A Review: Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones

I stood in the line waiting to have my free novel signed by her. Jenny B. Jones intrigued me. Small stature but big personality. Novel writer and E! TV watcher. Christian, sincere but not the least bit stodgy. A mystery.
She signed the book with my name, and a personal message of encouragement to me – with Scripture. She took the time to write to a woman she’d never met but whom she knew held a dream tucked deep. I would not shelve her book. No, I’d read it. And soon.
I peeled back the cover and read the Prologue. It was 10:30 at night. I figured I’d just get a few pages in before bed. I was up past midnight, tension building the whole time. And I had to work the next day. I was hooked. I woke up, read, dressed for work, read while my computer was booting, ate lunch, read and came home and finished reading. I read the entire book in less than 24 hours. This, my friend never happens to me. But I was so invested in Lucy…
Wait, I have to tell you the name of the book, right? Geesh. Okay, the book that the intriguing, award-winning author Jenny B. Jones wrote is called “Save the Date”. And I love it. It needs to be a movie so I can watch it. The story centers around a single gal named Lucy. I’m not going to tell you much more though.
I will say that I rooted for Lucy, and was taken aback by Lucy at times. I wanted Lucy to pull it together and I was surprised when she did. She did it when I didn’t think she would. I loved the way that Jenny wrote the story, allowing me into Lucy and Alex’s heart and mind. And although I was surprised at the ending, I still agree with it. It’s a solid and quick read.
Thanks Jenny. You’re one great story-teller!

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

God in the Details

There was a simmering and then there was a direct attack. Instantly, what had been a mild annoyance became a full-fledged assault on my stomach area. I ached horribly.
I did all the things I know to do but nothing seemed to work. Then the heat came. I was fanning myself in a nicely air-conditioned building. Cold-natured me was fanning. Umm, not good. I felt horrible and queasy. Houston – we have a problem.
I went to the water fountain but every step of the journey made me feel like collapse on the carpet was a better idea. God steadied me. I drank the water and returned to my desk. I coaxed myself – it’s the end of the workweek. You can do this. But my body had another plan. I double-over in pain and moved to my guest chair. It was lower – in case I fell. I began to pray and the move of God stabilized me yet again, but the pain was still there. Burning me. Stabbing me. I needed reinforcements.
I called my friend down. She was just a few desks away. God had it to be that she was not on the phone with a customer. She popped up and came down. It was God. And she prayed. But she didn’t leave. She stayed until I felt better. She was an example of Jesus with skin on. And then, I journeyed past stabilization to movement. The burning slacked off. The stabbing stopped. And just like I felt a descending, God allowed me to feel ascension. He raised me back on my feet. And now, I’m typing out this testimony. God stepped in and made the wrong in my body right. I’ve got a praise today because I am feeling much improved. God is in the little things. He loves the details. And I thank Him, praise Him and love Him for just that.

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

Susan Meissner’s Shape of Mercy

Have you read the Shape of Mercy? I loved that book. So much so that I’ve passed it along to my mom. The cool thing about it is that now we can discuss it. When I read it, I couldn’t put that book down! My mom is reading it as she can slot it in to her schedule, but it’s so masterfully written that she can read it and put it down and still remember what’s going on when she picks it back up again. In fact, we were discussing it last night and she mentioned a portion of the book that I instantly recalled. I can’t even remember what I ate a few days ago but I can remember what happened in The Shape of Mercy! Seriously! 


I met Susan Meissner and was able to spend some time with her this past weekend at SheSpeaks. Now, this is not to say that we’re now best buddies or anything, but she allowed a natural, easy-going conversation to take place between the two of us. She’s not the least bit pretentious. She’s kind-hearted and a good listener. To know me is to know that I can engage in random conversation from time to time. She allowed it. She didn’t seem perturbed. I was talking about Delta Airlines and when I like to board the plane for goodness sakes! She allowed it. 


So, I want you to allow yourself to experience The Shape of Mercy and the gifted writer, better known as Susan Meissner. She’s on Twitter – @susanmeissner. And her website is: www.susanmeissner.com. After you read the Shape of Mercy, there is a blog that keeps the story going if you’re so inclined. 


If I could tell Susan anything, it would be, thank you! Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for penning such a masterful story.



Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

I Recommend Mary DeMuth

I have told so many people about my favorite Christian fiction author Mary DeMuth this weekend that I thought I should probably list some links to some of my previous posts in the event that these gals stop by my blog looking for the reviews and thoughts I mentioned.


You may wonder why I keep talking about Mary DeMuth and encouraging you to read her books. It’s simple. She’s real. I love that about her. I’m not trying to be stalker-like but she’s a real, down-to-earth, no-need-to-fake-humiliy kind of woman. When she says that she loves Jesus and wants to make Him famous, I believe her. I don’t think she’s operating under any other motive and I don’t find her the least bit pretentious or off-putting. She’s the main reason I attended She Speaks this year. I wanted to hear what she had to say in the Story-telling sessions. 


I’m just telling you about her because she is rare. She writes fiction and nonfiction. Rare. So, if you’ve not read any of her books, check out Amazon. There’s plenty to pick from. Since I prefer fiction over parenting, and free over all, I started with Daisy Chain. You’ll recall, she gave that book to me, free of charge. Free y’all. And it was brand new. She gave me a free one and a conference room stuffed full of women, a free book too. Selfless wouldn’t you say?  


Here’s my review of it, along with some other good stuff. 


So, Daisy Chain is the first book of the Defiance, Texas trilogy. After all these years, I’m still talking about Daisy Chain, A Slow Burn and Life in Defiance. That should tell you something. It’s a mystery that I didn’t figure out until it was time to figure it out. That’s stellar writing!  

I could go on but I won’t. I will say this as a final point. If you enjoy solid Christian fiction, that is masterfully written, I recommend Mary DeMuth. I also will recommend others, so, stay tuned…


Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

The New Fiscal Year

Just like that, a weekend of intensity ended. She Speaks was over. I took one step out in the high heat and oppressive humidity and knew with certainty that I’d just stepped into the next phase of writing. I am not stranger to the She Speaks conference. I’ve attended multiple times – one might say that I’m a graduate that keeps visiting the school. I told many newbies (first time attenders) that She Speaks is like the start of my writing fiscal year. I get pumped upon the jet fuel that can help power my writing through the year. How far I fly depends on how well I manage my resources. 


So, here we go again. A new beginning. I know what to do. Now I have to do it. This is where the rubber meets the road. Am I ready? I guess we will find out. 


I know that some of you want to know what happened at the conference. I’ll be posting the details in forthcoming blogs, so check back. I will also be mentioning some writers that I met for the first time – you will not want to miss that – trust me. So, hang tight. More is coming. 

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

Back Then…

Flipping through an app on my phone, I came across something that sent me flying back down memory lane. I instantly recalled the despair I felt when this song first danced across my ears. I was in that situation at that time. The longing and wanting…the neediness that accompanies rejection consumed me. I remember feeling lifeless and devoid; paralyzed by the fear that somehow I was unlovable. Not cherished. Not wanted. And this song played right into those emotions, caressing them even, but after four minutes, it too was gone, still leaving me with the questions that haunted me. No resolution, just a slick R&B ballad.
I looked down at my phone, recalling all of this…and then the unthinkable happened…I laughed! I threw my head back and said “Thank You Jesus!!!”
What a hot mess I was BACK THEN to believe the lies of my adversary! I have since learned that relationships with people are important but the one relationship that I ought to nurture above all others is the one relationship that won’t leave me. I don’t have to worry about God changing his mind, calling me up and telling me it’s over. I don’t have to worry about God dismissing me from His presence. He wants me there. I don’t have to worry when I place my hope and trust in God. Amen! Aw c’mon, you know you want to say it with me – on the count of three, one…two…three…AMEN!!!!
With God, we don’t have to worry because He has not left us in our “back thens.” If we will but trust Him enough to build a relationship with Him, then we’ll see that out “back thens” where a time “back when” we put too much emphasis on others. We esteemed them higher than we esteemed our God. But when you flip that thing around and you esteem God as priority number one in your life, the hurt that would have come when people decide you’re not worth their time stings less. A whole lot less.
Why? Because when you have God, although you may be alone, you’re not really ever alone. If you allow it, He will walk with you and talk with you. He will be a friend that sticks closer than a brother…or a sister (to be gender neutral here!)  He loves you (yes, He does) and He cherishes you. He wants a relationship with you, YES, YOU!
He’s not around just to see what He can get from you. Instead, He is around because He loves you. You know that whole bit about Him laying down His life for you right? There is no greater love than the one that God has for you. None greater. So look, if someone in your “back then” left you “back when”, it’s okay. Let ‘em go. Some people are in your life for seasons. Others just don’t need to be in your life. Just let them go. You only make yourself tired trying to hold on to someone when they want to leave. Let them leave. And instead of allowing their departure to leave a void in your life, do something better than that. Remember God and then cleave to Him. Develop THAT relationship and see just how much He blesses you! You won’t regret it. And then one day, when you are flipping through an app on your phone and get transported back to memory lane, you too can let out a yelp of praise, saying “Thank You Jesus!!!!”

