I've Moved!

This little blog has moved over to the official AHeartSurrendered.com! Check it out; can't wait to see you there.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

we've moved!

A Heart Surrendered has moved!  Check out the latest post HERE.

"You long for the day that life stops hurting.  When it’s no longer laborious to breathe.  When making it through the day isn’t a great accomplishment.  When you can finally ‘get it together.’

It’s fleeting and we fight its despair every moment…but why does it seem that when it looms, it looms overwhelming?" Read more.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

to capture her heart {book review}


//title: to capture her heart//

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//author: rebecca demarino//


//series: book 2, southold chronicles//

//genre: christian fiction//


It is 1653 and Heather Flower, a princess of the Montauk tribe, is enjoying her wedding feast when her groom is killed and she is kidnapped by a rival tribe and held for ransom. Though her ransom is paid by an Englishman, she is nonetheless left to die in a Connecticut forest--until she finds herself rescued by handsome Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren. Torn between her affection for Dirk and her long friendship with family friend Benjamin Horton, Heather Flower must make a difficult choice--stay true to her friend or follow her heart.

Exploring a unique slice of history, Rebecca DeMarino transports readers to the wild land that would eventually become Long Island, New York. Her attention to detail and her captivating storytelling bring the New World to vivid life.


I will begin by saying that this book was not my cup of tea.  I enjoy historical fiction, but the era isn't one I tend to enjoy.  That being said, I may be a little biased on my opinion.

The deep point of view from which the story was written was excellently done.  I really appreciated how even nicknames were changed according to each characters' point of view!  Flawlessly done.

I had a difficult time getting into the story; I was having a hard time finding the plot line.  I understand now the underlying plot of Heather Flower's hurting heart finding healing, but it was so difficult to pinpoint the plot that I almost didn't even finish the book.  In fact, I probably wouldn't have if not for the sake of this review. 

I had a hard time connecting with the characters because there were so many points of view.  However, I will grant that the characters were real and relatable.  But I kept waiting for the story to get deeper than the love triangle...

Another thing that bugged me was that some of the dialogue seemed just awkward.  At one point, one of the men after Heather Flower's heart says, "I can't let her marry the wrong man." Implying that he, himself, is the right man.  And a few of the things that the other characters say that if said in real life would just seem a bit strange...

Also, the couple gets engaged before Heather Flower becomes a Christian...I just thought that was kind of interesting.

The author did a great job with the way that she wove together the story with the history of the time period.  All of the historical and cultural practices that were portrayed were very interesting; rich with education!

But all in all, this book wasn't for me.  I'm sure that someone in love with this era would find it very interesting, but I had a hard time getting into it.

Thanks to Baker Publishing Group for providing me a copy of this book for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

gone without a trace {book review}

//title: gone without a trace//

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//author: patricia bradley//


//series: book 3, logan point//


//genre: christian fiction//


It's been more than two years since homicide detective Livy Reynolds's cousin disappeared from Logan Point. Unlike most people in her hometown, Livy has never believed that Robyn left voluntarily. When Dallas private investigator Alex Jennings contacts Livy concerning a missing senator's daughter who was last seen in Logan Point, she notices eerie similarities between the two disappearances. But with self-doubt plaguing her and an almost instant dislike of Jennings, Livy is finding this investigation an uphill battle. With her future in law enforcement on the line, can she find a way to work with a man who is her polar opposite?

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley keeps readers on the edge of their seats as they anticipate the outcome of the case--and the relationship between Livy and Alex--which is anything but certain.


Fast paced, three-dimensional characters, an interesting concept--not to mention another mystery crime novel, I really enjoyed reading Gone Without a Trace.  I was drawn in by the concepts of Livy's troubled season and Alex's familial conflicts--both of which made them great relatable characters and smooth subplots!

I was, however, disappointed in the prose.  I found the writing to be more elementary and 'telling' instead of 'showing'.   There were a few points in the beginning that it seemed like the story dragged.  I actually took a while to get through it because I wasn't hooked for the first half.  I was also a little disappointed in the solution to the mystery.  Sure, it made some sense, but there was quite a bit that still felt a little fuzzy and a tad bit unbelievable.

Once I got to about halfway through the book that I was hooked and had to know how it ended!  I finished it very quickly and really did enjoy it.  The romance was sweet and clean, the relationships and characters relatable, the suspense and point of view well done.  All in all, despite the less than poetic prose, I found Gone Without a Trace to be a great enjoyable, clean, easy read for any mystery lover!

