"Come and listen…and I will tell you what He did for me." Ps.66:16

“By taking a risk and learning to be real, we allow others the opportunity to love on us and pray for us, instead of denying them to do so. We invite people into our lives to walk us through hard times, hard memories, and hard emotions instead of keeping everyone at arm’s length……being real opens the door for us to be a vessel of hope to someone else in desperate need of a comforting touch from someone who truly understands.”

Tracie Miles, Your Life Still Counts

Have you ever hit the send button and then hit the panic button? I have.  I did. And I’m sure I will again when it comes time to ylsc_coverhit the send button on this one!

You see, I really don’t like being vulnerable. I don’t like “my stuff” out there for friends or strangers to read in print. I claim to be real – but sometimes, I’m not.  Let me rephrase that, most of the time I’m not real or I’m selective with those that I am real with.   Being real scares the bejeebies out of me.  One might say I have trust issues along with a few others that we will save for another post.

So when I received Tracie’s ask to share my story, I activated my “phone a friend” card after I punched the panic button, knowing that I would walk away from that mentoring moment with a “you need to do this, you can do this, Donna and I will be praying for you.” So how does one say “no” to that kind of encouragement from a friend who often believes in me more than I believe in myself? You can’t. I couldn’t.  So I didn’t.  You can find a portion of my story below and in Chapter 11 of Tracie’s newest book, Your Life Still Counts believing that it will become a vessel of hope to someone else in desperate need of a comforting touch or a word of encouragement.

 “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust, I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4)          

FEAR. We’ve all experienced, felt, and seen it. Some even live with it every day.

How do we define fear?

What is fear to the five-year-old whose daddy flings a plate of hot spaghetti through the air, followed by a chair aimed at the TV? Will her mom be the next thing he hits; or will it be the girl?

What is fear to the little one in the police cruiser with her younger sister, not sure what she’s done wrong, only to find out her daddy broke the law by not following the custody ruling.

Or to the eight-year-old who hears the heavy footsteps of the neighbor getting closer to the bedroom door. She lies silently, hoping the evil man will pass the door. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t.

Or to the forty-year-old, alone in the doctor’s office. The doctor gently says, “I believe it is cancer. We’ll take it one day, and one test, at a time; we’ll pray you through this.” Surgery removes the lump near her vocal cords; it’s not cancerous. But the roller coaster dips two days later: it is cancer—the fastest growing kind. Another surgery is needed ASAP. Three days after this, the diagnosis changes again. After a second surgery six weeks later, she’s told they got it all. Does she believe them this time?

Those were, and some still are, my fears.

For years my fears ruled my life and my emotions. I allowed fear to become anger; the kind of anger that I would bottle up and unleash on the most unlikely candidate at the most inopportune times. At times I would let my fear hold me captive to living in the shadows, hiding and sulking from my family and friends. Sometimes I would even profess hate at either the circumstances or at the people involved and yes, even at God. And other times I questioned why God would allow all of this to happen.

I don’t have all the answers. But I realized one day that I had a choice. I can let my fears rule over my heart, mind and soul, or I can allow God to heal me with His grace and truth, and give me hope to share with others. Some days I make the right choices and some days I don’t.

Over time I’ve discovered I don’t have to let my fears define me. 2 Timothy 1:7 states, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. God keeps the promises His Word is filled with. He’s given us a spirit of power and a sound mind. Although some will probably debate if I have a sound mind {and I would probably lose!}.

Despite my fears, God has shown me He has plans to prosper and not harm me, plans to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He’s revealed Himself to be my Healer (Exodus 15:26); my Prince of Peace (Judges 6:24); my Protector, Defender and Abba Father who loves me no matter what (Psalm 68:5-6). God is my Daddy whose lap I can crawl into any time I become fearful.

Let’s begin to let go of our fears and take hold of these promises in His Word. We’re His daughters, protected and defended by His peace. Fears may have shaped our past, but they don’t have to define our future.

Dear Lord, I praise You that You are my Future and Hope, and that You love me no matter what. Thank You that I can run to You and crawl in Your lap when fear overtakes me. Thank you for being a Promise Keeper, and the Author and Perfecter of my faith. Help me seek You with my entire being and remember Your faithfulness. I love and thank You for the life You’ve given me in You. Cause me to honor and glorify You with my life, actions, speech and heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I will be giving away two copies of  Your Life Still Counts as my heart has truly been touched and transformed through Tracie’s story and the stories of nineteen amazingly real and vulnerable friends who pour their hearts out to become vessels of God’s hope.   Please share how God has used you and your story as a vessel of hope for others.

Your Life Still Counts can be purchased through Proverbs 31 Ministries, Amazon and other book stores.

 

 

 

Happy Monday and congratulations!!!

