Sunday, March 31, 2013

Resurrection Sunday Celebration

Celebrating Our Risen Savior

Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.
2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”
The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”                                                       Matthew 28:1-10 (NLT) 

My prayer for you today is that you would know the hope of His glory and experience the joy of our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ. This hope and joy is not just reserved for Easter Sunday. We can experience it and celebrate our salvation every single day. 

Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and He is alive in you! 

Are you celebrating today? What is your celebration story?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

An Unburdened Heart: Suzie Eller, Author Interview & Giveaway

 UPDATE: Thank you for leaving such great comments! I've decided to give away 2 gift packs instead of one. Each winner will receive a copy of  Suzie Eller's new book, Unburdened Heart and a Starbucks gift card:  

Winners:  smom777
                     Evet Meierer 

Email me ( your mailing address so I can send the gift packs to you.  Congratulations!! 

I'm so excited to introduce you to my friend and ministry mentor, Suzie Eller. She just released her book entitled,  The Unburdened Heart:  Finding Freedom in ForgivenessIf you are struggling with unforgiveness, or know someone who is, this book is a must have. 

Maybe someone has hurt you deeply and you can't find the strength to forgive them. Or, you thought you had forgiven them years ago, but seeing that person or even hearing their name mentioned, reopens hidden wounds in your heart. Maybe there is someone in your life who you love deeply but they won't forgive you.

Do you want freedom? Freedom comes through forgiveness and Suzie will show you how to begin the steps of healing through her book, The Unburdened Heart. Through her tenderness and transparency, Suzie shares with us her insights about forgiveness below.

I'm giving away a FREE copy of Suzie's book, along with a Starbucks gift card. So, after the interview below, be sure to leave a comment sharing why you'd like to win. If you tell a friend about the drawing, post something on Facebook or Twitter, mention it in your comment and your name will go into the drawing twice. 

Take it from here Suzie....

Suzie, why is forgiveness so difficult?
It’s difficult because it involves people and it involves the way we feel. If we could just live in isolation, then maybe we’d never run into a difficult person, or open our hearts to love someone and they disappoint, or maybe we’d never feel bad. Which is why many do isolate or retaliate when they are hurt; it makes sense.
But it also traps you, and keeps you stuck, and maybe no one sees that, but it plays out somewhere, whether in your relationships or inside where no one can see.

Why are you offering a free online study?
One of the things that I pray that The Unburdened Heart–and our online study–does is to help shift our perspective from “what was, to what can be”.
We know up front that we are going to face head-on some difficult challenges, or that we may crawl over a hurdle that has stood in the way for years, but one of the most powerful meanings of the word forgive is “to leave one place to go to another”.
To leave bitterness for joy.
To leave anger for peace.
To leave being stuck to discovering what God has for you today, rather than what you carried yesterday.

What does forgiveness mean? Is it letting someone off the hook for what he/she did?
The foundational meaning is to “cease to feel resentment.” In a sense, we are able to get out of the debt collection business, which is freeing.
But there’s so much more to this word.
When I started my own personal journey to discover the diverse and powerful meanings of this word, I did so because it seemed like people would say something like, “just forgive”, which only made a hundred more questions come up, like “does it mean they get off the hook?” or “they’ve changed but I can’t forget what they did”.
The deeper I got into this study, the more I realized that forgiveness is important to God, because people are important to God.
In the book, using the power of story and scripture, I share several different multi-layered meanings of this word found in scripture, and all of them lead us to freedom. It might not necessarily fix another person, or make them say they are sorry, or even provide justice that should have taken place, but the door is unlocked and you and I are free and no longer chained to an event, a person, or a time.

Why should we forgive, especially when we’ve been hurt badly and/or the offender isn’t sorry for what he/she did?
First, it’s important that we acknowledge that it’s hard to forgive when there’s no remorse, and you long for someone to say they are sorry. I don’t know how many women I’ve talked to that I’ve wrapped my arms around and said, “I wish that hadn’t happened to you. I’m so sorry that it did.”
But there are a lot of walking wounded whose offender may not be sorry, may not be remorseful (maybe they see it a different way, or through their own filter of pain, or maybe they don’t care), and yet this beautiful woman is still tied to that person or that period of time.
When I looked at my beautiful newborn child, I wanted her to have a healthy mom who wasn’t tied to the past, or filled with bitterness. I wanted to put a line in front of me and say, “it stops here.” I wanted my sweet girl to grow up in stability. But if there were cords that still tied me to the past, I was going to struggle to give her that.
It wasn’t easy. I didn’t know what or how to do it way back then. I just knew that for some reason every time I prayed that God would help me give my child something greater, the word forgive seemed to be the most important first step to take.
So, regardless of another person’s willingness or unwillingness, we offer up what we have to God and that might just look like this: God, I have no clue where you are taking me, or what you want me to do, but I’m willing to take this journey. So I offer up my heart to you today, regardless of whether anyone else has signed up for this journey or not.
To me, surrendering to the process is the most incredible act of faith.

