When Brave Is…Yes {giveaway}

Hello friends, today is week one of the When Brave Is… series. You can read more about the series here.

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I’m excited to introduce you to a sweet friend of mine, Gretchyn Quernemoen. Our kids have grown up together, we attend the same church, and she’s on my Prayer Advisory Team. (and lots of other things!)

 

 

I’ve had the privilege of watching Gretchyn take one brave step after another in pursuing a lifelong dream of becoming an author. That dream is called Sixty Six First Dates – Every Day Offers a New Chance to Fall in Love with God. I asked her a few questions so you could get to know her and learn about her brave yes.

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Gretchyn, tell us about you – your family, your life, what you like to do for fun…

I am married to my college sweetheart, Barry. We were married the week after we graduated in 1995 from the University of Northwestern St. Paul (formerly Northwestern College). That means we’ve been married for almost 20 years! We have two kids, Caleb who is 14 and Shalyn who is 12. I homeschool both kids, and we are all involved in sports. We also enjoy planning trips as a family, especially when it’s to somewhere warm! I should also add that we love our energetic dog Coco, who keeps our laps warm in the evenings. We each shamelessly try to entice her to sit with us – and usually the one with the best treats wins.

I love the title (and the cover!) of your new book, Sixty-Six First Dates. Tell us about it.

I have to admit I love the cover, too! I wanted the cover to be fun and eye-catching, and I think it turned out great. This book is the result of a series of events in my life over the last five or so years. I was in a spiritual valley and my friend Deb (you know her!) gave me a Chronological Bible to read. I had never read the Bible through, so this was a new experience for me. It took me three years to read it, but every time I opened God’s Word, He was faithful to meet with me and reveal Himself to me. I started to blog about what I was learning, and a friend who read my blog challenged me to pray about the possibility of turning this blog into a book. I wanted others to experience the same joy as I did from spending time with God each day, so I decided to create a habit devotional out of the blog entries.

What’s one thing you learned while writing this book?

I learned that the best way to get to know God and understand who He really is, is through reading His Word. Bible studies are great, but going directly to Scripture will give us the most accurate account of God. If we are still and listen, He is faithful to speak to us and give us what we need for each day of life.

What is your prayer for every woman who reads Sixty-Six First Dates?

My prayer is that women (and young ladies) will start or continue a habit of spending time with God every day. Current research shows that it takes about sixty-six days to make a habit, so that’s why I’ve included sixty-six devotions. Each day includes a Scripture reading, a personal application, a prayer and an action question. My desire is that after spending time with God for sixty-six days, you will create a habit you’ll never want to break.

Thank you, friend, for your brave yes.

Gretchyn has generously given me two copies of her book to giveaway. To enter, just comment below by telling us about a first date. I’m looking forward to reading those stories!  If you don’t want to share a story, just tell me you’re in. The winners will be announced on Monday, November 10th.

You can connect with Gretchyn on her blog and on Facebook.

**Affiliate links are used in this post.

The Next Brave Step

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Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve written in this place. It would take a novel or two to fill you in on the happenings of my life over the last several months. Challenging, long, difficult are a few words to describe the season we’re walking through and longing to find our way out of. One in which for a while I thought was bringing me to the end of ministry. And to be honest, I was weary and ready to lay it down.

But ever so slowly, we’ve begun to catch a glimmer, a glimmer of hope.

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:13

As much as we desire to be lifted out of a painful season right now, sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. The feelings of overwhelm can take our breath away. So what if…what if instead of looking forward to the end of the challenge and being utterly convinced we’ll never make it, what if we focused on just one thing. Taking the next brave step.

Just one. Plant your foot, look back if you need to, but choose to shift your gaze in the midst of the chaos. That next brave step has the potential to take us farther than we could ever imagine.

Here’s what I’m learning when taking the next brave step…

 We’re Not Alone. It may feel like we’re alone. It may be the blackest of dark. But the truth is we are never alone.

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deut 31:8  

And my life verse…

The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk]and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! Hab 3:19

We are NEVER alone!

We need to Do it Afraid. If we wait for the feeling of fear to go away, we’re going to die waiting. Don’t wait until you don’t feel afraid. That’s never going to happen. Never! I promise. Do it afraid. Be brave afraid. Because here’s the secret…once you take that first step, the next step will come a little easier and the one after that and the one after that.

We need a tribe. We can’t do life alone. We need to surround ourselves with community who will walk alongside us, support us, and be our biggest cheerleaders. Early on in ministry I knew I needed a group of women to pray for me when I’m speaking, when I’m writing, when I’m traveling, when I’m scheduling. They are a vital part of faithWalk Ministries. I never stand behind a podium or write a word without their covering. I need these women in my life because they continually live out bravery. You’ll be reading about them very soon.

