It looks like I may be settling into an every Monday posting schedule here at the blog. We shall see.
Over the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of getting to know two women who have made lasting impressions on my heart. It all began when we ended up in a writing group together. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of those ladies.
Rebekah Hallberg is someone whom I have never met in real life, but I just know that if we did meet, we would be BFFs. Over the last year, Rebekah has been such an incredible encourager to me. Not only in words, but also in her actions. In addition to being a writer, wife, mom, and all around awesome friend, Rebekah is a virtual assistant. If you see almost anything from me on social media, you can be fairly certain that Rebekah was the one who created it. She is such a blessing to me because social media is a must in ministry these days, but I just do not enjoy spending massive amounts of time creating posts and tweets. Enter Rebekah. She is a master at Pinterest and Twitter and Facebook.
Today I am so excited to introduce you to Rebekah and her new book, Hope for the Hurting Wife. This book, y’all! It is the creation of Rebekah and another wonderful woman that I will introduce you to very soon, Jen Stults. I’m convinced that many wives out there would be so blessed by this book and its authors, because as wonderful as marriage can be and is, it can also be incredibly painful. So without more words from me, allow me to introduce you to Rebekah.
LA: Rebekah, I may have readers who do not know you. Would you please tell them a bit about yourself?
RH: Thank you, Leah, for having me here! What a blessing to be able to spend some time with you and your readers! I grew up as a missionary kid. I was born in the states, but spent 4 years in West Africa when my parents followed God’s call to missions overseas. I learned about faith in God from a very young age, and my faith has always been a strong, important part of my life.
I have been married for 18 years and my husband and I have 3 children. I hold a degree in education and have worked in both regular and special education settings. I originally started my blog as a place to document our family’s journey with special needs after our second son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. Over time, I transitioned to faith-based blogging, telling God that I’d blog about anything except marriage. Let me just pause right here for a minute to say this:
Don’t tell God what you won’t do.
I now blog about marriage. God must have had a few chuckles when I told Him what I would not write about. More on that in a bit.
LA: What occupies your free time? Hobbies? Interests?
RH: I spend a lot of my free time listening to piano music as all three of our children play the piano. Our oldest son is a piano performance major at a local university and while he practices a lot at school, between all three kids, there are still multiple hours of piano practice in our home each day.
I also enjoy a good cup of coffee and some quiet time to read. I enjoy watching movies with the family and spending quiet evenings talking and laughing with my husband.
LA: What are some items on your bucket list?
RH: I recently read an article about someone who traveled across the US by train, making particular stops at scenic destinations along the way. I think that would be a great trip to take with my husband someday! I’d also love to see our oldest play at Carnegie Hall in New York City. What an amazing opportunity that would be! I’d love to see my younger two perform as well, but God may have other plans for their lives, and in time, it will be wonderful to see them following their God-given gifts!
LA: How did you develop an interest in writing and when did you begin writing seriously?
RH: Writing is one of my newer hobbies. I am not one of those people who always knew they wanted to write – quite the opposite, in fact. I never enjoyed writing in school. It was always such a chore for me. When I started blogging, the writing came a little more easily. I think that’s because I was writing about topics that I was interested in, and could write at my own pace. I’ve been writing seriously for about 4 years now. As I follow God’s promptings on my heart, the writing becomes easier.
LA: What is the story behind your book, Hope for the Hurting Wife?
RH: Remember when I told God that I wouldn’t write about marriage? I had what I thought was a pretty normal marriage. We were both active in church, we loved each other, we loved our kids and were raising them to love the Lord – by all accounts things were good! One morning we were startled by a sudden knock at the door, followed by a lot of shouting. As we opened the door, the bottom fell out of my marriage and my world fell apart. I was completely blindsided and had no idea what was happening. Reality was being revealed and I realized that my marriage was not at all that I thought it had been. Heartbroken and utterly devastated, I started the hardest journey of my life – to pray for redemption for my marriage. It took me about 6 months to decide that I wanted to stay, that I wanted to work through the choices my husband made that nearly cost us our marriage.
