Beside Bethesda - devotional review

I really enjoy devotionals. I think they're a good way to just connect with God for a few minutes, whether it be before bed, after work, before school, during your day, etc. I just think they are really good and helpful.

So naturally when I saw Beside Bethesda by Joni Eareckson Tada for review, I had to get it. I've heard many good things about Joni and her writing and I have nothing more than good things to say about her.

For about 2 weeks I've been reading her short devotions before bed and they are simply beautiful. I've been blessed to read them and have a few moments of prayer. Each one talks about healing in some way. At the end of each devotion is a scripture and some thoughts to reflect on.

Joni is very honest and open in her writing which makes it feel more like a good friend or sister is writing to you. Her heart for the Lord makes you want to draw closer to Him.

If you're looking for some quiet moments with God and you're not sure where to get started, I recommend grabbing this devotional. It's a great kickstart to your time with God.

*Note: I received a free copy of this book for the exchange of a review.


Palace of Darkness review

Cassia is a nice young woman with a very difficult husband and a wonderful son. When tragedy strikes Cassia makes a choice that forever alters both her life, her son's life, and the people who soon become friends... or enemies.

Palace of Darkness is a page turning thriller. I must admit that the first chapter had me a little down because it just seemed to start slow, but as I progressed through the book I ended up really enjoying this author's writing style and how the story continued. It's definitely a hard one to put down.

I really liked how the author, Tracy L Higley, placed so much emphasis on the Lord in this fiction book. I was really impressed to be honest because that's not easy to do. I also liked how the character's all seemed to have very realistic lives and how relatable they were even though it's based back in Biblical days.

I give this book a 9 out of 10. Highly recommend to all fiction readers. You won't be disappointed with this one.

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for a review.


Let go, fix your thoughts, get over yourself, and rest (what I've learned)

Today I cried. I cried because anxiety had me bent double and the thoughts in my head were swirling so greatly... all in the wrong direction.

They don't like me.

I'm so out of place.

I don't belong anywhere.

Nobody wants me.

Nobody loves me.

The problem? Everything revolves around me. My thinking is too much about me. My mindset is: how can I please me? What makes me happy? What do people think of ME?

Then there's God.

Do people see HIM in me? Is HIS love made known through me even when the insecurities are thriving? Does HE get the praise through the good and the bad?

My mom gave me great advice today. She said, 'Don't let those problems ruin your time today. Let them go.' Amen. And I cried sobbed for 10 minutes after. I told God, I don't know how to let go. But slowly, one breath at a time, one intentional moment after another, thankfulness sprouted and peace... however little, made a home in my heart.

So, yes, I am an overly emotional, heart-on-her-sleeve, somewhat over-reacts drama queen/diva at times, but it's not about me. It's about Him. It's about Cristo. Today, I'm reminded to let go, place my thoughts on Him, get over myself, and rest. Thank You, Jesus, for the encouragers in my life.




Does giving thanks in your every day life come as hard to you as it does to me?

I mean, I've read the books, the Psalms, the "cool quotes", and yet that doesn't help me too/too much in actively giving thanks to the Lord.

But thankfulness opens the door to contentment and happiness where you are. Thankfulness opens the door to hope.

For a few months doubt, pain, anxiety, and bitterness has come into my mind and heart. The Lord has been gracious enough to show me this and then in and through His grace has helped me to pray for help in giving thanks - and then to do it.

Answered prayer: joy! Thanks has opened the door to joy and peace. God has helped me to get over my need for control and helped me to love better.

So maybe you're a little bitter tonight, and maybe this week has just stunk (and we've only been in it 3 days!). Have you tried giving thanks to the Lord anyway? Have you asked for help to give thanks to Him? Yes, it's hard, but oh the joy that waits at the end of those prayers.


Diva in waiting...?

Sometimes I am such a diva. Where this comes from, I have no idea. I've always been a bit of a rebel and a bit of a go-getter, but when that go-getter attitude starts to become a prideful, I-know-more-than-you mindset, I'm ready for it to GO.

Last night I spent a couple hours in tears. Sometimes life just seems too hard. I forget to repeat Bible verses to myself. I fall into a pity-party and trying to get out... well the hole just seems to dig deeper.

And I don't like that version of myself. I hope it's not who I truly am. During those times, it's hard to tell where this stuff comes from and where it's going and when will it come back.

But every morning I read His Word and pray for help to understand it. I pray for help in living it out. I pray for help in loving more like Him and looking more like Him. I pray for healing in the deep, dark, so wounded crevices.

And I wait.

I wait for diva me to be redeemed.
I wait for patience to build.
I wait for love to overcome.
I wait for peace to heal the thumping in my heart.
I wait for calm in the storms.
I wait for deliverance.
I wait for Jesus.

He will come just as rain comes. Hold on. Give thanks. Thankfulness is an arrow that can penetrate the ugly. He can turn the ugly into beauty for His glory. Hallelujah.



Have you ever gotten to that point where everything looks black? Like life can't be good because all you find yourself in are messes on tops of messes?

And you know that you have a lot to be thankful for. You hear it in church all the time and you really do try to have a good attitude but you're tired and sad and life seems like it's not worth living because shame follows you around like a shadow.

Been there?