And the winners of the two copies of Rivera Douthit’s book, Intimacy are …………………… windows

Bloggerlovestheking

pathwaythroughthewilderness

Please email your shipping address to dfbostick@yahoo.com and Rivera will get your books dropped in the mail to you!

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

Rivera and Donna

 

 

Book GiveawayCleanse me of my wickedness with hyssop, and I will be clean.  If You wash me, I will be whiter than snow.   Create in me a clean heart, O God; restore within me a sense of being brand new.  (Psalm 51:7, 10)

“A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. “That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.”

Her husband looks on, remaining silent. Every time her neighbor hangs her wash to dry, the young woman makes the same comments.

A month later, the woman is surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and says to her husband: “Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly.  I wonder who taught her this?

“The husband replies, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.”  (Source Unknown)

Pass the squeegee!  And the Windex too!  My heart needs a few swipes of the squeegee with a few sprays of Windex.  You may want to bring a new roll of paper towels while you’re at it for the creases in my heart that need a touch of elbow grease!

As I read the story of the young couple, I couldn’t help but think of the dirty film that often covers my heart – the dirty film that separates me from God.

Sometimes, it’s the film of pride.  Often times, the film of jealousy.  Every now and then, the film of gossip.  A lot of time, the film of selfishness.   Most of the time, the film of doing instead of being.  And, frequently, the film of  (_______).  Go ahead and fill in the blank.  I’m sure I’ve been there and have done that film too!

What dirty film covers your heart?  How do we get rid of the dirty film?  How do we restore intimacy with God?

1 John 1:9 tells us if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Please note, we act first.  We must confess our sins.  We must reveal our dirty films.  Then in His faithfulness, He forgives.  He cleanses us of our wrong doings! He removes the dirty film covering our hearts.

Our squeegee becomes the Word of God.  God becomes our Windex – our hyssop.

Are you ready for your heart to be squeegeed?  Are you ready for a clean heart?  Will you join me in a prayer of forgiveness?

Lord, thank You for your faithfulness.  Create in us clean hearts.  Cause us to seek your forgiveness.  Forgive us of our pride, our jealousy, our selfishness.  Forgive us of anything that comes between our hearts.  Remove our stained and dirty film. Thank you for the gift of forgiveness.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

My dear friend,  Rivera Douthit’s new book “Intimacy” just hit the shelves of book stores and to help Rivera celebrate the work that God has done in and through her and “Intimacy”, I will be giving away two copies of her new book.  Please leave a comment below for your chance to win.

“Intimacy” can be purchased through the retailers listed below by clicking on each link.

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Happy Valentine’s Day!

My friend, Renee Swope’s Confident Heart DEVOTIONAL eBOOK is #FREE TODAY only!

ConfidentHeartDevotionalEbook_FREE

This is Renee’s newly released Confident Heart DEVOTIONAL.

{NOT the same BOOK that was FREE in January}

Grab this FREE  60-day Devotional eBOOK and let GOD love you today!

Downloads available in the U.S. at the links below: 

Amazon - click here

B&N – click here

CBD – click here

iTunes Store – It’s there too!

If you don’t have an E-reader, you can also download a Kindle E-reader App on your computer. Find out more about the FREE Reading App in the Kindle store.

The Winner(s) are …….

Oops!!!  Just saying ….. someone got busy in the world of dog food and forget to post the winner of Renee Swope’s  “A Confident Heart Devotional” …….   Swope_ConfidentHeartDevotional_CVR.indd

So everyone wins!!!

Jill Berean

Wendy Blight

Lori Krance

Dawn Whitaker

Teresa R

Jennifer Ferguson

Sharita Knobloch

Beth Armstrong

Nicole Jones

Michelle

Please email your shipping addresses to me at dfbostick@yahoo.com and I’ll get your copies in the mail to you!

Misplaced Jesus

 “After three days they found him {Jesus} in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.  When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”  (Luke 2: 46-49, NIV)

Can you believe it??  Mary and Joseph lost Jesus – their twelve year old son – the Messiah – the Son of God – the Savior of the world!

How does one lose Jesus?  And not for just a couple of hours – but for three days?

Can you imagine the fear of Mary and Joseph as they realized they had misplaced Jesus?   The thoughts that flew through their minds?  The panic felt in their hearts as they searched from one place to another?  The anxiousness as one day became two days and two days became three?

I can!

hide n seekI often saw it on the face of  my Mom as I played “Hide N Seek” when we visited the local department store.   I would hide between the packed out clothing on the sales racks – staying put until I would hear the tension in her voice as she yelled, “Donna Frances” !  What is it with Moms and middle names?  Once that middle name is added to the mix , you know you’re in for quite a discussion as soon as you get home!

