Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews, God's Lessons

Book Review: “Daring to Hope” by Katie Davis Majors

Toothless Books (4)

 

“Daring to Hope” by Katie Davis Majors  

Non-fiction, Inspiring

Review copy from the publishers through Blogging for Books

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book: 

How do you hold on to hope 
when you don’t get the ending 
you asked for?

When Katie Davis Majors moved to Uganda, accidentally founded a booming organization, and later became the mother of thirteen girls through the miracle of adoption, she determined to weave her life together with the people she desired to serve. But joy often gave way to sorrow as she invested her heart fully in walking alongside people in the grip of poverty, addiction, desperation, and disease.
 
After unexpected tragedy shook her family, for the first time Katie began to wonder, Is God really good? Does He really love us? When she turned to Him with her questions, God spoke truth to her heart and drew her even deeper into relationship with Him. 
 
Daring to Hope is an invitation to cling to the God of the impossible—the God who whispers His love to us in the quiet, in the mundane, when our prayers are not answered the way we want or the miracle doesn’t come. It’s about a mother discovering the extraordinary strength it takes to be ordinary. It’s about choosing faith no matter the circumstance and about encountering God’s goodness in the least expected places. 
 
Though your heartaches and dreams may take a different shape, you will find your own questions echoed in these pages. You’ll be reminded of the gifts of joy in the midst of sorrow. And you’ll hear God’s whisper: Hold on to hope. I will meet you here.

My Thoughts:

 

 
I absolutely loved Katie Davis’ first book, “Kisses from Katie”, and so when I saw that she was writing a new book, I was beyond thrilled! And then even MORE beyond thrilled when the opportunity came to review it. Yes please!
I do not read a lot of non-fiction. But Katie’s two books have captivated me fully. I have loved them both. “Daring to Hope” was so inspiring, so encouraging, and so challenging. I was just deeply moved. Each new chapter had me thinking more, and I shed many a tear from my heart being touched by her words.
A truly magnificent book. She just writes with so much passion, and it is all so God-centered. Really, I’m not sure I’ve read a book so full of God’s glory being the focus as this book was. Every thought was turned back towards Christ. What a lovely accomplishment! He is worthy to be praised, and that was shown well in “Daring to Hope”.
This book isn’t just a light, inspiring book – it is prick-your-heart and make-you-want-to-grow-more. So much so. Katie D. Major’s tackles the hard aspect of faith: Do we trust Him even when it’s hard? When He does something different to what we prayed for? Wow. Her life-experiences lends so much to these lessons. Reading this, I just was encouraged to really pray even more and trust even more. He is Worthy. He is in Control. And He does all things for our good – even the hard things. I so definitely recommend this book – it is a must read!
I also loooved reading about how her marriage came about. Wow, what a cool God-story. <3 That really encouraged me too.
I could probably just go on and on about this book – I am just full of love for it! But I suppose I shall end with one last word:  Exceptional!
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Posted in God's Lessons, Writing

Heeding His Call in Our Writing

I am participating in the Writing Contest: You Deserve to be Inspired. Hosted by Positive Writer.

 

with Bride to be anna

 

I love writing. But I’m not always writing. Some of you may remember a post I wrote last year, “I’m a Writer, no really!” where I explained some of my journey with writing.
Today it is my goal to do my best to encourage you to keep writing. But not daily. Whaaat? You may be asking. I’m not saying you shouldn’t write every day.  But I’m also not one to say “Push through whatever is stopping you and just write 24/7!”. I know that’s what we, as writers, are told to do. Don’t wait for inspiration. But what if…what if we’re not “feeling” our story at the moment? What if when we have “writer’s block” that means we’re maybe not supposed to push through it at the moment?
If we’re writing for God, we are crowning Him King of our writing. He writes through us – it’s ultimately His story. There’s no other goal as worthy and fulfilling as writing for Him, because that means that even when we’re not published, our stories are being used for His glory because they’re for Him. Even if the whole world never gets a glimpse of our writings, He does and He loves them. I find a deep treasure in that.
So, sometimes God may have us stop in our stories. He may have us take a break. He may be prompting us to wait on Him when we feel no inspiration. And I recommend listening to that prompting. Our writing will be SO much richer when we wait on God. Wait for His “Go”.
I’m not saying to be lazy. If God is calling you to write, even through periods of no inspiration, then go for it. What I AM saying is, please, heed His call no matter what that is, in your writing. If He says stop, take a break, then seek Him why you’re writing isn’t flowing at the moment. If He’s showing you to keep going, run that race with His endurance! Sometimes it will be tough, but if He’s at the helm, He’ll give you the words. He’ll guide you and show you He’s in control.
I’ve gone through periods of times where I’ve sat down at my desk and pulled out one of my story notebooks, sharpened a pencil and just stared at where I left off. Wanting words to start flowing. Waiting for them. But they didn’t come. I wanted to write. I thought, “I can do this. Everyone else does.” And I tried writing by myself. If I was able to write anything, it was rubbish because I had run ahead of God and His leading. I wanted to do it all by myself. And so you know what God did to lovingly teach me? He took away my writing ability. I could form no written words. I couldn’t even write a book review. I was at a total loss for words, and I broke down and cried. I realized, I can’t do this on my own. I can’t push through His telling me to wait. Without Him I simply cannot write. He wanted to show me that yes, He’s blessed me with the talent of writing, but without Him it is nothing. Once I repented, gave my writing back to Him, I was able to write – but not me, Him. And it was fantastic. It felt so freeing, so wonderful, because it was in His timing, all about Him.
Three things I learned through this are:
1.It doesn’t matter what “everyone else is doing”. We are only called to follow God.
2. Apart from God I can do nothing. And that’s glorious when we can let go of our self-vision and lean on His.
3. Sometimes it’s not bad to wait. It can be a major time of refreshment.
Posted in God's Lessons, Uncategorized