Yeah, me too.

Too many times than I'd care to admit.

It's hard. Life. Love. Grace. The Christian life.

Was it supposed to come easy? Were you meant to face challenge after challenge? Would life be worth it if it was all easy?

Question after question comes to mind.

Last night I cried for probably 2 hours after facing the same obstacle I've faced for the past 4 years and it seems like I continue to hit the same wall every year.

But the light is coming.

I'm having trouble seeing the positive and choosing it but I'm thankful for the struggle. This struggle is showing me how helpless I am and how much I NEED God.

I was raised to be independent and rely on myself and now I'm seeing the struggles in that. I struggle to rely on God and not go my own way.

His grace is enough and He is enough even when the dark surrounds and even when you have to make the best out of what seems to be nothing, and you don't know how to believe that God has got you. He does have you though. Honest. It might not seem like it now, but please hold on, He will come.


Heart Wide Open - book review

Heart Wide Open sounded intriguing to me when I read what it was about.

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson writes with such authenticity and honesty... I like that.

Heart Wide Open is about seeking an authentic love for Jesus; an authentic relationship with Him. It's a book about fighting through the pain and struggles of life and finding yourself resting in the arms of Christ. It's about learning that perfection is not what Jesus wants from you, but your heart and your life that He is after.

One of my favorite things Shellie talks about in this book is how there are many ways to live out this life for Christ and there's just as much goodness in living in Rwanda to share God's love with others as much as there is in keeping a good attitude when you have cancer or being a friend to someone who is lonely.

Because this life is about God's glory, if we seek to glorify Him in all things, then He will be use that to glorify Himself. The desire is just as important as the action.

It's not a light read. You'll face questions and tears and maybe be a little bit of being uncomfortable while reading, but it's a good read. I recommend it for anyone seeking authentic faith in the Lord.

*Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.


Storm Siren - book review

3 days is all it took for me to finish Storm Siren by Mary Weber.

Aside from an amazing cover (major props to whoever designed it), this is a very thrilling book (hence why I read it in just 3 days).

Storm Siren has a Hunger Games, Divergent type feel to it. A very unique story-line with characters that will make you want more.

This is book 1 of the series and it tells the story of a Nym, an Elemental who has powers that cause storms. As she struggles to deal with her past, she sees new potential in her future... and that scares her. Summoned to defend the place she calls home or face death, she chooses to be trained for war. As she falls in love, she begins to realize her potential and the freedom that comes with it.

There are many areas you will see glimpses of the amazing grace and love of Christ in this book, that is if you look for those glimpses. You'll also find yourself, most likely, somewhere in one of the characters. For me it was Nym because what girl on this plant has not dealt with self-hatred and the battle for confidence in who she is and how she was made?

I very much recommend this book. It's great for pre-teens, teens, and young adults but I think any fiction reader would really enjoy this book.

If the author sees this review, just want to say well done, Mary!! You've got yourself a hit. (Also, feel free to make it into a movie because I definitely will go see it. ;) )

*Note: I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of a review.


Saving Amelie - book review

Saving Amelie is a historical fiction book written by Cathy Gohlke.

This is a page-turning, suspense, thrilling book that will leave you wanting more of your favorite characters.

This book tells the story of Rachel, Lea, Amelie and the trials of living during the takeover of the Nazis.

Rachel grew up with most everything she wanted. She wasn't denied any opportunities, but when secrets are discovered, Rachel realizes the one thing she's always wanted, the one thing she thought she had, was never really there- love.

Lea grew up with less. But she's been blessed with a good family, a wonderful husband, and a strong faith. But when the war hits close to home, will she be able to withstand the pain and struggles she's been enduring?

This is a good fiction book for anyone looking to pass some time reading, but I will tell you that it will break your heart to remember the truth and realities of what happened during WWI.

*Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.


When you apologize for being the jerk

There are a lot of "you did me wrong" songs, movies, quotes on Pinterest and Instagram, etc.

But where are the quotes for when I do someone wrong and hurt them?

For about a year I've dealt with severe mood swings and anxiety. I don't always tell people because they give you two looks, 1. pity, or 2. you're crazy. I don't enjoy those looks so I've learned to keep it to myself.

Last month was particularly rough and I felt like every time I turned around I was hurting somebody with my words, my thoughts towards them (that eventually turned into words, so guard your thoughts and give them to Christ, friends!), looks I would give, or just being grumpy all the time.

I let my emotions rule me.

And I had enough.

July 1st I woke up so convicted and saddened that I had acted like a total jerk to the people I for real love the most. So I got up and apologized because I knew I needed to and I've been trying so very hard to rely upon the Lord and His strength and allow Him to help me when I'm grumpy or upset or insecure about something ever since then.

So far, it's been hard. I forget and let my guard down and Satan picks up where he left off. But when the Lord reminds me to stand guard, I ask for help and try really hard to move forward into love, and not backwards into anger.

Things that help me?

  • PRAYER!!!!

  • Enough rest, but not too much.

  • Reminding myself where my identity comes from and Who gives it.

  • Staying constant in the Word.

  • Sharing my struggles.

  • Not listening to the lies of Satan.

Because while we all would prefer not to be a jerk, there comes a time when you need to apologize and seek the help of God. Amen?