In my book The Warrior's Bride, I shared quite a bit about the health problems my husband endures. Chronic pain, back issues, migraines, leg cramps, and more are a regular part of our lives. I used to wonder what I was supposed to do with that. Were the physical struggles a test? A character building process? Would God heal him, or lead us to the doctor with the right procedure to make things better? And what does it say about our faith if nothing changes? What does it say about God if things get worse?
Relationships are hard, and trusting the Lord with them is rarely easy. One devastating time in my marriage is crystal clear in my memory. My husband hadn’t slept in two days because of an undiagnosed medical issue and was highly irritable. We fought, and he raced off on his motorcycle. I ran to our room, sat on the edge of the bed, and sobbed. I contemplated divorce, even knowing that wasn’t the answer. I didn't want to stay, but at the same time I didn't want to leave. I felt trapped. Alone. This brief story from my life relates just one time when despair threatened to overwhelm me. When emotions could have determined my choices. When I could have easily followed my heart right out of my marriage. Emotions are funny things. They surge to the surface without effort and can control us if we aren’t careful. Many people advise you to follow your heart, but that's dangerous advice.
Back in early October, I made two big announcements: I was starting my own publishing company. I was reclaiming the rights to my Crossing series. Several of you patiently waited while my assistant and I waded into the publishing waters. We had some battles to win, fights with computers over formatting issues and such. But we won! The ENTIRE Crossing Series is NOW Available!
Thanksgiving will soon be over, and you can breathe a sigh of relief. One holiday almost done, one more to go. This season brings out the worst in you: anger, depression, loneliness, bitterness. Your mind fills with the thoughts of what could have been, what should have been. If only . . . If you are in a fresh crisis, grieve. I want to make it clear that this post is not for those who are in the midst of a crisis. If you are coming out of a fresh loss, if tragedy turned your world upside down this year — give yourself grace. You do not need to have it all together with your happy face firmly planted for all to see this December. Instead, I'm talking to the person who thinks they have nothing to be grateful for. The person who faces a rough life, feels betrayed by a loved one, or stands between a rock and a hard place. The one stuck in a world of negative emotions because life hasn't been good or fair. While I empathize with your hard places and disappointments, I want to lovingly remind you of truth.
To be honest, before I started researching my fiction book Kindling Embers, I didn't give much thought to fire protection. We didn't have a lot of open flames around our house, rarely used candles or the grill, so what was there to worry about? According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments across the United States responded to a fire every twenty-three seconds in 2015. On average, fire departments reported one civilian injury due to fire every thirty-four minutes, and someone died due to fire every two hours and forty minutes. Maybe, we all have a lot to learn about the fire hazards in our homes.
What's your first thought when God says no? Sour grapes? What you were asking for probably wasn't any good anyway. Temper tantrum? God never really loved you or listened to you in the first place. Quiet acceptance? God knows what is best and wants to bless you with it, so whatever happens is okay with you. Something different? When we moved to Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, we were given the choice of two houses ....
When I was a young warrior's bride, I knew little about military life. I was so naive, I didn't know what questions to ask the more experienced brides around me. I couldn't formulate my ignorance into coherent thought to even begin a discussion on what the future might look like. I have learned much over the years, through my experience and through the lives of dear friends. Military life no longer scares me, even though it occasionally troubles me. I don't fear for my active duty friends, although worry sometimes sends me into deeper prayer for them. Here at Fort Bragg, we are in a deployment cycle. To be truthful, because of the units housed here, we are always in a deployment cycle. One-quarter to one-third of the ladies who attend the military group at our church are in the midst of life while their spouse is half a world away. It's normal here. But that doesn't mean we are good about talking through it.
What if God (as in, it was unquestioningly clear that it was God) asked you to pack up and leave your family and friends? What if God asked you to fight for a people who were being devalued and mistreated? Did your heart and mind jump forward, ready to pack your bags? Or did you hesitate? Your heart just revealed your true beliefs to you. Deep in your heart, your are acting on one of these three foundations: 1. God knows everything and what He's asking is for my best, now matter what it looks like. 2. God only knows everything. But He either can't or doesn't care to control everything. 3. God doesn't really know everything. These are tough statements that I tend to wrestle with during those times when my life is interrupted with a problem or God asks me to do something I know I'm not capable of doing on my own. What about you?
If you've been hanging around my Facebook page any, you may have seen a poster about a new adventure. Several have asked what I'm doing. Well, today I let you in on the secret. I'm going hybrid! Some of you familiar with the publishing world know what I mean by that, but I'm guessing a lot of my readers don't. So let me elaborate. It all started years ago ... (don't worry! The story's not too long.)
Christmas is coming! It's less than three months away. Are you ready? How many of you just groaned? Come on, admit it. Many of you aren't ready for the holiday season. Perhaps you agree with some of the top reasons other people hate December: 1. You hate fighting the crowds and standing in line. 2. You know all the yummy treats that abound at Christmas, and you don't want to put on weight. 3. You just finished back to school shopping and you aren't prepared for all the gift giving. 4. The holidays are typically a busy time and you just want a little time to rest and be still. 5. Christmas brings lots of family time, and you don't have the best relationship with one or more family members. Well, stop groaning. With a little preparation and a few practical tips, you can make the upcoming holiday season better than ever. Yes, I know it's September (almost October). Come on, start now! You'll be glad you did.