I met Jen, my co-author, in a blogging group. While our backgrounds and stories are different, God brought us together and gave us a deep connection because of our stories. We realized that women needed the hope, the understanding, of another woman who has been through a crisis in her marriage. We first released a 14-day version of our book as a download in February, 2017. The response was so great that we knew we needed to do more. After a lot of praying and seeking God, we decided to combine some of our writings, and to add some content that has never been published before, and turn our book into a 30-day book that we hope will bless and encourage women at any stage of their marriage. We’re proud to share Hope for the Hurting Wife with you.
LA: Tell us more about Hope for the Hurting Wife, please!
RH: Hope for the Hurting Wife is a beautiful story of God’s redemption in our marriages. The book offers 30 days of encouragement for your marriage (plus amazing bonus content at the end of the book). It’s also our story of how God has redeemed our marriages. Jen and I share personal stories from some tough times we’ve faced. We share how God used those times to strengthen us and to give us hope as we worked on issues in our own marriages.
Each chapter addresses a different issue that we have faced, and that most women will find relatable. We cover topics such as communication, dealing with our emotions, trusting God with your marriage, and feeling stuck in the “for worse” of marriage.
We hear from many wives who are in tough situations and want to make it clear that this book is not one that pressures a woman into staying in an abusive marriage. We support the need for women to get help and to find safety if they are a victim of abuse. Our book is not a guarantee to solve the issues in your marriage or to fix your broken marriage. While we’d love to offer that hope, only God has that power. What we can do is gently point you to God, to remind you that even amid struggles in our lives, He is faithful. We can’t make changes in your marriage, but He can! We use this book to offer that hope and encouragement.
LA: Rebekah, where can my readers find your book?
RH: Hope for the Hurting Wife can be purchased on Amazon.com in both print and Kindle versions. (Click links to be taken to the book page on Amazon)
SALE ALERT: The Kindle version of Hope is available for 99 cents for a limited time, so click here to grab that deal.
LA: I would love for my readers to connect with you. How can they do that?
RH: You’ll find me at Sharing Redemption’s Stories (link to http://rebekahmhallberg.com ), on Facebook (link to https://www.facebook.com/rebekahmhallberg/ ), Pinterest (link to https://www.pinterest.com/RebekahHallberg/ ) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/rebekahmhallberg/ ).
I’d love to connect with you and be an encouragement for your marriage!
LA: Rebekah, do you have any final thoughts to share with my readers?
RH: I’m positive that the devil came for my marriage they day they knocked on my door. I was so blindsided by all that happened, and I’m sure the devil planned for that to be the undoing of my marriage. But as I slowly waited on God, as I let Him work in every aspect of the situation, He kept reminding me how precious my family is and how much He loved each of us. He worked deep in my heart to remind me that redemption is for everyone, no matter what we’ve done. That reminder gave me courage to pursue redemption in my marriage.
And I want you to know that nothing is too far out of the realm of possibility for God to redeem. Nothing!
Hope for the Hurting Wife is a story of redemption because God still redeems today!
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
Today it is my privilege to welcome Sarah to my Sharing Life series. We met in an online blogger’s group and I have found her to be engaging and serious about reaching out to teen girls. She is the founder and operator of Transformed4More.com, a ministry for teenaged girls. She has a heart for teenagers and wants them to realize that the false ideas and fantasies the world sells them will never fulfill them. That is something only God can do.
Please connect with Sarah using the links at the end of this post.
Oh, the teenage years. Whether they were the best days of your life, or you’re glad you only had to do them once, most can agree it proves a stressful time. Parents, teachers, friends, dating, driving, getting your first job, preparing for adult life in such a short span can be overwhelming at times.
Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic shift in our culture towards the acceptance of sin in virtually any form. Today, it is more important than ever to be sure you are setting an example for Christ and mentoring any teenager or young person you can.
The thought of mentoring a teenager can seem intimidating to some; however, today’s post is geared to help you overcome your fear and show you how to help mentor any teen you come in consistent contact with. So how do you help?
Don’t let fear stop you
“What if they don’t think I’m cool?”
“I haven’t been in high school in 20 years, what do I know about teens today?”
“What would we talk about?”
“What if I mess up?”
