Sunday, May 24, 2015

Who Am I? {Finding Identity in Christ}

First off, high five if you heard Jean Valjean sing the title thanks to Les Mis...

Second, one of my biggest struggles as a Christian is remembering who I am in Christ. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (Emphasis mine.) It's hard to let go of bad habits, but if your heart is right then the best thing I can suggest is to seek God with all your heart. When we really allow Jesus into our hearts, we will lose our desire for worldly things and instead we'll begin to desire heavenly things. Accepting Christ as our Savior gives us a completely fresh start. This should radically impact how we live our life and how we treat others yet, it doesn't. Most of the time, we don't seek Him and soon, letting Christ into our lives is just a memory.

Too often, we let the world define us. We soak up the devil's lies and believe them. We don't feed our soul the truth. We don't renew our minds. I talked about this briefly in a previous post of mine, titled, What Lie Do You Believe?. What would happen to this generation if we uncovered who we are in Christ? What would happen if we believed the truth instead of the lies? I want to bring a few verses to your attention.

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died- more than that, who was raised- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?"
 -Rom. 8:31-35

We are God's elect

Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. We are so, so, very important to our Creator and nothing will ever change that. 

I have a challenge for you and for me. This coming week, instead of letting the world (i.e. our friends, our enemies, the media, strangers, etc.) define or label us with lies, let's look into Scripture to find what God thinks about us. To remember how special we are in His sight. Let us remember to love our enemies and those who persecute us. Let us remember to forgive seven times seventy. For there is Someone mightier than the world who loves us literally to death. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

{Book Review:} Eyes Unveiled by Crystal Walton

24880390My Review:
A wonderful, inspirational novel!

The "new adult" genre has been steadily rising in popularity in recent years, and this is one of the best I've read yet. Eyes Unveiled follows twenty-one year old Emma in her journey to discover herself and make life choices.

A specific reason I enjoyed this book is because I saw myself in Emma. It wasn't too long ago that I found myself in similar shoes. What am I supposed to do with my life? What does living life to the fullest really look like? It didn't take much effort to relate to Emma at all and I think all of us at one point or another has experienced this very wondering and uncertainty. God didn't create the future to be scary but sometimes it still is.

I thought the author did a beautiful job handing this, writing a realistic emotional journey. The best part though, is the conclusion and resolution Emma finds. I easily encourage any young woman wondering about her future to read this novel. It will encourage you that you're not alone and hopefully will motivate you. Be patient with yourself and God. He knows the plans He has for you, and they are good. :)

I received a kindle copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Back Cover:
Twenty-one-year-old Emma Matthews lost the song in her heart the same night she lost her dad. With an unfulfilled promise and an ultimatum shadowing her junior year of college, maybe it’s better that way. You can’t hurt if you can’t feel.

But when the reflection she sees in musician Riley Preston’s eyes borders dangerously close to the one she’s spent the last five years searching for, Emma discovers her walls can’t guard her heart from its fiercest desire. Terrified of what she’s experiencing, and even more afraid of what she might lose, Emma grapples for the courage to hold on to one dream without abandoning the promise of another.

Contemporary Inspirational Romance novel Eyes Unveiled lets you relive those heartfelt moments when you don’t know how you’d survive a day without your best friend, when you’re trying to figure out who you are and what you’re supposed to do with your life, and when falling in love changes everything.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Standing at a Crossroad {Asking for Help}

Have you ever stood at a crossroad?

Okay, okay, so maybe not a literal crossroad, but a metaphorical crossroad? Where, in that time, you just sort of stand there glancing back and forth between the paths? In this moment, God feels silent. The barrage of thoughts and the anxiety of making the right choice plugs your ears. Even if God was speaking, you wouldn't be able to tell.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Will one path close if you don't move now? What if both doors close? Fear of making a mistake keeps your feet planted. You just can't move. What's the right choice? You know you're over-thinking this but you can't help it. 

Breathe in, breathe out.

Peace is elusive. Which way? Do you take the riskier, more complicated, path? Or the safer, simple way? Are there merits to one path over the other? You know which one you prefer... and you're scared that God might call you toward the other. So what do you do? 

Ask for help.

Who says you have to make this decision alone? Asking for help will lighten the burden. It doesn't make you weak, it shows that you are brave. It shows that you know your own weaknesses and rather than risk a massive failure, you're seeking multiple opinions. I'd personally recommend asking help from someone you trust, who is old enough to be your parent. 

It wasn't too long ago that I found myself with a crossroad before me. But crying out and asking for help reassured my anxious spirit, because I knew I didn't have to make my choice alone. Breathe in, breathe out. Go talk to someone and keep on breathing. Big decisions should not be made lightly or hastily. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

{Book Review:} Heart Sisters by Natalie Snapp {Litfuse Blog Tour!}

22945103My Review:
A touching, truth-filled, non-fiction release!

Oh my goodness. This book has blessed me tremendously. So much that, I'll be purchasing a copy or two to share with my friends! Natalie is honest- oops, I'm sorry, candid ;-)- and explains friendships in a caring way. The whole reading experience leaves you feel like you're sitting at a coffee shop, talking with her.

Are there points you want to duck your head in shame? Yeah... We've all made mistakes in our relationships with other people. But as Natalie says, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 8:1 Emphasis, mine.) Furthermore, Natalie walks you through a poor "Heart Sister" relationship and then an ideal "Heart Sister" relationship. She handles so many topics, from forgiveness to training your daughter to be a great friend to others. She does this so well and she really helped me out.

So, ladies, what are you doing still reading my review?? GO BUY Heart Sisters right now and then make it a priority to read it. Take your time because there's a lot of truth to sink in. Read it all the way to the end and then (if you don't want to read it a second time) find someone to lend/give your copy to. This is the kind of book that needs passed on. I am so thankful I signed up for this one!

I received an ebook copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for a review of my honest opinions, which I have done. Thanks!!

About the book:
Heart Sisters (Abingdon, April 2015)

Heart Sisters is for women who want to both be and have better friends and want a helpful guide to take them through the process.

Author Natalie Chambers Snapp uses her own and others' stories of successes and failures to illustrate what she has learned about girlfriend relationships. Healthy boundaries, honesty, tact, sharing, and agape love all play a part in being and maintaining a circle of close confidants. She also deals with the inevitable challenges that face many relationships including how to handle conflict; life changes like a new baby, move or divorce; and when it is right to "break-up" with your friend.

Discussion questions, space to journal, photos, and quick interviews of healthy female friendships are included within each chapter.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1GKJTIQ

Want to be a better friend and have better friends? Natalie Chambers Snapp wrote Heart Sisters just for you! She uses her own and others’ stories of successes and failures to illustrate what she has learned about girlfriend relationships. Discussion questions, space to journal, photos, and quick interviews of healthy female friendships are included within each chapter.

Help Natalie celebrate the release of her new book by entering to win goodies you'll need for a girls' night out with your heart sister!

heart sisters-400

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 17th. Winner will be announced May 18th on Natalie's blog.

heart sisters-enterbanner
{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}

Monday, May 4, 2015

{Book Review}: The Thorn Bearer by Pepper Basham

25055199My Review: 
A moving, incredible story!

Set in 1915, The Thorn Bearer follows Ashleigh and Sam on their journey to emotional healing. Both individuals have not had it easy growing up, though in different ways. Both also have scars that are not easily forgotten. This is where the beauty of this story comes out. Ashleigh and Sam's struggles are real and relatable. Readers can sympathize and understand, which is valuable in a story.

The theme of forgiveness is beautifully done. Some may think this theme is overdone in fiction, but I disagree. We need to be reminded just how important the act of forgiveness is. This book isn't preachy or in your face, but it does show the consequences of harboring bitterness instead of forgiving. It also presents the freedom that's found in forgiveness. The Thorn Bearer simply does an excellent job all around.

Overall, I was impressed. It's an easy read and the story drives you forward, making it effortless to turn pages. I can safely recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction, ages seventeen and up. You can't go wrong by checking this one out!

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Back Cover:
Ashley Dougall has a terminal disease and forgiveness is the only cure.

Ashley Dougall’s father stole her innocence, her selfish fiancĂ© stole her heart, and unforgiveness is slowly stealing her life. Drawn by the desire to help others, she tries to escape haunting memories and enlists her services as a nurse in war-torn Europe. Along with her childhood friend and fiance’s brother, Samuel Miller, the fragile threads holding Ashley’s life in place one-by-one begin to snap. From the deck of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of WWI, Ashley must choose between forgiveness of the past, life in the present, and a Savior who is willing to help her face them both.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

{#WritingsofRosieis3} Giveaway Winners!

Wow! It's been a fantastic couple of weeks, everyone. Thank you all for your continued support!

And now...the time has now come to announce the three winners. 

First prize winner of Susan May Warren's Take a Chance on MeIt Had to Be You, and When I Fall in Love is...

Amy C.!

Second prize winner of Laura Frantz's Love's ReckoningLove's Awakening, and Love's Fortune is...

Melissa O.!

Third prize winner of Melissa Tagg's Made to LastHere to Stay, and From the Start is...

Beth C.!

Amy, Melissa, and Beth, you all should receive an email from me Sunday morning. I will need a response by May 9th

Thank you to all who entered and spread the word about the giveaway! It was much appreciated!! Until next time, friends! ;-)