Thanks so much to Revell Reads for proving my a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, June 22, 2015

the pharaoh's daughter {book review}

//title: the pharaoh's daughter//

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//author: mesu andrews//


//series: book 1, treasures of the nile//


//genre: christian fiction//


“You will be called Anippe, daughter of the Nile. Do you like it?” Without waiting for a reply, she pulls me into her squishy, round tummy for a hug. 


I’m trying not to cry. Pharaoh’s daughters don’t cry.


When we make our way down the tiled hall, I try to stop at ummi Kiya’s chamber. I know her spirit has flown yet I long for one more moment. Amenia pushes me past so I keep walking and don’t look back. 


Like the waters of the Nile, I will flow.
 
Anippe has grown up in the shadows of Egypt’s good god Pharaoh, aware that Anubis, god of the afterlife, may take her or her siblings at any moment. She watched him snatch her mother and infant brother during childbirth, a moment which awakens in her a terrible dread of ever bearing a child. Now she is to be become the bride of Sebak, a kind but quick-tempered Captain of Pharaoh Tut’s army. In order to provide Sebak the heir he deserves and yet protect herself from the underworld gods, Anippe must launch a series of deceptions, even involving the Hebrew midwives—women ordered by Tut to drown the sons of their own people in the Nile. 


     When she finds a baby floating in a basket on the great river, Anippe believes Egypt’s gods have answered her pleas, entrenching her more deeply in deception and placing her and her son Mehy, whom handmaiden Miriam calls Moses, in mortal danger.


  As bloodshed and savage politics shift the balance of power in Egypt, the gods reveal their fickle natures and Anippe wonders if her son, a boy of Hebrew blood, could one day become king. Or does the god of her Hebrew servants, the one they call El Shaddai, have a different plan—for them all?


I adore biblical fiction, so when I saw the synopsis for The Pharaoh's Daughter, I HAD to read it!

When I began reading, I was immediately drawn into the history, politics, and drama of Ancient Egypt.  I was captivated by the religious culture and the ramifications on its people--particularly its royal daughters.   The author spun the tale of a frightened little girl as she grows up, becoming the wife of a powerful soldier, fiercely dedicated to the gods of her people; living a life of secrecy as she covers up her fear of childbirth with the discovery of the baby Hebrew, once destined for destruction...

I was fascinated at how well the pieces of history were all tied together and founded with the solid truth of God's word.  I loved the pages at the end in which the author explains how she 'found' Pharaoh's daughter in the pages of history, and how she used the various historical figures to explain and tell the true story of Moses...a fictional rendering, yes, but so well researched that I would not be surprised if it was closer to the truth than we might think!

The prose of the story was beautiful and fluid, the characters were real and relatable, the plot moved at the perfect pace, lingering enough to fall in love with the characters, but swift enough to span the 20 some years that make up the story.  I loved the two most dominant lessons of trusting the Lord and overcoming fear!  I found Miriam's love and satisfaction in her Lord especially inspiring.  Such a beautiful picture of the Hebrews in ancient Egypt--content in their God.  I'm looking forward to reading more of Miriam's story in book 2, coming out next year!

Because of some of the romantic elements in the story, I wouldn't recommend the book for anyone under 16.

All in all, such a beautiful story--creative and inspiring, based on solid truths.  Well worth the read!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

desperate measures {book review}





//title: desperate measures//

//series: book 3, port aster secrets//

//author: sandra orchard//

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//genre: christian fiction//



Kate won't be safe until all of Port Aster's secrets are revealed

Researcher Kate Adams has finally pinpointed the supposed "miracle plant" that tore apart her family years ago. She's certain that discovering its secrets is her only hope of solving the mystery surrounding her father's disappearance. She's willing to risk anything to find the truth, including her relationship with Detective Tom Parker. But with so many people in pursuit of the plant, going it alone might be a fatal mistake.

Award-winning author Sandra Orchard pulls out all the stops in this breakneck and breathtaking conclusion to the Port Aster Secrets series.


I was immediately drawn into the action and intrigue of this book.  The plot was very interesting, the suspense definitely kept me turning pages!  I appreciated the depth of Kate's character and faith.  Spunky with a mind of her own, but gracious and optimistic--but scarred.  Ms. Orchard did an excellent job of fashioning the main characters of this book with heroic, admirable traits, and most importantly the type of flaws that make them relatable and real.

