence.  Thank you for freeing me from my past and my pain and not allowing them to define me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

Won’t you join me in living a life of freedom – freedom from your past – freedom from your hurts – freedom from your fears?

_______________

Today Donna and I wanted to share a “Living in the Light Giveaway” which includes a Willow Tree “Angel of Hope,” a Fall Yankee Candle and 3 signed copies of my book, A Confident Heart.

To enter to win, simply sharing your thoughts with us about Donna’s devotion or blog post here – or simply let us know how we can pray for YOU as you process Donna’s stories and God’s truths about forgiveness in your life.