Over the next few weeks the focus in this place will be a new series I’m calling When Brave Is… I hope you’ll join me. I’m excited to keep working on our next brave steps.

Before you go, I’d love to hear about your next brave step. Remember, you’re not alone.

Who Inspires You? {& a giveaway!}

As a child, my favorite day of the summer was Monday. I had the most difficult time waiting for Monday every week. You see, Monday was the day – the only day – our elementary library was open. The school librarian often found me sitting on that old wood floor waiting for her arrival.

For the first hour or so, I helped her with the returns and ever so gently placed each book on their proper shelf. And then it was my turn. Row by row. Shelf by shelf. Book  by book. I pondered by next choices. With just minutes to spare before the door closed for another week, I checked out my five books. Just five. Only five. That was the rule. I didn’t like it one bit, but this first-born, rule follower, couldn’t bear to lose my library privileges girl chose five.

Authors inspired me. Their words took me to places I couldn’t go. Their adventures helped me dream of my own. Their emotions brought clarity to mine. Their stories gave me hope.

Authors inspired me then and their inspiration continues today. My basement is my library. And my night stand. And the sofa table. And my kindle. Lots of inspiration in all of those places.

My friend, Holley, inspires me with her words. She’s been given a gift and she’s using it all for His glory. I’ve had the privilege of being a part of Holley’s God-Sized Dream Team this past year. She has generously shared her words and has been our biggest cheerleader in pursuing our dreams.

And sometimes you get an amazing opportunity to meet the person whose words have changed your life. On Friday I get to hug sweet Holley for real and get to talk to her face to face. I’m so excited!

To celebrate my friend and her inspiration, I’m giving away a copy of You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream and her newest book, You’re Going to be Okay.

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Just comment below. Tell me who inspires you. The winner will be announced on Monday. I’m looking forward to reading your comments.

 

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s Coffee for Your Heart day over at Holley’s blog. You’ll love the inspiration you find there.Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150

You’re Not Alone {Coffee For Your Heart}

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Holley’s Coffee For Your Heart writing prompt was probably chosen weeks or months ago. I needed it today. Maybe you do too. I needed to be told the Truth. I – We are not alone. God is holding onto us when we feel like it and when we don’t.

For I, the LORD your God,
Hold your right hand;
It is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”
Is 41:13

 

If you’ve spent any time around this little blog of mine, you know I’m a word nerd. Here’s the Hebrew Lexicon definition of HOLD:

to cling, to cleave, to adhere, especially firmly, as if with glue – to be glued

It’s not us holding on to God…He’s holding on to us! I love the visual of “especially firmly, as if with glue.” It’s tight. It’s secure. It’s confident.

When your marriage is hard – you’re not alone

When parenting is exhausting – you’re not alone

When friendships are wounding – you’re not alone

When your heart is breaking – you’re not alone

When the darkness is suffocating – you’re not alone

When the way seems daunting – you’re not alone

You’re not alone even when you most feel like it.

So go ahead. Take that next step. Do that hard, scary thing. God’s got you – just like glue. That’s His promise. And He’s faithful.

 

Come and visit Holley and so many others reminding us we are not alone. You’ll be so glad you did. I promise.

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You are beautiful…yes you are!

Dear friend,

Today. Right now. Just are you are. You are beautiful.

It’s funny, but I can just hear your thoughts frantically tumbling around in your sweet head. Those thoughts that are fighting so very hard to deny that truth. The truth that you are beautiful. I know because that same battle goes on in my head and heart.

The words we hear, the words we tell ourselves give definition to beautiful.

I’m the oldest of four. More than anything my Dad wanted a firstborn son. I wasn’t him. His words settled deep in my young heart…”If you had to be girl, at least you could have been pretty.” Until the day he left our family, he showed me verbally and physically I was not what he wanted.

Maybe the longing underneath you are beautiful is You. Are. Wanted. That shift in my thinking has brought clarity, freedom, and some much needed healing.

God says…

You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you. Is 43:4

The LORD your God has made you beautiful. Is 60:9

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD. Is 62:3

 

God thinks about you all the time…

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!   Ps 139:17-18

 

You are beautiful. You are wanted. Just as you are. On the days you feel like it, and especially on the days you don’t.

Dear friend, I challenge you today to start believing these verses are true about you. What lie(s) are you going to get rid of in order to believe and live like a beautiful, wanted woman of God?

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Today I’m joining Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart. It’s a place of some sweet encouragement. Come and visit.