Fear commonly gets in the way when we attempt to do God’s work. Don’t listen to the fear; it is not of God. In fact, the Bible says “Fear not” over 300 times!
Many people think teenagers are particularly judgmental. This may be true in how they relate to their peers, but, honestly, it does not often stretch to adults. Most of the time, they appreciate the chance to talk about themselves and have someone take an interest in them.
Don’t let the fear of “what if” stop you from making Kingdom impact.
Hebrews 13:8 states, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Does this mean you have to mentor a teen forever? No, but since we are to model the life of Christ, this verse reveals the importance of consistency. This trait proves a key factor in building a mentoring relationship.
If you want to be a true mentor, you need to be consistent with your time. Whether it’s checking up on them Sunday at church, coffee on Thursday nights, or get togethers every other week, being intentional about your time goes a long way in showing the teen that you genuinely care. They can “smell” fake. I swear.
Listen more than you talk
James 1:19 stresses, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
When mentoring, it can be hard not to want to share your expertise and life experience that you feel would help your teen. However, always do more listening than speaking; sometimes all they need is for you to listen.
After you feel like they’ve “gotten it off their chest,” ask if they would like your advice or if they’d like to know how a similar situation happened to you. Realizing that you truly listened to them will make them more open to your stories and advice.
It’s been said, “Whoever wants the next generation will get them.” Satan is fighting hard to add to his numbers. We need take steps to do whatever we can to win this next generation for Christ. Is there any teen in your life you could invest more in to? Are there mentoring opportunities you’ve always wanted to do, but fear is holding you back? Don’t let it!
Never be afraid to do Kingdom work. If God is with you, who can be against you?
You can connect with Sarah in several ways:
You Tube: Transformed4More Ministries
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links
Today is the final day of the re-launch of my Legacy Bible study and I am honored to be sharing over at Jen Stults’ blog. Jen is more than just a friend. She is the designer behind the new look for Legacy and I could not be more pleased with how it turned out.
Here is a little taste of what I am offering at Jen’s blog today…..
Very few of us will have a book written or a movie made about our lives. Most of us will go from day to day living out a normal (whatever that means) life with its undulating highs and lows. The vast majority of us will never have even as much as a one-column newspaper article written about the space between our birth and our death. So, why should we be too jacked up over our legacy?
Today I am sharing about legacy, faith, and mustard seeds over at Jen’s blog. I would love for you to click here and join me there.
PS: There is a GIVEAWAY there!
What happens when an abortion survivor finds her birth mother… …who never knew her daughter was alive?
Melissa Ohden is fourteen when she learns she is the survivor of a botched abortion. In this intimate memoir she details for the first time her search for her biological parents, and her own journey from anger and shame to faith and forgiveness.
I am frequently presented with opportunities to review books and movies here on the blog. There are very few of those opportunities to which I say ‘yes’. If I choose to present a product to you, my faithful readers, I want it to be something that will enrich your life and bless your heart. When the opportunity to review Melissa Ohden’s book, You Carried Me, was placed before me, I knew immediately that I wanted to share with you.
Ohden does a masterful job of sharing a story that is full of heartache, despair, joy, and healing in a calm and thorough way. Her life after learning that she is the survivor of a saline abortion includes teenage bouts with alcohol, pre-marital sex, and bulimia. Over the course of several years and with the blessing of her adoptive parents, she searches for her birth parents, gleaning little bits of information about them from time to time. The book includes an account of her first meeting with her birth mother 38 years after the attempted abortion. Ohden details the journey of healing through which God led her from anger and shame to faith and forgiveness. As a social worker, she has been able to help others who have experienced severe emotional trauma related to abortion, child abuse, and other issues that plaque our society.
Melissa’s very existence as a survivor of a botched abortion impacted so many people and this book is one family’s story that highlights the complexity of the issue. It will leave readers with more compassion for every woman impacted by abortion. This compelling human interest story, and the sensitivity with which Ohden personalizes issues such as adoption and women’s rights, will appeal to readers of all stripes.
Kirkus Reviews said the following about You Carried Me:
“A memoir of mothers, daughters, adoption, and abortion. . . . Ohden’s story is complicated, and she has impressively overcome significant emotional challenges. . . . [Her] perseverance is inspiring.”
I encourage you to learn more about Melissa’s book. Here are some ways you can do that:
You Carried Me Page
Melissa’s publisher is giving away 5 copies of the book. You may enter to win by CLICKING THIS LINK.
Want a copy for yourself? Here is the link to Amazon for You Carried Me.
I know I said that I was on a blogging sabbatical. However, my time away has been so blessed and has truly given me a renewed energy and desire for writing and ministry that I just feel the need to be here today. So, while I am not officially back to blogging, I am feeling led to offer just a few posts in this holy month of December.
One of the things that I have done while on sabbatical is to ponder and pray through my goals for 2017. Now, I will tell you that I have never been one to sit down at the end of the year and write down my goals for the upcoming year. To be honest, the past couple of years have had me in pure survival mode, and the only goals I had were simply getting through each day, week, and month. Again, being completely honest with you here, for the better part of 2016 I have not even been sure that I would continue to write or serve in any kind of ministry capacity. I was completely spent…poured out…weary. Through it all, God was trying to tell me something that I was refusing to listen to. REST! My OneWord 2016 that I ran from and resisted mightily. Turns out God knew best. I know, LIGHT BULB MOMENT!
So, back to my 2017 goals. I spent some time listing them and the exercise was a good one. It helped put into perspective what I believe the Lord is calling me to in the coming year. My goals represent many areas of my life…..ministry, marriage, social, work, and personal enjoyment. Large goals like planning and hosting a women’s prayer and listening retreat, as well as smaller goals like reading (at least) one book per month made my list.
One of the tools that I am using to set goals for 2017 is Grace Goals, by my friend, Arabah Joy. There are many tools out there, but Grace Goals is my favorite because it helps me set goals from a Christian perspective….with Jesus at the center of my life.
Because you are my friend, I want to share Grace Goals with you. I want you to be successful in 2017….in life, marriage, work, parenting, and so much more. I believe it is the tool you need to help you set God’s goals for your life.
Arabah Joy has compiled a PDF containing 5 mini-workshops that will take you through the process of:
Setting practical, godly goals
Developing a doable, personal plan for change
Learning why grace is the enablement you need
Recognizing and appropriating grace in your daily life
Arabah Joy is making Grace Goals 2017 available NOW for only $15. What’s not to like about that?
- Get Grace Goals 2017
- Begin setting godly goals
I would love for you to purchase Grace Goals because I believe it can help you in your goal setting for 2017 and beyond. It would be a blessing to me if you purchased through the links on this post because I am an affiliate for Arabah Joy’s product sales. What does that mean? It means that for every purchase that is made using my links, I will earn a small commission. This is one way I support a product that I believe in, and support my ministry financially.
Regardless of whether you purchase the product or not, can I hear from you about your goals for 2017? Share one (or more) of your 2017 goals in the comments section. Let’s support and encourage one another in our goal setting endeavors.
I love mentoring.
I love one-on-one discipleship.
I love being trained and taught and equipped formally. And, I love being the one doing the training and equipping.
However, there are seasons when life just feels really busy, too busy to take the time to mentor someone else.
So, how do we “do” discipleship as busy women and men?
- What does it look like for that person who cannot take part in regular discipleship meetings?
- Can you still make disciples on the run and in the middle of the chaos of life?
- Can you still invest in the lives of others when your life is crazy and unpredictable?
I want to give you four (4) words you can use that come from the life of Jesus.
These 4 words will give you the HEART of your discipleship plan – the heart of your way to investing in the lives of others.
“As they were going along the road,” someone said to Him (Jesus), “I will follow You wherever You go.”
And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
“Jesus went out, along with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi;” and on the way He questioned His disciples, saying to them, “Who do people say that I am?”
They told Him, saying, “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.” And He continued by questioning them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.”
Luke 24:13-24 The Road to Emmaus
“That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was.”
Our Challenge – “AS YOU ARE GOING” – we can invest in the lives of others and make disciples.
In the regular course and days of your life, you can train, teach, and instruct others to love Jesus.
How do you do this??
My favorite way to mentor and disciple is to use regular, everyday moments.
Jesus was the ultimate example of this technique. As they were walking outside and a flock of birds flew by, He would say, “Look at the birds of the air.”
He used things like the fig tree, the mountains, the wheat and the tares, and the lost coin. Jesus taught, trained, and mentored others using regular, everyday stuff.
What does it look like to use “Regular, Every Day Moments” and to share the love of Christ as you are going?
While walking with one of my neighbors, we had the chance to talk about our faiths. She was raised Muslim, and I asked her to tell me about her core beliefs. Then, she invited me to tell her about my faith.
This neighbor was never able to grasp the concept of “GRACE,” but she was quite intrigued by it.
I had the opportunity to invest in this young mom’s life while we made laps around the neighborhood.
Where do they usually happen??
Moments to mentor, train, and equip other women can happen anywhere!
- At Work – you might have a great opportunity to share with a co-worker.
- At Home – with your kids.
- In your Neighborhood – while watering the yard or walking the dog.
- At Church – I’ve had many great conversations in the hallway or even in the women’s restroom.
- At Exercise class – you can talk to a younger woman while walking on the treadmill next to hers.
- At the Airport.
- Even at Wal-Mart.
When do they usually happen??
Any time of day or night, moments to influence and impact can occur. Honestly, they usually happen at the most unusual times and in the most unusual ways.
For example, we’ve had some of the best discussions about life and important matters with our kids in the car. We’ve answered questions like: What about alcohol? What about tattoos? What about…?
How long do they last??
They can last several minutes…
I’ve had the chance to offer a good word or a little instruction to many women through email or on Facebook Messenger. Often, they send me a note asking what to do about their marriage, one of their children, or some other issue. For just a moment, I have the chance to pour into their lives.
Or, they can last several years…
For about two years, I walked in the morning with my precious younger friend Kelly. We just talked, laughed, and shared about our lives.
Eventually, Kelly and I both moved away from that neighborhood. But, I got to see her at an event recently.
She stopped me and told me, “I was a baby Christian when we met. You were the one who really mentored me and taught me how to grow in the Lord.” Now, she is on staff at a church!
I never knew. I just thought we were walking and talking.
How do you know what to say??
To effectively impact the men or women God has placed in your life, can I suggest a few steps of daily preparation?
1} Get Clean –
Empty yourself. Confess, forsake, give up, let go of your sin.
Daily get your heart right with the Lord.
1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
2} Get your tank filled –
Fill up on Jesus – ask Him to fill you up so you have something to pour out.
Like the woman at the well, I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy.
And then I heard my Savior speaking—
“Draw from My well that never shall run dry.”
Fill my cup, Lord;
I lift it up, Lord;
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.
(Fill My Cup, Lord, Hymn)
Romans 15:13 – “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
3} Get in the Word –
Fill up on the Word. Open the Word and take in truth for the day.
2 Timothy 2:15 – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
4} Get out there!
Be ready and willing. Be open and available. Be on the lookout.
Hang your shingle – put it out for business!
Let the sign of your life read – “The light is on. This Christian is Spirit-filled. I’m open to talking to you today!”
Does this kind of discipleship work??
It’s been my joy to “do life” alongside many amazing friends. I’ve had the chance to invest in, pray with, teach, train, and befriend these women. Honestly, it’s been one of the greatest privileges in my life.
I have a number of favorites! Among them are three young friends who are all named “Jennifer.”
They are all ministry wives that God has sent into my life. Each is married to a pastor or a missionary husband, and each of these women deeply loves Jesus, their children, their husbands, and serving the Lord.
I’ve walked alongside each of these young women. I’ve spent time with them, I’ve prayed for them, I’ve given them great books to read, I’ve laughed with them, and I’ve cried with them.
Primarily, I’ve just loved them, and God has taken care of everything else.
And, He will do the same for you!
My CHALLENGE TO YOU is simple:
- GET CLEAN.
- GET FILLED UP WITH JESUS.
- GET INTO THE WORD.
- GET OUT THERE AND BE READY!
Ask God to use you as you are going, as you are walking along.
He can and He will.
But, be warned… if you do this, you better put your seatbelt on.
It’s going to be a wild ride!