Hello, my friends! I hope this finds you well and enjoying Jesus every day.
Today I have the opportunity to introduce you to a woman I began following on social media a few years ago when she and her family were living in the Middle East. I found Betsy’s life there to be a beautiful testimony of God’s presence and light in a land that is dark to the gospel.
Recently, Betsy de Cruz published her first book entitled More of God: A Distracted Woman’s Guide to More Meaningful Quiet Times and I wanted to give her the opportunity to share a bit about her life and her book with you. Seriously, what is not to love about that title?! Here is an interview I did recently with her. I hope you find her to be as engaging and winsome as I do.
Leah: Many of my readers may never have been introduced to you before. What do you want them to know about you?
Betsy: I am a basket-case woman who is not rocking the church lady thing, but I’ve discovered that spending 15 or 20 minutes with God in the morning helps me stay closer to Jesus for the rest of the day.
I’ve been battling distraction for 30 years as I juggle ministry and writing, with raising two children. I walk around with 25 tabs open in my brain. I work on 13 projects at the same time and forget what I’m doing. I’m that woman who looks straight at you when we meet but can’t remember your name 10 seconds later. (I’m sorry!)
Our family recently moved to Austin, TX after 16 years in the Middle East, and my husband and I are new empty nesters.
Leah: What is the back story behind your book?
Betsy: I wrote More of God because my struggle with distraction and overwhelm affects my spiritual life. Even on good days, I can’t pray for more than two minutes without going off on a tangent, and when I try to read the Bible, sometimes my brain goes on a trip to Hawaii. (I suspect I’m not alone.)
I want women to know they are not “less spiritual” if they lose focus when they try to read Scripture or remember the Lord’s presence during the day. Our busy schedules, anxious thoughts, and even our phones distract us, yet we can all learn to open small windows to let more of God into our day and experience more of His presence and power in our lives.
Leah: Share with us a bit about your book and why people should read it.
Betsy: I wrote this book to help other distracted women find enjoyable and meaningful ways to spend time with God and learn to draw near to Jesus throughout the day.
More of God, is a book that will help readers hear God’s voice when they read Scripture, grow stronger prayer lives, and walk with Jesus all day long. One small step at a time.
Leah: Where can we find your book?
Betsy: You can find More of God on Amazon in both Kindle and prin
I also have a special gift to give to your readers who purchase my book. (Whoo-hoo!!!) If you send your receipt to faithspilling[email protected] and mention, Leah Adams, I’ll send you “Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus,” a 9-Day Bible study on Jesus in the book of Hebrews.
Leah: Wow! Thank you for that freebie for my readers! How my friends find you on social media?
Betsy: The best place to find me on social media is at FaithSpillingOver.com. I share Bible study and prayer tips for distracted women as well as encouragement for faith and family. Subscribers to my blog also receive a free Bible study.
Leah: What final thoughts do you want to share with my readers?
Betsy: Quiet time is a topic that makes many of us feel guilty. If we can’t spend an hour a day, fill out our Bible study page, or make it through our prayer list without getting sidetracked, we think God isn’t pleased. We’ve tried plenty of times and failed.
Yet God loves even our smallest offerings. Remember the widow who offered the two copper coins? Jesus valued her offering because she put in all she had to live on (Mark 12:41-44). In the same way, I believe Jesus rejoices when the mother of a newborn and twin toddlers spends five minutes reading His Word or lifts up a desperate prayer as she straps her kids into the mini-van. He looks at our hearts, not our schedules.
I hope More of God will bring new freedom and renewal to women’s hearts.
Leah: Betsy, thank you so much for being with me today. It has been a pleasure. Friends, be sure and see the freebie that Betsy is offering to any of my readers who purchase a copy of More of God.
Betsy de Cruz writes and speaks to encourage busy, distracted women to get God’s Word in, so they can live their faith out. Her book More of God is a Distracted Woman’s Guide to More Meaningful Quiet Times. She wrote it to help women take small steps to invite more of God’s presence and power into their lives and find creative ways to enjoy spending time with Him. You can find More of God on Amazon. Connect with Betsy online at FaithSpillingOver.com, where she shares Bible study and prayer tips, as well as encouragement for faith and family.
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
Do you have a teen girl in your life? If you answered, “YES”, I know you will want to meet my friend, Melanie Redd. Melanie is an encourager, prayer warrior, and a woman who loves Jesus. She is also the author of a brand new devotional book for teen girls entitled, Live in Light.
I have read some of Melanie’s book and it is good, y’all. I’m so eager for you to meet Melanie, so here is the interview I did with her.