New Year, New Growth

Happy New Year all. :)

I figured I ought to make a quick first post of the year. ^.^ I was hoping to put together a specific post to be my first of 2017, but haven’t had the chance to do so. I think I say that a lot… Coming up I have a blogtour post, so at least that’s something. ;)

 

It will be interesting to see how 2017 plays out. I know God will reign strong, and keep prompting us to His Cross.

2016 was a good year. A growing year. Towards the end months, I personally have felt more “refining fire”, and it hurts, but God’s growing me. He’s working on me – healing a lot of stuff. I praise Him. But it is hard, can’t lie. However, these verse bring amazing awe and comfort:

“Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.” – Hosea 6:1

“For He bruises, and binds up: He wounds, and His hands make whole.” – Job 5:18

 

Yes, He will bruise us. But He will heal and make us whole again – His bruising is only to make us more like Him. I pray that He continues to do that in each one of our lives this year. Let Him bruise. Burn the dross out of us. We can’t be full of Him if we don’t let Him empty us of ourselves first. Let that be our 2017 goal – to let Him work, no matter how painful it might be. Because the wounds of God are better than the pleasures of evil. Like the verse that says “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”(Proverbs 27:6). Jesus is our Friend.

By Him growing us, we will only grow closer to Him, and that is a beautiful gift.

:)

 

glory

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in God's Lessons, Writing

I’m a Writer, no really!

teacher-appreciationweek

 

I realize that, on this blog, I rarely {If ever?!} really talk about my writing. I mostly talk about books and what I’m reading.

Well, I do actually write too. There isn’t a lot of evidence online of that, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. ;)

I’ve been writing for…about 9 years I think. And of course, writing small things when I was younger. I’ve always wanted to be published. That’s been a big ‘dream/wish’ of my heart. And yet….it doesn’t happen. Another year goes by, and I’m still not published. Why is that? Some people probably don’t even know I seriously write.

I’ve got two novels finished. Countless ones started, and several in progress. I am a writer. But not published. I have characters I adore, I have the story of my heart written, and more bursting inside me. This is a passion of mine. But. I am not published.

And this…this hurts on some days, truly. I look at several friends and numerous people who are published, and it hits me again that I’m not. I could be, but I’m not. Am I not good enough? Am I just too lazy? But no. I know those aren’t the answers. And really, I do know what the answer is.

It’s not God’s time yet. 

I want it to be though! So badly, I do. I want to be able to say, “Yes, I did that! I am published – maybe you’ve heard of me. Check out my books!”.

Ah, but there is much wrong with that sentence for me. Because it is the state of my heart. Where is it at? I get caught up on focusing on what I want. So that my name can be known, so that it looks like I’ve accomplished something to the outside world.

Two major things are wrong with that. One, is that: Does it matter if my name is known out there? If you’ve read the previous posts about “Honor” (Part One and Part Two), you’ll understand that I’ve been learning that, no of course it doesn’t matter. It’s not about me. It’s not about my name, but HIS name. And if He doesn’t want me to be published right now, then that is the best course.

Second thing wrong is: Why does it matter what the world thinks, and if they think I’ve accomplished something or not? It shouldn’t matter. Yet, sometimes to me it does. Because I’m broken. But….

It. Doesn’t. Matter.

I need to stop looking out, and start looking up, and in.

“What is that to you? Follow thou ME” – John 21:22

This is what God has called me to. Only He knows why. But that’s enough. It’s enough for me to remember that I’m where I’m at because of Him.

