It’s tricky and challenging, this life thing. But it helps to remember life is the process of being made complete. Join me at Do Not Depart for more thoughts, and I’d love to hear what you’ve learned, too.
I might’ve mentioned here before that I love the mountains. (#understatement)
This month, at Do Not Depart, we’re looking at our Marvelous Creator and what His creation signifies to us as we study it and Him.
So, of course, I wrote about the mountains.
With good reason, though.
Join me at Do Not Depart for my ode to the mountains (particularly the Appalachians) and what being in the mountains reminds me about God. I’d love to hear your favorite parts of God’s creation, too.
We’re doing a series on “Love Songs” at Do Not Depart this month. But, before you cringe and turn away, know that these aren’t your ordinary love songs.
We’re talking about God’s love and loving others this month and sharing some of our favorite traditional and contemporary worship songs that inspire us to remember His love and share that love more.
This post has a lot of my heart in it. Please join me over at Do Not Depart today and share your experiences.
I’ve been thinking about the value of words. And the effect of words.
Words can be empty.
Words can be false.
But, honestly, even empty and false words can be hurtful.
So if words can hurt, can words truly help?
Words have the power to encourage, to share love, to offer hope.
Words (read or heard) can cause a physical reaction – be it fear, anxiety, sorrow, hope, love, joy, blessing.
But words also help because they spur action. (Why else would motivational speakers and inspirational words have jobs?)
Want to learn to work after dreams that make a difference? Read Jon Acuff’s words. And then hustle.
Want to be inspired to explore your art and see the world with a slightly different perspective? Read Emily Freeman’s words. And then dream.
Want to be motivated to change your parenting for the better? Read Rachel Macy Stafford’s words. (And listen to your own children’s words!) And then change.
Want to remember that life is for loving and living? Listen to Switchfoot’s lyrics. And then love.
(Which is one reason I keep writing.)
Last month, the world learned and talked about suicide prevention with World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10th).
To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is an organization that works to “present hope and find help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.” They share words, amazing words like this. (<– Seriously. Read that.) But they also act in various capacities. (Read more on their vision page.)
TWLOHA amazes me. My husband and I are both regularly in awe of their hearts, their words, and their actions. We shared in our community, families, and work about TWLOHA’s message of “no one else can play your part.” That message is still lingering and working in our lives.
Birthdays always make me feel grateful (because isn’t it a gift to celebrate another year?), and gratitude easily overflows.
One of my favorite ways to celebrate is support a favorite cause. (I have more “stuff” than I need, so why not put the day and the money to better use?) For my birthday this year, I’m raising funds for TWLOHA.
Please consider visiting my campaign page and donating to support TWLOHA and their amazing mission. Any and every bit helps. Thank you. (Read this page to find out how your donation helps.)
And, please, remember. Both your words and your actions matter. No one else can play your part.
“The soothing tongue is a tree of life…” – Proverbs 15:4
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” – Colossians 4:6
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24
If you donated, THANK YOU. I know TWLOHA will use that money well and lovingly. How have you seen in your life that words do indeed matter?
If a book makes me cry on page 22, it’s probably going to be a pretty good read.
Marybeth Whalen’s newest release, The Bridge Tender (Zondervan, 2014), did just that.
Set between 2001 and 2007, this contemporary novel follows parts of Emily Shaw’s story. Emily had a beautiful marriage with her husband, Ryan, but became a widow after too few years. At the funeral, she is unexpectedly presented with means to a promise Ryan made her, and she travels to Sunset Beach, North Carolina (their honeymoon location) to fulfill that promise. Along the way, she encounters interesting people, each with their own story of sadness in their past, yet all are forging ahead. Emily struggles with moving on from her brokenness to claim the future God still has for her.
The author creates realistic and relatable characters. Deep and changing emotions carry much of the plot in this story, in very understandable ways. Emily’s ways of grieving seem so realistic (without feeling hokey), down to her efforts to “keep it together,” her private bouts of sobbing, and her imagined conversations with her husband. The timeline within the story also seemed credible. Each of the side characters helped Emily evolve, but were also developed well that I cared about each one.
This book tackles the obvious themes of loss, broken hearts, and love, but also delves into what growth really means and how following God doesn’t mean always mean a “perfect” life. The book included several truths of faith in fairly natural ways (though there is one misinterpreted thought the main character had that I wanted the author to clarify in later chapters). Emily’s questions about her own faith and dealing with this grief were so reasonable, allowing the reader to both understand her and consider the situation through his or her own faith perspective. I was continually struck by how the author described Emily’s desires to run from trouble and her growth in dealing with hardships.
Marketed as a “beach read” because of the setting and the romantic plotline, I’d recommend this read even more for the underlying issues all of us can relate to, beyond having a significant other. The Bridge Tender is a beautifully told story.
How have you clung to hope in the midst aftermath of struggles?
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time. If you click on a Signing Time link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!