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

She’s Back!

My godson’s mother has made it back from a year of deployment. I am so grateful and thankful to God that He has kept her, along with her battle-buddies throughout the entirety of a year. In dangers seen and unseen. In hostile territory. And when I finally got my opportunity to look at her – to behold her with my own eyes, all I could do was smile. She’s a real soldier but you’d never know it to look at her. You see, despite the hardship of a year long deployment and being away from her infant son, she doesn’t look any older, any harder or anything more or less than when she left. She looks the same and she behaves the same.

I was a little concerned about her transition back. You hear so many stories about how war changes the deployed. Yet, from what I see, she’s okay. I thank God for that too.

Thinking about her deployment and the year that she missed in her child’s life reminds me of Joel 2. I know that God will restore it back to her. I pray that He will continue to bless her and I pray that she will run mightily toward Him for the rest of her life – no distractions – no looking back.

Of course, I thank God too for the other men and women serving in harm’s way. I still know a handful of troops but now most of my friends are getting out of the military and moving on with their lives in other areas. But for those still serving, especially those with the repeated and long deployments, know that although I’m not a battle-buddy, I’m still praying – I guess you could say that I’m a prayer-buddy. And I pray that God will render them home as complete as they left, if not more.
Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

A Wondrous Thing

If I used my secular vocabulary, I would say “it’s the weirdest thing!” You see, I have been thinking about someone I knew a few years ago. We studied God’s Word together and for a season, we worshipped at the same church. And then, at the direction of God, our season together in the same circles ended.
Yet, for the past week, she has haunted my memory. Popping up when I least expect her. Remembering her smile and thinking about the graceful way she always treated people. I think back to our times in Sunday School and Bible Study when she would give comprehensive answers. She had studied and examined the Scripture. I remember the prayer request that her husband asked for when she was studying for the bar exam – which she passed on the first try. I remembered thinking that she looks like a porcelain doll – delicate. But I also recall her tenacity to know the truth of God. Where did she go?
Panama.
I did a Google search for her and found her dwelling in Panama. She and her husband have set up a ministry there to help children. They left successful careers in the US to help those that have no voice. And all I can say is – “Praise God!” He called them out of their comfortable lives and placed them in a place where the living isn’t easy. And they obeyed for the love of God and children. It is not the “weirdest thing” that I’ve been thinking of her. It’s a “wondrous thing” because now, I know how to pray specifically for her. And I even sent her an email too – I’ll wait to hear back from her. But in the meantime, I simply tell the Lord “Thank You.”
I thank Him because He keeps giving me tangible examples of what ministry with abandon looks like. When will we all learn to live free of what we think is right and commit to God’s will and way? My friend is doing that; leaning not on her own resources, but instead depending completely on God. What an example!

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.

The Muir House: A Review

She’s done it again. It is no secret to readers of this blog that I love the fiction work of author Mary DeMuth. I’ve recently read The Muir House, her latest fiction novel and I recommend it for your summer reading list. Seriously.

The notion of looking in your rearview to help chart your future, is a little not-like-me. Thus, at first, I really had a bit of a challenge identifying with the main character, Willa. But as I looked beyond my own thoughts and tried to synchronize with where Willa was in her path to discovery, I was ensnared in the story. Sometimes I rooted for Willa and other times, I verbally asked her what she was thinking. My dog can attest. Talking to a book. Yep. That was me.

But that’s the wonderful thing about how DeMuth crafts a story. Once you’re in, you’re in. And you want to see everything work out for the character. I was hanging on until the end to see if everything worked out the way that I thought it should. Of course, I’m not going to give any indication of that now. You’ll just have to read the book. I also noticed some parallels from the little that I know of Mary DeMuth through reading Thin Places. Willa has, at some level, some similar issues that Mary uncovers in her memoir. Maybe this latest novel is our seeing how free DeMuth, the author has become. At least in my little ole opinion.

I think this would be a good book to read with a group, really taking advantage of the discussion questions in the back of the novel. So, if you’ve got a bookclub, recommend it, or even if you read it alone, that’s good too. Just read it.

Mary, job well done!

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

Visit us at http://www.beamsoflightministries.org for more content on dealing with emotional wounds through the power of God’s Word.