I was disappointed in some of the disjointed writing, however.  I noticed much of the dialogue felt too-obvious and strained.  Also, some of the situations felt unrealistic and pushed--like the first time


(*SPOILER*)


that Tom and Kate kiss is because he is covering her mouth with his own to keep her quiet because she doesn't hear someone sneaking up on them?  I thought that was pushing it.  That was just one of the many instances that I felt were a bit awkward and out of place...trying to push the story along instead of it flowing naturally.

I read this book stand-alone from the first two in the series.  I appreciated how the author did an excellent job of giving enough of the details from the first two books woven throughout the story to help you understand the beginning without giving too much to bore the reader of the first two.  While some of the details did lose me a little as a result of not having read the first two, I was still drawn in and truly enjoyed the climactic ending!

Thanks to Revell Books for providing a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

drawing fire {book review}

//title: drawing fire//

//author: janice cantore//

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//genre: christian fiction//

One case from her past defines homicide detective Abby Hart.
With a possible serial killer stalking elderly women in Long Beach, California, Abby’s best lead is Luke Murphy, an irritating private investigator who saw a suspect flee the scene of the latest homicide. When Abby discovers that the most recent victim is related to the governor, she’s anxious to talk to him about a cold case that’s personal to her―one Luke is interested in as well.As she learns more about the restaurant fire that took her parents’ lives years ago, Abby discovers why Luke is so invested in finding the ones responsible. The more they uncover, though, the more questions they have. Can Abby find peace without having all the answers?

Confession:  I have a thing for crime investigation novels.  There's something about the suspense and mystery of them.  I'm always drawn to stories: books and movies alike that portray the quest for justice.  When I saw the synopsis for Drawing Fire, I had to read it! ;)


It took me a little while to be drawn into the plot, but once I began to understand Abby's background and history, I found myself truly empathizing with her.  Her struggles in trying to balance justice with vengeful feelings was intriguing...I loved how the author incorporated Abby's Christian beliefs and worldview in her work without making the book 'preachy'.  


All of the characters were beautifully three-dimensional.  Real hearts and real struggles, and diverse personalities!  As the book switched points of view (excellently well done, I might add) I loved seeing how the other characters view each other.  Luke, the extroverted, enthusiastic guy, quick witted, but also hot tempered.  And Abby, the introverted, more solemn and thoughtful woman, tactful but also closed off.  Excellent diversity of character voicing!


I will say though, I didn't like Abby's relationship with her fiancĂ©...which seemed barely existent.  The way that it was portrayed, I kept wondering how they ever got engaged in the first place.  Also, as I previously mentioned, it took me a little while to 'get into' the book.  At first, it felt like too many moving parts at a time--I got a little confused.  


All in all, it was a great read.  An easy read, but definitely interesting and one to leave you thinking.


I found the end to be unsatisfying to say the least, BUT...in a good way.  I appreciated how it left the reader wanting more, causing more thought about the story itself.  What would you do if you were Abby?  It also left an empty stage, curtain ready to be drawn for book two, which I am eager to read!


Special thanks to Tyndale Blog Network for providing me with a complementary copy of Drawing Fire in exchange for this honest review.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

too messy people


Messy people.  Messy people everywhere.

We talk about how God takes our messiness and by grace turns it into something beautiful.  He exchanges beauty for ashes, wholeness for brokenness.  Right?

In fact, it's hip to be messy right now.  So hip, that an artificial lens of 'socially acceptable' messiness covers our lives.

We talk about being 'real'.  We laugh and joke with each other about our little 'messes'.  Keyword: little.  The ones that we know nobody will judge us for.  The harmless imperfections.

Socially accepted messes.  In light of them, nobody wants to talk about their real messes.  They look way too real.  Scary close.

"If that is considered socially messy, there's no way I'll willingly bring this mess to light."

And if we're honest, we don't want to hear about the real messes.

Once somebody's true messiness begins to show through, we shrink back in horror.

She struggles with that?

He believes that?


She said that?


He did that?


She wants that?


He still does that?


The real struggles.  The ones that are actually hard to love. 


I hear about a mess.  A real mess.  A disgusting, deplorable mess that makes me angry.  It makes me rise up in righteous indignation, so I think.  I go on and on, judging.

Until I it hits me.  Fast, hard, and true.

Their mess is no better than mine.

There are no socially acceptable messes.

We all fail in the eyes of God.

We all need His relentless love.