I’m a Writer because He chose me to pen His stories. I can’t write apart from Him. So it is ALL Him, and pretty much none of me. And at this time, He has chosen to keep my writing “hidden”. It’s our thing – His and mine. And it’s special. My writing may not be “out there” yet, but it’s a treasure to me, and it’s where He wants it. Maybe someday I’ll only have time to edit and publish, instead of write. So be it. Wherever His will is, that’s where I want to be.

So I’m sorry I don’t share my stories with you lovely people just yet. I’m sorry I can’t share more about my characters. But, I think, that day will come. In His timing. When I can wholly and 100% be able to say “Look at these books God wrote – He’s healed me through the writing of them. Maybe He can touch you through them too. It’s His Work. Not mine.”

It doesn’t matter if I’m a writer. But it does matter that He’s a Writer. And I couldn’t be a writer if He didn’t write through me. So… “He’s the Writer, really, and I’m just His pen”.

 

he-is-the-writer-and-i-am-just-his-pen

 

 

 

 

Posted in God's Lessons, Spiritual beliefs

Honor Part Two

Honor blog post

 

 

 

I’m back! And I thank you for hanging around to read this. If you’re new, you can go read this post – Honor Part One. :)

I’m back for the topic of honor. What I started out for….I got a little distracted. ;) But a good kind of distracted!

So yes, honor. It means a lot. Whether we know it or not, when we get up in the morning and go about our day, we will do things that either bring honor or shame – thoughts, actions, everything.

Usually, we’re only thinking about our name – keeping a good reputation, making sure others see us as honorable, making sure our actions and thoughts bring ourselves honor. It’s automatic, but it doesn’t have to be. We don’t really represent ourselves at all. When we became a follower of Christ, we became a new creation – His Creation. No longer are we our own person – we never were really. We represent our parents, our family, our lives here on earth, but more importantly, what we need to realize is that we actually represent our Heavenly Father. We are royalty and of Noble Birth because of Him. So we represent Him. We carry His banner, and it no longer is a case of “I” but rather “Him”.  I’m sure we’ve heard this before. We’re Christ’s ambassadors. But we are even more than that, because we are grafted into His line – we are children of the King. There is royal blood in us. So, we really do represent our Father. He’s in us. Our mindset is changed – we no longer are just of ourselves; we carry some pretty heavy blood in us! That is an honor to us.

We don’t deserve Him. He deserves us (yep, He does! Keep reading), and so He deserves the honor we give Him. He bought us, He paid for us, and He wants us. As a friend of ours said, “When you buy something, don’t you expect to get it?!” Yes, of course! If I buy something, I want to receive it. I want to own it, because I paid for it. It’s mine now.

So we are to Him. By Jesus’ death, our sins are forgiven and we are redeemed by Yahweh, our Heavenly Father. He desires us beyond anything we can comprehend. He has called us by His name, we are His.

So, do we want to bring Him honor or ignore His gift and live in shame? I know by choice, we’d choose honor. It’s our hearts cry to be met by the Father. And He will meet us. Seek and ye shall find.

But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.

Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.

Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;

I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;

Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. – Isaiah 43 1-7 (emphasis my own)

Posted in God's Lessons, Spiritual beliefs

Honor Part One

Honor blog post

 

 

I feel wholly unequipped to be writing this post. Why? Because I’m just learning myself. I don’t even have all the information on it. But God’s teaching and guiding always, and I want to honor Him.

So, what’s honor? What do we think of when we hear this word?

MUSHU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:

(Via Pinterest)

Hehe, yeah, that comes to mind for me. And ironically, before my family came upon this lesson of Honor and its importance, we had literally JUST watched “Mulan” and were discussing their emphasis and reliance on honor. Not really ironic, so much as timely. God does that a lot.

 

Okay, so back to the topic at hand. I’m just going to jump to it.

If we are children of God, He is our Father, and if He is our Father, we ought to want to bring Him honor. We honor Him. In everything. Or else we shame Him.

Honor is not the same as salvation. I want to say that right away.

And by the UTMOST graciousness and lovingness of our Father in Heaven, He has covered our shame – 100%. We’re born in shame. We need a Savior.

Some personal time: I lived out of a spirit of denial for a good part of my life. I didn’t want to face that some bad things have happened. Because it’s not fair. It’s injustice! I don’t want to be broken, dirty, shameful. Nope. None of us do. But you know what? This…wait for it….is a glorious place to be. Because you know what? Read these verses:

 

“And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32

If a person is “righteous” without Jesus, they don’t need a Savior do they?

