Are You in a Season of Darkness? {Giveaway}

Walking down the sidewalk to her front door, my knees began to shake. Not knowing what to expect, I breathed deeply, and then tapped on her door. She didn’t answer. I slid the door open and quietly entered. It was silent. Then, I found her.

Through a kitchen window I watched as my friend stood with her hands lifted high, praising the Lord. Only hours before she had lost her husband in a tragic incident. But now, amidst tears and anguish, she was clinging to the Lord through praise. What had started as me coming to offer comfort, ended up with me receiving comfort.

The truth is I never expected to find my friend praising the Lord. I expected to find her the way I would have responded in such a moment– alone, crying and searching for help. That day I learned a powerful lesson though. My friend taught me that: praise doesn’t prevent pain, but it does enable us to walk through dark seasons with strength and courage.

It’s hard to know how we will respond when seasons of pain and suffering occur in our lives.

If you’ve ever been in a season of suffering you know how difficult it can be to navigate life. When that pit in the bottom of your stomach doesn’t go away and the dark cloud continues to hover overhead, it’s difficult to stay connected to others and fulfill our life’s responsibilities.

I’ve been there.

You’ve been there.

But God.

He’s there, too.

In our darkest hour, He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. He doesn’t expect us to get over our pain on our own.

In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

In my darkest moments, this verse has been my comfort. It reminds me that Jesus is my only source of peace and that He can overcome any trial. I’ve tried to overcome suffering on my own and it doesn’t work. It’s only by focusing on God; praising Him; and reciting His Word that I gain victory.

If you’re in a season of pain and suffering I want to recommend a brand-new book to you. It’s called, Anchored In: Experience a Power-full Life in a Problem-Filled World. It’s written by my friend, Micah Maddox.

Micah is no stranger to pain. At an early age she was abandoned by her father and spent years asking why. As a young, married mom she was struck with pain again when an unknown illness nearly claimed the life of her husband. Through these and other experiences, Micah has learned how to overcome by anchoring her soul to the presence of God.

In Anchored In: Experience a Power-full Life in a Problem-Filled World, Micah will show you how to:

  • live anchored in God’s power.
  • shift your focus from “me” to “He”.
  • renew your hope while walking through darkness.
  • use your painful days as the springboard for experiencing God like never before.

If you’re hurting, there is hope. Let Micah be the friend who shows you how to experience freedom by anchoring yourself to the One who will never forsake you, always love you and delight in helping you overcome.

GIVEAWAY:

Because I believe in the message of Micah’s book, and I want you set free from hurt, I’m giving away one copy of Anchored In: Experience a Power-full Life in a Problem-Filled World.

To enter the drawing comment below and like Raising An Arrow on Facebook. If you already like Raising An arrow, would you please share this post on any social media outlet? You have until October 4th to enter the drawing.

Blessings to you,

Leigh Ellen

Where Are You Going?

As a young girl I spent many hours visiting with the neighbors in our small, rural neighborhood. Nearly every Saturday, I’d lace up my shoes, run down the hill and cross the road for a day of visiting. And every Saturday, just before I’d leave the house, momma would faithfully ask a question that’s ringing in my heart today.

“Where are you going?”

My response isn’t quite the same as it was back then. I’m no longer running across the road to visit the neighbors, but I am running into 2017 with a newfound excitement and anticipation about what God wants to do in your life and mine.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

2017 is taking me back to my momma’s question, and so today I ask, “where are you going?” Your answer probably won’t look anything like mine. But can I tell you that when I answered that question honestly, my response had me on my knees proclaiming one thing: “here I am, Lord, I’m ready to change!”

I’m sharing the rest of this post over at Peacefully Imperfect where Mitzi Neely is hosting a Fresh Start for 2017 series. I’d love to have you join me there.

Fear Fighting: Stomping Out the Image of Perfect {Guest Post}

By: Kelly Balarie

I blame it on TV. I grew up watching the princesses. You know them, right?! They were the ones whose complexions looked like porcelain, whose lips were the color of rose and whose lives were a hot mess. Until, the prince came in and swooped them up into his arms and forever changed their lives.

They always looked perfect. You see, they had dresses that swooshed in the wind and 90% of the time their voice sounded like an angel sent straight from heaven. Usually, I was jealous of them.

I guess I still am. Because, in so many ways, I try to be them.

I try to doll myself up. I try to show the world there is not a fold in my face. I try to pretend I have Pinterest Christmas when really my focus is on having Christ in Christmas. In reality, I’m the centerfold for T-shirts with yoga pants. I live in the model house of toilet paper adorned floors, little droppings of paper my kids rip up and leave behind like trails of their journey.

Ugh. I fall short.

I don’t think I am fooling people either.

My sister came over just the other day. When she got to my porch, she said, “Kelly, you do know that Halloween was over weeks ago?”

The frozen pumpkins on my stoop threw her for a loop, I guess.

Whoops.

I want to fool people though. I want to fool you – real bad. Because then you’ll aspire to like me. This is what I tell myself anyway. If I look all great for you, you’ll approach me like that prince and you’ll want to give me things and bless me with kind words and pour out love on me. I’ll take that. Sometimes, I convince myself I need that.

I need your approval. I need to feel good about myself.

Or, do I?

I am not so sure lately. Because, what I am coming to terms with is the fact that – there ain’t no woman who can do everything. You find her and I’ll buy you whatever material item you’ve convinced yourself you need to have to finally reach the pinnacle of…dun, dun, dun…”perfect woman.”

The lady is imaginary. She’s an illusion. Yet, still, we all chase her as if she worthy of our highest praise. And, this is what I am realizing – if I am praising this image of the woman I want to be, I can’t really be the image of whom Christ has created me to be.

Dang! I could truly spend my whole life chasing carrots, rather than partaking at God’s feast? His bounty. His spiritual riches.