What about when we think we have forgiven, but negative thoughts and emotions still keep coming up. Why is this, and will your book help us with this?
When I was in the beginning stages of forgiving, I would let thoughts just pour over my heart.
I thought about what I would say next. I would think about setting a person straight. I would put myself in a good light, and the other person in a negative light. Pretty soon I was in stuck in those thoughts and emotions. It wasn’t a healthy place, because it didn’t do anything to work through the conflict. It didn’t do anything but feed my anger or bitterness.
One day I felt God asking me to leave that unhealthy place.
I promised God that when I went to that unhealthy place where nothing was ever resolved and it kept me stuck, that I’d recognize it as such.
When that took place, it was a good time to look at why I felt the way I did, and if there was anything in my power that I could do. And if not, then how could I invite God into that moment and that feeling, where He could take up residence and fill in the raw places in my heart.


Suzie, thank you for sharing with us today. I am already hearing from other women how your book has given them the faith to forgive and receive freedom!

Friends, if you want to know more about Suzie, please visit her blog and check out her on-line study by clicking here.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Suzie’s new book and a Starbucks gift card! I'll be announcing the winner on Monday so be sure to stop by then to see if your name is listed as the winner.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Don't Miss Out

Hi Friends!

It's been over two weeks since my last post so I wanted to hop online and let you know that I didn't get swallowed up by some nasty bug-eyed green martian from outer space. 

Our family survived our move into the new house without any major breakage or emotional melt-downs. Oh, except for that teeny-weeny meltdown on day 7 which almost scarred my kids for life. Hey, I was tired, decaffeinated, and aching all over. 

Moving certainly isn't for wimps. I've got bruises on top of bruises from hauling boxes up and down the stairs. I'm so glad it's over and life can get back to normal - whatever "normal" is. 

I wanted to let you know that my good friend and amazing author, Suzie Eller just realized her new book called, "The Unburdened Heart" and I am giving a way a FREE copy tomorrow. 

In her book, Suzie shares about the freedom and wholeness we can receive through forgiveness. Don't miss out your opportunity to enter the drawing. I'm also including a Starbucks gift card which is an added plus for you obsessed coffee drinkers (wink).  

Stop by tomorrow for a sneak peak at my interview with Suzie Eller and to register for the drawing of   "The Unburdened Heart". 

 You will be so glad you did.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Aches and Pains of Moving

When was the last time you moved? Was it ten years ago? Maybe last year? Last month?  I recently read an article that said moving is one of the most stressful events in a person's life.

Our family has gotten use to the stress-filled routine of moving. In fact, we could open up our own moving company with all the experience we've acquired.  How much experience? Well, seven moves in seven years can definitely provide a LOT of practice with the ins and outs of moving.

Today marks another day of that stress-filled process. We closed on our house this morning. I wish I could say I am super excited but I'm not (just keeping in real). Moving out of our dream home feels like someone is slowly peeling away a layer of skin from my heart, leaving behind an open wound. A  wound that only God can heal in time and I believe with all my heart that He will.

A lovely family purchased our house and I'm so thankful for that. The mom told me this morning that she could sense love in our home from the very first time she viewed it with her realtor. That made me smile. Smiling on what feels like a very sad day is a good thing, right?

The way that I've come to look at moving is not from the perspective that I'm giving up or losing something, but instead I'm getting ready for something new and exciting. Sort of like saying good-bye to the beautiful snow that comes during winter time (we call snow "diamond dust") in order to say hello to the new blooms that spring offers.

I saw a sign in the gas station last week that really encouraged me. It said "Always expect that something wonderful is about to happen." That little saying brought such joy to my heart. It completely changed my mindset that day. It also reminded me of a scripture verse in Psalms that talks about experiencing something new and wonderful.

Forget the past, it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? Isaiah 43:18-19

I'm choosing to reflect on that little quote and this scripture verse today. I don't know who wrote the quote from the gas station but I'm certain of Who wrote the scripture verse.He is the one who creates all things new!

Today I'm keeping my focus on wonderful things made new in my life. With every box I pack, haul, and unpack over the next 3 weeks, I will say to myself, God has something wonderful in store for our family. It may not look like I thought it would but I'm choosing to trust Him in spite of my current circumstances.

I'm making a conscience decision to keep my mind parked on positive thoughts instead of getting down in the dumps. Just because something is hard doesn't mean we can't experience joy in the midst of it. I'm choosing joy instead of despair, hope instead of discouragement.

Maybe you are the process of moving too. Or, involved in another situation that has you feeling a little stressed or down in the mouth today. Situations like...

Looking for a new job.
Recovering from an illness.
Struggling with your teen daughter.
Going through a divorce

Whatever your circumstances are and no matter how grim things seem,  I want to encourage you to keep persevering and try to stay positive. I know it can be really hard at times but remember, God is on your side and He won't let you fall. He loves you with an unfailing love and delights in your ways.

Let's keep our minds parked on God's Word so that we can be reminded of His promises. Let's make a decision to choose joy and hope for our future. God has great things are in store us, dear friends. Let's not miss out on today's blessings because we're too busy regretting yesterday or stressing about tomorrow.

Is God doing something wonderful in your life right now? If so, will you share your story?