So, if we’re broken, if we’re dirty, if Satan has stripped us of our honor, then…don’t we need a Savior? YES!! And how wonderful is that? We need One, but the good news is we do not have to sit in this place of need – we already have One!!!! He’s ALREADY covered our shame that we were born with (remember, we were “born and shapen in iniquity”), and has REDEEMED us. Wow. I feel so much passion at this. I feel like I am finally getting it. Yes, yes, I know the awe-ing message of the cross. I know its magnificence, what God has done. I have gloried in it. But. But now I’ve faced my shame, I’ve seen my need. Not just seen and ignored, but seen and desired something different. Desired to let go of injustices. They go to the cross. It’s already nailed there.

Jesus is all. Jesus is enough. What He did on that cross – that did it all! Do you hear me? Don’t forget this message. Don’t go on living without it. We were dirty. We were toyed with by Satan. But that is not the end of the story! Oh no, not at all! That is just the beginning. Because God sees everything  – time isn’t a thing to Him. He knew what Satan was going to from the very start, and He knows our wills. So Satan temps us, he defiles us in any way he can, he tried to strip us of that robe of righteousness. But God says “That’s okay. Because I’ve already provided a New Way. I’ve already created streams in the desert. Will you not see it? I’ve given My SON. His blood for yours. I have redeemed you, My peculiar – special – people. I have bought and paid for you. You are Mine. I have conquered death, Satan is a defeated foe. Believe Me, My Child. I have called you precious in My sight.”

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I may be getting off topic. That happens. And so you know what? I’m going to do a Part Two Post. Where I’ll get back to the message of Honor. Till then, readers. You are loved.

 

 

 

 

Posted in animals, Books, God's Lessons, Random babblings

Upa-Data

Update. That’s what the title means. XD I can just be weird, because I can.

So… hi.

Me in front of audience trying to greet my friend

(gif from Pinterest. No, we don’t watch Frozen, but it was the only gif I could find of someone waving. ^.^ Plus, I do like Anna. And Kristoff. Definitely Kristoff.)

It’s been a while, my poor neglected blog. But sometimes I just run out of inspiration/energy to post…so I do apologize. I’m not sure I really have anything interesting to say, so this may be exceedingly random.

I have posts I need to get done – a review book *still* (I keep forgetting about it!!), a tag or two, and probably something else I am forgetting. But here I am doing a random post. A Life post. Because that’s what this is. Life.

So, what have I been up to, ay? Ummm….it’s summer, it’s hot, there’s always something do to, and when there isn’t, I’m chilling. Reading some, but mostly trying to rest. Okay, so I don’t always do so good at it, but I am trying.

“And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”...yes, God has given me that verse recently.

I hope and want to chose that which is needful – Jesus. Sitting at His feet. Giving Him my worry and stress.

 

 

I’ve been trying to keep up a constant journal, but have recently been slacking. And that’s okay. I don’t need to keep on top of everything all of the time.

Yes, I’ve been reading, but not as fast. I’ve tried a couple new books, but the past few haven’t been as satisfying. Right now I’m simply reading a Dear America, because I wanted something that wasn’t severely emotionally-draining.

I did recently try “A Time to Die” by Nadine Brandes finally. Shortly put, it wasn’t for me. And if you’re a soft/sensitive-spirit kind of person, I’d say it’s not for you either.

 

Really, there hasn’t been a great deal of time to read – or rather, God has been showing me that it’s not as important. He hit me with the hard question of “Why do you read?” Umm…I wanted to say “Because I enjoy it”, but that’s only half true. Eeek, hard to admit, but the truth is, reading can be an addiction. I pass it off, because “it’s fun! People read, it’s a good thing”, and to an extent, it is. Reading is amazing! But priorities matter. Addiction matters. Because it puts it above God. It becomes an idol, and I don’t want that. I don’t want reading to become who I am. To become more important than my Savior. So if I sit on the couch and just breathe, that’s alright. In fact, that’s great. God-time is so much more important than reading. Than getting things done. And I’m not saying I do this all the time now. I wish I did. But if you know me, you know that doing absolutely nothing is hard for me –  I often have to force myself to really be still. I want to be doing, not be sitting still.  God’s working on me though! And hallelujah for that. He’s working in all of us. We need only let Him.

 

Chores consume a great deal of our time….we have plenty of outside animals to keep us occupied. And recently, we’ve had to deal with the reoccurring skunk problem. One was in the barn the other evening – of course Dad had to dispatch it, but it still stinks out there, and we know there’s got to be more causing the horrible smell because the skunk we dealt with was several days ago, and it still smells like it just happened…ick!

 

And as random and jumbled as this post may be, I’m leaving it off here. Time for bed!

What’s new in your life, dear reader? Thank you for reading this post. I appreciate you!