They will know that we are Christians by our love for one another...until we find out just how messed up each of us really are.  Until we let each other down.  Until we fail each other.  Betray each other.  Hurt each other.  Until we see each others messiness...and shrink back in horror.

But it's just a mirror.

God looks at each of us and sees our messiness equally.  We all need grace.  We all need His mercy.

Oh, His amazing grace, unfathomable mercy, relentless love!

If He should give so much to each one of us, how dare we judge one another?

Daily, God sees just how messed up our hearts are.  Moment by moment we let Him down.  Barely a breath goes by before we fail Him again.  The number of times we've betrayed Him makes a thousand look small.  We hurt Him deeply with a single thought.

This is real messiness.

And yet, He still loves.

His hands still stretch out, willing to give us beauty for our deplorable ashes.

He is willing to turn this mess, this socially acceptable and unacceptable mess, into a beautiful mess.

And I have no excuse.

We have no excuse.

There should be no need for socially acceptable messes.  There should be no fear of sharing our real struggles with one another.  Heart burdens, flesh struggles, soul questions.  These things should never be shoved away.  Doubts, fears, hard questions.  These things should be brought to light.

Instead, because they are looked down upon, they fester in the darkness.  They grow.  They thrive hidden away. They loom over the life of their owner.  Sometimes they take over the heart, squeezing the life for every drop of faith.

My beloved readers, may we foster such a camaraderie within the church that this ceases to occur.  May we open our arms.  May we love the unlovable.  May we love so hard, our hearts break with fullness.  May we make burden sharing irresistible, that healing may begin.

May we support each other.  May we love each other in spite of betrayal.  In spite of hurt.  In spite of the past.  May we know each others weakness, because we know our own weakness.

May we forgive each other.  Extend the beauty that was given to us.

Love one another as Jesus does.

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." ~John 13:35

Monday, June 8, 2015

the sound of diamonds {book review & giveaway}

My dear readers, I am so excited about today's review!  About a year ago, I was 'introduced' to Rachelle Rea through the Go Teen Writers community.  I conversed with her a bit and loved talking to her!  When I heard that she was getting ready to publish her debut novel, I could not WAIT to read it!  And boy, I was not disappointed...



//title: the sound of diamonds//

{Releasing June 15, 2015!}

//author: rachelle rea//

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Her only chance of getting home is trusting the man she hates. 
With the protestant Elizabeth on the throne of England and her family in shambles, Catholic maiden Gwyneth seeks refuge in the Low Countries of Holland, hoping to soothe her aching soul. But when the Iconoclastic Fury descends and bloodshed overtakes her haven, she has no choice but to trust the rogue who arrives, promising to see her safely home to her uncle's castle. She doesn't dare to trust him...and yet doesn't dare to refuse her one chance to preserve her own life and those of the nuns she rescues from the burning convent. 
Dirk Godfrey is determined to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk knows he has only one chance at redemption, and it lies with the lovely Gwyneth, who hates him for the crimes she thinks he committed. He must see her to safety, prove to the world that he is innocent, prove that her poor eyesight is not the only thing that has blinded her but what is he to do when those goals clash? 
The home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, the saint and the sinner must either dare to hold to hope...or be overcome.

Overall, I loved it!  Mystery, romance, truth searching, full of surprises, rich with history, this book has it all. I had a difficult time ever putting it down, and when I did, I was anxious to get back to it.  Which doesn't happen with many books!

I loved the characters. So rich, complex, so full of history and heart.  Gwyn's spiritual struggle during her journey--her weaknesses and faults made her relatable and real, but her courage and passion for God made her beautiful and honorable.  Dirk's character was strong and admirable, but the cracks in his strength--his weakness for Gwyn made him oh so lovable and real.  I could go on and on, but my favorite part about this book was the intricacy of the characters--so beautifully crafted!

This historically rich tale is written from a first-person perspective from two characters' points of view.  The prose was elegant, richly giving off a flavor of the historical era in which the story took place.  This made the book a bit harder to read--completely enjoyable, having to read a tad slower to savor it, but a little more difficult to understand nonetheless.  At a few points in the story, I found myself a little lost, unable to build an image of the scene in my mind.  I went back a few lines, reread and was able to craft a picture, filling in some of the 'understood' blanks.  But because of this I wouldn't define this book as an 'easy read'.

All in all, I loved the book.  The intricate characters and plot, the inner spiritual struggle, the idea of portraying the heart of a Catholic girl with poor eyesight in the world of flowering Protestantism was sheerly brilliant!  As I was going through the book, I found myself telling my sisters, "It's books like this that make me fall in love with reading all over again!"  Driving home from work the other night, I was anxious to get back to it...only to finish it in the wee hours of the morning.