Leah: I may have readers who have not had the pleasure of ‘meeting’ you online. What would you like for my readers to know about you? Please introduce yourself to them.
Melanie: It’s pretty simple: I’m a woman on a mission to offer hope and encouragement to others. Raised in the south, I speak with a twang, very polite words, and a great big smile.
My husband and I have been in full-time ministry for over 20 years now. He’s a professor and a minister; I’m a writer, blogger, and speaker. We have two young adult kids and a very hyper Australian Shepherd puppy— all living under the same roof.
Leah: What occupies your free time? Hobbies, interests
Melanie: I love to laugh, talk for hours with good friends, and enjoy great food.
In addition, I spend a lot of time on the move – riding a bike in Spin Class, walking as many miles as I can, lifting weights, and trying to stay active. My husband and I love to hike and explore the woods as often as we can. We also love to try new restaurants and cook out on the grill.
Additionally, I’m involved in a couple of local Bible studies and leading the women’s ministry at my church. Each Monday night, I teach a class of future pastor’s wives called, “Leading Women to the Heart of God.”
Leah: What are some items on your bucket list?
Melanie: I’d love to travel more in the next few years. We’ve just finished paying for our kids to go to college. We’d like to get out and explore the world now – even if it’s just across some state lines!
A few ministry bucket list items – write and publish more books, speak as God opens the doors, launch a radio show, and maybe even launch a TV show. (We will see!)
Leah: How did you develop an interest in writing and when did you begin writing seriously?
As a child, I loved to write. English, creative writing, and penmanship were always where I excelled. My 3rdgrade teacher was one who especially encouraged me to write.
In college, I majored in education with a minor in English. My best subjects were those that required essays and long papers. Writing always came easy for me. (Melanie, you and I might be sisters separated at birth!!)
As a young adult, I was contacted by Lifeway to write Sunday school curriculum and materials. For over 10 years, I wrote with Lifeway. Then, a few years ago, I published my first book and started a blog. Five books later, and I am still having a blast typing out words!
Leah: Every book has a back story. What is the back story behind your book? What was the impetus for you to write this book?
Melanie: As a seventh grader, I was approached by an older girl in my church about spending weekly time one-on-one learning what it meant to walk with Jesus personally. Each week we met to talk about things like having a quiet time, prayer, reading the Bible, and living for the Lord. Then, in 9th grade, I attended a summer camp where God really got a hold of my heart. I completely surrendered my life to Him and began an incredible adventure walking with Him.
And, after all of these years, I’ve never gotten over it!
What happened in my teen years affected and influenced the trajectory of my life for good. So, when asked to write a devotional book for teen girls encouraging them to walk with God, I jumped at the opportunity.
Leah: Share with us a bit about your book.
Melanie: Live in Light is a very easy-to-read and practical devotional that any girl can pick up and enjoy. There are 150 short devotions, complete with a Bible verse, a story or example, a Bible truth, and a challenge for the day.
The book can be read alone or shared as a part of family devotions. Mothers and daughters are choosing to read the book together. Even grandmothers and granddaughters are taking this adventure together.
Leah: Why should someone read your book? What does it offer them personally?
Melanie: I believe this little volume extends an invitation to girls to draw close to the Light – Jesus Christ. In a day when our girls are being pulled in every direction, my prayer is that the few moments teen girls spend reading each morning will make an impact.
We are praying that God will get the attention and the hearts of girls around the globe and create in them a thirst for the things of God.
Further, the book is written for teens to use quickly each day—maximizing their time. In just 5-10 minutes, they will be given scripture, hope, instruction, and ideas. It’s written to them, for them, about them, and with them in mind.
Leah: How can my readers find you? Blog? Social media?
Melanie: I’d love to connect with your readers on social media.
I’m on these channels:
Leah: When and will your book be available to the public?
Melanie: The book will be available on April 8. However, you can pre-order a copy on Amazon HERE.
Leah: What final thoughts would you like to share with my readers?
Melanie: Thank you for taking the time to read about my life and this new devotional for teen girls. I’m blessed and honored that you did. And, may I encourage you with this truth today – God adores you and has an amazing plan for your life. No matter where you are, what you are dealing with, or what you have just been through—He cares for you.
One of my favorite verses comes from Zephaniah 3:17. I’d love to share it as I close:
“For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
GIVEAWAY! I am giving away a copy of Melanie’s book over on my Instagram page. If you are on IG and want to win a copy of this wonderful devo for teen girls, click over to my IG page, follow me if you do not already, and enter to win.
This post contains affiliate links.
Hi there! Oh golly, maybe I should introduce myself?
I’m Leah and I own this little piece of the WWW. It’s nice to visit with you today.
I know it has been many moons since I posted last, and I while I probably should say, “I’m sorry for the quietness here”, the truth is, I am not. It has been a blessed rest for me….a respite from the tyranny of “I should write a post”. I have allowed myself the freedom to NOT write a post.
Today, however, I am popping back in here because I have a friend who is visiting with me and she is the B.O.M.B!
Her name is Jennifer Lee and y’all, she’s got a new book releasing this week. It’s all about CONTROL and I would just bet some of you might benefit from it…if you are a controller like me. It’s All Under Control: A journey of letting go, hanging on & finding a peace you almost forgot was possible has been such a blessing to me as I have had the privilege of reading it ahead of the release. Today, I want to allow Jennifer to pull up to my table and chat with you.
BIO: Jennifer Dukes Lee is the wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, and an author. She loves queso and singing too loudly to songs with great harmony. Once upon a time, she didn’t believe in Jesus. Now, He’s her CEO. Jennifer’s newest book, It’s All Under Control, and a companion Bible study, are releasing today! This is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right―yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic.
Be sure and hang on to the end of the post because there are copies of this marvelous book being given away and I want you to win one.
I know how this noisy world can get in the way of me hearing God’s still, small voice. So, in the past few years, I’ve been intentional about quieting the outer noise in my life.
My biggest challenge is silencing the inner chatter.
I know the value of resting in Jesus, but it’s like my brain won’t stop moving in fifteen different directions. Corralling my thoughts is like herding a nursery full of fork-toting toddlers who just learned how to walk and are weeble-wobbling their way toward electrical outlets on opposite sides of the room.
Take, for instance, one of the places where I go to escape the noise: my bathtub. I’ll toss a bath bomb in the water and sink into the warmth. There’s no TV. No iPhone. Yet even here, my mind is running on high gear. I often receive some of my best writing inspiration in the bathtub, which is why my friend Cheri gave me a set of child’s bathtub crayons. (Yes, part of my latest book, It’s All Under Control, was written on the walls of my tub.) So while it might look like I am resting, I’m actually still working.
God is reminding me that my brain needs rest as much as my body does. I loosen my mind by simply dwelling with him: “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4). If I have a lot of noise around me—even in the form of the silent iPhone scroll—I can’t hear God.
My friend Lindsay Sterchi, mom of twin toddlers, learned the hard way what happens when she doesn’t get the rest she needs. She told me, “Without rest, I’m not very fun to be around— just ask my kids and husband. I get irritable way too quickly. I lose perspective on the bigger picture of life, and the little things seem bigger than they really are. I get in this fog where I’m going through the motions of life but not really living intentionally.”
The answer for her: finding rest in small pockets of time each day. “Rest means that when the kids nap, or after they’ve gone to bed, I’m not going to zone out on TV or scroll through social media, which might seem restful but ends up being draining.” Instead, she does something that feels life-giving—without feeling guilty. Her escapes: reading a book, journaling, or simply being still, alone with God and her thoughts.
Maybe your escape is Netflix, and if that’s the case, you do you. But make sure it gives you life instead of draining your energy.
No matter what: make rest a priority. It’s vital.
Resting in God serves two purposes:
First, rest allows you to intentionally connect with God. God wants to meet with you, not simply to give you the day’s marching orders. He wants to be with you because he likes you.
Second, rest calms the noise around you so you can hear God’s clear direction.
Here are a few ideas to incorporate more rest into your life.
Instead of scrolling, go strolling. Everybody has time for rest. How can I be so sure? Because that’s the time we use to check social media. Put down your iPhone for the fifteen minutes you would’ve spent on Instagram and take a walk instead.
Don’t let your “yes” encroach on your rest. If you say yes to something new, evaluate everything else on your list to see what might have to go. Refuse to put rest on the altar of sacrifice.
Let your work assignments flow from soul realignments. If “everybody is looking for us,” our souls and agendas need realignment so we can hear clear directions from God.
Protect the freed-up time you have already created. God prunes all of us, but achievers try to immediately fill those pruned spaces. Protect the space that God created for you. Downtime is okay; in fact, it will make you more productive in the work you were designed to do.
Adapted from It’s All under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee, releasing this fall from Tyndale House Publishers.
I’m so excited to be a part of a huge giveaway to celebrate the release of It’s All Under Control. Jennifer and her publisher, Tyndale, are giving away 50 copies of the book in celebration of its release! Enter below to win. Giveaway ends September 30. Winners will be notified by Tyndale House Publishers. Email subscribers can click here to enter.
It’s All Under Control 50 Book Giveaway
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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!
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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
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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!