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Oct 31

Your Life Still Counts Giveaway with Tracie Miles

NOTE: As stated in my last post, I am on a blogging break. My sister-in-love Thais passed away at 5:50 pm on October 29th. I appreciate your prayers for our family. This guest post with Tracie Miles was prescheduled and will run as planned. I plan to return to blogging sometime the week of November 17th. {To insure you get my posts you may wish to sign up for them to be delivered automatically by clicking on the little envelope in the top of the sidebar.}

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Ever feel like your past disquailifies you from serving God in the present or having a fulfilling future? Then you are going to love my guest today!  My Proverbs 31 sister Tracie Miles has a contagious passion for Christ and today she is sharing an excerpt from her new book, Your Life Still Counts.

Be sure to leave a comment on today’s post for a chance to win one of 2 giveaway books and study guide.

Now meet my dear friend Tracie.

tracieTracie lives in Charlotte, NC and is a wife to her husband Michael of 24 years and a mother to three children, ages 20, 18, and 15. Tracie is a member of the Proverbs 31 Speaker and Writer teams and enjoys speaking at women’s events around the country, as well as writing devotions for the Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today daily devotions, which reach nearly 1 million women a day with Gods Word.  

She is the author of the popular books Stressed-Free Living: Finding God’s Peace In Your Chaotic World and Your Life Still Counts:How God Uses Your Past To Create A Beautiful Future, and a contributing writer to Zondervan’s NIV Women’s Devotional Bible and Encouragement For Today Daily Devotion Book.  

Tracie’s passion is to inspire women to deepen their relationship with Christ and discover their God-given purpose.  You can also connect with Tracie through social media and her blog:  www.traciemiles.com,  https://www.facebook.com/StressedLessLiving?ref=hlhttp://instagram.com/traciemileshttps://twitter.com/traciewmileshttp://www.pinterest.com/traciewmiles/ 

Our sneak peak…

There it was—the enemy’s ugly, despicable lie, written in black and white. The lie that had defined my life for many years was staring up at me like the whites of evil eyes glowing in the dark.  I was at a women’s conference where all attendees had been instructed to write down the one thing that was keeping them from embracing how much God loved them. Fear, doubts and hesitation kicked in, but I pushed past them and took my place in line behind a sea of women, waiting to nail my sin to a wooden cross at the front of the room.

My turn finally came, and I stood in front of the tall wooden cross that was standing royally upright, draped with purple satin cloths, and now covered in white from all the little papers that had been nailed to it. I reached down, grabbed a nail out of a bowl, and picked up the hammer. I held my slip of paper against the hard wood, hoping no one behind me would look over my shoulder and be able to see what I had written.  You see, I was convinced my sin —my past—was surely worse than anyone else’s in the room, and the fear of judgment made me feel as if all the oxygen had been sucked out of the air.

I pounded the hammer onto the head of the nail, over and over again until my sin was securely affixed to the old wooden cross. Then I turned around and left the lie there. It was no longer my burden to carry; it now belonged to Jesus. I had literally nailed my sin, my past, my fear, and the enemy’s lie to the cross of my Savior once and for all.  This event softened my heart in a way I had never allowed it to soften before. A few years earlier I had accepted God’s forgiveness, but now I had actually nailed that burden to the cross and let it go. The weight had vanished, and I could breathe once again. My journey of purpose had now officially begun—at the foot of a holy cross.

Isaiah 43:18–19 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland”.

As I pondered the magnitude of what I had just done – and the magnitude of God’s love, mercy, grace and unconditional forgiveness – I became acutely aware of the meaning of these verses. Aware that I was a brand new creation. I made a personal vow to never take back the lie, the sin, the feelings of unworthiness and regret, and to let it all go for good. To let it all go to God, so that I could be free to do whatever He called me to do.

On that memorable day, I made a commitment to stop living in the shadows of my past and start living in the light of my Savior. To never let my past mistakes define who I am, but to believe I am a treasure in God’s eyes, regardless of how many more times I might mess up. To bask in this freedom in Christ and refuse to give it up when shame or regret try to make their way back into my life. I was finally ready to completely embrace His calling on my life—whatever it turned out to be—with confidence, enthusiasm, faith, and trust.

I was finally free.  It had been a long time coming, but I was ready to trust God had a plan and a purpose for my pain and my life, because God can turn all pain into purpose if only we say yes.  

Now for the giveaway.your life

Two fabulous people will win a copy of Tracie’s book Your Life Still Counts and study guide.

Leave a comment why this resource might help you, a friend, or love one realize you are made new through Christ.

 

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Oct 28

Blogging Break {Please Pray for Our Family}

Dear blog readers whom I love so very much,

Many of you have been following the journey of my sister-in-law Thais who is more than a sister-in-law to me. Since I have no sisters, she has become one to me and she is also one of my closest friends.

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My three kiddos with their aunt in the summer of 2011

Thais first was diagnosed with breast cancer near Thanksgiving in 2002. After treatment it seemed to be gone. She enjoyed some good years of health and then, in late June of 2011, it returned as bone cancer. She was told she had 6 months to live.

But my strong sister-in-law was never really one to do as she’s told. (Our youngest son shares that same trait and they are very close. We joke that I gave birth to him, but he is really HER boy!)

Thais, my daughter and me at one of my speaking events in 2007

Thais, my daughter and me at one of my speaking events in 2007

She has lived now 3 years and 4 months since being told she had only a half year left. Instead of not seeing another Christmas, she has been blessed with three more.

On October 10th, this amazingly courageous woman, who loves both Jesus and her family very much, entered a hospice home. Again just “days or maybe a week at most” was what was told.

Three-and-a-half weeks later, she is still alive. However she is no longer eating or drinking much and her responsiveness is waning.

I was blessed to be able to stay extended overnights (up to 5 days in a row) with her at the hospice home while my husband and I took turns holding down the fort. (Hospice is a four-hour round trip from me. Todd was laid off the past three weeks so we were both more free to travel which was a blessing in disguise.)

We had a “slumber party” Ate snacks. Made Halloween come early and prank called her siblings and nieces and nephews on FaceTime with masks on.

Our FaceTime prank calls. Halloween came early for us at our slumber party two weeks ago. ;-)

Our FaceTime prank calls. Halloween came early for us at our slumber party two weeks ago. ;-)

I held her hand. Wheeled her out in the autumn sun to “pick leaves” off the colorful trees. {She did the pointing. I did the picking}

We drank “Chocolate coffee” (bottled iced mochas) and I ran a gazilion times to to KFC drive through to get her mashed potatoes and gravy which she was craving so much.

Thais and me with her baby brother, my husband Todd. I fell in love all over again with this man as I watched him feed his big sister many of her meals the last few weeks.

Thais and me with her baby brother, my husband Todd. I fell in love all over again with this man as I watched him feed his big sister many of her meals the last few weeks.

We read the Bible and talked. About the streets made of gold. The no more pain. Or tears. And about having a new body!!!! {She says she will be able to fit into her white bikini from high school. Well, “If that is ok with Jesus”}

Last weekend all her siblings but one were able to fly home so we could have Thanksgiving together in the hospice. My nephew, my mom and my stepmom pitched in to help me prepare a feast.

There was laughter. And tears. And “memory wars” of just how something went down in my husband’s childhood home. And crazy costumes.

Ehman

Only Aunt Thais could get my two boys to wear Pilgrim hats.

 

We prayed. And ate. And then the siblings went “outside to play” one last time together as the sun was beginning to set on a glorious and warm Michigan fall day.

My husband and two of his sisters Facetiming their one brother who couldn't be there.

My husband and two of his sisters Facetiming their one brother who couldn’t be there.

Until my sister-in-love passes from this life into God’s arms I taking a blogging break. {I will post updates and pics on Facebook and Twitter or Instagram if you’d like to keep up and know how to pray for our family.}

Will you do something for me? Call that person. You know who I mean. The one you have been meaning to call but have been too busy with other things to follow through with your intentions.

Or the one you need to tell you are sorry.

Or you miss them.

Or to ask for their forgiveness.

Or the family member you take for granted because they are always there. Too familiar. Too near. As a result it has been years since you just picked up the phone on a random day to call and say, “I forget to tell you this very often but I love you. I can’t imagine my life without you. Thanks for just being you.”

Life is short. God is gracious. Relationships matter.

Not everyone is granted the gift of a long goodbye.

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Oct 13

Announcing FREE 7 Days to a Hassle-Free Holiday

This year get Christmas all done without coming undone. Announcing a 7-day free email resource just for you called 7 Days to a Hassle-Free Holiday.  My coauthor Glynnis Whitwer and I want to equip you with practical tools and inspiration to help you have yourself a stress-free little Christmas … [Continue reading...]

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Oct 12

Winners & What to Watch For….

Two quick announcements.... The winners of  In This House We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo are: Jo C and Amy Miller. Congrats! My assistant Amy will be emailing you at the address you left when you commented to ask for your home address so Courtney can get you your book. And........be sure to … [Continue reading...]

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Oct 10

DIY Weekend Craft: Decoupage Pumpkins

QUICK NOTE: Thanks to the many of you who have reached out to say you are praying for my brave sister-in-love Thais who is in her final stretch of life on this earth and battling stage four bone cancer. I have been making the nearly four-hour round trip as often as I can to sit with her and relive … [Continue reading...]

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