Brava to Rachelle for such an excellently crafted debut!  I am so much looking forward to the next books in the Steadfast Love series.


About the Author

Rachelle Rea plots her novels while driving around the little town she’s lived in all her life in her dream car, a pick-up truck. As a freelance editor, she enjoys mentoring fellow authors in the craft. A homeschool graduate and retired gymnast, she wrote the Sound of Diamonds the summer after her sophomore year of college.


Further links:



I'll bet you're dying to read it now, aren't you?  Well, good news!  Rachelle is hosting a giveaway where you can win a copy of The Sound of Diamonds AND a $20 Amazon gift card!  Enter below for your chance to win!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 21, 2015

the choosing {book review}

//title: the choosing//
//author: rachelle dekker//
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"Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for—her Choosing ceremony—to end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.


But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. Though the whispers contradict everything she’s been told, they resonate deep within.

Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, yet she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her." 

I am a pretty big fan of several of Ted Dekker's novels, so my curiosity was definitely piqued when I saw his daughter had written a debut novel.  I was not disappointed!

It usually takes me a little time and perseverance to really get into a book.  Not so with The Choosing.  I received and read this book in a matter of a short few days.  I was immediately drawn into the world of Carrington Hale.  I saw the world through her eyes, my heart aching in her despair, my stomach twisting in the anguish of what looked like her hopeless future...then my chest growing warm when I felt the love she had found. I was sucked right in!

I can't really think of a negative thing to say about the book.  The balance between description and action was absolutely perfect.  The inner turmoil and outer movement of the story was fluid; perfect.  The characters and the dialogue were believable, raw, personal.

Some were worried about this book being just another Divergent or Hunger Games.  Just another futuristic dystopian book, right?  Wrong.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

This is the story of a identity.  Of beauty.  Of hope.

This is the story of a True Love between a girl and her Father.  And how she learns what it really means to be loved and to be called beautiful.

I would recommend this book specifically for teen girls struggling with their identity and worth.  While I believe it is an excellently written story suitable for anyone (aged 13 and up), teen girls will be able to relate to Carrington's struggle of identity, and will be encouraged in her journey of finding her ultimate worth in the loving arms of her Savior.

I can't wait to share this book with my family and friends--and I'm anxious for the next in the series!

Thanks so much to Tyndale for providing me with a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review as a part of The Choosing blog tour.


About the Author 
The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Visit her online at rachelledekker.com. 



A snippet of Q&A:



How did you come up with the story for The Choosing?

This is a hard question because it has many answers. I wanted to write a theme-based novel about identity. I wanted to write a dystopian novel. I wanted to write in a world that was familiar, but in a setting where I could change the way the world worked. It actually is several ideas I’d been toying with pulled into one story. Once I landed on Carrington’s core revelation and story arc, I simply fell in love with her as a character and drew the rest of the story around her. That’s usually how it works for me. I come up with a character, good or bad, and create the story from there.

You based your main character, Carrington, off of your younger sister. In what ways is Carrington like her?

It’s more the beliefs that Carrington struggles with that remind me of my sister. The idea of worth, of not feeling like you’re enough, or questioning whether anyone would choose you. Carrington came about as I spent time with my sister and her college-age friends and saw that a large majority of them were searching for significance, searching for worthnone more than my sister at the time.

Throughout the book, Carrington struggles with understanding her identity and worth and what is true. Why did you decide to write about the theme of identity?

Someone once asked me, If you could leave one message for your younger sisters, what would it be? The answer was always the same: I would pray they knew what they were worth. Identity is everything. There isn’t a theme that doesn’t start with identity, or circle back to identity. Knowing who you truly are is the greatest journey we face. Am I enough; am I worth it? I believe everyone faces these questions, and I sought out to explore them through this story.

Do you think women tend to struggle with identity more than men?

I don’t think women struggle with identity more then men. Not at all. I just think we struggle differently. As a woman I understand the identity struggle from a female perspective more, but I think most men wonder if they’re enough just as much as women do. We are all the same at our core, really. We are on this earth for a short time, trying to figure out our purpose and worth. Searching for recognition, usually in all the wrong places. The truth I am discovering is that there is no need for searching. The truth already resides inside of us. The Father has already marked us as chosen, worth it; He has already given us a purpose. It’s only a matter of looking inward to the soul and to the Creator of that soul to find our worth. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

when i just want to do big things

What is the purpose of life?