As I reflect  on Mary and Joseph misplacing Jesus, I get it!  Unfortunately, I get it all too well!

You see, I too often misplace Jesus.

    • I misplace Jesus when I leave Him between the pages of my Bible.
    • I misplace Jesus when I leave Him in the chair of the sanctuary as I exit the church.
    • I misplace Jesus when I call my friends to share my life before I share with Him.
    • I misplace Jesus when I hear His voice and ignore it.
    • I misplace Jesus as I pray for my wants and not praise Him for His provision.
    • I misplace Jesus when I give others credit for the happenings of my life – both the good and the bad.
    • I misplace Jesus when I get too busy doing instead of being with Him.

I not only misplace Jesus –  I also play “Hide N Seek” with Him!  My games usually last for more than three days – sometimes they linger from Sunday to Sunday.   Most of the time, I hide rather than seek.

As I misplace Jesus and engage in my games of “Hide N Seek”, I am thankful that Jesus plays by a different set of rules – His set of rules!  A written set of rules found in Jeremiah 29: 12- 14a, Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.  

Rules including action from us and action from Jesus.  Rules causing us to call out the name of Jesus  (no middle name warranted or needed).  Rules calling us to go to Jesus.  Rules involving us talking to Jesus. Rules requiring Jesus to listen.  Rules initiating a search to find Him. Rules allowing Jesus to be found.

Jesus, thank You for being the writer of the rules – rules that never change.  Thank  You for not only hearing us but for also listening .  Thank You that no middle name  is required.   Thank You for letting us  find You.  Forgive us when we misplace You and hide from You.  In your name, Amen.

I am currently in a season of seeking Jesus in between the pages of  my Bible and the pages of Renee Swope’sA Confident Heart Devotional“.  Share how you seek Jesus in the comment section for a chance to receive a free copy of Renee’s devotional.

Tippy Toes …..

I strained on my tip toes to peek through the curtains.  Fear and panic gripped me as I watched the car go round tip toesand round.  Spinning through one ditch then raging across the street, throwing dust and rocks into the air and barely missing a row of mail boxes. And finally, coming to a complete sudden stop as smoke billowed from the engine.

What started as a simple late night chore the night before ended in the chaos of Dad jumping in the front seat of Mom’s car the next afternoon and literally driving it to its’ death.

The night before mom had taken a late night trip to the laundry mat in my dad’s car. On our return trip home, my dad’s car overheated.  Mom had no way of getting in touch with him so she kept driving – it was late and she was alone with her three little girls.

He was furious about the damage to his car, so the next day He sought revenge by ‘doing donuts’ in the ditches alongside our country home until Mom’s car died.

This was one of many explosions. But it was the one that sent my mom over the edge and led her to pack up and leave. A few days later, after Mom had sold all our furniture, we loaded onto a gigantic gray bus that took us to my uncle’s house. A few weeks later we moved in with my Granny.

The next forty plus years, my Dad walked in and out of my life just as he drove the car in and out of the ditches that afternoon so many years ago.  Broken promises.  Broken hearts.  Broken dreams. Broken girls. Broken family.  And yes, still a broken car.

Recently, my Dad was kicked out of his nursing home for the third time for his temper and was admitted to a mental hospital. I sent an email to my friend Stephanie asking her to pray. Her reply, “…have you forgiven your dad…just wondering…wanted to make sure you were set free from that before things may get even worse with him.”

As I processed her question, I was flooded with emotions and memories of the car spinning uncontrollably in the ditches so many years ago, but God also instantly flooded my heart with His words from Matthew 18: 21-22, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.

I was able to respond with a “YES”!  I had processed past hurts several months ago with Dad and intentionally went to see him after 15 years of absence.  As God walked me through the visit, He made it perfectly clear that I could not change Dad, I could not change my past BUT I did not have to let my past define me.

In her book, A Confident Heart, Renee shares her powerful journey of forgiveness and says this: Confidence came as I followed God’s command to seek and offer forgiveness.” Her story has helped me see that it’s possible to forgive and worth the redemption God promises when we do. As I have sought to follow God’s command to seek and offer forgiveness, He has filled me with His confidence to make hard choices – the choice to accept Dad – the choice to pray `the seventy times seven – to continue the circle God started so that He will complete it: “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in {me} will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6).

My Dad passed away this past May.  I am so thankful and blessed that I sought to forgive and to move forward in obedience to Him.  

Lord, thank You for Your gift of forgiveness.  Please help me to forgive those who have hurt me – just as you have forgiven me – especially when the memories of the past come flooding in.   Help me keep no record of wrongs.  Thank You for filling me with Your confidence.  Thank you for freeing me from my past and my pain and not allowing them to define me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

Won’t you join me in living a life of freedom – freedom from your past – freedom from your hurts – freedom from your fears?

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