I ask that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope of His calling, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints.. (Eph. 1:18)

I wrote the book, Fear Fighting: Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears to find God’s truth. In so many ways, God answered. He showed me there is a glorious inheritance awaiting me and it is not found through appearances, airs or goods.

It is the joy found in the lopsided nature of my nose – a nose God adores.
It is the grace covering the moments I forget things.
It is the peace dug up from a heart that knows God is in charge.
It is the hope God will shape me into the likeness of him.
It is the knowledge God loves me just as He created me.
It is the belief that he chose me.
It is the understanding, in Him, I am secure.

It is in the need, we find our prince, Christ Jesus. Will you let him rescue you?

Interested in fighting fear? Join the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge!

About the book, Fear Fighting, Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears:

Author and Speaker, Kelly Balarie didn’t always fight fear – for a large part of her life, she was controlled by it. Yet, in her book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, with God, Kelly charts a new course. Join Kelly, on the journey to go and grow with Christ’s bravery, the Spirit’s counsel and God’s unending love that squelches fear. This book reads like a love letter from God, while offering practical heart-calming prayers, anxiety-reducing tips, and courage-building decrees that will transform your day. www.fearfightingbook.com

 

About Kelly Balarie:

Kelly is both a Cheerleader of Faith and a Fighter of Fear. She leans on the power of God, rests on the shoulder of Christ, and discovers how to glow in the dark places of life. Get all Kelly’s blog posts by email or visit her on her blog, Purposeful Faith. You can also find a variety of resources for your fight against fear here.

Guarded by Christ {Book Review and Giveaway}

The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. Psalm 18:2

What is a fortress?

If you’d asked me that question a year ago, I probably would have thought about the “forts” the neighborhood kids and I use to build in the woods when I was a little girl, and then, said something like a place to hide.

The truth is I didn’t know what a fortress was until I set out to teach a group of children that God is our fortress.

In preparation for the lesson I jumped on the Internet to find some pictures I could print and show during the lesson. What I discovered blew me away!

battlements-1239279_1920I didn’t find anything that looked like the stick and leaf hideaways my friends and I use to build. Instead, I found large, majestic stone structures with castle like characteristics. These structures were strong, immovable and would provide protection for anyone dwelling inside them. I found places of refuge. But, what I found more than anything was a new understanding of who God is.

You see, on multiple occasions I had read about God being my fortress. I had even quoted these scriptures. However, it wasn’t until I saw an actual fortress that these scriptures had a marked impact on me. After looking at each picture, I paused to read the scripture above again.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. Psalm 18:2

Like the fortresses in the pictures, God’s strength is beyond anything we can imagine. He’s our refuge when the enemy attacks. He can withstand anything we bring to Him and He desires for us to cast our cares upon Hialnwick-castle-92607_1920m. He’s a place where we can safely tuck ourselves whether the storms of life are raging.

But how do we make God our fortress?

Simply by admitting our need for Him and asking Him to be our fortress.

Here are some specific times we can run to him for refuge:

  • When worry threatens our peace: “God, I’m placing myself in your hands; you are larger than ____ (whatever is on your mind), and I thank you for keeping me safe in the fortress of your love.”
  • When fear taunts us: “God, you are my fortress; in you I find confidence and safety. I’m casting ____ (whatever has made you fearful) upon you and I trust you for a beautiful outcome.”
  • When uncertainty keeps us from moving forward: “God, my times are in your hands. I’m hiding in the fortress of your love today and giving you full control over my life.”
  • When we feel out of control: “God, I’m placing myself in the fortress of your love and wisdom. Please guard me from myself and cause me to walk in peace and wisdom with all things today.”
  • And then there are times when all we can say is: “God you are my fortress; I’m hiding in you.”

Making God our fortress doesn’t mean we will never experience difficult times again. But, it does mean we can endure difficult times with peace and rest knowing He will meet all of our needs.

So go ahead, turn to God and ask Him to be your mighty fortress! His arms are open to you, today!


guarded-by-christWe all experience feelings of anxiety, fear, and worry at times, but God never intended for us to live this way. God’s Word says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) If you want to overcome these feelings and experience life at its fullest, I recommend reading Heather Hollerman’s book, Guarded by Christ.

It will help you break free from the thoughts that bring you down and teach you how to live with God as your fortress.  You’ll learn memory techniques to help you experience God’s Word on a deeper level by connecting scriptures to visual images. Guarded by Christ would be an excellent gift for anyone you know struggling to rest in God’s love.

GIVEAWAY: If you would like to enter to win a free copy of Guarded by Christ, simply leave a comment below. For a second entry into the drawing, sign up to receive future posts by email or like Raising An Arrow on Facebook. (Just be sure to comment below and tell me what you did.)

Deadline for entry is December 13th. Winner will be notified by email. Open to US residents only.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU FOR READING.

 

 

 

 

When You Can’t Stand, Sit at the Feet of Jesus

when-you-cant-standsit-at-the-feet-of-jesusWhen the news came that we were expecting our first child I jumped into planning mode immediately.  Within days, I was designing the nursery, collecting reading material and filling the freezer with meals for our first months as a family of three.

Every plan was carefully crafted to ease our transition into parenthood. When it was time for baby to arrive, I road to the hospital expectantly and walked blissfully into the delivery unit. What happened seven days later took me by surprise.

Caring for our son one morning I was hit suddenly with the realization of how dependent he was upon me to live. For years I had been responsible for only myself. I enjoyed coming and going as I wanted. Now, I was responsible for myself and the life I stood holding. Suddenly, my life no longer felt like my own, and the journey was only beginning.

I’m sharing the rest of these words over at Abby McDonald’s blog. Would you join me there to continue reading? Click here to read the rest of this post.