What do I want to be known for?

What will people say about me when I die?

The profound, philosophical questions of life.  The ones that stop us in our tracks.  They cause us to second guess our next steps.  To look behind to find wisdom for what is ahead.

I find myself wrapped up in the culture screaming "BIG".


I want to do something BIG.  I want to be something BIG.  I want BIG accomplishments on my resume.  I want people to talk about all the BIG stuff I've done.  The BIG amounts that I spent on the good of the world.  Money, time, whatever.  

I just want to be BIG!

....and then I stop...

Why do I want to be big?

I argue: "Well, God is glorified when I do big stuff!  It makes people notice how big HE is!"

Then, a still *small* voice reminds me that...I don't need to remind people how big He is.  He's already big.  And people know it.  And He doesn't need me to prove it.

So why?  

It would seem to me, that my generation has been brought up on the idea to do big things for God.  To dream big, to pursue big, to work hard, to accomplish grandiose.

I found pride in this idea.  Listening to the S. M. Davis talk, "What to Expect from a 12-Year-Old" at the tender age of 12, I found myself cheering and whooping.  

It's about time people stopped underestimating us!  I'm gonna blow their minds.

I stoked my pride as I pushed and shoved and worked and read and studied and worked and read and...

Soon, I found myself lost.

I stood on the brink of adulthood, with no vision or dream.  But I wanted one so badly!  

What's wrong, Lord?  You know that if you give me a vision, nothing can stop me from getting it done!  Nothing!  Why haven't you given me a calling or a dream?  Why don't I have something big to work towards?  How do You expect me to change the world if You don't tell me what to do?

So I took it into my own hands.  I kept working and reading and studying.  Hoping the answers would come.  My pride kept driving me.  One day, I'll do something big and make God proud.

I failed to realize.

He's already proud of me.

I found myself standing face to face with what I felt was my boring, mundane life.

The one where I wake up every morning and put a load of laundry in before I start the coffee.

The one where my routine is that of learning how to roll with not having much of one.

The one where I go to work to smile at people and help them with their crafty needs.

The one where I read late into the night.  Or stay up late with my sisters, watching old TV shows, eating popcorn and sour gummy bears.

The one where I have unfinished craft projects every where...but the most important ones always get done.

The one where I love on my brothers and sisters, planting kisses on their foreheads and cheeks as we pass in the hall.

My life.  My simple, boring, mundane, beautiful life.

You see, my beloved reader, what I missed was the very essence of what I thought I was working so hard for from the beginning:

Grace.

By grace I have been saved.  By grace do I breathe.  By grace do I worship.  By grace do I live this life I've been given.

I am nothing.  If it weren't for Him.

It's only because of Him that I can even wake up in the morning, much less do anything!  

I stop, I bow my head.  My pride failing.

What makes me think that I am so worthy to do big things for Him?  What makes me think that I have anything to give Him?  Why do I think I deserve a place to do anything 'bigger' or 'better' than to live this seemingly boring life?

I don't.

Besides, who am I to determine what is small or big?  

My calling is to be faithful.  Stop looking for the big things.  To stop shoving.  To stop trying.

To wake up in the morning and smile as I pour soap into the washing machine.  Faithful.  This is where He has me.  This is my obedience.  This is my joy.

This is His glory manifested in me.

He doesn't need my help being glorified to the world.  

If He chooses to use me in the spotlight, doing 'big things, that's up to Him.  But if He wants me behind the scenes, cleaning everybody's laundry, cooking the meals, cleaning the bathrooms, it is still a position more worthy than I deserve.

Does this mean that we should stop dreaming of 'big' things?  That we should stop working towards doing grand things for His glory?

By no means!  But don't be discouraged if you don't have a dream right now.  Don't be sorry if you aren't making a 'big' impact on the world right now.  Don't be afraid that you're disappointing God by not doing something 'great'.

Be faithful in where He has you right now and leave the rest up to Him.

"He must increase, but I must decrease."
~John 3:30

Monday, May 4, 2015

may the 4th be with you

Hello, my lovely readers!

Just wanted to let you know that, in celebration of today, May the 4th, also known as Star Wars day, I have a series of giveaways going on over at my online mag, Beloved Girl!




Check it out and enter for a chance to win one of these gorgeous prizes:









...and more! ;)

Check out the giveaways HERE!

Or, check out each of them individually: